Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Drumpf: the nakedest emperor of all

Our favorite little fake robot, Salty Droid, had been silent again for a while after his last post about the Herbalife scampire. I wasn't too concerned because I knew he was busy with other Matters of Consequence having something to do with Salty Droid 2.0, but I still missed him on his blog. Well, now he's back, with a resolution to help see us through the final daze of this appalling U.S. presidential campaign. In his inaugural countdown post, dated 18 October, he wrote:

Twenty days until the election … here comes twenty fake robot posts about the worst piece of shit of Earth. I don’t have enough substance to fill that many posts :: but it seems that those without substance are free to rave like lunatics … and that I can fucking do with the best of them.
That was soon followed by a post about Trump's performance in the third and final (and I have to admit that using the word "final" makes me a little uneasy) presidential debate.

This clowned-faced egomaniac :: full on scammer :: and proud member of Sarah Palin’s no-books club … lost the third presidential debate as badly as he’d lost the first two. But he did make some solid points along the way :: like …
  • Nasty women :: who are too ugly to grope … are ripping babies out of their wombs to support ISIS.
  • Crooked Hillary caused the Middle East.
  • America is a disaster.
  • The cyber emails are a disaster.
  • #lockherup
  • Black people = war zone.
  • War zones = confusing.
  • Syrian refugees are murdering us disastrously because Bashar al-Assad is smarter than President Obama.
  • Why won’t people Wikileaks Sean Hannity?
  • Don the Con shouldn’t have to concede an election to a girl that nobody likes … bigly! #FuckYouAmerica
Apart from the fact that Salty's summary is more coherent than some of Trump's actual word-salad tossing during that debate, I think he nailed it pretty well. And those "solid points" have kept the right-wing foaming-at-the-mouthers pretty busy on social media for the past few days. Some of them just can't stop crying about their conviction that horrible Hillary wants to rip innocent little babies out of the womb hours before they're due to be born. They have zero interest either in Clinton's actual views or the realities of late-term abortion in America.

So let's just let them blather among themselves while we proceed to Salty's final point on that post, which concerns "Donald J. Trump’s next {scam supported} venture ::
Trump TV … which is going to be exactly as successful as Tony Robbins TV."

The following day Salty was back again with a post about Drumpf's attempts to con vulnerable people into thinking they could all get rich selling
a stupid diet program, Silhouette Solutions, through The Trump Network.
Do you want a silhouette that Donald Trump would consider inappropriately ogling :: or do you want your current silhouette … which {let’s face it ladies} wouldn’t be his first choice?

...Here’s how it worked …

  1. Pick the silhouette that you are.
  2. Pick the silhouette that you want to be.
  3. Eat soy isolates instead of food until you get there.
You think that’s a joke :: because it sounds so stupid and this is a joke site … but it’s not a joke … picking silhouettes was the actual fucking gimmick.
The Starter Program was an eight-week deal that cost $1,325. But, noted Salty, "Judging by his current silhouette... it would seem that Mr. Trump couldn't afford his own solution."

Here is a more detailed analysis of Silhouette Solutions, published in August 2015 by a former naturopath. Says she:
I find it telling that Trump ended up selling suspect health products, one of which was designed by a naturopathic doctor, to financially desperate families. Donald Trump is a voracious profiteer.

If Donald Trump became president, the American people can count on a lot of hyperbolic talk with very little intelligent leadership. At least one prominent naturopath might have his ear. Who knows what might happen. There’s always money to be made selling snake-oil.

Trump sold his interest in the diet scam to Bioceutica, LLC in 2012, but the evidence of his pudgy littlefingers being in that pie lives on in Internet archive infamy.
In the previously-linked October 18 post Salty wrote:

I know it seems like the “Trump is conman” story has been eaten by the “Trump is the worst piece of shit on Earth” story … but I think the conman thing is still important. Manipulation of the preprogrammed masses by fake reality celebrities :: the story here … is at the root of all the toxic vines in Trump’s pumpkin patch.
Indeed. There's a devil at the crossroads of politix and Scamworld, and given our celebrity-addicted, entertainment-befuddled culture -- a culture where wingnutty conspiracy narratives are increasingly winning out over nuanced analysis -- it's really not so surprising after all that Herr Drumpf got as far as he did. Frightening, yes, but not surprising.

And not to put too fine a point on the matter, but as I've mentioned before, there seem to be scads of Scamworld luminaries and wannabes who are really into the Donald, imprisoned serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau being one of them, and the notorious Not-Doktor Herr Loony Coldwell being another. It's the old like-attracts-like scenario.
And the sad part is that Drumpf's scams, past and present, are far from unique.

In any case, as I've noted here several times previously, Salty Droid was one of the first and one of the best to nail Drumpf on the latter's Scamworld creds. And I look forward to reading more of his musings as we make our way to what I fervently hope is a rousing victory for that nasty woman, Hillary Clinton. I suppose that it's too much to hope that this season's nakedest emperor, Donald J. Drumpf, will slink into obscurity, but I personally don't care where he slinks, as long as it's nowhere near the Oval Office.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, October 08, 2016

James Arthur Ray Death Lodge Seventh Anniversary: Never Forget

Note: If you get a sense of deja vu as you read this, it is because I am lifting some of it from last year's anniversary post. It's okay; I gave me permission to plagiarize myself.

I always love October. I love the way it presents itself, more often than not, in such bright and perfect blue and gold -- yes, even down here where we don't have the stunning autumn colors that are seen further north. I love the way October always feels, even more than September does, like a beginning rather than the herald of any kind of ending.

But as much as I love October, there is an undercurrent of sadness in these pristine fall days. Most of the hummingbirds are gone by now, though a scant few stragglers remain, but that's not the core of my sadness. It's more of a general melancholy, rather subtle, perhaps best expressed by Rilke's poem, "Autumn," which is no doubt even more lovely in the original German, though
the version in this blog post is the English translation that touches me the most (yes, despite my agnosticism).

This October day in particular is a sad one, for today is the seventh anniversary of the deaths of
Kirby Brown and James Shore, two participants in New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality guru James Arthur Ray's phony "sweat lodge" in Sedona, Arizona. Nine days later a third participant, Liz Neuman, passed away as well, without ever awakening from a coma.

And after that, the world was never the same for untold numbers of family members and friends of these three lovely people.

I knew none of them, though some of the family members are now my Facebook friends, but I think of them every year at this time. Mostly it is with sadness but also with anger, because the man whose recklnessness was responsible for these three deaths (four, if you count
Colleen Conaway's death at another Ray event in July 2009), served a prison sentence of less than two years for the Sedona deaths. (He served no time at all for Colleen's death, and wasn't even charged, much less tried or convicted, although my understanding is that there was a civil settlement of some kind, eventually.)

And these days, James Ray
is exploiting the Sedona tragedy and his time in prison for his own purposes, still parading as a success guru but with a new hook: he uses the pain and loss of others to portray himself as the hero who has walked through fire.

He may have walked through fire, figuratively speaking, but he did not die by fire, literally, as did James Shore, Kirby Brown and Liz Neuman.

He may have lost a lot, but he is still alive and capable of writing unmitigated crap such as, "In the process of losing everything...I actually found myself."

That theme -- redemption through profound loss -- is the one that Death Ray is still flogging.

And as October inevitably gives way to November and December, there will still be empty places at the holiday tables of the families whose loved ones were killed by the arrogant recklessness of James Arthur Ray.

Regarding the latter, there are bright spots of joy with the sadness; in the years since Death Lodge, beautiful babies have been born to some of the family members of those who were lost. Life goes on, and for some, October is truly a time of beginnings.

And maybe, just maybe, no one is ever truly lost. Rilke:

...And yet there's One whose gently-holding hands
this universal falling can't fall through.

Kirby Brown's family, trying to create something good from the awfulness wrought by James Ray, is still promoting their non-profit, Seek Safely, whose purpose is to educate people about how to safely participate in the self-help industry. They have recently upgraded the site. Check it out.

I will mention once again, as I always do when writing about this organization, the
Seek Safely Promise. In contrast to previous years, it now appears that several industry leaders have signed the pledge; the page linked to in the previous sentence includes not only the promise but also a list of both those who have signed and those who haven't. But I would be remiss if I were to imply that I believe that signing the pledge is a guarantee that the individual is "okay." For instance, several of the Internet marketing scammers Salty Droid has written about appear to have signed the promise, which may be a big reason that Salty/Jason has turned down requests to speak at Seek Safely events. He really cannot find much good to say about the self-help industry, and for that matter neither can I.

And I notice that Esther Hicks seems to have signed it too, although
the Abraham-Hicks cult has arguably played a part in emotionally if not physically destroying numerous people over the years.

Still, Seek Safely is a worthy cause, especially since a big part of its mission is to educate consumers and prevent them from becoming victims, and I applaud Kirby's family for their efforts.

And me? I'll continue, as I have for the past seven years, to do my part to make sure that people never forget what happened on October 8, 2009.

For insights into the arrogance that led up to Death Lodge, and the arrogance Ray has displayed since then,
see this post, written on the first anniversary of Sedona. Also read Connie Joy's book, Tragedy in Sedona. There's also a public Facebook group, James Arthur Ray is a Felon.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 07, 2016

Back into the black hole of politix...

We are well into October, and as the shadow of the U.S. presidential election looms ever larger and darker, I once again feel the possibly irrational urge to inject some politix into this normally non-political blog. For those of you who are sick of my lame punditry because you prefer pure Scamworld topics (or even because you have a long memory and are nostalgic for the carefree snark-fests that were once the foundation of this Whirled), I apologize. For those of you who are sick of the politicking because you are Trump supporters and don't like what I have written about him... well, goodness, it seems that I'm all out of apologies.

The Faux-hio voter fraud scandal
Several factors have drawn me back into this black hole of off-my-normal-beat bloggery, and some of them are related to my normal beat after all. For instance, the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld,
Leonard Coldwell, used his social media soapbox the other day to share a hoax story from the fake news site, Christian Times. And he wasn't the only one who shared it in all apparent seriousness. The phony story describes "hundreds of thousands" of fraudulent sealed ballots for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that were supposedly found by a Columbus, Ohio electrical worker. On October 1 the Franklin County Board of Elections issued a press release stating that the story was fake and even providing a link to the UK web site from which the Christian Times stole the photo used in the fake story.

Snopes debunked it as well. So did The Columbus Dispatch. Even Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (a Republican) slammed it.

But the story has continued to spread via social media and it is still up, with no retractions or corrections, on
some clickbait sites that try to look legitimate, as well as overtly nutcake ones. Coldwell may be the dimmest and most loathsome entity to share the meme, but as I noted he's far from the only one. And the reason is obvious: it fits in with the wingnutty, Trumped-up "Crooked Hillary" narrative. By extension it validates Trump's own claims (and those of his most passionate fans) that the election is "rigged."

It also feeds into
the persistent myth of voter fraud, a myth that has given rise to stringent voter I.D. laws which seem to have served mainly as a tool to disenfranchise minority voters. Though there have been investigations into possible voter fraud in states such as Indiana (some have called the investigations "partisan harassment"), it is for the most part not really a thing. And those who are throwing hysterical fits about suspected fraud might do well to keep in mind that some apparent fraud is simply human error. (More on that below.)

Most of the folks I've seen sharing the fake Ohio voter-fraud story are Donald Trump supporters, Hillary haters, chronic conspiracy addicts, or a combination thereof. And most are also -- and not by coincidence -- dedicated Snopesophobes, smugly claiming that anyone who cites Snopes is lazy, gullible, a "Libtard," a mainstream sheeple, or a combination thereof. To these folks, the mere mention of Snopes in a positive light during a conversation is a signal for automatic and immediate dismissal and derision of the person who brought it up. They won't even bother to follow the link and actually read the article. Mention Snopes on a certain type of thread, and prepare to be met with a string of rote accusations against Snopes and oneself that some of us can practically recite in our sleep.

As you may know if you've been reading this blog for any length of time,
my opinion about Snopes is considerably more positive, and my opinion about some of the robotic Snopes-haters... um, not so positive. But I have also learned that it does no good to try to argue folks out of their "Snopes-is-a-liberal-tool" dogma. You can try, but don't be surprised if you get nowhere. As Jef Rouner wrote in 2014:
The first thing to do with a Snopes denier is... nothing. Do not continue the initial conversation. You have already lost your stand, and can do nothing more here. Ultimately, you are having a different interaction from the one you think you are. You thought you were helpfully informing, but they think you're part of a misled general populace that just can't see the monsters in the shadows.

But I never learn. I continue to engage 'em.

The fact is that Snopes
has also been accused of having a conservative/right-wing bias, though I don't believe that accusation any more than I believe the site has a deep liberal bias. And particularly during this contentious U.S. presidential election cycle, Snopes writers have also been busily debunking leftist memes, such as this one about Donald Trump and his remarks about military veterans with PTSD... or this one about his running mate Mike Pence and his supposed remarks about abortion and rape... or this one about the Libertarian VP supposedly giving up the ghost and becoming a Hillary supporter. Snopes has also soundly condemned the clickbait site that spread the loathsome fake news of Trump's death from a heart attack.

But it simply does not matter to some folks.

Some of the Snopes-haters and anti-Hillary meme sharers with whom I have conversed about Trump are good people who were burned in some way by serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau in his mega-scam the Global Information Network, or GIN, which were, of course, hot topics on this blog even back in the day when some of them were still partying it up on GIN cruises, hoping to get rich or change the world. Maybe it's obnoxious of me to keep bringing that up. But I will keep bringing it up anyway.

The Scamworld angle
It appears to me that these good ex-GINfolk simply cannot see that Donald J. Trump is an even worse -- and potentially more dangerous -- scammer than Trudeau ever could be (although granted,
Trump and Trudeau have a few things in common). Though a few people have acknowledged that Trump is far from an ideal candidate, they insist that all of his shortcomings, wrongdoings, and deep character flaws pale in comparison to Clinton's alleged "life of crime."

This is not just about Snopes, of course. There is a deeper problem here, and it has to do with both Scamworld and with politics. The Scamworld angle centers on the fact that some of the Snopes-hating people who were burned by GIN, and insist that they have learned their lesson about scams and scammers, continue to embrace pretty much any conspiracy story that pops up on social media. I would suggest that this enthusiasm for conspiracies indicates they have not really taken their hard-learned lessons to heart after all, and possibly retain a core gullibility that is only thinly disguised by their oft-expressed distrust of the mainstream media and other institutions.

(It isn't that I am always enamored of the mainstream media myself. And believe it or not I am skeptical about government, and am no big fan of big business, and so on. I just don't take an extreme position of automatically rejecting everything simply because it is "mainstream.")

While the nouveau anti-establismentarians imperiously point fingers at anyone who cites Snopes or other popular fact-checking/debunking sites -- and insist that their contempt for Snopes et al. demonstrates that they are the ones who are awake and aware, and the rest of us are either impaired thinkers or are crooked ourselves -- many are in fact advertising their own credulity to the world. They are showing that while they are willing to automatically reject "mainstream" narratives, they are all too willing to believe any wild-eyed tale spewed out by the "alternative" media.

More to the point here: they are painting targets on themselves for any potential huckster with a knack for packaging "information" that "they" (i.e. the corrupt establishment/New World Order/Illuminutty etc.) "don't want you to know about."

The forbidden-information, faux-rebel-against-the-establishment shtick
worked well for Kevin Trudeau for many years, and arguably still continues to work for him even though he is currently locked up in a minimum security prison. It has worked well for Trudeau's buddy "Mark Hamilton" (or Mark Scamilton as he is known on this blog), and before that for Scamilton's late daddy "Frank Wallace," and that whole Neo-stink scampire. And it is working very well indeed for career conspiracy mongers such as Alex Jones and Mike "the Health Ranger" Adams, as well as a number of other hucksters and scammers who are also exploiting the secret-info-that-the-lamestream-media-won't-tell-you motif.

None of this is really surprising, though. As my pal Salty Droid has both documented on his blog and has mentioned in private correspondence, quitting one manipulative scam or scammer doesn't cure one of the thinking pattern errors that got them sucked in in the first place. "Manipulation causes susceptibility to manipulation as a side effect," sez Salty. I know he's right, but I am still capable of being surprised by the phenomenon, especially when it occurs among folks whom I'd thought were friends, or at least allies.
The greater danger
If this were just a matter of personal Facebook battles it would be no big deal, even though, to my deep disappointment, I have seen what I thought were solid friendships collapsing in the face of increasingly heated political conversations. And if it were simply an indication of job security for scammers and hucksters that would be bad, but still not necessarily a catastrophe-in-waiting. But it seems pretty clear that the essential political battle is going to continue all the way to the ballots. Though some of Clinton's most virulent haters are not in fact eligible to vote in the U.S., there are many who are. And they could very well be responsible for propelling a dangerously volatile blowhard into the most powerful position in the world.

But it may be that America is screwed either way, as more than one non-U.S. citizen recently told me. For even if the Trumpians are unable to elect their candidate, it is very likely that millions of them will not accept the results of the election. How they will express that lack of acceptance is
a matter of legitimate concern.

Accordingly the growing penchant for conspiracy tall tales --
of which Donald Trump is the current "theorist in chief" -- is more than just snarkworthy blog fodder, though I certainly have been snarking about conspiracies for years. While the Clinton campaign and Clinton herself have made references to various right-wing conspiracies, the conspiracy meme is simply not an integral part of that campaign, and that is in marked contrast to her opponent. Clinton has not been playing the "rigged election" card nearly to the extent that Trump has. (Her concerns about possible Russian involvement in hacking and leaking her emails, in order to influence the election, may be valid, but the jury is still out on that.)

In contrast to Clinton, Trump and his supporters appear to be full-on advocates of the conspiracy scenario. And I don't think Politico was exaggerating when they called the rigged-election narrative
"the most dangerous conspiracy theory of 2016." It is a narrative driven by an almost rabid irrationality, the likes of which we've never really seen in a presidential election in the U.S. From the Politico article:
Recent surveys show Trump is in lock step with his supporters when he raises doubts that he’ll get a fair and square election. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released earlier this month found nearly half of Trump’s supporters aren’t confident the votes will be counted accurately, compared with just 18 percent of Clinton’s backers who think the totals will be illegitimate. In August, Public Policy Polling found 69 percent of Trump voters in North Carolina think Clinton would only win if the election was rigged: 40 percent actually blamed ACORN, which officially disbanded in 2010, as the reason they expected mischief.
... many of the moves that federal and state officials make to secure the country’s voting system are being met with skepticism and backlash, and more conspiracy theories. Alex Jones’ program, for one, has done multiple segments questioning whether Obama intends to federalize or even cancel the presidential election. Last month, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told the Nextgov news service in an email that he worried “the federal government will subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security.”
The notion of widespread election fraud has been widely debunked both through media investigations and government watchdog reports, but there's no stopping the conspiracy-crazed Trumpsters. Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said that insinuations of rigged outcomes are...
...completely unfounded. That heated rhetoric just undermines faith in American democracy, which works because people have confidence in its legitimacy. That confidence is something that should not be casually and baselessly tossed aside.
But it seems that many folks are tossing it aside, and all for the sake of an over-eagerness to embrace the false narratives and ridiculous tall tales that validate their own self-images as the most moral, the most patriotic, the most truly awakened ones.

In the end, though, and I hope you will pardon the cliche, we're all in this together. If enough people lose confidence in the legitimacy of American democracy, there's little evidence that this will lead us to a new enlightened era of transparency and fairness and liberty and justice for all. To the contrary, we risk turning the corner to chronic instability, transforming our political process into a Third-Worldish scenario of endless coups, revolutions, overt corruption, dictatorship, or any combination of the above. And that will have a devastating effect not only on the U.S. but on the rest of the world as well.

Check out this recent blog post from my husband Ron Kaye:
"How Did We Come To This?"
As we near the day of the election, I cannot help but wonder what lies beyond. I sense that a cataclysmic sequence of events is all too possible, no matter which way the election goes. If a tyrant is elected, we will almost certainly lose most of our allies around the world, and will definitely lose their trust. At the same time, our enemies will be emboldened, knowing that they no longer face a united front consisting of all rational nations and their leaders. Actions once considered unthinkable are now very much a part of the debate. Torture, genocide, and nuclear holocaust are considered by the worst among us to be viable tools for achieving our goals, and the kind of rhetoric we as a country and a world rejected over 80 years ago has become mainstream and deemed worthy of consideration.

I think we all need to listen to our own words, and ask ourselves, Is this the kind of country and world we want to leave our children and their children? Are the lessons we are teaching them really consistent with our proclaimed values as Americans?
What Ron said. It's all pretty scary. So much is at stake. Please get out and vote.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Whirled wags on

I'm back.

And once again I'm just under the wire for the end of the month, scrambling to keep up my tradition of blogging at least once every month. I've managed it so far for more than ten years, but lately I've been terribly lazy. Last month I cited the summer doldrums, which was valid enough, but in reality I can't completely blame summer for draining my blogging energy. I've been devoting much of my energy and attention to the
horror, which just keeps getting more horrible, of a potential Trump presidency, and have been spending most of my non-work-related writing time on Facebook conversing about the unfolding nightmare.

Trump not only
sucked all of the oxygen out of the room, as he promised/threatened in advance of announcing his 2016 presidential campaign, but he also sucked a lot of energy out of this blog. The latter is entirely my fault, and I apologize to readers who might have been expecting something more.

Before I return my attention to my normal non-political beat, though, let me state the obvious:
Hillary Clinton did indeed win the first presidential debate, despite the inane ramblings of Drumpf and the Drumpfians -- at least to the extent that it could be called a "debate," and to the extent that it could, in fact, be "won." Not surprisingly, the cynical conspiracy mongers and alt-right hucksters, most notably Mike "the Health Ranger" Adams of Natural News infamy, put a different spin on it. But that is pretty much what one would expect from someone who, in all apparent seriousness, has written:
Keep in mind that if Hillary Clinton wins this election, it's really over for America. It's DEATH under Clinton, and LIFE under Trump.
You really should read that DEATH/LIFE post linked to in the quote above. In a fit of histrionics and hysteria, faux-hero Adams claims that under a "Clinton dictatorship," the entire independent media (read: alt-right) will be "censored out of existence" for publishing stories that criticize Black Lives Matter, radical Islam or the Clinton administration itself. As well, warns the Health Rager (that's not a typo), your individual rights to free speech will disappear under a Clinton regime -- unless you're a "lunatic leftist," that is.

Never mind about
Donald Trump's continual threats to the free press and the First Amendment, and his implicit and explicit threats to sue the bejeezus out of any media outlet or individual who criticizes him. I still wonder if Adams really does believe half of the stupid drivel he writes. Whether he believes it or not, though, clearly his legions of critical-thinking impaired followers do. And many of those people can vote. So please, all of you rational people who are eligible to vote in the U.S. presidential election: get out there and do so. If sane people stay at home or vote for a "third party," the real dystopian nightmare could come to pass, not under Clinton but under Trump.

My name is Cosmic Connie, and I approve the above message.

So now on to my normal beat.

LoonyC and "Watchgate"
It's been a while since I've written about the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld, the fake doctor/cancer quack/conspiracy nut/demented little bigot
Leonard Coldwell, aka Lenny, aka LoonyC. But my pal Longdog in the UK (author of the fabulous RationalWiki piece on Lenny) has been busy on his own blog -- and this September 7 post is one of the best takedowns of LoonyC ever. It's long, but worth the read.

I didn't actually see the Facebook post that started the little drama, but Longdog did, and he
took a screen shot. Apparently Lenny has been getting some criticism from some of his German followers and readers as he has tried to expand his IMBS-ing U Master's Society scam into Germany. Some had recently been questioning his extravagant claims and his boasts of enormous wealth, and some had even admonished him for lowering himself to that level.

Well, apparently they got under his thin skin. Hmmm. Maybe we should call him "Thin-skin Len." I rather like the sound of that.

Anyway. It seems that in a fit of pique, and in order to prove to his detractors that he is indeed as rich as he says he is, Lenny posted a picture of three Rolex watches on his main German-language Facebook page,
Dr. Leonard Coldwell. But he pretended that his assistant "Catherine" was actually doing the posting. Along with the pic was this text (translated from German to English via the Bing auto-translate on Facebook):

To all the jealous people here is at the request of many a small part of dr cs Rolex collection, these are the 3 especially for him from Rolex made watches. Value for the 3 watches 290 000 euro. 22 and 24 carats are the brilliant, the dr c on champions weekend was wearing. If it's the envious people to stomach ulcers can help. Catherine

On his blog post Longdog recorded many of the jeers that Lenny received in response. Longdog himself went on Twitter to mock the post, and claims that within minutes of his tweet, Lenny's post had been deleted from Facebook. An hour or two after deleting the post, Lenny wrote an "incandescent-with-rage screed," as Longdog put it, explaining that the Rolex post had only been published as a test to weed out stupid, jealous, loser-type people. Again,
you can read all about it here -- not just the screed itself but also Longdog's annotations. It is an excellent capsule debunking of Lenny's most outrageous lies.

Clearly Lenny has a profound emotional stake in appearing to be materially wealthy and successful. His recent German posting isn't even the first time he has shown off his tacky, overpriced watches. I had a fun little snark about it on this Whirled a few years ago, in
this post about a Smaug-like little Lenny proudly showing off his watches, gold coins, U.S. currency and horsey statue.

Increasingly, people in both the U.S. and Germany are refusing to buy his tall tales. And increasingly, he is making it easier to catch him in his lies, particularly when -- to give just one random example -- he posts pictures on Facebook of luxurious homes, and boasts that he has purchased them, and then basks in the accolades from clueless followers who don't even bother to question him.

Let me just say that Google reverse image search, and public tax records that reveal the real property owners, can be the nemesis of daft little liars.

Caged Katie and his fellow scammer: "Life is but a dream" at Camp Cupcake
It has also been a while since I've written about now-imprisoned serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie. I'm still following his ramblings-by-proxy on his Facebook fan page. Earlier this month there was a post from one of his fellow scammers.

A short while back, I had the pleasure of seeing my dear friend Kevin at his present address at the Federal facility in Montgomery, Alabama. I’ve known KT since 1996, so I guess we celebrated our 20th anniversary of friendship that weekend in the deep South.

Prior to my visit, I had a sliver of unease about seeing him; it had been a couple of years since I’d seen him last. But I was immediately put at ease when Kevin appeared in the common meeting area of the facility. He looked thin and well- in fact, in better shape than I’d ever seen him. His eyes were clear and spirited.

We spent hours talking, sharing news, disagreeing (profoundly) over Presidential politics, reminiscing, laughing.

Kevin has always been a remarkably positive person in my life; I owe him a great deal relative to my career and to my own personal growth. We’ve also had an incredible range of experiences together.

What I always loved about Kevin was his indomitable mettle- and sense that everything- energetically, spiritually and in physical, tangible ways- would be fine, as long as you projected that to the universe. “You are what you think”, I recall KT saying. “Go as far as you can see,” he said, “and when you get there, you’ll see further.”

Even given his present circumstance, Kevin still sees further than most. He remains steadfast in his belief that everything that has transpired in his life was meant to be. He sees his current state of affairs as life lessons, teaching him what he needed most. Equally, he remains the same hopeful, powerful and spirited force that he always was- even more so. I laughed when he said that he used to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to fancy yoga and meditation retreats (we’ve been to a couple of those in our day!)- but now, he gets it all for free. He seems relieved that his life has become more simple but somehow even richer.

I wasn’t surprised that a couple of Kevin’s new acquaintances inside the facility credited him with helping them not only endure but thrive. KT’s gift as a teacher and sage has only grown over the past couple of years. There is not an ounce of “victim mentality” about him. If “life is but a dream”- an old song lyric I recall him particularly liking (and occasionally singing)- then his present situation is not a predicament, but a moment in time- a unit in time- that is giving him greater illumination and self-knowledge.

In that way, and many others, Kevin Trudeau is more unfettered than most of us. In fact, he may be the most free man I know. That’s why his teachings and insights are so valuable to me personally- and to us all.

I look forward to seeing him again soon, wherever the universe- and his incredible life force- takes him.
Jon Denny

A quick Google search for Jon Denny/Kevin Trudeau revealed this old Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint regarding "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." I know, I am just as shocked as you are.

Denny was also involved in another Trudeau boondoggle: the International Pool Tour (IPT), for which he served for a while as Executive Director. (I wrote about the IPT in this April 2013 post; see under "The International Pool Tour.")

Meanwhile, Katie's lawyers are still trying to get the Supreme Court to hear his case, a point I mentioned on
this July 2016 post (see under "Katie and the Supremes"). Here again is a link to the petition. As of the September 23 Facebook post on his Facebook page, the Court has yet to decide if they're going to hear it. I'll let you know when I find out something more. Or you can let me know. As I like to say, we all help each other out here.

That's it for now; I'll be back soon with more.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Those lazy days of summer

Don't worry. I'm still here, and I'm not resting on my laurels just because my Whirled has survived for a decade. Chalk up my absence to a case of the summer doldrums -- August often has that effect on me -- combined with some real-world engagements. There's a lot to write about, and I will. Soon. Thanks for stopping by, and if you've a mind to donate a few bucks, thanks for that too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ten years after...

In the beginning there was a mere stub of a blog post.... and it just grew from there.

Thank you all for your support throughout this first decade.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Trumpdeau redux: Kevin Trudeau is excited about Donald Trump's vibes

As the
Democratic National Convention kicks off today in Philly, with wild buzz about the potentially disunifying, even shattering, effects of the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz scandal, one of this blog's favorite snargets, imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie, is holding forth on social media (with a little help from his proxy) on the presidential campaign and his own spiritual superiority and prognostication skills. It's all in the service of selling some of his frauducts so he can keep feeding money to the lawyers who are trying to spring him. 

On a Facebook post today he boasts about having all but called the election results over a year ago. And he brags that he sent his prediction to the New York Times (they've been strangely silent about it, but I'm sure he would say that this is just because they're part of the liberal establishment that has worked so hard to shut Katie up).

Katie has never made a secret about his admiration for the GOP nominee, Donald Trump.
I discussed that here a few months ago.

And now here he is again, boasting about making his predictions to an elite group of his fellow prisoners, a group that he takes time to assure us "included former billionaires, CEO's of major US Corporations, a judge, former Politian's [sic], Washington DC insiders, lawyers and others."

Katie outsmarted them all. As he tells it:

In May 2015 there was talk about a possible Trump run for President of the USA. Immediately a group of men here got together and began discussing the upcoming primaries. I was invited to participate.

The group included former billionaires, CEO's of major US Corporations, a judge, former Politian's, Washington DC insiders, lawyers and others. On the Democratic side, Clinton was a foregone conclusion. Everyone agreed it would be a coronation for her. As for the Republicans, they talked about Bush, Rubio and others, but at the end. everyone agreed 100% that Bush would win easily. No one mentioned Trump.

I remained silent for over an hour as each man made their points and gave their opinions. They all sounded smart, knowledgeable and rational. They all made intelligent comments. After all, these are amazing men with amazing backgrounds. I knew I could learn a lot from them.

As the discussions were winding down, someone mentioned that I had not said a single word! I was actually listening intently, taking some notes, and during the discussion wrote a short prediction about the primaries that I intended to send to the NY Times.

Everyone turned and looked at me as I was asked for my opinion and what I thought about the primary elections. I sat quiet for a moment.

Everyone just looked at me in silence. You could hear a pin drop. I smiled and thanked them for asking for my opinion.

I told them I had written a prediction that I was going to send to the NY Times. I said I would like to read it. Here is what I read (as I still have the original),

"I make the following prediction as to the Democratic and Republican primaries. This is what is going to happen.
On the Democratic side, Sanders will push Clinton to the very end. But the fix is in, and the system is rigged. The insiders choose the candidate, not the people.
Candidates are selected, not elected. Clinton will win, because the Democrat insiders will make sure she wins. On the Republican side, Gandhi's 4 step process of breaking the status quo will be obvious. Trump will first be ignored. Then he will be laughed at. Then he will be attacked. And then he will win.
Trump will win the Republican nomination easily, even though the system is designed to 'elect' the 'chosen' candidate. Trump will win because the overwhelming energy of the people is consistent with Trump's vibration.
He will resonate with a powerful energy, and activate and awaken a dormant energy in people. This energy is very intense. I know this because I can read the energy of the public."

The group just laughed. I did send my prediction to the NY Times, and also to Janine and some other close friends. I also shared it with Donald. I say this not to brag or show off. I share this with you to point out the power of being able to read "group energy".You too can release this power.

You too can be able to "read group energy". All you need is desire, and the right training by a person who has this power released. (I also predicted the UK vote to leave the EU). I am not saying who will make the best President. The group energy, intention, and desire will determine the outcome of the election and how our government is run.

The play of consciousness that we are all a part of is a "perfect" play. Sometimes it is a drama, sometimes a horror show, sometimes a comedy, and sometimes a romance. Rather than be a part of it and feel all the emotional ups and downs, you can observe and witness the play and simply enjoy the show. Much love..KT

So. There is Katie, blathering away from the confines of Camp Cupcake (his fake-fond nick for FPC (Federal Prison Camp) in Montgomery, Alabama), telling us some things that everyone already knows about American politics (the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, the fact that the fight is fixed in many ways, and so on). [UPDATE October 2016: Please note that this post was originally published a few months before Donald Trump started mouthing off about the election being rigged specifically against him due to voter fraud and whatnot. When I say "the fight is fixed" I mean it in the sense that singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote about in his 1988 song, "Everybody knows," i.e., "Everybody knows the fight is fixed/the poor stay poor and the rich get rich/That's how it goes/Everybody knows." Money plays much too large a role in American politics, but I do not buy into Drumpf's hysterical conspiracy theories about rigged elections.]

But Katie's boasts about his keen insights were not what grabbed my attention enough to warrant a whole blog post about the matter. What made this Whirled fodder is that Katie, currently serving a ten-year sentence for criminal contempt related to fraudulent advertising -- is posing as the serenely detached prognosticator and McSpirituality guru who can see the human condition so much more clearly than most of us fast-asleep sheeple, and even more clearly than the other elites in Cellblock B -- but never fear, for he is willing to gift us (for a price, of course!) with his special training so that we too can be able to "read group energy."

And the proceeds from sales of this special training will presumably all go to his legal defense fund, so he can continue his fight to get out of that blissful retreat in Alabama -- a fight that has already cost him and his followers many millions of dollars. He loves it there so, so much, but he so wants his freedom.

By the way, Gandhi's
"4 step process of breaking the status quo," which Katie referred to in describing Trump's road to victory, is bogus. There is no evidence that Gandhi ever said that. It is one of several phony Gandhi quotations that people love to pull out of the hatbox of cliches (along with "Be the change you wish to see in the world") when they are trying to be inspirational or profound or something. Trump has used that phony quotation about the four steps himself, but in all fairness so have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, according to Politifact. But more than likely the veracity or lack thereof is is a non-issue to Katie, who has never been shy about invoking Gandhi when attempting to polish his own hero/martyr image. Gandhi seems to be quite popular in Scamworld.
At any rate, Katie constantly touts his relatively newfound serenity as being the result of his ability to transcend emotion and judgment. He begs us to believe that he has achieved that consummate state of detachment so vaunted by Buddhists and practitioners of other spiritual paths. He encourages us to be like him, to eschew participation in the "perfect play" and simply to look upon the events around us as entertainment.

But it's pretty hard for anyone who actually participates in American life -- unlike Trudeau these days -- to be entertained by the prospect of a Trump presidency, to dismiss it as a mere play. Granted, it was entertaining at first; now it is
mostly terrifying, and only becomes more so as the resistance weakens and more people fall into lockstep with Trump's scary vision.

And heaven forbid if the "overwhelming energy" of America as a whole is "consistent with Trump's vibration," as Katie claimed about the throngs who pushed Trump to the nomination. Fortunately there are many folks in this country
whose vibes aren't consistent with Drumpf's. (And lots of folks in other countries are similarly unaligned with the Trump vibration.) I don't think I like the "dormant energy" that Trump has awakened in his followers. As far as I'm concerned, Cheat-o Jesus' crowning achievement has been to fuel the hatriarchy.

And I guess I am just not evolved enough to dismiss this as mere entertainment.

* Apropos of the scandal regarding the leaked emails and hacked DNC accounts, there's this speculation about Drumpf and Putin's friendship. It sounds like a wild conspiracy tale on first glance but may not be.

PS ~ I don't want to let this day go by without mentioning that today -- July 25, 2016 -- is the seventh anniversary of the day that
Colleen Conaway died at a San Diego shopping mall during an event hosted by another one of the scoundrels that Katie has defended (and vice versa): star of The Secret James Arthur Ray. Although Ray served a brief prison sentence for the deaths of three people -- Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman -- who died as a result of his gross recklessness at an October 2009 event in Sedona, Arizona, he was never charged, tried or convicted of any criminal wrongdoing in Ms. Conaway's death. Here are my past blog posts about this sad anniversary. I haven't written a blog post on every one of the anniversaries but I have acknowledged it on my social media and on the blogs of others, such as Salty Droid.
And finally, although this isn't specifically about Colleen Conaway, here's the post I wrote in October 2010 on the one-year anniversary of the Sedona travesty: Musings on a tragedy and its meanings.

Never forget.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sex cults, dead dogs, dead docs, scammer skirmishes, sticky fingers... just another day on my Whirled

It has been a busy and crazy few weeks, both in the real world and on my own Whirled beat, though you might not think the latter, judging by the couple of weeks of silence on this blog, which, incidentally, will celebrate its tenth birthday on July 27, 2016. It isn't that there is nothing to write about; on the contrary, there's almost too much, and I've been busy with other things. But I wanted to throw together a few snippets and musings to catch you up so you'll have something to occupy your brain while you're monitoring the coverage of the Clown Party Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Since this isn't a political blog, except of course when it is, I won't delve too deeply into the clown show; there are plenty of other blogs and sites to do that, and they'll do a far more thorough job because that's what they do. But I did want to share this Mother Jones piece that nailed what the GOP, the fabled "party of Lincoln" has become: the party that from all appearances has finally and fully embraced
the politics of being an a$$hole.

So this week the Republican Party is poised to anoint a man whom House Speaker Paul Ryan, the GOP's highest ranking elected leader, has said made racist remarks. That is—or should be—stunning. But even this highly significant fact becomes lost in the torrent of Trump's offensive conduct. And most of the GOP has accepted him as the nominee, enabling and legitimizing his behavior. Per its electorate's wishes, the party has shoved aside traditional conservative principles, basic decency, and fundamental standards of competence—this guy didn't know what the nuclear triad is—to embrace hatred, nastiness, and cruelty. With malice toward none, with charity for all? No, it's opposite day. This convention marks the moment when the party of Lincoln has become the party of reality-show trash talking. As Trump might say, sad!

Apropos of that, and particularly of the pre-Trump-tive Clown Party nominee, my husband Ron Kaye wrote
a short blog post today about the decline of real journalism, which he worries about as much as he does "the rise of bullies who would lie, threaten, bully, and frighten their way into public office, because journalists who are brave enough to demand truth are our single best weapon against tyrants."

Yeah, what Ron said.

And now to the snippets and musings. I've posted some but not all of what follows on Facebook, so if some of it seems familiar, I apologize for the redundancy.

Access Consciousness in the news again; Whirled Musings, not so much
As long-time followers of this blog know, I've been writing about the wackadoodle sex-and-money-obsessed cultlike scam known as
Access Consciousness (formerly Access Energy Transfer) since 2007. My Access posts remain the most-read posts on this blog, which probably isn't saying much since this is not exactly the world's most hottest spot in the blogosphere, but it's something.

Anyway, Access made the news again earlier this month when Complex.com posted an article announcing that
"Ricky Williams is in a Cult." Williams is a former Pro Bowl NFL player who has also recently made the news for his cannabis-centered gym. He first made Access-related news in 2012 when he accepted a $50,000 donation for his Ricky Williams Foundation from none other than Access founder Gary Douglas. Natch, I wrote about that here.

As such articles go, the Complex piece is a pretty good one, despite the fact that, as the Houston Press's Craig Malisow wrote
in a short post about the piece, "...we wish the writer had prodded Williams a little more about the most troubling aspect of Access, which is this: Douglas, the group's founder, believes that 'young children are incredibly sexy.' To those of us who aren't card-carrying members of NAMBLA, language like that is a bit spooky."

Craig, to whom I'd given assistance and information while he was writing his
November 2012 feature article on Access, gave a passing nod to all of the writing I've done on this topic. Craig said my research into Access "still stands as some of the best work on the subject."

Alas, the Complex article didn't acknowledge my blog at all, merely noting, "There are over a dozen
blogs and forums that have lent considerable bandwidth to deconstructing the validity of Access Consciousness." The link embedded in the word "blogs" directs to post on a Christian blog, "Women of Grace," warning about the evils of Access.

So -- no love for Whirled Musings in most of the media, despite the fact that I was the first blogger to write about many loony things regarding Access,
including the fact that the scam originated in the 1990s when founder Gary Douglas started channeling Grigori Rasputin and assorted other entities. That detailed story was published in June 2010, and I'd made a big fat snarky deal about the matter in my first Access post in June 2007. I was also the first to snark about the "9 Trannies" (May 2011). And so on, and so forth.

But at least I got a mention on
this Access apologist site a few years ago, a site whose main purpose seems to be to invalidate Craig's 2012 article. Being the phony good sports that Accessories are known to be, the person or persons responsible for the page wrote: "Connie Schmidt writes a blog that is very funny and her articles poke fun at Gary, Dain and Access Consciousness in general. Her work is provocative and engaging so it usually inspires people to go to Access Consciousness website for more information. Her 'Whirled Musings' are not really a creditable source of accurate information about Access Consciousness."

(Pssst. Yes, they are.)

And a former "Accessory" who "did" Access Consciousness for quite a few years wrote in an email to me a few months ago, "I remember Gary Douglas mentioning you on a number of occasions. He basically vilified you and also the journalist Malisow... It clearly rattled him and he was reacting and trying to deny and dismiss any negative comments."

This person also wrote, "In the upper echelons of Access I've heard that Gary and Dain [have claimed] that if people are causing problems for them or those close [to them] that they will crush their universes."

Gary Douglas himself had actually written to this blog several years previous to that. He fake-thanked me for making people aware of Access. My former Accessory correspondent said that Gary told his classes about writing to my blog, but this person seemed to share my opinion that Gary's good-sport response was just a veneer, perhaps a way of whistling past the graveyard. "Clearly," my correspondent wrote, "you've gotten to him, or he wouldn't mention it."

Take that, mainstream media people who think that you're being really scoopy when you tell the world about about Ricky Williams' "cult." I may be doomed to eternal obscurity, but I still manage to get under scammers' skins.

And despite my narcissistic whining about getting no love, the important point is that Access's lunacy continues to receive publicity, which one can only hope will encourage parents to carefully vet any activity that is even remotely related to Access before they entrust their kids to the care of crazies.

Dog daze and deja Blue (or: LoonyC gets Snopesed...again)
Earlier this month the scourge of Germany, fake doctor Leonard Coldwell, copied and pasted a fake news article to the blog on his main web site,
regarding the supposed arrest of Snopes founder David Mikkelson for involvement in pit bull fighting.

The dog pictures in the fake news article were taken from various real stories about incidents that had taken place in various parts of the country over the past couple of years. A reverse Google image search can easily uncover this fact. But if you don't feel like reverse-Google-image-searching, the author of this article from the hoax alert section of the Lead Stories site has done it for you. The picture of Mikkelson supposedly being arrested was a poorly Photoshopped piece that had been used for another fake Mikkelson arrest story last year. I wrote about that here. The Lead Stories site also covered it.

But just as he did with last year's hoax, LoonyC copied and pasted the pit bull article to his own site as if it were real. He soon deleted last year's post, but the latest one is still on his site as of this posting.

The source of the current hoax article about Mikkelson is
News 4 KTLA, a fake news/clickbait site, Granted, unlike some other sites, News 4 KTLA doesn't trumpet the fact that it's a fake news/parody/satire site. But the clues are in the text, for those with the snap to see them. The Snopes/pit bull piece, for instance, begins like this:

Nearly a dozen people are in custody, including Snopes CEO David Mikkelson, following a bust of a major dogfighting ring. The San Fernando Police Department and the FBI all took part in the early morning raids targeting the home of the popular Internet “writer” who is known for making his money by copying the original writings of fake news sites. [emphasis mine ~CC]

I tried twice to post a comment on Coldwell's blog post, using my full real name. I 'splained that the article was a hoax and that the source of the article is a notorious fake news site, and I also cited the original sources of the photos used in the fake article. I was respectful, despite the fact that Coldwell deserves no respect whatsoever, but my first comment was not published. And when I tried to post a second time, it appeared that I had been blocked from even trying to comment.

But these people were allowed to comment. The second commenter, who posted twice, is particularly disturbing.

Don't get me wrong. As a lifelong dog lover I think people who abuse dogs and our other fellow creatures should be dealt with harshly. But David Mikkelson did not do what the fake article accuses him of doing. Yet LoonyC's idiot followers, who apparently bear the same irrational hatred of Snopes that Loony does, didn't even question the veracity of the article.

It all reminds me eerily of what I was going through two years ago at this exact time, when Coldwell was publicly and repeatedly and falsely accusing me of poisoning his pit bull dog, Blue (and publicly and repeatedly publishing my home address and cell phone number, and telling his sympathetic fans to get in touch with me). I wrote about this at great length
here and here. (Those of you who have been with me a while know this whole story, so again, my apologies for the redundancy.)

His fans, who had no idea who I am and apparently didn't bother to question his claims, were ranting on his Facebook pages about the horrible things that should be done to me in punishment for the crime I had supposedly committed against Lenny and his dog. They were suggesting that I should be hunted down,
shot, poisoned, tortured. Someone even threatened to burn my house down in the middle of the night. It was pretty scary. And I had no legal recourse; though I reported the matter, law enforcement said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the matter.

So I feel for David Mikkelson.

Dead holistic docs conspiracy rages on
One topic I addressed in last year's Lenny-got-Snopesed post --
and here's that link again -- was the dead holistic doctor conspiracy drama that so may people refuse to relinquish. Here is one of all too few rational articles about the matter, published last year. Granted, the body count was lower back then, but this doesn't invalidate the need to be skeptical of the conspiracy narrative, particularly since not all of the people on the supposed list of dead docs were even doctors, and of those who were, not all of them could be considered "holistic."

Some of the deceased parties in the conspiracy narrative have been murdered, while the deaths of some were reported as suicides, and some died of heart attacks or other ailments. Not surprisingly, the conspiracy buffs refuse to accept that any of these good people committed suicide, despite the fact that doctors and other medical professionals
have a relatively high suicide rate, at least in the US. And the conspiracy fans insist that the docs who died of various ailments had been in perfect health up until their deaths. The deaths reported as homicides, of course, are self-explanatory and fit perfectly into the dastardly-plot narrative: Clearly, Big Pharma and/or other forces opposed to natural healing are somehow responsible.

In any case, as of this writing the latest so-called "holistic doctor" supposedly done away with by some nefarious cabal of Big Pharma and New World Order operatives was a 65-year-old Asian woman living in Palo Alto, California, Jenny Shi,
whose stabbing death Health Nut blogger Erin Elizabeth announced with her customary "heavy hearts" on July 13. Erin has remained front and center in the parade of dead-doc conspiracy alarmists, despite continuing to insist that she is not implying a conspiracy of any kind.

Apart from the fact that she owned a chain of acupuncture clinics, Jenny Shi
had much more going on in her life than "holistic" doctoring. She was an international businesswoman with enterprises that included real estate and angel investment, and she had business connections in Shanghai and Beijing, China. Investigators suspect that Shi knew her attacker. She reportedly rented rooms in her home to multiple tenants, and detectives are investigating these as well as her numerous business relationships.

But the conspiracy believers are out in force, apparently because according to them, the late Dr. Shi
spoke out against "the vaccine establishment."

As the debunking article I linked to above concluded:

Saying that these deaths are a coincidence may be supported by the facts and our understanding of statistics, but it is emotionally unsatisfying to our pattern-seeking brains. We find apparent patterns in the world very compelling, and we want there to be an underlying explanation. We just don’t like the idea that the pattern is an illusion. That is why we fall prey to excessive pattern recognition and hyperactive agency detection (seeing a deliberate agent in random or natural events).

When the apparent pattern fits our pre-existing narrative or world view, the temptation to accept the pattern becomes overwhelming. Only the most diligent application of critical thinking can overcome such a temptation.
But don't expect much of that critical-thinking stuff from Erin and gang.

Katie and the Supremes
As reported here in Febuary 2016, currently imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie -- also
a frequent snarget on this blog -- lost the appeal on his criminal case. Now he is trying to do take his battle to the Supreme Court.

a link to the Petition. Stay tuned.

Has Troy McClain become an impotent figurehead in GIN?
Speaking of Katie, his biggest scam ever, the Global Information Network, or GIN, is still chugging along. I've heard from more than one knowledgeable source that there has been a massive power struggle because the GIN principals and staff just don't care for GIN CEO Troy McClain, former star of Donald J. Drumpf's "reality" TV show, The Apprentice. The mass dislike apparently has something to do with Troy's yuuuge ego and lack of ethics. (I thought those were job requirements for a Scamworld player, but there do seem to be some actual decent human beings on the remaining GIN staff who seem genuinely dismayed by the unethical stuff. As for the principals, it's just one big clash of egos and behind-the-scenes scammer skirmishes.)

Our most recent Whirled visit with Troy was back in March of this year, when Troy was making a big self-righteous stink about
removing someone from "our Club" for some great ethics violation. Well, apparently lots has happened since then. Long-time Katie buddies Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan and Blaine Athorn, a couple of the co-owners of GIN (along with Troy and another fellow), are reportedly trying to force Troy out of their tree house club altogether. Blaine is reportedly in charge of GIN now. That may prove to be a win for Katie, eventually, since Troy reportedly does not like Katie, but Blaine presumably still does.

But Troy has worked hard on revamping the GIN branding, particularly with
the new GIN Evolve web site. Gone is the old GIN site; it's Troy's brand baby now. And Troy still apparently owns the KT Legal Defense Fund site, leaving me to wonder again if all of the online donations to help Katie actually go to help Katie and not Troy.

So I wonder how this will all play out. As I find out more, I'll be sure to tell you. Or you can tell me, if you know more. We all help each other around here. In any case, as far as I'm concerned... Troy, Blaine, Chris... meh. They're all turds of a feather.

Speaking of The Apprentice...
Salty Droid has been busy, and
here he is again, ruminating on The Donald and some of the scammers Drumpf hath wrought. Important stuff here.

Also well worth reading: the interview, published in The New Yorker, with
the person who really wrote The Art of the Deal, ghostwriter Tony Schwartz. To this day Drumpf brandishes the book as proof that he's the greatests, and that he's qualified to be the leader of the free world. Schwartz has earned millions in advance and royalties for writing this book, but he never really felt good about it, and has pledged to donate royalties from here on out to groups of people that Trump's bigotry, xenophobia and elitism could seriously harm. Schwartz reveals some pretty disgusting things about Drumpf, which of course won't make a bit of difference to the Drumpfians, but go ahead, read it anyway.

Are Freddy's fingers in Coach Coral's scam pie?
Another Whirled unfavorite, Fred Van Liew, long-time friend and defender of Kevin Trudeau, is apparently involved in cross-promotional (or should that be crass-promotional?) shenanigans with scammy "life coach" Coral Grant and gang. In January I wrote about a lawsuit against Coral and her hubby Mac, but it appears that it's just business as usual for Coral despite the lawsuit. Fred posted on his Facebook page July 16 about an event he attended with "Best Life Coaching Society," a company in which Coral and Mac are currently involved. They're not listed as the owners of the company; that honor goes to Scott and Jen Kazmierczak, "the true power couple," according to the Best Life Coaching Society web site. Coral and Mac are simply listed as the head trainers, although according to the site, Scott and Jen "never got any real results until a few years ago, when they met Coral and Mac and learned their Subconscious Release Technique..."

But back to
Fred, who posted a big picture of himself and Coral beaming into the camera. I made a comment on that pic, complete with a link, asking him how the lawsuit is coming. As of this writing he hasn't answered.

As you know if you've been here a while, apart from being a long time Trudeau buddy and now an apparent Coral buddy, Van Liew is also involved in multilevel marketing schemes --
particularly one that's a lot like Herbalife. It's a Youngevity/Livinity merger called 90forLife -- and again, there's a Trudeau connection, as Barb and Dave Pitcock, proteges of Trudeau, are principals in the MLM. And Fred has his own line of pseudo-scientific products to purify water and protect people from various evil electromagnetic forces.

As I've also mentioned here before, Fred was quoted in
an excellent piece by Aaron Gell, published by Business Insider in January 2015

After high school, Trudeau found work at an auto dealership, where, Van Liew says, he soon became the No. 1 salesman by eagerly chatting up the customers whom his colleagues stereotyped as window shoppers and cheapskates. “The other guys would say, ‘This guy’s a loser,’ but Kevin didn’t do that. And he’d sell them car.”

He also became adept at pushing auto loans. “He would tell people, ‘Save your credit with your bank in case you need it for something else,’” Van Liew recalls. “Was it the best advice? No. Was he doing it to get you the best deal? Hell no. He was in it for profit and money! He knew most people are idiots.”

"He knew most people are idiots." To me that sums up the contempt in which most con artists hold their marks. My friend Julie Daniel, who formerly worked with some of the Trudeau enterprises, agrees. She says, "I heard some of the back-room conversations, and if people only knew what exactly was said about them... [Mark] Hamilton likes to say that his little group is a family. But when they are not listening, they are brain-washed sheep." (Mark Hamilton, aka Mark Scamilton, is the Neo-think founder and former co-scammer with Trudeau in GIN.)

Anyhow, it appears that Freddy and Coral have a good thing going on. Or maybe Fred is just trying to keep a close eye on Coral for the benefit of his true scambuddy Trudeau. I've heard scuttlebutt that Coral and Kevin aren't really as tight as Coral has implied in the promos where she brags that she is one of the few folks to have been personally mentored by Katie. Word has it that she pretty much pushed and shoved her way into Kevin's inner circle (not to be confused with the now-defunct GIN Inner Circle, whose members paid $50,000 to $75,000 for that privilege back in GIN's heyday).

At any rate Coral and Fred seem to be scratching each other's backs, which I assume is only a figure of speech because the thought of any literal physical contact between the two is enough to put you off your feed for a month -- but be that as it may, here's a disturbingly topless-looking Coral in mid-June 2016, praising Freddy after an "energy work" event at which he was one of the "trainers." She describes the training as "getting into it [whatever it is] on the scientific but not on the 'woo-woo' level." She also calls it, "...Insane... absolutely the best training I've ever been to..."

Well, okay. The "insane" part is probably correct.

In any case it seems pretty clear that Freddy and Coral have their sticky fingers in each other's schemes. The road goes on forever, and the scamming never ends.

That's it for now (isn't that enough?). Stay safe, stay cool, and don't let the circus this week or next week eat up too many of your brain cells. I'll be back soon.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,