CLEARWATER - The third time was the charm for the city to close a long-debated real estate deal with the Church of Scientology.
After two previous deals were scuttled over more than a year of negotiations, the City Council voted 3-1 on Thursday night to give Scientology three small downtown properties in exchange for a vacant parking lot on Cleveland Street.
City Council member Hoyt Hamilton voted in opposition and Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell was absent.
Taryn Teutsch spoke at the Leila Grace Foundation. This foundation is a, "is a non-profit organization that provides sexual assault awareness for college students across the country. It's main focus is to provide education, which can reduce the risk of sexual assaults on college campuses." Taryn's eight year old "fake news Fair Game story" has nothing to do with rape or sexual assault. Why is Taryn trying to exploit the Leila Grace Foundation?
Scientology leader David Miscavige spent $100 million dollars and took seven years to launch Scientology TV. Miscavige boasted that his pricey television network would serve as the Church of Scientology's "uncorrupted communication line to the billions."
Despite having Scientology TV at his command, David Miscavige has kept Mike Rinder's daughter Taryn Teutsch off the $100 million network.
A 1948 letter written by L. Ron Hubbard that Lawrence Wright quotes in his 2013 history of Scientology, Going Clear, is going on the auction block in New York on June 14, and it's really fun to see it in its entirety on the Christie's website.
The auction features two letters written by Hubbard to the man he considered his best friend at the time, another pulp writer, Russell Hays, who was from Kansas but who Hubbard met while on holiday with his first wife, Polly, in Encinitas, California in 1934.
By 1948 and the first of the two letters to Hays, Hubbard was married to his second wife, Sara Northrup, and he was working on what would become his 1950 bestseller, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the foundational text of the Scientology movement.
2017-05-18, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Today we're going to talk about emotions and logic and critical thinking.
There are lots of videos and talks out there about logic vs emotion and how these are two different kinds of thinking, or how emotions mess up critical thinking and make it difficult for people to make good decisions or form accurate opinions. I disagree with that analysis because let's be real: emotions are not something you can separate out or take away from people. Despite having very strong feelings on lots of different topics, people have been able to make perfectly valid and reasonable decisions about all kinds of things. Even Mr. Spock from Star Trek, the ultimate logical thinker, experienced a full range of emotions. He just suppressed the crap out of them because his people adopted a philosophy that emotions were bad. They had good reasons to think so, but as I think any psychologist would tell you, suppressing or denying how we feel only gets us into some real psychological messes and is not much of a solution for critical thinking.
Emotion, information, logic and our implicit and explicit biases all work in partnership to drive our thinking. In human beings, these are inseparable components. If you are going to talk about practical critical thinking, you need to take all of these things into account, otherwise you're going to fail since we are not purely logical computers and not purely emotional or instinctual animals. Emotions get a bad rap in critical thinking, but there's nothing wrong with having them, and there's nothing wrong with acting on them. If we didn't act on our emotions, many of us would never have relationships, would never have children or wouldn't try to push the envelope of innovation. Believe me, you can think of hundreds of very logical reasons to not do almost anything but we do them anyway because despite the odds, we just feel we can pull it off. We owe a lot of our forward progress in history to people who had very strong emotions driving them to do what they did.
2017-05-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Due to time constraints, I have not been able to put together Thursday Funnies yet. But Regraded Being, always one step ahead of the game, has this week's cartoon ready. I am sure nobody will mind it being a day early. I will try to get Thursday Funnies done by tomorrow.
Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are hard at work preparing season 2 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. But in the meantime, A&E wanted to tide you over, and so the team has put together a 2-hour special that will look back at where Scientology has been and how it's been exposed in the past.
We weren't involved in the making of this particular special, but we've heard some names of some people who might be appearing in it. We're hoping to confirm that soon. You can fit quite a bit into a two-hour show! As soon as we hear more about what's in it, we'll let you know.
The so far untitled episode is scheduled to air on A&E at 9 pm on Monday, May 29, after a marathon airing of Leah's first season...
2016-05-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A new piece from the author of the recent post "An Evaluation of Scientology."
Fear: That Which Drives the Church of Scientology
Religions go through cycles. They begin as seemingly benevolent and benign organizations with the intention of improving conditions and answering the basic questions of life. After a while, though, many—some would say all—devolve into strictly controlled practices ruled by fear in order to control their members and solidify their power base.
Scientology has responded to the new accusations by Luis and Rocio Garcia that the church has made it impossible for the couple to abide by federal Judge James Whittemore's order that they take their accusations of fraud to Scientology's internal arbitration.
Scientology has never conducted an internal arbitration, and Judge Whittemore acknowledged, when he put a stay on the Garcias' 2013 lawsuit, that there are no actual procedures in place for such an arbitration. But Whittemore agreed with the church's argument that because arbitration was called for in the contracts the Garcias had signed, that was something he couldn't meddle in for fear of violating Scientology's First Amendment religious rights.
The Garcias have come back to court, however, and are trying to convince Judge Whittemore that Scientology has made it impossible for them to even attempt such an arbitration. According to the church and its "International Justice Chief," Mike Ellis, the Garcias' complaints will be heard by a three-person panel made up of Scientologists in good standing: One that the Garcias choose, one that the church chooses, and a third chosen by the other two arbitrators. But every time the Garcias have tried to get a list of Scientologists to choose from, or have suggested Scientologists they know for their arbitrator, Scientology has refused to turn over a complete list of names or has dismissed the Garcias' choices as people not in good standing. The Garcias say the situation is impossible, the church is not serious about conducting an arbitration, and they want Judge Whittemore to lift the stay in the case and re-activate the lawsuit.
After selling his Beverly Hills mansion for a whopping $40 million, Tom Cruise is looking toward the Sunshine State for his next home.
The Mission Impossible star's Los Angeles compound, which he shared with Katie Holmes during their six-year marriage, is currently in escrow after selling for $40 million, a real estate source tells PEOPLE. Cruise bought the property in 2007 for $30.5 million.
For his next home, the globetrotting actor is looking to continue planting roots in Florida, specifically in the city of Clearwater where Scientology's headquarters are located.
The soft-spoken Jamie Carmichael has become an expert at selling controversial fare to international buyers — including Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which has caused waves with its damning portrayal of Scientology and high-ranking members such as Tom Cruise.
The British-born foreign sales agent is president of L.A.-based Content Film, whose parent company, Content Media, has a 50 percent stake in Gibney's production company, Jigsaw Productions. Carmichael, who lives in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with his wife and two sons, has succeeded in selling Going Clear to buyers around the globe. He also handled Gibney's Catholic Church exposé Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God internationally.
The 49-year-old, who is in Cannes with a slate of films including a Maria Callas biopic starring Noomi Rapace, the doc Steve McQueen, The Man & Le Mans and The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, produced by and starring Jessica Biel with a score composed by her husband, Justin Timberlake, sat down with THR to discuss how the church won't be able to stop Going Clear from being seen, the challenges of selling films in Cannes, and how he once went on a global trek that included a tour of a weapons factory in Pakistan.
As the Church of Scientology touts a plan to convert its prominent Yonge St. location into a flagship facility, the city says its owes over $100,000 in property taxes and penalties.
Critics of the controversial organization say similar renovation projects have languished in other cities.
The Church of Scientology of Toronto, which owns 696 Yonge St., owes more than $61,000 in property taxes and penalties for 2014, out of a total of just under $112,000. The organization made only partial payments of its 2014 property taxes, according to Supervisor of Collections Stephen Franceschini.
It also owes $57,348.15 in taxes and penalties on the interim 2015 property tax bill, according to Franceschini.
2015-05-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
There are SO many things wrong with this latest email — though the huge elephant in the room is that in order to "clear the planet" she is proud of the fact that they "[re]make a Clear every 3 hours." That is 8 per day. Or about 50 per week... For 150 orgs that is about 1 per MONTH on average.
But worse, she is apparently oblivious to the fact that the population of this planet increases by 8561 people per hour.
If you were asserting you were creating a room full of white sand by adding 3 grains every hour, but failed to mention 8561 black grains were being poured into that same room each hour, you would be classified as insane. Obviously, the room is NEVER going to be filled with white sand. In fact, you won't even SEE any white sand because it is obliterated by the black sand....
Sunday was a blur. We want to thank the many people who came out to our two appearances with Paulette Cooper in support of our book 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,' at CFI-West's Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in the morning and at CFI Orange County's venue in Costa Mesa in the afternoon.
In LA, our old friend James Underdown really set us up with an electrifying introduction, and we had to admit to the crowd that our body thetans were tingling as we took the stage.
The Steve Allen theater has seats for 150 people, but paid attendance, Jim told us, was 175, plus there were some additional folks bringing the place near 200. And it wasn't just standing-room only, it was an eager crowd who ate up Paulette's anecdotes and even laughed at our jokes. We got smart questions from the audience, and a couple of questioners challenged us about the efficacy of Scientology, which really made things fun.
2014-05-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The RTC building — "COB's Wing" is half the second floor facing the camera
A Special Correspondent alerted me to this website that has photos of the work they did on the RTC Building at the Int Base, otherwise known as "Building 50".
To give you a little more detail on what you see, and what you don't see in these photos, I pulled together some information from a number of sources who worked on this building and this a compilation of that information. There are many more details and stories about this building that I may get to at a later date.
2014-05-18, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Note: Because of the length of this article, I never intended to post it online. I broke it down into six parts and made videos out of each one, which are here on my blog and on my YouTube channel. Once I completed those videos, I made it known that they came from this article and more than a couple of people wanted to see the article itself. So, here it is! I've also included download links for a PDF version of this, in case you want to read it off-line or send it to someone else. That link is here.
The Church of Scientology is imploding at what any outside spectator would call an alarming rate. While its leader, David Miscavige, stands before enthralled devotees several times a year claiming highest-ever membership figures and off-the-top production figures, the truth from inside is quite the opposite.
Since the late 1960s, Scientology has claimed membership in the millions. Yet those un-named millions have never been tallied from any official membership rolls nor validated in any way. In fact, it's been reported by those who were actually there that the reports of "millions of members" were literally created out of thin air as nothing but PR fluff to satisfy some demanding senior Scientology executive who wouldn't settle for anything less.
It's that time of the week again, when we reveal the fliers and mailers and other items that our great tipsters have forwarded to us during the week.
Before we get into the glossy fundraising appeals that pour in each week, we have a stark reminder that as much as Scientology wants to give the impression that it's expanding in leaps and bounds, the opposite is the truth. It's dying. And week after week, there's more evidence provided here and at Mike Rinder's blog and at forums like WWP and ESMB that document the church's inexorable slide.
We've heard about missions drying up and disappearing, for example. Over at ESMB, there was a lengthy discussion about the long decline of the mission in Tucson. And now, a tipster has sent us some photographic evidence that the mission is now dead...
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Jon, we recently pointed out in our reading of a first-edition copy of Dianetics that L. Ron Hubbard's description of a "dianetic reverie" sounded an awful lot like hypnosis. We got an earful from independent Scientologists who didn't appreciate that comparison — Hubbard himself insisted that auditing was not hypnosis.
You've done some research on the relationship of the two. What can you tell us?
2012-05-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On Sunday, we broke the news that the lyrics to Lisa Marie Presley's song "So Long" -- from her new album Storm and Grace -- contained an even more obvious message that she was leaving Scientology than the one we perceived in the single she released in advance of the album a month ago, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet." (Above is Lisa Marie's video for the single, and our thanks to Skip Press for making us aware of it.)
All week, Lisa Marie has been on a publicity blitz for the album, and we've been waiting patiently for a reporter to ask her about these lyrics, which seem to quite plainly reveal that she's breaking away after her long association with the church.
Now, one has. And he happens to be on the other side of the planet.
Firefighters were called to a fire at Brisbane's Church of Scientology in the city's inner-south this morning.
It is understood a discarded cigarette sparked the fire in a pile of rubbish in the courtyard of the church about 2am.
Protests by members of the Church of Scientology outside APA annual meetings are the latest manifestations of a veritable war that the organization declared against psychiatry over a half century ago. Inside the Honolulu Convention Center during this week's annual meeting in Honolulu, a panel discussed the war's origins and tactics.
"War" is no mere metaphor, said Nancy Many, a former Scientology member who addressed a packed meeting room. Many belonged to the "paramilitary wing" of the organization and ran an espionage operation that placed agents in every psychiatric hospital in the Boston area, for instance. Other agents broke into psychiatrists' offices to steal and photocopy patient records, and infiltrated local professional psychiatric societies, she said.
2011-05-18, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Did anyone notice how the AO MAA Julian, OSA Ext Security, the local DSA Steven's Creek - the whole lot of the staffers - ultimately dealt with their little problem with Susie Lewis? They shunted her to the self-described "stand-up guy" Rick Manning, Susie's boss at Wise-licensed dental consultants "Pacific Management Consultants."
Who better to do the bidding of the money-motivated, real estate "religion" than the boss - who writes the checks - of the mark being handled? One little problem with this handling, it is illegal and unconstitutional in the United States of America.
I have learned over the past two years that the potential financial loss of disconnected business connections is as suppressive - if not more so - than the potential friends and family losses threatened. In many cases it is so.
2011-05-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Benicio saw this one coming Things have been a little quiet stateside for Scientology watchers (where's that next part of the Leiby saga, Marty?), but over in Israel, all hell has broken loose.
For the last couple of weeks, we've been writing about what happens in the U.S. if Scientology considers you an enemy: you get surveilled, your trash is sifted for clues about you, and "eyes only" documents record your every move.
In Israel, apparently, you just get blown to Kingdom Come.
It ended seconds after takeoff Sunday in a fiery crash that, somehow, left pilot Ernesto Gonzalez, 48, and passengers Charles Uslander, 54, and Daisy Schneider, 16, alive, and those in the neighborhood where the plane went down unscathed.
Scarlett Hanna is the daughter of Australia's head of Scientology, Vicki Dunstan. An interesting trend here as the son of the founder (L. Ron Hubbard) of scientology, Ron DeWolfe (changed his name!), as well as the brother and niece of the current international leader (David Miscavige) have also all escaped and denounced the cult.
In an exclusive interview on ABC 1's Lateline, Scarlett Hanna has detailed life growing up in the former Cadet Org: a group set up for the children of Scientology's elite unit, the Sea Org.
"The best way I can describe it is cattle," Ms Hanna said of their treatment. We were property of the organisation."
Ms Hanna is the only child of Vicki Dunstan, president of the Church of Scientology in Australia, and Mark Hanna, a former Asian/Pacific director of public affairs for the church.
2010-05-18, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Some people have difficulty understanding Scientology promotion, press releases or event speeches. I've found that this is because the Church often uses common English words and phrases to mean something entirely different from the usual "wog" definition of that word or phrase. So, in the interest of clarity, I have compiled the following glossary of terms to assist in understanding Scientology's literature and spokespeople.
acceptable truth: lie
"advance your IAS status": pay more and more money to the IAS.
About three dozen downtown business owners are upset with a group of anti-Scientology protesters and want the City Council to do something about them.
But city leaders Tuesday said there's little they can do.
"Suspending the First Amendment is something we shouldn't spend a whole lot of time on," council member Paul Gibson said.
In his piece, Gipps referred to both as "nutters", before moving quickly to a scene from a Scientology documentary.
"Now for the first time the real story, the video John Sweeney left out of his report," Gipps said, cutting to a church-shot scene of Sweeney yelling at celebrity Scientologist John Travolta at a movie premiere last year.
For the record, I've met families who say their lives have been wrecked. Many people who have since left the Church say they now see it, in the words of a High Court judge back in the Eighties, as "corrupt, sinister and dangerous".
His words, not mine.
We didn't fake the demo by anti-Scientology protesters. We're not terrorists, I'm not a bigot and I don't take kindly to being compared to Hitler.
Why did I lose it? I had had enough.
During seven days on the road with Scientologists and ex-Scientologists I had been followed by creepy strangers, followed by cars, shouted at, called a bigot countless times, had my hotel invaded by top Scientologist Tommy Davis plus camera crew and had an interview with a critic of Scientology -- who they call a "sex pervert" -- interrupted by Davis.
2007-05-18, Kevin Naff, Editorial, Washington Blade
I WATCHED COOPER'S interview with interest, after my own run-in with the Scientologists a few weeks ago. I wrote a blog post about the new "Hairspray" film being released in July that stars prominent Scientologist John Travolta and urged gays to boycott the movie. The tongue-in-cheek nature of the post was lost on Scientologists.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Scientology critic Robert Minton has funneled $10-million into a global anti-Scientology crusade, financing lawsuits against the church and supporting some of Scientology's most strident opponents.
The staggering total of Minton's largesse over the past seven years was revealed for the first time in court Friday as Minton, 55, testified in a hearing on whether a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the church should be dismissed.
No one has ever orchestrated such a campaign against the church, said Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw.
Arrowhead Lodge on Lake Eufaula will soon become the home of a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center with ties to the Church of Scientology.
The nonprofit Association for Better Living and Education plans to pay the Choctaw Nation about $1.9 million for the 256 acre resort, said Gary Smith, executive director of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center in Newkirk. The group will then lease the property near Canadian, in Pittsburg County, to the Narconon treatment center.
Depending on whom you ask, last week's verdict in Religious Technology Center v. Keith Henson is either a vote for intellectual property rights or a vote against freedom of information.
But regardless of whom you ask, Henson is in an unenviable position: He faces a US$75,000 fine for violating the Church of Scientology's copyright. And this Friday, the Palo Alto, California, electrical engineer must tell the judge in the case why he should not be held in contempt of court for the Web posting of sealed testimony in the San Jose, California, US District Court trial.
A jury today awarded $39 million to a woman who says the Church of Scientology defrauded her with claims it would improve her eyesight and make her more intelligent.
The Multnomah Circuit Court jury, after a 10-week trial and two and a half days of deliberations, found that the church defrauded the woman, Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, who had been a church member for nine months.
Church of Scientology officials say they'll appeal a $39 million fraud judgment awarded a 27-year-old woman in a decision her lawyer says "will be heard around the world."
A Multnomah County Circuit Court jury on Friday awarded Julie Christofferson Titchbourne punitive damages of $1.5 million from the Church of Scientology Davis Mission, a Portland branch; $17.5 million from the Church of Scientology of California; and $20 million from church founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The jury also awarded Ms. Titchbourne $3,203 in general damages from each of the defendants.