The Cult of Trump

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The Cult of Trump

#1

Post by RVInit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:34 am

I hesitated about starting yet another Trump thread, but I have come to believe that the key to recovering from Trump is to understand it as a cult. I truly and honestly believe that Trumpism is an actual cult. I am not any kind of an expert on cults, but there are many people who are experts on cults. A quick google on the Trump Cult generates a huge number of articles, many of which are either written by cult experts, or feature interviews with experts on cults. These articles range from describing why Trumpism qualifies as a cult to how to talk to family members and friends who have fallen for a cult such as Trumpism.

I believe this kind of discussion is worthy of a thread of it's own. Maybe we can figure out how to deal with Trump more effectively and how to deal with his followers more effectively. I even suspect that my own disdain for even engaging Trump followers at all is probably dead wrong, depending on what is meant by "engage" and in what particular way we are engaging.

So, let's share articles and ideas on how to deal with this cult. Because that is what we have on our hands, I truly do believe this with every fiber of my being. And dealing with a cult and friends, family, and neighbors who have come under the spell of a cult leader is not like dealing with what used to be the normal political conversation to which this country has been accustomed.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#2

Post by RVInit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:36 am

Here is one of the many articles available that discuss Trumpism as a cult.

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169308
The Trump Cult
by Ed Simon
Toward the end of the Second Great Awakening, a series of revivals that marked the first half of the American 19th Century, one Baptist preacher named William Miller confidently predicted that “Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844." Based on his complex calculations derived from the Bible, the minister was certain that the millennium would arrive no later than that spring day, when melting snow often still blankets the woods of the preacher’s native upstate New York.
:snippity:

Something has been fermenting within the more extreme currents of contemporary American conservatism for a while, something that in Trumpism seems to finally be metastasizing into a full-on political cult. That the hallmarks of this particular cult, Trumpism’s casual cruelty, valorization of garish commercialism, and vulgarity seem a far cry from the sorts of millenarian, communal groups we associate with periods like the 19th century Second Great Awakening religious revivals is of no accounting. Rather the death cult that is Trumpism has completely subsumed the GOP, so that now the standard bearers for the party of Lincoln are men like Corey Stewart, the Minnesota-born Confederate apologist and avowed white supremacist who was selected as Virginia’s GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Representative Steve King of Iowa, who unapologetically retweeted a prominent British neo-Nazi last week.

There is a disingenuousness among moderate Republicans who cynically brainwashed the bulk of their supporters with Fox News conspiracies for the better part of a generation only to now find themselves actually governed by the sorts of folks who believe those theories. At Esquire, Charles Pierce makes the important point that the cultist perspective of Trump supporters has been inculcated on the right for a very long time. The disregard for the truth, the defense of anything no matter how heinous, the dehumanization of marginalized people – all of this runs so deep and for so long that at The New Republic last month Kevin Baker made a credible argument that it’ll take truth and reconciliation committees for our nation to sort out the disarray in which we find ourselves.

What is there to be done in the meantime? Conservative Never Trumpers not only have a role, they have a responsibility in grappling with the fruits of a cynical legacy that allowed Trump to come to power. The rest of us are tasked with every legal means to remove the president and his supporters from their positions of power. What we must contend with is that we’re dealing with not a traditional political adversary, but a death cult. Good faith liberals who hold that dialogue and rational argumentation will somehow convince the hard-core of Trump’s supporters that they’re wrong are motivated by a stunning naivety. They’d do well to keep in mind the observation of the religious studies scholar Richard Landes, who observed that “millennial grand narratives carry an elating coherence that skeptical dismissals cannot hope to touch, and even postmodernism does not escape.” He explains that millennial conspiratorial worldviews “are the mother of all grand narratives,” and so for Trump’s most extreme supporters there is no evidence that can be presented to make them reconsider their positions.

It is, of course, a moral duty to engage our fellow citizens in dialogue, but the hope that such discourse will convert hardcore Trump supporters in any great number is a strategically losing proposition. If some Trump voters should realize their error then all the better, but the most important legal and political goal of the Democratic party must be both getting out the vote for likely supporters and ensuring that those who want to and can vote are able to do so. Diverging resources from that goal in the hopes of convincing people who can’t be convinced that they’re wrong would be a profound misstep.

Trump may be distant in demeanor and theology from the preachers and founders of intentional communities which marked that earlier period in American history, but he’s developing a cult which denies objective reality as fully as Miller’s partisans awaiting to greet Christ on his return one warm day in 1844. If anything, it’s the particular fusion of fundamentalist Protestantism, predatory capitalism, and P.T. Barnum-style confidence man grift that makes Trumpism such a particularly American malignant faith. We should scarcely be shocked that he’s arrived, all the dark currents of our culture have predicted him from the beginning.
https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169308


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#3

Post by ZekeB » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:25 pm

There's a difference. In a cult the members follow and do what their leader orders. In this case Thump more or less panders to his deplorables.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#4

Post by RVInit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:00 pm

Today may not have been the best day for me to start this because I really need to pull out my work laptop and do some work.

But, I have dozens of articles to share from people who actually study cults, and they say that yes, Trump exhibits the the characteristics of a cult leader and his base exhibit the characteristics of people who have come under the spell of a cult leader. I will share more when I have more time.


Here is just a taste to start. There are many more.

https://www.gq.com/story/the-cult-of-trump
BY REBECCA NELSON
August 31, 2016
Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he proclaimed ominously as he officially accepted the Republican nomination for president at the party’s convention in Cleveland last month. It was a grim portrait of America, a once-great nation ravaged by terrorism, “poverty and violence” at home, “war and destruction” overseas.

The solution? Not God. Or patriotism. Or casting aside party loyalty to come together as a nation. No, politicians had rallied under those virtuous banners before, and where had it gotten us? Instead, the newly crowned nominee offered a more messianic promise: that Trump—and only Trump—can get things back on track.

That’s the moment, says Rick Alan Ross, America’s leading cult expert, when he realized Trumpism had striking similarities to the fanatical groups he studies.

Like many moderates in the party, Ross, the executive director of the Cult Education Institute and a lifelong Republican, had watched Trump’s rise with mounting distaste. But Trump’s rhetoric at the RNC—“I alone can fix it”—clicked the pieces into place. “That kind of pronouncement is typical of many cult leaders, who say that ‘my way is the only way, I am the only one,’” Ross says. “That was a very defining moment.”

When I called Ross, I cut right to the chase, asking, “Is Trump a cult leader?” I didn’t get more than a few words in for the next 20 minutes as he dove into the evidence: the nominee’s deep-rooted narcissism, his lack of transparency, many of his supporters’ blind, full-throttled adoration. A week later, he left me two voicemails outlining the warning signs of narcissistic personality disorder in the candidate, and a week after that, followed up with another batch of e-mails expounding on Trump’s similarities to the cults he studies. There was a lot to dig into.
This article goes on to define each of the signs of a cult and quite a bit of detail about how Trump fits all the signs. A good place to start exploring Trump and his following as fitting the definition of a cult. The cult expert who is featured in this article is a life long Republican.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#5

Post by RVInit » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:48 pm

Chauncey DeVega wrote an article for Salon where he talks about his conversation with Stephen Hassan, an expert in mind control and cults.

Just dropping a link to the written version which is abbreviated from the podcast, linked below.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/06/is-don ... l-profile/

Here is a longer version of his discussion with Hassan, in podcast form.

https://radiopublic.com/the-chauncey-de ... 37926228a2

Here are the first couple of paragraphs from the podcast description
Steven Hassan is the guest on this week's special fundraising month episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is one of the world's foremost experts on cults and mind control.

Steven Hassan is the author of several bestselling books including Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults & Beliefs.

He and Chauncey discuss how Donald Trump is a political cult leader and if it is possible to free Trump's followers from his thrall. Steven also shares his thoughts on the power of social media and advertising over free will. He also offers up some information that may be new to many people: as a child Donald Trump was raised in a church whose leaders used mind control techniques against their followers.
The last sentence of the third paragraph is interesting because in many of the other articles I have been reading some of the other cult experts also mentioned that many cult leaders were themselves raised in a cult or were steeped in cult-like thoughts and mind control while they were growing up. Turns out that in addition to all the other ways that Trump matches the definition of a cult leader, he was raised in what many people recognize as a cult-like atmosphere.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#6

Post by MsDaisy » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:59 pm

It’s true that people fall prey to cults after being brain washed by its masters convincing those looking for answers of some sort that they have all the answers. It’s really not much different with Trump. He new exactly what ”the deplorables” wanted to hear and he gave it to them. Build a wall to keep Mexicans out, close the boarders to keep the Muslims out, etc… He had Bannon, Breitbart, Hannity, Limbaugh and the like helping him, not to mention Russia. He made being a racist asshole okay again and they REALLY like that.

I live in rural redneck VA, Trump supporters we haz lots of. About 75% of them (in my area) drive raggedy beat up cars or pick-up trucks with Trump stickers, and lots of confederate flag, III%er and NRA type stickers. Many of them drive around with large American & Confederate flags flapping from the back of their trucks on the weekends. Certainly not the most educated or prosperous lot, but definitely those with bigoted and racist tendencies who don’t want “those” kinds of people here, especially those who are more educated and prosperous than they are. Trump played them all like a fine violin and now they’re so eaten up with this newfound “liberation” from political correctness there is zero point in even attempting a reality based conversation with any of them. They believe everything Trump says, reality be damned. There is no point in trying to even talk to these people.

So yes, I can see how Trumpism is very much like a cult.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#7

Post by MN-Skeptic » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:27 pm

The timing is interesting. In today's Washington Post there's a very long article:
"Judgment days - In a small Alabama town, an evangelical congregation reckons with God, President Trump and the meaning of morality."

Basically, it's just documenting what we have all seen. These are dedicated Christian men and women who support Republicans based on anti-choice and homophobic beliefs. Their desire to impose their Christian beliefs on others allows them to overlook any personal shortcomings of a Republican politician. Because of their religious beliefs, they will ALWAYS vote Republican. Always. The election of Trump was God's will. God has used immoral leaders in the past, and so who are they to judge Trump?

I, personally, am a Christian. Mostly. Mostly I just believe "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" are at the heart what a fine religion should stand for.

But I am appalled at what some folks in this article said. This especially stood out for me:
And there was Sheila Butler, who sat on the sixth pew on the right side, who said “we’re moving toward the annihilation of Christians.”

She was 67, a Sunday school teacher who said this was the only way to understand how Christians like her supported Trump.

“Obama was acting at the behest of the Islamic nation,” she began one afternoon when she was getting her nails done with her friend Linda. She was referring to allegations that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian — allegations that are false. “He carried a Koran and it was not for literary purposes. If you look at it, the number of Christians is decreasing, the number of Muslims has grown. We allowed them to come in.”

“Obama woke a sleeping nation,” said Linda.

“He woke a sleeping Christian nation,” Sheila corrected.

Linda nodded. It wasn’t just Muslims that posed a threat, she said, but all kinds of immigrants coming into the country.

“Unpapered people,” Sheila said, adding that she had seen them in the county emergency room and they got treated before her. “And then the Americans are not served.”

Love thy neighbor, she said, meant “love thy American neighbor.”

Welcome the stranger, she said, meant the “legal immigrant stranger.”

“The Bible says, ‘If you do this to the least of these, you do it to me,’ ” Sheila said, quoting Jesus. “But the least of these are Americans, not the ones crossing the border.”

To her, this was a moral threat far greater than any character flaw Trump might have, as was what she called “the racial divide,” which she believed was getting worse. The evidence was all the black people protesting about the police, and all the talk about the legacy of slavery, which Sheila never believed was as bad as people said it was. “Slaves were valued,” she said. “They got housing. They got fed. They got medical care.”
(I hope you'll allow the >four paragraphs since they're short.)

Folks like those in this article just look for a strong leader who can fulfill their "Christian" beliefs. Trump said everything they wanted to hear. As long as he keeps fulfilling their "Christian" desires, they will back him 100%. After all, it was God's desire that he be President.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#8

Post by Foggy » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:48 pm

Yeah, Gawd wanted Trump to be president, but he hated Obama being president. Because slavery wasn't really a bad thing. :roll: :doh:

If it's a cult, it's a cult based on white supremacy and not much else. That's the only value Trump consistently supports.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#9

Post by RoadScholar » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:10 pm

This is a sentence I’ve tried to write myself, but Ed Simon (above) said it better, and it is spot-on:

“There is a disingenuousness among moderate Republicans who cynically brainwashed the bulk of their supporters with Fox News conspiracies for the better part of a generation only to now find themselves actually governed by the sorts of folks who believe those theories.”


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#10

Post by RVInit » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:32 am

RoadScholar wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:10 pm
This is a sentence I’ve tried to write myself, but Ed Simon (above) said it better, and it is spot-on:

“There is a disingenuousness among moderate Republicans who cynically brainwashed the bulk of their supporters with Fox News conspiracies for the better part of a generation only to now find themselves actually governed by the sorts of folks who believe those theories.”
I found myself responding very powerfully to that same sentence. I also believe that is a very large part of the reason we find ourselves in this situation, with a malignant cult leader as president* and 35% of the country utterly and completely caught in his trance.

And make no mistake about it, the man is fully and completely aware that he is the leader of what has become a cult. How else do you explain his own statement of awareness that he could literally commit murder and not lose the base of his support? That statement alone should shake us to our core and make us understand that the relationship between Trump and his supporters is not the normal relationship between most politicians and their supporters. This is not just people who possess some normal amount of support for the person they voted for.

Nobody makes a conscious effort to join a cult. They don't even recognize that they are in a cult. And that is why it takes professionals who understand the whole leader/follower dynamic in order to do an intervention to gently bring a person around to the realization that their beliefs about their relationship to the leader and other cult members is toxic, harmful, and will not result in a fulfilling and joyful life.

The fact that all these people who devote their professional lives to studying, educating, and helping to deprogram people from cults, all recognize that Trump has all the qualities of a cult leader, behaves exactly the same way a cult leader behaves, and his base of support is behaving exactly as cult members behave both toward the leader and toward each other, is good enough for me. I count myself among the population of people who still believe that we should listen to experts. I don't believe this has become a cult because I believe it's a cult. I believe it's a cult because experts on cults are saying this is a cult.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#11

Post by RoadScholar » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:03 am

This cult started with Rush Limbaugh (and his ilk) and was continued by Fox ‘News’ and right-wing internet media. The key cultish behavior was the hypnotic repetition of “Only believe us... everyone else is lying, they’re evil, so don’t even listen to them. We are your people, good people, and we would never lie to you.” Once that trance was established, their followers could be told a mountain of lies with no risk of refutation.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#12

Post by Ben-Prime » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:36 pm

ZekeB wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:25 pm
There's a difference. In a cult the members follow and do what their leader orders. In this case Thump more or less panders to his deplorables.
So what you're saying is that this thread should really be called 'The Trump of Cult'?


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#13

Post by Ben-Prime » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:38 pm

MN-Skeptic wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:27 pm
But I am appalled at what some folks in this article said. This especially stood out for me:
And there was Sheila Butler, who sat on the sixth pew on the right side, who said “we’re moving toward the annihilation of Christians.”

She was 67, a Sunday school teacher who said this was the only way to understand how Christians like her supported Trump.

“Obama was acting at the behest of the Islamic nation,” she began one afternoon when she was getting her nails done with her friend Linda. She was referring to allegations that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian — allegations that are false. “He carried a Koran and it was not for literary purposes. If you look at it, the number of Christians is decreasing, the number of Muslims has grown. We allowed them to come in.”

“Obama woke a sleeping nation,” said Linda.

“He woke a sleeping Christian nation,” Sheila corrected.

Linda nodded. It wasn’t just Muslims that posed a threat, she said, but all kinds of immigrants coming into the country.

“Unpapered people,” Sheila said, adding that she had seen them in the county emergency room and they got treated before her. “And then the Americans are not served.”

Love thy neighbor, she said, meant “love thy American neighbor.”

Welcome the stranger, she said, meant the “legal immigrant stranger.”

“The Bible says, ‘If you do this to the least of these, you do it to me,’ ” Sheila said, quoting Jesus. “But the least of these are Americans, not the ones crossing the border.”
I had gotten about that far on the article, reading it over lunch today, and was so revolted I had to stop reading before I threw something through my monitor.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#14

Post by RVInit » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:57 pm

I read that article, too. Pretty sick, huh? Pure, utter hypocrites.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#15

Post by fierceredpanda » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:42 am

Good thread from a professor at the Naval War College:



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Re: The Cult of Trump

#16

Post by TexasFilly » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:15 am

Yes, the rest of that thread is great and totally conforms to my experience talking to Trumpers. My husband calls these folks Intentionally Ignorant. I like it better than "willfully," alliteration is good.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#17

Post by RVInit » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:05 pm

When I have time I will post more. I read a very interesting book about Jim Jones, the famous cult leader that got hundreds of his followers to willfully commit suicide. The interesting thing is, he did not start out exhibiting the signs of a cult leader. He was very open and accepted blacks and other minorities into his church. He preached love, acceptance, and good things. It took time for him to begin behaving like a cult leader. And, it took time for his followers to go down the path of cult followers. And prior to his starting down the path of "cult", he had well known political leaders that thought highly of him and were not shy about having their pictures taken with him. His church did not start out operating as a cult.

I think it is very difficult for people to understand that perfectly normal people can become members of a cult. All they need is the initial hook that brings them into the group, and the group may not even be acting as a cult when the majority of the members start to identify with the group. The rest of it sometimes is just very small steps. Once you take a small step, it just as easy to take the next small step.

Jim Jones and Donald Trump attract people who have different values - Trump is attracting the authoritarian, fear based group and JIm Jones appealed to people who were open and accepting of others. However, there is no mistaking that once they both had a large following, they both started saying things like "Only I can help" "we are being persecuted" "they are against us" etc, etc. Trump may not ultimately encourage his followers to drink cyanide laced "Kool Aid" ( I forget the brand Jones used), but cults exist along a continuum. Jones and his followers made it all the way to the very end of that continuum. I believe Trump and his followers are on that cult continuum and his behavior is just like a cult leader. And, here's the kicker - it took Jim Jones a lot longer than Trump before he started talking about "only I can help you" "we are persecuted" "it's us against them" .
Edit: I misspoke a little bit. I didn't just read one book on Jim Jones. I have read about five or six. I was fascinated with that cult just as I'm fascinated with Scientology and other groups that appear to operate as cults.

Also, I dug out one of those books to give an idea of time frame. Jones started his church in 1954. Eventually, he was appointed to the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission. He helped the poor by opening soup kitchens, rent assistance programs, job placement, canned goods, etc. These various programs were part of how he ended up being appointed to that commission. It was 1959 before he began exhibiting the signs that his church was becoming a cult. He had many members by that time, people who for five years had watched as this man did various things and was highly respected in the mainstream.

Scientology also operates in a similar manner of using classes, some of which are perfectly legitimate and are basically equivalent to college speech classes and such. These legitimate type of activities are often how "normal everyday people" get exposed to a cult, completely unaware that it is, in fact, a cult. Or maybe, like people who joined Jim Jones church in 1954, or 1955, or 1956, or 1957 or 1958 were joining a church that was perfectly legit, for goodness sake, the man himself was on the Indy Human Rights Commission.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#18

Post by tencats » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:58 am

Trump’s cult followers too often mistake debate for bullying
July 27, 2018
What struck me most wasn’t the cult of personality, though. No, those “base” supporters know this president is a moral degenerate. They don’t care.

They don’t care that he publicly lies numerous times every single day, even when contrary facts are obvious, and even when the truth might better benefit him. I am lying, I hear, when I point it out.

They don’t care that he was born to his wealth and still managed to drive business after business into the ground. In their alternate reality, he is a “real businessman” instead of a greedy “community organizer.”

In this alternate reality, no one opposing the cult of personality tells the truth because all we want is to tear down the greatness they see.

Read more here: https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/ ... rylink=cpy
:clap:
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Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci AP



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Re: The Cult of Trump

#19

Post by Chilidog » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:26 am

If I recall correctly, it was grape "Flavor-aid."



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Re: The Cult of Trump

#20

Post by Lani » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:36 am

Yes, it wasn't kool-aid, but the brand took a huge hit.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#21

Post by Lani » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:00 am

Our upcoming election for county council on a small island with maybe 72k full time residents has a few (I hope very few) trumpers. Someone wrote a letter to the newspaper about preferred candidates, pointing out that one - not preferred - candidate has a Trump-Pence poster in his office window. The crazees went after him big time in their comments. Every wacko conspiracy you can imagine. Sigh.

I've been following social media about the Carr fire out of professional interest. Increasingly over several days, there are people posting about gawd punishing CA (despite Redding voting for trump), Qanon, Agenda 21, geo-engineering, and something about weather lasers.


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#22

Post by RoadScholar » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:04 am

Weather lasers?!! :brickwallsmall:


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#23

Post by Lani » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:12 am

With photos to prove it!@!!!117!


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Re: The Cult of Trump

#24

Post by bob » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:30 pm

Jon McNaughton's latest:

(The Twitter comments are snarktastic.)

Also going down with the ship in the boat: Nikki Haley, James Mattis, Ben Carson, Jeff Sessions, Mike Pence, Melania Trump, Mike Pompeo, Sarah Sanders, Ivanka Trump, John Bolton, Kellyanne Conway, John Kelly.

I think my favorite is Bolton.


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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:04 pm
Location: BAR Headquarters - Turn left past the picture of King George III

Re: The Cult of Trump

#25

Post by fierceredpanda » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:33 pm

Bolton looks like Elmer Fudd aged into his 90s. Egad.


"There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple; the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." -Michael Clayton

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