Online, Gavin McInnes is the gung-ho, ex-punk leader of a hate group who rails against liberal decadence. At home in his wealthy New York suburb, he's upset that liberals won't accept him.
"I blame [George] Soros for all of this," McInnes said during a September broadcast of Infowars, on which he bemoaned what he claimed was his supposedly degraded social status. "Soros is terrorizing me and trying to shut down my fraternal club, the Proud Boys. And he's paying people to mess with my life, and spread these lies about me, spread fake news."
McInnes, 48, built his profile as a New York media provocateur. As co-founder of the media company Vice, he was an architect of the ironic hipster culture of the early 2000s, a scene that sometimes gave him cover for racist remarks that he defended as jokes before leaving Vice in 2008. Years later, in 2016, he began a new chapter in life: founding the Proud Boys—a violent, ultranationalist men's club—and selling his $2.5 million Brooklyn penthouse to buy a home in Larchmont, a tony Westchester County town 20 miles north of the city.
Tonight, Leah Remini and her co-star Mike Rinder tack into uncharted territory. Before the third season of their Emmy-winning A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath begins in two weeks, they are airing tonight at 6 pm a two-hour special on another subject entirely.
"The reason why Mike and I did this was because we were asked to. Even as early as Season One we had so many people asking, 'Will you cover the Jehovah's Witnesses? They're very similar.' It just became too overwhelming to ignore," Leah told us yesterday.
"We asked A&E, can we use one of our special episodes to do a show on Jehovah's Witnesses, and they said yes."
2018-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is back tonight. It is the first episode of Season 3 — though it is a "special". There is another "Special" coming next Sunday night (18 November) and then the season proper begins on 27 November.
Tonight's special episode is at 9pm on A&E. It covers the Jehovah's Witnesses. We felt an obligation to the MANY former Jehovah's Witnesses who reached out to us letting us know of the pain they had suffered — many of which are eerily similar to the experiences of former scientologists. They did not have a voice like Leah to speak on their behalf. Tony Ortega has an excellent piece about the show on his blog this morning.
I want to thank the contributors who stepped forward to tell their stories on the show — they are brave people willing to expose their pain to the world in order to try to put an end to abuses of others. And a special thank you to my friend Lloyd Evans who has been a very vocal advocate for victims of JW abuses for years, and who helped mightily in getting this show to come together. Without him I doubt this would have been pulled off.
2017-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This New Yorker article is an extremely detailed and well-documented peek behind the curtain of a dirtbag with a lot of money hiring big-name, reputable lawyers and private investigators to conduct a concerted campaign to intimidate and silence witnesses to his abuse.
Scientology has been doing this for years. Decades actually. They wrote the book, literally, on this sort of intimidation tactics. Everyone else is a pretender to the throne of corrupt power abusing the less powerful with impunity.
The big difference between Harvey Weinstein and scientology is the money spent by scientology on intimidation is TAX FREE. Put another way, the American taxpayer is subsidizing this sort of behavior when it comes to scientology. And believe me, scientology has been hard at work on this sort of thing since L. Ron Hubbard first laid out in his unalterable dictates in the 1950's. In fact in one of his first treatises on the subject, The Manual of Justice, he says the following:
The current climate of victims coming forward with long-suppressed accusations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct has not only snared many Hollywood figures but also a politician whose family has long been friendly to the Church of Scientology.
On November 3, Politico reported that six women have come forward with allegations that Florida State Senator Jack Latvala groped and sexually harassed them. The allegations come on the heels of hidden camera photos of the Republican state senator kissing a female lobbyist on the lips. Latvala denies the allegations and no charges have been filed against him, but as the Tampa Bay Times reported, most observers find the accusations credible and expect this to end Latvala's career in politics. If so, it marks an end to the influence of one of Scientology's most powerful allies in Florida.
Just this week, in fact, Scientologists in Clearwater received an appeal to contact Latvala in favor of Senate Bill 270, which would modestly adjust the Baker Act. The Act allows officials to bring a person who may be a danger to themselves or others to a mental health facility for evaluation against their will. Scientology is against every part of the Act. The new bill would give parents the right to transport their child instead of police officers, and require children to begin evaluation within eight hours of their arrival.
2016-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Clear Schmear and the Dynamics
Years ago, a tiny voice in the back of my head said, "Huh?" when the definition of clear changed from that exalted state as described in DMSMH, to "Clear on the 1st Dynamic." This revision never completely resonated, but back in those days, I didn't question LRH's logic, or demand clarity beyond clearing a handful of words. These days, I'm slightly more discerning in what I choose to believe.
2016-11-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comment section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) It seems as though Tom Cruise has been on OTVII forever. Do you think that David Miscavige has been deliberately keeping him on this level to ensure that he will always have something to aspire to in Scientology in order to retain his ongoing interest and motivation? Do you think that DM is using a form of manipulation by holding a carrot that is just out of reach?
On that subject, what happens to people after they have achieved OTVIII? With no higher level to achieve, how does the church keep them involved and make them an ongoing source of revenue?
Our man Rod Keller keeps his mindful watch on Scientology's social media presence, and that's once again netted him a dynamite story...
In July, Tampa minister Savanna Hartman became Internet famous when her Facebook video, apologizing through tears for her "white privilege," went viral. It's now been seen more than 17 million times.
She was reacting to the disturbing death of a 37-year-old man named Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In video of the incident, two white Baton Rouge policemen can be seen holding Sterling down as they were trying to arrest him. They were responding to a report that a man had been selling CDs on the street and had pulled a gun on someone. In the video, one of the officers trying to hold Sterling down yells that he's going for his gun, and the other officer shoots Sterling multiple times from just three feet away.
2015-11-13, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
Less than three months after purchasing Manistee, Michigan's former Civic Club Building (located at 900 Vine Street), the facility has already received a State of Michigan license to operate under the name "Best Drug Rehabilitation #2".
Per Wickstrom's TIA Corporation closed the deal on June 29, 2015, snapping up the 8,200 square foot commercial property in Manistee for $100,000.
Since I've yet to see Wickstrom's usual PR firehose, with its tales of "an operation that would create 30 full- and two part-time jobs", the building's status is unclear.
Sweetman has said that the negative press she has received following White's death has made grieving for her daughter "one hundred times worse."
"There's a story that has been published saying that I sent Cathriona an email on her birthday nine days before she died, calling her a failure," she told People.
"I don't know who would say such lies, but this is something that never, ever happened. I am devastated people would say this."
(Miscavige, in 1998; photo by Robin Donina Serne)
Marc Headley remembers where he was and what he was doing because David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology, was spitting obscenities about, of all things, the bad teeth belonging to Marc's stepfather.
It was late summer 1995 in the 1,500-seat grand auditorium at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, Scientology's most holy site in the world. The place was packed with the Scientologists at the "Flag Land Base" who worked as technical experts — people whose jobs involved the arcane rules of counseling invented by Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Yesterday, we told you about Lauren Wolf describing what it was like to work for Lawrence Wright on his book Going Clear and finding an example of Scientology trying to erase the existence of L. Ron Hubbard's second wife, Sara Northrup, from the record with creative photoshopping.
She told us that in the "Master Mariner" volume of "The RON Series" of "biographical encyclopedias" (pictured, right), she found an example of the church pulling Sara from a 1946 photograph of her with Hubbard.
This is the set of books that Scientology has asked its members to raise money for in order to send out copies to foreign governments and other "opinion leaders." It's as official as it gets when it comes to a Church of Scientology record of its founder, and Lauren found a pretty blatant example that it plays fast and loose with the truth.
Since I was already in the mood for science fiction, following the logic that the letter time traveled to my desk, I was riveted.
What great news about Titusville's sci-fi connection to Germany does L. Ron Hubbard have up his sleeve this time?
After some more thorough Googlejournalism, it became apparent that the letter's writer, Karsten Sasse, is imploring the United Nations to… well, it's all German to me.
But, from the opening lines of the actual 120-page tome, it's evident that Sasse is not happy with the treatment of Scientologists (not to be confused with scientists) in Deutschland.
2014-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Rising Like a Phoenix
The ideal org in Phoenix is BOOMING.
This shot was taken a week ago at 3:30 in the afternoon. This IS the entire parking lot of the org and that IS the front entrance to the "ideal org."
Summary: We look at the role of anecdotes in researching the cult. They can be powerful tools to either validate or challenge your existing thinking. Anecdotes don't prove trends or general conclusions, but they are a great tool for alerting you to possible trends, changes in direction, or conclusions you've missed. This article talks about how we use anecdotes on Wall Street. But the best part is a case study, with one of our commenters reporting on a great chance encounter who interviewed a Scientologist at length in an airport bar, as well as my quick take on what to do next with an anecdote that challenges some of my beliefs about the cult.
Anecdotes are powerful tools: Today, I want to look at the power of anecdotal evidence in analyzing Scientology. Stories from current and former members can be a powerful tool to check your assumptions and your thoughts about what is going on inside the cult. These are particularly important to help you make sure that reality has not changed without your noticing. In other words, anecdotes that don't fit into your current hypothesis of what is going on are one of the most powerful tools in improving your analytical work.
In order to make anecdotes work, one has to have a foundation of intellectual honesty. In other words, you have to be open to the possibility that some new piece of anecdotal data will unravel a theory, potentially even one that you are inordinately fond of. You can't rush to defend a theory without thinking dispassionately about what the new data point means. Pride in doing good analysis comes not in being right about a particular theory, but in being able to adapt your thinking and to continue to hone in on useful and actionable conclusions, even if they are heading in a different direction in your prior work.
Lisa Marie Presley is inching ever closer to speaking publicly about leaving Scientology. And yesterday, she seemed to take a pretty big move in that direction.
In April of last year, we first pointed out that a new song by Lisa Marie contained words a Scientologist in good standing would never use. The song was "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," and it was released ahead of the album Storm and Grace. Based on those lyrics, we said it was pretty likely that longstanding rumors were true and Lisa Marie had left the church.
A month later, we obtained from her label the lyrics to the rest of the album's songs, and revealed that the words in the song "So Long" no longer left any doubt that Lisa Marie had left Scientology behind.
2013-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Some random thoughts from the Scientologists FaceBook page.
The tension is mounting. They are getting giddy with excitement.
I must credit Miscavige. This is a real PT Barnum effort. The gullible masses are drooling just waiting for Him to tell them how much money that have to turn over this weekend.
Today was definitely busier than yesterday. The biggest news today was that Clearwater granted the permits for the events this weekend with only some minor restrictions. It sounds like they rolled over on the cult, but the permits for the IAS event over Thanksgiving weekend and the New Year's Eve event are still pending.
Also, a subtle data point but one that's pretty telling: apparently, the cult won't show the video of the big events at missions. But if they're that important, wouldn't they want everybody and their brother to see them? Oh, and there will be no DVD's made under any circumstances. Guess they don't want them to end up in the wrong hands. I'm sure they will anyway, in a matter of minutes. Dave may well find out that his security is still more porous than he thinks. This shows the power of the Joking & Degrading community, which probably outnumbers current cult membership these days.
Tony Ortega's Blog
The city special events permit outlines street and sidewalk closures, noise restrictions, police and fire involvement and other details for the weekend, which will be highlighted by Sunday's grand opening of the $145 million Flag Building downtown. The church has said it expects 10,000 members to attend.
Portions of Fort Harrison Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare, and sidewalks on either side of the street will be closed between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. Security fencing will be erected to separate people invited to the private event from the general public.
2013-11-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Dan Koon sent me this link last night with a comment: " I am positive that DM would die of jealousy if he ever saw this."
This morning your assignment is to read this article entitled "20 Things I Learned While I Was in North Korea".
It is a sobering , but very worthwhile exercise. You will see plenty of parallels between Corporate Scientology and the Ideal Country of North Korea. This is a picture of the end result of the attempts to control everyone inside the bubble. The control of information. The regimentation of thinking. The punishment for stepping out of line. The massive marble buildings on display. The total reverence for their leader. The lies. The propaganda.
2012-11-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
From The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart:
The Love Study indicates a number of profound suggestions about the nature of intention. Sending a directed thought seems to generate palpable energy; whenever one of Radin's senders sent a healing intention, many subtle aspects of the receiver's body became activated, as though he or she had received a miniscule electric shock. It seemed to be a kind of activating awareness, as though the receiver body had felt or heard the healing signal.
There had even been an element of anticipation in the receiver; some of the physiological reactions recorded suggested that the receiver had felt the partner's healing intention before he had even sent it.
Lay off the big fella, already Over at The Hairpin, on Monday "Stella Forstner" put up the second installment of her series on growing up in Scientology. This second chapter was about Scientology beliefs, and like the first, it's very well written and smarter than your average church tell-all.
Forstner helps an outsider understand the appeal of auditing, and does her best to make the idea of tracking down traumas from your past lives in order to improve your current life sound like the most natural thing in the world.
But her real beef in this essay is that she wants the rest of us to lay off Xenu, already.
With the hotel as its linchpin, Flag has grown into a patchwork of 67 parcels, mostly downtown, serving as a worldwide center for Scientology counseling. Flag's workforce consists of 1,200 members of the church's religious order, the Sea Organization.
The church's Clearwater land holdings are valued by the county at $89 million, of which $59 million is tax exempt. Facilities not used for religious purposes are taxed.
Hy Levy lived in terror of what would happen if he didn't make his number, a weekly sales target of $200,000. The money was due every Thursday by 2 p.m.
Often when he failed, his bosses exiled him to the kitchen to scrub pots. Sometimes they made him eat only beans and rice for a week. They publicly humiliated him, calling him a loser, a saboteur. They got in his face, screaming, swearing. You soulless bastard!
He said they used profanity a lot where he worked: the Church of Scientology.
Inside 'The Basics'
What is in "The Basics," the vast collection of L. Ron Hubbard books and lectures released by the church in 2007?
• In Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950), Hubbard writes about the reactive mind.
In 2007, Scientology leader David Miscavige announced that additional material written by founder L Ron Hubbard had been found and, as a result, Scientologists everywhere were required to buy new materials costing thousands of dollars. This video is part of the Tampa Bay Times on-going "Truth Rundown" series - this video forms part of its section called "The Money Machine".
Luis Garcia devoted a quarter-century to reaching Scientology's spiritual pinnacle. He and his wife, Rocio, spent $300,000 on services while advancing up the church's spiritual progression, the Bridge to Total Freedom. They donated nearly $1 million more to church causes.
The Garcias still believe in Scientology as a philosophy but decided to leave the church late last year, dismayed over what they saw as a change in direction.
The church wasn't providing services as L. Ron Hubbard intended, Luis Garcia said. "The technology has been corrupted," he said. Now, the church's focus is "to constantly request donations." The church denies that.
2011-11-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last week, we started something new here at the underground bunker, and it was a smashing success.
We brought back the tradition of Sunday Funnies, in this case materials produced by Scientology organizations, which tend to be unintentionally hilarious. We then opened up the comments section to whatever you, our loyal readers, felt like talking about. You didn't let us down.
This week, we have a couple more things to look at before the free-for-all begins...
Church of Scientology staffers were under so much pressure to sell the scriptures known as "The Basics" that some debited thousands of dollars from parishioners' church accounts without their knowledge or permission, a St. Petersburg Times investigation has found.
The church acknowledges the wrongdoing, saying "isolated instances of unauthorized debits" surfaced in a year-end audit.
Seven members of Scientology's religious order, the Sea Org, manipulated accounts, the Times found. They tapped into church computers to debit accounts for materials parishioners hadn't ordered — and in some cases had repeatedly refused to buy, according to former church insiders and a review of account statements.
2011-11-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The St Petersburg Times has launched a multi-story series about the "church" of Scientology's vulture culture. The several stories in the first installment focus on the revelations of former Flag RegistrarHy Levy and former Flag Public member Brian Culkin; both of them Independents. When you go to the link to read the stories, please be sure to watch the two video interviews with Hy and the one with Brian. They are intense and informative. Combined they describe with particulars how Miscavige has, in addition to creating a culture of violence, created a culture of unrelenting greed. the link, St Petersburg Times, The Money Machine. By all means share your comments here, but don't forget to also weigh in on the St Pete Times website - don't let the cult's spamming trolls have their way. Thanks Hy and Brian, you have a done a tremendous service to the public on several levels.
By the way, note the "church" responses. They have lowered the bar from the even the days of Tommy Davis; the blatant falsity and incompetence are remarkable. Take this one for example:
" 'Fundraisers do not persuade or pressure parishoners to take on debt', spokewoman Pouw said."
MARC HEADLEY spent 15 years in a desert compound ringed by barbed wire, banned from watching TV or using a phone.
But this wasn't a jail sentence, it was life in Scientology International's California headquarters.
Now, five years after escaping the faith precious to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and John Travolta, Marc has given a revealing account of goings-on within the church.
2002-11-13, Mylene Mangalindan, Wall Street Journal
Ms. Betterly's messages joined the roughly two billion other unsolicited commercial e-mails that hit in-boxes around the world every day. The company she runs from her home, Data Resource Consulting Inc., sends out as many as 60 million such messages a month. That puts the 41-year-old single mother in the most hated breed on the Internet. She sends spam.
1998-11-13, Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times
A prosecutor charged the Church of Scientology on Friday with two felonies in the death of a member whose family claims she became severely dehydrated after being held against her will for 17 days.
Lisa McPherson, 36, died in December 1995. She had been under the 24-hour care of church members at the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology's international retreat in downtown Clearwater.