Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Art Of Getting One Over On The Suckers Who Are Born Every Day


Tony Schwartz helped spread the disease of Trumpism... he regrets it

Did Trump forget to get a non-disclosure agreement out of Tony Schwartz, the guy who wrote The Art of the Deal for him? Schwartz would like to change the name of the book to The Sociopath and told the New Yorker's Jane Mayer in an interview sure to bring on a lawsuit, "I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is... I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization."

Schwartz, who spent almost 2 years getting to know Trump inside and out for the book, was more the author than a ghost-writer. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, "Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein." Unlike Trump's other books, the #1 best seller had Trump's name and Schwartz's name splashed across the front cover in equal size. They split the advance and the several million dollars in royalties equally. Trump didn't write a word.

Schwartz knows his successful business will take a hit if speaks out about Trump now, as he just did with Mayer. "But," she wrote, "the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology-- Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered... Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell." Schwartz immediately discovered Trump has no attention span and is basically unable to concentrate or focus for any length of time. Schwartz explained that "it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time." Mayer wrote that "Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with 'a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.' He said, 'That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source-- information comes in easily digestible sound bites.' He added, 'I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.' During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment." The Washington Post reported yesterday that "Trump said that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions 'with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words common sense, because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.'"
Schwartz had written about Trump before. In 1985, he’d published a piece in New York called “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,” which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug who had unsuccessfully tried to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South. Trump’s efforts-- which included a plan to house homeless people in the building in order to harass the tenants-- became what Schwartz described as a “fugue of failure, a farce of fumbling and bumbling.” An accompanying cover portrait depicted Trump as unshaven, unpleasant-looking, and shiny with sweat. Yet, to Schwartz’s amazement, Trump loved the article. He hung the cover on a wall of his office, and sent a fan note to Schwartz, on his gold-embossed personal stationery. “Everybody seems to have read it,” Trump enthused in the note, which Schwartz has kept.

“I was shocked,” Schwartz told me. “Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met. He was obsessed with publicity, and he didn’t care what you wrote.” He went on, “Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever, or you’re the greatest. I became the greatest. He wanted to be seen as a tough guy, and he loved being on the cover.”

...Schwartz sat about eight feet away from him in the Trump Tower office, listening on an extension of Trump’s phone line. Schwartz says that none of the bankers, lawyers, brokers, and reporters who called Trump realized that they were being monitored. The calls usually didn’t last long, and Trump’s assistant facilitated the conversation-hopping. While he was talking with someone, she often came in with a Post-it note informing him of the next caller on hold.

“He was playing people,” Schwartz recalls. On the phone with business associates, Trump would flatter, bully, and occasionally get mad, but always in a calculated way. Before the discussion ended, Trump would “share the news of his latest success,” Schwartz says. Instead of saying goodbye at the end of a call, Trump customarily signed off with “You’re the greatest!” There was not a single call that Trump deemed too private for Schwartz to hear. “He loved the attention,” Schwartz recalls. “If he could have had three hundred thousand people listening in, he would have been even happier.”

This year, Schwartz has heard some argue that there must be a more thoughtful and nuanced version of Donald Trump that he is keeping in reserve for after the campaign. “There isn’t,” Schwartz insists. “There is no private Trump.” This is not a matter of hindsight. While working on “The Art of the Deal,” Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’-- recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986. But, as he noted in the journal a few days later, “the book will be far more successful if Trump is a sympathetic character-- even weirdly sympathetic-- than if he is just hateful or, worse yet, a one-dimensional blowhard.”

...“More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.” Often, Schwartz said, the lies that Trump told him were about money-- “how much he had paid for something, or what a building he owned was worth, or how much one of his casinos was earning when it was actually on its way to bankruptcy.” Trump bragged that he paid only eight million dollars for Mar-a-Lago, but omitted that he bought a nearby strip of beach for a record sum. After gossip columns reported, erroneously, that Prince Charles was considering buying several apartments in Trump Tower, Trump implied that he had no idea where the rumor had started. (“It certainly didn’t hurt us,” he says, in The Art of the Deal.) Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice, later revealed that Trump himself had planted the story with journalists. Schwartz also suspected that Trump engaged in such media tricks, and asked him about a story making the rounds—that Trump often called up news outlets using a pseudonym. Trump didn’t deny it. As Schwartz recalls, he smirked and said, “You like that, do you?”

Schwartz says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.”

When challenged about the facts, Schwartz says, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent. This quality was recently on display after Trump posted on Twitter a derogatory image of Hillary Clinton that contained a six-pointed star lifted from a white-supremacist Web site. Campaign staffers took the image down, but two days later Trump angrily defended it, insisting that there was no anti-Semitic implication. Whenever “the thin veneer of Trump’s vanity is challenged,” Schwartz says, he overreacts-- not an ideal quality in a head of state.

When Schwartz began writing The Art of the Deal, he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump’s loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies. . .  People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration-- and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, “‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’” Trump, he said, loved the phrase.

...In his journal, Schwartz wrote, “Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.” Looking back at the text now, Schwartz says, “I created a character far more winning than Trump actually is.” The first line of the book is an example. “I don’t do it for the money,” Trump declares. “I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.” Schwartz now laughs at this depiction of Trump as a devoted artisan. “Of course he’s in it for the money,” he said. “One of the most deep and basic needs he has is to prove that ‘I’m richer than you.’ ” As for the idea that making deals is a form of poetry, Schwartz says, “He was incapable of saying something like that-- it wouldn’t even be in his vocabulary.” He saw Trump as driven not by a pure love of dealmaking but by an insatiable hunger for “money, praise, and celebrity.” Often, after spending the day with Trump, and watching him pile one hugely expensive project atop the next, like a circus performer spinning plates, Schwartz would go home and tell his wife, “He’s a living black hole!”

...Schwartz told me that he has decided to pledge all royalties from sales of The Art of the Deal in 2016 to pointedly chosen charities: the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for the Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center. He doesn’t feel that the gesture absolves him. “I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” he said. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that The Art of the Deal sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that savvy Republican politicians-- including the party's last 4 nominees, a dozen senators, 4 governors and countless congressmembers are staying as far away from the Trump convention as they can. Rob Portman (OH) and Ron Johnson (WI) are the only senators up for re-election in battleground states attending the convention, although Rubio sent in a video. And the list of speakers, starting last night, was strictly B-list-- hysterical hate mongers Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn, underwear model-turned soap actor Antonio Sabato Jr, washed up '70s actor Scott Baio (Chachi)... and still to come: Tim Tebow, con-artist and drug pusher Michelle Van Etten and Trump's family of monsters. Palin was supposed to speak but she's stuck in Alaska trying to get her kid out of jail after he beat his girlfriend up again. But at least there was Melania Trump last night... and her plagiarized speech she claimed she wrote herself:

The Art of The Steal

Goal Thermometer Virtually all the Blue America congressional candidates are urging their supporters to watch the Republican convention. Southwest Michigan's Paul Clements wrote to his supporters yesterday that "Today in Cleveland, Ohio the coronation of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee begins. His line-up of loony guest speakers demonstrates just what kind of government he would run. One filled with people like a Duck Dynasty star, an NRA executive, the Ultimate Fighting CEO, an oil industry executive... and Rev. Jerry Falwell. We must do everything we can to stop Donald Trump, and we will."

Similarly, our candidate in Nevada, Ruben Kihuen, told his supporters that "with Republicans poised to nominate a racist, misogynistic bully as their nominee for President later this week, accidental Congressman Cresent Hardy is now steering clear of Cleveland and praying Nevadans forget about his steadfast support for Donald Trump. His staff must have read this Roll Call article ranking Hardy the second most vulnerable House incumbent in the country, in part because Trump 'will likely be a liability down-ticket.' But here’s the truth: Hardy has been an unwavering supporter of Trump’s disgraceful campaign since he became the GOP’s presumptive nominee, and he’s even promised an official endorsement in the near future. When it comes to Trump’s offensive rhetoric, Hardy says: 'His tone doesn’t bother me… He’s speaking the truth.'"

A new poll released by Morning Consult just as the convention was getting underway indicates that 46% of Republicans say the GOP has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track [and] 23 percent definitively say that party leaders do not care about people like them. One-fifth of Republican voters say the party doesn’t represent their views." Ominously, though, 29% of Republicans feel that Trump best reflects GOP values among Republican politicians. Bush II came in second with 17% and Paul Ryan third with 12%.

A family of cheats? How could it be otherwise?

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At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...plagiarized Michelle Obama..."
Why not? It was a good speech.
Seriously. Think of a conservative speech that's worth plagiarizing.


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