¡Holy guacamole! True-dough's racist rants
As you may know by now, I got quite a bit of blowback from my June 25 post about infomercial huckster and Internet radio star Kevin True-dough's June 24 program, in which he talked a bit about James Arthur "Death" Ray and how the big bad government was unfairly going after Ray, True-dough, and the selfish-help industry.
I provided a link to the full program, as well as a link to the part beginning at about 36:00, which my pal Dave Cook had told me was the approximate spot in the video where the Ray defense began. YouTube gave me an option to provide a custom link beginning at the spot of my choosing, so I decided to give my readers a choice. As for me, I began listening at around 36:00, listened to about three minutes at most, and then turned the thing off and wrote my blog post. I heard just enough to substantiate the point of the post, which was that True-dough was defending James Ray and the entire self-help industry against the evil government's war on entrepreneurs.
I shared the link on Facebook. Then I shared it on Twitter, little knowing what I was getting myself in for.
The blowback I got was not, as you might expect, from True-dough's fans and followers. Instead there was a hostile uprising on Twitter among a few folks who took offense at what they saw as a deliberate oversight on my part. As it turned out, True-dough also had some racist rants in that program. That was news to me. I argued back and forth for a while with those who continued to insist that I had heard the rants but that I had simply chosen to ignore them. They crowed about having caught me in a fib, and seemed to have no interest in anything but branding (or, rather, hash-tagging) me a racist and a liar.
Dave apologized for getting me into the mess in the first place, but it wasn't his fault, and I told him so. I simply should have stated clearly that I hadn't listened to the whole KT program. Since I have serious Internet usage caps to deal with, I just didn't want to waste any more bandwidth.
Dave, who is currently living and working in Afghanistan, kindly offered to give the vid another listen and transcribe the missing parts for me.
Yesterday I received another email from him, with a Word doc attached. "Good grief," he wrote. "You really owe me for this. Words can’t describe how painful this was. The words alone can’t transmit the goofy faces, dramatic pauses, etc., etc., ad nauseum."
He's right about the goofy expressions and gestures and those dramatic pauses -- all of which are done for hypnotic-marketing purposes, no doubt. I have actually sat through entire True-dough radio programs in the past, but those were just audio, and that was more than enough to make me roll my eyes so much that I had a headache for days. The addition of video makes it many times worse (not to mention many times more taxing on my limited Internet access). I have also sat through a few True-dough infomercials on TV and am familiar with his gestures and expressions. I'm sure they're well rehearsed. And the three minutes or so that I saw of the June 24 video provided more of the same. But Dave -- just because that's the kind of guy he is -- sat through the whole thing not once, but (at least) twice.
I will say right now that I still haven't listened to the rest of the video, but I trust Dave's transcription skills enough to publish the transcribed text here and comment on it (however, please see my disclaimer at the end of this post). If you saw the video yourself you may not need to read the transcriptions. I've included them for those who have technical limitations as I do, as well as for those with weak stomachs or an ultra-low tolerance for stupid statements, and people who simply don't want to waste the time and bandwidth.
In his first email to me, Dave had written that True-dough began his show by talking about how he was going to run for political office. Now, in case you're thinking (as I originally did), "Hey, wait a minute! Convicted felons can't run for U.S. office!", the truth is that they apparently can run for federal positions, though the laws about state-level positions vary from state to state. http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/felons-in-office/ True-dough would no doubt face an uphill battle, and his opponents would have plenty of "Gotcha's!", but nothing would surprise me.
So let's get to the transcription/summation document Dave sent. He began by writing that after the opening bit about running for political office, True-dough went on to talk about food scarcity and rising food prices, and the resulting global disturbances.
At around 9:20 in the video, Dave noted, True-dough lit into entitlement programs in a big way. Some of the Tribal Tweeters who got after me wondered how I could have failed to notice this racist rant. And the answer, of course, is that I didn't notice it because I didn't hear it. In any case, as I noted to Dave, while some might not see it as overtly racist, it could be construed that way because traditionally, when someone (usually privileged, usually white) complains about entitlement programs, the implication is that the recipients of the programs being complained about (usually welfare, food stamps, etc.) are people of color. I don't know if True-dough was coming at it from that viewpoint or not, although I have no doubt that some of the folks to whom he was pandering hold fast to these stereotypes.
But the rant could also be construed as age-ist, since it attacks entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. It could even be construed as able-ist -- expressing prejudice against disabled people -- because it attacks Medicaid.
Indeed, in more recent years, the grousing about entitlements has expanded to include the venerated Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But there are still many people who, when grumbling about handouts, are explicitly or implicitly referring to poor minorities who, in their minds, deliberately have too many children, allegedly so they can go on welfare or get food stamps. Some of those doing the griping are themselves benefiting from one or several government handout programs. They just don't see the parallel.
People have been griping about entitlements and government programs in the U.S. for many decades. Many know about the various controversies over the Depression-era New Deal, but perhaps fewer are aware that just after World War II, there was a big flap in some corners about the free ride that the complainers thought the war-weary veterans were getting through the G.I. Bill. White-bread, mainstream publications such as the Readers' Digest featured alarmist articles about how these programs would be costly and would give rise to a whole generation of softies who would be robbed of any incentive to get a job, and would instead expect handouts for the rest of their lives. Those softies, later aptly dubbed by Tom Brokaw as The Greatest Generation, went on to build a strong and prosperous society, and some of them couldn't have truly been a part of that grand experiment had it not been for government help.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the American Medical Association fought vehemently against Medicare. Over the years Medicare has become a bloated and inefficient program in many ways, but it has also allowed many people, including my mom in her last years, to get decent medical care that would have been all but impossible otherwise. And so on, and so forth. These issues are beyond the scope of this post and of this blog, but they interest me greatly.
But enough gabbing from me. Let's get to True-dough's words, as transcribed by Dave:
...When a person, in a country, gets on the dole - some of you don't know what that is, look it up in the dictionary - when you're on the dole. Chris, you know what that is, of course, you're from the UK. When a person gets on the dole, when a person, uh when they're sucking up out of the public trough. Let me say it another way. When a person is getting free lunches from the government. When a person is on food stamps, and social security, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and they're getting their, their, their pension and they have everything free from the government. When they, when they are just taking, taking, taking, taking, taking. When they're getting everything for free. Free housing, free bus tickets, food stamps, welfare, social security, free ambulance service, free medical, free drugs, free this, free that, free school, free lunch, free milk for the kids, free this, free that, free clothes, we need free, uh, free Nike sneakers. When everybody gets stuff free from the government, and right now, in America, more people are getting free stuff from the government than ever before in history.
More people in America today get something free from the government than any time in our history. More people globally are getting stuff free from their governments. Greece, Brazil, uh, uh, Sweden, France, Spain, Italy. All around the world, UK, governments have been giving more and more to the people. When that happens, you're not giving a hand up, you're giving a hand out, and you are disempowering the person. You're making them feel like they have no power, they have no control over their life, and they're a victim. That has occurred.
So, let's back up. The two reasons you have civil unrest and riots are #1, food prices go up or there's lack of food. That is happening now, and it's going to get worse and worse and worse. Means more and more riots, more civil unrest. More countries are going to have government problems, control issues. With the, with the governments instability is going to be out of control. Currency's going to be out of control because of the riots, but there's a second - this is a perfect storm.
The second reason you're going to have massive riots around the world, AND America, is governments like Greece, like Spain, all around the world, including the United States of America. They have no money. And since the majority of the populations now get free stuff from the government, the government is gonna announce one day, "We're cutting back." It's already happening. It happened in the UK. We're cutting back on free education, now it's triple the price. They announced it in Greece. Oops, we're cutting back. They announced it in France. Oops, your pensions are being cut. Your food stamps are being cut. Government subsidies are being cut starting next month.
It's happening in states around the United States. California. I got a check from, from the state of California, I went to the bank to cash this check from the state of California. I said I'd like to cash this check, and I'd like the cash. "Oh.
This is from California. We can't cash this." What are you talking about? It's a government check. " It's California. This could bounce. We can't give you the cash. We need a three week hold to make sure the check clears. California's got no money. These checks bounce all the time. " That's what happened. I'm not making that up.
So you're gonna have. Globally. These. They call them austerity measures. Where the governments say "We're cutting the entitlement programs." "We're cutting the social security. We're cutting the Medicare. We're cutting the Medicaid. We're cutting the welfare. We're cutting the grants. We're cutting the food stamps. We're cutting the school lunch program. We're, we're, we're cutting this, we're cutting that." They're cutting everything. In Chicago. The 4th of July. Independence Day. Mark, you didn't know this. You've got your family coming in. Right? You're going to go downtown. No fireworks! They don't have the money. Oh! Let's celebrate our independence. We have no money. They can't afford fireworks. It's going to get worse, and worse, and worse.
Now. I'm not here to scare you. I'm here to inform you. That the hurricane is a coming. And then I'm going to tell you how to prepare. So not only do you survive, but you prosper. Because I, if you noticed by my face, am not dismayed. I', excited about this. This is a phenomenal opportunity. It is a great opportunity. It is an exciting opportunity. It's going to be exciting, thrilling times. And it's going to be profitable times, if you know what to do.
Certainly it will be profitable for a few serial scammers, who will always find a way to bilk even the most desperate people out of money. But I digress.
Dave didn't transcribe the next segment verbatim but summarized it for me:
From 14:45 to 17:00 he just wanders about banks, people having less money to spend, spending money on oil/gas instead of good. Increase in bankruptcies, banks failing, the government bailing them out, printing more money, FDIC, etc, interest rates go up, US currency crashes on the foreign exchange. When it crashes, (against the Ruble?) foreigners can come in and buy property like doughnuts. Foreigners will come in and own all the "landmark stuff".
Following that, Dave continued the transcription, beginning with 17:00:
And you're going to see the US Government sell things like the Grand Canyon maybe. You're laughing. And I'm being facetious, but that wouldn't surprise me if 2-3-4 years from now, the Grand canyon gets sold off. And you go there, and you have to pay a ticket, and it's some guy going "
". You know, I'm not, I'm not, I am not making this up. I mean, I mean, I'm serious. Some Chinaman could be there. Taking your dollar. And welcome to the Grand Canyon. And he's going to give you a book, uh, you know, how to learn Cantonese in five easy lessons. I'm not making this up. I'm not, Chris, I'm not, I'm not. Right?
"Then," wrote Dave, "he goes into the Iraqi dinar....."
Then Dave took up around the spot where I'd left off in my own listening. He wrote, "At 39:22 – after a rant about how the government hates entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship is the bedrock of the country..."
…The immigrants who came to this country, came not for a free lunch, but for an opportunity. The immigrants who come into this country now, illegally, are coming for the free lunch. Nobody wants to admit the fact. The Mexicans who are coming in illegally, many of them are good people, but they’re still breaking the law. But the majority of them are the stupidest, dumbest, most illiterate, laziest people in Mexico. And they can’t make it in Mexico, and they’re coming here. And you know who told me that? A group of Mexicans. A group of Mexicans. Living in Palm Springs. Who came here legally. And I asked them the question. I said "What do you think about the illegal immigrants?" "How come they don’t learn English?" And they said "because the people who are coming here illegally can’t even speak Spanish." "They can’t write Spanish." These Mexicans, who came to America legally. Who I love because they came to this country legally.
And I love their Mexican food. And I always – as I told you – I always cheered for Julio Caesar Chavez and the great Mexican fighter. So I am not prejudiced against Mexicans. Oh no. Guacamole, I’m in. How can you say I’m prejudiced
? When I love Caesar Chavez and guacamole . Think about this. Mind boggling. Am I prejudiced? Yes! I hate criminals! And when I was one, I hated myself. I hate people who break the law.
Does that make me
prejudiced? No. But these Mexicans in Palm Springs told me: "Kevin, the majority of Mexicans who come to this country illegally, are people who can’t speak Eng-Spanish very well. They’re illiterate. They can’t even write Spanish. They’re, they’re not educated. They’re broke and they’re poor. And quite frankly, they’re dumb and lazy. And they come to America because they want the free lunch."
Nobody wants to talk about that. And they’re some people – in that group who come here – who are intelligent, and go on to become doctors and so forth. But they’re still breaking the law. They need to either, we need to either change the law, or enforce the law. One or the other. And that’s another debate. But the fact is these people are breaking the law. And they do want the free lunch. The majority of them. And some of them are hard working. They work in the fields in California. But they take that money and they send it back to Mexico. They’re not learning English, because they don’t even speak Spanish very well. They’re not the most educated people.
Years ago, America wasn’t the land of the hand out. We were the land of opportunity. So the people that came here – the Mexicans didn’t come. Think about it. The borders were wide open back in the 1950’s. How come we didn’t have millions of Mexicans come in? Because there was no reason for them to come. There was no free lunch. Think about that. Think about it. How come all the Mexicans – millions of Mexicans – didn’t come back in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s? Because there was no free lunch back then. That’s why. Think about it. They could just walk across. There was more access to getting into a country – into America back then than there is today. Nobody came. Because there was no free lunch when they got here. Give away the free lunch, they all come
. It’s not hard to figure out.
And that loathsome bit was the main point of contention with the Twitter Tribe, who took me to task for failing to mention it in my original blog post. I would have been remiss had I heard it and not at least given it a passing mention. But although I did not hear it then, I've now read it, and that's why I thought it deserved much more than a passing mention. It deserved a post of its own.
There is so much utter stupidity in the above rant -- or, perhaps more accurately, so much deliberate catering to fearful and ignorant people (for True-dough is emphatically not stupid) -- that one hardly knows where to begin. Since this isn't a political blog, and I am not an expert on history or immigration law, I won't go into a long blow-by-blow rebuttal of every lame point True-dough made. I will say, however, that I noticed that when True-dough talked about the "good" Mexicans to whom he allegedly spoke in Palm Springs, he did not mention the class struggles and elitism in many traditional Latino cultures, which make U.S. class differentiation look like egalitarianism by comparison. Google or Bing it if you're interested. For now, here's a recent piece: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0520/Latin-America-s-middle-class-grows-but-with-a-tenuous-grasp-on-status
And I have no doubt that there are wealthy Latinos who look down their noses at their poor and/or "illegal" fellows. I once knew a very aristocratic Central American woman, highly educated and the product of a wealthy family, who often expressed contempt for the campesinos. She would bristle when someone referred to her as a "Mexican" because of her thickly accented English. Yet to many of True-dough's fans, she probably would have been considered a Mexican by virtue of that accent, and the fact that her native tongue was Spanish (a language that originated in Spain, not Mexico, but try telling that to some people).
True-dough either can't comprehend or, more likely, has deliberately glossed over, the subtleties and nuances of various cultures and societies. "Mexicans" are not a homogeneous group, any more than Latinos in general are, and to pretend otherwise is either profoundly ignorant or deeply racist. I have no idea what True-dough actually thinks or if he truly harbors any racist feelings. But his statements were racist, and it seems to me that he was making them in an effort to stir the melting pot.
My main point here is that just because "a group of Mexicans" in Palm Springs told him that most illegal Mexican immigrants are lazy and uneducated, this doesn't make such a statement any more likely to be true than it would be if it were coming from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. In any case I suspect that True-dough is not telling the whole story about his Mexican friends, but whether he was or wasn't, his anecdote and lame attempts at humor add little to the legitimate conversation about immigration law reform.
Moreover, while I happen to agree with the general point that nations with cumbersome and expensive entitlement programs -- and no real way to pay for them -- are heading for crisis, I noticed that when True-dough was ragging on entitlements, he apparently overlooked the corporate welfare/entitlement programs in the U.S.: the subsidization of mega-corporations who have their hands in everyone's pocket, and who are much less in need of a free lunch than a struggling single mom or an ill migrant worker. The corporate welfare programs make social welfare programs, even those from which illegal immigrants benefit, look like petty cash disbursements by comparison. Perhaps True-dough has ranted about these other programs on other shows, but he didn't seem to mention them on this one.
Offensive as it is to many folks, this is just one more example of True-dough's rabble-rousing. He frames it all as "information that THEY don't want you to know about," or stuff that "no one else" is talking about, overlooking the fact that hate-mongers such as Rush Limbaugh talk about these things all the time. True-dough, of course, is both of and above mere politics, as he is both of and above the selfish-help industry. As I noted in a post a couple of years ago, he is playing both to the (mostly politically liberal) New-Wage/McSpirituality crowd (he has to get a piece of that lucrative pie), and the fans of paranoia porn, who politically lean more towards the neo-con FOX-TV News end of the spectrum. I wrote (if you'll pardon my quoting myself):
The Kevin Trudeau Radio Network site is a clearinghouse not only for political wingnutty stuff that would make Rush Limbaugh and FOX-TV proud, but also for healthnutty stuff – which is only fitting, since Kevin is a noted health expert [that was sarcasm ~CC] – and, increasingly, New-Wage stuff. (Take a look at the banner ad that's currently on top of the page [it was at the time I wrote this. ~CC] and you'll see what I mean, regarding the latter. The ad shows the mugs of Rev. Michael Beckwith and Dr. Wayne Dyer, and bears the tag line, "For health and happiness, you must be balanced!" And then look around at the other New-Wagey stuff on the site. This kind of invalidates some bloggers' longstanding observation that the New-Wage is inexorably bound to the liberal left. There doesn't seem to be much room for libs on Kevin's site, but there's plenty of room for New-Wage loons and hustledorks.)
In his immigration rant, True-dough pretends that it's all about the letter of the law -- that either we need to change our immigration laws or enforce them fairly. On the surface that sounds rational, until you explore the whole immigration issue in more depth (including the Draconian laws that are being passed or considered in some states), and until you examine True-dough's righteous invocation of "the law" in the context of his own ongoing dodgy business practices, which continue to this day. They may not be technically illegal, but some of them skirt perilously close to it.
Anyway. Back to our friend Dave, who wrapped up his transcribing duties thusly:
43:10. Then he goes back to "entrepreneurship". End of racist rant. Back on how the guv'ment is attacking James Ray, Tony Robbins, poor little Kevin True-dough, even Donald Trump. And that’s why he needs to be in Congress, so he can stand up for the personal development and self-help industry. Those of his ilk deserve to be rewarded. They can’t be bad. Somebody has to support the people who are trying to help themselves and SUPPORT the gurus…. Yak, yak, yakkity yak. Enough.
The entire silly little drama around my original blog post, was, as they say, a learning experience. However, I'm more convinced than ever that my original post could very well have stood on its own, since it was specifically about one selfish-help felon making a public statement in defense of another selfish-help felon and the entire industry of which they are a part. But I'm glad to have been informed about the rest of the KT Radio program from June 24, 2011, even if I had to take a lot of flak in the process.
At this point I feel it necessary to add a disclaimer. I'll remind you that I still have not listened to the entire KT video. I never went back and played any more than those three minutes or so that I originally wrote about. Those of you who listened to the entire video may have heard more, or heard things differently, than Dave did. If so, you can let me know about it. Those of you who feel I was not angry enough about True-dough's apparent racism, or that I did not adequately explore the complexities of the immigration issue, or that I am giving short shrift to one or another ethnic or cultural group, can also let me know about it. Feel free to write a comment to this blog, or email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can simply go on Twitter and #hash-tag me as a liar or racist.
It's up to you.
I do think we all owe Brave Dave a round of applause here. "I am going up to my cave," he concluded in his email to me, "to wash my eyes out with bleach and quench my desire to stab myself in the forehead with my knife with a shot of good single malt instead."
I hope you had one for me too, Dave. And thanks for helping me out with this.
PS ~ The immigration issue has been a particularly divisive one in the U.S. But there's hope for optimism, I think, in the fact that more folks are coming to see that we need to look more realistically at the part that immigrants, including and especially illegal ones, play in our society. Rationality about this matter came from an unexpected corner just the other day: a Southern Republican mayor, Georgia's Paul Bridges, has confirmed his decision "to be the mayor for everybody, including people who have no voice otherwise." He takes his responsibility to serve the citizens of his small town seriously, and as far as he is concerned, citizenship has little to do with passports or residency papers. http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/06/28/immigration.georgia.mayor/index.html?hpt=hp_c2