Monday, October 12, 2020

Rasputin, Shoko Asahara, David Koresh, Jim Jones, The Donald



Did you know that Playboy Magazine has a senior White House correspondent? That would be Brian Karem, no fan of Señor Trumpanzee. And the feeling is mutual; when Trump tried taking away his press pass and access, Karem-- a recipient of the National Press Club's Freedom of the Press award, sued him in federal court-- and won. Karem, lead singer of Maryland's Rhythm Bandits Band, had offended one of Trump's in-house Nazis, Sebastian Gorka, by noting that right-wing social media scribes-- invited to a press conference to pretend they are legitimate journalists-- "a group of people eager for demonic possession." That was in the summer of 2019. This weekend, Karem was exposing the Trumpist Death Cult for Bulwark readers, redefining Trump himself as "an egotistical, narcissistic shaman who promises his adoring worshipers that he will right all wrongs." Sounds about right.

Karem compared Trump to cult leader and "master manipulator" David Koresh and Trump's followers to the Branch Davidians (of Waco fame). "H.L. Mencken," wrote Karem, "unflinchingly clear-eyed, said that every great religion was susceptible to cults. Mystics, he wrote, drive many cults and the 'essence of mysticism is that it breaks down all barriers between the devotee and his god, and thereby makes the act of worship a direct and personal matter.' David Koresh did that. Jim Jones did that. So does Donald Trump.

Trump is, in his own perverse way, one of the greatest mystics of the 21st century. He is a masterful manipulator who told everyone from the beginning of his political career how he could shoot someone in front of witnesses and not lose a voter. He also explained that he calls the news media liars so people won’t believe us and will believe him.

Like every mystic, Trump adheres to magic over science. When pressed about climate change, he said the scientists don’t know. When pressed about the pandemic he said it would magically disappear. He often refuses to wear a mask and may be responsible for as many as 40 people in and around the White House becoming infected by the coronavirus. Like the huckster selling snake oil or the phony shaman dancing around a fire, Trump proclaimed himself feeling “great” in a video he tweeted to his millions of adoring fans. His magic is that of the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, and few who love him would dare pull back the curtain.

He is the political messiah who will right all wrongs, drain the swamp, build a wall, make the economy better, and turn life into heaven on earth. Only he can solve the problems-- never mind that he caused most of them. He lies to convince his worshipers, who in turn believe him because he addresses their concerns. Something isn’t right if the common man is getting screwed so much and life is so tough. Trump must be right. He’s a common man to the common man. Millions of his evangelical Christian admirers act as though he is a Christian; they are unwilling or unable to see he clearly is not . In truth, he’s merely a rich, pampered insecure man who only worships himself. It’s hard to see as he gives those who feel so disaffected an enemy to hate. It’s not our fault, he says, it’s the swamp. It’s the deep state. It’s anyone but us.

Like every cult leader, his outsized ego and narcissism fuel the rage he has against those who think or act differently than he. His closest disciples and believers have gone all in-- because they see a path to glory and power they would otherwise not have. Stephen Miller, a man perpetually picked last for kickball, would never reach such heights without Trump, the mystic, as his mentor. Trump is a sedulous fly-catcher and he is among the best. He’s never worked for a living, but has convinced hard-working Americans that he alone knows what is best for the working man. He’s never served either in the military or in politics, prior to his run for president, but those who believe in him see a dedicated and selfless public servant who would charge into a tense standoff with guns blazing, like a cinematic Rambo.

He will continue to preach as he does because he knows nothing else. His minions will take up arms on his behalf-- triggered by the president whom the marginalized and the dangerous have found a friend. He is indirectly responsible for those who plotted to kidnap a governor. He told the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. The KKK endorses him. Every violent paramilitary group in the United States flocks to him as Branch Davidians flocked to hear their messiah in Waco.

The language is nearly the same. David Koresh spoke of an apocalypse at the hands of the federal government. So does Trump. Koresh said they were out to get him. So does Trump. Koresh violated the most basic forms of civility to maintain control. So does Trump.

Though he may still be contagious from the coronavirus, he plans once again this week to hit the streets and attend a rally where his supporters will deny science, refuse to wear masks, and blow off social-distancing. Meanwhile, the White House remains a biohazard petri dish with staffers terrified of catching the virus from Typhoid Donny, a president who wants to serve and promote his cult.

In the end, the Branch Davidians, assuring themselves that the apocalypse was upon them, died in a fire inside their own compound. Trump too says without his re-election, apocalypse could be upon us.

Here’s hoping Trump and his cult go a different route than the Branch Davidians should the president lose his bid for re-election.
Mass suicide, Jonestown style, would be a great and glorious ending for the Trumpist cult; it would solve, more or less, so many problems for this country and for the the world. Dragging the rest of us into it through insurrection, on the other hand... not so glorious or great. Conservative NY Times columnist Ross Douthat, has a different vision of Trump-- not so much a mystic or budding autocrat as a noisy weakling and predicts that there will be no coup after Trump loses 3 weeks from tomorrow. Douthat acknowledges that Trump is basically a fascist but pointed out that he "lacks popularity and political skill, unlike most of the global strongmen who are supposed to be his peers. He lacks power over the media: Outside of Fox’s prime time, he faces an unremittingly hostile press whose major outlets have thrived throughout his presidency. He is plainly despised by his own military leadership, and notwithstanding his courtship of Mark Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley is more likely to censor him than to support him in a constitutional crisis. His own Supreme Court appointees have already ruled against him; his attempts to turn his voter-fraud hype into litigation have been repeatedly defeated in the courts; he has been constantly at war with his own C.I.A. and F.B.I. And there is no mass movement behind him: The threat of far-right violence is certainly real, but America’s streets belong to the anti-Trump left."

Douthat hangs his hat on the fact that "one can oppose Trump, even hate him, and still feel very confident that he will leave office if he is defeated, and that any attempt to cling to power illegitimately will be a theater of the absurd... [T]he scenarios that have been spun out in reputable publications-- where Trump induces Republican state legislatures to overrule the clear outcome in their states or militia violence intimidates the Supreme Court into vacating a Biden victory-- bear no relationship to the Trump presidency we’ve actually experienced. Our weak, ranting, infected-by-Covid chief executive is not plotting a coup, because a term like “plotting” implies capabilities that he conspicuously lacks."

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

file this in the "DUH!!" folder. All evil demagogues are/were mystics. The most successful ones had great disasters to capitalize on (hitler) or the most ignorant/stupid populace who follow (popes, trump, mao).

However, absent all of these, it is truly an indictment of americans that 60 million follow this assclown so devoutly.

but you still must give credit to the democrap party for refusing to undo any evil perpetrated by the other side and, in fact, expanding much of it... in their infrequent opportunities to do so.

And this, therefore, is an indictment of the democraps' 60 million as well (for never voting for anything better than a slower plummet).

bottom line is even if trump is made to go away or go to prison, nothing changes (sound familiar?) because the other side is just as stupid and will never make anything better.

And history shows us that when nothing impedes evil, evil shall flourish.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yup, Anonymous, unfortunately. Dumbness and ignorance have become the American way.

While Trump is way losing in the polls, Americans are shell shocked from 2016. It remains to be seen whether the polls turn into votes, and how effective all Trump's and the Republicans' cheating will be. It does not look good for Evil Donny, but until he is actually defeated no one should be complacent. Would he be in great shape without the virus? Maybe. Probably. That is one of the scariest parts of all this. This insane, illogical, mean, vengeful, despicable, self absorbed person who is tearing down our democracy and the Constitution and yet many people did and will vote for him? Really? Apparently Americans have forgotten about WW II and the fascists, and the concentration camps. If it were not for FDR...How lucky were we to have him when we did? Same for Lincoln. Same for Washington. And now we have Trump, the opposite!

The ubiquitous stupidity of many Americans can be traced to some degree to the poor education prevalent in this country, which is getting worse each decade. Critical thinking? Hah. Knowledge of history? Hah. Knowledge of our past horrors and how we need to be aware of them in order to prevent such travesties in the future? (George Bush, you should have been impeached! Torture is ok? Lies to promote a war is ok?). Hah. Knowledge of civics and how our government functions? Hah. (A small poll at my old school showed that only 3 of 25 staff could name the three branches of government, including a Ph.D. Pathetic is too kind a word.) Republicans, and Trump, HATE education - it is their enemy. Facts and science? Hah.

And yes, Americans still do not realize how progressives are the only way to the future. Fighting climate change should be #1. We =must go big on this, to save the planet. The younger people need to wake up and mobilize. It is their future at stake.

At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

OH, and I forgot to mention the role of religion in fighting policies that would combat the virus. Praying vs. reality, actual policies, personal responsibility and behavior? Fanatics of ALL religions, taken to the extreme, are enemies of common sense policies and the future of mankind and the planet. Just look at the orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, for one recent example. Burning masks, insisting on holding religious services with large groups of people. Uh, praying did not help the Jews in the concentration camps. In contrast to the pope, I might add, who has decency and common sense. Why can't religious services be suspended for a couple of months? What would God say? Does God, if there is one, care about formal services when people are dying? I wouldn't think so.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Douthat...pointed out that [Trump] ...acks popularity and political skill...lacks power over the media...faces an unremittingly hostile press..."

So did a certain enlisted veteran of the Deutsches Heer, one who thought he was both a failed artist and the savior of Das Volk against Global Communism.

Douthat demonstrates his willful ignorance about this topic when he claims that "America’s streets belong to the anti-Trump left."

He clearly doesn't leave the office very much.

The media is filled with deluded tools of corporatism. They get well-paid to NOT know what is going on - or why. Better to lead the sheep astray if one doesn't know much either.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, dare I repeat that your relentless support of democraps is just as much to blame as "This insane, illogical, mean, vengeful, despicable, self absorbed person who is tearing down our democracy and the Constitution..."?

The constitution wasn't torn down just since 2016. It started decades ago with reagan who started assimilation of the media when he repudiated both "equal time" and "fairness" doctrines and slick willie refused to reinstate them. The constitution was never supported after nixon committed treason nor when reagan committed treason. It was never supported after obamanation was elected, presumably at least in part, to restore the 1st and 4th amendments that cheney/W destroyed.

By no later than 1984, the democrap party was lost forever to the money. Yet you and all like you relentlessly kept affirming them. And because you refused to kill them in the '80s, we're fucked. either a flaming ocean of pig shit or the nazis. that's the choice you and yours have left us.

And here we all are today. Does your conscience allow you to accept your share of the blame?


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