Freedom Is Slavery

March 15, 2011

The following is Scientology’s very slick commercial titled, “An Invitation to Freedom,” that apparently aired during the most recent episode of American Idol:

Just think. You too can look this happy and free.

Thanks for the invite, Scientology, but I must respectfully decline.

Of course a more accurate commercial might go something like this:  “Tired of thinking for yourself and doing what you want? Want to perform back-breaking work for $50 a week? Can’t find holier than thou assholes to publicly beat the shit out of you and humiliate you on a regular basis? What to detail Tom Cruise’s various motorcycles for free? Want to cut off all communication with your family and friends? Want to lie to yourself and others every second of every day? THEN JOIN SCIENTOLOGY!”

Fortunately, now that the internet exists and Scientology’s cult nature has become common knowledge, even the slickest commercial is likely to bring about many new converts…especially after the recent New Yorker expose.

I will say this though. Atheist organizations can learn a lot from Scientology’s marketing department. I would love to see an atheist commercial that captures a similar kind of feel as this Scientology ad.

 

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News From Around The Blogosphere 1.6.11

January 7, 2011

1. ‘ESP’ study utterly ridiculous – Just hearing ABC World News talking about this ‘ESP’ study made it clear to me that this study is a complete joke. The researcher literally gave people repeated 50/50 chance scenarios, found a ritual that he claimed increased the likelihood of correct answers to a whopping 53 percent, and is calling that proof of ESP. Considering I know how to predict coin tosses better than random guesswork by others almost every time through trickery alone, consider me unimpressed. But Ben Radford and Ray Hyman go far deeper by pointing out major flaws in the methodology.

2. New expose on $cientology coming – In 2009, director and writer Paul Haggis (Crash, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) very publicly left $cientology, citing the cult’s homophobia and Spokesman Tommy Davis’ lies about the disconnection policies. Now, “Lawrence Wright is writing what his agent calls “the most profound reckoning to date” with Scientology, told through the eyes of director and apostate Paul Haggis.” Something tells me Tom Cruise will not be featured in any Paul Haggis movies any time soon.

3. Californial memorial cross deemed unconstitutional – This should have been a no-brainer, but now the legendary 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower-court decision that threw out a legal challenge to the hilltop cross brought on behalf of Jewish war veterans.

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Another Ex-Scientologist blows the whistle

September 9, 2010

Jefferson Hawkins joined $cientology in 1967. And he defected in 2003. And as you can imagine, that 40 years has given him quite a story to tell. And now he’s telling it in his new book, Counterfeit Dreams. And Hawkins wasn’t just anyone. He was the one who came up with the idea for the Dianetics “volcano” commercial among others, and ironically played a major role in a resurgence of the book’s popularity in the 1980s.

And now, like so many high-ranking $cientologists who actively played a major role in the cult’s PR, he’s coming forward and exposing the deception he himself was a part of. He also says that despite the cult’s insistence that they’ve got millions of followers around the world, the number of active members is probably closer to 50,000.

Let’s help make Counterfeit Dreams more successful than Dianetics ever was.

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Scientology vs. Twitter

July 20, 2010

John Dixon, a councillor in Wales, is facing a disciplinary hearing after $cientology bitched about a tweet Dixon made. The tweat read:

“I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.”

Then after Dixon learned $cientology began monitoring his Twitter account, he tweeted:

“Just realised the Scientologists are following me. Quick everyone, pretend you’re out.”

So now the cult is trying to get him fired.

Fortunately, a comedian has come to the rescue. Mark Thomas made a tweet of his own:

Anything that upsets scientology and therefore Tom Cruise is a good thing. #stupidscientology

It seems that once again, we’re seeing the Streisand effect, as Twitter users everywhere are expressing their dislike for $cientology using the hashtag #stupidscientology.

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Tom Cruise reconnecting with audiences proves to be mission impossible

June 27, 2010

My movie's number 1, right?! Wait...what?

America has spoken in a loud, clear voice. We’ve had enough of Tom Cruise. The early box office sales are in for Cruise’s new film, Knight and Day, and it doesn’t look good.

Despite opening to average reviews, Toy Story 3 dominated this weekend with $59 million in not its first but its second weekend, raising its domestic total to $226.6 million. That means that Knight and Day‘s opening weekend couldn’t even compete with Toy Story 3‘s second weekend. That’s bad, especially for an action comedy starring Cameron Diaz and the once great Tom Cruise.

And it gets worse than that. Adam Sandler’s latest film Grown Ups also defeated Cruise’s film, debuting at No. 2 with $41 million. And let’s face it. Grown Ups looks like one the worst pieces of shit Hollywood has ever produced.

Knight and Day came in at No. 3 with a pathetic $20.5 million, the lowest for a Cruise action flick in 20 years.

So what’s driving this? Is the film terrible? I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. But I doubt it. It looks like could be a fun way to spend two hours. Of course the media seem to think they know what’s going on. They have a theory, one that I don’t disagree with:

It was the worst result for a Cruise action flick in 20 years and a sign that audiences still have not forgiven him for erratic behavior a few years back, which included his couch-jumping incident on Oprah Winfrey’s show.

Oddly, the media seems to be extremely reluctant to throw around the “S” word but I suspect it’s what many are thinking. Everyone mentions the Oprah incident and the Brooke Shields incident, and the Matt Lauer incident but nobody wants to address the one thing that all these events had in common. They’re all intrinsically linked to Cruise’s role in $cientology: Cruise’s attempts to look like the most joyous man in the world, his hatred of pharmaceuticals, and his repeating the Citizens Committee on Human Rights’ propaganda about Ritalin being a horrible street drug to Matt Lauer.

What the media neglects to discuss is how better informed people have become about what $cientology is all about. Anderson Cooper recently devoted a week to discussing allegations of abuse. The St. Petersburg Times has devoted many months to ongoing coverage of some of the more scandalous aspects of the cult. Anonymous has been picketing $cientology Centers every single month in almost every major city in the U.S. Additionally, they leaked the incredibly embarrassing Tom Cruise on Tom Cruise, Scientologist award show video onto YouTube, which led to countless parodies at Cruise’s expense.

Since the summer of the couch, there’s been pretty much no positive news stories involving Cruise or $cientology. And that’s most likely the real reason Cruise’s career has sunk. The good news for Cruise though is that there’s a way to get America to love him again. He can leave $cientology and publicly condemn it. It’s your move, Mr. Cruise. The fate of your acting career is in your hands.


Scientology – The Steven Fishman Deposition

June 20, 2010

These days, thanks largely to the creators of South Park, many people around the world know Scientology’s Xenu story. I’d always heard that it was in the 90s that the story was originally leaked to the public, before the Time Magazine cover story titled “Cult of Greed,” but I didn’t know the circumstances until now. I also didn’t know there was a video from back then of a former $cientologist spilling the beans about all sorts of cult craziness until now.

Steven Fishman was a former member of the cult. After he was arrested over a fraud scheme, many suspected he hadn’t acted alone and that he was actually operating under orders by the cult itself. During that case, Fishman included $cientology’s secret documents explaining the whole Operating Thetan level material that the “Church” no longer denies is accurate. Of course, the “Church” decided to cut their losses though and throw Fishman under the proverbial bus.

But Fishman also provided one hell of a deposition, one that led his lawyer to think the best option was to plead insanity. It’s great stuff. And it’s criminal that this video isn’t as famous as the South Park clip or Tom Cruise’s infamous “Tom Cruise on Tom Cruise, Scientologist” award show video because this is some of the craziest shit you’ll ever see in your life. While Fishman was a former member, at the time this video was made, he was still a true believer who believed himself to have been the father of Jesus Christ and that his mission was to destroy Christianity and all other religions. It’s funny how Tom Cruise never mentioned that part, huh.

This is what $cientology doesn’t want you to know. So enjoy and pass this around to everyone you know. Let’s make this viral!

Here’s part one:

Now as nuts as that was, that wasn’t even close to how out there this guy is. You can watch the whole thing here.


News From Around The Blogosphere 5.18.10

May 19, 2010

1. Daughter of $cientology’s Australian president speaks out – Yet another child of a major player in $cientology is an outspoken critic of the cult, Scarlett Hanna, the only child of Vicki Dunstan, president of the Church of Scientology in Australia, and Mark Hanna, a former Asian/Pacific director of public affairs for the church. She grew up in the former Cadet Org, which allegedly was preparing children for eventual recruitment in the Sea Org.

“The best way I can describe it is cattle,” Ms Hanna said of their treatment. We were property of the organisation.”

. . .

She claims children of Sea Org members rarely had contact with their parents, lived in separate homes and were granted only 20 minutes each night with their parents.

2. Gay couple convicted of ‘unnatural acts’ – Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, have been in jail since December in the Southern African country of Malawi. Ever since the day after their engagement party. Their only crime is being gay.

Religion's latest victim

3. 15-year-old Jehovah’s Witness dies after refusing blood transfusion – Yup, just another day for religion. So next time someone tells you about all the good done in the name of religion, remind them about Joshua McAuley, one of countless victims of religious ignorance.

4. Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse – Yay child rape!! If this story doesn’t demonstrate the evil of religion, then nothing ever will. Here are thousands of people who are quite literally showing their support for child rapists and those who protect them from prosecution because they refuse to accept the fact that their church is responsible for unspeakable human atrocities. This really is the ultimate Milgram authority experiment. If they can justify at least half a million child rapes, what else are these people capable of justifying?

5. Dark Horse releases atheist superhero comic – Move over, S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s a new acronym saving the day in comic books, S.H.O.O.T. That stands for the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce. I must admit that I don’t really get the concept. It’s an atheist team who fight demons and ghosts, etc. that they don’t believe in, but appear to exist anyway. If they’re fighting them, why wouldn’t they believe in them? Are the monsters they face supposed to be physical manifestations of someone’s imagination or something?



News From Around The Blogosphere 5.15.10

May 15, 2010

1. One thing I never could stand about New Zealand was all the damned vampires – Two people in New Zealand have been arrested and charged with “wounding with intent to render a man unconscious” following a report from a man who claims he was attacked by vampires after waking up in a park after a night of drinking to find bite marks on his neck. But don’t worry. They totally had a good excuse.

2. New fossil find reveals secrets of ancient marine life

Paleontologists have discovered a rich array of exceptionally preserved fossils of marine animals that lived between 480 million and 472 million years ago, during the early part of a period known as the Ordovician. The specimens are the oldest yet discovered soft-bodied fossils from the Ordovician, a period marked by intense biodiversification.

And for those keeping track, that’s between 479,994,000 and 471,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

3. Australian church rejects vaccine denialists at the AVN – Meryl Dorey and her goons at the misnamed Australian Vaccination Network (AVN [snicker]) were told to get lost by a church after the AVN requested to use their church as a venue for spreading propaganda about the evils of vaccines. It turns out that prominent church members are experts in the field of ethics and public health, and they felt the AVN is not in line with the ethos and values of the Uniting Church of Australia. And so no Uniting Church venue will be made available to them.

4. Mirin Dajo had a lot of guts – This guy didn’t just swallow a sword; he had himself run through with numerous fencing foils…to entertain people!

I’m reminded of Todd Robbins, one of the few remaining sideshow vaudeville acts from the Coney Island tradition. I’ve seen Robbins swallow swords, perform the human blockhead (pounding a nail up the nose – I’m told not actually that hard), and most impressive of all, eating glass for your amusement. But I’d say Marin Dajo deserves recognition as an indestructible bastard except that he died at the age of 35.

5. Revenge is a dish best served with pubic lice – A British website has come up with a pretty badass way to help people get revenge on those who have wronged them…by selling pubic lice. The site, crabrevenge.com, has a disclaimer but a pretty insincere one:

While the disclaimer says the website creators “do not endorse giving people lice,” and the lice are for “novelty purposes only,” the website talks about using them for revenge.

. . .

The website says the company was started “by a group of fellows who happen to know a thing or two about biology and revenge.”

Well I can’t argue the revenge part. So please, don’t give me crabs.

6. New book further blows the lid on $cientology – Escaped and recovered $cientologist Amy Scobee has released a new book called Abuse At The Top, where she reiterates the now ubiquitous claims of leader David Miscavige’s violent assaults on members and gave some fun stories about Tom Cruise.


News From Around The Blogosphere 4.21.10

April 22, 2010

1. Russia bans $cientology material – Perhaps taking a cue from the Germans, Russia is cracking down on beliefs it considers detrimental to society and have now banned books and recordings by L. Ron Hubbard a court determined to be extremist. Russia has already banned some texts by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

2. 60 Minutes applies hardcore skepticism to bring down bogus stem cell quack – Lawrence Stowe is a con man with no real medical credentials who has scammed ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease patients out of money with promises of bogus stem cell cures. I am very proud of 60 Minutes for setting up and airing this sting operation in all its uncomfortable glory.What’s really shameful is that every news organization isn’t doing this sort of thing all the time.

3. Oklahoma proposes new insane abortion bill – The bill would allow doctors to withhold test results showing fetal defects and require women to answer intrusive questions.


News From Around The Blogosphere 4.18.10

April 18, 2010

1. Age of Autism blows another irony circuit – Quite predictably, AoA proves they’re willing to say another to discredit science journalist Brian Deer’s latest report in a blog they titled, “Journalist with No Medical Training Solves Mystery of Enterocolitis!” Yes, cause if it’s one thing AoA can’t stand, it’s non-experts weighing in on science.

2. What claims about Tom Cruise does $cientology declare ‘demonstrably false’ – According to $cientology, the following is not true:  that Tom Cruise has a ‘drug history’, that his ‘drug history’ was excuse given to keep him out of the Sea Org (right, because they weren’t just using him for his celebrity), that Cruise was “given an ultimatum to choose between Scientology and Nicole Kidman” (Although Jason Lee’s ex-wife is convince Scientology had something to do with their divorce.), that “a Scientologist handling Mr. Cruise’s finances was punished for losing him money”, and that Cruise’s household staff is selected and paid by Scientology. Now remember. According to $cientology, these are claims that are NOT true.

3. Saskatoon Freethinkers (in Saskatchewan, Canada) protest ‘psychic’ Sylvia Browne – They also circulated a handout some of Sylvia’s biggest missing persons failures such as her inability to come up with accurate information about Opal Jennings, Sean Hornbeck, Richard Kneebone, and Holly Krewson. The handout also stated:

In fact there are NO cases where Sylvia’s psychic insight has proven to be useful or correct.  Valuable police resources have been wasted and precious time has been lost.  When Sylvia assured a family that their daughter was alive when she was actually dead, and told another family their son was dead when he was still alive, this only magnified the grief of a family in a terrible situation.  In light of these failures – when psychic insight would have mattered the most – we must conclude that Sylvia is a cold reader and not a psychic.