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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dirty Trickster Roger Stone, "The Man Who Made Trump President" (See This Netflix Movie!)

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Roger Stone, Republican Hero, Dirty Trickster And All-Round Vile Person

Alan: Don't miss the made-for-Netflix documentary, 
"Get Me Roger Stone"

"Get Me Roger Stone"
The Trailer

"Get Me Roger Stone"
The New York Times Review







Photo

Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime political adviser to Donald J. Trump and the subject of the documentary “Get Me Roger Stone,” has a tattoo of Richard M. Nixon. CreditNetflix

Roger J. Stone Jr., the subject and star of “Get Me Roger Stone,” struts through this documentary with peacock feathers fully fanned. He’s first heard from a perch in some luxury digs, dressed in a tailored chalk-stripe suit with an olive martini at the ready. “My name is Roger Stone,” he says, “and I’m an agent provocateur.” The scene suggests James Bond cosplay, although it’s worth mentioning that the definition of an agent provocateur isn’t a supercool British fantasy spy but someone who persuades others to do wrong.
So, who is Mr. Stone persuading? It’s an inevitable question given his relationship with President Trump and how Mr. Stone’s name just keeps popping up in the news churn. In a May 5 article in The New York Times, for starters, Mr. Stone confirmed that he was one of what the report called “high-profile Trump campaign associates” who’d been asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee “to hand over emails and other records of dealings with Russians as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.” Mr. Stone said that he was “eager, indeed anxious, to testify in full public session, have requested no immunity and am ready to go.”
Skip to this Tuesday, when President Trump fired James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., noting his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Mr. Stone, 64, a giddily freewheeling Twitter user, greeted this news with a series of tweets, including one with a GIF of Mr. Trump stamped “You’re Fired!” and another that reads “Somewhere Dick Nixon is smiling.” On Wednesday, CNN reported that Mr. Stone had recommended that Mr. Trump fire Mr. Comey. The president responded via Twitter:



Whatever else, this is killer timing for Netflix, which is releasing “Get Me Roger Stone” on Friday in theaters and via streaming. That’s especially true because in any other year and perhaps under any other administration, this documentary — the directors are Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme — might have disappeared into the ether. But topicality is all or at least a large part of the movie’s draw. A sometimes illuminating, often slapdash and frustrating affair that mixes on-the-scenes bits, found material and original interviews (with the likes of Jeffrey Toobin), it opens with Mr. Trump accepting the presidential nomination in July 2016 and ends soon after his election. Much of the rest is a chronological march through Mr. Stone’s life, which is studded with scandal and boldfaced names like Roy Cohn.
As it maps the road to Trumpville, the movie offers glimpses of Mr. Stone’s youth, including an oft-repeated story about a light-bulb encounter with Barry Goldwater’s book “The Conscience of a Conservative.” An ideological true believer is born who backs legal pot and has a few Nixon-theme bongs that he likes to show off along with his other Nixonian paraphernalia. After a brush with Watergate, Mr. Stone pokes around here and there; works for both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns; and helps establish a firm that grew into Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, one of a number of companies that earned the nickname “the torturers’ lobby” for repping countries condemned as human-rights abusers.
The documentary also sketches a political family tree that could be its own movie and that has Cohn, the chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy, at its head and branches out to include Mr. Stone and Mr. Trump. Mr. Stone wasn’t yet 30 when he met Cohn in 1979. (At the time, Mr. Stone was helping to run Reagan’s presidential campaign.) Cohn served as Mr. Trump’s lawyer for years and, by many accounts, assumed the role of mentor. It was Cohn who introduced Mr. Stone to Mr. Trump; Mr. Stone decided that Mr. Trump was presidential material and, years later, has become identified as one of the president’s outside advisers.
The movie spends considerable time tagging after the fast-moving Mr. Stone, tracking him from event to event, car to home to microphone, as when he swans into an outdoor rally during the 2016 Republican National Convention that registers as pro-Trump, though perhaps more anti-Clinton. There are signs and people milling about wearing shirts emblazoned with the words “Hillary for Prison”; for his part, the uncharacteristically underdressed Mr. Stone seems almost naked in a T-shirt with Bill Clinton’s smiling likeness and the word “rape.” The movie doesn’t at this point identify Alex Jones, the radio host and conspiracy theorist (the “Pizzagate” hoax), who can be seen hovering at Mr. Stone’s side.
Mr. Jones isn’t formally identified until well into the movie, a careless, exasperating decision. Like other documentaries, this one crams found footage into punchy montage sequences held together by (not always identified) voice-overs. The problem with this clip-art approach is that it tends to turn history into cultural wallpaper, as in the section featuring images of the unnamed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who — with the help of Roy Cohn — were executed in 1953 after being convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. In other areas, the lack of specificity raises questions that remain unanswered, as when an image of the Pentagon flashes by without explanation.
Movies about colorful characters, be they saints or sinners, are often hijacked by their subject, so it’s unsurprising that Mr. Stone, with his bespoke suits and Nixon tattoo, owns this one from the get-go. An energetic tour guide and three-ring circus of one, he seems happiest in front of the camera, which in turn eagerly laps him up. It’s a familiar interdependency and, at times, this movie suggests that his most obvious talent is for self-promotion, one that’s been aided by the attention of the news media. Among the few journalists who seem to have really gotten under his thick skin was Wayne Barrett, an investigative reporter for The Village Voice who died in January.
Mr. Stone has been providing journalists with copy for years. In 1985, Jacob Weisberg profiled him in The New Republic (“The State-of-the-Art Washington Sleazeball”), drawing a line from Mr. Stone’s lobbying work to those Reagan aides — Lyn Nofziger, Michael Deaver, Lee Atwater and Ed Rollins — who “have abandoned helping Reagan make conservative ideas reality in order to sell their connections to the highest bidders.” The journalist Jane Mayer (“Dark Money”) effectively picks up that same thread in the movie when she says, “Lobbying had been considered kind of a sleazy business, but Roger Stone unabashedly came out and said, ‘I’m going to make a pile of money off of this and no apologies.’”
The indefatigable Mr. Stone continues to go go go, unapologetically. In January, he published his most recent book, “The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution.” On Monday, Alliance Strategies Group announced that it would “exclusively represent” Mr. Stone’s online presence for “digital advertising opportunities,” adding that he is “most well-known as President Donald Trump’s confidant and political adviser of over 40 years and often viewed as the architect of the Trump presidential strategy.”
And on Friday, “Get Me Roger Stone” will do its part to extend Mr. Stone’s reach and his brand, both of which seem as unbounded as he does.

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Roger Stone's 1996 Sex Scandal
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Excerpt: "There’s the squicky sex scandal that got him booted from Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign: Stone and his wife advertised in a swingers’ magazine, looking for a nice orgy, which didn’t go over too well with the family-values crowd. (David Letterman joked that Republicans had gotten to the point where it was scandalous that a guy had sex with his own wife.)."
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