Thursday, March 8, 2012

John P. – Hedge Fund Commentary on Scientology at the Village Voice

John P. – Hedge Fund Commentary on Scientology at the Village Voice

Among the most insightful and amusing commenters in the community that has gathered around Tony Ortega’s daily postings on Scientology at the Village Voice is John P. , who is apparently gainfully employed in the hedge fund industry. He is also the international spokesman for Internet Barratry. (See our RTC vs Internet Barratry duel at the Village Voice). Below is a selection of posts by John P. which will be continually updated for as long as he continues to be insightful and/or amusing.

Comment on Tony’s article of March 8, 2012: Scientology + Nation of Islam Charter School to be Exorcised from the Earth Forever and Ever.

John P.:

It's no surprise that Scientology would try to "perfect" their techniques for infiltrating education at a school practically on their doorstep -- it turns out that Life Force Academy is only three miles from Flag in Clearwater.

But it is surprising that when they're caught red-handed, they have folded almost immediately. I'm not seeing any reports that they are trying to keep the school open. No "human rights" protest. No astroturf campaigns featuring lots of identically worded letters from local "concerned citizens" (i.e., all the Sea Org staff). Just lots of dead silence. They're apparently not fighting back at all on their home turf. That ought to embolden other school districts who are confronted with this idiocy. I'm not sure why the Church is going down without a battle, because the issues are not only the financial fraud of "Doctor" Islam but also the use of "Study Tech" and the Church's usual punish-first attitude towards kids, turning them into janitor's aides. This stands in stark contrast with the epic war being fought in a Texas courtroom.

The fact that Scientology is backing away without a peep should send a message to the Nation of Islam, who seems to be cozying up to the Church. Scientology will sell you on all sorts of interesting joint ventures for your members to make money (I'm sure "Doctor" Islam was using "management tech" from the Hubbard College of Management to decide how much to pay herself from the school's operating budget), but when the shit hits the fan, they're nowhere to be found. So much for "standing tall" with your partners.

Another recent example of the Church leaving partners twisting in the wind when they get caught: actor Michael Fairman sued his chiropractor last fall for disconnecting from him and refusing to provide medical care, a suit he'll probably make some money from, and which the doc's insurance probably won't cover. Once again, they'll tell you how to run your business but they're nowhere to be found when you get caught in the sleaze that they preach. And you get caught holding the bag.

It would be interesting to see if "Dr." Islam ends up being charged criminally due to bankruptcy fraud. Bankruptcy courts tend to take a dim view of executives enriching themselves by looting the corpse of a company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, especially when the company is in a position of public trust (i.e., running a public school). And doing so in the face of a written agreement to the contrary, which "Dr." Islam had signed with the Court, is particularly egregious.

Note to "Dr." Islam: bankruptcy judges and attorneys are compulsive numbers geeks that put me utterly to shame. They take their jobs very seriously. Even at the rushed pace of court hearings there, they have an uncanny ability to find the numbers that indicate bad behavior. They live and breathe for that sort of thing and they're generally quite good at it. They honed in on your extra $15,000 check in seconds. Mess with bankruptcy court and they will catch it. One can only hope to see this third-rate grifter doing the perp walk soon.

Scientology's cowardice in Pinellas County, where there are more Scientologists than anywhere else on earth, is telling. An attempt to take over a public institution is apparently easily rebuffed, and they skulk quietly away. I'm guessing that's because they don't think any members will bolt over this latest flap. By contrast, the Church is starting WW III in Texas, because members who attempt to get some measure of independent thought after leaving the Church must be destroyed at any cost.

I am looking forward to "The Master," which I hadn't heard about previously. Coming practically on the heels of Sasha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator," which ought to lampoon the Sea Org command structure as much as it sends up Middle Eastern despots, it ought to be a really bad year for Scientology at the movies. I am sure you'll be able to milk Hollywood contacts to dredge up lots more advance information over the summer, giving us lots more opportunities for fun.

My guess: Joaquin Phoenix is going to play Captain Bill Robertson in "The Master." I am sure the ladies will swoon to see him in that tight-fitting silver mesh Galactic Patrol costume.

Great reporting, Tony, especially on picking stories #2 and #3 for the Thursday Stats roundup that we hadn't seen previously.

Shoop credit: Anonymous

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