Kevin Trudeau's GIN: part of the big sick machine
As noted on yesterday's post, I have more information about this topic than I can possibly fit into one blog post, and I also have real-work deadlines. So I'm just going to post a little bit at a time and hope it all adds up to a coherent whole. All of the content below is based upon the observations and opinions of various people. Obviously my information is incomplete. But if you are so inclined, please feel free to share your comments, questions, and experiences -- pro or con -- either via this blog or at my email address: cosmic.connie at juno.com.
As you may know, the Interwebz are alive with rumors about the fate of the Ponzi-like Global Information Network (GIN), founded by infomercial huckster and convicted felon Kevin Trudeau. I've been writing about GIN and Trudeau on this blog since late 2009 (actually I first wrote about Trudeau in early 2009 but didn't write about GIN until much later that year). For the benefit of those who are new to this Whirled, I want to explain that my perspective has always been that of an outsider who is not and never has been a True-dough fan, and who is not and never has been a GIN member. But ever since I first heard of GIN, the following have been my two main points of contention regarding this elaborate money grab (and for those who all too familiar with my take on it, I beg your indulgence for my redundancy):
1. I believe that GIN's legitimacy was at best highly questionable from the get-go, given the fact that its creator and leader, Kevin Trudeau, is very widely known as a career flim-flammer. For some of you this may just be a big "Duh." But for others... well, this is Kevin Trudeau, folks. He is one of the most notorious modern-day hucksters around, and has been exposed many times as such, to the point that all of the SEO efforts his dedicated staff and followers can muster have not changed the fact that some of the top search results for his name are links to negative information about him. True-dough appears to possess the Midas touch in reverse: everything he touches turns to sh-t for virtually everyone except for himself. Information about his misdeeds has been on mainstream TV and is also widely available on the Internet. And this information is all available for free -- as opposed to the $1,000 minimum initiation fee for GIN, and the $150/month member fee (and that's just for Level 1).Those two points alone have afforded me many hours of effortless snarkitude: low-hanging fruit and all that.
But it seems to me that GIN membership has been all about filtering out that "negative" information such as the truth about KT's past, and concentrating only on what True-dough wants members to read and hear. In this respect GIN is very much like a cult, a matter I explored a little in yesterday's blog post.
2. The ludicrous cover story used as a marketing hook for GIN sounds like some schlocky cereal-box or comic-book promo for a kids' secret club in the 1950s. True-dough claims that for many years he was a member of a secret society called The Brotherhood, which, he says, includes the elites of the world -- billionaires, royalty, and so forth. He claims he learned all of their secrets of wealth, health, and happiness, and that he is risking his life to share those secrets with the masses -- for a steep price, of course -- through GIN.
The sad part is that thousands of people -- not naive kids, but grown-up, educated (though sometimes gullible, desperate, or emotionally fragile) people -- apparently believed this tall tale. Many have said that they joined GIN because they really did think they would learn the secrets of the elite from Kevin, who claims to still be in touch with a secret "GIN Council." Reportedly some people have spent up to $100,000, and possibly more, on GIN. An increasing number of people are waking up to the very real probability that most of this money has gone into Kevin's pockets to furnish his Bentleys-and-fine-cigars lifestyle, and much of the rest has gone into the pockets of the many lawyers who have helped keep his schemes afloat for too many years.
And yet True-dough's felonious past, and the blatant Big Lie about the seekrit society, have never stopped a number of New-Wage hustledorks from joining in the big cartel circle jerk and trying to get a piece of the GIN pie for themselves. As long-time readers of this blog may know, Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale just couldn't say enough good things about Kevin Trudeau, writing blog posts about hanging with him, and sending out numerous email blasts to promote the 14-CD set GIN upsell, Your Wish Is Your Command.
Joe actually first met Kevin Trudeau in early 2009, before GIN was officially launched, as indicated on this January 2009 post on my blog, which in turn links to Joe's starstruck post on his own blog. Wrote Joe about True-dough:
This guy is sharp, slick, and smart.
I’m well aware of Kevin’s long term fight with the government, his prison time, his current federal restrictions, etc.
Yet the man I met is sincere, passionate, and dedicated. He is on a mission to help people get healthy and get out of debt. He’s been to sixty countries in search of health cures that truly work. When he finds them, he reports on them. He’s fearless about it, too.
Apparently Joe was not the only one who was starstruck; Kev's young wife Natalie was starstruck by Joe. According to Joe, anyway.
Could it be that Joe was instrumental in planning GIN, or is GIN's launch later that year totally unrelated to the January 2, 2009 dinner meeting between Mr. Fire and True-dough? In any case, the friendship continued, with Joe making appearances on KT's radio show. And in late 2009, Joe hosted a dinner party where True-dough had a chance to hawk his wares and, no doubt, glom onto Joe's big mailing list (assuming he hadn't done so already during previous interactions with Joe). Everyone in attendance at that party bought supplements and E-pendants, and a good time was apparently had by all. And shortly afterward, Joe was sending out more email blasts for Your Wish Is Your Command.
How big is Joe Vitale's GIN downline, I wonder?
And James Arthur "Death" Ray, though now serving time in prison for the deaths of three people in his phony sweat lodge in 2009, has recently been shilling for Your Wish Is Your Command as well. I mentioned this previously (at the end of this April 2012 post), but it is very much worth mentioning again. Here is an April 2012 article from the Arizona Daily Star about this matter, as well as a blog post about it. (The blogger in question, Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star, mentions the same thing I'd mentioned previously on my blog and on several other forums: although Ray got a lot of his fame from The Secret, True-dough himself has thrown The Secret -- and many other popular selfish-help and motivational works -- under the bus.)
Here's part of the email about Your Wish Is Your Command that Death Ray had his minions send out this past April:
FROM THE DESK OF JAMES ARTHUR RAYAs I've also mentioned before a few times, it's possible Death Ray is returning the favor for the times that True-dough has spoken out in Ray's defense. But Ray, being a New-Wage hustledork, wouldn't do anything, even by proxy, unless there was something in it for him -- in this case, a possible big GIN downline. That's feasible, since it seems Ray still has friends and followers despite that little sweat-lodge mishap.
April 17th, 2012
I hope this finds you off to a strong start in 2012.
It's been a while since we last talked, and since I'm going to be away for a while, I just wanted to quickly reach out and encourage you to continue your own learning & growth.
One of the unfortunate things I have to deal with right now is the fact that I can't work with you directly or any of my other friends and students for a short time. My greatest intention is that you continue on your life's journey and attain all of your goals and dreams...and I want to help you!
While I can't be directly involved in your continuing education right now...I have a GREAT opportunity for you in the interim. This program is completely in line with my spiritual teachings and Harmonic Wealth® philosophies that you've been learning; and it teaches you how to completely create the life you desire by lining up your thoughts, feelings and actions. In this 14-CD program, you learn an EXACT process for being, doing, and having anything and everything you desire and deserve!
The program is called ...
Your Wish Is Your Command
....The program is taught by a very close personal friend and colleague of mine. He started with absolutely nothing. He had zero money. No education. No special privileges. And he didn't have rich friends or parents to get him started.
After learning a series of moneymaking and success secrets (the same ones you'll learn in this program), he became a financially independent media celebrity and the founder of his own cable network. He also currently owns his own line of health supplements, co-founded one of the world's fastest growing network marketing company in the world, and is a bestselling author, selling over 50 million copies of his books.
All of this...was the result of learning and using what he teaches in Your Wish Is Your Command!
Because we're close personal friends, he's agreed to give you, and all my other students and friends, the entire 14-CD Your Wish Is Your Command program for a ridiculously low price. He's also offering it with an UNPRECEDENTED 90-day money back guarantee. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain!....
Several other New-Wage/McSpirituality/selfish-help luminaries have joined the GIN party over the past couple of years, or at least they have been speaking at GIN events. Long-time motivator Les Brown is one of them, and others are listed on page 2 of this document. Apparently these folks were impressed by KT's longevity and unabashed by his felonious past, perhaps viewing him and GIN as an opportunity to expand their own platforms. And most on that list are still apparently active with GIN, except for Lenny Coldwell, who got kicked out of the party and is now supposedly spearheading a class-action lawsuit on behalf of disgruntled GIN members.
Apparently KT and his minions have been reaching out in the past year or so to gather more McSpirituality luminaries into the GIN fold. In previous posts I have mentioned a very determined Kevin True-dough sycophant who for many months had been blogging his little heart out on behalf of GIN and KT. His name is David Krueger, and he's been manning the David Krueger MasterMind Blog since January 2011. He seems to have a major man crush on KT, and has put a great deal of effort into promoting GIN.
In August of 2011 Krueguer wrote that the Reverend Michael Beckwith, famous for being in The Secret -- and less famous everywhere else except on my Whirled for participating in the Three Amigos $2,000 Briefcase Scam with Scientist Bob Proctor and Jack "Chicken Soup" Canfield a few years back -- was poised to lend his dreadlocked presence to the GIN machine. Gushed Mr. Krueger:
We are going to be seeing him in the very near future. I would bet my mortgage payment that he is going to be one of the “suprises” [sic] at our Family Reunion Event in the Bahamas this fall.At the time he wrote that, Krueger was obviously very high on those GIN fumes; why, he'd persuaded his own mama to join GIN, and as I learned in a later post, she accompanied him to the above-mentioned GIN Family Reunion in The Bahamas in November 2011, and...and...and... Kevin gave her a car! A BMW Series 500! He was giving away ten of the things, and Mother Krueger was one of the lucky recipients. Wrote the proud son:
We’re on a conference call tommorrow [sic] with bMW to get instructions on how to take possesion [sic].OMG, OMG, OMG!! Cars for a few, drinks for everyone (at least everyone on one plane on one flight)... what's not to love about KT? And what great PR for The Man himself. So what if he's bamboozled countless people out of millions of dollars over the years? So what if he peddles an endless string of frauducts and flopportunities? He bought drinks for everybody on a plane -- not just the first-class passengers, but everyone! He's gotta be an all-right guy.
And to top off the best weekend I’ve ever had, GIN event or otherwise, this was the “coda” at the end: We get on the plane leaving the bahamas with Kevin, Dr. C [that would be Lenny Coldwell ~CC], Brandy and several GIN staff and members. We owned that plane. It was like Air Force One for the Global Information Network. The flight attendant announces over the loudspeaker that first class passenger Kevin Trudeau is buying drinks for the whole plane! It’s all the little touches like this that just made this the best one ever!
Notably absent from Krueger's blog post, however, was any mention whatsoever about Michael Beckwith actually making a surprise appearance on that fall Bahamas cruise. And after Googling around, I have failed to find any mention of a relationship between Beckwith and True-dough/GIN except for that August 2011 blog post from Krueger, who apparently got wind of the item from the Facebook page of another top-level GIN member and KT sycophant, Chris McGarahan, pictured at the top of this post with Beckwith. (Is it just me, or does Chris McGarahan look eerily like Lord Voldemort in the Potter flicks?) By the way, He Who Must Not Be Named... I mean... McGarahan, apparently a career hustledork, is one of the authorities quoted to me by a Trudeau fan and defender a few months back on a very amusing Amazon forum convo.
But where is our dreadlocked friend now? Could it be that what is left of Beckwith's conscience got the better of him after all? Did he decide that GIN was not really a suitable forum for his wisdom? Or was the money op just not that impressive after all of that residual Secret buzz? Jeez, I hope that mortgage payment bet didn't set David Krueger back too much. He apparently hasn't blogged since early May of 2012; maybe he has become disillusioned too. If so, David, you're more than welcome to write to this blog and share your story. I'll even apologize for calling you a sycophant and saying you have a man-crush on Kevin Trudeau. Come on over to the Light. It isn't too late.
But I still wonder if Michael Beckwith ended up with a GIN downline.
Beckwith or no Beckwith, it seems to have been business as usual in the Shillionaire's Club. Who knows how many other New-Wage luminaries and members (and ex-members) of the Transformational Leadership Club (TLC), aka the Training Liars Cartel, have a GIN downline? Who knows how many other non-TLC members, who nonetheless are part of the New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality industry, have a GIN downline? (Peter Ragnar, anyone?)
From where I sit, Kevin Trudeau -- and every one of the selfish-help industry lions and Internet marketing gurus who promote him -- are all cogs in what Salty Droid has often described as the big sick machine. As you may know, Salty has most often focused on Internet marketing gurus, but there's a lot of overlap between his beat and mine (and he has certainly covered many of the New-Wage superstars, such as James Ray, much more doggedly and forcefully than I).
Here for your horrified entertainment is video evidence of the ways our respective beats -- mine and Salty's -- overlap: a video of enthusiastic testimonials gathered last September at a Houston, Texas event held by someone who has been mentioned on Salty's blog: IM scammer Joel Bauer, who also apparently has some fingers in the GIN pie. The video testimonials were gathered by New-Wage crank and nutcase Fred van Liew, aka "The Water Doctor," aka Fred Van Loony. To Fred goes the credit for those stupid overpriced E-pendants True-dough has been hawking for years. (And the skeptics have been laughing their butts off at Van Loony for years, as this January 2000 newsletter piece from the North Texas Skeptic newsletter indicates.)
And here's an icky video where Joel Bauer interviews Fred Van Loony, getting all sloppy and pretend-starry-eyed about how Van Loony offers tools that could teach doctors how to heal their patients. To paraphrase an old country song: "Third-Rate Bromance, Low-Class Rendezvous." Another one for the Turds of a Feather file.
And look, here's a book by Joel Bauer, How to Persuade People Who Don't Want to be Persuaded: Get What You Want-Every Time!
On the back cover there's this:
"Joel Bauer has brought the art and science of persuasion to a whole new level with How to Persuade People Who Don’t Want to Be Persuaded. His remarkable technologies will amaze even the most dedicated of skeptics."
– Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power
"If the devil wrote a manual on how to get people to do your bidding, this would be it. Chillingly good."No wonder Joel has been a KT favorite: he teaches people the skills they need to scam others into joining GIN.
–Joe Vitale, author of Spiritual Marketing
True-dough, Death Ray, Van Loony, Bauer, Vitale, Tony Robbins, et. al... All part of the big sick machine, indeed.
There's still a lot more to tell. I haven't mentioned the names of all of the players in the sick drama that GIN has become (including former Congressman Ed Foreman, reportedly a long-time KT mentor, who reportedly put up the money to found GIN in the first place), and I have scarcely even touched upon the allegedly criminal matters and the investigations that are said to be ongoing.
And I will remind you again that I am only expressing opinions and sharing observations. For now, suffice to say that there seems to be strong evidence that GIN's days are numbered. The "club," as True-dough and his minions refer to it, is reportedly out of money -- at least there reportedly isn't enough to pay on the promised bonuses and other promotional schemes, about which I'll have more as soon as I can. More people are quitting or thinking of quitting GIN, despite the dire consequences for quitting, as outlined in the agreement that is apparently sent to people who try to quit:
I wonder if the quitters have to give the Seekrit Decoder Ring back as well. As it turns out, though, some peeps say they have quit and rejoined several times without being required to pay a quarter mil in US dollars. Well, so much for that manipulation/intimidation tactic.I understand that cancelling my membership in the Global Information Network is final. If I ever to choose to apply for membership in GIN again, my membership application will most likely be denied. If my new membership application is approved, I will be required to pay a new initiation fee of $250,000 USD. I also understand that all information about GIN, it’s [sic] website contents, other member identities, and any and all data I have learned or obtained from GIN shall never be revealed to anyone for any reason.
Meanwhile, True-dough still has that nearly $40 million FTC fine looming over his head. Some people are speculating that if he doesn't run off to some far-flung place that lacks an extradition treaty with the US, Kevin Trudeau might possibly be donning an orange jumpsuit before too long.
Just like his very close and personal friend and colleague, James Arthur Ray.
More True-dough on this Whirled:
- July 2012: Independence Daze
- June 2012: Paging Dr. C: Bernd bridges in Deutschland?
- May 2012: Can alien DNA save Kevin Trudeau's GIN?
- May 2012: Does a canary with a GIN hangover sing as sweetly?
- April 2012: Viva Lost Wages: Sin City Become GIN City for a weekend
- February 2012: A. Rose by any other name would shill as sweet
- December 2011: True-dough updates: Bad poetry for KT, hate mail for CC
- November 2011: A jumpsuit for Jimmy
- August 2011: First Amendment Stuporhero
- August 2011: Calling all lazy men: let's build a pyramid together!
- August 2011: Everything old is Nouveau again (or, Neo-scam by any other name), Part 1 of 2
- June 2011: Holy Guacamole! True-dough's racist rants
- June 2011: For he's a jolly good felon: True-dough speaks out for Death Ray
- December 2009: Illuminutty: the secret brotherhood of the chronically gullible
- November 2009: How to take over the world
- July 2009: Horse farts and related matters
- January 2009: Mr. Fire meets up with true dough