Trump and his Trumpsters: like attracts like
Note: I've added some copy and a few links since this post was originally published.
~CC, 25 May 2016
Although physicists and psychologists tell us that opposites attract, the Secret-style Law of Attraction magickal thinkers have long insisted that like attracts like, and many are prepared to hit you with all kinds of faux-quantum physics babble to pseudo-scientifically "prove" their case. On the other hand, sometimes like does attract like, as psychologists also acknowledge, and it doesn't take any magickal thinking to see this principle at work. Take the preTrumptive GOP presidential nominee and a significant portion of his passionately misguided devotees (please). Trump attracts plenty of people who share, if not his membership in the fabled one percent, his prejudices and hatreds, his ego and arrogance, his dishonesty and compulsion to lie, and his propensity for running off at the mouth (or the keyboard, as the case may be).
I know, I know... not all of his supporters are horrible, hateful, stupid, or uneducated; some are simply tired of the status quo. I'll get to that in a little while.
But first, and focusing on the horrible, the example that pops up for me immediately as a like-attracts-like situation is that of another public figure and one of this blog's unfavorite symbols of evil and stupidity, the cancer quack/conspiracy nut/fake doctor Leonard Coldwell, who is a profoundly devoted Trumpster. Lenny and his orange, bloated idol have a few notable things in common, the main difference being that Trump is much smarter and richer and altogether more successful than Lenny ever was and ever will be. Still he apparently sees Trump as a kindred spirit, and is constantly posting things on his Facebooks about Trump being the next president of the US, the Chosen One, the only person who can possibly save us from the machinations of the New World Order.
Trump's candidacy has apparently provided ample new fuel for the raging bonfire of profound stupidity that is the conspiracy contingent. Coldwell's buddy Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, whom I blogged about again recently, published a video on May 5, 2015 to launch his new "news" site, Trump.news, which is actually a pro-Trump propaganda site. (Adams also launched an anti-Clinton propaganda site, Clinton.news.) In his video, which I urge you to watch to the end if you can stand it, Adams employs the usual body of NWO/Killuminati/"Them" conspiracy articles of faith to bolster the image of Donald Trump as some sort of anti-establishment, anti-elitist hero floating far above the politics of corruption -- when in fact Trump is the very definition of an establishment elitist who has often taken advantage of our broken and corrupt political system to further his own interests. And has bragged about it.
As I noted in my comment to the video, Adams is clearly pandering to the devoted conspiracy fans who hang on to his every word because he tells exciting stories, which are often more interesting and entertaining than nuanced realities. I sarcastically applauded his brilliantly insidious suggestion that martial law under President Trump will be necessary and popular, while the so-called martial law under President Obama (which lesser conspiracy nuts like Coldwell were constantly warning about, but which never happened) would have been the end of America as we know it. I can't help wondering if Adams' "prediction" was simply a little social experiment to see how many unthinking people would step up and theoretically embrace tyranny... or was he just being facetious?
I also sarcastically commended Adams' effort to turn tables on the political left, with his insinuations that leftist "domestic terrorism" is actually a thing in the United States -- when in fact the vast majority of mass shootings and other acts of domestic terrorism in the US for at least the past 20 years have been largely the work of right-wing fanatics. If Adams is even half as intelligent as he continually boasts of being, I don't see how he could believe much of the stuff he says and writes, but it does earn him attention and revenue, and I suppose that's all that matters.
At any rate, in case it isn't clear, Mike Adams is also a Trump supporter, or at least he is playing one on the Intertubes.
We're not racist! No, not us!
One of the things that Lenny seems to adore most about Trump is the latter's promise to make and keep America safe from "the other." This of course is just my nice way of saying that Trump is an unapologetic racist and xenophobe, and Lenny is too, though he insists that he's not and he even sued me (unsuccessfully) for insinuating he is.
And speaking of racists and xenophobes, by now you've no doubt heard about Trump's former butler and longtime pal, Anthony Senecal, whose social media posts about his desire to see President Obama dead have recently captured public attention, along with the attention of the Secret Service. As Senecal's implied threats against the president came to light, so too did some of his other fine work on social media, including some racist rants and some nasty remarks about Hillary Clinton.
A couple of months before Senecal's loathsomeness hit the news cycle, there was a rather fawning story about him and his Donald in the New York Times. Not surprisingly, the Trump campaign has since disavowed the former butler, in the wake of the brouhaha around his inflammatory statements. But despite the headlines declaring that Trump did the disavowing, I haven't seen any indication that Trump himself has done any such thing.
In any case, this Salon.com opinion piece outlines the reasons that Senecal's racism and xenophobia actually matter.
...There is no need to rehash every incidence of racist swill in Trump’s long public career. But this all goes to explain even further the worldview that Trump has developed. He has ensconced himself in a bubble where he can hold court at some five-star Manhattan restaurant, gamely recounting the details of some racially charged crime he read about in that day’s New York Post, with no sense of what his ranting might sound like to people whose check he isn’t picking up. He has surrounded himself with racists and misogynists of every stripe, and didn’t throw in at least one or two confidants who could explain to him that he is not running for president exclusively in Alabama in the 1930s.
So why on earth would he notice if his butler was a raging nutball while the guy was exaggerating the distance Trump was hitting golf balls into the Intracoastal Waterway (an actual anecdote in the Times story)? One can picture them out on the Mar-a-Lago lawn, with Senecal telling him those 225-yard drives are actually 275 and nodding along in agreement when Trump rants about Obama refusing to release his birth certificate.
Because this is Donald Trump: An entitled, spoiled rich boy who cannot imagine that any of his pronouncements might be cruel or racist, because he has surrounded himself with people who believe the exact same things, and wouldn’t dare say otherwise if they didn’t because they think their livelihoods depend on keeping their mouths shut.
...It is of much more concern that the Republican Party frontrunner will revert to form and defend Senecal. But it is of the greatest concern that this will simply make no difference to Trump’s supporters – ironically, some of whom might well be the same people who have been screaming about [the Jeremiah Wright/Barack Obama controversy*] since 2008. Why should they care? The butler and his boss aren’t saying anything they don’t already truly believe.
[* embedded link mine. ~CC]
And speaking of the Secret Service, I wonder if they've taken note of this meme that was going around Facebook, originating with the page Our Eye on Islam 2:
With Trump and his loyal friends and followers, it's all one big hate-filled virtual family, and it goes beyond the insular world of the spoiled, entitled gentry. The lot of them -- King Donald and his loyal subjects -- are in fact mining a deep vein of hate that embraces racism, xenophobia and misogyny.
Y'all are invited to a catfish fry
I thought of Trump loyalist Lenny yet again when another story emerged -- this one about Trump impersonating a publicist 25 years ago. He is now denying that he'd done this, even though he had previously admitted to it. So in addition to being a blowfish, the Donald was catfishing long before catfishing was even a thing, before there was really an Interwebz, even. (The question of just who leaked the damning tape is a story in and of itself.)
Comedian John Oliver had a few things to say about this matter, as well as a couple of other items that have kept Trump front and center in the comic news cycle for the past week and a half or so.
As regular readers of this blog may know, Coldwell also has a tendency to pretend to be someone else in the service of boasting about his imagined greatness, and/or attacking his critics. He does this via his Facebook posts and fake email accounts and comments on various web sites. One of his former students told me that apart from using fake email accounts to communicate, he even called on the phone once, apparently using a device to disguise his voice and pretending to be someone else; this person called him out on his fakery.
I mentioned Coldwell's email ruses on my very first full blog post about him in May 2012, and noted them again on several other occasions, sharing screen shots such as this one, where, accusing me of being both a dog-killer and a sexual predator, Coldwell pretended to be his brother "Nicolas" (real name Jens Anskohl). Sometimes he has even pretended to be someone else pretending to be someone else, as in this post where he pretended to be one of his assistants, writing on behalf of his brother.
As Bernie at the GINtruth blog documented on a March 2013 post, Coldwell has also used the name "Rudi Kauder" as an alias to threaten his critics and defend himself. During two different [failed] lawsuits against Salty Droid -- one in 2014 and one in 2015 -- he used aliases and fake email accounts to try to intimidate Salty. And as I've mentioned here a few times previously, even before Bernie or Salty or I ever wrote a word about him, Lenny was trolling on other sites where he'd been criticized, pretending to be someone else, such as his longtime business partner and friend, Dr. Thomas Hohn of Germany. Here's an example from 2010; see the first comment. Clearly it is all Lenny, all the same semi-literate writing style.
But Lenny is just a fourth-rate huckster, and although he has taken up an inordinate amount of space on this little blog, and despite my sincere belief that he has hurt and continues to hurt many people with his misinformation, deception and alleged other atrocities, he really isn't the potential threat to the free world that Donald Trump is. In other words, I recognize that Trump's boorishness and hatefulness, not to mention his history of impersonating others and then lying about it, matter much more in the big scheme of things than do Lenny's rants and loony ruses.
As several commentators, including comedians such as John Oliver, have noted, the fake-publicist story didn't even have to be a story. Trump could have simply said what he said back in the day: It was a joke, an admittedly childish prank, gone sideways. Instead he has chosen to lie, pretending that he hadn't even been aware of the accusation till an interviewer pointed it out to him.
But that incident demonstrates how, then as now, Trump has tried to control the narrative about himself. Like Lenny Coldwell and many other narcissistic psychopaths, Trump loves being the center of attention but hates it when the conversation about him isn't going his way. Both Drumpf and Lenny can dish out the nasty comments about others without flinching but are remarkably thin-skinned when they are the target of even mild criticism. And also like Coldwell (and for that matter like the Church of Scientology, another insane control freak), Trump has found that the Internet has made such control immensely more difficult than it was back in the 1990s. Of course that doesn't stop Trump (or Lenny or the CoS) from striving to maintain control, via spreading lies about their critics, suing or threatening to sue them, trying to suppress publication of critical material -- and in the case of Trump, threatening to gut the First Amendment if he becomes president.
Another matter that should have raised a red flag or two for Trump's followers, but so far doesn't seem to have done so, is that whole "self-funded campaign" issue, which came into focus again after billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, whom many of Trump's fans have condemned for being a "Zionist," recently pledged to donate $100 million to the Trump campaign. It appears that Drumpf is now poised to do the very same thing for which he only recently mocked "Little Marco" Rubio.
Writing on Redstate.com, Jay Caruso noted:
The issue here is, Trump managed to sell himself to the 39% of the people who voted for him in the primaries as a true "outsider" who wasn't controlled by anybody. Trust me, I've had more than enough Trump supporters yell at me their guy is not "bought and paid for."I'm still half wondering whether Trump actually wants to be president, or whether he merely wants to be the last contestant standing in what he views as just another reality show.
So much for that.
Chances are, there will be some kind of rationalizing this complete change of heart but it will likely be a laughable excuse. After all, this is the same man who proclaimed anybody that booed him at a debate was somebody that gave somebody other than himself, money.
This really is not surprising. Trump is not a man at all concerned about principles or ethics. He wants to be President and while railing about money and donations during the primary helped him, he no longer needs to engage in such rhetoric. To him it was a means to an end, nothing more.
Of note, Lenny Coldwell is one of those rabid anti-Zionists (and actually anti-Semitic) Trumpsters I referred to above, but so far it appears that he hasn't uttered a peep about the Adelson money machine and the Trump campaign.
The Trump train chugs along
Will the latest revelations about Donald Trump even matter to the loyalists? Probably not. As Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, said about some of Trump's other atrocities: "People don't care."
Indeed it appears that the Trumpsters don't give a flying fudge about their idol's shortcomings. They aren't put off by his offensive and belittling treatment of women over the decades, for instance. (The link in the previous sentence doesn't even go into the more sordid allegations. Long before there was "Katie Johnson" (whose lawsuit, particularly given the timing and other issues, doesn't seem credible to me), there was Jill Harth, whose lawsuit was apparently real but who subsequently withdrew the suit, possibly for reasons that might make you go, "Hmmmm." Also see this link for more on the Harth story.)
Nor do the Trumpians care about potential irregularities with Trump's tax returns, nor about his racism and xenophobia or that of his close associates (in fact for many, Trump's starring role in the hatriarchy is a plus), nor about his alleged mob ties or his numerous bankruptcies, nor about his Scamworld ventures such as Trump University and the Trump Network, nor about his sleazy behavior regarding the million bucks he pledged to donate to help veterans. Most notably they don't care about the fact that he has been lying and lying and lying -- and has consistently been easily snared in those lies -- since his presidential campaign began.
They love him anyway, because he makes them feel good by providing them with scapegoats and validations of their own worldviews, as well as inflated hopes for "taking America back" to a golden past that was anything but golden for untold millions of people.
Some of you will say I am being too hard on Trumpsters and glossing over the fact that for many, the sense of disillusionment with "politics as usual" is as genuine as the disillusionment that drives Bernie Sanders supporters. Moderate-conservative columnist David Brooks was kinder to Trump supporters than I have been, writing, in this March 2016 opinion piece for the New York Times:
...some respect is in order. Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else...
...Trump’s supporters deserve respect. They are left out of this economy. But Trump himself? No, not Trump, not ever.
Reading this piece reminded me again that yes, it is likely that some Trump supporters are not bigots, xenophobes, misogynists or all of the above, though undeniably many are, and some are darned proud of it too. It is likely that there are decent folks among the support base, people who are still striving, with some degree of success, to filter out some of the more hateful and disgusting aspects of the Trump persona so they can continue to justify their support of their candidate. (And there are some who simply do not believe the myriad allegations of racism and abuse, and see those accusations simply as spin by a hostile liberal/mainstream media.)
Many of these people loathe Hillary Clinton because of what they see as the utter nastiness of the whole Clinton legacy or because they don't see her as genuine (though I also suspect that many of these folks are either ignorant of or willing to disregard her history, and some of the factors that made her who she is today). They may also fear Bernie Sanders because the word "socialist" makes them quake in their boots (though the quaking really isn't justified), and/or they see him as increasingly unstable. Even so it floors me that people are so disillusioned with American politics that they would ever seriously consider voting for Biff Tannen as the nominal leader of the free world.
Most of all, the current "enthusiastic embrace of ignorance" in America truly distresses me.
Bringing it back around to the main beat of this blog, the observation that "people don't care" also holds true for Scamworld hucksters (like Lenny) and their loyal fans, who may be hampered by various combinations of their own vulnerability, lack of education, desperation, cynicism regarding the status quo, or innate credulity. In the end critics have very little influence on idol worship. "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." So it has always been. I don't expect things to change any time soon, if ever.
Where Scamworld is concerned, I have accepted that there are No Neat and Tidy Endings -- NNATE, as my friend Julie likes to abbreviate it -- and that my little barking and snarking efforts on this remote outpost of the blogosphere don't make much difference. People who want to believe in someone or something will believe it, and even those who acknowledge irregularities or misdeeds will insist that the message is more important than the messenger anyway. (That's an opinion with which I beg to differ, though in the case of most Scamworld gurus and right-wing politicians, I dislike the message as much as the messenger.)
The point is that Scamworld's job security is something I've grown to accept, if begrudgingly. But I sincerely hope that a sufficient number of people who are so attracted to or hypnotized by Trump's bombast and hateful rhetoric will at some point be repelled. Let's hope that something -- ideally, the combined force of millions of "dogs" who are willing to make a deafening noise at the polls -- will stop the madness that is the Trump caravan (or the "Trump train" as some of his prideful followers and meme-sharers like to call it) before it hauls the whole of America over the cliff and into an abyss from which we may never emerge.
Related musings, on this Whirled and off:
- Some thoughts for Stupor Tuesday
- Donald Trump and Kevin Trudeau: turds of a feather?
- The devil at the crossroads of poltix and Scamworld
- Salty Droid -- Network Marketing for Dummies (September 2013)
- Salty Droid -- Donald Trump's Rich Dad University (August 2013)
- Steve Salerno -- Donald Trump, the self-esteem industry's perfect candidate