Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory, Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota, The Cult Next Door

January 26, 2017 Comments Off on Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory, Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota, The Cult Next Door


– Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory
Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.

– Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out After Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota

– The Cult Next Door: The Moaist Cult Leader Who Kept His Followers Imprisoned In Brixton For Decades
He brain-washed them into thinking he had God-like powers.
– The Cult Next Door

Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory

Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat Jan 22, 2017

President Donald Trump’s journey to the pinnacle of American power has offered the opportunity to study these processes in real time. Although we cannot yet know what kind of president he will be, from his June 2015 declaration of candidacy to his January 2017 inauguration, Trump has undertaken two parallel projects aimed at unsettling the mental habits and moral foundations of American democracy. First, he has cultivated a political persona that inspires adulation and unquestioning loyalty that can be mobilized for action on his behalf. Second, he has initiated Americans into a culture of threat that not only desensitizes them to the effects of bigotry but also raises the possibility of violence without consequence.

The founding moment of this era came one year ago, when Trump declared at a rally, “I could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters.” Trump signaled that rhetorical and actual violence might have a different place in America of the future, perhaps becoming something ordinary or unmemorable. During 2016, public hatred became part of everyday reality for many Americans: those who identify with the white supremacist alt-right like Richard Spencer openly hold rallies; elected officials feel emboldened to call for political opponents to be shot (as did New Hampshire and Oklahoma State Representatives Al Baldasaro and John Bennett, among others); journalists reporting on Trump and hijab-wearing women seek protection protocols and escorts. The bureaucratic-sounding term many use for this, “normalization,” does not fully render the operations of memory that make it possible. Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.

The risk is that the parameters of thought and action will be nudged to align with those of the leader, easing the retrofitting of history to suit his personalization of the land’s highest office. Trump’s success at this in a country known for individualism, and with no history of living under an authoritarian ruler, shows how susceptible people are to such approaches….

Authoritarianism needs that predator edge;  that shared understanding that the leader’s body carries within it the potential for violence– and the power to make it difficult to prosecute him. Trump’s attacks on women; his targeting of Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, and others as dangers to the nation; and the threats from his supporters against the lives of ordinary citizens that follow his criticisms of them on Twitter (such as the union leader Chuck Jones and the college student Lauren Batchelder) all go into the category of things it’s safer not to talk about. Normalization is actually decriminalization, a willingness to forget that such things were once thought of as lawless behavior….
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trumps-authoritarian-politics-of-memory/514004/


Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out After Religious Cult Leaves Minnesota
January 25, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A victim of sexual abuse by the leader of a religious sect in Minnesota spoke out Wednesday amid concerns that its members have relocated to the state of Washington.

Lindsay Tornambe, 30, and two of her attorneys held a news conference and urged any other possible victims to come forward.

In October, Victor Barnard, 55, longtime leader of the River Road Fellowship, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two teenage girls, including Tornambe, who were members of his sect in Minnesota.

Tornambe has filed a lawsuit in Minnesota against leaders of the sect for failing to protect her when she lived as a young girl at the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson.

“Our concern is that children are at risk today because of this cult,” said Leander James of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, an attorney for Tornambe.

Barnard was the only sect member charged in Minnesota with sex crimes. Lawyers for Tornambe said they were not aware of any abuse occurring in Washington.

They did not know why members had moved to the Spokane and Bellingham areas….

The women said they were among about 10 girls and young women chosen to live in a camp apart from their families as part of Barnard’s “Maidens Group.”

Barnard kept the girls secluded, using religious coercion and intimidation to maintain his control over them, authorities said….
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/01/25/sex-abuse-victim-speaks-out-after-religious-cult-leaves-minnesota/


The Cult Next Door: The Moaist Cult Leader Who Kept His Followers Imprisoned In Brixton For Decades
He brain-washed them into thinking he had God-like powers.
25/01/2017
Sara C Nelson Senior Editor, The Huffington Post UK

The 75-year-old cult leader who raped two of his followers and kept his daughter a “slave” for three decades sat impassive as he was jailed for 23 years.

A slight, grey-haired pensioner, there was little hint of the charismatic, arch manipulator Aravindan Balakrishnan truly was.

But since the 1970s Balakrishnan had successfully brainwashed a group of women into thinking he had God-like powers, effectively keeping them psychological prisoners as he subjected them to decades of abuse….

He ran his tiny south London cult, the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, with an iron fist – banning his daughter from leaving the house or mixing with other children and sexually assaulting two of his followers.

To keep his devotees in check, Balakrishnan invented an invisible war machine called Jackie which he said could kill or trigger earthquakes if anyone went against his will….

Acclaimed director Vanessa Engle tells the extraordinary story of Balakrishnan’s cult in a BBC2 documentary on Thursday at 9pm.

The Cult Next Door features interviews with two of the women who escaped: Aisha Wahab, a 72-year-old Malaysian woman who was part of the cult for 40 years, and Katy Morgan-Davies, Balakrishnan’s daughter, who was born and raised in captivity….
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-cult-next-door-the-moaist-cult-leader-who-kept-3-women-prisoner-in-brixton-for-30-years_uk_5887517be4b0f94bb304fded

The Cult Next Door

This documentary by acclaimed director Vanessa Engle tells the extraordinary story of a strange cult, which came to light in 2013 when a sensational news story broke about three women emerging from a small flat in Brixton in south London after decades in captivity. Tracing the group back to its roots in the 1970s, the film describes how its leader Aravindan Balakrishnan, a student of Indian origin, believed in an international communist revolution and created a tiny political sect that followed the teachings of China’s Chairman Mao.

The film features exclusive interviews with two of the women who escaped – Aisha Wahab, a 72-year-old Malaysian woman who was part of Balakrishnan’s group for 40 years, and Katy Morgan-Davies, Balakrishnan’s daughter, who was born and raised in captivity. The film documents how this left-wing collective evolved into a bizarre pseudo-religious cult, where members were controlled, threatened and brainwashed so that they were too terrified to leave.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08c3vrx

Charles Manson’s cult left 7 dead and killed a dream, too, Killer Charles Manson’s failing health renews focus on cult murder saga

January 5, 2017 Comments Off on Charles Manson’s cult left 7 dead and killed a dream, too, Killer Charles Manson’s failing health renews focus on cult murder saga

Charles Manson’s cult left 7 dead and killed a dream, too
Jan 04, 2017

By JOHN ROGERS and SCOTT SMITH
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The seven grisly murders carried out by Charles Manson’s disciples during the summer of 1969 did more than turn the hippie cult leader into the leering face of evil on front pages across America.

To many, the bloodbath exposed the scary underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the end of the peace-and-love era that burst upon the country just two years earlier during San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

“The ‘Summer of Love’ was more a media event than anything else,” Todd Gitlin, one of the nation’s foremost historians of the 1960s, told The Associated Press in an email Wednesday. “But if hippie paradise was a myth, it was a myth that a lot of people believed in. Manson damaged it gravely.”….

A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, Manson reinvented himself during the Summer of Love as a long-haired, Christ-like guru spouting Bible verses and Beatles lyrics.

After attracting a few dozen followers from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, many of them young women, runaways or other lost souls, he took them to an old movie ranch on the edge of Los Angeles that he transformed into a commune of sex, drugs and music.

On Aug. 9 and 10, 1969, he sent some of his devotees out on a murderous mission to two of Los Angeles’ wealthiest neighborhoods, where they killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate, several of her society friends and others. Most of the victims, including coffee heiress Abigail Folger, were stabbed.

Tate’s husband, Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.

Authorities would learn that Manson had hoped the killings would touch off a race war. He had apparently gotten the idea from a twisted reading of the hard-rocking Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”

The slayings shocked the country with their savagery. Messages like “Pigs” and a misspelled “Healter Skelter” were scrawled in the victims’ blood on their walls and doors, and the city was paralyzed in fear. Residents of Los Angeles’ nearby Laurel Canyon neighborhood, then a haven for musicians, began locking their doors.

The youngest member of the original Manson Family, Leslie Van Houten, a teenage runaway and former homecoming princess from a Los Angeles suburb, said he had brainwashed her and others with sex, LSD, constant readings from the Bible, repeated playings of the Beatles’ “White Album” and rambling lectures about triggering a revolution….
http://www.wgem.com/story/34178332/charles-mansons-cult-left-7-dead-and-killed-a-dream-too

Killer Charles Manson’s failing health renews focus on cult murder saga
By Richard Winton, Matt Hamilton and Hailey Branson-Potts
January 4, 2017

The long saga of Charles Manson, the cult leader whose murder spree more than four decades ago made him a subject of hate, fear, revulsion and fascination, moved to a hospital in downtown Bakersfield this week.

Inside Mercy Hospital, Manson was being treated for gastrointestinal bleeding related to his colon, and according to one source with knowledge of his condition, was seriously ill. Manson was rushed there Sunday from Corcoran State Prison, and it remains unclear when his medical treatment will end….

Manson and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. Prosecutors said that Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was in the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.”

Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed at her hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death: Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate’s caretaker. The word “Pig” was written on the front door in blood. The next night, Manson rode along with his followers to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three members to kill the couple.

Manson has incurred more than 100 rules violations since 1971. Over the years, he has been cited for assault, repeated possession of a weapon, threatening staff and possessing a cellphone, Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in an email Wednesday.

“Suffice it to say that he cannot be described as a model prisoner,” she said….
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-manson-bleeding-20170104-story.html

Leah Remini’s Series Could Be Scientology’s Church Abuse Scandal, How an Accused Child Rapist Allegedly Brainwashed an Entire Family as His Cult, Burke Ramsey Sues CBS and Several Experts for $750 Million Over JonBenét Series

December 29, 2016 Comments Off on Leah Remini’s Series Could Be Scientology’s Church Abuse Scandal, How an Accused Child Rapist Allegedly Brainwashed an Entire Family as His Cult, Burke Ramsey Sues CBS and Several Experts for $750 Million Over JonBenét Series

– Leah Remini’s Series Could Be Scientology’s Church Abuse Scandal
What makes Scientology a cult instead of just an extreme religion?
– How an Accused Child Rapist Allegedly Brainwashed an Entire Family as His Cult
– Burke Ramsey Sues CBS and Several Experts for $750 Million Over JonBenét Series

Leah Remini’s Series Could Be Scientology’s Church Abuse Scandal
What makes Scientology a cult instead of just an extreme religion? The two latest episodes explained the difference better than any of the previous episodes.
By Bethany Mandel December 27, 2016

….The first new episode was an aired edition of a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in which actress Leah Remini answered viewers’ questions about the cult. She sat opposite the former International Spokesman of Scientology and one of its most famous defectors, Mike Rinder, and interviewed a series of the most famous foes of Scientology, including the subject of a groundbreaking book, entitled “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.” It’s from perhaps the most famous contemporary Scientology chronicler, a journalist who first exposed the group.

….The video is of a pep rally. In it, Cruise introduces his friend and religious leader, telling the booming audience present for the 2004 award ceremony for the “IAS Freedom Medal of Valor”: “I want to tell you something. I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, a more compassionate being. I have met the leaders of leaders. I have met them all. So I say to you COB [Chairman of the Board], we are lucky to have you, thank you.”

Miscavige’s official title in the Church of Scientology is chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center. But who is he really? Rinder described him another way: “the undisputed dictator of Scientology.”

Miscavige executed a takeover of Scientology’s leadership after the death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. What makes Remini’s series unique from other shows on Scientology, such as the HBO documentary “Going Clear,” is that it is from the perspective of former Scientologists and focuses on their experiences exclusively. It explores what it is like being part of a religion at the upper echelons with Miscavige at the helm.

Remini and Rinder interviewed Jefferson Hawkins, the former chief propagandist for the group, who says he left after Miscavige assaulted and terrified him. During this interview, Remini explains to her fellow defectors the desperation she feels about exposing and taking down Scientology by any means necessary, including flooding its headquarters with airplane-dropped pamphlets and bringing in law enforcement….
http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/27/leah-reminis-series-scientologys-church-abuse-scandal/


How an Accused Child Rapist Allegedly Brainwashed an Entire Family as His Cult
By Harriet Sokmensuer December 28, 2016

To his neighbors, Lee Kaplan was quiet and aloof. His three-bedroom Pennsylvania home was hidden behind overgrown shrubbery and at times almost seemed empty. However, behind closed doors, authorities allege Kaplan was living with 12 young girls who considered him a prophet of God as he repeatedly sexually abused them.

To Kaplan, six of the girls were not only his followers but also his “wives,” Bucks County authorities allege….

In June the girls were rescued by Lower Southampton police, and in November Kaplan pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges including rape of a child and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

He allegedly not only fathered two children with the eldest girl but also sexually abused five of her younger sisters over the course of years, with the consent of their parents, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.

“This guy set up a virtual feeding ground of victims,” Weintraub told PEOPLE in a previous interview, calling the situation “cult-like.”….

Authorities say Kaplan went unnoticed for years because the girls’ parents also believed Kaplan was a prophet.

The children were raised Amish, born with no birth certificates and home schooled together, officials say, but the Stoltzfus family left the Amish community after they met Kaplan, a former business partner of Daniel’s….
http://people.com/crime/lee-kaplan-child-rape-pennsylvania-sex-cult/


Burke Ramsey Sues CBS and Several Experts for $750 Million Over JonBenét Series
By Chris Harris December 28, 2016

Burke Ramsey has filed a second defamation lawsuit over a recent CBS docuseries that advanced the theory he killed his younger sister, JonBenét, more than two decades ago, PEOPLE confirms.

After suing forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz in October for $150 million in damages, lawyers for Burke on Wednesday filed another civil suit — this one, naming CBS as well as Critical Content LLC, the production company behind The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, and seven experts and consultants featured in the special, which aired over two nights in mid-September.

PEOPLE obtained a copy of the second suit, which seeks $250 million in compensatory damages and $500 million in punitive damages.

In addition to listing Spitz as a defendant, the suit filed Wednesday names retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and criminal profiler Jim Clemente; criminal behaviorist Laura Richards; Jim Kolar, a former lead investigator in the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation; forensic linguistics expert James Fitzgerald; statement analyst Stanley Burke; and forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee….
http://people.com/crime/burke-ramsey-jonbenet-cbs-series-lawsuit/

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