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Thread: The Cult of Donald Trump

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I'd say that propping up a young dictator by doing what no other President has done, coming to North Korea even if just a few steps over the border, and "falling in love" with him, was a massive (and massively needed) domestic propaganda boost for Kim Jong Un
    That really is a non-point. The NK propaganda machine has turned KJU into a god and demonized the US for decades. To bring it up to the level you're suggesting where the KJU-Trump meet would be of a propaganda value, the NK propaganda machine would have to elevate the US into a great power, something they have been denying for decades.

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    You sound like the US has done nothing but let the NK do their thing.

    An unresounding yes. The strategic gap has grown. The reason why no one really cares about NK nuclear development is because the entire NK nuclear arsenal is vulnerable to an SK first strike (and Japanese for that matter), conventional as it may ... and that gap grew bigger in the last year. KJU's hoopla about SK-US military exercies is not without warrant.

    KJU's nukes had been neutered and he knows it.
    not at all. the US forces on Peninsula are now operationally better than it was in 2018 at the start of fire and fury. to be more accurate, those forces are now significantly better resourced to fight and sustain the fight.

    I should know; I participated in the "training event" that replaced the exercises.

    -strategically-, we're not better off. obviously North Korea continues to develop nuke and missile tech-- that's not changed. the US is not closer, and actually further away, from the goal of denuclearization. to be fair, this is something that doesn't really have a solution absent regime change. re: the vulnerability of the NK nuclear arsenal vs US/SK/Japan conventional capabilities, that's simply moving the goalposts (and plus, is something that I'm not going to discuss here).

    ultimately the reason why the US presses for denuclearization and South Korea doesn't, is because the US wants to make sure that KJU can't hold something over the US, the way that KJU holds long-range artillery against Seoul. i think KJU is justified in feeling that he's safer than before.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. 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."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    -strategically-, we're not better off. obviously North Korea continues to develop nuke and missile tech-- that's not changed. the US is not closer, and actually further away, from the goal of denuclearization. to be fair, this is something that doesn't really have a solution absent regime change. re: the vulnerability of the NK nuclear arsenal vs US/SK/Japan conventional capabilities, that's simply moving the goalposts (and plus, is something that I'm not going to discuss here).

    ultimately the reason why the US presses for denuclearization and South Korea doesn't, is because the US wants to make sure that KJU can't hold something over the US, the way that KJU holds long-range artillery against Seoul. i think KJU is justified in feeling that he's safer than before.
    And we're back to Nuke War 101. KJU can't be defeated but he can be destroyed.

    The military solution is the only solution. If we are not going to do regieme change (and who wants to be stuck with that bill), then there is nothing left but to make sure we can destroy North Korea before they can strike. We had our chance if the US/Japan/South Korea had lived up to their deal and helped KJI out of his famine but we were too gleefully waiting for him to collapse. If we want to see KJU disarm nuclearly, we're going to have to pump a hell of a lot of money into NK and he will want to see the 1st $billion before he puts his first rocket onto the chopping block.

    And frankly, we don't have that kind of money.

    More frankly, I ain't going to be scare of some CSS-3/DF-5 copies that can't hit the Rockies.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    That really is a non-point. The NK propaganda machine has turned KJU into a god and demonized the US for decades. To bring it up to the level you're suggesting where the KJU-Trump meet would be of a propaganda value, the NK propaganda machine would have to elevate the US into a great power, something they have been denying for decades.
    DPRK propaganda about the US simultaneously (and paradoxically) has portrayed it as both no match for the might of the DPRK (as you said), but also a brutal imperialist power, a constant threat to the people of North Korea. The message is: "You should be proud of your country because we're strong and we can take on the world...but you've got to stay with us and obey everything we say or else our strong, savage enemy will crush us."

    This DPRK myth of foreign countries enviously admiring North Korea and paying homage to the Kim family has a whole "museum" dedicated to the display of gifts, which are shown as "proof of the endless love and respect toward the Great Leader." The whole building is "aimed at convincing North Korean visitors that their leaders are universally admired."

    Trump coming to see Kim, rather than the other way around, was of tremendous value to Kim and his gang. It drastically and uniquely reinforced what North Koreans have been taught for generations.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Trump coming to see Kim, rather than the other way around, was of tremendous value to Kim and his gang. It drastically and uniquely reinforced what North Koreans have been taught for generations.
    Joe, ask yourself this. So what? Do you actually think that Trump NOT visiting KJU has any effect on how KJU controls his people?

    Also, ask yourself this. Do you really care? At the end of the day, we're us and they're them. If it comes to down to a choice between us and them, would you really choose them over us? It's a curious point on NK propaganda but has absolutely zero effect on our strategic thinking. They're still them. And we're still us.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Joe, ask yourself this. So what? Do you actually think that Trump NOT visiting KJU has any effect on how KJU controls his people?

    Also, ask yourself this. Do you really care? At the end of the day, we're us and they're them. If it comes to down to a choice between us and them, would you really choose them over us? It's a curious point on NK propaganda but has absolutely zero effect on our strategic thinking. They're still them. And we're still us.
    Sir, the question isn't whether or not I care, who I would choose or not, or what our strategic thinking is.

    The question at hand is: What are Donald Trump's accomplishments? North Korea is held up as an example of...something, I'm not sure what, by his supporters.

    I would contend that he's accomplished nothing of substance that deserves any special praise or credit, and indeed Trump's amateurish, self-aggrandizing attempts to "solve" the North Korean problem to get himself a Nobel Peace Prize have done more to bolster Kim's standing in the DPRK than anything else.

    He's also made himself and the United States look utterly foolish by proclaiming his "love" for Kim Jong Un.

    Therefore the best he can be "credited" with, in this area of geopolitics, is irritating the shit out of the ROK with his constant demands for more money and not starting a war.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Sir, the question isn't whether or not I care, who I would choose or not, or what our strategic thinking is.

    Therefore the best he can be "credited" with, in this area of geopolitics, is irritating the shit out of the ROK with his constant demands for more money and not starting a war.
    More than that. He got KJU scared enough NOT TO START A WAR. Do recall that KJU shelled South Korea and sunk a South Korean destroyer during Obama.

    I also contend that Nk internal propaganda is out of our control. Former POTUS Carter and Clinton went to North Korea. Trump's visit or not would have zero effect on KJU's standing within North Korea. I have extremely strong confidence that KJU's popularity would not drop one single point if Trump had refused to meet with KJU. By the same token, you will have extremely hard time to point out how much more popular KJU is just by meeting Trump. It's a non-point.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 25 Jan 20, at 00:51.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    It's a non-point.
    I'll leave it there then.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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    Four-star general: 'I have wasted 40 years of my life' if Trump's lies represent 'who we are'

    Retired U.S. Air Force four-star general Michael Hayden didn't mince words when it comes to Donald Trump's 'outrageous assault on truth, the free press and the first amendment.'

    Donald Trump's relentless attacks on the free press, and on the very of notions of truth and facts, are thoroughly antithetical to the principles of our democracy.

    And as one four-star general noted plainly and disturbingly, they call into question who we even are overall as a nation.

    Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who also served as director of the National Security Agency and later of the CIA, offered a stunning assessment of how Trump's lies and hostility to the first amendment make him view his life's work in service to the country if they now represent who we truly are.

    Trump petulantly lashed out at CNN International Saturday night, calling it "a major source of (Fake) news," and saying that "they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly."

    Hayden's response was chilling: "If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment."

    That a man who spent decades in the military, earning over two dozen awards and decorations, and served another decade in the intelligence community, fears all of his years of service could come to be for nought in the Trump era is nothing short of frightening.

    The press that Trump so snidely derides has proven itself to be far more crucial to the security of this country and its citizens than Trump ever has, or likely ever will.

    And military leaders and intelligence officials like Hayden have consistently pushed back on Trump's hollow patriotism.

    Hayden has given over 40 years of his life in service to the nation, through multiple administrations both Republican and Democratic.

    Trump has spent less than one year of his life in ostensible service to the country, which he has used as little more than a massive ego-boosting, self-aggrandizing — though failing — business opportunity.

    If distinguished Americans like Hayden are worried that the damage Trump is doing to the foundation of the country could upend all their years of work to bolster it, the rest of us ought to take grave notice.
    ___________

    Anybody still want to talk about "TDS"? Or defending the board against Hyperbolic Political Propaganda?

    Dismiss Michael Hayden as a liberal or a Never-Trumper and you'll find people like James Mattis, John Kelly and Bill McRaven saying the Same Goddamn Thing.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  10. #100
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    this horror is rapidly metastasizing.

    4 veteran career prosecutors resigned in one day because of Barr's direction to interfere in the sentencing of the Stone case. Trump getting his Twitter followers to attack the judge presiding the case (even though she did not come up with the recommended sentencing).

    Barr openly acknowledging that he's taking stuff from the President's personal lawyer to get dirt on a Trump political rival.

    talk about Trump firing the intel community IG.

    that and the retaliatory attacks on LTC Vindman -- and his innocent brother!-- and Sondland.

    forget Trump for a second. the entire GOP must pay the price for standing by or even abetting the destruction of the institution of the Republic. this makes me utterly sick to my stomach.

    ====

    https://www.businessinsider.com/form...vention-2020-2


    'Can't recall a worse day for DOJ': Trump's acquittal fuels his 'dictatorial' instincts as he obliterates the Justice Department's last shred of independence
    Sonam Sheth 4 hours ago

    Since he was acquitted last week following an impeachment trial, President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have carried out a series of targeted firings and legal interventions that have the DOJ in turmoil.
    "Can't recall a worse day for DOJ and line prosecutors," a former prosecutor told Insider. "A robbery in broad daylight in the middle of Chicago is more subtle than Barr's obsession to shield Trump and his co-conspirators."
    "I am aware of no precedent remotely like it in the history of the DOJ," another longtime former prosecutor told Insider. "It seems to me to be a classic hallmark of a dictatorial [or] fascist government."
    One former senior DOJ official who worked with the special counsel Robert Mueller when he was FBI director told Insider the last few days have been "a devastating breakdown" in the checks and balances on Trump's power.


    As California Rep. Adam Schiff wrapped up his closing arguments in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial last week, he warned Senate Republicans that if they didn't vote to remove the president from office for abusing his power, he would "do it again."

    "He has not changed. He will not change," Schiff said. "A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way. He has done it before and he will do it again."

    In the end, the Senate acquitted Trump in a nearly party-line vote, with key swing-vote Republican senators like Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander voting to acquit while expressing hope that the president had learned his lesson from the bitter trial.

    Here's what's happened since:

    Last Friday, Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who testified against him in the House of Representatives' impeachment hearings. Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., indicated that Sondland and Vindman were fired in direct retaliation for their impeachment testimony.

    On Monday, Attorney General William Barr acknowledged that he had set up an "intake process" for the Justice Department to vet material that Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump's personal lawyer, collects from Ukrainian sources about former Vice President Joe Biden.
    On Tuesday, Barr and his top aides publicly overruled the career prosecutors working on the government's case against the longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone and called for a lesser sentence than the one prosecutors had recommended. Barr's intervention led to the withdrawal or resignations of all four prosecutors working Stone's case.

    The Daily Beast reported late Tuesday that since his acquittal, Trump has privately urged Giuliani to continue working on obtaining damaging information on the Bidens and to update him and the DOJ on his findings.

    "I think he feels like the chains are off now," one senior administration official told the outlet. "It's like things have taken a turn. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be hush hush is now just…out in the open."

    Indeed, current and former officials told Insider they struggled to find any precedent for the "breakdown" of the Justice Department's historic independence that has largely kept it insulated from political interference, with one saying Barr's moves have turned it into "an arm of the Trump political machine."

    Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, didn't mince words when reacting to the string of developments.

    "Can't recall a worse day for DOJ and line prosecutors," he told Insider. "A robbery in broad daylight in the middle of Chicago is more subtle than Barr's obsession to shield Trump and his co-conspirators."

    In reference to Barr's decision to create a direct line for Giuliani to funnel information to the DOJ about the Bidens, Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who worked with members of the special counsel Robert Mueller's team, told Insider: "I am aware of no precedent remotely like it in the history of the DOJ. It seems to me to be a classic hallmark of a dictatorial [or] fascist government."

    Barr's facilitation of Giuliani's research is all the more striking given that the former New York mayor is currently under investigation by the Southern District of New York over whether his efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine violated foreign lobbying laws.

    The Trump team's push for political dirt on Biden from Ukraine — which it carried out while Trump withheld vital military aid from the country — also made up the crux of the impeachment inquiry.

    Typically, the DOJ's investigations begin with evidence of potential criminality that's uncovered by professional investigators with agencies like the FBI, the IRS, the DEA, and others.


    Those investigators then examine the evidence and present it to nonpartisan career prosecutors at US attorneys' offices across the country who make a decision whether or not to prosecute based on the law and the facts. Those cases are then submitted to the DOJ for approval on the basis of whether there's sufficient evidence to file charges to a grand jury.

    But in this case, for Giuliani — who is acting as Trump's personal agent — to instigate the potential investigation of Trump's political rival is an "unimaginable" and "gross perversion" of the system," Cotter said. "It undermines the credibility the DOJ has spent over century building. It reduces the DOJ to an arm of the Trump political machine."

    One former senior DOJ official who worked with Mueller when he was FBI director told Insider the last few days have been "a devastating breakdown" in the checks and balances on Trump's power.

    Barr, this person added, is essentially functioning as Trump's bag man and is "the single most powerful weapon in the president's arsenal."


    Cramer echoed that point, adding, "AG Barr must realize he is running an organization where he has no respect beyond a few at Main Justice."

    In light of Trump's and Barr's actions over the last several days, some Democratic lawmakers have called for Michael Horowitz, the DOJ's inspector general, to launch an investigation. That said, there's nothing stopping the president from ousting Horowitz as well.

    Indeed, reports have surfaced over the last few months that the president is weighing firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who played a pivotal role in sparking the impeachment inquiry when he informed the House Intelligence Committee of an "urgent" and "credible" whistleblower complaint against Trump, in accordance with federal law.

    "The buffers are quickly disappearing," Jens David Ohlin, a vice dean at Cornell Law School and an expert in criminal and constitutional law, told Insider. "The usual buffer is a president who doesn't intervene and an attorney general who protects an independent Justice Department. But it appears that we have neither now."
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. 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."- Isaac Asimov

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    that and the retaliatory attacks on LTC Vindman -- and his innocent brother!-- and Sondland.
    Kin punishment is the practice of punishing the family members of someone accused of a crime, either in place of or in addition to the perpetrator.

    Kin punishment has been used by authoritarian states as a form of extortion, harassment, or persecution. Countries that have practiced kin punishment include pre-Christian European cultures, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and non-Western cultures including China, Japan, and North Korea.
    Nothing to see here folks, just "Trump being Trump".

    But, you know, "TDS".
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  12. #102
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    Name:  Annotation 2020-02-24 200800.jpg
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    The Dow Tumbled More Than 1,000 Points: Its Third-Worst Point Drop In History

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    Dementia? Delusion? Dumbass?


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    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  13. #103
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    With Trump melting down on a daily basis at the termerity of reporters asking him actual questions, it's useful to review this handy little list

    Some of the indictors that a following or group is actually a cult:

    • Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
    • The group/leader is always right.
    • The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
    • No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
    • The group has a polarized, us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    • The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    • No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
    • Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
    • Subservience to the leader or group requires or results in members cutting ties with family and friends, and radically altering the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    • There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
    • Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
    • There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.

    Sound familiar?
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  14. #104
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    Yes, one of the most pernicious: Scientology

  15. #105
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    Who is Donald Trump's base? Why is he popular? Why are people voting for him? Why do people like and support him?

    This question has been answered a kajillion times. But I have a brief answer which I think throws a little illumination on the matter.

    I may be wrong, but I think this answer may throw some light not just on Trump’s appeal to some people, but also on why some people are so fervently behind him, and so unshakable in their support; and what this says about certain aspects of American culture, and American masculinity.

    In order to answer this, I have to talk briefly about a certain major movie star of the mid-20th century.

    Gary Cooper was a Republican, but he died in 1961, when JFK was president and when the most recent Republican president was Dwight D. Eisenhower, so he was a Republican at a time when it meant something very different from what it means now. Pre-Trump, pre-Bush I and II, pre-Reagan—hell, pre-Nixon.

    Gary Cooper was a wonderful star, but he did tend to appear in some rather simple-minded movies. His most famous films are probably High Noon and The Fountainhead, but I have a rather guilty fondness for Howard Hawks’ Sergeant York. He was actually good at comedy (e.g. Ball of Fire) but he preferred to be cast as granite-jawed heroes. At least, until late in his career, when a sense of doubt began to creep into his performances, which sometimes made them more interesting.

    Cooper wasn’t exactly tremendously intellectual, and he liked to be guided by other people as to what he should do. This made him notoriously prone to having extra-marital affairs with female co-stars: he was shy, soft-spoken and handsome, and women found him very attractive, and at the first hint of willingness he would tumble into the sack. Eventually reports of these affairs got out, and Cooper’s wholesome family-man image was tarnished. A bit.

    There is a point to all this detail about Gary Cooper. Please bear with me.

    Anyway, the film critic David Thomson wrote a brief monograph about Cooper, in which he told a fascinating story.

    At one point in his career, Cooper was under contract to Goldwyn Studios. While he was there, he befriended a story editor named Niven Busch. Busch and Cooper had similar taste in sports, but Busch, a Princeton graduate, was rather more literate.

    One day, Cooper called in on Busch to see how work was going on his latest picture. Busch confessed that he had a story problem which he couldn’t solve.

    Cooper’s reply was extremely interesting, in terms of how he understood his own cinematic and therefore cultural persona:

    "Well, Niven, seems to me if you make me the hero it usually comes out right."

    At first, Busch thought Cooper was joking.

    But then he realised that Cooper was simply telling the truth, as he saw it. Cooper’s charisma was such that all you had to do was cast him as the hero, and his character could have plenty of failings, but he would still be seen as the hero.

    If Gary Cooper was starring in a movie, no matter what he did, he was the good guy.

    The public couldn’t see him as a bad guy. They adored his lean, laconic manliness. It’s true that he never accepted a role as a villain, but then he wasn’t offered one. Gary Cooper’s perceived virtues made it so that whatever character he played, he’d be the good guy.

    Other stars liked to play with their persona. Henry Fonda spent a career playing careworn heroes, then was brilliant as the bad guy in Once Upon A Time In The West. Gregory Peck was a shining hero of righteousness, then was mad Ahab in Moby-Dick. Cary Grant’s genius was that he could be simultaneously sympathetic and unsympathetic: he was fascinating, but he was also intriguingly three-dimensional and ambiguous. He could keep you guessing.

    Cooper, not so much.

    If Gary Cooper had played Ahab, he would have come across not as a maniac, but as a good guy driven to awful desperation by a mean whale.


    Donald Trump is a beneficiary of the Gary Cooper Effect.


    His diehard supporters see him as a hero. That’s why it doesn’t matter what he actually does. He can lie, cheat, abuse, betray his friends and colleagues, slander war veterans and their families, even bargain with a foreign power for his own gain.

    None of that matters if you consider him a star, and feel that he’s the hero.

    He can be forgiven, endlessly, because on some level, he appeals to them in the basic, gut-level way that Gary Cooper’s laconic, frontiersman ruggedness appealed to film audiences then and, occasionally, now. (My rational brain knows that Sergeant York is bollocks, but it still works on me.)

    In real life, Gary Cooper was a philanderer and a bad family man. Onscreen, he was a hero.

    And so with Trump. His screen persona is far more gnarly and less noble and more blustering and resentful, but whaaaat? I’m president here!

    Gary Cooper would never have boasted of grabbing women by the pussy, or mocked a disabled journalist. He was far too decent and well-intentioned.

    But while the surface features change, the underlying role of the anti-social hero is still there. Trump’s persona is more like a 70s, New Hollywood version of the Hollywood hero: think Al Pacino in …And Justice for All, or Eastwood in Dirty Harry. And why not even Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon?

    He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty! So he cuts corners! So he has to break a few rules!

    If you already believe that he is the hero, basically all of American popular culture since the 60s has been telling you that he’s more trustworthy than the nameless guys in suits.

    Seems to me if you make me the hero it usually comes out right.

    Trump’s diehard supporters have made him the hero. They may not think of him as, exactly, a ‘hero’, but what other word is there for someone whose flaws you’re totally aware of, yet you still trust him to do the right thing?

    They agree with him anyway, but he is playing the role of the hero in a great drama, with more conviction than any of his opponents are. (Except perhaps Elizabeth Warren, depending on who you ask.) And you don’t abandon the hero just because things got tough.

    How we got to this situation is, of course, a quite different matter, outside the scope of this answer.

    I leave you with these lines from a play written by a German writer during, and in the immediate aftermath of, WW2.

    —Unhappy the land that has no heroes.

    —No. Unhappy the land that needs heroes.


    Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo

    Link
    _____________________

    That was from a Quora answer and it's extremely telling especially this part:

    Donald Trump is a beneficiary of the Gary Cooper Effect.

    His diehard supporters see him as a hero. That’s why it doesn’t matter what he actually does. He can lie, cheat, abuse, betray his friends and colleagues, slander war veterans and their families, even bargain with a foreign power for his own gain.

    None of that matters if you consider him a star, and feel that he’s the hero.

    He can be forgiven, endlessly, because on some level, he appeals to them in the basic, gut-level way that Gary Cooper’s laconic, frontiersman ruggedness appealed to film audiences then and, occasionally, now.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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