Friday, July 26, 2019

What is rotten in Kentucky exposes American elections to Russian interference in 2020

Here are some significant digits for you.

50: The number of states targeted by Russia for interference in the 2016 election.

4: The number of election security bills blocked by Moscow Mitch McConnell and his GOPlins in the U.S. Senate.

You gotta scratch your head and wonder how the Republicans reconcile the magnitude of Russian interference with their anti-American, anti-democratic adverse actions. Well, read on …

‘They’re Doing It as We Sit Here’. The NY Times Editorial Board reviews an “urgent” call from the Special Counsel: Bob Mueller made clear the threat to American democracy is urgent. The politicians had other things on their minds.

Russian interference in our 2016 election was far worse than originally thought. The NY Times reports that Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States.

In spite of Mueller’s dire warning, REPUBLICANS BLOCK FOURTH ELECTION SECURITY BILL DESPITE MUELLER’S WARNING RUSSIA IS INTERFERING ‘AS WE SIT HERE’ reports Newsweek.

… Senate Republicans have blocked four pieces of legislation that sought to bolster the security of U.S. elections since the former special counsel’s daylong congressional testimony, the latest of which came on Thursday when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, blocked two unanimous consent votes.

“The Republican leader has already indicated his intention to bury this bill in the legislative graveyard,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, on the floor just prior to McConnell’s block. Schumer was one of two Democrats who tried to force a vote on one of the bills. “That’s a disgrace.”

The measure Schumer attempted to force a vote on, known as Securing America’s Federal Elections Act and in which was passed by the House last month, would have provided $600 million for states to strengthen election security, given states $175 million biannually for election infrastructure, required post-election audits and more safeguards in electronic voting machines, such as federal elections backing up their electronic voting machine tallies with paper ballots. GOP Representative Brian Mast was the lone House Republican to vote for it.

Why? “McConnell said his opposition arose from his belief the legislation was ”highly partisan“ and came from the ”same folks who hyped up a conspiracy theory“ about Trump-Russia collusion.”

What the hell? His “belief”? This weak response is like trying to get jello to stick to the wall.

McConnell, of course, offers no alternative bills that would strengthen our election security. None at all.

Charles Pierce (Esquire) and our own AZ Blue Meanie (Blog for Arizona) provide scathing commentary on the Republicans’ anti-security actions. Some of that is quoted below.

To understand any of this, you gotta understand that Mitch McConnell Does Not Give a Damn About the Future of This Country writes Pierce.

Of course, on Wednesday, before god, the world, and every cable network in the known universe, Robert Mueller testified before two committees of the House of Representatives. In his afternoon session with the House Intelligence Committee, Mueller sounded the alarm about foreign ratfcking of American elections—both the foreign ratfcking of the 2016 elections, and the ongoing ratfcking that is out there, ratfcking the 2020 election already. The Republican members of both committees demonstrated that they are perfectly fine with the situation. Not long after Mueller was finished, at the behest of Mitch McConnell, the Republicans in the Senate demonstrated that they’re perfectly content with foreign ratfcking, too. From The Hill:

Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that would require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission about foreign offers of assistance, as well as a bill to let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for personal devices and accounts of senators and staff. But Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) blocked each of the bills. She didn’t give reason for her objections, or say if she was objecting on behalf of herself or the Senate GOP caucus. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Hyde-Smith, last seen doing a little Confederate cosplay, isn’t bright enough to order breakfast by herself, so there’s little question that she stepped in here to do McConnell’s bidding any more than there’s a question that McConnell was doing the White House’s bidding.

But election interference bills face an uphill climb in the Senate, where Republicans aren’t expected to move legislation through the Rules Committee, the panel with primary jurisdiction, and have warned about attempts to “federalize” elections. Democrats cited Mueller as they tried to get consent on Wednesday evening to pass their bills. “Mr. Mueller’s testimony should serve as a warning to every member of this body about what could happen in 2020, literally in our next elections,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He added that “unfortunately, in the nearly three years since we uncovered Russia’s attack on our democracy, this body has not held a single vote on stand-alone legislation to protect our elections.”

Quite simply, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, Majority Leader of the United States Senate, doesn’t give a damn about the future of America, and very little of a damn about the majority of Americans, even the Americans coughing up their lungs in his own state. On Thursday, in his opening remarks, McConnell talked about how the new budget deal is beefing up American military might. This is what he said:

So, Madam President, every member of this body knows the threats we face are serious and getting more serious. The resurgence of great power competition with nations like Russia and China, the destabilization influence of state-sponsored terror and regional aggression from bad actors such as Iran, and the testing of historic a lines—alliances. Amidst the growing international chaos, the pre-eminent addition of the U.S. government is to provide for the common defense.

He didn’t immediately burst into flames. There is no god.

But as always, dig deeper and follow the money.

AZ Blue Meanie weighs in as Russian asset Mitch McConnell blocks every election security bill in the Senate. So what hook has been planted by Russia? The Blue Meanie quotes Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:

… At the Louisville Courier Journal, Joseph Gerth is not too excited at the prospect that “by the middle of the year, we’ll be in business with Oleg Deripaska, a buddy of Vladimir Putin.” Kentucky is looking for $200 million from the Russian to invest in a $1.7 billion aluminum plant there. He goes on to describe Deripaska’s “deep ties to Russian organized crime,” and the allegations of Deripaska’s violent, ruthless, criminal past in Russia.

And you all remember Deripaska—he’s good buddies and a former employer of Donald Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The Trump/Manafort/Russia and specifically Deripaska (friend of Putin!) connection is deep and complicated and at the heart of the NO COLLUSION collusion that helped land Trump in the White House.

Once again, all of this brings up one key question: how deep into Russia is McConnell? What does he owe Putin? He helped Russia get Trump into the White House by refusing to let the American government notify the public about and help states arm against Russian incursion in the 2016 election. Now he’s looking to Russia to help his own re-election prospects and stranglehold on the Senate, with a big assist from Bevin and Paul.

Something is really rotten in the state of Kentucky.

The Blue Meanie continues:

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has suggested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasn’t putting election security legislation up for a vote because Republicans benefited from Russian interference in the 2016 election. “There are two possibilities,” Durbin said. “He really doesn’t believe it, he doesn’t think the Russians were involved in 2016. He ignores the Mueller report and our intelligence agencies or in the alternative feels the Russians were on the side of the Republicans in 2016 and just might be again in 2020.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of “aiding and abetting” Russian interference in US elections by failing to address election security concerns, despite warnings from the intelligence community that Russia may once again attempt to interfere in the 2020 campaign. “Mitch McConnell is aiding and abetting it by refusing to do anything.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he thinks McConnell does not want to make elections more secure. “The only logical conclusion is that Senator McConnell wants American elections to be vulnerable to hackers and foreign interference,” Wyden said. Mitch McConnell takes checks from voting machine lobbyists — even as he blocks election security bills. “It is unconscionable for Republicans to stick their heads in the sand and do nothing after what happened in 2016. If Congress doesn’t act, it’s only a matter of time before hackers successfully interfere again.”

Was it just naked partisan self-interest that “The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, enabled Russian interference in the 2016 election because it benefitted Republicans? McConnell was asked in 2016 by top intelligence officials to join in bipartisan condemnation of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf, and refused, claiming he would denounce any public condemnation of it as partisan politics. He has blocked every election security bill since the 2016 election in the Senate, leaving America vulnerable to further Russian interference in our elections.

Or have the Russians developed another asset in the Republican Party, in addition to Donald Trump, by dumping millions of dollars into Kentucky to help McConnell get reelected? Is Mitch McConnell betraying his country for thirty pieces of silver?

Your Scriber thinks the answer is fairly obvious. Remember the Scriber’s X/AntiX formula? For a given entity X, if you want to destroy it elect/appoint as its leader someone who is AntiX. I originally applied it to explain Trump’s cabinet picks. Now, apparently, it extends to the United States Senate, formerly known “as the world’s greatest deliberative body”. That completes the spread of corrupt intent, I fear, throughout our government.

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