We had kind of a wild time last night, and we thought we'd tell you all about it. Yesterday, we posted a new Scientology hip-hop video, notable, we thought, because it didn't feature Scientology's longtime in-house rapper, Chill EB.
But then one of our readers noticed that the Kansas City-themed song, "Hold Yo Head Up High," not only featured a lot of KC landmarks like Union Station, Arrowhead Stadium, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but it also looked as though Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid himself showed up for a moment, posing with rapper Tha Real Kodde One who was holding up a copy of Scientology propaganda, a booklet titled "The Way to Happiness" (see photo above).
Taken in, we posted a tweet about it, and we wondered why Coach Reid would agree to appear in a video not only about Scientology propaganda, but also produced by Scientology Media Productions (SMP), the church's major new studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
State officials have stopped releasing the list of coronavirus deaths being compiled by Florida's medical examiners, which has at times shown a higher death toll than the state's published count.
The list had previously been released in real time by the state Medical Examiners Commission. But earlier this month, after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the medical examiners' death count was 10 percent higher than the figure released by the Florida Department of Health, state officials said the list needed to be reviewed and possibly redacted.
They've now been withholding it for nine days, without providing any of the information or specifying what they plan to remove.
We want to thank Frank Oliver for making us aware of something that hadn't hit our radar yet, even though it was rolled out last October.
At the Johnson Space Center in Houston on October 15, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine presented the new "Artemis Generation" of spacesuits that the agency plans to use to return to the Moon in 2024 as a first step to Mars.
In video of the presentation, spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis ambled onto the stage in a pressurized suit that demonstrated the greatly improved maneuverability of the new contraption.
2019-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It would not be correct to claim that ALL scientologists are conspiracy theorists. But I would hazard there are more of these types per capita in scientology than in the normal population. Here is a recent example, and then I will explain why I believe this to be true.
This is the content of his link:
Generally, scientologists tend to think the way they have been taught to think in the words of L. Ron Hubbard. They take his lead on EVERYTHING in their life.
For more information about 'Battlefield Scientology,' please visit battlefieldscientology.com or tonyortega.org
Music: Cylinder Two by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Nxivm leader Keith Raniere, through his attorney Marc Agnifilo, struck back at a motion in limine by prosecutors that sought to set some last-minute ground rules for Raniere's trial, which is scheduled to begin on May 7.
Raniere does not want witnesses to go by first names only or by nicknames, as the government had proposed to allay fears by witnesses of media hounding or retaliation by Raniere.
"First, allowing this highly unusual and dubious practice would violate Mr. Raniere's Sixth Amendment right to confrontation and would moreover unfairly signal to the jury that, in the Court's view, the witness is a victim of a sex crime who is in danger," Agnifilo's response reads.
The Church of Scientology sells itself on how it can significantly improve a person's communication skills. Scientology also talks about how it can help people confront anything in life. This type of sales pitch is especially used on actors, salespeople, business owners and others who need superb communication and interpersonal skills to succeed.
However, when it comes to Scientology putting any of its people in front of a camera on Leah Remini's show that is a different matter. Suddenly, all Scientologists have zero communications skills and no ability to confront anything. While Scientologists are quick to put up sleazy hate websites and use hired thugs to do their dirty work, Scientologists themselves are tremendous personal cowards in real life when it comes to confronting their critics and ex-Scientologists.
Scientologists, Scientology defenders & attackers of those who expose you, you have so much to say behind well paid Scientology lawyers, Twitter accounts, your bullshit interviews you do, let's see how brave you really are. It's just a conversation. So, let's talk face to face https://t.co/3xwwXxFUXY— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) April 28, 2019
Judge Nicholas Garaufis just took a sledgehammer to Nxivm leader Keith Raniere's final hopes for having some or all of the various charges he's facing dismissed before next week's trial starts.
In a tightly-reasoned, heavily cited 64-page order, Garaufis takes on each of the technical arguments Raniere had made against the various racketeering, forced labor, and sex trafficking charges that he's facing.
Some of the arguments were actually originally made by his co-defendants, who have all pleaded guilty and are no longer facing trial. But Raniere joined in each of their objections, so Garaufis treated them as though they were Raniere's objections.
There's a new article by the Scientology front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights. CCHR blog posts and press releases are generally intended for an internal Scientologist audience rather than the public. This article is aimed at members of Scientology who are chiropractors, and there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. Many Scientologists will see a chiropractor instead of a medical doctor for any illness.
The article criticizes events that took place over 30 years ago: "The AMA recommended that Congress exclude payment for chiropractic services from federally supported health programs. On August 25, 1987, Federal Judge Susan Getzendanner, in U.S. District Court, found the AMA had engaged in an illegal boycott against chiropractors and an injunction against such activity was entered and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit on February 7, 1990."
The case cited in the article is Wilk v American Medical Association, in which a group of chiropractors won a decision based on the Sherman Antitrust Act that the AMA was attempting to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession. What Scientology omits is that the decision was not based on the merits of chiropractic. Judge Getzendanner wrote:
Rod Keller continues to keep a close watch on Scientology's "Ideal Org" program for us...
This week we look at the donors dedicated to establishing an Ideal Org in Columbus, Ohio. The new building was purchased in 2010 with the expectation given to locals that it would open that year. Columbus is still raising money for renovations seven years later. In contrast with Orlando and Kansas City, the top donors in Columbus are locals. With a tiny staff and group of publics, Scientology may have to call in outside donors to finish the fundraising before this org is ready to start renovations.
[Current org on W. Lynn St.]
2018-04-29, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) There were yellow jacket wearing 'Volunteer Ministers' in my community doing their thing, giving people flyers and pointing people toward their tent this weekend. One of them came up to me and I made a joke at the guy indicating that I had seen them running around the area all weekend, figuring they were a union or political group. He said "If there is something troubling you in life, there is something that can be done about it." This was his sales pitch, and I guess I asked "What do you mean?" or "What's this about?" and the man abruptly replied, "It's Scientology." I was surprised by his bluntness. No front group, just right into the main line. I was polite, but I walked away. I worry about seeing them again, about being pestered when I go by because I frequent the area they were in regularly. I am not aware of any Org in my city. I did not go into the tent, I did not give anyone my personal information. Do I have need to be worried about any future encounters?
(2) Watching the Zuckerberg hearing and I was curious as to your thoughts on the matter. Western social media has an observable political bias and while your personal politics may align with this bias, your cult awareness content could be placed in the ever increasing and nebulous umbrella of what they consider hate speech. Does this concern you? Given Zuckerburg's testimony and the recent political comments by Jack Dorsey and the value you place on critical thought and the vigorous exchange of ideas, do you feel any obligation to call attention to what many see as an organized effort to obstruct certain speech on these platforms?
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It's just beginning to dawn on folks how much Donald Trump's presidency relies on religious support. All the scandals surrounding Trump have brought intense attention to the 81 percent support he received from evangelical Christians in the 2016 election. New research by Andrew Whitehead, meanwhile, explicates such support in the context of Christian nationalism, and historian John Fea has written an important new book, "Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump," to be published in June.
But the power of the presidency isn't the only way Christian nationalism is advancing its agenda in America today. As Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, reported last week at Religion Dispatches, a coalition of Christian right groups — including the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, Wallbuilders, the National Legal Foundation and others — have organized a major legislative initiative called "Project Blitz." Its goal is to pass an outwardly diverse but internally cohesive package of Christian-right bills at the state level, whose cumulative impact would be immense.
The agenda underlying these bills is not merely about Christian nationalism, a term that describes an Old Testament-based worldview fusing Christian and American identities, and meant to sharpen the divide between those who belong to those groups and those who are excluded. It's also ultimately "dominionist," meaning that it doubles down on the historically false notion of America as a "Christian nation" to insist that a a particular sectarian view of God should control every aspect of life, through all manner of human institutions. Christian nationalists are not in a position to impose their vision now, and to be fair, many involved in the movement would never go that far. But as explained by Julie Ingersoll in "Building God's Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction" (Salon interview here), dominionist ideas have had enormous influence on the religious right, even among those who overtly disavow them.
2018-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Morning three. Instead of heading for the sauna after breakfast, two "pages" hustled us across campus to a three story, rectangular building with no sign, number, or identifying marks. Unlike the other buildings I'd been in, there was no person manning a front desk. We climbed the stairs to a lobby-like room on the third floor where a fifteen or sixteen year-old boy told to us to take a seat; my auditor would be out for me shortly.
We sat down on one of the three couches and I turned to Roxy. "Auditing?"
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.
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(Attorney Ted Babbitt and his client, Luis Garcia)
On Thursday, we told you about Scientology's surprising response to a federal judge who has lost all patience.
Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their fraud lawsuit against several Church of Scientology entities in 2013 over allegations that they'd been lied to in order to get about $400,000 in donations out of them for construction of Scientology's Super Power building. Two years later, TampaJudge James Whittemore ruled that the contracts the Garcias had signed as church members required them to take their grievances to Scientology's internal arbitration, and he stayed the lawsuit. Since then, the two sides have been unable to agree on a three-member panel of arbitrators, with each side accusing the other of bad faith.
What if it had been any religious organization other than the Church of Scientology being snubbed by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in a land purchase deal?
I can't say for certain, but I assume there would have been some consternation. A lot of hand wringing. Maybe even some people in positions of prominence talking about religious discrimination.
After all, the Scientology folks offered more than triple the price that the city of Clearwater agreed to pay the aquarium for a coveted piece of downtown land.
2017-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Ron Hubbard's theory of exchange is not only a central component of Scientology financial policy but is a pervasive consideration in just about every aspect of a Scientologist's life. Members are taught early-on that being "in-exchange," is imperative. That what they give must be commensurate with what they receive. Giving more than one receives—"exchange in abundance"—is even better. Giving less than one receives—"out-exchange"—is an overt—a misdeed, a moral transgression, a lapse in judgement. And likely to land one in Ethics.
Being "out-exchange" for Scientologists is that from which nightmares are made. LRH said being out-exchange pulls in the bank and can make one sick.
(Suppressive persons Leah Remini and Ron Miscavige)
The earth moving under your feet this week has not only knocked a few things off your shelves, we do believe it represents a tectonic shift in the world we live in.
That world being, of course, Scientology Watching, which will get another seismic jolt tonight with ABC 20/20 's episode featuring an interview with Ron Miscavige about his tell-all memoir, Ruthless.
Ronald Miscavige, the estranged father of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige and himself a former Scientologist, appeared on an ABC 20/20 special to promote his memoir, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, which publishes on May 3. This was the first real sense of the book's contents, since it is heavily embargoed until its release next week.
Ron talked about how his son went from what he described as "a lovable kid" to the ruthless leader of the church. Ron added, "To come to this is nuts." Ron's view of his son is a devastating portrait. "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely," he said, paraphrasing the famous quote by Lord Acton.
In the special, Ron went back to the beginning of his and David's story to describe how he introduced 9-year-old David to Scientology in 1969 (soon after Ron himself first encountered the church) and how the church's auditing routines helped David with his asthma attacks. Ron described that as the key turning point in David's life, the moment he decided he would dedicate his life to the church.
2015-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another slip of the promo piece has revealed far more than they would want.
Interestingly, Tony Ortega posted about this same promo piece this morning and with the help of Chris Shelton, approached it from a very different perspective than my take (I wrote this last week but haven't had any time to post it, but now seems most opportune).
This sets some sort of record for incompetence — a scientology promotional item that is so revealing it makes it onto BOTH Tony Ortega and Mike Rinder's blogs...
We want to thank the tipster who sent us a flier out of the Tampa org. It definitely interested us, because it featured a really stunning price for going "Clear."
Now, first of all, if you've been hanging around this website for a considerable time, and you've seen the hundreds of Scientology ads and fliers we've posted over the years, you know that it's not really common for fliers to post a price for courses (other than for seminar packages on the Freewinds, for example).
And on top of that, this price was pretty stunning. Stunning, that is, for how low it is, and for offering an entire ride from beginner to Clear in one package.
Back in 2011, when Rupert Murdoch was still paying for his iPad adventure, The Daily, a journalist named Benjamin Carlson did a really fine two-part series on the ultimate Scientology school, "Delphian" in Oregon. We thought it was clever that he referred to the high school as Scientology's version of "Hogwarts."
Although The Daily no longer exists, Carlson salvaged his piece on his own website, which you can read here. One of the things he notes is that although everyone in Scientology knows that the school is for the kids of the church's wealthier members, on paper the school and the church are separate:
Although the word "Scientology" appears nowhere on the Delphian website, and the school is technically independent, its connections to the group are intimate and pervasive. "A good majority, if not all the staff, are Scientologists," said Elaine Ke, 18, who graduated from the school this year. Other alums back that estimate. Both the headmistress and the assistant headmaster are listed as having completed various levels of Scientology programs in the group's publications.
2014-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
St Hill has a new system of distributing the Auditor Mag in a digital version.
About time they moved into the 20th century. Though they probably print and mail copies too at enormous expense.
You can click on the link here to see it and increase their stats dramatically. http://issuu.com/dpmaoshuk/docs/auditor_magazine_386-english
For 20 years, the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Center in Hollywood, California, had its own all-singing, all-dancing children's pop group called Kids on Stage for a Better World.
The group existed with a revolving cast of members from 1992 to 2012. Obviously their videos are quite old now, and I'm not their target demographic, so it's difficult for me to judge whether or not they were on-trend at the time—but like all things created by a religion and aimed at young people, they appear to be almost overwhelmingly uncool.
The group's matching outfits, choreographed dance routines, and wholesome rap breakdowns seem to be the work of adults trying to emulate inoffensive, family-friendly (i.e., boring) kids' stuff like High School Musical and the Mickey Mouse Club.
2014-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the first in a series posts today and tomorrow to celebrate the most important birthday in Scientology. The birthday staff have been paying donating for over months.
There is nothing like a birthday to put everyone in the mood to look over the person's life and accomplishments and take stock of what it means to have been touched by their presence on this earth.
I know it's a bit early, but there is a lot of ground to cover, so we start off with a pre-birthday look at just one aspect of the accomplishments of David Miscavige.
This promises to be an amazing week here at the Underground Bunker. On Tuesday, we're told, the Oklahoma legislature may finally approve a new law that will put Scientology's drug rehab flagship center in that state, Narconon Arrowhead, under stricter state control (and may actually put it out of business). Another big story we're following — Luis Garcia's federal fraud lawsuit in Tampa — may produce a huge finding from Judge James Whittemore about Scientology's insistence about religious arbitration.
And in the meantime, of course, we're still excited about Friday's police raid of Scientology's drug rehab facility in the Atlanta region, the first raid by law enforcement of a Scientology facility in the U.S. since the FBI swarmed church offices in D.C. and Los Angeles in 1977.
These are exciting times! But let's not forget the founder of our feast, L. Ron Hubbard, and his wise words. Keeping up on Scientology's beliefs is not an easy proposition. Take the publication Slate this week, for example, which included this whopper in an otherwise quality piece about Tom Cruise...
2013-04-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
From our Special Correspondent in the Holy Land.
It's a shame so few are fluent in Hebrew. Still, I forward below a link to an Israeli web-site that gives all theatre and musical performances in Israel and option to purchase tickets. The site is called "habama", meaning "the stage".
And now we have a new theatre hall in Israel, the "Alhambra". Sounds familiar maybe? Yes, it's the name of the historical building which is now the "Ideal Org" of Tel Aviv.
2013-04-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
On his 'Dean of Technology' course titled Class VIII, L. Ron Hubbard advises that the ultimate state of consciousness attainable in Scientology (dubbed OT, for Operating Thetan) is simple. The state is attained when the individual no longer carries any lies with him. An individual is as OT as he doesn't walk about with lies.
So it is with Scientology itself. As a subject it contains a wonderful body of technology for helping to strip a person of the lies through which he filters the universe around him. The biggest problem with broad dissemination and application of that technology is its self-imposed prohibition on differentiating that technology from the broader body of Scientology work that is chock-full of lies.
Because of the religious cloak with which L. Ron Hubbard chose to enwrap Scientology, the discernment of truth from lies within Scientology is not an easy task. L. Ron Hubbard wrote a large body of doctrine satanizing anyone who attempts to look at his body of work in a critical fashion. In fact, the very term 'criticism' – at least when directed toward Hubbard or Scientology - has been solidly re-defined in Scientology to be the activity of only sociopaths and criminals.
Des opposants à Narconon Trois-Rivières ont manifesté dimanche après-midi devant le centre de désintoxication lié aux enseignements de l'Église de la Scientologie.
Une vingtaine de personnes, masquées pour la plupart, se sont présentées sur le coup de midi devant l'établissement situé sur le boulevard Parent. Plusieurs d'entre eux se réclamaient du collectif Anonymous, un groupe connu pour sa lutte contre la Scientologie.
2012-04-29, 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 a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
With their president recently sprung from felony charges in Australia, the folks at CCHR will presumably have much to celebrate as they march against the psychs...
Prof Nicholas Haslam, of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, said the Oxford Capacity Analysis test was not an accepted personality test.
"It is a tool associated with the Church of Scientology that has no standing in the professional community of psychology practitioners and researchers, that lacks basic evidence of validity, and that often has been criticized for how it is mis-used," he said.
2011-04-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
How would you like some expansion news without the hype, mind-numbing made-up figures, and fictional anecdotes? Just some straight, Indies-style dope?
Monique "Mosey" Rathbun is a natural auditor. From the day I met her she had an innate ability to listen interestedly, duplicate, understand and without evaluation or invalidation acknowledge in such a fashion as to communicate that she got it. She exercised those abilities to help me out of the valley of the shadows of death. Since then she has been audited to Clear. She has listened to all LRH lectures from 1950 through 1962 (including PDC and all Congresses). She did that during her two hours of commute each day to and from her 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in the city.
And even while working those hours in the city she has managed to create an incredibly theta environment in our home. I was reminded of her aura when listening the Science of Survival lectures again recently where LRH talks of the South American chapel where people lose their crutches simply by arriving there. Now, for the literal types I will say for the record only two out of the dozens who have been here have originated that by simply arriving they blew long time, severe somatics. But all who have spent much time around Mosey I think will agree this passage from the same lecture applies to her:
Former Sea Org member Maureen Bolstad's move from Flag Base in Florida to the International Base at Hemet, California, was in some ways a relief. But the work-rate remained relentless.
When Maureen Bolstad first arrived at the International Base, in late 1983, it was a welcome relief from the grind at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.
For one thing, she was getting more sleep: six or seven hours a night - better than the four hours or so that for a while was the best she could hope for in Florida.
2008-04-29, Roger Friedman, Celebrity Gossip, Fox News
On Monday night, Beghe -- whom this column told you all about in his exit from Scientology after nearly 14 years -- posted a message on a public forum at OperationClambake.com. He wants returned to him the mountains of folders, files and tapes that were compiled about him by the sect. So far, they've refused.
2006-04-29, Kim Willsher, Special reports, The Guardian
Sect-like groups are profiting from the misery in riot-stricken French suburbs to attract new recruits under the guise of offering humanitarian aid, warns an official report. Organisations including the Church of Scientology, labelled a cult in France, are targeting vulnerable residents in the country's poor, high immigration suburbs, it claims.
France's official sects watchdog, the Interministerial Mission in the Fight Against Cults (Miviludes), said the situation called for "extreme vigilance".
The Church of Scientology is rolling out an aggressive set of legal maneuvers aimed at wiping out one of its biggest headaches: the lawsuit blaming the church for the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson.
The church is zeroing in on Tampa attorney Ken Dandar, who in representing McPherson's family has mustered an unrelenting challenge costing the church millions and fueling unending bad publicity.
The Church of Scientology filed a $416-million libel lawsuit Monday against Time magazine over a 1991 article Scientologists call a "hatchet job." The lawsuit charged Time's May 6 cover story, "The Cult of Greed," was "maliciously constructed from its inception to attempt to destroy the Scientology religion." In papers filed in Manhattan's federal court, the church said the article damaged its reputation and has hurt its ability to attract new members.
Officials of the Church of Scientology in New York City claimed they had received a bomb threat and the federal government subsequently indicted her for sending it. Then the government charged her with perjury for denying it.
Cooper's friends, family, lawyers and publisher have alleged in interviews and in a court suit that it was the Scientologists who mounted this campaign, an allegation th church vehemently denies.
According to informed sources, FBI agents have found in church records evidence that the Scientologists framed Cooper by stealing her stationery and sending the bomb threat to themselves.
A federal judge ruled here yesterday that a Washington Post reporter could not be forced to turn over to the court materials relating to a Post article published yesterday concerning the Church of Scientology.
U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt said the request, made by attorney Phillip J. Hirshkop for the church, was a "clear violation" of the First Amendment and that a subpoena for the reporter's material would not be enforced.
The reporter, Ron Shaffer, wrote in yesterday's Post that documents seized by the FBI in a raid on the church's headquarters revealed an elaborate campaign by the church to attack and discredit its enemies.