Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Recap: June 8, 2022

 


There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes
Another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow


Secret Agent, man. 

It's maybe not as cool as it first sounds. 

News this morning is that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's spokeswoman this week was finally forced to register as a foreign agent. 

That's right, a foreign agent. 

As in an agent of a foreign power. 

It seems that after an investigation by the Department of Justice, Christina Pushaw, disclosed that she had in fact worked as a foreign agent between 2018 and 2020 for a Georgian politician. 

Georgia. 

Not the US state north of Florida. 

No, Georgia the country, the former Soviet Republic, now in a de facto state of war with Russia. 

War with Russia, yeah, but that's good, right? 

That makes us allies, doesn't it? 


Well...


Now, none of this was really a secret. 

Pushaw was pretty open about it. In fact, that might be what landed her a job with Ron DeSantis. It was surely on her resume. I worked for a foreign president, man. 

A president. I mean, that's got to look good on a resume, doesn't it? 

Doesn't it? 

Except the foreign former president Pushaw worked for was none other than Mikheil Saakashvili, but Ron DeSantis probably heard "President of Georgia" and thought Brian Kemp and signed her up. 

Saakashvili, for those of you not keeping up with foreign despots, was the 3rd President of Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

At first Saakashvili seemed like a decent guy, pro-NATO, pro-West, anti-Russia. 

That's good, right? 

Well...

By his second term in office, he'd become so corrupt and authoritarian, Georgia was essentially a police state not that much different from when it was under Soviet rule. A lot of innocent people were disappeared or ended up in prison -- which, now that I think of it, probably looked pretty good to Ron DeSantis. 

(An interesting footnote of Saakashvili's time in office was a deal he personally inked with Donald Trump to build a Trump Hotel in Georgia. Make of that what you will)

Georgians were fed up and Saakashvili -- facing violent revolution and a pretty high probability of being executed in the public square -- resigned, fled the country, and was stripped of his citizenship. 

He eventually ended up in Ukraine...

(This is where you shout: Ukraine? Ah HAH!)

...and through a series of convoluted shenanigans, became the governor of the Odessa Oblast (oblast means something like "administrative district"), a region along the Black Sea right smack next to the recently Russian annexed Crimea. 

A lot of people in Odessa Oblast (according to Russia) reportedly lean towards Russia, which is a pretty weird place for a guy who is supposedly anti-Russia to fetch up. 

He also ended up with Ukrainian citizenship -- since the Georgians had kicked him out of their country and it was a requirement for being Governor of a Ukrainian administrative region. 

Predictably, things in Odessa didn't go well. 

Or rather, just like Georgia, things went well at first. Saakashvili was for a while perhaps the most popular politician in Ukraine. But, just like Georgia, eventually things went to hell and he resigned due to, you guessed it, corruption. 

Corruption, which he blamed on the president of Ukraine. 


You see where this is going already, don't you? 


Ah hah, indeed. 

Saakashvili formed a new political party called the Movement of New Forces -- which is probably totally not ominous sounding at all. 

For about a decade if there was a revolution, an uprising, or some sort of war between Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine, Saakashvili was right in the middle of it and if you're getting shades of Roger Stone crossed with Stephen Miller with bit of a Steve Bannon and Lee Atwater for leavening, you're not the only one. 

He was eventually stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. 

Then had it reinstated. 

And then returned to Georgia (sneaking into the country via a containership as an illegal immigrant) where he tried to lead a revolution to overthrow the government and got himself arrested. 

He famously went on a hunger strike in prison.

Georgia (along with pretty much everybody else) seemed perfectly fine with him starving himself to death as a solution to everyone's problem. 

But eventually, due in part to agents working on his behalf in places like, oh, you know, the United States (ah hah) he was moved to a hospital and then to a military medical prison where he presently resides. 

Now, I'm leaving a lot out.

A lot. 

You can go read up on Saakashvili for yourself. There are plenty of sources, so you don't have to take my word for it. 

A lot of people, American and otherwise, see Saakashvili as a villain. 

A lot of people, American and otherwise, see him as some sort of revolutionary hero. 

It really depends on where you stand. He's a complicated guy who is inextricably linked to the politics, corruption, crime, revolution, and war in Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine. 

But, however you see it, the bottom line is that from 2018 to 2020, Christina Pushaw was working as his (unregistered) agent here in the US, for which she was reportedly paid $25,000 according to the Washington Post.

She was recently notified by the DOJ that her work as a foreign agent violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and she has now filed for retroactive registration. 

There might be criminal charges, but given the DOJ's recent record, I wouldn't count on it. 

It happens. 

Oh yes, it does. As violation of the law goes, this unregistered foreign agent business happens a lot more than you'd think and no one really seems to give much of a shit about it. Hell, getting caught for casual violation of FARA is almost a mark a pride in certain political circles and $25,000 is chump change compared to some of the dark money American politicians are raking from foreign sources bent to the manipulation of America and hostile to our interests. 

The ironic part is that Pushaw herself claims to have reported others to the Justice Department as alleged foreign agents (some actually were, and in at least one case were convicted of violating FARA, which later became part of the Mueller Investigation).


That's not the point. 


Well, okay, it is. 

But it's not the whole point. 

The point here is that the people who scream the loudest about "Hunter Biden" and some vague shadowy undefined Biden family criminal involvement in Ukraine are themselves neck-deep in foreign entanglements, literally taking money from Russian and/or Ukrainian interests.

It's almost like they're trying to distract you from their own actions. 

And yeah, this is where you again shout ah HAH!

Given DeSantis' repeated attacks on the Biden Administration and his not-so-secret political ambitions, that fact that his spokesperson worked as a foreign agent for a guy smack in the middle of the Russian, Georgian, and Ukrainian wars, is at best a major conflict of interest. 

For a political party that claims to hold the moral high ground, these people sure do seem to spend a lot of time down in the swamp. 

And it's damn funny how Russia seems to be in the middle of it all. 

Damn funny, indeed. 

Beware of pretty faces that you find
A pretty face can hide an evil mind
Oh, be careful what you say
Or you'll give yourself away...
-- Secret Agent Man,
    Written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri
    Performed by Johnny Rivers


50 comments:

  1. A good friend of mine was just telling me that DeSantis would make a great president. I have just about given up hope for America.

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    Replies
    1. At last, a charge that might keep DeSantis away.

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    2. A great president of what country? Not the USA.

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    3. Ron DeathSentence would make a great president. Of say, Miami Area Dickweeds & Doorknobs Society, for instance.

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    4. Ummm...Georgia? (Not the Deep South U.S. state.)

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  2. No Republican, ever again, will be able to claim any moral high ground.

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    1. Well they will probably claim the moral high ground, but it would be, like most of what they claim a lie.

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    2. This should have become damn clear after they lined up en masse behind Donald Freaking Trump.

      And not just the elected officials and right-wing talking heads who shilled for him. I'm referring to the self-proclaimed Christians who voted for him by the millions.

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  3. First of all, let me say that Secret Agent Man was a great show opener and that I actually had a 45 RPM with that on it. Johnny Rivers did a great job. Second, The fascistic governor of Florida, is a problem because he is competant. He is more of a threat that 45 was as he would never have let 1/6 happen without a clearer battle plan. The guy is ex-military after all, 45 is merely a thug. FlaGov is a really bad guy. IMO

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    1. FlaGov scares me to death...

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    2. I wish I could disagree with you but, alas, I cannot and I find the whole situation very scary, very scary, indeed.

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    3. I live in Florida and am both angered and frightened by him. I'm doing what I can in my neck of the palm trees to get whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being elected as governor, sight unseen, but it will be a Sisyphusian battle.

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    4. Ex Military LAWYER

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  4. DeSantis is akin to the man in the carnival suckering people in to play the shell game! All mouth and no concerns about who's pocket they pick.

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  5. When I first read about this I thought it's likely Ron is so stupid he probably assumed it was the state of Georgia, but I won't give him a pass

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  6. Serious question: at this juncture are there any Republicans left in high elective office who are actually loyal to the United States of America?

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    Replies
    1. I count two: Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. That's it.

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    2. The closest I can think of would be the current Rep. Cheney.

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    3. Rep. Cheney is trying to cripple Trump so the real Republican asshats can regain control.

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  7. Wow! Why am I not surprised by any of this? It will take years to clean all the garbage out of this country,

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    Replies
    1. Pretty sure it won't happen in my lifetime.

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  8. I'd lay money on there being a P. Manafort in her contacts list.

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  9. Oh great. Just when I thought I was actually going to get something done today, Stonekettle posts another red hot story. Everything points to Russia, paraphrasing Nancy Pelosi. And the more they scream “fake news”, the more Russians we find. The rot goes all the way up, doesn’t it?

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  10. Lemme guess: one morning Christina Pushaw wakes up and finds herself in "The Village." After all, that's what happened to "Secret Agent."

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    Replies
    1. We love the same old-school TV shows. :)

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  11. Yeah great - now I have that tune in my head.

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  12. Lemme guess: One fine morning Christina Pushaw wakes up and finds herself in "The Village." After all, that's what happened to "Secret Agent."

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    Replies
    1. I think she's the kind of person who works FOR The Village, loyal only to the shadowy people who have no standards except the pursuit of power.

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    2. Nice "Prisoner" reset

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  13. Thank you for the the deeper dive into the background on this, as I hadn't been aware of it.

    And a quick copyedit note, as my mind stumbles over this sort of thing:

    "a mark a pride" ==> a mark of pride

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  14. The corruption and hypocrisy is utterly gobsmacking.

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  15. I've been having the queasy feeling lately that the cold war never really ended and that lately, Russia is winning. There are so many taking money and tactical advice from foreign agents it makes me wonder where our investigative agencies are and if they just watching or perhaps involved. I wonder who replaced Peter Strzok and why the current director of the FBI is still a trump appointee. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/13/peter-strzok-fired-donald-trump-fbi-219355/

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  16. Isn’t it odd that all these people who say crimes should have consequences keep committing crimes that don’t seem to have consequences? I guess meaningful punishment for criminal acts, like taxes, are just for the little people (or Democrats).

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  17. "The odds are she won't live to see tomorrow."

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  18. I keep remembering that, early in the Trump candidacy and his term as president, someone was keeping a public file that appeared on facebook tracking every time a Russian-related private plane landed on an airstrip along the eastern coast and related it to where Trump and his cronies were golfing at the time. Might be worth revisiting that info in regard to this latest info about yet another foreign agent within the GOP.

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  19. Oh great, now I've got 'them bones' stuck in my head.

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  20. Thanks for tying together a lot disparate threads I had in my mind about foreign involvement in the GOP.

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  21. No need to post this if you don't want to, but isn't Odessa Oblast on the Moldovan (West) side of Southern Ukraine, not the Russian (East) side?

    That has no effect on the point of your article, which is a good one. Just a nit.

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  22. A violation of FARA used to be a huge deal. What the hell!

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    Replies
    1. A -LOT- of things used to be a huge deal.

      I miss those days.

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  23. Would the GOP bow down to DeSantis as they currently do to Trump? Maybe they'd just go along with whatever he wants since it's mostly the same as what they want. There just wouldn't be a "cult". I'm ready to leave the US. I can't imagine the horror of those who can't or don't want to.

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  24. Waldemar HaffkineJune 8, 2022 at 8:56 PM

    Anyone who thinks Russia is a benign player in US politics is either blind, willfully ignorant or complicit.

    I recommend the documentary "Active Measures." It names the players, outlines the goals, and highlights the activities of those in our country who welcome their new comrades with open arms. A chilling indictment of the power of diversion and misinformation to shape the bumper-sticker "thinkers" so prevalent among us.

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  25. Oh, geez... That ditty about "when you're pointing at someone, your other fingers in that hand are pointing back at you" seems to fit, here.

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  26. Interesting information. Oh, and thanks for the earworm. (I think Istill have the 45 recording around somewhere...)

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  27. Great insights again, Jim, thanks!
    Just one minor nitpick - Odessa is west of the Crimea, so not between Crimea and Russia itself. (It's actually just down the road from Moldova and Romania). But around a decade ago there was indeed a sizeable, pro-Russian slice of the population there, resulting in some nasty clashes in 2014.

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  28. What I read is he’s a bit of a traitor and oh a hypocrite

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  29. The program was originally titled "Danger Man" and starred Patrick McGoohan

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  30. This is only moderately on-topic, but that Johnny Rivers song is fantastic. :)

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