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.
- 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.
- 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.