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.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking a grift horse in the mouth: Kevin Trudeau protege Coach Coral lands in hot water


It's time to finally shake myself free of my holidaze -- the most recent celebration being Cosmic Connie Day, aka my birthday, the celebration of which is actually still going on. But let's get down to Whirled business. Continuing this blog's prevailing theme of No Neat and Tidy Endings, or NNATE as my dear friend Julie Daniel puts it, we turn our attention to one of the lesser known cohorts of now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie on this Whirled. That would be one
Coral Rose Grant, a "Life Coach" formerly known as Coral Thomas before she got hitched to a fellow grifter, Mac Grant. Two can scam as cheaply as one, and it seems these two have now landed themselves in a bit of legal trouble.

As first reported by
Ryan Kocian on Courthouse News Service on January 25, 2016 -- and again, thanks to Julie Daniel for pointing this out to me -- there seems to be a class action suit brewing against Coral's life coaching scampire, the accusation being that she and her hubby were running a Ponzi scheme. The essentials:
Named plaintiffs Cheri Lucas and April Fisher sued Coaching by Coral LLC dba The Secret to Life Coaching and three of its affiliates or shells; their CEOs Coral Rose Grant fka Coral Rose Thomas and Gary McGonagle Grant II aka Mac Grant; and their associate Heather Suzanne Perdue, in Travis County Court.

The defendant companies include The Release LLC, Infinity Manifestation LLC, and Superdue Inc., all of Colorado.

Lucas and Fisher seek to represent a class of "all persons who have entered into 'coaching contracts' or 'investor contracts' with any of the defendants."
Earlier today (January 26), the news was picked up by the Daily Beast, with an eye-rolling lede -- that is, eye-rolling regarding the Paris event being described, not the writer's choice to use that as a lede.
It’s early 2015 in a Paris conference room and nerdy men in suits are shouting: “I’m sassy, I’m sexy, I’m sensational!” The words, indecipherable if not for the video’s caption, are a part of a warm-up game during a life-coaching retreat—one aimed at shaping the world's best life coaches.

A company called The Secret to Life Coaching (TSTLC)—one that’s now under government investigation—hosted the retreat. Founded in 2008 by Coral Rose Grant, TSTLC’s stated mission is to help people “live their best lives” and, ultimately, make a career out of teaching others the same.


This week, it is the subject of a
major class-action lawsuit led by two former clients, Cheri Lucas and April Fisher—the latter of whom taught classes for TSTLC. Together, the two allege that the company was part of a Ponzi scheme devised by Coral and her husband, Mac, in which they pocketed investor money totaling anywhere from $8 million to $20 million, using it to “live like royalty.”
Charging people hundreds of dollars to help them find the “life of their dreams,” they instead used it to live out their own. The mastermind behind the scheme, the two claim, was a “career fraudster and federal felon” Kevin Trudeau, the “infomercial king” who is serving time in prison for diet books. Coral, they say, not only visited Trudeau in prison, but spent money trying to get him released.

The plaintiffs are represented by Camden Chancellor in Odessa, Texas and Arnaldo Pereira in Austin. So far I haven't been able to track down any actual court documents.

Now. I hate to say "I told you so." No, I don't. But I won't, not in so many words. Instead I will take my usual annoying approach of rubbing your nose in the fact that
I've mentioned Coral a few times on this blog over the past couple of years.

It's not that I'm some scoopy investigative journalist. I am actually pretty lazy. But I got a few heads-ups about Coral from a former Trudeau/Global Information Network (GIN) insider a few years ago, and I've been watching her ever since, more or less. Okay, I've been sleeping on the job lately. But still.

This November 2014 piece is one of my posts where I mentioned Coral's scams, including a mention of the Paris bash featured in the Daily Beast lede, and it has links to previous mentions. The post is long and is not entirely about Coral, so skip down to the pink subhead, "We'll always have Paris..."

Be sure to take note of another player in this little drama, Nancy Ashley, long-time GIN member and Trudeau loyalist. I share a screen shot of one of her posts about another coaching retreat hosted by Coral and gang, and it appears from that screen shot that
Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan, another Katie cohort and also a co-owner of the "new" GIN, is/was quite involved with Coral's coaching scampire.

The current reports about the pending class action frame Coach Coral's association with Kevin Trudeau as "information and belief," but as far as I am concerned the matter goes beyond informed speculation. Coral proudly promoted herself as being one of the few life coaches in the universe who was personally mentored by Trudeau. You can read about it
in this May 2014 Whirled post. And as for the allegation that she helped pay for Kevin's legal defense, the writing has been all over the wall on that one, including the walls of this blog. To quote me in that May 2014 piece:

A couple of C.I.s have told me to watch out for [Coral] and her pals, because they're still actively involved in enterprises that will benefit Katie. Coral and gang reportedly have an agreement with Katie to raise a certain amount of money -- $100k or so, according to some sources -- for his legal defense in exchange for rights to market some of his frauducts and flopportunities and/or other benefits.
And the Paris to-do in early 2015 was actually promoted as a fund raiser for Kevin's legal defense. Interestingly enough, the Courthouse News Service piece quotes the complaint as saying, "Coral's criminal activities seem to have been too much even for Trudeau, since plaintiffs have been informed that Trudeau told her to stop." Whether or not that is true, it does appear that the cat is now officially out of the bag regarding Coral's schemes.

It appears that this was a long time coming.
Here's a Ripoff Report from a dissatisfied customer in Colorado, dated October 2014.

If the plaintiffs or other vics had read my earlier blog posts, perhaps they wouldn't have lost so many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Oh, I am only kidding. I may be a narcissist, but I am not that full of myself. More than likely those who had to learn the hard way would have dismissed me as a hater or a dream stealer,
like so many GIN members did for years -- and like so many other true believers still do.

This case is only in its very early stages and may end up fizzling out, or being settled out of court, or it may actually become a really big thing. With court cases you just never know. And I am not sure about jurisdiction since the plaintiffs are in Texas and the defendants in Colorado, though with a class action suit that may be moot, provided the case was properly filed in the right court. Sometimes lawyers make really big mistakes in that regard. Any of you legal brains out there, feel free to enlighten me. In any case I'll keep you posted and will add any updates, including court documents, if they become available to me.

Meanwhile if anyone reading this has any additional insights I'm all ears (or eyes). I'd like to hear from people who have experiences with Coral's coaching companies, good or bad. I'll respect anonymity as requested. Plaintiffs: I'd definitely love to hear from you, and if I do, I won't tell you, "I told you so." Coral and Mac, y'all are welcome to weigh in as well, though I rather suspect you won't since you haven't responded to other journos' attempts to get a comment.

The lesson here, besides the whole NNATE thing, is caveat emptor. Especially when it comes to "life coaching." That is as true now as it was
nearly nine years ago when I wrote this.


UPDATE, January 28, 2016: 
I'm still trying to round up some court documents. Meanwhile, it seems that Coral has been rather silent on her Facebook page. Some mischievous soul (not I) posted a link to the Daily Beast article about the lawsuit on her timeline, but that seems to be gone now. And her Facebook profile seems to be devoid of information about her companies and accomplishments...



...though her "Intro" blurb on the landing page still describes her as a "Real Estate Investor...Venture Capitalist...TV Show Host...Mentor...Author...Speaker & Trainer."

But the snow must go on. A friend of mine got this email yesterday...


 
And as noted above, Infinity Manifestation is one of the named defendants in this developing case.

And in the Turds of a Feather category...


 

Coral and Mac do love to hobnob with the Rich(ard) and famous. But Branson, like most celebs, will probably pose with anyone who asks, so I wouldn't put too much stock in this photo.



Anyway. I'll have more about the court case as soon as I know more. While you're waiting, here are some recent-ish posts from Coral's Facebook page. Those of you who have lost thousands of dollars to this grifting couple, try not to gag. 


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Monday, January 18, 2016

On love and hate and blogging


A belated Happy New Year to all of you. Since my Christmas decorations, such as they are, are still up -- I'll keep them up at least until my birthday, aka Cosmic Connie Day, which is next week-- I consider that the holidaze are still ongoing. But it is high time that I break in 2016 with a new blog post.

As usual, I didn't make any New Years resolutions because I think they're a waste of time. However, a frequent topic of this blog certainly made one, and posted it on January 3 for the waiting world.



If this is any sort of reference to his critics, you have to wonder what he has in mind. Will it be something legal but ill-thought-out and stupid like another lame lawsuit against certain hobby bloggers? (See
here and here for examples, particularly if you are an attorney considering taking on a defamation case on his behalf.)

Will it be something not really legal and totally unethical, but not terribly actionable either, like another defamation campaign against his critics? He's nothing if not the poor man's Elron Hubbard, with his own inept version of
Operation Fair Game that he has been utilizing at least since the 1990s.

Or does he have in mind
something illegal, like using that "revenge insurance" he boasted about some time back?

Or maybe, despite his constant whining that he has been hacked, he is thinking of employing a hacker to destroy the blogs and web sites that call him out.

On the other hand he could simply be making a reference to a $10 billion class action suit he had recently claimed to be filing against Facebook for "criminally" deleting his posts (so he says) and censoring him (so he says), and suspending him when people complain about his clear abuse of Facebook's Terms of Service.

Or maybe it's just the bourbon talking again.


* * * * *

In July -- July 27 to be exact -- this Whirled will be one decade old. When I commenced blogging back in July 2006, I never dreamed I would keep it up for ten years, or even for two years. I just decided to start writing and see how it went. As time went by I gained a modest following, though as I've mentioned before I don't spend too much time keeping track of my stats. I'm still just a minor planet in the blogosphere and for the most part I am cool with that, although I would be lying by omission were I not to confess that sometimes I wonder why I bother blogging at all. After all, it's not making me any money (not that I've actually tried that hard to monetize), and the most noteworthy thing it has earned me so far was
a (failed) defamation lawsuit.

But whenever I get an email or comment from someone who read an old post that helped them, or that resonated in some way, it kind of makes me want to keep on blogging. A friend of mine alerted me
to this blog post by Jennifer Garam, that 'splains it pretty well.

When you write something, you never know who it is going to affect, or how it could help someone who’s struggling and feeling alone, or how in a low moment in their life, desperately searching on Google for answers, they will come upon your words when they need them most. And despite what our culture will have us believe—that metrics and stats matter above all else, that the number of clicks tells the whole story—somehow, in some calculation, impacting one human being has got to be worth more than all the unique page views and Shares and Likes in the world.
Yeah. What Jennifer said. At least I will keep telling myself that.

I should note that I don't suffer the why-even-bother blues with my paid writing jobs, which are mostly for-hire and don't have my name on them. (And no, "Big Pharma" is not one of my clients, contrary to the claims of a few idiots.) But I do occasionally have motivational freezes where this blog is concerned. And hearing from fans helps unfreeze me.

I have to admit too that hate mail galvanizes me as much and sometimes even more than fan mail. F'rinstance, in late December 2015 a guy named Andrew Livingston sent me an email telling me I am a dumb c-nt with no integrity, simply because I have indicated that I like the debunking site Snopes. Perhaps he was writing in response
to this August 2015 post about some idiots who believed a hoax article stating that Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson had been arrested, or maybe he saw some of my Facebook posts where I cited a Snopes article in an effort deflate some conspiracy nut's balloon. But his contempt for me, as well as for Snopes, was clear, as was his sense of intellectual and moral superiority -- not to mention his general misogyny and anti-Semitism. I asked his permission to quote him on my blog and he refused; accordingly I am not quoting him, just paraphrasing him. Here is his Facebook page.

More recently I received a private Facebook message from a little troll using a girly avatar, "
Sarah Quick," who seems to be in on some sour-grapes Scamworld plot to discredit former Glancingweb blogger Omri Shabat and frame him for extortion. Sarah began our conversation, such as it is, by calling me a "little social justice warrior," but before the exchange had proceeded very far I was a "libtard c-nt." Those little hater boys do love that c-word, but perhaps that is understandable since saying or writing the word is probably the closest most of them ever get to a vagina. In the course of the exchange, little "Sarah" slammed me for linking to a Mother Jones piece by Kevin Drum, explaining that despite Donald Trump supporters' frequent citing of The Donald's much-lauded business acumen, Trump is in fact a mediocre businessman. "Sarah" taunted me for being a poor broke loser who begs for money on my blog, ignoring the fact that I have never claimed to be rich or "successful," nor do I make a living telling people how to be rich or "successful," so the point is moot. Besides, I don't beg. The donation button is there for those who want to use it, but it -- and I -- am not in-your-face about it.

At any rate it's little hater boys like that who help fuel this blog and give me a reason to keep on blogging. So -- though I know I've said this before -- thank you, hater monkeys!


I'll be back soon with something more substantial. Promise.

PS added 19 January 2016 ~ Bernie at GINtruth welcomes the New Year in with a meaty post about real humanitarians versus selfish-help parasites... plus more about Facebook's attempts to clip the haters' wings, at least in Europe. Among other links he shares this one from the Jerusalem Post. (And if you're confused about the date on this PS versus the date on Bernie's post, remember that Bernie is in Japan, which is many hours ahead of my time.)

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Twenty-Fifteen: Over and Out


Fast away the Old Year passes
But the scammers still are a$$es*...


* * * * *

Should evil hucksters be forgot
And never brought to trial?**...


Oh, dear me. My mind is so scrambled that I can't even whip out a good song parody. But hey, I got you started; you can finish one or both of them if you're so inclined. Make a music video and send me the YouTube link.

This has been a whirlwind of a year, with good things happening but -- I won't lie -- a few sucky things as well. One sucky thing that happened turned out good for me but not so good for
the filthy little sack of unmitigated evil that unsuccessfully sued me (and a few other parties, both real and imaginary). But you're probably already quite familiar with that story. If not, start here... and then go to here... and don't despair if you see that the Salty Droid links don't work right now. His blog has apparently been attacked yet again but he's working on getting it back up. You can't keep a good fake robot down. And while you're waiting for @SD to come back up, hop on over to Longdog's blog, if you've not already done so, and read his short, pithy but always spot-on posts about the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld. (Here's Longdog's take on the flawsuit of the year.)

Now, all evil and suckiness aside, I did have quite a good and busy November/December and a wonderful clump of holidaze (Thanksgiving/Winter Solstice/Christmas)... and the wonderfulness is still ongoing. What got my brain so scrambled were work deadlines (now safely met) and a stubborn case of bronchitis/flu-ishness that is getting better (a few more days of rest, some
Emergen-C and some hot Broncaid tea should do the trick). But I didn't want to let the whole month slip by without stopping in and making another promise to start blogging something substantial again. I know you've heard that before, but you'll just have to trust me. I'm good for it.

What I really want to say, once again, is this: Thank you as always for your support through this year and all the years preceding. And I really will be back next year with more.

In the meantime, in an effort to offer something a little more substantial, so you won't go out partying on an empty brain, I'll grab this opportunity to dredge up some Ghosts of New Years' Eve/New Years past:

  • New Years Day 2008 -- The deep personal loss mentioned at the beginning of the post was the death of my mom (I still haven't really been able to write about her); she died three days after Christmas 2007. But in an attempt to quash my sadness I turned, as I often do, to silliness.
  • New Years Eve 2009 -- Some of the battles in the "Whirled Wars" have all but been forgotten by now, but many of the issues are still relevant. BTW, "Major Snarget" is Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, and "Minor Snarget" is his former b.f.f. Pat O'Bryan. The two haven't been joined at the hip for a while now. I still do not care to mention the real name of Angry Blogger because... anger.
  • New Years Eve 2011 -- Something to celebrate: Death Ray in jail. Unfortunately that didn't last.
  • New Years Day 2014 -- I really did hit the ground running on that New Year... so much Katie news was whirling around at the time.
  • Shortly after New Years Day 2015 -- Our Katie is still pooping out those nuggets in a desperate effort to get you to donate to his legal fund (and I promise to have more about THAT soon, if not sooner).
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, a hangover-free New Year's Day... and always, always keep your boots and protective gear on, because there are "nuggets" everywhere, and very few of them are in fact made of gold.


* As usual, no offense intended to actual jackasses. I love donkeys, as it happens.
** Unfortunately most of the hucksters never WILL be brought to trial, and even those who are -- and are convicted -- won't get nearly the punishment they deserve. See: James Arthur Ray.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Tomorrowland, Scamworld, my Whirled

November is waning, and time is running out for me to keep the commitment I've kept for nearly nine and a half years, which is to never let an entire calendar month go by without blogging. I've been more than a tad negligent yet again this month, but please don't interpret that as a lack of interest in the matters that have kept this Whirled spinning since July 2006. My interest hasn't abated and neither has my commitment. If anything there have been too many matters to write about -- so many that I scarcely know where to begin.

Where to begin, indeed? There is no dearth of choices. There's the usual low-hanging fruit such as serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie), who continues to manipulate the masses to the best of his ability via a public Facebook fan page, though he remains locked up. I would so love to participate on some of those Facebook threads, but I'm still banned from doing so. I do need to get on to PACER and poke around for new Katie court docs, if any. I promise to do that soon and get back to you.

And in other low-hanging-fruit news (or maybe low-hanging-nut news, though I really don't want to know), the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld,
Leonard Coldwell (aka Lenny, aka LoonyC), who unsuccessfully sued me (and a few others, including Salty Droid) earlier this year, is still stupid and evil, though these days most of his public stupid/evil energy is spent spewing hatred about things other than bloggers. He's blathering a lot about "the Negro"/Muslim/communist/Kenyan Obama; the rapist Muslim immigrants who are taking over Europe and are headed towards Murica (because of "the Negro," of course); the "false flag"/hoax shootings that he insists are a New World Order plot to take our guns away; and his passionate and almost certainly one-sided bromance with Vlad Putin, whom he considers a hero for trying to bomb Syria out of existence. And let's not forget the characteristic Loony Lenny misogyny, this little gem from today (30 November, 2015) being but one example among many.



That screed was in response to a piece by conspiracy-monger Alex Jones' misogynistic little sidekick Paul Joseph Watson.

LoonyC just gets stupider and more evil as time goes by, and I truly think that
little Amy should do a better job of hiding the bourbon, but at least the little Teutonic twerp provides lots of cheap entertainment. Since he blocks so many folks on Facebook you might find it difficult to see his inanities firsthand, but UK wag Longdog -- whose real identity I still don't know and don't want to know -- is someone who seems to have full access, and entertainingly sums them up for the rest of us.

And Bernie just weighed in on GINtruth with his own comments about Lenny's disgusting misogyny and participation in "rape culture."

But I've written so much about Katie and LoonyC, so... no. Not them, not now. Well, at least not much. (Although my pal Salty did finally get
Part 2 of his Coldwell Case Files trilogy up. The link to Part 1 is in paragraph 3 above, but here it is again.). Several recent happenings -- call it synchronicity, call it meaningless coincidence, it's all the same to me -- helped me narrow the focus somewhat for this post. I got tiny jolts of inspiration from seeing that blogs I've admired but that were on hiatus are coming back to life... and by reading an article that a longtime supporter of this blog recently alerted me too and that sums up some of the themes on my blog and some of these others... and by watching a Disney movie that unexpectedly touched me despite its "uneven storytelling" and a slightly heavy-handed message of the type that is all too easily co-opted by the sleazebags of Scamworld.

Somehow it all seemed blogworthy, though I won't guarantee coherence. And maybe you'll roll your eyes about the Disney movie. But I'll plow right on, since I started this thing, and since the last sun of November is setting even as I write this.

Mystic B is back
Early in my blogging days I happened upon a blog called
Mystic Bourgeoisie by the brilliant Chris Locke. I found it inspiring, and ever so much more cerebral than my own efforts. I didn't always agree with the way Chris connected the dots between New-Wage culture and more nefarious forces such as the Third Reich, but he made a very convincing argument. I have mentioned Mystic B a few times here over the years (here, f'rinstance), and have hounded Chris over the years to turn his blog into a book, which he may or may not have plans to do. But in recent years he was awfully quiet on that blog, though active on Facebook, and I wondered if he would ever begin blogging again.

The good news is that yes, he has. In fact he
has just launched a whole new Mystic B, though the old one remains up for posterity. On his inaugural post he 'splains the reasoning behind the new blog with its simpler template, and he clarifies his chosen target, which remains...
...those aspirational bourgeois who perceive some form of worshipful pseudo-spiritually as their ticket to ride into the ranks of the upper middle class - or at least what they yearningly imagine that class to comprise.

That leaves only the difficulty at this new beginning, the challenge of which will be to stop puttering about with the tech and spend the saved time instead attempting to denigrate and deconstruct the so-called "Cultural Creatives" and suchlike ilk that - living as I do in Boulder, Colorado - it has been my great misfortune to have so intimately known.


Yes, and I look forward to reading the new Mystic B. And that brings us to...

Yoga whores and such
My pal Duff McDuffee posted
a link to this 2014 article the other day on his Facebook page. I believe it was the aforementioned Chris Locke from whom I first heard the term "spiritual-industrial complex" (and I mentioned as much on this October 2006 blog post, under "Other places to hang out"). Anyway, this piece is from the Guerrilla Buddha blog, and even though at this time I'm not into personal growth or spiritual practice, I think this guy nailed it regarding the ways in which the spiritual industrial complex (or SIC) creates and perpetuates a vicious circle of suck. And not the good kind of suck.

In a sense this piece is both a fierce cry against New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality elitism and a soft call for another sort of elitism involving a litmus test of who is actually worthy of true wisdom. It was that latter part that gave me pause, though I understood the writer's point. As well, the whole concept of being a spiritual warrior or indeed any kind of warrior is pretty alien to me. I just sling words; I don't wage war. But even so, there's some pretty good food for thought here.

Salty went to sea

After another couple of months of silence, Salty Droid seems to be active on his blog again, and I couldn't be happier. Shortly before publishing the Coldwell Files Part 2 installment, he re-emerged from his hiatus with a tale of a very special sea cruise he took, and though thousands of folks might have envied him the opportunity, it sounds as if he was really taking one for the team on this one. The cruise was Summit at Sea 2015, a congregation of the best and the brightest and best-and-brightest wannabes and hangers-on of the (mostly) millennial generation -- or at least those whom the media have declared to be the best and the brightest.

More than one media source describes the Summit gatherings as a combination of TED and Burning Man. That should give you an idea of what they're about. Business Insider
gushed and gushed.

But one goal of the summit was to unplug from technology — the only place on the boat you could get WiFi service was the Internet Lounge. Many participants did yoga on the deck in the morning, while others tried out a ropes course and a 3D figure painting class.
And everybody was Kung-Fu fighting. And it was just a little bit frightening. And so on, and so forth. Mostly, it appears, they spent the time on board and afterwards congratulating themselves on being masters of the universe, as Kate Winslet famously said to Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.

In case the above-linked Bus-Insider piece wasn't enough for you,
here's some more stellar writing from an "insider."

What it all comes back down to -- at least from my own profoundly shallow perspective -- is that no matter how noble the intentions may be at the beginning, it's all about elitism and pretension, even when it's wrapped in a cloak of "changing the world" for the better. Chris Locke always got that, particularly in regard to the baby boomers and Gen-X'ers. The guy who wrote the Guerrilla Buddha piece gets it. Salty gets it too, from a slightly different angle and in regard to the millennials as well as the preceding generations.

And the problem goes well beyond
the "conspicuous altruism" that I've poked fun of on my own blog and that Salty has written about as well on his. He emerged from Summit at Sea 2015 with his well-directed cynicism intact.

Changing the world through the divine power of repeatedly repeating the words … “changing the world.”

Be the change you want to see in the world!

Or maybe just say the change you want others to believe you want to see in the world :: that’s prolly just as good … what with all the global cross platform social synergies that have been going around like venereal diseases on a cruise ship. More talk … less action.

Let’s just flap our mouths about change :: and then go ahead and do whatever the fuck we were gonna do anyway … it’s a win win {for everyone but the vast majority of humanity}.

But it was Salty's endgame spoiler that seemed to sum it up:

Scamworld isn’t creeping upward toward the real world in an effort to increase its reach/credibility. Scamworld is just the trickle down of the devastating devotion to lies and corruption that form the basis of the real world.

Salty indicated that the above epiphany was a game changer for him. He has yet to reveal whether that means a new direction for his blog, or a new direction for his "real world" activism, or both. But he's back, and feistier than ever.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow...
I will shamelessly admit that despite my own cynicism, which I've come by honestly and which has been further reinforced by much of what I've mentioned above, I was both entertained and touched by the Disney movie
Tomorrowland. Granted, I'm not as tough on movies as I am on books (Joe Versus the Volcano remains one of my favorite movies of all times, so that should give you an idea of what a softy I am). And I get what the critics said about uneven storytelling and less than subtle messaging in Tomorrowland.

I get too that the base premise of Tomorrowland -- the abiding value of dreams for a better future and the people who nurture that dream -- is one that has been co-opted and abused by some of Scamworld's finest. The premise was certainly misappropriated by Kevin Trudeau when founding his biggest scam of all, the Global Information Network (GIN). How many thousands of GIN members believed, because of Katie's relentless marketing, that they were part of something truly grand, and that they were on the brink of changing the world? Six years ago I was laughing at those people, feeling more than a bit smug and self-righteous that I was smart enough not to be conned by a notorious con artist. But later I got to know some of those GIN members, particularly the disillusioned ones, and I felt their deep disappointment and sadness and anger, and I came to realize that some of them really had joined GIN with a higher purpose in mind than Trudeau's implied promises of nearly effortless material wealth.

And in truth I love the notion of dreamers and people who won't give up, which is one reason I so adored Tomorrowland. Even as I understand that in the real world, when dreamers attempt to cordon themselves off to create a new world, they become GIN or the worst of TED or Burning Man or Summit at Sea (with perhaps a bit of Bilderberg and Renaissance thrown in there somewhere), I also understand that there still are people who have a genuine wish to make a difference in good ways, both large and small. I remain as touched by that wish as I am by the longings for redemption and new beginnings that are expressed every year at Christmastime. It may never happen, but the dream lives on.

Anyhow, check out Tomorrowland for yourself. At the very least you'll enjoy the special effects, and if you like George Clooney, here is a chance to see him at his brooding best.
Here's an Amazon link.

Scamworld is the real world, but it's still a thing unto itself as well.
There's a lot to be said for the notion, expressed in the Salty-at-sea post I linked to above, that Scamworld and the larger "real world" are all part of the same big ugly thing (the "big sick machine," as Salty famously called it), with the borders between the two being not just increasingly porous but, I am beginning to believe, mostly illusory.

The Scamworld/real world merger has come to light in ways I find particularly interesting (in the blogworthy sense) as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has heated up. Take the current GOP front runner Donald Trump (please!), whom I've mentioned a few times on this blog,
such as here. As noted on that post, and provided links, Salty Droid did a good job of exposing Trump's notorious MLM (multi-level marketing) connections, years before the current crop of pundits jumped on it.

But good for the pundits for giving it more than passing attention anyway, as well as exposing the other top GOP candidate, Ben Carson, for having a few fingers in the Scamworld pie himself. In fact numerous GOP politicians are or have been hucksters on the side. Here are a couple of links:


Oh, and my favorite doc blogger Orac
also weighed in on Ben Carson's lack of critical thinking skills. Orac is not really what I'd call mainstream, though I wish more folks would read him, but I had to get this link in somehow.

I think it's a really encouraging note that Scamworld is getting more mainstream media attention now, largely because of Carson's and Trump's involvement with scammy MLMs, but I can't help wondering if the media will even care about the Scamworld aspect after the current election cycle is over and most of the individual candidates have faded into history.

You would be justified in asking me why I think this question even matters, given that I have been entertaining the premise that Scamworld and the real world are one and the same. Well, it does still matter to me because I think we still have to pick our battles. Moreover I think that if we stop emphasizing the Scamworld aspect, the scams will become increasingly acceptable. In fact you might argue that that ship has already sailed. The NY Times article I cited above concludes:

The point is that we shouldn’t ask whether the G.O.P. will eventually nominate someone in the habit of saying things that are demonstrably untrue, and counting on political loyalists not to notice. The only question is what kind of scam it will be.
(This isn't to let the Dems/liberals off the hook; after all, many of the conspicuously enlightened whom I've made fun of over the years have leaned towards "liberalism." But when money calls, it seems that most folks begin veering towards the more "conservative" side of the aisle.)

Even so I'm not willing to concede to Big Scam and call it a day. I think there's still hope and that pointing out scams and scammers still matters, even if only a little. You probably won't see me popping out of a golden wheatfield and gazing in awe at a shining silver city in the distance any time soon... but in my own small way, I too am one of those people who has not given up.

And I'm glad to see that several of my favorite bloggers have not given up either, despite the hiatuses and resets and game-changers that sometimes disrupt their efforts along the way.

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

James Arthur Ray Death Lodge Sixth Anniversary: Never Forget


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. Granted, at least one group of Apocalyptomaniac "Christians" had been predicting that yesterday, October 7, would be The End. They were unfazed by the world's utter failure to end on September 27 with the lunar eclipse/blood moon/super moon,
as predicted by various idiots. One Chris McCann, head loony at the eBible Fellowship, an online affiliation headquartered in the Philly area, said that on October 7, the world will be "gone forever. Annihilated." According to McCann's interpretation, the world would be obliterated "with fire."

As we all know now, the world did not end. Here we are, well into October 8. And the world goes on, for most of us.

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 sixth anniversary of the date that the world did end for
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 flogging these days. And at this time, as previously reported here,
he is preparing to be the keynote speaker at the Global Information Network (GIN) Family Reunion at a Disney World resort in Florida on October 16-18. GIN, as you almost certainly know if you've been following this blog or others with similar subject matter, was the scammy brainchild of now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie). The club is still being run by a group of Trudeau's close buddies and business partners (though if you don't mind my slipping in a little bit of gratuitous gossip, a GINsider recently whispered to me that GIN/AXS CEO Troy McClain actually can't stand Kevin. Shhh! Don't tell anyone.).

People lost hundreds of thousands of dollars through the GIN scam, money they will almost certainly never get back. Yet the con rolls on; even the "affiliate" (MLM) program has been renewed, and various wannabes (
like this joker) are still enthusiastically and aggressively pushing GIN as a "success club" -- and, in the case of the linked post above, they're also promoting James Ray as someone to look up to. And Trudeau? Still languishing in Camp Cupcake (his fake-fond nickname for FPC (Federal Prison Camp) in Montgomery, Alabama), awaiting the outcome of the appeal of his ten-year prison sentence, and pushing his own scams in order to raise money for his legal defense fund.

I should note that some disgruntled Trudeau customers will get their money back: after the U.S. government spent more than twelve years and many millions of dollars to pursue Trudeau for claims made on an infomercial for his diet book,
Judge Robert Gettleman finally approved refunds for buyers of the book. But there's a catch.

Consumers won’t be getting a full refund on the book. The government agency’s lawyers have said the refunds could arrive in multiple checks to readers, and it’s “reasonable” for consumers to expect $11 total from the first two checks they get. Some variables are at play, including the number of consumers the FTC can track down and the percentage who actually cash their checks. The checks will be valid only for 60 days.

The FTC said more than 820,000 people bought Trudeau’s book, which has a list price of $24.95.
But you GIN members who maxed out your credit cards, squandered your life savings or even lost your homes as a result of constantly being bombarded with attractive lies, Scientology-like manipulation, sales pitches, upsells and oversells... pffft. You're on your own. This case was never about y'all anyway. In fact it wasn't even consumer fraud re the diet book that actually landed Katie in prison. Technically it was criminal contempt; essentially, Katie pissed off the courts and the judges. Granted, it was all related to Katie's egregious consumer fraud. And Katie still has to answer for many of his lies (most notably, where he's hiding all of his money) when he gets out of prison. But meanwhile... he's still scamming and still has legions of fans.

Although it may seem that I've digressed a bit from my original topic on this post, I haven't, really, because both Katie and Death Ray are part of Scamworld, and in fact they have publicly endorsed and promoted each other numerous times over the past few years (see
here and here for instance).

One of the constant themes on this blog over the past few years has been that there are no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld. "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." Kevin Trudeau is in prison, but still scamming, and still looked on as a hero by many. James Arthur Ray was in prison, but out now, and still scamming, and still looked upon as a leader of some sort, at least by a few.

Meanwhile, many of the people Katie scammed are still picking up the pieces of their crumbled finances and lives. 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. I will note once again, as I always do when I mention this organization, that none of the industry giants invited to sign the Seek Safely Promise has signed. Here are the people who have signed -- and as I've also said before, I am sure they are good folks, but they are not the most prominent in the industry. Still, it's a worthy cause, and I applaud Kirby's family for their efforts.

And me? I'll continue to do my part to make sure that people never forget what happened six years ago today, October 8.

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 new public Facebook group, James Arthur Ray is a Felon.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Moon morons and End-Time idiots

 

The
Jewish New Year begins at sundown today, which is around 7:30 PM in my still-verdant and currently quite pleasant little part of the world. And as I say at this time every year, even though I am not Jewish I think this is a far better time to have a new year than January 1. This is just about my favorite time of year, for in my neck of the woods summer is finally thinking of releasing its oppressive grip, and although we will never enjoy the most resplendent autumn colors, the very promise of fall and marginally cooler weather makes everything seem new and a little bit thrilling nonetheless. It's also high hummingbird season here, and I am having trouble concentrating on my work because I hung a feeder right outside my office window.

Anyway. To all of my Jewish friends,
Shanah tovah.

Speaking of the Jewish calendar and whatnot, many in the credulous crowd -- and this of course includes the conspiracy fanatics -- have been blathering for months that today,
September 13, 2015, marks the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. And they are basing that claim on the cycles of the Jewish calendar. It all centers around this being a Shemittah (often spelled "Shemitah" or "Shmita") year. Here is an explanation about Shemittah from a good resource that is NOT a nutcake site.

And here is
one article from a notorious nutcake site that sums up many of the nutcake fears about September 13.

And
here is more panicky panic.

It amuses me no end that one of the loudest and daftest voices promoting September 13 as The Beginning of the End -- and using the Jewish calendar as the basis of the prediction -- is a man
whose writings indicate that he does not like Jews. That would be one Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell, former b.f.f. of serial scammer Kevin Trudeau. At this moment, if all went according to schedule anyway, Lenny is spreading his cancer quackery at a health expo in Brazil. Too bad for them, but it seems to be part of his recent pattern of encroaching on the Latin American market. Eastern Europe is also being invaded, but that's another topic.

At any rate, here is one of several examples of content that includes
Coldwell's claim that September 13 will be the beginning of something truly momentous. It is a hilarious March 31, 2015 interview with paranoia-porn radio host Jeff Rense, and it's almost worth the forty-plus minutes you'll never get back. (This is also the interview where, beginning at about 36:00, Lenny talks about the many thousands of dollars he has paid in legal fees to finally bring some of his enemies to justice. Given the timing, I'd say he was talking about that doomed-to-failure defamation suit against Salty Droid and me and a few other entities.)

I had a passing thought that perhaps Lenny's employment of the Jewish calendar as a basis of his dire predictions about September 13 was just another way of blaming the Jews for everything bad. But that seems too subtle for him. In any case he, like many other September 13 alarmists, seems to have been on the "prepper" bandwagon and has advised people to stock up on canned goods, ammo and of course gold and silver.

By sheer coincidence many of these alarmists just happen to sell gold and silver coins and/or other hedges against doomsday. Lenny himself has ties to
a gold and silver peddling company in Germany run by "life coach" Jurgen Kettner, and Lenny frequently promotes that company. There's an ad on his main site for Kettner Precious Metals, and he has posted promos on his Facebook timeline without actually mentioning his ties to the company.

If you don't mind a brief diversion,
here's the Googlish translation of a 2010 interview indicating ties between Coldwell and Kettner.
First of all I would like to thank for their support and assistance in my precious friend Jürgen A. Kettner. Without Jürgen and his Life Coaching Group, it would have been much more difficult for me to carry on my message in recent years in Germany...
Uh-huh, because Germany didn't want Lenny's quackery. The interview included this interesting little snippet (and remember, this is a Google automatic translation from German to English, so it's a bit awkward):

[Interviewer:] Now there is in Germany still a tinge of disappointment, because somebody has already very criticized their work years ago and joined with a negative report on the Internet. Do you know them all?

Coldwell: Yes, my friend Jürgen has reported me about it several times. For me it is still amazing, what is really so easily possible today in Germany. Thus, even after more than ten years of my absence, oddly enough, only in Germany, by a small group of opponents who have formed an unemployed secretary and their cronies are associated even with child pornography, lies or false statements on the Internet about me spread that defy description. I am very grateful for this information Jürgen and will defend myself quite sure about it.


I'm pretty sure Lenny was been referring to Karin Paetow-Froese, the person associated with the late-1990s German lawsuit and documentation that just won't go away. (Note: Although Lenny has earnestly protested to the contrary in the years since then, he LOST that lawsuit.) Notice his accusation, in the interview snippet above, that his critics are linked to child pornography -- not too far removed from his more recent false accusations that critical bloggers Omri Shabat and Bernie O'Mahony are child molesters/rapists.

I also think it's interesting that he refers to "a small group of opponents" who are "only in Germany" -- when in most of his accusations he claims there are huge, multi-million dollar conspiracies against him, run by Big Pharma and other major enemies.

This is interesting too:

[Coldwell:] Several state-recognized universities in the US have set me as a professor and entrusted me with it to develop state-approved courses for their virtual campus on the Internet.

And there is now good news for my German patients: Immediately also German patients in the US can be treated by my method, just as in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Please contact on my homepage. Jürgen A. Kettner, the founder of Life Coach group of companies will leave me all inquiries as soon as possible to come. Discretion is guaranteed.

I wonder why he left his long-time buddy and business partner, German physician Dr. Thomas Hohn, out of that particular referral loop.

Well, that was then and this is now. On September 3, 2015 Lenny posted this advice on Facebook regarding September 13:



And on that thread he he linked to one of the usual panic resources:

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/september-2015-sure-started-off-with-quite-a-bang-eh

I'm reminded of a hilarious picture from early 2013, of
Lenny hoarding his gold coins, watches, and his horsey statue. I wonder if he has "barried" all of that loot in his yard in preparation for today, or if it is still spread out on his dining room table so he can show it off to visitors.

Coldwell says that he has been telling us for years now about September 13. But I have been closely following his nonsense for more than three years and have done a lot of research on him and his writings and speeches and videos -- and I never saw him mention September 13, 2015 until a few months ago.

However, I have seen numerous occasions where he picks up on some conspiracy meme or random stupid (and debunked) urban legend, and he claims that he has been making that exact same prediction or warning (whatever it may be) for years. September 13 is just more of the same, and it too shall pass as soon as he has milked it of every possible marketing opportunity.

And milk it he has. Lenny has even used the dire predictions to promote his
GIN ripoff club the IBMS Master's Society, which of course costs money to join and to maintain membership. He says members of the society will get exclusive survival information for the hard times ahead. Many of you will recall that this was the same line that Kevin Trudeau was using three years ago, re the December 2012 panic, to scare people into joining his own secret society, GIN. (Alas, the video link I provided in that 2012 post is no longer working, but most of you ex-GIN members know what I'm talking about anyway. And Bernie wrote about it in this early GINtruth post, under "Member Audio Update.")

For that matter, someone just reminded me that Lenny himself was not above exploiting the 2012 scare, even though after being fired from GIN in spring of 2012 he repeatedly made fun of Kevin for the same type of exploitation. Here is an example from June 2012 of Lenny raving on Facebook about Trudeau's lunacy re 2012. Notice that Lenny links to Bernie's blog, GINtruth.com (he was still buds with Bernie back then, calling him "brother" and telling Bernie he loved him).

Yet here's a link to a description of a November 2011 Coldwell seminar -- The Doctor Coldwell 2012 Mind Revolution (stop snickering) -- which seems every bit as exploitative of the 2012 hype as anything Trudeau ever did. (Here is a direct link to the promo video.)

In other words, Lenny Coldwell was never above using every smarmy scam tactic that he so vehemently condemned Trudeau for using. But then, y'all probably knew that already.


It's only a bloody moon...

Now, if you're not satisfied with a mere beginning of The End and you want a real End to be alarmed about, just wait another two weeks for the next blood moon: the eclipse that happens on September 27-28. Most of the conspiracy fans and fear-mongers lump this upcoming event in with the September 13 thing, saying it's all part of the same larger phenomenon that people in the know are informed about, and that the rest of us fast-asleep sheeple will ignore to our peril.

There is a lot of
Biblical prophecy hoopla with this blood moon, the same as there was during the ones last year. (The blood moon in October also happened to be the anniversary of James Arthur Ray's Death Lodge, and I wrote about it here.)

Lenny hasn't really said anything about the blood moon specifically, at least not that I've seen, and for that matter his ex-b.f.f. Kevin Trudeau hasn't either. In fact, so far today I haven't even seen any September 13 rants on Lenny's Facebook pages. That could be because the Brazil scamfest has him occupied, but on the other hand someone has been writing on his page today, and that person seems to be interested in the same things that have occupied Lenny over the past few days: hating on the Syrian and other refugees who are "invading" Europe, according to Lenny. 

Here are a few very recent gems; the first one is from September 13 and the other two are from a couple of days ago:



Well, you get the idea. As per usual, he has also been posting links to hate sites that suggest that Hitler wasn't such a bad guy after all. But I guess all of that is another topic too. 

As for Kevin, he's still at Camp Cupcake (Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama) working his current scams and continuing on his mission to raise money for his legal fees. He doesn't seem too interested in either Shemittah or blood moons, but rather on getting out of the cage so he can scam more freely once again.

September 13 will soon pass, as will the next blood moon or other interesting anomaly, and the next. Yes, the stock market is doing wonky things and oil prices are iffy, but that is something that's been building up for a while and that many credible experts have observed and written about; it is all part of normal cycles that have nothing to do with anyone's mystical calendar or the phases of the moon. But that doesn't matter. There will always be another harbinger of the Apocalypse around the next corner, and with it will come renewed opportunities to scare people into shelling out for prepper supplies, ammunition, overpriced gold and silver trinkets, and memberships to idiotic seekrit clubs. The marketing ops are endless in the End Times: a crapitalist's dream come true.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

A dish best served cold (and Salty)


In case you haven't seen it yet,
here at last is Part 1 of what is intended to be a three-parter by Jason Jones, aka Salty Droid, one of my co-defendants in a failed defamation lawsuit brought against us and a few other real and imaginary defendants in January of this year by the comically but disturbingly daft Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell. [Case number 15-CVS-2791, filed in the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, Guilford County, North Carolina]

The suit was dismissed nearly four months ago, but Jason was busy with other Matters of Consequence and is only now able to turn his attention to doing justice to this story of a most unjust lawsuit. And it appears to me that it was well worth the wait.

As many of you may recall,
I wrote about this dumb lawsuit from my own perspective in May of this year, just after the case was voluntarily dismissed by the Plaintiff, but I told only a very small part of the story. For several reasons Jason has many more insights and much more hilarity to offer, and in the process he is accomplishing something I was not fully equipped to do: giving the lawyers who handled this utter sham of a case, William Franklin May and K.E. Krispen Culbertson of Greensboro, North Carolina, the smackdown they so richly deserve.

I feel that these lawyers deserve sanctions and that I deserve an apology from them, but for now Jason's efforts are providing more than a small measure of satisfaction for me. It almost makes up for the disappointment I felt when a mainstream-ish media outlet, after months of back-and-forth, killed this story, supposedly because the case had been dismissed and was no longer "a thing." Almost certainly it was not because the media outlet (which is constantly getting lawsuit threats about stories but runs with them anyway) had been intimidated by either the Plaintiff or his attorneys, whose lunatic accusations and threats against the reporter would have made for a richly humorous story. But that's water under the bridge. In the end, hobby bloggers, who lack both the safety net of dedicated legal teams and the promise of monetary compensation for their efforts, are the ones left to tell the stories from which other media, for various reasons, still shy.

Apart from his own knowledge of the law, Jason is able to flesh out this narrative in ways I could not because he engaged in extensive private communications with the lawyers. One topic of conversation among them was that they never properly served him, supposedly because they couldn't find his address, which is on the public record. This contrived logistical glitch gave rise to some more
totally loony lies from Coldwell about how Jason was in hiding from service -- kind of a deja vu of the big and little fibs Lenny told during his last failed lawsuit against Jason, which was filed in February 2014 and dismissed by the judge in April 2014 "for want of prosecution."

In a February 2015 post Jason wrote a comical tale of May and Culbertson's attempts to pretend to serve him with the most recent suit, and he very briefly quoted some of their communications with him. But what he quoted there was just the tip of the iceberg... or should I say the tip of the pile of guano, because clearly, the Plaintiff in this case wasn't the only one who was displaying signs of being bat-crap crazy.

Jason also uploaded and provided links to most of the documents in this case, so you can see clear evidence of how I tried to respond and how the lawyers ignored my response and continued to try to intimidate me. On my own post I had only uploaded the original complaint and the notice of dismissal. So there's a lot of information about the case on Jason's post that hasn't been on this blog.

Questions without answers?
In this first installment of his new series Jason raised some interesting questions about issues that had both him and me (not to mention the North Carolina court, apparently) puzzled about the lawyers' true intentions. It appeared, even to my unschooled eye, that they were not proceeding in anything like a conventional and certainly not a very professional manner in response to the motions we filed, and particularly in regard to the process of discovery.

Jason also hints in his post about the ludicrous efforts by the lawyers to build a criminal case against him for helping me with my responses to the lawsuit. Jason -- who as of this writing is not licensed to practice law and, despite Coldwell's hysterical attempts at "exposing" him, has not pretended to be so licensed -- was simply a defendant acting as a friend to another defendant who had tried repeatedly but failed to get legal representation. He never claimed to be representing me in this case in any way. He never offered me legal advice and I never asked for it. But apparently the lawyers' and Lenny's little panties were in a wad because I responded in a timely manner to the complaint, and my response looked an awful lot like Jason's.

It appears that as a result of my response, that ace team went back to their crummy little office space in the shadow of the mighty Guilford County Courthouse, and spent some time and brain cells trying to cobble together a new pleading that included criminal charges against Jason for practicing law without a license. That wouldn't have gone anywhere either, as they had no grounds for a criminal case. But the total absurdity of suggestions of criminality did not stop their loose-cannon client from crowing about it prematurely to Jason in April, and, the month before that, bragging on Facebook about "criminal charges" and "arrest warrants."

In truth, no criminal charges were filed and no arrest warrants issued in this now-dismissed CIVIL case. So Coldwell lied... yet again. (I know I went on a bit about that in my May post, but it deserves a revisit.)

Were the discovery irregularities and the threats of a criminal case the results of incompetence on the lawyers' part, or were they simply trying to intimidate me and, as Jason wrote, to scare him away from helping me in order to "further isolate and terrify" me? After all, I seemed to be the main target of this joke of a multi-defendant pleading. And lawsuits can be terrifying or at the very least very stressful to us novices. I won't lie: it did stress me out at times, even though I knew I was not in the wrong and I had no intention of removing my blog posts. But many times unrepresented defendants, not knowing any better, are intimidated into responding to a suit in a way that does not serve their best interests. And it seems that Loony and his legals were banking on that happening with me. Fortunately I did not cave.

At any rate, judging from the attorneys' actions, including the original lawsuit, my guess is that incompetence and (sleazy but clumsy) intimidation strategies were both factors in this travesty.

There were so many flaws in the lawsuit beyond the obvious lack of jurisdiction. Although I was properly named in the original complaint, the web site address for Jason's blog was not properly named, nor was another co-defendant, RationalWiki. There was also further evidence of the attorneys' web ignorance as well, which Jason pokes fun of. And in case you haven't seen this one yet,
here is another humorous jab at the stupidity of Culbertson & Associate's lawsuit on behalf of Leonard Coldwell, written by the same guy who, as it happens, also wrote the RationalWiki article on Coldwell.

Moreover the lawsuit got it all wrong regarding Jason's writings about Coldwell. The complaint against Jason focused on a September 2012 post he had written about a 2007 Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina police report on Coldwell [case number 2007-04652]. The claim on the lawsuit was that Jason had published the police report and other commentary "which falsely accuse Plaintiff of having forced a person or persons to have sex"
-- but Jason never wrote such a thing. He didn't even publish the police report, only a very, very small portion of it. He captured the essence of the allegations of multiple complainants by combining their stories and scrambling details that might identify them. Essentially what he wrote was that the police report indicated that Coldwell had manipulated numerous women into having sex, under false pretenses. In other words, Jason never actually claimed that Leonard Coldwell is a rapist.


And I won't even get into all of the inaccuracies in the claims against me. Yes, they got my name and county and state correct. But that's about the extent of the accuracy. No specific blog posts were cited; words and concepts were simply lifted, seemingly at random, from various posts about Coldwell. Most of the allegations regarding specific things I had written about him were either paraphrases, quotations taken out of context or in a couple of cases were words that I had actually written about someone else (e.g., Kevin Trudeau) rather than Coldwell. Regarding other things I'd written about Coldwell that the complaint listed as false or obscene or abusive, I provided plenty of screen shots and links to source material to back up my writing.

The complaint also falsely said I was making money from writing about Coldwell and that because the things I had written were false (according to the complaint) I was engaging in deceptive advertising and fraud. And the complaint inaccurately claimed I had been asked and demanded previously to remove content about Coldwell from my blog. That is not the case. Until this January 2015 lawsuit I had never been asked or demanded to remove any content about Coldwell. In fact the complaint demanded a temporary and then permanent injunction to make me remove the content, but that was a pleading to the court, not an attempt to communicate directly with me.

 
Jason's post also raises another question: to what extent was Coldwell playing his lawyers and to what extent were they playing him? It appears to me that neither the Plaintiff nor his attorneys were being completely honest with each other. Dismissing the case was the only right thing to do, but a "righter" thing to do would have been for the lawyers to vet the client at the outset, and never to have taken the case in the first place. Let's hope that any future prospective attorneys will do their homework and discover that
Leonard Coldwell is a serial frivolous litigator.

And this man who claims to be such a brave hero and fighter is doing the very thing he has often accused Jason/Salty of doing: hiding. But there is nowhere left for him to hide, and now his stupidity has brought two more lawyers into the harsh and ugly glare of the spotlight that has been on Leonard Coldwell for years. And, contrary to what Culbertson & Associate might have once claimed about their now ex-client, this is not a false light, but the truest one there is.

I look forward to enjoying the next course in the Salty banquet. Meanwhile,
here's that link to Part 1 again.

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