A lot has already been said about Joy Villa's Grammys gambit last night, with her showing up for the fourth year in a row in a dress designed to get her attention.
For the first three years she showed up in dresses designed by Andre Soriano, a minor reality TV figure and fashion designer in San Diego. In 2015, he created a dress for her made out of snowfence, in 2016 it was another barely-there number that turned heads for how much of Villa it didn't cover, and then both Soriano and Villa hit it big last year with his "Make America Great Again" gown that launched Joy into political stardom.
But Soriano very publicly disavowed Joy Villa recently as she continued to use her "MAGA" fame to promote Scientology. He claimed not to have known about her Scientology involvement, which, frankly, is a little hard to believe. But for whatever reason, Joy was on her own for last night's Grammy awards.
GOP Political Consultant Robbie Olson and Jeffrey Augustine discuss Joy Villa's exploratory run for the US Congress. Robbie describes the way in which Joy represented herself as a Christian and how the Church of Scientology meddled in things.
The big news is that Joy Villa apparently wanted to delay her Congressional run until 2020 when Scientology Media Productions would be broadcasting shows designed to "normalize" Scientology. Was Villa's alleged Congressional run merely a placeholder designed to buy time and PR for her Church to launch Scientology Media Productions?
Vinnie James has a collection of tweets Joy Villa has erased in her attempts to conceal her Scientology background.
2018-01-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A lot of people are curious about the "CF filing" that scientology obsesses over.
It is a mystery to many of the uninitiated, though certainly anyone who has been around an org knows about CF and its perpetual backlog of filing.
"Central Files" is a Hubbard invention to keep track of everyone that has ever bought a book or taken a service in a scientology organization. Each person has a file folder (or many as time goes on) that includes copies of all invoices (yes, invoices for payments are still written with colored copies to be filed in Accounts Files, Student and PC Files and Central Files), all correspondence, success stories and other records. Every org is supposed to have a team of "Letter Registrars" who stay in touch with every person in the CF to encourage them to pay more money.
2017-01-29, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions from the comments of my Q&A videos or which are sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) Well done for finding the courage to leave Scientology. How did you learn to trust your conclusions after you left? After being deceived for so long doesn't it play on your mind that you may be succumbing to other cognitive biases without noticing?
(2) I found your channel after hearing you on Ross and Carrie's podcast, and since then I've been marathoning your videos. I love your work. It seems to me like people who have a tendency to blame themselves for problems they're having, people quick to find fault with themselves or who have low self esteem woud have trouble completing the auditing required to "move up the bridge". Is this the case? Were you in the RPF for so long because you are someone who is quicker to blame yourself for things? I am an ex-fundamentalist-Christian and because I have a rather low opinion of myself I was very susceptible to that group's message of "God is perfect, you are an awful, sinful creature who needs to be saved by us." I was wondering whether Scientology preys on that same personality trait too.
2017-01-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A reader sent this to me the other day and I found it fascinating. The parallels between North Korea and scientology are unmistakeable.
Below are excerpts from the article.
I highlighted especially relevant sections. They need no explanation to anyone familiar with scientology's playbook that dictates how they must respond to "critics." Scientology is as clumsy and unbelievable as N. Korea in its denunciation of defectors. It's amusing to see: it seems everyone who leaves N. Korea or scientology is some form of sexual pervert, has stolen money or is being paid to say bad things about them.
Well this is a fun coincidence. Just three days after we heard from Australian television journalist Bryan Seymour about Scientology's attempt there to interest his network in favorable coverage of the church, Scientology Australia spokeswoman Sei Kato (Broadhurst) has sent out a fresh new media guide!
Bryan forwarded it on to us along with his observations about it. We think you'll find his criticisms spot on, and we're looking forward to your comments about Sei's attempt at media manipulation. Tell us which is your favorite whopper!
Here's what Bryan sent us...
One of our sources, who has connections both among Church of Scientology members and those who have been expelled from the organization, thought we would like to see how people on the inside are talking about Alex Gibney's film Going Clear.
So far, there have only been two public screenings of the film, so only a few hundred human beings have actually seen it, but the press reaction has been massive. Much of that press interest has centered on the official reaction from the church, which has been as hamfisted and embarrassing as we might have predicted.
In one truly misguided effort, Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw (or at least someone writing under her name) sent out letters apparently to every movie reviewer on the planet who had written about the film, and chastised them for not contacting the church before writing about Gibney's movie.
2015-01-29, Zoe Mintz, International Business Times
Some New York City parents are outraged after a Scientology-backed group held anti-drug presentations at 30 New York City public schools last year. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a nonprofit sponsored by the Church of Scientology, made the announcement on its Facebook page on Jan. 23. The group said the free anti-drug programs were given to elementary, middle and high school students in each of the five boroughs as well as New York City Police Department youth programs.
2015-01-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Because I am still traveling, currently in Los Angeles for a series of depositions in the Garcia case, I have not assembled a Thursday Funnies this week.
Tony Ortega is doing his usual masterful job of keeping everyone updated on the HBODocumentary news. There is still plenty to keep everyone entertained.
I will be back home on the weekend to try and get things back to normal.
Wie DNAInfo nun berichtete, hat sich Scientology mit ihrer "Foundation for a Drug Free World" in mindestens 30 öffentlichen New Yorker Schulen geschlichen, um ihre Anti-Drogenprogramm vorzutragen.
Für Rick Ross, einem international bekannten Experten auf dem Gebiet kontroverser Gruppen und Bewegungen, ist die Sache eindeutig. "Scientology hab viele solcher Stiftungen, wie Narconon, Applied Scholastics, und Criminon. Alle haben das Ziel, Menschen für die Sekte zu rekrutieren."
2014-01-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
There have been published reports that seventeen lawyers have appeared in the Comal County courtroom on the Scientology side of the aisle in the case of Monique Rathbun vs. David Miscavige, et al. In fact, twenty-two lawyers have made official appearances and/or physical appearances in the case for Scientology Inc.
Many of those lawyers have made multiple flights to Comal County from New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., or driven from Dallas, Austin and San Antonio to attend hearings on behalf of Miscavige and his co-defendants.
For some perspective consider these facts:
On Monday morning, we posted Steven Mango's two and a half hour video about his experience as a member of Scientology. Now that we've had some time to absorb the entire thing, we thought we'd highlight some of the really good stuff in it.
In our title, we put the word 'documentary' in quote marks because what Steven Mango has put together is probably better described as a testimonial. It's mostly him talking to a camera about his experiences, and at two and a half hours, it's ludicrously long.
The film particularly drags when Mango is talking about things he has no personal knowledge of — life in the Sea Org, for example, or Leah Remini's reasons for leaving Scientology. When he's not on camera, the film often relies on borrowed material from others that Mango didn't ask permission to use. We asked him about that, and he explained that he's really just an amateur and was unfamiliar with copyright law and didn't intend to harm anyone. We believe him, but that borrowed material will limit the video's reach — we'd like to see the best 20 to 30 minutes of Steven's own personal story pulled from it and edited professionally for a product that might have some real potential to reach a large audience.
2014-01-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Captain Miscavige's Mecca is open. And now the next chapter begins.
Obviously He can't let the demand for money slow down. Time for a new gimmick.
So after collecting an estimated $300 million for a building that was supposed to cost $40 million (though now they are claiming it cost $260 million which is a staggering $800+sq/ft if it is really 300,000 sq ft), of course there is no money to build the "LRH Hall". The figure of $260 million now being floated is probably some attempt to counter the Garcia lawsuit — "proving" they did need all that money, though the records of the expenditures would make for interesting reading I am sure.
The Church of Scientology's Toronto headquarters are in the midst of an "Ideal Org" makeover-signalled, last month, by boards nailed to the Yonge Street high-rise. While it remains to be seen whether the move will fracture the controversial faith's local followers as similar, costly refurbishings have in other cities, the plans are less than modest, indicating a colourful new façade will be placed on the almost-60-year-old office building, along with a new bookstore, café, theatre, and "testing centre" inside.
Last March, we visited former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder at his home in Florida. The result of our visit was a series of videos that we posted at the Village Voice website in April. However, since leaving the Voice our YouTube account was shut down. Thankfully, with help from a loyal reader, we managed to retrieve those videos and have posted them to YouTube once again. So we've decided to republish the entire story along with the videos.
And our timing is good, because Chris Owen just published a lengthy and detailed Wikipedia entry about "The Hole," Scientology's concentration camp for top executives, and that's the subject of many of these video segments. We're glad to get this interview with Rinder back on the 'net...
[Originally published April 4, 2012] For years, Mike Rinder was the Church of Scientology's chief spokesman and executive director of the Office of Special Affairs, its intelligence wing. In 2007, his defection was among the most surprising in an exodus of high-ranking officials from the church. Since then, he's given several interviews, but none as complete as the videotaped discussions we had with him last month in his Florida home. In this first segment, he describes the conditions in "The Hole," Scientology's notorious concentration camp for fallen executives at its California headquarters. In other segments, Rinder also talks about the confessions forced out of prisoners, the constant indoctrination of church members, and much, much, more...
Hubbard, at Saint Hill Manor Just a quick evening post for some blatant self-promotion as we point out a couple of smart news stories that feature quotes from the Bunker.
This afternoon, The Observer's Dan Duray published an insightful look at the fact-checking process that journalists go through when they investigate the Church of Scientology. Specifically, he talked with Lawrence Wright and his indefatigable researcher, Lauren Wolf, about what they went through trying to get answers from Scientology's spokeswoman, Karin Pouw.
And Dan revealed what we told him: that we haven't heard directly from Pouw since the Debbie Cook lawsuit last February.
2012-01-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I have just examined the death certificate of L Ron Hubbard's closest friend, Ann Marie Tidman.
The certificate indicates that the manner in which Miscavige treated Annie and her family was far worse than originally reported here on 14 January, Ann Marie Tidman In Memoriam.
2012-01-29, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose three of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
I think the South Africa org just got owned. This piece from Sydney is the best-looking Scientology flier I think I've ever seen! Maybe some of our Down Under readers can identify the folks in it.
2011-01-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
On the afternoon of 28 January the church of Scientology's intelligence branch engineered the shutting down of my blog, Moving On Up A Little Higher.
The last two postings - the only two run since last Sunday - quite apparently drove church leader David Miscavige and his friend Tom Cruise around the bend.
They somehow managed to get the domain registrar to redirect visits to my url to a spam dead end. We are back up now though. Please reset your favorites to this url, https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/
In 2009, a low-profile Pinellas County company drew unwelcome attention in a growing national controversy over home foreclosures.
Employees of Nationwide Title Clearing, a leading processor of mortgage-related documents for banks, loan servicers and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., were under fire for signing paperwork as "vice president" of various banks although they actually worked for NTC.
The assembly-line process in which workers scrawled their names or initials on hundreds of documents at a time — typically without reading them — helped prompt the term "robo-signing." Critics said robo-signing raised questions about the accuracy of documents and the legality of thousands of foreclosure cases.
Madp said, "I went to check out a peculiar group of people that formed a commune on a place known as the Muddy Ranch in eastern Oregon."
'Peculiar' as he would later learn, would ultimately be what you would call a mild description, for this group that followed the teachings of a man who investigators later learned, bilked his followers for the most part, out of everything they owned. That might explain the fleet of over twenty Rolls Royce's the Bagwan Rashneesh was said to have particularly cherished.
The Ministry of Education is referring teachers to an organization set up by the Church of Scientology, the group made infamous by Tom Cruise, the raving couch-bounder and Scientology adherent. Two ministry teacher-support documents direct teachers to the website of Los Angeles-based Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI).
The church's actions have not gone unnoticed. In what is a fantastic example of empowerment the Internet gives to the common user, a grassroots movement of various Internet communities has banded together to attack, dismantle and ultimately destroy the institution. Calling themselves Anonymous, these vigilantes are a collection of various message board communities previously concerned with less noble feats such as raiding virtual online hotels, harassing the furry-fetish community and creating internet memes.
Melton describes the RPF as a happy 'boy-scouts camping' adventure with a dose of Trappist meditative theory thrown in for good measure. Two weeks before Melton's '"free access" interview with the RPF, a select number of prisoners were moved to another location, treated like kings, fed, briefed, drilled, given little or no work details and sleep. Sleep is normally rationed as deprivation breask the spirit of the prisoner.
Over the past three years, I have interviewed more than 100 adolescents and parents with personal experience in both public and private programs and have read hundreds of media accounts, thousands of Internet postings and stacks of legal documents. I have also spoken with numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and juvenile justice experts. Of course there is a range of approaches at different institutions, but most of the people I spoke with agree that the industry is dominated by the idea that harsh rules and even brutal confrontation are necessary to help troubled teenagers. University of California at Berkeley sociologist Elliott Currie, who did an ethnographic study of teen residential addiction treatment for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told me that he could not think of a program that wasn't influenced by this philosophy.
Unfortunately, tough treatments usually draw public scrutiny only when practitioners go too far, prompting speculation about when "tough is too tough." Dozens of deaths -- such as this month's case of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, who died hours after entering a juvenile boot camp that was under contract with Florida's juvenile justice system -- and cases of abuse have been documented since tough-love treatment was popularized in the '70s and '80s by programs such as Synanon and Straight, Inc. Parents and teenagers involved with both state-run and private institutions have told me of beatings, sleep deprivation, use of stress positions, emotional abuse and public humiliation, such as making them dress as prostitutes or in drag and addressing them in coarse language. I've heard about the most extreme examples, of course, but the lack of regulation and oversight means that such abuses are always a risk.
But, as England observed, "in an unusual twist on the notion of bringing aid to the destitute, Churilov says his group arrived in Aceh with nothing and were given tents by the army and food by friendly locals. Unfazed that the aid flow was meant to go the other way, he used this as an example of how well accepted the Scientologists were by local people, rather than as an example of traditional manners."
These disputes underscore the assertive legal tactics long employed by Scientology, whose lawyers say they will not hesitate to take action against unauthorized use of the church's intellectual property and trademarks. But the operators of "scientology-kills.net" and the so-called parody site allege that the church is trying to censor critics of the organization through arbitrary but costly legal battles.
The Church of Scientology alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood has poisoned its reputation by speaking publicly about the unexplained death of a church member.
The lawsuit argues that when Wood recently spoke with reporters about the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson she waived any right to keep her records on the case closed.
TORONTO (AP) _ The Church of Scientology said Tuesday that a judge had ordered the return to the group of more than 2 million documents seized nine years ago in a legal battle.
James Southey, the Ontario justice, ruled Monday that authorities could no longer keep the records, seized by police investigating tax-fraud allegations.
The more than 850 boxes contained books, religious documents, management files and so-called "confessional folders" with intimate details about members, said church spokesperson Al Buttnor.
The county prohibits parents from putting children younger than 2 years in day-care centers, although the children can be placed in licensed homes.
Martha Skelton, director of Clearwater's Community Pride Child Care Center, and supporters hope to circumvent that law. She notes that the licensing board has given permission to four groups to provide infant day care in centers rather than homes: the Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, the Church of Scientology and Happy Workers Day Nursery and Nursery School.
L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology founder who had not been seen publicly since 1980, died Friday at age 74, church officials announced Monday night. A coroner said today he is trying to establish that the body was Hubbard's.
Earl Cooley, chief counsel for the church, said Monday night that Hubbard died in his sleep of a stroke, on a ranch in San Luis Obispo.
George Whiting, the sheriff and coroner of San Luis Obispo County, said today in a telephone interview that the body was photographed and fingerprinted. He added that he is working with other government agencies to find a set of Hubbard's fingerprints for matching.
LOS ANGELES -- L. Ron Hubbard's ashes have been scattered over the Pacific Ocean, but the spirit of the reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology 'lives on' and will influence mankind for thousands of years, church officials say.
'I feel what he has accomplished in the brief span of one lifetime will have impact on every man, woman and child for the next 10,000 years,' the Rev. Ken Hoden, church president, said Tuesday. Hubbard died last week on his Central California ranch at age 74.
'In Scientology, we believe that man is a spirit and when a body dies, the spirit lives on,' Hoden said.
A Fairfax County man's class-action suit requesting $750,000 for each of the participants in Straight Inc., a national drug rehabilitation program with a Fairfax branch, was rejected yesterday by a federal judge who said the man's charges of brainwashing and harassment were an individual matter.
U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. said there was insufficient evidence to prove that the suit, filed in Alexandria last month by Fred Collins, 20, represented the wishes of more than 3,000 program participants cited in the suit. Bryan said Collins could, however, proceed with an individual suit against the program.
The ruling followed a last-minute attempt by Collins' attorney to limit the persons included in the suit to participants in the Fairfax program. "It doesn't make any difference, class or no class" action, attorney Philip Hirschkop said yesterday, "as long as we can go forward."