Scientology’s Empty Boycott Threats

A few months ago, Scientology “targeted” a few national advertisers whose ads appeared on Leah Remini’s hit A&E show “Scientology and the Aftermath,” implying a boycott might be lurking.  Earlier in 2017, Scientology announced a boycott of Clearwater businesses to show their economic impact on the city after losing the land deal they wanted.

What kind of pressure could Scientology bring to bear on an advertiser, to bend them to its will?  How rapidly can their ire affect a big company and show Corporate America who’s boss?  We analyze the effectiveness of consumer boycotts in general and Scientology’s whine-fest in particular.

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Scientology’s Continuing Abuse of Religious Visas, Human Trafficking and the Farce of Guardianship

We take another look at how Scientology misuses R-1 religious worker visas as it attempts to fill slots in its operations.  It’s no longer able to bring on enough new domestic recruits or even US citizen children of current members to staff up Flag, Pac Base and its other major operations.  We look at the line between accidental stretching of the bounds of the program and outright fraud.  Several reports suggest that Scientology misuses the “guardianship” provisions of the law to mistreat younger R-1 visa holders, crossing the line into human trafficking. Continue reading “Scientology’s Continuing Abuse of Religious Visas, Human Trafficking and the Farce of Guardianship”

Are There Enough Scientologists in Clearwater to Take Over the City Council?

The city government of Clearwater, Florida, home of Scientology’s main global campus, voted in April 2016 to buy land from the Clearwater Aquarium, thwarting Scientology’s offer to acquire the property for substantially more than the city paid.  More recently, Pastor Willie Rice of Calvary Baptist Church, the city’s oldest church, has gone into attack mode, rallying his congregation and trying to rally other pastors to oppose Scientology openly.  Why is the power structure in Clearwater now opposing Scientology so openly?

We believe the city council and others now understand that Scientology is a paper tiger that can’t affect the outcome of elections, the political currency that matters most. They can only lobby ineffectually and skulk around and attempt to harass after the fact, a modus operandi that is increasingly often exposed, and which thus backfires on the cult.

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Does Scientology Disconnection Cross the Line Into Criminal Behavior?

Scientology’s practice of disconnection pushes members to sever contact with anyone leaving the cult, including rending the relationship between parents and children.   This practice, which hangs over the head of anyone starting to doubt their commitment to the group, has been the backbone of much of the recent bad publicity that has turned Scientology’s reputation from “odd but harmless” into “dangerous and should be forbidden.”

I believe that the way Scientology practices disconnection goes far beyond merely unethical and immoral, and its systematic nature may actually cross the line into criminal behavior.

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The Irony Goes to 11: Steely Dan Founder to Guest on New Spinal Tap Album

Today, it was announced that Spinal Tap’s bassist Derek Smalls will be releasing a new solo album on April 13.  It’ll be called “Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing).”

Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) in concert in 2009

The mind-blowing news, from my view, is the presence of Donald Fagen, co-founder of Steely Dan, on one of the songs.  Continue reading “The Irony Goes to 11: Steely Dan Founder to Guest on New Spinal Tap Album”

Will Scientology Media Productions Ever Start Broadcasting?

Recently, tawdry fame whore/Scientologist Joy Villa announced that her strategy for gaining fame involved waiting for Scientology’s new media arm to begin broadcasting, as she expected it to become a bigger media platform than Fox News, thus boosting her career stratospherically.

Scientology spent millions to acquire the historic five-acre KCET Studios  in Hollywood in April 2011, then spent five years and untold millions more to refurbish it into Scientology Media Productions (SMP).  Scientology leader David Miscavige held a grand opening event in June 2016 (press release on Scientology web site here) and promised that broadcasting would begin by the “summer solstice 2017.”  Seven months after that deadline, the radio silence continues.

We look at the strategy driving the creation of SMP and assess whether Scientology will ever begin broadcasting to the “wog” (their derogatory term for non-Scientologists) world and how they might justify their lack of action to their membership and those donors who gave to open the facility.

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The folly of LRH’s “Intelligence Principles”

A former military intelligence officer looks at the writings Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard created to set up a goon squad to intimidate critics and opponents with dirty tricks. Some people have called this an “intelligence operation” or a private “spy agency.” No way, says our expert.

Note: I’m welcoming the first outside contributor to this blog: Jeff Wasel, a Ph.D. with significant professional and academic expertise in financial crime, money laundering, who’s a retired military intelligence, to boot.  I’ve enjoyed talking with him and I welcome him to this forum.

Take it away, Jeff!  

Recently, Mike Rinder posted an article on his site about the sexual assault accusations lodged against former Scientologist Paul Haggis.

Haggis has said that the Church of Scientology may be involved in these claims, attempting to smear him after his 2008 defection from the church spawned a classic New Yorker magazine article, the award-winning book by Larry Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” and an Emmy-winning/Oscar-nominated HBO documentary of the same name from Alex Gibney.  The cascade of bad press stemming from Haggis’s defection has significantly undermined Scientology’s brand name and thus its ability to recruit new members.

In the article, Rinder published Hubbard’s policy documents outlining strategies for smearing opponents, which Hubbard calls “intelligence principles.”

A lot of people have repeated without thinking the claim that Hubbard was into “intelligence operations,” when all he was merely running a series of smear campaigns.

Having spent 13 years in the Marine Corps, in a variety of billets, including 4 years of which were as an intelligence analyst, I want to show you just how far Hubbard’s goon squad and dirty tricks organization is from a professional intelligence operation.

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Hey Rocky! Watch Me Open a Scientology Mission in Košice, Slovakia!

I explore the reasons why Scientology opened a “mission” in Košice, the second-largest city in Slovkia, a small central European country, and what it might mean for the lucky Scientologist who paid so handsomely for the privilege of operating it. In this note, we estimate how many potential recruits there might be in Košice, how much money the cult makes, and what the strategic thinking might have been behind this decision. The reasons they did this are not what you might think.

On January 3, 2018, Mike Rinder published a blog post detailing some of the data points showing the contraction of Scientology around the world.  One of the more interesting data points was the announcement of an “Ideal Mission” in Košice, the second-largest city in Slovakia.  Slovakia is half of the former Czechoslovakia, a country that underwent a peaceful “Velvet Divorce” at the end of 1992.

We estimate the potential number of Scientologists that the Košice mission might serve and the money that the cult might generate from those customers, and then we come to a surprising conclusion about whether this was a good decision or not.

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A Numbers Dive: Scientology’s Brag About Visitors to Information Center Falls Flat

We dissect a press release from Scientology trumpeting the foot traffic at the Scientology Information Center at its Clearwater headquarters, putting the breathless stats against the backdrop of the tourist stats for Pinellas County.

Yesterday, Scientology published a press release trumpeting the visitor traffic they’ve received to the Scientology Information Center, a place that is supposed to help present the wonders of Scientology to the teeming public hungry to learn about the “world’s fastest growing religion.”  I’ve copied the press release below, and will dissect it to see how epic the numbers really are.

This is one of my “Global Capitalism HQ” dives into the numbers, which often yield some revealing perspective. If you’re curious about how to do quantitative research for decision-making, you might find the thought process, particularly about how to find sources quickly on the internet and to assess them for credibility, to be worth tracking.   Continue reading “A Numbers Dive: Scientology’s Brag About Visitors to Information Center Falls Flat”

My Predictions for Scientology in 2018

I take a stab at my predictions for what will happen in the world of Scientology in 2018. I think we’re in for more of what happened in 2016-2017: no particularly shattering news, lots of stories of abuse, and a continuing erosion in the membership base as the cult slowly drifts into irrelevance, on a long journey to oblivion.

Here’s what I think we can look forward to from Scientology in 2018.

Happy new year, from all of us at Global Capitalism HQ, including the multitude of supermodels, jet pilots, summer interns from Harvard Business School, the yacht crews and the waterfront estate technicians.

I’m not officially reviving this blog with a commitment to publish regularly, but if I do post anything, I’ll notify interested parties via Twitter and via comments on Tony Ortega’s site.  

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