All posts tagged: Politics

Jon Atack, author of Opening Our Minds

Opening Our Minds – on Predators and Prevention with Jon Atack

Jon Atack’s Opening Our Minds is quite simply the best new book on authoritarian cults. It digs into the reasons why authoritarianism is ruining the world and what we can do about it. Jon and I first met over thirty years ago; I was the “go-to” guy on the Moonies, and Jon was the “go-to” guy on Scientology. However, we found more in common than our expertise on cults – we hit it off immediately and have been fast friends ever since. There is much to admire about Jon: he is an artist, a musician, a writer, a historian and biographer, a scholar-practitioner, and a truly grounded, authentic individual. Despite decades of exploring the worst aspects of human behavior, he is also thoroughly life-affirming and believes that we have the tools to save the future from the human predators who are so intent on wrecking it.

Melissa Jo Peltier, who created a documentary about Trump Voters

The Game Is Up: Disillusioned Trump Voters Tell Their Stories

In my book, The Cult of Trump, I explored the parallels between Trump and cult leaders, arguing that his presidency was much like a destructive cult. The indoctrination techniques Trump used to build fanatical devotion in his supporters is akin to those of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Ron Hubbard, and Sun Myung Moon. Trump’s lies, lack of conscience, inability to admit when he is wrong, and projecting his shortcomings onto others can be seen in many cult leaders. With his rise to the presidency, he became more authoritarian and though he lost the election in 2020, he continues the lie that it was stolen and his supporters continue to believe him. 

Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD by Jason Kander 

If you have read Jason Kander’s book or listened to his self-read audiobook, you know why the title – Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD – is important. Jason sat in President Obama’s office as the president said, “I think you should run for president.” Dropping out of that race in the lead, Jason made what would have been a successful run for mayor of Kansas City. Yet, he eventually recognized his need to get help as a former army captain in the intelligence division for what he describes as a “secret psychological disorder,” PTSD. 

Allen Tate Wood, former Moon cult leader

The Moon Cult: An Interview with former top American leader Allen Tate Wood

With the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by Tetsuya Yamagami, the Moon cult is back in the news. Abe became a target, reportedly because he and his father publicly supported the Moon cult. The assassin was reportedly furious because his mother had given away all the family money to the cult. I interviewed former top American political leader of Unification Church, Allen Tate Wood, and wish to expose the mindset of cult psychology.

Robert Jay Lifton

Moving from Victim to Survivor in Precarious Times — A Conversation with Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.

I’ve been hosting the Influence Continuum podcast for over seven months, and I’ve spoken with guests on topics ranging from election integrity to 4th Generation Warfare and the Christian Right. It is plausible to say that I would not even be investigating any of these topics had I not encountered the work—and later met—the esteemed guest of my first ever podcast episode, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton.  

The Rise of Right-Wing, Anti-Democratic Ideology in India: A Conversation with Narendra Nayak

Almost four years ago, I spoke with my friend Narendra Nayak about the rise of right-wing religious and political extremism in India. I had contacted him after learning of the killing of Gauri Lankesh. Lankesh was an activist journalist who was openly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and their extremist Hindutva ideology. There are many similarities between the rise of conservative, right-wing ideologies in India and the United States. I recently spoke with Nayak to discuss the current social and political situations in India and the United States. 

Understanding High Conflict and Proven Solutions with Amanda Ripley

In a recent episode of my podcast, The Influence Continuum, I interviewed Amanda Ripley, a best-selling author, journalist, and host of the How-To! Podcast on Slate. Her timely book, High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out, explores this concept of “high conflict” and approaches to identifying and escaping it.   

The Horror of School Shootings and Where We Go from Here – with S. E. Cupp

I had the opportunity to invite S.E. Cupp and discuss the terrible shooting and mass violence at another school in Uvalde, Texas, for my podcast, The Influence Continuum. S.E. Cupp is an American political commentator, practical conservative, and writer. She is famously known for hosting a political panel show named S.E. Cupp: Unfiltered and CrossFire. She has also hosted a digital series on cnn.com called S.E. Cupp’s Outside with Insiders.

Jennifer Cohn, election integrity advocate

Advocating Election Integrity Post-Trump

After he lost the 2020 election, Donald Trump spouted lies and claimed that he had won. In an attempt to counter Trump's lies and promote confidence in the election results, prominent Democrats and election officials said that the 2020 election was the most secure election of all time. However, real vulnerabilities in our election system exist, and Trump's lies do not justify ignoring legitimate election security concerns.

Donald Trump

The Public Health Disaster of Donald Trump, a Narcissistic and Sociopathic President

When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, many voices were raised predicting the damage to our democratic way of life that a leader with his psychological disposition would do. Chief among these voices was a group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who wrote the in-depth and scientifically based book, The Dangerous Case of

Jasmine Banks and Kochland

Charles Koch’s Undue Influence on College Campuses: An Interview with Jasmine Banks

Billionaire donors are exerting undue influence on college campuses nationwide to advance a regressive corporate agenda. When I read Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America by Christopher Leonard, I was astounded at how much I did not know about this empire. For example, patriarch Fred C. Koch, co-founder of the racist John Birch Society, was a union buster, stealer of oil from Indigenous people, massive polluter, and fanatical about their corporate “culture” which has been described by many as cult-like.