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.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Everything old is Nouveau again (or, Neo-scam by any other name) -- Part 1 of 2

Okay, here's another long one. Please bear with me. We're going to cover a lot of ground here, so be prepared. To save your eyes, consider printing this thing out and highlighting links that interest you so you can follow them later.
~CC


As I noted in my previous post, Utah has been on my mind lately, and one big reason for that is the coverage that the Utah boiler rooms and Utah's shady Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, have been getting on Salty Droid's blog. (Come to think of it, Shurtleff and The Scandals have been getting some play on Wikipedia too.) While the boiler rooms and Shurtleff's apparent complicity are serious issues, and I'm glad Salty's on the job, my interest in Utah sprouted off in another direction after I impulsively decided to re-join a book club a couple of months ago. I ordered as one of my introductory selections a large and sprawling novel called The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall (which I highly recommend). That book got me interested in learning more about polygamy, about which I've never had much of an opinion one way or the other. Around the time I was reading The Lonely Polygamist I saw a write-up in my local paper about a nonfiction book, Secrets & Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy, by Sanjiv Bhattacharya. So I ordered it and plunged right in as soon as I was finished with Udall's novel.

Meanwhile back in the real world, during the time I was engrossed in my reading, polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs went to trial in Texas and was found guilty of child rape and sentenced to life in prison.
You might be wondering why I'm blogging about polygamy, when that's a religion thing, more or less, and mainstream religion normally isn't my beat. Cults are my beat, but polygamists aren't necessarily cultists, except when they are. But if you'll bear with me for a few more paragraphs, we'll get to familiar Whirled territory.

I enjoyed Secrets & Wives and highly recommend it too, not only for the insightful reporting but also because Bhattacharya is easily as snarky as I. He has no qualms about poking fun at Mormon mythology, nor about exposing the dark side of polygamy, a practice which the mainstream Mormon Church outlawed in the nineteenth century. In his book he tells appalling tales of incest and other abuses within some plyg families -- tales that will turn your stomach. Despite this he paints a sympathetic portrait of some of the non-abusive polygamists, and more importantly, he raises valid questions about the present laws that make plural marriage a crime. Understand that he is in no way excusing the incest and other abuse committed by some polygamists, but the very fact that their basic family structure is a crime -- with the result that much of their lives are lived in hiding -- allows the concealment of real atrocities.

While researching the book Bhattacharya visited numerous families in several polygamy communities. Some of the most horrendous tales emerged from the Kingston group, aka The Order. I summarized some of this in one of my comments on a discussion on this post on Salty's blog. The thread actually begins with Barbara's comment, "Shurtleff has always been in the business of making Utah a haven for pyramid schemers, MLM’s, and grifters of all persuasions...." 

Since his election to the office of Attorney General in 2000, Shurtleff has also been mostly tolerant of polygamy, vowing only to go after the incest perps and other abusers, but he seems to have done precious little in that direction. (He apparently hasn't done much to stop the systematic abuse of kids on another Utah front either -- a group of privately-owned, for-profit boot-camp "schools," as Salty Droid reported earlier this year.) In fact, due to a technicality involving jury instructions, Utah couldn't even make abusive plyg patriarch Warren Jeffs' conviction stick. It took Texas to put Jeffs back into an orange jumpsuit -- presumably for good this time.

Apocalypse Bob and the seekrit societies
Among the narratives of horror and the snarkworthy bits in Secrets & Wives there were also some happy stories, tales of seemingly well-adjusted polygamist families and groups. By far the most charming one was near the end of the book, when Bhattacharya described his visit to "The Rock," aka Rockland Ranch, a community that is literally built into a huge rock located a little over twenty miles southeast of Moab, Utah, in the middle of the sagebrush desert. Unlike many polygamist communities, the group welcomes outside visitors. They're a pretty tolerant lot at The Rock, and apparently you don't even have to be a polygamist to live there.


The Rock community was founded by the late Robert Dean Foster, who was in his eighties when Bhattacharya talked to him. Bob was a friendly old man, a few bubbles off plumb to be sure, and preoccupied with the Apocalypse to boot (or Mormogeddan, as Bhattacharya calls it). Bob had arrived at The Rock back in 1979 when it was nothing more than, well, a rock. At that time he had three wives and, Bhattacharya writes, "a burning conviction that it was time to prepare for the end of days." When Bhattacharya visited around 2007, the community had grown to eight homes -- some as large as 6,000 square feet -- and several apartments, housing about seventy residents at capacity. A dozen solar panels graced the top of The Rock; solar power was used to pump water from a nearby well, and there was a large vegetable garden and mini-orchard on the property. Rock residents tooled around on four-wheelers, and there was even Internet access in the community center. All in all, it seemed to be a pretty sustainable off-the-grid setup.

During his stay at The Rock Bhattacharya had several conversations with Apocalypse Bob, and at one point Bob asked him, "Have you heard of Novatech?" Bhattacharya replied that he had not, and Bob elaborated. "They've very wealthy and powerful people and they're spending millions of dollars to try and stop death with science and technology. I'm on a mission to help these guys. They're brilliant people, but they missed the gospel."

Bhattacharya asked him what he meant, and Bob invited him into his inner sanctum. And there on the desks, tables, and every visible flat surface were stacks of mail, piled neatly in rectangular columns -- hundreds of envelopes, every one of them face up, and each of them had been opened. Bob picked some of the letters up and began reading enthusiastically to Bhattacharya.

There were letters from psychics and random purveyors of esoteric knowledge from all over the world, each claiming to know details about Bob's personal life that Bob insisted they couldn't have possibly known unless they were the real deal. "They read me like a book!" he enthused. And each missive promised untold wealth, happiness, and true love if Bob would only send them money. Bhattacharya wrote that his heart sank at hearing this.

Bob's being had by an army of frauds -- scam psychics and pretend gypsies, secret societies and junk mail clairvoyants. The sheer volume of their attack is disconcerting, and the way Bob keeps their mail so meticulously like important business correspondence. Letters that begin, "Mr. Foster, I am going to make you a millionaire," or "The Most Important Letter You've Ever Received." Letters from "One of the richest men in Europe," or "Kreskin, the world-famous mentalist." Bob treasures them all. "Roger Grimstone says the money's going to come like an avalanche, and Kreskin says tidal wave," he says, chuckling. So he sends them the little sums they ask for, the twenties, even hundreds.
Perhaps his credulity is a kind of elderly regression, a return to the naivete of his youth. Perhaps it's a product of his separation from the world, his unfamiliarity with its ways. But I suspect Bob's being fleeced for the same reasons that he built the Rock in the first place -- a boundless capacity to believe in fantasies. The fire of his faith is scalding him.
Bhattacharya tried to convince Bob that the letters were all scams. In response, Bob pulled out three huge books, each one over 1,000 pages long and marked "Nouveau Tech." These were the "Novatech" folks Bob had mentioned earlier. "Multimillionaires, worldwide, very powerful secret society," he explained to Bhattacharya. "They're trying to put their own men into power so they can break up the IRS. And they need exactly what I've got to tell them. One of their Nobel Prize winners was writing me letters."

It seems the "Nobel Prize winner" had claimed that Bob was "engulfed in double sine waves" and that the organization needed him. Bob didn't actually know what double sine waves were, but that didn't matter. (A quick Google search reveals that "engulfed in double sine waves" is apparently a standard bit of nonsense flattery used in those "personalized" letters that Nouveau Tech sends out.) Bob hadn't met the Nouveau Tech people, but he insisted that they were the Illuminati, the Enlightened Ones.

And each of the thousand-page Nouveau Tech tomes in his possession was marked, "Limited Heirloom Package, specially printed for Robert Foster." Much of the prose, noted Bhattacharya, read like a fourth-rate novel, peopled by heroes with names such as Frank Wallace and Mark Hamilton, both of whom Bhattacharya seemed to think were entirely fictional characters. (They're not, but more on that in a while.) 


Though the books seemed to Bhattacharya to be as hokey and transparently scammy as the stacks of letters, Bob had gone through the volumes with a highlighter, making notes in the margins. And it seemed that he truly believed he was going to meet the Nouveau Tech folks some day, that he would save them and they in turn would make him immeasurably rich. Wrote Bhattacharya:
It's a tragedy. A broke old man is being ripped off and it can't be stopped. He's been hooked by a classic one-two: flattery and a false promise. The scammers first tell Bob how gifted he is; they send him diplomas and fellowships at pseudoscientific academies, admission to elite societies and karmic medals. Then they promise him riches, love, immortality, eternal happiness, anything that anyone could ever want. It's not so far removed from the Mormon flattery elevating saints [Mormons] over Gentiles [non-Mormons], promising them godhood, eternal families, planets of their own.* Bob has lived his life believing these things; it is his greatest charm and his greatest flaw.
Not so Nouveau, after all
As I read the passage about Apocalypse Bob in Secrets & Wives I was, as you might well imagine, getting all kinds of crazy deja-vu feelings. Nouveau tech? Nouveau, my a$$. Appealing to people by convincing them they're "special," and therefore worthy of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase top-seekrit information, is, as Bhattacharya noted, one of the oldest tricks in the book. And it is employed by everyone from the most sophisticated modern Internet marketers to the most ludicrously transparent old-timey "psychics," an example of the latter being
"Maria," whom we visited here a couple of years ago

While it is pretty clear that not all of the fraud mail in Bob's office was from Nouveau Tech, every piece employed the same basic marketing strategy. The hucksters continue to use the age-old ploy of sweet flattery, spiced with extravagant claims and promises, for one simple reason: It works. No matter how sophisticated they consider themselves to be, most people are susceptible to the suggestion that they are exceptional, as well as to the hope that money and good fortune can just fall from the sky for them. The less sophisticated, the technologically challenged, and the old and confused are simply low-hanging fruit.

Nothing new there at all.

Still, my curiosity was piqued, and I decided to find out more about Nouveau Tech/Novatech. I was particularly interested because some of the marketing copy as described in Secrets & Wives reminded me of a certain Kevin True-dough and his whole "Secret Brotherhood" shtick. (As you may know if you've been here a while, I wrote at length about True-dough and that Secret Society stuff some time back.) I wondered if there could be a connection, and/or if True-dough had derived inspiration for some of his own tall tales from the apparently much older Nouveau Tech.

As luck, synchronicity, or meaningless coincidence would have it, at just about the same time I had completed the passage about Apocalypse Bob in Secrets and Wives, and was beginning my rudimentary research on Nouveau Tech/NovaTech, my Facebook friend Peter Wink -- who happens to currently be Kevin True-dough's marketing director -- wrote on his FB status on August 7, "In my office re-reading 'the Neo-Tech System!' Classic book."

My little ears pricked right up at that. "Neo" and "Nouveau" both mean "new," after all. So I asked Peter via Facebook if the Neo-Tech System had any relationship to Nouveau Tech/Novatech, and he responded, "No idea." Next I asked him who the author of the book is, but he hasn't responded yet. [See note below. ~ CC] I understand he's a busy man and probably isn't on Facebook every day. So maybe I can offer some of my helpful research.


Update 24 August 2011: I heard from Peter yesterday, and he explained that the edition of The Neo-Tech System he is reading, which he purchased from Amazon, made no mention of Nouveau Tech or Novatech. He added that it is simply a business book that in his opinion actually contains some useful ideas. Uh-huh.
First of all, it seems that there is a relationship between Neo-Tech (often spelled Neotech) and Nouveau Tech/Novatech. Either that, or someone is violating someone else's copyrights. For instance, look at this Amazon listing of a book called The Nouveau Tech Package of Inside Secrets, by Mark Hamilton (there's that name again), Tracy Alexander, Eric Savage, and Frank R. Wallace (there's that name again). Despite the title, the words "NEO-TECH" appear on the cover of the book pictured on the page. According to the publication info, the book was issued in 2005 by Integrated Management Associates. 

I looked up Integrated Management Associates, and found lots of information about this nice little family business, such as this:
Integrated Management Associates is a publisher of books and articles from various writers, almost all concerning the philosophy of Neo-Tech. The company has published under a few DBA's including Neo-Tech Publishing, the Nouveau Tech Society, Newly-Forming Neo-Tech/Illuminati Societies, the Athenian Secret Society, and the Society of Secrets. Prior to being called Integrated Management Associates, books about Neo-Tech were being sold under the company name I & O Publishing, which was founded in 1968. The company was owned by Wallace Ward, Ph.D. (pen name Dr. Frank R. Wallace). Authors have included Frank Wallace, Mark Hamilton, Eric Savage, Drew Ellis, Matt Keys, Brett Peters, Neil Lock, ... Carl Watner, philosopher Yasuhiko Kimura (pen name Ray Kotobuki) and Ted Nicholas....

...History

On August 6, 2007, Neo-Tech Publishing's membership in the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada was revoked.
In May 2008, Neo-Tech Publishing was given an "unsatisfactory" rating by the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada.
Currently, Neo-Tech Publishing has a satisfactory rating. [Not that this necessarily means much, since the BBB can be bought. ~CC]

Criticisms

Some individuals have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau against the company, mainly for false advertising. The Better Business Bureau's web site itself says that "Neo-Tech Publishing" "has been a member of this Better Business Bureau since May 1992" and its original business start date was May 1990, which would seem to be less than 35 years before NTP's 2006 claim of a "35-year record" with the BBB.

Australian Fair Trading Minister Margaret Keech has also called Neo-Tech a group of "con-artists", for claiming to select "a small handful of 'special' individuals" to receive "secret wisdom of ages", and then asking the individuals to pay money to obtain these "secrets".
 Tony Levene of The Guardian has also pointed out that the company was the subject of a 2000 ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority of the United Kingdom, in which it was stated that Neo-Tech had "not provided evidence, other than anecdotal, to show the guaranteed earnings, improvements to health, and other benefits" which Neo-Tech claimed to offer "had been, or could be, attained".
Deceptive advertising with a sprinkling of math challenges: ah, now we're deep into Whirled Musings snark chum. We're soaking in it. I apologize for the smell. You will probably need to take a shower when you're done here.
I found another link that offers a pretty good history of Neo-Tech. This piece also explains Neo-Tech's ideological debt to the late author Ayn Rand, who has inspired worship from political wingnuts and New-Wage hustledorks alike, in large part for her philosophy of Objectivism. The article is long, but worth the read, I think, even though the links to the Neo-Tech material no longer work, and even though the author is an Ayn Rand fan and I'm really not. Here's the link.

In case you don't have time to read all of the piece now, I'll post some relevant snippets. Such as this one:
The originator of Neo-Tech, Wallace Ward, used the pen name Frank R. Wallace when he wrote his various Neo-Tech documents as well as his earlier work, Poker: A Guaranteed Income for Life by Using the Advance Concepts of Poker. In that early work, Wallace observed that a skilled poker player can win large sums of money consistently over time without cheating. How? He can locate easily manipulated people and persuade them to join him in a friendly game of cards over and over again using commonly accepted "big lies." These "marks" become his "market" for easy pickings over time. In a sense, he defrauds them without engaging in what people generally call fraud.
The marks become the market...defrauding without engaging in what people generally call fraud... Is any of that beginning to sound familiar? Here's more:
The Neo-Tech Publishing (NTP) Company, which Wallace founded, employed his son, Wallace Ward, Jr. who used the pen name Mark Hamilton. It also employed a number of other family members as well as hired employees. I eventually purchased a few more books from the company such as:

Neo-Tech Cosmic Business Control by Mark Hamilton
A Future of Wealth Belongs to You! by Mark Hamilton
Zonpower by Frank R. Wallace

By this time, an e-mail discussion list for Neo-Tech had started called "Neo-Talk." Its owner and moderator, Nicholas Rich, while not an NTP employee, nevertheless had great enthusiasm for the products, especially Neo-Tech Cosmic Business Control. That book outlined a mode of thinking called Neothink that consciously strove to drive all forms of mysticism and bicameral tendencies from the reasoning mind. It outlined the "white collar hoax" of ossified business structures and overpaid managers that neocheat customers and employees. They do this through the use of appeals to management "authorities" who in fact do not earn the kinds of money the business structure pays them. Hamilton's entire book offers an alternative of self-employment that includes ways to train new hires and then set them up as independent contractors totally responsible for their own bottom lines. For Rich, who worked as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) negotiator, this system delivered a financial boon...
It sounds to me as if the Neotech vision is for the entire world to be a big MLM scheme. He who dies with the biggest downline wins.
The term "bicameral tendencies" in the passage above caught my eye because it's an allusion to a 1976 book I read many years ago by the late and controversial Julian Jaynes, Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. The author of the piece linked to above summarizes:
In that book, Jaynes argued that the earliest of Homo sapiens did not experience the world in the same conscious, self-aware state as do modern humans.

For Jaynes, the writings of early man reflected an automated mode of awareness similar to that of animals. In his theory, man functioned through auditory hallucinations generated from the creative right brain hemisphere transmitted as verbal commands to the analytical left brain hemisphere. These "voices of the gods" told man how to act. Because of the two chambers of the brain involved in this form of awareness, Jaynes called his theory that of the "bicameral" or two chamber mind. As society grew more complex, man had to evolve his own consciousness -- "invent himself" -- to integrate the hemispheric activity into a single concept of "I" so he could handle the new complexities using volitional reasoning. But because man missed the voices of the gods, he began turning to external authorities who claimed still to hear those voices -- or to feel their commands -- or otherwise to have special access to privileged information -- for guidance.
And here is a link to the quickie-Wiki rundown.


"Neothinkers" seem to like to throw the word "bicameral" around a lot, but when I read some of their testimonials on various Web sites, I wonder how many of them can even spell "bicameral," much less explain its significance. I'm sorry if I sound mean. Well, not really.

And as for driving all forms of mysticism from the "reasoning" mind, good luck with that. Many fans of the aforementioned Ayn Rand, as well as fans of the Neotech material, apparently like to pride themselves on their rationality, but just between you and me, they seem anything but rational. They seem all too willing to jump onto a cult bandwagon, whether it's an Ayn Rand cult or a Neotech cult or, for that matter, a Kevin True-dough cult. (Vaguely relevant:
this interesting short bit comparing Rand with other cult leaders such as Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.)

Some of the Neotech literature is pretty irrational too, according to the article I linked to above (
here's the link again):
In the works I read prior to Zonpower [embedded link is my addition. ~ CC] Wallace and Hamilton would occasionally make sweeping proclamations about a "Civilization of the Universe" which the human race would join once it "exorcised" the last of its mystical tendencies. For them, no advanced race of intelligent beings could possibly survive without Neo-Tech past the "nuclear decision threshold," i.e. the use of nuclear weapons for complete self-destruction. I breezed past these statements as meaningless puffs of hot air in an otherwise readable set of books.

That all changed with the release of Zonpower. In that book, Wallace pulled the stops and began to rant and babble as a divinely inspired schizophrenic. He raged onward and upward about the ideal sentient being, the Zon, and how all advanced extraterrestrials must necessarily fit that mold and how humans can achieve it with honesty and effort. From utterly specious claims about "Neo-Tech Physics" and their "Super-Inflation Gravity Units (SIGUs)" to long winded and repetitive yapping about everyone riding into the "Civilization of the Universe," Wallace truly went off the proverbial "deep end."
More to the point of this and related posts on this blog, it appears to me that many fans and followers of some of today's smoothest-talking hucksters, even those hucksters who claim to be rational and not mystical, are also big fans of New-Wage/McSpirituality/pseudoscientifical concepts such as the Law of Attraction (a la The Secret and Abrascam-Hicks). Most importantly, they seem incapable of recognizing a hustle when they see one.
But here's someone who does recognize the hustle, and explores it in great detail as he asks, "Just who is Mark Hamilton?"
 
Um... maybe we better make that Mark Scamilton.

Turds of a feather. Again.
Now, I know this will come as a profound shock, but...and I hope you are sitting down, Dear Ones... it appears that not only are Kevin True-dough and Mark Scamilton buddies, but there have been various types of business relationships between KT's empire and Nouveau Tech/Neo-Tech/Neothink.

There's been some classic mail bonding, for example, much to the disgruntlement of numerous customers, as indicated in this 2005 piece from the ConsumerAffairs.com Web site:
The names and addresses of consumers who call to order the book "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About" are being sold to telemarketers, junk mailers and other direct marketers, the New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) has learned.

'Without asking permission from consumers, Kevin Trudeau is offering to rent the names and addresses of his customers to telemarketers, junk mailers and other direct marketers,' said Teresa A. Santiago, CPB Chairman and Executive Director.
'Without a privacy policy on his website or some other notification, customers are unaware that their information is being sold and they also are not given an opportunity to prevent those sales from occurring,' said Santiago. 'Consumers should know this before they decide to buy Trudeau's book, his newsletter or a membership to his website.'
Customers who call one of Trudeau's toll-free order numbers have received spooky junk mail from a Nevada company, claiming to be a 'secret society' with 'personal knowledge' about these consumers.

This junk mailer calls itself the 'Nouveau Tech Society,' but it is actually another book publisher in Henderson, Nev. That sells a $150 book teaching people how to rule the world.
"Oh, big deal, Cosmic Connie," you might be saying. "2005 was YEARS ago. That was even before you started Whirled Musings. It's practically ancient history in contemporary marketing time. Besides, it's standard practice for marketers to sell names to other marketers. YOU KNOW THAT. Get over it, you hater."

Okay, Pat (and the rest of you), but just because something is a standard practice doesn't mean it's not sneaky and sleazy. (Sneaky and Sleazy...weren't those the names of two of the little characters in the classic fairy tale, Snow Job and the Seven ’Dorks?) At any rate it seems that even today some of True-dough's customers are getting unwanted mail from Neo-Tech/Nouveau Tech.

One of the very first results that came up when I initially began Googling the matter was an Amazon discussion -- initiated in January 2008 and continuing well into 2011 -- the title of which is, "
Kevin Trudeau's Nouveau Tech Manuscript." That title, as I rapidly saw, was a little misleading -- though apparently not intentionally so -- and there's a lot of noise and confused speculation about who's doing what, but the discussion nevertheless touched upon the problem of unwanted mail-list sharing...unwanted by the customers, that is.

Fortunately most of the participants in that exchange seemed to recognize the flattery and whatnot as the con that it is. And defenders of True-dough might patiently remind me once again that mail-list sharing is S.O.P. in marketing. They might also point out to me that KT has his privacy policies firmly in place these days. It's up to customers to read 'em, and many don't. There are privacy policies on all of KT's Web sites, including what is one of his most heavily promoted seekrit-information machines, the pyramid-ish MLM scheme known as the Global Information Network, or GIN. That site makes a great big deal about how the GIN membership list is absolutely confidential and all members are and always will be anonymous to the general public. It most certainly does have a
privacy policy, even though the policy contains a standard disclaimer about the "Use of Personal Information Collected," which includes this:
GIN reserves the right to share your personally identifiable information, including but not limited to your email address, postal address, and telephone number with its affiliates and third parties.
NBD, though -- we all know that everyone's private and personal information is already for sale. Why should GIN be any different? Besides, GIN members can always "opt-out" of the info-sharing scheme...well, okay, I guess they can't, but at least the GIN Web site lets them know that GIN's use of their personal information is beyond their control. I suppose that can be very empowering in its own way. Well, at least for GIN.

On the other hand, as noted, these privacy policies are on the Web sites, where at least consumers can, if they're so motivated, read them at their leisure. Folks who impulsively order by phone, calling one of True-dough's toll-free numbers after watching a late-night infomercial, may not have the luxury of having a privacy policy and disclaimer made clear to them. Hearing the information that normally appears in fine print on a Web site from a fast-talking call-center order taker/upseller is not the same as having it all laid out in black and white.

Moreover, apart from info-sharing, it seems that KT's customers are still getting tripped up by the tried-and-true strategy of the misleading ad, in which Kevin presents an overwrought infomercial about one of his books or other frauducts that he claims is packed full of information that THEY don't want you to know (but that he is risking his freedom and his very life to share with you), and he says that it's FREE with a subscription to one of his newsletters or some other forced-continuity scheme.

Then again, the fact that consumers only see and hear what they want to see and hear in an infomercial is not Kevin's fault; as one writer put it on the ConsumerAffairs.com site, "Yes it is Misleading...and thousands fall for it... but he does tell you several times through the infomercial." 

Not to mention the fact that some of those complaining about Nouveau Tech seem as certifiable as some of the scheme's most passionate believers. On one forum, for example, a guy complained that Nouveau Tech/Neotech is an evil group that has been listening in on his phone calls and following him to work. He claims the organization has even stolen three cars and several bikes from him.

Given consumers' failure to read all the fine print or listen carefully, and given that some of them are a little nutty anyway, you can hardly blame a good flimflammer for flimflamming, can you? I mean, some people are just asking for it.**

The heady smell of bromance in the air
But back to KT's alliance with Mark Hamilton and Neotech, aka Nouveau Tech, aka a scammy scheme by any other name. There's been more recent bidness activity, beyond mail-list sharing, between True-dough and Scamilton. Here are excerpts from
a piece in a December 2009 edition of the Neothink Newspaper:

May All Your Wishes Come True!

Welcome to the “Holiday Issue” of your NTNews newsletter...
...And speaking of wishes coming true, we have the exciting honor of announcing a new resource for members interested in pursuing the opportunities available with the Global Information Network.
I will let Mike Ginther [embedded link is my addition ~CC] tell you more about this cool new system recently developed to benefit our members.
OK Mike, let er rip!

The Neothink GIN Advantage.
Mark Hamilton wants to help jump start the Neothink® Society Members as they become members and affiliates of the Global Information Network. He has asked me, Mike Ginther, to head up this new program designed to help Jump Start his apprentices and members in the Global Information Network.

I will be joined by Steven Fagan, Steven Hinz and others as they share success stories, tips, marketing ideas, and a bunch of motivation and great times. There will also be some surprise guests on these weekly training and motivational teleseminars including KT himself, so don’t miss any of these calls as you might just learn how to make a full time income and grow it into wealth that only you can limit.
We’ll share success stories and provide some of the latest marketing ideas that are working, and guest stars that are making many things happen. There is so much this program has to offer that Mark Hamilton wanted to put a full focus on helping our members get the most from it and grow their teams and income faster...
...Mark earlier wrote a statement that was read to our members attending the Global Information Network’s Kick off event in Cancun Mexico. [Emphasis mine. ~ CC] In case you were not in attendance here is his statement:
Sincerely,
Mike
THE DEEPER VALUE OF GIN
For over thirty years, I had never allowed an affiliate program of any kind into my membership.
Kevin Trudeau and his GIN is the first.
The money-making opportunity of GIN is very good.
But let me point out something that Kevin himself might not.
Kevin is very possibly the best marketing genius alive.
In the nearly twenty years that I have personally known Kevin, I have seen him effortlessly move from one venture to another and soar right to the top.
For you to have access to one of the greatest marketing legends who ever lived is priceless. If you really listen closely to Kevin, you will advance your marketing effectiveness far beyond your current abilities. The marketing lessons you learn directly from Kevin Trudeau will be worth many times the money you paid to be in GIN.
The deeper value of GIN starts with you absorbing Kevin’s knowledge this weekend. Getting to know how Kevin’s mind works will accelerate your success.
Also, I will take this opportunity to tell you what a good person Kevin is. Of all the people I have done business with, Kevin has proven the most consistently honest, generous, and most beneficial relationship I have experienced over the past two decades. Kevin’s word is as good as a contract. Moreover, Kevin goes out of his way to be sure I am happy in any business dealing we do together. He does everything in his power to make those he does business with a success. I know those rare qualities are intrinsic in Kevin, and those qualities reach out and apply to all my members who have taken on the GIN adventure.
Let me urge you to enjoy this money-making opportunity while also seeing the deeper value of the GIN program, your relationship with Kevin himself, and the valuable knowledge he personally brings to you.
Sincerely,
Mark Hamilton
The author of the blog post in which this letter was published added:
Pretty cool huh?

One thing I will add on a personal note is to recommend for every member to get their hands on the amazing audio CD set titled Your Wish is Your Command. [Which is basically a 14-CD upsell for GIN. ~CC]

And listen to it repeatedly!
The information contained in this series is priceless and complements perfectly the works of Mark Hamilton in the prime literature. You can find out more information when you join in on the teleseminars described above.
As Mike Ginther mentioned above, Mark Hamilton was not actually at the GIN kick-off event in Cancun, and his statement "was read" to the attendees. There's no real proof that Hamilton even really wrote the thing, but for the purpose of this post I will assume that it at least had his blessings. I was particularly struck by Hamilton's declaration, "In the nearly twenty years that I have personally known Kevin, I have seen him effortlessly move from one venture to another and soar right to the top." Assuming his claim of having personally known KT for nearly twenty years is accurate, and assuming the quoted statement was written in 2009, when the blog post was published, then KT was either still in prison or just barely out of it at the time Hamilton met him. Granted, that doesn't necessarily preclude "effortlessly moving from one venture to the other and soaring right to the top." But still.

I'm not entirely sure if the True-dough/Scamilton bromance is completely reciprocal, but some of the GIN Affiliates are sure acting as if it is, if a blurb on [a now-defunct Web site of a GIN Affiliate who has since asked me to remove his name ~CC, 10-18-13] is any indication. The GIN/Neothink alliance has been a veritable Petri dish for culturing icky bromance. [Now-Nameless affiliate] writes:
My Global Information Network sponsor is Jeff Smith... Jeff's sponsor's name is Mark Hamilton. Mark is a long time friend and associate of the famous billionaire, Kevin Trudeau! [And just to add visual reinforcement of the connection, there's a picture on the page of Jeff Smith and True-dough himself. ~CC]


Kevin Trudeau is one of the Global Information Network initiators, presentors [sic] and the spokesman. [And OWNER. You forgot owner, Nameless Affiliate. ~CC] He [sic] the #1 Best Selling Author of "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About" and others. You can listen to Kevin's fantasticaly [sic] informative radio show by clicking here [link].

Mark Hamilton is a genius marketer, businessman and long time friend of Kevin Trudeau. He’s not only the sponsor of Jeff Smith's sponsor (Mark Ginther) but his personal mentor and business associate. Jeff has known Mark Hamilton since 2005. Mark is best known for his amazing business enhancing, philosophical, and personal development writings.
He is a best selling author, the founder of the world wide Neothink® Society and a major partner of the award winning Grand Canyon Skywalk...
...Mark has been personally mentoring Jeff and helping him develop his dreams and goals. I honestly believe that he and Kevin Trudeau are the two best marketers in the world.
Did you get all that? Nameless Affiliate knows someone who knows someone who knows Mark Scamilton, who is Kevin True-dough's long-time pal and bidness associate. I hope you are suitably impressed.

Natch, Nameless Affiliate has got the starry eyes for Kevin too, and he's, like, almost in KT's inner circle, apparently due to the fact that he wrote a song about how heroic Kevin is, and Kevin played it. On his radio show. Sez Nameless Affiliate, writing about his "lucky" day:
I'll give you an example of how close to the top you are. I'm a singer/songwriter. I wrote this song called "Kevin" all about Kevin Trudeau and his fight to expose truth. I made a quick home demo of this and sent it to Jeff. Not long after that, Jeff burned my song onto disk and gave it to Kevin by hand. [By hand! Oh, my, that is close to the top. ~ CC] Soon, I'm hearing billionaire Kevin Trudeau announce my name and play my demo to millions of people on his radio show. This was like a dream and it's just the beginning of the beginning for me!
Ah, Nameless Affiliate... You say "billionaire Kevin Trudeau" / I say "scammer Kevin True-dough" / Billionaire / Scammer / Billionaire / Scammer / Let's call the whole thing off. Well, I listened to Nameless Affiliate's song -- the whole thing -- and tears came to my eyes. You can listen too if you follow the link in the last sentence of the paragraph above. [Actually, you can't any more, because the link is gone. ~CC, 10-18-13.] I don't know why Nameless Affiliate doesn't just bundle up his talent and take it to America's Got Talent.

I have to admit I was momentarily a little envious of Kevin for inspiring such creativity, but then I remembered that I have inspired a similarly creative effort. It doesn't have a tune yet and maybe it needs more verses -- after all, I've gotten death threats too -- but it's a good start. And by the way, I also wrote a song, but it doesn't have a tune yet either.

But back to business. I am fully aware that even this more recent GIN/Neoscam venture stuff is not new information. Don't think I'm expending any energy patting myself on the back for my keen investigative journo skills. Chalk up the fact that I overlooked the Scamilton/True-dough connections in my numerous previous posts about True-dough to the fact that there are thousands of scams out there, and Nouveau Tech never really came on my radar till I read the story of Utah's Rock-dwelling patriarch.

At any rate, despite the cozy mail-list sharing and the enthusiastic, mutual-masturbatory kickoff in 2009, there may have been a little bit of trouble in Neo-GIN Paradise. It's just a hunch I have, based on the fact that the GIN folks addressed the issue on the GIN FAQ page:
Q: I ordered something from Neo-Tech and...?
A: Please contact
customerservice@neo-tech.com to have this issue resolved. Neo-tech and GIN are separate organizations.
Nevertheless, the relationship with Neo-tech has undoubtedly sent new fans and followers to True-dough, and vice-versa. (This testimonial, which sings the praises of both True-dough and Neotech, is yet another reminder that the fans simply don't care about True-dough's felonious past.)

Regarding Neotech as a business, it's hard to find reliable critical information, given some apologists' apparent employment of every hucksters' best-loved SEO strategy: using the word "scam" as a keyword in content that is in fact favorable to them. Consider this blog post, for example, which even has "scam" in the title, and includes this illuminating bit:
So of course a great deal of people will call it a scam. It’s a truly rediculous [sic] proposition. And so what can we expect to find on the Internet. ‘Scam, scam, scam, Frank R Wallace should go to hell, no wait, in fact he’s the devil incarnate”
Most who claim it’s a scam have not even seen the information package they would get by accepting the invitation. They are hurting themselves and others by creating negative hysteria against Neo-Tech / Nouveau Tech.
But the readers that are honest enough and ready, they discover for themself [sic] a guidepost and support pillar that no other thing can replace...
Way to work those search engines! By the way, Frank R. Wallace is no longer incarnate at all, at least not as Frank R. Wallace, aka Wallace Ward Sr. He died in 2006 when he was struck and killed by a car while jogging.

If you think you can find out much about Neotech by visiting the official Neo-tech Web site, I'll warn you in advance that the site is rather primitive and doesn't seem to be anything more than a bunch of testimonials -- thousands upon thousands of them. This is apparently a list of what used to be on the Web site, but the links lead only to error messages, leading me to believe that the material was taken down because Scamilton et al. decided to stop giving it away for free. Now all that's left are the testimonials. Good luck reaching that Customer Service email that the GIN folks suggested.

And getting back to GIN, you may be wondering whether it really is a pyramid scheme or a scam, as I've said or implied here numerous times. Well, here, in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, is the aforementioned Nameless Affiliate again to assure you that it's not. He explains that accusations that GIN is a pyramid or a scam are just knee-jerk reactions by the uninformed.
The Global Information Network founders are not enriching themselves financialy [sic] with this club.
I want you to take away from this page one thing. The founders of the Global Information Network are not a bunch of scheming, shabby guys sitting in a dark room trying to manipulate people for money. I've been to events. I've shaken hands with Kevin Trudeau. I've spoken to some of the faculty trainers. These guys are passionate! They pour their soul into their trainings because they really want members to succeed in life. Also, the founders are billionaires and already have multiple million dollar money making machines- they don't need the Global Information Network to make them money. Kevin Trudeau, one of the founders, has a vision for the Global Information Network. It is his burning desire to reach new members but he is not affected personaly [sic] or financially if someone joins or not. See, this club is set up as a foundation. The membership dues go right back into the foundation to enrich and grow the membership benefits. The money the club generates is not going to Kevin Trudeau personaly [sic] and furthermore, he doesn't need to do this- this is simply the vehicle he and the other GIN council members have chosen to disseminate the information they wish to share.
And unicorns really exist. And a unicorn will make you rich, healthy, and happy beyond your wildest dreams if you will only stroke its horn with passion, purpose, and a burning desire to succeed.

Now go take your shower, and I'll meet you here later for Part 2.

* Regarding "godhood and planets of their own," see Item Number 1 on this Top Ten list of crazy things Mormons believe. (IMO, though, these beliefs are not measurably crazier than most other religious beliefs.)
** That was sarcasm.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous hHh said...

Yeah watch out for them double sinus waves, and especially don't get engulfed in them.

Saturday, August 20, 2011 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

But wait... aren't those waves supposed to be FAVORABLE signs? They're the very things that supposedly make the hundreds of thousands of recipients of those personalized letters from Nouveau Tech so you-nique.

Nobody has ever sent ME a letter telling me I'm engulfed in double sine waves. I am feeling pretty darn not-special right now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous T.Beast said...

Double sine waves?

It's that whole Carlos Castaneda scam again where people who can "see" would look into the average human soul and see it as a luminous egg separated in half. But the "naguals" or special teachers in the world were looked at as being and having a luminous egg separated in four compartments not just two, thus giving them more energy, special gifts, a sense of destiny and an ability to write many books of fiction and con a great many people.

If we look over the landscape of those who hustle and manipulate, I'm sure we can recognize many who have claimed those same qualities.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 5:05:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yeah, good point, T. Beast. But at least Castaneda's con was a little more literate than the Neo-Scam thing. But in the end, a con is a con. And never underestimate the ability of an ex-con to get away with even the most outrageous con.

To quote a certain Cosmic poet:

"It’s what people want, after all:
Bright shiny visions
To keep them in thrall
It’s all in the packaging, all in the hype
Oh, I can make millions by marketing tripe!"

:-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011 8:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You took me down memory lane with Neo-Tech. I somehow ended on their mailing list circa 1994. Every week for about a year I got a pitch letter. I was close to ordering the damn book but never did. Years later I found the book in a used book store for a buck. I thought I had hit pay dirt and went home to read the hidden secrets of the universe haha. Here is the summary: Neo Techers do anything they want with no conscience. Keep up the good work Connie and yes I feel I need to shower and wash out my eyes hahaha.

~Anon

Monday, August 22, 2011 9:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Anon. You're probably going to have to take a shower all over again after you read Part 2. :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011 9:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connie, I found your blog by researching Kevin Trudeau and his GIN scam because I lost a friendship over this. My friend and I were conspiracy investigators (well, we talked about shit), then she got sucked in to everything conspiracy. like, buying a showerhead that filters chlorine and whatnot, but taking these same chemicals into your body, the whole MMS thing. I guess when I told her I'd like to shake and slap she hung up on me. In my research I remember Kevin Trudeau met Mark Hamilton in prison. Thanks for all you do. I miss my friend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger theoreticalgrrrl said...

I'm a Utah resident and have Mormon family members. I have to call complete B.S. on the so-called well adjusted polygamous families. These women are indoctrinated *from birth* that this is the only way to get into heaven and that they will be damned for eternity if they don't participate in it. I would hardly call that a choice freely made or something not abusive in nature. Just because there are some benevolent dictatorships doesn't make dictatorships OK.

Painting it as some quirky, unconventional arraingment between free, consenting adults is a LIE, and the idea that the abuses easier to conceal because it is against the law is an even bigger one. This is the propoganda they spew. What the fuck? There have been no women or children who have escaped polygamy who've been jailed or prosecuted for any crime.

I recommend reading Carolyn Jessop's account of life in this community and her brave escape. She fled from the compound with her children and never had to face jail time. People know that these women and girls, and the young men and boys who are tossed out of the community because they're competition for the older men, are not criminals and are never treated as such.

This is very triggering for me, I need to go throw up now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 3:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Anon Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:49:00 PM

And thank you for pointing out the prison connection. Actually it wasn't Mark Scamilton whom True-dough met in prison. Apparently it was Scamilton's daddy, Wallace Ward, aka Frank Wallace, founder of the Neo-Tech empire, according to this site...
http://attitudeadjustment.tripod.com/Essays/NT-Attention.htm ...

==BEGIN QUOTE==
The founder of the Neo-Tech company, Wallace Ward (aka Frank Wallace), started with the benevolent intention of "collapsing mysticism worldwide". There's job security for sure. Anyway, his first publication, The Neo-Tech Reference Encyclopedia, took an Objectivist look at 100 or so books and offered a thumbnail review of them. It also supplied a set of 144 "primary concepts" that were basically Objectivist treatments of various everyday situations from romantic relationships to church attendance. This publication was commercially unsuccessful, so Wallace had to regroup and start again.

While all this was happening, Wallace was also pursuing the development of life-extension technology. He was storing hard currency in a safe in the floor for start-up of an overseas research company that would be free of FDA regulations. Apparently, he was not paying taxes on this money, and his ex-girlfriend turned him in to the IRS. He spent a few years in federal prison. While there in 1986, he pounded out The Neo-Tech Discovery, a book that condensed the original Neo-Tech manuscript into "114 Advantages". This book was published by his family under the newly reorganized Neo-Tech Publishing (NTP) company and became a commercial success.

Since that time, many other books have poured from that company. The most notable one is The Neo-Tech System, which explains how to set up a publishing company similar to NTP. The interesting thing about their approach is the use of 100% accountability. There are no "employees", only a set of interdependent contractors, each of whom is responsible for his own bottom line.

With the arrival of the Internet, NTP has opted to publish some of their books on the Web and make money marketing other materials. One is Kevin Trudeau's Mega Memory system. Trudeau and Ward met each other in prison. Ward was in jail for tax evasion, Trudeau for credit card fraud. Trudeau has been heavily involved in Scientology in the past, and now he's a Neo-Tech advocate. This could have several interpretations, so I'll just leave it at that...
===END QUOTE===

I'm really sorry you lost your friend. Maybe when she wakes up she'll come back to you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for your input, theoreticalgrrrl . I certainly didn't mean to make you nauseated :-(

You make good points, and in presenting the story of the late and (I think) relatively benign Bob Foster -- which, after all, was only a starting point for my "expose" of Nouveau Tech -- I may have misrepresented the overall tone of Bhattacharya's book. There were horrendous tales of abuse in that book, and the author did not sugar-coat any of it.

Arguably the entire Mormon faith -- mainstream as well as fundamentalist -- is based on lies and fantasy (starting with Joseph Smith's "visions" and such), not to mention abuse or at least wholesale disregard of women, starting with the fact that only men can attain "priesthood." (But I may be biased because I personally am no fan of organized religion in general.)

I haven't read Carolyn Jessop's book yet but it is on my list. Currently I am reading "Daughter of the Saints," a memoir by Dorothy Allred Solomon, which presents a more nuanced view of polygamist life. (Her dad, Rulon Allred, met his death at the hands of the evil LeBaron gang.)

Despite having many fond memories, however, Ms. Solomon's narrative makes it clear that, apart from religious beliefs, and even if there is no sexual or other abuse, this is an intrinsically dysfunctional way of life. And it is noteworthy that early on, Ms. Solomon chose to leave that life.

I thank you for your insights, TG, which are right in keeping with the anti-polygamist activists whom Bhattacharya quoted at length in his book. And of course I also welcome Bhattacharya's input.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Neo-tech, that's a blast from the past. I bought, from a newspaper small-ad, two manuals in the early eighties. They promised intriguing new ideas and purported to lift the lid on the mundane world-- which snagged me in my then almost terminal boredom.
What I got were two bulky, roughly-typed manuscripts that looked photo-copied and read like a bad NWO paranoid conspiracy. I was quite desperate to be suckered in those days but even Neo-tech couldn't do it for me. Worse, there was no return address and only an unresponsive PO box number for complaints.
I returned to Maria's far simpler and more seductive promise.

Ted Nicholas is mentioned in your piece as a writer for Neo-tech. You do know that he is revered by all the senior scammers as the grandaddy of the direct marketing 'offer' and gets a standing ovation at any IM event he cares to grace?

Apparently he is an unsurpassed whiz at manipulative copywriting and the likes of Frank Kern and Yanik Silver yearn to touch his hem. Most of their current IM copy is a direct filch from his swipe files.
I was just a bit surprised that he didn't get a working link, although he seems to be smart enough to have remained a shadowy back-room boy and not put his name to any obvious frauducts.

Neo-tech, such promise in a small-ad, I almost miss the delicious anticipation that they might, actually, (god forbid) deliver.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Just to mention--there were no sine waves promised in the small ad in the early eighties, just world mastery and joining the elect, as I recall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Dis! No, I totally spaced the bit about Ted Nicholas. Obviously the links in that copy were already there but if I'd thought about it I would have added info and a link about Ted.

Someone mentioned Nicholas in passing in a thread on Salty Droid's blog (see "Dr. Mario," May 4th, 2011 at 4:31 pm:

http://saltydroid.info/the-malinchak-retraction/

More Ted Nicholas stuff, apparently offered by a third-party admirer:
http://onlineincomenews.com/gurus/Ted_Nicholas.php

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ted-Nicholas-Neo-Tech-Seminar-no-Halbert-Dan-Kennedy-/300591142816

I realize that my post is a far from comprehensive look at the history of Neotech. I'm still learning about different connections and bits of history. There are, however, a few common threads -- namely, the threads of deceit and greed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

BTW, the link I provided to the Ted Nicholas material also lists these folks as "the Top 21." Many have made the Salty Droid Hall of Shame, and a couple have been featured on my Whirled too:

* Jay Abraham
* Joel Comm
* Mike Filsaime
* Matt Furey
* Fred Gleek
* Gary Halbert
* Mark Joyner
* Dan Kennedy
* Frank Kern
* Armand Morin
* Ted Nicholas
* Stephen Pierce
* John Reese
* Corey Rudl
* Marlon Sanders
* Yanik Silver
* Joe Vitale

Rolling my eyes... again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 1:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you have discovered the Nouveau Tech Society Scam. It has been all the rage on various scam sites and the RipoffReport site over the last 5 years or so. To me it's kind of old news.

To be quite frank the current operators of the Neo-Tech companies have pretty much abandoned all of their old customers.

All three of the original heirloom publications are mostly repackaged material from their older titles. I seriously doubt if they have really added any new material since Frank R. Wallace met his untimely death.

If you are serious about understanding Neo-Tech, just get a used copy of the "Neo-Tech Discovery," "The Neo-Tech Protection Protection Kit," and "Cosmic Business Control." These are about the best of the lot.

I don't think you would get much value pursuing the rest of their material. At some point they start rambling about Zon and Zonpower and other such hard to understand material.

Likewise, what I have bought of their "Society of Secrets" material on the used market is just alot of their older material repackaged under new titles.

As you may have figured out, there is some kind of relationship between Kevin Trudeau and the Neo-Techers. I am not sure who is leading who. But since old Trudeau is such a good marketer, he could easily teach Mr. Fire and Mr. Hamilton quite a few things about how to make money.

It would be interesting to know who invented the secret society angle first--Hamilton or Trudeau?

Sunday, October 09, 2011 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon Sunday, October 09, 2011 12:17:00 AM: Thanks for the info. I never claimed to be breaking any new ground with my Neo-Tech reportage. There are so many scams, both old and new, that it's impossible to keep up with them and impractical to blog about all of 'em. Yes, Neo-Tech has been around for years, and the first thing I discovered when Googling was that there had indeed been a lot of ripoff complaints about NovaTech/NouveauTech/Neo-Tech -- which was hardly surprising. But IMO, some things bear revisiting no matter how many people have previously complained about them.

What caught my eye were two events that occurred almost simultaneously: the mention of NovaTech in a book I had recently read and enjoyed, and the mention of Neo-Tech on Facebook by Peter Wink, Kevin True-dough's marketing guy.

The "secret society" theme was definitely the point that made me prick up my ears. KT met Mark Hamilton's dad in prison back in the early to mid 1990s, and no doubt met Mark soon after, so he probably got lots of inspiration during that time. If I had to guess, I'd say that the Neo-Tech dad and son came up with the secret society stuff first, but KT found inspiration and realized their material was a rich mine of scam ops.

At this point, I'd say True-dough is way ahead of Scamilton in the scam race, because he learned the value of diversification early on. He has a much broader line of frauducts and flopportunities than Scamiltion does, although the two hucksters apparently have some joint ventures.

Sunday, October 09, 2011 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger smifenuf1 said...

Hey Gang,

This is Shannon Smith, the guy you think so little of and are happy to dismiss in your blog. Each to their own. I will inform you a few things:

1. Mark Hamilton was very much at our last GIN event in Vegas; introduced as a long time friend of Kevin

2. So Kevin was in prison a long time ago- does that mean he can't turn his life around?

3. There is not GIN scam- how could there be? It's a club. We learn success principles, we network (I just networked a found a potentialy incredibly lucrative penny stock), we have seminars, we will be having live webinars on a whole host of different material every week.

4. Someone tried to correct me saying Kevin was an "owner" of GIN; he is not. It is a foundation.

5. http://www.globalinformationnetworkhome.com/scam.html is where you can learn more.

6. Someone wrote that their friend was taken in by a conspiracy theory and got a shower filter- well good for her. Are you really ignorant and uniformed enough to believe tap water is not filthy?

Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Shannon, and welcome to my Whirled.

1. Thanks for the update on Mark Scamilton. It's not surprising he would show up at the big sucker bash in Lost Wages; I guess he's still trying to ride on KT's coattails -- although no doubt KT stole... I mean borrowed... a lot of that seekrit society stuff from Scamilton's daddy's Neo-Tech material. So I guess KT kind of owes him. And they do seem like turds of a feather.
2. I'll believe KT has turned his life around when he quits running scams and promoting frauducts and flopportunities.
3. You're prolly right that GIN isn't just a scam; more than likely it is several scams, with "club" activities thrown in as fillers. But its main hook seems to be a promise that people who join will get rich if they reach a high enough level of membership, and sign up enough other suckers.
4. Maybe you really believe your claims about GIN's ownership and maybe you don't. You can call it a club, explain that it's based in Nevis/St. Kitts, and say that it isn't owned by anyone but was founded by a mostly anonymous group of billionaires, for the good of humanity. But from where I sit, it's Kevin True-dough's baby through and through, and he is the chief beneficiary. Some of the rest of you may get crumbs here and there, just enough to make it appear to others that there are real and measurable benefits. And of course, you can go on those lavish "leadership" cruises and dance the night away and brag about how GIN has changed your life. But I have a sneaking suspicion that KT is laughing his overpaid a$$ off at most of you.
5. I've read your page explaining why GIN is not a scam. I've also read several other similar propaganda pages covering the same subject. They are all filled with keywords to fool the search engines so that people looking for real and objective info about GIN will be directed to pages reassuring them that GIN is not a scam, and that joining GIN would be a good thing. Perhaps all of y'all are encouraged to do that SEO thing. But people are getting smarter about this stuff. As for me, I remain convinced that GIN is a scam, and that joining GIN would be a waste of time and, in all too many cases, money.
6. If you really think that my gripe with Kevin True-dough and the GIN scam is about the cleanliness, or lack thereof, of tap water, then you either have a reading comprehension problem or you are choosing to ignore the glaring evidence that you have been taken in by a master con artist.

I realize that one of KT's big marketing hooks is the promise that he is privy to all sorts of health information and other secrets that "they" don't want you to know. And, of course, he claims to have information about all of the great conspiracies that keep the masses poor and unhealthy and unhappy. I've never believed or claimed that the government or Big Pharma or the medical industry or any institution is benign. But trading one evil (in the form of the hated industry of choice) for another (in the form of a smarmy huckster) is no solution.

But hey, thanks for stopping in! I'll be here for moral support if you ever reach the point when you've finally thrown every penny you have at KT and still aren't rich, and you've decided it's time to call a scam a scam. Till then, Shannon, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, eh?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never got into GIN, not for the reasons that are flying about now, but just because it does not fit my personality I guess.. But technically, GIN is not a ponzi scheme, because there are actual products attached to it. They have cruises, and health products and other real-time values like books and whatnot that come with the membership. So it might be a flimsy business model (I really have no idea if it is or not), but it is not a ponzi scheme.

Also, I am wondering if you have ever read any of the NeoTech literature? Someone sent me a book many years ago and I read it, and I loved it. I never got the sales letters people talk about until after I contacted the publisher so that I could find out about getting more of the books.

I have always felt that the letters were weird, because the books are actually good. I mean, it's actually good reading and interesting and full of insights. I know that might make me seem weird, but there is actually some very good, practical info in them, and some excellent explanations of things.

I never understood the sales letters, because what seems to me would be a better strategy would be to give the first book away, and them wait for re-orders, because that is what I did. I have been reading the stuff for 20 years and I love it, and I wish Dr. Wallace was around so I could read more. Mark is also a very good writer.

People think Mark is a scammer because of these sales letters, but if someone has never read the books then how could they really know? But yes, the sales letters are perplexing. However, Mark is a legitimate business man who besides building an publishing empire through the mail has done some cool shit. He had a lot to do with putting together the Grand Canyon Skywalk for instance. He's a neat guy and I respect him in spite of the weird sales letters.

There is a lot I can tell you about all of this, and I can do it without even besmirching Mark Hamilton, who I respect, but this is not the format for it. I do enjoy your blog, you are a good writer, but I do not know why you have such a penchant for focusing on Kevin Trudeau, because the way you can tell if someone is scamming someone is whether or not people are complaining about the products he sells. KT might seem oily or something, but how many people have returned his books and other products he sells. Mega-Memory for instance is incredible, he has sold millions of those and people do not return it, I don't think. So he may have committed a crime in the past, and he might dress like a flim flammer, but are poeple returning his products and books?

Also, why you want to be so hard on an innocent, peaceful movement like the Twelve Visions Party and whatnot. They are not hurting anyone. They should be able to exist in the world without harassment like anyone else. But that is your movie, so whatever.

I have some insights on GIN and whatnot, and I will put all of this into a piece for you and you can post it on your blog if you wish. I will use a fake name and you can do with it what you will. But I will preface this by saying that all you do in terms of writing about the NT Society and even GIN is drive more attention to it, and ultimately, that is a very good thing for the world. So thank you for that. I don't mean that in a "law of attraction way", I mean it in the physical realm as well. Any attention you can bring to the principles explained in the NT literature is excellent. So thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2012 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your insights, Anon. I haven't read the Neo-Tech books but some who have read them said they're not terribly well written. That said, I'd be glad to give them a shot (and read with an open mind) if someone sent some to me. Even if they're not well written they may contain interesting ideas, though from what I've read NT seems to be sort of an adaptation of Objectivism, of which I'm not that great a fan.

I've focused on Kevin Trudeau so much on this blog because he is a serial con artist. The evidence is everywhere and has been for decades. And customers HAVE been complaining about him. For years. They still are. People have complained about and have tried to return his products. (Google Kevin Trudeau customer complaints.) His books consistently get lousy reviews on Amazon.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Your remarks lead me to believe you have some stake in preserving Trudeau and/or GIN. I may be wrong but it just sounds suspicious.

I snarked about the Twelve Visions Party because they looked to me like just another marketing scheme, thinly disguised. As for Mark Hamilton, perhaps you know him and think he's a great guy. Then again, some of the people who know Trudeau used to say HE was a great guy. Some, such as Peter Wink and Leonard Coldwell, aren't saying that any more.

But that's a whole other story.

From where I sit, though, Hamilton looks like a sleazy huckster. But I am willing to entertain the notion that I could be wrong. I've been wrong before. I would love to hear more of your insights and yes, I will post them on my blog if you wish to share them.

And BTW, you're not the first person to slyly suggest that my criticism is bringing favorable attention to those I criticize. Peter Wink, to name but one example, told me a couple of years ago that my snarking about his then-boss Trudeau and his former boss Joe Vitale was publicity for them, and that they probably loved the attention. Members of the nutcake Access Consciousness have sometimes dropped in to lovingly tell me that my fierce snarking is drawing attention to them and encouraging folks to explore.

Whatevs! I aim to inform more than to influence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Everyone: Since Blogger will not allow me to go back and edit comments that are already published, and since I do not want to interrupt the flow of comments, I will post an update here. The GIN affiliate who wrote the April 22, 2012 comment above, and to whom I responded, has informed me that he is no longer involved with promoting the Global Information Network or Kevin Trudeau. In light of the events that have been unfolding over the past year and a half, I would say this is not at all surprising. I wish him the best.

Friday, October 18, 2013 10:22:00 AM  

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