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The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented, Mat Vance

The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented, Mat Vance

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The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented, Mat Vance

The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented, Mat Vance

Mat Vance served as an US Army Scout, and spent over two years deployed in Iraq during some of the most chaotic phases of the Iraq War. However this isn't a memoir in the traditional sense, but instead a look at the more light-hearted (for a certain definition of light-hearted at least) aspects of his service career, giving an idea of what day-to-day life was like for the author.

The end result is a series of anecdotes connected by a chronological account of Vance's time in the military. Many focus on the developing bond between Vance and his fellow recruits, then with the members of his combat unit. Others look at the problems he had with some of his superiors, or with the men who came under his command. Many involve alcohol

Many military memoirs include similar anecdotes. What makes this book almost unique is that the author takes centre stage in almost all of his stories, whereas many authors describe the antics of other people or other units, while admitting one or two of their own. They probably don't portray the US army in the way its leaders would like, but

One section of Vance's experience does stand out as very different to other memoirs. The author joined an existing unit that had returned from Iraq, so was a novice joining a group of veterans. This inevitably leads to a certain amount of hazing, as the experienced troops tested their inexperienced colleagues - as the author says who could trust someone in battle if they couldn't put up with a bit of loss of dignity. However in this case the hazing turned persistently violent, not something I've encountered before. The impressive one gets is of a very stressed group of men, reacting to the lifting of the constant pressure of life in Iraq, and mistrustful of any newcomers.

Overall this is an entertaining read that paints a convincing picture of the US army in the middle of a long and often rather random war. Its not for the fainthearted, but that just added to the authenticity.

15 Straight
Number 2

Author: Mat Vance
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 208
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Year: 2015

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Soldier's Tale Soldier's Tale

The Soldier's Tale is a podcast that seeks to give veterans a chance to tell their stories. It is our hope that these stories might help other veterans in need of guidance, while offering civilians a glimpse into a world they don't understand. Above all, we hope this project can be a means for expressing gratitude to those who have served and those who continue to serve.

Episode 2 - Marine For Life

In Episode 2 of The Soldier’s Tale, Sgt. Major Harold Hofer, currently a faculty member at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA, tells us about getting drafted during the Vietnam era, and ultimately choosing to pursue a career in the US Marine Corps. He discusses the drill instructors who inspired him to take this course and some hard lessons he learned in combat, and tells the story of one wrong step in the mountains of Vietnam that could have changed his life. Sgt. Major Hofer also discusses what life in the military can instill in those who serve that can make them valuable assets to their communities, families, and employers upon returning to civilian life. Please enjoy Episode 2: Marine for Life.

Mat Vance, a veteran of the Iraq War and author of the book The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented joins us in our first episode to tell us stories about getting smoked in basic, donkey rides, soldier vs. civilian breakdancing competitions, and more of the lighter side of war he experienced. He also talks about some of the challenges of urban warfare, and offers advice to veterans and their loved ones about how to approach conversations of what life was like "over there." Please enjoy Episode 1 - "Charlie Mike".

"The Twentieth Century" is the strangest movie of the year - and one of the best

"The Twentieth Century" is an inside joke, but it's the rare inside joke that's a hoot for everyone.

There have been very few guarantees in 2020, but here&rsquos one: &ldquoThe Twentieth Century&rdquo is the most bizarre movie you&rsquoll watch this year. That is, unless you can think of another film featuring a pee calligraphy contests, a bloody baby seal Whac-A-Mole, shoe-huffing fetishes and a violently ejaculating cactus &ndash all set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Canadian politics. (Pardon me, I forgot &ldquoGreen Book.&rdquo)

Matthew Rankin&rsquos feature-length debut is more than just a curio or amusing midnight oddity, though. Sure, it&rsquos like a special episode of &ldquoDrunk History&rdquo that burned through all the beer, wine, vodka and moonshine before dipping into the REALLY weird stuff in the back of the liquor cabinet &ndash all directed by Tim & Eric. But it&rsquos not just hilariously surreal northerner-nudging silliness. &ldquoThe Twentieth Century&rdquo is gorgeous to look at, a sneakily snappy satire about Canadian history and culture as well as the diseased world of politics, and, strangest of all amongst the goofiness, a sincere drama witnessing the battle for a man&rsquos sole-sniffing soul.

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne, Sonny from &ldquoFargo&rdquo season two) is destined to become the prime minister of 20th century Canada &ndash at least according to his overbearing bedridden mother, played by Louis Negin in one of several drag performances and genderblind casting choices scattered throughout the film. However, his family&rsquos great plans for power, love and making tuberculosis against the law go awry when he ties for second place in the country&rsquos political Olympics, excelling at the passive-aggressive waiting in line and aforementioned baby seal clubbing but stumbling just short in such essential contests like leg wrestling and ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Broken and broke, his father indebted to a shadowy figure with a cactus hand, King loses himself to his suppressed secret vice: a sexual fondness for sniffing boots. But when the political winds blow his way again, with Canada&rsquos Governor General Lord Muto (Sean Cullen) grooming him as the man to lead them further into the Boer War and as the husband to his harp-playing daughter Ruby, King gets a second chance at living up to his destiny and making his mother proud &ndash a relationship that even Norman Bates and Freud would side-eye. Also, there&rsquos a bird puppet named Giggles, a peace-loving revolutionary hatched from an egg, a codpiece loudly alarm-sensitive to erections and a murderous narwhal, in case all of that plotting sounded too ho-hum predictable.

It will be surprising, I&rsquom sure, to find out that&rsquos not an entirely accurate telling of Canadian turn-of-the-century history. Rivalries are concocted, timelines are bent and twisted, and there were significantly fewer exploding phallic cacti. (The real-life Mackenzie King, however, did have occult leanings that convinced him to hire mediums to helps speak to dead historical figures and family pets, so it&rsquos not he didn&rsquot raised some eyebrows in reality.)

Not like &ldquoThe Twentieth Century&rdquo has any interest in being a normal biopic whatsoever. Instead, it trades in tropes or accuracy for relentless ridiculousness &ndash from the bluntly bizarre, like the erotic boot-sniffing or the political competitions, to more nuanced absurdity, like King&rsquos constant insistence that Ruby&rsquos harp is actually a trumpet, his visits to a sick orphan at the &ldquoHouse of Defective Children&rdquo or all the damn puffin cream and maple walnut foods. Rankin constantly finds new ways to surprise the audience with some new weird concept &ndash like the political contests or the hedonistic wasteland of Winnipeg, complete with a profane local dressed only in a tutu &ndash or goofy gag, all delivered with a pitch-perfect straight face that makes this demented afterschool special even funnier.

If you think the comedy&rsquos one of a kind, wait until you get your eyes on &ldquoThe Twentieth Century.&rdquo Even if its painfully horny, oddly ominous surrealist humor isn&rsquot your bag &ndash it&rsquos the kind of movie that tops off a fancy dinner embarrassment with a man dressed as a giant bird dropping in &ndash there&rsquos too much creativity and insane imagination on screen to turn away (even if you want to as King&rsquos cactus goes about its messy business).

A blissful blend of Canadian Guy Maddin&rsquos gonzo aesthetic, German expressionism&rsquos heightened shadows and emotions, and gauzy TV melodramas, Rankin&rsquos vision of the new century up north is gorgeously maniacal. Characters zig-zag through clean and chilly ice blue art deco worlds, appearing to canted-angled crowds through triangle windows while their shadows taking ski lifts to their homes or riding fake loons to their meetings &ndash all filmed with an aesthetic as mesmerizingly hazy as its grasp on historical facts. Each unapologetically fake frame underlines its goofy ambitions and is just purely fascinating to look at, a 1920s poster come to sharp life.

And just when you worry you&rsquove seen it all, he throws a new spectacularly silly or outrageous image at the audience, like a chaotic propaganda call to arms that &ldquoStarship Troopers&rdquo would be proud of, the green chopped-down slanted hills of Vancouver &ndash complete with King disguised in a brown paper bag &ndash or a glowing final maze of lights, mirrors and shimmering silver.

Made-to-be midnight movies like &ldquoThe Twentieth Century&rdquo can run the risk of exhausting their viewers or playing like empty exercises in gorgeous gimmickry or &ldquoLOL random&rdquo-ness, but Rankin&rsquos film nimbly avoids that fate. For one, even with all the wildness, there&rsquos a clear purpose to Rankin&rsquos lunacy, making a giddy parody of Canada&rsquos woodsy reputation and prim and proper attitudes, ridiculous rituals and polite behavior hiding repressed political heartlessness, embarrassment and cactus-exploding depravity. There&rsquos somehow a crazy logic and point to its eye-catching, brain-breaking unpredictable ways.

Most of all, though, is that, for all its off-the-wall oddness, there&rsquos actual substance to the strangeness &ndash thanks especially to Beirne. All of the other characters, big and small, are memorable &ndash a special shoutout to Cullen, howlingly channeling Ned Beatty in &ldquoNetwork&rdquo as the country&rsquos conniving, war-mongering kingmaker &ndash but Beirne gives his political mamma&rsquos boy milksop emotional depth and sincerity as he&rsquos pulled every which way but normal. Whether visiting a sick child or snatching a lost boot away for later, there&rsquos somehow a genuine heart to it all with Beirne&rsquos earnest performance, not a wink in sight, and Rankin at the helm, making the audience laugh while also making the preposterous political backroom drama have some actually compelling heft.

It&rsquos hilariously fake history, but the stakes feel serious and real for King, for the country and for the audience by the bloody, bizarre finale, helping land Rankin's prickly political punchlines about boilingly repressed men of ambition and how, in the fight between hope and hate, change or rage, a third flag tends to fly: the disappointing status quo. &ldquoGive the people hope and they&rsquoll always be disappointed give them nightmares, and they&rsquoll follow you straight into hell,&rdquo preaches Lord Muto &ndash fake history that&rsquos echoes all too real and current.

Admittdly much of that cultural commentary and comedy here is undeniably Canuck-specific &ndash Rankin noted one of his key inspirations are the &ldquoHeritage Minutes&rdquo Canadian history dramas, a reference for few this side of the northern border. But much like how &ldquoAirplane!&rdquo is hilarious even if you&rsquove never seen &ldquoZero Hour,&rdquo even if you can feel some of the northern-focused nuances flying overhead like one of Canada&rsquos fictional public transportation ski lifts, &ldquoThe Twentieth Century&rdquo is specifically pointed but universally funny, fascinating and wholly committed to the bit &ndash not to mention a most unusual way to get people interested in learning more about Canadian history and its national psyche. Like a lot of midnight movies, Rankin&rsquos film is an inside joke &ndash but it's the rare inside joke that&rsquos a hoot for everyone.

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As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.

The Greatest Romantic Comedies of All Time

“Boomerang,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Roman Holiday,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Punch-Drunk Love,” “When Harry Met Sally”

There’s something uniquely cinematic about romantic comedies — something that makes them a natural fit for the movies, and vice-versa. There’s a special alchemy that allows us to believe in the magic of meet-cutes, happily ever afters, and all of the agonizing contrivances that tend to pop up between the two that gives storytellers permission to transpose the stuff of operas and fables into the fabric of real life.

On paper, a film like “Pretty Woman” might be a retrograde fairy tale about a hooker with a heart of gold and the rich businessman who can afford it, but the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere is so explosive that you surrender to the sentiment of it all. It’s hard to imagine how the mismatched couple in “Something Wild” might possibly sustain a lasting relationship after the credits roll, but where that movie leaves you — and the journey it takes to get there — is so thrilling and alive that you can’t help but trust it. Literally nothing in “Love Actually” makes sense if you stop and think about it for even a few seconds, but love, actually, always seems to add up in the moment.

Richard Curtis’ magnum opus was a British production (in case you couldn’t tell), but even some of its many storylines find something naggingly American about the aspirational nature of the rom-com genre. No other country is populated by such radically different strangers, nor so enriched by the unexpected collisions between them from “Bringing Up Baby” to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Hollywood has always been eager to sell the idea that we’re all just one chance encounter away from happiness. That might help to explain — if only in part — why the rom-com canon is as white and heteronormative as the history of the American film business, and why that canon is ripe for re-evaluation now that Hollywood doesn’t see the same value in the genre that it once did.

Of course, the romantic comedy is also something of a universal language, and other film industries (Bollywood most of all) have been churning these stories out for local audiences faster than we can hope to keep up. Fingers crossed that we find a way to disentangle “foreign cinema” from the arthouse, because there are so many mainstream hits from around the world that never make it to American screens.

In that light, IndieWire’s list of the Best Romantic Comedies of All Time is more of a start than a final statement it’s a living document that we’ll change up and add to as time goes by. One thing that will stay the same, however, is that rom-coms have a recognizable grammar all their own meet-cutes, montages, banter, a weird preponderance of journalists, sex scenes that always indicate a dark turn at the end of the second act… these aren’t just love stories that happen to be funny, they’re a sacred art unto themselves. And these are the masterpieces that prove it.

Anne Thompson, Chris O’Falt, Zack Sharf, Jude Dry, Ryan Lattanzio, Tambay Obenson, and Tom Brueggemann also contributed to this list.

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links.

Matt Taibbi on the Origins of the Russiagate Hoax

This interview was recorded August 13, 2020. The computer garbled the audio terribly, but at least the auto-transcriber was able to make sense of it. The following is edited for clarity and minor mess-ups.

Scott Horton:
Alright you guys, introducing Matt Taibbi, formerly at Rolling Stone and now just doing his own thing over there at Substack. And of course, he also runs a podcast with Katie Halper called Useful Idiots, which is great. I watch it semi-regularly, at least. He’s got a brand new piece, “Our Man in Cambridge,” that goes along with this companion piece by Steve Schrage called, “The Spies Who Hijacked America.” Welcome back to the show, Matt. How are you doing, sir?

Matt Taibbi:
Good, how are you?

I’m doing great. And you know what? I’m so glad that you’re focusing again on “Untitled-gate” here. I was pretty sad when you sort of abandoned that project for other things because I am just so curious about the origins of this gigantic Russiagate hoax, which, as my friend Dave Smith says, is as big a deal as if the accusations had been true. If everything they said about Donald Trump was true, the fact that it wasn’t is as big deal as that would have been. That’s what a crime it is that the FBI and the CIA falsely accused the president of treason for three years.

Yeah, it’s funny when the story first broke in, I guess it was the end of December of 2016 when it first started becoming really a big, big deal. I remember saying to another journalist, “if this is true, it’s the biggest story ever. And if it isn’t true, it’s the biggest.” Because there was no other explanation as either as to be historic setup or, you know, historic kind of espionage tale. So it looks like the former.

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of us knew from the very beginning. If people want to check the archives, I first interviewed Jeffrey Carr, the computer security expert, in July of 2016 about how CrowdStrike and/or the FBI don’t know who hacked into servers. The only people in the world who could know who hacked them is the NSA because they have God-like omniscient power of being able to rewind the entire internet and trace every packet wherever they want. No one else can do that. And no expert examining the server can tell you for sure who had been there, because it’s too easy to fake it. In this case, the tracks they left were so obvious, where they had references to “Iron Felix” and all these Cyrillic letters dumped in there and all this stuff. Pretty obviously, you know…

From from a journalistic standpoint, the idea that we identify the source of the hack by somebody writing “Felix Edmundovich” in the code, it’s pretty ridiculous. It’s as if somebody wrote “Allen Dulles” in the middle of the Stuxnet code

You know what I mean? It would be very silly to think that would actually happen, you know?

So anyway, So we have the different parts of this. And I sure would like to see your very meanest work on the hacking and leaking of those emails. I know this is a subject that you have not really focused the most on. But you know, your most recent work here, of course, is about the Steele Dossier and the group of retired old spies at Cambridge University and all of this. Steele was a part of that also, involved essentially in the framing of Page and Papadopoulos. Certainly Page. I don’t know about Papadopoulos. That’s, I guess, a different question. But anyway, so you have this new whistleblower. And so I guess I want to ask you just first of all, if you can explain who is Stephen Schrage? And why is it that it took him so long to come forward and tell the story here?

Yeah, so Steven Schrage. He was a former State Department official, also was the chief of staff from Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. He was, you know, a fairly senior official in the Romney campaign in 2008, left government after he left the Brown office in the early two-thousand-tens, decided to go into academia and ended up pursuing a doctorate under Stephen Harper, who is the central figure in the old “Spygate” narrative, right? So he was the retired quasi-retired FBI-slash-CIA person who was teaching at Cambridge. And Schrage worked for Halper, and in fact is the reason that Halper met people like Carter Page, because he invited Page to a conference in circumstances that are quite humorous. We can get into that later. But to answer your question of why it took him so long to come forward, his take on this is that he didn’t know until Halper was named in the news, which I think was in May of 2018, that any of this had had any kind of like FBI significance to it. And he felt that he was a little bit conflicted, he said. He says he felt that his best shot to bring this story forward would be to go to the authorities. He did go to the Durham investigators last year, and then he came back again this year, and he decided to go public when he became concerned that perhaps that investigation was not going to end up being effective.

I think he kind of accidentally unearthed this old audio that…

Yes. So his relationship with Halper has deteriorated over the years, Halper being his doctoral advisor. And he says that with Halper’s permission, he had begun taping exchanges with with Halper as early as 2015, so that really so that he could go back and point out to him inconsistencies in his academic advice, I think is the idea. So he has lots of tape of Halper talking, and the two of them during these conversations. And after he met with the Durham people, the first time, he went back and reviewed some of those conversations, and some of them he didn’t expect to hear anything terribly interesting. But in one of them, it was two days before the big leak involving Michael Flynn. If you remember that story, the one that was written in the Washington Post involving reporting to David Ignatius, and he’s asking Halper, “Hey, do you think would be a good idea for me to go try to work for Michael Flynn who is now the National Security Advisor?” This guy had a long record of working with Republican politicians, you know, why not? And Halper says, “No, I don’t think he’s going to be around very long.”

In fact, let’s just put that conversation here.

So what did we just hear?

Okay. Yeah. So basically this is January 10, 2017, and that’s two days before the Washington Post came out with this story that ended up having enormous consequences because the January 12 story said that Flynn had been on the phone with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak. And as a result of that leak, which incidentally was an illegal leak of telephonic surveillance, the FBI decided to re-interview Flynn. It was a result of that re-interview that they built their false statements charge and prosecuted Flynn. So the notion that somebody would know two days before that leak happened that Flynn was in deep trouble that he was not going to be around for very long, and that “if you know how these things work,” and that his opponents and so-called enemies are going to “turn up the heat” and all that stuff, it’s very suggestive of, you know, perhaps foreknowledge that something bad was going to happen to Flynn. From Schrage’s point of view, in the way he puts it was like, “I would have thought that the last person who would have job security issues in the Trump administration would be Flynn because he one of the only people who have real experience in Trump’s inner circle.” But, you know, the tapes incident suggests otherwise.

David Ignatius, for people who aren’t familiar, he’s widely known as the CIA’s man at the Post. One of many, I guess. But when he writes, he’s always very, you know, keyed into what the intelligence community is saying, is really sort of the Mouth of Sauron for them in that way kind of, right?

I can’t speak to his background. But certainly the idea that he’s very plugged into the CIA is kind of a known thing in the business.

And we already know, right, that James Clapper, who right up until then was the Director of National Intelligence, I forget now the context of how we know that he had ordered this hit piece in the Post and said “now is the time to take the kill shot.” So from there, it seems like Ignatius, Halper and Clapper… that’s another sort of confirmation, right that Halper really knew something and wasn’t just making a wild guess here, and that then that would mean the director of the National Intelligence was in on it as well.

Yeah, well, I believe the “killshot” quote came from Flynn’s second lawyer, Sidney Powell, who talked about… who theorized the leak traveled…

Oh, I’m sorry about that if I screwed that up. I could have swore that was what I had read, that somebody had essentially caught Clapper giving that order.

Yeah, so no, it came from Powell’s court filing.

Horton: For some reason I thought that that was what Clapper had told Ignatius. “You know what, pull the trigger on that article we’ve been waiting on here.”

Yeah, but she just described it as Clapper. So yeah, “Powell also referenced a purported conversation between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, claiming Clapper told the reporter words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn,’ after he reportedly obtained the transcript of Flynn’s phone calls.” And then Clapper denied it.

I gotcha.
So, what other indications do we have other than this guy…

Steven Schrage.

Okay, and what all indications do we have of, you know, other than just the way Halper sounded on that audio, that Halper was not just doing this with his friends, but was in league with the American intelligence agencies or even British MI-6?

Well, he, he didn’t know that at the time. He only found out subsequently. At least that’s his story. But, you know, if you’re putting two and two together. And remember, Powell, who was Flynn’s lawyer, had theorized that the leak had gone through the Office of Net Assessment, which is a Pentagon office that was Halper’s employer. They paid Halper enormous sums of money, like over $400,000 during this period for these mysterious reports. So the theory is that the leak goes from somebody to the Office of Net Assessment to perhaps Halper. Or at least I think that’s what’s being suggested there.

Yeah, I mean, well, you know, the Pentagon was certainly paying him all that money all that time for something. No other apparent publications by him at that time or any other thing, right, so seems pretty cut and dry.

So, no, I mean, that’s a pretty that’s actually quite a funny subplot two this whole thing is how the whole Office of Net Assessment thing works. You know, it appears to be just a way to funnel money to informants and other people who are useful to the government. And essentially what they do, and I actually talked to some people who contributed to some of these reports, the ONA will pay somebody like $50,000 for a report on say China’s position in the world right now, right? And, and what the American will do is they will call up some person in a foreign country and offer them peanuts to put together basically a bunch of text around open source material, they send it back to him, he compiles it into a big document, sends it back to the Pentagon, does basically zero work and makes probably 10 times what the highest paid journalist in the world gets paid to do that same kind of stuff. So it’s pretty amazing. It’s amazing little subplot to the whole thing.

Although, I mean, in this case, it doesn’t even seem like he was turning in those phony reports. He was getting paid. It seems like there’s a very good chance it was for this.

Well, yeah, superficially, you can make the argument and there’s a whistleblower case involving this that’s coming out right now unrelated to Schrage, but there’s somebody in the Office of Net Assessment, who was claiming essentially that these payments were exactly for that kind of activity. If you’re interested in looking for this kind of thing, for instance, you can look for a document called “China: The Three Warfares,” and that’ll be online somewhere. You’ll see Halper didn’t really write anything in it, but I think he got paid something like $47,000 for this.

What a racket.

All right now, so this guy, Schrage, he coined this new term, “the Cambridge Four,” it’s not just Halper, but it’s also Richard Dearlove — and of course Dearlove, the former head of MI-6 is most famous for having compiled the Downing Street Memos about the meeting at the so-called Crawford ranch in July of 2002, about how “we’ve decided that the policy is that we’re going to war and the facts are being fixed around the policy.” That was his job there.

Horton: So, anyway, that’s what we know about Dearlove from before. He was the head of MI-6 at the time that the British helped lie us into war. And then there’s also of course Steele, he groups into this, and so maybe that’s an opportunity to talk a little bit more about his background as well. And then there’s this other guy, Christopher Andrew, who I think is would probably be the least known of the four. And you know, in terms of the broader public in terms of his role in all of this, but you guys both make the case that these four really were kind of working together throughout 2016 to gin this thing up. I think as you put it, then something really bad happened: Trump won anyway. This was supposed to stop him. And then once Trump won, now they’re in real trouble. So do they back down? No, they double-down. Right?

Exactly. Yeah. It’s funny, though a lot of people, when they look at this scandal, imagine that it was this overwhelming, devastating conspiracy that involves, you know, really intense planning and tons of resources. And I don’t really think it played out that way. I think what you have here is a group of people who had an immediate financial interest in producing research. So somebody along the line and this is the part that we don’t really know yet. Somebody got it got it into their heads in 2015 or early 2016 that the Trump campaign had some kind of untoward relationship with the Russians. And at some point, the Democrats got interested in that topic and decided that they wanted to make political hay out of it, at which point they hired Fusion GPS and instructed them essentially to really look into the Russia issue. Fusion GPS, then hires Steele who was a former officer who had been stationed in Russia and had some expertise there, ran this private investigatory firm called Orbis, but he also had a relationship with Dearlove who was at Cambridge, and Dearlove had a relationship with Halper. So the two big wings of the pre-election investigatory effort involves Steele, who is getting paid very significant sums of money to produce research suggesting that Trump had all these relations with the Russians, and then there was Halper, who was also getting paid a lot of money to do the surveillance on Trump figures. And the interesting thing here is the sort of cross-pollination between those two plotlines. One seems to be ending up confirming the other and vice-versa. Carter Page gets invited to Cambridge by Schrage, Halper and Dearlove sees him there and then a week later Carter Page appears in Steele’s reports for the first time. And nobody even knew who this guy was before that. So that’s what’s interesting about this whole thing is that a lot of the stuff that ended up in the news later on really had their roots in just a couple of characters in this British University.

We’ll get back to Papadopoulos here in a minute, but we know now, we found out relatively recently that the FBI discounted the Papadopoulos thing right away. I think the IG report said they decided “forget the Papadopoulos, we’re going to go with this Page thing.” So they really hung the FISA warrant applications and all of that on Page and his alleged connections to the Russians. And then this ought to be the biggest scandal of all, it almost always goes unmentioned, is the CIA told the FBI, “this guy belongs to us,” and the FBI blacked that out of their FISA application and pretended to not know that. And then think about this Matt: for three years, all those leaks from all those spooks to all those newspapers and TV stations, and nobody ever leaked that “Page belongs to the agency. He’s a loyal American patriot and when he met with the Russians, he came straight to us and told us everything.” They never leaked that in three years. We only found that out this spring in the IG report, right?

Yeah, absolutely. That was outrageous on multiple levels. It was outrageous that that nobody mentioned any of the news reporters that Michael Flynn had told his agency about his planned trip to the RT dinner, and seems to have done a little little bit of reporting back to the DIA during that trip. And I think what’s most outrageous is the thing that you mentioned up top, which is that in August of 2016, the FBI concluded — this is literally within weeks after they commenced this investigation — they concluded, the direct quote is, “the evidence didn’t particularly indicate that George Papadopoulos was having any kind of interactions with Russians.” So they were admitting within weeks of starting the investigation that the entire predicate for the investigation was incorrect. And was for that reason that they moved on to Page, and as you say, they suppressed the evidence that might have might have exonerated him, or or prevented the surveillance from from going forward. And there’s some stuff that Schrage has on that too, by the way. But yeah, absolutely. The scandal here is not only that they they did all that stuff, but they kept telling reporters to dig into these questions years after they’d already moved on from them.

Right. I mean, that really goes to show how dirty it all was that they were completely over it and continued anyway. You mentioned about how it doesn’t seem like Brennan and Comey and a couple others had a big meeting and said, “Okay, we’re going to frame Trump for treason with Russia,” in this kind of over-the-top way. But the way that the conspiracy developed, essentially was that the FBI counterintelligence division and the CIA were pretending to believe this stuff, right? Like in the case of Papadopoulos , they couldn’t even pretend to believe that anymore. So they threw that out. But I know you’ve mentioned this numerous times. To me the first thing- I didn’t even finish reading the Steele Dossier when it first came out because as soon as I got to the part that said that the Russians offered Carter Page a 19% ownership stake in the Russian state government-owned oil company Rosneft, which would have been worth billions of dollars, on the successful accomplishment of him seizing control of America’s sanctions policy from the Congress and getting all the sanctions on Russia lifted, I thought that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

And I’m supposed to believe that Comey read that and was really concerned? And he had his guys go to the FISA court because of this unheard of Benedict Arnold action by this active CIA asset. And I want to be clear, not “officer.” He wasn’t a CIA officer. He was a CIA asset, literally speaking, working for the CIA, as he’s going on his regular trips to Russia to meet with business people, right?

Yeah. I don’t know what the term technically would be. But yes, he was giving information to them and had been for a couple of years and was in good standing with them. So the whole thing is preposterous. Yeah, the first time I read the Steele Dossier, there were so many red flags in there, that it just read like a really ridiculous piece of fiction. To me, it reminded me a lot of the Graham Green book Our Man in Havana, which is about a vacuum cleaner salesman who becomes a spy and decides to just send pictures of giant vacuum cleaners back to the home office in London, making them think that the Cubans are building one in the jungle. And they buy it, you know, and that’s what happened here. It was a bunch of goons are sort of making up a bunch of stories, but the the irony is that, yes, it turned into a real investigation. They bought it.

And they ruined the lives of so many people, like this lady, Svetlana Lokhova.
Have you talked to her? Tell us about that. Because I think this was one of the more harmful aspects of this. It didn’t get too much play in the media, I don’t think, but it did get played in terms of how it affected Mike Flynn in his job, or in the case against him, right?

Yes. This is a very dark story and I’ve worked on this and haven’t been able to really tell all of it, but the outlines of it are as follows. In February of 2014, Michael Flynn who was then Barack Obama’s the head of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, he visited Cambridge, and he was at an official dinner, and during that dinner he was sitting at a table where he was surrounded by two of these figures, Christopher Andrew and Richard Dearlove, and then a fourth person was this woman Svetlana Lokhova who was a doctoral candidate under Andrew. And at that dinner she showed Flynn an old postcard written by Stalin that she had uncovered during a trip to Russia to look through the old NKVD-KGB archives, and they had a conversation lasting about 10 minutes. The entire thing was supervised and surrounded by these sort of luminaries of British intelligence. And nobody said anything about it for two years. And then after all this nonsense started in the summer of 2016, suddenly Halper — who was there that night, although he wasn’t at the dinner — Dearlove, and then later also Andrew ended up sounding the alarm and saying that that Flynn had been seduced by a Russian national at that dinner. And this is something I know for a fact, which is that multiple members of the U.S. media were told by American sources that Flynn was actively having an affair with a Russian agent around that time. And if you go back and look you’ll find that at that time there were a series of news stories that started to come out in December 2016. And then in March of 2017, about Flynn’s interaction with this woman. And it all came from this idea that these these goofballs cooked up that Flynn had been seduced in that five or ten minute conversation by a Russian, because it was the only conversation with a Russian that anybody could think that he had, which is crazy.

Yeah, and as Schrage says in his piece about this, this woman, as you just mentioned, was Andrew’s student. And he says at that time in 2014, she was a brand new mother and they just drag this woman through the mud saying that she is a spy, a honeypot, working for Vladimir Putin to suborn Mike Flynn and compromise him in all this treason. I guess you said you talked to her. This really destroyed her life to a great degree, right?

Yeah, absolutely. And it was completely sociopathic on the part of all these people. And I talked to a bunch of the journalists who covered the story…

It was all off the record. You can guess by looking at the bylines. There were only five or six major characters who covered this thing. But they all said the same thing. Basically, they were approached by Americans in late 2016. And told, you know, without any hesitation, that Flynn was having an affair with a Russian. This was this was big enough news that American reporters were flown over to London to cover it. And they dug, they tore through this woman’s personal life and they eventually put her name out there. And they never had any kind of real indication that anything had happened.

Well, and they didn’t just pick up the phone and call DIA and say “When this guy was your boss, did you guys have any indication that he was sleeping with the enemy?” How about that for a dog that didn’t bark?

Well and he had passed security clearances multiple times after that, which tells you that whatever these informants thought, they certainly didn’t raise any alarm about it for a significant period of time, for years at least. So the whole thing was was absurd on its face, and I think that a good reporter would have run run screaming in the other direction from the story because there’s just there’s no there there, you know, but they did it anyway. And what was amazing about that is that it led ultimately to the exposure of Halper because he was one of the people who alerted the FBI to this nefarious connection between Flynn and this woman. And his name eventually came out in the newspapers, but they were far more concerned about protecting the identity of Halper than they were about Svetlana Lokhova. So the whole thing was crazy.

Yeah. And then, but, you know, it really is just like the Iraq war. You made that comparison in your writing before, where, you know, the case for the war against Iraq was about 10 or 15 points long, and every single one of them was zero.

But a hawk could keep talking all day about why we have to do it. It’s just at the end of his talk, 15 times zero is still zero. None of it’s true. It’s all lies, but it’s like 15 lies. And so it’s the same kind of thing with this: people talking about, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” But it’s not smoke, it’s steam. It’s hot air. It’s all bs, but there’s so much of it, when people want to believe, there’s enough there for them to believe in. You know, we saw the way people got caught up in this. The entire cult of not the left, but the liberal sort of centrist Democratic Party types in this country, by the 10s of millions got caught up in this thing.

Yeah, and I think it really speaks to, you know, kind of a problem that we have with the way we do investigative journalism in this country. There’s sort of a loophole that you can drive through with national security stories, which is if somebody from one of the spy agencies or from the FBI calls up and tells you like a shaggy dog story, but says, “Hey, I’m sorry, I got to keep my name out of this,” the newspapers will very frequently just run with that stuff anyway. So the normal fact checking process that we would go through to check all kinds of other things, we just don’t do that with this kind of story, which is one of the reasons the Iraq thing happened. Right. So it looks somebody in the military tells Judith Miller that, “Hey, we know we’ve got something just over the next hill that proves he’s got the WMDs,” but it’s a nameless, faceless source, right? That stuff ends up in the newspapers with amazing frequency. That happened over and over and over again with this Russia story. You know, they just kept driving through that loophole.

Yep. And then of course, the other thing is, you have to have two sources. But who’s to say they’re not, you know, coming up with a list together of “here are the journalists we’re going to lie to. I’m going to call him on Tuesday. You call him on Wednesday, and we’ll have it in the paper by Thursday.”

Right. Yeah, exactly. Or the classic construction of an intelligence source who tells a somebody in a congressional committee that’s like the House or Senate Intel committees. And so the congressional source tells their source to call up the reporter, and then puts the person in touch with the original source, but it’s a game of telephone. It’s not like you’re getting the story independently confirmed by another source. It’s just the same story that ran through two people. And that’s the problem that you have with these kinds of stories is that when the names aren’t made public, you can’t tell whether it’s just one narrative that’s been passed around an office, or whether it’s something that actually multiple people can confirm.

Yeah. And we actually had the argument ad-absurdum on this sort of thing just recently with the story about the Russians paying for American scalps in Afghanistan, where the next day after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post put out this story, on Twitter all the reporters were telling each other “my story is confirmed by his story, which is confirmed by the other story.” And yet all they say is “anonymous sources tell us.” They have no evidence and no compelling narrative whatsoever. In fact, over the next couple of weeks, as they tried to create a compelling narrative, it all completely fell apart. And no one was willing to stand by the story and so it was all dead. But Charlie Savage really thought that when Warren Strobel wrote the same thing, that “See, I’m right.” And he didn’t even know how foolish he sounded. And I pick on Charlie Savage because I used to respect him a little bit.

Yeah. Actually, I often thought that he was one of the better reporters that the Times had. But you know, this is an example. That story is a prime example of how this stuff works. Who among the American press corps, is going to be able to confirm that some warlord in Afghanistan got a bag of money to go assassinate Americans? That’s an unconfirmable story. The only way we’re going to ever get to that story is, is by the Americans who actually came up with it. And it could be the same anonymous source talking to five different newspapers. So they’re not confirming each other. They’re just confirming that they heard a story.

Yep. And in fact, one more I’m sorry, It just came to mind and is so important, I think. Although I’m not sure how much of an impact it made, but last Saturday, the New York Times in the weekend magazine ran a 10,000 word hit piece on Donald Trump, essentially by the CIA. And I gotta tell you that I bet you a third or two thirds of it is true about how completely stupid Trump is. You can’t even talk to him in pictures anymore. And all he wants to talk about is his inauguration crowd size again, and this kind of garbage. I more or less believe it. But at the same time, what the hell is going on here? Another giant hit piece with what, 15 different CIA people went and talked to this reporter for this gigantic weekend magazine expose on Trump. And all it is is CIA guys complaining about the president. Who the hell do they think they are, these people? You know?

And Bernie Sanders.

Yeah, of course.

That story, right? They talked about the NIE. Yeah, and I think what bothers me is somebody who kind of grew up in this business is that there was a time period where the normal attitude of somebody who worked in the news media was to be at best distrustful of people who work for the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, to a lesser extent. It was less of a thing back then. But now it’s like these people are the biggest stars in the world, and whatever they say is like gospel. And it’s not only that they get to say whatever they want in these newspapers, basically without any pushback, that, you know, they leave these agencies and immediately get million dollar positions on television and cable news. It’s like, you know, there’s just no skepticism that’s built into the media system about about information that comes from these folks anymore. And that’s that’s really depressing.

Yeah, well, and you can see why people believe Earth is flat, or God knows what, because the same people who told them the Earth is round are the same people who lie to them about everything. And so they don’t know where to draw the line. They don’t understand. They know that it’s not the way TV and the newspapers say. So maybe it is this Q-Anon thing. Or maybe it is Vladimir Putin. Or maybe it’s some off-the-wall explanation because whatever it is, the common narrative delivered to us daily doesn’t make sense. You know? It doesn’t hold up, and so if these are the people we have to rely on, you know, people turn their back, but then which way do they go? Next thing you know they’re having a protest burning masks, or whatever it is because they’re caught up in who knows what.

Yeah. And I think you brought up a good example there with the press attitude towards the Covid coverage. We went through these amazing stages right where they they first they were they were furiously angry at anybody who went outside to protest the lockdowns. Then during the Black Lives Matter protests, these the exact same sources, the exact same op ed writers simply said that it was more important to protest than it was to worry about the pandemic. And then they went back to the first thing a few weeks after that. So what’s the ordinary news consumer supposed to think watching all this? “Should I say inside? Or if I think it’s really important, can I go outside? I have no idea.” And I think people in this business underestimate the impact of those kinds of inconsistencies.

Well, and you know, I’m sorry, because I hate the media so much, and you’re so good at talking about that. But I wanted to touch on a couple of more details here real quick if it’s okay. The recent revelations just in the last few weeks about declassified testimony from the House and Senate hearings on this stuff, where we found out finally who Christopher Steele’s sources were after being told they were high-level Russian government employees and people who work for powerful oligarchs and all this stuff this whole time. It turns out that what now? Where did he get this stuff?

From a Washington-based analysts from the Brookings Institution named Igor Danchenko, who didn’t live in-country. He did travel to Russia for the story, but in an affidavit the FBI released where they interview him, he says he didn’t have any contact with any senior intelligence or any intelligence officials, that part of his M.O. was to drink heavily with the sub-sources that he talked openly about his sub-sources trying to monetize their relationship with him. It’s absurd that anybody ever took any of this stuff seriously. And if you read the FBI’s interview with this guy, you realize he was just kind of selling wolf whistles the whole time. He was openly going around telling people they can make money by giving him information. And they guessed what he wanted and gave him some information, but it’s not reliable.

Can you refresh my memory on when it was the FBI had created… It must have been right away, or early in the investigation, when they got the Steel Dossier in the summer of 2016, they created this big spreadsheet where they crossed everything off the list as possibly being reliable information, or found that anything in there that was true, had been published in the Washington Post two days before and so we know that that was where they got it, the little kernels of truth here and there. Because that was even before they had gone to the FISA court, or at least back the second time or something, right?

I’m not sure exactly when they did that process. I know that in the IG report, the Horowitz report, they talked about doing an analysis of how much of the original reporting in the Steele reports can be trusted, and the conclusion they essentially came to is that the true stuff in here has already been publicly reported. So (laughs) I don’t think they found anything original that turned out to be right in the report.

Now, so the part about this that is to me the most interesting is the very few sporadic reports… And somewhere in the back of my head, I think you had mentioned in this, in some of your “Untitled-gate” reporting, that some of these contacts with the informants and the Trump people went back even to 2015. I can’t remember if that involved Halper or Papadopoulos. But also I don’t know the role of the Misfud and who originally put Misfud on the case of Papadopoulos. I guess the most I know about the Papadopoulos thing is from Michael Tracy’s interview with him where he talks about how he went and got this job and how immediately they were trying to set him up and figure out a way to put pro-Russian words in his mouth or some kind of thing. But who exactly was Misfud? And what was his role in this? And beginning when? I guess are to me the biggest questions. And same for Halper. What was the very first time that they started this put-on?

Taibbi: We don’t really know. My theory about how this began early-on was was based on some things that I heard a couple of years ago that I haven’t been able to really suss out since. We know for sure that by late July of 2016, that people were actively trying to approach both Papadopoulos and Page. Schrage’s account, you know, this is the guy that I’m talking to now, in his telling basically, they don’t start getting interested in Page until the second week of July 2016. And that’s basically when Dearlove runs into Page at this conference at Cambridge. And suddenly it seems like everybody’s interested in Page and any other Trump contacts. But the question of Misfud is really still one of the outstanding mysteries of this whole thing. Like where is this guy? Who is he? It’s pretty clear that the even the FBI didn’t believe that he was actually a Russian agent. He was in the U.S. briefly. I believe it was January of 2017 and released, interviewed and let go. So he couldn’t possibly have ever really been a suspected Russian spy. And yet they constructed the entire investigation based on the idea that he was one. So the whole thing doesn’t make any sense. I mean, it seems like it was much ado about nothing from the start.

And, you know, this is not concrete. But I think the timeline is pretty indicative of a set-up here where Assange announced on I think June 14, that “Yeah, we’ve got some Hillary emails coming out here soon,” this kind of thing. And that gave the CIA three days heads up to come up with this Guccifer crap to try to sort of insinuate, you know, Russian, I guess, Cyrillic letters as part of it from from Guccifer’s thing. Wikileaks never published that stuff, but it’s sort of like with the Flynn accusations with this woman. “Well, it could be true… Men and women do have sex sometimes,” or something. So yes, it could be true that these emails all come from the same source, it sort of seems that way. And then that was right around the same time, the beginning of summer 2016. Seems like they decided “Whatever we can do to bring up the word Russia in the context of Trump, we’re going to try to do that, and blame them for the sabotage of Hillary Clinton.”

Taibbi: Yeah. The other time was really interesting. I have to admit that that’s part of the story that I haven’t looked at a whole lot. To be honest, the reason I haven’t is because my technical chops are not so hot in terms of being able to assess who is and who could have and who maybe didn’t try to hack the DNC, but certainly the all the release testimony that came out, suggests they had, they never had anything like a concrete indication that there was any kind of relationship between the Russians, this hack, Guccifer and Julian Assange. They never concretely established any of that. It was all a series of pretty thin assumptions. Obviously, the other amazing thing about that is that they never interviewed Assange about it, which tells you that they weren’t interested in the answer or, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know what that means.

Yeah, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the language in the Muller report where some lawyer somewhere said “No, we have to go ahead and admit that we have nothing here.” And so they say they believe the Russians did the hack, but they don’t demonstrate that. And then they admit they can’t demonstrate a chain of custody to WikiLeaks. You know, after three years of “the Russians gave it to WikiLeaks,” Robert Mueller admitted that he had no causal chain, sorry.

Yeah, there’s just mountains of testimony and investigation of the question of you know, whether or not there was foreknowledge or whether or not there was a relationship there, but they’ve never actually come up with anything that proves any of that story. And also, that was all going on independently of these of these other two prongs of the story with Steele and the spying. Like, I don’t know, to what degree that they might have been connected. But, you know, either way, it was all seemingly pretty absurd.

Horton: Yeah. You know, the whole thing about the Logan Act, we’re now and this is where Joe Biden comes in, is that Biden apparently was the one who brought up “Hey, maybe we can use the Logan Act as an excuse against Flynn here.” And Sally Yates at DOJ also said, “Oh, yeah, when I read the transcripts of the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, and then I knew what he had said to the FBI, I thought ‘Oh, no! Now the Russians have compromised him because he’s breaking the Logan Act and lying about it, and so now they’ll have this over him.'” Even though the Logan Act might as well not even exist at all. And in this context, we’re not talking about a businessman from Houston making a separate deal with the UAE or something like that. We’re talking about the designated incoming national security adviser of the president elect of the United States, not in the summer, we’re talking about after the election, after the Electoral College has voted. This guy is the designated national security adviser. I mean, they might as well bring up child abuse or whatever. They’re just pretending to have a legal pretext at that point, right?

Taibbi: Yeah, especially in the context of all the other stuff that was going on with that investigation. The fact that they investigated Flynn for all these other things. They have this whole absurd Crossfire Razor sub-investigation that had come up dry. They were recommending, the people on that case were recommending that they give it up. And, you know, some folks didn’t want to, and they decided to hold on to the idea of of dirtying Flynn through this preposterous interpretation of this call to Kislyak. And the crime here, the idea that the Logan Act was violated is far less serious crime than the actual one, leaking the telephonic communication which is a felony, and that definitely happened. And you’re absolutely right that the Logan Act, even if it was something that we were ever going to prosecute, and we never have, it was not intended to cover the incoming national security adviser who was weeks away from taking power and essentially was telling the Russian ambassador, “Hey, you know, don’t overreact. Chill out.”
Like, that’s really what happened. So the whole thing was absurd.

Horton: Yeah, I mean, that is such an important point too. What was the secret big deal communication here is he was saying, “Don’t overreact in a tit for tat over Obama’s new sanctions, because after all, he’s on his way out. And we want to strike a better note.” And, you know, this goes back to what you’re saying about Flynn at DIA. This was a three star general, who was the head of the DIA and had this whole, you know, years-long liaison relationship with the Russian military. Not that he was a traitor supported by them. He was an American three star General, who had a pretty good relationship with some powerful people in the Russian military, which is the kind of thing that all other things being equal, and no Russiagate hoax involved, is the kind of thing that all Americans ought to celebrate. And think of it, probably the best thing about this kook, Mike Flynn, who after all, is sort of a Michael Ledeen co-author, Iran hawk, nutball, who said a couple good things about Syria one time. He said a couple of good things about Russia, but is otherwise a pretty dangerous character. And yet, he gets along with the Russian military. That ought to be a bright spot in the mind of all 7 billion people in the world. Isn’t that what we want, for America and Russia to get along, no matter what?

Taibbi: Absolutely, and I think a lot of the genesis of the Democratic Party frustration and the Obama administration frustration with Flynn was that he had had an open disagreement with that administration about some pretty serious strategic questions that among other things involved the Russians. Flynn was the subject of some reporting by Sy Hersh. And essentially was going public with this idea that the Obama administration was making a mistake by trying to make allies of so called moderates in Syria, who was saying we’re not really moderates, they were more like al Qaeda, and that the preferable way to go was to team up with the Russians to to combat those kinds of extremists. And, you know, there was disagreement about that. But I could understand both the arguments for both sides of that. But the notion that he was doing something that was treasonous is crazy. It was a strategic idea that he had that you could agree with or disagree with it, but it’s certainly not outside the pale of normal behavior.

Horton: And Susan Rice pretended — again going along with this narrative that it must be treason. She said that she had a conversation with Flynn, where he should’ve just humored her. What an idiot this guy. But instead he decided to get in an argument with her about how, “Nah, Russia’s fine. Russia’s no big deal. It’s China that we’ve got to worry about.” And then Rice said, “When I heard that I thought, ‘Oh no, it must be true. He really is a traitor under the control of some foreign power, because how could any American think that?'” Actually, a lot of people think that. I’m not one of them. But that’s a point of view. In fact, Trump said, “I went and talked with Henry Kissinger. And I said, ‘Henry, I think we ought to get along with Russia because the real enemy is China.’ And Henry Kissinger told me ‘You’re right, Trump go with that.'” So he’s supposed to be the longest gray beard of all. This is a strategic question: Which side of the Sino-Russian split are you on? We’re all Richard Nixon playing Risk here. Only when Trump and Flynn do it, it’s high treason.

Taibbi: Yeah, it’s amazing. I think some of that comes from Americans not having a real clue about what Russia is, you know, Russia is a geographically massive country with a pretty big military. But economically, it’s like somewhere between Italy and South Korea. It’s not a major power, it’s got very, very serious internal problems. It’s nowhere near the level of geopolitical rival that the Chinese are. Now you could say that they have a terrible government. And you could say that Putin is not a good leader. And I certainly have been very critical of him in the past. But I wouldn’t put Russia in the same category as, say, China in terms of the size of the rivalry there.

Horton: I know you lived there for many years and that kind of thing. For most of us, Russia is a place in our imagination. We don’t really know anything about it. And on one hand our government, say John McCain for example, who said “Oh, come on, Russia is a gas station with a border. It’s not even a country at all.” Obama ridiculed them and said, “Russia is a regional power at best.” But then they turn around and say, “Actually Russia’s intelligence agencies are responsible for the election results of every country everywhere in a world where we don’t like how they turn out. And they’re about to take over and conquer all of Eastern Europe again, like back in the bad old days.”

Taibbi: Right. I mean, in 2012, Obama was essentially saying the Russia “is the gnat on the bottom of an elephant,” which I thought was a pretty good description, having lived there. The old description of the Soviet Union, that I think Henry Kissinger said, was that “Russia is Upper Volta with rockets.” You know, it’s a country with a big military, it’s powerful in that sense. It certainly exerts a lot of influence on the countries that are on its borders, but internationally, it’s just not this chaotic juggernaut that they’re making it out to be in the press. And it doesn’t have anywhere near the economic power of China.

Horton: Alright, so then one last thing here is about the effect of this have on Trump. Say, for example, if they had never cooked up this Russiagate thing in the first place. And the President had been free to pursue this Russia policy in the same way that any other president would have been. I mean, for that matter, Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev, when he was the, you know, Supreme Leader of the Soviet Union and General Secretary of the Communist Party, and all of these things. And so, nevermind the opportunity costs of just what could have been in terms of progress, but just think of how backwards everything is going. You know, I interviewed Branco Marcetic from Jacobin magazine last week about all the anti-Russia positions that Trump has taken over and over again, and to a great degree, even in his own words, to protect himself from these attacks. “They keep accusing me of being soft on Russia. Well I’m not soft on Russia. I’ve done this, this and this.” Including he’s pulling troops out of Germany, but he’s moving them to Poland, which is even worse. And, you know, I’m sure you’ve got something to say about what might have been here if we, if our government was not caught up in this crazy narrative that they themselves have generated about Russia here.

Taibbi: Yeah. You know, I was not a fan of Donald Trump. I didn’t vote for him. I don’t think I’ll be voting for him again, but the the degree to which all of this handicapped his presidency and all the things that happened, particularly during the transition period, when there are all these leaks, was about Flynn or about the pee tape, or handing Trump the Steele report. He entered the presidency basically from day one facing a DEFCON 5 emergency. And you know, I would argue that this is a person who, under the best circumstances would have had a difficult time doing a great job because he probably, you know, he doesn’t have the experience and it would have been a rough ride anyway. But with this going on, I think it was inexcusable. What the press and all these these creatures in the intelligence services did to handicap the presidency — I get not liking Donald Trump, but this is also the country you know, that suffered when all this took up all of our time for three years. You know, it was was really ridiculous. And so yeah, you’re right on that.

Horton: There’s got to be some kind of accountability. I can’t imagine someone publishing Jane Mayer again, for example, or David Corn. We’re going to continue to use people who, you know went so far out on the limb with this garbage? — and boy there’s exhaustive list of them. I guess I should say exhausting.

Taibbi: There’s a long history of failing upward in the journalism business, right? Like the people who were the most wrong on Iraq tended to get promoted upward. I mean, look at who’s editing The Atlantic magazine right now. You know, people like Jonathan Chait and the editorial page editor of the Washington Post who got so much wrong. I mean, basically Judy Miller was the only one who paid. Everybody else kind of got away with it. And that’s another thing. We talked about this earlier, that’s the thing: that the public sees the stuff. You know, people in journalism think that the audiences aren’t paying attention, but they do pay attention. When we screw things up there has to be some kind of reckoning, or else we lose our credibility.

Although, you know, what you talk about in your book, about all the different “silos” of information, you can see that there are huge swathes of the liberal side who still believe in this stuff because they were never made to confront the failure of the story when it all came out. They kind of had a narrative that “well, Bob Muller gave an old man rambling testimony to the Senate,” but they didn’t break down here’s what the report actually said about all that stuff that we said. They just let it go. And so you see on Twitter, of course, but really everywhere you see Democrats still believe that, in the words of recent rando I saw that, “Vladimir Putin sure got his money’s worth with Trump.” As Nancy Pelosi said, just in the recent Afghanistan scalp story, that “all roads lead back to Putin.” She said the same thing during the impeachment. They really still believe this stuff.

Taibbi: I know. You know, there was a woman who recently resigned from MSNBC, Ariana Pekary, and she wrote a note publicly saying part of the reason she she quit is because she had come to the conclusion or she quoted one of her co-workers basically saying that, “we’re not in the business of informing, we’re in the business of comforting our audiences.” So, you know, they believe the Russia thing, and there’s news that comes out that contradicts it, they just don’t put it out there because they know it’s going to upset their audiences. So they just allow them to kind of wallow in their ignorance, which is, I think a disservice.

Horton: Alright, well, listen. Thank you so much for coming back on the show, Matt. It’s always great talking to you and reading your great journalism.

Taibbi: Thanks Scott.

Horton: The book is Hate Inc., and you’ve got to subscribe at Substack — which, by the way, can I ask you a favor? Is there a way that I can get you to turn off the paywall on “Our Man in Cambridge,” for a couple of days so we can link to it at

Taibbi: (Laughs.) I’ll try, yeah. I’ll ask the Substack guys to do that.

Horton: We ran “The Spies Who Hijacked America” by Steven Schrage there as our Spotlight the other day and I’d like to Spotlight “Our Man in Cambridge” as well.

Medical Terminology: A Short Course

Davi-Ellen Chabner BA MAT

Published by Saunders, 1999

Used - Softcover
Condition: GOOD

Paperback. Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, will have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included.

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Broderick was born in Manhattan, New York City, the son of Patricia ( née Biow), a playwright, actress, and painter, and James Broderick, an actor [6] and World War II veteran. [7] His mother was Jewish, a descendant of Jewish immigrants from Germany and Poland. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] His father was a Catholic of Irish and English descent. [14] [15] [16] Broderick attended grade school at City and Country School in Manhattan and high school at the private Walden School, also in Manhattan. [17] He received acting training at HB Studio. [18]

Broderick's first major acting role came in an HB Studio workshop production of playwright Horton Foote's On Valentine's Day, playing opposite his father, who was a friend of Foote's. This was followed by a supporting role as Harvey Fierstein's gay adopted son, David, in the off-Broadway production of Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy then, a good review by The New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow brought him to the attention of Broadway. Broderick commented on the effects of that review in a 2004 60 Minutes II interview:

Before I knew it, I was like this guy in a hot play. And suddenly, all these doors opened. And it's only because Mel Gussow happened to come by right before it closed and happened to like it. It's just amazing. All these things have to line up that are out of your control. [19]

He followed that with the role of Eugene Morris Jerome in the Neil Simon Eugene Trilogy including the plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. He won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in Brighton Beach Memoirs.

His first film role as Michael McPhee in 1983's Max Dugan Returns was also written by Neil Simon, but his first big hit film was WarGames, a summer hit in 1983, [20] in which he played the main role of Seattle teen hacker David Lightman. Broderick next played Philippe Gaston in Ladyhawke, in 1985. [17] [21]

Broderick then won the role of the charming, clever slacker in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. At the age of 23, Broderick played the titular high school student who, with his girlfriend and best friend, plays hooky and explores Chicago. A 1980s comedy favorite, the film is one of Broderick's best known roles (particularly with teenage audiences). Also in 1987, he played Air Force research assistant Jimmy Garrett in Project X. In 1988, Broderick played Harvey Fierstein's lover, Alan, in the screen adaptation of Torch Song Trilogy.

He starred in the 1989 film Glory alongside Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, where he received favorable reviews for his portrayal of the American Civil War officer Robert Gould Shaw, whom Broderick incidentally physically resembled at the time.

In the 1990s, Broderick was the voice of adult Simba in Disney's successful animated film The Lion King, and he also voiced Tack the Cobbler in Miramax's controversial version of The Thief and the Cobbler, which had originally been intended as a silent role. He won recognition for two dark comedy roles: bachelor Steven Kovacs in 1996's The Cable Guy with Jim Carrey, and a high school teacher in Alexander Payne's 1999 film Election with Reese Witherspoon.

Broderick returned to Broadway as a musical star in the 1990s, winning a Tony Award for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Broderick then starred alongside Nathan Lane in the Mel Brooks 2001 stage version of The Producers which was a critical and financial success. He played Leopold "Leo" Bloom, an accountant who co-produces a musical designed to fail that turns out to be successful. Broderick was nominated for another Tony Award but lost to his co-star Nathan Lane. The musical went on to win the most Tony Awards in history with 12 wins. [22] Broderick and Lane reprised their roles in the 2005 film adaptation of the same name.

Broderick starred in a 2004 off-Broadway production of the award-winning Larry Shue play The Foreigner as the witty Charlie Baker. [23] He was reunited with his co-star from The Lion King and The Producers, Nathan Lane, in The Odd Couple, which opened on Broadway in October 2005. He appeared on Broadway as a college professor in The Philanthropist, running April 10 through June 28, 2009. [24] He returned to the Broadway stage in Spring 2012 to star in the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. [25] He notably starred in the 2015 Broadway adaptation of Sylvia, a play by A.R. Gurney directed by Daniel J. Sullivan.

Broderick made his West End debut in The Starry Messenger in May 2019, co-starring with Elizabeth McGovern. [26]

In 2018, it was announced that Broderick was cast in the main role of Michael Burr in the Netflix comedy-drama series Daybreak. [27]

Family Edit

Broderick and actress Sarah Jessica Parker married on May 19, 1997, in an Episcopal ceremony officiated by his sister, Janet Broderick Kraft. [28] [29]

Parker and Broderick have a son, James, born October 28, 2002. [30] The couple had twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, born June 22, 2009, via surrogacy. [31] [32]

Although the couple live in the West Village, [33] Broderick and Parker spend a large amount of time at their second home in Kilcar, a village in County Donegal, Ireland, where Broderick spent his summers as a child. [34] They also have a house in The Hamptons. [35]

Ancestry Edit

In March 2010, Broderick was featured in the NBC program Who Do You Think You Are? Broderick stated that his participation in the ancestry research program emotionally reconnected him with the role he played in Glory 22 years earlier, as he discovered his paternal great-great-grandfather, Robert Martindale, was a Union soldier. A veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg, Martindale, who belonged to the 20th Connecticut, was killed in the aftermath of the Battle of Atlanta and was eventually interred in an unnamed grave at the Marietta National Cemetery. Having identified the grave with the help of historian Brad Quinlin, Broderick's research enabled him to give his ancestor his name back. In the same program, Broderick discovered that his paternal grandfather, James Joseph Broderick II, whom he had never known, was a highly decorated combat medic in World War I, having earned his distinctions during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. [7]

1987 car crash Edit

On August 5, 1987, while driving a rented BMW 316 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Broderick crossed into the wrong lane and collided head-on with a Volvo. The driver, Anna Gallagher, 28, and her mother, Margaret Doherty, 63, were both killed instantly. [37] He was vacationing with Jennifer Grey, whom he had begun dating in semi-secrecy during the filming of Ferris Bueller's Day Off the crash publicly revealed their relationship. He suffered a fractured leg and ribs, a concussion, and a collapsed lung. Grey's injuries included severe whiplash, which later required surgery to avoid paralysis. [38]

Broderick told police he had no recollection of the crash and did not know why he had been in the wrong lane: "What I first remember is waking up in the hospital, with a very strange feeling going on in my leg." He was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and faced up to five years in prison, but was convicted of the lesser charge of careless driving and fined £100 (US$175). [37] [39] [40] [41] [42]

The victims' brother and son, Martin Doherty, called the verdict "a travesty of justice". He later forgave Broderick, amid plans to meet him in 2003. In February 2012, when Broderick was featured in a multi-million-dollar Honda commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, Doherty said the meeting had still not taken place and that Broderick "wasn't the greatest choice of drivers, knowing his past". [43]


Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1970, [6] the second son of Kent Telfer Damon (1942–2017), a stockbroker, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige (b. 1946), an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. [7] [8] [9] His father had English and Scottish ancestry, while his mother is of Finnish and Swedish descent her family surname had been changed from "Pajari" to "Paige". [10] [11] [12] Damon and his family moved to Newton for two years. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he and his brother returned with their mother to Cambridge, [8] [13] where they lived in a six-family communal house. [14] [15] His brother, Kyle, is a sculptor and artist. [8] [16] As a lonely teenager, he has said that he felt he did not belong. [14] Due to his mother's "by the book" approach to child-rearing, [14] he had a hard time defining his own identity. [14]

Damon attended Cambridge Alternative School and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was a good student. [17] He performed as an actor in several high school theater productions. [8] He credited his drama teacher Gerry Speca as an important artistic influence, though his close friend and schoolmate Ben Affleck got the "biggest roles and longest speeches". [17] [18] [nb 1] He attended Harvard University, where he was a resident of Lowell House and a member of the class of 1992, but left before receiving his degree to take a lead role in the film Geronimo: An American Legend. While at Harvard, Damon wrote an early treatment of the screenplay Good Will Hunting as an exercise for an English class, for which he later received an Academy Award. [20] He was a member of the Delphic Club, one of Harvard's select Final Clubs. In 2013, he was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal. [21]


Damon entered Harvard in 1988, [22] [nb 2] where he appeared in student theater plays, such as Burn This and A. My Name is Alice. [24] [25] Later, he made his film debut at the age of 18, with a single line of dialogue in the romantic comedy Mystic Pizza. [26] As a student at Harvard, he acted in small roles such as in the TNT original film Rising Son and the ensemble prep-school drama School Ties. [27] He left the university in 1992, a semester (12 credits) shy of completion of his Bachelor of Arts in English to feature in Geronimo: An American Legend [24] [28] in Los Angeles, erroneously expecting the movie to become a big success. [24] [nb 3] Damon next appeared as an opiate-addicted soldier in 1996's Courage Under Fire, for which he lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in 100 days [26] [30] on a self-prescribed diet and fitness regimen. Courage Under Fire gained him critical notice, when The Washington Post labeled his performance "impressive". [31]

During the early 1990s, Damon and Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting (1997), a screenplay about a young mathematics genius, an extension of a screenplay he wrote for an assignment at Harvard, having integrated advice from director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, and writer/director Kevin Smith. [32] He asked Affleck to perform the scenes with him in front of the class and, when Damon later moved into Affleck's Los Angeles apartment, they began working on the script more seriously. [33] The film, which they wrote mainly during improvisation sessions, was set partly in their hometown of Cambridge, and drew from their own experiences. [34] [35] They sold the screenplay to Castle Rock in 1994, but after a conflict with the company, they convinced Miramax to purchase the script. [36] [37] The film received critical praise Quentin Curtis of The Daily Telegraph found "real wit and vigour, and some depth" in their writing and Emanuel Levy of Variety wrote of Damon's acting, "[he] gives a charismatic performance in a demanding role that's bound to catapult him to stardom. Perfectly cast, he makes the aching, step-by-step transformation of Will realistic and credible." [38] [39] It received nine Academy Awards nominations, including Best Actor for Damon he and Affleck won Oscars and Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. [40] He and Affleck were each paid salaries of $600,000, while the film grossed over $225 million at the worldwide box office. [41] [42] The two later parodied their roles from the film in Kevin Smith's 2001 movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. [43]

Speaking of his "overnight success" through Good Will Hunting, Damon said by that time he had been working in the cinema for 11 years, but still found the change "nearly indescribable—going from total obscurity to walking down a street in New York and having everybody turn and look". [44] Before the film, Damon played the lead in the critically acclaimed drama The Rainmaker (1997), where he was recognized by the Los Angeles Times as "a talented young actor on the brink of stardom." [45] For the role, Damon regained most of the weight he had lost for Courage Under Fire. [46] After meeting Damon on the set of Good Will Hunting, director Steven Spielberg cast him in the brief title role in the 1998 World War II film Saving Private Ryan. [47] He co-starred with Edward Norton in the 1998 poker film Rounders, where he plays a reformed gambler in law school who must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks. Despite meager earnings at the box-office, the film has developed a cult status over the years. [48]

Damon then portrayed antihero Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), a role for which he lost 11 kilograms (25 lb). Damon said that he wanted to display his character's humanity and honesty on screen despite his criminal actions. [49] An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of same name, the film costarred Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett, and received praise from critics. [50] "Damon outstandingly conveys his character's slide from innocent enthusiasm into cold calculation", according to Variety magazine. [51] He played a fallen angel who discusses pop culture as intellectual subject matter with Affleck in Dogma (1999). [52] The film received generally positive reviews, but proved controversial among religious groups who deemed it blasphemous. [53]

Damon's attempts at leading characters in romantic dramas such as 2000's All the Pretty Horses and The Legend of Bagger Vance were commercially and critically unsuccessful. [41] Variety said of his work in All the Pretty Horses: "[Damon] just doesn't quite seem like a young man who's spent his life amidst the dust and dung of a Texas cattle ranch. Nor does he strike any sparks with [Penelope] Cruz." [54] He was similarly deemed "uncomfortable being the center" of Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance by Peter Rainer of New York magazine. [55]

During this period, Damon joined two lucrative film series—Ocean's Trilogy (2001–2007) and Bourne (2002–2016)—and produced the television series Project Greenlight (2001–2005, 2015). In the former's first installment, Steven Soderbergh's 2001 ensemble film Ocean's Eleven, which is a remake of the Rat Pack's Ocean's 11 (1960), he co-starred as thief Linus Caldwell. [26] The role was originally meant for Mark Wahlberg, who refused it in favor of other projects. [56] The film was successful at the box-office, grossing $450 million from a budget of $83 million. [57] Damon, alongside Affleck and others, produced the documentary series Project Greenlight, aired on HBO and later Bravo, which helps newcomers develop their first film. The series was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004 and 2005. [58] Damon later said that he and Affleck felt proud that the show helped launch the careers of several directors Damon later served as the executive producer of a number of projects directed by the winners of the show. [59]

Damon began 2002 with writing and starring in Gerry, a drama about two friends who forget to bring water and food when they go hiking in a desert. The reviews for the film were generally positive, but it was a box-office failure. [60] [61] He then played amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne in Doug Liman's action thriller The Bourne Identity (2002). Liman considered several actors for the role, before he cast Damon. [62] Damon insisted on performing many of the stunts himself, undergoing three months of extensive training in stunt work, the use of weapons, boxing, and eskrima. [63] Damon said that before The Bourne Identity he was jobless for six months, and many of his films during that period under-performed at the box-office. He doubted on the film's financial prospects, but it proved a commercial success. [61] Reviews for the film were also positive [64] Roger Ebert praised it for its ability to absorb the viewer in its "spycraft" and "Damon's ability to be focused and sincere". [65] For his role, Entertainment Weekly named Damon among "the decade's best mixer of brawn and brains." [66]

Damon voiced the role of Spirit in the animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) and later played a conjoined twin in Stuck on You (2003), which received a mixed critical reception. [67] His major releases in 2004 included starring roles in the sequels The Bourne Supremacy and Ocean's Twelve. Both films earned more than $280 million at the box-office. [68] [69] In a review for The Bourne Supremacy, BBC's Nev Pierce called the film "a brisk, engrossing and intelligent thriller", adding, "Damon is one hell of an action hero. He does a lot with very little, imbuing his limited dialogue with both rage and sorrow, looking harder and more haunted as the picture progresses". [70] For the film, he earned an Empire Award for Best Actor the award's presenter Empire attributed Damon's win to his "astute, underplayed performance, through which he totally eschews movie star vanity". [71] He played a fictionalized version of Wilhelm Grimm alongside Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam's fantasy adventure The Brothers Grimm (2005), which was a critically panned commercial failure [41] The Washington Post concluded, "Damon, constantly flashing his newscaster's teeth and flaunting a fake, 'Masterpiece Theatre' dialect, comes across like someone who got lost on the way to an audition for a high school production of The Pirates of Penzance." [72]

Later in 2005, he appeared as an energy analyst in the geopolitical thriller Syriana alongside George Clooney and Jeffrey Wright. [73] The film focuses on petroleum politics and the global influence of the oil industry. Damon says starring in the film broadened his understanding of the oil industry and that he hoped the people would talk about the film afterward. [74] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was mainly impressed with Clooney's acting, but also found Damon's performance "whiplash". [75] In 2006, Damon joined Robert De Niro in The Good Shepherd as a career CIA officer, and played an undercover mobster working for the Massachusetts State Police in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs. [26] Assessing his work in the two films, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that Damon has the unique "ability to recede into a film while also being fully present, a recessed intensity, that distinguishes how he holds the screen." [76] The Departed received critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. [77] [nb 4]

According to Forbes in August 2007, Damon was the most bankable star of the actors reviewed, his last three films at that time averaged US$29 at the box office for every dollar he earned. [3] Damon had an uncredited cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth (2007) and another cameo in the 2008 Che Guevara biopic Che. [78] [79]

He made a guest appearance in 2009 on the sixth-season finale of Entourage as himself, where he tries to pressure Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) into donating to his real foundation ONEXONE. [80] [81] His next role was Steven Soderbergh's dark comedy The Informant! (2009), [82] in which his Golden Globe-nominated work was described by Entertainment Weekly as such: "The star – who has quietly and steadily turned into a great Everyman actor – is in nimble control as he reveals his character's deep crazies." [83] Also in 2009, Damon portrayed South Africa national rugby union team captain François Pienaar in the Clint Eastwood-directed film Invictus, which is based on the 2008 John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation and features Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. [84] Invictus earned Damon an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The New Republic observed that he brought "it off with low-key charm and integrity." [85]

In 2010, he reteamed with director Paul Greengrass, who directed him in the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, for the action thriller Green Zone, which flopped commercially [86] and received a score of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and ambivalent reception from critics. [87] He has appeared as a guest star in an episode of Arthur, titled "The Making of Arthur", as himself. [16] During season 5 of 30 Rock, he appeared as guest star in the role of Liz Lemon's boyfriend in the episodes "I Do Do", "The Fabian Strategy", "Live Show", and "Double-edged Sword". Damon's 2010 projects included Clint Eastwood's Hereafter and the Coen brothers' remake of the 1969 John Wayne-starring Western True Grit. [88]

In 2011, he starred in The Adjustment Bureau, Contagion, and We Bought a Zoo. In April 2012, Damon filmed Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant, which Damon co-wrote with John Krasinski. [89] [90] [91] Damon's next film with frequent collaborator Steven Soderbergh was Behind the Candelabra, a drama about the life of pianist/entertainer Liberace (played by Michael Douglas) with Damon playing Liberace's longtime partner Scott Thorson. The film premiered on HBO on May 26, 2013. [92]

Damon starred in the science fiction film Elysium (2013), where he played former car-thief-turned-factory-worker Max DeCosta. [93] He also appeared in the science fiction movie The Zero Theorem by Terry Gilliam in 2013. [94] In 2014, he starred in George Clooney's The Monuments Men, [95] and played the minor role of scientist Dr. Mann, in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. In 2014, Damon appeared as a celebrity correspondent for Years of Living Dangerously. [96]

He played the main character, astronaut Mark Watney, in Ridley Scott's The Martian (2015), based on Andy Weir's best-selling novel of the same name, a role that earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Having not returned for the fourth film in the Bourne film series, [97] [98] Damon reprised his role in 2016's Jason Bourne, reuniting with Paul Greengrass. In 2017, Damon played the lead role in Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall, a hit internationally and a disappointment at the domestic box office. The film, and Damon's casting, were not well received by critics. [99] [100] [101] Later in 2017, he starred in two satires, George Clooney's 1950s-set Suburbicon, which was released in October, [102] and Alexander Payne's comedy Downsizing, which was released in December. [103] Damon portrayed Carroll Shelby in the action biographical drama Ford v Ferrari (2019), directed by James Mangold. [104]


Along with Ben Affleck and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Damon founded the production company LivePlanet, through which the four created the Emmy-nominated documentary series Project Greenlight to find and fund worthwhile film projects from novice filmmakers. [105] [106] The company produced and founded the short-lived mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada, as well as other projects. [107] In March 2010, Damon and Affleck teamed up again to create Pearl Street Films, a Warner Bros. based production company. [108] [109]


Damon lent his voice to the English version of the animated film Ponyo, which was released in the United States in August 2009. [110] The documentary which he narrated, American Teacher, opened in New York in 2011 prior to national screening. [111] He also voiced the lead character Cale Tucker in Titan A.E., took the narrative voice of the Stallion Spirit in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and voiced a krill named Bill in Happy Feet Two. [112]

In January 2012, it was announced that Damon had signed a multiyear deal to be the voice of TD Ameritrade advertisements, replacing Sam Waterston as the discount brokerage's spokesman. Damon donates all fees from the advertisements to charity. [113] In 2013, Damon appeared in a 20-second advertisement for Nespresso, directed by Grant Heslov, with whom he worked on The Monuments Men. The deal earned him $3 million. [114]

Damon also provided voice-over for United Airlines's resurrected "Fly the Friendly Skies" advertisement campaign in 2013. [115]

Damon was the founder of H2O Africa Foundation, the charitable arm of the Running the Sahara expedition, [116] which merged with WaterPartners to create in July 2009. [117]

Damon, alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, David Pressman, and Jerry Weintraub, is one of the founders of Not On Our Watch Project, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities such as in Darfur. [118] Damon supports One Campaign, which is aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty in Third World countries. He has appeared in their print and television advertising. He is an ambassador for ONEXONE, a nonprofit foundation committed to supporting, preserving, and improving the lives of children at home in Canada, the United States, and around the world. [119]

Damon is a spokesperson for Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization, and a member of their Entertainment Council, participating in their Ad Council public service announcements. [120] He is a board member of Tonic Mailstopper (formerly GreenDimes), a company that attempts to halt junk mail delivered to American homes each day. [121] [nb 5]

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel had a running gag on his ABC television show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where he apologized for not being able to interview Damon at the end of each show. It culminated in a planned skit on September 12, 2006, when Damon stormed off after having his interview cut short. [123] Damon appeared in several of E! Entertainment's top ten Jimmy Kimmel Live! spoofs. [124] [nb 6] On January 24, 2013, Damon took over his show and mentioned the long-standing feud and having been bumped from years of shows. It involved celebrities who were previously involved in the "feud", including Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, and Sarah Silverman. [127]


While discussing the Iraq War on Hardball with Chris Matthews in December 2006, Damon expressed concern about inequities across socioeconomic classes with regard to who is tasked with the responsibility of fighting wars. [128]

Damon is a supporter of the Democratic Party and has made several critical attacks against Republican Party figures, but also expressed his disillusionment with the policies of then-President Barack Obama. [129] [130] He had a working relationship with the Obama administration, primarily due to his friendship with Jason Furman, his former Harvard roommate who became Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to Obama. [131]

In 2010, Damon narrated the documentary film Inside Job, about the part played by financial deregulation in the late-2000s financial crisis.

In 2012, Damon joined Ben Affleck and John Krasinski in hosting a fundraiser for Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren. [132]

Social views

In October and December 2017, Damon made headlines when he made a series of comments regarding the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and misconduct. On October 10, Sharon Waxman, a former reporter for The New York Times, mentioned that Damon and Russell Crowe had made direct phone calls to her to vouch for the head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo. In her report, she suspected Lombardo of facilitating incidents of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct in Europe. [135] [136] [137] However, Damon clarified later that the calls were solely to reassure her of Lombardo's professional qualifications in the film industry. [138] Waxman endorsed Damon's statement on Twitter hours later. [139] Also during this time, Damon said that he had heard a story from Ben Affleck that Gwyneth Paltrow, a co-worker on a feature film of his, had been harassed by Weinstein in 1996, but thought "she had handled it" because they continued to work together, and Weinstein "treated her incredibly respectfully". [140] [141]

In another series of interviews during December 2017, Damon advocated for a "spectrum of behavior" analysis [142] [143] [144] [145] of sexual misconduct cases, noting that some are more serious than others. [146] [144] [145] The comment caused offense to prominent members of the Me Too movement [146] [147] and the public for being "tone-deaf in understand[ing] what abuse is like". [147] [146] On January 17, 2018, Damon apologized on The Today Show for his social commentary, stating that he "should get in the back seat and close [his] mouth for a while". [148]

In March 2018, Damon and Affleck announced that they will adopt the inclusion rider agreement in all their future production deals through their company Pearl Street Films. [149]

Damon met his Argentine wife, Luciana Bozán Barroso, while filming Stuck on You in Miami in April 2003. [150] [151] They became engaged in September 2005 and married in a private civil ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau on December 9, 2005. They have three daughters together born in June 2006, [152] August 2008, [153] and October 2010. [154] He also has a stepdaughter Alexia Barroso (born 1998) from Barroso's previous marriage, and considers her to be his own. [155] [156] Since 2012, they have lived in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, [157] having previously lived in Miami and New York City. [158]

In 2018, Damon bought a luxury penthouse in New York City's Brooklyn Heights neighborhood for $16.5 million, [159] making it Brooklyn's most expensive apartment at the time. [160] He is a fan of the Boston Red Sox. [161] After the team won the 2007 World Series, he narrated the commemorative DVD release of the event. [162] He has competed in several World Series of Poker (WSOP) events, [163] [164] including the 2010 World Series of Poker main event. [165] He was eliminated from the 1998 WSOP by poker professional Doyle Brunson. [166]

Aside from awards he has garnered for his role as actor and producer, Damon became the 2,343rd person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 25, 2007. [167] He reacted to the award by stating: "A few times in my life, I've had these experiences that are just kind of too big to process and this looks like it's going to be one of those times." [168]

Handprints and footprints of Damon in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre

  1. ^ Another neighbor of Damon's was historian and author Howard Zinn, [19] whose biographical film You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and audio version of A People's History of the United States Damon later narrated. [15]
  2. ^ He lived in Matthews Hall and then Lowell House[23]
  3. ^ "By the time I figured out I had made the wrong decision, it was too late. I was living out here with a bunch of actors, and we were all scrambling to make ends meet," he has said. [29]
  4. ^Box Office Mojo ranked it seventh amongst his films. [41]
  5. ^ Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 20, 2007, Damon promoted the organization's efforts to prevent the trees used for junk mail letters and envelopes from being chopped down. Damon stated: "For an estimated dime a day they can stop 70% of the junk mail that comes to your house. It's very simple, easy to do, great gift to give, I've actually signed up my entire family. It was a gift given to me this past holiday season and I was so impressed that I'm now on the board of the company." [122]
  6. ^ On January 31, 2008, Kimmel aired a clip of his then girlfriend, comedian Sarah Silverman, singing a song entitled "I'm Fucking Matt Damon" in which Damon appeared. [124][125] Kimmel responded on February 24, 2008 with his music video which said that he was "fucking Ben Affleck". It featured Affleck along with several other actors. [124] Another encounter, titled "The Handsome Men's Club", featured Kimmel, along with handsome actors and musicians. At the end of the skit, Kimmel had a door slammed in his face by Damon, who said that they had run out of time, followed by a sinister laugh. [124][126]
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A Closer Look at Joe Biden's Health

Oct. 28, 2020 -- Uncertainty and contention surround the presidential election that is mere days away, but there is one thing we know for sure: No matter who wins, the next president of the United States will be the oldest to ever take office.

President Donald Trump set the most recent record when he was sworn in at the age of 70. Now 74, he is only slightly younger than the soon-to-be 78-year-old Joe Biden.

So just how healthy is Biden? Quite healthy, according to the most recent medical assessment released by Biden’s doctor in December 2019. The report from Kevin O’Connor, DO, associate professor of Medicine at George Washington University, called Biden “vigorous” and fit to successfully be president.

The information in the assessment noted that Biden is taking blood thinners and medication for acid reflux, cholesterol, and seasonal allergies.

Biden does not use tobacco or drink alcohol and exercises 5 days a week, O’Connor said.

In addition to several sinus surgeries, Biden has had his gallbladder removed and has had several non-melanoma skin cancers removed.

At the time of the exam, he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, weighed 178 pounds, and had a blood pressure of 128/84.

O’Connor said when he first met Biden in 2009, the then-vice president had episodic atrial fibrillation, which is when the heart occasionally begins to beat out of rhythm. But by the time of the assessment, O’Connor said Biden no longer had symptoms of atrial fibrillation.

Medical professionals say evaluating Biden’s chronological age is not the best way to tell whether he should be president.

“An older person who has an active lifestyle and is consistently being challenged cognitively can fulfill those duties,” says Richard Dupee, MD, chief of geriatrics at Tufts Medical Center. “Someone who is 95 could have the memory of someone who is several decades younger.”

Although Biden has said he would serve only one term if elected, he is in good enough health to probably survive even a second term, according to an academic paper released by the American Federation for Aging Research. Biden has a 79% chance of living through a first term and a 70% chance of surviving through a second term, the paper states.

There are, of course, increased health risks that come with age -- particularly a risk of cognitive decline, Dupee said. Above the age of 65, a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia doubles about every 5 years. Dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six people over 80.

But there are things that put people at risk, Dupee said, particularly for vascular dementia, which occurs when not enough blood is getting to the brain. Those include smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, and diabetes.

“If there were lifestyle issues that would increase risk of vascular dementia for him, we'd know that,” Dupee said. “That doesn't seem to be the case.”

Though in good health now, Biden has not been free of medical complications. He had two brain aneurysms in 1988, which were treated. A brain aneurysm is a bulging blood vessel in the brain, which can potentially lead to stroke if untreated. One of the two did rupture, and although he had deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism afterward, his doctor has said this poses no current risk to his health.

The risks for brain aneurysms increase with age, with most diagnosed after 40. They’re most prevalent in people ages 35 to 60.

This part of Biden’s medical history is not particularly significant when predicting his future health, says Cameron McDougall, MD, head of endovascular neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Anyone can have an aneurysm, he says, and there is only a 10%-20% chance someone will have another episode.

“It does happen, but it's not the majority of patients by any means,” he says. “If aneurysms are well-treated, they shouldn't have any ongoing impact.”


American Federation for Aging Research.

The Center for Orthopedic & Neurosurgical Care & Research.

Richard Dupee, MD, chief of geriatrics, Tufts Medical Center.

Cameron McDougall, MD, head of endovascular neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine

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