Friday V

  • Winter the Dolphin  – So after all the clandestine meetings w/ Clearwater Council members and invite only business planning by David Miscavige, the Council voted unanimously to purchase the parcel of land from the aquarium. And, that should have been the end of it, right? Well, being the humanitarians that they are, Co$ decided to throw shade at the aquarium,  it’s CEO, and even Winter the Dolphin. It is such a clear case of “sour grapes” that even if there is some valid information, it should not even be considered. They had plenty of time to address any reservations about the aquarium, CMA, or the sale long before the vote. But, this is what they do when something doesn’t go there way. True intent revealed, and another large footbullet to Co$ and DM.
  • Be wary of new follows/accts – To those on social media, especially Twitter, we are noticing some “new” followers or accounts that appear to be socks or trolls supporting Co$. Always a good reminder to keep an eye on who is following you or trying to gain your trust or information. If you are unsure about a new account or follower, as around. There are folks who have been around a while and can help you out.
  • Other online shenanigans – So, some of the newer folks may wonder what is going on, especially leading up to Thursdays. Well, the rumor is all stats need to be reported in by 2pm on Thursdays. So, it makes sense to see more aggressive activity from the Co$ accounts leading up to that deadline. There are also accounts in comm that appear to be against some of the basic rules that Co$ uses regarding SPs, so many are pointing out that discrepancy. My advice, sit back and enjoy the show 🙂
  • Spring is here – The returning birdies tell me to be on the lookout for some interesting news on the Co$ front. We already know that SuMP is supposed to start broadcasting the end of June, but Scientology and The Aftermath will be running this summer as well – no confirmed date yet. Also in June, we can expect to see some activity from some friends 😉 Be on the lookout for additional information regarding protests.
  • Daily struggle – I know that many people would like to see an immediate impact on Co$, but when dealing with a well funded clandestine organization that will throw as many resources (lawyers, OSA, smear, etc) at protestors, it will be a methodical path to get real change. Do not get discouraged or lose sight of this issue. Every day is an opportunity to educate others, protest abuses, and slow/negate their ability to recruit or push their own propaganda/smear. I ask that you be patient with this plodding course.

#Squad

So, today I’d like to dedicate this space to all the great men and women who I have met through social media by getting involved in protesting Co$. While there are still many I haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet, many great friendships have been forged by those willing to stand up, speak out, and be heard.

I may be easy for Co$ members to ignore or disregard singular voices on social media, there truly is strength in numbers. Fortunately, with all the work to expose the truth, yes we are looking at you Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, Louis Theroux, Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, Tony Ortega, Chris Shelton, Jeffrey Augustine, Aaron Smith-Levin, et al, it seems that there are more and more ex-members and concerned parties willing to publically speak about the abusive policies, actions, and beliefs. The groundswell will only continue as more information and experiences are shared online and through various media outlets.

I think the biggest misstep that Co$ continues to make is, footbullets anyone?, rather than directly address the stories/experiences/facts that are shared, they choose to attack the credibility of the teller instead. While they like to argue “sour grapes” or “desperate for money and attention” about these brave individuals, we see through this smokescreen. We understand that many of them are standing up at great personal risk. But, it seems their driving force is to shed light on an otherwise clandestine organization that seeks to “author their own story” and attack anyone who dares to question them.

I truly believe that this organization will not be changed, or brought down, by a single individual or story, but by collectively working together to educate the masses about how they operate. With enough public protest, ample political pressure, and resistance to their policies, we can make a huge impact. Constant vigilance to call out their obvious smear tactics, limiting their recruitment efforts, and making the truth readily available to anyone who wants to find it, will be our legacy.

To this end, a very personal tip of the cap to all those mentioned above, and to those who I interact with on a daily basis. Your bravery to speak out inspires me and countless others to continue. While we may seem to get lost in meme spamming, or finding levity in the posts or actions of certain individuals, we are truly supporting all exes, current members, and anyone willing to stand up, speak out, and be heard. There is only one exception that I am aware of, but I have chosen to mute that lone wolf. Playing to both sides of this issue will get the same reaction from both, and ultimately make you seem foolish.

I implore you all to continue doing what you do, we are here to support you! Just like Dumbledore says, “Help will always be give at Hogwarts, to those who ask for it”.

Ask a scientologist…

Ok, both lazy and a bit of fun today. If given the chance to use “truth serum” and ask a scientologist anything, what would you ask?  You can add your questions in the comment section, and I will post them on Friday.

For me, there are the obvious –

Where is Shelley?

Do you believe in Xenu/Xemu/Zenu?

Do you believe LRH is still alive, continuing his research?

Do you really believe Psychiatry/Psychology is “evil”?

Do you believe in Disconnection?

But, let’s see what else we can come up with. Who knows, maybe we can find a scientologist brave enough to answer.

Call me a cult

We’ll start the day with a checklist on cult characteristics.

It has become increasingly popular with the East Grinstead duo, their Ally, and a certain “world expert” to refer to those who protest Co$ as being a cult. This logic was promoted by another ex-member on his blog, labeling it the ASC (Anti-Scientology Cult). At the time, it barely hit my radar, as it was a far-fetched idea to me. I certainly have never hoped to join or support a cult.

In reviewing the cult checklist, linked above, it becomes clear that generically tagging protestors as a “cult” is simple projection. Yes, we do have at least one common theme – the reported abusive, manipulative policies, beliefs, and actions of Co$. But, among us, you will find many differences. Some are cat lovers, some dogs, cows, pigs, and other various creatures. There are as many trump supporters as anti-trump folks who oppose Co$. And, to my knowledge, we have never been given any “orders” from a higher power to do, say, or act in a certain way. In fact, yes, there have been some accounts who have stepped over Twitter rules and been suspended. If we were given some sort of “playbook”, a few have not followed it. If there were orders from some leader, I’ve missed them completely.

So, why the accusation of being in a cult? Well, I think it’s obvious. Unless someone blatantly threatens physical or emotional violence, they have no real recourse against us protestors. We speak of their organization based on first-hand accounts of ex-members, or our own experiences. Several of us have “visited” orgs and come back with interesting stories of the trips or we have interacted with members on social media.

But, why cheer or celebrate when a scientologist blocks you? Aren’t you exhibiting cult mentality or group thinking? No. It is amazing how this complete, perfect belief system, that is supposed to arm you with tools to “confront & shatter”, seems useless in the real world. Rather than debate the beliefs, policies, and actions of Co$, these folks generally hide from discourse by blocking us. In fact, we are often blocked without engaging the blocker. We cheer because it shows how ill-prepared they are to debate, and there is no other option. Should we get mad if they block us? And, what would that accomplish?

Using the “logic” that scientologist employ to define a cult, even loyal sports fans of a particular team should be labeled a cult. Does that seem logical? Not in the least. But, understandable they have no other means to trigger us. In most cases, they refuse to discuss policy or actions. They talk in circles without answering any questions, or reply with simple “Nope”, “What courses or books have you studied”, “Which org have you visited” or #facepalm responses. They supposedly have all this “great” data/stats to prove we are all wrong, but are unable or unwilling to share it.

Please note, at times I have embraced the “ASC” tag as I thought it funny that they would try to argue that protestors are a cult. It has become an “inside” joke that we reference frequently. But, you would be hard pressed to find anyone one of us who really takes it seriously.

While we have forged special and valued bonds, we also maintain our individual identities. We have created friendships, along the way, that go well beyond our interest in protesting Co$. So, continue accusing us of being a “cult”, using “echo chambers” or “group think”, we will continue to amplify the reasons we protest. At the end of the day, we are experiencing monumental and historic growth, and will continue to stand up, speak out, and be heard.

 

Stand up against S.T.A.A.D

So, as some may have noticed, the latest Co$ front group has become increasingly more active on social media. Scientologists Taking A Stand Against Discrimination (STAAD or STAND?) was created to “put a stop to incitement of bigotry and hate crime, and to secure Religious Freedom for man. STAND exists to expose bias and to maintain basic human rights for Scientologists and everyone”. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, think again.

If you would peruse their site and social media posts, the majority of pages are dedicated to smearing, “Black PR”, or “Dead Agent” information. On Twitter, they try to “safe-point” themselves by stating they “block bigoted accounts”. What this really means, is they block anyone who dares to stand up/speak out against abusive Co$ policies, actions, and beliefs. And, on their Facebook page, they have locked down comments, deleted or hid all “negative” comments to their posts. I know this first hand as my comments are not visible. They were neither offensive or bigoted.

On their site, the “Fact v. Fiction” section again attempts to “set the record straight” on topics such as “Fair Game”, “Disconnection”, “Brainwashing”. They are written only for current members or public that have never heard of scientology before. Anyone who has ever read the OT3 “Xenu” story, spoken to or read about exes, or looked at their “Media Watch” section, can see very little in the “facts” department. “Going Clear”, “Scientology and the Aftermath”, “My Scientology Movie”, “Ruthless”, “Troublemaker” and a whole host of other books and videos have poked significant holes in their public facade. And, there is more on the way :).

Nearly every day there are new stories from folks like Tony Ortega and Mike Rinder, new videos from Chris Shelton and Aaron Smith-Levin, people being trolled on Twitter for even mentioning scientology, and new “smear” posts from STAND, FreedomMediaEthics, and trolling by a certain couple from East Grinstead. The sum of all this attention is the public is constantly being educated to what Co$ really “STANDs” for, how they attempt to smear or block anyone who disagrees, and tries to “blackball” the more popular critics of Co$.

The larger issue I have, with STAND/STAAD and similar accounts they have created, is that they are able to do this with tax-exempt money. Rather than focus on criticism of their policies, practices, and actions, they spend this money to attack the credibility of critics, journalists, film makers, and, worst of all, parents, family members, loved ones who have been affected by their polices of disconnection or fair game. It has to stop, and I will STAND with all who oppose the abusive policies, actions, and beliefs of this organization and all their front groups.

Yay for the weekend ;)

To be honest, not sure how much I will be updating the site over the weekends, but figured I’d give a summary of my plans and some personal info.

This morning my youngest scored 10 goals in her soccer match, which was awesome. We are very proud of the well-rounded little lady she is becoming. Not to be outdone by her younger sister, our oldest had great success at her gymnastics meets this season. She medaled in 16 individual events, and medaled at each meet in the all-around.

Tonight will be game-night with friends. Rather than our normal board/card games, we are going to be “trying” Cards against humanity. With a few adult beverages, it should prove to be an interesting evening 😉

Hope you all have a relaxing, restful weekend!

 

Friday Five

  1. Bravo to the city of Clearwater city council voting unanimously to buy the lot from the aquarium (link), but now the real work begins. They need to secure capital and interest in their “Imagine Clearwater” revitalization plan. Otherwise, it was a wasted effort to keep this lot from becoming private-use only by Co$. A special shout-out to Dee (link) and all the other citizens who bravely stood up and spoke in support of the city buying the property. Time to get to work Clearwater.
  2. False Prophets – As you may know, or have personally experienced, there are a few social media accounts who claim to be “experts” on all things scientology. Well…I don’t care what position you hold/held, how much training or research you have done, or whether you like people such as Leah, Mike, Tony, Chris, or Jeffrey, etc. Petty, one-sided “attack” videos only show how much you don’t get the point of our protests. Publicly questioning who we are, how we “act”, or whether we are “cultish” is unwelcome and unwarranted.
  3. NFL Draft – Yeah, a bit off topic but hey, my rules 😉 Next week we will “celebrate” the annual ritual of the draft. Lots of money, and the fate of young talent, are at stake. There has been plenty of banter on who is the “best available” or greatest need for your team, right? Well, year over year I find myself less interested in the draft. There have been too many “busts” to put much faith in the draft “experts”. Unfortunately, as raw or polished the physical skills of the potential draftees are, there needs to be a match with system, position, and team need, or just dumb luck. And as for the young talent…as I get older, I find myself less able to “root” for guys with questionable “character flaws”. Mountains of money and celebrity may not “cure” that.
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – yeah, another off-topic…but man am I stoked to go see this when it hits theaters on May 5th. For me, the first was an unexpected hit. A perfect balance of “superhero”, humor, and soundtrack. From everything I can tell, Chris Pratt (@prattprattpratt on twitter) is a super nice and genuine guy. He is in the same category as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, and a few others that feel honored to use their status for charitable work while being able to interact with the public as well as other celebrities.
  5. Ok, this one is kind of a cheat…or a challenge. Leave a comment on any of these topics, or one of your own. Have a great day and a great weekend!

Truth, Lies, and Deceptions

So, today’s topic was suggested by Twitter user @ImNotDeplorable, and centers on the idea that some, if not all, members of the “most ethical” people on the planet engage in half-truths, full lies, or outright avoidance of popularly held “facts”. While some of this could veer off, or apply, to many believe systems as an over-arching “suspension of rational thought”, such as immaculate conception or Galactic Overlords, let’s focus on the day-to-day interactions through social media.

To begin, one has to realize that groups like Co$ operate in a bubble, mostly insulated from the moral/ethical rules of mainstream society. They follow, strictly in many cases, the “scripture” of the belief system, verbatim. As such, if their “source” validates the use of misleading, over-blown, or outright fabricated “truths”, they feel confident that they are validated by the moral/ethical code of conduct. For example, there are many points where LRH validated this line of reasoning – LRH on Lying.

With this “framework”, a member or organization may feel empowered to use semantics to skirt around the truth, create hate/smear sites about critics or ex-members, or simply answer questions with non-answers. One such example would be, having proof that a certain website tracks visitor information, without a doubt, yet the proprietor refuses to admit that it does. No matter the amount of proof provided, the response is “we don’t track”. This is both half-truth and deception. There is no doubt that visitor geo-locational data is captured, such as Date/Time, City/State/Country, type of browser, and page visited. But, this “tracking” seems to be through a “live traffic monitor” plugin which was added to the site. So, while the proprietor may or may not also track via cookies, they can deny that “they” track since the obvious tracking is through the plug-in. But, the webmaster or designer did in fact add the plug-in, and the proprietor can visibly see said plugin on the site.

From another perspective, when confronted with “facts” about their organization’s policies or actions, they believe they are empowered to “confront & shatter” anyone or anything that is critical or detrimental to the best interest of the group. No matter the subject, they are compelled to “attack”. We have seen this take many shapes over the years. From the formation of “anti-bigotry” groups like STAND and FreedomMediaEthics, to accounts and websites solely focused on individual critics and ex-members. The key point here is, rather than confront the “facts” or stories, they focus on completely discrediting the individual. One could say, “It’s partly sunny today”, yet their response would be, “You cannot trust this person. They were so rude and nasty that we had to kick them out, so they are an unreliable source”. As you can see, they completely avoided the “fact” as it was in their best interest to attack the credibility of the speaker, rather than the point being discussed.

Deception, deflection, or denial? When faced with negative or salacious information about a member, group, policy or action, or asked a direct question that could lead to such an end, they can choose to answer through the use of semantics (deception as noted above), deflection (“well, answer my question first”, “I’ve already answered that a million times”, or “what books or courses have you studied?”), or denial (“you have not proven anything, let alone that I lied”, “you have no proof he ever said that”, “you can’t believe anything on the internet”). When asking a member, one that doesn’t immediately block us :), about a particular event or story, many have received a simple “Nope” or #facepalm response, rather than an actual answer. If you are lucky enough, you may receive a “are you that dumb?”, #bigot, #hate or #eyeroll response. Even if you innocently include certain keywords in a post, you may be trolled or get “reported” to their other accounts or groups, to be blocked or labeled.

In the end, dealing truth with this organization is a dodgy proposition. One could argue that it is policy for them to tell “acceptable truths” as linked above, documentation entered as evidence in the Fishman trial here, or the possible existence of TR-L. I’m sure there are many other examples, not to mention the information shared by ex-members, but I think it is clear – in order to secure the future of the organization, they have shown a willingness to avoid “facts”, “attack” critics, “deny” or “deflect” negative information or question rather than address the topics directly. My feeling is, continued lack of transparency, use of semantics and smear tactics, and avoidance of “real” communication will only further impede their efforts to “clear the planet”.

Comments welcome 🙂

Podcastland

Last night I listened to Ron Miscavige on the Joe Rogan podcast, and was impressed with Ron’s willingness to talk about every topic that was brought up. In some areas, it went beyond his book “Ruthless…”, but there were other topics that they did not touch on. Which is my main purpose for today’s post. When you have a figure such as Ron, it seems an impossible task to cover 40+ years of experience in a single podcast session. I think they easily could have used two or three more episodes to really drill-down
on the most controversial topics – such as David the man, disconnection, life at Gold Base, the “truth” behind the hate sites, etc.

I’m not suggesting they purposely avoided some topics as they wouldn’t put Ron in the best light, but clearly an hour and a half was not sufficient time to cover all the ground we would like to hear about. Podcasts are great, as they are usually a more relaxed setting, but I always have the feeling of wanting more. For example, I really enjoyed hearing the raw emotion from Ron regarding the grandchildren he has never met. But, it was maybe a total of 3 minutes of the whole podcast. It seemed a great moment to really drill down on how hurtful the disconnection policy can be, from a first-hand experience. My expectations may be unrealistic, but, it’s been my overwhelming reaction to the podcast world. So, what do you think?