As anti-vax spreads into the internet's fringes, it mingles with other far-right conspiracy theories.
Natural News, a right-wing conspiracy site with 2.9 million likes on Facebook, is one of the primary sources of anti-vaxxer content, according to The Atlantic. A recent anti-abortion article on Natural News accuses "the political Left in America" of advocating for child murder, and warns that government "vaccine enforcer" teams are about to start vaccinating children at gunpoint. In a 10,000-member Facebook group for those who believe certain people (usually blonde or red-headed) are a superior race unrelated to the rest of humanity, members offered a series of arguments against vaccination, including the claim that vaccinations constitute race-mixing.
But entryist techniques aren't entirely to blame for the anti-vax movement's right-wing streak. A pair of recent studies suggests anti-vaxxers tend to hold worldviews compatible with right-wing populism.
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Twelve photographs taken by L. Ron Hubbard showing scenes of pre-World War II Guam were unveiled Friday at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport.
The photos, taken in 1927, will be on display for the next few months, according to Rolenda Faausuamalie, marketing administrator for the airport authority.
Hubbard was a science fiction writer who rose to prominence as the founder of the Scientology religious movement. He was on Guam at the age of 16 with his father, who was a member of the United States Navy. Hubbard died in 1986.
2019-03-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I have made plenty of jokes about Kaye Champagne over the years as the Chairman of the Flag OT Committee.
Sadly, she passed away yesterday.
This is a rather unusual post not the snark I usually dish out for those who are the biggest cheerleaders of the clubbed seals. But the loss of any life a wife, a mother, a friend is never something to be celebrated or poked fun at. I am truly sad for her family and friends.
Here's a timely treat for us today as Jeffrey Augustine talks with Leah Remini's Scientology and the Aftermath costar Mike Rinder about several issues that we've been concerned with here at the Bunker lately.
Rinder is one of the chief targets of Scientology's smear machine, headed up by OSA goon Ed Parkin and his "STAND League." Here's what he had to say about it:
"What Ed Parkin does is he gathers together typical Scientology smear material about anybody that appears on 'The Aftermath' or about Leah and me and sends this out primarily on Twitter but also on their Facebook page, and you know most of which I can't even see because though I'm one of the main targets of the quote 'STAND League' they have me blocked. So they're out there tweeting about me all day long but they don't want me to see it, which sorta ought to tell you just about everything you need to know about the legitimacy of what it is that they're saying."
As we previously reported, Scientologist David Gentile's GPB Capital is under investigation by the SEC and FINRA for matters related to financial reporting and the sale of GPB Regulation D offerings through brokers. Since its inception in 2013, GPB Capital has raised $1.5 billion through its 60+ brokers. The brokers were paid over $100 million dollars in commissions thus incentivizing them to sell GPB Capital's Reg D offerings to their clients. We today report on the very nasty and vituperative ongoing lawsuit between GPB Capital and its former director Patrick DiBre. GPB Capital's allegations against DiBre are quite serious:
The Law Offices of Johnathon W. Evans says of GPB Capital's lawsuit against Dibre:
According to the New York City law firm of Fitapelli Kurta, Mr. DiBre has filed a counterclaim in which he alleges that GPB Capital is a Ponzi scheme. Fitapelli Kurta details Dibre's allegations on its website:
For weeks, Scientologists have been told that this year's L. Ron Hubbard birthday event will mark a huge new leap forward for the church, which we believe is a reference to the highly anticipated premiere of the church's own television cable station. (LRH was born on March 13, 1911, but this year's event will happen live in Clearwater on Saturday, March 17, and then broadcast at the other orgs a week later.)
Now, we have even more visual proof of the big birthday surprise. Yesterday, one of our eagle-eyed tipsters noticed that Ideal Orgs around the country have begun putting out photographs of newly installed TV monitors showing the Scientology logo, and saying that something big is coming.
Here's one example, from the Pasadena Ideal Org
One of the strangest ironies of our time is that a body of thoroughly debunked "science" is being revived by people who claim to be defending truth against a rising tide of ignorance. The idea that certain races are inherently more intelligent than others is being trumpeted by a small group of anthropologists, IQ researchers, psychologists and pundits who portray themselves as noble dissidents, standing up for inconvenient facts. Through a surprising mix of fringe and mainstream media sources, these ideas are reaching a new audience, which regards them as proof of the superiority of certain races.
The claim that there is a link between race and intelligence is the main tenet of what is known as "race science" or, in many cases, "scientific racism". Race scientists claim there are evolutionary bases for disparities in social outcomes such as life expectancy, educational attainment, wealth, and incarceration rates between racial groups. In particular, many of them argue that black people fare worse than white people because they tend to be less naturally intelligent.
Although race science has been repeatedly debunked by scholarly research, in recent years it has made a comeback. Many of the keenest promoters of race science today are stars of the "alt-right", who like to use pseudoscience to lend intellectual justification to ethno-nationalist politics. If you believe that poor people are poor because they are inherently less intelligent, then it is easy to leap to the conclusion that liberal remedies, such as affirmative action or foreign aid, are doomed to fail.
2017-03-02, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
I have been asked many times whether Mormonism is a destructive cult. I have a couple of Mormon friends, watched the South Park episode about it and have read a few articles but never really dug in to deeply but I've been wanting to interview an ex-Mormon to find out more about it. The opportunity finally afforded itself and here is the result. Jonathan Streeter does ex-Mormon advocacy like I do ex-Scientology work and we had a great chat about both subjects. I think anyone who is curious about this will find this interesting.
Jonathan's YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/wOjqap
Jonathan's blog: http://thoughtsonthingsandstuff.com
CLEARWATER In three decades as the Church of Scientology's leader, only one time has David Miscavige ever held private meetings with all five City Council members.
It was in July, to emphasize the church's interest in a 1.4-acre vacant lot across the street from City Hall that is owned by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Now, in advance of the City Council's March 16 vote to buy the property, Miscavige has called for meetings with elected officials for a second time.
A state appeals court has dealt the Church of Scientology a blow in its efforts to collect a $1.07 million judgment from its long-time nemesis, Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled Wednesday that a Pinellas County court had no jurisdiction to enforce a 2004 agreement between the church and Dandar. Though Dandar was found to have violated its terms, the appellate judges said the proper steps were never taken to formalize the agreement.
Their ruling, if it stands, would wipe out a court order that since 2014 has allowed the church to garnishee the bank account of Dandar's law firm.
In a unanimous decision, a three-justice panel of the 2nd US District Court of Appeals in Florida has struck down a $1 million judgment Scientology had won against attorney Ken Dandar.
"What a great day! I am thankful for all who kept me in their prayers and supported me. The court agreed with us 100 percent," Dandar tells us.
The federal appeals court found that a state court in Pinellas County that had assigned that judgment against Dandar didn't have have the authority to do so. Scientology had asked for the judgment based on litigation that was concluded long ago the civil lawsuit filed by the family of Lisa McPherson against the Church of Scientology, which Dandar helped settle in 2004. Scientology claimed that in that settlement, Dandar had promised never again to represent a client against the church.
2016-03-02, Paul Wright, International Business Times
A TV advert for the Church of Scientology has been banned for misleading viewers over claims it gives aid to tens of millions of people. An on-screen text during the commercial claimed the organisation "works with volunteers from many faiths to help people" and that it was involved in "giving aid to 24 million in times of need".
The advertisement also showed images of Scientology volunteers carrying a person on a stretcher and another with a stethoscope around her neck while holding a baby.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint about the promotion challenging whether the number of people it helped could be substantiated and whether the advert was misleading.
Phil Jones wasted no time after the readers of this website helped him raise more than $11,000 in just over a day to fund his project for a billboard in Hollywood. He tells us that he's now inked a three-month contract for the sign, which will put a focus on Scientology's practice of "disconnection" that splits up families, including Phil's own. He and his wife Willie have been raising a ruckus in Los Angeles lately as they've tried to get word to their two grown children, Mike and Emily, who work for Scientology in the Los Angeles area, but who have cut off all ties with their parents since Phil and Willie left the church.
"We've signed and secured the billboard location for three months. I have the final artwork and it will be forwarded on to the billboard company this week," Phil tells us. "I also secured an option for an additional three months on the billboard. We have 30 days to exercise the option, so we'd have to come up with the money by then. We already have some of it since we went over the target on our fund raising, so we probably need about $6,500 more. Once the dust settles I'll get a more exact figure."
Phil also mentioned that GoFundMe had some problems with some of the smaller donations that people pledged which included joke names. Some of them did go through, so it wasn't a consistent problem. But if you want your donation to go through without a problem, Phil asks that you either use your real name or "anonymous."
Three years after it was first published in the U.S., Lawrence Wright's monumental book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, will be published in the U.K. for the first time on March 17 by Silvertail Books.
Wright's book grew out of a February 2011 article in The New Yorker, where he's a staff writer, and the book was the basis for Alex Gibney's Emmy-winning 2015 documentary, also titled Going Clear. But until now, Wright had been unable to find a publisher in England willing to put out his controversial book about the notoriously litigious church.
Humfrey Hunter's small imprint, Silvertail, is releasing Going Clear as a paperback and ebook, and will be testing Scientology's resolve in a country where it's easier to sue a publisher and win.
An international TV ad for the Church of Scientology has been banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for "misleading" claims that the organization provided aid to 24 million people around the world.
After receiving a complaint from a viewer who called into the question the validity of claims made in the commercial, the ASA the ad industry's self-regulatory body ruled in favor of banning the commercial.
The ASA ruled the ad's claim that the controversial church gave "aid to 24 million in need" was unsubstantiated.
2016-03-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Why Bother really got the ball rolling...
Here is some further evidence of the complete fail of scientology's programs.
Though there has been a decline in interest in "Drug Rehabilitation" and "Drug abuse", the in interest in Narconon is virtually non-existent. There were a couple of hiccups back in 2005 and 2007, but otherwise it looks like a snake on the freeway. Even the negative publicity brought about by the lawsuits against Narconon has had no effect.
3/12/99 - While picketing at the Celebrity Center on L. Ron Hubbard's birthday back in 1999, we ran across some people who lived near the CC who weren't at all happy with the Organization. They even grabbed some flyers and spent some time with us as we picketed.
A TV ad aired by the Church of Scientology has been banned by the advertising watchdog for misleading viewers with a claim it gives aid to tens of millions of people.
The TV ad stated that the church works with "volunteers from many faiths" to help people, including "giving aid to 24 million in times of need".
The commercial featured two Scientology volunteers carrying a person on a stretcher and another volunteer with a stethoscope holding a baby. The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint about the TV ad challenging whether the claim about the number of people it helps was misleading and could be substantiated.
Go behind the scenes of the compelling new HBO Documentary Film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which premiered at Sundance this year and will air on HBO March 16: Academy Award winning writer and director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright who wrote the book, and Oscar-winning writer-director-producer Paul Haggis, who appears in the film. Going Clear profiles former members of the church of Scientology, whose adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, including their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.
The Church of Scientology is managed and controlled by the Scientology paramilitary group known as the Sea Organization, or simply the "Sea Org" as it is called in the Church.
Founded in 1967 by L. Ron Hubbard, Sea Org members sign a one-billion year contract to serve Scientology lifetime after endless lifetime. During his lifetime. Hubbard appointed himself Commodore of the Sea Org. Hubbard is often referred to in the Church as "the Commodore."
As a paramilitary group, Sea Org members have ranks and wear naval uniforms. These uniforms include medals, ribbons, gold braid, and regulation caps. Sea Org life is brutal and includes 100 hour work weeks; low or no pay; sleep deprivation; verbal abuse; physical abuse; and even a form of imprisonment and manual labor called the RPF.
2015-03-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Pasadena and Inglewood have been avoiding the heat. All the attention and effort has been on LA Org and Valley (apparently Orange County doesn't qualify for anything....)
So it's being turned up. Suddenly, out of the blue, they are going to be "St Hill Size."
Anyone want to bet that the plan is to send Sea Org teams into these orgs? I don't have the report from the briefings over the weekend yet, but this is the "pilot" that was done in LA Org. I can imagine Miscavige railing about the "useless, unutilized Sea Org members" at Int and at the HGB and in CLO WUS and so they are going to be "put to work" and be forced to "boom the ideal orgs in LA" (not Orange County though....). Pretty soon we will be seeing the no-scale graphs about how these orgs are "booming" as the SO members threaten people to show up in the org or get onto an Extension Course.
2014-03-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a perfect example of the "dangerous environment" and "us v them" that are the mainstays of Miscavige and his IAS.
Every fundamentalist movement must have forces of evil they are waging a holy war against and in turn those forces of evil must threaten the good guys' very existence and require the ultimate sacrifice from their loyal minions to defeat the evil that is seeking to consume the world.
Are there abuses in the field of psychiatry? Without doubt. (Though these days it is "the psyches", meaning any profession that has "psych" in its name psychiatrist, psychotherapist, psychologist).
On Sundays, we enjoy sharing with you some of the Scientology fliers that our network of tipsters forward to us from around the world.
We have another fun collection of items today, but we also wanted to recognize the special day that it is. It's that time again when the film industry gives away statuettes to commemorate the year's most successful movies. Last year at this time, we blogged the ceremony live as we waited to see if Philip Seymour Hoffman might win an award for his portrayal of Lancaster Dodd in The Master, a character which was clearly based on L. Ron Hubbard.
That memory fills us with sadness today, now that Hoffman's life ended so ignominiously. We trust that the Oscar broadcast will remember him properly.
In 1990, author Jon Atack published what is still one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, A Piece of Blue Sky. Atack now has a new edition of the book out, and it reminded us what an encyclopedic resource he is. So join us as we rely on Jon's expertise to 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, we've been hearing from readers who have been seeing a TV ad from Scientology that presents a lot of aggrandizing claims about L. Ron Hubbard. We were hoping you could go through the ad's script and sift out what's true and what's not so true.
Let's go through the ad, line by line...
2012-03-02, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Another Texan! What's up with Washington, Florida and Cali these days? And the rest of the world for that matter. By the way, if you haven't already done so, go to Scientology-cult.com and sign the Indies 500 list. I think Steve Hall is right - it'll take just about 500 to mark the final tipping point. Welcome aboard Ronnie. This write up right here Smokes, with a capital S. - Marty
Dear friends and family,
I'd like to share something very personal with you.
2011-03-02, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Miscavige event audience gear
On several occassions we have discussed the question, "why do Scientology Inc folk keep chugging the Kool Aid?" Here are two examples where we have provided some answers:
2011-03-02, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Reading an interesting book: The Time Paradox by Phillip Zimbardo and John Boyd. It's an in-depth examination of how our attitudes towards time past, present and future affect how we live our lives. It is a worthwhile read. Doesn't have much to do with our discussion of the Church of Scientology however
I was reading a chapter on something called the transcendental future. Simply put, it has to do with people's beliefs about what will happen to them and the world after they die. For instance, Christians believe they will go to Heaven if they are good, devout, and pious. So this affects how they live their lives. Transcendent futures are usually unprovable, often improbable. But they are believed, and that is what matters. And no one reports back as to whether it's really true or not.
Belief in a transcendental future can have both good and evil results. Certainly, the Christian belief in an afterlife has inspired great works of art and architecture, great acts of charity and compassion and courage.
John Travolta says Scientology could have saved Anna Nicole Smith.
The actor insists the late Playboy Playmate may still be alive if she had checked into the controversial Scientology drug and detox programme Narconon.
2006-03-02, Roger Friedman, Celebrity Gossip, FOX News
The new issue of Rolling Stone should drive a permanent wedge between Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
Writer Janet Reitman spent nine months reporting and writing a 13,000 word piece on Scientology, the mysterious religion with which both movie stars are famously associated.
Reitman peels back Scientology layer by layer, meticulously interviewing everyone and anyone, and draws unsurprising conclusions: that to believe in this religion means also subscribing to a belief in aliens, for one thing. And by aliens I mean creatures from other planets and galaxies.
"All the news that's fit to print" is The New York Times's famous slogan, but a British publisher has decided that the only stories worthy of publication are positive ones. "Unless it's a positive story we would not print it," says John Mappin, the owner of a chain of free titles in central and west London. "All we are interested in is positive, helpful stories."
1998-03-02, Joseph Mallia, Inside the Church of Scientology, Boston Herald
Although local Scientologists deny that the World Literacy Crusade is directed by the Church of Scientology, anyone who uses L. Ron Hubbard's name, or his trademarked Study Technology techniques, is strictly controlled by licensing contracts with Scientology groups in Los Angeles, in particular the Religious Technology Center, according to Young and church materials obtained by the Herald.
The World Literacy Crusade's independence from Scientology is a "fiction," Young said.
1998-03-02, Joseph Mallia, Inside the Church of Scientology, Boston Herald
A Church of Scientology school in Milton is enrolling large numbers of children from middle-class and professional black families in what critics say is part of the church's nationwide plan to recruit minorities.
Officials at Delphi Academy do not tell parents that the school is part of the Church of Scientology, and that they are trying to recruit blacks for Scientology's costly programs.
Yet they do admit that all staff members are Scientologists and they use Scientology materials.
A Herald review of the school has found that Delphi Academy:
Used precisely the same "Study Tech" as the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street, where the methods are considered religious scriptures.
Sent up to 10 percent of each child's tuition money to the Association for Better Living and Education, a Scientology organization in Los Angeles, according to its federal tax returns.
1997-03-02, Julie Baier Dahlstrom, Letters, St. Petersburg Times
I guess all it takes is a few hours in downtown Clearwater for Mary Jo Melone to sense the mood of the town. Or, more likely, to try and cast her own paranoia and unfounded fears on readers by writing an irresponsible column.
Although I am not a Scientologist, I work in downtown Clearwater alongside many Scientologists and patronize the local restaurants every day. I have had many open debates about Scientology at the local cafes without getting any "frosty looks" from church members, and there has been no pressure by Scientologist co-workers to "convert" me.
A barefoot woman ran between two Church of Scientology buildings early Saturday before jumping into Clearwater Harbor, where police took her into protective custody for a psychiatric evaluation.
As the incident unfolded over more than three city blocks downtown, a patrol officer tried twice to ask the woman if she needed help, police said. They said she and a Church of Scientology security guard behind her kept running and eventually she was found by police in shallow Clearwater Harbor.