Archive for March, 2010
Associated Press Writers= DETROIT (AP) — Nine alleged members of a Christian militia group that was girding for battle with the Antichrist were charged Monday with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral — all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the U.S. government.
The arrests have dealt “a severe blow to a dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Authorities said the arrests underscored the dangers of homegrown right-wing extremism of the sort seen in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
David Brian Stone, 44, of Clayton, Mich., and one of his sons were identified as the ringleaders of the group. Stone, who was known as “Captain Hutaree,” organized the group in paramilitary fashion and members were assigned secret names, prosecutors said. Ranks ranged from “radoks” to “gunners,” according to the group’s Web site.
“It started out as a Christian thing,” Stone’s ex-wife, Donna Stone, told The Associated Press. “You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far.”
And this was “Christian” right-wing outfit, no less.
Yet it’s this bill that inspired G.O.P. congressmen on the House floor to egg on disruptive protesters even as they were being evicted from the gallery by the Capitol Police last Sunday. It’s this bill that prompted a congressman to shout “baby killer” at Bart Stupak, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat. It’s this bill that drove a demonstrator to spit on Emanuel Cleaver, a black representative from Missouri. And it’s this “middle-of-the-road” bill, as Obama accurately calls it, that has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from “Kill the bill!” to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to “reload.” At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.
All the while, he correctly notes that folks previously cried foul about “socialism” regarding other sweeping overhauls, but
there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.
The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.” Meanwhile, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.
In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since …
Since FOX News embarrasses itself, and journalism, just fine all by itself, I don’t really even need to mention this, but I do so because I recognize that many still believe the station is a legitimate source for fair and balanced, and dare I say, accurate news.
That wasn’t the case Monday, however, when FOX Nation presented as a “serious” news story a tale about a global warming activist who had frozen to the death this past weekend in Antarctica, meanwhile apparently not catching the irony. But here’s the hang of it: the original story came from faux and satire news site, EcoEnquirer.com. And straight from FOX’s Web site, here is the now-dead link.
Obviously continuing the 24-hour smear campaign against anything that may be called progressive (“Progress?” We wouldn’t want that.), FOX ran the story because it makes a roundabout, assumptive case that, in fact, global warming is a myth, as if to say:
See, it’s right there, clear as day. We still have people freezing to death in Antarctica!
Forgetting the fact that even after sea levels rise and most of the arctic sheet is toast, temperatures on this planet will still, and quite often, indeed, get cold enough for people to freeze to death. We are, after all, talking about an exceeding slow process, like evolution or other natural processes. But unlike evolution (Maybe we should welcome its intensification …), climate change is escalating with most of the warming since 1880 coming in recent decades. It’s a brute fact by now, and we might as well come to terms with it. Attempts to subvert it are, and here’s the nasty word again, retarding our progress as human beings.
But never a station to trade unscientific, fear-mongering nonsense for the scientific record or pesky truths, FOX actively looks for ways to conservatively pad its news hole, and the evidence has been mounting for years. By the way, I don’t need to link to probable liberal sites to prove my point. If I had the inclination, I could flood this site with egregious nonsense I hear from this outfit. But it’s too easy, and since so many others are sawing away at it, I don’t see the need to add my voice to the fray, or at least not on a daily basis.
Thanks to Media Matters for this screen shot:
I’m sure it appeared to be an ingenious progression of “F” words (“Faith * Family * Freedom”), but it is astounding to me that would-be politicians can paint mere words such as the local endorsement sign to the right (Taken in Westminster, S.C.), and folks, not knowing if the said candidate has a functioning brain or not, will vote for such candidates without knowing anything else about them.
As a political exercise, I’ve got an idea. I think I will run on a “Theocracy * Domestic violence * Tyranny platform.” How do readers think that will fare? Think I will get some votes? No?!? How about the Faith * Hope * Charity platform. Surely, that one will be money.
The vote’s obviously out, but I’m willing to bet my boots that Richard Cash, who, by the way, has the endorsement of the America’s Independent Party of SC and the Tea Party of the Lakelands, will get lots of votes just based on this sign. The latter party, if I may add, has a global warning hoax section on its Web site, which tells you all you need to know about Cash and the Tea Party of the Lakelands.
That said, maybe we can set some guidelines for being a successful fringe candidate:
- First, get yourself an easy to pronounce, all-American name. Preferably three syllables or less.
- Second, and this should be a no-brainer: Drape your political message in the red, white and blue. You should include plenty of stars (nothing says “America” like objects from outerspace. We own space, fools!) and possibly add as many pictures and/or quotes from the Founders as possible, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin and John Jay. The particular Founder’s stance on more government or less doesn’t really matter. Your potential constituents won’t know the difference. Just uttering the Founders’ names will get you tons of brownie points!
- Third, and finally, use words like faith, family, freedom, Democracy, Jesus and God as many times as possible, even though they might not make sense in context. They’ll never know the difference, and the seat is yours!
Moreover, what does “freedom” have to do with anything? Is Cash saying he is going to revisit the matter, in support, of course, if he gets elected? Didn’t we settle all that in 1776 when we officially broke free from British rule and again in 1865 when we broke blacks free from slavery’s rule?
That former interim Iraqi Prime Minister and secular Shia Muslim, Ayad Allawi, has beaten out Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Islamic Dawa Party, can only be considered a positive for a country on the cusp of being on its own, as America prepares to pull out. Allawi, who does not throw his support beyond the theocracy of Iran (Side note: This is where we would be inexorably headed if folks like Pat Robertson and James Dobson ultimately had their way), while al-Maliki did, just edged his opponent by a 91-89 count.
Here’s a look at how voting broke down.
Maliki, who seems to be more of a polarizing figure in a country that needs the unity that only a secularist — one that has gained support from Sunni and Shiites, nonetheless — can provide. Consequently, Maliki has said he will challenge the results, as he and
his supporters in the State of Law coalition, who hurled accusations of fraud and made vague references to the prime minister’s power as commander in chief.
according to this New York Times article.
Here’s the video and story from NBC News:
The reactionary behavior continued this week over passage of the most sweeping piece of legislation in decades, as lawmakers are getting incendiary and offensive messages and voicemails from their angry, to the point of irrational (or, perhaps, some protesters were irrational to begin with), constituents. Rep. Bart Stupak, for instance, an anti-abortion Democratic lawmaker who was key in getting the bill passed, received a voicemail with these comments:
Think about this. There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill, and all of those negative thoughts projected on you will materialize into something that is not very good for you.
Is the caller really talking about Karma here or some sort of mystical conjoining of the minds against a mutually hated individual? If so, that tells us all we need to know about the caller.
Here is content from two other calls from CNN’s story:
“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”
“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.
In a recent interview with CNN’s John King, Sen. John McCain, while not villifying Sarah Palin’s recent graphic that placed crosshairs over 20 House Democrats that “we” (McCain/Palin) carried in 2008 who voted for the health care reform bill, McCain did speak against over-the-top, and frankly, offensive and childish gestures by Steve King in front of health care protesters at the Capitol. Encouragingly, before John King even got a question out about Steve King’s action, McCain said,
Uncalled for, of course that’s uncalled for. Of course that’s uncalled for, John. And we see, from the person who yelled, ‘baby killer.’ But I think that we’ve gotta urge everybody to be respectful.
While I don’t necessary agree with most of McCain’s political stances, he has always proven to me that he has a rational and independent-thinking mind.
Here’s the interview:
In the wake of the historic vote Sunday to secure health care for 30 million more Americans, the Republican response, by and large, and has been vitriolic and retaliatory.
Only two days after the vote and seven minutes after President Obama signed the bill into law, 13 attorney generals across the country, 12 Republicans and 1 Democrat have sued the federal government claiming the act is unconstitutional. According to the lawsuit:
The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage.
Legal experts say it has little chance of succeeding because, under the Constitution, federal laws trump state laws.
In Washington, members of the Republican party are calling for repeal legislation to undo the bill:
Already, three of the GOP’s most prominent conservative voices, Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), as well as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), are introducing legislation to repeal the bill, even though the party is nowhere near to having the votes necessary to pass a repeal bill.
On top of that, some of the Republican party’s likely 2012 contenders have weighed in on the matter. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin yesterday called the health care vote a “clarion call and a spur to action” and endorsed the repeal of the “dangerous portions of Obamacare.” Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, also called for the bill to be repealed, in spite of the comparisons often made between the Democrats’ health care plan and Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan.
While in my current state of residence, Rep. Paul Broun, who is apparently still dreaming of 19th century Southern glory, bafflingly on March 19 equated health reform to the Civil War. As Media Matters notes,
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is a fanatical opponent of health care reform, who has suggested that President Obama might “declare martial law” and rule as a dictator. In recent days, the right-wing congressman has made Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the target of his fury, calling her arrogant, ignorant, and incompetent. Last night on the House floor, Broun continued his streak of combative statements by comparing health care reform to the American Civil War, which he called “The Great War of Yankee Aggression.”
And from the horse’s mouth:
If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States — the Great War of Yankee Aggression.
Not to be undone and ever telling us that we should all be praying and quivering in a dark corner about the government’s transgressions, Republican House Leader John Boehner of Ohio’s fightin’ 8th, in response to a scathing crowd heckling lawmakers at the Capitol had this to say: The offensive comments were:
… reprehensible and should not have happened.
Nevertheless, frenzied crowd, your irrational outcries are justified:
But let’s not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to death.
Indeed, Boehner, as the House Republican Leader, has been one of the most vocal lawmakers on the bill. Says Boehner in this animated speech,
To groans from fellow House members, Boehner continued with this diatribe:
Look at this bill. Ask yourself: Do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have, that you can keep it? No you can’t. In this economy [jeers and gavel], you can’t say that. In this economy, with this unemployment, with our desperate needs for jobs and economic growth, is this really the time to raise taxes, to create bureaucracies and burden every job creator in our land?
Here’s the full speech:
If I may interpose, Boehner and others just say the keyword “taxes” and never elaborate. Boehner, for instance, did so in this pre-vote health care bill renunciation:
What they never get around to saying is that the taxes imposed by the bill will affect families who earn $250,000 or more ($200,000 for individuals) per year, which as nearly all readers of this site know, does not affect them. Yet, Republicans want to make the case, to the unlearned public, that the mean, bad old Democrats want to take everything for which they have worked so hard. Unless I have an exceeding rich friend of whom I’m not aware, I don’t know that I’ve ever personally had a conversation with someone who makes that much per year. So, diametrically opposite to the claims made by Republicans in their desperate attempts to disparage health care reform at any (theoretical) cost, you probably don’t even know someone who makes $200,000 per year, much less $250,000.
Finally, even some Republicans are not happy with how their fellow party members are reacting to the health care bill. Here is a blogger who appears frustrated over fellow Republicans’ negative response to a seemingly positive reform like health care:
Republicans are shouting and spitting like a bunch of fucking hyenas as they clamor for face time in the media. They’re filling our inboxes, vandalizing our social networking profiles and polluting the airwaves with venomous messages rebuking the Obama Administration over health care. HEALTH CARE! My fellow Republicans are tearing this nation apart over providing medical care for those less fortunate. Not bank bailouts, war, or wasteful pork spending— Health care. Really?
The behavior among elected Republicans and the dimwitted TV pundits who are whipping America into an absolute frenzy is the worst thing about this bill and has led me to question my long-standing affiliation with the Republican Party. For a moment, I thought it was me; that maybe I had changed and lost touch with Republicanism. So, in seeking to refresh my recollection of what this party stands for, I logged onto the GOP home page.
What I found was as pathetic as it was cartoonish. A complete embarrassment. The site opens to a fiery red screen with Nancy Pelosi, fists and teeth clenched in a fit of rage against a backdrop of flames, with the words “Fire Pelosi” in bold letters emblazoned on the screen. This buffoonery doesn’t torch Nancy Pelosi—it’s Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Abraham Lincoln who are torched by the flames of dissent and hatred that now embody this once-great party.
Going deeper in the site only serves to highlight the confusion within the GOP. It lists the accomplishments of the Republican Party since its inception and its own core values of today. It proudly claims responsibility for freeing the slaves, establishing Howard University and outlawing the Ku Klux Klan. It touts Republican leadership in writing the 19th Amendment, passing two civil rights acts and ending racial segregation in Little Rock. The list spans two centuries of achievements such as these and others that today seem more in alignment with the Democratic Party, like establishing Yellowstone National Park, building the federal highway system and authoring welfare reform.
This is the party I belong to.
But the current “platform”—if you can call it that—lists only six ideals. The power of the individual, voluntary giving, limited government, low taxes, less regulation and national strength. That’s what it says, but what it practices is hate, because hate sells when the chips are down. (italics mine)
The most fateful piece of legislation since FDR’s New Deal programs in the 1930s and the Civil Rigths Act of 1964, the Senate version of the health bill (already passed in the Senate on Dec. 24) passed the House of Representatives by a 219-212 (To correct something: I believe I said previously that it still needed to be approved by the Senate, but that body has already voted on it), and here is a map from The New York Times on how the vote broke down across the nation:
Obviously, the most progressive parts of the country are easy to pinpoint, and less progressive folks, rabble that are easily roused, were clearly on display this weekend, heckling lawmakers and making fools of themselves. After all, when mind power and logic isn’t a person’s strong suit, all that’s left is emotion.
So, what now? Well, the House (still in session as of late Sunday) will vote on the reconciliation bill, which will then go to the Senate for approval. The one that was just approved is one and done and will now go to the president’s desk.
The perceived blowback from all this is complete conjecture, no matter what the talking heads might say. As I noted in the last post, the Congressional Budget Office has already released its cost estimate for the bill, but all other theses — impending socialism, uncontrolled debt and, in the most extreme cases, the destruction of America, are the products of guesswork and attempts to inject fear into the public about the bill. Folks said the same thing after FDR’s New Deal programs, and we’re still here.
I, personally, am not to going to live in fear or loathing of the government, its programs or anything else. As I’ve noted to friends, if we have the resources to help people, in this case, 30 million, we should; damn the politicians, and damn the lobbyists who line their pockets. Calls from Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and others that we are headed toward socialism are laughable. Too many of those same politicians have a vested interest in the capitalistic status quo that they would never let us take their money.
What if the bill is flawed? If parts of the bill are not working, the parts can later then be retooled; this has been the story of decent legislation made better down through the decades. The key, after nearly a century (!) of debate on the topic, was action, and we saw historic action today, regrettably, without Republicans. Clearly, parts can be made better, and we can leave it to lawmakers to improve the bill. As Jim Wallis, author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy (www.godspolitics.com) said,
… despite the very flawed health-care bill coming up for a vote this weekend, and the even more flawed processes that we will witness during its debate and vote, I believe (as does Sojourners) that something is better than nothing, and that this bill will hopefully be only the beginning of a process, and a first step toward comprehensive health-care reform. We simply cannot walk away from the 30 million people without health-care coverage who would benefit from this bill. And it is absolutely clear to us that simply doing nothing and letting the opportunity pass once again for beginning to reform the health-care system is a formula for everyone’s health care getting worse — more people being uninsured, higher premiums for those with insurance, continually diminishing benefits for us all, more family bankruptcies, and more people literally dying without proper health care.
I’m not quite as “bleeding heart” as this guy, but something clearly had to be done. When we, as a country, keep folks uneducated, poor, unhealthy and frightened, we can more easily control them. The measure of a strong government, however, is when we have a health, educated and thriving body politic, as Tony Benn said in the movie, Sicko, in this telling interview:
A 1948 leaflet issued in England, as read by Benn:
“‘Your new National Health Service begins on the fifth of July. What is it, how do you get it? It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone, rich or poor, man, woman or child can use it, or in it part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a charity. You are paying for it mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in times of illness.’ Now somehow, the few words some of the whole thing up.”
Now somehow, the few words sums the whole thing up.”
As of very early Sunday morning, 18 votes were still at play in the Sunday vote that is coming.
Of the five representatives who voted “No” on the November health care bill vote, two, Rick Boucher (Va.’s 9th) and Lincoln Davis (Tenn.’s 4th) are leaning toward the Democrat’s position, while Glenn Nye (Va.’s 2nd) and John Tanner (Tenn.’s 8th) are a tossup. Brian Baird (Wash.’s 3rd), who is not running for reelection is also a tossup. Here’s the full chart.
18 total are still undecided as of early Sunday morning. Here is an expanded look on how President Obama and the Democrats have been able to keep the bill above water.
As reported by another Times article, Obama made one last push in favor of the bill on Saturday at the Capitol:
Mr. Obama, in an emotional address at the Capitol, exhorted rank-and-file House Democrats to approve the bill, telling them they were on the edge of making history with a decisive vote scheduled for Sunday.
“Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country,” he said. “This is one of those moments.”
The president declared: “We have been debating health care for decades. It has now been debated for a year. It is in your hands.”
In a country that uses the Koran as its official constitution and is, for all intent and purposes, an Islamic state, a pair of Saudi Arabian female poets have recited controversial works on a game show called Poet of Millions, which is apparently the Saudi equivalent to American Idol with poetry as the lauded craft, rather than music.
The woman, named Hissa Hilal, in her poem critized Muslim clerics for “terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace.” Here is an excerpt from her poem:
I have seen evil from the eyes of the subversive fatwas in a time when what is lawful is confused with what is not lawful;
When I unveil the truth, a monster appears from his hiding place; barbaric in thinking and action, angry and blind; wearing death as a dress and covering it with a belt [referring to suicide bombing];
He speaks from an official, powerful platform, terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace; the voice of courage ran away and the truth is cornered and silent, when self-interest prevented one from speaking the truth.
Hilal said she was
inspired by what she called “subversive” fatwas, specifically one issued by Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al Barrak, a Saudi cleric, on his website last month.
Her recital on the Abu Dhabi TV show last week sparked controversy in Saudi Arabia, especially on internet forums. According to reports, many viewers praised her for her courage, but others attacked her for criticising clerics and reciting her poems in public. One website called for her death.
But Ms Hilal defied the threats, delivering a similar poem on Wednesday’s show – and she received the highest score of the round, 47 out of 50.
The judges praised Ms Hilal’s courage for expressing her opinion “honestly and powerfully”. By reaching the final, she is guaranteed a prize of at least Dh1 million (US$270,000).
Sheikh al Barrak’s fatwa had called for the execution of anyone who says mixing of sexes is allowed in Islam because “he is allowing what is not allowed, and therefore he is a kafir who left the religion and should be killed if he does not change his opinion”.
Another female, reported by The Lede, named Aydah al-Aarawi al-Jahani competed in the show
mounting pressure from family and tribe members, in Saudi Arabia, to resign from the competition due to the fact that she is female.
And she should be lauded for standing up to the theocratically-mandated sexism and anti-intellectualism she no doubt lives with every day of her life. Here is a video of al-Jahani competing:
I can’t help with the Arabic though.
Kirstey Alley’s recent brouhaha with The Today Show about whether Alley’s new Organic Liaison diet program was a front for Scientology again makes me wonder how desperate some folks have to be desire something to fill a perceived spiritual void that they will believe some of the craziest nonsense ever invented (I highlight some of it here), and even donate money so they can become higher ranking members of the cult. Today, for instance, in writing story about the diet, noted that Alley donated $5 million to the organization about two years ago, giving her the Diamond Meritorious Award. Tom Cruise received the award in 2005 for donating $2 million. According to Wikipedia, among the ranks of other well-known celebrity Scientology members are: John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Nancy Cartwright, Beck, Jason Lee, Edgar Winter, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Anne Archer, Lisa Marie Presley, and opera singer Julia Migenes.
As it turns out, money really does buy happiness and peace of mind, however strewn that path may be with sci-fi silliness. Here some other celebrities who have reported donated large sums to the church, along with their “awards:”
- Nancy Cartwright, 50, Patron Laureate Award: $10 million
- Kirstie Alley, 57, Diamond Meritorious Award: $5 million
- John Travolta, 53, Gold Meritorious Award: $1 million
- Kelly Preston, 45, Gold Meritorious Award: $1 million
- Priscilla Presley, 62, Patron Award: $50,000
Lay folks, as this New Yorker story reported about celebrity Scientologist, have to pay the piper for enlightenment as well:
An initial twelve-and-a-half-hour auditing session costs between six and seven hundred dollars, Greg LaClaire, a vice-president of Celebrity Centre, says. (Aspiring Scientologists can mitigate the expense by choosing to be audited by a fellow initiate rather than by a staff member.) In the Holiday 2007 Dianetics and Scientology catalogue, a deluxe Planetary Dissemination Edition E-Meter—billed as a “tool for Golden Age of Tech certainty,” to assist in “faster progress up The Bridge”—was offered, in “Diamond Blue,” for five thousand five hundred dollars.
Some, of course, have realized the falsities and possible abuses inside the church and have cried foul. This article relates some of their painful exoduses from the organization:
Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org.
They signed a contract for a billion years, in keeping with the church’s belief that Scientologists are immortal. They worked seven days a week, often on little sleep, for sporadic paychecks of $50 a week, at most.
But after 13 years and growing disillusionment, the Collbrans decided to leave the Sea Org, setting off on a journey they said required them to sign false confessions about their personal lives and their work, pay the church thousands of dollars for courses and counseling and accept the consequences as their parents, siblings and friends who are church members cut off all communication with them.
Thus, Scientology isn’t all that different than other religions in some regards: fantastical stories, claims that it produces inner peace and vanquishes internal and/or spiritual demons and driven by power and influence. Because it’s human nature, celebrities can’t necessarily be faulted so much for clambering after their spiritual selves in this way. But it’s crushingly obvious that they, and to a lesser extent regular Joes fooled into the believing in the cult, like the family above, are purchasing their faith, similar to how fraternity and sorority members purchase their friends, both amounting to a deplorable and disingenuous business.