Anderson Cooper began Monday's AC360 with a preview of this week's series on the rumored violence at the upper levels of Scientology's hierarchy. After the preview it was on to breaking news about another arrest in the Michigan militia case. John Avalon and Mark Potok (Southern Poverty Law Center) discussed the history of the group and the initial lack of reaction from the government. As Avalon said 'this should be a wake up call' and hate ultimately leads to violence.Who would have thought that members of the Republican National Committee would visit a California sex club on the Party's dime? And that Committee Chairman Michael Steele may have accompanied them? This could be the final nail in Steele's coffin, he's had quite a few oops moments recently. Tom Foreman brought us the story. Both he and AC pleaded innocence as how one would drop two thousand dollars in a bondage themed night club in one night.The centerpiece of tonight's AC360, and presumably the week, is Scientology. Anderson Cooper began with a brief history of the group:
*Scientology was begun in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard
*Its stated goals are to help its members live in a civilization without insanity, criminals or war
*After Hubbard's death in 1986 David Miscavige became the leader of the group
*Scientology has 170 'churches' around the globe and claims 10 million members
Some facts and figures:
*The American Religious Identification Survey says that Scientology membership, in the US, has dropped from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.
*Last year a French court found four Scientology leaders and the 'church' guilty of fraud and fined over 1 million dollars
*The 'church' was granted tax exempt status in 1993, in the US, after years of wrangling with the government
*The 'church' is a vocal critic of psychiatry and has an anti-psychiatry museum
*Scientology courts celebrities and has a celebrity center in LA
I have tired very hard not to refer to Scientology as a religion and/or a church. I'm not sure if it's because of some of its wacky pronouncements or the fact that it was established by a science fiction writer, but to me the teachings and the organization define the word cult. Time Magazine did an excellent cover story on Scientology in 1991 called The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power that stands the test of time, IMO. If you want to check it out follow the link.
AC's interview for this first installment of the series was with Marty Rathbun, a former high ranking official in Scientology. Rathbun says that David Miscavige treats people around him like slaves and beats them down. Church officials not only deny it but blame Rathbun for any violence that took place within the hierarchy of the 'church'.Tom Foreman was at the 360 News and Business Bulletin desk on Monday night:
• 32 people killed in a Russian subway bombing'
• An arrest in the Juarez murders of three people with ties to the US Consulate
•10 children and young adults were killed by the drug cartel for not stopping at a fake checkpoint
•US government will sell its shares in Citigroup
•Scientists confirm fatty foods are as addictive as drugs
•Charges announced in Mass. against students who bullied a student who then committed suicide
•The Obama administration warned the health insurance industry they better provide coverage for all children with preexisting conditions come September
•Joe Jackson is suing MJ's doctor Conrad Murray
•NY politician has urged teens to quit sagging their pants
The Shot was teased by a producer on Twitter and AC on the program as the cutest video ever. I was underwhelmed at the clip of a loris being tickled.
We were looking forward to AC's interview with Sean Penn, who is still in Haiti, that was supposed to air tonight. After the program one of 360's producers Tweeted that it was taped today but the program ran out of time and will air it later in the week. We expect AC will be returning to Haiti in the next two weeks or so and are anxiously looking forward to his updates on the country's progress. ~Phebe
All Things Anderson is a blog dedicated to CNN's AC360 and its host Anderson Cooper.