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Ex-cult member imagines terrifying end game to Trump’s presidency: ‘He might take everyone with him — like Jim Jones’

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President Donald Trump exhibits many signs of “malignant narcissism,” according to some psychologists, and his personality profile fits with other notorious cult leaders.

Steven Hassan, a mental health counselor and an expert on mind control, described the alarming similarities he sees between the president and cult leaders like the one whose control he fell under himself as a young man, in a new column for The Daily Beast.

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“I have seen that profile up close,” Hassan wrote. “Over 40 years ago, while a junior in college, I was recruited into a destructive mind control cult, the Unification Church, popularly known as the Moonies after its leader, Sun Myung Moon.”

“I rose rapidly through the ranks and was invited to attend meetings with Moon and his top aides, where we knelt and bowed to our leader Moon,” he continued. “Two years later, after three days straight of leading a fundraising team — selling flowers on street corners — I fell asleep at the wheel and woke up as I plowed into the back of an 18 wheeler. Fortunately, I survived. My family hired deprogrammers and, after five days, I realized I had been brainwashed.”

Hassan has devoted himself to studying cults and helping to rescue their victims, and he has found that mind control is the result of a systematic set of methods and techniques.

“Cult leaders may seem crazy, but they are cunning masters of manipulation, employing an arsenal of these techniques to render their followers dependent and obedient,” he wrote. “It’s what I call the cult leader’s playbook.”

Hassan argues in his upcoming book, “The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How The President Uses Mind Control,” that Trump has used the same tactics to build a political cult around himself.

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“These include his grandiose claims, his practice of sowing confusion, his demand for absolute loyalty, his tendency to lie and create alternative ‘facts’ and realities, his shunning and belittling of critics and ex-believers, and his cultivating of an ‘us versus them’ mindset,” Hassan wrote.

Most infamous cult leaders use the same tactics, and Hassan explains how cult members are made to feel like “enlightened” insiders to tap into ancient fears and anxieties.

“Even in literature there is a hero and a villain,” Hassan wrote. “But cults take this human habit of viewing the world in binary terms and infuse it with a kind of all consuming passion, which they reinforce in the minds of followers using cliches, platitudes, lies, and endless repetitions. You come to believe that you are superior to the rest of the world.”

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Hassan fears that Trump cultists will be inspired to take up arms to protect the president from an election loss, just as he would have laid down his life for Moon.

“Worse still is the possibility that, if feeling sufficiently threatened, Trump might, like (cult leader Jim) Jones, try to take everyone with him, using his access to the nuclear codes,” Hassan wrote. “It’s a dark scenario, but not entirely outlandish.”

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

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On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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