Social Media Reports: Scientologist Tycoon Grant Cardone laid off 80 of his 180 employees last Friday with no prior notice. March 19, 2020:
Karma's a bitch: Many people who have lost their jobs in layoffs won't be able to pay Cardone the rent on his apartments. In this economy, it's going to be harder than ever to evict tenants. In some jurisdictions, evictions have been made illegal. Other people may stay in Cardone's apartments as long as they can, bail out on back rent owed, and then move in with their families or find cheaper rent elsewhere. Cardone arrogantly bragged in a video the other day that the courts aren't open and so no one is going to sue anyone. He seemed to be alluding to the fact that his laid off employees can't sue him. According to reports on social media, these employees got a letter from Grant's attorney along with their walking papers. The letter, and we are working to obtain a copy, apparently stated that these employees had no legal rights to sue Cardone Capital. Grant's view on the courts may come back to haunt him when he tries to sue current or former tenants for back rent owed and gets court dates three or four years out.
Cardone is basically screwed with his $1.7 billion AUM at what? 85% leverage? With such enormous debt to service in a pandemic, we'll watch to see how Grant Cardone fares — especially when his investors start calling to get their illiquid cash out of Cardone Capital. Cardone has said his deals are based upon a worst case 15% vacancy rate. Let's see how the number works in this crisis when the 85% occupancy stays high but 50% of the people aren't paying rent. As reported by Bloomberg, private equity firms began 2020 with $1.5 trillion in unspent cash looking for deals. These firms watch highly-leveraged firms like Cardone Capital and can smell fear and weakness light years away.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the planet—with the global toll on Tuesday surpassing 400,000 cases and 18,000 deaths—the Church of Scientology is officially scoffing at the pandemic and encouraging followers to continue normal religious activities while treating traditional science and governmental authority with skepticism.
In a March 13 eyes-only memo to his estimated 25,000 to 55,000 members in the United States, Scientology leader David Miscavige called the international public-health crisis "the current hysteria, whether you believe in it or not (and the only thing you can be certain of is that it is hysteria)…"
Miscavige—who has led the church since Jan. 24, 1986, when founder L. Ron Hubbard "dropped his body to continue his research on another planet," as Scientologists describe his death—continued: "Have no doubt, there is no slowing down for us…So once this current situation passes—and it will pass—you are going to need a seatbelt for when the rocket boosters fire for liftoff."
Over the last two weeks, Scientologists have been called in for a special briefing about the coronavirus pandemic and David Miscavige's response to it. Scientology has been very careful not to allow this briefing to leak out to the public, telling Scientologists that they must come down to see it in person.
We now have a copy of that document, leaked to us by one of our tipsters, and so now we can see what it's about. It's David Miscavige explaining why the L. Ron Hubbard Birthday celebration, scheduled for March 13 in Clearwater, Florida, had to be cancelled, and how Miscavige plans to deal with the pandemic, particularly at Sea Org facilities where members are packed in tight quarters and have little to no privacy.
And we have to say, having covered this subject for nearly 25 years now, this is one of the most remarkable documents we've seen issued by Miscavige.
He is furious.
2020-03-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Yesterday a new tweet showed up on my feed from Freedom Mag:
Wow, I thought, a new piece of brown-nosing has appeared in Freedom magazine, lauding the many supposed virtues of Dear Leader David Miscavige. These things usually appear when Miscavige is concerned about too much negative press about him and "nobody is defending him." Some minions are ordered to come up with something to make him look good and it is pumped out.
I clicked on the link:
2019-03-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This update is provided by "John Tyler" who tracks things NOI and posts at @IndieScieNews It continues to be a subject of great curiosity that scientology's "religious bigotry watchdog" — the STAND League, doesn't say a word about this happening right in their own backyard, and that the "Jewish scientologists" (you know, the ones who say you can be a scientologist and a Jew at the same time) and the Jewish scientology apologists like Rabbi Michael Shevak never seem to notice that scientology is in bed with, and PROMOTES a rabid anti-semite.
On December 2, 2018, Scientology Freedom Medal WinnerNation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad gave a lecture at Muhammad Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles, CA entitled "Defending Farrakhan: Exposing The Lie And The Liars" in which he stated:
"I'm going to show you how the Jews came to make sure that Black people never made no gains in America through jobs."
2019-03-24, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment sections of my Q&A shows or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) I follow STAND on Twitter (and Taryn Teutsch) just for shits and giggles. A lot of what I hear from the articles they share attempt to portray them as legitimate victims of religious persecution. My initial thought response, as a DL Scientology critic, is to say that we aren't criticizing your beliefs as much as the abuses that happen within the organization of Scientology. However, the more I think about it, I feel like I'm being naive in saying that. Do you think that the very policies about the fair game and financial practices of Scientology is a part of their "religious beliefs?" Is it silly to try to separate them?
(2) I'd like to pose a question on behalf of the protesters and people who engage Scientologists on the streets or have Scientologists in their family because I think that could be helpful for them: What questions or phrases would you recommend people using on signs or in a discussion to plant that seed of doubt? What should people have said to you when you were still in Scientology to get you to think about it more critically?
We were stunned this morning to receive a copy of an email sent out to Scientologists on March 19 that contained a bizarre "success story" from a parishioner encouraging other Scientologists to do an "internship" to become an auditor at the London org. We did a real double-take when we realized that the Scientologist in the photo was none other than Tom Cruise's daughter, Isabella.
We've been writing about Bella for years, so we recognized her instantly, even though she looks a bit different than the last time she was featured in the tabloids. Her hair is darker, but it's definitely her, with some tell-tale tattoos on her arms that we remember.
And what a success story! This is one of the longer and more meandering success stories that we've seen, but it's typically spacey as Bella talks about the difficult moments she had getting through auditor training so she'll be able to quiz other Scientologists using an E-meter.
In this edition of Life On The Beat With Nasty Nathanial I am teaming up with Furry Potato. Together we are going to be taking a look at the Church Of Scientology's Pasadena Org. The response we get is classic Sci. But will they respect our right to film in public? Watch and see.
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
Chris Shelton has a treat for us today — he talks with Leah Remini!
Here's the intro he sent for today's podcast...
My "Sensibly Speaking Podcast" has featured a number of former Scientologists, exit counselors, therapists, and professionals from other interesting fields, but this week I was proud to host Leah Remini, co-creator of Scientology and the Aftermath and star of King of Queens and Kevin Can Wait. She actually agreed to come on a couple of months ago and we were finally able to arrange the time to do our phone interview this last week.
2018-03-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Yanking those ribbons has become a staple of scientology internal propaganda. Of course, though this is their proudest moment demonstrating their massive international expansion, no outsiders are ever allowed to attend and there is massive security presence to ensure they cannot.
These are often timed to coincide with events — either a few weeks before in order to include in the upcoming event, or shortly afterwards for the convenience of the Chairman of the Bored (as in Amsterdam, Birmingham and Ireland most recently). Now, with the March 13th standing-ovation-athon done and dusted (one of my favorite British idioms) it is likely Miscavige is in his winter residence in the corner turret of the SP Building right in Clearwater.
It remains to be seen if he will grace the masses with his presence for such a non-event. But then again, two years ago he yanked his ribbon in front of the West Coast Building and the old Lee Arnold building across from the Clearwater library — perhaps the emptiest building in the history of scientology after Bonnie View (L. Ron Hubbard's mansion at Golden Era)...
This week I have very special guest Leah Remini on board to talk about Scientology, a little about the upcoming Season 3 of Scientology and the Aftermath, her personal transition and recovery from her old group and more.
Aftermath Foundation: http://theaftermathfoundation.org/
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
Later today, we will be Skyping with God.
Well, that's the plan, anyway. We've been having a devil of a time making progress since Tuesday, when the "God of Pop," Kuba Ka, announced on Twitter that he was "officially leaving the Church of Scientology," and we first heard from Kuba's cousin and office manager, Patrick Stepniak, who emailed us and indicated an interest in the Underground Bunker telling the story of what was going on. We had a few short calls with Kuba's business partner, actress Vikki Lizzi, before we finally got a chance to have a lengthy talk with her late last night. She tells us that they are planning to file a lawsuit against Scientology's HollywoodCelebrity Centre for how shabbily the God of Pop has been treated.
After all these fits and starts, later today we're finally supposed to Skype with the man himself (and his mother), which we're very much looking forward to. But there's so much background material to go through to understand what's going on, we thought we'd write an initial story for today about just who is Kuba Ka for those of you who may not have heard of this entertainment superstar who was poised, he says, to become the next "messiah" and celebrity face of the Church of Scientology until it all went wrong.
It's an approach that works shockingly well in the series' Scientology episode, which was something of a pet project for Aslan, who sees Scientology not as a dangerous cult but as, simply, a religion. (Are the things Scientologists believe any more ridiculous than the things other religious people believe? Aslan compares Scientology to Mormonism's early reception as the "punchline to American Christianity.") Intriguingly, Aslan focuses on independent practitioners of Scientology, whose existence he compares to the Christian Reformation.
The fissures within Scientology appear to have happened surprisingly quickly – the Reformation happened after over a millennium of Christianity, while Scientology has been around for just over 60 years – but Aslan sees them as the natural result of modern communication: "The greatest threat to a church's control over its orthodoxy is the availability of information." In this respect, the schism reflects Aslan's approach to these religions: increase the availability of information so the uninformed can understand their doctrines.
2016-03-24, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
I used to be a Scientologist. I was raised with it and for 25 years I worked for the organization at its highest levels. Scientology is a destructive cult, a high control group that enforces belief and thought patterns on its members. Scientology is not the only group that does this by far, but it has been stated that there are more specific control mechanisms and abusive psychological processes in Scientology than any other destructive cult and I believe it. Recovery from such an experience is a long and sometimes hard road.
In my book, Scientology: A to Xenu, I've told the story of how after I left the Sea Organization, I was treated as a second class citizen by Scientology and how that drove me away from it, ultimately learning the truth about L. Ron Hubbard and its current leader, David Miscavige. What I have not talked about in as much detail is how learning about critical thinking set me on the road to recovery.
Once it was clear to me that Scientology was a sham, the only thing I knew was that I didn't want to jump from one cult to another. I had no idea where to go or what to think or what to do. And then I hit on this from Carl Sagan: "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." This was a radically new idea for me. I had thought from all my years in Scientology that science was mostly balderdash and conjecture and that everyone had it wrong, that almost all of the modern scientists, physicists and whatnot didn't know what they were talking about. Of course, I got this from L. Ron Hubbard, who routinely badmouthed anything and everything that could ever contradict his own teachings.
2015-03-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I had another posting for this morning, but then I read the article on Tony Ortega's blog this morning and consider it so important that I urge everyone to read it.
I want it to be available on this blog for anyone who happens to come along here, so I am republishing it in its entirety.
As is usual for Paul Haggis, he articulates a great deal in a few well chosen words. Though he doesn't promote himself and there is no shoot crew following him around to make self-congratulatory videos, he is a true humanitarian. His work in Haiti is legendary, and it continues to this day, long after the attention of the media has shifted elsewhere. And this is only one aspect of his humanitarian endeavors. He is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and one of the smartest.
We're drawing closer to the broadcast of Alex Gibney's documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, which airs Sunday night at 8 pm on HBO. We have another screenshot from the film, with one of its chief stars, director Paul Haggis, who was also the subject of Lawrence Wright's New Yorker article and his subsequent book which formed the basis for Gibney's film.
We asked Haggis to take part in our countdown this week to the movie's airing, and he really surprised us by sending the following, one of the best expressions of the Scientology experience we've ever read. If this doesn't get you warmed up for Sunday night's documentary, we don't know what will.
At the outset, Paul refers to the smears that Scientology has been spreading about him since he was first profiled by Wright, but more so in the last few weeks. Scientology calls Paul the "Hypocrite of Hollywood" and accuses him of never really being a Scientologist at all. Well, here's what Haggis himself has to say about that, and a lot more.
In an attempt to sway public opinion in the wake of the current scandal, the Church of Scientology wrote a five-page letter defending the claims by the film, which was published by the Hollywood Reporter.
"The letter attempts to rip apart Gibney's sources in the film with ad hominem attacks, describing one as a wife beater, one as a violent psychopath and yet another as a home wrecker, but fails to tackle any major revelation in the film," the website wrote.
Despite being extensive, the letter did little to counter widespread reviews of the film that presented the church unfavourably.
"Seeing is disbelieving: Watching this stuff, instead of merely reading about it, somehow makes Scientology both more ridiculous and more chilling," wrote Vulture.
2014-03-24, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I have been administering a course in graduating from scientology for the past couple months. While doing so, I have been writing and sharing with students the chapters of an in progress book on the subject. I recently added an introduction to the course/book as I recognized it required a further undercut. I am publishing that introduction in three parts here as it might serve to spark productive thought and discussion.
A course in graduating from scientology
Introduction - Part I
At our request, Karen de la Carriere hurried to prepare part two of her interview series with Jillian Schlesinger, a woman who defected from Scientology's inner "Sea Org" just a few weeks ago. (See yesterday's remarkable Part One of the series.)
In this segment, Jillian talks about the snitching culture in Scientology, and about how pregnancies are still discouraged in the Sea Org. (See our big story about the lawsuit of Laura DeCrescenzo, who is suing Scientology over her forced abortion.)
"If you do get pregnant...they won't make you have an abortion like they used to," she said, and attributed it to the watchdogs that have gotten that news out about Scientology. But although things have changed, people are still encouraged to terminate pregnancies. "It's more sneaky," Jillian says.
2014-03-24, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
UNDERSTAFFED & OVERSEXED?
The findings of Best Drug Rehabilitation's most recent annual inspection — conducted on September 25, 2013 —and obtained by Miss Fortune from the State of Michigan under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the facility was found to be "not in substantial compliance" with the requirements of the code and rules,
specifically "Michigan Administrative Rules for substance abuse programs R325.14101 through R325.14928".
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard would have been 102 years old on March 13, but the church he left behind has been celebrating his 102nd for a couple of weeks now.
Last night, the Shrine Auditorium filled up with eager Los Angeles-area Scientologists for this year's big Birthday Event. But we're already getting some reports from last week's shindig which was held in Clearwater, Florida.
What's this year's big reveal? Well, it looks like church leader David Miscavige is finally rolling the dice on the big new project we've been telling you about since last summer, which will give church members even more ways to turn over their every last dime on the way to total freedom!
Narconon Arrowhead counselors allegedly traded drugs for sex and fraudulently charged a patient's credit card some $14,500, according to allegations in five lawsuits filed Thursday against the facility.
The suits were filed in Pittsburg County District Court against Narconon of Oklahoma, Narconon International, Association of Better Living and Education International on behalf of family members of former clients of Narconon Arrowhead.
Also among the allegations, the suits say Narconon influenced a grandmother to take out a $7,000 loan to "save her grandson's life" and charged some $14,500 to a credit card obtained without the cardholder's knowledge.
2013-03-24, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
This is addressed those who have read the book (by Rhonda Byrne) or seen the film The Secret and failed to have its magic work for them.
The secret revealed in The Secret was the 'law of attraction.' In short, that which one thinks one gets. That upon which one focuses one's attention will be attracted into that person's life. As the book points out the secret is nothing new. More than 2500 years ago the Buddha was said to have said 'you are what you think.' What is new about The Secret is the marvelous job it does of communicating the simplicity of the truth from religious, spiritual, self-help, and even scientific perspectives. The crux of The Secret's authority is that great human beings throughout history have all apparently uttered the 'law of attraction' in their own ways as being a 'secret' to their successes.
However, mastering the law of attraction is not quite as easy as the book and movie make it out to be. If the secret was so simple to realize and apply, no doubt in the seven years since the book was introduced, and remained a bestseller, the world would have by now been transformed into something resembling the garden of Eden. So, what went wrong?
2013-03-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
As it stands on 22 March 2013 - windows covered in paper
Another in the now familiar pattern of "blame it on you" from Radical Corporate Scientology announced that Super Power cannot be released until 500 MORE sign up for the Sea Org. The "thousand" already recruited just wasn't enough it seems….
David Miscavige needed a new excuse as to why this "vital tech that will salvage planet earth" (and was promised in 6 weeks in 1979) STILL isn't being employed to Clear the Planet. It became obvious that the problem really wasn't that it required a special building and not enough money had been raised (odd, there was NO mention of special buildings for Super Power made by LRH...) when reports on the internet and in the media showed that far more had been collected for the building than had been spent — yet it still wasn't opening.
2012-03-24, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Kudos to Aida Thomas and those who assisted her in discovering and exposing the Office of Special Affairs (OSA, church of Scientology dirty tricks and propaganda wing) operative who publicly slimed her friend Silvia Kusada:
Aida Thomas Opens Up A Can of Whup Ass
In my view Aida sets a wonderful example of what friendship really entails.
Spokeswoman Cheri Patterson said the hikerâs companion reported the incident at 3:33 p.m. Patterson said the victim suffered massive head trauma and other injuries. The woman fell in the cliffs about a quarter-mile off Gilman Springs Road, near Golden Era Studios.
In 2009, Alley's Clearwater-based company registered the trademark for Organic Liaison, a line of supplements, sleep aids, muscle relaxers and colon cleansers.
The company seemed an understandable next step for Alley, 61, once the butt of gossip magazine weight jokes. She had recently left as spokeswoman for weight-loss conglomerate Jenny Craig.
But on that same day, Organic Liaison also registered a much less predictable trademark: Organic Liaison Life Insurance Solutions.
Parents and teachers at the Life Force Arts and Technology Academy shouted down charter school leaders on Saturday for deceit and mismanagement they say has led to the school's demise.
A dozen parents and faculty members, including the principal, slammed the school's former management company at a meeting of the board of directors. They alleged questionable spending, suspect leadership and the sly introduction of Scientology study methods.
The furious group won a small victory Saturday when board members voted to keep the school open until June, when the Pinellas County School District's 90-day notice of termination comes due.
But the school that Art of Management leader Hanan Islam pledged she would rescue from bankruptcy remains troubled and deeply in debt. Parents worry the school's dramatic last days and their children's sudden move could cause their education to suffer.
2012-03-24, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We used the news from Russia this week as an excuse to mix up a shaker of vodka martinis. After quite a few glasses garnished with olives, we got a bit lightheaded, but we never felt the desire to ban L. Ron Hubbard's books.
This was a strange week of Scientology news around the world, but we kept plodding along getting it all down into the blog and watched your reactions with wonder and glee.
Beginning Monday, March 29, Anderson Cooper will debut a series in which he battles Hollywood's most mysterious, and powerful organizations. Scientology: A History of Violence airs at 10 p.m. each night next week on Anderson Cooper 360
According to Turner's (TWX) announcement, the silver fox "will examine allegations that Scientology leader David Miscavige has for years beaten, kicked and choked top members of the church. These are allegations the church aggressively denies, saying violence from inside came from those making the claim."
Because of scenes like this that Scientologists believe depict their religion in a frightening way, the group is not the least bit happy about the film, which airs on Germany's ARD public-television network on March 31. In fact, Scientologists claim they are the victims of a "hate campaign" being propagated by the movement's critics. But Carl Bergengruen, the head of drama at a public broadcaster in southwest Germany who was instrumental in getting the movie made, insists that the filmmakers did not set out to vilify Scientology but to show how people can be drawn to "promises of salvation."
War on Drugs - Jeanette Hay
Jeanette Hay has a different view of the relationship between police crackdowns and drug-violence. She is a board member with the Drug Prevention Network of Canada. She's also a former drug addict and she was in Toronto.
To be in Scientology's Sea Organization is to be part of the movement's self-styled elite: but some former insiders have bitter memories of the harsh conditions and abusive treatment.
Workers at International Base are all members of the Sea Organization, which L. Ron Hubbard, the movement's founder, once described as Scientology's aristocracy.
Aristocrats or not, some former staffers at Scientology's base near Hemet, California, say they suffered abuse from the movement's leader David Miscavige and his lieutenants.
Hundreds invested in what was supposed to be the "safest community in America," a housing development built around a gun range near Pahrump.
For more than three years, the man at the center of that dream has faced unhappy customers in court, except Monday when he simply didn't show up.
A judge ordered the head of the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute to explain why he hasn't paid millions of dollars still owed to members who filed a class action lawsuit against the facility.
This video is copyright free for educational purposes.
Feel free to mirror these videos with or without accreditation.
-Indeed in the current case mirroring is encouraged as it propagates the message and ensures that the media cannot be disabled by a single action.
"Not so long ago, an organization emerged in the vicinity of our university whose main goal is to get MGTU students to join it. The name of that organization is the Church of Scientology of Ron Hubbard. In other words, it is a sect that is day after day trying to brainwash us in order to get hold of our money and our knowledge," the Rossiya Molodaya leader Maxim Mishchenko told the rally.
The report noted that the Education Ministry was unaware of the religious leanings of the one kindergarten when granting a license, which in and of itself betrayed a worrying lack of supervision over the Israeli education system.
"If the I.R.S. does in fact give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology -- allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and disallowed to everybody else -- then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy," Judge Silverman wrote.