Tag Archives: e-meter

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 26, 2013

Today’s news seems to be focused on the new Mark VIII e-meter, with some commenters noting that it bears more than a passing resemblance to the recently redesigned Kenner Easy-Bake Oven.  Some say that this is because Ideo, the legendary design firm that did tons of iconic products over the years including many for Apple, did both products. In a comment on Mike Rinder’s blog, not yet moderated by press time, I said that the design of the new e-meter isn’t half bad, and could well have been done by Ideo.  And I’m actually serious. The good design doesn’t excuse the stupidity of leaving this thing in a warehouse for a decade or a lot of other mistakes in the GAT2 rollout, but it’s not bad design by itself.

Also, life seems to have dealt Mr. Thomas C. Mapother IV a mixed bag today.

My Blog

I normally don’t like to do something that looks like I might be tooting my own horn, but there were a couple comments on my blog in the last 24 hours that I thought were worth calling your attention to.

  • Eclipse-girl wondered how I got an estimate of 500 to 700 Scientologists in Germany when the German government’s official count was about 4,000.  I went through a detailed discussion in my reply.  This might be a useful read as we start to go through and build up an estimate of membership.
  • OrangySky takes umbrage with a commenter in another forum who says they’re too clever not to get involved in a cult.  I share the experience of several very smart people who still managed to get tangled up a cult (one Scientology, one not), because that cult was able, whether by intent or by accident, to target their Achilles’ heel.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s blog post today contained the regular Tuesday feature with Claire Headley (recently joined by longtime top ranked auditor Bruce Hines) taking us “up the bridge,” going through all the materials for each level.  Today’s OT 2 stuff basically sounds like pages and pages of Orwellian “word salad” that sure looks like the goal is to scramble any remaining critical thinking skills.

There’s also a status update on the depositions in the Monique Rathbun case. The next court date is December 11.  They’ve gotten depositions from cult execs Warren McShane and Allen Cartwright, plus defendants Monty Drake and Steven Sloat. Tommy Davis is scheduled for December 4 in Austin and Leah Remini is still not scheduled.

 

Senate House at the University of London, considered to be the model for the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell's 1984.

Senate House at the University of London, considered to be the model for the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell’s 1984.

My take:  Some of these statements, including the first few, which read:

1. To Die is To Live
2. To Live is to Die
3. To Surrender is to Victimize
4. To Victimize is to Surrender
5. To Lose is to Win

… all suggest that somebody was reading a little too much George Orwell when they wrote all this stuff. Perhaps one could envision these chiseled on the wall at the Super Power building, which, given its foreboding footprint on its lot, resembles the immense

Super Power Building. If you imagine this in gray, you can kind of see a resemblance.

Super Power Building. If you imagine this in gray, you can kind of see a resemblance.

Ministry of Truth building in 1984 but with a pseudo-Mediterranean Disney-esque paint job. Even skimming this list without holding the cans, I can see my synapses frying like an egg on a hot griddle.

Regarding the depositions in Monique Rathbun case, it would be delightful fun to read Warren McShane’s deposition, given that I seem to recall a quote from Miscavige to the effect of how he loved it when Warren testified because he is the best liar on the management team. And I would certainly pay money (though I wouldn’t go so far as to hock the Global Capitalism HQ jet) to see the video of Tommy Davis’s deposition, just to watch him get “really angry!”

Some of the comments that riff on other trending topics are the best payload of Tony’s story today.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Exhibit 1: The Mark VIII E-Meter

    Exhibit 1: The Mark VIII E-Meter

    Mike picked up on the commenter from Tony’s blog who noticed the resemblance between the new Mark VIII Super-De-Duper and the recently restyled Easy-Bake Oven.  One commenter claims that these two products were done by the same design firm, the one that has done a lot of work for Apple.

    Easy-Bake Oven... Separated at birth?

    Easy-Bake Oven… Separated at birth?

    I contend that this is eminently possible, and in a long comment on Rinder’s site, I deconstructed the design elements of the new e-meter that make me believe this. I also tracked down an interesting tidbit on the history of the redsign of the Easy-Bake Oven.

  • New Valley Org solicitation.  I "command" you to reach for your wallets, since asking politely didn't work too well.

    New Valley Org solicitation. I “command” you to reach for your wallets, since asking politely didn’t work too well.

    Mike also published an interesting Valley Ideal Org flyer (which a tipster originally sent me a couple of days ago).  The first thing you see is the word “Command” at the top. It’s all about how DM is commanding you to get the Valley Org done. Not about how great it will be for those about to throng the doorway to learn about Scientology, nor what it will do for existing public. It’s all about how you can obey him.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

  • WWP discusses new “rules” for owning an e-meter, including a clause that says you can only own one if you remain in good standing. Not sure how enforceable that is, but nice try… Also, it might be interesting to see if the requirement that you have a current annual or lifetime IAS membership before being allowed to buy a meter constitutes “tying” under anti-trust law.
  • A WWP thread discusses the software update for your PC that connects to the new Mark VIII E-meter, wondering if it is entirely about the E-meter or wondering if there might be other secret capabilities involved, like a new “net nanny” package.  Worth monitoring in case some clever Anon manages to disassemble part of the executable to see what it really does.

General News

Scientology Daily Digest: Saturday, November 16, 2013

Important Programming Note

Stay tuned for a major scoop tomorrow.  This weekend, Supermodel #1 and I hosted a guest who was in town from her idyllic rural home in the frozen northern part of the US (no, she’s not from Canada, but close enough). This guest, a much-loved commenter on Tony Ortega’s blog who hasn’t been seen in a while, was in town for a girl’s weekend out while the males in her family were busy on opening day of deer season.  I had to spend some time in the office in the morning, so our guest accompanied Supermodel #1 to the pre-Black Friday sales at Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.

Later, while Supermodel #1 was fixing tea, the super-secret Analysis Hotline in the penthouse apartment rang.  Since I started the blog just over 10 days ago, I’ve been deluged with calls and e-mails, even though the phone number isn’t yet public.  The voice at the other end claimed to be very, very close to the festivities taking place in Clearwater and offered a unique perspective on David Miscavige and on the content of the events.  Since Supermodel #1 was busy making hospitality happen, our guest decided to conduct the interview, and had a transcript prepared for me when I got home.  After a careful review of this source’s bona fides, I realized that we might have a unique look at the Most. Important. Events. Ever.  Stay tuned sometime around mid-day tomorrow (US Eastern time).

In the meantime, here’s the Daily Digest. I’ve mixed in a couple comments and stories from yesterday that remain relevant, even though they’re 24 hours off the crest of the wave of breaking news.

The Big Picture

Obviously, today is all about the Super Power opening event. We’re starting to get some data points trickling in from various sources, including some photos leaking out to Facebook.  Mike Rinder’s blog put up the first confirmed look at GAT 2, confirming no surprise at all — it seems to be a retread of prior “tech,” bringing back a bunch of stuff that Miscavige previously cancelled almost 20 years ago. The forum sites have other interesting details.  The problem with this, of course, is that if gung-ho auditors realize the sleight-of-hand Miscavige has engaged in, they’ll realize that he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing and are at risk to bolt.  I would suspect some number of long-time loyal cult members who have been frustrated with their progress “up the Bridge” and who have believed promises that GAT 2 would fix everything, are going to wake up on this one. Defections are likely to increase.

Surprisingly, there are a number of pictures that are making their way to Facebook, perhaps from culties who are there attempting to impress their friends who remain stuck back home, or from leakers trying to expose the craziness to the outside world.

As you continue to read coverage about the events, it would be helpful to try and look at anything substantive that turns up regarding whether the new facility actually has anything new and different for new member recruitment, as implied by Tobin & Childs in their Tampa Bay Times article of Thursday night.  Any evidence we can find for what’s on the first floor, particularly if there are any changes from the architectural drawings Tony published at the Voice in early 2012, would be extremely helpful in helping us determine whether this is just reporting what the cult claims, or whether it is deeper insight into a signifcant change in strategy — the cult clearly has not been interested in new member recruitment in many, many years.  Bring any data points you find to light in the comments section here!

Tony Ortega’s Blog

The regular Saturday series with “A Piece of Blue Sky” author Jon Atack continues, this time with the startling assertion that Mary Sue Hubbard may have doubted the validity of “the tech,” refusing to pursue an endless series of auditing sessions in the 1970s to enable her to “go exterior.”  Atack says she was overheard on at least one occasion calling Hubbard a fraud and a charlatan.

Tony also featured numerous pictures from the event, including some posted on the Internet by a Scientologist in good standing who apparently couldn’t resist the urge to share all the theta.

My take:  One of the pictures was a pool party at the Fort Harrison, appearing remarkably under-attended. It would be useful to get a sense of what this event was and whether the photo was taken early or late in the event to try and figure out if the event was really as dead as this one picture with no context might make it appear.

Another picture featured a scene in the lobby of the Fort Harrison, where two of the columns were festooned with banners reading “New Universe” and “Big Push.”  I’m a big fan of non-sequitur marketing, and these two banners are great examples of the genre.  It goes to show that fancy artwork doesn’t rescue bad copy, and even good copy can’t rescue an incoherent marketing strategy.  Non-sequitur words on the walls were put to great use in the legendary Talking Heads concert film, “Stop Making Sense.”  In this video, check out the effects starting at around 31:15, during the song “Making Flippy Floppy.”

Selected comments:

  • Marc Headley outlines a less-exensive alternative that Scientologists can use to get all of the same value as “Super Power” at a fraction of the price.
  • RMycroft posts a picture of the Toronto Org during the event, with the building enshrouded in Stygian gloom.  Apparently, all that theta emanating from Clearwater stops cold at the 49th Parallel and doesn’t penetrate far into Canada and people are not putting down their dinner plates heaping with back bacon, donning their toques and spontaneously flocking to downtown Toronto to get free personality tests.
  • Once_Born found a record of a nifty, simple experiment that would demolish the notion of out-of-body experiences being accurate descriptions of the actual environment, if only the sample size were large enough.  But this certainly points the way.
  • Once_Born also suggests that bringing back the “Board Technical Bulletins” that Miscavige outlawed in 1996 may be a way for Miscavige to make stuff up when he needs to evolve the product strategy in the future.  These BTB’s were written by staff either based on something Hubbard said or something they found in his archives that pointed to the possibility of what they were trying to do.  It was a fairly low-level way to have a committee evolve the product to keep things current, though it clearly was purged when Miscavige came to power.
  • MonkeyKnickers says well in her unique style what many have long wondered: how did Hubbard manage to score with the ladies, with his physical and mental attributes?

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • The first post in the series gives details, heavy on the cult-speak, about what is at the heart of GAT 2.  Apparently, the key to this is un-cancelling some stuff that he cancelled almost 20 years ago.   It will be interesting to see stories developing of long-time auditors who aren’t fooled by this move and who blow as a result of these changes.
  • Mike’s second post features lots of Facebook comments by loyal culties who are long on enthusiasm and short on details.
  • The third post, which appeared just before press time for tonight’s Daily Digest, goes into mocking detail on a lot of the new courses, and how Miscavige will profit, probably at the expense of the orgs and missions.  Mike even obtained a picture of the new (old, warehoused for a decade or more) e-meter, which has a candy apple red housing and a new, higher price: $5,000 apiece, minimum order of two.  Interestingly, he says that the new e-meter puts the readings  on a memory stick, so it could be possible that this is a new device, not the ancient one that has been moldering in a warehouse for a decade, since memory sticks weren’t all that common back in the day, and (IIRC) the original meters interfaced with PC’s via an RS-232 serial port rather than the now-ubiquitous USB.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

Thanks again to eagle-eyed reader Aeger Primo, who once again helped out immensely by staying on top of the avalanche of comments on these sites.

As expected, much of the day’s discussion centers around “joking and degrading” of the new building and the new “tech.”

  • WWP talks about the Super Power opening.
  • Black Rob is at it again! This ongoing thread of screenshots of Scientologists’ Facebook posts lists numerous entries all related to the Gat 2 release. The thread also includes recent shoops and real photos of Flag’s weekend events.
  • OCMB notes that there is actually a real card-carrying capitalist in the cult: Robert Duggan is now officially a billionaire after his company’s shares have soared in the last year.  I am sure Miscavige is lavishing even more attention on him than usual at the event.  It would be interesting to see if Duggan shows up at the IAS event in a couple weeks; it might be very interesting if he does not.
  • OCMB has another great thread of squirrel-related shoops.