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.)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Independence Daze



First off, Dear Ones, I apologize for being away from the Whirled for most of June. Apart from real work and real life, I have been engaged on other forums discussing some of my favorite snargets (snark targets), but I know that is a poor substitute for tending my own garden.

Secondly, a belated Happy Fourth of July for those who celebrated it. I realize that I have friends and readers in Other Parts of the World besides the US, and for y'all the Fourth was just another day. Even if you didn't celebrate the US Independence Day, however, I think we can all use this time to celebrate another sort of independence: freedom from cults or cult-like organizations and their "leaders." After all, actress
Katie Holmes is finally freeing herself and her little girl from that evil little Scientology gnome (though brilliant actor, I'll give him that). That's truly a cause for celebration.

And then we have another cult-like organization that seems to have some things in common with Scientology, and that some have even deemed evil: the Ponzi-like
Global Information Network, founded by serial scammer Kevin Trudeau. People seem to be waking up en masse about that too. And I say it's about time. Rumors are flying now as some say GIN is on the verge of bankruptcy and True-dough's arrest is imminent, and others contend that what's going on is just a little glitch, part of the growing pains of a new-ish company.

But let's get back to the cult angle for now. It has been fairly widely speculated that True-dough has gone through Scientology training himself (
here is but one of many threads; Google for more). At the very least, in some of his books for consumers, as well as in interoffice memos to his employees, he has recommended Scientology and its predecessor, Dianetics. So there's that. I don't want to appear to be overstating the Scientology connection because I realize that Scientology has become the new Nazism in some Internet discussion circles; some folks see a die-hard Scientologist (or ex-Scientologist) under every rock even if there is only a casual connection or none at all. Still, KT's history of recommending Scientology is worth considering when one is making up one's mind about GIN. (Worth considering, as in: Huge. Red. Flag.)

I have, of course, written snarkily and critically about Kevin Trudeau and GIN many times on this blog since late 2009 (see list of links at the end of this post), but for the most part I have taken quite the broad-brush approach, stating and even over-stating what seemed to me to be obvious points. Frankly, it is only within the past six weeks or so that I have become more aware of rebellion within the ranks of GIN members. I'm still sorting out the details and am not quite finished with the post I was really planning to publish today, but no worries, there's plenty of snark chum floating around in the GIN punch bowl. For instance, there is the matter of GIN indoctrination.

Before I go any further I think it only fair to mention that some defenders of GIN have said that the rebels represent only a very small minority, and some have told me that I am only focusing on that minority because their perspective is in sync with mine. I have been told that I am not looking at the big picture but only at distorted bits of gossip from malcontents. Defenders have also repeatedly stressed that GIN membership is not for everyone, but only for a few. They have patiently explained to me that the training and other benefits offered through GIN are truly invaluable, but that not everyone has what it takes -- mentally or financially -- to really climb the ranks.

Some defenders have even gone so far as to suggest that critics such as yours truly are doing a good thing, because we are attracting the riff-raff who don't have any business being in GIN, thus keeping the membership ranks pure. It seems to me, however, that if GIN really is only for a few, this would severely limit those pools of nearly endless residual income, as promised by some of GIN's top speakers (click on the pic for an enlarged view)...


...but maybe I am overlooking something.

I have also seen Kevin Trudeau defended as a brilliant teacher, an ingenious sales and marketing expert, and a consummate professional.

On previous posts I have made fun of some of True-dough's followers and worshipers, particularly those who sounded robotic or over-the-top starstruck or just plain nutty. Some of the defenders whose perspectives I have seen recently, however, are obviously intelligent people who write and speak quite eloquently. So I cannot categorically dismiss every KT defender and follower as a semi-literate robot or a nutcase.

We'll leave the fine points of the pro-GIN arguments and defenses of True-dough for another post, but I will say here, as I have said in various discussions on other forums, that the real Kevin Trudeau is probably much more interesting and nuanced than either his critics or his worshipers paint him. He is, no doubt, a complex human being, just like everyone else, except perhaps brighter and considerably more on the sociopathic side than the average person. But I'll leave those details to his eventual biographer.

I will concede one point to the defenders: GIN is indeed not for everyone, and of course I do not say this from the perspective of someone who is using devious reverse-psychology tactics to manipulate a mark into signing up. GIN is not for everyone. From my perspective, GIN isn't for anyone, but obviously many disagree with me on that point. A casual Google search the other day led me to three documents created for GIN members and affiliates, and when I read those documents it really hit me just how pathologically immersed in GIN a good member is expected to become.

Or to put it another way: how extraordinarily cultish GIN appears to be.

For instance, here is a link to the GIN Yearly Listening Checklist (you might want to get a screen shot before it gets removed):
http://mygin.ws/info/GINYearlyListeningChecklist.pdf


The Key Speaker Seminar list, which includes seminars by...
  • Dr. Leonard Coldwell
  • Ed Foreman
  • Les Brown
  • Dr. Ted Morter
  • Ron Ball
  • Marshall Sylver
  • Mary Miller
  • Blaine Athorn
...is now a bit outdated, since Lenny Coldwell was apparently booted out of the club (supposedly for violations of the GIN behavioral code, among other things), but I wouldn't count any of the others out just yet. No, not even longtime motivator and professed Christian Ron Ball, who back in the day was quite the KT and GIN supporter (this video is from August of 2011), but who was rumored to have tried to distance himself from GIN since the crap hit the fan. I'm still not sure what Ron Ball was doing at the Kevin Trudeau event in Chicago on the weekend of June 24-25. Some say he was there to promote his own stuff. Some say he was just in the audience. But why was he even there at all? More recent rumors have it that he is still very much a part of GIN and will even be on the GIN leadership cruise this coming January, provided, of course, that the world fails to end in December.

But I digress. Just a glance at the list below is a disturbing look at the making of an obsessive-compulsive. Between listening to up to six hours of GIN-related audios, reading from a list of recommended material for a set period of time, carefully avoiding all mainstream media but listening to Kevin's own radio show,
"tapping" on various matters a certain number of times, repeating a series of affirmations out loud many times a day, "consciously laughing" a given number of times, and obsessing over a "dream board" or "dream book" -- and those are just some of the highlights -- it's difficult to see how anyone who seriously tried to put all of this into practice could become anything except a GIN-powered robot. And yet members are apparently expected to strive to accomplish all of these items, and to chart the whole thing. Every day.

Here for your perusal is the questionnaire, which I will leave up until and unless I am asked to take it down. (Note: YWIYC is Your Wish Is Your Command.)




Thinking Section

# question Yes No value points received
1 Have you listened to at least 1 hour of "audios" today? 1
2 Have you listened to at least 2 hours of "audios" today? 1
3 Have you listened to at least 3 hours of "audios" today? 1
4 Have you listened to at least 4 hours of "audios" today? 1
5 Have you listened to at least 5 hours of "audios" today? 1
6 Have you listened to at least 6 hours of "audios" today? 1
7 Did you listen to "audios" for at least 10 minutes within 30 minutes of arising today? 1
8 Did you listen to "audios" for at least 10 minutes within 30 minutes before bed today? 1
9 Did you listen to any "audios" in the car today? 1
10 Have you "read" for at least 10 minutes today? 1
11 Have you "read" for at least 20 minutes today? 1
12 Have you "read" for at least 30 minutes today? 1
13 Have you "read" for at least 45 minutes today? 1
14 Have you "read" for at least 1 hour today? 1
15 Did you "read" for at least 5 minutes within 10 minutes of arising today? 1
16 Did you "read" for at least 5 minutes within 10 minutes before bed today? 1
17 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least once today? 1
18 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least 2 times today? 1
19 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least 3 times today? 1
20 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least 4 times today? 1
21 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least 5 times today? 1
22 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim at least 6 times today? 1
23 Did you look at your dream board, dream book, or pictures of your dreams and chief aim immediately upon rising today? 1
24 Did you "tap" on the "6 Beliefs" today? 1
25 Did you "tap" on your chief aim today? 1
26 Did you "tap" while looking at your dream board or dream book today? 1
27 Did you log on and go through the GIN website for at least 10 minutes today? 1
28 Is your Priority Manager current? 1
29 Did you use your Priority Manager today? 1
30 When you woke up, did you make a positive statement spoken aloud today? 1
31 Did you look for the good instead of criticize or find the out points in most situations today? 1
32 Did you speak out loud positive things about people and situations today? 1
33 Did you consciously laugh at least once today? 1
34 Did you consciously laugh at least 2 times today? 1
35 Did you consciously laugh at least 3 times today? 1
36 Did you consciously laugh at least 4 times today? 1
37 Did you consciously laugh at least 5 times today? 1
38 Did you consciously smile at least once today? 1
39 Did you consciously smile at least 2 times today? 1
40 Did you consciously smile at least 3 times today? 1
41 Did you consciously smile at least 4 times today? 1
42 Did you consciously smile at least 5 times today? 1
43 Did you say "Thank You" to someone at least once today? 1
44 Did you say "Please" to someone at least once today? 1
45 Did you say say out loud, "I am thankful for all the good things in my life" at least once today? 1
46 Did you say say out loud, "I am thankful for all the good things in my life" at least 2 times today? 1
47 Did you say say out loud, "I am thankful for all the good things in my life" at least 3 times today? 1
48 Did you say say out loud, "I am thankful for all the good things in my life" at least 4 times today? 1
49 Did you say say out loud, "I am grateful for all the good things in my life" at least once today? 1
50 Did you say say out loud, "I am grateful for all the good things in my life" at least 2 times today? 1
51 Did you say say out loud, "I am grateful for all the good things in my life" at least 3 times today? 1
52 Did you say say out loud, "I am grateful for all the good things in my life" at least 4 times today? 1
53 Did you say say out loud, "I am appreciative for all the good things in my life" at least once today? 1
54 Did you say say out loud, "I am appreciative for all the good things in my life" at least 2 times today? 1
55 Did you say say out loud, "I am appreciative for all the good things in my life" at least 3 times today? 1
56 Did you say say out loud, "I am appreciative for all the good things in my life" at least 4 times today? 1
57 Did you say say out loud, "I am blessed for all the good things in my life" at least once today? 1
58 Did you say say out loud, "I am blessed for all the good things in my life" at least 2 times today? 1
59 Did you say say out loud, "I am blessed for all the good things in my life" at least 3 times today? 1
60 Did you say say out loud, "I am blessed for all the good things in my life" at least 4 times today? 1
61 Did you say say out loud, "I feel great" at least once today? 1
62 Did you say say out loud, "I feel great" at least 2 times today? 1
63 Did you say say out loud, "I feel great" at least 3 times today? 1
64 Did you say say out loud, "I feel great" at least 4 times today? 1
65 Did you say say out loud, "I can do it!" at least once today? 1
66 Did you say say out loud, "I can do it!" at least 2 times today? 1
67 Did you say say out loud, "I can do it!" at least 3 times today? 1
68 Did you say say out loud, "I can do it!" at least 4 times today? 1
69 Did you say say out loud, "I am a winner!" at least once today? 1
70 Did you say say out loud, "I am a winner!" at least 2 times today? 1
71 Did you say say out loud, "I am a winner!" at least 3 times today? 1
72 Did you say say out loud, "I am a winner!" at least 4 times today? 1
73 Did you say say out loud, "I am a champion!" at least once today? 1
74 Did you say say out loud, "I am a champion!" at least 2 times today? 1
75 Did you say say out loud, "I am a champion!" at least 3 times today? 1
76 Did you say say out loud, "I am a champion!" at least 4 times today? 1
77 Did you say say out loud, "All of my dreams are coming true!" at least once today? 1
78 Did you say say out loud, "All of my dreams are coming true!" at least 2 times today? 1
79 Did you say say out loud, "All of my dreams are coming true!" at least 3 times today? 1
80 Did you say say out loud, "All of my dreams are coming true!" at least 4 times today? 1
81 Did you say say out loud, "I'm going to do it, that's it, period!" at least once today? 1
82 Did you say say out loud, "I'm going to do it, that's it, period!" at least 2 times today? 1
83 Did you say say out loud, "I'm going to do it, that's it, period!" at least 3 times today? 1
84 Did you say say out loud, "I'm going to do it, that's it, period!" at least 4 times today? 1
85 Did you say say out loud, "If it is to be, it's up to me." at least once today? 1
86 Did you say say out loud, "If it is to be, it's up to me." at least 2 times today? 1
87 Did you say say out loud, "If it is to be, it's up to me." at least 3 times today? 1
88 Did you say say out loud, "If it is to be, it's up to me." at least 4 times today? 1
89 Did you say, "I like you" to at least one person today? 1
90 Did you say, "You can do it" to at least one person today? 1
91 Did you listen more than you talked today? 1
92 When in conversation today, did you ask more questions than you made statements? 1
93 Did you make at least one person feel important today? 1
94 Did you praise at least one person publicly in front of others today? 1
95 Did you have the feeling and intention, "I don't care if they get in or not," today? 1
96 Did you have the feeling and intention, "I don't care if they participate in GIN or the Affiliate program," today? 1
97 Did you generally look for the gold/good in most situations instead of the dirt today? 1
98 Did you feel free of financial pressure today? 1
99 Did you have fun today? 1
100 Did you feel good about the 2 to 5 year time frame to build your GIN Affiliate business and achieve total financial freedom and independence? 1
101 Did you have a mild sense of urgency without feeling desperate today? 1
102 Did you dress for success today when building your GIN Affiliate business? 1
103 Did you edify someone to someone today? 1
104 Did you edify something to someone today? 1
105 Were you TV-free today? 1
106 Were you newspaper-free today? 1
107 Were you TV news-free today? 1
108 Were you radio news-free today? 1
109 Did you listen to The Kevin Trudeau Radio Show at KTRadioNetwork.com today? 2
10 When you dealt with a new prospect or downline member today, did you think of "What's in it for them" and "what their goals and dreams are," instead of how they could make you rich? 5
111 When you dealt with a new prospect or downline member today, did you think of "What's in it for them" and "what their goals and dreams are," instead of how they could make you rich? 5
Total for Thinking Section

Action Section

# question Yes No value points received
112 Did you add to your prospect list today by writing down new names and contact details? 1
113 Did you do a three-way call with a new prospect ot explain the benefits of GIN and try to book a "meeting" today? 2
114 Did you follow up with a prospect in person today? 3
115 Did you follow up with a prospect via telephone today? 3
116 Did you attend a "home meeting" today (this is 'yes' if you personally gave the meeting)? 3
117 Did you call a Hot Lead or prospect to set up a "meeting" to "Share The Program" today? 3
118 Did you book a "meeting" today? 3
119 Did you do a "home meeting" today? 8
120 Did you "Share The Program" (have a meeting) and make a presentation with the PowerPoint or DVD at least once today? 8
121 Did you "Share The Program" (have a meeting) and make a presentation with the PowerPoint or DVD at least 2 times today? 8
122 Did you "Share The Program" (have a meeting) and make a presentation with the PowerPoint or DVD at least 3 times today? 8
123 Did you "Share The Program" (have a meeting) by showing the DVD with one new person in depth today? 8
124 Did you mail or hand out at least 1 "Intro to YWIYC" CD today? 3
125 Did you mail or hand out at least 2 "Intro to YWIYC" CDs today? 3
126 Did you mail or hand out at least 3 "Intro to YWIYC" CDs today? 3
127 Did you mail or hand out at least 4 "Intro to YWIYC" CDs today? 3
128 Did you mail or hand out at least 5 "Intro to YWIYC" CDs today? 3
129 Did you mail or hand out at least 1 "YWIYC" CD series today? 3
130 Did you mail or hand out at least 2 "YWIYC" CD series today? 3
131 Did you mail or hand out at least 3 "YWIYC" CD series today? 3
132 Did you mail or hand out at least 4 "YWIYC" CD series today? 3
133 Did you mail or hand out at least 5 "YWIYC" CD series today? 3
134 Did you mail or hand out at least 1 "Your Next Move" packages today? 3
135 Did you give at least 1 new person the "How to Get Started Fast" CD series today? 3
136 Did you mail or hand out at least 1 "YWIYC Guidebook" to a prospect or Affiliate today? 3
137 Did you mail or hand out at least 2 "YWIYC Guidebooks" to prospects or Affiliates today? 3
138 Did you mail or hand out at least 3 "YWIYC Guidebooks" to prospects or Affiliates today? 3
139 Did you hand out any books to your downline Members/Affiliates or to any prospects today? 3
140 Did you book an appointment to follow up with a prospect either in person or by telephone today? 3
141 Did you book an appointment to get a new Member/Affiliate started right today? 3
142 Did you take your KT Daily Supplements today? 8
Total for Action Section


Summary Section

Total for Thinking Section
Total for Action Section
Grand Total

And that is just the daily questionnaire. There is also a monthly questionnaire, which consists of 515(!) questions, and which I will not post here. But here is the link; read it and retch (and again, you might want to do a screenshot or something before it gets removed):
http://mygin.ws/q/monthly.php

I ask you, and not merely rhetorically: What is all of this but cult indoctrination? Some have said, in various ways, that the repetition and routine are important in order to reprogram one's mind from a "loser" mentality to a "winner" mentality. I am paraphrasing but that is the gist of it. Some people say that being in GIN and learning a new way of thinking has been truly helpful to them.

And yet someone recently wrote to me, "People have lost savings, marriages, family, friends, and their minds over this stuff." I can believe it.

So let's hear it for the people who have awakened and are shaking themselves free of all of that culty stuff. My silly Kevin Trudeau-style fedora is off to Katie Holmes as she escapes the clutches of Scientology, and to the newly awakened GIN and ex-GIN members as they awaken to the fact that they have been fleeced in a big way. May all of your futures be bright.

And it is my intention that you'll be hearing more from me on this subject very soon. But for now, I really have to get back to work.

PS ~ While you are waiting for more from my Whirled, there's plenty to read about some of the big issues plaguing the Global Information Network. As I noted above, GIN defenders have said publicly, and some have gone to great effort to explain to me privately, that the complainers are presenting a distorted and incomplete view of the issues. As I have also indicated, I plan to at least attempt to cover these issues in subsequent posts. For now, though, and for the benefit of those who are not aware of the issues, here are two sources which, though not unimpeachable (I am well aware of the Ripoff Report's troubles), are at least allowing and encouraging feedback from both sides.
More True-dough on this Whirled:

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4 Comments:

Blogger Tom Banjo said...

Were there any other ex GIN members at the last GIN conference besides Ron Ball? It seems to me that there are a few of them playing both sides of the fence these days. I'm sure a few of the 2% group are still keeping 1 foot in the GIN camp, either hedging their bets or spying.

Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

That's a good question, Tom. I am hearing several things and frankly do not know whom to believe. I think it is safe to assume that anyone who has had a finger in the GIN pie will still be trying to get what's left while the getting is good, in one way or another.

It's all very confusing to me. I feel confident, however, that my initial assessments about GIN being a scam and True-dough being a scammer have been right all along. The rest is just details. I'll try to report them accurately as time permits, but the basic truths have been there all along, for anyone who is brave enough to venture onto the hater blogs. :-)

Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

I guess my question is why do you care so much about GIN? We live in a free market society. If somebody wants to spend $150 a month and they believe they get a product worth that much then who cares. I wouldn't consider that a scam. People say Amaway is a "scam" yet there are millions of people willing to put their money into it.
Are you just simply trying to "save" people? Do you really think that will work?

Friday, July 06, 2012 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for writing, Brandon. You sound as if you are new to this blog and are not yet aware of the entire context of my interest in GIN and in its serial-scamming, convicted felon leader, Kevin Trudeau.

Fair enough. In my subsequent post of July 6, "The big sick machine," I include a bit towards the very beginning of the post that concisely summarizes my two big issues with GIN and KT. That is purely for the benefit of those who are new here and who don't have the time or inclination to read the many other blog posts I have written about GIN.

While I personally think that even $150 a month is too much to spend on a pipe dream, it is disingenuous to pretend that $150/month is all that anyone has ever spent. Following the initiation fee of at least $1,000, that $150 is only for a Level 1 membership. As you no doubt know, however, people are constantly encouraged (pressured) to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, with a new carrot being dangled and intriguing promises of new information to which only the upper-level members will be privy. (2012 video, anyone?) To climb the ranks of membership costs many thousands of dollars more, and this does not include the cost to go to the various (strongly encouraged or required) events.

As for my own mission on this blog, it seems to be evolving. I originally started this blog nearly six years ago mainly for entertainment (my own, if no one else's), with the purpose of poking fun at certain aspects of our culture that I find snarkworthy.

Increasingly, however, I am trying in my own way to contribute to what I feel is an ongoing educational effort to open people's eyes to the ways in which they are being fooled by money-hungry scammers, who often couch their scams in the spiritual or the arcane. True-dough apparently first awakened to the moneymaking potential of McSpirituality/New-Wage concepts a few years ago (in the wake of the stunning and totally unexpected success of “The Secret,” no doubt) and he has cleverly incorporated all of that into the huge scam that is GIN.

As for saving people, it's up to individuals to save themselves if they think they need saving. But those who are immersed in the culty indoctrination of GIN may not realize what is happening to them. One can only hope they will wake up.

And I think it is outrageously wrong to excuse all sorts of manipulative, unethical, and even criminal behavior in the name of the "free market." Trudeau has, IMO, been getting away with his crap for far too long in the name of "freedom."

But it's funny you should mention Scamway (which has had more than its own share of troubles), since some of True-dough's top dogs have deep Scamway backgrounds. Just because millions of people are willing to put their money into something, this doesn't mean it's not a scam, or at least a deceptive, cultish organization that peddles false hope and that is a moneymaker only for a few.

Saturday, July 07, 2012 11:31:00 AM  

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