The Fire and Fury book

I’ve quickly read Fire and Fury, the book that at least the media is talking about.

The author is clairvoyant in that he can see inside the heads of other people. He writes with 100 percent confidence that Donald Trump wanted to lose the 2016 election and was upset that he won. The author, an American man, is able to get inside the head of a Slovenian woman:

He admired her looks—often, awkwardly for her, in the presence of others. She was, he told people proudly and without irony, a “trophy wife.” And while he may not have quite shared his life with her, he gladly shared the spoils of it. “A happy wife is a happy life,” he said, echoing a popular rich-man truism.

How does he know what was awkward for Melania if he is not clairvoyant? Separately, a Google search for “happy wife happy life” reveals no association with income level.

Trump is accused of a lot of bad behavior, but nearly always without any source cited. This information also comes from clairvoyance?

The author doesn’t seem to have done a lot of research. He writes that “no president before Trump and few politicians ever have come out of the real estate business”. Yet George Washington made his money in real estate (see previous blog post and history.org (“Most of this wealth can be traced to Washington’s success as a land speculator, an enterprise that grew out of his early career as land surveyor.”)).

The author expresses confidence that “Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election” because unnamed “friends” of Trump supposedly believed this.

One source of a lot of stuff in the book is Steve Bannon, but there don’t seem to be any quotes, e.g., “Bannon described Trump as a simple machine. The On switch was full of flattery, the Off switch full of calumny.” What did Bannon actually say?

The author seldom explains where he was and how he got access to the few actual quotes. For example:

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

Was the author sitting with Donald Trump on a speaker phone? Sitting with Rupert Murdoch?

Since there isn’t enough substantive material to fill up a book-length manuscript, the author resorts to quoting hearsay:

“Mr. Trump said he’s never once listened to a whole Obama speech,” said one of the young people authoritatively.
“They’re so boring,” said another.

What have we learned from this? Trump actually said that he never listened to a full Barack Obama speech? The unnamed young staffer quoted thought that Trump might have said it? What?

Continuing the theme of the author’s ability to see inside others’ heads… “Jared Kushner at thirty-six prided himself on his ability to get along with older men. … Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. … Trump found the White House, an old building with only sporadic upkeep and piecemeal renovations—as well as a famous roach and rodent problem—to be vexing and even a little scary. … [after nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court] Trump would shortly not remember when he had ever wanted anyone but Gorsuch.”

How does this guy know what another person does and does not remember?

The author goes back in time to judge Fred Trump:

Jews and Israel were a curious Trump subtext. Trump’s brutish father was an often vocal anti-Semite. In the split in New York real estate between the Jews and non-Jews, the Trumps were clearly on the lesser side. The Jews were white shoe, and Donald Trump, even more than his father, was perceived as a vulgarian

If Fred Trump was a brute, why didn’t his wife sue him under New York family law and live comfortably and brute-free on at least half of the assets Fred Trump had accumulated? In the age of on-demand unilateral and profitable divorce, why would a rational woman remain married to a “brute” from 1936 until the brute’s death in 1999? The author and the publisher (Macmillan) don’t seem able to check facts with Wikipedia, which describes a white-shoe firm as one that excludes Jews.

Donald Trump is a bad husband:

An absentee father for his first four children, Trump was even more absent for his fifth, Barron, his son with Melania. … He was a notorious womanizer, and during the campaign became possibly the world’s most famous masher. While nobody would ever say Trump was sensitive when it came to women, he had many views about how to get along with them, including a theory he discussed with friends about how the more years between an older man and a younger woman, the less the younger woman took an older man’s cheating personally.

Notorious among whom? Which friends? If Donald Trump is so bad, why doesn’t Melania go down to the New York divorce courthouse and cash in? The author says that she doesn’t enjoy the publicity and attention of being First Lady. So if Donald Trump is a bad husband and being First Lady has no value, why wouldn’t an intelligent person such as Melania avail herself of our country’s no-fault divorce laws and become rich and “independent” (cashing checks every month from Donald would be the source of the “independence,” of course!)? These apparent logical contradictions are never addressed.

The author also doesn’t explain how a multi-billionaire who is purportedly a “notorious womanizer” has kept everything so quiet. Trump has been worth an average of roughly $3 billion for the past 10 years. If he is able to spend 4 percent of his wealth annually, that’s $120 million per year or $328,767 per day. Are there women who could be persuaded to have sex in exchange for something that $328,767 would buy? If not in New York then somewhere reachable by personal Boeing 757? Before the Hollywood Cleansing made the news, we had data such as “20 women slept with me to get promotion” (The Sun) from a supermarket assistant manager. That’s in one supermarket and he was only the assistant manager. The Trump Organization is listed by Wikipedia as having 22,450 employees, roughly half of whom are presumably women, and Trump was the top manager and final decision-maker. If Trump’s priority were womanizing, as the author suggests, why have we not heard about a sex-for-promotion situation (e.g., from a disgruntled employee who was passed over) within the Trump Organization? A billionaire “notorious womanizer” in the cameraphone era has left no evidence of his fun times? Why wasn’t compromising content being generated on a daily basis for the past 16 years since the Sanyo SCP-5300 was introduced?

There is virtually nothing in the book about the substantive work of the President. If you want to know why the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare was unsuccessful while the corporate tax rate cut did go through, this book won’t be helpful.

Bottom line: The book is spectacularly dull unless perhaps you know these Washington insiders personally and want to know what has been anonymously said about some of them. My opinion of Macmillan was diminished by the readily apparent sloppiness of the work.

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17 Comments

  1. toucan sam

    January 11, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

    1

    oh gosh here we go….. Dr. Greenspun or how (Phil) stopped worrying and learned to love the Trump!!!!

  2. philg

    January 11, 2018 @ 1:48 pm

    2

    The book won’t change anyone’s mind about Trump’s effectiveness as president, I don’t think, because it is at best tangentially related to stuff in a president’s job description, e.g., finding federal judges to appoint.

  3. dwight looi

    January 11, 2018 @ 2:15 pm

    3

    LOL… why do I care about a about whose author declared may not be true? Just more background noise from the enemy FAKE NEWS media. As far as fiction goes, I also do not give credence to one that says that Obama holds secret meetings with the Alpha Centaurians.

    What I am more concerned about is Trump’s seemingly softening position on Immigration and DACA. If he actually cave to the Democrats to undermine immigration law and surrender US sovereignity by granting DACA amnesty without SIGNIFICANT concessions from the Demonrats, that is the end of my support for his presidency.

  4. Jack

    January 11, 2018 @ 4:20 pm

    4

    Seems to me that anyone who could provoke a book like this while single handedly slaying the Hilldebeast and ending the Bush and Clinton dynasties can’t be all bad. So i am with him on this one.

  5. Russil Wvong

    January 11, 2018 @ 5:22 pm

    5

    If you’re interested in Wolff’s methods, there was an amusing interview with the Hollywood Reporter a few days ago. It sounds like he basically … talked to people in the White House.

    Q. What was the closest you ever got to getting kicked out and the whole thing falling apart?

    A. The problem areas became when whatever crisis was going on in the White House meant there was nobody to talk to. That could run for a week and you’d think, “Oh no, I’ve lost my access.” What was odd is that you’ve lost your access — but you’re sitting there. I would theoretically have an appointment and sit there for the whole day. It would get to be night and somebody would come out and say, “We gotta push this to the end of the week.” So then you would become dispirited and think, “Oh God, I’m out.” Although you’re in. And you’re seeing this go by. People are rushing by you. You see everything there. And then you just come back the next day. Again, just showing up.

  6. anonymale

    January 11, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

    6

    >>ending the Bush and Clinton dynasties can’t be all bad

    Agreed. Why that service to civilization alone doesn’t qualify him for a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honour and a KBE* and a seat in the House of Lords is an enduring mystery. American Governance c.1989-2016 just a miserable bipartisan sequence of unforced errors fractal in scale and global in scope

    *yeah I know, he couldn’t accept the title.

  7. Mark

    January 11, 2018 @ 10:18 pm

    7

    I bet popcorn sales have gone through the roof as all the prime time cable news shows heat up to determine who or whom can out scream whom. It’s like watching a tennis match!
    Love him or hate him, Trump has provided a lot of entertainment. For that singular reason, he has my vote in 2020, if we can get to 2020 before the end of mankind as we know it showdown between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Kellyanne Conway.
    Get that corn ‘a poppin’!

  8. anon

    January 12, 2018 @ 12:40 am

    8

    Meh. F&F is fan fiction written by the left to sell books to the left that fantastically explains why Trump won without having to admit they were wrong. Look for the sequel that explains why Trump won in 2020.

  9. Senorpablo

    January 12, 2018 @ 1:00 am

    9

    How could Trump have gotten away with harassment without it somehow bubbling to the surface? The same way Cosby, Weinstein, Catholic priests and countless others have hid their behavior for decades. As for how did Wolf know Trump made Melania feel awkward? Embarrassment and uncomfortableness are emotions experienced and felt by subjects and witnesses alike during awkward moments. No clairvoyance needed.

  10. Larry

    January 12, 2018 @ 8:38 am

    10

    20,000 women spread their legs for Wilt Chamberlain https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/08/the-sexual-prowess-of-wilt-chamberlain-20-000-women/261429/

    Rest of Lakers close behind https://www.gq.com/story/1980s-lakers-team-drugs-sex-life

    Ric Flair http://people.com/sports/ric-flair-slept-with-10000-women-regret/

    Fidel Castro 2-3 per day for 40 years. 13,000 Warren Beatty. 5,000+ for Charlie Sheen. http://mentalfloss.com/article/23650/quick-10-10-infamous-womanizers

    300-500 per day Magic Johnson http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=165082

    Womanizers or just life on Planet Whore?

  11. parp

    January 12, 2018 @ 10:07 am

    11

    > 300-500 per day Magic Johnson

    No matter who you are, that’s bloody impressive.

  12. Mememe

    January 12, 2018 @ 11:43 am

    12

    philg, your review of Fire and Fury has attracted a better class of spammers.

    Somehow spam filters and spamming comment bots combined to agree that italian whore-mongering belong in discussion of the Fire and Fury. The machines might be right.

    Larry, the link to MJ says he slept with 300-500 different people ANNUALLY, not daily.

    Can this book can be discussed without descending into the gutter? If its ultimate purpose is to further degrade civil civic discussion, its success is evident in the discussions it provokes.

  13. FL

    January 12, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

    13

    Afraid I agree with Dave Winer when he says:

    “I’ve been pushing the idea of Occam’s News, where we talk about what’s obvious not what we can prove. Michael Wolff’s approach is exactly that. It’s not what you can prove, but it’s what we know anyway. Both this and proof-based news are valid and needed.

    Wars are fought with Occam’s spy info, and guesswork about what the enemy is doing, and trying to figure out what’s a decoy and what’s real.

    Also medicine. Sometimes they don’t know what disease you have and they just start treating the one they think you might have and see if it works.”

    (http://scripting.com/2018/01/12/150547.html)

  14. philg

    January 12, 2018 @ 6:47 pm

    14

    FL: A couple of my hedge fund friends like to open coffee or lunch meetings with “Let’s talk about what we think instead of what we know because it gives us a much wider scope for conversation.” Sounds like Dave Winer is in sync with them!

    Since I have recently joined the Church of Scientology, let’s talk about what is obvious to me. My news is that it is obvious that a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) that is resident in a physical body. The thetan has had innumerable past lives and it is observed in advanced Scientology texts that lives preceding the thetan’s arrival on Earth were lived in extraterrestrial cultures. We should thoroughly discuss the obvious fact that Xenu, approximately 75 million years ago, stuffed thetans into volcanoes and exploded a bunch of hydrogen bombs. And that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are misleading data from the R6 implant.

  15. FL

    January 12, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

    15

    phig: If someone comes out of a meeting and anonymously reports that Trump said “sh*thole” in the meeting, and it’s denied by Trump and Sarah Huckabee, and there’s no recording of the meeting, did it happen?

  16. the other Donald

    January 13, 2018 @ 5:59 pm

    16

    Wolff gets credit for profiting at Donald’s expense and Donald can’t do a damn thing but bitch about it. I hope he sells more than “Art of the Deal” (which seems likely). All is well when everybody’s making money. Who cares who said what?

  17. Russil Wvong

    January 17, 2018 @ 6:03 pm

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