Of Farting Matches with Skunks: Get Me Roger Stone
Netflix’s new documentary, Get Me Roger Stone (2017) is probably the most important documentary made about the present American political morass. Roger Stone is a prime mover behind the rise of the alt- right and its champion, Donald Trump.
Stone got his start in political tactics hanging out on the periphery of Nixon’s dirty tricks gang responsible for, among other disasters, Watergate. Stone barely got an honorable mention there, but this master of lies wear’s it as a badge of honor — especially since he got this high (to him) recognition at such a young age.
The documentary producers provide monstrous examples of how Stone promoted the extreme conservative agenda by destroying anyone or anything that could stop the greed of the superrich from taking all — and proudly, by any underhanded means possible.
Here are just a couple of examples from a long list in the two-hour documentary.
Eliot Spitzer was seen as the future of the Democratic Party. He had proved himself loyal to his office as attorney general and not to his pocketbook as so many other Attorney Generals had (and still do). Spitzer had brought so much corporate abuse under control that an outraged corporate lobby, the US Chamber of Commerce, attacked Spitzer’s success as “the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation we’ve seen in this country in modern times
Spitzer had to be stopped — and Stone was the man to do it. With his connections in the sleazy underworld of sex clubs, Stone uncovered a prostitute who would testify that Spitzer was her client. Stone, unashamedly — because he is incapable of shame — circulated an embellishment that Spitzer liked to have sex with prostitutes with his socks on. To follow up, Stone circulated a mockup showing a naked Spitzer wearing only his socks. Stone admitted he had no idea whether that was true or not, but it didn’t matter. Once that picture was out, Spitzer was finished as an effective force to bring corporate greed under control.
Stone knew that for extreme conservatives to grab control of the Republican Party, he needed to destroy that middle of the road third-party venture, the Reform Party, lead by Ross Perot.
With the mastery of a Machiavelli, Stone induced a flawed candidate to run for the Reform party’s presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan, knowing that Buchanan had a secret illegitimate child. When the time was right, Stone opened the closet door, Buchanan was ruined as a candidate and so was any chance of a third-party in America.
Alissa Wilkinson of Vox correctly describes the documentary as a horror movie.
While the movie exposes Stone’s deft cunning, it may leave the audience with the feeling that he and his alt-right are now invincible.
The method to fight his style is not dirty tricks against dirty tricks (long ago, a more senior lawyer once told me: Never get into a farting match with a skunk). Truth has no power in the soundbite world of modern politics. Accurate information will not penetrate the working class right wing media bubble.
Stone’s power comes from the despair of the white working class. They are the voters that he so cleverly manipulates. They don’t want truth, they want jobs with dignity. The key to defeating the Stones of our political world is to fight income inequality.
Economists, like Thomas Piketty, have done a wonderful job in calling attention to the rising income inequality, but their solutions such as raising taxes, are impotent. As Leona Helmsley famously told her maid, “We, (rich people) don’t pay taxes, the little people pay taxes.”
Here are some effective ways that are ignored by the politicians:
- Offshore tax evasion in secrecy jurisdictions is estimated for the US at $90 billion every year. Given the number of leaks like the Panama Papers, grabbing this black money would be easy — if there was political will. It could be used for job creation and retraining programs for displaced workers.
• A prime means for transfer of any increase in a country’s GDP upward has been outrageous CEO pay in banks and large corporations. Tax cuts do stimulate the economy, but the benefits are totally creamed off by corporate executives. It was not always such. The mushrooming explosion really took of about three decades ago after Reganomics kicked in. It can be stopped. Executive pay is now often 300 times that of their average employee.. Legislate a pre-Reagan 40 times the average employee ratio limit. CEO’s who can’t live on that are too greedy!
• Automation is the job killer. Economists estimate that 80% of job loss is due to automation. Automation increases profitability and that profitability is vacuumed up by the corporate executives or pilfered by corporate looter hedge funds. Stop the hedge funds from getting control of corporate treasuries. Restrict voting to shareholders who have held shares for five years.
Think tanks need to focus on how to get these workers jobs with dignity and a fair distribution of the nation’s wealth. Of course, there are obvious examples like the need for repair of a nation’s crumbling infrastructure, but beyond that there may be new occupations for these workers. There is little focus on finding these solutions. Basically, even the Democrats are saying that’s life, there’s nothing that can be done, you guys are no longer needed. Suck it up.
As long as the white worker class’ problem is ignored, The Stones and the Trumps will triumph.
Warning: don’t watch this movie late at night. If you have a conscience, you won’t be able to sleep.