Whirled Musings

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's Cosmic Connie Day!

Yes, Dear Ones, today, January 24, is my birthday. While it is not yet the international holiday it really should be, you can still celebrate it anyway. Do something nice for someone. Send me money. Share a smile with a stranger. Send me money. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Send me money. Most of all, think about me. And send me money. Or not. Just make it a great day. I'll be back to snarking soon, but today I'm celebrating.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A collection of uncollected thoughts

Today's offering, Dear Ones, is one of those "snippets" posts composed of several snarky bits, rather than being just one long snark about a single topic. Perhaps it is posts like this one that prompted a couple of folks on Rate A Blog to write that Whirled Musings is a senseless waste of time because it's just a collection of rambling, unrelated stuff. To wit:

viewed and rated said...

Here is another senseless Blog....

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/
whirled musings - Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie

Waste of time -
a collection of rambling unassociated postings that amount to no more than gobbly
[sic] gook on the net.

July 16, 2008

Although that comment was posted in July of 2008, I didn't discover it until December. I wrote a response on Rate A Blog, speculating that I had either stepped on someone's toes or that the person making the comment simply wasn't aware of, or interested in, the usual subject matter of my blog. I added that there is indeed a common thread among most of my posts, and that on those occasions when I veer off topic, I warn my readers in advance. I also Tweeted about the critical remark on Twitter, and provided a link to the thread on Rate A Blog on which it appeared.

This apparently inspired someone else to follow the link and post her or his own remark:

nyuk nyuk said...

I just visited ......

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/whirled musings
I can live without it.
An array of uncollected thoughts that assemble a hangover, ha ha ha
December 20, 2008

"An array of uncollected thoughts that assemble a hangover?" Now, that really makes sense.

Anyway, on to my "uncollected thoughts":

Calling on Dreaming-Bear
I've had some fun on this blog at the expense of a Maui poet and performance artist who calls himself Dreaming-Bear Kanaan. Recently Dreaming-Bear, or someone I believe to be D-B, wrote a rather lengthy private email to me explaining things from his point of view. He says I have misrepresented him on several counts. Although he seemed to imply that I should share his message on my blog, he didn't exactly say that. I immediately sent him an email in response, addressing some of the points he made and asking him if I could indeed publish his email on my blog.

I didn't receive a response, so after a couple of weeks I re-sent my request from another email address, in the event that his spam filter might have blocked out my Juno address. I still have not heard from him.

What do I have to do...send smoke signals?

Look, Dreaming-Bear, if you are reading this, please do know that I would love to publish your letter to me (minus the phone number you provided, of course), but I need your permission. Email me at cosmic.connie@juno.com and let me know.

I may be snarky, but I do try to be fair.

PS added in February 2009: I finally did hear back from from Dreaming-Bear, and now I'm the one who's being remiss about responding, as he has asked me to phone him so we could talk. I have yet to do that, partly because of time constraints and partly because I am so not a "phone person," preferring in-person communication and, lacking that, email and Twitter. However, I did want to add this capsule version of his messages, as he still didn't exactly grant permission for me to publish them verbatim. In fact he said he wished to be removed altogether from my blog, and has hinted more than once about karmic consequences.

In essence, Dreaming-Bear feels it is unfair of me to publish some of this stuff, especially the gossipy bits from people who claimed to have known him. (Since these commenters are anonymous, neither he nor I can verify whether or not they do know him.) D-B says that many of the things I wrote about, or that others commented about, are part of his past, adding that we all have things in our past that we may not necessarily be proud of. He says he has been in a committed relationship for over a year with a lady whom he loves very much. And he adds that he wishes that the people who don't like him could either forgive him or just stop ragging on him. (Keep in mind I'm paraphrasing here, just trying to capture the essence of what he said.)

He points out that there is nothing wrong with being an actor/performance artist, which is all that he is really claiming to be. He says he has never held himself up as a perfect being, a guru, or a spiritual leader. Now, my own take on this is that a hint of the risque would actually enhance his image as a performance artist. It worked for the late Jim Morrison and countless others. However, D-B also indicated that he is trying to get away from some of that over-the-top nekkid stuff and these days is concentrating more on being a bearer of peace and tenderness.

He also expressed puzzlement about why I would go after him when he's not the fish I want to fry. I have to concede that when compared to the likes of Kevin Trudeau or David Schirmer and any of dozens of New-Wage hustledorks, Dreaming-Bear is relatively benign. He's been an easy target for me because of his mystical-poet/performance shtick.

Most importantly (from an accuracy standpoint), Dreaming-Bear says he was not faking the wheelchair stint. He explained that he was in a bad car accident years ago and has had several surgeries to repair resulting damage. He says he has been in and out of the hospital for ten years and is legally disabled.

Some say I'm going out of my way to be "fair and balanced," which really doesn't fit into my job description as a snarky blogger. But I have never held much to job descriptions (and besides, we all remember what Emerson said about "a foolish consistency").

In any case, at the very least this is about getting facts right. And where I have been factually wrong I certainly want to correct that. As for the anonymous critics and snarkers, they are welcome to come forth with their true identities on this forum, or to communicate with Dreaming-Bear directly. I am not removing their comments, even as I am not removing the comments of the equally anonymous defenders of D-B, who speculated that I snark because I am full of rage and self-hatred.

And I stand by my own snarky opinions about Dreaming-Bear's public persona and performances, as those, I believe, fall under the umbrella of opinion – arts criticism, if you will.

As always, I welcome opinions and feedback from all.

"I paid five grand to ride in a Rolls, and all I got was this dumb blog."

Some of my friends and allies, I fear, are just a little bit too cynical for their own good. My pal Elizabeth, for example, recently commented about Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale's ongoing series of Rolls-Royce Phantom MasterMind sessions, for which he charges participants $5,000.00 a head. In a comment on one of my recent posts, she wrote, "$5,000 for [riding in that] Rolls? Even the Spitzer hooker did not charge so much."

And yet the success stories about the Phantom riders are pouring in, and they're pretty darned convincing, if you ask me. For example, there is Barry Thomas Bechta, a dedicated Joebot with a mega-watt smile and, apparently, a heart full of hope. Judging by the pics on his web site, he seems to be living his dream of donning a very shiny blue jacket (his lucky jacket, I'm guessing) and having his picture taken with various New-Wage gurus.

So what did Barry get from his recent Phantom ride? What remarkable successes has he realized since that magical evening in Austin? Well, for one thing, it would appear that he is now able to deal masterfully with the disappointment and frustration of not being able to afford to do the stuff he really wants to do. Here's what he wrote in a recent blog post about "Seeing and Being Abundance":

Let’s say, I wanted to go to [Joe Vitale's] Attract Wealth Seminar being held in Austin this weekend (I did).

Let’s say, I did not have the cash flow to attend Attract Wealth Seminar (I did not See Abundance).

Let’s say, I want to Be Abundance in the absence of Attract Wealth Seminar (I do).

Let’s say, I want to increase my ability to See Abundance Be Abundance See Abundance (I do).

Then I can use, Attract Wealth Seminar or any other sign of Abundance to enhance my ability to See Abundance Be Abundance See Abundance.

Many would say that kind of thinking is only wishful thinking.

I ask you to hear me out.

In my past, I would have said something like, “woe is me” because I could not go to Attract Wealth Seminar. In my past, I would have cushioned the blow of my “inability to afford” by saying something like, “The seminar probably isn’t going to be that good really.” In my past, I would have been upset and disappointed.

Zero Limits and Ho’oponopono says that every experience brings up for a person either memory or Miracles.

In my past, I would come from memory, and say “woe is me” and would have been upset and disappointed.

In this present moment, the only moment we ever have access to, when I am able to act without memory, I am able to act from Inspiration and Miracles come forth.

Then the Pure Potential Energy of Life knows what is possible for me.

My ability to talk about Abundance being present (and more importantly feeling that Abundance is Present Right Now) even in the face of apparent lack of Abundance, sets me up to see more Abundance in everything...

...From a place of Abundance Awareness, I can See Abundance where few others would See it or Be it.

And now let's look at the official CCT (Cosmic Connie Translation) of the above:

I wanted to go to Joe's Attract Wealth seminar in Austin, even though I'd just recently gone on the Rolls-Royce Phantom Ride with Joe. But even though the fee for the Attract Wealth Seminar was less than $800.00, I didn't have enough money to go, mainly because I'd blown five grand, plus travel and accommodation expenses, to get taken on that Phantom Ride. You'd think that Joe could have at least given me a scholarship and paid for my travel expenses so I could shill for him at the seminar and maybe get more people to sign up for future Phantom Rides. But noooooo.

But I'm okay with that, really I am! I don't feel at all upset and disappointed. After all, I did get taken for a ride! By Joe! In a Rolls!

And so we can be comforted in knowing that no matter how non-abundant Barry's life appears to be, now or in the future, he'll always have Austin.

Another Phantom success story is Wendy G. Young, whom Joe recently Tweeted about on Twitter:

Phantom Rider Wendy Young launched her blog due to the Rolls-Royce Mastermind she attended. http://www.wendygyoung.com

I eagerly jumped to Wendy's blog to check it out. I had actually visited her blog before, and had even written a comment to it back in November. That was in response to a post she'd written in September during Hurricane Ike. At the time she wrote the Ike post, her electricity was still on, and she intended to keep it on via her own powerful intentions. Ike wasn't going to get the better of her, nosiree. I politely wrote to her and asked her if focusing on keeping her power on had worked, but she has yet to answer. I have to say I am pretty disappointed.

Now I have a feeling she won't be answering me at all, as she's probably far too busy with her new and improved blog, as well as planning workshops where she will be teaching a brand new technology, which apparently centers around a Manifestation Grid she created to help you manifest your heart's desire. I am sure it's all very scientifical.

Her new blog has her pretty excited:

So just this past week I launched my new blog..I call it a soft launch! So once I feel like I really know what I am doing I will do the real launch. But really it is all real. Maybe I called it the soft launch because I was not fully committed to my new project.

Actually if I am being really truthful…this is all about my new life! My new business. The new me. New friends. New experiences. Maybe I will even attract a new boyfriend in the process!

Wow. All this from just one rolling MasterMind session. It looks like that was five grand well spent, Wendy! Indeed, she seems utterly thrilled about her new projects and her new self.

In truth, however, she was no slouch in her pre-Phantom Rider days, if this link is any indication. She created an audio series called, "Where Does Money Come From?" The series contains secrets to wealth creation from an impressive array of experts. For instance, there's Brad Yates, Master Tapper, who is really into...well...tapping. (I know it's too late for the holiday season just past, but you might want to bookmark Brad's Christmas tapping video and use it to help you get through next Christmas. Do yourself a favor and follow the Xmas tap link now. I guarantee it will cheer you up.) Also in Wendy's line-up is a Benny-Hillish-looking chap named Dr. Stephen Bacque, aka "The Homeless Millionaire." Dr. Bacque is obviously breaking new ground in the New-Wage industry, as most New-Wage hucksters are formerly homeless millionaires. Perhaps most noteworthy in Wendy's lineup is yet another Scientist Bob, noted quantum physics expert and Secret star Bob Doyle. Follow that link and be prepared to be positively blinded with science.

But all of that is nothing, I'm sure, compared to what Wendy is now planning.

Yet some of my friends continue to be doubters. When I sent an email about Wendy's new site to a friend of mine, he responded, "Wait a minute... So this broad spills five G’s for a spin in a taxi…and the ONLY idea she got was to ... let me get this straight ... her BIG idea was to LAUNCH A FRIGGIN’ BLOG?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WTF! THAT'S the big idea!?! A blog! These people are insane!"

But then my pal apparently reconsidered, and he wrote to me again a little later:

My last email got me wondering. If *I* were to take a ride in the JV Taxi, what awesome ideas would *I* get? Let me dream a little. Perhaps...

... I would decide to live my life-long dream of becoming a rodeo clown.

... JV's wisdom would impel me to reach for the stars and get a paper route!

... Or I could possibly start a stamp collection! (Yes! you heard that right. A STAMP collection. Do I dare?)

... I've been too scared to dare this on my own, but maybe with JV's help, I could be coached into buying a FAX machine. (I really need help with this one, it scares me so.)

My mind reels with the possibilities! I'm dizzy here…

My friend’s inspiration was downright contagious, and this in turn inspired me to get busy fine-tuning the program I mentioned at the very end of a post I wrote last October. As it happens, Ron and I are getting ready to launch a series of rolling MasterMind sessions of our own. This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime for you; for a mere ten grand in US dollars, you get to ride around in our Honda Odyssey mini-van with us and bask in the presence of our scintillating personalities. Why ten grand instead of merely five? you ask. Well, it's because there are two of us MasterMinders. That's twice the value!

What will you get from the experience? That is totally up to you. We create each Mini-Van MasterMind experience as we go, so you never know what will happen!

Who knows, we may even have a surprise guest or two, such as my friend the future rodeo clown, who may share some documents that he faxed with his new fax machine. We might bring a couple of our dogs too, and in the future, if things go as planned, we might even bring a minature donkey foal along. (You – yes, you! – will get to clean up the donkey poop, and we won't charge you extra for doing so.) Of course, dinner is included with the ride; you can even super-size your order. If you're interested, send me an email. Or better yet, just send me the ten thousand dollars and continue to enjoy my scintillating personality via this blog, and Ron's scintillating personality via his blog and his participation on Steve Salerno's blog, from the comfort of your own home. You don't need those large fries anyway. And if the Universe guides you to do so, feel free to send more than ten thousand dollars.

Dream big!

Neale and pray for forgiveness
By now you've probably heard the story about how Neale Donald Walsch, who has made his fortune by convincing people that he and God have a very special friendship,
got himself into a spot of trouble recently for plagiarizing a heartwarming Christmas story. Neale has apologized profusely, saying the plagiarism was accidental. Candy Chand, the author of the plagiarized story, isn't buying his explanation.

Will Candy sue? That remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be suprised. "Well," wrote my pal Chris Locke of the Mystic Bourgeoisie blog, "at least God is unlikely to sue." But Chris is wrong about that, as I explained at the end of a September 2006 blog post:

In late August, God sued Walsch on several counts, including invasion of privacy, unauthorized publication of private conversations, and numerous inaccuracies (particularly in the volumes, Marriage To God and Temporary Separation From God). God is asking for an unspecified amount in damages, as well as generous royalties from all [Conversations With God] books and auxiliary products, and 50% of the profits from the film. Since logistical difficulties prevent God from managing funds in the physical realm, She/He/It has stipulated that damages and royalties are to be paid directly to the Cosmic Connie Foundation, care of this blog.

The case is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Being Court next summer. Meanwhile, the Cosmic Connie Foundation is still waiting to receive those royalties from Neale. And I must say that God is getting very impatient.

Shift work takes on a whole new meaning
Despite all of the earnest efforts by the New-Wage leaders who truly have our best interests at heart, and are therefore urging us to ignore the mainstream media with all of its bad news, there really is a little bit of an economic crisis in the US of A and even in other parts of the world.

You don't believe me? Well, consider this: The Onion, that impeachable source of all the news that no one else will print, recently reported that many Americans are having to work a fourth shift in a perpendicular dimension in order to make ends meet.

Look, we always knew this day would come. It's time to stop living in denial, especially since we're all going to be shifting into the fourth dimension (or higher) anyway within the next few years. And who knows what 2012 will bring!

Here's the grim story.

"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage..."
I know the previous piece was a little disturbing, Dear Ones, so I will end this post on an up note.

As you probably know about me by now, I am never afraid to admit when I am wrong. And I have been oh, so wrong about The Secret. My basic premise from the beginning was that although The Secret was very profitable for its creators and the wise teachers who starred in it, it was not all that effective as a tool for changing one's life.

But I have just read a deeply touching story about how one man's life was changed for the better by The Secret. You may very well have seen this story, as it now seems to be making the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere on the Net. But just in case you have not, I'll share it with you. This is the tale of a man who was a prisoner, not only of the criminal justice system but also of his own deep despair. The Secret saved him. And he in turn went on to inspire many, many people by sharing his story.

Here is the link. (And just in case Amazon gets wise to it and takes it down at some point, I have preserved the original comment (though not the ensuing discussion) as a jpeg; double-click on the image and you'll be able to read it.)

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy what's left of the weekend, and I'll be back soon with more unrelated, uncollected thoughts that assemble like a hangover. Or something like that.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mr. Fire meets up with true dough

Note to all: I've expanded this post a bit since I first published it on January 4. So if you read it then, you might want to read it again because there's more now. And don't forget to read the "comments" section for more information, entertainment and links.
~CC (1-06-09)


Forget that brief fling between Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale and the now-failed Succeed Magazine,
one of embattled Aussie Secret star David Schirmer's boondoggles. That is sooooo last year. Now we have what is potentially the absolute ultimate Match Made In Hustledork Heaven (or at least New-Wage Nirvana).


I give you Joe Vitale and Kevin Trudeau, infomercial king, bestselling author, and convicted con artist. Joe recently had a three-hour dinner with Trudeau and his lovely young wife, Natalie. A good time was apparently had by all, as they drank expensive Scotch and talked about everything from infomercials and other moneymaking schemes to Joe's car collection (I know, big surprise on the latter).

In his blog post, Joe mentions in passing that he is aware of Trudeau's troubles:

I'm well aware of Kevin's long term fight with the government, his prison time, his current federal restrictions, etc.

Yet the man I met is sincere, passionate, and dedicated. He is on a mission to help people get healthy and get out of debt. He's been to sixty countries in search of health cures that truly work. When he finds them, he reports on them. He's fearless about it, too.

As usual, most of the responses to this post were positive. A guy named James, however, just couldn't let go of the issue about Kevin's bad press:

The guy gets major negative press though. What's up with that?
ABC 20/20: John Stossel Exposes Liar Kevin Trudeau
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN5ihrECJms*
To which Joe responded:

James, see my Dec 24 post about paying attention to the mainstream media.
Blessings,
joe

A little later another reader named Paul chimed in:

James, You can't trust the media. If they have no bad news they'll create it. They are trying to create dirt on Kevin Trudeau. I call him Kevin Truthdeau. I like his stuff. I have Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About the 1st and Second Edition and More Natural Cures Revealed. Joe are going to invite kevin to the Zero Limits event in April? It would be really cool if you did. It goes to show that sickness starts in the mind and cancer is no exception to the rule. I believe in home remedies and natural cures. It seems like the best of both worlds in the same place at the same time.

Joe failed to respond to Paul's question about the Zero Limits event, so Paul repeated it a couple of days later. Paul also responded to another reader who was critical of Trudeau, saying, "You can't believe the government or the media. The government and the media has [sic] a personal vendetta against Mr. Trudeau." Which, of course, has been Trudeau's big line of defense to his customers.

Yet another reader, Wendy, was bothered by Joe's association with Trudeau.

Hi again Joe:
I have looked further into Kevin’s troubled life and quite frankly I am surprised that you would assoicate yourself with him. Sorry but I have to question your judgement on this one.

Joe responded:

Hi Wendy. I had dinner with the guy; I didn’t marry him. Besides, unconditional forgiveness is the path to magic and miracles. If I sat in judgement of Kevin and denied his offer to have dinner because of what the media says about him, I’d be a limited-thinking fool. As it turned out, the evening with him was unforgettable and wonderful. He was very helpful to me. In fact, one of my dear friends is ill and Kevin was right there with support and resources to help. Had I passed on the dinner with him, i would have passed on an oppourtunity [sic] to learn and grow and to help a friend.
Blessings,
joe

I hope you will forgive me – unconditionally, of course – if it seems to me that Joe's deliberate glossing over Trudeau's troubles is tantamount to admitting that it really is all about the "hypnotic" marketing and the money after all, and little else matters, even when you dress it up with talk of "magic and miracles." In both his blog post and his comments to concerned readers, Joe has repeatedly made it known that he doesn't give a rat's behind about the trouble Kevin has been in. It is simply not important to him. He concluded his post by stating that he has decided he needs to hang around Kevin, and successful people like Kevin, more. "He stretched my thinking, challenged my thinking, and enriched my thinking," Joe enthused.

As it happens, Kevin Trudeau was the very example I used more than once
when responding to comments on my own blog regarding David Schirmer (as well as other hustledorks and New-Wage schemes). When speculating about Schirmer's plans to come to the US and make it big on these shores, one person mentioned that because of his growing legal and personal troubles, and the resulting bad publicity, there was no way he would ever be accepted here. I tried to temper that optimism by mentioning Trudeau, whose work has been refuted by experts in numerous fields, who has been the target of hundreds of consumer complaints over the years, and who has actually done prison time for fraud...and yet he's back, bigger than ever, and his products continue to sell like hotcakes.

Now, don't get me wrong. I recognize that few issues are black and white; there are shades of gray to be sure. Yes, the US government can be intrusive and has been known to imprison people, or worse, on questionable charges (and I'm being charitable here. Very charitable.). Yes, the pharmaceutical industry often seems far more interested in profits than in actually improving people's health (and once again, I am being very charitable). Yes, the mainstream medical profession as a whole can also seem to be a bit jealous of its turf when it comes to "alternative" health products and practices (although I still like to think that most doctors are primarily motivated by concern for the well-being of their patients). And certainly one has to temper the offerings of the mainstream media with the knowledge that most media outlets, including news divisions, are in business for ratings, which translate, of course, into money, money, money.

Trudeau, however, has been nailed time and time again while jumping from one deceptive scheme to the next. I find it hard to believe that this is because the media and the US government and "Big Pharma" and the medical profession are all out to get him.

Here's a link to a good blog post that concisely summarizes why Kevin Trudeau is not to be trusted.

If you want more details, here is
an article from Skeptical Inquirer.

If that's a bit too...well...skeptical...for your taste, try the offering from Salon.com, the online magazine,
which ran a feature on Trudeau a few years ago.

My pal Steve Salerno at SHAMblog has written about Trudeau a few times too, most notably
here and here.

And here's
yet another useful page from another skeptic, Robert T. Carroll of Skepdic.

But I think you get the idea. There's a lot of information out there about Kevin Trudeau, and most of it is not good.

As for the mainstream media (of which
the John Stossel link mentioned above is a more representative example than those in the paragraphs just above), despite the ratings factor, not everything in the media is a lie. As I noted, it's not all black and white, and that goes for the critics as well as for those being criticized. The profession of newsgathering and reporting still includes many people of great integrity; I know several of them personally. Very simply, they're not all mercenaries who are out to assassinate the characters of poor helpless con artists...er...entrepreneurs...in order to get a good story.

And what about the hundreds of Amazon readers who blasted Trudeau's books; are they also part of "the mainstream media" (or the government, or the pharmaceutical industry), and therefore not to be believed? To wit:
And so on.

If all of these dissatisfied readers are not to be believed, then by logic, we must also take with more than a grain of salt all of the five-star reviews of Trudeau's work (not to mention all of those glowing five-star Amazon reader reviews of Joe Vitale's many titles).

And here's a site linking to consumer complaints about Trudeau. Judging from the dates on the most recent complaints, the man is still apparently bilking consumers left, right and sideways. And getting away with it.

Then again, maybe these "complaints" are simply more fabrications of the mainstream media. Or maybe they were planted there by Big Pharma. Or maybe they, as well as those pesky one-star Amazon reviews, should just be dismissed as opinions, and everyone knows that
opinions are like...well...you know.

On a more serious note – and here I'll acknowledge that I am venturing dangerously close to Godwin's Law territory, albeit without the Nazis – if more people truly did follow the increasingly popular advice about completely ignoring the mainstream media (and/or practicing "unconditional forgiveness"), there might be some unintended consequences. It's possible, for example, that Radovan Karadžić, the alleged Bosnian Serb war criminal who was captured last year, wouldn't have even had to grow a beard and assume the identity of a dead man in order to win followers. He could simply have broken into the New-Wage/selfish-help bidness as himself. Nobody would have cared, as long as he offered the requisite miracles and wonders for which people are so hungry.

As for unconditional forgiveness, how far are we really willing to take that concept? On a personal level it's one thing; truly forgiving someone who has wronged you personally (whether or not they ask for forgiveness) can be very healing. But that's a choice that can only be made by the individuals involved, and one has to wonder how this sort of forgiveness even applies to Joe Vitale and Kevin Trudeau. Has Kevin in some way wronged Joe personally or professionally? If not, then for Joe to even imply that he has the right to "forgive" Kevin for scamming thousands of other people is nothing short of arrogant.

And what about "unconditional forgiveness" on a societal level? Are we willing to take it far enough to set wrongdoers of all kinds free to do as they wish? If so, that's great news for the infamous Bernie Madoff, whose appalling misdeeds Joe all but dismissed on the above-mentioned December 24 blog post. Joe hadn't even heard of Madoff till a reader asked if the victims of Madoff's high-dollar scamming had somehow "attracted" their victimization. Joe responded with his usual advice that folks were better off ignoring the mainstream media, and, yes, he implied that perhaps some of the victims were also responsible for what Madoff did to them.** He even suggested that some of them might have actually been relieved to have lost their fortunes (perhaps because of their subconscious beliefs that money is evil). It was apparently all too complex, in a Law Of Attraction and perhaps karmic sort of way, for Joe to waste much time speculating about; his main point was that people are simply happier, overall, if they ignore the news. Psst, Bernie, if you ever get out of prison, maybe you too can hook up with Kevin Trudeau, and then you can bilk people on levels you've only dreamed of.

Granted, Kevin Trudeau's scams are hardly on the scale of Karadžić's alleged war-time atrocities. I get that. But it seems clear that he is a scammer nonetheless, arguably as bad in his own way as Bernie Madoff, or perhaps even worse – and yet so many people seem not to care at all. Trudeau himself told Joe that no matter what happens, he, Trudeau, can't be beat and will always win. And maybe he's right, if "winning" can be measured in terms of earnings and material success. Trudeau certainly seems to have plumbed the murky depths of the collective consumer heart, having proven repeatedly that millions will jump at a chance to be privy to "secrets" that "they don't want you to know about." A lucky few will get to make millions off of the masses who long to be privy to these "secrets."

It remains to be seen if Mr. Fire will actually enter into any joint ventures with Kevin Trudeau, but I wouldn't be surprised. When money calls, Joe answers. (Although I have no way of knowing, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he received a bit of compensation for writing that complimentary blog post about Kevin. I'm just speculating, of course, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility.) Plus, he has been known to have his head turned by flattery, and it looks as if Kevin and his lovely young bride flattered him plenty.

Kevin’s wife seemed starstruck. Turns out she is a big fan of all my books. And I mean all of them. They went on a shopping spree at Amazon and bought every title they could find by me.

Natalie, his wife, had lots of questions about the Law of Attraction and my writing career. She hung on my every word, as did Kevin. It was very flattering.

Kevin and I spoke about many things, from performing magic (we’re both lifetime members of the Society of American Magicians), to infomercials (he had no idea of my experience with them) to network marketing to health cures to hypnotic storytelling.

I told him about my own infomercial for The Awakening Course. He asked about numbers and results, none of which I had at hand.

He said I should be on TV more. He said I am good looking, articulate, and sincere. (Thank you, Kevin.)

This might even trump having an old Hawaiian mystic (speaking of Zero Limits) tell you that you're one of God's Original 10, or that you are the Jesus of business, or that he (the old mystic) should be sitting at your feet because you are "as gods." (Read all about it here; scroll down to the section titled, "Joe Almighty.") Hey, that mystical/god stuff is all right, but given a choice between being fawned over by an old geezer or a cute young blond, I strongly suspect that most red-blooded hetero guys would choose the latter every time.

Particularly if that blond happens to be attached to a potential fame ticket and unprecedented money op.***

PS ~ Here's a link to some laughs at True-dough's expense. Unfortunately, it is really not much of an exaggeration.

* John Stossel's 20/20 segment about Kevin Trudeau isn't new, of course – Trudeau has published several more books in the interim – but it's very revealing nonetheless. Also revealing are the recent responses to the video (more than likely a result of the link Joe provided on his blog), painting critics of Trudeau as idiots who have been brainwashed by the mainstream media, the pharmaceutical industry, the government, etc.
**
Actually, in a few cases it's true that some people "attracted" Madoff, or at least deserved him; some folks apparently invested with Madoff because they suspected he was cheating (though they thought it was by illegal insider trading, not an illegal Ponzi scheme). But it doesn't take some convoluted crap about the Law Of Attraction to explain pure and simple greed.
*** Here is a link to an article in the online edition of the Salem (MA) News about the June 2008 wedding of Kevin Trudeau and the lovely Natalie. It was a civil ceremony held at the City Hall in Beverly, Massachusetts, a spot chosen because, as Kevin explained, "We decided this is a nice, beautiful courthouse." The bride, a native of the Ukraine, wore traditional Ukrainian attire and jumped excitedly up and down, kissing Kevin while his new mother-in-law snapped photos of them in front of City Hall. The article said the couple planned to have a more lavish ceremony overseas at some point, but they didn't know where or when. The purpose of the Massachusetts ceremony, according to Kevin, was that "We wanted to make it a U.S. marriage." Now, that's patriotism. God bless the U.S.A.! To me the most noteworthy points of the wedding story were the quotations from the switchboard operator at the courthouse. Apparently a passionate Kevin Trudeau fan, she gushed about how handsome the groom was, and said she nearly fainted when he shook her hand after he signed her copy of his natural-cures scam book, and his bride gave her the wedding bouquet. For the life of me, I do not understand how people can be so starstruck over this hustler, but they are. Look at this comment from "mike alaska," for example, on Joe Vitale's blog.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Barry Happy New Year!

Well, Dear Ones, it's been two weeks since I blogged, and now I find myself in a brand new year, at least if you're going by the Gregorian calendar.


I was seriously considering doing one of those painfully clever Year In Review posts outlining the best and worst of 2008 from my Whirled view. After all, 2008 was an eventful year in the New-Wage/selfish-help arena; we had everything from a benevolent, bearded New-Wage guru who turned out to be a genocidal war criminal, to the usual shenanigans of your garden-variety hustledorks and amateur quantum physicists. Scientist Bob Proctor disavowed one of his major fame tickets, The Secret, while pushing the latest in a series of his own
marginally legal highly questionable money-making schemes. Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale bought more expensive cars and blogged and Tweeted about them endlessly, although his world nearly shattered when he failed to attract a flying car he'd had his eye on (if you follow the link, scroll down to the second item). David Schirmer, lone Aussie star of The Secret, lost more court cases (to paraphrase "Mr. Fire," way too many links to list here. Just Google.). And so forth.

Indeed, the ocean of 2008 runneth over with snark chum.

Alas, I quickly realized that I am far too lazy to do a Whirled Year In Review. I'm even too lazy to do a personal Year In Review, even though it was a significant year for me, in that I became a country girl and finally learned how to use Twitter.

So I'm going to take the easy way out and hand you over to Dave Barry, who, of course, concerns himself with a much broader range of topics than I do. Just in case you haven't seen it yet, here is Dave's review of the year that was. And remember, he's not making it up. At least, not all of it.


PS ~ Don't worry. I'll get back to snarking...well...probably tomorrow!
PPS added January 3 ~ That "tomorrow" I mentioned above is now yesterday, and threatening to turn into the day before yesterday. But don't worry, I am preparing to snark...

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