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The Cult of 'The Cult of Trump'

Failed State Update Newsletter for April 30, 2022

Special thanks for the outpouring of generosity this last week. It takes a lot of time and effort to document America's last days, and I appreciate all of you.

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In addition to this website, I’m currently working as an editor with two crowd-funded publications located here in Pittsburgh. PayDay Report is a labor newsletter founded in 2016 by Mike Elk. He was once described as an “abrasive gadfly” by the New York Times for his role in exposing sexual misconduct in the labor movement. The newsletter is a must-read for anyone who works or knows someone who works. And Pittsburgh Independent is a muckraking news website that launches on May 1 (tomorrow) with local journalist Brian Conway at the helm. Be sure to check it out.

Occult (and Cult) Nonsense

The veil between worlds — in this case, the worlds of realpolitik and occult nonsense — is growing weaker by the day. The latest example comes from Roger Stone, who claims to have discovered a Satanic Portal over the White House. For the shocking video proof™, see the shocking video™ above.

“I’ve been preparing for this moment for my entire life without even knowing it,” Stone said on the livestream:

I just thought I was a political warrior. But this is no longer a war in the political realm, and I do know how it comes out because I know how the Bible comes out. I don’t know exactly what the plan is, but I do know that closing this portal is crucial to victory. I want others to talk about it. I want others to see it… This is not some practical joke. This isn’t some conspiracy theory. I’m absolutely convinced that this is demonic. It is a satanic portal. It is access to this Earth by those who are evil, and only by closing it will we be successful in saving this nation under God.


This week on Failed State Update we posted two stories that dovetail politics and the world of dangerous cults. In the first, cult expert Rick Alan Ross (the founder of the Cult Education Institute) critiques cult expert Steven Alan Hassan (the founder of Cult Expert Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Resource Center).

Hassan is part of this social media movement to single out people with lousy politics and accuse them of being cult leaders or cult lackeys. And it is true that in his book The Cult of Trump he demonstrates some shocking similarities between destructive cult behavior and the behavior of the MAGA hat crowd. Of course, just because there's a surface-level similarity between two groups, it doesn't mean that they are the same thing.

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Recently, Hassan singled out Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni as being some sort of damaged ex-cult member. This seems unfair and counterproductive, especially when it would be very easy and much more helpful to make the point that she’s a dangerous ideologue with terrible politics.

Read Rick Alan Ross on Steven Hassan, Ginni Thomas, and the Public Shaming of Cult Victims on Failed State Update

At one point, Hassan was on the shortlist of people who might write the introduction to my book New Age Grifter. When approached by my publisher, he said (through someone in his office) that he’d consider it if we cited his work on cult abuse — something he calls the BITE model — in the book.

That wasn’t going to happen.

First, if I had thought the BITE model would help explain what was happening, I would’ve put it in the book already. Second, no one was going to tell me what to write.

Ultimately, we decided the hell with Steven Hassan. And when I later saw his numerous tweets on the “weapons-grade mind control” of “Hypno [sic] porn,” I was glad we did.

BITE stands for: Behavior control, Information control, Thought control, and Emotional control. As Brian Birmingham explains in his piece on Failed State Update:

Steve Hassan did not identify or originate these specific principles of understanding and identifying how authoritarian groups and leaders dominate and control people. He merely studied them, collected and copied them, and then rebranded them for himself. Steve presents the BITE model as his own, but it is not his original thought, even though he attempts to pass it off as such to the public.

The irony is that I probably agree with Hassan’s politics 90% of the time. I just see this tactic of labeling people one doesn’t agree with as cult members to be fundamentally flawed and self-defeating.

Read The Man in the Bubble: Steven Hassan and the Cult of Trump on Failed State Update

Eddie Deezen in Midnight Madness (1980)

Eddie Deezen in Midnight Madness (1980)