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We Need Your Help, Scientology Watchers

ControlRoomThe Underground Bunker is already largely fueled by its readers. Our worldwide tipster network keeps us informed of the latest breaking stories, and feeds us inside information that you can’t get anywhere else. For 17 years we’ve been writing about the world of Scientology, and since this time two years ago, we’ve carved out something unique: a daily blog that breaks Scientology news, analyzes stories breaking elsewhere, and brings together one of the very best commenting communities anywhere.

[BREAKING NEWS: See below for news about Oklahoma’s drug rehab bill]

We owe a lot of that to you. And now, we’re asking you to help us out even more. Most of you are probably fully aware of how the journalism industry has been decimated by the Internet. But the ‘net has also given rise to amazing new opportunities, like this singular website. We’d like to keep it going, but in order to do so, and in order to make plans that will help us keep it going for the indefinite future, we have decided to post a Paypal Donate button.

The Underground Bunker will continue to be free to read. There are no memberships, and no reader should feel obliged to contribute. But for our readers who would like to help keep this blog alive, we encourage you to make a donation.

We’re serious about our journalism here at the Bunker. We’ve broken big stories in a consistent fashion — from our story revealing that Homeland Security has been investigating the Church of Scientology, to our pieces about Narconon’s troubles, to leaked audio of David Miscavige at the recent Birthday Event. We get stories first, we get them right, and we tell them the way we see them, even if that means alienating some fans.

In order to keep our integrity intact, we’ve asked Manhattan attorney Scott Pilutik to help us out. We’ll let him explain.

SCOTT PILUTIK: I’m the Bunker’s attorney and its webmaster. At Tony’s request, I’ve created a Paypal account that will receive all donations. For each donation, you’ll receive a confirmation and a thank you from me. Before that money is released to Tony, I will make sure that any identifying information is removed. In other words, Tony will not know the identities of anyone who donates to the Underground Bunker. We think that will help protect his journalistic integrity, but also help him grow the site. I’ll point out that PayPal deducts a small percentage if you pay without a PayPal account of your own. Please contact me for more information about how to make a direct transfer to avoid deductions from Paypal — I’ve established the e-mail address BunkerFund@tonyortega.org, which is associated with the Paypal account, and where I can answer any questions, including our plan to keep donors anonymous.

THE BUNKER: But Scott, what if I want to buy donors a beer?

SCOTT PILUTIK: Not going to happen. Unless you invite all readers, whether they’ve donated or not.

THE BUNKER: That could get expensive.

SCOTT PILUTIK: I’m handling the Paypal account, not holding your hand about your finances.

THE BUNKER: Thank goodness for that.

Well, there you have it. We’re having a great time writing this blog, and we hope you’re having a good time reading it. If you can help us out, please do. If not, please keep reading and commenting. This blog is going places.

 

Writers of the Future Post-Game Report

We’re still recovering from last night’s big party. What a great time was had by all as deserving young writers and illustrators took home trophies at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre.

Naturally, the best action was not at the theater itself but here in the Bunker. We had a lot of fun waiting to see if every winner remembered their obligation to thank L. Ron Hubbard for discovering the secret to the human mind — er, for starting the contest.

Which did you like best — the interpretive dance? The speakers? The acceptance speeches? Nancy Cartrwight’s red dress? Do tell.

 
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BREAKING: OKLAHOMA’S HOUSE PASSES DRUG REHAB BILL 80-13, BACK TO SENATE

Breaking news from the Oklahoma legislature, where a bill that would give the state greater oversight of drug rehab facilities — specifically Scientology’s flagship operation in the state, Narconon Arrowhead — passed the state House today on a vote of 80-13. The bill now goes to Governor Mary Fallin for her signature. Nope. Just heard from Sen. Ivester’s office. They tell us the amended version of the bill was passed, and now the Senate will have to vote on it again. We’ll keep checking on it.

(Sen. Ivester’s office initially told us the bill was headed for the governor, then called us back and said it needed another vote in the senate, so apparently this stuff is even tough for them to keep track of.)

The bill previously passed unanimously in the senate.

Thanks to Stacy Dawn Murphy’s father, Robert Murphy, for alerting us of the vote. We’ll get more details as soon as we can.

UPDATE: We just talked with Rep. Jason Murphey, who helped sponsor the bill and pushed it through the 80-13 vote in Oklahoma’s House.

“It does need to go to the Senate one final time,” he told us by telephone. “But it doesn’t have to go to a committee,” he points out. The full Senate can now vote on it (last time it passed unanimously there) and then it will go to the governor.

We asked him how he felt about it. “It’s exciting to see it go through. There were some very liberal members who voted against it. But it went through with a wide margin and that’s nice to see.”

Does he think it will end up providing the Department of Mental Health the oversight that will be needed to make a difference in the case of Narconon?

“I think so. I absolutely do,” he said. “The people at the Department of Mental Health were very helpful.”

We pointed out that recently, Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith had said he didn’t understand why the legislature was paying so much attention to this bill.

“I guess when that many people pass away in your facility, it’s going to get some attention. That’s kind of how it works,” Murphey said.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 15, 2013 at 07:00

 

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