Monday, November 11, 2019

The Williamson Institute: not quite Trump U, but still crapitalism

Though she is for all practical purposes currently on the sidelines of the 2020 presidential race -- or at least that's how it appears at the moment -- don't count McSpirituality guru Marianne Williamson out of the larger game. You can't keep a good New-Wage crapitalist down.

On November 5, 2019, the Rolling Stone site ran a feature by Tessa Stuart,
"That Marianne Mind$et: Obeying the Law of Divine Compensation." Stuart opens with a mention of an early August 2019 email blast directed to those who had signed up for Williamson's campaign mailing list earlier in the year. The message featured a "soft-focus portrait of the presidential candidate gazing placidly at the pages of a hardcover tome beside a golden Buddha and an orchid."

That's so Marianne.

The email came from something called the Williamson Institute, and the subject was, "Summer Sale Now On!"

“For one week only, indulge in any of our on-demand courses and seminars for 45% off!” the email read. “Whether you want to invoke the romantic mysteries, create a career that matters, divinely align your body and soul, or focus on another area of your life in a miraculous way, now is the time to treat yourself. As always, we hope this offering will enrich your life and nourish your soul.” Interested parties were advised to use the code “SummerSale.” 
There was one teeny-tiny little problem, though. At the time the email was sent out, the Williamson Institute did not yet technically exist, though a note on Williamson's personal web site said that it would be launching "soon." But skilled hucksters never let the unicorn status of anything stop them from promoting that thing.
The email linked instead to, where for a cool $249 one might enroll in a four-part online course on “aging miraculously” or a five-parter on “miraculous relationships.” The four-part weight-loss seminar, five-parter on making money (or, rather, obeying “the law of divine compensation”), and a three-part “Aphrodite Training” were each comparative steals at $149 a piece.
Heck of a bargain, right? Can you say, "New-Wage sales funnel," boys and girls?

Stuart continues:

Williamson’s campaign blamed the email on a “vendor error” and, perhaps because Williamson isn’t a top-tier candidate, the use of a public campaign for private profit barely registered as news.

Or maybe it didn’t register because, at this point, it’s basically accepted that many (if not most) people who run for president are ultimately running one grift or another. Herman Cain used the email list he amassed during a failed bid for the Republican nomination in 2012 to
hawk dozens of get-rich-quick schemes and dubious cures, including an erectile dysfunction drug called “TestoMax 200.” Rick Perry parlayed his aborted campaign into a turn on Dancing With the Stars. Mike Huckabee’s failed White House run transformed him into a one-man media empire, complete with a terrestrial radio time slot opposite Rush Limbaugh and a hosting gig on Fox News. (Alas, the long-promised Huckabee Post never materialized.)

Of course no review of presidential candidate hucksterism would be complete without a mention of one candidate who actually won the presidency, and is without a doubt the biggest huckster of them all, Donald J. Trump,
Scammer in Chief, whose arguably most infamous contribution to Scamworld was the totally bogus "Trump University." Trump U actually did exist, for a few years, but it wasn't a real university, and Trump, who was known for boasting that he "never settles" in a lawsuit, ultimately agreed to pay $25 million to settle three of the suits against his ersatz education endeavor.

Stuart doesn't mention Trump U in the Rolling Stone piece, but she does remind us of a few other points.

Donald Trump — despite having boasted in 2000 he could possibly be “the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it” — lost money on his run for president, but he has since turned his presidency into a four-year-long paid advertisement for his hotel chain. (He also, apparently, had a contingency plan: By election night 2016, when most everyone was predicting him losing, the candidate and his family had compiled a list of ideas to capitalize on his newfound cachet, including a budget line of Trump hotels and a TV network to rival Fox News.)
Not to mention the apparently well-founded rumors that Trump has been talking, at least casually, with Apprentice creator Mark Burnett about another future "reality" show, a "White House" edition of The Apprentice. Trump denied it, of course. But his lips were moving, so that should give you an idea of how credible his denial is. In any case, there's a very good case to be made that Trump has been running his entire presidency like a reality show. Unfortunately, as Sean Illing, the author of the Vox piece linked to in the previous sentence, noted, it's "the show we can't turn off, the car crash we can't look away from the news cycle we can't escape."

But we were discussing Marianne Williamson, right? Not that revisiting Trump's various scams and hustles is irrelevant -- not at all. After all, as some observers have noted,
Trump and Williamson are in several significant ways just two sides of the same (narcissistic, celebrity-culture) coin. (Williamson has even been called a left-wing version of Trump.) And Williamson herself has famously declared on several occasions that she is the most qualified of all of the Democratic candidates to meet Trump on the battlefield that really matters: the one where the battle for the heart and soul of America is being fought (this being one of her more recent declarations).

And what about the Williamson Institute? I still can't seem to find a separate web site for the thing.
There is a Facebook page, plugging a ten-part online "course" called "The New You: A Total Life Makeover," and currently Williamson's main web site leads with basically that same plug, and follows with an announcement that the Williamson Institute will be "launching soon." Of course the site contains various other links to ways you can fork over your hard-earned lucre to Williamson.

Williamson insists she is not driven by the profit motive, though. From Tessa Stuart's Rolling Stone piece again:

But ask Marianne Williamson if her campaign has a profit motive, and a beatific expression will shimmer across her face. “It’s quite the opposite,” Williamson tells me, sitting at a sun-drenched rooftop bar a few blocks from Manhattan’s Bryant Park in early fall. “I’m not doing the things right now that you do in my career to make a living — speaking fees, etc. I’m not off giving seminars. A senator running for president is still getting a Senate salary, right? This is the opposite of a lucrative thing to do.”

Williamson continues, plugging her most recently released book by name, “If you look at my Politics of Love that came out, it is not a bestseller. It is way down on Amazon.” (It was, at press time, ranked Number 25 in “Religious Studies: Church & State,” Number 74 in “Spiritual Healing,” and Number 79 in “History of Religion & Politics.”) She fixes me with a bemused look. “If I want to, I kind of know how to sell a book. It’s called a book tour.”
Condescension duly noted, Marianne. (By the way, considering the many millions of new books that are constantly being published, and zillions of older ones still actively on the market, those press-time Amazon numbers aren't really all that bad.)

Tessa Stuart writes that Williamson's campaign denies that she planned from the beginning to capitalize on the exposure she'd get from a presidential run with money-making schemes like the Williamson Institute. In fact Williamson's campaign manager, Patricia Ewing, expressed surprise that Stuart would even ask such a question, and suggested that perhaps there was a bit of sexism behind the inquiry. "Is the same question being asked of businessmen in the race?" Ewing asked, adding that no one seemed to be questioning the motives of Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang et al. when their respective businesses continued to "innovate" while they were on the campaign trail.

But the difference, Stuart points out in her article, is that neither Steyer nor Yang is launching a new business predicated on asking fans or supporters "to pay for the privilege of hearing what they have to say."

Exactly. Furthermore, there has been plenty of criticism about Donald Trump continuing to profit from his own businesses while in office. So it isn't just a matter of giving "businessmen" a pass while the poor put-upon "businesswoman" catches all of the flak. This is not to deny that sexism and double standards riddle our political landscape. They most certainly do. But this is not that.

Marianne Williamson has said that the only way we can defeat the "outrageous lies" of Trumpism is by telling "outrageous truth." She is clearly branding herself as the standard-bearer of this truth, but anyone who truly believes this is as misinformed or deluded in his or her own way as any of the MAGA-cap wearing Trump devotees who cheer at his fascist rallies. And while I am emphatically not suggesting that Williamson's fans are hate-filled bigots like so many (not all, but so many) of Trump's fans, nor am I insinuating that Williamson's crapitalism is on a scale with Trump's, or that her narcissism is even remotely as dangerous at this point as Trump's, the devotion of her base is not necessarily a harmless thing.

Lest you accuse me of Williamson-bashing, I am not categorically declaring Marianne Williamson to be devoid of truth. As I've noted here in previous posts about her -- and as was noted in
this excellent August 2019 piece in The Intercept -- there is validity in some of her core messages, despite the wackadoodle new-agey veneer in which so many of them are wrapped. But it's gonna take a whole lot more than abstract declarations of moral and spiritual truths to defeat the orange blob and fix our egregiously broken system, which was broken for many years before Trump but has been immeasurably damaged even more since he's been in power. Marianne Williamson is simply not the person to accomplish this. And I am pretty sure that at some level, she knows it.

But don't cry for her, because one way or the other, with or without the "Williamson Institute," she'll be laughing -- beatifically, of course, and with a shimmering expression of thinly veiled condescension on her lovely face -- all the way to the bank.

Related on this Whirled:
  • 10 January, 2011: Snippets for a Monday afternoon (under "What's wrong with this (big) picture?") -- Marianne's weight loss book and the totally contrived marketing backstory that she cooked up with Oprah.
  • 5 July 2019: So wrong, Marianne -- Musings on Williamson's first debate performance in late June, on her history as a New-Wage icon, on the new-agey "love and light" mindset, and on why Marianne is the wrong choice to go up against Trump.
  • 31 July 2019: Marianne Williamson: still so wrong -- Williamson got to talk more during her second performance at the Democrats' "debate," and some of what she said made sense, but as the title of the post noted... still so wrong.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Wead it and reap: selfish-help author/Christian fundie/right-wing political hack pens new book that kisses some yuuuuge orange butt

It isn't every day that politix, Scamworld, and the modern-day theocracy converge on this Whirled. This is one of those daze.

The convergence comes in the form of some very good news for Donald John Trump devotees who are disgusted by
the spate of anti-Trump books that have been published since their Mad King ascended the throne. Selfish-help author Doug Wead, who has deep ties to both Amway and hypoChristian fundamentalism (more on that below), as well as to right-wing politix, is set to release a new sure-to-be-a-bestseller book on November 26 titled, Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story of His Presidency.

Apparently this is one of the boldest political books ever written, or at least the boldest book ever written about Trump, because it doesn't rely on "anonymous sources." From the promo blurb on the book's Amazon page:

After dozens of books and articles by anonymous sources, here is finally a history of the Trump White House with the President and his staff talking openly, on the record.

In Inside Trump's White House, Doug Wead offers a sweeping, eloquent history of President Donald J. Trump's first years in office, covering everything from election night to the news of today. The book will include never-before-reported stories and scoops, including how President Trump turned around the American economy, how he "never complains and never explains," and how his actions sometimes lead to misunderstandings with the media and the public. It also includes exclusive interviews with the Trump family about the Mueller report, and narrates their reactions when the report was finally released.

Contains Interviews with the President in the Oval Office, chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, Jared and Ivanka Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric and Lara Trump, and White House insiders.
Color me impressed! The Trump family and Trump's most loyal minions are willing to go on the record about how wonderful Trump is and how much he has accomplished and how wrong all of the critics are about this deeply misunderstood man. What bold risks they are taking to get the true story out to the public, as opposed to those off-the-record cowards and anon sources who had nothing more to worry about than having their careers wrecked, their lives ruined, and their physical safety threatened by vengeful Trumps or egregiously offended Trumpanzees.

But let's look more closely at that claim, quoted in the promo blurb above, that Donald Trump "never complains and never explains." Never complains, huh? Hey, Doug, have you forgotten that Trump is constantly ranting and raving at his fascist rallies, or rage-tweeting, or angrily shouting about something or other during those impromptu press ops just before he boards a helicopter? Even before he was elected he'd become notorious for griping about being treated unfairly.

And Donald Trump
"never explains?" More than any other president in recent memory, he spends more time "explaining," in the form of rationalizing and defending, his goofy words and reckless or ill-advised actions, and of course defending himself from his many critics. He even defended the size of his penis on national TV, back during the 2016 campaign.

Among other revelations in Doug Wead's new book,
as reported today in Axios, is that murderous North Korean despot Kim Jong-Un actually views Trump as a father figure. Apparently Wead got that particular tidbit from noted psychology expert Jared Kushner, who reportedly told Wead: "It's a father thing... You can see from these letters that Kim wants to be friends with Trump, but his father told him never to give up the weapons. That's his only security. Trump is like a new father figure. So, it is not an easy transition."

All righty, then!

Wead was apparently allowed to read several of the letters exchanged between Kim and Donnie, and in one of them Kim addressed Trump as, "Your Excellency." My first thought was that this is just Kim trolling, and being passive-aggressive, but Wead seems to believe otherwise.

Ahead of his latest book's release,
the author himself weighed in on Fox News.
What I discovered inside the Trump bubble was quite different from what had been reported. No, Melania and Donald were not estranged, they were tender lovers, who playfully teased each other. On almost any subject -- North Korea, China, Mueller -- the president brought up her name.

Publicly, the whole family talks about what a privilege it is to serve the country, but privately they have no illusions about the horror they are going through. The president sometimes eases the tension by teasing the first lady, saying, sarcastically, with puffed up importance, “Melania, honey, look at this incredible journey I have brought you on.”

“It’s like a joke between them,” Lara Trump told me. “Everyone is attacking all of us and she’s smeared for no reason other than pure jealousy and he says, ‘Hon, isn’t this amazing?’

“And she’s like, ‘Oh yeah, thank you so much.’ “It’s hilarious. I love it.”
In other words, "I REALLY DON'T CARE. DO U?"

And later in Wead's Fox op-ed, there's this...

Donald Trump is the sixth president I have interviewed and I came away impressed. Some will say that he is only lucky. He was lucky to win the nomination and the election. He was lucky to see what every great economist in the world had missed about the GDP, lucky at finding jobs that no one else could find, lucky at bringing back hostages that other presidents had left languishing in foreign prisons, lucky at achieving energy independence, lucky at defeating ISIS so easily.

Trump is, arguably, the first president in 40 years to avoid starting a hot war. You can say he is lucky. I say he is great.
Oh, yes. Herr Twitler did indeed win the election... and he bested the world's greatest economists in figuring out how to grow the GDP... and he created jobs "that no one else could find" (and here's another link about that)... and he is absolutely the greatest hostage negotiator ever, in contrast to Obama, who was a total do-nothing... and he almost single-handedly achieved US energy independence... and of course we all know that his defeat of ISIS was easy-peasy.

And good for Trump for being "arguably the first president in 40 years to avoid starting a hot war," unlike that warmonger Obama,
who almost got us into a hot war with North Korea. (Trump prefers trade wars, which he has assured us are easily winnable. Not to mention his love of dick wars, which of course bolsters America's standing in the eyes of the rest of the world. Not that the rest of the world's opinion matters, of course!)

But seriously now. Wead hasn't merely kissed the Mad King's ass; he has opened wide and swallowed it whole.

* * * * *

Long-time Whirled visitors with especially long memories may recall that we met Doug Wead briefly on this blog eleven years ago, when I opened one of my posts about Scamworld elder statesman Bob Proctor with a quotation from Wead, praising Proctor as a "master thinker."
“Zig Ziglar may be the master motivator, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the master story tellers; Anthony Robbins may be the guru of personal development, but Bob Proctor is the master thinker. When it comes to systemizing life, no one can touch him.”
~ Attributed (by Bob Proctor) to
Doug Wead, former Special Assistant to the President of the United States

I've known for a long time that
Scientist Bob Proctor is a deep thinker, but reading the above quotation from author, philanthropist and former Diamond-level Amway salesman Doug Wead just confirms it. "Well, gee, Cosmic Connie, is Wead really a reliable source?" you may be asking. To which I can only respond, "If you can't trust a person who betrayed the trust of a future President of the US by secretly recording conversations and then publishing them, whom can you trust?"
And that last sentence may bring up some older memories still, of the time when Doug Wead secretly taped then-Texas governor George W. Bush for three years without Bush's knowledge or permission. Previously Wead had taped the Bush family with their knowledge and permission, in the service of writing a very flattering book about the Bushes, which was based largely on these taped conversations and was published in 1988. But the seekrit taping took place later, between 1997 and 2000. From Wikipedia:
The release prompted some hostility from members of Bush's inner circle: Bush's wife, Laura Bush, said in an interview, "I don't know if I'd use the word 'betrayed,' but I think it's a little bit awkward for sure"; while Bush evangelical ally James Dobson said he was "shocked by [Wead's] breach of trust". Bush himself did not comment.[16] The tapes' release also provoked negative reaction from some commentators, such as Bill Press, who called Wead "scum", and Bill O'Reilly, who called Wead "the lowest form of debris in the country."[17]
You might think that when a theocrat like James Dobson accuses someone of engaging in a "breach of trust," and a right-wing darling such as Bill O'Reilly calls him "the lowest form of debris," that person's career as a sycophant of right-wing royalty would be doomed. You might assume he would at least be tempted to hang his head in shame and just go away quietly.

But Wead is from Scamworld, and "shame" simply isn't in the Scamworld purview. Wead
continued cranking out books, including a political hack job called, Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy, which purported to be the never-before-told inside story of what really happened in the 2016 US presidential election. On Amazon the book seems to have received overwhelmingly positive reviews, but as is often the case, it is the negative ones that are the most revealing, such as this one:
Cornelius C. Walsh
1.0 out of 5 stars
If you hate Hillary, You'll Love ThisJuly 24, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Same old, same old. Didn't get more than 20 pages in as the background focused on old, old anti-Clinton issues and very little on events/issues related to contemporary and election related issues. Great for Clinton haters but really not what I was looking for.
But clearly, it was what the Trump devotees, who almost without exception are Clinton haters as well, were looking for.

If you want additional background on Doug Wead's evange-a-scam creds, as well as his past forays into politix, you'll find plenty
in this February 2005 piece from the (sadly now-defunct) Village Voice. From that piece:
Unless you were an Amwayer, you wouldn’t know that Lennon Ledbetter, a tall young man in a dark suit who served as the emcee of Wead’s campaign kickoff rally, was one of Wead’s Amway business associates in Arizona. Or that Wead campaign aide Billy Childers, who introduced Ledbetter, is the son of a prominent Amway friend of Wead’s who lives in North Carolina.

More important, you wouldn’t know that John Godzich, who runs an Amway-like organization in France and also builds American-style houses there, is someone Doug Wead met years ago through Amway, and that Godzich, himself a newcomer to Arizona, is a major source of money for Doug Wead’s political ventures—much to the ire of some Arizona Republicans. You wouldn’t know that Godzich is the older brother of Pastor
Leo Godzich, the leader of the drive against Phoenix’s proposed gay-rights ordinance and associate pastor at one of America’s largest churches, Phoenix First Assembly of God, whose pastor is Tommy Barnett. This business of clues has been used by Doug Wead before. During the 1980 presidential campaign, he wrote a quickie book entitled Reagan in Pursuit of the Presidency. Timed for publication just before the GOP National Convention, it was a campaign-trail journal capped by a Reagan campaign speech before a wildly cheering crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina. Doug Wead himself introduced Reagan to the crowd. There were countless standing ovations. At one point during Reagan’s speech, the assembled masses erupted into “God Bless America.” Must have been quite a speech, right? Not necessarily. If you were an Amwayer reading the book, however, you knew exactly what was going on. Reagan was at an Amway rally, where practically everybody gets standing ovations.
For that matter, in an April 2013 Whirled post about serial scammer and ex-Amway star Kevin Trudeau's bankruptcy, I cited a 2004 opinion piece linking Amway, Republicans and That Old Time Religion. Under the sub-head, "The Bush Family & Religious Heathens," the author wrote:
Several members of the media have looked into the relationship between the two Bush Presidencies and members of the extreme Religious Right Wing. After reading up on that gang, the only thing I know for sure, is that there is not a single honest person in the whole bunch.

First off, let's take a look at evangelist Doug Wead, a divorced Baptist Minister, and former Diamond distributor, who is still a regular speaker at Amway conventions

Wead was the first President Bush's liaison to the Christian Right and he later served as Special Assistant to the President in the first Bush White House. Time magazine referred to him as "the man who coined the phrase the compassionate conservative." ...

...At one time, Wead and his ex-wife Gloria, were both Diamond distributors, sponsored by Dexter and Birdie Yager. Wead earned large sums of money by speaking at Amway functions throughout the Yager organization.

Wead and another kingpin, Jean Godzich, eventually branched out and set up an Amway in France. In 1986, the French government began investigating it and decided the company was a dangerous mind-control cult, and a fraudulent business. Amway France terminated the distributorship of Godzich, from whose group most of the complaints had originated.

So what do Wead and Godzich do next? They set up a new MLM in France, called Groupement or GEPM. Its product line consisted of Amway products, its business structure was identical to Amway France, and its cultic activities were just as blatant as they were in the first operation.

After receiving numerous complaints about GEPM, French authorities moved in to shut it down, but this time it issued criminal arrest warrants, 13 for the company’s distributors, and 2 for Godzich and Wead. Godzich took all the cash and fled the country and Wead never returned to France.

This man is the same Doug Wead, who 2 years later, would become a White House Aide to the first President Bush, and spiritual adviser to the second. God help us!!!
God-if-there-is-one help us indeed. All I'm really trying to say here is, if you insist on reading Doug Wead's Trump book, go ahead. Let me know what you think about it, positive or negative; my blog is always open to comments. But even if you're a Trump fan, you might consider the possibility that Wead, like the principal subject of his book, is not exactly what the journalists would call, if you'll pardon the word, an unimpeachable source.

Related on this Whirled:

* * * * *
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Friday, October 18, 2019

Don't Mentz words: Magus Incognito brings Illuminutty angle to politix/Scamworld merger

There's a devil lurking at the crossroads of politix and Scamworld, a phenomenon that I first made note of back in early 2016 in a post about #NotMyPresident Donald John Trump and imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie). Since Trump took office, the politix/Scamworld connection has only intensified, the latest case in point being Trump's nomination of one George Mentz, JD, MBA, BSA*, a lawyer/"educator"/selfish-help author, to the Commission on Presidential Scholars. It's one of those nominations for which Senate confirmation is not required.

And this, as you might have guessed, is Whirled-class blog fodder because Mentz happens to have penned a number of selfish-help and financial books using "the Illuminati" and other popular McSpirituality/esoterica concepts as a hook, e.g., The Illuminati Secret Laws of Money -- The Wealth Mindset Manifesto: The Life Changing Magic and Habits of Spiritual Mastery. Then there are these gems. Why, there's even a book about "Quantum Bliss!" As you may recall, "quantum" this and "quantum" that were all the rage back in the heyday of the Universe's most successful New-Wage moviemercial, The Secret. Mentz's book was about eight or nine years behind the trend, but one should never leave a good exploitation stone unturned.

Mentz's Illuminati shtick kind of reminds me of the ways
Kevin Trudeau used his own Illuminati-like "Brotherhood" as a hook for his massive GIN scam. In a recent interview with The Denver Post, however, Mentz laughed away the Illuminati angle, saying that it's just a marketing thing -- but seeing as how he has also penned several McSpirituality works under the pen name Magus Incognito, I'm thinking that he's just a big ol' liar.

According to their web site description, the
Commission on Presidential Scholars is "a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars." The Scholars, of whom 161 are chosen each year from a pool of high school seniors across the US, "demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service." Sounds pretty impressive.

Given all of the above, you may be asking, "What actually qualifies someone like George Mentz to be appointed to such a prestigious education board?" Well, first of all -- and I don't mean to be overly critical if you're asking an honest question, but... since when did genuine qualifications and credentials have anything to do with a Trump appointment or nomination for any position, particularly where important areas like education are concerned? I mean, come on...
Betsy DeVos, anyone?

But since you may have asked, I'll answer. George Mentz's main qualification, besides his apparent ability to fudge the facts about his own nuttiness (and/or cynical New-Wage crapitalism), is almost certainly his utter loyalty to Herr Twitler. From
The Denver Post, which first reported the nomination on October 16:
In 2015, Mentz wrote a blog post predicting Trump would win the 2016 election. The next year, he became a member of the Trump campaign’s economic coalition. On his website, Mentz says an unnamed publisher has bought the rights to a “blockbuster book” about Trump’s “success principles.” In an interview, Mentz said he did the research and expects the book will be written by someone else next year.

Mentz said his support of Trump dates back three decades, to when he met Trump at the Superdome in New Orleans, where Mentz is from. Trump was kind and gracious with his time, Mentz said, and he has been a fan ever since. He has
donated thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign and political action committee.
Mentz has also donated substantial sums to other Republican candidates and causes (see link in the second paragraph of the above excerpt). And he writes finance columns for the conservative website Newsmax.

In all fairness, however, Mentz does have an "education" hook as well. In the real(ish) world, he is, as I mentioned, a lawyer, and he's also a professor of a couple of online courses on wealth management at the Texas A&M University School of Law (see page 8 of
this document).

But wait, there's more! Much like
Scammer in Chief Trump with his defunct Trump University scam, Mentz has a bit of an edumucation scheme of his own. He currently owns something called the Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM), which is registered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And he was previously CEO of a similar Colorado Springs company called the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM). From the Denver Post article cited above:
Both companies award certifications, allowing applicants to add an alphabet soup of titles after their names. For a fee, you can become an accredited life coach, a certified political scientist, a master Islamic financial specialist or more than a hundred other titles. Having such a certification “makes you one of the next generation of global leaders,” according to a message from Mentz on the GAFM website.
The Huffington Post piece I linked to in the first paragraph of this post (here's that link again) elaborates:
For $378, the company awards certifications to individuals who can then list official-sounding titles and acronyms after their names. (The certifications are “valid” for two years and then “members” must renew them annually.) At least 118 such titles are listed on the GAFM website, including “Certified Chartered FinTech Professional (ChFP),” “Master Business Analyst (MBA)” and “Registered Islamic Financial Specialist (RIFS).”
The Denver Post piece continues:
A Wall Street Journal article in 2004 found AAFM awarded certifications to applicants who had never taken a course and, in some cases, had not taken a test to prove they knew the topic at hand. In 2010, another Wall Street Journal article found several people listed on AAFM’s board of advisers had never advised the company and were unaware the company was claiming them as an adviser.

Mentz defended his certification processes in the interview Friday. He says his companies have rightly used college degrees as a “pathway” to certifications.

“Our standards are pretty basic,” Mentz said, using a journalist as an example. “If you took 135 hours of college education to get your degree from a particular university and satisfied a major in journalism, then you’re qualified for certification in that area if you had a GPA or 3.0 or higher. So, instead of having someone go to Sylvan Learning and take a quiz to be certified, we would allow somebody like you to apply directly for a certification.”
So... maybe not exactly like the faux-degree industry I used to snark so much about back in the day, but definitely not exactly unlike it, either.

"Oh, Cosmic Connie, you're just jealous of accomplished individuals," you might be saying, as so many others have over the years, in response to something they read here. To validate your point you might direct me to
Mentz's page on the site of the American Academy of Financial Management -- the company of which he was formerly CEO -- which expounds on his impressive credentials. (Try to ignore the typos and other glitches, such as the fact that in the third-person blurb that was fake-written by someone else but clearly written by Mentz himself, he forgot to use the third person consistently throughout.)
Counselor Mentz  ( 乔治·孟子 ) and his companies have contributed assistance and services to thousands of professionals around the world, to Fortune 1000 companies, and privately held corporations an individuals  in over 155  nations.  Over 10,000 people have been trained with “professional development programs” and certified under the unsurpassed standards of his pioneering  global educational programs along with hundreds of others receiving benefits of the Mentz Scholarship Program.  Having personally taught over 250 law, MBA and college courses to thousands of students worldwide, my insights and experience with global education and e-learning are cutting edge in the world of education and consulting.  Mentz has consulted with the US government, UN Education Officials, US Dept of Labor, Top Universities, and some of the biggest companies in the world. Presently, the Mentz companies are delivering executive education to professionals in Africa, Arabia, the US, India, China, Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.

George S. Mentz is the first person in the United States to be multi credentialed as a Lawyer, MBA, Qualified Financial Planner, Certified Financial Consultant, Chartered Management Consultant, and Registered/Licensed Financial Planner. Mentz is the first author in the USA to have bestselling books and publications  in the following categories in 2013-19: Money and Monetary Policy, Management Science, Organizational Behavior, Wealth Management, Mysticism, Religion, Spirituality, Psychology,  History, Theosophy, Greek & Roman Philosophy, Personal Growth Men & Women,  Politics & Social Sciences -Consciousness & Thought, and even in Celtic Studies.  Prof. Mentz has held faculty and professional positions with major business schools, top law schools,  and top Wall Street Firms.
Oh, goodness, a true Renaissance Man. I stand humbled.

Anyway, I've been thinking that in light of Mentz's Illuminutty leanings, there really is a place for poor caged Katie -- that would be Kevin Trudeau, of course -- somewhere in or around the Trump administration. Granted, Katie hasn't been able to actually give Trump money, at least that I know of, but
he has been relentlessly rooting around in Trump's aperture for several years -- and the two have so much in common! -- so surely that should count for something. Now if only he and his persistent minions could persuade Trump to commute Katie's sentence and pardon him, a goal they've been pursuing for years... Unfortunately, Drumpf seems to have other things to occupy his mind besides uncaging Katie, such as avoiding the cage himself.

But as long as the devil is still sitting there grinning at that crossroads, anything could happen. 

* Bull Sh-t Artist, of course

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

James Arthur Ray Death Lodge 10th Anniversary: Never Forget

It has been ten long years since James Arthur Ray, selfish-help/McSpirituality guru and egomaniacal star of the New-Wage moviemercial The Secret, held his infamous phony sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona, resulting in the deaths of three people: James Shore, Kirby Brown, and Liz Neuman. And as I have mentioned on this blog numerous times, one of the most recent occasions being in April of this year, Death Ray is still trying to make his comeback in the industry after having served less than two years in an Arizona state prison, on charges of negligent homicide, for the deaths of these people.

As I've also mentioned several times, Ray never served any prison time at all for another death for which he was responsible, that of
Colleen Conaway in San Diego in July 2009.

Ignoring all the considerable flak he has gotten from many directions since he's been out of the clink, Ray continues to play on his "redemption" shtick, and
is still promoting his utter failure of a book about same on his web site. (What appears to be an earlier version of the book is listed as being out of print, and Google Books couldn't even be bothered to get an accurate description of the book's contents.)

In late October of last year, San Diego's ABC affiliate, KGTV, ran
a story about Ray's comeback efforts and his attempts to frame his offerings in that redemption theme. It's worth a watch.

In case you haven't been following this story over the years, and would like some insights into the sociopathic behavior of James Ray and how that behavior led up to Death Lodge,
see this post, which I wrote 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.

One final word, and it's the same message I've conveyed repeatedly on post after post after post about Ray over the years. In fact, if you don't mind me quoting myself verbatim from
that post I wrote in April of this year...
...if you're at all tempted to give money to James Arthur Ray for any reason: Give it instead to a worthwhile organization, such as, say... Seek Safely, which was founded by Kirby Brown's family to guide consumers and make self-help practitioners more accountable for their actions through legislation. (Here is the link to donation info.) So far, more than 160 leading lights in the industry have been invited to sign the "Seek Safely" promise... and not one of them has yet done so. In all fairness, some of them are now dead, such as Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer. But as for the rest... well, the invitation has been open for years, but nobody who's anybody in the industry seems very interested. That should tell you something.
When Googling around just a while ago, I found this on-point opinion piece from the Deadspin site, published in February 2019. The headline says it all:

Felonious Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray Wants You To Remember Oprah Loves Him And Forget He's Killed People

Too bad, James: there are tons of folks -- and I'm one of them -- who will never forget.

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Trump, Big Pharma, and a Whirled sense of deja-cuckoo

#NotMyPresident Donald John Trump continues to unravel in the face of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, spewing and sputtering and tweeting statements that are either silly, stupid, alarming, self-incriminating, or some combination of the above. As Bess Levin, writing for Vanity Fair on October 3, noted:
We regret to report that the president of the United States is becoming increasingly unglued, which is a troublesome development when the only glue holding him together in the first place was right wing memes, fake Time magazine covers, and a barely comprehensible text chain with Rudy Giuliani. Never the picture of mental stability, this new Donald Trump has responded to allegations that he withheld aid from Ukraine unless the country investigated his political rival—which he literally did!—with a series of statements, tweets, and conspiracy theories that would concern even Batshit Trump 1.0. Those include but are not limited to: calling for the whistle-blower’s sources to be executed, ranting that Rep. Adam Schiff should be arrested and charged with treason, threatening a Civil War, and something about jockstraps. Which brings us to today, when the president floated the theory that Big Pharma is behind the push to impeach him. Yes.
It is the Pharma/impeachment theory -- which Trump introduced in Florida during a shameless attempt to pander to a group of cheering, supportive senior citizens after signing an October 3 executive order to "improve" Medicare -- that has rendered him prime Whirled fodder (yet again).

I had a couple of thoughts when I read about Trump's Big-Pharma conspiranoia -- I mean, apart from the obvious thought that any older American who isn't a member of the fabled one percent, but who still thinks that Trump has her or his best interests at heart, is misinformed, willfully ignorant, or deluded. Take that executive order (please).
As Charles Pierce wrote in Esquire, the document contains "a poison pill the size of a horse's head" in Section 3. Pierce explains that the provisions in this section are...
...pretty much the same plan that Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, spent years trying to slime into law. It is the first big step toward Ryan's lifetime goal of privatizing the Medicare system, which, as someone who has enjoyed its benefits for almost a year, I can tell you is a terrible idea. Look at all the little buzzing land mines in there. "Competition." "Market pricing." This thing even expands Medical Savings Accounts, a terrible idea that emerged in the 1990s and that Bill Frist was going to ride into the White House in 2000.

The president is a blight and impeachment is the only cure, but the conservative project rolls merrily on. I'm not entirely sure he knew what he was signing, because he doesn't know anything about anything, but the people who find him useful do, which is why he'll be around for a while longer.
Beyond that, my first thought was that Trump's rationale for the Big Pharma/impeachment connection is beyond silly, based as it is on his insinuation that the big drug companies resent and fear him because he has done so much to try to rein them in and get them to lower prescription drug prices, as he'd promised during his campaign. Not only has he fallen far short on that promise, as outlined by The Atlantic in May and NPR in July, but he has in some cases actually acted as an ally of Big Pharma, such as this Pharma-friendly trade agreement with India.

Back in July 2017 on this Whirled, I
speculated about Trump's likely policies regarding the big drug companies (see under "Little Hitler strikes again"). My premise then was that contrary to insinuations by alt-health crapitalist and devoted Trumpster Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, Trump was not going to turn out to be the big hero fighting against Big Pharma that Mikey and others had predicted he'd be; to the contrary, his chronic and incurable allegiance to big business would render him more likely to be a friend to the big drug companies. And so far, for all practical purposes, that's pretty much been the case. In other words, Trump has been about as tough on Big Pharma as he personally has been on Russia.

But the other immediate thought I had after hearing about the alleged Pharma plot -- and this is where that sense of deja-cuckoo comes in -- was that Trump's evocation of the pharmaceutical industry's big money and enormous power reminded me of the whiny claims of various alt-health quacks, scammers, and predators whose marketing efforts are often framed in their
yuuuge hero/martyr complex, which focuses on the big drug companies and the medical establishment as the enemy. I've blogged about a few of these hucksters, most notably fake doctor/cancer quack/neo-Nazi/devoted Trumpster/conspiracy fan Leonard Coldwell, aka LoonyC, who has been whining for years and years about how Big Pharma is after him, and has repeatedly claimed that "they" have even tried on several occasions to kill him.

Not long after I wrote my first blog post about LoonyC back in May 2012, he decided I was a Big Pharma shill,
publicly and falsely accusing me time after time of being paid big bucks by the drug companies to ruin his reputation. A few years ago he even (falsely and crazily) claimed that Big Pharma had paid me to kill his dog. His followers believed every word he wrote and never even questioned it, as do the followers of most alt-health quacks. The facts don't matter if the story is good.

But Coldwell is just one fourth-tier Scamworld lunatic. No doubt, being
the fervent Trumpanzee that he is, he feels proud to be in the same imaginary boat of Big-Pharma victimhood that his orange idol is, and I won't be surprised to see some garbled writings from him on social media about this very topic. (I'll be sure to share if I do.) My point, however, is that Coldwell's sphere of influence is very limited, while Trump is still in a position to do a lot of damage, some of which may be irreversible, on his way down. His claims about Big Pharma being behind impeachment efforts may be hilarious, but the multiple reasons that impeachment is being pursued are anything but funny.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Screen grabs indicate business as usual in Scamworld

It could be said that screenshots are the last refuge of the lazy, and I wouldn't argue with that, having been lazy indeed this month, at least blogging-wise. But I refuse to let the month of September slip away without posting anything, so here, just for the sake of saying that I posted something, are a few screen shots from the Facebook pages of various Whirled subjects. 

Kevin can wait
As you probably know, a frequent snarget on this Whirled over the years,
serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie), is currently serving a ten-year sentence in a (relatively cushy) federal prison camp, FPC Montgomery, Alabama. One of Katie's long-time friends and co-scammers was Mary Miller of the Gentle Wind Project and later of I Ching Systems, whom I wrote about on this November 2014 blog post; see under "What's that smell? It's Mary Milker passing her 'gentle wind' through Scamworld." Mary was a big promoter of Katie's scams, including and especially his mega-scam GIN (the Global Information Network), before he went to prison. Afterwards she was known to visit him in the clink and then write glowingly of those visits on his Facebook page.

Alas, Mary left the planet in late 2017 (
and was duly mourned by her fellow scammers, such as the Morters, who are also long-time Trudeau buds). But not to worry: one of her long-time partners, Shelly Miller, also of I Ching Systems, has taken up the mantle of shilling for Katie. She visited him at sleep-away camp last month and shared her experience on Facebook on August 25. Like Mary, Shelly is shamelessly pushing the narrative that Katie is actually delighted with his incarceration situation and that he has Something Really Big in store for the world.
Kevin and I talked about his vision for the future. And as you would expect, it’s AMAZING. It’s perfect, it’s phenomenal, it’s gigantic. As Kevin was describing his vision to me, what I saw was a coming together of all the separate paths he has walked during his life up to this moment. All roads have led him to this exact point — to this exact vision. I suspect that much of the last few years have been Kevin pulling together his vision and the personal resources he will need to accomplish his goal.

 And make no mistake — Kevin will most definitely accomplish his goal. He will bring his vision out into the world and make it happen. Kevin is one of only a handful of people who are truly able to change the world — and for the better — who can accomplish whatever they set out to do. His next chapter will be his best yet — so standby!

I can only imagine what sorts of McMiracles Saint Kevin has in the works. All I can say is, hold on to your wallet.

Home wreck-onomics tip: if you can't stand the heat, stay in the kitchen and keep on bitchin'
Another serial huckster and frequent Whirled snarget (who is also a Kevin Trudeau buddy, or used to be, anyway) is Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale,
whom I most recently wrote about in reference to his pending divorce from Nerissa Oden, and his decision to cast his lot with New-Wage dilettante (and apparent home-wrecker and gold-digger) Lisa Winston. I'll be the first to admit that the snark factor and the gossip dial were turned way up in that two-part post, one result being that Lisa blocked me from her main Facebook page. But some stories deserve extra snark and gossip, and notwithstanding the block, I got hold of this September 24 screen shot of a post by Lisa, which was also shared by Joe on his timeline. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, Lisa (and probably Joe) have been getting some flak for the way they've been carrying on.

Of course there is always the possibility that Lisa was referring to someone else when she wrote:

I am saddened that Facebook has become a platform for toxic people's smear campaigns in relationship breakups... They are all about punishment because they didn't get their way and of course, they never take responsibility for their part in the breakup...
But I rather think this reads as if written by someone who is trying to avoid taking responsibility herself. 

Take up the white man's bourbon...
Finally, it's been a while since I blogged about one of the stupidest and most evil men in Scamworld, fake doctor
Leonard Coldwell, because frankly I got bored with him, and he has spent the past few years scamming mostly in his native Germany rather than in the US. But he still spends time and money Stateside too, and like most stupid scammers he's still bragging about his material wealth. These days he seems to be hanging his hat, or more accurately guzzling his bourbon, in Milledgeville, Georgia. This little pic should give you an idea of how he spends some of the money that some suckers are apparently still giving him: stocking up "Dr C's Bourbon Room in the Coldwell Mansion." 

If I had a room like that the shelves would be filled with books, but hey, that's just me.

Given all of the madness swirling about in the larger world, with new and increasingly unpleasant surprises popping up on a daily basis, I suppose there's something almost reassuring in knowing that Scamworld and the scammers who live there remain as predictable as ever. I'll be back soon with more substantial fare... but in the meantime,
Shanah Tovah to all who are celebrating the New Year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Stopping hurricanes: tough love v TLC. (Also some stuff about bug farts)

By now you have almost certainly heard about #NotMyPresident Mad King Donald J. Trump's proposed suggestion to stop hurricanes before they hit the US of A. An August 25 Axios piece by Jonathan Swan and Margaret Talev reported that on several occasions Trump has asked senior Homeland Security and national security officials about the idea of using nuclear bombs to disrupt the storms as they're making their way across the Atlantic from Africa. A source said that the attendees at one such meeting were stunned into silence at the suggestion, a silence so profound that "you could hear a gnat fart."

Which raises a whole new series of questions about whether gnats really do fart, but I don't want to get too far off point.

Let's get the really important stuff out of the way first.
What Trump said about nuking hurricanes was... Well... okay, since you didn't ask, but might ask at some point, and I want to save you the effort of Googling, I did some further research on the gnat-fart question. I may be a lazy blogger, but I will always, always go the extra mile, or at least an extra few feet, for my four or five faithful readers. Gnats are insects, and it seems that
some insects do fart, though it is highly unlikely that the farts are audible, no matter how quiet a room might become in response to a profoundly stupid utterance that a given Oaf of Office might make.

According to entomologist and presumed bug-fart expert Elsa Youngsteadt of North Carolina State University, it's possible to hear insects masticating (that's masticating, you naughty person) and defecating (apparently insect poop is called "frass," and when the frass hits the grass it can make a sound if someone's around), but there is no literature suggesting that insect farts can be heard, at least by humans. Youngsteadt helpfully adds that termites are the fartiest insects, but she seems closemouthed about gnats. I keep my mouth closed too when gnats are around, and there are far too many of them around in my neck of the woods this time of year.

In any case, if you care to do further research, you may or may not find the answer to the gnat-fart mystery in a 1994 study titled, "Methane production in terrestrial arthropods" by JH Hackstein and CK Stumm. My careless perusal of the abstract leads me to believe that gnats, of which there are numerous species in the dipterid suborder Nematocera, are not among the farters, although cockroaches and millipedes are, which as far as I'm concerned is yet another reason to intensely dislike cockroaches and millipedes. (And yes, I know that millipedes are not insects, but they are arthropods.) We have had an infestation of millipedes here this year, and they're especially thick after it rains, and they are just plain icky. Now that I know that every individual in those big clusters is not only looking disgusting but is also probably farting his or her little brains out, my life is nearly complete. A nearly complete nightmare, that is, at least after the rain.

But gnats? Not gas-passing arthropods, apparently.

So does all of this mean that the un-named source who said that "you could hear a gnat fart" is unreliable, and that we can therefore conclude that Trump did not in fact suggest bombing hurricanes?

Well, Trump himself
has repeatedly dismissed the reports about his hurricane Rx as "fake news." He tweeted it on August 26, for instance, and got mightily trolled, so you owe it to yourself to follow that tweet link. And here's another one, for good measure.

But Jonathan Swan, co-author of the Axios piece,
responded to Trump's initial accusation by tweeting:
I stand by every word in the story. He said this in at least two meetings during the first year and a bit of the presidency, and one of the conversations was memorialized.
Who you gonna believe, then? A fake-news journalist, or a man for whom truth-telling has always been a sacred duty?

The tough-love approach
As you are probably also aware, Trump did not just pull the concept of nuking hurricanes out of his aperture. Well, maybe he did, but the concept didn't originate with him. He simply swallowed it whole, repeatedly, and it came out of his other end, repeatedly. (Allegedly.) Or maybe he regurgitated it; it's difficult to tell, but either way there's a smell.

But apparently the idea can actually be traced back to the Eisenhower era. That said, it has been debunked, repeatedly, though it keeps resurfacing, to the point that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published
a fact sheet online to explain why nuking a hurricane would not work and would almost certainly create far more damage than it prevented.

But my guess is that Trump does not read factual stuff like that. (I know, I probably lost some of you at the concept of Trump reading.)

Of course Donald Trump is far from the first and will be far from the last person to allegedly suggest a wackadoodle plan for battling a natural disaster. WaPo ran
a good capsule history of some of humanity's harebrained ideas to fight hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and whatnot. F'rinstance:
In the early 1960s, the U.S. Army decided to dispose of more than 150,000 gallons of nerve gas by drilling a well deep into the Colorado earth and pumping the toxic waste into it. Soon after, earthquakes began breaking out in the Denver suburbs. The implication was tantalizing: if they could figure out how to set off small earthquakes, maybe they could do so selectively, thereby relieving seismic pressure and preventing “The Big One.”

“They actually proposed this idea, to drill wells and pump in water and trigger small earthquakes along the San Andreas,” William Bilodeau, chair of the geology department at California Lutheran University,
told VCReporter. “And they got fairly far along in the planning process and then people began to say, ‘Wait a minute — what happens if we set off a really big earthquake?’ ”

We should know by now, Jones said, that we can’t stop earthquakes, we can’t stop plate tectonics. And if we keep trying, we might just make them worse.
Yeah, what Jones said.

And not all of the loony-tunes schemes proposed have been in the service of saving hapless human creatures from the wrath-o-God. Some plans have apparently been proposed for no higher purpose than to advance a big dick war. I'm thinking of
a certain Cold War era plan by the US to detonate nukes on the Moon, just to show Russia who was boss.

On the other hand, there was a mathematician and crackpot named Alexander Abian (1923-1999) who thought
we should just blow the whole Moon up, which, Abian theorized, would solve virtually all of the problems of human existence. He claimed that a Moonless Earth would not wobble, which would eliminate seasons and associated events such as heat waves, snowstorms, and hurricanes. He was full of crap, but at least he had a higher purpose in mind than showing Russia who was boss.

The TLC approach

If the idea of blowing stuff up -- of fighting destructive forces with yet more destructive forces -- does not appeal to you, you will be delighted to know that there is an alternative, which involves meditation, prayer, and direct loving communication with the destructive forces of nature, most especially hurricanes. Intrepid reporter that I am,
I have reported on this alternative numerous times on this Whirled (hint: you'll get more results if you follow the Google image search). One of my favorite hurricane communicators is a woman named Lynn S. Marks, who also calls herself "Phoenix" and SpiritDiva, and who actually channels messages from hurricanes. She believes that contrary to their bad press, hurricanes are forces of love, and if you talk nice to them, especially in groups over the phone or the Interwebz, you might be able to persuade them to kill fewer people than they would if left to their own devices.

I have been writing about SpiritDiva
since the early daze of this blog, back in 2006. A more recent post covered her communications with Hurricane Irma in 2017. Here's a direct link to SpiritDiva's messages from Irma.

But Lynn/SpiritDiva/Phoenix is not the only wind whisperer in crazy town. There's also
Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, an even more frequent snarget here. By his own objective self-assessment, Mr. Fire has not only been able to neutralize hurricanes with his love-and-light techniques, but also oil spills and even wildfires. You can get an idea of his magickal powers right here, and there are links to previous musings on his awesome wind-whispering skills. I remain especially impressed by the way he and his group of meta-taters neutralized Hurricane Ike in 2008.

As you may have predicted, thinking about Joe Vitale leads back to the topic of insect farts. I am pondering now on how bug farting might possibly be harnessed for the greater good. I know that
farting and burping, at least from cows, supposedly contribute to global warming and the climate crisis, but Trump et al. claim that that all of that climate stuff is a hoax, so one just doesn't know what to believe. Be that as it may, I was thinking that it might be possible that insect farts could somehow be channeled to fight... well, something -- maybe those dangerous murderous rapey immigrants who are constantly threatening the US's Southern border. After all, it has been proven that in the insect world, farts can be deadly, at least to other insects. So maybe bug toots can be weaponized to fight greater threats.

But that is most likely worthy of a whole other blog post. We were talking about hurricanes, and, all things considered, if I were forced to choose, I believe I'd opt for Phoenix the wind whisperer's tender-love approach over the nuclear option. Pretending to channel storms might be totally useless, but at least it's harmless and entertaining.

As for the deeply unnatural disaster currently infesting the White House, though, I think the solution lies in getting a sufficient number of rational, informed, and intelligent people out to vote in 2020. It's our only hope. Otherwise, it's four more years of loony ideas and policies from the White House and Mar-a-Lago. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Trump did actually promote the weaponization of bug farts.

PS ~ Here are
some marginally saner ideas about weather modification, but most of them probably won't work either. And besides, we have enough weather-manipulation conspiranoia already.

PPS added 3 September 2019: When it comes to dealing with hurricanes there's another tough-love advocate, who also happens to be a yuuuge Trump fan: a pink-haired "Christian" prophet named Ket Kerr. Upon hearing that Hurricane Dorian might be threatening Herr Twitler's "Winter White House," Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Kerr declared that she would not tolerate it. From what I can understand of her babbling, it seems that hurricanes are created by God but have been co-opted by Satan, but Kerr said that she and her "Weather Warrior" followers have taken authority over this evil, with the help of Jesus H. Christ Himself, whom Kerr claims to know personally and who she says is a big Trump fan too. I guess the Weather Warriors' directed fury was effective, because as disappointing as it may be to many, Mar-a-Lago will most likely be spared from a direct hit from the storm. Better luck next time, Satan.*

* NOTE: I want to make it clear that I absolutely would NOT wish any physical harm on any human being or other living creature, not even a Trump, as a result of any given storm. But if Mar-a-Lago itself were flattened, let me just say that I would not grieve.

Other posts about wind on this Whirled:
* * * * *
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