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.)

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


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.

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:


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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Saturday, September 05, 2015

Jimmy Ray Deathlodge is going to Disney World to preach to GIN faithful

Yes, the rumor
reported here the other day is true: James Arthur "Death" Ray is indeed going to be the keynoter at the upcoming Global Information Network (GIN) Family Reunion at Disney World October 16-18, 2015. That stellar event takes place the week following the six-year anniversary of the infamous Death Lodge in Sedona, Arizona, which resulted in the deaths of three people: Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman. (Another follower of Ray's, Colleen Conaway, had died at a San Diego Ray event the previous July, but her death was covered up and didn't really come out in the open until the sweat lodge story broke.) If you have the stomach to do so, you can read all about Ray's GIN debut in the September 2015 GIN Report, which features Ray's mug on the front cover. Not his mug shot, of course -- his post-prison, hot-on-the-comeback-trail mug.

The Ray "interview" is on pages 4 and 5. Here's how it starts out:
GIN Report: What is one accomplishment that you consider the most significant of your life/career?
JAR: Certainly I've been fortunate to accomplish many things from being an Inc. 500 inductee 2009, a New York Times bestselling author, frequent guest on Oprah, Larry King, The Today Show and more. I'm grateful for all of them. But properly understood, these are all the effects of the greatest accomplishment I believe I have experienced in my life which is finding my unique gifts and genius and clearly defining my purpose which has allowed me to face great adversity and turn it into opportunity. Take so-called failure and turn it into fuel.
And it just continues on the same note throughout. Spoiler alert: Not one mention in the interview of the killings and the cage time.

the news of Ray as a GIN keynoter is profoundly disgusting it is not unexpected, since as I've noted more than once on this blog, GIN founder, infomercial huckster and now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie) and James Ray have been publicly stroking each other off for years. Trudeau publicly defended Ray a few years ago, and Ray returned the favor by pushing GIN while he was in prison.

In case someone wants to point out to me that Trudeau is no longer at the helm of GIN, let me first say that it's obvious you haven't been on this blog very much. If you had, you would know that I'm very well aware that
GIN was sold last year to a group of investors who just happen to be long-time buddies and business partners -- and are still fans and defenders -- of Trudeau. You might even call them proxies, and you might not be wrong. And Katie's famous line, "Who do you listen to?" is still being pushed by GIN CEO Troy McClain, aka "T-Mac" (I am not making this nickname up).

Apparently one of the people Troy and friends want you to listen to is Death Ray.

And that in a nutshell is what makes Scamworld so insidious. As Salty Droid wrote
in a 2012 post (and yes, I've quoted this before, but here it is again):

GIN doesn’t exist :: it’s the lipstick on the pig … after you wash it off with a hose that whore pig is going to tart right back up. It’s the pigs involved that need to be stopped if anything is going to be stopped … not the shell corporate entities organized in the name of young Ukrainian wives...
You nailed it (as usual), Jason.

Meanwhile, the GIN MLM is back in place, as I'd mentioned a couple of times over the past year or so. I hadn't visited
the page with the details in a while but did the other day. They never really took the references to the program off of their "legal disclosures" page, and the "referral bonus" program has been in place for some time now. But they've expanded it and announced the revamped program at the Dream Weekend in June 2015.

If you have 30-plus minutes to waste hearing
very long-term Katie buddy and GIN co-owner Blaine Athorn bloviate about "sharing" GIN, by all means watch the video on this page. Drinking game: Every time Blaine mentions your "fellow human beings on Planet Earth"... toss one back for me.

The dollar amounts are still smaller than they were back in GIN's heyday with Katie, of course, and the promises have been tamped down a bit (at one point Blaine Athorn mentions in passing that the GIN referral program is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can make you wealthier). And the "cash money" rewards are relatively modest, with most of the "rewards" being GIN Bogus Dollars. Oops, I mean GIN BONUS dollars.

But clearly, the hustle is still on.

And clearly, there are still no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld. The big sick machine just goes on, and on, and on.

Update 8 September 2015: I just found out about this live Death Ray event coming up on Friday, September 11 in Phoenix.

Ray is hosting "a night of solutions" where he will "sit down, no pitch, no script...armed only with his intellect, his vast experience and the wisdom" to mentor and "reveal to you the answers to the things that are holding you back," according to his website
I'd actually gone to Ray's site a couple of times over the past week to see if there was any mention of his keynote appearance at the GIN event, but I overlooked this one. The copy on the site is pretty disgusting, especially when you consider how pricey the former incarnation of his "World Wealth" shtick was. (You can read about that here, and much more about it in Connie Joy's book, Tragedy in Sedona. It floors me that he is starting this scam up again.) Meanwhile, there's this this:

You Asked, James Is Answering! 

With the launch of The World Wealth Summit just Around the Corner…

With the Cancellation of a LIVE Event…
[apparently it was "Life Unleashed Live" ~CLS]

With a Recent Gallup Poll Showing 71% of people surveyed are bored, unhappy and disengaged…

You Need a Night of Solutions
from James Arthur Ray!

If you had tickets to Life Unleashed LIVE – YOUR SEAT IS FREE!
Guests without tickets, it’s a steal, so BRING YOUR BEST QUESTIONS
and get your seat for ONLY $197! 

This may NEVER happen again…
An Entire Evening of Q & A with James Arthur Ray!

There's no specific indication of where the event will be, beyond the fact that it will be in Phoenix, Arizona, from 6:00-9:00 PM. But the first (and most expensive) hotel listed in conjunction with the event is the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort (from $150 a night). So it's possible the event itself will be there.

Tom McFeeley, cousin of Death Lodge victim Kirby Brown, told ABC-15 News (KNXV-TV Phoenix) that he found out about the event via email. He is on Ray's list so he can keep tabs on him. McFeeley said that for Ray "To go to Arizona particularly is really thumbing your nose at the community, at the state, at the good people in that area. So it's all disgusting."

But this isn't the first time Ray has been back to Arizona for an event since his release from prison in 2013. He held an event in Phoenix earlier this year. I guess he just loves Arizona.

McFeeley -- and the reporters working on the story -- did take this opportunity to once again publicize the non-profit started by the Brown family,
Seek Safely, whose purpose is to educate people about how to safely participate in the self-help industry. So I too will take that opportunity again, and will also note once again that none of the industry giants invited to sign the Seek Safely Promise has signed. Here are the people who have signed -- good folks, I'm sure, but not the most prominent in the industry.

It's really all about choosing one's teachers wisely, and anyone who chooses James Arthur Ray as a teacher is not making a wise choice at all. Wake up, people. Please.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Pouring a little Salt on Scamworld slugs

I'm going to close out the steamy month of August with some good news: For the time being, my pal Salty Droid is back on his blog. It's something for Jason to do while awaiting the emergence of SaltyDroid Phase II, a phase that I speculate will not be good news for scammers but will be really good news for many other people.

In his new post Jason/Salty mentioned, among other things,
the defamation flawsuit in which he and I and several other entities were involved earlier this year as defendants. I hope that in a subsequent post or posts he continues to elaborate on the profound stupidity of that suit and on the hilarious exchanges he had with plaintiff Leonard Coldwell's lawyers. I've told the basics from my side but I suspect that Jason has much more to tell. It seems clear that he really knows how to bring out the crazy in scammers and their lawyers, but frankly, in this case there was a lot of baseline crazy to work with in both the plaintiff and his formidable legal team.

Jason also thumbed his nose at Donald Trump (speaking of loathsome litigious blowhards, which we were, because
Leonard Coldwell is a loathsome litigious blowhard, and so is Donald Trump). Wrote Jason:
Donald Trump is ahead in the polls for the presidential nomination? What the what? I wonder how many terabytes of audio exist of Utah’s boiler room cartels boiling down Trump’s “university” leads into quivering masses of bankruptcy and despair?
Indeed. In 2013 Jason published several eye-opening posts about Trump's MLM scam connections -- this is one of my favorites -- and I hope these posts get a much wider audience as we get into the 2016 presidential campaign. Not that the haters who love The Donald will really care that in addition to being an egotistical blowhard/arrogant one-percenter/endless fount of hate speech, Trump is also a Scamworld player. But some who are on the fence about him might take notice.

There's another Trump connection that is of particular interest to this Whirled: the current head of imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's big scheme the Global Information Network (GIN) is Troy McClain, CEO of the AXS Investment Group (of Trudeau's good buddies) that purchased GIN last year. Troy first rose to infamy as one of the more arrogant contestants on Trump's "reality" show, The Apprentice. He has gotten a lot of mileage out of that and proudly quotes Trump as saying that it's guys like Troy who make Murica great.

On his latest blog post, Jason also did a drive-by at the excessively scammy MLM Vemma, which of course he'd previously reported on at length.

The FTC just gave the full smack down to Vemma! Fun. Empty-heart condolences to my BFF Anthony Powell. Back to Herbalife maybe Anthony? Or how about doTerra … I hear it’s all the rage? #pyramidpimp moves on …

Vemma has been shut down,
but apparently only temporarily. Even so, this is news because the Federal Trade Commission rarely takes such radical (read: responsible) action against a multi-level marketing company. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Vemma rise again in a marginally less exploitative version. Historically the FTC has been extraordinarily lenient with MLMs. And MLMs continue to do their insidious work of destroying people's lives (at worst), or, for many millions more, falling far short of the hype -- and all under the guise of "dream building."

The good news is that Vemma's shutdown, however transient, will no doubt put a damper on the efforts of some of the scummiest scammers in Scamworld -- not just the aforementioned Anthony Powell, but also long-time Kevin Trudeau buddy (and current GIN co-owner)
Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan and perhaps especially his Voldemort-in-training spawn, Chris Jr. (Here's a pic of Voldy Junior stylin' the style, from this searing piece of journalism published in July 2014, when Junior was still flying high on the Vemma fumes. A scintillating snippet:
Q:  As a young entrepreneur, what are some of your favorite brands that you love wearing and that actually helps you feel more like an entrepreneur?
CM:  HUGO BOSS.  Couple of factors with that one, the word boss if you are an entrepreneur resonates with you.  One of the main reasons (if not the main reason) people start businesses or become an entrepreneur is because they want to be their own boss.   Then when I first heard the name Hugo Boss, the only reason I bought the clothes is because it said boss on the tags. Hugo Boss really has a fine line between high quality but not out of control prices.  You can look really sharp without spending thousands of dollars.  I wouldn’t have known any of this and would have spent a bunch of unnecessary money if I didn’t connect with a stylist and have been guided through what to do.)

Speaking of GIN, I'll wrap up this August wrap-up with a mention of a rumor that I just heard about the
2015 GIN Family Reunion, which is (appropriately) being held this year at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Sorry, kids, but comments are disabled for that vid. (
Here is the YouTube link.)

Being the savant about dates that I am, I couldn't help but notice that the big party will be held the week after the sixth anniversary of James Arthur Ray's infamous Death Lodge, which happened on October 8, 2009. And this is relevant because the rumor I heard is that Ray will be a speaker at the GIN Disney event.

True or not? I don't know yet. But, as reported here
last year, Ray info-packets were reportedly being passed out to registrants at the previous Family Reunion. And Ray's products were formerly featured in the GIN store (which apparently is in the process of being revamped and will be password-protected). As well, Trudeau publicly defended Ray after Death Lodge happened, and Ray had his marketing people promote Your Wish Is Your Command (the upsell for GIN) even while Ray was still serving his much-too-short prison sentence for cooking his followers to death. More recently, other GIN loyalists/leaders have promoted Ray (see this post, under "GIN promotes killer"). So really, I suppose it is just a matter of time before James himself is paraded live before the GINfolk at a real GIN/AXS event.

Again, I don't know if the rumor about a Ray appearance at the GIN Family Reunion is true -- either the details haven't been finalized or GIN is keeping them under wraps because they fear (justly) negative publicity -- but I am following up on it now. If you've heard anything, please do let me know. If the rumor does turn out to be true, then how pathetic is it that while Kirby Brown, James Shore, Liz Neuman and Colleen Conaway are still dead, Jimmy Ray gets to go to Disney World to help celebrate the fact that he and GIN are still alive? It's a small Scamworld, after all. 
And it's a world that very much needs a Salty Droid in any of his phases.

PS ~ In case you are at all puzzled about the title of this post,
here ya go.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Straight from the horse's a$$

People are free to spend their money on whatever they want--more power to 'em. But just as I don't personally care to "waste" my money on some gazillion-dollar sports car to park in my driveway, I also don't need a gazillion-dollar imported German Hanoverian warmblood in my stable to make my life complete. That's just me. If people really WANT it, okay, whatever makes ya happy. I just noticed, as a casual observer, that there's a whole lotta money being tossed about in [the horse lovers'] world, and if I were the cynical predatory type it would be a consideration to, uh, consider.

Another observation: I would guesstimate from my own experience... that probably 70-80% of the horsie world is FEMALE... So if I were looking for companionship and I were attracted to the female persuasion, it would be a good place to look. Or troll, as the case may be...

...The potential for lots of money and sex: it's a winning combination! Though I am CERTAIN all these people and services you mention
[in the blog post]
only have the animal's (and the consumer's) best interests at heart. I'm just sayin', that's some pretty green grass, there, is all....
~ My friend "Mojo" (being sarcastic) in a comment to an August 2008 Whirled Musings blog post

Note: This post is a bit off of the beaten path -- at least the path I've been riding for the past numerous posts. Enjoy the break; I'll be back to Kevin Trudeau court docs and so forth before long. Meanwhile if you want some good articles and links about the now-imprisoned Kevin and the lasting effects of his mega-scam GIN,
visit Bernie's GINtruth blog.

I love horses, and have been fond of them since I was a kid. I've never really been into riding, though I have ridden a few times over the years (not very well, I might add, but at least I know how to get on a horse, and I've never fallen off, so that should count for something). I might actually take up riding for real at some point, but for now, I simply appreciate horses for who they are, or to be more accurate, who they seem to be, based upon my own observations and projections. I don't claim to have any special knowledge about horses but I admire them and find them endlessly fascinating. I love the way they look and feel and move and sound and smell. Having been fortunate enough to live in proximity to (other people's) horses for several years, I have come to appreciate them even more. I completely understand how people can fall so deeply and hopelessly in love with their horses.

I also understand how
expensive and high-maintenance horses are, even in the best of circumstances. Overall it seems that many of them are less hardy than some of their less-romanticized but generally healthier and dare I say smarter cousins (e.g., the long-ears, particularly mules) -- and even though horses clearly have a strong survival instinct, as do pretty much all sentient beings, many of them also seem inordinately prone to sabotaging their survival chances in shocking and costly ways. (The Oatmeal has a humorously cynical outlook on horses; I have probably linked to it before, but here it is again. Of course I do not agree with the whole "I hate horses" sentiment, or with the notion that we should be eating equines, or with the author's general contempt for horses... but it's pretty funny anyway.)

Combine the normal expense factor with the profound love that people have for their horses and their desire to do the very best for their equine friends, and it is easy to see why catering to the horse lovers' market can be lucrative indeed. It's lucrative for legitimate business owners and practitioners, and I certainly do not begrudge any of these people their right to make an honest living. Unfortunately, judging by what I've seen and heard, the horsey market can be pretty profitable for scammers as well. I was reminded of that again recently by an alert reader who is a horse expert and is utterly appalled by the way certain scammers -- who, as it happens, have a connection to now-imprisoned serial mega-scammer
Kevin Trudeau -- are taking advantage of people who have horses with health challenges. We'll get to that specific herd of horsey hucksters in a few moments. But first, some context and history.

Saddle up; you're about to be taken for a ride
In the years I've been blogging, I've managed to work in a few drive-by snarks about New-Wage horseplay. For instance, there's this
August 2008 piece (scroll down to, "The horse is the new dolphin"). That's the post on which my pal Mojo, whose words you saw at the beginning of this post, commented; here's the link to the entire comment.

Nearly a year later,
in July 2009, I used the topic of equine flatulence as a shaky framework for a post about the aforementioned Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie) and another huckster Katie was courting at the time, Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale. At the time I wrote the horse-fart post, I had no idea that Katie was getting ready to launch his biggest boondoggle of all, the Global Information Network (GIN), which is currently having its big "Inspire France 2015" event in Paris. (It's free, but you couldn't have gotten in on it even if you'd learned of it on time, because it has been sold out for weeks, according to the web site.) The impending GIN launch was apparently why Katie was courting Joe back in 2009; no doubt he wanted to capitalize on Joe's fame as a star of the New-Wage moviemercial The Secret, as well as get his greedy hands on Joe's mailing list. For his part Joe was over the moon about being sucked up to by one of the most successful marketers of all time, though he has been strangely silent about Katie since the latter's trial, conviction and imprisonment. Anyway, I didn't learn about GIN till a few months after I wrote the-horse-fart post, and it (GIN, not horse flatulence) has been a frequent topic on Whirled Musings since then.

Although the equine-exploitation angle of Scamworld has never been a predominant theme on this blog, I've been aware of it. Apart from the posts cited above, I've mentioned, for instance, Gary Douglas, the founder of the cult-like sex-and-money org
Access Consciousness (aka Scientology Lite). See this post, under "Warning: ACCESSories on the loose". Gary and his younger sidekick Dain Heer have a pretty good horse shtick going with their Conscious Horse Conscious Rider workshops.

Not content to bill himself as a mere horse whisperer, Gary claims that he is an "international horse medium." Back in 2012 my good friend Yakaru did his own drive-by snark about Gary's horse mediumship. Gary maintains a small herd of trained "facilitators" to present his workshop; Texan Suzy Godsey appears to be one of Gary's trail hands. She helps out with the Conscious Horse Conscious Rider workshop scheme and also has a "horse bodywork" shtick going, based largely on Access teachings.

Over the years Gary appears to have targeted rich older women for his various scams and schemes, including rich older women with horses. A few years ago he even told a story on a radio show about possibly missing out on an opportunity to inherit some $67 million because he wouldn't bang a wealthy "older woman" whom he was helping with her horses. But maybe that's fodder for another blog post. I do have a recording of the interview, though, and it kind of disgusted me.

And moving on to even lower forms of equine exploiters (if that is even possible), we have the vociferously self-promoting and profoundly daft Not-Doctor
Leonard Coldwell, a former b.f.f. of Kevin Trudeau. Lenny was a highly paid GIN speaker until his firing in 2012, and even today his profile still appears on one of the Taste of GIN pages on the official GIN web site. But I probably don't need to tell you about his GIN background, which is actually what brought him to my attention in the first place. As it turns out, among his many other claimed accomplishments Lenny is a horse guy too, and according to him he knows all about horses and how to train them and work them.

I'm not insinuating that horses are Lenny's main shtick or even close to it; as far as I can tell, most of his time these days is still taken up with promoting his cancer quackery and other alt-health propaganda, as well as spreading idiotic conspiracy memes on Facebook. In the service of the latter he has made several hilarious attempts over the years to discredit the Internet's most famous conspiracy-meme debunkers, Snopes, as we just discussed here the other day.

Although Lenny doesn't currently seem to be actively exploiting his love and knowledge of horses, a horsey theme pops up every now and again in his public show-and-tell. There is, for instance, a picture of him sitting astride a saddle horse on a recently created page on one of his new-ish German web sites. The apparent purpose of that page is to show off what a successful, well-loved, and wealthy man he is, though frankly I think this picture is much more representative of Lenny than any of the others on the page. Not wanting his English-speaking audience to be deprived of yet another glimpse into his rich and successful life, Coldwell also provided a link to the German page on a thread on his main Facebook page. This shot is from August 13, 2015:

But I digress. Contrary to what a casual observer of the page on the German site might be inclined to conclude, that picture of Lenny on horseback is not a portrait of a wealthy gentleman horse owner on one of his noble steeds. Rather it is a pic of Lenny on a rent-a-horse, taken at a motivational/"spiritual" weekend retreat he hosted in late January 2013 on a dude ranch in Georgia,
the Southern Cross Guest Ranch. In the promotions for that event he clearly attempted to capitalize on his immense horse knowledge, and I wrote about his promotional efforts on a February 2013 blog post (it's up towards the beginning, so you don't have to read the whole thing if you don't care to). The marketing copy I wrote about is pretty icky, and though it is long gone from Coldwell's own sites, this promo video is still on his main site. In the vid he mentions that "horses need leadership," the message being that if you learn, under his expert guidance, to show your horse who's boss, you can be a leader in life. And speaking of icky, there is this cheesy video, produced post-retreat.

A couple of years before the horse camp, while he was still in GIN, Coldwell apparently gave some horse-loving GIN members the impression that he was a breeder and owner of top German show jumpers and that he had sold many horses in the $100,000 to million-dollar range. That nugget was shared with me by an ex-GIN member who is a seasoned horse lover and owner. This person acknowledged that top show jumpers do indeed command that kind of money, and added that many of the top horses come from a handful of bigwig breeders in Germany and the Netherlands. The ex-GIN member claimed to actually know quite a few of these people but added, "I somehow never heard Coldwell's name come up in those circles. Gee, no surprise there...I don't think he ever trained any horse; he doesn't ride well enough... [but] he's aware of his limited riding skills...If he ever was involved I'm curious who rode for him. It's a pretty small world amongst riders; we compete against each other all our lives. I never got around to asking him [about] that, though. I was already aware of his exaggerations."

And then there are those backyard horses that may or may not exist. In the fall of 2013, Coldwell boasted on Facebook that he was moving into a 17,000 square foot mansion. He posted several shots of the alleged residence, which actually looks pretty generic on the outside and doesn't appear to be even close to 17,000 square feet. Included in one of his boasts was a picture of what he said was his back yard, which looked like a huge open pasture, and he added that "the horses" would be delivered there soon. But he never did share any shots of the horses in his backyard after they were delivered, at least not that I've seen. Maybe they are actually unicorns and don't show up in photographs.

More recently (June 2015), Coldwell was apparently on a throwback kick on Facebook, and he boasted about having had a horse ranch in Virginia a mere two years after moving to the United States from Germany. He claimed it as one of his great "successes." Here are the screen shots:

Suspecting he was fibbing or at least stretching the truth, I reached out to someone who knew him very well when he still lived in Virginia.
Did he actually own a horse ranch in Virginia in the early years after he moved to the U.S.? I read something in the [2007] police report about him having some kind of horse training venture with somebody, but that's not the same as actually owning his own horse ranch. Anyway, he's been boasting about his past on Facebook lately, and yesterday he posted a boast about the success he had at his horse ranch...
The person answered back:
NO he never owned anything in Va - not horses, a house or anything. I don't know where those photos came from but I have never seen them before. I recognize the shirt though. That's actually funny since anybody can find out that he is lying. And as a side bar there are no ranches in VA; they are called horse farms no matter how big they are. LOL.
Virginia apparently does have a few dude or guest ranches, but the type of property Coldwell was talking about does indeed seem to be what they would call a "farm" in that neck of the woods. But beyond the semantics... I know, I'm as shocked as you are that Leonard Coldwell apparently lied yet again. No worries for him, though. His fans did not even seem to question his claims. They simply nuzzled up to him as per usual, whinnying their approval.

Also as per usual, I am willing to seriously entertain notions contrary to what I think I pretty much know to be true. I'm always willing to admit I am wrong if I am. Accordingly if Lenny -- or someone else who knew him back in Virginia when he supposedly had that "horse ranch" -- would like to present me with some concrete evidence that he was telling the truth about being a successful horse breeder who owned a horse operation in The Commonwealth in the 1990s, I am all ears. Or eyes. Drop me a line at one of the email addresses displayed on this page, or via a comment through Blogger.

I would especially love to hear from someone who was in the horse world in Virginia in the mid to late 1990s to early 2000s. Lenny resided in Fauquier County, Virginia back in the day (Remington and Warrenton, I'm told). Do any of you horse people who were living in the area, or anywhere in Virginia back then, recall a short, volatile little German guy with unnaturally black hair, a perma-tan and a porn mustache, who was a highly successful horse trainer/breeder and/or horse farm owner? He most likely went by the name Leonard Coldwell, but could have still been using Bernd Klein or maybe even Bernd Witchner. (He didn't actually
get his name legally changed to Leonard Coldwell till June 1998, but clearly he was using that name for years in Germany and the U.S.)

So let me know. And if I hear anything contrary to what I've written, I will be glad to retract, correct, or amend the above as appropriate, and to restore Leonard Coldwell to his rightful place in the horse world. Otherwise I'll assume that he is just shoveling sh-t as usual and is about as prominent and accomplished in the equine world as he claims to have been in
the martial arts world.*

Trick and Morter
Now -- finally -- let's get to those other flim-flammers, the ones to whom I was alerted recently by my correspondent, who is not only a lifelong horse lover but also a professional horsewoman with what appear to be very impressive creds. This concerns a scampire run by some long-time buddies and business partners of the aforementioned Kevin Trudeau, the
Morters. I've known about them for years and have mentioned them in passing, but have simply never given them the attention on this Whirled that they so richly deserve.

Next to
Fred van Liew, another nearly-lifelong Katie pal to whom I have paid tribute here several times, the Morters are arguably some of the most nefarious in the foul stable of Katie enablers. Unlike Freddy, they weren't mentioned in Aaron Gell's excellent piece for Business Insider, which was published earlier this year (here is my blog post about it). I don't know if Aaron reached out to them and they refused an interview, or if it was just an oversight, but in my book, the Morters deserve their own stars on the Scamworld Walk of Infamy.

The Morter scampire was founded by the late Dr. Milton Theodore (Ted) Morter, Jr., who was apparently good buddies with Katie for many years before his death in May 2013. If you were simply to visit the link above on the Morters' main web site you might think he is still alive, but
here is his obit.

Back in the 1970s, Ted the Elder (one of his sons, Ted III, carries on his name as well as his schemes) invented a health and healing gimmick called Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique, or
B.E.S.T., described thusly on the Morter site:

B.E.S.T. is a non-forceful, energy balancing hands on procedure used to help reestablish the full healing potential of the body. Understanding the body makes no mistakes regarding health and longevity, B.E.S.T. principles acknowledge the concept of Interference we create with our conscious mind. This Interference caused imbalance in the autonomic nervous system leading to exhaustion of our organ systems over time. Researched at major universities, taught in several Chiropractic Colleges and in professional continuing education seminars, B.E.S.T. is recognized as an effective healing science. The principles and concepts of Morter HealthSystem and B.E.S.T. technique are available to families, therapists and health care practitioners.

If think you've heard that kind of stuff before, you almost certainly have, if you've been following some of the snarks on this blog over the years, or if you've been following or observing the New-Wage/New-Age/selfish-help/McSpirituality/alt-health subcultures and industries at all. Most of these "healing modalities" offer pretty much the same line of horse crap, and I mean no offense to either horses or their crap. The schemes just have different names and various other branding details. But if you've seen one you've pretty much seen them all, or, as we like to say on this Whirled, it's
deja screw all over again.

The B.E.S.T. main page goes on to elaborate on various offshoots of B.E.S.T., including something called Morter March ("a technique designed to use contralateral movement and stretching to neurologically update and re-time your body"). Then there's "Physical B.E.S.T" (hands-on stuff "taught to practitioners only" -- you can probably understand why). By "practitioner," the Morters are probably referring to chiropractic -- they are chiros, as was their daddy -- and select other alternative or "holistic" fields.

If you're not a practitioner, no worries, you still have a chance to be taken in by "Emotional B.E.S.T.," which "utilizes advanced technology developed to update higher brain interference from the physical body." Described as the core of B.E.S.T technology, Emotional B.E.S.T. is also, according to the site, "the pattern for health and wellness" which "unlocks the power." Patients as well as practitioners can do Emotional B.E.S.T.

Not surprisingly, B.E.S.T. isn't just about techniques of hands-on and hands-off woo.
There are boatloads of supplements, kits, and other frauducts and info-frauducts to help relieve you of that burdensome money.

So there you have the foundation of the Morter brand of New-Wage crapitalism -- at least the part devoted to human animals. There's a whole other related realm in the scampire, devoted to non-human animals, and we'll have much more on that in a moment. It's not so much that I'm taking time getting to the point, but rather that there are so many points to make.

Background is important because, I believe, the role that the Morters have played in Scamworld cannot be overstated. They have their own shtick, certainly, but for years they have also been bloated planets orbiting around the bright and toxic sun that is Kevin Trudeau. Though marginally dimmer, Katie's light continues to burn even from within the walls of the federal prison camp where he now resides. Back in 2009 The Morters -- not only the late elder but also his two overfed, smirking sons, Ted III and Tom (horse people might call them "easy keepers") -- were apparently only too happy to jump aboard Kevin Trudeau's GIN gravy train. (
Their sister, "Dr. Sue," doesn't seem to have been involved so much with Katie and GIN, but she is doing her own motivational/pseudoscientific dog-and-pony show and is, among other things, a member of that Scamworld cartel that calls itself the Transformational Leadership Council.)

Even though the GIN assets were sold to
a group of Katie buddies in 2014, the Morter boys are still part of the GIN "faculty," or at least they were last time the GIN site actually listed its "faculty" members. They were also part of a group of investors recommended by the court appointed receiver, Robb Evans, to purchase what was left of Katie's Natural Cures scampire; see page 5 of this document. The group called itself the Business Education Support Team LLC... B.E.S.T. ... get it? And Ted Morter is currently listed as a "faculty" member of the group that bought GIN, AXS. So really, GIN didn't change hands at all.

Speaking of the GIN "faculty," I found it interesting that the public part of the GIN web site now only has a teaser video on
the Faculty page. Do they have such a high turnover rate that they don't feel comfortable listing individual "faculty members" any more? Or were those individuals simply getting too much publicity (positive or negative)? In any case I thought it amusing that the final shot on the current video is a sound bite of Kevin Trudeau himself saying, "Listen to somebody who has what you want, and has been where you are." Well, I suppose that anybody who has aspirations to end up in Camp Cupcake (aka Federal Prison Camp Montgomery, Alabama) could do worse than listen to and follow in Katie's footsteps, though I imagine you would also have to have access to many millions of dollars to feed your high-priced lawyers (a la Katie) in order to be incarcerated in such (relative) luxury. Good luck! Let me know where you end up and give me your inmate number, and I might send you a postcard.

GIN "faculty" or not, it appears that the Morters are still quite involved in GIN, and they still maintain their
GIN Morter Facebook page, which displays a website address that redirects to their main site. The Facebook page has a relatively modest number of "likes" at present -- only a little more than 900 -- but I have no doubt the Morters have profited handsomely from being a part of the GIN scam, particularly in GIN's heyday. However successful they may have been on their own, Katie gave them a huge platform they almost certainly would not have had otherwise.

And they got to have a lot of fun with Katie too, at others' expense. They were privileged to be part of numerous
fishing trips and cruises with Katie, paid for by countless scammed GIN members and other consumers of Katie's frauducts and flopportunities. Here's a pic from happier days, of Old Doc and Younger Docs Morter on a private plane with Katie. (That's pool shark Mike "The Mouth" Sigel in the background.)

And here are Teddy and Tommy and Katie playing the fat-cat role to the hilt -- smoking expensive cigars, drinking expensive booze, and gabbing about energy, GIN, and fishing. It's an August 2011 video and I know I've linked to this one before, but it so deserves another sharing.

Are you disgusted yet? If so, prepare to become even more so.

Talk to the animals...
It's really no big surprise that there is an
Animal B.E.S.T. We love our non-human companions, after all, and horse people aren't the only folks who, with so much love in their hearts, can be especially vulnerable to animal scams. Enter the Morters, who have been only too willing and able to reach deeply into the hearts and wallets of these loving souls with their pseudoscientific flapdoodle. Here's the capsule summary of what Animal B.E.S.T. is all about:

Animal B.E.S.T. (Bio-energetic Synchronization Technique) is energy work, which balances the body and updates memory patterns so animals can heal.

Yup. Same song, different verse.

Early in July I received a comment to
a November 2014 blog post largely devoted to Katie and his scam circle. Rather than re-write what the commenter so adeptly wrote herself, here it is in full:

The Morter System has a B.E.S.T. program targeted on animals. As if taking advantage of the human do-gooder-wannabes isn't enough, they have pulled in innocent animals as bait to bilk more money out of the unsuspecting public.

I had one look at the pics and videos of their supposed "Master'" instructor James W Murphy and knew the con was on. He claims to be a professional horse trainer, showman etc. I KNEW this man had never won a National or World Title as he was claiming. Not possible.

I called Morter Healthcare and asked them exactly what titles that he had won. I pointed out that he was in a video on their site claiming that he was a huge success and endorsed and taught the Morter technique. So...surely they had his credentials somewhere that listed his accomplishments? They said I should call him, that they only knew what he told them, but I could leave a voice message for "Dr. Ted".

I called Murphy himself. After just a few pointed questions from me, he started backing up quickly. He wanted nothing more than for me to go away and hang up. No such luck for him. His final comment was that he was under Confidentiality agreements not to divulge his show record! ( lol alrighty then fraud face). He claimed 73+ World Title affiliations, yet was not able to ["divulge"] one single name of a horse or show or trainer that won said "World Titles"?

Next call was to the 2 major breed associations to check out his judges status that he had touted. Ya well....he never has held a judges card with them. Tsk tsk...

Armed with my personal conversation with him, and backed up with the info supplied by the National Associations, I called Morter Healthcare back. (of course no one bothered to return my call after I had called 3 times and left a voice mail) This time in no uncertain terms, I told the receptionist that they had a fraud on their hands and I felt that they had some exposure there seeing as how they were making money off of his false claims ($2,500 to take the 2 class package that his instruction was among the class choices) oh...and that I would not be letting this go. This time she put me through to "Dr. Ted" himself.

After listing the issues related to Murphy's false credentials, Dr. Ted attempted to turn suspicion around to me. When I pointed out that this was not about me, but rather his failure at due diligence to vet his spokesperson, Dr. Ted became condescending and combative. I gave him the names of the association and told him to get to work. He wanted an email sent to him with my information before he would take it any further. Call me paranoid, but I am not about to give that bunch of money grubbing cons any of my personal information. Nope, not gonna happen.

Suffice it to say that Morter Healthcare Systems is making bank off of the false credentials of their sadly incompetent horse 'professional". BIG bank. They have been put on notice, it will be interesting to see how they handle it.

The horses don't deserve this failure of care. I have viewed youtube testimonials by another idiot that claims to be modifying their genetics by use of the B.E.S.T. technique. One particular horse was obviously suffering from feet issues which needed xrays and corrective farrier work. This honyonker was claiming that the horse needed his energy balanced. Poor horse was lame and being made to move around on hard ground for the video.

Yep that'll get me good and pissed off. Here's hoping you may get a bit pissed off too!
It did get me a bit pissed off, enough to inspire, as you can see, a more lengthy and more involved blog post than I've managed to produce in a long time. And by the way, here is the link to the video of the guy who claimed to be modifying a horse's genetics. More on him in a moment.
My correspondent (let's just call her Melissa) and I have communicated several times since her initial comment to my blog. She describes herself as a professional horsewoman with numerous championships and world titles in winnings. In short, as Melissa says, "I know horses." I believe her.

For personal and professional reasons Melissa wishes to remain anonymous, and that's one of the things that apparently riled Dr. Ted and James Murphy, as well as the guy whose video I linked to a couple of paragraphs up. That guy is
a Texan named Joseph Agrue, who bills himself as "The Animal Shaman." He is another certified Animal B.E.S.T. practitioner and also a massage therapist -- somewhat of a New-Wage dilettante, it appears.

Melissa sent me correspondence and screen shots to back up her claims that she was treated first with indifference, then with suspicion and rudeness when trying to communicate with these people via phone, social media, and email. It appears that they all tried to turn the criticism on her, calling her cowardly and vengeful, among other things. For instance, in late July she sent an email to the Animal Shaman Joseph Agrue, which read, in part:

...I am an Equine professional and I take exception to those that pretend to be helping horses when in fact they may be causing more harm. For you to pretend that you are qualified to instruct or train others to diagnose the origin of lameness in a horse is potentially harmful to both animal and human. The horse in
your video has front feet issues that require the cooperation of veterinarian and farrier to address. The owner of that horse has wasted time and money on the BEST technique , when that horse could have gotten much needed care and real relief.

The  claims that "the color changed" and that the horse "now has dapples" are ridiculous and patently impossible. That is a scientific impossibility. Also, to encourage inexperienced people to stand directly behind horses to "check their hip alignment" is another issue altogether. Is is just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured.

Here is the deal; real horsemen know a fraud when they see one. Real horsemen want for the horses and owners to be well and safe. You sir are no horseman and it is glaringly obvious to those of us that are. You have no idea about lameness issues, you do not even use the correct verbiage unique to the industry. The claims being made are bogus and can be proven out by other Equine experts...

Here was the Animal Shaman's response:

I have no doubt you are a vindictive evil woman. I talked to dr. [sic] Ted myself yesterday and he has no idea who you are. Unless you tell us who you are and give us a name and contact infol [sic] you're not going to be taken seriously you are a joke. why are you a coward and afraid to identify yourself?

In my years as a scam watcher, I have noticed that in addition to the usual ad hominem attacks on their critics (accusing them of being jealous losers, evil, or on someone's payroll, for instance), scammers love to call those critics out as cowards when they don't use their real or full names. Actually, though, I understand why Melissa hesitated about revealing her identity when communicating with these New-Wage hucksters. I have seen how angry and vindictive scammers and some of their lunatic fans can be. Some will even resort to
sham lawsuits against their critics, or to serious attempts to physically endanger their critics. So I can't blame any critic or skeptic or questioner for being a little circumspect about his or her identity. That's not cowardice; it's simply common sense.**  

There's another good reason for Melissa to shield her identity, apart from the plausible risk to her personal safety. If she were to reveal her identity and her business, particularly through this blog, she might be accused of engaging in underhanded self-promotion, and for that matter I might be accused of aiding and abetting someone whose agenda is to undermine the "competition." People might think that Melissa is no better than Coldwell and his former partner Peter Wink, who used their vitriol against GIN and Kevin Trudeau as a springboard to launch and promote their own GIN ripoff club,
the IBMS Masters Society. And readers might question my ethics for allowing such promotion on my blog.

After questioning her at length, however, I personally am satisfied that Melissa is not in competition with the frauduct and flopportunity peddlers like the Morters and their "certified" Animal B.E.ST. practitioners. Rather she teaches real-world riding skills that include a variety of English and Western disciplines, including pleasure riding, jumping, trail riding, halter, reining, cutting, barrel racing, Western Dressage, team penning, and ranch sorting. In addition she says that she breeds, breaks and trains show horses. All of her life she has been around horses and horse breeders and trainers on both coasts and several spots in between. She seems like the real deal to me.

And although I have no way of knowing for sure, I think it is very possible Melissa would never have even heard of Animal B.E.S.T. had it not been for the fact that a woman contacted her, wishing to use Melissa's horse for "master certification" work in Animal B.E.S.T. The woman needed to complete and document 20 "cases" in order to receive her certification. Melissa describes her as having bought the Morter gimmick hook, line, and sinker but adds that she was able to teach the woman a few things about horses and the real reasons they do the things they do, which apparently rid the lady of her delusions about the horsey aspect of B.E.S.T. "But she is still into the human bioenergy crap," says Melissa.

My point here is that in most cases, erring on the side of caution regarding one's true identity is a smart thing to do when one is criticizing volatile and unstable people. I know from experience, and learned it years before I'd even heard of Loony Coldwell, that some of those "love and light" people are actually some of the darkest and most hate-filled -- not to mention litigious -- folks around, particularly if they think their income stream is being threatened. I think Melissa has been handling things sensibly, and more than that I think she is coming from a place of deep concern for horses and the people who love them.

Murphy's flaw
As I explained in my response to Melissa's initial comment on my blog, I hadn't actually heard of James W. Murphy and when I looked him up, the first info that popped up was apparently for another James W. Murphy, a Maryland gentleman
who died in 2009. That Murphy was also a horse person, but was involved with horse racing and was apparently credible and respected.

But the Animal B.E.S.T. James W. Murphy is very much alive and resides in Arkansas, where, as it happens, the Morters also hang their hats. If you Google James W. Murphy you have to be pretty specific, and even then you're more likely to get results for the dead Murphy. But there is
this June 2013 video, which is one of the chief pieces of content that really got to Melissa, due to what she felt are Murphy's exaggerated or false claims about his own accomplishments. He also tells a touching back story that raised some serious red flags for her (it even sounded a bit suspicious to me, as little as I know about horses). Melissa explained the credibility gaps to me in detail. We'll have a little more about that in a moment, and I'll link to the video again.

Oddly enough, Murphy's actual web site doesn't seem to pop up very prominently in the search engines,
but here it is. I am thinking that Melissa's efforts to reach out to B.E.S.T. and to Murphy himself had an effect. The above linked video apparently was but no longer is on the Animal B.E.S.T. site, though Murphy is still listed on that site as a certified Animal B.E.S.T practitioner. And more interestingly, Murphy's claims about his horse training creds and whatnot seem to be gone from the "About Us" page on his own site. Melissa sent me a screen shot of the original blurb that captured her interest. Here it is:

And here is how it looks today:

Melissa explained that some of the photos on James' web site were another red flag for her. Take, for instance, the three pics that are currently on
the "About Us" page on his web site. Here's Melissa's critique:

In one, he has the lead rope wrapped around his wrist and hand. A HUGE no-no, any horseman would never ever do that.

In the middle one, he is all off center with his saddle slipping off to the right. His right stirrup is hanging lower than his left and he is twisted in the saddle. All because his cinch isn't even secure. Enlarge the photo and it is evident that the cinch tongue isn't through the
latigo hole on his saddle. ...not to mention he has his horse over bridled, and by the look of the bit shanks, the curb strap isn't positioned correctly.

Then in the far right photo, his halter is not placed correctly on his horse's nose...  I have 6 yr old beginner riders that know better than that!

When I pointed out to Ted [Morter] that people were paying big money to learn about horses from his so called expert, using false credentials, that's when he got touchy.
I'm no riding expert so I can't judge the photos myself. I'm just passing along what Melissa said. The money is definitely an issue I think I understand, though, and big money it is, potentially. Even if it is not huge money by the standards of Scamworld or the larger world of commerce, it still adds up. Melissa wrote:

They charge $2,500 for people to attend their classes in order to be certified as practitioners for Animal B.E.S.T. (the Morter technique). [The woman who contacted me about using my horse] witnessed about 60 people at these animals classes. There are at least 4 per year which includes Paris, France as a venue. The animal classes have been going on for 8 years. Do the math...then these scammers charge naive pet owners $100 to "balance" their pets. They are in the process of requiring that all of their practitioners that wish to be certified in their human B.E.S.T. attend the animal classes. This will bump their sales up significantly as they offer at least 15 other events for certification. 

Of note, the B.E.S.T. event going on in Paris, France this as-we-speak-end coincides with the GIN Paris event. That's cozy! Here is
the schedule of upcoming B.E.S.T. events. And if you want more info about B.E.S.T. courses and their costs, go straight to the source and ask the horse. Not all of the links work correctly; some of the enrollment links lead to the Morters' frauducts catalog page. But at least one link directs properly, revealing the price for the course being described. The whole issue of the actual course costs is a little confusing to me, though, particularly after reading the FAQ page. In any case, it seems the training isn't terribly cheap, whether it's human B.E.S.T. or Animal B.E.S.T.

Another point of contention for Melissa was
Murphy's video, which I mentioned above. It's not real new; it's from 2013, but Melissa assures me that it was up on the Morters' site until recently, when she began making noise about it. For Melissa the first red flag in this video was Murphy's apparent claim that he had more than 70 world titles. She wrote, "Hell, I'm accomplished, and having five to ten is damned impressive!"

Then there is the story Murphy tells in the video about how his horse Patches saved his life. I recommend that you watch the vid and hear it yourself, but I'll summarize it here. Murphy says he was riding Patches in traffic one day when an eighteen-wheeler made a big boo-boo, causing all sorts of mayhem and panic. He tried to get Patches to turn in a certain direction to avoid disaster, but Patches, for the first time EVER, ignored his instructions and turned sharply in the opposite direction. What happened next with the truck and the surrounding mess was a complete surprise to Murphy, but he says that he realizes that if Patches had obeyed him instead of going his own way, they would have both been killed. So... hero horsey, humbled rider.

But poor Patches hurt his back terribly from the sharp turn, said Murphy. He was so bad off that vets and horse experts told Murphy he should just have the horse euthanized. But how could Murphy do that to his faithful friend who had saved his life? Then Murphy heard about Animal B.E.S.T. He took Patches to an Animal B.E.S.T class to be worked on by the class. They all worked on Patches all day, and voila! Patches was healed and even better than before. So Murphy decided the right thing to do was to try to get in on some of that Animal B.E.S.T. action himself.

Here is Melissa's take on the story:

In Murphy's testimonial video he described how his horse "turned very quickly and hurt his back". I promise you Connie, nothing turns faster and harder than a Cutting Horse. They do it over and over and over without hurting their backs. lol. He did not mention that the horse fell...nor slipped...he only mentioned that it turned hard. That alone shows me his inexperience. Then he claimed that the horse would lie there and not get up. Again, I am here to tell you that a horse cannot lay down for long periods without creating a much more serious problem. His story is crap. And IF that horse were SO injured that a qualified lameness expert could not help it, nor get to stand, that damn BEST flimflam hocus pocus would not help! ...Plus, I asked him for the name of the attending veterinarian and what tests were done...no reply. *crickets*. But what a heart tuggingly new age feel good story that was eh? Horse saves man from death, BEST saves horse? Bull....

Of course if James W. Murphy (the live one, not the dead one) would like to contact this blog and counter any of the above, he is welcome to do so.

Melissa says her only motivation in making a stink about these frauduct and flopportunity peddlers is to promote the welfare of horses and the people who love and work with them. She says she even went so far as to persuade the Texas State Chemist to send Morter a cease and desist order against their pet feed supplements. "I have Ted's attention, and he sent me an email that pretty much reads as an offer of a bribe," she told me. I have seen an email where Ted asked what it would take to make her happy, so I suppose that could be open to an interpretation of bribery. It appears to me that what would make Melissa happy would not be bribe money, but a world in which scammers would stop taking advantage of good, decent people.

That would make me happy too.

Horse sense and nonsense
I know this post has already dragged on more than long enough. But here's one final point. While we were on the subject of animal scams, Melissa and I also discussed the contemporary craze for various types of equine assisted therapy, which I snarked about it in one of those blog posts a few years ago. Melissa said that this therapy certainly does have its value in some contexts but is often misused. She wrote:
I have worked horse therapy with children with issues. It was really rewarding as the children were more active and attentive when interacting with the horses. However, there is now a push to use horses in all sorts of therapy. As you pointed out, they are the new dolphins!

...It is a racket filled with wannabes that can't wait to pretend they know something about horses.

The problem is how they use the horses....those therapists miss the real deal of what working with horses can do. They zero in on catch phrases like "trust" and use anthropomorphic reasoning to relate horses and humans. That is where they lose the whole basis on how horses can help humans work through issues. They do not understand the horse's viewpoint and how that can help the human. I get livid listening to their BS. Typical example is the Sandra Bullock film
28 Days, where she is in horse therapy and is told to "trust the horse" in order to pick up its foot. Ridiculous crap like that abounds. There is a very deep and real way that working with horse can help people, but first one has to truly understand the horse. And sadly not many people do.
In a subsequent communication she wrote:
People like think that horses are these mystical, all knowing animals that are half fairy dust and half quantum particles. They are an animal that is hard wired to react in a given way. Yes they have different personalities, but they are innately horses, period. You can call me from France and tell me about a problem with a Polish Arabian that was an embryo transfer from a Dutch Warmblood and I can tell you how to fix the problem. Horse behavior is not unique nor it is a "feeling". It is what it is...a learned herd behavior of a prey animal. Period.
Call me a neigh-sayer, but I'll take the word of a genuine professional horse person over that of a New-Wage frauduct or flopportunity peddler any day.

* Speaking of martial arts and horse whispering, here's the latest offering from one of Lenny Coldwell's nuttiest friends/supporters/sycophants: stoner filmmaker, low-budget movie star and kick-boxer Ian Jacklin of iCureCancer infamy, who was supposedly going to be doing another breakthrough film about natural-cures heroes, featuring Lenny. No telling what happened to that; apparently he couldn't get sufficient funding. This vid is all about Ian, not Lenny. There's a lot in the vid about vaccination evils, wholistic cancer curing and even sovereign citizenry, though, all of which offer clear clues about why Lenny and Ian have been consistently masturbating each other. The horse whispering part of the new vid appears to be a mini-saga of Ian trespassing into someone's pasture to make friends with a nice horsey; it starts at about 12:00 and goes on for several minutes. Apparently Ian had been spending a great deal of time trying to get into the pasture, but was too stoned to figure it out until he finally discovered he could have just opened a gate and walked in all along. Watch the whole thing if you have time, though. It's hilarious. It's not quite Harold and Kumar quality, but still fun. And honestly, I can't tell if Ian is just a harmless stoner or deeply disturbed and potentially dangerous... or maybe just in character, playing a deranged activist. I'll leave that up to mental health experts and/or film critics to determine. Maybe "deranged" is just part of his persona, like his doppelganger Seann William Scott of Stifler/American Pie fame, who like Ian seems to be a little on the washed-up actor side. Except Seann may be a has-been, and Ian... well, he seems to be kind of a never-was...

** Regarding cowardice and anonymity: Even though I don't think it is necessarily a mark of cowardice to want to be anonymous online, I do think that the people who send anonymous death threats or abusive comments to
critics and skeptics and questioners are cowards. I hear from such cowards all the time. Even so, I continue to allow anonymous comments on my blog. (Note: I'm not claiming that everyone who disagrees with me and chooses anonymity is a coward -- just the abusive ones.)

Some people have told me I am a fool for revealing my own identity on this blog, but I have a feeling that if I had tried to disguise it I would have been outed anyway, as my pal Salty Droid was not long after he began blogging. At any rate I'm "out," and have been facing the consequences for more than nine years now. Among many other things I, like my new friend Melissa, have been called an evil and vindictive woman (and worse).

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