Tag Archives: Lisa McPherson

Scientology Daily Digest: Saturday, December 7, 2013

Probably the biggest news today is the Lori Hodgson interview on Inside Edition, a US news magazine show, where she traveled to her son’s workplace in Austin, Texas and paid him a surprise visit which was recorded.

But the best performance clearly goes to Mark Bunker’s three-minute appearance in front of the Clearwater City Council on the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death, where he eloquently pointed out the absurdity of trying to make peace with the cult given how they’ve treated the citizens of the Clearwater area for the last forty years.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony covers the Inside Edition segment on ex-Scientologist Lori Hodgson paying another surprise visit to her son, who disconnected from her, at his work place in Austin, Texas.  Tony has written several times before on the heartbreaking treatment that Lori Hodgson has received at the hands of the cult and the painful way her kids have chosen Scientology over their relationship with her.

Also, there’s a video of Mark (“Wise Beard Man”) Bunker speaking to the city council in his new home town of Clearwater about the death of Lisa McPherson on the anniversary of her death.  Money quote: “I understand that the city is thinking about finding a better way to work with Scientology, sitting down and mending fences with David Miscavige.  I’d ask you to remember that when Scientology was criminally charged in Lisa’s case, Scientology didn’t bat an eye before destroying key evidence in the case and whisking people out of the country before they could be questioned by the police.”  He then goes on to talk about the harassment of Marty Rathbun, about disconnection, about forced disconnection.  Perhaps he can add an Emmy for performance in front of the camera for this video to the Emmy he received for his work behind the camera a few years ago.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Today’s post spotlights a couple who used to be field auditors, but who now go for the big bucks traveling around and “regging” people.  He points out the lulz in some of their statements gushing about the Super Power rundown and a few other choice topics.
  • Yesterday’s post contains Mike’s thoughts on the “Cause Resurgence Rundown” (a.k.a., the “running program”), which is now held on an entire floor of the new Sooper Powerz building.  Mike recalls being forced to do it at Int Base back when it was a staff punishment.  He thinks it might be an even bigger bust for $2,500 than Super Power.

Forum Sites (ESMB, WWP, OCMB)

General Press

  • The celebrity press is all over the “chick fight” where Kirstie Alley has taken her usual high road in responding to Leah Remini’s recent comments about disconnection and other problems with the cult.  There are lots of articles in different media including some pretty repulsive fawning from Perez Hilton.  TV Guide weighs in, as does Huffington Post. Leah stays classy and positive throughout, but Kirstie stays true to form, living proof that the cult makes the able more able, and the asshole more asshole.
  • The National Enquirer is reporting that Leah Remini is trying to get back in the good graces of Katie Holmes in order to get Katie to become involved with Leah’s anti-Scientology book project.  The Enquirer claims that Leah could command an advance as high as $5 million but the story claims that publishers want to get Katie Holmes involved as well to ensure the book’s popularity.  I’ve only seen this in the Enquirer, so I don’t know how conjectural the piece is, though the Enquirer is relatively careful with stories to avoid getting sued. After all, Bert Fields never followed up with that threatened suit against the Enquirer over the TomKat divorce.

 

Scientology Daily Digest: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scientologist after attempting to navigate the complexities of the new sales process and the legal agreement governing use of the recently announced, new and improved Mark VIII e-meter.

Scientologist after attempting to navigate the complexities of the new sales process and the legal agreement governing use of the recently announced, new and improved Mark VIII e-meter.

The big news today came on Mike Rinder’s blog, where he relays a note from a contributor about the craziness around the requirement to upgrade to the super-duper all-new (except for the part about being in a warehouse for a decade) Mark VIII e-meter.  The whole article is worth reading carefully, because it sure sounds like the cult is desperate to not only sell the new meter quickly, but to prevent it from falling into “the wrong hands” (i.e., independent Scientologists).

Mike says that some of the annual check-in is to reset a timer on the unit itself that keeps it working for another year.  Apparently, you don’t have to send the unit back for “calibration” every year or two, but if I’m reading the post correctly, there’s a timer that expires every year, after which the meter can’t be used.

And apparently, you can’t pay for the new meter from money that you have on deposit for courses — you have to pony up new cash, immediately, or you won’t be able to be audited, and you won’t be able to continue any courses that are in progress.

Wow.  Just… wow.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s story today features the news that Russell Miller’s Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, originally published in 1987, will be back in print in February.  It’ll be published by Silvertail Books, which published BBC reporter John Sweeney’s The Church of Fear earlier this year.  Tony also posted a picture of Lisa McPherson to commemorate the anniversary of her death.

Selected comments:

Mike Rinder’s Blog

As noted above, the cult is engaging in a Kafka-esque nightmare of obstruction, obfuscation and bullying, to get people to buy the new decade-old Mark VIII e-meter.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

Thanks yet again to Aeger Primo for keeping an eye on things on these sites…

General News

 

Scientology Daily Digest: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The big news on the day came early in the evening, when Tony Ortega posted a story with a major wave of filings by Monique Rathbun, plaintiff in the harassment suit against the cult.   We predict there’s enough detail there that the Court in the Rathbun case will have to order that Miscavige be deposed.  In my view, this may lead Miscavige to propose a settlement if the cult loses this motion, but I believe that Monique will insist on a far larger amount than was paid in the Debbie Cook case plus permanent restrictions on the cult’s conduct towards her and towards Marty.  However, I predict that the cult will not be able to resist breaking the permanent injunction; it’ll be interesting to see what a Texas court will do to the cult if they don’t follow a negotiated permanent injunction.

Don’t forget that tomorrow is the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death.  As the Anons say, this is why.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony filed two stories today.  The morning story features an interview with Mark Headley, who worked at Int Base and was involved in the project to build the new Mark VIII e-meter, which debuted at the Golden Age of Dreck 2 launch, but which was designed and built about a decade ago. Several thousand units have been languishing in a warehouse until now.  Headley points out that a professional outside designer was used (I think the product is actually fairly appealing even if it does resemble the recently redesigned Easy-Bake oven) and says that Miscavige claimed to have spent $20 million on the design. That number seems high to me, even given the usual last-minute micromanagement Miscavige is known for, even if they had to re-do the final production molds for the case multiple times.

Tony’s AM story also notes that Eric Tenorio, a former Narconon staffer who is now a key opponent of the quackery-based alcohol treatment facility, relapsed after surgery earlier in the year and almost went back to Narconon, but managed to find a real rehab facility, one based on sound medical techniques and on use of 12-step programs to aid in recovery.  Glad to see him back in action.

Early this evening, Tony relayed a major filing by Monique Rathbun in her harassment case against the cult.  In that case, Tommy Davis’s deposition was supposedly scheduled for today in Austin.  The next hearing is for December 11.   In these filings, declarations from numerous former cult executives including Mike Rinder and many others all testify that Miscavige is a hands-on micro-manager.  The filings also have significant portions of Debbie Cook’s testimony under oath from her 2012 suit against the cult.  Ray Jeffery raises the obvious point in his legal argument that since the Warren McShane deposition and others didn’t answer whether Miscavige is actually in control of things, DM himself should take the stand to explain things.

Mike Rinder’s declaration contained a few interesting and somewhat obscure Hubbard quotes about how to ruin opponents, which Rinder uses to point out that Miscavige is actively directing operations to smear and destroy perceived enemies.  This may be a watershed, given Mike’s post on his own blog shortly thereafter, in his version of “independent Scientology,” as he’s making it harder for his readers, many of whom I would term “doctrinaire indies” (Hubbard perfect, Miscavige evil) to continue to believe that Hubbard had clean hands while he ran the cult.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  •  Late this evening, Mike posted a brief story linking to Tony Ortega’s story about the Monique Rathbun case filings.  Mike’s commentary is quite important, since it calls attention to some Hubbard quotes in his declaration.  The Hubbard quotes are all about how to attack, undermine, disrupt and injure opponents of the cult.  Rinder points out that Miscavige is applying the “tech” correctly, which might ruffle the feathers of some of the “Hubbard always good, Miscavige always bad” crowd just a wee bit.
  • Mike’s earlier story echoes a story from the “BackInComm” South African blog about the dire shape of Scientology in South Africa.  This time, the “Life Improvement Centre” in a suburb of Johannesburg is profiled, and it appears to be open for business only intermittently, with creeping weeds and graffiti marring the building.

Forum Sites

Yet again, Aeger Primo comes through with a detailed scan of the forum sites, including the discussion with Eric Tenorio’s announcement of his meltdown and his (new and improved) path to recovery.

Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tommy Davis’s deposition in the Monique Rathbun litigation is scheduled for today (Wednesday) in Austin.

Thursday marks the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s regular installment in the series where Claire Headley, recently joined by “tech” veteran Bruce Hines, walks readers through the process of actually doing Scientology, featured the OT III “Wall of Fire.”  In this one, as most of us know from reading tons of stuff over the years, Hubbard introduces the Xenu mythos in an unveiling of the holiest of holies of Scientology out of a locked briefcase.  Even with all the hype and build-up before opening the envelope with some notes scrawled in Hubbard’s handwriting, apparently quite a few people do wake up and say, “WTF?” on their way out the door.

Apparently in this level, Hubbard giveth and Hubbard taketh away.  Part of the study involves explaining why you can’t show anyone else, even other Scientologists, that you can levitate ashtrays or do any of the super powers that OT’s are supposed to have.  This is obviously a key reason that people still believe in the OT powers without any evidence that they produce any results; they know that all those OT’s are doing amazing things in private; they’re just not allowed to show anything more interesting than keen parking space hunting capabilities.

Selected comments:

 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Today, Mike put up a fairly important post, with some estimates on the total number of Scientologists in the world, via the work of a source who did the actual number crunching.  They’re estimating 25,000 to 35,000.  The numbers for the most part look credible, though I think the Sea Org size is a bit high, as is the estimated public coming in through the mission system.  “Deep Six” gives some further details that are useful.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

  • Apparently, Tory Christman was involved in leading a rescue of someone from a Narconon facility in Michigan.  ESMB and WWP both cover the adventure.
  • Both ESMB and WWP provide more detail on the blight of the empty Philadelphia Ideal Org building, which was purchased six years ago.
  • The Way To Happiness Foundation is achieving peace and sanity in the Middle East.  I didn’t know that either, until I read the credible and accurate cult PR piece.
  • OCMB is covering the FBI probe of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, who seems to be a little too friendly to Scientology relative to the size of their membership among his voters.  

General Press

 

Scientology Daily Digest: November 6, 2013

Editor’s Note: More hassles today; the longer article I had hoped to get out today will appear tomorrow.

Thanks to “AegerPrimo” for our first tour through ESMB and WWP threads.

As I’ve said before, this is a work in progress; I welcome suggestions on how to make it better. And if you’re willing to help out by taking on compiling parts of this (particularly ESMB, WWP and other forum sites) on a regular basis (perhaps signing up for one day a week), please be ready to jump in.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s post covered three topics:

  • Various Michigan Narconon facilities under the banner of Per Wickstrom, in a development that should surprise exactly nobody familiar with the hijinks at Narconon Georgia, may be involved in insurance fraud, from a patient whose insurance was billed $200,000 without his knowledge.
  • Angry Gay Pope got arrested for protesting at Pac Base and is charged with stalking of a Sea Org member who had a now-expired restraining order against AGP.  Apparently, AGP will be spending the night as a guest of the authorities, until an arraignment to fight the $150,000 bail and felony charge, which sounds like it may well be over-charging, given that Tony reports the LAPD decided not to charge him with a crime after viewing his camera footage of the event.
  • A picture from the Million Mask March in London last night shows comedian Russell Brand standing next to well-known ex Samantha Domingo.  No word on who got whose autograph.

Key comments for the day:

  • Former Narconon Arrowhead President Lucas Cattona commented that insurance fraud could blow the whole Narconon thing up; I and several others had previously thought so, but it’s nice that an insider confirms it.
  • “Once_Born” suggested that a massive wave of lawsuits from Narconon could be impossible for the cult to handle.  I expanded on this to say that Miscavige can’t scale — the Anon 2008 protest was a “scale” attack, with perhaps 10,000 protestors appearing outside a substantial percentage of cult facilities; Miscavige remains traumatized by that.  “Anonymous” observes correctly that this was the cult’s strategy against the IRS that drove the 1993 exemption agreement: so many lawsuits in different jurisdictions that the IRS could eat up their entire litigation budget fighting them all. The thread is visible by clicking here and scrolling up.
  • Luke Catton also points out that the cult is trying to re-brand some of these facilities to escape from under the Narconon cloud, but he believes it’s not likely to succeed.
  • Also, Catton’s financial data on Narconon contribution to the cult jives nicely with estimates we’d been carring in our spreadsheet but not yet published; nice to have validation from an expert without having to slice up all those boring IRS Form 990s.
  • Still_On_Your_Side poetically compares David Miscavige to Norma Desmond, the aging diva from Sunset Boulevard.
  • OTVIIIisGrrr8! explains how everyone has some serious M/Us when it comes to the idea that Narconon would engage in something as distasteful-sounding as insurance fraud.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post highlighted the crazy coming from David Wilson, a Kool-Aid drinking whale who sent out a “regging” letter with some extremely bad reimagining of a bit of dialog from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  To make it even worse, the “Clear California” logo from the top of the document features the figure of a knight who looks more than a little like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, not the sort of knight you want on a life-or-death quest for glory.
  • Mike’s second post relays a story about the management of the Johannesburg Ideal Org getting replaced after being recalled to Clearwater.  Click through to the underlying articles on a blog for SA-based Indie Scientologists.  The article says that a number of people with decades in the cult have recently been declared, and a new management team from the Sea Org has been sent in; more declarations are expected.  I would estimate based on a quick cut of the numbers that there are perhaps 400 Scientologists in SA, so this may be an example of implosions to come in other countries, and perhaps even in US cities.  Suddenly, the formerly sleepy cult scene in SA seems a lot more interesting, and the recently-launched backincomm blog appears to be a great source for what’s going with those still in the cult down there.

Marty Rathbun’s Blog

  • Radio silence now of seven days.  There has only been one other period in the last four months where Marty has been off the radar for this long.

ESMB & WWP

  • “Suspicious Scientology Deaths….MURDER?” is the name of a a TruTV segment published today that looks into the deaths of Lisa McPherson, Susan Meister, Flo Barnett (DM’s mother-in-law) and Quentin Hubbard. It also references Kyle Brennan and several other deaths at cult-related entities.  This ESMB thread has extensive commentary including several lengthy posts by Arnie Lerma.
  • There will be a 5-day “Flag Down” conference in Clearwater, FL, in May 2014. Activists are requesting funds to host a conference to expose abuses of the Co$. Scheduled speakers include; John Duignan, Nancy Many, Victoria Britton, Hana Eltringham Whitfield, Mark Plummer, Patty Moher, John McGhee, Jamie de Wolf, John Sweeney, Arnie Lerma, Karen Pressley. This thread is running at ESMB and WWP.
  • WWP highlights (perhaps “lowlights” would be a better word) an interesting thread that showed one of the hazards of the “clay demo” part of Study Tech. NSFW unless you are one of the pigs who work on the trading desk in Global Capitalism HQ.
  • Some discussion on ESMB on whether Marty is completely dissociating himself from Scientology as a result of his “slavery” article a week ago.
  • Apparently, the city of Clearwater just approved construction of a new aquarium on a site next to Flag, which the cult opposes.  Guess there will be a whole new range of freaky alien life forms from the world’s oceans on display in downtown Clearwater.

“Scientology” on Google News

  • The Tampa Bay Times is back with an update on the plans for the big events in Clearwater. Sounds like the city is toughening up on the cult. According to the TBT, “City Manager Bill Horne said the city won’t begin reviewing the new IAS permit request until the church complies with conditions the city is placing on arrangements for another celebration: the grand opening of Scientology’s new Flag Building and related events, scheduled to begin Nov. 15.”