Tag Archives: Leah Remini

Scientology Daily Digest: Saturday, December 7, 2013

Probably the biggest news today is the Lori Hodgson interview on Inside Edition, a US news magazine show, where she traveled to her son’s workplace in Austin, Texas and paid him a surprise visit which was recorded.

But the best performance clearly goes to Mark Bunker’s three-minute appearance in front of the Clearwater City Council on the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death, where he eloquently pointed out the absurdity of trying to make peace with the cult given how they’ve treated the citizens of the Clearwater area for the last forty years.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony covers the Inside Edition segment on ex-Scientologist Lori Hodgson paying another surprise visit to her son, who disconnected from her, at his work place in Austin, Texas.  Tony has written several times before on the heartbreaking treatment that Lori Hodgson has received at the hands of the cult and the painful way her kids have chosen Scientology over their relationship with her.

Also, there’s a video of Mark (“Wise Beard Man”) Bunker speaking to the city council in his new home town of Clearwater about the death of Lisa McPherson on the anniversary of her death.  Money quote: “I understand that the city is thinking about finding a better way to work with Scientology, sitting down and mending fences with David Miscavige.  I’d ask you to remember that when Scientology was criminally charged in Lisa’s case, Scientology didn’t bat an eye before destroying key evidence in the case and whisking people out of the country before they could be questioned by the police.”  He then goes on to talk about the harassment of Marty Rathbun, about disconnection, about forced disconnection.  Perhaps he can add an Emmy for performance in front of the camera for this video to the Emmy he received for his work behind the camera a few years ago.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Today’s post spotlights a couple who used to be field auditors, but who now go for the big bucks traveling around and “regging” people.  He points out the lulz in some of their statements gushing about the Super Power rundown and a few other choice topics.
  • Yesterday’s post contains Mike’s thoughts on the “Cause Resurgence Rundown” (a.k.a., the “running program”), which is now held on an entire floor of the new Sooper Powerz building.  Mike recalls being forced to do it at Int Base back when it was a staff punishment.  He thinks it might be an even bigger bust for $2,500 than Super Power.

Forum Sites (ESMB, WWP, OCMB)

General Press

  • The celebrity press is all over the “chick fight” where Kirstie Alley has taken her usual high road in responding to Leah Remini’s recent comments about disconnection and other problems with the cult.  There are lots of articles in different media including some pretty repulsive fawning from Perez Hilton.  TV Guide weighs in, as does Huffington Post. Leah stays classy and positive throughout, but Kirstie stays true to form, living proof that the cult makes the able more able, and the asshole more asshole.
  • The National Enquirer is reporting that Leah Remini is trying to get back in the good graces of Katie Holmes in order to get Katie to become involved with Leah’s anti-Scientology book project.  The Enquirer claims that Leah could command an advance as high as $5 million but the story claims that publishers want to get Katie Holmes involved as well to ensure the book’s popularity.  I’ve only seen this in the Enquirer, so I don’t know how conjectural the piece is, though the Enquirer is relatively careful with stories to avoid getting sued. After all, Bert Fields never followed up with that threatened suit against the Enquirer over the TomKat divorce.

 

Scientology Daily Digest: Monday, November 25, 2013

Shameless plug:  An earlier post today highlights a poster listing the most common logical fallacies in persuasive writing.  Read this carefully every day for a week or two and you will find yourself making fewer logical mistakes in your own writing, and you will have great fun seeing what gaping errors people make in the arguments they use to sell you stuff, get you to vote for them, etc.


Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s post reports that Leah Remini was officially declared a Suppressive Person by the cult.  While the biggest wave of actual disconnections has already taken place, this move is yet another own goal by Miscavige since it gives the Hollywood gossip press another chance to revisit the disconnection story, just when it was starting to die down a bit.

My take:  As Mike Rinder points out in the article, the fact that Tom Cruise didn’t have to disconnect from Suri when Katie Holmes divorced him has probably rankled many ordinary Scientologists who have been forced to disconnect from wives, parents and kids when they blew.  So with typical Miscavige ham-handedness, he’s going to “make an example” of Leah by not cutting her any slack.

It seems to me that this is yet another situation where Miscavige has boxed himself in with arbitrary decisions in the past to accomplish whatever short term goal he had in mind at the time, which then limit his flexibility in dealing with the present.  His inability to think clearly about potential unintended consequences of his actions is a crippling flaw that would have, if present in a CEO of a real company, caused him to be fired long ago.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post today reprints a letter from a longtime “field auditor,” who remains in the cult due to family connection and fear of disconnection.  He complains that the new Golden Age of Dreck 2 is so awful that it’s put him back at square one.  He’s wondering what to do next… I am sure some people here can come up with helpful suggestions, though it’s probably tough to formulate a pithy suggestion we haven’t already heard a few times.
  • Mike’s second post raises an interesting possibility: given that Leah Remini and Jennifer Lopez are BFF’s, would Miscavige order J Lo’s father to disconnect from her if she continues to hang out with Leah?  Technically, according to Mike, she’s guilty of a “suppressive act” which could get Dad in trouble.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

South African Independent Scientology Blog

  • Today’s article estimated “crowds” for the GAT2 launch video event in J’Burg at 300 to 500, down substantially from the 800 they got in 2005 opening the Johannesburg Ideal Org, versus 1,200 confirmations on Facebook.  Pretoria supposedly had about 120 as did Durban.  Wonder if they had any seat fillers, which according to earlier comments on that blog, were used in the past at some events.
  • Cultural RevolutionA great article from a couple days ago written by someone who grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution compared the mind control tactics of the government to the way Scientology attempts to stamp out dissent and disagreement in its ranks.

General Press

  • Apparently, the cult’s German membership base has dwindled to the point that the watchdog BFV (Agency for the Protection of the Constitution) has stopped monitoring it, despite protests from some German states.  BFV officials base the decisions on what they estimate as 4,000 members in the country, though that seems rather high versus what we think is a more reasonable estimate of 500 to 700.  Interestingly, some BFV offices say that the cult is trying to lure new members through “hidden Internet portals.”  Craigslist, anyone?
  • From a few days ago, Huffington Post ran an article about local Clearwater fundamentalist Christian pastors complaining that Scientology “serves a false god.”  A fairly lame “my God can beat up your God” article, but nice use of some of the aerial shots that may have come from Rinder & Bennitt.  Some fairly amusing comments, though.

 

 

Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Programming note: Again, exhaustion overtook me in trying to get this done last night.  That and a desire to maintain some semblance of an actual life. Apologies to Faithful Readers who may depend on this before bedtime.


Perhaps the most unexpected news item today is that Marty and Mosey Rathbun recently became parents, with little William James Rathbun entering the world a few days ago.  Ironically, William James is considered “the father of American psychology.”  Congratulations!  And, of course, this makes Mosey Rathbun a mother lioness; Miscavige would do well to remember that messing with a mother lioness (think Karen De La Carriere after the loss of her son Alexander) is almost always a low-percentage shot.

The best Facebook comment by a cultie hyperventilating over the ultra-amazing events of the weekend goes to this unnamed Kool-Aid drinker, posted to BlackRob’s WWP thread of crazy cult Facebook posts.

Some delusionally delirious praise for David Miscavige from an attendee at last weekend's events.  Wonder if the Nobel committee will pick Miscavige over that Pope Francis guy.

Some delusionally delirious praise for David Miscavige from an attendee at last weekend’s events. Wonder if the Nobel committee will pick Miscavige over that Pope Francis guy.

Something to watch for:  Buffalo (thanks to Ze Moo) and Melbourne report Scientology ad campaigns popping up in the last couple of weeks.  It will be important to see if this is the beginning of a major initiative to pollute adorn buses and airwaves in major cities worldwide.  Please pass along any data points on new ads in mass media (Craigslist doesn’t count).

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s story featured leaked photos from the Super Power building.  Apparently, these photos came from one of the books distributed as souvenirs to the attendees at the weekend’s events.  There are some pictures from inside the building being posted on social media, but nothing yet that appears to be actual pix of the oiliness table or anything else on the Super Power floor.  Tony also revisited the fact that the speech was 8 minutes long.

My take:  

I had another thought on the 8-minute speechus interruptus (perhaps better termed quotus interruptus, evocative of another happens-too-fast problem that DM may have to contend with) and why it is such a disaster for Dave. Recall that, based on the articles on Mike Rinder’s site, all the events on Friday and Saturday gave a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo about Golden Age of Dreck 2 issues, filled with nonsensical acronym-slinging. But he didn’t say much about Super Power at that time.

So if he really wanted to “sell” Super Power to his best customers, most of whom were seated in the front row at the event, he really needed to get people whipped up into a lather before they entered the building. When you unveil a major new product, you have to get people emotionally invested before they try it out. You don’t want them making a buying decision on purely rational grounds. It’s like when a manufacturer unveils a new car at a car show — the speeches, music, lights, food, booze, etc. are designed to get people excited before they see the car, and then transfer the excitement from the other stuff to the car itself. It doesn’t matter that they’ve been hyping Super Power for 15 years of fund raising; you still have to do it all over again when people are about to sample the product for the first time.

That’s why I think this is an epic fail, far worse than just the personal embarrassment of being “confronted and shattered” by “chopper tech.” It’s a strategic blunder of the first degree. And it will definitely be felt not only in Super Power enrollment figures, but perhaps even in the IAS event in two weeks.

So what’s the next scam after this one?  Ivan Mapother tongue-in-cheekily thinks we’re up for new Super Powers buildings in Europe and Australia.  I think we would do well to watch the “Pacific Events Center,” an auditorium complex so sorely needed because the dozens of live event venues within 10 miles of Pac Base, ranging from the 1,300 seat Wilshire Ebell theater to the Forum, the Sports Arena and the Staples Center (each 15,000+ seats) just don’t give them any choices on where to hold an event.  They’re also talking about an “L. Ron Hubbard Auditorium” in Clearwater.

But there are also local ad campaigns popping up.  It’s going to be important to keep an eye on local ad campaigns (which are cheaper, and thus involve less fundraising) versus big building campaigns (which last longer, and have the potential to raise more money over time but probably a much slower start). That may give us some insight into whether DM believes his donor base is tapped out.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • One of Mike’s sources talks about their tour of the Super Power building. Apparently, they’re not allowed up on the sixth floor to see the running track where the Cause Resurgence Rundown will take place.  Perhaps that’s because the marketing promise that this rundown can be done at any point and will absolutely positively deliver all sorts of “case gain” won’t reconcile too well to the reality of a running track in the dark in the minds of even the most obedient public.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

Thanks again to Aeger Primo for the eagle-eyed scan of the forums.

General News

  • Leah Remini was on The View, the ABC gab-fest led by Barbara Walters. Apparently, Baba Wawa asked about disconnection, and Leah pointed out that she didn’t disconnect from her friends, they are the ones not allowed to talk to her.
  • In Buffalo, the gateway to the quaint rural region of upstate New York called “Canada,” the local paper notes a billboard and bus ad campaign for Scientology and considers the question of whether they’re trying to spruce up their image.  Leaving aside the question of whether raising the Titanic would be easier, it’s nice to see local press do a reasonable job grappling with the question.  Nice job scoring an interview with two recently departed local ex’s.
  • Off topic but still relevant, since many in this community are fans: Monty Python is reuniting for a show.  They had rarely appeared together in public in the last 20 years (I was at a movie premiere of a documentary in NY in 2009 and actually got to shake Terry Jones’s hand) and now they’re performing together.

Scientology Daily Digest: Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Apostate Air Force Edition

I think the follow-on effects of yesterday’s airborne raid on the Super Power ribbon-cutting ceremony will reverberate for some time, and we might even see some significant changes in the way the cult produces the IAS event in two weeks.  Given that those changes are likely to be about protecting David Miscavige from imagined threats to his personal security and about protecting his image with his “flock,” it’s possible that he takes his eye off the ball: raising money.

If it is true that Miscavige has postponed the events earlier this year mainly due to his need to micro-manage the legal cases he’s embroiled in, then there’s a non-zero chance that he’ll postpone the IAS event while he revamps the event and the security plan.  And if he does that, it is extremely likely that the proceeds from the gala are going to be down substantially.

Rookie poster “roxhum” asked in yesterday’s story, “Although it was fun pissing off the little dictator, what is the objective?”  Roxhum also went on to suggest that it might be counterproductive because cult members might actually become more loyal since they perceive their religion as coming under attack.

Certainly, it’s valuable to be skeptical of the game-changing potential of what could be seen as a rather expensive prank.  My reply to “roxhum” may provide some illumination on why I think this could end up being as epic as the coordinated Anonymous raid with approximately 10,000 protesters in front of half of the cult’s org buildings.  I said:

There’s actually a very real objective in play, which Mike & Mike either intuitively or overtly grasped: keeping your opposition off balance causes them to make mistakes. This idea goes back to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, first published about 2,500 years ago. If you control the time and place of the battle, you’re way more than halfway to victory. He who doesn’t shape the battlefield faces an uphill fight from the opening shot. And demoralizing an opponent by attacking at a moment they might consider a time of triumph has the most leverage of any attack you can make.

What’s the practical effect of this stunt? Miscavige has been increasingly paranoid about outsiders getting a hold of his speeches and mocking him on the Internet. He appears to be obsessed with what outsiders, particularly ex’s say about him, despite his media strategy, which appears to be to ignore them at best, be hostile at worst.  To the extent opponents can keep him focused on security and on shoring up his image, he won’t be focused on growing the business, and it will probably end up shrinking.

Last year, a tabloid reporter easily snuck into the IAS event in the UK. In May, at the opening of the Portland Ideal Org, the cult was responding to the London disaster by having unprecedented security and area control for the event, checking ID’s and prohibiting electronic devices. When they discovered that Mark Bunker (“Wise Beard Man”) had cut a deal with the store across the street to put a hidden camera up with a great sight line to the stage, Miscavige lost it, and ultimately ended up turning the sound down so that his speech can’t be recorded, and he also appeared to cut short the event.

Both of those events shaped the current reality: he moved the big tent from the UK to the US, where he probably thinks he has better security for the IAS event than he could get in the UK (it was easy for people to sneak onto the Saint Hill property from adjoining fields). But better security in response to Bunker’s little prank comes at a cost: he has basically killed the European event business, and by doing so, has probably hastened the decay in the European Scientology orgs — the rich donors from Europe who have been propping up the cult over there are not that likely to come all the way to the (tasteless, low-brow) US for an event. The biggest event of the year is probably going to pull in a lot less revenue going forward.

While it is correct that many people still in the cult will be able, through thought stopping and cognitive dissonance, to think that the attacks on the cult and on Miscavige must mean Scientology is important and successful, not everyone will be swayed that way. While I can’t accurately predict that attrition will accelerate specifically as a result of this event, I strongly suspect that bad knee-jerk decisions made as a result of this event (more security, more sec checking of people who posted event details on Facebook, etc.) will ultimately accelerate the exodus, and we should start to see people whose “Aha!” moment was shortly after this and the upcoming IAS event appearing in the next couple of months.

I thus believe that yesterday’s stunt is important in causing Miscavige to withdraw even more from reality, and thus to make even worse decisions. Because the events business is such a money maker, any damage to the event business significantly reduces cult profitability, and when they start eating into reserves, the decision making process is likely to become even more insane — Miscavige can rationalize almost any idiotic decisions, as long as the reserves go up every year. But if reserves start getting depleted, that’s when the death spiral begins.

Is this a prank or a really, really good investment?  A Robinson R44 goes for about $500 per hour, plus perhaps a bit more for a pilot, insurance, etc. So for less than $2,000, Mike & Mike had an opportunity to rattle Miscavige significantly. Perhaps even enough to cause him to make a potentially significant mistake that could potentially bury the events business for good as he worries about his personal security and about his image. I don’t think his personal security is at much risk, because most ex’s are having too much fun laughing at him. And his image is none too good except in the presence of the most rabid Kool-Aid drinkers.

So why do this now instead of at the Portland Ideal Org opening? Because Miscavige has another great opportunity to screw up, in just two short weeks, at the biggest-grossing event of the year.

I will bet you that Rinder and Bennitt will look back in a couple years and tell you that this $2,000 was the best two grand they ever spent, both in terms of the fun value and in terms of the gravel it dumps in Miscavige’s gearbox.

The IAS event, this year more than ever, needs to be about revenue growth. But as a result of the first mission of Viper Squadron 1 of the Apostate Air Force, it will be all about trying to plug imagined security leaks. It’s entirely possible that Miscavige will postpone the event entirely while he tries to figure out what other leaks might exist that those evil SP’s might try to exploit. That would be a $20 million mistake at least, a 10,000-to-1 return on their investment…

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s story today featured an exclusive interview with Jacqueline Olivier, the principal hired to turn Will Smith’s home schooling operation into a “legit” private school, the New Village Leadership Academy, which closed its doors after three years.

My take:  It sounds like Olivier took the job knowing that “study tech” would be involved, but may have figured that, since the school board was “committed to best practices,” they would be able to move past that odd fixation once she showed them that “study tech” was anything but a best practice.  But I suspect she ran up against a small definition problem: in the real world, best practices are “the current consensus of qualified experts as to the best way of accomplishing measurable results, subject to evolution over time as new, scientifically valid research shows improved methods.”  Scientologists also believe in best practices, but unfortunately, they use their own definition: “stuff that Hubbard pulled out of his ass 50 years ago.”  So when those two visions of best practices collided, it’s no surprise that Olivier’s reality-based version lost out.

There is a lot of commentary about what she should have done, with some thinking she should have left immediately and blown the lid off the cult’s machinations, and many who felt she did the best she could given the circumstances.  I don’t think the commenters here were able to settle the issue, but there were some well-articulated points raised on all sides, which makes me proud of the community in these forums.

I think it will be very hard for Will and Jada to deny they’re Scientologists after Olivier alleges full involvement of the Smiths in making Scientology-related decisions in the school.  I can hardly wait until some intrepid reporter asks one of them why, if their new religion confers such super powers on anyone, they seem to be unwilling to acknowledge that they’re involved in it.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike didn’t have a new post up today, pleading exhaustion (a veritable epidemic among Scientology bloggers the last couple days), but he did put up a post late last night that I didn’t include in yesterday’s Daily Digest with pictures from the event.

General News

Various news outlets picked up the Super Power opening.  I glanced at the stories and didn’t see anything remarkable; some of them basically rewrote the Tampa Bay Times piece.

Scientology Daily Digest: Friday, November 8, 2013

I think the big story today is the metaphorical bloodshed at the Scientology facility in Johannesburg. There are a couple of significant articles giving background and perspective here, which I strongly recommend reading. I think this situation is worth watching because it could be an example of a non-US organization of some size that may break away from the church, as the Haifa mission in Israel did last year.

Tony’s story giving lots of details about Tom Cruise’s lawsuit against Bauer Publications sketches in some great background, but since I do not think that Cruise is likely to prevail in that case, the story is not all that relevant to the cult.

Also, the City of Clearwater appears to be on its game in dealing with the cult’s late request for permits for the events scattered over the next several weeks. The city is offering to be flexible on some (though not all) of the items that Scientology would like done for the Flag building opening next weekend. The carrot being dangled in front of David Miscavage is that if he fails to play ball with the city right now, he will not get a permit for the IAS event, which is obviously far more significant. This seems to be a particularly smart way for the city to play its cards, because being willing to show some flexibility but to insist on other concessions from the called leads to a more desirable outcome to a lawsuit, which could carry an emergency order preventing the city from controlling the events in any way.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s story today featured details from the defamation suit that Tom Cruise filed against Bauer Media. In addition to looking at the deposition transcripts that were released yesterday by Radar Online, Tony also provided excerpts of e-mails from various Bauer employees as they develop the story and the packaging. It does not appear that there were any particular “smoking guns” among the employee e-mails.

My take:  I had a friend some years ago I was a senior editor at one of these publications (which was not owned by Bauer Media). The picture that emerges from these e-mails is very consistent with what my friend has told me about how they develop stories, including how they work with publicists for the celebrities they cover to use the implied threat of a more negative story to get the celebrity to cooperate and provide unique details that would enable them to write a more positive story. I suspect that this is been going on with gossip publications for decades.

I continue to believe that this is unlikely to result in any money changing hands. Cruz faces an uphill battle because the assertion that he did not see his daughter for nearly four months in what would have to be a difficult time immediately following his divorce was substantially true. One commentor raised the point that the whole issue seems to be around the word “abandons” used on the cover, and that this word may hold special significance for Cruise because of how his father abandoned him in childhood.

Best of the comments:

  • Ex-cultie Kevin Tighe (not the 1970s actor) reminisces about the daughter he lost to disconnection three years ago and challenges Cruise for implicitly supporting this.
  • Jeff Hawkins weighs in with a well-informed perspective on why Scientologists are always so nasty and aggressive in how they handle stuff that makes them uncomfortable.  This is not apparently just for the usual “confront and shatter” circumstances, but apparently for dealing with the media as well.
  • Gerard Plourde gives some Genuine Lawyer(tm) perspective in response to my question yesterday about why AGP would voluntarily submit to a one-year restraining order to stay away from HGB to get the prosecution to drop a case they would have dropped already.
  • Ze Moo makes the very relevant observation that the word “abandons” might be the real trigger for the suit, given Cruise’s abandonment by his biological father. On reading this comment, it certainly rings true as a possibility to consider.
  • Miscavige's Web Traffic Generation ConsultantJohnny Tank, who posts the daily Alexa rankings for the cult, points out that scientology.org has dropped 11,366 ranking spots since he started collecting stats on October 14, just over three weeks ago.  Given that the numbers seem to be propped up with Indian click farmers, that’s a bit of a plummet.  Think: Wile E. Coyote off a cliff after the temporary suspension of gravity has been eliminated.
  • TXCowgirl points out that the cult is now starting to evade the Craigslist campaign to flag their ads by posting on Backpage.com.  An amusing detail is that Backpage.com is/was owned by Village Voice Media, the parent company of Tony’s former employer.  The hilarious letters to the editor by Karin Pouw, the never-seen cult media person, frequently pointed out the affiliation between the Voice and Backpage, which has lots of escort service and other questionable advertisers, to “dead agent” Tony.  Not that that did any good or anything, but…
  • Noni Mause riffs rather elegantly on Cruise’s assertions about how Scientology is all misunderstood because it’s a “minority religion” and people are bigoted against them.  A nicely elegant contrast in two short sentences.
  • More good lulz from TruthIwant, who found a quote from Tom’s deposition that Tony somehow missed.
  • Nice analysis from “Vistaril” of victim mentality in the cult that may apply to TC.
  • MarionDee gives a great personal anecdote about her experience doing fact-checking of celebrity gossip for two different magazines, including one from Canada.  We had to check to verify that movable type printing technologies had penetrated the deep forest cover in that quaint rural region of upstate New York before we decided to recommend this comment.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike’s first post is strongly recommended. It’s a detailed recollection of a 1980s pogrom called the LatAm Strategy.  Hubbard was in hiding and was paranoid that orgs were going to be hijacked by the executives running them, taking them independent and denying Hubbard the money.  To fix this imagined problem, the Sea Org parachuted into the Latin American cult HQ and declared a bunch of management as SP’s.  The intent was to terrorize the survivors into improving stats quickly.  While the stats spiked, shortly after the Sea Org left, stats sank back into the swamp, lower than before they shot all the experienced staff.  Mike thinks the return of the “LatAm strategy” is what happened this week in the Johannesburg org.  Only problem was that the first go-round 30 years focused on shooting staff members.  Apparently, somebody at Int Base forgot this minor distinction and decided to shoot a lot of the biggest donors and most loyal supporters of the org.  Rule #1 of a successful business is: “don’t piss off your most loyal customers.”

Some of the comments are fairly interesting, including perspective from a 56-year Church member in South Africa who knew Hubbard personally, who resigned because his wife was one of the 18 people declared.  

Mike’s second post links to the Tampa Bay Times article detailing the restrictions the city is placing on the events (see the discussion below), and delivers a few laughs about how Miscavige is likely to play this.

ESMB, WWP and OCMB

According to Aeger Primo, the forums were relatively quiet today.

  • One article stands out.  ESMB contributor “scooter” has a lengthy blog post about the history of Scientology in South Africa.  This is a useful prelude to understanding some of the details of the current situation in South Africa.
  • There’s also some more discussion about insurance fraud in Michigan on Reaching for the Tipping point.
  • Some of the longtime critics get into the aesthetic side of cult activism in the thread on ESMB discussing Leah Remini’s performance this week on DWTS.

General Media

A number of other outlets picked up news of the “leaked” deposition in the Tom Cruise vs Bauer Publication suit, focusing on how Cruise is acknowledging that Scientology played a role in his divorce (see Tony’s post for the truth of the statement; he didn’t quite admit that).  I have been accused of major “tl;dr” violations but not of flogging a dead horse… I don’t want to start now, so we move on.

The Tampa Bay Times reports new details of what the city is requiring from the cult in order to get a permit for the November 17 Flag building dedication (the former Super Power building).  They have to get permits for the tents that were illegally constructed, and for the fence they built.  The city won’t remove traffic signals for filming.  The upshot is that the city is willing to be flexible on dates for the Flag building event for the cult, but if DM doesn’t play ball, he can forget about permits for the IAS event.