The Canadian parliament says it plans to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg as part of a probe into Cambridge Analytica's shenanigans.
The Great White North's Parliament Ethics Committee voted on Tuesday to issue subpoenas for both execs as it looks into how Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect personal information on 87 million of the social network's users and then, armed with that data, purchase ads specifically designed to target key voting groups and areas in hopes of tipping election outcomes.
"We have given our chair the mandate to issue a summons to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg if they choose not to come before the International Grand Committee," MP Charlie Angus told CBC.
We can see Doug Ford is a man who is comfortable swinging an axe through some of our most cherished social programs. But to truly understand Ontario's smiling premier — to look deep into his soul, as it were — we must consider why he is being so brutal.
He insists he has no choice, that the Ontario's mounting deficits force him to cut the province's budgets for health care, education, child care, libraries, legal aid, student loans, flood control, tree planting and anything else that moves, grows or matters in our lives. (A similar claim of necessity was made by the debt-plagued New Zealand government in the 1990s when it ordered the shooting of a newborn hippo at the zoo, explaining it couldn't afford to expand the pen.)
Nevertheless, preventing debt from spiralling out of control sounds like a plausible explanation for Ford's spending cuts — until one notices his tax cuts. That's when it becomes clear the premier is, well, lying.
2019-05-08, Karena Walter, St. Catharines Standard
Police were called to MPP Sam Oosterhoff's riding office Tuesday after a group of older adults clutching books showed up to stage a "read in" over provincial library cuts.
The group of about 15 retirees and seniors, some of whom are members of a classic book club in Wainfleet, had planned to read their books in the Niagara West Tory MPP's Beamsville office in silent protest.
"I don't think we looked threatening," said Janet Hodgkins, a book club member and a retired librarian who worked at Welland Public Library for 28 years.
VillageDianne called us again from the overflow room at the Brooklyn courthouse, where she had watched about an hour of Marc Agnifilo's cross-examination of the government's first witness in the Nxivm trial.
Agnifilo is representing Nxivm leader Keith Raniere, who is now the only defendant in the case after five others all pleaded guilty before trial started yesterday.
Agnifilo was reading Nxivm's mission statement to Sylvie, the first witness, and asking her what portions of it meant to her.
Over the last couple of weeks, Bernier has announced a slew of new PPC candidates, providing further insight into his supporters. He was also endorsed last week by Peterborough, Ont., man Kevin Goudreau, who leads the Canadian Nationalist Front and has a swastika tattooed on his chest. He was one of several people and groups banned by Facebook last month for engaging in "organized hate" and other violations.
"There's Maxime Bernier candidates here, and I'm going to vote for them," Goudreau said in a video posted to YouTube. "I'm throwing my weight behind the People's Party of Canada because I want (a) massive reduction in immigration."
Bernier has said that "racists are not welcome in this party."
Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said she is "standing by" a recent Progressive Conservative party fundraising email that suggested anti-Ford protesters want to "cut off" the Premier's head.
The e-mail, sent to supporters on Tuesday, described a recent demonstration outside Queen's Park in which a guillotine was unveiled and protesters carried signs reading "may history repeat itself, chop chop!"
While Premier Doug Ford condemned the protest last week, the party quickly turned the act into a fundraising plea asking supporters to donate as little as $1.
Chiropractor James "Jay" Spina of Middletown, New York entered a guilty plea last week in an $80 million Medicare scam we told you about in September.
Spina initially filed a not guilty plea when the indictment was first announced, and his attorney told a local newspaper "we're going to continue to fight these charges" as Spina's business, renamed "Pain Relief and Wellness Center," remained open.
But now Spina, 61, joins a physician caught up in the scam, Charles Bagley, who previously pleaded guilty to the same charge, conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years, and Spina's sentencing has been scheduled for September 17.
Four days after Doug Ford's government spelled out 20-pages of weakened protections for Ontario's species at risk in an omnibus housing bill, an 18,000-page report by over 450 scientists — who spent over three years creating a first exhaustive portrait of humanity's devastating impacts on nature as a result of rapid urban development — conveyed one shocking fact: over one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction.
We can stop this, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report says, but it will take "transformative change" in every aspect of how humans interact with nature.
This change is not coming from the Doug Ford government, critics say, who are "sprinting the other way" by bolstering a status quo the UN assessment says desperately needs to change.
A non-profit agency that helps Ontario patients access health care through videoconferencing has laid off more than 15 per cent of its staff in the wake of a cut to its provincial funding, CBC News has learned.
The Ontario Telemedecine Network (OTN) eliminated 44 staff jobs, an official with the agency told CBC News.
This comes despite repeated promises from Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet ministers that no public sector workers will lose their jobs as a result of PC government funding cuts.
Niagara police were called to PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff's Beamsville office Tuesday to remove a small group of seniors reading books.
The group of 15 was holding a "read-in" — reading books in the office to protest provincial cuts to library funding. Many were members of a Wainfleet classic book club, said Janet Hodgkins, a retired librarian who organized the protest.
Oosterhoff's staffer called police before the whole group was even in the office, Hodgkins said. The protesters carried library books with homemade covers of sayings about the value of books.
2019-05-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Critical thinking is not just for classrooms but something I have found helpful in dealing with the irrational world around us and some of the nonsense that goes on at work, in relationships, politics, religion and all the rest. I talk about how it's helped me in dealing with my time in Scientology too. This clip is excerpted from Critical Q&A #2, originally published March 3, 2015. Enjoy!
Doug Ford campaigned to become premier of Ontario on a promise to rein in spending without laying off public employees, in part to try to "allay people's fears that he was going to be a reincarnation of Mike Harris," says CBCQueen's Park reporter Mike Crawley. Now, less than a year into Ford's tenure, it seems like there's a new cut being reported every day. Today on Front Burner, Crawley discusses how Ford stayed away from the "big slash and burn" approach but may still run the risk of "death by a thousand cuts."
2019-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the latest piece of self-praise that appears on the phony "STAND League" website.
Everyone knows this is simply a front group run by the Office of Special Affairs International and their Twitterer-in-chief Fast Eddie Parkin.
They claim they fight for religious freedom and against bigotry and hate — but in fact the majority of their efforts go to "dead-agenting" Leah Remini, me and the brave victims of scientology abuse who have been on our show. With no new episodes airing, they have little to write about. So while Fast Eddie keeps tweeting about us, they put up a few things on their website that are rather comical, trying to appear that they have something worthwhile to offer.
Yes, Ontario's premier has a demonstrated talent for beating weak or wounded opponents, as he did in the 2018Progressive Conservative leadership race, and in the general election that followed. But put him up against a well-respected rival? Ford comes out a loser. That's what happened in the 2014 mayoral race, when John Tory defeated Ford.
When he switched to provincial politics, Ford looked forward to having the last laugh as premier — cutting Tory's Toronto down to size by meddling in the municipal election and slashing funding. But he's not laughing now. A new poll published in Wednesday's Star shows that in the eyes of the people, Tory still comes out ahead of Ford, our self-styled premier of the people. Not just in Toronto, but across Ontario. If an election were held now and Tory ran under the embattled Liberal banner, he'd topple Ford. That's according to one of those amusing opinion surveys that mean everything and nothing — nothing, because Tory won't run for premier; everything, because it sends a humiliating signal to Ford that he is eminently beatable by the right opponent.
Just not the usual suspects. Everyone now running to replace Ford as premier — from little-known candidates for the Liberal leadership to the NDP's Andrea Horwath — falls far short of Tory's winnability.
A new group says it is planning to research, monitor and expose more than 100 far-right groups spreading hate across Canada.
The Canadian Anti-Hate Network, formed by more than 15 academics, journalists, legal experts and community leaders, says it will launch a website in the next few weeks that will provide profiles of hate groups operating in Canada.
Bernie Farber, chair of the network, said the organization is a way for people already keeping an eye on the Canadian far right to pool resources online, while the profiles will draw attention to the names, locations and ideologies of the groups.
2018-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is Scientology's headline on their website following David Miscavige's parking lot ribbon yanking: DOWN UNDER'S "CITY OF LIGHTS" WELCOMES NEWEST CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
This is a double lie.
First, there is no "new church of scientology" in Perth. There is a new building, but that is not a "new church." It's the same crappy little scientology group that has been there for 50 years and has never amounted to anything.
Jon Atack has provided us a marvelous exclusive. He's provided us with copies of letters he received from a man name Don Rogers in the mid-1980s. And we've asked historian Chris Owen to help us understand just how valuable these letters are and what's in them, followed by the first of three Rogers letters in full (we'll post the second and third tomorrow). It's quite a week of early Dianetics history here at the Bunker!
Over the course of about a year in 1984-85, Scientology's leading unauthorized historian, Jon Atack, exchanged a series of letters with one of Hubbard's earliest collaborators, Don Rogers. Atack had reached out to Rogers in the course of researching "Hubbard Through the Looking Glass," a manuscript that later became his book A Piece of Blue Sky – a title prompted by a statement that Rogers attributed to Hubbard. The letters, which the Bunker can now publish following Rogers' 2003 death, provide many insights into the earliest days of Dianetics and Scientology.
Rogers was a young electrical engineer when he met Hubbard in 1949, just as Hubbard was in the process of developing Dianetics. He was a member of the "Bay Head Circle," a small group of collaborators who met at Hubbard's beach cottage at Bay Head, New Jersey. The others involved were John W. Campbell, the science-fiction editor; Art Ceppos, the head of the Hermitage House publishing firm; Dr. Joseph Winter, a Michigan physician and contributor to Campbell's magazine Astounding; and Sara Hubbard, who played a major but regrettably poorly documented role in the development of Dianetics. All of the group, plus a lawyer named C. Parker Morgan, became the board of directors of the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation established in Elizabeth, New Jersey in April 1950.
The mysterious drone pilot is back!
Last year, a person who took great pains to remain anonymous approached us with a series of amazing 4K videos that were taken from a drone over several of Scientology's secret locations around the western United States.
Over a period of weeks we made them public, and the drone pilot indicated on his YouTube channel that the remarkable footage was free for anyone to download or use. Since then, we have seen his footage show up in television shows about the church. But it's here at the Underground Bunker that you get to see his work first.
"The workers there, the manager and other staff were Scientologists, there was a great deal of Scientology paraphernalia found throughout the facilities," said Trevor Lynch, assistant district attorney.
Lynch said deputies found two patients there, one of whom had a mental illness. The other was being treated for substance abuse.
"This facility was not capable for caring for the individuals it was taking in," Lynch said.
Three people were eventually arrested. Dennis Flamond and Hans Lytle were charged with false imprisonment, and another man, Marc Vallieres was charged with facilitation of kidnapping.
2017-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
WISE is one of the lost step-children of the scientology hierarchy. Out there in left field, the only real value they have had is to pull a couple of dental/chiropractic consultants under their wing and then pump them to get new people using LRH tech and then onto the Bridge to collect FSM Commissions.
The CO WISE WUS sends out a constant stream of useless articles about random subjects, and I have not commented on them before.
But it suddenly struck me what is wrong with his pitch. Oh so very wrong.
2016-05-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer your questions based on what is left for me in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com.
Link to the Tony Ortega article here
This week, the questions I answer are:
2016-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Is David Miscavige the Chosen One?
Miscavige has certainly run a concerted campaign for years to convince everyone L. Ron Hubbard personally selected him to take over after his passing.
The scientology.org official hagiography of Miscavige includes to this day this out of context quote about "real scientologists" that has been reinterpreted as if it means David Miscavige.
Scientology may be shrinking, but Rod Keller points out that at least its commends are expanding! It's time again for Rod's Scientology Social Media Review. He's made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to the 'net. He's a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world, and this is what he found for us this week…
Scientologists are being urged to save the dates of May 21st and May 28th for the opening of the BudapestIdeal Org in Hungary. The building is the former headquarters of Pentair, a manufacturer of heating cables and valves, and is within a block of the Danube River on the west side of the city.
Los Topos rescue workers and other Scientology Volunteer Ministers continued to work in earthquake-stricken Ecuador this week. Below, Los Topos receive thanks from the deputy mayor of Guayaquil, Doménica Tabacchi. Bottom photo, the team meets television personality Luzmila Nicolalde.
Over the past couple of weeks, we've been posting segments from a secretly-recorded audiotape that captures a Sea Org executive, Andres Rodriguez, talking to a group of Scientologists about their courses. We've posted three portions of the recording so far — part 1, part 2, part 3.
The tape gives us a rare glimpse inside a Scientology "org" and what it's like to face the challenges of the "Bridge to Total Freedom."
In particular, we hear Rodriguez complain about the way students have been cutting corners in the "Survival Rundown," a set of processes that have been given special emphasis by Scientology leader David Miscavige. Although they occur relatively early in a Scientologist's career, many high-level members have been asked to take or retake the "SRD." As we reported recently, one of our sources inside the church told us that all of his friends who were "OT 8's" — the highest achievement on the Bridge, which can take half a million dollars or more to reach — were now working through the SRD.
Narconon believes that you can sweat out the toxins present in your body due to your addiction, a premise refuted by many prominent toxicologists. So, if you enter this program you can expect to spend up to five hours a day sweating for no real discernable purpose. You will also be expected to ingest a variety of vitamins (niacin in particular), minerals and a special drink called Cal Mag. While claiming to be a non-religious program not associated with the Church of Scientology, you will be expected to study and learn all about L. Ron Hubbard and his teachings.
Narconon has been the subject to allegations of fraud and wrongful death suits due to their unproven methods throughout the United States. In 2013, they had to surrender their license to Georgia state officials after complaints of insurance fraud and that the program was operating illegally as a residential unit. Three patients at the Oklahoma Arrowhead center died between 2011 and 2012. Lawsuits have been filed in all three cases. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop went as far as to say, "My recommendation about detoxification is to keep away from it. You don't need it. I'm not sure it does what this book describes. It's dangerous. I don't think L. Ron Hubbard has credibility in the scientific world. The author's suggestions about detoxification can be detrimental to your health."
Further, Kent says the film could change the ways academics study Scientology, particularly when it comes to using testimony from former members, which he says academia is often quick to dismiss. "There has been a very odd but persistent reaction against using the accounts of former members of Scientology in academic work," he says. "They can be seen as disgruntled former members. And I've used accounts of former members and have had others attempt to discredit me. Of course [the former members] could be lying, but it's up to experts [academics] to corroborate what they say." Kent hopes Going Clear might encourage academics to take these various perspectives more seriously.
Kent tells Maclean's he believes the biggest misconception about Scientology is that it's even a religion at all. "I define it as a multi-national conglomerate, only one part of which is religious," says Kent. But he doesn't go so far as to call it a cult. "I'm more concerned about groups that cause harm regardless of what sort of label we put on them. And that's the sort of thing Going Clear is about."
Posted below on the Scientology Money Project is a document from the IRS' website. Entitled Illegality and Public Policy Considerations, the document is authored by Jean Wright and Jay H. Rotz, the authors offer the following information:
"All organizations seeking exemption under 501(c)(3) must conform to certain fundamental legal principles applicable to all charitable organizations. Treas. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(2); Rev. Rul. 67-325, 1967-2 C.B. 113, 116-7. See also Rev. Rul. 71-447, 1971-2 C.B. 230; Rev. Rul. 75-231, 1975-1 C.B. 158. One of these basic charitable principles is that charitable organizations may not engage in behavior that is illegal or violates public policy.
"The Service views illegality as one of the criteria by which an organization's activities are evaluated. Rev. Rul. 80-278, 1980-2 C.B. 175, established a three-part test to determine whether an organization's activities will be considered permissible under 501(c)(3)
US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) The Underground Bunker has obtained an e-mail written by Ron Wyden, the senior US Senator from Oregon, who has formally asked the Internal Revenue Service to explain why the Church of Scientology enjoys tax exempt status, 21 years after that exemption was granted in a controversial decision.
Wyden's inquiry comes at the same time that we have also confirmed with a former member of the church that IRSCriminal Investigation special agents sought and held a meeting with him recently to gather background on Scientology's activities - including hundreds of pages of documents from Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit in Texas and the federal fraud lawsuit brought by Luis and Rocio Garcia in Florida.
After two decades of inaction, could the IRS finally be ready to revisit its legendary capitulation to Scientology leader David Miscavige?
CLEARWATER -- -The Church of Scientology recently suggested to the city that property near the Bank of America building downtown could be a good location for a parking garage.
The city and Clearwater Marine Aquarium beg to differ.
For months, the city and church have sparred over the location for a parking garage to service an influx of tourists to CMA's planned aquarium on the waterfront site where City Hall now stands.
2013-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Our man in Sweden, Dan Koon, has sent us a copy of the "Dead Agent Pack" being distributed to those who dare question the wisdom of David Miscavige's Ideal Org Strategy.
As D/A packs go, it leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it is really lame.
It could be Exhibit 1 in a presentation to prove that Ideal Orgs are a squirrel, off policy "bright idea" by the Chairman of the MEST Universe.
2010-05-08, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I recently got back in touch with someone I'd known from the "old days," a person who was heavily involved in ABLE activities for many years. ABLE, for those not familiar with the acronym, is the Association for Better Living and Education, the Scientology entity responsible for overseeing the "secular applications of L. Ron Hubbard's work." They run Narconon, Applied Scholastics, Criminon, and The Way to Happiness Foundation.
We've been having an interesting discussion about ABLE and what really goes on behind the scenes. My friend, like most ABLE staff I've known, was sincere and dedicated, with a genuine desire to help others. And the ABLE programs have been key in giving Scientologists the hope and reassurance that what they were doing in Scientology really was making a difference in society – with drugs, education and improving morals. Even at the Int Base, when life around me was insane and chaotic, I would reassure myself that it was all worth it, in part because of these ABLE programs.
And the Church certainly features these programs in their PR and promotion efforts. If you look at the latest version of their website, you see the ABLE programs bannered across the top, as "Global Social Betterment and Humanitarian Programs Sponsored by the Church of Scientology." Tommy Davis, when confronted by accusations of Church abuse, violence and human rights violations, is quick to bring these programs up, questioning the motives of anyone who would dare "attack" an organization that is doing this much good in society.
The South Australian Opposition leader, Martin Hamilton-Smith, has responded to legal demands from Premier Mike Rann by making a public apology for the Scientology affair.
Mr Rann's lawyers have written to Mr Hamilton-Smith demanding a full public apology for falsely claiming the Labor Party had solicited donations from an organisation linked to the Church of Scientology.
Mr Hamilton-Smith had used forged documents to base the claims, which he now acknowledges were fakes.
There are problems with how security for a Nashville Scientology event was handled, and laws appear to have been broken.
The security firm hired by the Church of Scientology was Hayes Security on Gallatin Road. A representative of the firm said that the matter is being turned over to its attorneys.
Mr Clarkson acknowledged that the band had free booklets - entitled 'The Way to Happiness' - available at their gigs but insisted the publication was a "non religious, non political, common sense moral code and we usually have them on our CD table."
One Derry shopper who watched the Jive Aces perform in Foyleside, claimed: "I think it's terrible the band was exploiting a major entertainment event as a platform to promote their 'Church'. I would love to have stayed and listened to the music, but once me and my sister saw the flyers, we bolted. It was really off-putting."
ROBERTS: It's 27 minutes after the hour. Scientology has some prominent followers and some very vocal critics. But now some of those critics are anonymous taking their campaign to the Internet. CNN's Kareen Wynter explains.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Church of Scientology has had its share of critics over the years and more than its share of negative press. The church has always fought back, but now the critics have harnessed a new flat form, the Internet. And Scientology may have a harder time defending itself.
Groups like this one called Anonymous are using cyberspace to challenge the church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are anonymous. We are legion.
WYNTER: The group's postings on YouTube generated heavy traffic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want you to be aware of the very real dangers of Scientology.
Part 1 of 2 (Shortened to fit youtube and to keep the listener from going absolutely fucking nuts listening to LRH bullshit) Hubbard does an unexpected lecture on hypnosis in 1954. Scientology is hypnosis sold as therapy or religion. Scientology does just what hubbard claims hypnotists do.
What Scientology really is - The Ultimate Scam
Part 2 of 2 (Shortened to fit youtube and to keep the listener from going absolutely fucking nuts listening to LRH bullshit)
Hubbard does an unexpected lecture on hypnosis in 1954. Scientology is hypnosis sold as therapy or religion. Scientology does just what hubbard claims hypnotists do.
According to Roecker, who first recounted the incident on LA's KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean Show, the invective started to fly after he made several references to Scientology theology and its reported central tenant, the story of Xenu. Roecker says Jenna repeatedly said "What crimes have you committed?" and began screaming at Roecker, "Have you raped a baby?" as motorists on Los Feliz Boulevard drove by in snarled traffic.
The Church of Scientology was not mentioned at the televised meeting, but commissioners have said they are uncomfortable with the church being named in a visible way on the library's walls.
They voted unanimously to accept money from anyone but to recognize donors only discreetly on a small plaque instead of naming rooms or areas after large contributors.
St. Petersburg has been without a cruise ship in its port since the Boheme was purchased by the Church of Scientology last year. The city's search for a replacement ship has been limited by the location of the port, which is too shallow to accommodate many cruise ships.
In an interview Thursday, Mayor Robert Ulrich said the Fiesta Princessa appears to be an ideal replacement.
"It's bigger than the Boheme," he said, and, as a converted ferryboat, "it has a shallower draft."