Monday, 20 February 2017

The truth is out there - sort of!

I came across the name Roger Stone in the paper and decided to find out a little about him. According to Wikipedia "Roger Jason Stone Jr. (born August 27, 1952) is an American political consultant, lobbyist, and strategist, noted for his use of opposition research, usually for candidates of the Republican Party". That'll do.

Roger Stone has written a book about Donald Trump. "The Making of the President". That was quick! Maybe he always planned it, whatever the outcome of the election, but now, with so much attention on how chaotic or otherwise the presidency is proving to be, depending on which truth you believe, must seem like a good moment to get a book out there. You never know, even people who do not as a rule read books might buy this one.

Roger Stone worked on Trump's campaign from the beginning as a senior advisor but clashed with others in the team and left. One of his revelations is that trump trademarked his "Make America great again" slogan back in 2012. Was he already planning to run then? Quite possibly!

 One of the things Roger Stone has said is, “One man’s dirty trick is another man’s civic participation." Here's an example of a trick, found on Wikipedia: "In the first grade, Stone claims, he broke into politics to further John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign: "I remember going through the cafeteria line and telling every kid that Nixon was in favor of school on Saturdays...It was my first political trick". Little Roger started early!

As the man said, “One man’s dirty trick is another man’s civic participation." It's one way of looking at life, I suppose, although I prefer people who don't deal in dirty tricks at all. Some people argue that any means to an end is justified but I still think that a bad means to a good end undermines the goodness of the end. Once you dip into sleaze it tends to spread.

His idea that we choose which truth to believe has a frighteningly real quality to it however. He quotes the example of the death of President Kennedy. “There used to be only one version – the government’s version – about the assassination of President Kennedy: Lee Harvey Oswald killed him acting alone. There was no argument over that until the internet got into full swing. Today, a majority of Americans do not believe Oswald killed Kennedy acting alone – it’s amazing, the people have come to what I believe to be the correct conclusion. Without an alternative media today, you wouldn’t even have this debate.”. Choose the version of the truth that suits you!

And we all do it to some extent, choosing to believe the reality presented by one news source or another. We can try to remain unbiased by reading and listening to a variety of sources but there are only 24 hours in a day and the news sources are proliferating at a furious rate.

But we have to keep on trying because it's that uncertainty about the truth that has helped bring about Brexit and the continuing arguments about how to sort it all out.

(By the way, here is a little something I found about that:

 At a glance | Theresa May's 12-point Brexit plan

* Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU
* Control of our own laws
* Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom
* Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
* Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe
* Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU
* Protect workers' rights
* Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement
* New trade agreements with other countries
* The best place for science and innovation
* Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
* A smooth, orderly Brexit

 Is that a plan?)

As well as Brexit that uncertainty also helped bring about the election of the 45th POTUS and we have his government which is either a smoothly oiled machine or total chaos. You can choose the truth you want to believe.

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