Useful Idiots

Your host discovers you can’t beat the Russians at the fake game and ToE’s Chris reviews Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden. Plus: Vladislav Surkov and the Potemkin Panopticon.



5 thoughts on “Useful Idiots

  1. Dylan

    Hi. Loved the show.

    Where can I hear more from the guy who talked to you in the second half of the show about Surkov?

    Thanks! Keep up the great work!!


    1. Jose

      Hi Dylan,

      Charles Maynes is a journalist; but he is also a terrific radio producer, who made some of my favourite audio pieces. To be honest, I was gleefully surprised to hear him talk with Benjamen. He has done a few pieces for PRX; below is a link to two of his most prominent pieces (Three Records from Sundown won the Director’s Choice award at Third Coast International):


  2. Austin

    Hi, have you considered discussing the Free and Open Source Software movement? Open source security software solves a lot of the paranoia problem, that this episode starts to address. FYI, Signal is open source, so there probably isn’t a back door in it. Also, open-source software doesn’t suffer from the same conflict of interest problem you mentioned a while back in one of your episodes on algorithms (I think it’s one of the “Enchanting by Numbers”). You mentioned a law of algorithms named after some Airline executive, wherein the algorithms serve the companies that create them, rather than the end-user. But if the community of end-users is actually designing the software, you escape this issue. Additionally, a lightweight open source operating system, such as Linux mint 18 Xfce, might solve the laptop issue you discuss in the “The Escapers.”
    Check out these links.
    I hope this is interesting, and I haven’t told you a bunch of things you already know. It just seems that as you describe the problems with our digital world, your practically laying out a case study in the disadvantages of closed source proprietary software, and the benefits of open source.

  3. Sue

    So, in your podcast on ‘Useful Idiot’ this is a send up right? If not why is your guest commenting on Oliver Stones fictional account of Snowden??? Why not Citizen4 — isn’t this a little bit of elevating fiction to fact????


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