Scientology Daily Digest: Sunday, November 10, 2013

I think data hounds should pay close attention to the story on Mike Rinder’s blog about the Haifa org, which broke away from the cult en masse last year.  There are abundant stats on how well the org is doing.  I show below how these credible stats can be used to bracket estimates for the size of the cult worldwide, so this is a pretty significant discovery.

Tony’s blog post today featured a story about a relatively bizarre filing in the Luis Garcia case. Apparently, the cult is trying to get one of the plaintiff’s declarations thrown out because it is alleging facts that are inconsistent with the complaint. What makes this absolutely surreal is that the facts mentioned in the declaration are the ones that Scientology has alleged. So in other words, essentially, the cult of saying that Luis Garcia’s declaration is invalid because it repeats the church’s statements, which are true when the church says them but lies when Garcia repeats them.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

One of the most personally relevant comments on Tony’s blog came from Bury_The_Nuts, who remembered something I wrote a long time ago and applied it in a confrontation with cult goons at Flag one night…  Her story about using “Capitalist Tech” to mess with the heads of the guards and get them to understand that “the tech” doesn’t work made my day.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

The cult filed a rather odd motion in the Luis Garcia case, attempting to strike a declaration by Luis Garcia himself, claiming that the facts in the declaration did not match the facts in the original complaint. Of course, the cult is rather conveniently forgetting that the declaration is repeating what the cult alleged were the facts. In other words, it is getting a little surreal in here. I would have to believe that Ted Babbitt, the Garcia’s attorney, could not believe his eyes when he read the motion.

Scott Pilutik cleverly and vividly explains the absurdity of this filing in his comment.

Marc Headley wrote an eloquent letter to Mayor of Clearwater giving a great summary of how David Miscavage treats everyone, including the city. He is advising the mayor to toughen up and deal with this hemorrhoid on the body politic. I am not sure if this will have much effect, but it is certainly a great read.

In the interest of brevity, click here to see my detailed comment taking apart the craziness in the Sunday Funnies.

My take:  as I frequently point out, I am not a lawyer, so I do not see this legal battle through a lens that looks anything like the way a lawyer would see. I tend to see these things, surprisingly enough, as plays that explore good versus evil. Some of my thinking is informed by literary criticism and literary theory, and some by my skills in handicapping political campaigns and strategies.

That said, it sure feels to me like the tenor of this case has changed, and the momentum is back  The motion to dismiss filed by the cult on grounds of “diversity jurisdiction” certainly had the feel of an elegantly laid trap that, if successful, would make it significantly harder for the Garcia’s to prevail (even if it did not make it any more difficult, it certainly would make it more expensive). While Ted Babbitt prepared what felt like a competent enough response, it was a bit less confident in tone and some of the prior paperwork filed in the case.

But now, it appears that the cult is back to its usual program of bizarre legal machinations that swing for the fences but they come nowhere near actually hitting the ball. This latest tactic sounds even more ill-advised than the motion to disqualify counsel, which the cult soundly lost. It seems to me that if David Miscavage had a little more restraint, he would probably have a better chance on prevailing with the diversity jurisdiction motion. But the fact that he is driving his attorneys to file these obviously dilatory motions has a great chance of waving a big red flag in front of the judge. The judge will smell bogus legal tactics, and it would seem reasonable to guess that he will be very sympathetic to the Garcia’s attempts to conduct extensive discovery on the reality of the trusts that are at the heart of the motion to dismiss on diversity jurisdiction grounds.

In other words, by trying to win every battle, and by trying to start other battles in relevant locations, it is entirely possible that Miscavage will turn a potential victory into a far more likely defeat.

Key comments:

  • Anonymous points out that the whole Sunday Service thing, which Artie Maren’s trip to “preach” in Georgia, may be a renewed emphasis on “religious cloaking” to try and deflect some heat.  I would ask that people be aware of this possibility, and look for any notices of similar events at other orgs to try and determine whether this is a trend. That enables us to try to figure out what “flap” caused Miscavige to stir this pot, which has been relatively quiet for a long time.
  • Miss Tia tweeted director Ron Howard and other relevant players to make them aware of the copyright violation for the movie “Rush” with all the footage incorporated in the Silicon Valley org promo video.  Apparently, though they were pretty good about copyright violations for a month or two, they’re back to stealing stuff left and right. It appears they just can’t help themselves.
  • “Jo” discovered a cartoon that implies that the use of free stress tests to recruit new members may be alive and well outside of Scientology.
  • Beloved witty commenter “The Next Mrs. Tom Cruise” resurfaced after some months under the name “Sciloonfairy” after fixing long-time Disqus security problems.
  • TheCommodeDoor makes a nice catch of a 1980 paper published in the journal “Sociological Analysis” on the “superhuman” aspects of Clear.  It makes the point that Clear is a social status marker in the cult rather than something people believe gives them actual super powers.
  • Observer discovers a picture that hasn’t been shooped, and is disgusted by what she sees in the background behind Hubbard.  This is why.
  • Michael Leonard Tilse points out that vacillation on the part of the City of Clearwater may be a function of covert Scientologists still on the City payroll, long after many of us may have thought that the cult would have lost interest in such things.
  • Cat Daddy goes off-topic with a major find, a gloating video from a Volunteer Minister who took a bunch of water bottles stacked against the wall outside a makeshift X-ray clinic and handed them out. Too bad the bottles were there as improvised radiation shielding to protect personnel and people waiting to get treated.  Oh, wait, who was it that said radiation was an engram or something ludicrous?

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike’s blog post for today does a nice follow-up of the Haifa mission in Israel, which broke off as a group (staff and customers) a year ago, in a move that is unprecedented in the recent decades of Scientology.  There are some interesting data points that come out: Haifa, a metro area of 700,000, and the educational capital of Israel, has about 50 active Scientologists.  That’s probably due to extraordinary hustle on the part of the Lembergers, the mission holder couple.  That gives us a likely number of church adherent Scientologists in the country as a whole of perhaps 200, given likely lack of hustle from the Tel Aviv org.

It also gives a lower bound of staff per member, since the article shows the 5 staffers serving the 50 customers or a ratio of 1:10.  I have estimated previously that there are about 5,000 staff worldwide out of 25,000 members, a very inefficient organization indeed.  A software company typically does about $1.5 billion in revenue with 5,000 employees, almost an order of magnitude more than the cult…  Thus, this article suggests I’m reasonably correct on the relative ratio of staff to public in the cult.  That means we can focus on trying to model overall cult membership, and estimate the staff top-down from the overall member total, then we can cross-check that with built-up estimates of the staff of various key headquarters organizations.

Marty Rathbun’s Blog

Marty’s back after a long-ish absence, with a post about his plans to publish more books next year. He plans to help people move beyond Scientology, with the first part focusing on how to get some critical thinking skills back so one is no longer a blind adherent to the cult.  He’ll then think about what’s wrong with the OT levels from the standpoint of someone who’s done them. He decries the “shallow debunking of Hubbard and his theories.” While that may well be a nod to never-in’s trying to point out the absurdity of the OT process, the insult doesn’t matter.  What is interesting here is that he may be trying to use Scientology to cause Scientology to implode.  We shall see what happens as these books come to fruition.

WWP, ESMB, OCMB

Thanks again to Aeger Primo for keeping an eagle eye on the forums today!  Vistaril also made a great catch revealing a particularly pernicious trick for dealing with protesters.

  • Here’s a link to ESMB’s thread discussing the South Africa situation after the recent “massacre” of 50-year members that were at the top of the heap in that country.
  • Here’s an important discussion on both WWP and ESMB of security for people posting videos to YouTube and posting content to other Google properties.  The fact that Google is trying to get you to use Google+ (their sort-of Facebook clone) can result in some security leakage potentially including revealing one’s name used in sending e-mails.  When some of us created the “Rodeo” on Google Groups as a temporary home for the commenter community when Tony left the Village Voice but before he launched his own site, we discovered this.  I emphasize that I don’t think one needs to panic, but just to be aware of the situation and take steps if you post content to the properties referenced.  This does not create security risk on non-Google sites, such as Tony’s blog, mine, or anything else that uses Disqus, for example.
  • From the “Maggots gotta mag” department: the Philippines were devastated recently by the strongest typhoon ever recorded, and desperately needs help. ESMB anticipates that the American Red Cross may soon be joined by the “Cockroach Brigade” as Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers fly in to get in the way for a major fundraising photo op, and to waste time with fingers ready to do touch assists and hand out “International Disaster Response” booklets. I continue to find it amazing that they are handing out booklets to people languishing in the rubble of their former homes that contain the precept “Live a prosperous life.”   See the video Cat Daddy uncovered to amp up your outrage quotient over Volunteer Ministers if you just think they’re hapless dupes.  Their stupidity kills.
  • WWP discusses the project to flag Co$ ads on Craigslist as spam.  They’re working to coordinate efforts even more effectively.
  • Vistaril caught an interesting story about how a cultie got arrested for throwing water on two protesters.  The discussion on WWP raised the interesting point that this may have been done so the cult could get the identity of the Anons that would have to be revealed as part of making a police complaint, implying that the stunt was essentially arranged entirely for the purpose.  Apparently, one of the Anons was comfortable doing this, and that was sufficient to make the arrest.  The good news: they’re desperate enough to unmask Anons that someone would risk an arrest that will show up on a background check if they ever leave the cult.  The bad news: this may actually work.  The worse news, if you’re in the cult: David Miscavige treats your future employment prospects with about the same care and concern as the average Al Qaeda lieutenant recruiting suicide bombers.
  • sugarplumfairy

    Cousin’s going to be soo tickled to be mentioned.. She’s an early riser so she goes to bed early.. I’m going to call her right now and wake her up to tell her.. =)

    • tetloj

      I missed her at the bunker today!

  • Spackle Motion

    Why anyone would read Marty’s drivel is beyond me. He still holds LRH’s “philosophies” in great regard and believes LRH was a master at business, marketing, and wisdom. It’s like reading a book written by one of the Watergate henchmen/burglars that truly believe Nixon was just a misunderstood genius.

    Marty’s ‘self help’ and ‘relevatory’ books are compete crap. He over-promises on content and finds methods to backhand his critics in the process, which shows how petty and stuck in knee-jerk attack mode (as well as showing his fragile ego).

    Congrats to you, JP, on having your Capitalist Tech tested successfully in the field! Those ladies are definitely brave.

    Also, I spent most of the weekend with a close, young (teenage) relative that is smart and wise beyond her years (she puts LRH to shame), and I took the opportunity to show her Nancy Many’s television “Dangerous Persuasions” special to illustrate the importance in doing your research on any group or organization before you join them and the importance of listening to your gut when something doesn’t seem right.

    She was full of Scientology questions and it was a great bonding experience.

    • tetloj

      There’s certainly a feeling of one step forward two steps back with Marty and it looks like upcoming books will be featuring woo-physics.

      The post before today’s received close to 500 comments – still a relevant voice to many people.

      • Espiando

        I don’t know how relevant his voice is at this time. I think the post count might be originating from the fact that Marty’s blog is still the one “theta” place for the woo-woo brigade who are still drinking deep from the Kool-Aid bucket to congregate (they seem to have hive-minded on the issue of Hubbard being flawed). Remember, these are people who regard ESMB as unwelcoming and threatening, so we’re talking about the severely fragile. They can talk Hubbard and what parts of the Tech are valid to their heart’s content over at Marty’s, secure in the knowledge that Marty won’t approve any entheta post (well, any entheta post that doesn’t fit into Marty’s agenda).

        Considering that guy who was here on Day One, who I apparently drove off the board here by daring to respond to him, I can see that the posting section of Marty’s has a purpose beyond actually responding to Marty’s latest memorandum from Deep Inside His Navel.

    • John P.

      I can’t say that I am going to look for Marty to become a master philosopher, or at least explainer of Scientology against the backdrop of other spiritual traditions, sort of like the Scientology equivalent of Pema Chodron.

      I am focusing on Marty’s planned writing efforts as a data point — how someone who defended Hubbard’s “tech” as perfection (including some relatively testy exchanges with me early in my career when I called bullshit on stuff Hubbard said) is coming to the place he espouses.

      Given the intellectual inflexibility of some of the “Indies” who comment here (Theo, Vinay, the one-hit wonder Eugene K from a couple weeks ago) and continue to spout the party line despite being out of the cult for many years, Marty’s continuing evolution is of interest. It’s almost a barometer of how long it takes one’s head to come unscrewed after spending a lifetime in the cult.

      • Sidney18511

        JP, I would just loves to see the back and forth you had with MR. If you have them saved can you post a link? If not do you remember the month and year and I will search myself.

        • John P.

          That nasty one would have been about March or April 2012, when the re-enactment of Hubbard visiting an early computer installation was included in the LRH Birthday Event. Given that I know more than a little about the early history of computers, that particular tape makes my blood boil every time I think about it. Marty threatened to ban me for lambasting Hubbard’s lies. I don’t recall the details, but I think he accused me of failing to take it as allegory, but I pointed out that Hubbard didn’t believe in allegory, so he presumably intended for the story to be a recounting of an actual event. Or something like that.

  • Eivol Ekdal

    Suppressa Palooza Trailer – Published on 9 Nov 2013
    @ 4:11 – “Sociologists of religion don’t generally study scientology because we can’t get good, un-biased information about them.

  • Noni Mause

    Thank you so much for the summary — if only for the heads up on BTN’s ‘shatter and confront’ incident. I would totally have missed it without this blog, and that would have been a total waste of great SP POWAHZ!!

    • Gerard Plourde

      That goes for me too. It’s great to add you to my set of daily “go to” sites.

  • Espiando

    The video was from the Chicago protest this weekend. I wasn’t able to be there, but I do try to keep up with that. Strong Strength says that this wasn’t an attempt to get anyone’s ID, and I believe him. After all, this was Eat My Ass Girl who used Water Tech on the ChiAnons, the same psycho bitch who ripped the sign out of Strong’s hand a few months ago. She’s a loose cannon. I feel bad for Dominic. I think he’s given up trying to control her, and, for a Scilon, he’s a decent guy.

    As for why revealing of identities in this instance isn’t a factor, they have a track record in Chicago of not following through on anything. I name-fagged myself, and was never Fair Gamed. Baas was followed by PIs, and nothing was done to him. For some reason, the Chicago DSAs (if there are any; for a huge metropolitan area, this is a damn small Class V org) don’t seem to be too concerned with applying the Tech. And now that Eat My Ass Girl has been caught on camera twice going after Anons, they’re going to have to walk a tightrope with the cops in the area.

  • Gerard Plourde

    “But now, it appears that the cult is back to its usual program of bizarre legal machinations that swing for the fences but they come nowhere near actually hitting the ball. This latest tactic sounds even more ill-advised than the motion to disqualify counsel, which the cult soundly lost. It seems to me that if David Miscavage had a little more restraint, he would probably have a better chance on prevailing with the diversity jurisdiction motion.”

    I wonder if the reason for this latest motion is that the cult has realized it opened a can of worms when it raised the diversity issue. As the Garcias’ response pointed out, discovery is going to be needed to assess the validity of the cult’s claimed lack of diversity. Who knows what could be uncovered that could undermine the cult’s position? Given that the Narconon litigation in Georgia provided clear and direct evidence of the cult out and out lying to a Florida court I think anything’s possible.

  • John P.

    Thanks to everyone for helping “boom my stats.” According to Alexa, I am now the 4,720,206th most popular site on the Internet. That’s a huge jump from #8,159,256 or whatever it was two or three days ago! Straight up and vertical, baby!

    (Glad to see the stats booming, but humbly realizing that I have a very long way to go!)

    • Penny

      That is amazing! Writers of the future, here you come! (joke)

  • aegerprimo

    Well done with the Alice in Wonderland quotes. Poignant. Relevent.

  • mirele

    The thing with federal diversity jurisdiction is that it’s KEY…you can’t be in federal court unless you’ve got a federal cause of action or you have diversity jurisdiction. Federal judges can’t keep cases where there’s no diversity jurisdiction. I don’t even think the judges have the leeway to keep a case where the jurisdiction is faulty even if it was done as a trick.

    tl;dr: Diversity jurisdiction is srs bizniss.

  • Miss Tia

    Yeah! Thanks for the mention! 🙂 I think today I’m gonna send emails to Imagine and Universal—might reach them better? I followed Blue Gene [sic?]’s idea of emailing RJ Reynold’s since the Marlboro logo was on one of the race cars and you know they have product placement agreements with movie studios. They really need to be held accountable for the blatant copyright abuse–especially since they are using it to raise money, that raises a whole other ethical issue there.

    It makes me sick to think that $cienos will be going to the Philippines taking up space that REAL workers could use! It shows how clueless and out of touch they are—you are going to a totally devastated area with people in deep shock, injured, many lost most of their families, all their belongings and they’re gonna go try to push a LRH scheme?! It also shows how focused they just are on image and MONEY. They can use the photos of their ‘relief efforts’ to raise money as you say above. SMDH, it just makes me sick and ANGRY!

    And I know you get thanks every day for your summaries here, but thank you! I don’t read through all the comments on the bunker all the time and I don’t hit up all the other sites every day either!