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Mike 03

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Arizona
Home country: United States
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 05:14 PM
Number of posts: 8,354

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Dr. Jerrold Post, in his new book "Dangerous Charisma" believes that Trump's devout followers

have psyches injured in a particular way that makes them crave an authoritarian "Daddy" that tells them he can make all their problems go away. Once they locate their Leader, they experience a sense of devotion that transcends common sense or even rational self-interest.

This post has been on my mind since you wrote it.

Last night I had a dream about your metaphor of eyeglasses being taken apart and your answer, "It ceases being eyeglasses when I say so."

This morning I was thinking about the koan MU. A student asks Master Zhaozhao, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" Master Zhaozhao answered, "Mu."

This could be off base, but my answer this morning was, "Mu means what I say it means."

Students get stuck on this koan. Maybe we are trying to figure out what Mu means to everyone but "ourselves"; to Zhaozhao, or to his student, or to our teachers, or to someone else who has written commentary on this koan.

Of course, there's probably more to it, but is that one way of looking at Mu?

This opens a can of worms in a way, because who is the "me" that decides what Mu means?

There are individuals who want exactly this.

Nihilists, accelerationists, etc. I agree, it's very dangerous. Some mental health professionals have likened Trump supporters to cult-members, and we have examples throughout history of cultists choosing death over life. The Christchurch shooter wrote about accelerationism in his manifesto. Freudian analysts call this drive "Thanatos."

In his classic psychoanalytic studies, Freud described the human drive or instinct for life, Eros--for the Greek god of love--and its opposite force, a "death drive" toward self-destruction that writers later labeled Thanatos, after the Greek god of darkness and death.


That quote is from "The Age of Thanatos: Environmental Consequences of the Trump Presidency" by Lise Van Susteren and H. Steven Moffic in "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," edited by Dr. Bandy X Lee. (p. 419)

We are at odds here with some people who are willing to die and who expect to die in a fight for something that is difficult to understand, and to objective observers looks pretty ridiculous. That's always a terrifying scenario.

I wish there were more discussions about this. It's a difficult concept for some, maybe most, people to come to grips with. I don't say it's an 'epidemic" but it's out there. As an aside, I also wonder about this nihilistic drive being the same force that kicks in where you see genocidal behavior, where people who not long before lived side by side in peace are suddenly murdering each other.

Deeply upsetting that the CIA is now dragged into this mess.

How does it get any more serious than this?

Maybe it's time to organize something dramatic, like stopping all discretionary spending--or some other economically impactful activity--for a set period of time and threatening to do it again if there's not immediate change.

They have shut down a branch of government. Our institutions are on the verge of becoming adversarial to the citizens. Our leaders don't fear us any more.



Dr. Jerrold Post's new book "Dangerous Charisma" has an interesting way of looking at this.

He argues that the charismatic leader and the (narcissistically-injured) followers need or even "create" each other. Trump needs constant reinforcement for his damaged ego, and his audience needs a reassuring father figure to tell them everything is okay and "I can fix it all." They feed off each other. I've been saying it's like two parasites locked in a kiss.

"Dangerous Charisma" is good but "Dangerous Case" is better IMO. There is an essay by Post in the updated and expanded "Dangerous Case" in which he lays out his analogy.

"Trump and his Generals" - Harvey advocates larger strike against Assad

(p. 112)

Derek Harvey, the retired colonel who oversaw the Middle East at the NSC, pushed for a consequential strike against Assad rather than just the pinprick of eliminating a fraction of Assad's air force, which was one of the options on the table. Harvey advocated for taking out a larger target set of Assad's air force and helicopter fleet as this would dramatically curtain the dictator's ability to bomb his population at will.

Bannon confronted Harvey outside of the Situation Room and told the retired colonel, "We don't want you fucking neocons starting a war."

Mattis called McMaster, scolding him, "You let this get too far down the road."


Just a FWIW.

EDIT: "Trump and his Generals" is by Peter Bergen.

Paragraph about Rich Higgins in "Trump and his Generals"

(p. 151)

Talking about his dismissal:

The first to go was Rich Higgins, the director for strategic planning at the NSC, who had circulated a bizarre memo rife with conspiracy theories about Trump's purported "deep state" enemies in the US government whom he characterized as Marxists. In Higgins's telling, these Marxists were allied to Islamists in a conspiracy that also included the European Union and the UN. The Higgins memo concluded, "This is a form of population control by certain business cartels in league with cultural Marxists/corporatists/Islamists who will leverage Islamic terrorism threats to justify the creation of a police state." This was not the kind of sober thinking that typically came out of the strategic planning shop at the NSC. McMaster's deputy Rick Waddell gave Higgins his marching orders on July 21.


McMaster wanted to cleanse the White House of nut jobs, it seems like.

EDIT: "Trump and his Generals" is by Peter Bergen.

"I saw daddy fall down"

In “The Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang” there’s this story:

One day Layman Pang and his daughter Ling Zhao were selling bamboo baskets. Coming down off a bridge Mr. Pang stumbled and fell.

When Ling Zhao saw this she ran to her father’s side and threw herself onto the ground.

“What are you doing?” cried the Layman.

“I saw Daddy fall down, so I’m helping,” replied Ling Zhao.

“Luckily no one was looking,” remarked the Layman.


This story always touched me greatly, but I could never understand why Mr. Pang disapproves his daughter.

Then one day I heard a teacher reflect on this story and as he came to this exact point his voice grew soft. I thought he was slightly choked up. He said, “Mr. Pang is not disapproving Ling Zhao. That’s not what’s happening here. He's not embarrassed by what Ling Zhao has done."

That teacher’s teacher used to say, “If the left hand catches fire, the right hand doesn’t have to think about swatting out the flames.”

And the incomparable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche always said, “You sneeze first and wipe your nose afterwards.”

Still, I don’t understand why Mr. Pang said what he said to his daughter. But they are great adepts, so surely they understand. Yet, I cannot penetrate it.

Being stuck in the relative, if I had been Mr. Pang I would probably have burst into sloppy tears of gratitude and hugged my daughter.

They say the student should exceed the teacher by half. That being the case, Mr. and Mrs. Pang were extraordinary masters.

Nine bows to Ling Zhao!

Very favorable as a human being, but I'm not sure he's the right president for this moment

in history.

I used to watch his press conferences when he was Mayor of New York and a number of times he would be asked about some very good program and everyone, including him, wanted to do it but he would say, "We can't afford it." He's that kind of politician. I'm afraid he'd say "We can't afford it" to some important things because he's so budget-conscious (despite the fact Trump has taken this country on an obscene spending spree from which most Americans have gotten nothing in return).

I might be nuts, but I don't think Bloomberg is running to win. I know he says he's running to win, but I think he's just trying to save the country. People who don't like him might change their minds by November if it turns out he really is here to help us out. I think this guy is a patriot, and he's willing to spend a fortune to save us from four more years of Trump. Too good to be true? Maybe so, but we'll see.

Lastly, I don't think there's any love lost between these guys. I think it could be partly personal for Bloomberg: that he wants to help take Trump down.

Speculation: Nominee or not, Bloomberg could dismantle Trump

While I agree that in terms of polls and likely outcome of the primaries, Trump is scared to run against Biden, I believe the person he has Oedipal night sweats about is Michael Bloomberg because Bloomberg can do something to Trump no other person so far has been able to do: dismember Trump’s psyche. Bloomberg can expose him completely as a fraud and a charlatan. Trump’s greatest fear is being exposed by someone more successful than him who he has no psychological defense against. If you were an FBI profiler trying to get a confession out of Trump, you’d send in Bloomberg because there’s a button inside Trump such that if the right person hits it, you’ll see Trump disintegrate like a Twinkie in a tornado. And Bloomberg is the guy to push it.

It doesn’t matter if Bloomberg is saying something that hundreds, thousands of reporters, psychiatrists, and foreign affairs experts have said before—if it comes from Michael Bloomberg it will hit a target nobody else has been able to hit.

It has to do with exposing Trump in a way he’s not capable of defending himself against. Trump has an arsenal of tools he’s relied on since childhood when he’s attacked, such as name-calling, blaming, deflecting, projecting and lying. They are childish but have been somewhat effective (early on, they were more effective) with his base. They’ve allowed him to keep his self-concept intact. But Trump has no defense mechanism against Bloomberg. For Trump, an attack by Bloomberg is almost like an attack from a glorified image of his own father—the father figure he imagines he had but didn’t, and also being attacked by the person he imagines himself to be but obviously isn’t: an actual stable genius; a (mostly) beloved New Yorker; an actual philanthropist; an actual respected billionaire; an actual successful businessman. Trump’s usual defenses will crumble because his fragile façade isn’t equipped to repel an attack from someone who actually exists in the space Trump thinks belongs to him: It’s an attack from deep inside the very place he wants to occupy.

And inversely, Bloomberg knows exactly what Trump is. Over Bloomberg’s lifetime he’s seen thousands of less-successful malignant narcissists like Trump pass through high finance. He can read Trump like an X-ray machine. Bloomberg is probably too compassionate to intentionally disgrace a lot of the losers he meets, but he won’t hesitate to slam-dunk Trump when the opportunity presents itself.

Remember, Trump and his father were very competitive and Fred Trump was an extremely demanding, controlling person. Trump shifted his real-estate aspirations to Manhattan not to try to “outdo” his father but to impress him and, importantly, avoid competing with him. But Fred Trump could never be impressed by anything Trump did, and Trump could never meet his father’s expectations. Fred Trump’s death left unfinished business between them. “Unfinished business” that someone as psychologically shrewd as Bloomberg can exploit by speaking to Trump the way a disappointed father speaks to a son he never loved. That’s why I think Bloomberg, more than anyone else, can throw Trump terminally off balance. How? Maybe with something as simple as an advertisement but probably something more creative, perhaps hitting Trump on multiple platforms, but especially a televised interview where he could speak almost directly to Trump, shaming him, humiliating him in a sophisticated manner that Trump couldn’t miss. I think one reason Bloomberg is remaining aloof from the fray is he that he knows this confrontation is coming and wants it to be meaningful, which it wouldn’t be if he were constantly in Twitter scuffles. Today we saw a glimpse of a direct confrontation between these two people.

Michael Bloomberg doesn’t actually have to win the nomination to accomplish this. He can attack Trump at the time and place of his choosing. He’d probably wait until closer to the election because he’s also a superior strategist. But in the unlikely event that Trump is stupid enough to keep attacking him (which surprises me, actually), it could come sooner.
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