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Rosenblum writes: "This is just my own point of view, but I'm pretty clear about it after watching reaction to Michael Wolff's neutron bomb, Fire and Fury: We Americans, collectively, have gone out of our flipping minds."

Copies of the book 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by author Michael Wolff at the Book Culture book store in New York, January 5, 2018. (photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Copies of the book 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by author Michael Wolff at the Book Culture book store in New York, January 5, 2018. (photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

A Wolff at the Door

By Mort Rosenblum, Reader Supported News

09 January 18


his is just my own point of view, but I’m pretty clear about it after watching reaction to Michael Wolff’s neutron bomb, Fire and Fury: We Americans, collectively, have gone out of our flipping minds.

Wolff has spilled enough beans to bury Donald Trump, his clown-car inner circle and the self-serving legislators who enable him. At least, you would think.

But a 1980 Newsweek essay by Isaac Asimov is distressingly prescient at a time when human habitats are simultaneously drying up and flooding while an egomaniacal fool fingers a button that could blast a hole in our planet.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been,” he wrote. “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

Excerpts from the book horrify much of the world. A headline in Germany’s conservative daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung read: “Is Trump Still Sane?” Yet at home, outrage is offset by that Asimov doctrine.

Roaming Arizona back hills, I found attitudes still fixed on deplorable. Trump people know what they believe, facts notwithstanding. Here in Maricopa County, the red-tinged population center, the ka-ching of stock market profits masks harsh reality. Or people just aren’t listening.

On KTAR-FM, once a solid news source, two happy-talk hosts batted around the book and focused on its critics. “So, is this fake news?” the man asked. The woman, flummoxed by so much material, wondered whether Wolff interviewed people or just wrote things down.

As any journalist knows, it takes only a few inaccuracies or inconsistencies to discredit a story. A monumental book covering so much ground by a gadfly author in a hurry is bound to be chock full of both. Did Wolff exaggerate his access to Trump? Do some people quoted disavow what they said (even if they really did say it)?

In Fire and Fury, that is beside the point. The overall picture is dead clear, a mix of accurate insights and up-close vignettes that Wolff’s sources confirm. We see the extent to which campaign contributions, Trump’s own interests, and petty vendettas shape crucial foreign policy.

Take, for instance, a new approach to Jerusalem that draws harsh reaction from America’s closest allies and criticism from veteran Israeli officers. Trump calls it an example of his inherent diplomatic genius. Wolff shows how it is tightly linked to Sheldon Adelson’s checkbook.

Plenty of people are reading the book, which rocketed from bestseller to world phenomenon because of Trump’s ham-handed attempt to suppress it. That underscored his demagogic bent and his terrifying disconnect with reality. The question now is how America reacts.

A long excerpt in New York magazine includes this passage:

“Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate. He trusted his own expertise ­— no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said (Deputy Chief of State Katie) Walsh, “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”

If that alone is not an open-and-shut case for disinfecting the White House, what is? Today, Isaac Asimov would likely choose different words than actor Samuel L. Jackson, but it is safe to assume he would second the message: Wake the fuck up. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+74 # Blackjack 2018-01-09 10:26
All the willfully ignorant have to do is to OBSERVE the behavior of the Con Man-in-Chief to realize what he is really like and what his power is doing to all of us. They don't even have to read anything. But they refuse even to do that, hiding behind the Fake News excuse. They like being ignorant and Trump just makes them feel secure in it.
+53 # dotlady 2018-01-09 11:29
Great piece - but disinfecting the White House not likely to change much. The president is merely the bent tip of the Republican bayonet.
+48 # Sunflower 2018-01-09 11:29
I Agree. Too Too Dangerous!!

Both of the existential threats listed by Chomsky: Climate Change, and Nuclear Weapons-- are within his power. He can RUIN
the planet.

How can we let this continue??

Nothing is more important-- even having the horrid Pence for President would be less dangerous.

We're talking about the future of humanity!!!
+19 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-01-09 14:49
'... even having the horrid Pence for President would be less dangerous.'

+4 # Ralph 2018-01-10 19:35
I'll take my chances Koot. LOCK HIM UP!
+56 # drew 2018-01-09 12:08
We all KNOW we have a madman in the Oval yet we (the media, at least) work so hard to push back on those trying to tear off the "King's new clothes". I have long believed in the abject stupidity of the American public - but for the entire GOP and so much of the media (right wing and mainstream) to either support or normalize Trump is beyond belief. I fear for my County! We DO need a revolution!! A revolution of engagement and voting. We have to crush the GOP, who have become a cancer on the nation!
+12 # bardphile 2018-01-09 15:02
YES. Engagement and voting!
+2 # sashapyle 2018-01-12 10:44
Votes have to be COUNTED, FOR REAL. Or they don’t help.
+4 # FarMor 2018-01-09 19:22
Actually, we have to crush the corporatocracy. After that, both of their bought and paid for parties will wither. Democracy and the planet may then have a chance.
+9 # DongiC 2018-01-10 04:40
The GOP threatens the very planet itself. If it treats the earth the same way it handles our poor and sick, then, we are all doomed. Consider the priorities of this beknighted party: the rich and the powerful. Check who is most favored in Trump's recent tax outrage. I mean his beloved tax bill. (the billionnaire class)

And, consider his recent attempts to do away with Obama care. Why, it is a form of welfare for the rich and austerity for those on the bottom of the wealth scale. Wake up all ye financially oppressed and vote the bastards out - forever!
+39 # bardphile 2018-01-09 12:08
Open and shut? Not hardly. The book is red meat to Fox News and the base--they're yucking it up nonstop. Down there in the rabbit hole, everything Trump says that's stupid, ill-considered, and/or dangerous is ironic tweaking of the fake news media. It's a closed system that doesn't permit the intrusion of facts or analysis. The stupider he is, the more we react, and the more fun they have. No amount of reason or moral outrage can wipe the silly grins off the faces of Hannity and Ingram and your crazy uncle. Grrr...
+35 # JayaVII 2018-01-09 12:53
Trump's insanity is hardly his own alone. He is the final loop of the downward spiral of ethics and intellect, and as others have pointed out, new revelations of his ignorance and criminality and narcissism and nastiness only serve to strengthen his hold on the millions who see these things as virtues, not vices. It is our culture that has created this monster. If the Trump presidency has a good side, it is that it reveals to us how malignant present-day American culture is, and how it must be confronted and changed. The corporate media bears much of the blame and there is some irony in its discomfiture under Trump's attack. It is like the snake eating its own tail.
+3 # FarMor 2018-01-09 19:23
Your comment deserves many thumbs up.
+38 # Wise woman 2018-01-09 13:12
What's the old saying? Ignorance is bliss! Well there are other ways to obtain bliss other than supporting the GOP. How about knocking your head against a brick wall. It really does feel blissful when you stop. I knew people who supported this insanity. I had to stop talking to them. Ignorance CAN be fixed but stupid is forever. These folks are willfully stupid.
+3 # drew 2018-01-09 22:36
GOP voters/supporte rs are brainwashed [IMHO] !
0 # MendoChuck 2018-01-09 15:51
If there really is a God I do hope that he/she is merciful.
We really need all the mercy that is available . . . . Please!
+12 # Elroys 2018-01-09 19:02
The "ignorant" all vote - and generally vote for someone like them - like Trump. They feel more comfortable with a "f***ing moron as commander-in-ch ief with his hand on the little red button makes them feel secure. Intelligence - especially those that brag even indirectly about their intelligence make them very angry and causes many to see Dems in their gun sights. Though trump claims his own "stable genius", they know he's just foolin' around - they know he's as dumb as the best of them. But all these people vote for their guy.
For us Dems (some smart, some dumb as bricks also), far less than 1/2 vote - and probably even fewer for Hillary - they just thought she was the same old crap - and, for the most part, it's true. She's beholden to the Wall Street thieves. But - if we held our nose and at least voted, America and the world would be far better today. Hillary is very smart, no dummy, far better for all of us - even for those who choose ignorance.
Now - we have the worst case for a pres. and worst case in Congress - the most corrupt, unethical, immoral dirtbags in history - stealing anything not nailed down from the 99% and smiling as they hand all goodies to the already wealthy, especially their donors.
So - in November 2018 - 2 choices in every district and state - someone with a D in front or an R in front. Voting for the R simply makes you more ignorant or corrupt, or both. Shit for brains Vote D - no matter how bad it smell or feels.

+6 # Indie 2018-01-09 19:40
Anti-intellectu alism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter, published in 1964 is one of the most enlightening books on this topic. He describes the impact of the evangelical mindset and the Great Awakening. This is also aided by our educational system which is dreadful when it comes to history and asking questions. Children are fed myths about this country in our textbooks and now on Fox news. Republican politicians are also responsible for using this despot as a vehicle to get what they want. If they are not as deluded as he is, then they bear more guilt.
+4 # Caliban 2018-01-10 02:01
It's 2018. Be ready to reduce or eliminate the GOP majorities in the House and Senate.
+8 # relegn 2018-01-10 07:15
Since it seems that someone on the White House staff gave the "Wolff" access to the inner sanctum it's hard to discount his report on the rites he saw and heard those in the inner circle perform. Again, the protests of inaccuracy and lying rings hollow.
0 # Ralph 2018-01-10 19:39
Lock him up!
-10 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-01-11 08:22
Michael Wolff's book is just like all those books and articles a few years ago that made outrageous and false claims about Obama being born in Kenya, or converting to Islam in Indonesia, or belong to some African revolutionary movement. We are in a phase where such made up fictions sell a lot because the tabloid media pushes them.

Wolff just made up most of his narrative. Bannon has denies saying to Wolff most of what Wolff quotes. If pushed by an interviewer, Wolff confesses that he did not interview anyone close to Trump and he did not interview Trump himself, in spite of such claims in the book. Take a look at this around the 3 minute mark.

Let's not fall for this crap. I did not fall for the Obama slanders and I'm not falling for this one. Wolff will make millions of dollars, but that is how capitalism works. Sell shit, makes a shitload of money
0 # lfeuille 2018-01-13 00:41
Oh, you know it's true. You just don't want to admit what a loser you bet on. Everyone knows in their gut it's all true.

It's more likely Bannon lied when tried to claim he didn't say what he said. His big mouth got him in trouble and he tried to lie his way out of it. And Trump lied when he said he didn't authorize access for Wolff. That was confirmed by one of his aides who inadvertently admitted that he was instructed to talk to Wolff.

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