Clearly, David Miscavige is feeling the mounting pressure on his most cherished treasure: tax exempt status bestowed on scientology by the IRS in 1993.
It takes considerable effort to get a letter published about a relatively obscure subject in a major paper like the LA Times. It is apparently a response to an op-ed piece that ran last November. 3 months of work to get this miserable piece of misleading propaganda to run…
Monique “Muffins” Yingling makes a rare appearance to argue on behalf of Miscavige. She has been as out of sight as the COB himself since her fateful appearance on 20/20 bearing a basket of slave labor baked muffins while appearing to be trying to send morse code “Help Me” messages with her constant blinking. For some years she was the most prominent spokesperson for scientology, after Miscavige got rid of any actual scientologist to speak on behalf of his organization (can you imagine a non-Catholic being the public spokesperson for the Catholic church?). She was the only one he trusted other than himself, and he has made clear it is beneath him to trifle with the lowlife “Chaos Merchants.” So he sent his non-scientologist consigliere instead to defend the faith and practices of scientology — of which she has no personal experience.
But now, like all other scientology “spokes”people, she makes no public appearances but delivers exclusively written missives. No more “blinky.” No more off-the-cuff boo-boos.
To be fair, she WAS intimately involved in the ultimately successful effort to get the IRS to reverse itself and the Supreme Court and grant religious tax exempt status to scientology. So at least she knows something about the subject (as opposed to her claiming disconnection is a “personal choice” and “Fair Game was canceled.”) Then again, I was also intimately involved. Though scientology likes to pretend I held no senior positions and know nothing, I attended numerous meetings at the IRS during the exemption process and I oversaw the collection and preparation of all the documents presented to the IRS. So, I have a few opinions I would like to express in response to Muffins.
Here is her op-ed in its entirety:
In a Nov. 16 Los Angeles Times op-ed article, Daily Beast correspondent James Kirchick asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?” The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
I was the Church of Scientology’s primary tax counsel in its successful efforts to obtain federal tax exemption, a status it fully and fairly earned and continues to merit. Unlike Kirchick, I know exactly whereof I speak.
The examination process resulting in exemption in 1993 was fully documented through an extensive administrative record that was then and is still available for the public to review; at 14 feet tall if the papers are stacked, the IRS’ record on the church is the largest in the history of exempt organizations. The IRS determined that the church’s operations fully qualified as tax exempt then, and its operations continue to warrant that determination today.
Scientology’s acceptance as a world religion has come quickly by historical measures.
Kirchick’s claim that “America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world” is not true. There are judicial decisions from the highest courts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to numerous decisions from lower courts in dozens of other countries, including Spain, France and Germany, all holding that Scientology is a religion. Indeed, many of these decisions have provided the modern definition of religion in their respective jurisdictions.
The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status. In another unanimous decision, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court in 2013 not only recognized Scientology as a religion but also replaced that country’s Victorian-era definition of religion with a modern one that fully embraces Scientology. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Italy not only recognized the religiosity of Scientology, but also found the church’s fundraising practices to be fairer than those of the Roman Catholic Church. Scientology has been recognized as a religion by courts and governments across the globe, including most recently in Colombia last May and Mexico in November.
Kirchick did get one thing right in observing that Mormonism “was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society as just another branch of Christianity.” This experience, however, is not unique to Mormons: History shows that virtually every new religious faith has been defamed, persecuted and suppressed by the society from which it emerged.
Before Constantine, the Roman Empire considered Christianity an obscure Jewish sect and a dangerous one at that. Genuine religions weather these storms and emerge even stronger because their adherents find sufficient value in the religious teachings to endure the attacks of religious bigots and the prejudice and discrimination they produce. This has proven true of Christianity and Mormonism and is continuing to prove true of Scientology.
Indeed, Scientology’s acceptance as a world religion has come quickly by historical measures. The church increasingly enjoys cooperative relations with numerous governments worldwide as well as with like-minded religious, social and humanitarian institutions in the communities it serves. Lost in a tabloid obsessed, click-bait culture is the real story of Scientology.
Monique Yingling is the Church of Scientology’s tax counsel.
Now, let’s consider a few of her statements and some of the glaring omissions.
The unaddressed elephant in the room and the big thing missing from the IRS review: no mention of the enormous amount of money spent by scientology to spy on and try to destroy whistleblowers and critics.
The money is disguised and difficult to trace because it is paid through law firms and scientology spends a LOT of money on lawyers. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a month. This is NOT a valid use of tax exempt funds (if it was just an isolated and occasional incident that is part of a lawsuit it might be acceptable but not a repeating, consistent pattern). It IS enough for the exempt status of scientology to be terminated.
The IRS did ask in general terms about scientology’s violations of “public policy” and the allegations of abusing critics — it was all sloughed off as “that was just the renegade activities of the Guardian’s Office which we disbanded.” There was no mention of the fact that the policy written by Hubbard has not changed and remains in force and followed today. The IRS did not review the policy. They did not delve into the activities or how much money was thrown at PI’s and covert operations.
Second thing the IRS did NOT know is how scientology is accumulating empty buildings. The basic concept of tax exemption is that the money you bring in is spent on things which benefit society. You cannot start up a tax exempt entity and simply accumulate billions of dollars. One valid expense is providing facilities for the membership and the community at large. Normally a religious organization (or any organization for that matter), acquires or builds facilities that it needs. The IRS doesn’t contemplate that if an organization is opening facilities “to serve its congregation” that these are not needed and that the tax exempt entity has simply converted itself into a real estate holding company.
In fact, the accumulation of empty buildings, if they are NOT used, is really no different than accumulating money in a bank account.
Scientology would prefer to buy buildings than spend money on normal “charitable” activities because they money STAYS on their balance sheet. The IRS is blind to this scam — there is an inherent fear within government agencies of being accused of intrusion into religious affairs in violation of the First Amendment. So they tend to ignore this.
But let’s look a bit broader. The entire basis of Muffins piece is this: Where bad arguments against scientology’s tax exemption go to die: courts of law
Yet nobody has challenged scientology’s exemption in a US Court. The US SUPREME court determined that payments to scientology should NOT be tax deductible because they are a quid pro quo transaction and not a donation (See Hernandez v. Commissioner). With this as the law of the land it would be interesting to see how a court would rule on a challenge to the IRS determination that such donations ARE deductible and scientology entities are tax exempt. I suspect the bad arguments of scientology would go to die in a US court, just as they did in the Hernandez case.
Ms. Yingling conflates two things that she KNOWS are not the same. Determination that scientology is or is not a religion is NOT the same as a determination whether it qualifies for tax exempt status under the religious exemption contained in the Internal Revenue Code. Muffins proclaims “it should be treated the same as other religious denominations” — not so fast Muffy. You can be a religion and NOT qualify for tax exempt status. All religions are NOT the same. Your religion might well be recognized by scholars, but if your activities are violating public policy (for example, ingesting cocaine as a religious sacrament while claiming God is manifested in the leaf of the coca plant) then you are NOT entitled to tax exempt status. Let’s not forget, Scientology is NOT like other religions — they don’t have written policies to destroy critics, harass them with PI’s and operate a dirty tricks department.
The examination process resulting in exemption in 1993 was fully documented through an extensive administrative record that was then and is still available for the public to review; and you will find no mention of how much money is spent on harassing/intimidating/threatening whistleblowers or critics. Nor copies of the Hubbard writings about this. Nor information on how much money is spent annually on these activities. The “largest record in the history of the IRS” is missing some extremely important information. Scientology overwhelmed the IRS with information — they lost sight of important factors in the deluge of paper.
The IRS determined that the church’s operations fully qualified as tax exempt then, and its operations continue to warrant that determination today. How about the lies that were told the IRS in the course of the proceedings? Even beyond the omissions. Like this one:
It has been a long-standing policy of the Church that if someone is dissatisfied with their Scientology services and asks to have their contributions returned within a three month period, these amounts will be returned. Likewise, if the person asks for return of contributions for which no services were received (i.e. an advance payment), there is no three month limitation period. Anyone newly enrolling in services at a Church of Scientology is informed of the policies and signs an agreement to abide by them. As a further condition of receiving a refund or repayment, the person understands that they may not again receive services from the Church.
Within the Church, there are two separate terms: A “refund” refers to a return of contributions to a parishioner within 90 days of participating in religious services while a “repayment” refers to a return of a parishioner’s advance payment before he or she has participated in religious services. For simplicity, the following discussion will use the term “refund” to describe both types of transactions, because both involve a return of parishioner contributions.
The Church’s refund policy is exceedingly fair. If someone isn’t happy with Scientology — which is a very small minority of people — he simply has to make a proper request for his donations back, agree to forego further services and his donations will be returned. For the Church, in addition to the fact that this policy aligns with Scientology principles of exchange, it also serves the purpose of allowing our churches and the parishioners who are very happy with Scientology, to carry on without the unhappy few in their midst.
Clearly, this is NOT what scientology actually does. There are plenty of other things the IRS was NOT aware of and didn’t ask about like the relationship of the IAS to participation in scientology. Another key issue the IRS was hoodwinked about.
There are judicial decisions from the highest courts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to numerous decisions from lower courts in dozens of other countries, including Spain, France and Germany, all holding that Scientology is a religion. Indeed, many of these decisions have provided the modern definition of religion in their respective jurisdictions. Here she goes again, conflating two things that are NOT the same, pretending they are (and of course NOT mentioning the highest court in the United States).
Scientology is specifically NOT exempt from taxation in the UK and other countries, even though for other purposes it may be recognized as a religion. Why? Because tax exempt status does not automatically flow from religious status. In fact, there is a public benefit test to qualify for tax exemption conducted by the “Charity Commission” in the UK. If you cannot demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Charity Commission that your religious organization benefits society beyond whatever claimed benefit it provides its members, you are not exempt. This is the fundamental theory of tax exemption. Governments do not tax activities that are providing a public benefit because were they NOT being provided by that entity, the government would have to provide those services. Such a test is not part of the law in the US — though it should be. The principle is similar and some of the rules are similar in the US — as in you cannot be engaged in activities that are in violation of “public policy” and you cannot accumulate too much money instead of using it for the public good — there is no public benefit test.
The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status. More of the straw man argument. This decision does NOT bestow tax exempt (charitable) status on scientology organizations in the vast majority of the British Commonwealth, including the seat of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom.
Genuine religions weather these storms and emerge even stronger because their adherents find sufficient value in the religious teachings to endure the attacks of religious bigots and the prejudice and discrimination they produce. This has proven true of Christianity and Mormonism and is continuing to prove true of Scientology. Well, no it is not. Scientology is smaller today than it was 10 years ago, and 10 years ago it was smaller than it was 20 years ago. Scientology has been shrinking since the 1980’s. It is not emerging stronger. It is fading away. While accumulating more and more money.
The church increasingly enjoys cooperative relations with numerous governments worldwide as well as with like-minded religious, social and humanitarian institutions in the communities it serves. And once again, this has NOTHING to do with whether it should or should not have tax exempt status. As an aside, it also not true.
For 25 years, scientology has rested its legitimacy (and a lot of its income) on its tax exempts status. Clearly, this is a huge vulnerability — lose it and the pretense of being legitimate dies. And it will happen — eventually scientology’s Fair Game chickens are coming home to roost. Miscavige knows his house of cards is built on quicksand and it’s toppling and he is desperate to avoid this at all costs. Watch the madness and lies escalate as the inevitable draws closer.
The only question is what will be the final catalyst: a lawsuit? A criminal investigation? Congressional action? Or the IRS awakening from its quarter century slumber?
Ammo Alamo says
With a $1.5 billion slush fund, and a dictator to decide where and how it gets spent, I can’t imagine any legal action reaching a verdict that goes significantly against the interests of David Miscavige. Even if Scientology has to pay out a few million or even tens of millions to settle lawsuits, DM will be long on his road to reincarnation before the money runs out. Not even the IRS, which had already revoked the tax exemption once, could stand the full heat of the battalions of lawyers set against them. Only a successful internal power coup that changes things radically has a chance of success, and it appears Dave has gone to great lengths to declare SP and remove from the cherch anyone with the ability and potential to challenge his position at the top.
Has any one read defector by Robert Dam. In chapter 35 and 36 he mentions Marty re some of the things he did. and a web site re CST. I QUOTE
the ownership of all Scientology copyrights and collected royalties via RTC. IT also turned out the founder of the CST was a former tax commissioner from the US tax AUTHORITIES.who wasn’t a Scientologist. Nor were the foundations special directors. ….
Does anyone know about this. Is it true that Rathbun actually came to this type of backhanded agreement with someone from the TAX authorities.
Mike Rinder says
This is all mixed up. Royalties go to CST not RTC.
Meade Emory was an attorney who was a former IRS bigwig. He helped put together the corporate structure of scientology as you know it today in order to satisfy the IRS requirements. CST was solely and only the brainchild of Hubbard. Who else could come up with the idea of an organization devoted to keeping his words safe for eternity? Meade Emory and other lawyers had corporate positions — they did nothing and were to satisfy concerns the IRS might have had. He is long gone. It’s a red herring.
Thank you Mike. I did not understand it in his book thus I wrote and asked you.
I take this opportunity to say how amazing you and Leah are. I am in South Africa at the moment and I see aftermath is on here as well as in the uk
Mike Rinder says
Happy to help when I can
The use of the word denomination means a separate branch of the Christian church. Using that word or the word nondenominational (as used on CO$ websites to describe their Sunday services) is another way to appear to be an accepted form of Christian church. I would think a lawyer would know that.
No chicken. The word means a branch of ANY religion. It is not only Christian tied word.
No disrespect, I actually had looked it up and the dictionation entry I saw said nondenominational meant open to people of any Christian denomination. I had noticed it a few weeks ago in a description of a service listed at a CO$ and wondered about the use of the word. In the past, I had never heard it used in reference to a religion outside of Christianity and wondered about it. I guess I would expect to see a word like “Interfaith” which refers to a mix of different religions rather than a word that commonly implied Christianity. I definitely have seen the world interfaith commonly used in that instance. I don’t mean to argue. I was just explaining where I was coming from. My real point is that CO$ is not what they present themselves to be.
Radio Paul says
“Kirchick did get one thing right in observing that Mormonism “was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society ”
The issue here Miss Moneyque Yingling is that Scientology unlike the Mormons is slipping backwards in its behavior…
My, My. They really Are desperate, n’est-ce pas? I don’t remember if it was you, Mike, who made the observation (paraphrase), ‘a good indication of DM’s frame of mind is in the appearance of MYL’. And this time, Not on tv, Not featured in print on the editorial age, but posted On-Line Only; How the Mighty Have Fallen!
Remember the compensation for writing a letter to the LA Times is her pay roll. Monique makes $1 to $2 million a Year from the cult and approves IAS expenditures according to earlier writings on her.
Dave F. says
Natalie O'Neill-Sandon says
“The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status.”
– Makes me feel ashamed to be Australian in this case.
The sooner this cult is recognised for what it truly is, the better.
Ammo Alamo says
Don’t be ashamed. Read The Anderson Report, an Aussie castigation of Scientology like no other. Steve Cannone is another down under author writing truth about Scn. Also remember the works Paulette cooper, Russell Miller, Jon Atack, Gerry Armstrong, Arnie Lerma, Lawrence Wright, Leah Remini, Nancy Many, Amy Scobee, Marc Headley, Paul Haggis, Tony Ortega, Steve Cannone, Janet Reitman, others too numerous to mention including the brave participants of Leah Aftermath, plus a host of former members active on Youtube and the net, not least of which is the delightful Magoo44, and of course the great Aussie outie Mike Rinder himself.
Dave F. says
Hmm . . . 1993 . . . Bill “Bubba” Clinton was President from 1993-2001 . . . WIth that “Slimeball” in office, you can GUARANTEE there was a PAYOFF, in exchange for the Tax Exempt status for Scientology ! ! !
Mike Rinder says
This was a done deal before Clinton assumed the Presidency. It just took time to be finalized.
Dave, the only two PotUS’s in our lifetime that used the IRS to attack enemies or overtly help like this were Nixon & Obama.
Dave F. says
OK . . . I stand corrected . . . Hopefully, President Trump will “pull the plug” on Scientology ! ! !
“”…Hopefully, President Trump will “pull the plug” on Scientology ! ! !”
Not a chance, unless Co$ “pulls the plug” on their financial support of him, and its unlikely that Miscavige would make that huge mistake.
The cult is not only an endlessly rich donor supporter but politically entrenched with the Religious Right. This president knows who brought him to the dance. Hopefully, he comes thru for you in other ways, Dave F.
Really well-written rebuttal, Mike. Their double-speak is nauseating. I am constantly amazed that this lawyer is still in practice when she is so unethical..(I know, I know..she’s a lawyer) ..her half-truths are just enough that she probably sleeps well at night….right after she balances her personal bank statement.
Mary Kahn says
My thoughts exactly. Plus, I wonder how many of the abuses (physical assaults, etc) she is personally aware of.
This is indeed a very good thing. Miscavige has tipped his cards to the public by having Yingling write that epic logical fallacy.
Of all the hellish torments bouncing around his paranoid brain, one of his top fears is losing his absurd tax fee status. How could he ever live it down with the scattered few still remaining in scientology? It really would be game over for him.
The public has had enough of scientology’s bullshit, so any ranking IRS officials that make this happen will be idolized as heroes.
Todd Cray says
Another whopper: Yingling approvingly quotes: “It [Mormonism] was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society as just another branch of Christianity.”
This is plain and simply untrue! Considerable parts of “mainstream society” know nothing about Mormonism, particularly since Mormonism–like scientology–is secretive about major parts of its doctrine and practice. For that matter, there is growing societal indifference toward and consequential ignorance of Christianity as well. Therefore, most of “mainstream society” is totally unprepared to pass such a verdict. Nor would most folks care enough to say one way or another.
However, there are ZERO branches of Christianity that would consider Mormonism “as just another branch of Christianity.” Mormonism is desperate to present itself as a branch of Christianity in order to gain greater legitimacy. Nevertheless, Mormonism is theologically severely incompatible with Christianity–as is their right. But its claim of being a “Christian branch” is any bit as deceptive as scientology’s claim of being yet another mainstream religion with practices comparable to other mainstream religions. No amount of clerical titles and collars, pseudo-Christian verbiage and “Sunday services” changes that. One fraud does not legitimize another!
What IS true about Mormonism is that it has assimilated to mainstream society, modernized and dispensed with those pesky “public policy violations,” most notably the pimping out of child brides to prestigious church leaders. Meanwhile, scientology has shown itself consistently incapable and unwilling of leaving behind its anti-social practices and attitudes.
The LA Times Op-Ed that Yingling replies to asks the question, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?” The piece concludes: “Like big tobacco, Scientology is peddling a dangerous product hazardous to public health. It should be taxed as such.” All hand waving and hand wringing notwithstanding, Yingling does ZERO to even take on that claim, let alone put it to rest.
Dave McVey says
But at least Mormonism is theologically a religion; they worship a primary deity. If Scientology is truly a religion, who do they worship? Themselves, as saviors of the unenlightened? At least until the Seventh Dynamic, which is the “spiritual level”? I don’t know how it can be a religion if the spiritual level is not accessible to new converts or requires members to pay to level up to it.
LMAO! Dave, to be a religion does NOT mean you have to worship anything.
Oren E says
Off topic: more POW videos have been uploaded to Marty’s YouTube channel. Here’s a particularly ridiculous one:
He says that Aftermath is using brainwashing techniques similar to the ones described in Robert Lifton’s “Thought Reform and The Psychology of Totalism”. Anybody who’s familiar with both Lifton’s book and Aftermath should know how absurd Rathbun’s statements are.
I’m wondering if in this new batch of clips Marty finally reveals who’s the filmmaker that’s supposedly approached him to make these videos. Remember, in his very first POW video (the one from last year’s summer) Marty says that these videos were supposedly made after some filmmaker approached him to talk about Scientology. I’m guessing that Marty still hasn’t answered this question but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t watched all of his recent attack videos, they’re just too tedious to go through.
What we need here (and I pray for) is a young ambitious IRS agent and/or FBI agent who has become completely fascinated with scientology due to Aftermath and these blogs. And he/she decides to thoroughly look into all the shenanigans and decides to find out the truth and reveal all to see, knowing full well that this not only would right a wrong but would also accelerate his career. Much like a dog with a bone, never letting go. This would be like the cop opening up that cold case file of 30 years ago and finally finding the murderer. This is often done just as reported on these investigative shows that I’m addicted to. So hopefully there is an agent reading this and I have planted a seed.
Dave F. says
Thank you for separating out the issues of religious status and tax exemption. I wish we could get the IRS to adopt a public benefit test for tax exemption. That just makes so much sense.
Snake Thompson's Ghost says
Yingling’s letter included this:
“Kirchick did get one thing right in observing that Mormonism ‘was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society as just another branch of Christianity.’”
Why the devil, did Mr. Kirchick write anything like that? It seems to be completely untrue, untrue to the point of manifest absurdity.
Moreover from all I’ve ever heard or read, Scientology adherents that were “the targets of episodic violence” were all the targets of OTHER SCIENTOLOGISTS, the COB being the guiltiest. Not from outsiders.
“The only question is what will be the final catalyst: a lawsuit? A criminal investigation? Congressional action? Or the IRS awakening from its quarter century slumber?”
GDPR might help. New and soon-to-be enforceable data protection laws also protect European consumers whose personal data has been used/transferred outside of the EU. It will undoubtedly affect Scientology entities in the USA. Any and all data obtained from within the EU is covered, including the opinions of the data controller. That’s a whole lot of info for Scientology to cough up, and arguably includes pc/ethics folders, SP declares, audio/visual recordings, DA packs and various other titbits.
If Scientology is challenged (as it most certainly will be) then the true extent of its nefarious data habits could well be exposed for the whole world to see…including the IRS. ?
Golden Era Parachute says
Hey Mike, great article.
GoFundMe page to coordinate legal for all us ex-Scientologists who were refused a refund and still owed for Advanced Services?
Clearly not clear says
I’m so glad that you took the time to rebutt each one of Muffins erroneous points. Between elephants in the room and ripping apart the “connections,” she made, that this means that, you totally took her down.
Dr. Strabismus of Utrecht says
“Consigliere”? Consigliera, surely. (Though in Muffins’s case, nothing is certain).
Mike Rinder says
Well, my Italian is a little thin…
Old Surfer Dude says
Just use, ‘Moto Bene.’ (Very nice or good)
“Monique “Muffins” Yingling makes a rare appearance to argue on behalf of Miscavige. She has been as out of sight as the COB himself since her fateful appearance on 20/20 bearing a basket of slave labor baked muffins while appearing to be trying to send morse code “Help Me” messages with her constant blinking.”
Love your way with words!
Jon Healey says
Mike, just to clarify on a very minor point: This wasn’t an LA Times op-ed. It was in the Letters to the Editor section, as the URL and the labels above the headline point out. And it ran online only. As a matter of policy and fairness, we let people who are the subjects of Opinion pieces respond online.
Mike Rinder says
Thank you for the clarification Jon. I only saw it online and clearly didn’t look at it closely enough. I appreciate you taking the time to provide the factual information. I will modify my post accordingly.
And just to be clear, All of us welcome actual debate between Scientology and it’s critics. Is it possible for Mike to send this in as his own letter to the editor?
Ammo Alamo says
As usual, Miscavige shoots foot bullets. Instead of ignoring one opinion piece, letting it die without fanfare, he pays his lawyer spokesperson to write a rebuttal. Did he ever think there might be a strong and self-evidently truthful response to his attack lawyer’s piece, a point by point refutation of nearly every claim she made? No, Miscavige did not think ahead, he only knows the Hubbard plan, which is to attack all critics. Had he not dropped out of school in junior high for the dubious non-education of the Sea Org, perhaps he might have picked up some personality and ability to think on his own. Instead, he’s become an angry, paranoid fifty-something bully without a thought in his head except the narcissism and need to attack critics (and those beneath him) that he learned from his short time around Hubbard.
It is often said that Scientology is set in stone and cannot be changed because Hubbard’s word is Gospel.
I would rebut this and say that Miscavige has changed many things.
Unfortunately, almost all these changes are for the worse.
Back in the 80s when I was on staff, the refund and repayment policy was implemented as stated, sort of!
I know this because I had the miserable job of overseeing refunds. This was only an occasional part-time task, Thank God.
It worked like this.
The refundee was called into the Org and made to do a long routing form. The real purpose of this was to get them to change their mind.
Getting through this routing form was a tiresome and long-winded activity but it was doable.
If the person completed it, everything would be sent up-lines for approval.
Typically, there would be a 10% administrative charge taken off and the refundee would be cut a check for the other 90.
The refundee would also get a suppressive person declare???
This was a thoroughly rotten procedure and I always hated it but people could get most of their money back if they were willing to persist through this.
Probably the same was true when the IRS granted exemption. (I am only guessing this. I was long gone from staff by this time.)
“The church did not engage in a “ruthless battle to win a religious tax exemption”; ”
Does this mean that the sheeple will no longer be subjected to the annual “The War is Over” viewing which has been forced down their throats since 1993 as Monique Yingling now asserts there was no war?
Mike – does this mean that the CO$ property and income is taxed in the UK?
Mike, excellent article. With so many strains on our governments budget, it’s time that Scamotology and its donors pay their fair share of taxes
Co$ should absolutely pay taxes and so should all religions pay taxes. Maybe a lower rate than the rest of us, but something. Why not? They benefit from taxpayer funded services. They drive to their churches on roads paid for by taxes. That’s just one example. Now, each religion has a “voice” and can contribute to politicians being elected. And yet they don’t have to pay taxes. How does that make sense? Let them contribute SOMETHING for God’s sake, pun intended. Only 100% charitable organizations should be exempt but at the same time closely and continually scrutinized to make sure they’re not skimming, etc.
Any organization with a “rate card” selling services needs to be taxed.
The cult is not fooling the Europeans.
BK, that is a STUPID way to determine. WHAT is DONE with the money should be the determining factor.
E.g. – a church charges different rates for different confessionals or exorcisms. Some VERY large amounts. HOWEVER, they spend the vast % of that money helping the poor, or children or cleaning up the environment , etc.
They SHOULD be tax exempt.
Do you understand?
Wynski, I hear you, and fair enough as re what you said, but then, how are the amounts spent on helping the poor, etc. proven? I understand that this is another issue, but in America, to my understanding, churches aren’t required to open their books to the government!
Aqua, it is proven by accounting OR, also not too difficult to observe in the open. For instance, it is easy if one takes a little time, to SEE that Scamology spends basically NOTHING on bettering society. Where are the homeless kitchens? The scientology hospitals for poor children? The homeless housing they are building?, The rebuilt homes in Puerto Rico? Etc.,etc?
The problem we have isn’t a way to do this, it is a gov that is indifferent to it. An IRS Rep could take a week flying around the USA walking into empty CoS buildings and have a case to take back to the Agency.
Their lies also hang them. MILLIONS of members? With IAS memberships? How many missing millions or billions of $ is that?! 😉
Not to cavil with you, honestly, Wynski but “proven by accounting” ? Sure, but WHO is looking at the cult’s books, except Miscavige and a few lawyers, etc? To my understanding – correct me if I’m wrong, but to my understanding, the cult don’t need to show nothin to nobody in government. Maybe I’m mistaken; I’d like to be.
Agreed that Its not AT ALL difficult to observe out in the open that the cult spends nothing on society’s betterment, that “their lies also hang them”, with regard to their claimed membership numbers, and yes, IF ONLY someone in the IRS would get INTERESTED – that’s all it would take, the facts to set up a case could be plucked like ripe fruit, and this person would be a true hero. If only. Maybe I’ll start sending a copy of this blog every day to the IRS. “Outflow = Inflow”? 🙂
Aqua, the IRS can get any entities books in the USA. That is part of pulling tax exempt status from a corp.
It is really simple. The IRS Commissioner issues an order to show books.
Mike Rinder says
Not so simple when it comes to a religious organization. The Church Audits Procedures Act makes this MUCH harder for a 501(c)3 religious organization. And because of the notice requirements contained in that law and constraints on what may trigger a demand for an audit, scientology would challenge it immediately. This act was used to prevent audits on scientology churches before exemption…
Mike, based on the SCotUS CoS tax exempt ruling and available evidence the IRS would find a Fed judge that would allow it if they wanted to press the issue. A bit of a pain but the available evidence of NOT spending the $ charitably is too obvious. Their own membership number lies create a lie about assets into the church.
I was referring specifically to Scientology. I’ve never seen any real church with rate cards.
Thank you Mike. The US government should raid the cult just as the Russians did. The truth behind its ineligibility for tax exemption would shine in the light of all they would find. You know this and so do I. We’ve both seen the fraud and misrepresentation and know from experience if true financial data was exposed the ineligibility for tax exemption would be unquestionable. If you ever choose to go to the US government and turn state’s witness I will join you.
Glenn, I’m sure that Mike has given or offered the info to the US Gov’t long ago.
I truly appreciate when you address these statements they make on a point-by-point basis.
Since they’ve managed to squeak by legally on many things, it tends to lend a bit of credence to the legal arguments they present, if only because they’ve “won” on that basis a number of times. I know full well that they openly lie, but it can be tough to know exactly where.
So it is truly enlightening when you break statements like this one down on such a detailed level! I’m getting better at “reading between the lines” in many of these statements thanks to you and your level of detail!
This rebuttal to Ding-a-ling should be published in the LA Times.
Old Surfer Dude says
Yep! The L.A. Times could use a good laugh.
Well, since Ding-a-ling’s was an online letter to the editor, Mike should submit his as a follow-up Guest Editorial to be in print and online. A byline of Mike Rinder and Leah Remini of ‘Aftermath’ fame, should have plenty of ‘juice’ to get it published. Dave will feel the sting, even as he lives out his years in the slammer.
Cat W. says
This is so important. Thanks for putting all the arguments in one place like this, Mike. Whenever someone brings up the argument that Scientology is just a “new religion,” I know immediately that they have not looked into the facts of the matter at all. The most accurate characterization is that Scientology is an organized crime syndicate that managed to harass the IRS into giving it tax exempt status. (The IRS should be eager to prove that it isn’t really as corrupt as that makes it look — eager to correct the abuse committed against it as a government agency — instead of trying to keep the history under wraps, thus compounding the corruption.)
Far from providing any public benefit to justify tax exempt status, CoS has over and over again proven to be a public liability. Getting photo ops at disasters does not offset its abuses and crimes AT ALL. People who pretend that challenging its lies about why it should have tax exempt status constitutes “bigotry” and “hate-crime” are either flat out lying themselves or just haven’t been bothered to look into the facts. Just the part about refunds (ask and you’re declared an SP, no refund given) should be enough to reverse the tax exempt status.
Skyler Dumbrofsky says
Sounds to me like the tax exempt status would be a wonderful topic for an episode of Aftermath. Perhaps even an entire season. I long for the day this rotten structure comes crashing down. I remain optimistic that just like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, if anyone is dumb enough to break the law repeatedly for 40 or 50 years or longer, will one day lose it all almost instantly. Let us pray.
Perhaps you should get this blog to be declared a religion. Praise the Lord! Praise the Blog!
Wait! Wait! I want my blog to be declared a religion too. Praise all blogs! Oh nevermind, that means I’d have to post more often than once in a blue moon – oops I missed posting on this last blue moon I’m behind again.
Old Surfer Dude says
No, no! I think it’s a great idea! The religion of Val! She compassionate, kind & loving. Sort of opposit of a cult I know.
We want Val! We want Val! Take us to the promised land!
Never mind, Valerie. You qualify as a religion. I believe in you. We all do. Apply for tax-exempt status. Go right on out and apply. And if they turn you down each and every one of us here will sue them. Tell them that! We won’t stand for it! You’re a religion, dammit! Give ’em hell!
Miscavige ignored the tax exemption question until Aftermath brought that question more into the mainstream. Others have been shouting that question for many years.
The 93 IRS agreement gave $cientology a license to use the ‘fee for service’ method of running a ‘chirch’. Ok, not a ‘chirch’ but a tax exemption to run a business. A license to collect tax free ‘fee for service’ transactions that the 93 agreement gives only to $cientology.
Think about that, only $cientology can run that scam. The fee Jews pay to ‘rent’ a nice seat at High Holy Days services is not tax exempt. They don’t get the same rights that $cientology has. Why? Because the 93 agreement gave that right to $cientology and $cientology only.
Discrimination? Yeah, but only for a little cult that is wasting away. Who really cares about that? I do, no special privileges for anyone, $cientology in particular.
John P. Capitalist says
I would caution against being hopeful that a private lawsuit can be brought to challenge the tax exemption. You have to prove “standing” — and in this case, that means that you have to prove that you were specifically and significantly harmed by Scientology’s tax exemption. And if you can’t prove standing, your case is automatically dismissed.
Anything where the grounds for the suit are harm that is widespread, to most members of society as a whole, needs to be brought by the federal government, the state, or the appropriate local government on behalf of all the people.
If you were a non-Scientologist, and you said that Scientology’s tax exemption cost the US treasury $1 billion dollars over the last 25 years and that means that your taxes would have been $0.04 per year higher than they otherwise would have been to cover the money that didn’t get into the treasury, that is probably not sufficient for you to claim it.
I think Yingling knows this, so this is just more misdirection on her part.
Perhaps any readers here who are trial lawyers can contribute perspective on this?
Mike Rinder says
JPC — you are of course correct. It is very difficult for an individual to overcome the “standing” barrier. When a Jewish couple (Sklars) brought a lawsuit claiming they were being discriminated against (treated unfairly by the IRS) because they could not deduct the cost of courses for their children at a Jewish school, but scientologists can deduct for courses at a scientology church, the court dismissed their case by telling them their remedy was to get the IRS to undo the decision about scientology, not try to get the court to treat them the same as scientologists.
You are right, action by the Federal Govt is what SHOULD happen. In fact, the IRS has the most to gain — they would collect the taxes.
As to why government agencies and elected officials don’t act, that is another whole dissertation about scientology’s scorched earth litigation tactics and fear of violating the First Amendment. Perhaps I will write about that again at some point.
But all is not lost. Scientology is losing its fear factor and it’s going to become politically expedient for someone to take them down. That day IS coming. And Miscavige knows it. As I have said before, you can watch the cycle of what is acceptable in society. 50 years ago, gay bashing was not political suicide. The next step: a few elected or govt officials publicly endorse gay rights though none would bash gays. Then many endorse gay rights. Now it is political suicide to be anti-gay. Soon we will see politicians actively demanding scientology be reined in and their tax exempt status be reviewed. And when the others see it’s a popular position, everyone will jump on board.
That day is closer than is comfortable for Miscavige.
Mick Roberts says
John, as far as standing goes, I suppose my question would be: Couldn’t former members show that they were harmed by the agreement/capitulation of the IRS, an agreement that went explicitly against a prior SCOTUS ruling?
Also, another question for you (or legal experts), if a group of individuals filed a class-action lawsuit against the IRS, and even if that lawsuit was ultimately dismissed due to “lack of standing”, would that still, at a minimum, force the IRS to at least review the agreement and the evidence presented that C of S has violated said agreement? Or could the IRS attorneys just file for dismissal without a second thought of looking at the agreement?
From my understanding, it only takes one federal judge to say “yes, this lawsuit can proceed”. Then things could get interesting.
Thanks for your insight (and Mike as well).
Mike Rinder says
John, as far as standing goes, I suppose my question would be: Couldn’t former members show that they were harmed by the agreement/capitulation of the IRS, an agreement that went explicitly against a prior SCOTUS ruling?
The question becomes, what harm did they suffer? They got to deduct their donations. It was a benefit for them.
…even if that lawsuit was ultimately dismissed due to “lack of standing”, would that still, at a minimum, force the IRS to at least review the agreement and the evidence presented that C of S has violated said agreement?
No. The FIRST step is standing. Nothing else happens before that.
Mick Roberts says
As to the harm suffered, I was thinking more along the lines of Sea Org members who were subjected to abuses (both while in and after they blew), harassment of high profile critics by their army of PI’s, and especially the children who were born and/or raised in it. Somehow the dots would have to be connected that the IRS agreement directly allowed C of S to obtain enough funds to do harm to these individuals.
As to your answer on standing, thanks for letting me know. I was unaware of that.
I wish there was some way for private individuals to petition the federal court system and ask that they rule whether or not the IRS agreement, despite a prior SCOTUS ruling to the contrary, is legal. Depending on someone in our government to do it doesn’t instill much confidence. All we can do is keep pressuring them to act if that’s the only way to get the IRS to reverse their agreement (or force them to through the power of the courts).
I think about the only group I know of that could have standing to challenge the agreement would be the First Independent Church of Scientology, and only if the IRS denied them an exemption for something that they allow CofS.
Sadly, the First Independent Church of Scientology is more likely to fight for the exemption than against it, and the IRS will probably pretend not to see anything to disallow.
I look forward to their first Form 990 being available.
Here is my wish:
Send an IRS agent undercover or send an FBI undercover. Get them trained in controlling needle reactions. Have them join the Sea Org and work at INT.
Plant court approved bugs at INt or wherever DM beats up his thought slaves.
All we really need is for the truth to be uncovered.
Hubbard’s genius is in deception, coverup, deflection, threat of torture, punishment and lies in order to control.
I hope and pray that these agencies infiltrate the beast and gather evidence to remove tax exempt status.
COME ON AMERICA………. GROW A PAIR AND PROTECT OUR CITIZENS FROM THIS WRETCHED DEMON THAT DESTROYS FAMILIES.
COME ON FBI….. WHAT THE HELL TO WE PAY YOU FOR!
Go undercover and see the abuse up close. Do your damn job!
Good idea Brian. Maybe it’s already being done:)
Mary Kahn says
david miscavige’s paranoia just tightened its tentacles around his psyche ….
Old Surfer Dude says
Whoa…paranoia can now squeeze testicles? Oh, wait, you were talking about tentacles. Damn! Just when it was getting good…
You are altogether too polite.
May I rephrase your above sentence to read: david miscavige’s paranoia just tightened his sphincter and its tentacles sucked his tiny weenie around his psyche and into his colon.
…around his psyche and two other things…
Old Surfer Dude says
WHAT! I’M NOT MAKING A SOUND!
Brian, the Fed gov’t doesn’t go undercover and plant bugs to catch a misdemeanor where the victims won’t press charges… If you wish for something, wish for IRS to pull tax exempt status.
I love how you guys spin into comedy! Nothing like satire.
And Winskey: I can only hope.
The present measure of societies scorn for Scientology is so wonderfully conveyed in their responses to the Super Bowl add.
Aftermath’s effect went deep into our cultural psyche. Sooooo many media outlets are publishing scathing comments about the add.
In this era of gender acceptance, all we need do is quote Hubbard about homosexuality.
Hubbard’s demented views on having a gay friend being more dangerous than a snake in the bed needs to continually be revealed to mass media.
A lot of the criticism about Scientology having an add is about Scientology’s sick views on being gay. Or LGBT ?️? in present vernacular.
Keep revealing this fact. At this time in our society it will have a lot of traction.
It’s an Occam’s Razor: simple answer is best.
WE NEED A SERIES ON SCIENTOLOGY. FROM HISTORY CHANNEL, A&E, NETFLIX ETC!
Hey mike and Leah! A series! Hey Paul Haggis…. a tv series. Bring it all into one long story!
“in this era of gender acceptance, all we need do is quote Hubbard about homosexuality”.
Would love to agree with you, Brian, but as a country we’re still not there yet. In another 10 years, possibly but as it stands, there is still a huge voting block of old white people who could not care less about the rights of homosexuals. You know its true. I’ll leave it at that.
I disagree. It’s my experience that, at present, calling someone a homophobe is a label that works these days.
That’s because our awareness and understanding has increased.
Sure, there are folks who are still in the dark. But I’d have to say that, in that public dialog, hating gays is seen as bigotry more than anytime in history.
This time period is not the 50s. It’s far far from it.
Sure there are still haters. But the narrative about gayness is in favor of gender equality.
That’s my experience. And mentioning it is a powerful revelation of Hubbard’s antique and hateful doctrines.
I do not know anyone who thinks like this. I even have trans and gay friends that are Republicans.
I know no one who hates gays. They are there no doubt. But they are a dwindling group.
Don’t believe me. Just look at the Pew polling. The tides are turning.
Whiteness, a term I detest as it is bigotry to lump a group into one category, has nothing to do with it.
It’s a sign of the evolution of consciousness in our society. Color, pigmentation, has nothing to do with it.
Brian, I get your points, all of them Perhaps my “glass half empty” , “not there yet” opinions were too cautious
“Just look at the Pew polling.” OK, I’ll do that.
I’m happy to be wrong. To me, nothing is more discouraging and
truly dangerous than the tone of this country now.
Why can’t we put our heads together and attempt to understand one another and work things out? A fundamental concept – why not apply it.
But, “The tide is turning”? Fine by me!
“To me, nothing is more discouraging and
truly dangerous than the tone of this country now.”
Tell that to the generations of the Civil War, Revolutionary War, World War ll. Our dangers are laughable to them, in my opinion.
I think life is great. My joy in life is not conditioned by Washington or News Whores.
Life is fantastic. The best it’s ever been. I don’t let news robots, talking through a two dimensional screen, define what the world is, or is not — for me.
Check out Pew Aqua. Life’s getting better not worse.
News media makes a living out of our misery. Life is good! ❤️??
I Yawnalot says
Oh my… logic, experience and observation pulls Scientology’s tax exempt status apart like a cheap clock. But it ticks on… I feel for you Mike in having to understand and write about all this stuff but it’s great reference. For me it’s a dry read full of frustration and anger. The Cof$ is a criminal organisation that has circumvented humanity and compassion for money via the judicial/constitutional system. That this saga continues at all with the available evidence doesn’t shine a very good light on the workability of the legal system to see what is occurring under their very noses. But that’s the status of the circumstance of legally endorsed criminality walking that thin line by very clever minds manipulating a system they know all too well. Justice along with karma is just around the corner for all those who play these games. Modern gangsterism is the very devil itself and sits smugly feeling impervious in their nice homes and fast cars. No amount of money is worth having that sort of black conscience imo.
They should have followed the super bowl scn ad with an ad for Scientology the Aftermath.. That would have been so cool.
Mick Roberts says
I’ve argued for a lawsuit, but not against C of S. I believe there’s a decent chance of success for a lawsuit to be brought against the IRS for allowing this tax exemption in the first place, in direct contradiction to an official ruling by the US Supreme Court (the “final arbiter of the law”) in the Hernandez v Commissioner case that explicitly stated that the “donations” for services amounted to a quid pro quo arrangement and therefore, do not meet the deductibility requirements as set forth in Internal Revenue Code 170. The IRS, 4 years later, went against this official SCOTUS ruling. That in and of itself should not be allowed and I believe the IRS would have a difficult time explaining this in federal court if they’re forced to explain it under threat of a lawsuit.
However, the only individuals who can show harm, and therefore would have standing to sue the IRS, are those who have been directly affected by the IRS ruling (which, through their ’93 agreement, allowed C of S to build a war chest to go after their perceived enemies). That would be former members and other high profile critics with a large platform (such as Tony Ortega, Lawrence Wright, etc.).
The IRS has been derelict in their responsibilities as set forth in their ’93 agreement to revisit this issue periodically (correct me if I’m wrong). Their agreement, in spite of an official SCOTUS ruling, has allowed C of S to obtain massive wealth, much of which has been and continues to be used for extremely nefarious purposes.
Even if a lawsuit against the IRS is ultimately unsuccessful, the threat of litigation will, at a minimum, force the IRS to, at the very least, look at their ’93 agreement again so they know how to defend themselves in a court of law (I wouldn’t be shocked if more than 95% of the individuals working in the IRS today are even aware of this agreement). If part of the evidence presented in the lawsuit can effectively demonstrate how C of S violates the terms of this ’93 agreement consistently (if not daily), then that would also force the IRS to look into that evidence as well. Then they could no longer claim ignorance. Bringing this evidence into the light of day and practically forcing the IRS to look into it could yield some very positive results.
Of course, even though the IRS would be the defendant in such a case, obviously C of S would file an amicus brief (or whatever you call it) and weasel their way into the lawsuit (which could be a good thing, but that’s an even longer post for later). So the question becomes…..is there anyone willing to take on BOTH the IRS and C of S in a court of law? Perhaps it would be more effective (and safer) to join with others who have been harmed and file a class-action lawsuit against the IRS.
Ultimately, this is all easy for me to say. First of all, I may be wrong here on some and/or all of it. Secondly, even if this is something that could be effective, as a never-in, I wouldn’t have to deal with what I can only imagine would be a massively antagonistic response from the C of S towards those who are a party to this lawsuit (which again, I cannot show “harm” and therefore, would not have “standing”).
However, this is a question that has been nagging me since Mike discussed the SCOTUS ruling and ’93 agreement on one of the Aftermath episodes near the end of last season. Ideally, having the FBI and law enforcement go after them could produce much faster results (although the FBI seems to have their hands full these days). The loss of tax exempt status would take longer to be effective in hurting the C of S’s ability to continue their culture of devastation to the lives of individuals, but it’s at least a start.
The loss of tax exempt status is critical. Not only will the C of S be forced to pay taxes on “donations” received, but their members will not be able to write off those same “donations” on their own taxes, meaning they will have less available funds to “donate”. That would be a double-edged sword that will slice this organization both ways, and greatly reduce their ability to exert control over the lives of others (both inside and out).
Sorry for the long post. This is just something that I feel might possibly be productive, and I have yet to have anyone effectively explain why this would not have the potential to force the IRS to at least read that God-forsaken agreement they made around 25 years ago. If this is all pointless and isn’t worth considering, I’d like to find out why so I can put this question to rest in my own mind.
These are excellent points! I’ve often wondered if there was another front upon which the tax exempt status may be challenged, beyond just hoping and rallying for an investigation.
All that you’ve stated sounds valid, yet I’m certain that whether it’s a group effortt there is much to consider due to the intimidation factor of co$ and the idea of standing up to the IRS in such an action.
My last question/point being, perhaps the Garcia’s lawsuit may provide another opportunity as well?
Mick Roberts says
I certainly hope the Garcia lawsuit will at least lead to the judge recognizing that the arbitration system in place (or that was just put in place) was an absolute sham, which could lead to a finding in favor of the Garcia’s (and the multiple lawsuits for recompense that would follow that precedent).
I’m trying to determine if a class-action lawsuit targeting the IRS directly could be yet another front in a multi-pronged approach to bring about an end to their coveted tax exempt status (and possibly provide some recompense for individuals whose lives have been adversely affected due to their association with this organization).
Peter Norton says
Mick, who is going to pay for all these lawsuits? In any case, such would be long, drawn out and extremely expensive. Scio will spends hundreds of millions, if necessary, and still have a LOT of money available.
LEGAL ACTION IS INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE. Scio knows this all too well and they’ll fight for years, if necessary.
Mick Roberts says
Yeah, there are several other concerns that would have to be worked out, finances being one of them. I suppose that would depend upon an attorney’s level of confidence in potentially receiving a monetary judgement which might persuade him/her to work on a contingency basis.
Ultimately, there will be several other problems. I’m just more curious if there’s a way to put the IRS under the proverbial gun and force them to explain their decision, while at the same time having the courts clarify whether this agreement is even legal since it explicitly went against what SCOTUS said 4 years earlier, whether that entails a lawsuit or not.
Mike Rinder says
I’m just more curious if there’s a way to put the IRS under the proverbial gun and force them to explain their decision
Political pressure. Congress demanding answers from them. Especially when it comes from someone on a powerful committee, preferably one that has something to do with their funding.
If the organization is found to be in violation of public policy.
All good points Mick, but now I wonder if you will be subject to “auditing of a different nature as in”…….”
Dear Mr. Roberts:
You are hereby requested to appear…….been there, done that when someone at the IRS “screwed up” & accidentally transposed numbers and accidentally placed the incorrect info into OUR tax return decades ago.
No worries, THEIR error was discovered & all was a done deal.
I always said and believed that stealing a play out of the cult’s play book would work the best. That play being, deluge them with lawsuits from every front from personal lawsuits against cult management to lawsuits against the cult itself. Similar to their play against IRS and IRS employees to gain tax exempt status. Tie them up in court in every state and municipality….Blink blink would be a busy girl… The only difference would be that these lawsuits would be legitimate based on facts and truth.
Joe Pendleton says
Thank you Mike. I don’t think this subject could be explained any better and to the point as you have done it here.
Be nice to see a court case based on the points you brought up.
Perjury by omission and obfuscation.
Great job of illumination Mr. Rinder!
Old Surfer Dude says
I obfuscated once. Now I can’t find anything.
Indeed! Superb article, Mike. You are one hell of a counter-puncher!
While you’re passing those muffins around, better gobble a few yourself in order to keep that blood sugar UP during this latest crisis! And, while you’re at it, eat your heart out as well that Rinder is no longer on your (losing and doomed) side.
What’s that? Oh, yes, We feel your pain, Muffins!