Tag Archives: Bruce Hines

Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Perhaps the biggest news today is the Tampa Bay times story that some Clearwater businesses have seen sales plummet in the wake of the Super Power opening, as staff apparently don’t wander between buildings as much, and as the cafeteria in the basement is capturing money that used to go to them.  Way to relate to the community, Scientology! 

Also, Tony’s blog had more insights on how people react to the OT III level, Marty Rathbun posts a particularly provocative long quote from Hubbard on conducting intelligence operations against enemies, Mike Rinder mocks Mark VIII e-meter marketing, and the general press unloads on the cult.

Today’s post is worth a close read as there are some pretty funny discoveries of videos and news stories from around the world.

Thanks to a large number of tipsters and commenters who brought stories to my attention today!

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s regular Tuesday feature delves a little deeper into the “mysteries” of the OT III level as seen through the eyes of former staff Claire Headley and Bruce Hines; it also features a fun video from Karen de la Carriere and J. Swift on the Ideal Org scam.

My take: What’s really interesting is that both Bruce Hines and Claire Headley said that their first reaction was “what a load of crap!” but their training instantly took over and their devotion to Scientology didn’t waver much.  They both figured it was something they didn’t understand, and vowed to come back later and try and overcome their shortcomings that made them unable to comprehend the brilliance.  Here are two fairly intelligent people who were so indoctrinated by the cult that they were unable to pull free when the alarm bells were ringing loudly.  That’s a pretty powerful warning to others who think they’re somehow immune.

Also horrifying is Claire’s recollection of an accident on the base that left her with a badly broken foot and a broken shoulder, which nearly killed her. The cult wasn’t allowed to call 911 when Miscavige was actually on the base, perhaps because of his paranoia about his personal security.  Just appalling.

From a purely literary standpoint, Hubbard’s description of “Incident One” is probably the lamest bit of handwritten nonsense I’ve seen him pen.  When you read about the Big Bang, even dry physics texts make it sound pretty damned awe-inspiring. But here, Hubbard manages to take any element of wonder and mystery, the key elements of any origin story, out of it and make it sound like a back-of-the-napkin reminder of how to write something so pathetic by comparison that it would get laughed out of town.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike posts about the craziness of the sales campaigns to get the new Mark VIII super-duper new e-meter in people’s hands immediately.

Apparently, one new and unique feature of the high-pressure marketing campaign is awards for the staff.  The org that sells the most meters will apparently get a gift-wrapped swag basket of some indeterminate contents at some point in the future.  For reference, Harry and David, the long-time gourmet gift basket retailer, offers a $200 gift basket as its most expensive.  Split 30 ways (assuming 30 staff per org) would mean about $6 per employee, or a bonus of the better part of a week’s pay.  This stands as a monument to cult cheapness, a paltry reward to whoever brings in hundreds of thousands in profits.  Of course, such cheapness goes back to “Source,” as Hubbard offered a small plaque as a way of thanking anyone who brought in any of the biggest celebrities then alive in the cult’s first celebrity recruitment campaign.

Mike does the math and thinks this means that the cult really expects to have 7,500 members doing courses actively, assuming a production run of 20,000 units (they were made when he was “in” and have been sitting in a warehouse since then, so he may have a reasonably good idea of exactly how many there are), less 5,000 for orgs and field auditors, divided by two because of the requirement that everyone have two in case one fails.

Marty Rathbun’s Blog

Marty has posted a particularly telling Hubbard quote about intelligence operations and sliming enemies.  It’s a lot deeper than the oft-quoted one-liner justifying “Fair Game.”  To get the full effect of Hubbard’s paranoid viciousness in action, this is worth a read.  Secondarily, this might also serve as a quiet reminder to some of his readers that there is plenty of evidence to counter the view that “Hubbard always good, Miscavige always bad” that some Independent Scientologists espouse.  Incidentally, the full “Manual of Justice” that this quote is taken from appears at http://www.xenu.net/archive/go/man_just.htm.

In fact, the comments are worth reading on this one as they show a fairly diverse range of opinions on Hubbard’s pronouncements here.  The comments are definitely different from what I’d expect on this site or on Tony’s but there is not the lockstep agreement that some might expect.

Forum Sites (ESMB, OCMB, WWP)

Thanks yet again for Aeger Primo for her work monitoring the forum sites.

General News

  • The Tampa Bay Times reported this afternoon that some downtown Clearwater businesses are struggling now that staff are moving into the new Super Power building, and apparently have less time to get out to buy coffee or otherwise spend their meager salaries.  On the other hand, some hope that having all those culties out of the way will clean up downtown Clearwater’s image quicker and ultimately help business get back on track.  Apparently, some of the tourists find the Sea Org uniforms a bit intimidating.
  • The Tampa Bay Times also notes that the mayor of Clearwater sent a note congratulating Miscavige on the Super Power opening, though the article also mentions Mark Bunker’s excellent video about exactly why this is a bad thing for the city to do.
  • Sheriff Lee Baca may not have much time for gladhanding Scientologists, given the arrests of 18 officers and managers in the LA County jail system for a particularly heinous series of crimes.
  • “Enty,” the entertainment lawyer who posts at gossip site “Crazy Days and Nights,” thinks the Bauer Media attorneys could very well question Katie Holmes about whether Tom is Suri’s biological father, and if such questioning comes up, he speculates that Cruise could settle the Bauer suit quickly.  It looks like the Bauer folks have the momentum in the trial since Bert Fields’ clumsy attempt to tie Bauer’s German parent to some sort of Nazi behavior not only fell flat but earned him sanctions.
  • Apparently, “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Christmas Pageant” is coming to a community theater in the San Diego area.  Since there are apparently almost zero Scientologists in the San Diego area (out of 3.2 million population), the cult will have to bus people down from LA to protest, sadly.

Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A day off turned out to be a great thing. It’s amazing how much difference two hours of sleep can make.  I’m back in the saddle now and rarin’ to go.

Today seems to be relatively quiet, perhaps because of the first snow of the season in many parts of the Northeast, including a few inches in the Canada region of upstate New York, an amount of snow that the locals, in their native tongue, call “flurries.”

Reaching back to yesterday, the latest video from Karen De La Carriere and J. Swift about the cult’s legal machinations is worth a watch. The funniest line was when Karen interviewed Jeff, wearing a silver wig that would make him the envy of any late-night televangelist, who said “We threatened Vanity Fair with a very serious threatening letter.”  “Yes but they published the article.” “Yes, but they almost didn’t publish it.”  Legally omnipotent, indeed.  Karen asks, “Why does the entire internet laugh at us?”  “Well, that’s not true.  It’s only part of the Internet that’s laughing at you, a large part to be sure, but only a part.”  I think the most important point in the video was the idea that the cult may start to turn up the “religious persecution” angle to try to rally the troops and to blunt opposition from outsiders.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI8d8pZQW04

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s weekly feature on actually “doing” Scientology with Claire Headley featured an interview of longtime auditor and Scientology exec Bruce Hines and some commentary about OT II.  More importantly, there’s a mention of what appears to be a looney-tunes filing in the Garcia case.  The cult is complaining that the Garcia’s reply to the description of arbitration that the Court limited to five pages is itself longer than five pages.  Also, Tony unveils the “sensurround” room with speakers throughout to help you perceive where sound is coming from.

My take: of course, the Garcia’s were not limited by the court to any specific length in their response, so this almost sounds like first graders arguing about the rules for tetherball.  The “diversity jurisdiction” trap that the cult sprung was way more clever than the usual maneuverings, because there’s little latitude for the judge to rule against it.  They follow this slick maneuver up with a couple of extremely odd filings that can only irritate the judge. So one wonders if they’re almost baiting the judge to try to find some way around the “diversity jurisdiction” issue and waste a lot of the Garcia’s money on a trial, only to have the jurisdiction reversed on appeal.

The “sound room” from the Super Power machinery revealed in today’s posts appears to be an acoustical engineering nightmare, but that is apparently in keeping with the grand tradition of recording engineering in the cult, leading straight back to Hubbard himself, as documented in the long but hilarious ESMB thread written by someone who was with Hubbard on the project.

Selected comments:

  • Marc Headley chips in with a couple comments.  He predicts that a lot of members will hit the streets when they realize that virtually all of the Biggest. Thing. Ever is warmed-over dreck that they’ve already seen before, but which they’re being bludgeoned into donating at great expense.  He also gives a great vignette of Scientology’s technological backwardness with its Incomm system.
  • Legal Eagle Scott Pilutik provides some details on why the Garcia case filing is bizarre, but also points out that the Court won’t wade through any of the nonsense until the petition over jurisdiction is decided.
  • Missionary Kid hypothesizes about the effects of the acoustical environment in the Wall-o-Sound chamber, as a way to bring about psychological effects from certain kinds of sound.
  • MaxSPaceman finds a quote attributed to David Mayo, who was Hubbard’s auditor and who was one of the first splinter groups to try to do independent Scientology, began to suspect that it was a con when he first read the OT III materials.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post yesterday provides more perspective on what happened in South Africa. It is an interview with Wendy Bowman, one of the 18 people who were declared suppressive persons and cast out of the church a couple of weeks ago. http://www.mikerindersblog.org/wendy-bowman-of-the-joburg-18-tells-her-story/
  • Today’s post features comments from the cult’s Facebook page where the public are getting near delirious with anticipation.  I guess this goes to show that if you hype the event up far enough before it happens, that you’ll get people to believe anything is great.  Google “The Royal Nonesuch” from Huckleberry Finn and you’ll see what I mean.

ESMB, WWP, OCMB

Fairly quiet here, though eagle-eyed Aeger Primo was on patrol again today, for which we are grateful.

  • The most interesting discussion was one started yesterday, about how “independent Scientologists” delivering auditing can be accountable to their customers, instead of hiding the lack of customer success under a veil of secrecy as the cult does.  My take is that this is indeed necessary to build a growing business, since word of mouth is a powerful customer recruitment tool.  But I still think this is a potentially fatal challenge for the Indies, since I continue to think they’re not enthusiastic about building a real umbrella organization.  And the last part of the original post speaks volumes: they need to have a way that OSA spies don’t get auditing and then denounce their auditors as frauds.  Yes, there are all sorts of obvious comments to make about the idea that OSA would denounce auditing as a sham, but I’ll skip them to stay focused on the corporate strategy issue: it will be hard to build an effective organization when there is always some residual paranoia about the intentions of some of your customers, and that may even extend to suspicion about some of the partners you need in order to grow the organization.  
  • On WWP, some members of Anonymous plan to launch “Anontube,” a hosting site for anti-cult videos that would be beyond the reach of the bogus takedown notices that are part of the DMCA landscape in the US.

A couple discussions from yesterday were also interesting, including:

  • Some members of ESMB predict a mass exodus of Scientologists when GAT 2, Superpower, and all the Scientology celebrations planned in ClearwaterFL. More Scientologists may say WTF and leave. Then there is the recent wave of apostates in South Africa. Will some of them wish to practice Scientology outside the Church and join the Indie movement? A new thread discusses the challenges in doing this.
  • There’s a rumor that the cult will give a $500 bonus to staff members to celebrate the GAT 2 launch.  This sounds a bit far-fetched but it’s worth thinking about. A bonus of that magnitude without offsetting “mandatory donations” back to the cult, say, for copies of the new and improved (yet again) “Basics” would be uncommon, and would point to the possibility that staff retention is becoming a near panic-level problem.  That, in turn, is one of the issues that would bring about the end of the cult, and which all the reserves in the world wouldn’t be able to solve.

General News

  • Kevin Trudeau, Scientologist and serial fraudster, whose latest effort is an apparent pyramid scheme called “Global Information Network,” was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for failing to disclose assets that could be used to pay a $37 million fine levied for his scams.  The saddest part of the Chicago Trib article about the verdict was that there were dozens of “supporters” who were in tears when the verdict was read.  The penalties for criminal contempt in Federal court are fairly open-ended, potentially up to and including life in prison.  It seems likely that the Court is not going to be lenient when it sentences him in February.  Apparently, Trudeau is almost enough to make Grant Cardone seem like a class act.

 

 

 

Scientology Daily Digest: November 4, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the first post of what I hope will be daily summaries of news from around the Scientology universe.  Initially, I’ll focus on the three key blogs: Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun.  Over time, particularly if some people can help me, I’d like to include a roundup of key Scientology-related posts on WWP, ESMB and other forum boards.  I’ll typically try, schedule permitting to get this out around 10pm US Eastern Time, though I can’t guarantee this.

I need feedback to determine what would make this document maximally useful to you; this is an evolving document and I’m very flexible on what to do with it, or even whether it’s necessary.

Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker

Tony’s lone article today continued Claire Headley’s series of actually “doing” Scientology. Today, she described what it was like to do the OT 1 level, the first stage past clear.

My take: As always, getting even a taste of what it is like to do Scientology training is interesting for a never-in like me.  The OT 1 level itself sounds pretty lame, hanging around out in public and looking at people and trying to figure out what they might be thinking.

Though the article didn’t go into it in any great detail, I recall reading from other sources that the cult pulls on people is to make it difficult for them to start doing the OT levels at all.  That’s the “OT Eligibility” process that Claire references in the article.  Interestingly, it costs $9,800 while the OT 1 level itself “only” costs $3,300.  I’ve heard that the OT Eligibility is where they like to throw lots of curves at you, magically discovering that there was some screw-up way back when and you now need to redo a whole bunch of lower-level stuff before you are going to be permitted to join the big time.

Key comments:

  • Chuck Beatty gave a nice firsthand description of watching people walk around the neighborhood of the Big Blue building in Hollywood doing their OT 1 observations.
  • Longtime member Patty Moher weighed in with her recollections of how the cult dragged out the OT Eligibility process for her, even though she was a loyal and successful OSA operative at the time.
  • J. Swift dredged up a copy of a legal threat from Scientology to WikiLeaks in 2008 for posting the OT materials on line.  Yeah, that obviously got Julian Assange whimpering in the corner.
  • “Guest” presented one of the nicer parodies of a missive from ham-fisted cult spokeswoman Karin Pouw to emerge in a while.
  • Bruce Hines mentioned that the OT 1 level went through a few radical revisions over the years.  I’m not sure I understand the details, but this is a source that may be worth noting. Anyone know Bruce’s history?  Apparently he was there.
  • Observer dredged up a link to a story from The Skeptic’s Dictionary where Hubbard allegedly subjected bacteria to jets of steam and tobacco smoke to determine whether they inherited instincts.  This is in a beautifully snarky review of Hubbard’s Rediscovery of the Human Soul, a book which I hadn’t previously seen.  It appears to be almost as pathetic as A History of Man, which Tony had leading evolutionary biologist P. Z. Myers review back in August.  The scientific method demonstrated in Hubbard’s experiment looks positively medieval.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike reports that the cult has now filed permits for street closures, well after the normal 30-day deadline.  He references a Tampa Bay Times article filed this evening that the cult is going to request that busy Ft. Harrison avenue be closed during the entire weekend of November 17th, a prime beach weekend.  While the article quotes local officials as attempting to be flexible, one wonders whether the economic firepower of the tourism industry will overpower the fear-driven clout of the cult.  There are a couple interesting details:

  • The cult has asked for several traffic signals to be removed to support filming, which the city has refused to consider. This little detail, if granted, would apparently cost in excess of $100,000 per signal.
  • The cult plans on putting Jumbotron style video screens in the area so you can get a video feed of the festivities anywhere in the neighborhood.  Of course, this means they have to get the streets blocked so protestors can’t film the video on these screens with their phones.