As the federal investigation into Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz continues into the summer, sources tell ABC News that Gaetz's one-time wingman has been steadily providing information and handing over potential evidence that could implicate the Florida congressman and others in the sprawling probe.
Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, as part of his ongoing cooperation with prosecutors, has provided investigators with years of Venmo and Cash App transactions and thousands of photos and videos, as well as access to personal social media accounts, sources said.
Private messages exclusively reviewed by ABC News potentially shed new light on the process by which Greenberg allegedly met women online who were paid for sex, and introduced them to the Florida congressman and other associates.
In a recent blog post, Mike Rinder reports Scientology's failure to obtain tax exemption for three of its buildings in England. On this side of the pond, an annual tax is paid on the ratable value of a building – whether domestic or commercial.
Scientology applied for this property tax not to be levied on the grounds that these buildings are used for public worship. The Valuation Tribunal for England turned down the original application and has now rejected an appeal against that decision.
Every property in England has a ratable value which is set every five years. Rates go to pay for local government – police, schools, roads, refuse collection and other council expenses. A percentage of the ratable value is levied every year. For larger businesses – like Scientology – the 2021 rate is set at 52.2 percent of the ratable value.
Los Angeles Superior CourtJudge Richard Burdge denied Valerie Haney's attempt at a do-over in her lawsuit against the Church of Scientology yesterday, leaving her back where she was in January with a couple of bad choices to make.
At issue yesterday was a motion for reconsideration she had filed after Burdge ruled in January that Valerie was bound by an agreement she signed before leaving her position in Scientology's Sea Org promising to take any future grievances to Scientology's own internal "religious arbitration" and not sue the church in court.
In her motion, Valerie had argued that she was actually fired and "declared" a "suppressive person" a week before she signed her exit agreement, nullifying it. And she said this was new evidence, which can be grounds for granting a motion for reconsideration.
2020-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
That is a question for which there are a few answers, but none of them are "this city wants scientology."
The first answer is "COB wants it" — so therefore it must be done. Scientology is no longer the kingdom of L. Ron Hubbard. Everyone knows you can't say that these building boondoggles are "what LRH wants". But that does not matter any more. After all, it's been Miscavige in charge of scientology for longer than Hubbard ran the show at this point.
The second is "we always need new reasons to hand over cash, after all, that's what scientology is all about."
2019-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This poster has few words but says an awful lot.
The "notice" at the bottom is clearly a legal disclaimer put there by lawyers to protect scientology.
Scientology in Australia got into trouble with the government for not paying staff and providing inadequate health care and other benefits afforded all workers in Australia. They asserted that everyone on staff is a "volunteer" and pretty much got away with it.
We heard from a reader who told us about her situation trying to deal with a sibling who is a dedicated Scientology staffer. They aren't disconnected, but this brother-sister pair have an interesting situation we thought you'd want to read about. Here's our reader's account about what it's like growing up with a brother so committed to the cause...
I'm an ex-Scientologist. I was born into the church. So was my brother. He was a garden variety mid-80's mall rat growing up. Only when you scratched a little on the topic of spirituality, or math, did the arcana and lacuna of his Scientology schooling show up. One of his favorite declamations, usually delivered to grown-ups, was: "What if I said you could live the rest of your life without ever getting sick?"
He wanted to be a writer. He wrote rather a lot, and the horror genre was a favorite creative outlet. One favorite gag of his was to put down a bunch of characters and name them after personal friends. There was mirth in it for him — he liked when his reading audience detected the embedded winks. He enjoyed springing on people what he didn't know to call "O. Henry endings." When he was 13, he pretended to host a radio show from our porch. Had events played out differently, had forces been differently balanced, I suspect his proclivities might have taken him into "communications" in some form.
An Ontario court has imposed a peace bond against a far-right figure, in what is believed to be the first instance in which activists have sought such a peace bond in response to right-wing extremism in Canada.
Justice of the Peace Stephanie Goffin-Boyd on Monday ordered Kevin Goudreau, head of the Canadian National Front, to enter into the peace bond, which requires he "keeps the peace and is of good behaviour" and abides by four conditions for 12 months, including not making violent threats online or otherwise towards Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman, and other board members with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Goudreau is also prohibited from possessing any weapons.
US regulators are cracking down on a drink called Miracle/Master Mineral Solution - an industrial bleach marketed as a 'miracle cure' for autism, cancer, HIV, and the flu.
The drink, sodium chlorite in distilled water mixed with citrus, has infected social media - mentioned in books that were sold (and recently banned) on Amazon, touted on parent Facebook groups for autism, and promoted on Instagram.
The US Food and Drug Administration first issued a warning about MMS in 2010.
But now, despite that warning, and despite tech firms' efforts to wipe the toxic concoction from their sites, MMS keeps resurfacing.
2018-08-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comments section of my Q&A shows or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Do you have any thoughts on the CNN documentary Holy Hell about the Buddha Field cult? I saw so many parallels to Scientology.
(2) There is something that puzzles me leading on from one of your last videos about life on the Freewinds and how it came about that people handed their passports in to the organisation. I have heard a number of stories of ex-Scientologists who felt they were trapped within the organisation because their superiors had possession of their passports. I ask myself why this should have been such an issue for them? If I am in any foreign country and my passport is lost, stolen or appropriated by someone, all I have to do is get hold of or go to my nearest consulate and report the issue, then apply for a new passport. Democratic countries generally go a long way towards supporting their citizens with such things. There is something about the ex-Scientologists concerned that seems to me pretty naive and ill-informed about their own rights as citizens and being able to stand up for these. I ask myself whether this mind-set, this innocent overlooking of what makes me a citizen and a person of independence might not be part of what makes someone susceptible to the machinations of such a cult?
Now, as the saying goes, D'Souza is back—and bigger than ever. He has reinvented himself as something like the court intellectual of the age of Trump. Trump pardoned D'Souza on May 31, 2018. At the beginning of August, Donald Trump Jr. co-hosted the premiere of D'Souza's latest movie, Death of a Nation. The movie compares Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln, and his Democratic opponents to Nazis. Afterward, Trump Jr. delivered a memorable summation of what he had learned from the film. "You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there … and you look at it compared to, like, the DNC platform of today, and you're saying, man, those things are awfully similar, to a point where it's actually scary."
If you need a historian's point-by-point refutation of D'Souza's grotesque and absurd abuse of history, Princeton's Kevin Kruse has posted a useful recapitulation.
I find myself pondering a different question as I watch so many people I have known and admired subordinate their talents and their integrity to Trumpism: How has my political generation of conservatives and Republicans laid itself so intellectually and morally low?
We see a lot of signs that Scientology is entering a desperate phase. Mike Rinder does a particularly good job at his site gathering evidence that shortages in staffing and at events is a sign that David Miscavige's dog and pony show is at a breaking point. But even if membership is tanking, is Miscavige slowing down any of his 'expansion' plans? We asked the man who keeps an eye on that so well, Rod Keller, to pause and give us his assessment: What's the outward picture of health that Scientology projects in August 2018?
Today we'll take a look at the overall apparent health of Scientology, from top to bottom. The top level is the Advanced Org and Continental Liaison Office level. These are the Sea Org orgs that deliver the OT levels and control all Scientology activities in their "continent." AOs are expanding, both in real estate and population.
While Canada and Mexico seem to be far from opening, others are expanding. A source has identified new construction in Los Angeles for Sea Org berthing, new CLO buildings have been opened recently in Copenhagen, East Grinstead and Australia. The Kyalami Castle is being renovated and we think it will finally open after years of broken promises. The Flag Land Base in Clearwater has opened new facilities for WISE and Clearwater Community Volunteers, and we predict the long planned L. Ron Hubbard Hall and museum will break ground next year.
Bria Mason is a college student in Belgium, working on a thesis. She asked me several questions about life during and after Scientology. I also talk a little bit about my book, Scythe Tleppo.
00:00 Project Description
03:01 What was the process of Scientology unraveling like for you?
2018-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It's been a year since St Louis org sent out the last edition of their magazine (Clear View) that included recent course and auditing completions.
St. Louis "services" many surrounding states, including the eastern half of Missouri. Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas. St. Louis itself has a population of nearly 3 million.
Here is what they have accomplished in the last year. Donna Williams by the way is a staff member at the org. And the girl at the bottom, Allie Lane, was raised in Scientology. She is the daughter of STL Org Executive Director Chad Lane. Needed to cleanse those drugs out of her body very badly apparently...
Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs.
"Ron Miscavige Life After Scientology" will explore Ron's time with the Church of Scientology and expose information that the Church does not want you to know.
Please support my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/itmuststop
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
Critical Thinking Playlist: https://goo.gl/T8DPTr
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
There are new court filings in the Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, and two new dates to put on your calendar.
This Tuesday, there will be a hearing at Judge James Whittemore's Tampa courtroom that was moved up a few days to avoid a calendar conflict. At that hearing, we expect the judge to discuss another document in the file, which reveals that both sides have agreed on the start of arbitration to begin in the Los Angeles area on October 23.
Hey, wait a minute. The start of arbitration, in this case? Does that mean that Judge W pulled off a miracle?
2017-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
From the Scientology Tech Dictionary:
"HIDDEN DATA LINE, some students have believed there was a 'hidden data line' of tech in Scn, a line on which Scn tech was given out by me but not made known to students. This started me looking for there is no such line. The whole of technology is released in HCO Bulletins and HCO Policy Letters and tapes I do and release. I don't tell people anything in some private way, not even instructors. The apparency is somebody's pretense to know from me more than is on the tapes and in the books and mimeos, or, brutally, somebody's alter-is of materials. This looks like a "hidden data line." It surely isn't. (HCO PL 16 Apr 65).
LRH pounded home this point that there was no hidden data line in Scientology. He'd laid everything bare. No policy was covered up. No tech was hidden. Nothing was exclusive to a chosen few. From DMSMH to OT 8, it had been spelled out in plain English for the whole world to see. True, the OT Levels are confidential, but if you're willing to cough up the bucks, you can check them out.
We've been talking to Florida attorney Richard Celler about the religious discrimination lawsuit he filed on behalf of a man name David Bunting who is suing a Tampa medical services CEO, Vick Tipnes, for allegedly forcing Scientology courses on him, and firing him when Bunting refused. We told Celler how much Tipnes reminded us of another colorful businessman, motivational speaker Grant Cardone, who is also a Scientologist and is someone Tipnes cites as a mentor.
What a coincidence, Celler told us. He had clients who were also making religious discrimination claims against Cardone.
Celler sent us copies of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints he's made on behalf of three clients who submitted discrimination claims after being fired by Cardone's Miami Beach business.
In the early 2000s, Shurtleff pushed for the funding of an expensive medical program to sweat meth toxins out of exposed cops. It just happend to be the brainchild of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who called it "Purif" or the "Purification Rundown."
Government support for Purif cropped up this week in a Daily Beast expose on the Department of Defense's also playing sucker to the Scientologists.
Medical experts in Utah questioned Purif, which had been cleverly renamed the Utah Meth Cops Project, as quakery. Indeed, Shurtleff, in his goofy, some would say despicable, way, had gotten entangled with Sandra Lucas, director of the Utah Meth Cops Project and Scientology's lobbyist at the Utah Legislature.
We had a lot of fun on Monday revisiting perhaps the high point in the careers of Scientology leader David Miscavige and his actor-lieutenant, Tom Cruise, when they opened a new church in Madrid in 2004. Since then, the two have been battered and bruised with years of brutal press accounts of how Miscavige physically abused his top executives, imprisoned them for years at a time, was the subject of an FBI investigation, and made his own wife disappear — all as Cruise has idly stood by, continuing to be the organization's number one recruiting tool.
The last ten years have also seen an exodus of longtime, loyal Scientology members, as they fled Miscavige's extreme fundraising demands, which he makes on members in order to open more unnecessary buildings around the world in order to pretend that Scientology is expanding. Thanks to our tipsters, and those at Mike Rinder's blog, however, we get regular intelligence about just how desperate things are getting for Miscavige as his boat continues to take on water.
Today we have two small items as an example of the kind of actual data that comes in which counters the propaganda put out regularly by Miscavige and the church.
2015-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a page from the latest edition of Planetary Dissemination News.
Once again, it is hard to hide the truth. Partly because those within the scientology bubble often don't even understand what they write.
More proof that the lies that are repeated over and over by Miscavige and Co that he has overseen an "era of unprecedented expansion" is a preposterous lie.
The entire Annapolis space is covered with memorabilia—photos, plaques and letters—from the rescue and cleanup effort after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. In the frames, firemen pose amidst the rubble, holding up their own sweat-stained towels from the center Tom Cruise built in downtown Manhattan to treat sick first responders free of charge.
"You see the color?" Grant says, pointing to a greyish dirty towel hanging on the wall—an artifact that, she says, shows off the program's efficacy at ridding the body of nasty toxins.
Grant flips through a photo album filled with snapshots of similar towels. An identification number is taped on each one. "These are from the Gulf War veterans. You see the stains? Pink, blue, brown, purple, orange, and this one also has light yellow. The color is beautiful, but it's not good for the body."
2014-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
If you have not seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, it is well worth watching.
It's a look into the cold-hearted world of high-pressure sales. Could well be based on the IAS or any of the numerous other "regging" activities in the world of scientology.
That there is even a "workshop" in a "church" that teaches "effective closing" is a pretty sad indictment of just how far afield this "church" has strayed. That they promote it to the general public and offer a free meal in order to entice people to attend is even sadder.
The Underground Bunker is thrilled to debut a short film made by Mark Bunker that should shake up some people in Clearwater, Florida.
We'd read the reports by the Tampa Bay Times that the city had recently paid consultants at the Urban Land Institute $125,000 to help Clearwater plot a new course of redevelopment, and that the ensuing study had recommended a closer relationship between the city and the Church of Scientology.
But we had no idea how one-sided that recommendation was, and how much it ignored local history. Mark Bunker has taken a segment from the presentation given by the Institute's Brad Rogers, and he puts it into context in a way only Bunker could...
2013-08-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
L. Ron Hubbard discussed at some length the characteristics of a Suppressive Person or Anti-Social Personality. Way back in 1953 he wrote PAB 13 On Human Behavior which was a precursor to so much that he would codify in the mid 1960's. It is interesting to read what other scholars of human behavior have to say on the subject, particularly clinical psychologist Martha Stout in her widely recognized book The Sociopath Next Door. Their observations very similar – and yet from such different backgrounds – confirming the accuracy of the observations.
For this posting, I focus on one of the identifying characteristics of the Anti-Social Personality described in HCOPL 1966 THE ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY THE ANTI-SCIENTOLOGIST. I did a related post some time ago entitled On David Miscavige's Behavior.
5. Surrounding such a personality we find cowed or ill associates or friends who, when not driven actually insane, are yet behaving in a crippled manner in life, failing, not succeeding.
Aucuns travaux n'ont été entamés sur le bel immeuble de pierre de six étages de la rue Sainte-Catherine acheté en 2007 par les scientologues.
Le vaste projet immobilier de l'Église de scientologie est toujours sur les rails au Canada. Même s'il ne progresse pas au rythme souhaité par l'organisation, les scientologues jurent qu'ils transformeront tous leurs locaux, souvent défraîchis, en lieux accueillants et modernes. Des embûches semblent toutefois paralyser certains projets, dont celui de Montréal.
Sindy Fagen, photo source In the wake of Leah Remini's defection, Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw has repeatedly claimed that there is no Scientology policy of forced "disconnection," which compels a church member to cut off all ties from someone who has been excommunicated ("declared a suppressive person") — even if it means cutting off ties with a close friend or family member. When Pouw's predecessor, Tommy Davis, made the same claim on CNN in 2008, it was a disastrous move: many church members who had been affected by the policy were deeply offended. One of those was director Paul Haggis, and we've heard from many others who say Tommy's denials helped convince them to leave the church.
Today, Pouw is stepping into that mess once more, and it's angering current and former Scientologists all over again. Claire Headley responded by showing us the written — and therefore inviolable — church policy that lays out in black and white how families get ripped apart by rules that force church members to choose between Scientology and their reliationships with friends and relatives.
And now, Sindy Fagen has given us an even more devastating example that should be hard for Pouw to refute.
Fox News, CLEARWATER - Clearwater's Municipal Code Enforcement Board will consider a request to reduce a $451,500 penalty imposed against the Church of Scientology. That figure represents a $250-per-day fine that continued for nearly five years when work stopped on the "Mecca Building" in downtown Clearwater.
"In the years when there was nothing happening, there were a lot of complaints," city spokesperson Joelle Castelli explained. "It was unsightly, the landscaping was overgrown, it looked like it was an abandoned shell of a building."
2011-08-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
According to the many insightful comments in response to this week's posts it is clear not much was lost on you all. Thanks for the dot connecting and succinct sum ups and observations of the situation.
Allow me to engage in a little more dot connecting of my own.
The main purpose behind the manner in which the material rolled out - from the first Caller Times article on 3 July, to the follow up on 7 August, to the four segments of interview with Bert Leahy - was to provide the definitive Miscavige mafia repellent. Take the links to the 3 July article, the 7 August article, and the four days of Mr. Leahy and you have a fully self-contained answer and antidote to any invasion of Miscavige's mafia in your area. Whether it is Lubow or any Radical Scientology private investigator, one or more OSA operatives or even a Radical Scientology lawyer - the combined links, in sequence, are the answer to them all.
2011-08-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As we noted on Wednesday, Scientology has a history of pouncing on human disaster which even its own leaders, on leaked videotape, have admitted is a recruitment tool for the church.
But even we're somewhat taken aback to see what the UK Scientologists have put out in a message to the flock following the destruction there: now, they say, is the time to cash in!
"We MUST open all UK Ideal Orgs NOW," says an electronic flier my UK sources are calling a "leaked e-mail."
2009-08-12, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I was reading the 80-page Freedom Magazine put out by David Miscavige, and I came across this datum from a bulleted list of Scientology "expansion wins":
"8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups"
I got curious as to where all these "Churches, Missions and groups" are. You might have noticed that the Church no longer lists Org addresses in the back of the books. They used to list all Org and Mission addresses, but they stopped doing that. They just refer you to their website, with its nifty Scientology Org and Mission locator. You cannot find a complete org and mission list on the website, just this locator. So, in order to find out how many Orgs and Missions there are, you have to spend hours going through the locator, country by country.
The Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology, is the only place in the world in which Scientologists can complete the level of OT VIII, which requires a "completely safe, aesthetic and distraction-free environment." Former Scientologist Jason Beghe has called the ship a flea bag that shakes like crazy, hardly meeting two of those requirements about aesthetics and distractions. Most importantly, the presence of blue asbestos on the cruise ship ensures that the safety requirement is not met.
Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose "Theme From Shaft" won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.
Hayes was pronounced dead at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis an hour after he was found by a family member, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Margarita Lopez is under fire for taking contributions from Scientology while giving funds to the group's Downtown detox center, and is also at risk of losing public matching funds because of unresolved problems with her 2001 funds. Yet, the East Side councilmember, in a lengthy telephone interview on Monday, claimed she has done no wrong and expressed confidence in her campaign for borough president.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. marshals seized computer equipment and files Saturday from a Virginia man accused by the Church of Scientology of posting its most sacred texts on the Internet.
Marshals also served Arnaldo Lerma, 44, with a restraining order barring him from revealing more of the church's copyrighted documents in a federal copyright infringement suit filed by the church on Friday.
"What he was engaging in was a form of copyright terrorism," said Helena Kobrin, an attorney with Scientology's Religious Technology Center. "It's not OK to do this with people's copyrighted materials."