From Russia with Lust

America has a lust problem.  No, not the obvious lust for the flesh, but a lust for money and power.  Russia has it to offer, and many Americans seem to want it.  Bad.

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What is the sudden obsession with Russia? Yes, Russia has beautiful art, culture, literature; but how quickly we forget the Cold War, the arms race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Stalin (who killed millions of his own people), the Brezhnev years, the Berlin Wall, the invasion of Afghanistan, Russian support of North Vietnam, among other events.

In more recent history, there is the invasion of the Ukraine, shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in 2014, murder of journalists (Anna Politkovskaya, Mikhail Beketov, Anastasia Baburova, Oleg Kashin, Khadzhimurad Kamalov, Arkady Babchenko), and poising of political opponents (Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia, Alexander Litvinenko).  The Assad regime in Syria has been the beneficiary of Russian assistance to President Assad in his fight against ISIS and Syrian rebels.   Assad is also suspected of using  sarin gas in Douma to kill non-combatants (meaning men, women and children).

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Our intelligence agencies unanimously agree that Russia (or state supported actors) interfered with the 2016 election, and the hacking of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign (including 76 email addresses) with phishing and gaining access to emails and computer files.  Twelve Russian intelligence officers have been indicted (by Robert Mueller) for these actions.  Evidence shows that stolen data passed through a server in Arizona leased by the GRU (Russian military intelligence agency) before ending up in Russia. There are dozens of companies and organizations hacked with tentacles from Russian actors with personal information of millions of Americans for sale on the dark web.

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Mueller is investigating multiple issues involving the Trump family and inner circle over an array of shady Russian business arrangements and sweetheart deals through the years.  It is now known that Russian money has cozied up to the NRA.  Peel the onion and the connections between Russian money (including the Russian state and organized crime) and Americans grows more complex and widespread. Yet, Senator Rand Paul turns up in Russia making moony eyes, and actor Steven Seagal is appointed some sort of cultural diplomatic envoy for Russia. Seagal holds Russian citizenship.

A recent Gallup Poll showed some 40 percent of Republicans, a plurality of the self-identified category, now regard Russia as an ally or at least as a country friendly to the United States. – NPR

Russia, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has exerted itself as a replacement for the old days of the Soviet Union.  Putin is a every bit the strong-armed tyrant as past Soviet leaders. Oppose him or write about his corrupt dealings and you are jailed, tortured, shot, poisoned or exposed to deadly radiation.  It is said that Putin is looking to re-create the glory days of Russia past, but through old school Soviet Union methods by military and economic aggression.  Russia has moved on his neighbors (Ukraine, Georgia), to weaken their sovereignty and claim their territory (annexation of the Crimea). He sponsors separatist movements that do his bidding while claiming innocence. His computer hackers set up a curtain of anonymity while creating election chaos and infiltrating economic and security networks.

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In the Baltic States, Romania, Ukraine and Lithuania, Russia has sowed discord among the population, raising fears of isolation and fanning the flames of mistreatment of ethnic populations, in hopes of creating internal strife as in other former Soviet aligned countries.

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And then there is America.  Russian interests have corrupted American politics and business with greed and easy money.  The Trump family and many others with Washington influence are intertwined in murky business dealings. Members of Trumps inner circle met with Russian interests prior to the election, and during the transition, and then lied about it (General Flynn, Donald Trump, Jr.).  Why are so many members of Congress weak on Russia?  Because Russia helps make it possible for those members to stay in Congress and push their agenda. Power.

Americans lust after money, particularly easy money coming from overseas sources. We tell ourselves it is just business and our ethics are not being compromised. We sell our souls, dollar after dollar, until we don’t understand the magnitude of this addiction.

We are engaged in a different kind of war. One we are losing. I don’t understand the love towards a country with such corrupt leadership that endangers other sovereign nations and is engaged in economic terrorism against our country, businesses and individuals.

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