So, I've been so involved in getting my latest novel wrapped up that two weeks in a row, I've forgotten to write my Friday post. Sorry about that. I'm just very close to my deadline and well...that's where my head is at, and rightfully so. Anyway...let's get started.
Mainly I'm writing about this in order to put together the bigger picture for anyone (like myself) who is interested. With the way that we're constantly bombarded by news these days, it's hard to understand what it all really means. So, I like to step back from the individual trees and have a look at the forest as it were.
This week has been interesting politically. The Mueller probe has slammed Manafort with new charges after Rick Gates pled guilty. Gates is cooperating with the investigation. Apparently, among the long list (32 counts) of illegal activities the pair are being busted for is hiding $30,000,000 from the US government. (Wow. Just. Wow.) That is not good news for Trump. Mueller is pushing ever closer to Trump's inner circle. The investigation is definitely picking up speed. This is the second week Mueller has been in the news with new indictments.
And it seems that the 2016 election isn't the only route Russia has used to influence American elections and politics. The NRA, an organization known for being a big influence in Washington via its lobbyists, is now being investigated by the FBI for its connections to Russia. This indicates a much bigger problem since Trump isn't the only American politician who has taken money from the NRA. (According to the article the NRA disclosed it spent at least $30 million on Trump's behalf and attacking Hillary Clinton – more than twice what the NRA disclosed it spent on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run. And there is evidence that indicates that it may have actually been as much as $70 million.) In truth, I've been bewildered by the self-destructive and oddly pro-Russian bent the GOP has been on for the past few decades. It's been extremely weird hearing positive words about anything Russian coming out of the mouths of the once staunchly anti-Russian party. Ultimately, this relationship between the NRA and Russia explains it because the GOP is riddled with NRA money. There are very few Republican congress critters who haven't taken NRA money. And since the NRA has declared itself a "social welfare organization" it doesn't have to disclose its contributors--a tidy loophole for foreign influence given Citizens United. That scares the piss out of me. And it should.
This means that the Russian influence on American elections was more than merely a few thousand social media bots and disinformation about Hillary spread by Wikileaks hackers. (See this article on Facebook. It's long but worth the read. And these two articles about Twitter: Twitter admits far more Russian bots posted on election than it had disclosed and Conservative Twitter Users Lose Thousands of Followers, Mass Purge of Bots Suspected [Updated].)
All in all, the issue of Russian influence on American elections is a far larger one and involves a more concentrated effort than I'd initially assumed. It also broadly illustrates the dangers of Citizens United and lobbyists in general. Here's hoping for a future without the NRA's influence in politics as well as one with extensive campaign reform.
 Mind you, there are a few Democrats who have as well, but the numbers aren't anywhere near the same.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.