Very disturbing and confusing story coming out of the Netherlands today about a group of seven people who have been living in a farm's basement for the past nine years waiting for the world to end.
A 58-year-old man was apparently the leader of this odd assemblage, and the other six were siblings, children of a woman who had died at some point. The youngest is an adult now at 18, but would have been only 9 when the group went down into its bunker to wait for Armageddon.
The story broke because the oldest of the siblings, a 25-year-old, had had enough, left the farm, went down to the local pub, and drank five beers. He then said he needed help, and police were called and he told the strange story about his family.
With Canada's federal election now just one short week away, the country's politicians are doing whatever they can to stay out of trouble. However, a recent post from the official Conservative Party of CanadaTwitter page has got the internet arguing once again today, as some people are accusing the party of sympathizing with Canada's 'yellow vesters.'
Tweeting on Monday afternoon, the Conservative Party account posted a picture of party leader, Andrew Scheer, shaking hands with a man wearing a yellow vest. The caption read, "This election isn't about me, or even Justin Trudeau. It's about helping you get ahead."
While the tweet was likely not meant to be controversial, the post quickly caught the attention of Canadians online, with some suggesting the image showed Conservative support for Canada's "yellow vesters," a controversial, anti-government group, known to have made death threats to Justin Trudeau.
If you've been seeing a lot of ads online from the Epoch Times, you're not alone. The newspaper, founded in 2000 by adherents of the Falun Gong religious movement " as an antidote to communist propaganda ," has reportedly been spending millions of dollars to reach new readers with its pro-Donald Trump message.
In August, NBC News reported that the paper had spent more than $1.5 million on Facebook ads alone in a six-month period, before it was banned from advertising on the site after reportedly running ads that didn't make clear their ties to the organization. Its messages still frequently pop up on other advertising platforms, including YouTube and Google.
The paper, which strongly opposes the Chinese Communist Party, has taken a decidedly pro-Trump angle in recent years. Current headlines on the site refer to a "Democrat-led impeachment inquiry," the high cost of "healthcare for illegal immigrants," and CNN's "nonstop Trump focus."
It was a nice Saturday afternoon so Willie and I decided to take a little drive in the country. We thought we'd swing by the Cambridge Org and see how things were going for their Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner/Event.
The Thanksgiving dinner started at 6pm. We stayed until well after that to make sure we allowed for any stragglers. There were a few so we counted those as well. Altogether there were 27 cars in the parking lot. Most of them that we saw arrive had only one person in them, but there were some with two people. I'd estimate maybe 50 people, including staff. No more than 55-60 if I was being generous.
Even if most local Scientologists also had a dinner planned for Sunday or Monday they could have made it out to support their 'church' on a Saturday evening.
2018-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Though perhaps not financial freedom...
Unfortunately, things like this are all too common in scientology. People become desperate to achieve what they have been promised they will get when they reach the "next level." They are convinced to believe there is some magical result achievable right around the next corner.
Why would anyone in their right mind offer 10 -12% interest for a 3 month loan? Of course, nobody in their right mind would do so. This is a self-proving truth about scientology.
2018-10-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This week, my wife Melissa and I did a livestream Q&A session from our new studio space, which is still in the midst of being set up. I answered a record number of questions for a livestream due to Melissa's help. Thanks to everyone who participated. The questions were read out live as we were going through them.
2018-10-15, Daniel Oberhaus, Motherboard, Vice News
This last project is meant to investigate the nature and origin of exotic materials that are claimed to have come from UFOs and are supposedly being stockpiled in a warehouse in Nevada. To this end, To the Stars partnered with EarthTech, a research firm connected to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, Texas. These research labs were founded in the mid-80s by Harold Puthoff, who formerly directed a CIA investigation into paranormal abilities.
According to the filing, To the Stars entered into an agreement with EarthTech in August to work on both materials analysis and "beamed energy propulsion launch systems." This is related to the organization's goals of working on space time metric engineering, this is a theoretical form of advanced propulsion that would allow for faster than light travel. It has previously been investigated by some members of the NASA team trying to build an Em-Drive.
Unfortunately for DeLonge and his collaborators, their hopes of researching exotic propulsion and extraterrestrial material science may be dead in the water unless they can figure out a way to raise capital for their efforts.
In this short vlog, I talk about a trip I have made to Perth, Australia, why this trip was personally so very important and what it has to do with my history in Scientology.
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
Rod Keller continues to keep us up to date on Scientology's "Ideal Org" program, as David Miscavige pushes to open a number of new facilities one right after the other.
Yesterday the new Dublin Ideal Org opened its doors, and Scientology leader David Miscavige only has a week before officiating at the opening of the next one in Birmingham, England on October 21. As we reported last month, the org is experiencing a surge in staff members, eager to be among the "founding staff members."
Scientology orgs are usually divided into "Foundation" and "Day," with Foundation handling the nights and weekends. A complete org structure is staffed for each, so that they can be considered two orgs sharing one building. Birmingham Day Executive Director Simon Chisholm describes how the org will function with all of the posts filled with staff that have been trained in Los Angeles or Clearwater to Golden Age of Tech II standards.
The rumour, spreading like wildfire up and down the Firhouse Road, was that the actual Tom Cruise had shown up at the opening of the new Scientology Centre in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
Or, if not the Cruiser, then maybe they'd beamed down John Travolta, the public speculated.
And surely if either had waved over the barriers, the mass of gathered reporters would have politely stopped referring to Scientology as a cult, accepted they can't handle the truth, and meekly submitted their brains and wallets for evaluation.
2017-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of our regular contributors, Brian, provided this comment in response to the post about scientology comparing a Hollywood Reporter writer to Goebbels.
I thought it deserved a wider audience.
As they say, sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander....
2016-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Every week in the Thursday Funnies we see promotional pieces for the latest Freewinds "seminar" about making money.
I usually make some snarky comment about them. Frankly, they have become pretty tiresome.
But there is a more important point to be made than pointing out that the Moneywinds is consumed with trying to suck money out of people to the point where they are pretty much full time running seminars designed to teach people how to make money — so they can then get it from them as most people have run dry and do not have enough money to make it up the bridge.
If a Scientology OT talks about the OT levels it is a breach of contract & they must pay Scientology $100,000 for each breach. This is part of the "Secret OT Contract" all OT's must sign before they learn about Xenu, BT's, and the other interesting facts on the OT levels.
The Church of Scientology opens a national affairs office at 4 Merrion Square today, making Dublin only the second city in the world, after Washington, DC, to have such a presence.
The new office is said to house five permanent staff from the Sea Org, Scientology's elite group, whose members sign billion-year contracts pledging future lifetimes to advancing their religion.
There will also be five permanent members of the Office of Special Affairs, which manages several of the church's front groups but is perhaps best known for managing its intelligence-gathering and lobbying operations.
Our thanks to Danil Tylevich for making us aware that numerous Russian media outlets are carrying stories about a woman named Darya Varnovskaya, who spent more than a year working at Scientology's St. Petersburg org in order to secretly gather information about it.
Varnovskaya insists that when she joined the St. Petersburg org in April 2015 she was a journalist working on assignment to secretly film the church. But at least one news outlet there has characterized her as simply a member who became disgruntled and left the church after it was raided by law enforcement earlier this year.
Either way, she was there long enough that she was hired on staff as an ethics officer and later became a registrar, a person whose job it is to get people to sign up for more courses and to give more money. While doing that job she used her smartphone to capture quite a bit of footage. At one point, for example, she catches the supervising registrar as he tells her colleagues that they've only brought in 4 million rubles that week (about $64,000), but he expected 5 million rubles.
2015-10-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
By request, I am creating a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about important concepts in critical thinking. These will all be short, about a minute or so, and will cover one topic each. This first one is about facts and beliefs.
Here is the transcript for this:
A fact is a piece of information that is true regardless of how you feel or what you think about it. A fact can be demonstrated in the real world through our perceptions and other kinds of evidence. Facts don't just exist in our heads.
Three years after settling a parking dispute that exploded into a freedom-of-religion lawsuit, the Church of Scientology of Georgia is finally preparing its new church in Sandy Springs.
Heavy interior and exterior work has been underway since the summer on the mansion-like former real estate office at 5395 Roswell Road at the intersection with Glenridge Drive. The Georgia Church of Scientology, currently based in Doraville, did not respond to questions about an opening date, but a person answering its phone said the church still plans to move in.
The church bought the property around 2005, but first sought rezoning for use as a place of worship in 2009. The church, then based in Dunwoody, proposed a $3 million renovation and said it had about 100 active members.
We are proud of our twenty-five years in Oklahoma. We're very proud of our unbroken record of certification by CARF – the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. And we're proud to be certified by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Non-Medical Detox and Halfway House services. The latter being the equivalent of the American Society Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 3.1 Level of Care which is also defined as Clinically Managed Low Intensity Residential Treatment.
Louis Theroux at the London premiere of 'My Scientology Movie' (Still from interview by Scarlet Howes.)
A couple of years ago, BBC presenter Louis Theroux made an appeal on Twitter for Scientologists to reach out to him for the new film he was making about the church. We couldn't help rolling our eyes at the time, wondering if Theroux knew what he was getting himself into. But his method was sound. He wanted to come at the story with an entirely fresh start. He asked Scientology for access, and he genuinely wanted to hear from Scientologists about their organization.
Early in My Scientology Movie, the film he premiered last night at the London Film Festival, Theroux says that he relished the idea of being the first journalist who would find something positive to say about Scientology. If you know his excellent body of work, you know that such a counter-intuitive take is just like Theroux. And of course he's right — it really would have been remarkable if he'd been able to pull that off.
U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, reportedly raised $892,857 since joining the race for the open U.S. Senate seat July 22.
Those totals include the money he transferred over from his congressional account, his campaign said in a statement. He has $658,000 on hand.
Jolly is one of four Republicans in the race to replace Sen. Marco Rubio, including Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox.
Gentle readers, we have an unusual and, we must say, rather mystifying story to tell you today. It's about a successful businessman by the name of Robert W. Duggan. This photo of Bob, who is a robust 70 years old, is taken from his personal website, which we encourage you to visit.
Bob's website has several different pages. We learn from them that as a kid from Berkeley and San Jose, Bob was an avid sportsman. He grew up loving to surf and play tennis, and he even once ran the Palo Alto marathon in 2 hours and 49 minutes, which, if you didn't know, is seriously fast for an amateur. (We once ran a half-marathon and it took longer than that, we're pretty sure.)
Bob studied economics at UC Santa Barbara in the class of 1966, and also studied business management for a couple of years at UCLA, taking a degree from neither. But while he was at UCSB, he met the woman who would become his wife, Patricia J. Hagerty, better known as Trish. Here's the photo that Trish Duggan uses at her Twitter page.
Alberta's Public Interest Commissioner is reviewing a complaint against Alberta Health Services related to a controversial American personal development training company, CBC News has learned.
Ted Miles, the office's director, said an Alberta Health Services (AHS) employee, on Sept. 18, alleged that paying for 40 AHS staff to take personal development training provided by the Landmark Education Corp. represented "gross mismanagement of funds." The allegation has not been proven.
Miles said the details of the complaint are "remarkably similar" to the information contained in a CBC News story published Wednesday. It revealed that AHS allowed Landmark to operate within its Information Technology department for more than a year despite several serious complaints from AHS employees.
A controversial personal development company criticized for employing high-pressure recruitment tactics, intense psychological methods and conformist ideology operated within an Alberta Health Services department for more than a year, despite several serious employee complaints.
Internal Alberta Health Services (AHS) documents obtained by CBC News through a freedom of information request detail several complaints to human resources from information technology employees who felt pressured, even harassed, to attend Landmark Education Corp. seminars, and to reveal personal details of their lives at the seminars and at staff meetings.
2014-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
For the record, and to fill the gap while I finalize another far more important post....
As usual, the OTC's never fail to impress with their dedication to the Vampire Empire, doing their utmost to suck the last dime out of anything that moves.
Funny about the reference Quinn the Eskimo uses to justify "fund raising" — HCOPL 10 Sept 1982 "Exchange, Org Income and Staff Pay." I feel compelled to note this as it is such a startling example of the KoolAid Goggles these people wear. The Eskimo apparently cited this PL for the proposition that it is "group internal pressure" that establishes which condition of exchange comes into play.
NARCONON spokeswoman Dr Nerida James has moved to reassure residents that they are not at risk from plans to relocate the drug rehabilitation program to Warburton township.
Dr James said they did not take 'at risk' students into the program, which The Association for Better living and Education was currently applying to Yarra Ranges Council for a planning permit to run out of Green Gables conference centre.
The email response to a series of questions put to Dr James by the Mail* comes as opposition grows to the move to change the program from its current and more remote property at East Warburton.
2013-10-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Breaking free from sophisticated mind control is not easy. I don't think I have seen anyone do so in as bold and spectacular a fashion as Leah Remini has. Tony Ortega breaks it down at the Scientology Underground Bunker. I hope folks who have been (or are) similarly situated appreciate what Leah is doing for them at considerable personal risk to herself.
With both of them working on the same television series, NBC's Chicago Fire, we knew it was only a matter of time before two actors who are favorites of readers here at the Underground Bunker got together for a laugh.
We've been writing about Jason Beghe since 2008, when he made a very public exit from Scientology. Christian Stolte we got to know more recently when he defended Leah Remini on Twitter and skewered Scientologist celebrities like Kirstie Alley.
In the series, Stolte plays a fire lieutenant, while Beghe plays a cop playing a very complex game of corruption-as-investigative-tool. (You have to watch the show, it's really something.)
2013-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Haven't heard from Jeanie Sonnenfeld for a while. But when she makes an appearance, it's like a flaming comet across the night sky. A short-lived "look at me" moment that provides little illumination but a lot of "Wow, did you see that?"
The ED of Greater Cincinnati Ideal "Day" Org (is there actually a "Foundation" or is this just a convenient title so she can not be full time due to her physical condition?) lets fly with some totally over the top hype about GAG II — but makes sure everyone knows she is telling the absolute truth by stating "This is not hype."
Correction to your first sentence Jeanie — you cannot "now" get up the Bridge "at least" 3 times as fast. NOTHING has been released. As of now, you just have to plod along at a "snail's pace" as you so artfully put it.
If you didn't catch last night's Dancing With the Stars on ABC, you really missed something remarkable — interpretive dance on national prime time television!
And it was performed by King of Queens actress Leah Remini, who once again had a giant platform to talk about her experience of walking away from the Church of Scientology. The contestants were asked to describe their "most memorable year" and then make it the inspiration for a dance, and in Leah's case, it was no surprise that she chose this past year. In fact, it was twelve months ago, in October 2012, when she met with Scientology leader David Miscavige — a rare honor, even for a top Scientology celebrity like Leah — but she reportedly came away more determined than ever to leave Scientology. She then spent several months preparing her family to leave with her, and by July, when we broke the news, she was out for good.
None of that was actually explained on last night's TV show, of course. In fact, Leah didn't even use the word "Scientology" at all. But there was just no question what she meant when she said things like "You can't let anybody dictate to you how you should live."
2013-10-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another one of those "unauthorized" emails. I guess the message didn't get out internally.
This woman is misnamed. She is about as charming as a scorpion with 6 broken legs. Wouldn't want to run into her in a dark alley on a rainy night.
There is some serious make-wrong happening here, and she is not in the least bit apologetic about it either.
France's top court is about to rule on Scientology's appeal against convictions for organised fraud. Here is how the Court of Appeal left matters in 2012.
On Wednesday, France's highest court will hand down its judgment in Scientology's appeal against last year's appeal court convictions for organised fraud.
The criminal chamber of the Cour de Cassation can choose to let the appeal court judgment stand, or it can quash some or all of the convictions.
2012-10-15, Alexis Stevens, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A man found dead in a Gwinnett County office park died from using cocaine, the county's medical examiner's office said Monday.
Ronald Corona Jr., 39, was found around 2:30 a.m. Aug. 13 on Technology Parkway South in Peachtree Corners. Gwinnett officer were dispatched to the area following a report of a suspicious person "sleeping or possibly dead" behind a business.
PC Sean McDonald, who acts as a liaison between Sussex Police and groups planning protests, was allowed to accept a basket of fruit and food worth £30 from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights - an organisation founded by the Church of Scientology.
The group had marched through Brighton and Hove on June 28 to protest against a psychiatry convention at the Brighton Hilton Metropole hotel.
2011-10-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Please see the documentation of illegal and unconscionable conduct of David Miscavige's Radical Corporate Scientology (RCS) intelligence network the Office of Special Affairs at the end of this post. I covered this conduct in a post date 27 April, https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/latest-corporate-scientology-felonies/ and we now have the documents to back it up.
My phone services have been on the account of Monique Carle (my wife's previous married name) for the past five years. Mike Rinder's, as you can see by the second letter below, have been under his own name. Both of our accounts were illegally accessed at the direction of David Miscavige in order to identify and harass those who might communicate with us.
Nearly two years ago Mike Rinder and I reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that our phone records were regularly being stolen by the RCS and utilized to harass those in close communication with us. At the time, both of us were intensively involved in assisting victims of Federal Human Trafficking violations by the RCS with escaping virtual slavery. We shared precisely how the RCS gets at the records, having been parties ourselves to such activity when we worked for RCS. We provided the FBI with the names of those people (and even some of the phone numbers) conducting such operations against us in real time.
In a statement tonight, Mr Pickles said: "Tolerance and freedom of expression are important British values, but this does not mean that the likes of Church of Scientology deserve favoured tax treatment over and above other business premises.
"The Church of Scientology is not a registered charity, since the Charity Commission has ruled that it does not provide a public benefit. Nor are its premises a recognised place of worship.
The government is urging councils across the country to stop giving hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax breaks to the Church of Scientology.
The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said a majority of the public did not want the "controversial organisation" to be given the kind of favourable treatment usually reserved for charities and questioned this use of public money.
The church, which is not classed as a religion by the Charity Commission, was described as a cult by a high court judge in 1984.
Nation of Islam leaders have had ties with Scientology recently, but Muhammad would not say if they were meeting with Scientologists in this area.
"We are studying the Dianetics as a technology that can help members of our community," he said.
Downtown Clearwater is becoming more Italian. A little more Greek, too. Four restaurants are either opening or moving to more spacious digs. That includes two Italian places, a Greek deli and an organic food and wine bar. They're making use of city grants to upgrade their buildings as Clearwater tries to transform its downtown into a gathering place.
CLEARWATER — Tony and Jimmy Starova had no idea what to expect when they opened a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint on Cleveland Street five years ago.
"We didn't know anything about downtown Clearwater," Tony recalls.
June 15: The second half of the prosecution's closing arguments focussed on the evidence of fraud - both on the part of the individual defendants and the two Scientology organisations charged.
As his colleague Maud Morel-Coujard sat down Nicolas Baïetto rose and gathered his papers for the second half of the prosecution's closing arguments.
Morel-Coujard had set out the mechanics of how the alleged fraud had been committed.
2009-10-15, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Reports from OT VIIIs who have recently left David Miscavige's Church paint a picture of increasing desperation, oppression, and the rise of Gestapo-like tactics to squeeze more and more money out of those remaining.
Despite the fact that LRH specifically forbade fundraising and told orgs to stick to selling services, David Miscavige's fundraising activities, for the IAS and for his "Ideal" Orgs, have now become the mainline activity of the Sea Org and Scientology staff. Staff are now told that they are "double hatted" as IAS reges, an excuse to pull them off their assigned duties and into the service of Miscavige's money-making machine.
And the entire Ethics apparatus of the Church has now been suborned into the service of that same money-machine. Public are called in to "Ethics interviews" that are nothing more than "extortion interviews." If you're called in for an interview these days, here are some of the metered questions you'll be asked, according to those who have had the experience:
A settlement has been reached between a local gun range and its members. The $8 million dollar deal ends the class action lawsuit against the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.
I-Team Reporter Colleen McCarty first broke the story about allegations of fraud and racketeering at the resort a few years ago.
Documents from 12 Scientology organizations, all but one dated 1992, list $275-million in assets. The church has holdings in real estate, stocks and gold bullion, but by far its largest source of revenue appears to be donations from its members and newcomers, who pay fees to undergo Scientology's ascending series of personal evaluation, called auditing.
Exact figures remain elusive, however, because money flows freely among the more than 30 Scientology organizations that received tax-exempt status from the IRS this month. Their hierarchy is far from simple.
That "business" is a multimillion-dollar operation that profits from people in need, and please take note of the bottom line. To have one's conscience cleansed and purified by the Church of Scientology can cleanse one's savings account of as much as $400,000.
Though the IRS decision no doubt represents bureaucratic surrender, it is also speaks to the impossibly flawed state of tax law. The laws governing tax status for charities and churches are so vague and so generous that a clearly non-religious or non-charitable enterprise can still claim exemption from taxation as long as it is "substantially related" to the charitable organization.
No government agency should be in the business of defining religion, but it can determine the point at which an organization operates like a profitmaking business. That's the point at which taxes should be paid like any other business.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court today refused to revive a copyright lawsuit over an unauthorized biography of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion.
The justices, without comment, let stand a decision throwing out allegations of copyright infringement against the book's publisher.
Hubbard, who died in 1986, published nearly 600 fiction and non-fiction works during his lifetime, 111 of which are in print.
Tactics used by a California firm wanting to operate a drug treatment center near here to soothe local opposition aren't the kind taught in a Dale Carnegie course, some center opponents say. Instead, many local residents describe the action by the parent firm of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center as either insulting or intimidating. Behavior of a private investigator hired by a lawyer representing Narconon International and the Church of Scientology, a religion some consider a cult, has been described as rude by people he visited during a two-week visit here. Eugene M. Ingram left town after residents complained to authorities he carried a gun during some of his visits.
"My initial reaction was there's no way I will support paying the Scientologists to do a brochure on downtown," Mayor Rita Garvey said last week. We trust that will continue to be the reaction of Garvey and her fellow commissioners.
It appears that the commission will be able to conveniently sidestep the matter because it is getting ready to create an advisory task force that will "develop and recommend a promotional program (for downtown)." Commissioners will recommend people for the task force at their Nov. 2 work session, and its job will be to figure out how to best spend $100,000 budgeted for "activities to promote the redevelopment of the downtown area." Printing a Scientology-produced brochure certainly should not be one of those activities.
Straight received international publicity when First Lady Nancy Reagan and Princess Diana visited the Virginia facility a year ago, but it remains as vociferously criticized as it is defended.
While many parents such as the Fedors swear by it, others have filed lawsuits against several Straight facilities, including Springfield. They allege Straight maintains a brainwashing, "Lord of the Flies" atmosphere in which youths are mentally and physically abused by other teen-agers in the program. Other parents swear by Straight's principles but say they are misapplied by staff members.
Straight officials deny any charges of mistreatment. "We've treated more than 5,000 in the past six years," said Straight's national director, Mel Riddile. "Occasionally there are going to be things that will cause some to be dissatisfied." Working with their daughter in Straight for 19 months meant the kind of sacrifices the Fedors, like most middle-class parents, never experienced. Over the months they housed about 50 other "druggies," gave up most of their social life and all drinking, and abided by rules and programs that at first seemed to Sandy Fedor "real weird."