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.)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Salty Droid: Not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning

I’ve been little more than an observer here :: stirring a pot full of ugly turds … and making internet jokes about the bubbles. It’s not a totally useless thing to do {laughing is good … truth is good … conversation is good} :: but it’s not changing the waterline in the turd bucket :: it’s not popping holes in the side … and it’s for sure not kicking the bucket over in angsty bearded rage à la {not baby} Jesus...
...I've watched long enough.
~ Jason Jones as Salty Droid, Christmas 2014

Though I'd known for months that it was coming,
Salty Droid's "farewell" Christmas post still made me a little sad, as it did many other folks. After nearly six years of fierce, funny, and sometimes poignant blog posts, Jason Michael Jones is putting his little fake robot into semi-retirement so he can go forth into the real world wearing grownup clothes, using traditional punctuation, and embarking upon the next phase of his battle against Scamworld.

But what a run it has been. Though scammers have hated him to the point of death-threatening him and physically as well as cyber-stalking him, and even some anti-scam types either failed to take him seriously or were a little put off by his brash style, he has created an impressive body of work. His serious investigative efforts and passionate muckraking have been brought to vibrant life through a prose style that was often cryptic, sometimes a little obscene, sometimes sentimental, and almost always spot-on, enhanced by hilarious photo-comps, info-graphics, and wickedly clever videos.

And he wasn't just sending out words and pictures into the blogosphere; some of the mainstream media took notice as well, and Jason was (and continues to be) a valuable source of information for investigative journalists and reporters who are keen to shed a little light on Scamworld and its loathsome gurus. Included among these journos are those who are working on stories about
now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau. Professional journalists take Jason seriously because he knows what he is talking about.

Now it all seems to be coming to an end... but it's not an end in the sense that the scammers would probably prefer. It appears that even as there are no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld, there are no neat and tidy endings in anti-Scamworld.

* * * * *

Apart from the noticeable decrease in frequency of posts over the past year and a half or so, there were subtle and not-so-subtle hints that the Salty Droid blog was winding down; among the not-so-subtle was
this January 2014 effort, in which Jason summarized his gradual awakening "in watery metaphors":

Five years of The Salty Droid :: from Perry Belcher to Herbalife …

– I’m going to drain this disgustingly scummy pool :: and it’s going to be easy … and awesome!

– Wait :: this pool is kinda Olympic size … but I’m sure there’s a drain plug down here somewheres.

– Jesus … this pool is a lake!

– Holy fuckstars … this lake is Lake Michigan.

– OMG … I’m in the ocean.

I. Am. Pointless.

Hear that badguy d-bags? Post it to your private facebooks … tweet it to Kevin Smith … pay $6500 to have a local “news” program run a bullshit segment about it. I’m fucking pointless :: and now … even I know it.

I can not win.

I will not win

And that was the beginning of a year in which new Salty posts were very few and far between.

I embedded the Kevin Smith link above for the benefit of those who don't understand the reference. In a nutshell, film director/writer/actor Smith, whose work I've long admired but whose Scamworld advocacy efforts lessened my admiration for him considerably, took up on Twitter for Internet scammer Naomi Dunford, who was the subject of several scathing Salty blogs a few years ago. Smith and others made it into a misogyny/woman-bullying issue, though it was anything but misogyny, at least from Salty's end. (And I can't help but wonder: where have all those chivalrous Hollywood-celeb heroes been for the past two-and-a-half-years while I have been attacked in a truly misogynistic way by the stupidest and surely one of the most evil men in Scamworld? I'm no home-wrecking Internet marketing rockstarlet, but don't I rate?)

But this is about Salty Droid/Jason Jones, not about me. Well, okay, it's a little bit about me -- maybe a lot about me -- because of the influence that Salty has had on this blog as well as on the larger conversation about Scamworld. So let's talk about me for a while.

I confess that when I was first introduced to the Salty Droid blog in 2009 I counted myself among those who were a little put off by his... um... salty style. It wasn't so much the colorful language that gave me pause as what I felt was gratuitous taunting of some of the scammers. And he and I had some conversations about this. Don't get me wrong: I felt and still do that the scammers had more than earned the harshest derision for their scammy, scummy actions. But making fun of them for more personal things such as aspects of their physical appearance that might have been beyond their control -- e.g., their weight -- felt more like schoolyard bullying than like effective blogging.

Moreover, I hadn't heard of most of the folks Salty wrote about in the early days, such as Perry Belcher and Harlan Kilstein. Reading about them on his blog, it was clear that they were loathsome, but as so-called Internet Marketing gurus, were they really relevant to my beat? I wasn't really sure.

As time went on, and after a few conversations with Jason, I came to understand the taunting, which he explained was part of the fake-robot persona and not the real Jason (and having talked with him a few times I have every reason to believe that the real Jason is anything but a schoolyard bully and is actually a very nice guy). The taunting and teasing, Jason-as-Jason explained, were deliberate attempts -- and admittedly not always successful ones -- to get the scammers' attention and possibly shame them a little, since simply calling them out on their scamming usually didn't seem to faze them in the least. So while I never joined in the worst of the taunting, and some of it still continued to make me uncomfortable, I came to realize that there was real heart and a genuine purpose behind the Salty blog that made the name-calling seem relatively insignificant.

I also quickly came to realize that despite my unfamiliarity with the Internet Marketing scammers Jason targeted, there were many areas where my Whirled beat intersected with the Salty Droid's. In fact I was originally led to his blog by some Aussie friends with whom I'd been corresponding about one of their lesser countrymen, disgraced star of The Secret star David Schirmer,
who was a fairly frequent blight on my blog in 2007 and 2008. It seems that Schirmer came to Jason's attention because of his Stateside joint-venture shenanigans with some of Jason's blog subjects.

So you might say that I came to Salty Droid for Schirmer and stayed for the rest. And the more I read, the more I realized that many of the obscure-to-me Internet scammers Jason wrote about were actually in cahoots with many of the guys and gals on my selfish-help/New-Wage/McSpirituality/alt-health beat, and that the Salty Droid blog was adding a whole new dimension to my knowledge. Although I have years -- decades, actually -- of experience observing (and formerly participating in) the subcultures I write about, Jason was and is much more knowledgeable than I am about the sophisticated and sneaky ways that the gurus work their Internet scams. I have learned much from reading his blog, as well as from reading the articles by other journalists who have used him as a source.

* * * * *

It being Christmas and all, Salty chose to frame his goodbye around the sentimental holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life, laying out a Scamworld scenario that would have unfolded had Salty never existed.

Dave Navarro would be gone {his kids unsupported}. [Dave Navarro figures into the saga of the above-referenced Naomi Dunford. ~CC]
Vemma would be pimping out all our finest bros.
Leonard Coldwell would be :: you know … yuck and stuff … look away!
The government’s inaction would be interrupted only by their issuing of press releases extolling their own effectiveness.
Harlan Kilstein would be … scamming dogs?
Sweat lodge homicider James Arthur Ray would be out of jail already … promoting a new $30 e-book which promises to “literally set your life on fire.”
Which, of course, is precisely the Scamworld that unfolded anyway.

(James Ray's newer promos ("literally set your life on fire") are in particularly awful taste, considering that it was the deadly heat caused by firethat killed three of his victims in the phony sweat lodge inOctober 2009. But he's now out of prison and scamming away once more, exploiting the wreckage of Death Lodge to promote his new old shtick.)

So... was the Salty Droid blog all for naught?

Of course not.

Scamworld was, I think, a little shaken by Salty's efforts, or at least parts of it were shaken, here and there. His efforts were far from wasted, and he has influenced and helped many people -- not just victims, but those who want to do something about the problems he writes about. Read the comments on his farewell post and you'll get a sense of the impact he has had on others.

One of the things that his blog did for me, as well as many others, was to help us realize how serious -- and sometimes deadly serious -- the problem of Scamworld really is. I'd been playing it on the light side for so many years, my basic theme being that Scamworld was mostly silly but for the most part harmless. Of course the James Ray death lodge helped to turn the tide for me (and for this blog), making me newly aware of the dark side of Scamworld, but it was also during this time that Jason really began to hit his stride, and his compassion really started shining through. If there was any doubt prior to that, Jason's coverage of the Ray debacle showed that he really wasn't all about the anger and the taunting. It was clear that he truly cared about the people who are most egregiously hurt by scammers.
And it was the Salty Droid blog that gave me more compassion for Scamworld victims in general, as well as for fans and followers who perhaps haven't been victimized in dramatic or obvious ways but are still clearly being manipulated by someone who has an unfair advantage over them. In the past I've sometimes made unnecessary fun of these fans, choosing snark, sniping, and cleverness over compassion, when the latter would have been far more appropriate. Salty's posts made me rethink a lot of this. As crude and rude and brash and bold as the little fake robot has been, the real boy behind him has set a compassionate example that I wish many more folks would follow.

Despite the good he has done, though, I don't blame Jason for sometimes feeling frustrated by his blog's seeming failure to accomplish everything he had hoped. I can empathize. Even though I never had any particular sense of purpose with my own blog -- certainly not to the extent that Jason seemed to have with his -- I have sometimes felt frustrated, for as I've noted many times before, it seems at times that the only thing we critical bloggers have really done has been to help build a better scammer.

We would jeer, for instance, at some B-list guru's amateurish promo copy or the inconsistencies in some of their narratives, and next thing we knew, the copy would be polished and the inconsistencies wiped away or rationalized. We would write critically of scammers' extravagant promises and claims, and very soon afterward the promises would be modified to seem marginally more honest and realistic, tempered by additional disclaimers and double-talk. What it comes down to is that we've done a lot of unpaid marketing and image-consultancy work for some of the scummiest scammers in the business. That doesn't really feel good.

And then there's that whole "why am I doing this" question, which has even plagued me at times, despite my cheerfully admitted lack of purpose and what I like to call my profound shallowness. Over the years I have been, by turns, seriously questioned and childishly taunted by those who ask me exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my blog. Some have jeered that I have put so much effort into this thing for so little apparent return; after all, I'm obviously not making money from this obsessive hobby, and the scammers of Scamworld are still scamming as if I'd never existed.

And I've often conceded many of these points,
even making light of them when I finally began asking for donations, back in 2010. (Donations do come in on occasion, and are always appreciated, but they don't qualify this blog as a moneymaking venture.)

But despite my occasional feelings of frustration, my blog's insignificance has rarely caused me the angst that Jason seems to feel regarding his blog. That could be simply due to my own modest expectations (or laziness, or lack of ambition), and to my philosophy that has become a mantra that has become a brand: NNATE. © No Neat and Tidy Endings. © In this context, that's really just another way of saying I accept that there are no permanent solutions to the problem of the big sick machine.

But I applaud Jason for his ambitions and for the new direction he is taking because, given what I know of his plans, I think that he really can and will make a difference. The world isn't changed by blogs; the world is changed, or at least some of its awfulness is mitigated, by qualified and dedicated people who do real work. And some of that real work is done in the courtrooms of the United States.

* * * * *

In my comment to Jason's "Merry Christmas Goodbye" blog post, I wrote about my commitment to continue blogging, noting that it will be a little lonelier now. But I am well aware that this type of loneliness is as illusory as any sense of solidarity I may have ever had with Jason or with any other bloggers who work this beat. Of these I include not only
Bernie O'Mahony at GINtruth, and Omri Shabat at Glancingweb, and Alexandra Nouri of Aunt Alex's Army, but also some of my early influences in blogging, such as Steve Salerno at SHAMblog, Chris Locke at the latent but still relevant Mystic Bourgeoisie and Jody Radzik at Guruphiliac.

I am friendly with all of these people, though we have never met in person. We support each other by linking to and quoting each other in blog posts and on social media. But when it comes right down to it, blogging carries its own form of existential alone-ness, much like the process of entering or leaving this world (though generally with less blood, sweat, and tears). Blogging, like most writing -- even writing with a purpose -- is solitude more than it is solidarity. Contrary to the rabid rants of
the profoundly stupid and evil Leonard Coldwell, there has never been anything like a concerted effort among the small number of bloggers on the Scamworld beat. Certainly there has never been anything remotely resembling collusion or conspiracy, paid or otherwise, although Coldwell's manic insistence that Salty, Omri, Bernie and I are paid criminal conspirators who are out to destroy him and his "grounds of business" has made for some hilarious blog fodder for several of us over the past couple of years.

The truth is and always has been that we are each our own blogger, writing about what we want to write about when we want to write about it.

That said, it will still seem a little more lonely without Salty, darn it. But at least it appears that he will be leaving his blog up on the Web as a much-needed resource. And while many of us will miss the promise of regular new posts, rest assured that Jason has not given up on fighting Scamworld. He's simply taking it to a new level, about which I'm sure he'll tell us more when he is ready. I have used this analogy on his blog and on Facebook, but... remember that scene from the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers, where Gandalf returns? "Yes...that was what they used to call me. Gandalf the Grey. I am Gandalf the White. And I come back to you now -- at the turn of the tide..."

So if you happen to be poking around the Facebook feeds of Mocktor Coldwell and you see him boasting that he and his mighty "legal team" are responsible for shutting Salty's blog down, give him the derision he deserves. Post on his threads, if you're able (though he blocks so many people that you might not be able to even see the posts, much less participate). Know that Coldwell is still licking his wounds from the beating he took when he actually tried to sue Salty and Omri in February 2014, thinking they were the same person. The case was dismissed in April. Most of you probably already know this story, but
read it again just for grins and giggles.

And read
this post from September 2012, when Lenny offered a $600 reward for the first person who could give him info about Salty that had actually been on Salty's blog for years.

this one from December 2012, when Lenny was bragging about how he and his then-lawyer, the affable and mostly-retired-from-lawyering Bill Hanahan, were putting the finishing touches on the lawsuit that would utterly destroy Salty ("the marinated troll") and me (Salty's "playmate").

Be sure to remind Lenny and his fans of what really happened, should he actually be so stupid as to try to take credit for blasting Salty out of the blogosphere.

For that matter, if you've a mind to, write a comment
on this bogus video by "James Dyson," which was clearly made by a scammer wannabe who hates Salty. This vid pops up near the top on search results for Salty Droid, and Not-Doktor Stupid even posted it on his own Facebook page to "prove" what a loser Salty/Jason is. The video is edited so that it juxtaposes footage from a CNN expose of real cyberstalkers with footage of Salty, making it appear that CNN actually did a story about Salty. It's totally contrived.

And if you happen to be poking around the Facebook feeds or other forums of any of the other slimy scammers Jason has tackled over the past five years, and they're high-fiving each other over the demise of the Salty Droid blog, do whatever you can to inject a little truth into the conversation.

As Salty himself writes in his Xmas farewell:

Don’t be sad.

This is not the end of the story.

It’s just the end of the juvenile beginning.

I’ve watched long enough.
The little fake robot is taking a well-deserved rest. But I sense that the real boy in the suit and tie, doing un-fun but necessary things, is just getting started.

Suck it up, scammers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I know the Salty Droid will read your blog post. I want to say thank-you for what you have done on your blog.
I became familiar with you when you defended "the cosmic slut".
I enjoyed your colourful language, and the way you said the truth about so many of the scammers.
I hope your law practice, and everything else you do turns out well.
Again Thank you.
Jule Daniel

Well written blog Connie. People who stand up for what is right in this world are my heroes. That would be you and Salty, at this table.

Monday, December 29, 2014 7:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Doc Bunkum said...

"Despite the good he has done, though, I don't blame Jason for sometimes feeling frustrated by his blog's seeming failure to accomplish everything he had hoped."

Some may recall Bob Burtis had a similar sentiment when he shut down his WorldWide Scam site back on April 07, 2009:

"Sadly, after twelve long years, it does not seem that much has changed. SkyBiz.com is gone, Travelogia failed, and BigSmart.com was shut down by the FTC, but Lifewave and Dr. David Schmidt can still be found peddling worthless patches at local "Curves" exercise salons and Eniva is still selling their fortified orange juice, even after breaking every rule of true science and honest marketing in the book. Jim Fobair, Chuck Hanson, Phil Piccolo, Wayne Garland, Bruce Bise and all the usual suspects continue to run their scams and sell their junk."

Hopefully you'll keep up the good fight, Connie. Can't let the scammers run wild. There's a few folks I'm sure would love to see you close up shop also.

"And then there's that whole "why am I doing this" question, which has even plagued me at times... Over the years I have been, by turns, seriously questioned and childishly taunted by those who ask me exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my blog."

I think Bob answered the "why am I doing this" question nicely on the last line of his final post:

"We have learned a lot, and were fortunate to have met many terrific people...

Carry on the fight, seek out the truth, always perform proper due diligence
- and be careful out there!"

That last warning about being careful out there - I think he was right on the mark with that one!

Monday, December 29, 2014 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Salty Droid said...

Thanks for that Connie ... and for everything else you've done to help over these years. I've really enjoyed working with you, and we're certainly not done yet.

I don't think you will be more lonely without me. I'm not done writing, and I'm not done publishing dangerous truths to the internet. Just changing my outfit.

Monday, January 12, 2015 3:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Coldwell could have easily cured Steve Jobs' cancer as he has over 96% of all his patients. In fact, Dr. Coldwell has NEVER lost a patient that he was able to treat BEFORE they got traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy only has a 2% cure rate and they consider you cured if you live 5 years from the time you were told you have cancer! Ask your cancer doctor to talk to some of his patients that lived 10 years with their cancer and he won't be able to give you anybody to talk to because they are all dead!

Cancer is just your bodies' way of dealing with toxins so the first thing you must do is cleanse your entire body at one time. The medical establishment make billions by the treatment of the cancer but their treatments do not cure. Radiation and chemotherapy will never cure cancer - they make it worse because your body can't heal itself properly.

Dr. Coldwell has started a church in order to be able to legally share all the cures to cancer without prosecution. Since this church is NOT tax deductible the government has no power over it! To join this church and get access to all the cures go to www.churchofinnerhealing.com and sign up to be on his newsletter!''

Nobody has to die from cancer! It's a scam to take your money and kill you with the treatments that they KNOW don't cure you. PLEASE forward this interview to everybody you know so we can spread the word that there are hundreds of cures for cancer right now! Tell everybody you know that Dr. Coldwell has a PERFECT record of curing cancer if you have NOT already done chemotherapy and he has over a 96% cure rate even if you have already done traditional medical treatment! This interview needs to be shared with EVERYBODY you know! God bless

Monday, June 15, 2015 8:06:00 PM  

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