Tag Archives: The Underground Bunker

Cybercult Formation

 

How do warlike tribes resembling cults form up in cyberspace?  Pankaj Mishra offers historical, psychological, and sociological answers in Age of Anger (2017).  A short passage from that book provides food for thought and self-reflection:

The current vogue for the zombie apocalypse in films seems to have been anticipated by the multitudes on city pavements around the world, lurching forward while staring blankly at screens. Constantly evolving mobile media technologies such as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices have made every moment pregnant with the possibility of a sign from somewhere. The possibility, renewed each morning, of ‘likes’ and augmented followers on social media have boosted ordinary image consciousness among millions into obsessive self-projection. The obligation to present the most appealing side of oneself is irresistible and infectious. Digital platforms are programmed to map these compulsive attempts at self-presentation (or, self-prettification), and advertisers stand ready to sell things that help people keep counterfeiting their portraits.

Meanwhile, in the new swarm of online communities – bound by Facebook shares and retweets, fast-moving timelines and twitter storms – the spaces between individuals are shrinking. In his prescient critique of the neo-liberal notion of individual freedom, Rousseau had argued that human beings live neither for themselves nor for their country in a commercial society where social value is modelled on monetary value; they live for the satisfaction of their vanity, or amour propre: the desire and need to secure recognition from others, to be esteemed by them as much as one esteems oneself.

But, as Kierkegaard pointed out, the seeker of individual freedom must ‘break out of the prison in which his own reflection holds him’, and then out of the ‘vast penitentiary built by the reflection of his associates’. He absolutely won’t find freedom in the confining fun-house mirrors of Facebook and Twitter. For the vast prison of seductive images does not heal the perennially itchy and compulsively scratched wounds of amour propre. On the contrary: even the most festive spirit of communality disguises the competitiveness and envy provoked by constant exposure to other people’s success and well-being.

As Rousseau warned, amour proper is doomed to be perpetually unsatisfied. Too commonplace and parasitic on fickle opinion, it nourishes in the soul a dislike of one’s own self while stoking impotent hatred of others; and amour propre can quickly degenerate into an aggressive drive, whereby an individual feels acknowledged only by being preferred over others, and by rejoicing in their abjection – in Gore Vidal’s pithy formulation, ‘It’s not enough to succeed. Others must fail.’

Leah Remini and her Troublemakers, Part 2

 

The Only Good Scientologist…

 

Last year I told a member of ASC (Anti-Scientology Cult) royalty that had I foreseen the outcome of my efforts to encourage people to speak and write openly and publicly about scientology, I would not have undertaken them in the first place. I likened the majority of public Scientology discussion to a tabloid pile-on fest. Since then I have watched it degenerate from even that: from a blame-filled pity party into a hate-driven trolling fest. A relatively neutral review of the postings – and ‘discussions’ – on the go-to ASC forums reflects that.

ASC bloggers and moderators and their following regularly congratulate one another for poking sticks in the eyes of Scientologists. They don’t talk about how their blustering will reform anybody or any institution. Instead, they revel in how much ‘pain’ or destruction it will create. ASC’s media liaison Tony Ortega has taken the krew to new depths. For instance, he ‘reported’ on a woman who intentionally drove her vehicle through the front doors of the Austin Texas Scientology Church. The vehicle stopped after smashing through the door to the Scientologists’ nursery. Afterward the driver expressed regret that she had not struck someone with her vehicle. Not one ASC voice in disagreement was raised when Ortega characterized the crime as an act of “vandalism.” Ortega – and his ASC following by encouragement – demonstrated that he literally places more value on inanimate fixtures than the lives of Scientologists, including nursery-aged children.

Anyone who advocates a more objective, intelligent discussion on Scientology is quickly labelled and treated as an enemy by ASC members. Even outsiders simply reporting newsworthy facts. For example, Ortega ragged on TMZ chief Harvey Levin for months because his outlet reported the fact of the prosecution of a man who made death threats against Scientology’s leader. Ortega publically denounced Levin for “carrying water” for Scientology. Apparently in the head of the ASC’s daily anti-scientology meme creator, the only good Scientologist is a dead one. That was certainly the way he treated Cathriona White upon first news of her death; at least while he used his feigned concern to charge (with zero evidence) that Scientologists were somehow responsible for her death. All that changed when media reported facts that pointed suspicion away from Scientologists. Then, even a deceased Scientologist became fair game for an Ortega-led, ASC slime campaign.

The ASC fora are not only riddled with trolls, the bloggers themselves have become trolls. Their antics have little to do with education, imparting understanding, and least of all heroics. The latter was made clear by one ASC blogger pronouncing with an air of authority that scientology is “Fair Game” and one may “say or do anything against scientology” and get away with it scot-free.

Trolls are free to troll and no doubt will continue to do so with lots of derisive laughs, and with no sense of conscience about the cumulative effect such hate might have on others. Those who find themselves considering whether to join the ranks of troll followers who employ degradation and belittlement for entertainment might want to step back and evaluate before they get sucked into that vortex.

A couple of credible studies show that trolls are a special breed of ugly creature. Please see Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists.  The studies highlight an irony. ASC trolls wrap themselves in the ‘abolish disconnection’ flag to give their trolling some sort of noble justification. Yet, Dr. Golbeck notes that the solution to trolls is just that, disconnection. Just as modern psychology recommends be applied to any sociopath or psychopath who might cross one’s path (see e.g., The Sociopath Next Door – Martha Stout).

I imagine that is why most self-improvement, awareness-raising and religious groups teach the virtues of some form of disconnection. For more on that, see Barbara Ehrenreich’s Smile Or Die. She traces the non-denominational disconnection tradition to the Transcendentalists – Emerson, Thoreau, et. al.  – who found societal forced-connection to be oppressive. Her book is a strong indictment of that tradition which in a way makes her account that much more credible. In attacking it, she reveals that the idea that ‘disconnection’ can be considered cathartic is as American as apple pie.

The specter of someone mustering the intelligence and courage to disconnect from sociopathic toxicity is seen as a clear and present danger to ASC leadership. I have seen them resort to deceit, attempting to break up families, bribery, infiltration, propaganda campaigns, intelligence ops, extortion and blackmail to prevent people from disconnecting from their klub.

Those in ASC leadership applying such tactics are also the ones most loudly and persistently complaining about Scientology disconnection. Paradoxically, those people made conscious decisions to disconnect from the ones they spend years wailing about having disconnected from them. They campaign other well-meaning people to join them in a war that promises to mend their familial rifts. By objective result, it has proven to be an avenue that only exacerbates the problems they sought to resolve. When someone is perceived as a threat to their hypocritical racket, ASC leaders apply their own version of disconnection; one that is far more arbitrary than that practiced in Scientology. That they can make a living on such hypocrisy is an interesting study in the culture of complaint our society seems to have devolved into. By wailing loud enough and long enough any wolf in sheep’s clothing can apparently draw a flock.

Ruthless Bunker Mentality

What remarkable effects a little independent thought can produce in cyber-cultist minds imprisoned by self-imposed two-valued, us-vs.-them thinking. Tony Ortega had more comments to his critique of my review of the book Ruthless than he has had since his four-month campaign attempting to destroy my family’s credibility. He ended that series with the injunction to his followers that I was pretty much irrelevant to the Scientology world upon his pronunciamento. But, a simple posting of my thoughts on Ruthless brought his trolling legion to life, his cheerleader in chief working feverishly to spread Tony’s line onto every forum from secret Facebook anti-scientology clubs, to ESMB, to Pinterest, to you name it. A line Ron Miscavige Sr. and his co-author Dan Koon instantly adopted and represented as their own independently arrived at conclusion – their only public response to date.

In the after-flurry of Ortega’s bunker-mentality response, it was brought to my attention that Ortega and Jeffrey Augustine went on record at the Bunker in an effort to discredit my review (a weak-sister imitation of the dead agent caper incidentally, attacking but one fact of dozens shared). Both recounted an episode at my home in 2012. Per them, former scientology PIs Greg Arnold and Paul Marrick claimed to have spoken to David Miscavige. I heard a claim resembling their recollections at the time too. That is why I later asked Marrick and Arnold through their counsel to swear to it under oath in Monique Rathbun vs. Church of Scientology, et al.  A first year law student would understand the importance of such testimony on the issue of David Miscavige’s alleged hands-on involvement in investigative operations.

The lawyer represented it could not happen because Mr. Arnold and Mr. Marrick did not wish to help Monique Rathbun. That seemed odd since it was the Rathbuns who salvaged their white elephant lawsuit that had that lawyer in a desperate, groveling panic. So, what does one conclude? A) Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold were afraid to go under oath on their braggadocio because it was nothing more than telling tales to jack their self-importance? B) Their lawyer is a bottom feeding liar of the most unethical and immoral sort? C) Their lawyer was the one who did not wish to help Monique Rathbun?  Based on a lot of experience I am not at liberty to share at this time, I concluded it was a combination of A, B, and C.

To those not drunk on the ASC (Anti-Scientology Cult) Kool Aid, I have all of this documented for later laughs.

You May Be Right

The verdict is in from the anti-scientology community (ASC), Marty Rathbun is crazy.

You can read and hear all about it across several ASC forums.

I accept the diagnosis as it pertains to the scientology (pro and anti) universe.  Insanity is loosely defined as not seeing or accepting the world as it is generally seen and accepted by the majority of people.

I noted in one of my books that the most valuable thing I got from my scientology experience was the ability to disagree.  That is, freedom from the automatic subconscious acceptance of the way others might want me to see or think.  Today I value that faculty more than ever. Modern science has come to understand that people think in narratives.  They accept them and create them and then judge new experience and data against them – much of that narrative building occurring sub consciously.  I reject the anti-scientology narrative as being at least as inaccurate, exaggerated, partisan and hysterical as the official scientology narrative.  That rejection of the former in no way implies an endorsement of the latter.

I find ASC’s resort to the ‘he’s crazy’ defense/offense to be apropos for a perhaps-final teaching moment in this milieu. I will share it notwithstanding the wave of ‘he’s nuts’ that doing so will inevitably provoke.

Those who have observed me and my detractors for very long will recall that the church of scientology preceded ASC in invoking the insanity defense/offense against me.  Remember the words of the immortal Tommy Davis: “He’s a f____ing lunatic!” As truth slowly struggles to the surface as it sometimes is forced to do, I believe you will find that there were two reasons for the copycatting.

First, the folks running the ASC agenda and authoring its narrative (including the insanity defense/offense) are OSA (Office of Special Affairs) trained and bred.  They often boast of their OSA expertise.  One of them makes good money plying it; another dishes out good money lording it over people. They liberally use that acumen to attack those whom they brand as the attackers. They most spiritedly – overtly and covertly – attack the credibility of anyone who might spoil their pity party by spreading that horrible disinfectant called truth.

Second, the ASC agenda setters have not had an original thought sprout in their heads as long as I have known them (and that is a very long time).  They are and have been wholly unoriginal creatures of stimulus-response thought. I only say this after making extraordinary efforts with each to coax them to rise above such patterns – and only now that they’ve decided no good deed ought go unpunished.

And so, some of the conspiracy chatter on ESMB and Underground Bunker that OSA has infiltrated and seized the ASC conversation – requiring vigilant censorship measures by Tony Ortega and Madam ESMB – contains a grain of truth.

What remains to be seen is whether it is the old OSA or the new OSA and whether the former more effectively influences the latter or vice versa.  In either event, my guess is that the losers will be those who cling desperately to their rusting firearms (and narratives) failing to recognize that the war has been over for several years now.

Then again, both Scientology and ASC may be right, I may be crazy.

Scientology Floggers

Within 24 hours of posting Cyber Cults, the anti-scientology cyber-cult came unglued. If you haven’t read Cyber Cults and its links, I suggest you do so before reading on. The links are to three thoroughly unrelated people – also unrelated to me – who independently shared experiences of cult-like behavior from flogger (a blogger who flogs the alleged lives of others for money) Tony Ortega. Immediately, Ortega followers zealously rallied to his defense, characterizing the calmly-stated, fact-filled observations I linked to as evil-motivated “attacks” upon their dear leader. What was remarkable was the almost uniform application of an important characteristic of cult behavior.

That is taken from Steve Hassan whom the Ortega cult itself has promoted as quite the authority on cults.  It is, “Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault.”  Like so many hyenas, the anti-scientology cult members reactively rallied to attack in Ortega’s defense (ignoring the substance of the observations about his conduct) and viciously went after me and all three of those sharing independent experiences about their leader. We were accused of being Scientology operatives, mentally ill, and a plethora of derogatory epitaphs not fit for re-publication here.

One of Ortega’s more hysterical devotees called for censorship of myself and the other three, then targeted a facebook group (containing more than 400 members critical of scientology) as being fair game for having had the temerity to discuss the substance of my post Cyber Cults. Those pronunciamentos (and their avid acceptance and support by other cyber cultists) demonstrated most of the elements of the following additional Hassan cult characteristic:

Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
a. Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
b. Instill black and white thinking
c. Decide between good vs. evil
d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)

For any who doubt these characterizations of the reaction to Cyber Cults, they can verify them by reading the thread themselves (or as much as they can stomach) at ex-scientologist message board.  While you read their treatment of the three I linked to along with me, keep in mind another of Hassan’s critical characteristics of a cult:

Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guilt
b. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt

This is an interesting study in extremism. As Robert Hughes aptly demonstrated in his book Culture of Complaint opposite extremes always seem to have a way of meeting (becoming almost indistinguishable in behavior). On that score, principal stars of the anti-scientology cult are warning people that it is “dangerous” to communicate with me. That’s right, it is dangerous to be exposed to ideas that don’t march lockstep with the cult’s doctrinal black and white, us vs. them mentality.  These include people being promoted by Ortega for working with him on tv specials on scientology disconnection. They apparently are so appalled by scientology’s notion of disconnect that they are actively advising people to disconnect from me.

What I have witnessed personally on the part of the anti-scientology community’s leading lights recently is behavior that makes the average dedicated scientologist seem extraordinarily open-minded and tolerant by comparison.

As a final side note, I noticed a lot of cyber-cultists characterizing my recent posts as some sort of ‘war’ on Tony Ortega and that I wish to engage him in some public debate.  That is another indication of their cult-like, insular belief that the real universe revolves around their play world.  As far as Ortega is concerned I am only preparing the ground to correct the public record he polluted for four months about my family.  He is merely one of thousands of click bait floggers plying his trade as floggers do. I have no intention of changing that – that is fundamentally who he is.  The vermin he carries water for might be another story.  It depends on how they continue to respond and not respond.

Bunkeroos vs. Scientologists

The cult of Tony Ortega has recently surpassed the church of Scientology in dysfunctionally partisan behavior.  I have obtained documentary evidence that Bunkeroos (slavish believers and followers of the word of The Underground Bunker) have been soliciting donations to hire private investigators.  The Bunkeroos are promoting the fulfillment of Tony Ortega’s published suggestions on behalf of Ray Jeffrey that the home of Monique Rathbun and her two-year-old child be put under surveillance.

What is so surreal about this situation is that had Monique Rathbun not selflessly endured similar treatment in the past, Tony Ortega and Ray Jeffrey would have long ago become Scientology road kill.  The same is true for the cluster of vermin who have partnered in the Ortega/Jeffrey campaign against Monique Rathbun.