Crooked Media - What A Day: Griner miracle

Thursday, December 8, 2022
BY JULIA CLAIRE & CROOKED MEDIA

- Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, still losing her mind about the Republican midterm performance. We love to see it!

Which do you want first: the good news, or the bad news?
 

  • JUST KIDDING! It’s not up to you. We’ll start with the good news. As part of a high-profile prisoner exchange, Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner and the United States released infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been jailed overseas for nearly four years, was not included in the prisoner swap. President Biden made the announcement today alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle, as well as other administration officials. In her remarks, Cherelle Griner expressed her gratitude and says she remains, “committed to the work of getting every American home including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today.” Brittney Griner is expected home within 24 hours. 
     

  • Viktor Bout was being held in a federal prison in Marion, IL, in a special unit so restrictive it is nicknamed “Little Guantánamo” (okay, yikes). Bout, whose nickname is “the merchant of death” speaks at least six languages, has a scary black mustache, and is one of the most notorious arms dealers of the modern age. He built an international arms-dealing empire, profiting off weapons sales that fueled conflict in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and has been serving a 25-year prison sentence since his conviction in 2009. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration sting, and Russia has wanted him back ever since. In fact, various Russian channels have made clear that no Americans would be sent home in a prisoner exchange unless Viktor Bout was part of the deal. 
     

  • But…why? After all, trading a basketball star for a trumped-up personal cannabis offense in exchange for an international weapons warlord seems…imbalanced to say the least. Well, it is. National Security Council official Lee Wolosky, who served in the Clinton administration and led early efforts to extinguish Bout’s network, said that Bout is priority number one for the Kremlin because of his links to Russian military intelligence. The GRU has been accused in recent years of wide-ranging international crimes including interfering with elections and assassinating dissidents. Bout has also flatly refused any cooperation with United States authorities, choosing to remain silent for over a decade, and that commitment to divulging nothing would certainly make him immensely valuable for the Russian Federation.

And there are more events unfolding on the eastern front of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 
 

  • According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces shelled the entire front line of the Donetsk region early this morning. In accordance with typical Russian tactics, Russian artillery slammed into buildings across the region, damaging structures and killing at least one civilian. It appeared Russian troops were also trying to advance near Lyman, a city recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November as part of a number of setbacks for the Russian army. Reuters reported that Ukrainian forces countered with fire from rocket launchers. 
     

  • The Kremlin announced today that it still intends to secure the bulk of the territories it illegally annexed, but forces appear to have given up on seizing other territory in the northeast and west which has been recaptured by Ukraine. Russia has made it clear that it still wants full control of Donetsk and Luhansk, the two regions collectively known as the Donbas, which are largely Russian-speaking. Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue battering Ukraine’s power grid, as his military has been since October 10. Many regions of Ukraine are now experiencing sub-zero temperatures, and millions are without electricity and running water. Experts note that this tactic is specifically designed to terrorize a civilian population rather than gain concrete military advantage, and is thus likely a war crime. 


With no end in sight, it’s imperative that the international community continue to work together to ensure the war’s just conclusion, or millions of Ukrainians will continue to suffer.

Crooked and Duolingo’s newest podcast, Radiolingo, investigates all of the ways that language shapes our world and how the world shapes our language. Each episode explores a different way language plays a role in our life. From swearing to subtitles and everything in between. 

Listen to the first 4 episodes right now and subscribe to Radiolingo, wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes drop every Tuesday.

The Biden administration has implemented an anti-gun-violence initiative that quietly seems to be working. President Biden first pitched community-violence intervention programs back on the campaign trail, and secured billions in funding for such efforts when he took office, which advocates say is critical for reducing the extremely high recidivism rates seen in the United States penal system. The Community Violence Intervention Collaborative has been in place for a year and a half, providing city and county leaders funding, training, and technical assistance to bolster community-violence intervention programs, which often connect former gang members and other people deemed “high-risk” with mental-health care and other social services. The Biden administration’s unprecedented focus on community-violence intervention and aid to local grassroots programs is off to a great start, but many note that 18 months is insufficient to make systemic changes, and fear persists that funding will run dry whenever Republicans next take control of the government. 

DOJ prosecutors have urged a federal judge to hold Donald Trump’s office in contempt of court for failing to comply with a May subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession. 

 

United States climate envoy John Kerry said yesterday that last month’s international global-warming talks did not go far enough in accelerating cuts to emissions of heat-trapping gasses. 

 

The latest lawsuit against Twitter alleges that the company disproportionately targeted female employees in its latest round of layoffs

 

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) was elected to Senate leadership for the first time as deputy conference secretary after he won reelection by a staggering 45-point margin. He is now the youngest member of leadership at 50 years old (lol).

 

Former national security adviser to disgraced former president Donald Trump and unhinged fascist Michael Flynn appeared today before the Georgia Special Grand Jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results there. 

 

Speaking of Trump allies, a pro-Russian Ukrainian official who fed Rudy Giuliani intelligence before the 2020 election has been charged by federal prosecutors with money laundering and bank fraud, and is accused of being a “Russian intelligence agent.”


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was unanimously reelected for another term as Senate majority leader, and can now (sort of) rest easy with Dems’ new 51-seat majority. (Sinema and Manchin so help me God don’t get any ideas.)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee released its final report today after a 14 month probe into the “toxic work culture” created by the NFL Washington Commanders organization by men at the top levels for over two decades. Commanders owner Dan Snyder was involved in the widespread misconduct, and according to the House committee gave “misleading” answers when he was deposed back in July and said “I don’t know” or “I can’t recall” more than 100 times during his testimony. The report gives the strongest indication yet that the team or someone working on its behalf leaked the inflammatory emails that spurred the Congressional investigation in October 2021. Snyder was himself involved in the culture of “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct” and interfered with a 2020 investigation which stemmed from former imployees alleging rampant sexual harassment by team executives. According to the report, Snyder also used private investigators and his legal team to “cast him as the victim of a defamation campaign…” A serial sexual harasser portraying himself as the victim of a witch hunt? Tale as old as time!

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Legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage from the right-wing Supreme Court has cleared Congress with bipartisan support and is headed to President Biden’s desk. 
 

U.S. gas prices are now lower than they were one year ago before the start of the Russian war in Ukraine.

. . . . . .


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