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You voted! I found a bar! So tonight, we’re reading Michael Wolff’s Seige: Trump Under Fire which promises to teach us very little but from which we can learn a lot!

Let’s very briefly explain that and then I’ll start the intro
So, the first thing to know about this book is that all of its sources are known liars. Steve Bannon features prominently. The staffers that were allowed to remain anonymous still worked in this White House, and that tells you about their respect for reality versus spin.
Second thing is that Wolff isn’t particularly well known for his unrelenting sourcing and meticulous retellings. Mostly he’s the most accessy of access journos, by which I mean usually you don’t get invited to see the sausage being made if they don’t want or need you to.
So what we’re about to read is half fabulized and half spin, and there’s a lot of this white supremacist being heavily quoted, and that’s why I decided to do this one despite its dubious value as a history.

It’s good to know what they’re saying. Less to hear them say it.
Like, I mean that the first three paragraphs of the acknowledgments are Wolff thanking Bannon for being “the most clear-eyed interpreter of the Trump phenomenon” and also for his trust and cooperation.

Yeah. It’s *that* kind of book.
It’s also good to know what everyone will be reacting to, the baby-in-chief included. I can’t imagine Bannon dragging Trump is going to make the country any more stable.

Better more prepared than less, one supposes. Thank god for whiskey.
Speaking of whiskey, feel free to chip in on this bar tab or simply thank me for my service at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or on Venmo at Linda-Tirado-3 or at Patreon.com/bootstrap

You’ve my thanks!
So here’s how Wolff frames this at the outset, and this is worth reflecting on these dates and that description This account begins in February 2018 Trump’s second year in office, with the situation now altered. The president’s capricious furies have been met by an increasingly organized and methodical institutional response. The wheels of justice are inexorably turning against him. Virtually every power center left of the far-right wing has deemed him unfit.
And this also seems true enough: It is yet one more of his handicaps: all the people around him, however much they are bound by promises of confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements or even friendship, cannot stop talking about their experience with him. In this sense, he is more exposed than any president in history.
So what follows is a couple of pages explaining that “another goal is to write the near equivalent of a real-time history of this extraordinary moment, since understanding it well after the fact might be too late.”

So there’s that for historical veracity.
Also, shockingly, the better you know Trump apparently the more worried you are about “his mental state” which is a very kind way to say that we’ve elected a quickly aging madman
WOW. So Wolff just flat-out recognizes that “a basic requirement of working there is, surely, the willingness to infinitely rationalize or delegitimize the truth, and, when necessary, to outright lie.”

So there’s your shot and here comes the VERY NEXT SENTENCE as a chaser
“”In fact, I believe this has caused some of the people who have undermined the public trust to become truth-tellers.”

And WHAT NOW MY DUDE

He uses the term “Janus-faced” a couple sentences later but what a batshit logic pattern does this take
Anyway, he basically ends this intro by telling the reader that he’s attempting “an emotional state rather than a political state” which is why he’s I guess trusting the people he knows are lying?

Fuck it, get another round and we’ll get into the first chapter
Chapter One: Bullseye

In which we learn that Trump likes it when other people fix his problems and also spouts out random CEO catchphrases. He likes to think he’s beaten the system and gets mad that everyone doesn’t love him for it, and moreover that it don’t get him no respect.
(You know, a funny thing about being a journo that’s covered this all since Trump started making real waves is that some of this reporting I believe because I remember ALL THE STORIES from this time period about that

Remember when pundits were shocked that Trump was petty?)
A good portion of this first bit is going to be stuff that you’ll already know if you’re following me reading this book, like Trump being slightly obsessed with not personally being a target of the Mueller probe
Also apparently Trump expected a letter from Mueller clearing him? “‘Where,’ he kept demanding to know, ‘is my fucking letter?’”
This is just good to know tbh
I desperately want this anecdote to be true
AHEM

“The White House, it rapidly dawned on almost everyone who was working there - even as it became one more reason not to work there - was the scene of an ongoing criminal investigation”

WHO WORKED THERE AND DID NOT KNOW THAT
So this graf hits me in a few ways, but god bless pub dates where this comes out right after Hicks complies with a lot of legal shit against Trump’s wishes
You know why y’all pay me to read this shit so you don’t have to is the following paragraphs where Wolff gives credit to Hicks for uniquely being able to soothe Trump and then saying it’s because she was “tractable” and then gossiping about her sex life for paragraphs
Just because some chick is totally willing to play the gatekeeper to evil don’t mean that you’re not being a misogynistic fuckbag
Also apparently Rob Porter is a shitty human being generally, as everyone except for Trump hated him

And really, that should be enough to tell everyone

“Donald Trump likes me” should be enough to drive you to a solitary retreat to rethink just everything in your life
Next we have Real Housewives Of The White House where apparently there’s a love quadrangle involving a lot of jealousy? And press? And blind items in blogs and west wing rivalries?

None of this matters btw. I met my second husband on a campaign. It’s like band camp.
So then we get into the domestic abuse with

“You usually have enough competent people for White House positions to weed out the wife beaters, but you couldn’t be so choosy in the Trump White House,” said one Republican acquaintance of Porter’s.”
And...what now

Who thinks that this is how any of this works, where you get a concentration of power and then you expect that to be your defense against shitty men

And also who thought Trump’s White House wouldn’t be all abuse, all the time
Fucking sigh
Not sure why it’s taking whole paragraphs but we are learning that Trump is a bit of a narcissist that thinks he’s entirely above the law

Pages maybe even
Okay but here’s a sentence and it turns out to be true:

“He was confident he could jawbone this “witch hunt”—often tweeted in all-caps—to at least a partisan draw.”

I guess compare this to the impeachment chatter or lack thereof
Because if you stop to think about it and if this quote is even halfway right?

He kind of did that. Pelosi whipping her caucus into not following up on the Mueller report is kind of that exact thing.

Shorter this book: Trump is a stopped clock.
Okay, onto the next half of this entirely regrettable chapter

“What’s more, the trump hangers-on were so demonstrably subpar players that stupidity could well be a reasonable defense against intent.”
There’s some explanation of how Trump is a skeeze and even Kushner knew that

But then here’s what we hear about fucking Epstein

Oh DID YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT EPSTEIN
Anyway Jeffery Epstein has a plane called the “Lolita express” and he rapes kids and also sells them to rich men, and both bill clinton and Donald trump have flown a lot on that plane and count Epstein as a friend
Jesus fucking Christ here’s a quote

“Epstein and trump had been close friends - playboys in arms as it were”

EPSTEIN RAPES CHILDREN

THIS DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR A BON MOT
TBH I’m about to tap out because I can only deal with so much of powerful men euphemising the behavior of other powerful men, and I have even less of a tolerance for tryhards pretending to insider knowledge

But here’s this I guess
That’s a hell of a way to talk about the rape of children I guess

Here’s hoping Wolff sells all the books on this gossip or something

I’m tapping out, I’m done, absolutely fucking not, what kind of stunted morality must you have to stay polite in this
I suppose you must be the sort of writer that thanks Steve Bannon
We’ll pick this up tomorrow when I can fuck with any of this.

For now I see a man covering for a man who covers other men who rape children and tbh I can’t deal with the narrative outside that unless I have perfect control

What a world where I have to control for them
okay, party nerds! Are you ready to keep reading this book? We commence! Grab your glasses!
So, we left off with gross men, but I should have kept going! The next paragraph is about how Donald Trump and Jeffery Epstein got into a huge fight over both of them being sneaky as hell with each other!

(sorry for the delay, kid stuff)
I will spare you the next blithe statements about the underage girls. I don't think you need to read this book if this is how it's going to be.

But in any case, Wolff then turns to shady business deals between Trump and Russian oligarchs! (He's not *saying* Trump laundered cash)
How does he NOT ONCE in this whole paragraph use the phrase "rictus grin"

HOW
What follows is quite a lot about how Trump is kind of paranoid and eventually alienates everyone around him. I have a feeling a lot of this book won't be exactly shocking.
On Jared and Ivanka: "“Our lives have been destroyed,” she said melodramatically—and yet with some considerable truth. The former New York socialites had been reduced to potential criminal defendants and media laughingstocks."

This sentence is so satisfying
How piquant would it be to find out that Trump is on the q boards at three am when he's not tweeting?
This is actually a pretty good explanation of how/why the investigations into Trump spread, in case you had always wondered how that all went down
"Bharara was unwilling to humor him—or, shortly, even to return his calls. In March 2017, Trump fired him."

That's @PreetBharara btw, follow him for lots of reasons but mostly because he gets it more than most!
not worth quoting, but i'd never really put enough thought into it to realize that if Trump goes down for a big enough crime they could seize trump tower

Let us all look forward to poetry
And we are to chapter two, the do-over!
Okay. So. Steve Bannon had a townhouse in DC. They called it the Embassy. So there's that to consider. And then there's this sentence:

"The Embassy’s creepiness and dark heart were in quite stark contrast to Bannon’s expansive and merry countenance."
I am offended by that word choice on Santa's behalf. Steve Bannon has never looked "merry."
Also, apparently Bannon and Trump are hardcore frenemies. Which makes sense.
"On the other hand, it was unclear what the president understood."
Okay, it's a dramatic writing and all but man, sometimes it just hits you that this fucker's in charge of the country
AHEM.

"That Friday morning, he came down from the residence into the Oval Office in a full-on rage so violent that, for a moment, his hair came undone. To the shock of the people with him, there stood an almost entirely bald Donald Trump."
This paragraph is about Steve Bannon.

This is a good example of what we mean when we say don't simply repeat what you hear from bigots without context. Because wow.
HAHA I FORGOT ABOUT THIS

"In February, Kelly, a retired four-star general, grabbed Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski outside the Oval Office and pushed him up against a wall."
oh, man, this is an occasion when you want to be pretty precise in your language so that when you're uncritically passing along the beliefs of a white supremacist (don't do that) you don't accidentally publish them as assertions of fact or your own belief. oof.
See, I would have maybe changed the following sentence structure too?

"“It’s civil war,” Bannon said, a happy judgment he often repeated."

I'd have gone with "a judgment he often and happily repeated" but then again I don't often thank Steve Bannon so what do I know.
Anyway, the rest of this chapter is about how Steve Bannon claims he basically ran white house strategy via the media because the white house is inept and Trump is easily led.

And now to chapter three: Lawyers!
I am very confused as to how Wolff came to the conclusion that McGahn was quoting Taylor Swift. But I bet it's a fascinating backstory
All I'm saying is that I require me kindergartener to be better than this
"“Whatever he advises, do the opposite,” said one well-known, unsatisfied former Dershowitz client."

Wonderfully brutal.
And that is the end of the interesting bits in that chapter, excepting that Giuliani is apparently so beholden to Trump because Trump once intervened on Rudy's behalf with his estranged son

And onto chapter four: Home Alone!
This is actually kind of what I figured he did
THIS is just flat-out gold start to finish
This is about Trump: "Confused to find that the power of the presidency had limitations, he came to see the limitations as his own—a sign of his own weakness."

but man is this true of a lot of dudes
The chapter concludes with three pages of verbatim quotes from a Trump rally and the following sentence: "Trump, unbound and in his element, went on in this way for eighty minutes."
Chapter five: robert mueller!

here is some Journalistic Standards
"even Trump was bewildered by Rudy."
"But Dershowitz’s theory about presidential impunity seemed peculiar in Giuliani’s mouth."
"[T]he terms of the de facto truce: as long as the special counsel and his people did not press him too far the president would not yet confront them. And as long as Trump still had the power to carry out his threats to annihilate Mueller’s team, they would not yet confront him."
Chapter Six: Michael Cohen!
This is not at all shocking and also what now
"“He kept saying how much he wished he’d never given Don Jr. his name and wished he could take it back,” recalled Whitestone."
Chapter Seven: The Women
Oh ew I will spare you the anecdote about Trump talking about his dick at a dinner party ew ew ew
Also, if you're not in the mood to scream maybe don't read this, ladies. This is Bannon's plan to cover for Trump being kind of rapey and...well. It's not pleasant.
Wait, here's a palate cleanser in which Tucker Carlson gets dunked by Trump

It's a terrible dunk but it's funny because it's Tucker Carlson
Chapter 8: Michael Flynn

"Roger Stone, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Julian Assange?

Bannon was unimpressed: “No way you impeach the president over those dragoons."
This chapter explains (as much as one can explain nonsense) the GOP deep state conspiracy theory

You don't really want to know.
I really think of Bannon as the mad hatter more and more
Chapter 9: Midterms

Wouldn't this be nice if it had turned out to be true though
I mean, we got the psycho part, I hear strings a lot these days, but the rest of it.
SWEET SWEET LULLABIES
Hey a brief aside, I'm wondering the time zone of this readership at this hour

are you in:
Man I bet this is going well for them.
what an unutterably tiny man
So, here's a salient point and one I'm going to come back to elsewhere: this is why I think it's a bad idea to get cocky about 2020. Because this is, I guarantee you, how these folks still think.
And I think we'll leave it there for tonight because it's midnight and the next part deserves better mockery than I can muster this late

sleep well, everyone, we pick this back up tomorrow!
Okay y'all

it's TIIIIIIIIIIME
We left off with rich people playing chicken to get donors in order to enact their personal version of fascism
We spend a while with Wolff describing an average campaign. Bannon makes a c4 and then staff comes in and stays up too late eating shitty food and drinking cheap beer and only the favored staff drinks with the really important folk

DC

DC

DC
Okay so scroll back up and see how Hope Hicks was described for this same liason
same *kind of, sorry it's 1924 on a saturday and I'm a couple shots in

which you need to be in order to read this book tbh
yeah I should have questions about this but I don't because I am sure you'll have better questions than I do about this whole paragraph
Okay I lied I have questions

at what point do women do things to bankrupt a man that owes them child support

in what universe
also if some dude knocks you up and then leaves you to move in with your mother how is talking about that "disgracing him"

Is that not an inherent admission that the behavior itself is disgraceful
ANYWAY. moving on. Here we learn that adult men for some reason are competing for the affection of Donald Trump

Imagine being fully grown and wanting that man's approval, especially if he ain't your daddy
"“They’re bulls, they’re bulls, they’re all over me,” complained Trump.

Wolff, Michael. Siege (p. 121). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition. "
As long as we're treating this as informed entertainment, here you go:
Oh guys, we have forgotten about Sam Nunberg
Here is every petty thing you need to know:

observer.com/2018/08/sam-nu…
I kind of wonder what Haberman thinks of Nunberg thinking of her as kin
TBH it was a really high-quality fuck you

like if ever I'm just fully done with all this I hope I top this
I don't think y'all understand what level of fuck-it it takes to just go on every show that'll have you in a day and say whatever hits your brain

I've done network. They give you time to rethink. You get the green room and makeup and a PA brings coffee
(I have also dialed in with a drink in my hand, so I cast no stones)

but man if you're gonna hit those rails I hope I make a full news cycle and also I hope that I'm going public with all the dirty laundry I've never been able to source properly enough to repeat
OUR NEXT LESSON IN WRITING

My dude writes this in narrative voice:

"Hence, the necessity of Steve Bannon."
Chapter Ten: Kushner

Not two names like the other chapters
Y'all I was fully ready to call this a night and tend to my life

but instead it turns out I am fully available for at least another couple hours! Let us delve!
In what world

"Schulze was the emissary of a backdoor opening, encouraged by the Chinese, from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump had declared a virtual death match against the young despot."
hilarious
okay so

I am no sophisticate and I think that's clear. Still I stalk the halls of power now and again and I tell you that Wolff trying to drag Kushner as acolyte of Kissinger the slavish comes off as overwraught no matter its veracity
Someone please meme this five-dollar sentence for the next time someone yells at me for saying fuck too much, please and thank you
Palate cleanser:

“I don’t know if anyone will ever understand what we’ve been through,” Ivanka told friends.'

Wolff, Michael. Siege (p. 129). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
And actually I'm cutting this short tonight here

Let us all meditate on Ivanka wondering whether anyone else might understand public excoriation

that seems as nice a pondering as one might have of a night
Okay we are back! And I have found you a joyous sentence to begin our evening!

"It gets worse, Kushner told Trump."

Isn't that pretty?
"“They can not only impeach you, they can bankrupt you” was Kushner’s message."
Oh hey look, hell could be worse

"Kushner even floated the suggestion of Kissinger as secretary of state"
How is anyone famed for their ability to think this utterly dense
File under "shit we knew but is worth saying"
See, this is that sloppy fucking language again with the racism. I am mad at this book.
WENDI DENG KLAXON

(those of you who are new here will not know of my love for Wendi Deng, because she is just unrelentingly evil and women never get to be powerfully evil, and also she humiliated both Rupert Murdoch and Vladimir Putin. Which.)
My kingdom for a fucking copyeditor tbh,
(i will die a pedant)
"The Kushner family’s desperate need for cash was turning U.S. foreign policy into an investment banking scheme dedicated to the refinancing of the Kushner family debt."
Oh man, just in case you wanted something nice to meditate on, here's this about Trump and Kushner
How utterly devastating to Ivanka, tbh

"“Jared’s self-help, business-book-leadership talk was one of the things that attracted Ivanka to him,” said a friend of the couple."
I feel like this is a bit too slick? Like, that's a hell of a thin peg to hang your hat on, believing this.
(I want you people to understand how much I love you to put myself through this)
No. He cannot. Still. Even though he's been there.
I mean, dude aint wrong here
Now time for chapter eleven! It seems kinda funny to me that the bankruptcy chapter is called "Hannity!"

(I am surely not fully sober but this is funny. End of.)
*spittake*
Words don't mean things and ennui is everything, anyway here's Sean Hannity on 2020

"A contemptuous Hannity, with grandiose ambitions of his own, insisted that this scenario was ludicrous. He would top the ticket, with Bannon, “if he’s lucky,” taking the second spot."
May I someday write something like this in a book, dear Lord, I don't pray for much but I want to please excoriate these fuckers so succinctly
"Ingraham, one of the keynote speakers at the 2016 Republican National Convention, might have been the most desperate of the three."
Sigh. Of course.

"team. The comms department should have stood between Hannity and the president; instead, Hannity stood between the president and his comms team."
AHEM. "the huckabee girl"

"“Would you let your life depend on Kellyanne Conway, Mercedes Schlapp, or the Huckabee girl?” Bannon asked rhetorically. “That’s some brain trust.”"
Here comes the single good thing Trump has ever done:

"Trump had helped turn the final years of the eighty-seven-year-old Murdoch, a towering figure in conservative politics, into a sour time," 1/2
"with Murdoch having to kowtow to Trump, whom he considered to be a charlatan and a fool, and with his sons blaming him for his unwitting part in Trump’s rise." 2/2

Man that's good though, fuck rupert murdoch
What now is this
when fucking steve Bannon is worried you're too bonkers, you are I guess Sean Hannity
"“Dude, dude, don’t go bonkers on me,” Bannon would mutter as he watched an evening broadcast."
Also, I'll spare you the details but Trump is a racist, in news that will I am sure shock you duly
Chapter Twelve now! It's called Trump Abroad and it also marks the halfway point of the book!

BRB, need more whiskey
This chapter could be more simply titled "anyone who meets trump dislikes him and also the Queen is pretty brutal"
Also: "[Trump] and his wife did not seem to be talking at all."

Do they ever? Has anyone ever seen this?
I am also destined to be in the White House as a sociopathic advisor to a mad president...except not
I...I think I understand and sympathize with Steve Bannon? Someone help.

"Nigel Farage—also at Brown’s for a meeting with Bannon and currently looking for a morning gin—seemed to tax Bannon’s self-control as well."
I imagine that hell is a room with Nigel Farage and Pauline Hanson just yelling weird racist things at random, like some kind of coughing bark
Both of them furiously demanding that I take them seriously, even though they're Farage and Hanson and how could anyone
Come here for the American politics, stay for the roasting of the racist Aussies and Brits
I absolutely buy this.
Sadiq Khan remains a fucking legend

Imagine getting this far under Trump's skin. I think I'd have this cross-stitched and framed and put in my office. Maybe get an audio recording to play every morning as an affirmation.
So, he's canonically the joker then?
It's a great scene through

CHAPTER 13 NOW! Trump and Putin.

BRB DEFFO getting more whiskey for this
You know, a fun thing about all this (here again with that thinnest of silver linings) is that all these people wanted a legacy and instead we just sort of think of them all as incompetent cowards, and history will be even less kind than that
Breaking: the President has the geopolitical understanding of a toddler, and everyone knows it.
Nothing about this surprises me

"Melania—rarely approached and certainly never hugged by anyone on Trump’s staff or in his entourage—visibly recoiled from Hannity’s too-close embrace."
Okay IDC but if it took y'all this long to realize then I ain't got any sympathy for you. You needed him to go to Russia and publicly humiliate himself? You didn't realize before that?
Deep breaths, folks

Trump apparently was mad at Mattis for being too good to trans folk?
LOL remember when people thought this about Congress, like they'd actually do anything to Trump

Your reminder that we run camps for brown children

"And if Congress doesn’t impeach you over firing Coats, they will certainly censure you."
Chapter fourteen now! "100 Days"
*sadviolins.gif"
Apparently Donald is a big fan of his namesake! (I am sure it's all mimosas and happy family breakfasts over there)
Sigh. Just sigh. They keep propping this dude up.
*AHEM*
Chapter fifteen! Manafort!
The thing that I don't get about this book overall is what kind of writer this person wants to be. This is an overpaid puff piece kind of prose, and it only shows up for this sentence.
And then it's just pages of Steve Bannon storytelling. This book is weird.
LOL these people all hate each other so much

"Manafort, Kushner said, was a douche but not a plotter."
That chapter was about Paul Manafort and was therefore not worth your time. Chapter 16 now! "Pecker, Cohen, Weisselberg"
Apropos of nothing important, remember that time that Hulk Hogan had to testify in court that actually it was Hulk Hogan who had a big penis but that the dude who played Hulk Hogan did not

I'm never going to forget that testimony for as long as I live.
(This chapter is about sleazy producers and publishers. Turns out Trump has friends in the tabloid world or something.)
the whole chapter in a nutshell, unless you really care about the minutiae of names and such, in which case you're enough of a media nerd to already know about these dudes:
Damn. Every time you think you've probably seen everything from this dude he gets somehow worse
The whole wide world of dick jokes and he goes for this weaksauce
All of these people are going to farage hell
Steve Bannon is comically evil and Wolff should really worry about how close he clearly is to the evil guy.
Chapter seventeen now! "McCain, Woodward, Anonymous"

I wonder what this will be about
"Trump, for his part, tried to out-tweet the funeral and then went to play golf."
If there wasn't puppet sex I don't even know what they're doing here
I know just enough quite wealthy people to truly be able to enjoy that this dude ain't never getting the right invitations
This paragraph is an entire journey and I'm not sure what any of it means. Because it doesn't make any damn sense.
China bad, I guess. No word on how many legs China may have.
Chapter 18! Kavanaugh! This can only go well!
LOLOLOL god he's a racist
wait I'm sorry, Trump was worried that Kavanaugh was too extreme on abortion? Next you'll tell me about moon cheese
Oh, and it turns out (you will be shocked) that they wanted Kavanaugh because he'll be a bit of a bootlicker.
In which Wolff just casually jokes about the president being a potential rapist because LOL WHY NOT BE CAVALIER
I have a serious question: how did Donald Trump make it to his age without a single public beating

Like even among douchebros he's got to be the most hated, right, and HOW did nobody ever get drunk and haul off at a party
Sad but true
That is the end of chapter 18! We are so achingly close to being kind of nearly done!
Chapter 19: Khashoggi

Is mostly about the fact that Jared Kushner is best friends with a murderous coke fiend who also happens to be the prince of Saudi Arabia
this is as fair an assessment of this whole mess of a family as any, I suppose
This isn't really important but it's a good thing to note

Apparently Trump thinks the presumption of innocence is an international law and also that Kavanaugh being rapey is about on par with the Saudis being murdery?
TBH not really sure that we're not living in the world of a despotic feudal prince, given who's the president
Aww look you guys kissinger caught up
None of this has been secret. Just saying.
Just zero self-awareness, not that one expects any from this dude
And then we find out that Mattis wanted the Dems to sweep 2018 so that he could retire

and that's the end of this chapter!
Chapter 20: October Surprises!
Michael Wolff has a weird admiration for Nikki Haley. That is all.
LOL these people can't name a working group for shit
Ew. Just Ew.
wow Wolff REALLY likes Haley, this is a lot of words for a minor figure
Okay, that's me done for the night! We have three and a half more chapters to finish up, probably tomorrow, let's see
This has been another episode of "Linda drinks a bottle of whiskey and reads a terrible book"

much love to you stalwarts that keep me company on this
Oh man, has it been a mere fifteen hours since we last talked about this Wolff book? It seems like it's been a whole lifetime!

Let's give y'all that fifteen minute warning again, because I have settled in:
Anyway, we are back onto Nikki Haley, which is boring because Bannon thinks of her as the Establishment and so he mostly ignored her.

But then we get to the caravan. Brace yourselves, I am sure that Steve Bannon said only kind and wonderful things about asylum seekers!
Oh look, Wolff has managed the rare "double both sides" argument!
Now, this is worth stopping and thinking about because WE ARE DOING THIS SAME THING ALREADY ABOUT 2020! Please stop being sanguine and thinking "the whole world hates this guy, there's NO WAY he wins!"

Because he still very well could.
Sigh. "Trump probably wasn’t an anti-Semite, Bannon concluded. But he was much less confident that Trump wasn’t a racist."

DUDE IS A RACISTY RACIST! Really makes you wonder what Bannon considers actual racism, given that he's steeped in all his little technical definitions
like "I'm not a racist, I'm a white nationalist" or some such. That's gotta be the logic here right?
Anyway, that is the end of chapter twenty!

Our next chapter is called "November 6" and whoo, this should be a ride!
Who is this friend and why aren't they right yet

Let's just have the guy fake a heart attack and then he doesn't have to be President and we don't have to live with him anymore
When Steve Bannon ain't wrong (stopped clock syndrome)

"As Election Day approached, Bannon was glum, but he yet believed in the almost totemic power of the Democrats to fuck things up."
For you campaign kids: this ain't a bad analysis either. One of the things that makes Bannon such a pain in the ass is that he really does know campaign craft, and he does a hell of a postmortem.

Would that he were less jubilantly evil.
"Standing on the rooftop, the Capitol dome behind him, Bannon’s mood swung, as though in a single moment, from spirited to desolate."

Ironically this sentence makes me feel:
Okay so one of the things I've always had a hard time explaining about Trump is that it's actually pretty great to watch him making billionaires eat cold mcdonalds or whatever.

Not gonna lie, I always enjoy when he shows up and goes full white trash in the ballrooom
Which is to say: most anyone who has to grab a double cheeseburger between shifts daydreams about the ruling class even once having to live our lives for a second

shitty hot dogs at the White House is such a stark representation of that wish
and like, that's not even the billionaires playing at poverty like when they pretend to be on food stamps or sleep outside for one night, they're not humoring anyone

they're just kind of forced to eat the shitty food and smile and say thanks and it's BEAUTIFUL
oh AND it annoyed Bannon

Yeah I'm in favor of this party tbh

(and how big is this mancrush to compare Bannon to Tolstoy?)
TBH I'm gonna go smoke and enjoy this feeling. Ain't much good comes out of these people and none of it worth it but when there's a silver lining you just wade into the schadenfreude pool.
Aand we're back to how many legs Chinese people might have

"For Bannon, China remained everything. It was the key, and the devil was in the details. And Trump got it: “China bad.”"
"As soon as the needle moved from “China bad” to “China very complicated,” Trump would always wander out of the room."
How damned depressing is it when Steve Bannon has a more salient critique than most
“Stop,” said a genuinely perplexed Bannon. “You really got to be shitting me—they’re calling this now?”
It's like a really good back massage
Chapter 22 now! "Shutdown"

There are only 24 chapters! We might get this tonight if I get particularly cutting or dismissive!
Of COURSE the dude who's in his early seventies would fixate on older women

Also

Just to say as a Millennial

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL YOUR HUNGER GAMES SUCK
*cue beach boys* WOULDN'T IT BE NICE
Like I'm not sure what you all think Pelosi is going to do? She's been so super-clear that she's hogtied by McConnell and won't do anything that he might not see through, which is nothing

I'm not sure that's actually what we'd call strategic

this woman makes big-ass bets
Is there a better feeling in the world than hearing that sheldon adelson was deprived of his single wish after he dumped just immoral amounts of money into buying his wishes
Oh man, just when you thought Theresa May had publicly humiliated herself as much as any PM could, here comes this book

Sure, I guess, let her take the back bench back? Couldn't be more humiliating than this.
Possibly she could have been more humiliated if she was from Warringah
Are you guys ready? I have found some vodka I forgot about and it is time to pick this back up and get the damn thing done!

As always, you can contribute to the bar tab at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or on Venmo at linda-tirado-3, or at patreon.com/bootstrap and thanks!
Man, Sean Hannity is just the worst kind of toady, isn't he?
Also, Ivanka and Jared were Very Sad to be shunned out of their old house and thought it very unfair given that they consider themselves to be the two rational brains in the white house. So there's that, I guess?
Most generals know that their battle plans don't last long once they get in theater. Pelosi seems to count on hers staying sound no matter what happens.
I had totally forgotten about this! And in an evergreen observation, this single thing happening would have nearly brought down any other president, only he's trained us to forget and ignore him. Which is dangerous and also a normal human instinct.
TW: ew. Just ew.
I have a question: how does any dude believe Trump that he's consensually banging some lady a quarter his age when, as far as we know, he's never gotten laid for free? Apparently he told friends he was with the girl he surprised with his tighty whities?
Oh thank God, that closes out the chapter! Onto 23, The Wall

(and there are only twenty-four, blessed endings in sight!)
Okay so when people have said "political theater is a hateful and racist distraction" they've meant this bit about Trump needing a win during the shutdown he created, and that's how we got to here:
"It certainly would be an odd kind of justice, Bannon thought, if the case against the president came down to Stone, Julian Assange, and Jerome Corsi—crazies, conspiracists, bullshit artists, and fringe players all."
So here's a thing to consider: one can be a master politician in the world where people feel slights. This makes no difference if you're playing in a world that isn't the one you're used to.

Why do talented political minds rarely get that?
Like with the sideways clapping thing, yes it was devastating and also that only works with people who might feel chagrined at sarcasm and snubs

this is donald fucking trump we're talking about here. Dude couldn't define tact nor grace.
Anyway, catty Bannon continues to be amusing and he is no fan of jared and ivanka, apparently
Okay

Stephen miller writes "only in powerpoint" and I have no questions that I want answered but that's hilarious
Also, turns out (according to wolff anyway) Barr is basically just in it for the money because he thinks he might be able to win the day and become the undisputed king of the mountain.

The delusions these people have.
Wait! I was wrong! There is not another chapter! Here is the last paragraph of the book!
There is an epilogue, which is mostly excoriating Mueller for being too cautious.

Here is the *actual* last paragraph.
So. That is this book finished! We did it!

What did we learn? I would argue absolutely nothing, excepting a few bitchy anecdotes. I'm petty enough to have enjoyed watching the fights between the awful people.
That said, it's really weird how Steve Bannon just talks media folks into basically putting him unedited into their stuff so he can build his mythos. There was a A LOT of Bannon in this book.
Oh, and it turns out nobody *actually* supports Trump, just the GOP is so craven they pretend to. Which, again, I'd argue we already knew.

Lotta naked people walking around here pretending to be clothed is all
This has been another series where I get drunk and read books so you don't have to. This satirical public service brought to you by my bar tab.

Next time something comes out that needs reading, let me know! Y'all remain the best.
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