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Ash writes: "Like a bag of money, Vladimir Putin has handed American Republican members of Congress more political currency than they or anyone else saw coming."

In this scene from the movie, No Country for Old Men Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) finds the drug money and makes the decision to keep it. (image: Miramax)
In this scene from the movie, No Country for Old Men Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) finds the drug money and makes the decision to keep it. (image: Miramax)

No Country for Old Republicans

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

16 July 17


than and Joel Coen’s 2007 cinematic masterpiece No Country for Old Men, like all classics, is considered a significant work of art because it paints a compelling portrait of the human condition.

The film’s two central protagonists are Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). It is in Llewelyn, however, that perhaps we best see ourselves and are forced to ask deep questions about the decisions we make.

The plot revolves around a drug deal gone bad in the West Texas desert. Llewelyn, out hunting, stumbles upon a scene of human carnage, the aftermath of a gunfight that presumably erupted when the transporters, sellers of Mexican heroin, and their buyers jumped the gun, literally leaving almost no one alive.

As he stands amid the corpses, weapons, and drugs, Llewelyn’s alarm is palpable. He takes on the demeanor of a wild animal, senses alive, on high alert. He won’t touch the drugs, he takes one handgun from the grasp of a dead man, and then he sees the suitcase with the two million dollars in cash. Heroin he wants no part of, he doesn’t understand it. But the money has his attention. After all, money is money, right?

Off he goes, suitcase in hand, with more money than he has ever seen and more trouble than he will be able to stop. The cartels, armed with automatic weapons, come looking for the drugs or the money, and a brilliantly psychopathic Chigurh, played by Bardem, comes looking for the money on behalf of the American buyers.

The beleaguered and overmatched lawman, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, played by Tommy Lee Jones, tasked with restoring law and order, at one point goes to his uncle Ellis, played by Barry Corbin, a retired Sheriff himself, and asks for advice. The warning he gets is ominous: “You cain’t stop what’s coming.” Indeed, what is coming is a trail of violence and bloodshed that the quiet desert communities in the area are totally unprepared for. In the end Llewelyn, his wife, and a number of others are murdered.

Currency is currency, right?

Like a bag of money, Vladimir Putin has handed American Republican members of Congress more political currency than they or anyone else saw coming. They’re not comfortable embracing Putin, but they’re okay with the newfound currency he has bestowed upon them. After all, political currency is political currency, right?

Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and their supporters have a problem not unlike Llewelyn’s. They’re off down the road with a bag of ill-begotten political currency, and there’s a crime scene they’re running from.

Talking heads while talking often speak of Putin’s interference in 2016 U.S. presidential election in the past or future tense. “It happened at that time … and we don’t want it to happen next time.” Seemingly oblivious to the three-ring circus of foreign influence and national security degradation unfolding before their eyes.

Putin’s Godfatherly embrace of Trump, his family, and his wide circle of supporters constitutes a right-here, right-now, live, active national security threat to the United States. This is a smash and grab of our republic underway in full view.

When Donald Trump as president opens up the Oval Office to the Putin regime or snubs the NATO Alliance, he is recklessly ignoring the advice of every national security expert in the Western world. When Trump contemptuously refuses to reveal his business dealings or financial dealings with Putin’s circle of oligarchs, he is leaving the door wide open for massive corruption and betrayal of his oath as President.

Of equal cause for alarm is what the Republicans themselves are buying with Putin’s currency. A new “conservative Supreme Court Justice,” no problem. The destruction of the U.S. healthcare system for the benefit of the wealthiest one percent, of course. Putin’s currency spends well.

Evan McMullin, writing for the Washington Post, opined, Republicans are Risking Becoming the Party of Putin. Consider that done. There is still the matter of the bag of illicit currency and its consequences.

Like the Sheriff said, “You cain’t stop what’s coming.”

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+39 # diamondmarge7 2017-07-16 09:57
One can but hope/wish/pray for:
1. The complete& utter destruction of the current Rethuglican Party-every last damn sociopathic member
2. The birth of/rise of/good health of a People's Party
3. The quick&painless demise of the neoliberal current Democratic Party
4. The brilliant/NOW implementation of a Climate-Correct ing Miracle
+2 # ericlipps 2017-07-17 07:21
In other words, revolution--and , of course, a miracle.

Actually, three miracles, or four, depending on whether you count the destruction of both existing major parties as one miracle or two (wish #2 counts as miracle #4).

(The demise of the "neoliberal current Democratic Party" may or may not require a "miracle," but it would take one to make it "quick and painless.")
+39 # dickbd 2017-07-16 10:21
Good article. However, I am not in favor of ginning up more tensions between us and the Russians. There's plenty not to like in Putin, but we overclassify information, and our government goes after whisteblowers as though they were saboteurs. We get fed false information by numerous intelligence agencies.

We have a bad history with Russia because our plutocrats were so afraid communism would sweep the world. And why do we need NATO now? Russia can justly feel encircled.

We should be aware of our own faults. We're the ones with a military budget that surpasses the next eight countries combined.

We, not Russia, have a thousand bases around the world. According to Chomsky, who sites polls, it it our country that the world fears the most. Perhaps rightly so.
+20 # BluePill 2017-07-16 10:29
Perfect analogy to what's going on. And it is truly frightening. I think a lot of people are wondering why Trump supporters are still unable to see what's going on. I think another cinematic analogy would be Blazing Saddles's. Think of Trump supporters like the Johnsons in the little town. To paraphrase Gene Wilder's character, "They're, you know, morons"
+22 # GDW 2017-07-16 11:30
I agree with "dickbd". It is the US that is waging 7 or 8 wars while it supplies arms and aid to dictatorial regimes. If the Russian did interfere in our elections then it is Trump and Pence who should be impeached. The real enemy is war, pushed by the Military Industrial Complex which robs us of our future for the benefit of the elites. The US's hands are dirty also when it comes to interference in other countries affairs. If we can support Saudi Arabia and others like it we can do business with Russia.
The democratic party has turned into the war party representing US aggression and the oligarchy. The more wars we wage the more $$$ they make.
+9 # gdsharpe 2017-07-16 12:07
That buffoon has sold us out, and Congress is making hay while they can.
This commentary stands out as being right on the mark.
The simile is just too, too, ...

It is possible that at some point in time Pence will be faced with the big decision, bigger this time than ever in the past.
In the past, mere corruption, lies, and criminal complicity: Sure, a pardon.
Now treason could be added to the question. What will Pence do?
+5 # MendoChuck 2017-07-16 13:00
I do not think that the word "morons" is the proper term.
A statement like that makes you think they might be just plain dumb.
I would say that Trump supporters are actually stuck in a time warp. Trump supporters would like the world to return to 1950. Everything that has happened since then should not have happened. If we all returned to 1950 thinking we would all be happy once again.
Of course the rest of the world would be on another planet and America would have the whole world to itself.
Now wouldn't that be fun?
+9 # dbrize 2017-07-16 14:51
You are within a couple of years.

1952 represented the last opportunity the GOP had to restore a republican (small r) form of government and a sane foreign policy. They refused (actually stole) the nomination from Bob Taft and made their deal with devil by nominating the eastern corporate bankers choice for the global hegemony drive ahead. Eisenhower.

Any genuine progressive who studies Taft's foreign policy positions from 1946 on should weep at what could have been.
+1 # Caliban 2017-07-17 23:40
Taft over Eisenhower? Not really. Taft worked tirelessly to subvert the liberal advances of the New Deal, opposed the unions, and was ready to let the Nazis take over Europe.

Eisenhower whipped the Nazis, was tough but not irrational on post-war foreign policy matters (see the Suez Crisis), and a genuine force in the movement towards desegregation in the US.

Ike was, quite simply, the last genuine national leader in the GOP who was not a total embarrassment.
+5 # dbrize 2017-07-18 09:00
I believe Ike was the best of a poor bunch though Kennedy was showing signs of seeing the light vis a vis the CIA/MIC which is why he was taken out. It's a low bar however.

Eisenhower it should be remembered, gave us the hegemony minded Dulles brothers, Iran overthrow and spent the money to build the MIC he ended up warning us about.

You are disingenuous about Taft. He tried to keep us out war that's true. Most Americans agreed with him which is why the Brits and Roosevelt conspired during the prewar period. Once we were attacked by Japan, Taft supported every part of the war effort. And our sacrifices during WWII though severe, pale before those of the USSR. If you want to give credit for"whipping the Nazis" start there.
0 # Caliban 2017-07-19 12:06
"Once we were attacked by Japan, Taft supported every part of the war effort" -- Of course he did. How could he not and still retain even a modicum of credibility?
+1 # gdsharpe 2017-07-20 08:50
Quoting Caliban:

Ike was, quite simply, the last genuine national leader in the GOP who was not a total embarrassment.
Spot on!
+4 # Robbee 2017-07-16 14:58
maybe the cdc can prepare a epidemiological chart projecting demographics of when and where in the us of a our working poor can be expected to start dying, due to projected enactment of the repuke america don't care act?
-6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-16 18:42
"Evan McMullin, writing for the Washington Post, opined, Republicans are Risking Becoming the Party of Putin. Consider that done. There is still the matter of the bag of illicit currency and its consequences."

I would consider this a great leap forward. The republican used to be party of Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Maggie Thatcher, Milton Friedman, the Koch Bros, J. Edgar Hoover, and a pack more misanthropes.

Let's face it, Putin is one of the best respected statesmen in the world right now. He's been on the right side of very many issues. The US is pretty much alone in standing against him. Of course, the US puppets in Europe side with the US but increasingly they are understanding the costs to their nations of going along with the US cold war.

The US has been "blessed" with a string of very weak and feckless presidents -- Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump. They were all in the pockets of special interest and banks. By comparison, Putin looks quite good.

It is worth considering that just 7 years ago Putin was greatly admired in the US. He and Bush were best buddies. They went fishing, they dressed up in costumes, the did manly things on the ranch. Look at these faltterig photos --

What happened? Why did it all change so suddenly. Obviously Obama was in charge of the change in American policy. Or was it Hillary?
+5 # carytucker 2017-07-16 22:44
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
"Evan McMullin, writing for the Washington Post, opined, Republicans are Risking Becoming the Party of Putin. Consider that done. There is still the matter of the bag of illicit currency and its consequences."

Let's face it, Putin is one of the best respected statesmen in the world right now.

By whom?
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-17 11:49
Only in US media do you find negative stories about Putin and they are mostly transparent fake news. The rest of the world rates him very highly and has for quite a long time. Americans are the worst informed people on earth. That's because there media is not about news but about thought control.

"Vladimir Putin's approval rating at record levels "

Russian Approval of Putin Soars to Highest Level in Years

Vladimir Putin’s unshakeable popularity
0 # gdsharpe 2017-07-26 17:44
Not in the EU or in eastern Europe.
+2 # sbessho 2017-07-16 23:43
"Let's face it, Putin is one of the best respected statesmen in the world right now."

Cough, cough.
0 # draypoker 2017-07-22 12:53
Putin is a disaster in Russia, and a threat to everyone to the west.
0 # ericlipps 2017-07-17 07:24
"The buck stops" at the Truman desk, not the State Department.

And of course it couldn't be that Russia's (that is, the Putin regime's) behavior during the Obama years had anything to do with the policy change.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-17 11:56
Except that Russia's or Putin's behavior remained essentially the same for the Bush and Obama regimes. Dimitri Medvedev was president from 2008 to 2012. So Putin missed the first 4 years of Obama's regime. Obama via his CIA and other agencies worked like hell to cause Putin to lose in the 2012 elections. So Obama was against Putin even before he became president for the second time. Remember, Obama even refused to acknowledge Putin's victory for a while. Obama was deliberately cold toward Putin. Clearly Obama was already getting instructions from the CIA that a turn in relations with Russia was now in effect.
+7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-07-16 19:29
"Like the Sheriff said, “You cain’t stop what’s coming.”"

I'm not so pessimistic as this. This sort of fatalism is good for movies. But people are learning what republicans are and they may not vote for them in 2018 and 2020. Republicans have had almost 25 years of "easy street." They did not have to be accountable for their policies. 9-11 gave Bush II a pass. He was not questioned about most things. Then republicans got to be the opposition under both Obama and Clinton. They could blame democrats -- and they did this 24/7.

But now they control the house, the senate, the presidency, and the supreme court. It is all on them. What fucks up is their doing.

It is just too bad the Demos are so focused on Russiagate and the vengeance of Hillary. They are in a good position to win a lot in 2018 and 2020 but they won't they don't wake up and move on beyond the tragedy of 2016.
+2 # oakes721 2017-07-16 20:40
Trumps have been smoking a couple kilos of Putin's weed ~ but still maintain that they never inhaled ~ while a hacking Congress suddenly wants to legalize Russian Roulette.
+8 # davehaze 2017-07-16 23:38
Putin is the villan in in Russia. We are perfectly capable of destroying our crippled democracy by ourselves.

Putin is an excuse not a problem.

If incompetent Russia really did interfer with our electoral process would we not immediately set about fixing the process? Does any one pushing a Russian conspiracy talk about an unhackable paper ballots fix?

I didnt think so.
0 # chemtex2611 2017-07-19 12:53
I started counting paper ballots in 1968. No problem with every counter changing a few votes here and there. Who would know? If caught, just say it was a mistake and you were tired after arriving to set up polls at 6am.

You sound suspicious, but I doubt that you actually know how the voting machines in your precinct work. I have for a long time. I know what is connected to the internet and what is not. Do you?

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