2018-11-25, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This week, we did a live stream Critical Q&A episode, so the questions are read out during the show. The video quality on this one is poor and that was because of trouble with YouTube's live streaming function at the time we were doing the episode.
2018-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology has a reputation of attacking anyone they perceive as a threat. They bully. They coerce. They intimidate. Hire private investigators. Apply pressure. And last but not least, they threaten legal action via a cadre of soulless lawyers.
That said, when is the last time the church actually sued someone? And won? Not this century, anyway.
Appearing in Court? Oh, No!
The problem for Scientology with regards to lawsuits is the potential of having to appear in court and back up their miraculous claims. Which is something L. Ron Hubbard could not do on his best days. Because as everyone reading this blog knows, nobody has ever demonstrated going full-exterior or made that damned ashtray rise off a chair without using their hands.
Rod Keller keeps his eye on Scientology front group operations, and he landed a doozie this week...
There are two main fires in California, the Camp Fire that destroyed most of the town of Paradise in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in the south that destroyed over 1,500 structures in Ventura and Los Angeles before it was contained. As usual Scientology is offering their services through the Volunteer Ministers and this week they tried to boost their numbers with the power of celebrity.
Scientologist Kirstie Alley recorded a "call to action" to encourage Scientologists to volunteer to help victims of the Camp Fire. It's unusual in that she asks people to call either the VMs or the Salvation Army. Scientology established itself in a Walmart parking lot tent city and have been coordinating with the Salvation Army center at another location in the city of Chico.
In all the recent sound and fury, little attention has been paid to Pete Griffiths' landmark achievement against active Scientologists in the Irish courts.
Back in the day, I was consulted in more than 150 legal actions and often tried to bring the 1972 "unclean hands" Hubbard v. Vosper ruling into those cases. I was never once successful, because whichever division of Scientology was represented would distance itself from the hundreds of organizations that are part of the corporate monolith.
But now, because of Pete's precedent, if any Scientologist or Scientology organization wants to sue in Ireland, it will probably have to show that it does so with "clean hands." Diligent research of policy shows that, like Lady Macbeth, Scientology's hands are uncleanable: The "scriptures" order unconscionable behavior at every turn. Hubbard's Responsibilities of Leaders alone proves that point, but litigants should dig out my General Report on Scientology, which was used successfully in a number of cases, and lists the Scientology publications that should be submitted in any court case.
Bixler, 39, alleges that when she reported her rape to officials at the Church of Scientology, which at the time counted her and Masterson as members, she was "made to feel like I didn't matter," and was told that she couldn't have been raped by a man she was in a relationship with.
"Danny Masterson is a celebrity. He flourishes and prospers in life. You protect that and reward that," she claims a church ethics officer told her, guiding her to silence.
But Bixler will remain silent no more. "I'm going to be an amazing woman who will NOT shut my mouth when I find out my rapist raped countless other women. I will not shut my mouth when Netflix tries to make us feel like we don't matter. We DO matter. We ARE important. We will see justice for what was done to us, and is continuing to be done to us," she wrote.
2017-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The best band of all time said it best: "Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. Help! You know I need someone. Help!"
Friends, family and countrymen have all failed to help us at times throughout our lives. Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, ex-husbands and ex-wives have all shirked their duties at to help. We've all experienced times where we've asked for help, only to be rebuffed, told to scram, told to we were losers and not worth the trouble. We've been promised the moon, only to taste green cheese. We've been promised fortunes, happiness, and immortality. And just as others have failed to help us, we've failed to help them.
According to LRH, this button reaches a point where every attempt at helping is seen as destructive. Real help isn't possible. Offers of help are tricks to control people. Help equals betrayal.
Leah Remini has reportedly demanded the Church of Scientology pay her US$1.5 million after it lobbied a TV network to get her new show shut down.
A lawyer acting for the Scientologists tried to get the show, which threatens to reveal details about the church, pulled before it airs on cable channel The Arts & Entertainment Network.
The former Kings of Queens star was blacklisted after walking away from Scientology in 2013, criticizing officials' treatment of their followers. Since then the 46-year-old has gone public with her disdain for the religion and is to reveal details about the church and former members of the religion in her series Scientology and the Aftermath, which debuts on November 29, 2016.
(L. Ron Hubbard, circa 1934)
On Saturday, Scientology leader David Miscavige blessed the newest "Ideal Org" with another grand opening ceremony, this time in San Diego, California. After the ceremony we heard from local journalist Ken Stone, who told us he found it very odd that Scientology had held an event with what they claimed was a crowd of 3,500, and had done so without notifying the local press.
Ken decided to look into things a little further and managed to get an interview with Scientology's public relations B-team, Erin and Nick Banks. The result was a nice piece by Ken that included the usual howlers from Erin about how the new org was a gleaming example of Scientology expansion even though it was really just a renovation of the building they'd been in for years and years and didn't represent any "expansion" at all. (And as for the size of the crowd, we've found that if you divide by about seven, you get closer to actual truth, which suggests that the event probably had closer to 800 people in attendance, many of whom would have been bused down from Los Angeles.)
2015-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Church of Spiritual Technology (CST) has reached a monumental, epic milestone of ideal fail.
For some reason they purchased a property in Sweetwater CountyWyoming presumably to build yet another vault (probably a better idea than in the earthquake zones of Southern and Northern California). Why they need another one in the US when they already have 3 of them is a mystery. I guess the rest of the world doesn't deserve to be saved when the big meltdown occurs? Or there will only be survivors in the western half of the US? Or something....
In any event, they bought this property but it was zoned for agricultural use. They were ordered to stop work by the county in 2009 and the signs are still prominently posted. There are a few cars on the property, but otherwise it is deserted. The county in fact forced them to restore the scars they had created and return the land to its original condition.
Lisa McPherson's first week under confinement at the Fort Harrison Hotel ended twenty years ago today.
On Saturday, November 25, 1995, Lisa was watched in her cabana room by caretakers named Heather Hoff and Rita Boykin. And they were also joined by a man named David Houghton.
Houghton was studying for his dentist board exam at the time. He would take his board exams in just a few days so that he could become the Flag Land Base in-house dentist. After finishing dental school, he had some knowledge of medicine in general, and on the evening of the 24th, he had a telephone discussion with a Scientologist doctor named David Minkoff about the woman who was being held in Room 174 because she had gone "Type III."
Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, once defined the religion as being in service of 'a civilisation without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights'.
Almost 60 years since its foundation, though, Scientology has become a uniquely contentious phenomenon with many questioning its status as a religion, cult or business, and with a reputation for fiercely defensive, litigious and coercive reactions to criticism. One of the first to feel the Church's wrath was Paulette Cooper whose 1971 book, The Scandal of Scientology, saw her become the target of an elaborate plot which set out to destroy her credibility, frame her and land her with a 15 year prison sentence. Codenamed 'Miss Lovely' by Church operatives, Cooper is now the subject of investigative journalist Tony Ortega's book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.
Ortega is a long-time chronicler of Scientology, and one of its leading scrutineers. Featured in Alex Gibney's HBO documentary Going Clear, he's the executive editor of TheLipTV and former editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. He visits Melbourne where the world's first inquiry into Scientology was held in 1963, and Scientology was first banned in 1965 for a chat with Steve Cannane, who's currently writing a book on Scientology's history in Australia.
2014-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Quote from Karin Pouw letter to Tampa Bay Times June 2012 :
The last three years tell you all you need to know: The Church has doubled in size since your sources left and, since your opening articles in 2009, Church expansion has only accelerated, contrary to the predictions of both the Times and your sources.
It's but one example. Virtually every media who has written anything about scientology in the last decade or more have received similar communications from the church or its lawyers.
We want to thank Jeffrey Augustine for bringing our attention to this gem. It's an iron-on heat transfer the kind of thing you use to customize a T-shirt with a slogan that the Church of Scientology is not going to appreciate. But the best part? It's on sale at the website of Sears. Yes, Sears!
It was just last month that Sears got into hot water for allowing a third party vendor at its website to sell rings emblazoned with swastikas. After a social media firestorm, Sears apologized and took the rings down.
And now, the Sears website features this iron-on heat transfer from vendor 3dRose, which says it's from the Mark Andrews ZeGear Cool line. It reads, "Scientology Making eccentrics pay for God since 1952"...
Impeccable logic + pointy ears wins arguments but does not necessarily help win the hearts of supermodels.
Summary: We present a handy chart that an Alert Reader passed along with the most common logical fallacies in building arguments. If you master and apply the material on this one page, you will amaze and impress (and probably also intimidate) your friends with your brilliance. And by being able to spot errors in others' analysis, you win the right to denounce their work with an air of haughty derision, and you spare yourself the embarrassment of potentially spouting inaccurate twaddle if you believe what they said.
Fair disclosure, though: your new-found command of logic may not make it easier for you to hit on supermodels (whichever flavor is most appealing to you) in trendy Manhattan clubs. Don't ask me how I know this.
2013-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of our Special Correspondents sent in this report:
It's all true. Following is an excerpt of a message I received from a Field Auditor.
He has one of the biggest field auditing groups in our area. He is OT VIII who remains with the Church because of his family of Kool Aid drinkers. But maybe this will change the scene.
2013-11-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Now that Leah Remini is officially a Special Person (see Tony Ortega's blog this morning), the big question becomes whether Miscavige is going to attempt to enforce the oft-employed disconnection card with Jennifer Lopez.
Everyone knows JLo and Leah are BFFs. They were hanging at JLo's party last nite and featured on the People Mag site (and everywhere else).
It is also common knowledge that JLo's father is a Scientologist.
Back in July, we broke the news that Leah Remini had left Scientology after growing up in the church and becoming one of its most well-known celebrity defenders. We learned that she had begun to grow disaffected after what she saw at Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes, and then decided to leave for good earlier this year. In order to minimize the chances for Scientology's legendary retaliation, Remini managed to convince her entire family to leave the church with her.
But Remini was still careful to limit what she said publicly about her reasons for leaving. Many Scientologists who ditch the controlling church do so as quietly as possible, hoping to avoid Scientology's ultimate punishment to be "declared" a "suppressive person," Scientology's version of excommunication. Not only can "SPs" feel the full force of Scientology's sophisticated revenge apparatus, but SPs also lose all contact with Scientologists who want to remain in good standing with the church. Our sources had told us that Remini hoped to avoid being declared an SP so she could remain in contact with some other celebrities who were on the fence about leaving.
Last week, we received a report that Scientology has now declared the King of Queens actress a suppressive person.
With Thanksgiving behind us, the rest of the year will, as usual, fly by with alacrity.
Scientologists, like the rest of us, are bracing for the final mad weeks of 2012, and we have some of their most recent fundraising mailers and other come-ons that have arrived in the inboxes of members.
As you ponder all the things you need to get done before 2013 starts, take a moment and join us for our weekly dose of Sunday Funnies!
A hip hop video which leaked online last week called "Dauntless, Defiant, Resolute," produced for the internal use of the Church of Scientology, is going viral across the Internet, drawing mockery and criticism of the church from mainstream media.
2011-11-25, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last week, we started a new feature here on Fridays: the Voice has obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard's previously unpublished "Orders of the Day," which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Mediterranean. Our documents cover the period from 1968 to 1971. In this installment, we're looking at what was happening the week of November 20 to 26 during those years.
After the jump, LRH shares his thoughts on welfare, flu bugs, overpopulation, and more...
Mirrored from the cultxpt vimeo channel in the hope of informing the Nation of Islam and the public in general: http://vimeo.com/3374670
This video is a response to:
Message To Those Who Slander The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan!
A man shot and killed Sunday in front of a Scientology building in Los Angeles was a Florence resident who was on probation for stalking a Lane County judge. Also, he recently had served time in a Florence jail for threatening a tow truck driver.
A security guard shot Mario Majorski, 48, after Majorski threatened guests and another security guard with samurai swords at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, Los Angeles police said.
An Oregon man was fatally shot on Sunday as he wielded samurai swords and tried to attack guests at a landmark Scientology building in Los Angeles. The man, Mario Majorski, had been involved in "prior incidents" with the church, the police said.
So, how in the world did a secluded online community, widely considered to be a bunch of social misfits and outcasts with little vested interests beyond expanding their collections of violent fetish porn, become a potent, organized activist group that has protested against the Church of Scientology since January in an operation called "Project Chanology"?
For one thing, they're not quite so homogeneously pathetic at all. "The hundreds of people I have met at various Anonymous raids have all been great people from many walks of life," says Mark Bunker, the Producer of xenutv.com, who has been fighting the Church since 1999. "Many of them are young, but not all of them. I've met students, doctors, lawyers, people from law enforcement and so many other fields taking to the streets, wearing the masks and speaking out because they believe it's the right thing to do."
Golden Era Golf Course was a pleasant nine-hole run in Gilman Hot Springs, Calif. It was a nice challenge for golfers looking to get some holes in while enjoying the local area. And then the Scientologists came and took it all away.
For the most part, I treat Scientology like I do any other belief system. Ok, maybe I'm a little harsher with Scientologists, but c'mon, they believe in aliens, thetans, bigfoots and vampires, for goodness sake. They just bring it upon themselves. But generally, Scientology is not really worthy of much attention, if people want to give away their money to charlatans, who am I to judge?
But when Scientology starts taking things away from regular, non-thetan believers, well, that's when it's time to face this imminent space-alien attack.
A man who was shot and killed after wielding two samurai swords at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood was from out of state and had recently purchased the swords, coroner's investigators said today.
Police detained the security guard who shot the man for questioning but said a surveillance tape backed his claim that he fired his semiautomatic handgun to protect himself and two colleagues.
Los Angeles police Detective Wendi Berndt said Monday that Majorski drove up to the church and confronted several security guards with the swords, threatening repeatedly to kill them. The guards pushed Majorski back toward his vehicle, but eventually had to use deadly force, Berndt said.
"There was video of the whole incident. It's very compelling, very clear that the suspect in this case was attempting to kill somebody," Berndt said.
Police did not release the name of the guard or the man killed in the shooting, which occurred about noon. An investigator said the man had a history with the church but was not a member now. The tape showed the man arriving at the Celebrity Centre's Bronson Avenue parking lot in a red convertible, getting out of the vehicle and approaching a trio of security guards and waving a sword in each hand, Hara said.
He said the man, who was described as being in his 40s, was "close enough to hurt them" when the guard fired. The man was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
2003-11-25, Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle
"I started hearing from families who had missing members, many of them young kids on our campus, and they all would describe the same sorts of things," she said. "A sudden change of personality, a new way of talking . . . and then they would disappear. And bingo, it was the same sort of thing as with the Korean War prisoners, the same sort of thought-reform and social controls."
"You find it again and again, any time people feel vulnerable," she said.
"There are always sharpies around who want to hornswoggle people."
WASHINGTON -- Defense lawyers for two top-ranking members of the Church of Scientology Tuesday urged a jury to find the officials innocent of charges stemming from an alleged scheme to burglarize government offices.
Lawyers for Jane Kember and Morris Budlong, who were extradited from England to face trial here, said the government has not proved the two defendants aided and abetted others to commit a crime.
The U.S. District Court jury was scheduled to begin its deliberations in the case Wednesday.
WASHINGTON -- Threatened with imprisonment for failing to testify, the wife of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is reluctantly answering prosecutors' questions about her alleged role in a church conspiracy to steal government files.
But three other high-ranking church members refused to testify Monday at the trial of two scientologists, despite an appeals court ruling earlier in the day upholding an earlier civil contempt citation against them.
U.S. District Judge Aubrey Robinson ordered the three -- Richard Weigand of Van Nuys, Calif., Gregory Willardson of Beverly Hills and Henning Heldt of Los Angeles -- to each spend 30 days in jail or face a $30,000 fine for criminal contempt.