A watchdog group has called on Apple and Google to remove apps created by organizations opposed to abortion rights and LGBTQ rights because they misuse personal information, don't provide privacy policies, and violate the app stores' basic standards.
Campaign for Accountability, a nonpartisan group focused on public accountability, argues the apps don't follow guidelines for templated apps, include extensive tracking, and don't follow privacy rules laid out by Apple and Google.
"Apple and Google have kicked other apps off their platforms for violating their policies, and these anti-choice groups should be no exception," Alice C.C. Huling, counsel for Campaign for Accountability, said in a statement. "Tech companies should apply their rules uniformly, rather than turn a blind eye to violations by developers with powerful political and social connections."
On Monday, we heard from a Los Angeles reader that Scientology had done something kind of unusual, changing its annual "Maiden Voyage" schedule in order to create a last-minute "convention," scheduled for this Saturday on L. Ron Hubbard Way, as well as an "IDEAL USA" confab that was held this past weekend at the Valley Org.
Our correspondent suspected that the hurried reschedulings and breathless promotion was really about a desperate effort to recruit new staff members for some "Ideal Orgs" that are about to open in parts of the country almost bereft of Scientologists.
Perhaps that's the reason, perhaps not. But another LA-area reader pitched in with another peek inside what Scientology is up to: The agenda for this past weekend's shindig at the Valley Org. We found it pretty fascinating, and we knew you'd want to see it as well.
A People's Party of Canada government would lower the number of immigrants Canada accepts to between 100,000 and 150,000 per year — a level not seen since 1986 — party leader Maxime Bernier pledged in a policy speech Wednesday evening.
That's a number significantly lower than the 250,000 cap Bernier pitched while running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada two years ago.
In a speech in Mississauga, Ont. Wednesday night, the MP for Beauce took aim at what he called a policy of "extreme multiculturalism" and accused the Liberals of "putting Canada on a road to destruction" through Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "globalist vision."
2019-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Back in 2014 I did a post entitled Lights Out at Jobur Org. It chronicled the demise of this, the FIRST ideal org.
In the time-honored tradition of scientology promo piece illiteracy, they had previously announced their 10 year anniversary with a typo in their own name — thus the use of "Jobur" in subsequent posts at this blog:
Now, we are coming up to 16 years of operation of this first, model ideal org.
2018-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a report from the Flag local door-knocking campaign to "recover" all the people who have faded from view.
Recognize that even these paltry figures are padded. Nobody reports "stats" in scientology without inflating them to make it seem like things are better. Probably the vast majority of the numbers represented here came from knocking on the door of members of the OT Committee and asking them what service they put their children on over the summer holidays.
But even with that in mind — this is very revealing. Since January 2018 they have managed to get 569 people onto a "service." That is less than 100 per month.
The day after we reported last week on the ordeal of 75-year-old Efrem Logreira — who says the Church of Scientology ran up charges on his credit cards for courses he would never take, and which cost him thousands in interest payments — he heard from the church in a letter disputing his numbers.
Until our story appeared, he had heard nothing from the Los Angeles Org for months, despite sending numerous letters complaining about the way he was being treated. He only joined Scientology last year, at 74, and took a couple of introductory courses before running into problems with a third course. The church then opened up numerous credit cards in his name and put $73,000 in charges on them for various reasons, including 200 hours of auditing that he could never complete.
After being heard to complain about the long drives he was making to the Los Angeles Org from where he was staying at a friend's house in Palm Springs, Efrem was barred from entering Scientology's New Year's event, held in December at the Shrine Auditorium in LA. Since then, he's been sending letters demanding refunds from the church as the interest charges on his credit cards have impoverished him.
One of our court watchers in Texas stumbled on a stunning document: On July 5, Monique Rathbun's former attorneys filed a petition in a San Antonio court, asking for an order to compel their former clients, Monique and Mark "Marty" Rathbun, to submit to depositions and turn over detailed financial records. The attorneys — Ray Jeffrey, Elliott Cappuccio, and Marc Wiegand — requested a July 25 hearing, but court records show it's been set for August 29. We've put in a call to Jeffrey to find out more.
We sent a message to the Rathbuns asking for comment, but we did not receive a response.
Monique hired the three attorneys to represent her in a harassment lawsuit she filed against the Church of Scientology in August 2013. Monique alleged that she had suffered outrageous abuse because her husband, a former top Scientology official, had decided in 2009 to begin publicly criticizing his former boss, church leader David Miscavige. (Monique herself was never a member of the church.) In retaliation for Marty's statements at his website, Miscavige had the Rathbuns followed, photographed, and harassed with pranks and intimidation, Monique alleged. She believed the church went so far as to have an adult toy mailed to her place of work, and had flowers sent to her female co-worker with a romantic message that was supposedly from Monique. On smear websites operated by Scientology, she said in her legal complaint, "They have even alleged that I am not even a woman, but a man who has had a secret sex-change operation. So, I have even had my womanhood questioned as part of this sick campaign to inflict maximum emotional distress on me."
2016-07-24, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer your questions based on what is left for me in the comment sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, th questions I take up are:
(1) I was wondering about Scientology's tax-exempt status. You always hear that if Scientology lost its tax-exempt status in the U.S. that it would pretty much be game over for them yet it seems like in 90% of the countries they operate in around the world, they are not recognized as a religion and don't get tax breaks. If being tax exempt here is such an issue, how is that not a hindering factor for them everywhere else? Do they funnel all the money from Europe, South America and elsewhere to the safety of the American tax shelter? Do they enjoy tax exemption anywhere else or just the U.S.? Would losing it truly end them or just really hurt them?
(2) Is Scientology effective against drug and alcohol addiction? Have people ever used Scientology to over come drugs and alcohol and become clean and sober?
(Phil and Willie Jones yesterday at the dedication of their new Florida billboard with Nora Crest, Valeska Paris, Derek Bloch, and Brian Sheen. Photo by Chukicita.)
It's time again for Rod Keller'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...
Yesterday, Phil and Willie Jones dedicated their new billboard in Largo, Florida, just a few miles from Scientology's spiritual mecca in Clearwater. Phil sent us this report about how the day went...
T he problem Lord Justice Leveson couldn't begin to solve is coming back to bite the press regulators he left behind. Simply, what happens when you're dealing with a British newspaper's online operation based in America, with American reporters writing about American celebrities for a largely American audience? Otherwise known, in this first headbanger of a case, as "Exclusive: inside the 'bromance' of Tom Cruise and Scientology founder David Miscavige", a Mail Online special that Miscavige took to the Independent Press Standards Organisation and sort of won last week – except that Ipso then set up its own inquiry to try to address the more problematic issues involved.
The "bromance" itself isn't particularly significant. It featured a series of interviews with former Scientologists saying Cruise had had special treatment at the church's Gold Base headquarters. Miscavige pleaded inaccuracies under clause one (facts) and won.
Mail Online hadn't given due weight to Miscavige's denials and had failed to quote a Scientology spokesman's responses. "It had also failed to provide a defence of the accuracy of the article, or its decision not to publish a correction." Why not, pray? The Mail is a huge defender of Ipso. But no: "The story had been written to comply with American law and journalistic conventions, not the British Editors' Code of Practice." So the paper declined to defend its story.
2016-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The third event of the 2016 Maiden Voyage week of extravaganza seems to have lived up to all that has gone before when it comes to IAS briefings.
Ridiculous hype about events in far off places that should strain even the most ardent sheeple's credulity. Announced victories over destroyed enemies — the same "victories" over psychiatry that have been announced year after year. According to the impeccable news source Int Scn News/David Miscavige, by this time psychiatry should have long since ceased to exist, but in the real world they seem to be doing just fine with new buildings that actually have people in them. And of course there are the massive, milestone legal victories - yet 50 years on the overall scene just doesn't seem to change with legal/government problems all over the place.
But one thing is true: this IS what donations to the IAS buy - a huge amount of hype and lies claiming accomplishments that do not exist.
Scientology may have been outed on HBO's "Going Clear" but it's going strong at Nickelodeon.
The children network's Nickmom.com website is currently featuring short films from Michelle Stafford, the extremely mannered actress who jumped from one soap opera– "The Young and the Restless"– to another– "General Hospital" last year.
Stafford is an avowed member of Scientology. So is her production: everyone involved with her "Secret Mind of a Single Mom" is from Scientology. Just about the entire credit list, from actors to crew, are members of the cult.
We have a real treat for you today. Derek Bloch noticed that Scientology's "Xenu" story that was made famous in South Park in 2005 and was given another great treatment in Alex Gibney's film Going Clear this year (pictured above), is often referred to as Scientology's "origin story." This is simply untrue. The Xenu incident, which resulted in so many beings brought to and vaporized on Earth, took place a mere 75 million years ago. But Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed that the universe itself was some 4 quadrillion years old, and that it had been created by "bored" thetans playing some kind of game. Derek, a longtime presence here at the Underground Bunker, submitted this essay to explain how he was taught to believe the universe got here, and the narrative of the cosmos that he learned as a member of the organization. Here, then, is the overall, overarching purpose of Scientology, which rarely gets spelled out in such detail. We hope you find it as fascinating as we did — and we'd really like to hear from other former members of the church how much of this they were aware of as they were working their way up the Bridge to Total Freedom.
Xenu is the most famous figure in Scientology to outsiders. His saga is often touted as the "origin" story of the organization, similar to Genesis in the Bible. However, as it always is with Scientology, things are not as they seem.
Long before Xenu decided to turn Earth into a prison planet for everyone that he thought would rebel against his regime, there were disembodied energies floating throughout a universe of emptiness. In a work called The Factors (1953), Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard describes the inception of "theta" or the energy that creates life itself, according to Scientology's scriptures. "In the beginning was a decision, and the decision was to be," he says.
One of the strange things about Scientologists – and yes, I'm aware this sentence could end in several thousand legitimate ways – is their use of language. Recently, an interview in a Scientology magazine with the actor Laura Prepon was leaked online, and arguably it didn't matter much, since it was impossible to understand. Prepon spoke of undertaking the "purification rundown", eliminating "mis-emotions" by "doing my objectives", and explained how much easier life becomes "when you really cognate that you are a Thetan". Other Scientologists talk of "enturbulation" and "alter-isness", "randomity" and "out ethics", almost as if their entire religion were dreamed up (cognated?) by a pulp sci-fi author pulling everyone's leg.
We have a few legal updates for you, and they involve the lawsuit filed by the National Association of Forensic Counselors against Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon, many of its employees, and Scientology's leader, David Miscavige, as well.
A total of 82 defendants are scrambling to deal with the lawsuit, which alleges that they conspired to misuse the counseling certifications that the NAFC regulates. Masterminding the conspiracy, the NAFC alleged in its complaint, was Miscavige from his perch as the Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), Scientology's nominally controlling entity.
RTC responded by filing a motion to dismiss which is drawn from Scientology's usual playbook. RTC has nothing to do with Narconon, its attorneys argued in the motion, and it also has no connection to Oklahoma, where Narconon's flagship facility is and where the lawsuit is set. Former Scientology executives tell us that when the church was restructured in the early 1980s, this was the goal they had in mind — a Byzantine corporate fiction that would enable the top executives to claim no involvement.
Around 11 p.m., the suspect, described as a white male in his 30s, entered the center at 2254 Honolulu Ave. and started causing a disturbance, said Glendale Police Spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.
A church employee asked the man to leave and escorted him out of the building, Lightfoot said.
It was later found that the man had apparently cut the wires to computers in the lobby by unknown means, leaving the severed wires behind, she said.
French prosecutors are investigating the Church of Scientology for alleged harassment of the employees of a company whose boss had joined the organisation. The workers claim that Scientologist trainers tried to brainwash them and embezzled up to two millions euros from the firm.
The 12 employees of building firm Arcadia, based at Voisins-le-Bretonneux near Paris, claim that Scientologists became "omnipresent" in the business after their boss turned to the cult following the death of one of his children in 2000.
2014-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tony Ortega has Sunday Funnies.
Today, I have Thursday Funnies. Some Special Correspondents sent these in and I could not withhold them from bringing a smile to the faces of readers of this blog (especially as the posting coming up tomorrow is one of the least funny things ever to appear on this blog).
This first is one of the funniest (saddest?) things I have seen in a very long time.
2014-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You will be very pleased to know that the IAS is now informing their public what they are spending their money on.
Of course, the IAS doesn't waste money on things where there is no return. Buying buildings sounds reasonable, until you understand a) the building then becomes a church asset and b) in those areas that where the IAS is funding their ideal org building, people are EXPECTED to donate to the IAS "to purchase the building." Really, the IAS acts like a bank — they front the money to buy the building (other people's money - just like a bank) and then they collect the money back they fronted.
Last week, Leah Remini's sister Nicole had to call bullshit on an unnamed source who told the Chicago Sun-Times that Leah and Kirstie Alley were "chatting" to make sure there was no "loss of friendship" between the two. Didn't happen, Nicole told us.
Now, the National Enquirer is saying it talked to an unnamed source who says Leah isn't accepting phone calls from John Travolta and Kelly Preston, who just want to ask her what's going on.
This too, never happened, Nicole tells us.
Scientology continues to "handle" the defection of Leah Remini and the subsequent media uproar. We have now learned that the church has produced a video about the controversy, and is asking Scientologists in the Los Angeles area to come to local facilities to view it and learn how to think about "Black PR" — Scientology jargon for negative press.
We have talked to numerous Scientologists who say they've been asked to come down and view the video, and we've asked our sources to get us details of what's being shown.
Meanwhile, we're told that there's more fallout for Remini herself as Scientologists continue to "disconnect" from her on instructions from the church
2013-07-24, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A report from one of our European Special Correspondents:
Have you heard about dm´s new squirrel quickie "Exec" training ("Golden Age of Management and Exec Training"). 3 months in Idle LA Org, and you are "Golden Age of Management Exec".
Take a look at this email from ED DK Day (After many years as a Senior C/S he is now "converted" t to ED):
A Pittsburg County drug rehabilitation center is under investigation after a third patient died within a nine-month period, Sheriff Joel Kerns said Monday.
The death of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, of Owasso is the latest in a string of deaths at Narconon Arrowhead.
2012-07-24, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The dismissal of Marc and Claire Headley's case against Scientology Inc. was upheld by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
headley case 9th Circuit opinion
The lawyer who originally filed the case did Marc and Claire a disservice by putting all their eggs in the Human Trafficking issue basket. Note, the counsel who argued the case in the 9th Circuit for the Headleys - not the same lawyer who brought the case in the first place - did a noble job with what she had been given to work with.
2012-07-24, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The Headleys California's federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today posted its affirmation of a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology brought by two of its former employees, Marc and Claire Headley.
The Headleys had worked at Scientology's International Base near Hemet, California until they left it in 2005.
They sued in 2009, claiming that as Sea Org members making about $50 a week for 100-hour weeks of work and with the prospect of being hunted down if they dared to leave, that they had been victims of human trafficking violations. Claire also alleged that twice she had been forced to have abortions in order to keep up that level of work, and had been threatened that she would be separated from her husband and kicked out if she didn't terminate her pregnancies.
Matthew Hickey, 26, walked into the Church of Scientology's Deansgate branch in Manchester after having a drunken row with his girlfriend. He became angry when he was hooked up to an 'E-meter' stress-testing machine and grabbed tester Brandon Sandler by the tie. Hickey admitted assault at Manchester Magistrates' Court.
Day 5, June 3: Scientology called two expert witnesses to defend the effectiveness of the e-meter used in their counselling sessions - but did not quite get what they had bargained for.
At the start of the day's proceedings, Judge Sophie-Hélène Château had read out a fax from one of the court-appointed experts in the case, a M. Ionesco.
Ionesco had written a report in 1993 on the electrometer, a device used in Scientology's counselling sessions, for an earlier trial involving Scientology in Lyon, in 1996.
Here's a short annexe on why one expert thought that Scientologists didn't know how to operate their own e-meter .
From " The E-Meter Experts ":
Curiously enough, when Kirchner drew up his 1994 report, it had been the defendant Alain Rosenberg who had demonstrated the use of the e-meter for him. But according to Kirchner, Rosenberg had not only failed to observe this basic zero-reading procedure but had made another mistake that rendered the readings meaningless.
A SHADOWY web-based protest group is apparently planning a global demonstration against Scientology next month, publishing its creepy "training video" the internet.
The group, calling itself Anonymous has already staged demonstrations against Scientology in Australia and around the but now plans an even bigger international event on August 16.
An Armenian immigrant was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for plotting to sell anti-aircraft missiles and other military weapons from the former Soviet Union to an FBI informant.
"I should have known better," Artur Solomonyan, 30, told a federal judge before learning his sentence. He said he had been irresponsible but got caught up in the scheme because he thought the informant could get him a green card.
Prosecutors said Solomonyan led a ring that conspired to import shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and other weapons without a license. The only weapons actually delivered were a dozen firearms, including a machine gun.
Solomonyan and five co-defendants were convicted in July of charges including arms trafficking and firearms trafficking conspiracy.
2007-07-24, Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, Union Tribune
An Armenian immigrant accused of plotting to sell anti-aircraft missiles and other military weapons from the former Soviet Union to an FBI informant was convicted Tuesday along with five co-defendants.
Artur Solomonyan could face up to life in prison on charges including arms trafficking conspiracy, firearms trafficking conspiracy, interstate firearms trafficking and illegal transfer and possession of a machine gun.
The New Yorker points out: "According to two close friends of Spielberg, Page Six was accurate, although the item did not note the real source of Spielberg's anger: After he mentioned to Cruise the name of a doctor - a friend - who prescribed Ritalin, the doctor's office was picketed by Scientologists."
2005-07-24, Alana Semuels, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Some say it's the only true way toward a happier existence. Others label it a new religion that soon will be accepted in society, like the Mormon Church. And then there are the people who call it a cult.
Scientology has been called many things in its half century of existence, and even now, it is a controversial organization.
2005-07-24, Alana Semuels, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Some of the things Chuck Beatty says he's done over the past 30 years sound like scenes from a science fiction movie.
Signing over a billion years of his current and future lives to service. Hiding from German news helicopters flying over the California camp where he lived. Spending more than six years doing hard labor under constant monitoring by his peers.
But Beatty, 53, now of Carnegie, says he was just one of the many faithful members of the Sea Organization, an intense division of the Church of Scientology. In 2004, Beatty left behind the life that had enveloped him for nearly three decades and moved to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles to assist other people interested in leaving, since he knows how difficult it is.
A proposed charter school in the east San Fernando Valley is receiving close scrutiny from Los Angeles Unified School District officials who are concerned about the organizer's ties to the Church of Scientology and are questioning whether church teachings would appear in the new public school.
Advocates of the Northwest Charter School acknowledge that they want to employ teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but say his system emphasizes common-sense strategies appropriate for a public school setting and children of any religion.
A Los Angles Superior Court judge Friday dismissed a $1-billion class-action lawsuit filed by former members of the Church of Scientology accusing its late founder of stealing money from the organization and threatening critics.
Judge Barnet Cooperman ruled that the plaintiffs failed to successfully back up their allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary responsibility.
The suit was filed in January, 1987, by six former Scientologists and the organization Freedom for All in Religion, which claims to represent as many as 400 former church followers.
A new cult is smoldering through the U.S. underbrush. Its name: dianetics. Last week its bible, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, was steadily climbing the U.S. bestseller lists. Demand was especially heavy on the West Coast. Bookstores in Los Angeles were selling Dianetics on an under-the-counter basis. Armed with the manual, which they called simply "The Book," fanatical converts overflowed Saturday night meetings in Hollywood, held dianetics parties, formed clubs, and "audited" (treated) each other.