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.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ten years after...


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

Thank you all for your support throughout this first decade.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

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


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

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

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

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

Katie outsmarted them all. As he tells it:


In May 2015 there was talk about a possible Trump run for President of the USA. Immediately a group of men here got together and began discussing the upcoming primaries. I was invited to participate.
The group included former billionaires, CEO's of major US Corporations, a judge, former Politian's, Washington DC insiders, lawyers and others. On the Democratic side, Clinton was a foregone conclusion. Everyone agreed it would be a coronation for her. As for the Republicans, they talked about Bush, Rubio and others, but at the end. everyone agreed 100% that Bush would win easily. No one mentioned Trump.
I remained silent for over an hour as each man made their points and gave their opinions. They all sounded smart, knowledgeable and rational. They all made intelligent comments. After all, these are amazing men with amazing backgrounds. I knew I could learn a lot from them.
As the discussions were winding down, someone mentioned that I had not said a single word! I was actually listening intently, taking some notes, and during the discussion wrote a short prediction about the primaries that I intended to send to the NY Times.
Everyone turned and looked at me as I was asked for my opinion and what I thought about the primary elections. I sat quiet for a moment.
Everyone just looked at me in silence. You could hear a pin drop. I smiled and thanked them for asking for my opinion.
I told them I had written a prediction that I was going to send to the NY Times. I said I would like to read it. Here is what I read (as I still have the original), "I make the following prediction as to the Democratic and Republican primaries. This is what is going to happen.
On the Democratic side, Sanders will push Clinton to the very end. But the fix is in, and the system is rigged. The insiders choose the candidate, not the people.

Candidates are selected, not elected. Clinton will win, because the Democrat insiders will make sure she wins. On the Republican side, Gandhi's 4 step process of breaking the status quo will be obvious. Trump will first be ignored. Then he will be laughed at. Then he will be attacked. And then he will win.
Trump will win the Republican nomination easily, even though the system is designed to "elect" the "chosen" candidate. Trump will win because the overwhelming energy of the people is consistent with Trump's vibration.
He will resonate with a powerful energy, and activate and awaken a dormant energy in people. This energy is very intense. I know this because I can read the energy of the public.
"The group just laughed. I did send my prediction to the NY Times, and also to Janine and some other close friends. I also shared it with Donald. I say this not to brag or show off. I share this with you to point out the power of being able to read "group energy".
You too can release this power.
You too can be able to "read group energy". All you need is desire, and the right training by a person who has this power released. (I also predicted the UK vote to leave the EU). I am not saying who will make the best President. The group energy, intention, and desire will determine the outcome of the election and how our government is run.
The play of consciousness that we are all a part of is a "perfect" play. Sometimes it is a drama, sometimes a horror show, sometimes a comedy, and sometimes a romance. Rather than be a part of it and feel all the emotional ups and downs, you can observe and witness the play and simply enjoy the show. Much love..KT

So. There is Katie, blathering away from the confines of Camp Cupcake (his fake-fond nick for FPC (Federal Prison Camp) in Montgomery, Alabama), telling us some things that everyone already knows about American politics (the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, the fact that the fight is fixed in many ways, and so on).

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Never forget.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, what Ron said.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Pssst. Yes, they are.)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

So I feel for David Mikkelson.

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

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

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

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

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

As the debunking article I linked to above concluded:

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

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


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

Here's
a link to the Petition. Stay tuned.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cheat-o Jesus's Prosper-ity gospel, #Lexit, and other wacky Whirled matters

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, and as summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the political season both heat up, it is almost certainly going to get even crazier. But just for the sake of putting in my two-cents' worth on some of the craziness, here are a few tidbits and aggregated links.

Salty Droid and Daily Kos dig into Drumpf U's Prosper connections
In case you were worried about the little fake robot's prolonged absence, there's no cause for concern. Salty Droid returned earlier this month with
a teaser about the yuuuuge scam formerly known as Trump University, which he had exposed years ago for the massive fraud that it was/is. In the teaser he took a potshot at Donald Trump's obnoxious, tone-deaf self-congratulations in the immediate wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12. Salty also put together a short video that competently demonstrated the cynical lie that was Trump U.



That was just the appetizer. A few days later
Salty came back with the main course, a post focusing on the intimate connection between Cheat-o Jesus' phony institution of liar education and notorious Utah boiler-room company Prosper Inc.

As many of you may know, Salty has been on
Prosper's and Utah's case for years, being one of the very first to call out that "rotting vortex of fraud," as he put it. Salty's postings inspired me more than once to add my own voice to the (still-too-small) chorus too. One reason I found the matter of such interest was that Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, a frequent snarget on this Whirled, "partnered" with Prosper years ago for his extravagantly overpriced "Miracles Coaching" scheme. Over the years, others such as In the Limelight blogger Jonathan Timar, as well as The Verge, have also nabbed Joe for Miracles Coaching and its dependence upon the Prosper-generated hard sell. There have been consumer complaints about Prosper's "business coaching" as well -- see here and here and here, for instance.

Apparently, though, Prosper's co-founder Ethan Willis
got out of that racket and into another one. If I'm reading things correctly, it appears that Prosper changed hands a couple of years ago and morphed into something called Achieve Today LLC. But according to their website, Vitale and his McMiracles machine are still "partners."

At any rate, Trump U is far from the only scam in which Prosper has been involved. But it seems clear that Trump U got a lot of help and enabling from the Willis boys -- not just Ethan but his brother Damon -- back in the day when Prosper was still Prosper. The bottom line, according to Salty:

It’s not enough to call this fraud. It’s intentional manipulation :: a full degree darker than deception … and it works like a motherfucker. These guys are so good at it :: scary good … which is why they generally contract to take more than half the money in these deals.

Trump University didn’t slide gradually into scam after being confronted with the reality of the web’s unprofitable profit model … as happens to so many companies. Trump came to this game partnered with Prosper … because he was always going straight for the jugular.
That sounds pretty accurate.

By the way, Salty isn't the only one on the Prosper/Drumpf U connection. Lenny Grover put some good info together and published it on The NewsHub and on Daily Kos.
Here's the Kos link.

But as I noted on my own
very long post about the Drumpf U playbooks -- a post that totally overlooked the Prosper connection, I'm sorry to say (and really, there was no excuse for that, since Prosper was mentioned in the playbook PDF to which I linked) -- I don't think that knowing that Donald Trump is a scammer will make any difference to the hatriots and scammer wannabes who are pushing for a Drumpf presidency. For the scammer wannabes, in fact, it will just be a selling point.

LoonyC gets out of Facebook jail, and he's loonier than ever
Another frequent snarget on this blog,
Not-Doktor Leonard Coldwell, was recently sprung from Facebook jail. I wrote about his most recent 30-day suspension in late May, detailing his whines about being "banned" because, according to him, he was writing posts in support of Donald Trump. More than likely, however, he was suspended for hate speech -- not that it stopped him from posting on Facebook. The only account that was actually suspended was his main English-language page, but he continued to post on his main German page, as well as several other pages he maintains, and he even created a new fake account under the name "Eyn Rand."

Well, Lenny has been back on Facebook in full force now for a few days, and he hit the ground whining that he is probably going to be blocked again. Even more amusingly, he is boasting that he has a huge fortune of 100 billion dollars... or maybe euros; he doesn't seem to be sure which it is. And he is going to use that fortune to create his own sovereign nation. Now, where/when have we heard that before?
Oh, yeah, here -- back in April 2013 when he was boasting about having purchased 130-plus acres in South Carolina, near the Georgia border.

Anyway,
Bernie at GINtruth had some fun with Loony's latest claims.

As I noted on my comment on Bernie's blog post, in all of the posts that Lenny wrote immediately after getting out of Facebook jail, he hasn't made one mention of having been “banned” because of his pro-Trump posts. Yet his Trump advocacy was the excuse he gave at the beginning of his 30-day suspension. Post-suspension, he is only blaming the New World Order, or NWO. Maybe, I suggested, he just doesn’t remember the lie he told previously. Then again, that was 30 days ago, and probably (at least 30) bottles of bourbon ago as well.

And it seems that Lenny hasn't learned his lesson about hate speech, or perhaps he is simply trying to bait Facebook so he'll get suspended again, and can whine about it and gather more names and email addresses for his "exclusive" newsletter. On his German page, under the name "Dr." Leonard Coldwell, there's this, from June 23, 2016.


In that post he links to this awful German-language site.

Here's a link to the Googlish-translated page.



And even before that -- while he was still suspended from using his main English language Facebook page -- he shared
a link to this atrocious anti-Semitic work.








Post-suspension, and writing as Eyn Rand, he shared one of his favorite links -- again. And again:



Which makes his former lawyer's "eternal vocational suicide" defense of Lenny seem all the sillier. 



Indeed, judging by some of his Facebook posts, it would appear that Coldwell actively identifies with Hitler. This is from his German page:




A translation of the caption under the Hitler pic:


And then there's this: a clip from Lenny's June 28, 2016 interview with one of his long-time buddies, conspiracy nut and hate-monger Jeff Rense. This isn't the entire segment but it's enough to clearly call Lenny out for a particularly vicious form of anti-Semitism, marked by Holocaust denial and expressions of admiration for Adolf Hitler, whom he and Rense both portray as the egregiously misunderstood hero of history. Vocational suicide, indeed. Lenny's rants are the words of a maniac who has no real vocation left to destroy.



In light of the above, I'm all for Leonard Coldwell forming his own sovereign nation, but I hope it's far, far away from the United States. Actually, I'm thinking that the location for Loonyland might be somewhere in Russia, since Lenny has such a mad man-crush on Vladimir Putin and is supposedly going to be talking to him soon about how to save our world.






The more I think about it, the more I think that Russia would be a perfect place for Lenny, because overall people there are even more gullible than they are in the US,
as I noted in this September 2009 snarkfest.

In any case I had been wondering about Lenny's letter to Putin. I didn't have to wonder long; on June 26
he posted this on his German page:


Here is the link he shared to the letter to Putin. It's in German, but if you don't speak that language, you don't have to mess with Google or Bing's awkward machine translations. Here is the page in English.

If I'm reading his garbled garbage correctly, it appears that Lenny did not personally reach out to Putin; he merely signed an online letter. So are we to believe Putin is singling Lenny out of the 93,000-plus other souls all over the world who supposedly signed the same online letter, and that Vlad is going to be meeting personally with Lenny?

I think we all know the truth here: Lenny is just another silly Putin fanboy,
as are millions of other conservative wingnuts in the US, UK and elsewhere (e.g., Donald Trump, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, et al.). Perhaps Lenny even has a big poster of a shirtless Vlad on horseback taped to his ceiling. And so what if Amy doesn't like it? She's just a woman, and real men like Lenny don't let their wives tell them what to do.

Perhaps Lenny fantasizes about himself and Vlad prancing shirtlessly on horseback together, parading around the new sovereign nation of Loonyland, supervising drills of Lenny's Pinkshirt troops, overseeing the Lenions toiling in the organic gardens or attending the animals. Possibly he envisions Vlad and him hunting and shooting shirtlessly together like the man's men that they are.

Now that I've spoiled your appetite for dinner, let's get back to that sovereign nation notion. Like his idol
Donald Trump, Lenny has been a big and mostly ignorant advocate of #Brexit. Lenny has also gotten behind #Amexit (the US leaving the United Nations) and #Texit (Texas seceding from the United States). Well, I'm here to get behind what I hope will be a
#Lexit.

Goodbye, Lenny, and good riddance.


Burning soles redux: it's not the firewalk that's the main problem
Nearly four years ago, the Emperor of Scamworld Tony Robbins' firewalking shtick made the news because some folks at a California event got their tootsies burned. I blogged about it here. Well, it has happened again, this time in Dallas, Texas. (My pal Steve Salerno at SHAMblog was invoked by ABC News to provide insight, but they apparently did a piss-poor job of it; they ran a mere snippet of a prolonged comment he'd made after the 2012 incident.)

Not surprisingly, Robbins' faithful followers claimed that the injured people got burned
because of a lack of focus. But at least one participant said that it appeared that staff members didn't allow the coals to cool enough before adding more to the pile.

Maybe convicted, formerly imprisoned and now freed killer James Arthur Ray can get a job with the Robbins scampire.

In any case,
as Salty Droid noted back in 2012, after the California burning soles event:

bad things that scale + the internets = very scary

6000 people walking down 10+ lanes of hot coals for 90 minutes :: seems like a big bad … but it’s not the big number we should be worried about. Each one of the those 6000 people represents approximately 100 other people who were offered the opportunity to Unleash the Power Within in San Jose July 2012 and declined. Hundreds of thousands of sales messages constantly spammed across all mediums :: to the whole world … generating the contrivance of attention.

Tony Robbins will never stop telling you that the way to move forward with your life is to keep giving ever larger amounts of yourself and your life to Tony Robbins :: but he’ll never give it back … because he is a nothing and a nobody so he can’t. As shallow a god as ever there was.
But he is a shallow god who is still able to collect millions from the hopeful and the vulnerable.


Update 27 June: Salty Droid weighed in on the latest Tony's toasted toes episode, and as usual nailed it.
The media doesn’t do stories about the huge harms done by Tony Robbins. But they love the shit out of the #footburn #ambulance thing.
Yep. But the problem goes deeper...
People want solutions for their unsolvable problems … and scammers are allowed to use deception and manipulation to take advantage of that.

It wouldn’t be possible without buy-in from liars at
every level of our completely corrupted :: propaganda based … power structure.
The problem isn't just with Tony Robbins and Donald Trump. When someone as influential as former President Bill Clinton (whom I have supported, as I now support his wife) calls Tony Robbins a "very good friend," you know the malaise goes all the way up.

Sez Salty:

We best Awaken the Revolutionary Within … before there’s nothing left of our great democratic experiment but lies and burnt feet.
Update 30 June: And here is Steve Salerno, who also gets the big picture in relation to Robbins, Trump et al. and America's "Positive Mental Attitude-mania" -- a mania that has eroded common sense.

Trudeau diet book scam: come, thou long awaited refunds
Finally, and for what it's worth, many months after
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman approved the Federal Trade Commission's proposal to start compensating purchasers of Kevin Trudeau's fraudulent diet book, it appears that the refunds are finally being issued.

My friend Julie Daniel has shared this redacted screen shot of one person's huge refund.



Judging by its news releases, the FTC seems to be patting itself on the back for this one. Small victories, I suppose. It's nothing, though, compared to the millions that Trudeau scammed out of members of his mega-scam,the Global Information Network (GIN).

That's it for now... more soon.



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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Mexican activist judges are destroying America


Guest post by Ima Goode-Merkin, CNHCPP, PhD

It's not often that I allow guest posts on this blog, and as you may know I hadn't been a Trump supporter, but in the interests of being fair and balanced I am publishing this piece. I have to admit that the writer has a powerful message about restoring sanity to the American judicial system as well as the political system, and truly making this country great again. Dr. Goode-Merkin is a certified naturohomeochiropathic practitioner, anti-vaccination health activist, and a member of the advocacy group Americans for a More American America. She holds an honorary PhD from Baptist University of Lower Louisiana. Dr. Goode-Merkin asked that I not edit her post in any way, shape or form, so I am honoring her wishes and presenting it here exactly as submitted to me.* Please give her words careful consideration, as she says that she represents a significant portion of the American electorate. Watch out, Hillary!
~ CC


I am a proud Donald Trump supporter and frankly I am really sick of being called racist and a bigot and a hater because of that. I am about as far from a hater as anyone could be because I love America and so does Mr. Trump and thats that. And although I am fed up with being called a racist I am even more I am fed up with hearing my candidate being called a racist just because he isnt afraid to tell the truth about Mexicans and about a certain Mexican "Judge" (possible NWO operative?) named Gonzalo Curiel, who has singled Mr. Trump out for persecution because Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to make America great again and take our country back. The truth is that judge Curiel is part of a conspiracy of activist Mexican judges that are working from within to tear our country apart and weaken us and depopulate us and take our guns away to get us ready for FEMA camps and mandatory vaccinations and conversion to the Moslemic religion.

The media has been beating up on Mr. Trump for telling the truth while it has been applauding Judge Curiel for being some kind of hero.
But the truth has finally come out. Not only does Judge Curiel have deep connections to radical violent Mexican groups, but he is also a Hillary Clinton contributor! It looks like Mr Trump was right all along that the Judge had a personal vendetta against him.

And lets talk about Trump University for a few minutes since it is the focus of those unjust lawsuits. The lamestream media has jumped on this as if it was the biggest crime of the century but it was nothing more nor less than a real estate course and a very successful one for many people according to the investigative article I linked to above. It was only complained about by a tiny percentage of whiners who were probably lazy anyway or didnt do what the course told them to do or maybe they were unhappy because they didn't make a million dollars immediately. Very few if any people really lost money but too many people want something for nothing and there are so many loosers in this world, and thats not Mr. Trump's fault.

Besides many of those classes were free in the first place! A man that goes to my Church told me that his brother-in-law's boss has a next door neighbor who went to the free course and liked it so much that he signed up for another more advanced class. Someone wouldn't do that if they thought they were being screwed.

What you need to know is that there is a Mexican radical connection and a Clinton connection where judge Curiel is concerned and Donald Trump was right all along that the judge really does have a personal grudge against Mr. Trump. You can call me a racist if you want but facts are facts and I am tired of political correctness because it is destroying our country from within.

And judge Curiel is only one piece in a scandalous and dangerous puzzle. The Mexican plot against Donald Trump is ongoing and they are not even trying to hide it anymore. They even have
Donald Trump pinatas now because they are so mad about the wall and the truths Mr. Trump has told about so many of the ones they are sending over here being rapists and diseased robbers and illegals and not the best people. The writing on the wall (the wall that my candidate is going to build, ha-ha) couldn't be any clearer: THE MEXICANS MEAN TO HARM MR. TRUMP.

Now I am confident that once he is President Mr. Trump will ban the manufacture and import of all of these pinatas because they are disrespectful but even more important becuase they encourage violence and also the "candy" in them is reportedly laced with drugs or with chemtrail poison that studies have shown disrupts hormones and causes people to be homosexuals or even trannies who pray on innocent children in public restrooms. But that is a whole other subject. Anyway unfortunately Mr. Trump cant do much about the pinata scourge until he is President so until then beware of all pinatas not just the Trump ones.

By the way. The picture on this post was taken of that so called "Judge" who is persecuting Mr. Trump. It was shot during a (taxpayer-funded) junket to Mexico that the judge went on early in 2016 with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obummer after they murdered Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by putting a pillow on his head. (Does anybody really believe Justice Scalia died of natural causes?) The trip to Mexico was supposedly a "fact-finding mission" (ha) but it was really to meet with the judge's la raza buddies according to
the source that leaked the picture. While in Mexico the judge bought a Donald Trump pinata and proudly posed with it. Somebody posted it on their Facebook page and it went viral before judge Curiel could have it removed. It's too late now Judge Curiel your secret is out. What an insult to the high position you hold. People say Mr. Trump isn't Presidential but what about judges who aren't judgelike? People who live in glass courthouses shouldnt throw stones as they say.

But there is more. It isn't just Mr. Trump that the Mexican judge cartel hates. And yes it is a cartel, judge Curiel is not the only Mexican judge in this country unfortunately. Together the mexican judges are working to make sure that illegals get to vote and get food stamps and welfare and all of our good jobs. They are ruining the moral fabric of our society. But what you really need to know is that they are involved in a elaborate plot against patriotic Americans who are not affraid to tell the truth.

Did you think Donald Trump was the only person they have gone after? Well hold on this may shock you. Many of you know about heroic consumer advocate Kevin Trudeau whose Natural Cures books ripped the lid off of the government and big food companies and big Pharma and many other things that they don't want you to know about. Mr. Trudeau was also not afraid to tell the truth about Mexicans and how Mexican illegal immigration is destroying America as we know it.
Here is a link to one of his radio shows a few years ago where he talks about that and other important things (like how the government doesn't want you to be successful which is why they persecuted motivational speaker James A. Ray according to mr Trudeau.).

And now Kevin Trudeau is in jail! In case you dont know it he is serving a ten-year sentence on trumped-up charges. All he did was exercise his free speech and and say that a diet was easy. And for that they threw him in prison. How could this happen in America you say. Well remember we are living in Obamas America -- where there is a homosexual Kenyan islamic terrorist with a wife that was born as a man and two children they are pretending are their biological kids, living in the Whitehouse! And Kevin was put in jail during the Obama administration. Coincidence? I think not. Anyway one of my associates has a cousin whos friend's mother in law went on the Kevin Trudeau diet and lost nearly 100 pounds and she said it really was easy! Yet Kevin got thrown in prison for saying the same thing.

But as you get further down the rabbit hole of truth you will see there is more.
Kevin also defended Donald Trump as a truth teller a few years ago. Maybe that was when he sealed his fate at the hands of the Mexican judiciary cartel.

So do you know the name of the judge who put Mr. Trudeau in jail for ten years? No it wasnt Judge Curiel because it wasn't his jurisdiction but it was Judge Ronald Guzman, another Mexican. Judge Guzman is definitely not an American he was born in Puerto Rico where they also speak mexican! And he was nominated to his current high position by President Bill Clinton so theres another criminal Clinton connection right there. Are you seeing a pattern here? If not you haven't done your research or you may be just another sheeple.

But there is still hope for you. We still have a few months until the election. More and more people are waking up and come November, we will be casting our votes for Donald Trump the man who will keep America safe from illegal Mexicans and muslin terrorists and hopefully from the Rothschilds who really run everything. (By the way do you think that it is coincidence that the two judges who oversaw Mr. Trudeau's cases, Robert Gettleman (probably a jewish zionist name!) and Ronald Guzman, have the same initials, "RG"? And that those are the same initials as "Rothschild Goons?" The New World Order is speaking to us in code and again the writing is on the wall!)

So forget your political correctness and stop calling the people racists who are only trying to help save our country. A vote for anyone but Donald Trump is a vote against America and all that we hold most dear. He will restore sanity to this country not only to the courts but to the whole political system because he is not a politician and cant be bought. He will also be able to finally rain in the lying lamestream media by strengthening libel laws and forcing the media to tell the truth or go out of business. Donald Trump tells it like it is and not like the way the politically correct crowd and the social justice warriors wish it was.


Some people say to me how could you support Trump if your a woman. Well there are millions of us women who proudly support him. And not just because he has hired many women for his businesses and gave them all a chance to succeed in a so called mans world. It's also because he will save us from the alternative under Killary (which Hussein Obama-nation has paved the way for), which is an America where we are forced to speak Arabian and have to live under Sharai laws where women are treated worse than dogs and they have to keep their heads covered or they get raped in Mosques by diseased imans. And those will be the lucky ones because at least they will still have heads to cover. If people (women or men or children) try to stand up for their Christian faith there heads will be cut off on TV to make an example of them. Mr Trump will save us from that. He is the only one who can.

So a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for American greatness. God bless America and God bless Donald Trump. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savor, amen.

Copyright © by Dr. Ima Goode-Merkin, CNHCPP, PhD
Sharing is caring! Please share everywhere but please give credit to the author.


 ===============================================
 

* Specifically, this post is presented exactly as the voices in my head submitted it to me, since -- I confess! -- I totally made up Dr. Goode-Merkin and this piece is satirical. But I can't really claim to have made up the sentiments, which are loudly trumpeted (so to speak) all over the Internet by Donald fans and conspiracy nuts -- including some of those who have been snargets on this blog (e.g., "Dr." Leonard Coldwell, longtime Kevin Trudeau buddy Fred van Liew, et al.).  The spelling and grammatical errors were deliberate but actually I was being charitable, as I've seen much worse by some of the Trumpians (e.g., the aforementioned "Dr." C). ~CC


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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Donald Trump's Scamworld playbook isn't unique


Note: I've added A LOT of content and links since first publishing this post on May 31. At this point it's still best to just consider this post a work in progress.
~CC


As I mentioned in passing in a blog post on April 29, 2016, US presidential candidate and enemy of the First Amendment Donald Trump has been whining about some civil lawsuits against his fraudulent flopportunity Trump University, claiming the cases (and there are actually two of them under the judge he is scapegoating)* are going forward only because a "Spanish" or"Hispanic" judge had it out for him.

Subsequent whines became progressively more ranty and bigoted-sounding as Drumpf railed against the "Mexican" judge, Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court -- a man who was born in Indiana and as a citizen of the United States is technically not Mexican. In fact Judge Curiel has been a very strong and brave fighter against the Mexican drug cartels. And contrary to the claims of the neo-con alarmist nitwits who are also vilifying the judge, he does not have ties to a radical "pro-Mexican" group.

But never mind that. Trump has repeatedly said of the "Mexican" judge, "...I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater."

Waaaaaahhhh!

Whether the rants influenced Judge Curiel or not,
the judge has unsealed documents related to the one of the cases.

As Politico noted:

It's unclear whether Curiel knew of Trump's latest volley of attacks when the judge issued the order Friday afternoon, but it seems possible. Curiously, the Republican candidate laid into Curiel at about the same time the judge was holding a hearing less than a mile away on a motion by The Washington Post seeking unsealing of the Trump University-related files. The judge's order was released a couple of hours after the hearing.
Trump has made noise about moving to recuse Curiel from the suits, but as of the day of the Politico writeup from which the above quotation was pulled, his lawyers had not yet brought such a motion.

Even though some of his allies, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have winced at the remarks about Curiel, Trump has not backed down, not only sticking by but escalating his rhetoric against the judge, and continuing to call for his recusal. It's all about the Rule of Trump versus the Rule of Law. The possible consequences of Trump having his way on this matter are pretty scary to contemplate. Trump's insistence is absurd on its surface anyway. Should female judges not be allowed to preside over cases involving alleged male rapists? Should African-American judges not be allowed to preside over cases against white racists? It seems to me (and to others who know much more about the law than I do) that the judge would be within his rights to slap Trump with contempt, but he probably won't, and in fact he has postponed the trial on the case that he had cleared for trial until after the election.

And in case you are wondering, the reason Judge Curiel has not yet spoken out in his own defense is that he is bound by the judicial code of ethics, which precludes a judge making public comment about the merits, or lack thereof, of a pending case.


The case of the disappearing plaintiff
Trump has actually been bitching about Curiel for a couple of years now, since long before the judge's latest actions. Currently Trump bases his public anti-Curiel rants mostly on the judge's Mexican heritage (because of that whole Wall thing, y'know). One complaint he has made, most recently on CBS's Face the Nation on June 5, is that the case (though he didn't specify which one, it is the Low (formerly Makaeff) case) should have been dismissed when the plaintiff's lawyers asked that the originally top-named plaintiff be removed, and the judge agreed. That should have been the end of it, insisted Trump... but the judge is "Mexican!" And Trump wants to build that Wall. It's so unfair, don't you know.


Trump did not mention that the woman who had been removed in the referenced case -- he didn't name her but she is
Tarla Makaeff -- had only been removed recently, by her own request, because she said she was sick of being publicly harassed by Trump. Obviously there were plenty of other plaintiffs in the case, and sufficient contested points to move it forward. But Trump tells a different story. On Face the Nation he said that the plaintiffs' lawyers had decided that this woman was a "terrible witness" and that she had fallen apart during her deposition, and that any judge who wasn't a Donald Trump hater would consequently have seen that the whole case was invalid and would have thrown it out.

Trump also insisted that Ms. Makaeff had previously written glowing reviews of Trump U, as had thousands and thousands of other folks, according to him. What he didn’t mention, perhaps because he doesn’t know, is that people at Scamworld events such as these, particularly pricey events, often write those reviews while in the throes of event afterglow, and often it’s because they’re strongly encouraged (manipulated/coerced) into doing so, and also because they are trying desperately to convince themselves that they didn’t just throw hundreds or thousands of their hard-earned dollars down the toilet.


More to the point here, the article about Tarla Makaeff that I linked to above (here is that link again) addresses the matter of her formerly positive reviews.
One of the key Trump attacks against Makaeff center on videos of her praising Trump University when she was a student.

But her lawyers argued that she didn't realize at the time that she and other students had been deceived by false promises from Trump University, and because the school had promised students it would continue to provide contacts and other assistance on future real estate deals.

The court agreed with that argument when dismissing Trump's counterclaim against Makaeff. It ruled two years ago that "as the recent Ponzi-scheme scandals involving onetime financial luminaries like Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford demonstrate, victims of con artists often sing the praises of their victimizers until the moment they realize they have been fleeced."
In March 2016 Judge Curiel granted Makaeff's request to remove her name from the litigation, apparently agreeing with her that she had suffered undue stress from Trump's attacks on her character and his attempts to silence her via a (failed) counter-suit. But the judge did allow her to remain on the case as an unnamed plaintiff, eligible for any moneys that may be collected should the plaintiffs prevail. Clearly Judge Curiel simply examined the evidence and saw sufficient reason to warrant moving the case forward. From what I have seen, the content in those unsealed documents tends to support his decision. As do the complaints from numerous former "students" about the utter scamminess of the operation.

Closing the barn door after the horses have escaped
In light of the content of those documents, it is no surprise that the Trump attorneys had been
fighting to keep them sealed, citing "trade secrets," the release of which they claim could harm new incarnations of the scam that may be launched once the court cases have been resolved. But Judge Curiel poo-pooed the notion of a new and improved Trump U, and said that besides, much of that proprietary information is already public anyway.

Indeed,
Politico published one of the Trump U playbooks back in March of this year, though Trump U playbook content had actually been leaked as early as 2014, as noted by The Atlantic. From Politico:
The book told employees to collect financial information from those who attended and rank them by their liquid assets to see who could afford more coursework. And staffers kept hotel ballrooms at a precise temperature — no more than 68 degrees — at the expensive real estate seminars.

These details and scores of others are embedded in thousands of pages of documents that comprise the lawsuits attacking a set of education courses GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has boasted about.
The link to the PDF of the 2010 playbook is embedded in the quotation above, but here it is again in case that link doesn't work. As appalling as it may seem if you're not somewhat familiar with these types of schemes, this is in many ways a typical Scamworld playbook, with every detail covered: from the temperature of the room, to the positioning of the chairs, to the grilling about participants' assets, and it was all orchestrated to ensure maximum coercion and money extraction.

Among many other things the playbook outlined methods of suckering attendees of free sessions into buying a $1,495 ticket to a three-day workshop. That workshop was promoted at the free sessions as providing everything participants needed to start getting rich. It will come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Scamworld tactics that the $1,495 classes were not all-inclusive after all, but were merely conduits for upselling. The playbooks urged the sales team to aggressively promote classes with a "mentor," which could cost between $9,995 and $34,995, presumably depending upon how much the marks had in liquid a$$ets.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones weighed in with a piece titled,
"Trump U Records Unsealed, And It's Not a Pretty Sight." Among other sources he quoted a piece in the Washington Post, regarding Trump's involvement in the scam.
Donald Trump was personally involved in devising the marketing strategy for Trump University, even vetting potential ads, according to newly disclosed sworn testimony from the company’s top executive taken as part of an ongoing lawsuit....“Mr. Trump understandably is protective of his brand and very protective of his image and how he’s portrayed,” Michael Sexton, Trump University’s president, said in the 2012 deposition. “And he wanted to see how his brand and image were portrayed in Trump University marketing materials. And he had very good and substantive input as well.”
And then there's this from the New York Times, and it will be very familiar to any of you who have followed the saga of imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's big fraud, the Global Information Network (GIN) -- or any of the other sad Scamworld stories so diligently covered by bloggers such as Salty Droid for years.
Corrine Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them could not afford. “It’s O.K., just max out your credit card,” Ms. Sommer recalled their saying.

....
Ms. Sommer recalled that a member of the Trump University sales team, who had previously sold jewelry, was promoted to become an instructor. He had “no real estate experience,” she said. She added that many of the instructors had the quality that the school seemed to value most: “They were skilled at high-pressure sales,” she said.
According to a separate deposition Trump did not personally select instructors and "faculty" members for his "university," even though the promotions for Trump U had clearly stated that they had been "handpicked" by him, with Trump himself saying as much in some of the ads. He was certainly involved in crafting the ads, and clearly the scam company eagerly leveraged Trump's celebrity status, with his approval. It was all about the Trump brand.

The 2014 Atlantic piece I linked to above (here is that link again) concluded:

Even though Trump University is facing two multi-million dollar fraud lawsuits, Donald Trump continues to defend his educational efforts, calling Trump University “a terrific school that did a fantastic job.” But if Trump had read his school’s own playbook, he might have foreseen the likely outcome of running a university with comically lax standards. At one point, the playbook advises Trump staffers: “If a district attorney arrives on the scene, contact the appropriate media spokesperson immediately.”
But Attorneys General should be okay, as long as they're from Texas or Florida. More on that in a moment.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Drumpf
Apart from being a scam, Trump U was yet another example of Donald Trump's hypocrisy. On June 2, David Corn at Mother Jones wrote about the big con behind Trump's phony university, citing several instances in which Trump clearly said that success in business and in life owes more to intrinsic factors than to anything else. In other words, Trump doesn't really believe that success can be "taught." From the article:

Trump, who has campaigned as a champion of the little guy, has often stated his belief that only certain humans have the potential to be achievers. In a video for a 2006 book he co-wrote, Why We Want You to Be Rich, Trump was asked, "Do you think anybody can be rich?" His answer was no, and, in explaining this, he dumped on the most famous line of the Declaration of Independence:
No, I don’t think anybody can get rich. I think unfortunately the world is not a fair place. I think you have to be born with a certain intelligence. And it doesn't have to be a super intelligence, it has to be a certain intelligence. You can't take somebody that's not a smart person and say, "By the way, this is what you do, and here's your little card, and you're gonna follow these rules and regulations and you're gonna become a rich person." The world is not fair. You know they come with this statement "all men are created equal."

Well, it sounds beautiful, and it was written by some very wonderful people and brilliant people, but it's not true because all people and all men [laughter] aren't created—now today they'd say all men and women, of course, they would have changed that statement that was made many years ago. But the fact is you have to be born and blessed with something up here [pointing to his head]. On the assumption you are, you can become very rich.
Trump's all-folks-are-not-created-equal view was nothing new. In a 1990 Playboy interview, he noted that when it came to success, "I'm a strong believer in genes." Years later, in a CNN interview, Trump noted, "I think I was born with a drive for success. I had a father who was successful. He was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens. And he was successful and, you know, I have a certain gene. I'm a gene believer. Hey, when you connect two racehorses, you usually end up with a fast horse. And I really was, you know, I had a good gene pool from the standpoint of that." And at a Trump rally earlier this year in Biloxi, Mississippi, the mogul proclaimed, "I have Ivy League education, smart guy, good genes. I have great genes and all that stuff which I'm a believer in."
But...
That was not the message of Trump University. Its ads promised that its students—who paid up to $35,000 for courses—would learn Trump's "secrets" for amassing wealth and be taught how to apply them right away. "Above all," Trump said in the promotional video for this business, "it's about how to become successful." The pitch essentially said this: Anyone can do it. Yet Trump has frequently indicated that he doesn't really buy that. Instead, you need good genes, Trump-type genes, to succeed and score big in this not-everyone-is-created-equal world. In that case, there's not much point in trying to teach inferior Trump wannabes to be like the superior Trump, unless your aim is to redistribute wealth—from them to you. But, in keeping with Trump's elitist belief in the power of genes, this setup might be called financial Darwinism. (To the guys with the good genes go the spoils—and the cash!) And soon the courts will determine if it's also fraud.
Just another day in Scamworld 
The same day the Drumpf U documents were unsealed, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman slammed Trump U as being "phony" and "shameless." Schneiderman subsequently appeared on Morning Joe on June 2 to discuss his ongoing lawsuit against Trump U, which is a separate one from the California case that spurred the release of the potentially damning documents. Writing for the Washington Post, Greg Sargent noted that Trump had been caught in yet another fib.
The quote from Schneiderman that drove some buzz today is the one in which he claimed that Trump University was “fraud,” and added that Trump had privately offered to “settle” the lawsuit with New York’s Attorney General. If true, this contradicts Trump’s previous claim that he has not sought to settle the lawsuit “out of principle.” After all, only a big loser would settle a lawsuit, while winners like Trump win them, right?

But I think another quote from Schneiderman deserves some attention: He noted that a lot of the victims of Trump’s alleged scam were people who had come to the school amid a dark period in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when they were desperate to find a way to make money.
Gosh. If only the New York AG had been as cooperative (or cheap whore-ish, perhaps) as those in Florida and Texas, both of whom chose not to pursue action against Trump U, and both of whom received political donations from Trump -- $25,000 to the Florida AG and $35,000 to the Texas AG who was running, and won, the gubernatorial seat. Texas' current AG, Ken Paxton, is actively trying to shush the conversation about the decision by the office of former AG and now-Gub'ner Greg Abbott not to pursue the case. And more information has resurfaced about Florida AG Pam Bondi, who apparently asked Trump for a donation before she stopped the fraud case. And to keep the circle jerk unbroken, both Bondi and Abbott have endorsed Trump.

So there's that. And there's also the fact that even though the former Trump University LLC, now known as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC -- was shut down years ago, Drumpf is still earning a little pocket change from it.


But...yawn. I don't expect that this blatant proof of Donald Trump's Scamworld creds will faze most of his shouting, cheering, red-hat-wearing worshipers and hatriots. Many are already shrugging it off with the rationalization that the techniques in the playbooks are just par for the course with sales training in any industry. "What's the big deal?" they say. "Hillary's the real criminal! Make America great again!" It is actually a big deal, but most of Trump's supporters probably won't think it is.

Moreover, as I've griped about several times previously (
such as here), and as Salty Droid has noted many times over the years, few people in the media or outside of it seem to really care much about the bigger Scamworld picture, of which Trump U is but one piece. For instance, I'm pretty sure that Tony Robbins, the reigning king of Scamworld, has his own playbooks that use much of the same manipulation/coercive persuasion techniques to sell and upsell and up-upsell his pricey seminars. (I wouldn't be surprised if some of the folks behind the Trump U scam were Robbins graduates.) And Robbins has his own money-mastering infofrauducts and flopportunities. However good his intentions may seem to many who are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, Tony Robbins is pretty much a flopportunistic huckster who apparently has no qualms about allying himself to the scum of the Internet. But at least he doesn't appear to buy into the idea that Trump's legendary business acumen qualifies him to be president.

The point is that these types of scams go on and on and on and on and on, and for the most part very little is done about them. The fallout from the scams is good for an occasional feature piece or "expose," especially if there's a high-profile player and/or a lawsuit involved... and then it's back to business as usual, with the media often playing their own parts in perpetuating the scams (e.g., by running scammers' infomercials and other more cleverly disguised paid content, and by playing softball on "investigative" pieces).

So
I think that Steve Benen, speculating on the Rachel Maddow blog that the Trump U brouhaha has turned into a full-fledged scandal for which there is no defense, may be exaggerating the case. And Benen, like most of the other reporters and commentators covering this matter, doesn't seem to realize that the real story isn't that one of a front-running presidential candidate's companies is a scam. The real story -- and the real outrage -- is that this type of scam isn't all that unusual. It's horrible, it's disgusting, and good people get screwed, so Trump should not be given a pass by any means... but it happens all the time

Furthermore the media seem to have turned their attention away from another big Trump boondoggle: the Trump Network multi-level marketing (MLM) scams, which received a spate of attention for a while earlier this year, but since then seem to have slipped back into the shadows. And few of those covering the scams correlated them to the much larger MLM scourge in this country. As usual, Salty Droid got it, years ago.
 

I'm not trying to trash the mainstream media; I'm just saying they could do a better job. Some are moving in the right direction. A more mainstream journo who also seems to get it, at least regarding Trump U, is Charles P. Pierce, writing for Esquire in a June 2 piece titled, "Always Remember, We Live in a Nation of Scammers" :

If there is a single, overriding question in the unfolding Trump University scandal, however, it is this: Why in god's name is anyone surprised?
Of course, the fact that He, Trump was behind this scam is prima facie evidence of some thoroughgoing shenanigans, but that's not what I mean. He, Trump is an apex bunco artist, but he also is a high-profile American corporate businessman of the late 20th century.

But I repeat myself.

Bernie Sanders gets roasted in some quarters for saying this, but it's true—for going on 40 years now, the primary business model for the American corporate class has been fraud. What we're getting a peek at now with the Trump University is indeed garish in its contempt for the suckers, but what it's not is surprising.
Corporate America is held aloft by scams and scammers, and it goes far beyond the selfish-help/New-Wage/McSpirituality/alt-health industries that are the normal beat of this blog. Again, Salty Droid got that too (and hopefully will be writing more about it in future posts on his new and improved site). Here he is in November 2015:
Scamworld isn’t creeping upward toward the real world in an effort to increase its reach/credibility. Scamworld is just the trickle down of the devastating devotion to lies and corruption that form the basis of the real world.
And here's Pierce again on the June 2 Esquire piece:
This isn't cynicism. This is the universe of our politics today, and it has been for almost four decades now. There are those In The Know and there are the suckers. There's nobody in between any more, and it's certainly not the government. Too often, the government is on one side while pretending to be on the other.
So, yeah, it's a goddamn shame what Trump University did to those poor people and I hope they sue him for everything, including his socks and underwear. But please, don't ask me to be shocked. This is the world we live in. The American democracy is becoming the longest con of all.
All things considered, though, I doubt that the newly revealed docs will do "irreparable harm" to Trump's campaign, though I would seriously love to be proven wrong on this one.

Many folks probably see nothing wrong with the Trump U "business" model
I acknowledge that my candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton, does not escape the pen of Esquire's Charles Pierce, who cites those infamous Goldman Sachs gigs. Many loyal Trump subjects who are outraged about Hillary's high-dollar speeches to Goldman Sachs, the shenanigans of Bush and Cheney, and the several other examples listed in the Esquire piece linked to above, simply don't see their king as being part of the crony-capitalist political system.


And I think that is largely because they identify with Trump on some level. When attempting to project the real damage (or lack thereof) that the Trump U mess will do to his presidential campaign, we have to take into consideration the "like attracts like" phenomenon that I wrote about late last month. Not only does Donald Trump attract haters and a variety of narcissists and psychopaths (like not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell on both the "hater" and "narcissist/psychopath" counts), but he also attracts one-percenter wannabes and scammers who admire his success (again, the notorious not-doc Lenny fits into these categories), and for whom rationalization about the Trump U documents most likely won't even be necessary.
"Mr. Las Vegas" himself, Wayne Newton, showed that he understood the wannabe principle when he voiced his support for Trump last October on Fox & Friends.
“I love Donald, and he would make a great president,” Newton told hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade.

“Number one, he tells the truth,” said Newton. “Number two, he’s been where most of these guys want to be, in terms of riding on his own plane. He doesn’t have to worry about what hotels he stays in, he doesn’t have to worry about how his family gets to Hawaii, so on and so forth.”
But mainly Mr. "Danke Schoen" loves The Donald because "he tells it like it is."

Yet another scammer (and wannabe) who comes to mind is embattled "life coach" and long-time grifter Coral Grant, a Trudeau cohort (or, more accurately, Trudeau suckup) who is currently facing a fraud lawsuit of her own, though you'd never know it to see her cheerful Facebook posts. At the moment Coral and her co-grifter, hubby Mac Grant, are scamming through a company called Best Life Coaching Society, but that could change at any moment. They are promoting their Subconscious Release Technique, which is probably exactly what it sounds like: a way to get you to release all of your money to them without even being aware of it. Anyway, Coral has made no secret that she's a yuuuuge Trump supporter who seems to be trying to suck up to The Donald the way she did Trudeau, and who soooo looks forward to seeing Drumpf make America great again, and who recently got all teary-eyed by a pro-Trump propaganda vid that attempted to make her idol seem like the greatest humanitarian who ever walked the Earth.



So again, I think that for the most part the Trump U flap won't make a bit of difference to the Trumpians, who will defend their idol no matter what happens. Depending upon how the lawsuits go, the "scandal" might possibly put a slight damper on some Scamworld schemes, since Trump is such a high-profile example. Possibly it will lead to reforms in the industry... oh, who am I kidding?
 

Certainly I am glad that the fraud that was Trump U, and that may possibly be a slightly more subtle version of Trump U in the future, is getting some mainstream attention again, and that Trump in general is garnering more critical media attention now. But at this point I think that Paul Waldman's Washington Post opinion piece is a little overly optimistic in its projection that journalists' efforts to (finally) crack down on Trump will significantly harm the Trump campaign. After all, Trump is a powerful demagogue, and as the media light becomes ever harsher and Trump hollers more loudly about the unfairness of it all, it is far more likely that he will be able to turn his ardent admirers against the media (even more so than they are already)  than that the media coverage will turn them against him

But still. It is possible that a few people will wake up, and those on the fence may be convinced that putting the dangerously narcissistic Trump -- a man who truly is too sick to lead -- in the most powerful position on the planet is a horrifying idea.

NOTE (with important links):
 

Here is a link to a page on the web site of the law firm handling the Low (formerly Makaeff) and Cohen class action lawsuits. It hasn't been completely updated but it has some useful history, devoid of sensationalist headlines and editorializing.

And here is a link to another page, which includes information about the Cohen lawsuit in which civil RICO has been invoked. This page has a link to a portal that will lead you to numerous important court documents in both of the cases in which Judge Gonzalo Curiel is involved. (Also read their FAQ page.)


For those who have jumped on the "Trump is going to prison over RICO charges" bandwagon, hold on to your horses. It probably isn't going to happen. Civil RICO is, as my friend Max noted on a Facebook conversation, easy to invoke but very hard to prove. Besides, technically speaking, the word "charges" only applies to criminal cases, not civil, and at this point it seems unlikely that either one of these civil cases will become criminal ones, and highly unlikely that Trump will be imprisoned for anything. (Here's Ken White at Popehat lawsplaining about the ridiculous overuse of RICO accusations.) Frankly, I don't want to see Donald Trump in prison. But I damn sure don't want to see him in the Oval Office.

PS added on 8 June 2016: In another comical development, Drumpf is now denying that he ever attacked Judge Curiel's ethnicity, and he has vowed to shut up about Trump U and the judge. We'll see how long that lasts.

* The lawsuits over which Judge Gonzalo Curiel is presiding are known as Cohen vs. Donald J. Trump, Case No. 3:13-cv-02519 (the Nationwide Action) and Low, et al. vs. Trump University, LLC, et al., Case No. 3:10-cv-00940 (California/Florida/New York Action). In May 2016, the name of the Makaeff Action was changed from Makaeff, et al. vs. Trump University, LLC., et al. to Low, et al. vs. Trump University, LLC., et al.
~ Source: Trumpuniversitylitigation.com


Meanwhile...
 
Drumpf continues his hate-hate relationship with the press. As well, the man whom his supporters have so passionately embraced for not being beholden to corrupt Wall Street interests has been revealed, in one of the media that have been banned from Trump events, to be a Deutsche-bag with a massive conflict of interest that is unprecedented for a US presidential candidate. And in the larger world, North Korea has just added itself to the list of Trump supporters.

Heaven help us all.

Related on this Whirled:
 

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