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.)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

When self-censorship is self-preservation

Last night I did something I hadn't done in a very long time: I removed a published post from this blog. Nobody told or asked me to remove the post. Nor did anyone threaten legal action or worse. Moreover, the post had only been up about four hours, and in that time, according to Blogger's helpful stats-tracking, only one person had read it, indicating to me that Whirled Musings is as wildly popular as ever. I just can't keep up with the demand.

But after talking about it with my husband, I had some serious second thoughts, given how unhinged and litigious the subject appears to be (not to mention how apparently well-backed financially he is). From all indications he is a serial scammer, but has positioned himself as an American hero, which has earned him a significant following of people who are all too willing to throw their hard-earned money into his various political and social "causes." He's a genius at raising money. What happens to the money after he raises it is a matter that I'll leave to the big investigative journos for now.

I'm not giving myself short shrift or being falsely modest, but merely honest, when I state that like much of the content on this Whirled, my deleted post wasn't breaking any new ground. I was only reporting and linking to other credible sources about this man and his many schemes. But I simply don't have the resources to deal with any serious blow-back at this point.

What really sticks in my gut about this matter is the fact that this guy has become such an advocate/activist for "free speech," even starting a crowdfunding page, supposedly to protect free speech, though apparently the real purpose is to pursue legal action against platforms (e.g. Facebook) that he feels have "censored" him. He has already raised tens of thousands of dollars for this cause. But, like so many other folks I've observed, it appears that he believes "free speech" only applies to him and his allies. He has threatened and harassed and even doxxed some of his critics and detractors, and has then turned around and sued them (and crowd-funded his legal costs). His litigiousness, as well as his double standards about free speech -- not to mention his right wingnutty political and social opinions and his love of (actual) fake news -- remind me very much of a nutcake I've previously dealt with. But this guy has a much greater following than that nutcake.

So I'll leave it to others to do the heavy lifting on this one: those who either have the backing of a strong legal team or who are lawyers themselves. Meanwhile, I'll go on being an advocate of free speech, even if it's speech I don't like.

PS ~ Free speech doesn't mean consequence-free speech, as whiny, blubbery conspiracy peddler Alex Jones learned again when
the courts handed a victory to plaintiffs in a defamation suit against him. The plaintiffs in question are families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, who alleged that they faced frightening threats and harassment as a result of Jones' continual public claims that the shooting was a hoax, The court ruled that Jones' fake-news org Infowars must turn over internal documents to these families.

Related on this Whirled:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess I was the one. I agree it's not a fight worth potentially precipitating. It's interesting to learn more about this individual and the background. Cloak yourself in goodness and sacrifice but then facts suggest alternate motivations. That's what I see in this person.

Sunday, January 13, 2019 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Agreed, Anon!

Monday, January 14, 2019 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a couple of guesses as to who it could be but I won't ask you to confirm for obvious reasons. However, I am thinking that since one article read by ONE person was enough to put a bee in their bonnet, then there must have been some truth in that blog. Innocent people have nothing to hide.

I LOVE that you call out the scammers but unfortunately, those people always have lots of money and brainwashed followers to do their bidding. This might sound harsh but some of the followers of these snake oil salesman deserve to be parted with their money. They are so mentally and emotionally weak they simply cannot face reality about their beloved guru(s). Well, you know what? If they want to get scammed, then let them get scammed. People are always going to do what they want to do, and sadly, most people would rather believe lies than the truth.

Friday, January 18, 2019 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Anon January 18: I apologize for the delay in publishing your comment. I just now saw it. Blogger isn't sending me comment notifications by email any more so there's sometimes even more of a delay than there was previously. Anyway, thank you for your comments and your kind words about my attempts to call out scammers.

I do, however, want to make a couple of things clear. First, I don't know the identity of the 1 person (according to Blogger's stats report) who read the post before I removed it, nor do I know the identity of the Anon above (January 13) who commented on my post (and who speculated that he/she must have been the one person who read it). Secondly, I didn't get any blow-back or pressure from anyone to remove my post; I simply had second thoughts about it after discussing it with my husband. The person who was the focus of the post has a bad temper and a litigious nature and apparently ample support from other scumbags who have quite a bit of money... and I just didn't want to deal with that. Perhaps I erred too much on the side of caution, perhaps not, and at some point I may either choose to re-publish or write another post about the matter. For now, I'm holding off.

As for your comment that some folks deserve to be scammed... yeah, I've been going back and forth with myself about this matter for years. I try for the most part to be sympathetic to scam victims, believing that the onus is on scammers not to scam. But really, it is sometimes tempting to say that some people do indeed deserve to be scammed, whether they're followers of a serially scamming self-help guru, or they're ardent Trump supporters who are willing to put their own hard-earned money into some phony-news peddler's hare-brained scheme to build a border wall. Oh, no, I've said too much (or haven't said enough). ;-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Yakaru said...

"The person who was the focus of the post has a bad temper and a litigious nature" -- well *that* narrows it down!

Regarding people deserving to get scammed, I would have also said no one really deserves it, but the only anyone in the MAGA crowd will ever change their mind or grow a brain if trhey get scammed so badly that they begin to feel pain. One or two percent of them may even manage that.

Sunday, February 10, 2019 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No idea who the person is. Definitely curious. And maybe they really are a right wing loon, I have no idea. But seeing that you're on the side of Kurt "I accidentally looked at tentacle porn and it's just a coincidence that I have an bizarre fascination with pedophiles" Eichenwald, well I guess you're not on the top of your game anymore.

But as someone who used to read your blog once a long time ago (5+ years) I am actually very sad to see you have drunk the resistance koolaid.

You used to be so smart. Now you're lost in group-think.

Sunday, February 17, 2019 5:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You nailed it, Yakaru!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 9:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon Feb. 17: You have it exactly wrong. Resistance to Trump is not Kool-Aid. Trumpism is Kool-Aid. Those folks at his MAGA Nazi rallies look and behave like hypnotized cult members.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 9:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're even more far gone than I thought. Sad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon -- whoever you are, and I respect your right to remain anonymous, of course, though in this context I think it is perhaps a bit cowardly -- I have not changed. This blog, though it started out mainly as a humor blog, has evolved a bit over the going-on-13-years it has been in existence. It has often been more serious than it has been funny (the James Arthur Ray death lodge in October 2009 marked a real turning point). But -- serious or silly -- the main targets here have always been scammers.

And Trump, among the many other things he is, is a scammer like many of those I've written about, and most likely a malignant narcissist too (like many of those I've written about). But this blog has become more political than it used to be because Trump is now also in politics (though arguably he always has been, since part of his standard business operations included purchasing influence from politicians of both parties). As for me, I have for most of my life been a champion of what are now considered to be "progressive" causes, despite the fact that I have in the past voted for Republican candidates, and despite the fact that I tried Libertarianism on for size for a while (it wasn't a good fit. It made me look mean.).

My blogging colleague Jason "Salty Droid" Jones actually preceded me by years in calling out the Trump-Scamworld connection; it was only when Trump became a viable threat as a candidate that I decided to start writing about him. It isn't "drinking the resistance Kool-Aid" to express disapproval of scams like Trump University and The Trump Network (various MLM schemes), nor is it "drinking the resistance Kool-Aid" to express disapproval of the many ways in which Trump has empowered and emboldened the theocrats, xenophobes, and bigots among us. But I guess we all see the world in different ways.

You are free to continue to participate on this forum, unless you become abusive, which so far you have not done. You are of course also free to continue to live life with your nose up the Orange Oaf of Office's aperture, but, my goodness, doesn't it get a little smelly in there? :-)

PS ~ I'm still puzzling over your reference to my "being on the side of Kurt...Eichenwald." I've shared some of his posts that were critical of Trump, and I have never expressed support of anything having to do with pedophilia. So maybe you're the one who's obsessed. Then again, you probably believe Pizzagate too. (Gary W... is that you?!?)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 1:29:00 PM  

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