The moment you were maybe waiting for has arrived: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is officially a published columnist in Russia’s Pravda (but not the Pravda you’re thinking of, see update below). The opinion piece is headlined “Senator John McCain: Russians deserve better than Putin.” But unfortunately, Putin’s press secretary thinks we all deserve better than seeing the two square-off.
In the op-ed, McCain pushes aside the idea that he is somehow anti-Russian. “I am pro-Russian,” he writes, “more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.” He continues:
President Putin and his associates … don’t respect your dignity or accept your authority over them. They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media. They harass, threaten, and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance. To perpetuate their power they foster rampant corruption in your courts and your economy and terrorize and even assassinate journalists who try to expose their corruption.
In his conclusion, McCain writes that he longs for the day when Russians have a government that answers to them. The column is worth reading, if only for the pure oddity of how it came about and how McCain tries to address the Russian people.
And yes, Vladimir Putin will be reading the op-ed.
At least that’s according to his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russia’s ITAR-TASS. “We will definitely read it,” he said, but “engaging him in debate is unlikely — it’s the point of view of someone living across the ocean.”
Peskov also quibbled with what McCain actually wrote:
As far as what Russians deserve ““ they’re capable of answering this question themselves and they do answer it during elections. I don’t think that point of view of someone across the ocean plays any sort of role in how Russians express their will.
Apparently, being on the other side of the ocean means that you can’t help guide the policies of another country. Perhaps this message should be transmitted to Putin.
UPDATE (9:40 a.m.): CNN reports that the McCain op-ed saga may be even stranger than we thought. According to CNN, the Pravda that published McCain’s op-ed is just a Russian website, and not actually the Pravda newspaper that’s been around since 1912. The two organizations have no connection, and just happen to share a name.
Sen. McCain’s office sent a draft of his op-ed to both the newspaper and the unaffliated website. The newspaper didn’t actually publish the piece.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.
The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law, saying it was passed with “discriminatory intent." The decision sends the case back to the district judge who initially dismissed challenges to the law. "The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect."
An oil pipeline almost as long as the much-debated Keystone XL has won final approval to transport crude from North Dakota to Illinois, traveling through South Dakota and Iowa along the way. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the final blessing to the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday. Developers now have the last set of permits they need to build through the small portion of federal land the line crosses, which includes major waterways like the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The so-called Bakken pipeline goes through mostly state and private land."