NXIVM (not to be confused with Nexium the “purple pill” for antacid relief) also known as “Executive Success Programs” (ESP) recorded another strike in its ongoing court battle yesterday.

Strike Three was thrown by the United States Supreme Court, the third court to reject NXIVM’s efforts to silence its critics. The controversial organization has run out of courts to approach in search of an injunction.

This allows the last ruling of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals to stand, which was a harsh rebuke of NXIVM’s claims.

NXIVM sued the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI), Rick Ross, John Hochman, MD, Paul Martin, Ph.D. and one of its former students claiming that quoting its material within the research reports somehow violated “copyright” and “trade secret” law.

See the following reports:

“A Forensic Psychiatrist Evaluates ESP”

“A Critical Analysis of Executive Success Programs Inc.”

“Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria of thought reform as applied to the Executive Success Programs”

NXIVM founder Keith Raniere appeared to experience his Andy Warhol “15 minutes of fame” last year when the failed former multi-level marketing guru made the cover of Forbes Magazine as “The World’s Strangest Executive Coach.”

But that dubious distinction soon faded and a downhill slide seemed to begin, certainly in the courts.

In an ultimately futile effort to change his legal lot Raniere retained one of the largest (1,400 attorneys) and most expensive law firms in the United States with offices in Washington D.C.

However, even the Ivy League lawyers at Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood were unable to “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

Perhaps the D.C. attorneys explained to their client that his chances of overturning the lower court’s definitive decision was likely to occur “when pigs fly.”

Mr. Raniere, known to his faithful as “Vanguard” and his preeminent disciple nurse Nancy Salzman who is called “Prefect” seem to have no problem wasting money in a hopeless effort to somehow circumvent the First Amendment.

But maybe the dynamic duo doesn’t care since it’s likely that the funding for their legal crusade comes largely from devoted students.

Douglas Brooks of Massachusetts and Thomas Gleason of Albany, New York represent RI and Dr. Paul Martin pro bono.

University professor Dr. John Hochman has been provided legal representation by the University of California in Los Angeles.

Attorney Douglas Brooks with help from the nonprofit organization Public Citizen prepared the response to NXIVM’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

Now NXIVM faces a motion to dismiss its entire lawsuit before a federal judge in Albany.

Attorney Thomas Gleason will appear in that court proceeding.

No doubt Mr. Raniere and Ms. Salzman will keep swinging hoping somehow to improve upon their terrible legal batting record.

However, more than a few judges have weighed in and it seems like they’re about to call the game.

Nevertheless NXIVM has unintentionally achieved something. It has helped to better legally define freedom of speech on the Internet.

In that regard Mr. Raniere may be more than just a courtroom joke and have finally found for himself some sort of lasting legacy, his court losses may be cited in the future as legal precedents.

Journalism hit another low during November when Asbury Park Press reporter Dan Kaplan gushed about the antics of self-proclaimed “guru” Sri Chinmoy.

The New York City resident guru seems to do just about anything to see his name in print. This includes staging ridiculous publicity stunts and using a cadre of devotees to promote them to the press.

“Planes and one helicopter left the ground not by engine power but by the sheer lower-body strength of 73-year-old Queens resident Sri Chinmoy,” reported Kaplan to his readers in New Jersey.

But how could a 5 foot 7 inch 186-pound senior citizen accomplish this feat?

What Kaplan failed to tell his readers is the portly guru relies upon mechanics, not simply “sheer lower-body strength.”

As repeatedly reported by more credible sources this unlikely weightlifter actually uses a “machine” that “gives him leverage, with the fulcrum around the middle of the airplane.”

According to the designer of the machine Chinmoy “is not lifting the total weight” reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

The Wall Street Journal once dubbed the guru “Stunt Man Supreme.”

Never mind.

Kaplan prefers to call Chinmoy a “a fitness advocate, author and philosopher,” though others in the media have offered decidedly less complimentary descriptions.

The New York Post gave him the title “sleazy swami…sex pest.”

Sri Chinmoy has also been called a “cult leader” and has maintained his following and a cluster of devotee-run businesses in Queens since the 1970s.

On occasion it seems Mr. Chinmoy may also take in more than just a journalist that doesn’t do his homework.

No less than the Head of the Vietnamese permanent mission to the United Nations recently presented a medal “for the cause of peace and friendship among nations” to the “sleazy swami” reported the Voice of Vietnam News.

However, what Chinmoy actually has accomplished for the cause of peace is an interesting question.

That is, other than placing peace plaques in public places, which feature his name. This accomplishment is largely achieved through an on-going public relations effort by his devoted followers.

One such plaque created controversy in 1996, when the guru’s disciples found a place for it near the Statue of Liberty reported the New York Times.

Like many so-called “cult leaders” Chinmoy’s following once included celebrities, such as Olympian Carl Lewis and musician Carlos Santana.

However, it is unclear whether Lewis remains so deeply devoted, since he became a Christian. And Santana told Rolling Stone Magazine, “This shit is not for me,” after breaking with Chinmoy some years ago.

Deborah Santana, the wife of the multi-Grammy award winner made the break even more explicit this month. She reportedly cut 200 pages from her recently released memoir that specifically spoke about the couple’s nine years with Chinmoy before publication.

“We’re over the guru thing,” Ms. Santana told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now if only some reporters who produce puff pieces based upon press releases could follow her lead or at least seriously research their stories about “sleazy swami” Sri Chinmoy.

On December 12, 2001 Jason Weed murdered Oklahoma mailman Robert Jenkins. He shot Jenkins in the back while the mailman was performing his job as a postal carrier.

Mr. Jenkins wife and a stepdaughter survive the 30-year-old US Postal Service employee.

The court found that Weed was “legally insane.”

However, according to the court claim made against Landmark (Been v. Weed), “Weed was free of abnormal psychological manifestations(s) and/or disorder(s) prior to his attending the Defendant Landmark’s classes.”

Moreover, the plaintiff claims that through Landmark Education classes Weed “was subjected to extreme emotional and psychological stress which caused his mental disorders, and which resulted in the death of” Robert Jenkins.

The lawsuit further states that “Landmark knew, because of their prior experiences, that this type of disorder…was a likely and foreseeable result of attendance of their classes.”

The plaintiff’s attorneys specifically cite a “screening process and tests” used by Landmark “to eliminate person[s] who were likely to develop mental disorders as a result of their seminars.”

Mark Kamin, a Landmark spokesman explained to Pioneer Press in Minnesota more than two years ago that Landmark participants must pass a screening process devised by a board of psychiatrists, including a series of questions aimed at assessing mental stability.

Kamin said, “We have a requirement that people must be emotionally stable at that time to participate in our programs.”

At the time the Landmark spokesman was responding to the horrific murder of a 13-year-old boy stabbed to death by his mother, an obstetrician who had also attended Landmark courses.

Dr. Donna Anderson was later found “not guilty” by reason of insanity under California State Law, but received a 36-year prison sentence.

Anderson was allegedly kicked out of the Forum for acting psychotic.

But in the current litigation filed against Landmark the for-profit privately held company is accused of “grossly negligent, willful, wanton, and intentional and/or…reckless disregard and/or indifference” regarding the safety of the man murdered by the former Forum participant.

The large group awareness training (LGAT) seminar known as the Forum, derives from one first offered by Erhard Seminar Training (EST).

Werner Erhard (AKA “Jack” Rosenberg), a used car and encyclopedia salesman with a high school education, created the “technology” now used in the Forum. But after repeated bad press and lawsuits Erhard sold the company in 1991.

EST then became Landmark Education, which is run by Erhard’s brother Harry Rosenberg.

LGATs also known as mass marathon trainings that focus upon “human potential” have a troubled history and at times have been the focus of personal injury lawsuits.

An article that appeared within the New York Times (1977) reported serious psychiatric disturbances associated with the programs presented by EST.

Three psychiatrists wrote on this subject for the American Journal of Psychiatry (see abstracts). One told the Times, “There’s enough possibility of a real connection between EST and psychotic breaks to cause us to want to alert psychiatrists and psychologists.”

Lawyers for the plaintiff in Been v. Weed were far more explicit about the connection between Landmark and the death of Robert Jenkins.

The plaintiff’s attorneys claim, “Landmark, its agents and employees, by engaging in the practice of psychology without a license or adequate training …focus extreme emotional distress and psychological distress on persons who attend the seminar…engaging in ultrahazadous activity and [therefore] are…a direct cause of harm.”

“Even though the percent of those that attend, who develop mental disorders resulting in homicide, is small…Landmark has failed to eliminate the risk even by the exercise of what they claim to be reasonable care,” the lawyers added in their court filing.

The conclusion of the plaintiff’s legal summary is chilling, “Due to the risk involved to attendees and the general public, the Defendant Landmark’s inability to eliminate the risk or moderate the degree of harm to attendees, it is not appropriate to conduct the seminars in any location where the attendees have an opportunity to harm other human beings.”

The scope of Landmark’s reach has far surpassed the range obtained during the days of Erhard’s EST Empire.

Landmark Education has 58 offices in 26 countries and 125,000 people reportedly participate in its programs annually, according to the organization’s website. Programs are offered in more than 140 cities and businesses such as Microsoft and Reebok have paid and/or reimbursed employees to take its courses.

Note: Landmark Education is currently suing the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI) specifically alleging “product disparagement,” through the information made available at the RI database.