NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk handed Scientology its most visible public boost in a long time yesterday by appearing on the Fox News morning program "Fox & Friends" to plug the Church of Scientology's front group Foundation for a Drug-Free World ahead of this weekend's Super Bowl game.
For seven years, Scientology has targeted the Super Bowl for its biggest publicity push each year, airing an ad for the church itself in some markets. At its New Year's Event held in Los Angeles last month, David Miscavige previewed this year's new ad for his audience, and we will be looking for it during Sunday's game.
But this year the publicity push has started early with Faulk's appearance.
Earlier today, Tony Ortega posted an article about Scientology's plans to air advertising in the Tampa market during the 2018 Winter Olympics. We do a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate of the amount that Scientology will spend and the size of the Scientologist audience that cult leader David Miscavige hopes to impress. Spoiler: unsurprisingly, it's a costly boondoggle.
This post is an example of what may develop into a series of quick analyses of narrow facts. The proverbial back-of-the-envelope estimate is the result of applying a lot of different techniques to quickly assemble a directionally correct estimate to support a decision that needs to be reached quickly. Of course, it's less precise than the result that can be achieved with a week or two of focused work.
If this turns into a series, we'll use a ground rule for a back-of-the-envelope analysis as 30 minutes for research and writing the initial draft, to show how much you can find out fairly quickly. I hope you'll enjoy learning about the thought process so you can use it in your own life, as well as gaining greater perspective on the subject.
Scientology has claimed religious status and tax exemption since the 1950s but does it really deserve this label and has it earned its rights and privileges as a religious organization? In this video, I use L. Ron Hubbard's own words to show why this is not legitimate and why no one should ever go along with this nonsense.
The Scientology Cult has long peddled the falsehood that it is the "fastest growing religion in the world." However, the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) ad shown above is clear evidence that large single donations are drying up. Hence the IAS is now begging for Scientologists to make smaller regular monthly payments. In yet another Scientology absurdity, we are told that the planet is on the brink of extinction due to the specter of Psychiatry, nuclear weapons, British bankers, Marcabs, etc. However, rest assured that your small monthly donations to the IAS can stave off the Apocalypse.
In a further sign of Scientology desperation, we find the bloated and scammy Scientology slush fund known as the IAS has set its default monthly donation to a meager $100 USD:
Back when Scientology was on its high horse, any Scientologist offering a paltry $100 donation would have been hauled into Ethics for not sacrificing their big assets to Scientology. After all, as L. Ron Hubbard had written nothing is more important than Scientology:
Last night, television viewers in the Tampa area began reacting on Facebook and Twitter after they saw promos aired on NBC's local affiliate, WFLA Channel 8, that the Church of Scientology will be sponsoring its Winter Olympics broadcasts, which begin next week.
An example on Facebook...
2018-02-01, Monique Yingling, Letters, Los Angeles Times
In a Nov. 16 Los Angeles Times op-ed article, Daily Beast correspondent James Kirchick asks, "In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?" The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
I was the Church of Scientology's primary tax counsel in its successful efforts to obtain federal tax exemption, a status it fully and fairly earned and continues to merit. Unlike Kirchick, I know exactly whereof I speak.
The Church of Scientology is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt because it established to the agency's satisfaction that it is organized and operates as a charitable religious organization. The church did not engage in a "ruthless battle to win a religious tax exemption"; rather, it simply worked continuously to demonstrate that it should be treated the same as other religious denominations.
Laura Prepon is a celebrity Scientologist who covers up Scientology's anti-LGBT stance. Laura has stated to the press that she hasn't come across anything negative or critical about gays within Scientology literature. As an upper level Scientologist, Laura definitely knows about Scientology's viewpoint on gays and lies about it to protect her church's image. However, she claims she loves gay people, plays a gay character on television, and supports gay rights. I call her out on that because she belongs to a cult that hates gays and she publicly supports Scientology (which has even funded Proposition 8!). Hypocritical? I think so!
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2017-02-01, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
These are infamous slogans from 1984. George Orwell's classic has hit the bestseller lists again in recent weeks.
Orwell's dystopian society includes remarkable similarities to life inside the scientology bubble. It was one of the first books I read as I was waking up to the realities of life in the Sea Org. His 1984 bubble, like scientology, has a language of its own - Newspeak. It includes this:
Blackwhite, which denotes the Newspeak user's ability to believe that black is white, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. Yet has two contradictory connotations: (i) Applied to an opponent ("Impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts") and (ii) applied to a member of the Party ("A loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands"). Blackwhite is an example of the Party's doublethink, which re-writes the past.
We don't keep a very watchful eye on Elon Musk and what he's up to, so forgive us that we missed an interesting little news item about him last year which, once we were made aware of it, sort of knocked us for a loop.
Musk is the PayPal and Tesla Motors and SpaceX inventor, one of the richest people in the world, and he has legions of fans who follow his every move. So it was only natural that a Bloomberg reporter would take the opportunity at a press conference last summer to ask the avid reader what he was digging into recently. Musk gave an interesting answer, saying that he was enjoying an obscure 1929 book named Twelve Against the Gods.
The book was written by a South African journalist named William Bolitho (1891-1930), and it consists of twelve short biographies of people who had battled the gods to greatness, as it were. Long out of print, copies of the book could be found for about $6 at sites like eBay. But once Musk revealed that he was reading it, prices shot up and it quickly became hard to find a copy. Checking yesterday, we couldn't find a copy at eBay for less than $250.
2016-02-01, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Freewinds is supposed to be the "top of the Bridge" where OT VIII is delivered to the teeming masses faithfully following the only path to spiritual freedom.
It is the "advanced religious retreat" off the crossroads of the world.
But the reality is that this ship, like the "ideal orgs" is an overkill of magnificent proportions. To accommodate the OT VIII population (scientology boasts "one completion every other day" in 2015) would not even fill the SS Minnow on Gilligan's Island.
Shocking news today out of Texas. Monique Rathbun's legal team filed a notice with the Texas Supreme Court Friday withdrawing from Monique's harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology after they were fired by Monique "without cause."
The document that showed up this morning in the court's docket says very little, but we are hearing that news of this decision was delivered to the lawyers by Monique's husband, Mark "Marty" Rathbun, who was once a high-ranking official in the Church of Scientology.
Marty left Scientology in 2004, then resurfaced in 2009 with a blog critical of church leader David Miscavige. He and his wife allege that a years-long effort to harass them began at that point, with teams of private investigators and other operatives sent to their Texas home to make their lives "a living hell." Monique Rathbun was never a member of the church, and in 2013 she filed a harassment lawsuit against Miscavige, the church, and some of the operatives who had surveilled and harassed her.
(Jim Fonda and Merrell Vannier)
Almost three years ago, our friend and attorney Scott Pilutik wrote an article for Forbes describing the unique position "independent" Scientologists are in when it comes to challenging the Church of Scientology on its trademarks and its tax exempt status.
Almost since the very beginning of Dianetics and Scientology, there have been people who splintered off to use L. Ron Hubbard's ideas on their own, outside the official church. More often than not, that put them directly in the crosshairs of Hubbard and his "ethics" system, a complex apparatus of surveillance and harassment which he came up with to deal with defectors who dared to "audit" outside his control.
2015-02-01, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Dear David Miscavige:
When L. Ron Hubbard passed on in the mid 1980s, you took over stewardship of the Church of Scientology. You have been in control of this movement for longer than L. Ron Hubbard was and have inarguably put your own brand on it in ways that Hubbard could never have foreseen. Much of what Hubbard said and wrote needed to be changed because let's face it, he didn't have all the answers and he didn't predict all the things that were needed for Scientology to continue into eternity.
But let's not debate the merits of L. Ron Hubbard. Instead, let's talk about where Scientology is at right now.
We're getting reports from around the country that Scientology's "Age of Answers" ad has already been airing today on Super Sunday.
We figure it's only going to pick up as the game itself nears. Earlier today, we weren't certain which ad the church was going to use for its Sunday blitz, but then we received a leaked message from one of our tipsters indicating that it would be "Age of Answers," a slick Apple Computer-like spot that Scientology posted to its YouTube channel in October, and that we described in November.
The ad is pretty and says essentially nothing, and we expect that when it appears at halftime during the Super Bowl, there's going to be a fun reaction at Twitter. If you see the ad pop up in your market, let us know in the comments section.
2015-02-01, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright stand and face the general public and media to discuss and defend their film.
David Miscavige hides, while directing anonymous smears against Gibney and Wright and those who appear in his film.
Why is it that the "ecclesiastical leader of the scientology religion" is unable to stand up and speak on behalf of his (admittedly dwindling) flock? Why isn't he setting the example and going on TV or being interviewed in major publications to present the "scientology side"? And after refusing repeated requests to be interviewed, they then whine that the "media refuses to speak to us" and "always get it wrong."
The Church of Scientology has aired a Super Bowl ad in light of ongoing controversy over a Sundance documentary centered on the religion.
The ad features voiceover accompanied by quick clips of footage including a person hiking, a DNA strand and a close-up of an eye.
"We live in an age of searching: to find solutions, to find ourselves, to find the truth," the announcer says in the ad. "Now imagine an age in which the predictability of science and the wisdom of religion combined. Welcome to the age of answers."
UPDATE: We have a new leak from Scientology that suggests the church will be airing its "Age of Answers" ad from October as its commercial during the Super Bowl, and it will occur at halftime. See the update, below.
Ah, Super Sunday, when, for the past few years, the Church of Scientology has caused a Twitter freakout by placing its creepy TV ads in certain markets during the big game.
Scientology leader David Miscavige has been on a media buying blowout, placing full-page ads in USA Today and the New York Times, and paying for web ads in every conceivable place lately. Miscavige is scrambling to deal with his latest crisis, in this case the imminent airing of Alex Gibney's documentary, Going Clear, on HBO on March 16.
By early October of 2013, after two months without seeing him, the kids grew concerned that Casey was not receiving adequate care. They organized a protest in front of the Kasem mansion, where about twenty-five people stood quietly holding handwritten placards. jean, why won't you let me see my dad!? read Kerri's sign, while Mouner Kasem, Casey's 78-year-old younger brother, held one that said i miss my brother. Jean called the police, drawing several squad cars and a helicopter to the scene-and the next day, there were headlines on CNN, TMZ, and just about every news outlet in between.
In the ensuing months, Jean offered a deal: Her stepkids could see their dad once a month for an hour, but a security guard had to monitor their visits, and the kids would have to split the cost of that guard with Jean. They would not be allowed to have phones or any other electronics with them, presumably to prevent photographs or any communication with others.
2014-02-01, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is the text of an email sent out by John Spagnola to as many people as he could.
Of course, though he claims this is all "Fully funded" by the "US Army" he is asking for "donations" for "additional expenses." What a shock...
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Jon, you continue to take a hard look at Scientology's most basic concepts and practices. We're really excited that you turned your attention this week to that most familiar of Scientology accessories, the E-meter! Tell us about it.
JON: The first Electropsychometer used in Dianetics was developed by Volney Mathison. It is a device based on a Wheatstone bridge, an electrical circuit which measures resistance, in this case through sensors held in the hands, so it measures the conductivity of skin — also known as galvanic skin response. More accurately, it measures changes in the sweat glands, by passing a small electric current through the body. Such meters were not new — Hubbard's claim to have made the only valid discoveries in the field of the mind and spirit in 50,000 years are not borne out by the development of the e-meter, which actually had nothing to do with him, and had been enthusiastically supported by Jung and others many years before.
Welcome to our ongoing project, where we blog a 1950 first edition of Scientology's bible, Dianetics, with the help of ex-Scientologist, Bay Area lawyer, blogger, and author Vance Woodward. Go here for the first post in the series.
We're now entering Book Two, which promises to take us into the nuts and bolts of dianetic theory. And it begins with Hubbard describing to us how the human mind works — that it has three divisions, and in this first chapter he is going to explain how the analytical mind works.
The analytical mind, he explains, is the "I". It's the awareness we have as a self. When we're conscious and thinking, it's our analytical mind that is helping us make decisions.
Five years after it was first posted to YouTube, the infamous 9-minute Tom Cruise video that was only supposed to be seen by members of the Church of Scientology still seems as nutty as ever. You know the one, the interview Cruise gave to celebrate his winning the "Freedom Medal of Valor," a special tchotchke made just for him and awarded by Scientology leader David Miscavige in a 2004 celebration. The video was clearly intended to make Cruise's fellow church members feel warm and fuzzy that the actor was such a hard-core L. Ron Hubbard addict, who shared with them their belief that in the upper levels Scientologists acquire superhuman abilities: "Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it's not like anyone else. As you drive past, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one that can really help," Tom said, flexing his OT muscles.
Well, talk about another car wreck. Get a load of Cruise's former assistant, Andrea Doven, talking the Scientology talk as she celebrates finishing a course at the HollywoodCelebrity Centre.
As Andrea says, "I emanate power from this org."
On the sixth day of Paris trial on appeal of Scientology, the court rejected the movement's final bid to exclude the counter-cult group UNADFI from the proceedings. As a result, the defendants and their lawyers walked out, claiming they were being denied a fair trial.
On Thursday November 17, the sixth day of the trial, the Paris appeal court reconvened.
Two days earlier, Scientology's defence team had lost its battle to have France's counter-cult group UNADFI excluded from the proceedings.
2012-02-01, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Friday's edition of the Tampa Bay Times includes an editorial on the issue of Corporate Scientology hypocrisy. It is a well reasoned piece.
Let's take a closer look at the issue. Miscavige spent the first 26 days of January directing a full blown espionage campaign designed to destroy the business of Debbie Cook and Wayne Baumgarten. Their sin? Asking that Scientologists follow Scientology published policy. On the 27th day of Miscavige carpet bombing, Miscavige paid one of the priciest law firms in San AntonioTexas to slink through the back door of the Bexar county courthouse to obtain a temporary restraining order against the Baumgartens. There was no prior notice given to the Baumgartens. The order was a prior restraint on any communication by any means by either of them concerning David Miscavige and his empire of hypocrisy. The order was based solely upon Debbie's email of 1 January that took exception to Miscavige's Fraudulent Idle Orgs program, and other financial scams.
Having used state court process to muzzle Debbie's clarion call for Scientologists to cease violating Scientology policy by ceasing to comply or support Miscavige's off-policy, fraudulent financial scams, including the Idle Org scam, Miscavige flew to Sacramento this weekend to serve as the Howdy-Doody MC for yet another Idle org scam grand opening. Per local media reports the Sacramento Idle org cost 10 million dollars. 10 Million dollars for an org that I guarantee you hasn't made anywhere near 10 million dollars gross income in its several decade history. An org, like most others to date, already driven by Miscavige into a lifeless morgue.
2012-02-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Did Democrat Vi Simpson use Scientology to punk the majority Republicans in the Indiana Senate? UPDATE: We now have an interview with Vi Simpson, the woman who put Scientology (and other religions) into a Creationism bill in order to neutralize it.
Yesterday, Indiana's state senate voted 28-22 to adopt yet another creationism-in-the-schools bill, which have been routinely found unconstitutional since a 1988 Supreme Court decision.
But this one was a little different, and in a surprising way.
The Church of Scientology relies heavily on First Amendment religious freedoms to shield itself from scrutiny in this country, but it is awfully quick to suppress freedom of speech that enjoys the same constitutional protections. The same church that raises the specter of Nazi oppression whenever it faces inquiry from German and French officials, expects its former, hardworking employees in the United States to sign away their free speech rights for as little as $500 in severance. The First Amendment is not a buffet where some rights are recognized and other inconvenient ones are ignored.
2012-02-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
How many times do judges have to say this stuff? Monday evening, we learned that Debbie Cook, who dared to question the health of her religion, is being sued by the Church of Scientology. That night, Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times broke news of the lawsuit, which alleges that by sending out an e-mail complaining about how Scientology had gotten away from its founding principles, Cook violated the terms of a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she left church staff in 2007.
But that wasn't the only Scientology legal news we received this week.
Attorney Ken Dandar's bizarre recent court saga -- which we thought was completely, finally done with in December -- had one of those horror-movie endings where you thought the monster was dead but actually it had one last burst of beyond-the-grave energy and comes briefly back to life so it can be electrocuted or blown up or grated in a woodchopper so there's just no more question that it's dead and the credits can roll.
Rule #0: Rules #1 and #2 of the internet still apply. Your memes are not, at this juncture, something that the real world can appreciate. Although meme speak between fellow Anonymous is acceptable, focus on the target and keep it to a minimum.
Rule #1: Stay cool.
Rule #2: Stay cool, especially when harassed. You are an ambassador of Anonymous. Although individuals trying to disrupt your demonstration will get on your nerves, you must not lose your temper. Doing so will harm the protest and tarnish the reputation of Anonymous.
Anonymous goes back to the terrorists that filled the Boston harbor with tea; the negros that refused to be seated in the back of the bus. We are the worthless that stormed the Bastille then decapitated an empress, and communists that brought down the iron curtain.
Defamer just managed to get our grubby mitts on a secret copy of a strongly-worded letter that "Actress" Kirstie Alley's legal team over at Goldman & Kagon recently sent to US Weekly. In it, the firm asks that United States Weekly sever their relationship with fashionista/comedienne Danica Lo because of an innocuous Scientology joke she made at the expense of billion-year contract escape clause benifitee Nicole Kidman. The joke in question ran in the "Fashion Police" section of the mag and referred to an outfit Kidman wore to the Australian premiere of The Golden Compass, which the tony Miss Lo described as being "specifically designed [to repel] Scientologists." Um, zing? The legal letter and offending picture follow after the jump.
Kirstie Alley, a well-known member of Hollywood's Scientology clan, had her lawyer sent off a letter to gossip mag UsWeekly, demanding that they drop one of their fashion critics over a quip she made about Scientology.
In the January 7, 2008 issue of UsWeekly, fashion critic Danico Lo critiqued a silver suit that Nicole Kidman wore to the Golden Compass premiere. Commenting on the outfit in the "Fashion Police" section she said: "Bonus: This specially designed suit repels Scientologists."
This is a music video called "What's the matter with you, Hat?" by Pink Munky.
Have you ever noticed how a negro from the south personifies MEST? LRH did.
Scientology is pretty wacky. But that's not why it should be stopped. It is a money-making cult that has ruined many lives. Go to XENU.NET for more information.
CLEARWATER - The Church of Scientology's mammoth new spiritual shrine has stood vacant and unfinished for years, its dusty Mediterranean-style shell surrounded by patches of scrubby grass and "no trespassing" signs.
Now church officials say they are ready to resume work on the building as it has racked up more than $55,000 in fines for not meeting the city's deadline to finish the exterior.
Clearwater's city building department issued a new construction permit that will allow the church to finish the exterior of the 384,000-square-foot structure, more than two years after the original permit expired. The church broke ground on the seven-story building in March 2000.
Scientologists place a lot of stock in their church's drug-treatment program.
But three local addiction specialists said documentation presented to support the detoxification program created by church founder L. Ron Hubbard is full of unsubstantiated conclusions, faulty assumptions and poor methodology.
When the Church of Scientology held a splashy grand opening in Buffalo in November 2003, local Scientologists urged Mayor Anthony M. Masiello to declare "Church of Scientology of Buffalo Day."
What's more, the Scientologists wrote a speech for the mayor.
When, in 1948, The World Of Null-A was published in book form, it was the first SF magazine serial to appear in hardcover from a major publisher (earlier titles had appeared from specialist houses). In France, it was translated by surrealist Boris Vian and created a market for science fiction.
However, van Vogt's interest in disciplines that would focus latent talent led him to dianetics, the memory auditing system developed by fellow SF writer L Ron Hubbard, which became the cornerstone of scientology. Although not interested in the mystical/religious aspects of scientology, van Vogt maintained the Los Angeles Hubbard Dianetic Centre from 1950 until 1961, partly financing the gesture by gathering together and reworking earlier stories into novels.
Officials would like to embrace the church as a key mover in the revitalization of downtown. Pinellas County officials were looking on when the church broke ground Nov. 21 for its $45 million "Super Power Project," a 300,000-square-foot "Mecca" for Scientologists that will be the third-largest building in town.
But just a week earlier, the state attorney had filed charges accusing the church of complicity in the 1995 death of believer Lisa McPherson, 36. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a New Port Richey, Fla., hospital after being kept in isolation at the Scientologists' Fort Harrison Hotel 45 minutes away in Clearwater.
The coming trial promises to be a low point in the long history of acrimony over the religion's presence here. And it will raise uncomfortable questions about the way the church deals with its own affairs and those of the surrounding community.
1998-02-01, Thomas C. Tobin, Scientology in Clearwater: Digging In, St. Petersburg Times
Mary Lou Guthart, who heads the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, had the same feeling last year. She said she was happy when a food drive at the Winter Wonderland display yielded 20 boxes of groceries in 1996, but dismayed when the church made too much of the donation in Freedom the following January.
"They had written up the article like it was some big thing they had done for us," Guthart said. "I just felt that they were using us. I just don't want anything to do with them."
Bennetta Slaughter, the Scientologist who coordinated Winter Wonderland, insists the church's motives are pure.
1998-02-01, Thomas C. Tobin, Scientology in Clearwater: Digging In, St. Petersburg Times
The Church of Scientology and its followers say their detractors criticize what they don't understand.
Scientology works, they say, by making people more aware, more in control, less inhibited by bad experiences, and better able to communicate.
The church's core practice is counseling called "auditing." A church "auditor" asks detailed questions while a parishioner holds two plated "cans" hooked to an electropsychometer or e-meter, a device that has been likened to a lie detector. The church says it's a "religious artifact" that indicates changes in the mind.
1998-02-01, Scientology in Clearwater: Digging In, St. Petersburg Times
The Church of Scientology owns 21 properties in Clearwater and one outside the city limits at 16432 U.S. 19 N. Seventeen of those properties are in downtown Clearwater. They account for 3 percent of all parcels in downtown and 10 percent of downtown's total property value. The church owns $31.2-million worth of property in the Clearwater area, but $21.7-million of it is off the tax rolls.
BONN, GERMANY BONN, Germany (AP) _ Germany reacted harshly Friday to new U.S. State Department criticism of its treatment of Scientologists, with one politician demanding his government lodge a formal protest with Washington.
A State Department report, issued Thursday, said business firms in Germany whose owners or executives are Scientologists "may face boycotts and discrimination, sometimes with government approval."
The statement was less directly critical of German action against Scientology than some recent U.S. government statements. But it still provoked strong responses in Germany, which views the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology as a threat to democracy. The church claims 30,000 members in Germany.
Few people knew (or cared to know) anything about Scientology's OT materials until their lawyers - with e-mailed threats, press releases, and interviews - loudly broadcast that they were secret. The general public may still not have taken notice had Scientologists not raided the homes of their critics, in what appeared to some as gestapo-like attempts to suppress freedom of speech and religion.
Through the medium of the Internet, Scientology's foes coupled with free-speech advocates sought to focus international attention on the error and abuses of Scientology - an organization described on the cover of Time magazine as "The Cult of Greed" (6 May 1991). Scientology's tactics have accomplished what the ex-members and critics never could have done on their own - given international media exposure to the church's most closely guarded secrets.
ENID - Narconon Chilocco New Life Center was ordered Friday to move its patients out and stop providing drug and alcohol abuse treatment in 10 days.
Oklahoma County District Judge John Amick set the Feb. 10 deadline after he denied another request from the unlicensed facility to remain open and admit new patients.
Narconon Chilocco lost a request earlier this week for a court stay to continue operating while it appeals a decision by the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services that denied certification for its treatment program.
"If they can do it to me and get away with it, every member of Congress must wonder when he might be secretly taped and manipulated into something that looked bad. Maybe it's not bad at all, but it can look bad."
When the 62-year-old Senator from New Jersey complains of the FBI tactics in Abscam that brought about his downfall, he is warning his fellow legislators who will be his judges: It could happen to you, too. This week the Senate reconvenes, and one of its tasks will be to consider the expulsion of Harrison "Pete" Williams. He was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy last year after a federal jury watched him on videotape assuring a bogus Arab sheik that he could obtain government contracts for a titanium mine in which Williams would receive shares. If his appeal is not successful, Williams will become the first U.S. Senator since 1906 to be convicted of a crime. He has yet to be sentenced, but if his colleagues follow the Senate Ethics Committee recommendation, it will be the first time that expulsion has been imposed on a U.S. Senator since the Civil War. His friends agree it will also be the ultimate humiliation for a man who has spent 23 years in the upper house. "The Senate," Williams' first wife, Nancy, says, "was his whole life."