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More On Russia’s War on American Democracy THE NEW MCCARTHYISM

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I hate to district us again from the most important issue facing the country going forward — that someone who will never run for president again sucks — but this is very bad:

Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step — complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

However! We at LGM believe in a Both Sides Do It Fair And Balanced approached to the news, so as a counterpoint let me present this very coherent and refreshingly non-sequitur free defense of Putin from Mr. Oliver Stone:

The Nation: Seventeen US intelligence agencies all came to the same conclusion about Russian hacking, so everybody on the left has to say, “They must know what they are talking about.” So you don’t buy that these 17 intelligence agencies are telling the truth?

Stone: No, because they backed off on it… There were three agencies—the CIA, NSA ,and FBI. They cooked this intelligence. That’s my word [not Putin’s]… These are serious allegations: That Trump was a Manchurian candidate. The influence on the election from the Russians to me is absurd to the naked eye. Israel has far more influence on American elections through AIPAC. Saudi Arabia has influence through money… Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers have much more influence on American elections… And the prime minister of Israel comes to our country and addresses Congress to criticize the president’s policy in Iran at the time—that’s pretty outrageous.

Our country is very much in the grip of a dictator: The dictator is money, the military-industrial-complex… It’s beyond absurd to have this kind of expenditure every year on military…

If only the Marxist radical JFK hadn’t been assassinated, we wouldn’t have had any of these problems.

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  • Murc

    I’ve said it before: pen and paper. Uniform national standards. All ballots counted by hand, in public.

    Also, fuck federalism.

    • Captain Oblivious

      I don’t have a problem with optical scanners, as long as they’re air-gapped from the internet.

      Hand-counting requires enormous amounts of volunteer manpower, which creates its own potential for abuses.

      • Murc

        Hand-counting requires enormous amounts of volunteer manpower,

        I really don’t think this is true.

        • burnspbesq

          I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you’re daft.

          Did you not see the photos in every reputable British media outlet of spaces the size of basketball couts packed to the gills woth vote-counters?

          • Murc

            How that’s relevant to my point I’m having trouble seeing.

            Okay, that was passive-aggressive and snarky. To be direct: the only reason that hand-counting “requires” enormous amounts of “volunteer” manpower is because we demand that election results be known as soon as possible, and because we don’t care enough about our elections to have them staffed and run by professionals.

            Neither of those are, in fact, actual requirements. They are choices we have made. We can make different ones.

        • Woodrowfan

          I’m sitting in a polling place on a very slow primary day. Been here since 445. I can’t imagine having to hand count a thousand plus ballots with multiple races after a 14 hour day. We have problems finding enough people to work the polls. Hand counting would be a nightmare. I’m fine with an air gapped scanner so long as it’s not even connected to the internet or wifi.

          We could do hand counting the next day but I suspect we’re too impatient.

        • Ahuitzotl

          I worked a polling station in the 70s, handcounting the ballots after it’d closed, and yeah, it really is true.

          • Peter T

            You could outsource your voting to the Australian Electoral Commission. Single national voting register, over 90 per cent of adults registered, never much more than 10 minute wait to vote (usually less), count progressively available within 30 minutes of close of polls, full audit trail and recount on request. They use OCR on paper ballots (and Australian Senate ballot papers are quite large, with preferential voting means every number on the ballot can count).

            • dexitroboper

              The AEC relies on a large number of volunteers at elections for staffing polling places and counting ballots, just as someone said above.

              • Peter T

                No. It hires around 80,000 extra staff (most just for the day). Counting is done by officials, watched by scrutineers (accredited party members). Similar to running a census.

    • We spent reportedly something north of $600 million on the ACA website. How much would it take to create an open source, secure vote tallying system and give it to the states for free?

    • Rob in CT

      Concur.

    • KeithB

      That’s how it’s done in my state. There are accommodations for blind or otherwise disabled voters. Ballot counting is automated; you can always do a manual recount if there’s any doubt about the results. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do it that way. It’s reasonably inexpensive, efficient and hack-resistant.

    • Bruce B.

      I am so in agreement. People tend to overestimate the demands of hand-counting, or so I’m told by people who’ve done it in various jurisdictions, and to ignore or take for granted costs involved with doing anything else.

    • Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have a national vote-by-mail bill modeled after Oregon’s approach. We use optical vote scanners but they’re not internet-connected and the count can be verified by hand if necessary.

      • Murc

        I’m prepared to bend on the optical scanner thing, yeah.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Nothing more than a socialistic Trojan horse to prop up the failed postal system! Sad!

    • tsam

      Washington’s mail in voting works great. It happens over a longer period (built-in early voting), and they’re paper. It can be audited, disabled people can do it from home, and studies show it increases turnout. (Everything Republicans hate)

      • wjts

        I’ve long been against vote by mail on the grounds that I like the happy feeling I get when I trudge down to my local polling place to do my civic duty. But I have recently come to the conclusion, “fuck that.”

        • Hogan

          Yeah, when I realized I don’t like my neighbors all that much, I came to the same conclusion.

          • tsam

            I always got a super great feeling of accomplishment after licking the envelope.

            Also, though, I don’t have to drive in the cold, crappy November weather (usually biting cold rain or sleet) to a polling place and possibly wait in line (HELL FUCKING NO)…

            Mailing off the ballot gave me the civic duty done feeling just fine. I’m counted.

            ETA: I sit down with my ballot and a laptop, and do whatever research I think is necessary (especially on ballot initiatives, which can be written in a tricky way) and vote as I go. I can take as much time as I need to be sure I understand what I’d voting for/against.

        • S. Oelek

          As a Washington resident who felt the same way (wandering, half- or three-quarters drunk over to the Lutheran church to get rid of Papa Bush is my fondest voting memory. Is whistling “Happy Days are Here Again” considered electioneering in the poling place? ‘Cos that’s what I was doing.) I don’t feel like you will miss it all that much.

          Mail-in voting rocks.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Also, fuck federalism.

      So the Trump administration should be able to order municipalities to cooperate with ICE?

  • Davis

    He made a hero out of whack job Jim Garrison.

    • Dalai Rasta

      Yep. “The JFK assassination was a homosexual thrill killing” is a serious allegation as well, but Stone felt no qualms about legitimizing that one.

  • mjlepouttre
    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Sweet Baby Jesus! Parody surrenders.

      • so-in-so

        To bad this reality isn’t taking prisoners.

        • Pat

          I thought Reality is a prisoner….

    • sigaba

      I worked with Sean S. on a movie he directed — his only one I think.

      He’s a nice guy, he believes Shadow People are real (ask him and he’ll play you voicemails he’s gotten from them). Also he almost fired me when I told him my father was a Mason. Chip off he ole’ block.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Huh. I did not think that leaving voicemails would be something that Shadow People did.

        • Rob in CT

          Somebody watched The Mothman Prophecy too many times…

        • wjts

          That really was the weirdest Rockford Files opening ever.

        • Well, it’s more accurate to call them whispermails.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            It took me several minutes to realize those voicemails he got probably weren’t a technical error and mere static. He babbled on about this and other oogedy boogedy stories to some people who decided to wait a decent interval and then prank him.

      • Origami Isopod

        Crank magnetism in action.

  • so-in-so

    Paging Glen G, Glen G to the white courtesy phone.

    • Mike in DC

      The saddest thing I read was that Reality Winner leaked to the Intercept because she wanted GG to stop being so skeptical of Russian interference in the US elections. Oh, sweetie.

      • sibusisodan

        That’s just such a riskily pragmatic display of adorable naivety that I think it needs a new word.

        • I think it needs a new word.

          Winsome Realism. (Okay, okay, two “words”. But a single lexical item!)

        • Sly

          GGullible

      • SatanicPanic

        Poor kid. We can laugh at her for not knowing what she was getting into but I really hope President Gillibrand pardons her.

        • bizarroMike

          Right? I hope she gets some clemency. I can understand being young and idealistic enough to think Greenwald just needs to have a shot of truth and he’ll change his mind.

          Jeebus, I feel worse for her now than I did when everyone was piling on because she did a poor job covering her tracks from the leak, as if skill in the act was what was important rather than the content. She didn’t deserve that.

          • farin

            I can more than understand expecting the Intercept not to comprehensively fuck a government source giving them a major leak, but I guess that’s what she gets for being a neoliberal new McCarthyite DNC shill decent human being.

      • Pete

        +1 Heroes with feet of clay indeed.

  • JMP

    I’m finding it very ironic that the country’s biggest nutty conspiracy theorists – which of course would include deranged JFK assassination trutherists like Oliver Stone here – tend to be the same ones who keep denying the validity of the Russian interference in the election, and Trump campaign’s collusion with them. We’ve got lots of real evidence of an actual sinister conspiracy here, the exact same thing they keep insisting are real when there is no evidence of them, yet they’re just sticking their heads in the sand and claiming it isn’t there.

    • postmodulator

      I think the thrill of conspiracy theory is that of having occult knowledge, not of uncovering the truth. This stuff is all sourced more or less from the mainstream, so knowing it doesn’t make them special.

      • msdc

        This. Got it in one.

        (But the RT money helps, too.)

      • Yes, it’s like the person who is at great pains to let everyone know he knew about a band when it was really good, before it sold out and went mainstream.

        • postmodulator

          Combined with an absolute refusal to acknowledge that, say, “Umbrella” is a great fucking song because it’s pure pop and was never underground.

          • tsam

            While presenting early Beatles as TOTALLY NOT bubble-gum pop music made for teenagers…

        • random

          I’m stealing this.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            I stole this line from Shake back before it was cool.

            • tsam

              That one was rendered on Shake’s corporate label. I mean, that’s like cool and all, but it’s not FER REAL, MAN.

    • so-in-so

      If everybody can see the evidence and agree on it, what’s so “special” about being the conspiracy maven? It is only appealing if you are holding out against “the man” or the majority in your theory.

    • brad

      Most conspiracy theorists are quite aware of what frauds they are. Stone is just making clear that he’s really no different from the Ancient Aliens people. It’s just about money.

    • ASV

      But what if the conspiracy theory is the conspiracy?!

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      GO TO SLEEP, SHEEPLE!

    • ericblair

      That’s pretty much the point of RT turning into a conspiracy mongering sewer. WOKE PEOPLE, who understand all the CIA 9/11 steel beams chemtrails fluoride vaccine MONSANTO global conspira-rama, who see ALL THE EVIL for what it really is, in the end, do…nothing.

      There’s nothing TO do. It’s all too big, man, they’ve got all the angles covered. So you bitch to your friends and you go to sleep. So when there’s an actual, you know, evil conspiracy, you won’t take to the streets, you won’t join together to take the power back, you’ll just bitch to your friends and go to sleep again. Maybe you’ll tell the world how this conspiracy is bullshit because it screws up your other favorite conspiracy. Mission accomplished.

      • Hob

        I’ve seen so much of this among Northern California friends-of-family whom I can no longer stand to have any contact with at all, because they’ve gone so far down that nihilistic road that they can basically say flat out that that’s where they’re at but feel like it’s a good thing. Like, they will say things like “I fully expect that I, and everyone I know, will be dead within 30 years [either because of the fascists who have already taken over absolutely everything, or because of the latest piece of environmental bad news that they’ve misread to be even worse than it is]… so, you know, the important thing is just to be nice to each other and concentrate on only interacting with people in our own little circle.” And they’ll say that in the presence of their kids.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          They have no understanding of how the world works. Most of us are nowhere near the levers of power. Some have some education, to have educated themselves as to what is going on.

          If they _feel_ like they can’t influence anything, that’s a sad but understandable conclusion.

          But I’m pretty bitchy when it comes to the truth and reality. Fantasy worlds are inexcusable. My gut feeling about a lot of such folks is that I want to know what kind of religious milieuuuu they grew up in. Normally it’s not a bland one, or one that emphasized logic and learning and reason, but one that emphasized sinister schemes and the Devil hiding behind every rock and tree and making Uncle Johnny drink.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      To these people, their go-to tool when engaging in watch repair is a big, wooden circus mallet labelled, “NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS!”

      They’re not interested in actual conspiracies. (As I see it, the real conspiracies of greed and power are on the front page of the newspaper every day.) These are the folks who were totally unaware of the LIBOR scandal (actual conspiracy) until they found a way to link it to the father of Adam Lanza, the Newtown child slaughterer.

      Watching some of my already far-gone friends latch on to horseshit conspiracy youtube “documentaries” within _weeks_ of the Newtown shootings turned my stomach… but I slowly realized, I don’t want to live in a world where some nut shows up with an assault rifle and a corpse tally he’s looking to beat, and neither do they! But thanks to the power of sheer, unhinged bullshit, they get to pretend they don’t live in such a world!

      (Then they get to imply that the evil black man in charge either orchestrates all of these fake incidents to take our guns, or what the hey, maybe he’s so evil he had all of those children killed, which is just bonus points for the toxic stew of resentment and paranoia they have in their hot tub.)

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Obama:Clean Energy jobs::Trump:Dezinformatziya jobs

    • so-in-so

      Earn big money in your spare time, using your home computer…

  • brewmn

    And yet, Oliver, AIPAC/Likud supported Trump; Adelson supported Trump; Big Finance and the MIC supported Trump. There is no reason to think that Putin’s Russia or any of these other interests would have much of a problem with repressive authoritarian rule in the United States.

    In other words, what’s your point, you overexposed, not terribly bright or discernibly talented hack?

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      Really. Stone is not only a disingenuous asshole whose response to a serious question is to try and change the subject and move the goal posts, he also is a blithering idiot whose force deflector shield redirects and amplifies the force right back at himself. Perhaps his next movie can be a biopic starring Saint Susan Saranwrap as poor misunderstood heroic revolutionary Elena Ceaușescu, Mother of the Nation and valiant defender of the thousands of children left to rot In Romanian orphanages.

  • Morbo
    • Q.E.Dumbass

      When “Somebody Is Wrong On The Internet” Goes Wrong

    • were-witch

      Are you saying that Reality is not a Winner?

      Because I have genealogical evidence that proves you wrong…

  • Denverite

    Great blog fu.

  • c u n d gulag

    I took this weekend to revel in Aaron bringing “Judge”-ment on the Yankees foes.
    It was a nice break from reading and watching the rapid destruction of the America I grew up in. Which had been cracking ever since Nixon won in ’68.

    It was a nice run.

    On the plus side, next year I turn 60!
    So, hopefully I won’t linger too long – the new ACA will help make sure of that – and I’ll be spared the longest term damage as we morph into “The Best Armed Banana Republic” in history!
    All thanks, to banana’s Republicans.

    • Rob in CT

      Seriously, right now the Yankees are one of the very few bright spots in my reality.

      Man, what a fun team. Are you not entertained?!

      • ChrisS

        Love it. Rob do you still hang out at rlyw.net? I don;t post as much as I used to, but I still check in a few(hundred) times a day.

        Saw a bit at fangraphs the other day – Judge was 6th best hitter in baseball in April, the 4th best in May, and the 2nd best in June (so far). So far pitchers found out that what they did last year doesn’t work anymore and nothing else does.

        • Rob in CT

          I lurk. It’s blocked from work now, so I rarely log in to comment.

          I read that FG article too :)

          The thing with Judge is watch him with 2 strikes. I’ve seen so many ABs where he’s down 0-2, 1-2 and he smacks a single to right instead of King. I mean, sure, he still Ks quite a bit. But he’s an intelligent hitter with much better than advertised contact skills.

      • Marek

        Harrumph. I love it when a plan comes together (ahead of schedule).

        They’re not this good, I’m sure, but they’re plenty good anyway.

    • Terok Nor

      Imagine if Steinbrenner was still in charge last year. “Judge stinks! Get rid of him!”

      • Rob in CT

        Or imagine if the fanbase (myself very much included) had its way re: Aaron Hicks.

        Cashman believed. In the face of a lot of evidence that Hicks just plain sucked (including 361 PA in NY last year). Then, this season… holy effing shit. Boom, it’s all come together.

        And to a lesser extent (because he’d been at least good before), Starlin Castro. What?

        Not to mention Didi Gregorius (was that trade straight up theft or what?).

        And the non-Tanaka starting staff has been beating expectations too.

        It’s been so much fun.

        • djw

          This year so far is really making the case for moving Cashman from “very good GM” to “inner circle pantheon GM”.

          • c u n d gulag

            Yeah, and the minor league’s are LOADED!
            At pretty much every position – from the mound, to the corner infield and outfield positions, also at catcher.
            I kind of feel sorry for some of them, but ya nevah know! Injuries, trades, etc…

          • Rob in CT

            I wouldn’t go THAT far. He’s had some clunkers on the ‘ole resume too, and there’s always the argument (often overstated but still real) that you have to grade him on a curve because of the financial resources available to him.

            My take is that Cashman has a fine record in trades (getting Didi is a perfect example of his trading ability). Drafting (in particular)/international FA/development went through a very bad stretch on his watch, but has turned around dramatically of late. His track record on FA signings: meh. Of course it can be hard to judge him because there are always whispers that ownership basically ordered him to get some of those FAs (IIRC, the 2nd ARod contract was basically done around Cashman). But in the end, he’s the GM and whispers aren’t evidence. The Ellsbury contract is bad, just to pick a recent example.

            I’m typically a Cashman defender, but usually b/c I’m reacting to someone calling for his head because he The Worst. I think he’s a top 10, maybe top 5 GM in the game today. I don’t know about greatness.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Girardi is a tremendous manager too.

  • ChrisS

    The GOP will care about Russia meddling in the electoral processes exactly two minutes after they lose the house. Before then, the only thing that they will care about electorally, will be ensuring that voting is exceptionally difficult for people who aren’t white and wealthy.

    • so-in-so

      No, they will care the minute they can claim the Russians were REALLY trying to help Democrats, not a minute before. They MAY try to flush it down the memory hole, or blame Trump on the Russians if he becomes a drag on their electability.

      • q-tip

        My impression from watching McCain’s questioning of Comey — and I haven’t revisited it, because I don’t like watching people make fools of themselves — is that “the Russians were helping both sides” is something the GOP is definitely keeping on the back burner.

  • BloodyGranuaile

    Good Lord, that is some serious whataboutism from Stone there.

    Personally, I think reporting/commentary on the Russia matter could be doing a much better job of tying Russian interference to all the other dark money interests that regularly interfere in our elections, not using them to deflect from each other. Rather than calling on Republicans to put “country over party,” we need to be hammering that this is the Republican party — it’s the party of asshole billionaires that hate democracy, and it was only a matter of time before other country’s asshole billionaires that hate democracy got in on the Kochs’ and Mercers’ and so on’s grift.

    (At least I’d like Americans to come out of this scandal knowing what the modern Russian flag looks like; it’s depressing to me how many people across the political spectrum seem to agree that Russia is still Communist and its flag is still the sickle and star. Come on, guys. I don’t know shit about Russia and I still know that the Soviet Union fell decades ago.)

  • brad

    It’s like Stone and Hamsher want to make it impossible to still enjoy Natural Born Killers.

  • sk7326

    Let’s say – just to be (overly) generous – that Stone is right about the various influencers. How is that mutually exclusive from Russia as a potential actor?

    • BloodyGranuaile

      If the left had any fucking strategic sense, we’d be banging on about how they’re all related in one big conspiracy called “finance capitalism.”

      But alas, the True Left has about as little strategic sense as the Democratic Party establishment.

  • keta

    Loved loved loved the final query in that interview:

    

    The Nation: In terms of the history of documentaries, can you compare The Putin Interviews to nonfiction films that tackle and upend congealed narratives, such as Michael Moore’s 2004 Fahrenheit 9/11, Errol Morris’ s 1988 The Thin Blue Line and 2003’s The Fog of War, Frederick Wiseman’s 1967 Titicut Follies, Emile de Antonio and Mark Lane’s 1967 Rush to Judgment? These documentaries had countervailing points of view and helped changed public opinion. Can you put The Putin Interviews into that context?

    Apparently stroking was not enough, so some oral agitation was also applied.

    And then, just after the piece, we learn this little nugget about the journo:

    ED RAMPELL Los Angeles-based freelance writer Ed Rampell was named after Edward R. Murrow because of the broadcaster’s exposé of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell is a film critic and historian who co-wrote Made in Paradise: Hollywood’s Films of Hawaii and the South Seas and Pearl Harbor in the Movies. He has written for Variety, Television Quarterly, Cineaste, New Times L.A. and other publications.

    My bold, because it’s so fucking precious.

    • The Great God Pan

      “Ed Rampell was named after Mr. Ed because of the television star’s voluminous output of horseshit.”

    • JB2

      What “congealed narrative” did Fahrenheit 9/11 “upend”? I remember that we had competing narratives and that the film totally catered to the one I preferred (that W was a fool), which was why I enjoyed it so much. I seriously doubt Fahrenheit changed a single person’s mind.

      • Scott Lemieux

        And while I liked parts of F 9/11, it still annoys me that Moore wasted a lot of the first half of the movie on a stupid pipeline conspiracy theory.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Yes, that, and it annoyed me too that he wasted time on stupid stunts, like driving an ice cream truck around Washington DC reading the PATRIOT ACT through a loudspeaker. Also mocking the countries who had joined the US coalition against Iraq with racist imagery didn’t sit very well with me. All in all I don’t think that film has aged well, but I enjoyed it at the time because I liked films that reinforced my pre-conceived notions back then (also, I, and all the peace activists I knew at that time, totally bought that pipeline thing hook, line, and sinker).

  • I’m sure there’s people at the NSA cursing the Russians right now for exposing these hacks.

    • postmodulator

      I’m not sure if this is what you meant, but the TV Tropes people call this a Xanatos Gambit. (Warning: do not click links to TV Tropes if you have anything else to do today.)

      Since Putin’s larger goal is to discredit liberal democracy, he benefits from this operation even if it is blown. Now the whole world suspects that our elections can be, to some extent, rigged. The only way this operation could have hurt him is if it had been immediately uncovered and all parties in the US government had immediately put aside their differences, exposed what Russia was doing, and then, I don’t know, sunk all their aircraft carriers or something.

      But now everyone knows that’s not what will happen. The US government is controlled by a plurality of folks who will turn their backs on this kind of ratfucking for short-term personal or political gain.

      This is less than ideal.

      • Pat

        The whole reason why Putin chose to support Republicans, and to use his illegal team to put them in office, is BECAUSE the Republican party is now run by people who gladly turn their backs on this kind of ratfucking for short-term personal or political gain.

      • Remember when Snowden exposed the exploits that the NSA knew about but didn’t say anything because they wanted to keep using them? I doubt that the NSA didn’t have thorough knowledge of the security issues related to vote machines.

      • Woodrowfan

        Dear God that site sucks you in… But you warned us

      • econoclast

        I feel like TV Tropes isn’t as good as it used to be. My evidence is that a couple of years ago if I clicked on a link to it, I was guaranteed to spend at least an hour on it. Now I can get away in a few minutes.

  • Terok Nor

    Greenwald seemed sane, even admirably so, when he wrote A Tragic Legacy. Hedges seemed admirably sane when he wrote War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. And Platoon was a damn good movie.
    What happens to these people?

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      In the case of Stone, he has always been a good film maker whose politics and sense of history were dominated by nutty conspiracy theories. His films very in quality, like any filmmakers’ do, but the “thought” in them is pretty consistant. NIXON, e.g., is a terrific film unless you expect it to be about historical reality in any discernible way.

      • ExpatJK

        Salvador was one of the better ones, though it too had a conspiracy type moment (literal black helicopters). Aside from that, though, I’d rate it as one of his top films.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Yes. What he is is a good storyteller.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Exactly. JFK is actually pretty entertaining as a movie, if you can make your peace with the fact that the actual theory is insane horseshit, and fast forward through the nagging wife scenes.

        And I watch Wall Street at least twice a year, don’t @ me or I will dump the stock JUST TO BURN YOUR ARSHE.

      • Dalai Rasta

        Oliver Stone’s best friend in Hollywood is John Milius. That’s…suggestive, at least in terms of the sort of ideas they bonded over.

        • Dalai Rasta

          Added note: Stone and Milius bonded during the production of Conan the Barbarian.

      • EliHawk

        The thing that I always come back to with Nixon is that Oliver Stone is seemingly the only person alive to actually believe Richard Nixon’s bullshit excuse about Watergate actually being about national security.

        Nixon: “Tell the CIA to make the FBI back off investigating this. If anyone asks, tell them it’s because of, oh, the Bay of Pigs.”

        Oliver Stone: “I’VE FOUND MY ROSEBUD.”

    • I blame the Internet.

  • shah8

    By the way, this is why every non-official security officer ever sez that gov’t backdoors are a bad, bad, idea.

    I’m pretty sure we have the rickity system that we do because, beyond the kickbacks for the contracts given to electronic voting machine people and the service industry associated with it, certain powers that be want difficult to audit procedures for said votes.

    Voting has to be done using the paper receipts, y’all, using securely paid professionals to keep oversight of rolls.

    • Pat

      You should go make that comment in Pennsylvania.

  • Karen24

    Have the Republicans ever considered that if they will do this FOR you, they will eventually do it TO you?

    • so-in-so

      GOP thinking ahead like that? “But, the tax cuts…”

    • XerMom

      As long as Trump keeps doing what the Kremlin wants, why would the GOP have to worry?

    • corporatecake

      Iirc, Marco Rubio said as much, then got back in the party line.

    • farin

      But the GOP and Russia want the same things! How could they turn against them?

  • AMK

    Comey was right–Obama should have gone public with all of this at the time and basically dared the Republicans to publicly challenge the entire IC then.

    • Rob in CT

      In retrospect, yes, he should have.

    • Nick never Nick

      The problem was, Obama and Clinton expected her to win. If you’re playing poker with someone who’s cheating in a dumb way that isn’t probably going to help very much, the pot’s huge, and you’re holding 4 jacks, do you wait for the next hand to accuse them or not?

      • This is pretty much what 3 card monte operators and Nigerian princess scammers count on – people think they’re smarter than the scammers and stay engaged just a little too long.

  • Nick never Nick

    I think that this article comparing Trump to Andrew Jackson makes a lot of good points — the US is entering a much darker period than the Nixon period, we’re going back to a time when the lack of a serious external threat let American politics be freely corrupted by pure greed, malice, and racism.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/142985/trail-fears-trump-more-like-jackson-than-nixon

    • Scott Lemieux

      That’s really good.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Oh my god Oliver Stone is a moron. Here’s the Guardian interview with him about the film, published today:
    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jun/13/oliver-stone-vladimir-putin-russian-people-never-been-better-off

    A choice paragraph:

    Harsh words for a project that took a lifetime of achievements to secure and two years to make. Does Stone mind? “I mean, it affects movies, you know. You work very hard on a movie and sometimes it’s judged more by the person who made it than by what the content is. I can say I’m a black man in that way. It’s not the content, it’s not the content of my character, but it’s the nature of my probing.”

    OH. NO. YOU. DIDN’T.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Oh my god it just keeps going:

      Stone’s larger point is that Putin is not so very different to many world leaders – not even on social issues. “Obama was against same-sex marriage as late as, what, 2014, 15?” says Stone (it was 2012, but fair point and let’s not get started on the Clintons). “So, what’s the big deal? Everyone’s got to be on the frontline, and if you don’t mouth the politically correct thing, that’s what they do in America, every fucking show. Bill Maher says something stupid [the late night comedian recently caused a furore after he used the N-word on his show], and it’s like there’s nothing else to do but to have a sin-bashing orgy. That’s all. That’s all it is, they love to do this. To Trump, too,” says Stone.

      • so-in-so

        Did someone mention the anti-anti-Trump left?

      • Rob in CT

        Sounds like Ollie Stone is really tired of all this PC & IDpol, y’all.

      • ExpatJK

        Oh god that is just…I can’t even.

        Also, I love how this guy is being touted as a super progressive leader:

        Putin reveals he does not have bad days because he is “not a woman”. “I am not trying to insult anyone,” he says, as he does exactly that. “That’s just the nature of things. There are certain natural cycles.” He also reveals that he would rather not shower next to a gay man. “Why provoke him? But you know, I’m a judo master.”

        I mean, it’s one thing to support Putin because you want a counterweight to US power – people may disagree, but it is a strategy. But when doing so, there should be some honesty about the progressive positions/lack thereof being taken.

        • ericblair

          Yep. Because if there’s one thing that the Left can do to improve the world, it’s to get in bed with a corrupt nationalist billionaire warmongering imperialist petro-oligarchy that co-opts a church as a social enforcement mechanism, bans strikes, locks people up for facebook likes, and trashes the environment. Because power to the people.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I think you left out ‘poisons people’.

      • ThresherK

        Jezus Keyrist.

        I ignore celebrities on politics until they reach critical mass or critical stupid.

        He’s proved to be the latter.

    • SatanicPanic

      His interview in NYMag was similarly incoherent. I’m not sure where he is on the idiot—-crackpot spectrum. Maybe he everywhere on it.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        I haven’t been interested in his recent films, but I am a fan of his classics. And I had no idea that he really was this far off the rails, insofar as being an idiot and a crackpot and frankly an apologist for all sorts of nasty stuff. Comparing Obama’s opposition to same-sex marriage to Putin’s open, violent crackdown on gay rights is so offensive as to merit Stone’s exclusion from polite society in perpetuity.

        • Nick never Nick

          It’s unfortunate that talent and intelligence in one area doesn’t translate into even basic competence or decency in others.

        • Hob

          I stopped being interested in Stone’s musings about 20 years ago when, in some interview, he announced that he’d decided not to ever feel sorry about or reconsider anything he did or said, because he’s a Buddhist now and the entire concept of feeling “guilt” is simply a scam perpetrated by Christianity. Those freshman dorm room colloquies were more fun when I was actually a freshman.

        • postmodulator

          I haven’t watched much he’s done recently. JFK and Natural Born Killers are such incredible technical achievements that I can forgive a lot. On the other hand, Wall Street is a terrible melodrama that had a bad case of Archie Bunker syndrome.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Good point about Wall Street. I do love Platoon, although I haven’t watched it in years. My mom made me watch it as a kid so that I would never want to join the army.

            • Rob in CT

              I have a soft spot in my heart for Platoon but I think of it as more of a guilty pleasure than a Good Movie.

          • ExpatJK

            Well, Wall Street had numerous issues, but the Charlie/Martin Sheen dynamic was very good.

            Haven’t seen JFK so can’t comment on that one.

          • Hob

            If by “Archie Bunker syndrome” you mean “the villain is charming in a way, so people might be tempted to think he’s the hero”… I really dislike that kind of complaint. Michael Douglas’s performance, and the writing of that character, is the best thing about an otherwise fairly shallow movie. If I can’t decide on my own that this guy is a poor role model because his actions are bad and harmful, if I need the movie to shove me toward the correct judgment by making him a boring despicable idiot who is clearly wrong about everything, that’s a problem with me, not the film.

            I mean, does it bug me that a bunch of finance bros a decade or two later could watch the movie and think it’s about how they are awesome like Michael Douglas… sure. It also bugged me what Reagan did with “Born in the USA”. And for that matter it bugs me that people managed to ignore everything about “All in the Family” except that Carroll O’Connor was funny. People will go to stupid lengths for self-affirmation. It’s not the art’s fault.

          • The Great God Pan

            I’ve heard it suggested that the technical achievements of JFK and NBK were more down to Stone’s then-regular cinematographer Bob Richardson than Stone. Stone’s movies have been pretty aesthetically tame since they stopped working together after U-Turn.

          • JB2

            Salvador is my favorite: kinda trashy, really entertaining, not exactly nuanced politically (a regime that kills nuns, is bad, M’Kay?). You have a really great James Woods performance (before he revealed himself to be a right-wing kook) and an honest-to-God, really great sidekick performance from Jim Belushi.

            • Hob

              It’s so good. And I think the lack of nuance is necessary, because it’s not really about how it’s bad for an evil regime to do evil things – that’s pretty much just assumed as a given. It’s more about how easy it is for blatantly evil things to keep going on in your back yard because no one really gives a shit. The whole movie is about the contrast between these two horror scenes: the blatant horror of finding an open-air mass grave, and the awkward uneventful horror of trying to get a bunch of random passengers on a bus to be concerned about some refugees who are being dragged off to wherever.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Wall Street > Platoon.

    • wengler

      You get the idea from all of these guys that no one ever calls them on their shit.

  • For the record, folks, if you’re concerned about how to criticize Israel without coming off as a raging anti-semite, this is a really great example of how not to do that.

    • ExpatJK

      Eh, I was expecting worse from him, to be honest. Considering how conspiracy-minded he is, this is fairly mild.

  • Thumper

    I know this is hardly the main point, but how on earth is a direct call from the White House to the Kremlin on a “modern day red phone” a “back channel”? Have we just decided that phrase has no meaning anymore?

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      A back channel is any communication between the leaders of two countries that doesn’t involve the State Department or Foreign Ministry (or whatever equivalent a given country might have).

      The entire PURPOSE of the “red phone” has ALWAYS been to be a back channel.

  • JB2

    “Our country is very much in the grip of a dictator: The dictator is money, the military-industrial-complex…”

    But Oliver, “money” and “military industrial complex” encompass many different things. A dictator can’t be many things all at once; the whole idea of a dictator is that it’s one person “dictating” how things will be run.

    • Rob in CT

      It doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to deflect.

  • libarbarian

    Broliver Brone is the kind of Brogressive Brocialist Bernie Bro who Bromanticises Dick-taters

  • Origami Isopod

    From Nation comments:

    I don't care overly much whether or not Russia hacked our electoral process. If they did, that's on us for shoddy security and maybe we should thank them for pointing out our weaknesses. It would be but minor karmic payback for decades of US involvement in the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments around the world.

    … like a 13-year-old hates their mother.

    • Rob in CT

      And if/when bad shit is done by the GOP, this same asshole will blame Democrats for failing to stop it.

      • BloodyGranuaile

        Bad shit is already being done by the GOP, and while I primarily blame the GOP, you bet I’ve got a good helping of frustration at the Dems for being asleep at the wheel for approximately my entire lifetime.

    • Hob

      Somehow I’m not sure Stone (or any of the other chuckleheads who’ve made similar arguments within my hearing) has exactly thought this “karma” thing through. If the universe is seeking toward justice, perhaps it should avoid using a form of “payback” that makes the offender no less likely, and possibly more likely, to commit similar offenses in the future? Or does Stone think all the fucking fascists Putin has thrown support to all over the world are just going to inflict karmic suffering on their own countries, while leaving their democratic neighbors alone?

      • farin

        But the US claims to want to stop bad things from happening to undeserving people/countries, so when Russian intervention hurts them it’s really just more karmic retribution against the US. Cleek’s Law: Soidissant Humanitarian Edition.

  • Gwen

    This might be a good opportunity to remind the world that the problem with Joseph McCarthy was not that he hated foreign communists, but that he was hateful to (often innocent) ordinary Americans.

    Paranoia regarding the activities of dishonorable foreign governments is justified.

    • so-in-so

      The problem with McCarthy was that, like today’s GOPers, he really didn’t care about communists. He wanted a club to beat his enemies. Didn’t he die saying nobody understood how to play the game?

  • BiloSagdiyev
  • jpgray

    Without going too far down a tinfoil rabbit hole of unraveling sweaters made out of looking glasses, how far might this have been designed for exploitation in the most likely scenario: a Clinton win?

    At a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday, Mr. Trump said that, “This election will determine whether we remain a free nation or only the illusion of democracy,” suggesting that the system was “in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests, rigging the system.” He continued, “And our system is rigged.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/us/politics/trump-election-rigging.html

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