In the 90s the IRS was after 70s celebrity guru Werner Erhard for unpaid taxes, but now it’s apparently giving him money. That is, by paying for the so-called seminar “technology,” which he licenses. Erhard, whose devoted following once included singer John Denver and sit-com star Valerie Harper, now seems to have a new fan, Uncle Sam.

According to sources in Seattle, Washington IRS employees are gulping down more than coffee these days. The latest brew consumed at IRS is Erhard’s seminar training, once called “EST” and now known as Landmark Education. But unlike some concoction from Starbucks, taxpayers have apparently picked up the tab for the Landmark Forum.

High-ranking staffers at the Taxpayer Advocate’s office in Seattle took Landmark’s multi-day large group awareness marathon called the “Forum,” and billed Uncle Sam. Then they began pushing the program to subordinates, claiming that the government would pay for the course. The Landmark Forum costs $375.00 per person. But individual courses go up to $3,000 a pop, according to Landmark’s website.

Werner Erhard, EST and Landmark Education have a history of lawsuits and bad press. Some past participants have compared Forum seminars to “brainwashing” and characterized Landmark as somewhat “cult-like.”

Complaints caused the Treasury Inspector General to look into this matter. But that investigation didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm at the Taxpayer Advocate’s office. Senior staffers kept touting the program and still claimed that the government would pay, according to sources in Seattle. Could Werner Erhard who was once on IRS’s wanted list, now benefit from its payment plan?

Government officials in Seattle and Washington D.C. directly involved and reached personally by phone refused to comment.

Art Schreiber, Landmark’s general counsel stated, “IRS contacted our Seattle Center to find out about our programs.” And David Peterson, Manager of that center said he is well acquainted with Seattle IRS Taxpayer Advocate Ms. Jean Beck. Mark Kamin, Landmark’s Director for Media Relations confirmed that Ms. Beck completed the Landmark Forum, but insists they did not receive a check or voucher from the IRS and that to his knowledge, a reimbursement did not happen.

Why did IRS contact Landmark about its programs? Perhaps the government agency is hoping to stimulate its subculture through an old guru’s philosophy. But should they do this at the taxpayer’s expense?

David Berkowitz convicted for the so-called “Son of Sam” murders in NYC (1977), once said his dog “Sam” made him do it. But Berkowitz claims this month his murder spree was actually a cult initiation. He now says, “The cult made me do it.”

The prison inmate, who has gone from supposed “Satanist” to “‘born-again’ Christian” seems willing to say almost anything for attention and has about as much credibility as Saddam Hussein. However, Channel 7 Eyewitness News in NYC apparently thought this would make a good story for the 25th anniversary of the murders. Sadly, the father of one victim seems ready to believe the murderer.

Perhaps the best place for Mr. Berkowitz is solitary confinement. Somewhere dark and dank, say in a subterranean part of the prison? This might eliminate any distractions and allow for quality time, so that the “Son of a Bitch” can come up with a better story.

Australian William Kamm, who claims the Virgin Mary named him “Little Pebble” has been arrested for sexually assaulting two girls ages 14 and 15, reports Associated Press.

Fortunately, it seems the Catholic Church threw Kamm out in the nick of time. Just this past June the Vatican ordered his group to disband.

Kamm says he will be the last Pope in the “End Times” and that the final Apocalypse is coming soon. But apparently he found the time for some personal sins before being crowned.

In a move that one devoted Mormon calls “definitely inspired” the Utah based church has decided to renovate two floors in a Manhattan building once used by a health club for racquet ball, to create its new NYC temple, reported the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Mormons use temples for secret ceremonies, sacraments and the baptism of the dead.

The six-story building is located across the street from the Lincoln Center in the heart of Manhattan. Soon Mormons will be able to watch a concert, and then stand in for their favorite deceased composer in a baptism across the street. Parking will be available in the basement.

A brilliant and expansive article was recently written by Siva Vaidhyanathan, an assistant professor of information studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who will become an assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University this fall. He is the author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001).

The professor’s piece titled “Copyright as Cudgel” published by the “The Chronicle Review” discusses how through the 1998 “Digital Millennium Copyright Act” passed by Congress, copyright law has become largely a “cudgel” used by some special interests, as a means to control information and silence or constrain critics.

This legislation has often been the preferred weapon of choice used by Scientology to silence its critics on the Internet. Interestingly, it was now deceased Scientologist, California Congressman Sonny Bono, who sponsored the “Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998,” which extended the term of copyright protection by 20 years. Scientologists must have sung the refrain, “I’ve got you babe.”

Despite its attack during 1995 on Tokyo’s subways with poison gas and the fact that its leader Shoko Asahara is locked up and likely to be sentenced to death, Aum is still plugging along according to the Japan Times.

The group peaked at 10,000, but later bottomed out well below 1,000. But now it’s growing albeit very slowly. Today Aum has just over 1,000 die-hard followers, half live in the cult’s remaining compounds. They are closely watched by the Japanese authorities and must report to a security agency regularly. The Japanese are not taking any chances on their number one terrorist cult.

One die-hard Aum devotee recently said of Asahara, “What he did may never be forgiven by the Japanese people, but I truly believe that what he taught will one day be recognized as the great legacy of human civilization.” Right, and so will the teachings of Hitler, once we forget about the Holocaust.

Heading a herd of lesser-known Hollywood celebrities at a recent Scientology anniversary bash was none other than Tom Cruise. But ex-wife Nicole Kidman has apparently lost interest in the Sci-fi group since Tom dumped her, though her career hasn’t suffered any.

Super star Cruise led the long list of lesser-known TV and film personalities, who are all apparently hooked on “Dianetics,” that “religion” created by Sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard. Well, “religion” at least in the US, while some other countries just call it a business.

According to the “Hollywood Star News” it’s the “power religion of Hollywood.” However, Time Magazine calls it simply the “Cult of Greed.” Whose got that right? The Star News says “Scientology has almost 9 million adherents,” but more critical observers say that unless you count mailing lists, the real number is more like 100,000 or less.

Anyway, one thing is for sure; they know how to hook some big fish. After all, they seem to have caught the never-ending attention of Mr. Cruise.

R.G. Stair who was arrested and held regarding charges of sexual misconduct and bad faith is now free on bail. A $400,000. surety bond was posted.

Stair is now under GPS monitoring, to track his movements and restricted to his Overcomer Ministry compound in South Carolina.

Stair has recently said on his short wave radio show, that he will never leave the compound again. He also ominously insists that he is “The Last Day Prophet of God.”

More criminal charges against Stair may soon emerge regarding a child’s body found burried at his “farm.”

Stair is sounding more and more like other “End Times” prophets, such as cult leaders David Koresh and Jim Jones. They shared similar delusions and when faced with the prospect of criminal prosecution, decided upon personally fulfilling their dark prophecies by ending the history of their groups in tragedy.

The 60s Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi didn’t fade away, he just got really rich. The bearded wonder who once bewitched the “Fab Four” is now an octogenarian, and has access to more money than Paul McCartney. But apparently he misses the British Isles a “wee bit.”

Maharishi, who introduced the world to something called “Transcendental Meditation” or TM and claims he can teach people to fly, is now looking for the right spot to build his very own meditation “palace” to promote peace. And it looks like Scotland might be the lucky winner, reports The Independent in the UK.

Tillydrone in Aberdeen, which is known for its drunks, burglaries and drugs, may soon be famous for TM flyers and its very own “vedic cetre.” The old guru says this could become one of his “lighthouses of coherence.”

Maybe Maharishi will teach all the vagrants in Tillydrone to fly, so they can at least leave during the winter for warmer digs. This might give the Scots some real peace.

John Popowich, a Canadian police officer, was paid $1.3 million dollars in an out of court settlement last month, according the Canadian Globe and Mail. The settlement marked the conclusion of a malicious prosecution lawsuit he filed against Canadian authorities in 1994. Popowich was falsely charged as a satanic cult criminal. He also received an official apology from the government. However, he and his family suffered needlessly for years until his name was finally cleared.

All the evidence, which supported his alleged crimes was proven baseless. Popowich was arrested solely based upon statements made by children through a discredited interview process. Those statements were later dismissed as false.

This is a sad example of the Satanism hysteria, which hit America in the late 80s and 90s. That “Satanic panic” was often fueled by sensational and bizarre stories about secret Satanic cults, “ritual abuse,” human sacrifice, “breeders” who produced infants for slaughter and other fantastic claims.

Many families suffered and reputations were ruined through needless witch-hunts. Ultimately, objective research and official reports proved these claims were most often based upon false memories, fantasies and/or delusional thinking. No network of violent and destructive Satanic cults and/or web of related conspiracies has ever been proven to exist.

Sadly, there is still a subculture of so-called “survivors” in America that persist with such claims and who have their own network of support groups. And like other conspiracy theorists, no amount of proof seems sufficient to dissuade them.