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Thread: The Cult of Donald Trump

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    The Cult of Donald Trump

    Lev Parnas and Michael Cohen are right to think working for Trump was like being in a cult, according to a cult expert

    Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas and President Donald Trump's ex-lawyer lawyer Michael Cohen described working for the president as like being in a cult.

    An author on cults, who used to be in one himself, says they're right.

    Steve Hassan, a cult expert and author of a book called "The Cult of Trump," spoke to Insider about the ways in which Trump and his circle behave share characteristics with cults.

    "What's interesting and shocking to me is to hear Lev Parnas describe [Trump] as a cult leader and such, and I'm curious how he arrived to that insight," Hassan said, referring to an MSNBC interview Parnas gave.

    "I knew that Trump fit the stereotypical profile of all cult leaders, which is essentially malignant narcissism, which is the narcissism — plus the psychopathic elements of feeling above the law, the pathological lying, paranoia, the jealousy, the harassment," he added.

    The cult comparison has also been used by Michael Cohen, Trump's one-time lawyer. A friend of Cohen's told The New York Times last February that Cohen "would describe it as being something akin to a cult" andnhe "got sucked into it."

    Hassan said Trump is a 'stereotypical cult leader'
    "First of all, cult leaders think they're above everybody else, above the law, and then everything exists for their adulation," Hassan said.

    "Cult leaders think nothing of using people like pawns to get their way, and it doesn't matter if there are people on the staff saying this is a bad idea, which apparently Bolton did," Hassan said. In December The New York Times reported that former national security adviser John Bolton tried to convince Trump to release military aid to Ukraine.

    "His will matters more than any rationality and the potential consequence," Hassan continued.

    He said cult leaders also have a tendency to cast out anyone who disagrees with them. He says this can be seen in the record high turnover of staff in the Trump White House.

    According to Time magazine, Trump burned through more officials in two and a half years than presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and George HW Bush did in their whole first terms.

    You know it's a cult when you can't leave for free
    Hassan himself was a cult member — one of the so-called "Moonies," a religious movement that originated in South Korea. Hassan said he joined in his youth and remained in the cult until 1976, just before his 22nd birthday.

    He contrasted mendacious cult activity — like the Moonies, or being part of Trump's circle — with healthy cult activity, like really liking a sports team.

    In a healthy cult, Hassan said, "you're free to leave, you can talk to whoever you want to talk to, you can read whatever you want to read. There's no penalty if you say: 'I don't want to do this anymore.'"

    By contrast, he said, unhealthy cults focus on deception, hate, and fear. In his recent interview with MSNBCs Rachel Maddow, Parnas discussed at length how he was afraid of Trump and did not want to cross him.

    Hassan also noted that some groups have a kind of uniform they encourage people to wear, akin to the "Make America Great Again" hats worn by Trump supporters.

    Disinformation is another cult hallmark, Hassan said
    Hassan said cult leaders also make liberal use of disinformation — a tactic which Trump has embraced with vigor, from exaggerating crowd sizes to redrawing hurricane maps, often with the goal of demonstrating that a false claim he made is actually true.

    In the final two weeks of 2019 alone, CNN pointed out 90 false claims said by the president.

    Hassan said this helps in "sowing conflict, with one of the gains [being] to delegitimize the leadership and institutions of that particular society."

    He pointed to the appointments of noted skeptics Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education respectively, as another example of delegitimizing institutions.

    You don't have to be stupid to be in a cult
    Drawing on his experience as a former cult member who gave it up in the 1970s, Hassan says that indoctrination can happen to anyone.

    "Intelligent, educated people can be true believers, and I've met many, including myself."

    He added that redemption is ultimately possible. "They can get better and realize what they were believing was all wrong and that they have been subjected to an systematic indoctrination program," Hassan said.
    ____________

    This is what "Trump Derangement Syndrome" truly is.

    The sad thing is that people that I once greatly admired for their intellect, their worldly-wise experience, their analytical ability to see through bullshit, people I would've once sworn it was impossible to succumb to such an obvious fraud as Trump, were instead taken in by him, hook, line and sinker, right down to parroting his language and "logic".

    And that's what I hate the most about Donald Trump.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Pretty much accurate. My experience with cults revolves around Scientology which my partner got involved in. Classmate, a house mate, a very smart guy and got sucked in by Scientology promises via a marketing firm that baits professionals. In the end the partnership broke up and the Scientology lawyers tried to take everything despite 50/50. The saving factor, as their lawyers are despicable, was the loan paper signed by my partner to my father for one. Second, he couldn't open his new office without his phone number as I placed a password on the three we had. My lawyer called and asked, I said call him and tell him what I want to end things now, he has one minute to decide, or we can go to court in months and he has no phone. There has been no contact ever since that day in 1995 despite being 100 yards away.

    Control, mentally, is everything for them...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Pretty much accurate. My experience with cults revolves around Scientology which my partner got involved in.
    Control, mentally, is everything for them...
    Jesus...

    Really sorry you had to go through that. Cults are insidious.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    I was waiting to read how those who support him would be called cult members but no, its referring to just those that worked for him

    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Lev Parnas and Michael Cohen are right to think working for Trump was like being in a cult, according to a cult expert

    Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas and President Donald Trump's ex-lawyer lawyer Michael Cohen described working for the president as like being in a cult.
    Former employee, possibly disgruntled would like to get back at his former boss and this was the safest way.

    I think ex-employees are not credible to begin with.

    An author on cults, who used to be in one himself, says they're right.

    "I knew that Trump fit the stereotypical profile of all cult leaders, which is essentially malignant narcissism, which is the narcissism — plus the psychopathic elements of feeling above the law, the pathological lying, paranoia, the jealousy, the harassment," he added.

    Hassan said Trump is a 'stereotypical cult leader'
    "First of all, cult leaders think they're above everybody else, above the law, and then everything exists for their adulation," Hassan said.

    "Cult leaders think nothing of using people like pawns to get their way, and it doesn't matter if there are people on the staff saying this is a bad idea, which apparently Bolton did," Hassan said. In December The New York Times reported that former national security adviser John Bolton tried to convince Trump to release military aid to Ukraine.

    "His will matters more than any rationality and the potential consequence," Hassan continued.
    This is true for any strong willed ruler

    He said cult leaders also have a tendency to cast out anyone who disagrees with them. He says this can be seen in the record high turnover of staff in the Trump White House.

    According to Time magazine, Trump burned through more officials in two and a half years than presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and George HW Bush did in their whole first terms.
    We don't know the extent of the disagreement. And the previous defense secretary quit on his own.

    I'd imagine Bolton getting fired would actually be cause for cheer in some quarters. Even Trump found him a bit much.

    Fortunately i remember him more fondly.

    You know it's a cult when you can't leave for free
    Hassan himself was a cult member — one of the so-called "Moonies," a religious movement that originated in South Korea. Hassan said he joined in his youth and remained in the cult until 1976, just before his 22nd birthday.

    He contrasted mendacious cult activity — like the Moonies, or being part of Trump's circle — with healthy cult activity, like really liking a sports team.

    In a healthy cult, Hassan said, "you're free to leave, you can talk to whoever you want to talk to, you can read whatever you want to read. There's no penalty if you say: 'I don't want to do this anymore.'"

    By contrast, he said, unhealthy cults focus on deception, hate, and fear. In his recent interview with MSNBCs Rachel Maddow, Parnas discussed at length how he was afraid of Trump and did not want to cross him.
    In the corporate world its called signing an NDA

    Disinformation is another cult hallmark, Hassan said
    Hassan said cult leaders also make liberal use of disinformation — a tactic which Trump has embraced with vigor, from exaggerating crowd sizes to redrawing hurricane maps, often with the goal of demonstrating that a false claim he made is actually true.
    He has an ego and if you want to remain on his team its best not out him in public.

    Hassan said this helps in "sowing conflict, with one of the gains [being] to delegitimize the leadership and institutions of that particular society."

    He pointed to the appointments of noted skeptics Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education respectively, as another example of delegitimizing institutions.
    I can think of an example in India where this applies. Though it has to be said they don't lead any institution or ministry like here. Our complaint is the people appointed to those posts quite frankly aren't even remotely qualified for them. eg. the previous head of the ministry of education was a soap opera star. A now deceased finance minister was a lawyer. NFI about finance and they decided to give him defence as well for a while.

    Which is worse, sowing conflict or incompetence and the latter is more widespread where i am.

    Drawing on his experience as a former cult member who gave it up in the 1970s, Hassan says that indoctrination can happen to anyone.

    "Intelligent, educated people can be true believers, and I've met many, including myself."

    He added that redemption is ultimately possible. "They can get better and realize what they were believing was all wrong and that they have been subjected to an systematic indoctrination program," Hassan said.
    I doubt intelligence has anything to do with it. You get a once in a life time chance to serve your country. You do it regardless of the sob in charge.

    This is what "Trump Derangement Syndrome" truly is.

    The sad thing is that people that I once greatly admired for their intellect, their worldly-wise experience, their analytical ability to see through bullshit, people I would've once sworn it was impossible to succumb to such an obvious fraud as Trump, were instead taken in by him, hook, line and sinker, right down to parroting his language and "logic".

    And that's what I hate the most about Donald Trump.
    India has had to deal with far worse US presidents than Trump. So far so good. Nearing the end of his first term and there is no falling out. I don't know what the next term will bring but let's say cautiously optimistic is the guess.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Jan 20, at 01:04.

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post


    I doubt intelligence has anything to do with it. You get a once in a life time chance to serve your country. You do it regardless of the sob in charge.
    You need to look up the phrase "working toward the Fuhrer."

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    You might be right about Trump on some points of him being cultish but the "record turnover" in the U.S. government was necessary. He didn't want Obama's staff hangin' around and he is very new to politics. Being that his political experience didn't allow him much foresight as far as who would work best on his team and him being the typical "fire 'em" tycoon that he is I'm not surprised that he went through that many people. He knows how a good team works and thats part of his success as a businessman. The way I see it is he just brought his methods with him into the white house and if you could have seen him manage his company before he was president you would have seen him doing the same thing.

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    "success as a businessman"? How many of his companies went broke? Hell one of his casinos went broke... His 'University' was a fraud that had repay millions, his charity 'Fund' used to buy pictures of himself, most of the buildings with his name on them are not his. The only 'business' he did was to promote himself and launder dirty Muscovite (and in some cases Iranian) money. He is a loudmouth fraudster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    "success as a businessman"? How many of his companies went broke? Hell one of his casinos went broke... His 'University' was a fraud that had repay millions, his charity 'Fund' used to buy pictures of himself, most of the buildings with his name on them are not his. The only 'business' he did was to promote himself and launder dirty Muscovite (and in some cases Iranian) money. He is a loudmouth fraudster.
    Trump is a billionaire with an estimated worth of $3.1b. His father gave him $413m. That is almost an 8-fold increase. Business Insider estimates that if Trump didn't expand his fathers real estate business and just invested his money in stocks and other paper finances he would only be worth about $2b. Only his failures get publicity but he has more successes in business than failures.

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    You trust the word of a liar? If he is so 'successful' why won't he publish his tax returns - or are they still "under audit"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    You trust the word of a liar? If he is so 'successful' why won't he publish his tax returns - or are they still "under audit"?
    I don't know about any of that but I do know that the public doesn't have the right to know what your personal finances are no matter how rich or poor you are. They simply do not have the law behind them.

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    Not even if you are a President that has been laundering stolen Muscovite money for years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Not even if you are a President that has been laundering stolen Muscovite money for years?
    If he is found guilty in cpurt then the record of the illegal transactions will be made available to the courts and the people immediately involved in the trial. As for the amounts of the illegal transactions they may or may not be disclosed to the public. Many things of this nature are kept confidential for less famous people, so no, fame doesn't chamge what your rights are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wonderful Plans View Post
    If he is found guilty in cpurt then the record of the illegal transactions will be made available to the courts and the people immediately involved in the trial. As for the amounts of the illegal transactions they may or may not be disclosed to the public. Many things of this nature are kept confidential for less famous people, so no, fame doesn't chamge what your rights are.
    As an afterthought, many famous people have gone to trial under confidential circumstances in order to protect sensitive information. Also, many military and government trials have happened confidentially where espionage is considered.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    You need to look up the phrase "working toward the Fuhrer."
    Implying authoritarian ?

    Here's why that phrase is bunk.

    Whichever extreme end of the political spectrum, authoritarians are interested in one thing.

    State capture. All of its institutions.

    Closest we get to that these days is China.

    Neither of our countries qualifies in that regard.


    How does Trump fare when it comes to state capture? he gets accused of weakening institutions but nothing more

    Trump is what Indians would call an accidental President.

    He didn't think he'd get the job. It has a negative connotation. Used to refer to our previous PM.

    As opposed to some one who wanted the job like Modi.


    Another point i forgot to add in the previous post and its to do with firing.

    Trump's a CEO president. He's used to firing people in the private sector and he does that as President as well.

    That's why the turnover. It's funny how early into his term i'd keep hearing how he was having trouble filling positions. Where's the worship there TH ?

    So which is it he fires too many people or nobody wants to work for him.

    Last point, i was chatting with a friend that was over for a trip and i was bashing your media as usual for being lazy and generally crap because they got the elections wrong.

    She told me something interesting. The polls got it wrong because people did not want to admit they supported him. Because there were social costs to admitting it. You either get called a misogyinst or a racist. So Trump has an unknown number of closet supporters. lol. What a ridiculous situation to be in.

    What if you are a republican card carrying member who just wants to support the party ?

    Here's another thing, that seems not to matter for some people. Who is the one leading that is all that matters.

    It's definitely true with Modi. Which party does he come from ? forget that. Vote for him.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Jan 20, at 00:45.

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    Some folks use villains to outline examples or emphasize their seriousness or passion, to embolden what they say. Quoting villains is another way to try and elicit the negative sentiments in your opponent that your opponent elicited out of you. I do it too and try not but man when someone pisses you off that much you're willing to call out whatever name will piss them off and use it to your advantage. When all is said and done you realize you tarnished your own reputation and it wasn't worth it. But man, I can't take it anymore.

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