Book Review: Fire and Fury (2018)

Inside the Trump White House
By Michael Wolff

This one is a very popular, stand-in-a-long-waiting-list-at-your-library narrative from an individual who had remarkable access or at least implicit fly-on-the-wall observation authority during many of the turbulent hours of the Trump presidency for the first 100 days and then some. Michael Wolff is an unabashed part of the Mainstream ‘Program,’ yet withal IMHO a mostly objective reporter—at least within hailing distance of the Hunter S. Thompson ‘gonzo journalism’ model—of what all went  on. Plus, he writes clearly with understated, therefore, occasionally ROFL humor.

To use a phrase that comes to mind, “nobody could make this s**t up.” And Wolff’s timing and level of description are impeccable. It’s quite easy for someone who is only vaguely familiar with the mainstream noise—I cancelled my cable and rarely watch broadcast channels—to follow who’s doing what to whom and where they’re coming from in their careers and motivations.

For instance, I had no idea that Trump’s chief of staff is or was, like, a triumvirate:

  • Steve Bannon (the, some would say, alt-right ideologue who fashioned himself as the Rasputin to the Donald)
  • Rience Priebus (from the Republican National Committee), and
  • Jared/Ivanka (Jarvanka: Ivanka is Trump’s daughter and Jared is a rip-roarin’ member of the ultra-Jewish-supremacist cult, Chabad Lubavitch).

One wonders why Wolff was able to enjoy such a ring side seat in the Trump White House, but as he points out, the lack of structure in that bizarre environment enabled him to simply hang out there with nobody questioning his credentials. Still I would take about 30% of his blow by blows with a wheel-barrow-sized grain of salt: they just read too akin to creative fiction. But it’s DYNAMITE creative fiction, for the most part, especially when Wolff gives wording to Trump’s range of the moment states of mind. For example, here’s a segment of the speech—obviously not fiction—Trump delivered to 300 CIA personnel at their Langley, VA, headquarters on January 21, 2017 (his first presidential act, throwing away a carefully prepared text):

“I know a lot about West Point, I’m a person who very strongly believes in academics. Every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years, who did a fantastic job in so many ways academically—he was an academic genius—and then they say, Is Donald Trump an intellectual? Trust me, I’m like a smart person.”

Which was all somehow by way of praise for the new, soon-to-be-confirmed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who had attended West Point and who Trump had brought with him to stand in the crowd—and now found himself as bewildered as anyone else.

“You know when I was young. Of course, I feel young—I feel like was 30… 35… 39…. Somebody said, Are you young? I said, I think I’m young. I was stopping in the final months of the campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops—speeches, speeches in front of 25, 30 thousand people… 15, 19 thousand. I feel young—I think we’re all so young. When I was young we were always winning things in this country. We’d win with trade, we’d win with wars—at a certain age I remember hearing from one of my instructors, the United States has never lost a war. And then, after that, it’s like we haven’t won anything. You know the old expression, to the victor belongs the spoils? You remember I always say, keep the oil.”

Etc. — page 48

Quite unbelievable. In my high school years, the English teacher would call such rambling a run-on sentence, well, a run-on series of sentences. But reading the whole Trump speech—and there are a few other wholly scatterbrained presentations documented in the book—I’m thinking this man is not connected to reality in any cognitive way. If he weren’t the president and no one was taking care of him, he’d be burning his house down. Which is a majorly disturbing fact, also indicative of who is really running the government machinery, to be discussed more toward the end of this column.

In conjunction with the above, what in the old days would be called, acute schizophrenia, we have the following insight Wolff makes earlier about the reality of Trump’s conceptual incompetence:

Almost all the professionals who were now set to join him were coming face to face with the fact that it appeared he [Trump] knew nothing. There was simply no subject, other than perhaps building construction, that he had substantially mastered. Everything with him was off the cuff. Whatever he knew he seemed to have learned an hour before—and that was mostly half-baked. But each member of the new Trump team was convincing himself or herself otherwise—what did they know, the man had been elected president…. Indeed, while everybody in his rich-guy social circle knew about his wide-ranging ignorance—Trump, the businessman, could not even read a balance sheet, and Trump, who had campaigned on his deal-making skills, was, with his inattention to details, a terrible negotiator—they yet found him somehow instinctive. That was the word. He was a force of personality. He could make you believe. — page 22

This on the heels of the victory in 2016, which nobody expected, and which Trump and his family and staff, as pointed out by Wolff, really did NOT want to happen—as in the movie with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, The Producers. Wife Melania went into a deep depression and the Donald himself was pale as a ghost on hearing that he had won.

The gist of the book is describing the power struggles that were exacerbated by Trump’s “instinctive” management methods. You get a clear picture of the personalities, in proportion to whether they HAVE personalities. Wolff spends a lot of time on Steve Bannon, his history and ‘philosophy:’

Just doing things became a Bannon principle, the sweeping antidote to bureaucratic and establishment ennui and resistance. It was the chaos of just doing things that actually got things done. Except, even if you assumed that not knowing how to to do things didn’t much matter if you just did them. It was still not clear who was going to do what you wanted to do. Or, as a corollary, because nobody in the Trump administration knew how to do anything, it was therefore no clear what anyone did. — page 64

So what you have is a ‘point and grunt’ sort of dictatorial style. No ideas, no management, nothing of structure or substance: Trump Tweets ‘r’ us. And the marvel of Fire and Fury is that Wolff makes every little detail of the train wreck clear, interesting, entertaining… and distracting. He’s an outstanding writer for the times: Wolff elevates the soap opera of a once  freedom-aspiring country’s leadership running amok into the epitome of what Neil Postman referred to as Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985). F&F is going  to sell millions, because it’s like the revival of the reasonably well-written best of Saturday Night Live… and absolutely nothing will change.

Why?

Because the underlying pathocracy of the country, fueled by the subset of kingmakers inside the Western Cabal who brought and bought us Trump rather than Hillary or Bernie (who were backed by a different subset of the same Cabal), marches on. Militarism, debt, the drowning of civil liberties, etc., of the individual by rogue, unaccountable Men of the Power Sickness continues unabated, on its own inexorable path of destruction. Wolff is not in the business of solving problems, merely holding up a lens to focus the problems of this particular DC gang of the moment.

Bannon eventually left (or was fired). But Jarvanka held on tight. What Kissinger is reported to have stated about the Trump White House, “It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews,” is merely hyperbole—because both Bannon (the Presbyterian(?)) and Jarvanka (the Jewish-supremacist Chabadist) are committed Zionista Israel-firsters. And here’s where the Russian connection comes into play, per the article in Politico, “The Happy-Go-Lucky Jewish Group That Connects Trump and Putin.”

So when all the self-satisfied laughter of readers over narcissist extraordinaire Trump et al has subsided, please understand that the United States government continues to be run by ‘the Israel Lobby’… and the only news and entertainment, including books like F&F, that the mainstream is going to popularize will be consistent with our ongoing colonial status. Considering all that we’re learning—more and more every day (e.g. the horrific nature of the Chabad lunacy as seen by orthodox Jews)—about how we the people have been and are being massively manipulated by the men behind the Man behind the Curtain, the prospect of continued subservience certainly scares me.

Per Edward J. Bernays, the Father of Modern Mind Control Tech:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation  of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who run this unseen mechanism constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country.” — Edward J. Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

Rating: 3 of 5. Extremely amusing, understated, well-written, yet the Titanic still sinks.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Fire and Fury (2018)

  1. Thanks, Rudy. I’m finding the more one is into actual leading of causes, the less one is able to read and review in depth the number of books and movies one wishes to. Fire and Fury was standard fare–though it did dig Trump into a psychotic moron’s ditch–with the conventional CIA-Mossad embedded media fake news. What’s always astounding is how many bright peers of ours take that fake news as unquestioned gospel.

  2. I haven’t read the book. Because this review reads as well as the excerpts from the book while summarizing clearly and succinctly the scourge that plagues this once independent country, I probably won’t.

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