Politico had a tremendous scoop yesterday, as reporter Matt Dixon revealed that one of the country's biggest financial supporters of the Trump re-election effort is none other than the wealthiest Scientologist in the world, Florida's Trish Duggan.
Our readers have certainly heard a lot about Trish and her ex, Bob Duggan, over the years. The wealthy couple rewrote the record books when it comes to donating to the church, forcing Scientology leader David Miscavige to come up with ever greater honorifics and bigger trophies to bestow on them for their largesse. At last count, Trish had reached the status "Patron of Legend," and the Duggans may be nearing half a billion in giving to the church through various initiatives.
We detailed, for example, how in one transaction, they had set aside about $60 million in Abbvie stock, a pharmaceutical giant that had bought up Bob's company Pharmacyclics. The deal had netted Bob about $2.5 billion, but we noted that just as Bob and Trish were splitting up, they set aside the Abbvie stock in a foundation so that it could reliably deliver about $3 million a year in interest that would go to Scientology or its front groups, according to the Foundation's own documentation.
Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend.
The chats on the GroupMe app, shared with the Guardian by the antifascist group Eugene Antifa, show conversations between Oregon members of the Patriots Coalition growing more extreme as they discuss armed confrontations with leftwing Portland activists, and consume a steady diet of online disinformation about protests and wildfires.
At times, rightwing activists discuss acts of violence at recent, contentious protests, which in some cases they were recorded carrying out. At one point, David Willis, a felon currently being sued for his alleged role in an earlier episode of political violence, joins a discussion about the use of paintballs.
2020-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Over the past 2 years, there is only one recognized person who speaks on behalf of scientology: Marty Rathbun.
The two other recognizable "spokespeople" are never heard from — Ed Parkin sends out a stream of tweets and Karin Pouw's name is affixed to the routine letters sent to the media written by others. They are never actually seen speaking. These 3 are the troika of scientology spokespeople today. Monique Yingling seems to have gone into retirement. Tommy Davis blew. Heber Jentzsch is disappeared. Even Bob Adams and Linda Simmons-Hight have vanished. And the other people who speak in videos are random former associates of those who are targeted by scientology. Only Marty Rathbun is a recurring presence with moving lips.
Though you never see any live interviews with Marty, his brown-jacketed videos are featured prominently on scientology sites and he is cited as a great authority. They have taken to referring to him as a guru.
Last night on Instagram, Leah Remini revealed that she had received the news that George Remini, her biological father, had died in August and there had been a funeral and she was only now finding out.
If you have been following her saga and her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, and our coverage here, you know why Leah didn't hear a thing about her father being sick.
After the first season of Aftermath concluded and was a huge surprise hit for the network, A&E put on a special two-hour episode to tide viewers over until it could put on a second season. That special aired on May 29, 2017. But in the hours before it appeared, a strange 18-minute video was posted to the Internet by the Church of Scientology that stunned us with its cruelty.
2019-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is an article just published on Patheos — which is described on Wikipedia as follows:
Patheos is a non-denominational, non-partisan online media company providing information and commentary from various religious and nonreligious perspectives.
Upon its launch in May 2009, the website was primarily geared toward learning about religions through a reference library and other peer-reviewed resources on 27 global religions and worldviews. In its current form, the site also hosts more than 450 blogs in eleven "Faith Channels," offering commentary and news from these perspectives in topics including politics, institutions, culture, sacred texts, history, lifestyle, entertainment, family life, and business. Patheos is the largest English language religion and spirituality site in the world, while the Catholic, Progressive Christian, Nonreligious, and Pagan Channels constitute the largest web presence for their respective traditions.
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.
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2018-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More evidence that the pretense of scientology is coming unglued.
Stevens Creek is an "ideal org". It has been since 2005 (Miscavige "rededictaed" it in 2012 because they put new videos in the lobby and they try to pretend it's only been ideal since 2012). There are three other ideal orgs within 50 miles. They should be well on their way to Clearing the entire Bay Area by now.
Add to that the constant hype about the huge "4th dynamic campaigns" that are "salvaging the world" from the ravages of drugs, psychiatry and human rights violations and you can see the hype laid bare.
Nathan Rich was born into Scientology. He endured hell as a teenager at Scientology's infamous Mace-Kingsley Ranch. Operated by the abusive Wally Hanks, a man whom Scientology protected after he admitted to sexually molesting two teenage girls.
Nathan's life spiraled out of control and soon he was living on the streets as a drug addict. Nathan tells a riveting tale of how he survived seven years of homelessness and self-medicating with street drugs and turned his life around.
Nathan's new book Scythe Tleppo is now available on Amazon.
Jeffrey Augustine dives into the background of Scientology's private cruise ship the Motor Vessel Freewinds, which has quite a colorful history. Rod Keller has the week off.
Built in 1968 at the Wärtsilä Turku Shipyard in Turku, Finland, the ship that would become Scientology's MV Freewinds was originally designed as a North Sea car ferry. The vessel was ordered by Lion Ferry, a Swedish company that operated car-transport lines in Europe and America. The design concept was simple: Cars were loaded through the stern doors and unloaded in front through a retractable bow. Passengers walked up a gang plank into a side door in the ship. A 1970's-era stern shot of a sister ship — The Kamiros of the Dane Sea Lines — shows the design of the stern doors:
Lion Ferry had two such ships operating and ordered two more. Lion then decided it only needed one of the additional ships it had ordered. The Wallenius Lines took over the contract on the other ship that would become the Freewinds. The ship was reconfigured to be a passenger cruise ship only. The car deck became passenger staterooms. Luxury amenities were added by the Wallenius Lines to transform the vessel into a true cruise ship rather than a utilitarian short-haul car ferry.
(Paul Haggis and Leah Remini)
Yesterday, we received this remarkable piece of writing from Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis. His appearance on this week's Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath resulted in, predictably, a full-throated attack from the Church of Scientology. But something in that attempt to smear him stunned Haggis. We'll let him explain...
2017-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
In 1969, Swiss psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced her famous five stages of grief. Later, she expanded the model to include trauma such as the death of a loved one, major rejection, and the onset of disease. Over the years, others have modified her model. Her original five stages are:
Many Scientologists go through similar stages when leaving the church. Others pass through these stages once they've left.
This is a great talk between Joe Rogan and Leah Remini about Scientology's OTIII level. On OTIII (pronounced OT 3), one learns the Xenu story. By the time a Scientologist reaches OTIII he or she has easily spent $100,000 or more.
When the OTIII levels were leaked online in the early 1990's, the Church of Scientology spent a great deal of money suing those people and groups who leaked the levels.
The Church of Scientology claimed that its OT levels are trade secrets. How can this be? How can Scientology, which calls itself a religion, claim that its religious secrets are also trade secrets. Businesses have trade secrets; religions do not.
Venezuelan man Jose Navarro was 20 when he became a Scientologist and went aboard Freewinds, the church's 440-foot luxury cruise ship, as a chef in 1993. Flag Ship Service Organization/Scientology.org / Via scientology.org ID: 9655245
"The [other trainee Scientologists] were very jealous," Navarro told journalist Steve Cannane, the author of a new book Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia.
Based on years of interviews and research, Cannane looks at how Scientology, a philosophy-cum-religion founded in 1954 by American sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, was exported to Australia. The book accuses Scientologists of carrying out intimidation tactics, false imprisonment and coerced abortions in Australia.
We have a really strange story for you today. We have no idea what Scientology is thinking on this one, but its employees have been spotted training guard dogs to attack at one of its Florida properties.
One of the Church of Scientology's less well known facilities is a laundry building owned by the Flag Service Organization which is on the northeast corner of N. Hercules Ave. and Calumet St, about four miles east and north of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the Flag Land Base centerpiece in downtown Clearwater.
The building sits on a large parcel at 2000 Calumet St., which includes trees and a lawn. And on that lawn, Scientology employees have been seen training guard dogs, including an exercise having the dogs attack a man wearing a special protective suit.
2016-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond anyone's ability to control (even fully paid up OT's), Regraded Being was unable to forward us a strip this week.
I asked RB to select an old favorite for republishing. That turned out to be from December 2014, even before RB became a regular Friday feature. In fact, this appeared in one of the early editions of "Thursday Funnies."
Interesting thing about the RB funnies — they are truly timeless.
Another senior Scientologist has appeared in court in its battle to set up in a small Central Coast town.
The residents of Yarramalong have rejected plans for a drug rehab clinic, fearing it was uncertified and potentially dangerous.
It emerged on Wednesday that Scientology has used one of its celebrity members to try to win them over.
2015-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Well, I guess the great social experiment of bringing scientology to the "African American cultural epicenter" has failed.
Problem is that virtually everyone they could persuade to take services in this place are imports from other orgs and they repeatedly show their graduations and completions featuring a host of clearly non-locals from CC Int and elsewhere (see latest example below).
The strategy of opening Harlem and Inglewood took a HUGE hit with the death of Isaac Hayes. He was the impetus for these orgs even exiting in the first place as he repeatedly harangued Miscavige about the "all-white" ethos of scientology. Has Isaac still been around. there is a chance he might have interested this community in scientology because of HIS credibility. But with his passing, they are fresh out of any sort of credibility. What can they do, bring in Michael Roberts? Chill EB? They have as much credibility in African American circles as Kirstie Alley does in middle America these days. Only those over 50 who might recall her on Cheers may have any sort of favorable impression of her, though most have now seen her subsequent antics and write her off as a buffoon.
Hey, your proprietor is in Cleveland today, our first trip to this fair city and a visit we've been really looking forward to. In the evening we're giving a talk about our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, but before that a friendly Bunkerite has agreed to show us around town. Are we lucky or what?
If you're in the area, come on down for the event, which is free and sponsored by Center for Inquiry-Northeast Ohio. We'll be at the Parma Heights Library at 7 pm. We hear there are pre- and post-parties planned by the local Bunkeroos, so you might get in on those, too. Wow, that's a lot of yarns we're going to need to spin. We may have to dig deep into our secret stuff to keep that party going.
While we settle into Harvey Pekar Country today, we have a suitably bizarre and fun item for you, just for the heck of it.
In the months since, we've been watching as some defendants have tried to keep out of the suit by filing "special appearances," and others have filed motions to dismiss. But we've been especially curious to see what was happening with Miscavige, who had not yet been served with the suit.
Apparently, just presenting him with papers can be quite a challenge. The high-flying, luxury-living leader of Scientology has plenty of places to hang out behind high walls and security guards, making it tough for a process server to get near him.
But over a three-day period earlier this month, the NAFC's process server, Harold Karaka, made multiple attempts simply to walk in the front door of the HGB building carrying a sheaf of papers and met Scientology's aggressive security detail.
We're looking forward to getting reports on how a hearing goes today in McAlester, Oklahoma. Attorney Gary Richardson (right) is trying to convince the state to turn over a report which could be devastating to Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon. The hearing starts at 2:30 pm Eastern time, and we're hoping to get a report from the scene as soon as the hearing finishes.
What's at stake? Last month, we told you about two stunning lawsuits filed by a former state inspector general named Kimberly Poff and one of her former investigators, Michael DeLong. Working for the state's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Poff and DeLong say they had uncovered wrongdoing in the wake of several deaths at Scientology's flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead, and had recommended that it be shut down.
Today, Pittsburg County District Judge Jim D. Bland (pictured, right) agreed that the families suing Scientology's flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead, should be given copies of a controversial state report that recommended the rehab center be shut down.
The report came to light when, last month, two lawsuits were filed by a former Oklahoma state inspector general, Kim Poff, and one of her former investigators, Michael DeLong. In the lawsuits, they claimed that they had investigated Narconon Arrowhead in the wake of three recent patient deaths, found evidence of wrongdoing, and recommended in a report that the place be closed. They allege that their superiors buried the report because they were too afraid to take on Scientology, and then fired Poff and DeLong when they complained. Their report was forwarded to Oklahoma's attorney general.
The State Department of Mental Health starting investigating in July 2012. The results of that probe have never been made public.
Both investigators on the case claim they were fired because they wouldn't agree to keep the results secret.
In a lawsuit, those investigators claim their report suggested Narconon be shut down for breaking state laws.
2014-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
OK, I have chronicled some pretty strange things on this blog, but I believe John Mappin has now succeeded in ascending to the pinnacle of arrogant foolishness. He has overcome all competitors and stands alone as the most out of touch and bizarre example of the effects of scientology KoolAid.
Below you will see a screen shot of his facebook page and I then reprinted his entire Facebook posting below, highlighting in red some of the more bizarre things within it and including a few parenthetical comments of my own in blue.
He is apparently someone the church of scientology is proud to have representing it and acting as an international blathering spokesman for the upper class of earth.
Leah Remini continues to use her access to a huge media platform to jab the Church of Scientology in the ribs.
Previously, she had prominently displayed ex-Scientologist Marc Headley's book about escaping Scientology, Blown For Good, while on her way into rehearsals for ABC's Dancing With The Stars.
And tonight, on the show itself, she was heard to tell her dancing partner Tony Dovolani that she has to do well because her former church wants her to fail.
View Les Strieber's full opening statement here vimeo.com/74691616
Les Strieber III is representing the Church of Scientology International (CSI). Here is his bio:
2013-09-23, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Thank you all for your reports from around the world. These reports provide a snapshot of the Church of Scientology in its current state.
This is only a sampling, and I hope that others will continue to send in reports from their areas so this can be added to with more detailed information and it can become a useful source of true information for Scientologists and the media.
One of the reasons for doing this is that every time Pinocchio Pouw "speaks", or a church lawyer stands up in court, their Miscavige penned statements drone on about the fabulous international expansion of Scientology under the brilliant guidance of David Miscavige. The claims are familiar — 25 or 37 "new churches" opened over the last "few years". Greater expansion in the last few years than in the combined 5 decades previously. 10 million Scientologists. "More than 10,000 Orgs, Missions and 'related groups'" and some idiocy about square footage of buildings purchased or under renovation.
Since the Tampa Bay Times broke the news Wednesday afternoon that Scientology had postponed indefinitely the October 6 grand opening of its "Super Power Building," we've been digging for answers to why that decision was made, and what it might mean.
Formally known as the "Flag Building," the massive edifice in Clearwater, Florida has been in progress for 15 years, and for at least a decade Scientologists who have been asked to fund its construction have been told it was on the verge of opening for business. The Tampa Bay Times estimates that about $145 million has been raised for its completion, but some former top Scientology executives say the true figure is closer to $200 million to $230 million.
It's a 300,000 square foot, seven-story structure with hundreds of auditing rooms, dozens of space age installations, and a giant indoor running track. And finally, after months of frenetic activity to finish up preparations, it was supposed to open on October 6 in a grand opening that the city was told would draw 10,000 Scientologists. But then the event was suddenly cancelled. Why?
He insisted he's not trying to take a stand or exclude anyone. "Everyone's welcome here, including Scientologists. I just want people to know, we are not associated with Scientology and that there are businesses in Clearwater that are not associated with Scientology. Please don't make that assumption."
2012-09-23, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master this evening.
My first thought while walking out of the theater was a one sentence sum up as follows:
Given the behavior, product and the likely resultant public perception for the past twenty six years of David Miscavige's Scientology Inc., Anderson's film is probably the best possible healing salve imaginable for Scientology.
Two private investigators are suing Scientology for breach of contract, alleging they were hired to spy on the Church's rivals and then let go even though they'd been promised their jobs were permanent.
In the case being heard in San Patricio County, Texas, the investigators, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, say they were paid about $500,000 each year since 1988 to keep watch on Pat Broeker, The Dallas Morning News is reporting.
Two private investigators claim David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology, paid them $12million over the course of 24 years to spy on his former rival, along with other enemies.
The top-secret program gave Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold about $500,000 a year and sent them across the world in pursuit of Pat Broeker, who was briefly head of the church before being forced out, the men say.
They are now suing the church after the paychecks stopped rolling in.
A FORMER rugby league star has attacked the head of the church of Scientology, David Miscavige, describing him as a "violent man" who sent him to a re-education camp for 2 1/2-years where he was paid as little as $2 a week and stripped of his passport.
Chris Guider was a former hooker for the St George rugby league team, but left the sport at 24 after being encouraged to devote more time to the church.
2011-09-23, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Reference: Miscavige Kills Survival, https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/david-miscavige-kills-survival-insurance/
That there above is the prize bestowed upon Richie Acunto for having donated TEN MILLION DOLLARS to David Miscavige's war chest. The misuse of those funds has been well documented on this blog over the past two years. For extended periods of time it included around the clock surveillance of the home of Tiziano Lugli, Jamie Sorrentini and their precious daughter Veda.
In December 09 Tiziano and Jamie visited Mosey and I for a week. As a result the church sent operatives literally into the homes of Jamie's grandparents and Tiziano's parents on the East Coast and in Italy to disrupt their family Christmas get togethers, beseeching their parents to disconnect from Jamie and Tiziano.
The Church of Scientology in Sydney said in a statement: "Chris and his wife Valeska Guider, both former long-term religious ministers of the Church of Scientology, are currently engaged in an ongoing action against the Church of Scientology with the Fair work Ombudsman (FWO).
"Their negative claims have only now surfaced since this FWO action was lodged, and are not backed up by statements from their contemporaries.
"These allegations appear to have been made to bolster their claims for money to which they are not entitled."
2011-09-23, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On August 5, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#4: Tom Cruise
Members of Genesee Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse from Orleans and Genesee counties attended the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition breakfast meeting Tuesday at Hickory Ridge Golf and Country Club.
A new program is Drug Free Marshals, in which youths are "deputized" to promote being drug free.
2010-09-23, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Oh, the office David Miscavige had built with slave labor at Tom Cruises hangar (see https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/to-tom-cruise-from-david-miscavige-with-love/) was just the icing on the cake. The cake was the hangar itself. Dave had Sea Org members design and build a facade around the entire interior of the hangar as part of Dave's never-ending stream of gifts to Tom Cruise.
Notice the hard, chrome steel look to the faux scaffolding. Miscavige making Tom Cruise in his own image.
Note the banners with hand made airplane brand emblems
With every election cycle comes a shadow army of benignly titled nonprofit groups like Americans for Job Security, devoted to politically charged "issue advocacy," much of it negative. But they are now being heard as never before — in this year of midterm discontent, Tea Party ferment and the first test of the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited, and often anonymous, corporate political spending. Already they have spent more than $100 million — mostly for Republicans and more than twice as much as at this point four years ago.
None have been more active than Americans for Job Security, which spent $6 million on ads during the primary season. This week, emboldened by the court ruling, the group paid close to $4 million more for ads directly attacking nine Democratic candidates for Congress. That made it among the first to abandon the old approach of running ads that stopped just short of explicitly urging voters to elect or reject individual candidates.
Americans for Job Security says it is careful to hew to tax and campaign-finance laws: It may not spend the majority of its resources on political activity or coordinate with party committees, and may keep its donors secret only as long as their contributions are not intended for specific ad campaigns close to an election. Instead of earmarked donations, the group says, it collects membership dues and then decides, on its own, how to spend the money.
Scientology's network of bookshops in France, SEL, is entirely independent of the ParisCelebrity Centre, a representative insisted - a key plank of their joint defence against fraud charges.
When Aurore Nadler stood up to testify she knew she had her work cut out for her.
Nadler was the representative for Scientologie espace librairie (SEL), the movement's network of bookshops in France, which was charged with fraud.
The Church of Scientology claims its ad campaign has "driven" 10 million people to view its web site. It doesn't say how many converted to the secretive religion.
The ads have been running on cable TV, but if you were hoping that they explained what Scientology is about, you'll be dissappointed. The ads are so bafflingly vague that they're almost entirely about nothing. Here's the script for one, out of a flight of six on YouTube:
Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge.
When I was asked to write about Scientology, I said yes. I then started researching it and wished that that yes had been a no. You see the creator -- a man called L Ron Hubbard, who established the religion in 1952 -- well, Ron wrote The Manual of Justice, in which he says that a reporter who dares to write anything critical about Scientology should be harassed and intimidated until he or she shudders in silence. The last time I had shuddered in silence was watching The Champ.
Mr Hubbard also wrote Attacks on Scientology, Additional Policy Letter in which he details how to destroy the reputation of anyone critical of Scientology. That didn't scare me. I hadn't much of a reputation anyway. Well, not one I didn't mind getting destroyed. I wasn't frightened of what would happen; I've got friends in low places who would protect me for the price of some call credit and a carvery.
So I logged onto the official Scientology website and, for the purpose of this article, I opened my mind wide. I had heard all the negatives about the so-called religion -- the brainwashing and aliens etc -- but I would give it the benefit of the doubt until I found something to take that doubt away. Maybe Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes aren't mental after all.
State education officials on Monday rejected the latest version of a series of textbooks inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying the books failed to properly depict disabled people and minorities.
The publisher, Bridge Publications, is seeking to have five books based on Hubbard's educational ideas approved for use in California public classrooms as supplemental texts.
1994-09-23, Abraham Foxman, Opinion, New York Times
Making things worse is the Scientology effort to link the German ban of the group to Nazi persecution of Jews. This is a disgrace and reflects the group's willingness to go to any lengths to take revenge on a Government that has taken action against it.