A sign fell off a building onto a Center City street and narrowly missed pedestrians Thursday.
Strain called 911 then started snapping pictures. Thursday morning's heavy rain and wind caused the siding of the building to rip off—just missing Strain and a homeless man on sleeping feet away.
"It could have been me and it could have been the innocent guy sleeping there minding his own business," Strain said.
Philadelphia fire crews shut down the sidewalk for the day. The building that's under construction is owned by the Church of Scientology. The Department of Licenses and Inspections tells FOX 29 the needed repairs have already been made.
It's a major date on the Scientology calendar today, even if the church itself doesn't actually celebrate it. And you know, they really should. It was 33 years ago today that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard voluntarily left his hale and fit 74-year-old body in order to continue his upper-level OT researches without the burden of a physical form. He's been off exploring the outer reaches of understanding ever since.
At least, that's what Scientologists were told three days later, on Monday, January 27, 1986, at a gathering hastily put together at the Hollywood Palladium. We've talked to numerous people who were in the audience that night, and they tell us they sort of realized that this was how the church was breaking it to them that Hubbard had died. (In fact, he took terrible care of himself and had a host of ailments before he had a couple of strokes and breathed his last on a ranch near Creston, California with just a few followers with him.) They also, every one, told us that when a diminutive guy in a naval uniform walked out on stage to start the briefing, they didn't recognize him and had never heard his name before.
It was a 25-year-old David Miscavige.
2019-01-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
We have a bit of a backlog, but due to traveling I have been unable to include ALL the funnies that have been sent in over the last couple of weeks. But still, plenty to bring a chuckle here...
2 Years of Nothing
But if you're "tired of being ill" they will get you well in celebration of two years of stagnation.
The city government of Clearwater, Florida, home of Scientology's main global campus, voted in April 2016 to buy land from the Clearwater Aquarium, thwarting Scientology's offer to acquire the property for substantially more than the city paid. More recently, Pastor Willie Rice of Calvary Baptist Church, the city's oldest church, has gone into attack mode, rallying his congregation and trying to rally other pastors to oppose Scientology openly. Why is the power structure in Clearwater now opposing Scientology so openly?
We believe the city council and others now understand that Scientology is a paper tiger that can't affect the outcome of elections, the political currency that matters most. They can only lobby ineffectually and skulk around and attempt to harass after the fact, a modus operandi that is increasingly often exposed, and which thus backfires on the cult.
Clearwater is Scientology's "spiritual" home, with the Fort Harrison Hotel, the Super Power building (the so-called "Mecca of Technical Perfection"), and myriad other facilities to cater to Scientologists coming from all over the world.
We popped into Ballivor to speak to Cllr Noel French and the local residents, about the recently made public planning application for a drug rehab centre in the village.
****The views and opinions expressed within this video are NOT those of Meath Daily TV, its staff or owners. All views are held and expressed at the interviewees risk.
Meath Daily TV are NOT legally or otherwise liable or responsible for the views expressed within this video, or any damage they may cause professionally, personally, representational, reputationally, mentally or otherwise in any form whatsoever, by law. ****
Katerina was eleven years old and living in poverty in Siberia, Russia when her mother joined the Church of Scientology. The Cult quickly exploited the mother and daughter and recruited them into it's notorious Sea Org. Katrina and her mother were shipped to Clearwater, Florida. Scientology used Katrina as child labor and she received no formal education.
Michael Shermer is a science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic. His new book "Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia" is available now.
The controversial Church of Scientology hired a consultant to lobby local councillors and TDs on the "ideals" of the group, ahead of their centre in Firhouse, Dublin opening.
Kieran O'Byrne, a public relations consultant who runs the firm CCIPR, pushed the new centre and its facilities with local politicians, as well as providing general PR work for the group.
Mr O'Byrne's work for the church was recorded in a return made to the official lobbying register by his firm. The return outlined the aim of the lobbying was "that politicians understand the Church of Scientology's ideals". It detailed that the firm set up between six and 10 meetings with politicians for the group, both at the new centre or in politician's offices.
Yesterday, we pointed out that a Scientology demonstration in Budapest reminded us of the famous "Battle of Portland" that took place in 1985. It just so happens that historian Chris Owen has been working on a detailed look at the Portland adventure, which we're posting in two parts. Here's the first half, which explains how a lawsuit in Oregon turned into one of Scientologys' most famous public demonstrations.
Portland, Oregon holds a special place in Scientology's collective consciousness. In 1985 thousands of Scientologists descended on the city to participate in what the Church dubbed the "Battle of Portland." A Scientology promotional email from 2013 calls the episode Scientology's "Gettysburg, the turning point, the pivotal event of the first half century of our religion." It was a moment at which Scientology's survival was at stake, but which it overcame through a combination of intelligence tactics, dirty tricks, public relations and creative lawyering in equal measure.
The cause of this threat was a lawsuit brought by a young woman, Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, who had attended the Portland organisation of the Church of Scientology. A former resident of the small town of Eureka, Montana, she had graduated from high school with excellent grades and aimed to go to college in Portland to study architecture and engineering there.
2018-01-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a new "success" story from a "New OT VIII" completion who has completed "OT VIII Expanded" (didn't know there was such a thing) even though she had completed the "original" OT VIII.
She now has to provide a "success."
this is the basic "tech" to turn failure into success.
2017-01-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More evidence that the "fastest-growing religion" is a sad lie. This time from the "home of L. Ron Hubbard" - the scientology headquarters in England at St. Hill.
This was a "national" event for the most important activity in the scientology world — fundraising for "ideal orgs."
Here is where the UK stands on the "ideal org strategy" after 13 years.
As we explained on Sunday, there will not be an additional special episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath tonight after all. Last week's second Reddit AMA special episode, which featured Lawrence Wright, Ray Jeffrey, and Steve Hassan, was the final episode of the season. We also haven't received any definitive word yet that a second season is in the works.
However, we're definitely still feeling the effects of Leah Remini's breakout hit for the A&E network. Many people who had been holding back with their Scientology experiences have been showing up on social media, hungering to tell their stories.
One of those people was Leah Farrow, who gave some of the basics of her story on a Facebook group and then reached out to us. We were anxious to talk to her because her experience intersects with some of our favorite stories from the past — namely, the dramatic tales on the high seas with former Sea Org members Valeska Paris and Ramana Dienes-Browning and Scientology's cruise ship, the Freewinds.
Christie, a Scientologist for over 30 years, explains to Leah what finally prompted her to leave the church in this bonus clip. #ScientologyTheAftermath
Subscribe for more from Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath and other great A&E shows:
It surprised no one last fall when Los Angeles and California at large overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton in her failed bid for the presidency. Just seven of the city's 1,700 precincts went for Donald Trump.
But while nearly all of the surrounding region voted for the Democratic former secretary of state, one little chunk of Hollywood best known for the Church of Scientology's "Big Blue" complex went red, picking the Republican billionaire instead.
The precinct, wedged between Hollywood Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, tipped to Trump by just three votes, 347 to 344. It marked the first time since at least 2000 that the area went Republican. In 2012, President Barack Obama defeated Gov. Mitt Romney by 81 votes, 316 to 235.
2016-01-24, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer question from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent by email to AskChrisShelton@gmail.com.
Rachel Bernstein contact info:
2016-01-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More proof of just how epic the milestone accomplishments are in the shrinking world of scientology.
Applying standard admin tech to the letter, 13 years after being declared "ideal" and 10 years on from their first "SH Size" declaration, Tampa has been working on their backlogged CF for months and months. Perhaps a year.
It has been heavily promoted and pushed as a top priority for this model org (how it could be "model" when they promote their "squirrel admin" is a question for another day).
Thirty years ago today, this planet lost a singular individual to parts unknown. Lafayette Ronald Hubbard had lived one of the most unique lives in history. He had literally created his own personal navy from crew members who signed pledges to serve him for a billion years. He convinced thousands of people that they could become gods by paying him large sums of money and ridding themselves of invisible sentient entities. He had become fabulously rich at the same time that he had spent the last ten years of his life mostly in hiding and fearing that he'd be arrested or sued.
And finally, on January 24, 1986, he left us. Thirty years later, we still marvel at what L. Ron Hubbard convinced people to do and say. At least there's that, whatever else you might say about a man with enormous problems telling the truth and who often treated other people as less than human beings.
How to sum up a life like L. Ron Hubbard's? We still struggle with it three decades after his death, even though we write about the creation he left behind every single day. But we take solace that the people who knew him best also found it wasn't easy to summarize Hubbard after he was gone, and today we have a special example of that.
Here's the second leak of raw footage from the excellent 1997Channel 4 documentary, Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard. The film was made up of numerous interviews from people who had known Hubbard personally. But only a few minutes of each made it into the final documentary.
Jon Atack hooked us up with a source who is now making the full, uncut interviews from Secret Lives available. Last time, we got to see Hubbard's literary agent, Forrest Ackerman, reminisce about the man. And this time, another rare treat: A 28-minute interview with Barbara Klowden, who worked as Hubbard's PR assistant but was also his lover. (In Russell Miller's 1987 biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, Barbara is given the pseudonym "Barbara Kaye.")
In 1950, with the success of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, Hubbard interviewed Barbara and hired her to work public relations for the newly opened Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Los Angeles. As she explains in the clip, it was her job to fire off responses to columnists who said negative things about Hubbard or his book. She was 23 and had been a college psychology major (not, apparently, only 20 years old as previous accounts have it). Hubbard was 39, and his marriage to his second wife, Sara Northrup, was strained. Hubbard and Sara were already living apart.
2015-01-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Amazing how complete the transformation has become.
Auditing and training — the "central religious practices" of scientology are now dismissed with the derisive "inflow" (as in "take" rather than "give"), to be replaced by something far better, and something that provides TRUE "real and stable case gain" — handing over your money to the IAS.
The Golden Age of Gold. It's all about the money, money, money....
The Church of Scientology is fighting for its life in the Garcia v. Flag et. al. lawsuit. Garcia is alleging commercial fraud on the part of the Church of Scientology. If Garcia wins, the floodgates to other lawsuits against the Church of Scientology for commercial fraud are flung wide open. The instances of Scientology and its front groups lying in order to raise money are legion, e.g. Narconon has more than 27 lawsuits against it for allegations related to lying to families of drug addicts about the type and efficacy of treatment services offered by Narconon.
Former Scientology "second in command" Mark "Marty" Rathbun has been called as a key witness by Garcia. Scientology attorney Bert Deixler deposed Rathbun. Tony Ortega posted more video of the deposition at his blog today. We post Tony's YT video below.
In this video, Scientology attorney Deixler attempts to use a letter Rathbun wrote to David Miscavige in 1993 to impeach Rathbun's credibility. However, the problem in doing so is that Rathbun opens up a Pandora's Box concerning the Church of Scientology wholesale violations of the priest-penitent privilege; Founder L. Ron Hubbard; Scientology's notorious Fair Game policy; and the 1993 tax exemption the IRS granted Scientology.
We've been discussing some awfully serious issues this week. From the suicide of a talented young woman who was memorialized at the HollywoodCelebrity Centre, to the odd disappearance of a prominent 40-year member of Scientology, to the grinding arguments of a court hearing in Texas.
Oh, how we'd love a little comedy to lighten the mood. And thankfully, one of our all-time favorites of comedy was there to supply it for us!
We're talking about the diverting little Twitter tussle between comedy legend and Monty Python member Eric Idle and Scientology actress Kirstie Alley.
Gary Weber shares with us what happened when his wife got pregnant. In his first video he shared how he was instrumental in the organizing of pregnant women into vans , 12 in a van to carious free abortion clinics around Clearwater.
In this video he describes how his wife was punished by being sent to the Gulag. This very baby who his wife was pregnant with in this story is now a young adult who has
Disconnected from him under Church manipulation.
Jonny Jacobsen Once again our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, has another dispatch for us with late-breaking news. Take it away, Jonny...
Scientologists were celebrating this week after a French court awarded the movement damages for delays in the court case that ended in fraud convictions against the organisation last year.
The court acknowledged in part their complaint that the judicial process, in a case that stretches back to a complaint filed in December 1998, had at times been unacceptably slow.
This is my recap of the two hearings on the motion to depose Scientology Supreme Leader, Captain David Miscavige.
Despite the best efforts Wednesday during four hours of argument by his blue-chip local legal team, Miscavige apparently will be coming to Texas for a deposition in a high-profile harassment case.
Miscavige is one of the defendants named in a suit filed last year by Monique Rathbun, a non-Scientologist, who claims she was subjected to a four-year campaign of dirty tricks, harassment and surveillance by the church.
Note: We're posting the same item we published a year ago as an annual tribute to an amazing event. Hip, hip, hooray.
Twenty-seven years ago today, L. Ron Hubbard decided to leave his body after using it for 74 years.
A young David Miscavige, a Sea Org member who behind the scenes had been clearing the way to become Hubbard's successor as leader of the Scientology movement, announced Hubbard's death to his followers at the Palladium in Los Angeles. It is still a dramatic moment.
Last night, like many of you, we watched Lawrence Wright's appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, which not only featured a rapid-fire interview of Wright by the CNN host, but also some looks back at Cooper's 2010 show on Scientology. That four-part series explored accusations about church leader David Miscavige and violence that were first revealed in the St. Petersburg Times. In other words, the nostalgia value was high.
But if Wright was in rare form on CNN, he was even better in person. Also last night, Wright and his New Yorker editor Daniel Zalewski put on a great show at 92YTribeca in front of about 100 folks who had come in from the bitter cold.
And the words that Wright used to finish that show are still ringing in our ears. Scientology, he said, is heading for a reckoning.
In the end Scientology will be taken down over money. Interesting, huh? A wealthy couple from Irvine, California are suing the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige for fraud. Long time members of the cult, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida. They say they've invested in something Scientology calls the "Super Power Building" in Clearwater, Florida that was begun in 1998 and has never opened.
2012-01-24, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
While this group is still a bit amorphous to the liking of some, it is damn effective. In just about twenty-seven hours you all contributed what I predicted we would likely collect by Friday. And that figure is what I thought it would take to reverse the vector of attack from Debbie and Wayne and re-direct it back onto her tormentors.
You all acted nearly spontaneously from fourteen different States of the US and six countries.
I estimate that the amount we have to work with is about 1/20th of what Miscavige has already spent in legal fees alone in mounting his attempt to crush Debbie and Wayne. But that is one major difference between corporate scientology and Independent Scientology. The business of attempting to kill and bury truth is one heck of a lot more expensive than is the activity of purveying and nurturing truth.
2012-01-24, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Twenty-six years ago today, L. Ron Hubbard decided to leave his body after using it for 74 years.
A young David Miscavige, a Sea Org member who behind the scenes had been clearing the way to become Hubbard's successor as leader of the Scientology movement, announced Hubbard's death to his followers at the Palladium in Los Angeles. It is still a dramatic moment.
"Approximately two weeks ago, he completed all of his researches he had set out to do," Miscavige says, and you can hear the audience react with admiration and applause, apparently not realizing what's coming.
Doctors and nurses from as far away as Brazil arrived at JFK Saturday morning with thousands of dollars worth of medicine and medical equipment. They say they were confirmed on the Church of Scientology flight, but during the boarding process they say the passenger manifest was misplaced.
A total of 119 people boarded then the doors of the plane closed, leaving about 70 people behind. The church was worried
the plane would miss its landing slot in Haiti, but the volunteers complained the plane sat at the gate for at least another hour.
"We had people coming late. We had people whose names weren't on the manifest. Maybe the administration was not exactly correct. Maybe we should focus on the 119 people who were on that plane and did get down to Haiti," said John Carmichael of the Church of Scientology.
For 13 years, actor Larry Anderson was the face of Scientology as star of the hilarious 40-minute conversion pic Orientation. Then he got out of the church. But what about the $150,000 he spent on E-meters and Scientology cruises?
"If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.
"But, if you don't walk out that way, if you continue with Scientology, we will be very happy with you. And you will be very happy with you."
Now, after 33 years as a Scientologist, the past 13 as the voice extolling the virtues of Scientology and the perils of walking away, Anderson is walking away. He says the church failed to deliver the spiritual gains it promised.
Depending on how long they participate and how far they advance, Scientologists can spend from a few thousand dollars to sums well into six figures. Much of the money pays for training and for counseling sessions called "auditing." Smaller sums are paid for books, recorded lectures and a counseling device called the "e-meter." Many parishioners travel to Scientology's Clearwater mecca and stay in church hotels. Scientologists also are urged to donate to the International Association of Scientologists and other groups. Many Scientologists put money on account to pay in advance for services on a spiritual ladder called "The Bridge."
"Over the years, we have been watching you, your campaigns of misinformation, your suppression of dissent, your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye.
"With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as leaders has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed, for the good of your followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment.
"We shall proceed to expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form."
The callers are all in search of insights from Halperin on his incendiary Hollywood Undercover (Random House), for which the Montreal author/filmmaker posed as a gay actor to infiltrate the Church of Scientology, long rumoured to promise a "cure" for homosexuality. The book was just released on Tuesday.
The exhibit, which opens today and runs through Monday, is hardly subtle. Its title: "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death."
It's a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group formed by members of the Church of Scientology. The exhibit was last on display in the Missouri Capitol and before that in St. Louis.
A group of demonstrators yesterday angered passersby, prompting them to shout out car windows and make obscene gestures at the sign holders, who demanded a list of medications taken by young murder suspect John Odgren.
The group said its goal was to educate the community about the dangers of psychiatric drugs, but most said the demonstration five days after the death of Lincoln-Sudbury freshman James Alenson was ill-timed and inappropriate.
One of the more entertaining revelations to come out in the Scooter Libby trial thus far, drawing a collective guffaw in the press gallery, arrived this afternoon in the testimony of Craig Schmall, Libby's one-time CIA briefer. According to Schmall, during a briefing on June 14, 2003 at Libby's home, the veep's chief of staff brought up a recent meeting he'd had with Tom Cruise and his then-squeeze Penelope Cruz. Schmall, stifling laughter, reported that "Tom Cruise was there to talk" with Libby "about how Germany treats scientologists." You can't make that stuff up.
The company, BioPerformance, sold its product with a claim that putting a couple of the pills into an automobile fuel tank could increase gas mileage 30 percent. The state's investigation revealed that the product had no such power and that its main ingredient was naphthalene, used in making mothballs.
He patterned the company on Practice Mechanix after he and Mr. Goroway split in a dispute over money in early 2001.
According to investigators, Mr. Boulis offered chiropractors an $8,000 package of services that promised to increase their collections dramatically by using an extra billing code to charge insurance companies for past treatments, a practice called "back-billing."
The Pinellas County legal community reacted Thursday with surprise and displeasure at the comments of a Church of Scientology lawyer, who called long-time medical examiner Joan Wood a "hateful liar."
The full statement from Los Angeles lawyer Elliot Abelson: "Liar. Liar. Liar. Liar. Liar. Hateful Liar. That's what she is."
His comments appeared Thursday in a Times report about the case of Lisa McPherson, a 36-year-old Scientologist whose unexplained death in 1995 while in the care of fellow Scientologists is being investigated by state and local authorities.
Local lawyers Thursday vigorously defended Wood, who drew Abelson's ire by sharing with reporters her interpretation of laboratory results from McPherson's autopsy.
At the best of times, the Church of Scientology has been controversial. The "church" has no definable theology beyond an adherence to Hubbard's principle that everybody on earth should be "cleared"-i.e., successfully put through a course of Dianetics training. A spectacular moneymaker, the cult has assets estimated at $1 billion, including a massive estate in Gilman Hot Springs, Calif., a Clearwater, Fla. hotel complex and the former Cedars of LebanonHospital in Los Angeles, now its headquarters. At its peak, the sect claimed a membership of 6.5 million in 17 countries, and it has numbered such celebrities as John Travolta and Cathy Lee Crosby among its devotees. Yet critics have long accused Scientologists of harassing opponents with groundless lawsuits and even physical threats; defectors allege that the church's real reason for existence has always been simply to make money.
Now Scientology faces the greatest crisis of its history. Its leader is in hiding, its governance is in disarray, the U.S. Tax Court is reviewing its tax-exempt status based on 1970-72 IRS audits, and it is under sharp legal attack. According to disaffected church members, the church is crumbling from within. Bent Corydon, a former leader of a Riverside, Calif. "mission"-or local church-which recently broke away from the main body, says, "We've got a very bad image to overcome. Over the last two years we've lost 80 percent of our older members, and recruiting is half what it used to be."
L. Ron Hubbard, the former science fiction writer who publicly resigned in 1966 from leadership of the Church of Scientology, continued to give orders to its leaders into 1977, a Washington court has been told.
Evidence obtained in 1977 in raids on U.S. offices of the cult by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed there was a detailed program to cover up Mr. Hubbard's involvement in the leadership of Scientology.