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, February 03, 2010

Bond. James' bond...

...that bond, as you probably know by now, is a cool five million dollars.* (See updates below. ~CC)

By now it's all over the news: James Arthur Ray was arrested earlier today at his attorney's office in Prescott, Arizona. He has been charged with three counts of manslaughter for the three people who died last October after the infamous sweat lodge session at his Spiritual Warrior retreat in Sedona. You can keep up with the news here, and some of the many Tweets here.

PS added 4 February ~ This post is what Wikipedia would call a "stub," and, unlike my October 9 post linked to above, I'm probably not going to keep adding to it. However, while it's still "new" news, I did want to add a link to a few items:
The related story published on the Good Morning America web site on February 4.
The transcript of Anderson Cooper's CNN show on February 3, refuting James Ray's statements in a sham interview for New York Magazine.
And no discussion of this matter would be complete without Salty Droid's take on the matter (it's worth it for the Photoshopping alone).

* Not long after James Ray's arrest, it became known that he was having a bit of a "challenge" posting bond, which would have entailed coming up with $500,000 in cash to get out of the slammer. Once again Salty Droid was on it (this piece also has videos about James' plea and his attoney's comments) . Some people misinterpreted the statements from the Ray legal team as being that James doesn't have the money, raising questions of how it is that Mr. Harmonic Wealth himself could be so cash-poor. But, as former James Ray employee Amy Hall commented on the Droid's blog...

Amy Hall Reply:
February 5th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

If you listen closely… the atty doesn’t say that James doesn’t have the money… just that it isn’t liquid enough to come up with the $500,000 cash that he needs. For God’s sake the man owns 5 houses! His parents own their own house, his brother owns properties in OK. They could come up with it if they wanted to. James is in solitary confinement. He’s on a Monk’s Holiday!

There's also an interesting discussion on the Rick Ross forum about James and his brand of Harmonic Asset Concealment, as well as the long tradition of same among LGAT gurus (Werner Erhard of est/Landmark Forum infamy comes to mind).

Update, 28 February 2010: As most of you undoubtedly know, after much ballyhooing about his lack of funds to get him out of jail under that original five-mil bond, James' bond was reduced to $525,000 on February 25. (Here, from the Droid's blog, is a link to a PDF of the order.) The next day he walked out of jail a free man, sort of. There are conditions on his freedom as he awaits trial for three counts of manslaughter. Among these conditions: He had to surrender his passport and can't leave or attempt to leave the U.S.; he has to provide his lawyers with a written itinerary in advance of any travel within the U.S.; and he cannot conduct, supervise, or participate in sweat lodges or any other event that might induce a "significant risk of physical harm" to others. That latter provision is open to debate, of course, since there are other varieties of physical harm besides cooking people to death or goading them into injuring themselves by striking a board or a brick. (Inducing psychosis that might lead them to kill themselves comes to mind. I'm just sayin'.)

Judging by some of his most recent tweets on Twitter, James is setting the stage for his newest shtick, playing on the theme of transforming darkness into light. (Well, hey, a guy has to make a living. And when life gives lemons...)

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, and as you've no doubt noticed, I have long since given up providing a blow-by-blow account of all of the developments in this ongoing story. Plenty of others have taken up the slack, though, and have done a remarkable job. Among them:

  • Good old Salty Droid

  • Cassandra Yorgey Since her blog does not appear to use tags, I am linking to her first post about James Ray, but on the right-hand side of the page is a complete list, with live links, of her posts on this matter.

  • The participants on the Rick Ross forum Not surprisingly, the James Ray thread is very long; the link is to the page first mentioning the lowered bond. You can go backward or forward as you wish. I find this forum valuable not only for the discussion of the matter at hand but also for the insights into LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training) techniques.

  • Terry Hall at the Bizsayer blog. Terry is married to former James Ray International employee Amy Hall, whom I quoted above.

A February 26 post by Steve Salerno at SHAMblog did give me pause for thought, however. Although Steve has by no means "switched sides"– as he takes some pains to explain – he did note:

...I'm getting a wee bit uneasy about the ardor of our collective assault on Ray. I think there is danger in piling on, as some of us have—including your host. I think that we run the risk of unwittingly marginalizing ourselves: that in our zeal to find and trumpet every last incriminating detail, background circumstance or untoward facial expression--while at the same time ignoring or rationalizing away any possible mitigating circumstances--we make ourselves look like, say, the liberals who once were accused of "Bush derangement syndrome"...

...while Ray may be the poster boy for reckless/venal self-help, we probably shouldn't make him out to be the Grim Reaper, Adolph Hitler and Bernie Madoff rolled into one. Certainly not until he has his day in court. The guy almost surely is a megalomaniac—but if you're telling me that he intended to kill those people, or that he didn't care if he did...I'm not buying it. I think that in the person of James Ray, we have a messianic blunderer with no sense of consequences who may have honestly felt that he was showing tough-love on that October day, driving clients to push beyond their limits. This is not in any way to excuse what happened in Sedona. If anything, it underscores why self-help is so stupid, so scary. And that is where our emphasis should now reside, in my opinion.

As is usually the case on SHAMblog, an interesting discussion follows.

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Blogger Enoch_Root said...

nicely done - me likes it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 9:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't know about this. Thanks for posting.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010 9:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ought to shake up the selfish-help industry.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Let's see if he can manifest his ass out of this one.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Praise the Lord and pray for the domino effect.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 3:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Amen, disillusioned!

Thursday, February 04, 2010 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Maybe I should go visit him in the detention center. It's in such a lovely area!

Thursday, February 04, 2010 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birds of a feather.....here is scammer schirmer supporting his fellow secret moron:


Thursday, February 04, 2010 3:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Yakaru said...

I admit to feeling a slight twinge of sympathy, as I saw Ray being led in handcuffs into detention. I probably felt it each of the ten or more times I watched that clip too.

And this from a news report:
"Mr. Ray, shackled at the wrists and ankles and wearing an orange jail uniform..."

I find being shackled at the ankles a bit rough - for any prisoner with no history of violence. But if a guy has been making millions ruining peoples lives teaching the LoA, I can only say "suck on it pal".

Thursday, February 04, 2010 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Enoch_Root said...

"nicely done - me likes it."

Thanks, Enoch! Assuming you're the same Enoch who has been commenting on Salty's blog (I couldn't tell from the Blogger profile link here), and whose own blog I linked to in my long James Ray post, I'm taking the liberty to copy and paste this comment posted on Salty's blog earlier today. And even if you're not the same Enoch, it's still a good message:

Dear Friends and Family:

On behalf of the Shore/Gillespie family we’d like to express our deep thanks for all the kindness and generosity that has been shown to us over the past months. It’s an unbelievably sad time for us, but the help of family and friends has somehow made it bearable. James was such a great father, husband, brother, son and friend, it’s hard to imagine not seeing him again.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our family and friends with the the food, flowers and cards that people have sent. We are so grateful. Please, please do not feel you need to do any more for us — but if you would like to send something, we ask that you make a contribution to the Shore kids’ education fund. Details are below…

Shore Children Education Fund

Please make checks payable to: Shore Children Education Fund and send to:

Shore Children Education Fund
c/o Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home
10121 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53266


For the benefit of those who don't know: James Shore is one of the reasons James Ray is in jail right now. Mr. Shore was one of three who died as a result of the infamous sweat lodge incident in Sedona last October.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 4:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

[Barbara] said...

"Didn't know about this. Thanks for posting."

You're welcome, Barbara. Though I wasn't the first to report this, I got in on it fairly early. It's all over the media now, of course, though it seemed to be absent from The View's hot topics this morning. Maybe tomorrow...

Thursday, February 04, 2010 4:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

abalanceofhope said...

"This ought to shake up the selfish-help industry."

For a while, anyway. I'm kind of taking a wait-and-see attitude myself. The pendulum does seem to be swinging, though.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 4:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Sheila said...

"Let's see if he can manifest his ass out of this one."

LOL, but your guess is as good as mine at this point. Seems there's been a bit of a problem raising bail money, but who knows if it's a real problem or not? As for whether the charges will stick, and what the punishment will ultimately be...again, who knows?

Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 04, 2010 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

disillusioned said...

"Praise the Lord and pray for the domino effect."

It could go either way at this point. Right now there seems to be a bit of a backlash against the selfish-help industry. But there could always be a backlash against the backlash. If that happened, would we be right back where we started? Perhaps not, because certain things may have changed permanently. As my pal John Curtis told the LA Times ( http://bit.ly/98Fbh4 ), the James Ray incident may have represented a 9/11 of sorts for the selfish-help industry. It could be the beginning of a new era of accountability.

Then again...maybe not. The public does, after all, have a short memory. If some new razzle-dazzle emerges, the general public, along with the news media that now scramble to expose the "dark side," could easily forget all about James in his orange jumpsuit.

I've given up trying to seriously predict what's next. I'll just stick with the cheap jumpsuit jokes for now (along with my usual snarking, of course).

Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana said...

"Maybe I should go visit him in the detention center. It's in such a lovely area!"

Maybe he'd even grant you an interview! I'll link to it if he does.

Good to see you here, Lana.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous said...

"Birds of a feather.....here is scammer schirmer supporting his fellow secret moron:

http://twitter.com/davidschirmer/statuses/8622123994 "


Thanks, Anon. I tried to follow that link while I was still signed in to Twitter, and couldn't get to it, probably because Mr. Schirmer has blocked me. I signed out and got in.

Here are David Schirmer's latest statements in support of his colleague, James Arthur Ray:



"Secret Teacher James Ray arrested - we are praying for you Mate http://ping.fm/gQhxO "

and (the one you sent the link to)...


RT @JamesARay: Please take a moment to review a more complete set of facts regarding the Sedona tragedy. http://jamesray.com/sedona


What does he possibly think he can gain from standing up for JAR now? Or does he think that standing up for JAR will make him a standout, since all of the other 'Secret' stars seem to be trying to silently slip away from the support team, hoping no one will notice?

Or am I just being too cynical? Is Schirmer simply exercising Christian compassion for one of his beleaguered colleagues? Yeah, I'm sure that's it. [Where's that sarcasm font when I need it?]

Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yakaru said...

"I admit to feeling a slight twinge of sympathy, as I saw Ray being led in handcuffs into detention...

"...I find being shackled at the ankles a bit rough - for any prisoner with no history of violence. But if a guy has been making millions ruining peoples lives teaching the LoA, I can only say 'suck on it pal'."

Yak, I vacillate on some of these matters too (which is probably one reason a snarget of mine called me "incoherent," but there you are). Although at times I've been merciless in my snarking, I've also written on several occasions that I don't necessarily believe imprisonment is the right solution for a nonviolent offender. Some would argue that violence *was* involved in the deaths of Ray's victims, but I still don't see him as a homicidal maniac who needs to be caged for the rest of his life. And I still pretty much feel this way even after having read all of the eyewitness accounts, and even though the actual charges filed were apparently upgraded from negligent to reckless manslaughter (as Salty Droid pointed out on his blog).

As sad and angry as the eyewitness accounts made me feel, I also feel a smidgen of compassion for James Ray. Maybe my snarget is right and that makes me "incoherent." However, that bit of compassion I feel for the "perp" in this matter doesn't take away at all from the deep sadness I feel for the victims and their families, or from my own desire to see justice. I just don't think that justice lies in caging James Ray like an animal for the rest of his life, when he could possibly be out in the world earning money to help compensate his victims' families.

But maybe I just have my head up my you-know-what about this whole matter.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CC said:
"It could go either way at this point. Right now there seems to be a bit of a backlash against the selfish-help industry. But there could always be a backlash against the backlash. If that happened, would we be right back where we started? Perhaps not, because certain things may have changed permanently."

I watched an old South Park episode yesterday that was a good parody on peoples' gullibility. A psychic who talked to the dead had a tv show. One of the South Park kids saw through him, saw the tricks he used on the audience. When he showed people the tricks, by demonstrating and explaining them, people called HIM psychic. He told them he wasn't psychic, and again explained the tricks he was using. To no avail, the people just saw what they wanted to see.

I tend to think that there will always be people who will see what they want to see, and there will always be hustledorks to cash in on them.

In the end, selfish help, in one form or another, will prevail. That's what I think.


Thursday, February 04, 2010 7:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You're probably right, Barbara. Sigh... (And thanks for invoking South Park. I love South Park!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010 7:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CC, I love South Park too :) The psychic in that episode was John Edward ("International Psychic Medium" per his webpage), someone I'd never heard of before.


Thursday, February 04, 2010 8:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the end, selfish help, in one form or another, will prevail. That's what I think."

You're both right and wrong, Barbara. It will prevail, as there'll always be new age bucks to be made - but my feeling is even if he avoids criminal persecution, you can be darn sure the industry will be heavily regulated from now on. This is the inevitable start of government intervention, particularly since the Government has been asked to take an interest in this.
In any event, all this is hurting James Ray where it truly counts - his wallet.
The team of investigators, lawyers, the forth-coming trial (which he intends to fight), and of course, all those civil action cases - can't be small change.
I wouldn't be surprised if more people came out of the woodwork with similar civil actions against him.

Do I hear bankruptcy? I can smell it a mile away.

I don't know the law in America, but here in Australia if you file for bankruptcy, you cannot run or own a business.

Scoff at me if you may; call me crazy, but my thoughts are that this is where it's all headed.

I said it before and I'll say it again - I think it's really going to shake the selfish-help industry up, including very clear lines drawn between motivational speaking and quacky spiritual development practices.

Thursday, February 04, 2010 8:53:00 PM  
Anonymous SpacePastry said...


Incidentally, there was an episode of Leverage that involved a similar plot line to the South Park episode. Luke Perry played a psychic who used technology or, in it's absence, cold reading, to pass off being a psychic. In the end he was busted. I thought the timing of this episode was interesting. The show overall is pretty good.

As for JAR, I feel a bit of compassion for him too, but what happened just wasn't right.

Friday, February 05, 2010 1:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Schirmer is out there singing James Rays praises and pushing the support group to raise money for Rays bond. Have you ever heard such a pathetic and disturbed attempt to divert attention from himself. Schirmer himself is gasping for air and trying to raise enough funds to pay the most urgent of debts to the government and the rest; well they will just have to freakin' wait because he is, like never, going to pay them. He...seems to think that putting his own opinion out there on his judgment of Ray makes him somehow acquitted of all his shit. Like hell, that guy will answer in one way or another and I do hope the industry is extremely heavily regulated to protect the public from [people] like him.

Monday, February 08, 2010 9:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Schirmer is a FAKE!

Look at his history and look at his family.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 3:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Harmonic Asset Concealment"

There is nothing CHRISTIAN about deliberate asset concealment yet at least one of these idiots try to claim that they are living a faith walkin life ..... hiding, deceiving, cheating, lying, every bloody Christian thing anyone can think of .... its all ok God still loves you NOT MATTER WHAT YOU DO.

Yeah right! Then how come so many people HATE these types. Guess how the would justify it, everyone hates Jesus too. Wankers.

Friday, February 12, 2010 8:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birds of a feather
Snake oil
Wolves in sheeps clothing
Lying down with dogs you wake up with fleas!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That David Schirmer dude is attempting to get publicity out of the James Ray incident which is pretty much testament to his level of christianity in my opinion. Now he is coming to the US to attemmpt to win over the public and set us all straight on the big secret. The big secret being, hes a con and we've all had enough of cons.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Sorry, everyone, I didn't mean to drop out of the conversation here (I guess I've been too busy at The Droid's blog (while trying to get some "real" work done) to tend to the fire here :-)). Anyway, in response to the comments about David Schirmer: yikes! He is coming back to the good old US of A:


At least the "workshop" only costs $97. But I'm sure it's going to be little more than an upsell effort. I wonder who's funding his tour -- that wealthy church he aligned himself with? Or has he been able to trick more folks into paying him for his great investment "expertise?"

Rolling my eyes...

Sunday, February 21, 2010 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Shamux said...

Schirmer is predictable, he will be selling his story of being hard done by and having so many lies told about him when he just has to listen to the words coming out of his mouth to realise he's looking in the mirror and listening to his own reflection.

Moooooooommy. Anyone attending his seminars has got to know that he'll be offering a load of products for the hot one off special price of a million bucks only available tonight in the next few hours for any figure ending in a 7. The guy is soooooo predictable, just read his marketing shit and you know the person instantly.

Friday, February 26, 2010 7:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesus said...

You know what is sickening about that court order is that JR can really continue business as usual which I and I'm sure his victims families would find extremely offensive however he is not yet charged so I guess the victims are destined to continue to suffer. Becoming the norm with these selfish help people isn't it.

Monday, March 08, 2010 4:18:00 AM  

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