Scientology Petition Meets Its Goal: Will Obama Wiggle Out of It? (UPDATED)

Categories: Scientology

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Looking for a loophole?
Just three days ago, we pointed out that a White House petition regarding Scientology had a long way to go to meet its Monday deadline of 5,000 signatures.

But a big surge in signatures pushed the petition past 5,000 last night.

And now, the Obama administration will apparently have to address the petition's message: why did the FBI stop looking into Scientology's reported abuse of its staff members?

Obama's crew will make a statement, that is, if it doesn't try to worm out of it by saying nothing at all. After the jump, we'll explain what we mean.

In September, the White House launched an online petition process that had long been promised. According to the Wall Street Journal, the system at WhiteHouse.gov has been swamped with 10,000 petitions.

Currently, the petition with the most signatures (70,354) is "Legalize and Regulate Marijuana Similar to Alcohol." In second place, with 50,349 signatures, is an appeal to look into "misconduct" in the prosecution of Brooklyn kosher meat king Sholom Rubashkin (a story we covered in depth three years ago).

As of this writing, the Scientology petition, which was started on September 24 by Graham Berry, has 5,390 signatures, more than enough to meet the threshold of 5,000 votes which the White House set when it started the program.

But, as the WSJ article points out, the online system was hit with so many petitions that easily and quickly met the 5,000-signature threshold, the White House recently moved the goalposts: now petitions will need to gather 25,000 signatures to meet their goal and merit an official response from the Obama administration.

"The White House double crosses us!" Berry wrote at his Facebook account when he realized that the threshold had been changed.

But he calmed down when word went around that petitions that had already started under the 5,000 threshold would continue to have that goal. The Scientology petition, in other words, was grandfathered and didn't need to meet the 25,000-signature minimum.

"Thresholds are subject to change, but changes will not be applied retroactively," is how the White House site puts it.

Still, there's been no official word on how the Scientology petition will be reckoned, and while we're trying to get through to someone at the White House about it, we'll just have to wait and see what sorts of responses other petitions get -- Obama's people are supposed to begin putting out responses next week to the first petitions that made their threshold.


Skip Press goes a-hunting

Meanwhile, another story popped up today that we found very intriguing. At the Morton Report, screenwriting coach and former Scientologist Skip Press noticed that something odd is happening in the world of self-publishing.

A company that calls itself "Author Solutions" has been buying up vanity publishers like XLibris and AuthorHouse and is quickly becoming the place that most self-publishers will need to go to when they want to get a book out. "Author Solutions," Press points out, sounds a lot like Scientology's entity, Author Services Inc., which publishes all of L. Ron Hubbard's work at massive in-house publishing plants. Besides the echo in the name, Press found that some of the people involved have very interesting ties to Scientology.

Could the church be trying to take over the world of self-publishing?

As Press points out, we here at the Voice have noted that a big headache for church leader David Miscavige has been the flurry of books self-published by former members. Books by Amy Scobee, Jefferson Hawkins, Marc Headley, Nancy Many and others have changed the way Scientology is viewed, and has put a new focus on allegations that staff members, in particular, suffer startling levels of abuse.

Skip admits that he's only begun to peel back the layers on this story, and we hope he keeps digging. This is interesting stuff.


Rights, Wrongs, and the Church of Scientology

From Marty Rathbun's blog, meanwhile, comes another fascinating development for Scientology watchers.

Rathbun reveals that in Seattle, Scientology will be sponsoring a talk by Kareem W. Shora, a senior policy advisor at the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which is part of Homeland Security.

Scientology's flyer suggests that the event, to be held next Wednesday, will feature Scientology's own "human rights" campaign.

As we wrote earlier, the Scientology campaign promotes the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor Roosevelt had a hand in developing back in 1948. It's an excellent document, but Scientology's ad campaign promotes it with vague references to problems overseas. It's a slick way to change the focus from rights questions right here at home -- which include allegations that Sea Org members, for example, have been forced to have abortions, that both children and adults work insane hours for pennies an hour in ways that tend to benefit the church and its leaders, and that families are routinely split up under Scientology's policies of "disconnection."

Apparently, Scientology is doing so well at distracting the government with its slick ad campaign, Homeland Security has decided to lend a hand directly.

If any of our faithful correspondents are able to attend the event next week, we'd be grateful to hear how it goes.

UPDATE: Gawker's John Cook is on the case, and finds that the feds won't be taking part in this "rights" event after all.

Writes Cook:

When we contacted DHS to confirm the engagement, and inquire as to why it would be dispatching a federal employee to address an event sponsored by an organization that's the current target of an FBI human trafficking investigation, a spokesman told us in a statement that Shora would not, in fact, be attending.

In fact, Cook writes, it appears that the feds may have realized they'd been invited under misleading circumstances. The request for Shora to speak had been extended by something called "Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster," and it may not have been obvious that it was part of Scientology:

So how did DHS confuse a Scientology invite with a WVOAD invite? Maybe because the president of WVOAD is one David Scattergood of "Church of Scientology Disaster Response." The Washington Church of Scientology did not return phone messages.

Scientology and its front groups. It's like the church was actually trying to confuse people.


The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]


My Voice Nation Help
38 comments
Ryan Suter
Ryan Suter

Tone level of the reality shown in the press.Also - it is generally anti-Islam, anti-Jew, anti-BuddhistLately stories of Buddhist monks killing themselves in fire to protest the Chinese oppression of their faith.This reality is generally rather repressive/suppressive of many different faiths, and reflected in the media as well.And then you wonder why evil beings go to hell.

KeepOnLearning
KeepOnLearning

My oh my, those Anonymous boys and girls sure can whip up a robot program and make it put 2000+ "signatures" on a petition in  few days, can't they!

And just think!  Before that clever help from those nice little Anonymous boys, that very same petition had taken months and months to reach 2000+ "signatures." They are amazing, I swan!

Now, they may not be all that numerous, but they certainly make up for it computer and sock-puppet and programming skills. 

I do think the White House ought to hire them for that! 

I truly hope not too many of them are on welfare and unemployment, because it would be a shame if their level of morality went unrewarded by corporate America. 

candace6
candace6

Great news.  If memory serves me, this isn't the first time a public official has pulled out of a speaking gig after finding out it was affiliated with Scientology. 

Peter
Peter

I stared at an upside down piece of paper for two hours, once.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

I hope the petition goads somebody in the Justice Department to start an investigation, but I consider it a long shot - Scientology is dying, and possibly the government is aware of this.

Yes, you heard me right; outside of Los Angeles and Clearwater, Florida, Scientology is fading away. San Diego county is a good example: in the past it had missions stretching from Escondido down to Chula Vista, and a series of Apple Schools, Adelphi Academies, and Applied Scholastics schools. All of that is gone....the sole survivor is the downtown San Diego Church of Scientology, and they want to move to a property in La Mesa, two miles from San Diego State University, but they can't because their funds have been taken away by the "mother church." And San Diego had all the advantages: many wealthy people, good real estate, was only 200 miles from LA, less from the "secret headqarters" in Hemet. If the cult can fail there, then Hubbard help the rinky-dink outfits in the Midwest.

The "horrible" secret that the "church" tries to hide is that most of the so-called members are inactive, and they became inactive at very low levels (though many "clears" drop out after attaining that "rank" because they can't manifest their powers.) There are a lot of people in Scientology living double lives, and situations like that don't usually end well.

KeepOnLearning
KeepOnLearning

And yet the parking lots at ASHO are full. ≈Same applies to the parking structure there. 

donalddgorge
donalddgorge

It is an informative post. It is an interesting information. I always visited your blog site. There are so many meaningful posts and also relevant comments on it. 

Toronto Criminal Lawyer

DuckBenway
DuckBenway

Nice work Tony. But, there is a glitch here. The John Cook link takes us to your Janet Reitman Piece:

UPDATE: Gawker's John Cook is on the case, and finds that the feds won't be taking part in this "rights" event after all.

Dean Fox
Dean Fox

People should read the original declaration of :uman 3ights, it's in plain English, and then look at the scientology dumbed down version; they subtle twist it for their own purposes. (Take rights to intellectual property they simply say you can't copy someone else's work but embedded in that right is various contingencies regarding the rights of society to benefit from advancements etc. Trust the scilons to get stuck on copyright.

Needless to say they put freedom of religion above freedoom of expression when it's not as clear cut as that. Fact is freedom of expression is not meant to prevent someone calling a religion a dangerous cult or to stop someone trying to convince someone to give up their dumb ass cult.

Even in the USA, who had to be different, the bit about the state not bringing any law against a religion has been far too widely interpreted to attempt to put religion above the law or prevent it being investigated. All that was meant to do was to stop the state outlawing a religion. You guys need to get your act together on that one; pro-tip the not having to pay tax isn't really automatic either, it's just that churches have enjoyed carte blanch tax breaks in the USA; what it does mean though is that it would be easier to remove tax breaks from all in the USA rather than just one.

On the publishing angle, that does bother me because such a move can stifle freedom of speech. Do you guys have Monopolies and Mergers control that prevents unfair advantage being created by one group controlling all of or a sizable portion of an industry? If so start complaining, if not well hopefully some print groups will carry on as independent press.

ScientologyAdvocateMarkMiglio
ScientologyAdvocateMarkMiglio

When I worked in the Sea Organization, it was clear to me that raising children in the Sea Organization was not appropriate.  Some Sea Org members choose to leave the Sea Org and a few others got abortions when they refused to properly use birth control, which they decided to do.  If they say otherwise, then they are putting out black propaganda.

* If you are interested in the story of Scientology, this is not the blog to read.  I would ask you to consider the possibility that there is an anonymous circle of public commentators that write for this blog, who have mentally imprisoned its author, Tony Ortega, into some sort of matrix that has the earmarks of a covert, hypnotic brainwashing operation.  It is for this reason that I protest. 

We can be thankful that there is a like-minded community of spiritual people that resist the conduct of individuals, groups, and organizations that toil daily to discredit or destroy all good people and decent organizations. 

Today this anonymous circle endeavors to discredit Scientology; tomorrow they may very well succeed in tearing down your religion. 

If you have ever become concerned or upset after reading any part of Ortega’s articles, or the comments within the readers’ comment section, you will find sincere people at a Scientology church, mission, or Dianetics center with whom you can talk to and address your concerns.  You may find it more convenient to send an email query on our premier website:  Scientology . Org.  You can also send a written request for information to the Office of Special Affairs, or any staff member at our local organizations, or to the International Executive Director at the Church of Scientology International, 6331 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA  90028.  You are welcome to tour any church, peruse our books, and attend an evening lecture or Sunday Service.  Free introductory courses are available at Volunteer Ministers . Org.  Local public libraries usually carry Dianetics and Scientology books or eBooks in their systems.  When in Los Angeles, touring Hollywood, you are invited to visit the L. Ron Hubbard Exhibition Center.  I am not a staff member but I will do my best to provide you with gentle advice and simple answers that to assist you when unwanted situations may have you overwhelmed.  Scientology Advocate @ gmail . com.

LoyalOfficer
LoyalOfficer

It was OK for the Sea Org to have children under Hubbard, but not under Miscavige.

Miscavige is a SQUIRREL! The Cult has been squirreled. You should leave the squirrel cult.

This criminal cult should be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is anti-American, anti-Democracy, anti-human rights and criminal to the core.

Gina Smith
Gina Smith

Hubbard liked to lock little boys in chain lockers and have the girls dress in hotpants while tending to his personal needs. Let's get away from this idea Miscavige is any worse than Hubbard.

ScientologyAdvocateMarkMiglio
ScientologyAdvocateMarkMiglio

I got distracted, lost me place.  I meant to say that I think the petition is a bad idea.

DuckBenway
DuckBenway

@Mark Miglio -  "I got distracted, lost me place.  I meant to say that I think the petition is a bad idea."

Mark; the cult is such a bad idea that it will soon be extinct. Expect it!

Dean Fox
Dean Fox

As someone who likes what Tony writes by enlarge I should say that I read here church of scientology when he says scientology. Whether he means that or not I don't know for sure but there would be little point to investigating the beliefs of scientology when it is the organisation calling the church of scientology that is the problem.

I am an atheist, I have no need for relion or belief; I thing scientology as a belief or religion is neither here not there and like all other religions is open to people like Miscavige to abuse in order to abuse people.

Where we really likely differ is that I believe LRH set up the church of scientology to abuse people where as you believe he really wanted to help. The thing is that doesn't matter. What matters is what you do whether as part of your belief in scientology or not. This is why I was especially heartened to read the Independent definition and many comments on Marty's blog.

Live the best life you can, help others where you can, accept others for who they are, realise and correct your mistakes when you can and you won't go far wrong. If scientology gets you through the night that's fine by me.

Preston11
Preston11

You know, I could care less about what happens inside the Sea Org. These people made the choice to be brain washed and they can leave at anytime. I could also care less about DM...What pisses me off is what they get away with in public. The murders, suicides, financial rape, the obvious RICO activities..All of this under the protection of the FBI and the IRS. This is a very sick, sick organization.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Mark,   What are your thoughts on the lack of influence of the top two councils, the Watchdog Committee and the Exec Strata, and instead it is all Miscavige, Miscavige, Miscavige, and no management by the two councils that Hubbard wrote in his final years were to be the top management bodies of the movement?   Why isn't Miscavige putting the top two councils into operation?

Gina Smith
Gina Smith

Bad concentration skills Mark? If only there was some sort of training or counselling which could help with that...

Jgg
Jgg

  Can't the "tech" of Scientology help it?

NCSP
NCSP

I think a good night's sleep might do the trick. What do SO members get, 5 hours tops?

SFF
SFF

Don't sign it, then.

tildacity
tildacity

"Still, there's been no official word on how the Scientology petition will be reckoned ..."

The White House's 'We the People' website lays out in detail how they address petitions that meet their thresholds. Of particular note for Scientology critics are the following excerpts:

"We will do our best to respond to petitions that cross the signature threshold in a timely fashion, however, depending on the topic and the overall volume of petitions from We the People, responses may be delayed."

"The White House will convene a regular meeting with representatives from all of the major policy offices (like the National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council and others) that will review petitions that have crossed the signature threshold for a response. This group will help determine which policy office in the White House or federal agency should review and respond to petitions and ensure that petition responses are posted as quickly as possible."

"Petition responses will come from a variety of Administration officials, including staff at the White House. From time to time President Obama may respond directly to petitions, but we expect most of [the] responses to come from other Administration officials."

"In a few rare cases (such as specific procurement, law enforcement, or adjudicatory matters), the White House response might not address the facts of a particular matter to avoid exercising improper influence."

Since the Voice's 'Running Scared' blog is a purveyor of gossip, speculation and opinion I will offer mine. Being one of many early petitions to only modestly breach the soft threshold of 5,000 signatures following prominent on-line calls for duplicate voting, the petition will, due to "the topic and overall volume of petitions" be tossed into a low priority stack of similar petitions, such as calls for an excavation of the grassy knoll and a Smithsonian exhibit displaying the remains of the Area 51 alien.

Once the administration has addressed more credible and weighty petitions, a low level staffer will draft a polite response per the following formula. First, a thank you for patriotically participating in the White House's democratic process and re-enforcement of the importance of citizens' direct voice in governance. Second, a confirmation that the petition has been thoroughly reviewed by a committee of the administration's major policy offices and the appropriate experts as to subject matter. Third, a reminder that in matters concerning law enforcement the White House response cannot always "address the facts of a particular matter to avoid exercising improper influence." Fourth, a statement of the Administration's confidence in the exemplary and tireless service performed by dedicated law enforcement and IRS professionals. Possibly a brief note that the government's strained budgetary resources preclude incurring unnecessary costs for the appointment of a special prosecutor in this matter. Finally, a courtesy reminder of both the 30-day waiting period for filing similar petitions and the greater 25,000 signatory threshold now required. President Obama will, of course, stay as far as possible from this petition in deference to freedom of religion.

Heatberd
Heatberd

Sounds like you don't want an investigation to happen. What are you afraid of? What are your crimes?

candace6
candace6

However, no deference will be given to big fat global scams/crime syndicates posing as religions.  Remember dear, it's Scientology we're talking about here.

Dean Fox
Dean Fox

Tl;dr

The petition is an amusing aside. I'm sure the scilons in church of scientology HQ fired off their warning shots (notice that unlike someone who got sent to jail for saying it I made no mention of Tom Cruise missiles) and sabre rattled weeks ago.

Xenu
Xenu

"in matters concerning law enforcement the White House response cannot always 'address the facts of a particular matter to avoid exercising improper influence.'"

Apparently you're oblivious to the petition's contents.  It calls for an *investigation* of improper influence.  The obvious illogic of your statement leaves me speechless.

NCSP
NCSP

I don't know; the DHS certainly dropped its Scientology speaking gig like a hot potato. It looks like this administration wants nothing at all to do with the Church, in contrast to previous administrations, which would probably have honored the commitment citing "religious freedom." Clearly the federal government now regards any link to Scientology as an embarrassment at best.

This is more speculative, but such a swift negative response is exactly what one would expect if there was an expectation within the government of legal trouble for the Church up ahead.

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

You gotta pray to Xenu real hard for your scenario to be true.

SFF
SFF

Honestly, I suspect Tildacity is correct in that no meaningful government action will come from this, though not because of Scientology's continued attempts to pretend that freedom of religion means they aren't subject to the laws of the land. Tildacity is free to ask Warren Jeffs how that strategy is working for him.

Unless the right-wing Christian groups start to pick up on the Sea Org forced abortions and make more noise, the administration simply has other battles to fight.

For the IRS and the FBI to properly investigate Scientology it would essentially require them to treat it like they would organized crime but no one is going to make a career based on their bust of the Church of Scientology. Likewise, any federal agents who know anything about the CoS are likely to be wary of Gold Base becoming Waco II.

But the poll is another win in the battle to inoculate the public.

Xenu
Xenu

"no one is going to make a career based on their bust of the Church of Scientology."

Chuck Ruff, the US Attorney for the Operation Snow White trial, ended up as White House Counsel, and defended Clinton during impeachment proceedings.  Ambitious prosecutors, take note! 

Paul Jay Salerno
Paul Jay Salerno

Go get em Tony ! Don't ease up the pressure one bit...Bravo !!!

Gina Smith
Gina Smith

Buying up vanity publishing companies would be a fail since the world of books is changing so dramatically thanks to e-readers.Authors are now putting their work straight on Amazon and getting paid per download, Stephen Leather is just one example of how it's being done.

Of course that could be the reason the vanity publishers are keen to sell up to anyone making an offer.

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

Scientology’s constant references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are nothing short of cynical, though not at all surprising.  While an excellent document [as aptly pointed out by Tony], the Declaration does not have any legally binding power of its own and is widely regarded as a somewhat Utopian document.  Although some of the articles of the Declaration are regarded as forming part of the customary international law, de facto, the Declaration is a highly populist document that politicians love referring to when trying to promote their own goals.  Hence, it’s hardly surprising that Scientology keeps on referring to this amorphous document which has no legal effect, instead of referring to the real human rights treaties.    Why doesn’t Scientology promote specific conventions applicable in the US, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child?  I guess because then they will not be able to hire 12 year old children into the Sea Org.  And how about promoting the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? I guess they don’t like this treaty either, because it states suppressive things such as “the States Parties to the present Covenant recognise the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.”  Scientologists are self-proclaimed "the most ethical people on earth".  I'd say they are more like the most cynical people on Teegeeack.

SFF
SFF

Interestingly enough, the Scientology human rights front groups push a re-written version of the UN Declaration rather than the declaration itself. I assume this is so that they are distributing something they have a copyright on so they can make money off it more easily.

As I understand it, they reg members to buy "human rights" materials to be freely distributed, though the materials are priced in such a way that the CoS makes a profit out of it.

It's a bit like their library campaigns in even though members are buying them to give away, they still get charged inflated retail prices.

NCSP
NCSP

The self-publishing move makes sense. After all, what is Scientology but a massive vanity press for the (otherwise unpublishable) works of L. Ron Hubbard?

Jgg
Jgg

  Science fiction plus fiction science plus self-adulation equals scientology.

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