Saturday, December 22, 2012

The world is still with us, and so are the hucksters

Well, here we are on the Day After the End of the World. No doubt many New-Wage ninnies are babbling about how we've survived The Shift and are entering a bold new era for humanity. And they have just the frauducts and flopportunities to help us adjust to the new era. Yawn. I've heard it all before.

But today, on the Morning After, I was hit with the realization that I have been serving an unbalanced diet for the past few months. In focusing so heavily on Kevin True-dough and his ex-b.f.f. Lenny Coldwell, I've been neglecting some of the other hucksters who have colored my Whirled over the years. I'm not through with Kevin or Lenny (despite my claim yesterday of burnout), but I came across a recent blog post from Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, star of The Secret and legend in his own mind, that played on a theme I've often snarked about... so I just couldn't let it go by.

The Obama administration has been criticized, mostly by Obama haters of various stripes, for former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's remark,
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." The haters generally take that out of context, neglecting the rest of the quotation, which is, "And what I mean by that [is that] it's an opportunity to do things you [thought] you could not do before." Well, I'll gladly take the incomplete version of the quote about not letting a good crisis go to waste, and I'll apply it to New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality gurus. Such as our Mr. Fire.

In a recent blog post Joe once again invokes the power of "group intention" -- this time, to help the people who were affected by the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut December 14.

Joe's request seems simple and heartfelt on the surface. He's simply asking you to send out good thoughts to the good folks of Newtown. But then the megalomaniac comes out, as Joe begins to list his previous "successes" with group intention.

Back in 2005 I asked you to help me slow down Hurricane Rita, which was aimed at Texas right after Katrina devastated New Orleans. As a result, Rita dropped from a Category 5 to a Category 3. It didn’t even rain in my area, which was under such threat that most of the area had evacuated.
Never mind that parts of Louisiana and East Texas were devastated by Hurricane Rita, and many people were left homeless. It was not a benign storm. And the Texas Hill Country, where Joe lives, was never in any real danger anyway. Joe sent a duplicate email to stop Hurricane Ike in 2008, and while those of us who were actually IN THE PATH OF IKE (unlike Joe) were dealing with power outages and worse, Joe was merrily tweeting about how the storm passed over his area once again. Here's my take on all of that.

Joe continues:

Later, I asked you to help clean up the oil disaster in the Gulf. Shortly after my email, things began to get better.
Uh-huh. It was Mr. Fire and friends' group intendin' that did it. Obvious cause and effect. One definite effect was that there was a snark chum spill in the oceans of my Whirled.

But Joe's powerful miracles don't end with wind-whisperin' and oil-spill tamin'.

A year ago from this past summer I asked you to help stop the Texas wildfires, which had destroyed over 1,000 homes. Within minutes of my email, it began to rain in some areas. It actually down poured over my house. The fires all went out.
Um. Yeah. I'm SURE Mr. Fire's group intention groupies were responsible for the rain and the immediate end (ha) to the wildfires. Actually they didn't end immediately in his area -- and never mind the OTHER MAJOR AREAS in Texas that were also suffering. Like my area.

And then there's this:

A year ago, I asked you to help my dying and bedridden other [sic; he meant his mother]. Within a week she was crawling out of her bed, unassisted, getting into her wheelchair, and asking to watch TV. I saw her last weekend. She wanted to sit and talk. It was miraculous to see.
'Kay. I'm glad Joe's momma is doing better. I've met her. She's a sweet lady. Although for a while Joe did seem to be getting more mileage than was decent from that "my mother is dying" theme, I cut him some slack because I have been through this experience myself (only my mother actually did die, five years ago, though I have yet to be able to really write about it). I can tell you firsthand that it is devastating to see a parent go downhill. But still. Talking about group intentions and cause and effect in this context just seems... well, exploitative. (And let's just not mention that miracle yagya that supposedly saved Joe's "best friend of 20 years" a few years back. That story is in his book, The Attractor Factor, along with another story in another part of the book that mentions that the person ended up dying, apparently not long after the yagya miracle.)

But never mind all that. In his recent blog post, Joe assures us:

Twenty-three scientific studies have shown that when groups of people meditate with the same positive intention, they were able to measure positive results in the world around them.
Yep. That's one of Joe's favorite claims, which he has used more than once to to market his own group-intention flopportunities. As it happens, those "scientific" studies were all sponsored by groups and institutions related to the late Maharishi's filthy-rich TM organization. I wrote at length about that (and Joe's "Miracles Community") nearly four years ago.

"Oh, but Cosmic Connie, this is all a bunch of gratuitous snarking!" a few of you may be saying. "Have you no sense of decency? Can't you give this good man the benefit of the doubt even for a moment? All Joe is asking in his recent blog post is for people to use the technique of their choosing to send love out to the people affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting! He says it won't cost anyone a cent! He's not selling anything!"

Well, my little naifs, first of all, Joe is always selling something, so I win that part of the argument by default. Secondly, if you read the post you will notice how he names several techniques for which he sells infoproducts. Just because he doesn't provide links in that particular blog post doesn't mean that he isn't trying to sell you something.

And in the following blog post --
his own "day after the End of the World" offering -- Mr. Fire is right back to pushing his pricey "Miracles Coaching" program, run by notorious Utah boiler room Prosper Learning. "Doesn't cost anything to learn about it," Joe writes. What he doesn't write is that it costs plenty if you get sucked into it.

And so it goes: the big sick machine hums on and on. And on. Our big old world is still spinning, and we won't be seeing the end to Scamworld any time soon -- even if (and it seems like kind of a big if at this point)
Mr. Fire's b.f.f. Kevin Trudeau ends up in the joint.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

2012: The Whirled goes on

Well, Dear Ones, once again I have been away from my Whirled for a few weeks, due to work and other distractions. Those "other distractions" include the adoption of still more four-legged babies. It's really kind of amazing. At this time last year, due to the deaths in recent years of some of our elderly animals, such as Noelle and Coca -- and the loss of one who died of cancer before his time, Rex -- we were down to two dogs and two cats. But 2012 has been a busy year, and we now have six dogs, four cats, and not-quite-a-donkey (regarding the latter, we still need to get some pasturing issues straightened out). We're also babysitting a friend's three dogs while he's up north for a couple of weeks, so it's very noisy around our house, as you can imagine. And the yard is a mess.

Despite the lack of new posts, there have been some behind-the-scenes goings-on related to my blog and other blogs and discussion forums on which I have participated. Some of you may know that for the past couple of months I've been getting some blowback (in the form of threats and actionable lies) from an angry little German man whom I first wrote about this past May. And I haven't even written about the worst that is known about him, but my pal Salty Droid has. (Here's a link to all of Salty's tagged posts about that subject.) Steam has been coming out of the little man's ears, and he has been threatening to sue all of his critics. He even recently told a little fib about his lawyer going after Salty, when it turns out that apparently Salty is the one who initiated the contact. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but it appears that the conversation went pretty well for Salty.

More recently,
Bernie O'Mahony of wrote a piece about the little Teutonic twerp. Since the latter formerly considered Bernie a brother-in-arms in the fight against serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's Global Information Network (GIN), I can only imagine the sort of waves the GINtruth piece has been causing. Follow the link to Bernie's post -- you really should, if you've not done so already -- and you'll see a private message that the enraged not-doctor sent to Bernie: a message that reveals more about the little man's true nature than just about anything that anyone else could write about him.

Here's an excerpt from another private message from the not-doc to Bernie (unedited):

And by the way I have hundreds of thousands of testimonials and thank you letters emails and video testimonials and what do these losers have??? / I am rich like shit and everybody that gets in my way will be paying legally the price... believe me it will finish everybody involved financially I dont care about money -- just ask Peter how much cash I showed him in my house. I deal with numbers that you cannot even fathom...
Meanwhile, Kevin Trudeau himself is apparently lounging somewhere in Europe -- Switzerland, at last report -- while the FTC and other agencies continue to build their various cases against him, as they have been doing for years. It's like road work; it never really gets finished but it keeps a bunch of people employed. July through early December of this year was just one continuance after another in the FTC's civil case that has been going on since 2003. But so far, Trudeau is not in jail (despite the FTC's recommendation for incarceration), and he continues to run his GIN scam from somewhere in the Alps or wherever. Or maybe he's hiding out in a little hole of an apartment in Chicago. Who knows?

This is not to say he won't end up in jail eventually. But up till now it's been one big long game of Catch Me If You Can... and apparently they can't.

I hate to say this, but I am almost coming to the point where I don't really even care all that much. There have been so many various predictions about when and where True-dough's scamming days will end that I am suffering from a serious case of prediction fatigue. I am coming close to getting burned out on the whole topic of GIN and KT. For one thing, I'm not even receiving the court documents any more, which may be because I ticked off my source (who happens to be a pal and bidness partner of the little German not-doc). Oh, well. Easy come, easy go. Others are on the case now, including my pal Salty, so I don't feel such an obligation to report every little detail.

Anyway, I apologize, to any of you who might have been waiting for something, for not tending my Whirled very frequently during the month of December. But don't worry; I'm still here. And I'm not going anywhere. I still have tons of stuff to write about: half finished posts, back-burner items, and so forth. And I will get to them, sooner or later. It's just that I do have (paying) work to tend to, as well as all of those extra mouths to feed. And the holidays are here. It's all good, as the people who like to say "It's all good" are always saying.

So don't fret; it is not the end of the Whirled. I do want to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Solstice to my friends everywhere -- Winter to those of you in the North, and Summer to those of you in the South. And to all a good night... or day, depending upon where you are. Why, it's almost night here now, and in some parts of the world, it's already tomorrow.

And tomorrow, as they say, is another day.

PS ~ My one contribution on this Whirled to the 2012 madness was a post in November of 2009.
Here's the link, in case you haven't seen it already.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Kevin Trudeau: justice delayed...again

Click to enlarge

Looks like KT blew off his hearing with the FTC, but they are cool with that, they asked him if maybe he wouldn't mind making an appointment with them on Dec 5th, if it isn't too much trouble for him of course. They understand how busy he is scamming gullible people, they wouldn't want to impose on him. Guess what, he's not a fugitive, there is no jail time pending and nobody on either side of this case seems to care about it as much as the victims of KT's scams.

~ Tim Donohoe, on a Facebook forum

Yeah, what my friend Tim said. As many may know by now, the latest development in the saga of Kevin Trudeau v the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that there is yet another continuance, this time until December 5, 2012, at 10:00 AM. Trudeau is reportedly still in Switzerland, but all projections and speculations and excited buzz about his being a "fugitive" are apparently off base. Contrary to what I had been previously told (and I did actually ask, though apparently I didn't ask the right people), Trudeau is not required to be present at these scheduled hearings involving this civil case.

A criminal contempt case has been looming over his head in regard to this case -- that seems to be the part he's specifically fighting, in addition to that $37.6 million fine -- but essentially it is a civil case and, even though the fugitive scenario would make a more interesting story, at this point he simply is not officially a fugitive from justice. Since he has not been forbidden to travel outside the U.S., he is free to stay in Switzerland for the time being and continue to push his
Global Information Network (GIN) scam throughout Europe and beyond.

Here's one of the bits that bothers me about that latest docket entry:

Trudeau's Motion to Strike Mora Declaration (Doc. 500) is granted in part. The court strikes and will ignore the portions of the Mora declaration that contain improper argument.
What parts of Mora's argument will be considered "improper," I wonder? The bit about alleged money laundering in the casino? Or one of numerous other suspicious activities outlined in recent FTC briefs? (See link in next paragraph.) I breathlessly await the answer to that question.

And in case you are wondering who Mora is, that would be one Michael P. Mora, Attorney for the Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission. You can see one of the relevant recent documents (10/15/12) here:

Not being a legal eagle, I wondered what a "sur-reply" is, so I looked it up. Here is what I found:

Sur-reply is an additional reply to a motion filed after the motion has already been fully briefed. For example, a legal document such as a motion is filed by one party (filing party) requesting the court to enter an order. The other party (responding party) responds to the motion. The filing party then replies to the responding party's response. Some courts allow the responding party to file a sur-reply to the filing party's reply to the responding party's response.
Well, that clears things up! It sounds to me like just more b.s. and paper shuffling and stalling. This could go on indefinitely, and probably will.

After all, this one case has been going on since 2003. I have in my possession a PDF of the docket from 2003 through October 30, 2012, which was the date that the continuance was granted till November 20, 2012. So far that document is 51 pages long -- 51 pages! -- which, for those who like to keep track of these things, is nearly as long as a 2007 police report for one of Trudeau's most infamous ex-b.f.f.s.

For the past several months, that former b.f.f. has been rooting for Trudeau's arrest and/or the end of GIN, and he has been making constant inaccurate predictions about when it will all occur. His current line, given the most recent round of continuances, is that the FTC is useless, that the American justice system is corrupt, and that he and another ex-KT buddy wasted several months of their precious time cooperating with the FTC in their efforts to get justice for KT's victims (and they apparently include themselves among those vics).

Whenever I see anything from ex-KT buds implying that they are trying to help the real victims of Trudeau's scamming ways, I am reminded of
OJ Simpson vowing to find Nicole and Ron's real killer. (Here's a satirical piece on that.) I really wish the ex-KT buds would just cut the crap and admit they are out for themselves and that their agenda is twofold: revenge against their former cash cow (not the noblest of reasons, but understandable), and promotion of their own schemes and scams (not at all noble, and in fact pretty smarmy, in my opinion, particularly since they are targeting those who have already been hurt by GIN).

But then again, what do I know? After all, I am just a neurotic nobody with a need for "artifial" recognition and a Napoleon complex -- a person who has never done anything of substance, and is not even educated or intelligent enough to grasp the big picture on anything in life. Or so says a self-proclaimed expert on these matters, and he has the fake Ph.D.'s in psychology to back his assertions!

Click to enlarge

As for Kevin Trudeau, he's a slippery one, as I've noted several times on this blog and on various Facebook forums. There are almost never any neat and tidy endings to these Scamworld sagas. (Salty Droid gives some perspective here and here.)

Admittedly, I too have gotten caught up in the End-Times-for-GIN frenzy. Some of that was a bit premature. But from a larger perspective it doesn't matter. I stand by my original assertions about Kevin Trudeau and GIN, which I have been blogging about since 2009: Trudeau is a serial scammer, GIN is a huge scam, and even if Trudeau continues to get away with this and his many other scams, that is not an exoneration at all. Contrary to what some of Trudeau's most passionate defenders assert, the continued survival of GIN does not prove that Trudeau and GIN are legitimate. The continued survival of GIN, and Trudeau's continued freedom to scam, will be nothing more than another indication that
the big, sick machine has plenty of fuel and plenty of strength -- because, unfortunately, there will always be more scammers, more suckers, and more watchdogs who are either unwilling or have been rendered unable to do their jobs.

But jeez... a 51-page docket, just for one civil case against Kevin Trudeau. Knowing Trudeau and his long history of dodgy business dealings, it is reasonable to assume that this is just one of many, many cases against him. So if you've been holding your breath waiting for immediate "justice" in this case, you can start breathing again. And whatever you do, don't listen to the siren songs of the ex-KT buds who pretend to be looking out for your best interests. No matter how much smoke they blow up your a$$ and how enthusiastically they "edify" you, some of these people are,
IN MY OPINION, just as bad as, if not worse than, Kevin Trudeau.

More True-dough on this Whirled:

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kevin Trudeau exposé on KSHB-TV: buzz, backlash, and big beginnings

As you probably know by now, KSHB-TV, the Kansas City, Missouri NBC affiliate, aired an investigative story by Emmy Award winning reporter Ryan Kath on Monday evening (November 12), regarding Kevin Trudeau's scammy scheme, the Global Information Network (GIN). Not surprisingly, there's been a lot of buzz, both pro and con, about the piece and its implications. In the increasingly unlikely event that you haven't seen this story yet, here's the link on the KSHB-TV web site. The comments are as interesting as the story, so be sure to read those too.

A couple of nights after the first story was aired, Ryan Kath presented a brief follow-up.
Here's that link. You can also get to it by clicking on the graphic at the top of this post.

Of the follow-up,
Ryan wrote this on his Facebook page:

Since our story aired, I've fielded questions about whether Global Information Network will be investigated. We spoke to a former federal prosecutor about this possibility. He looked through the court documents that raise questions about GIN's finances (money laundering, etc.). He also said authorities would try to differentiate between what he described as "sales puffery" (i.e. "This is the greatest investment ever") vs. specific promises of money not being fulfilled (i.e. claims about $10K bonus payments, etc.). Credible evidence of the latter is what could determine a criminal fraud case.
Abe Husein, the Kansas City resident and ex-GIN member who approached Ryan in the first place about this story, and whose own GIN tale was showcased in the piece, wrote that he and a few others are now working with local attorneys to explore the possibility of a lawsuit centered around GIN's false claims. Here is my response (if you'll pardon my quoting myself at length; I'm just too lazy to reinvent the wheel at this point):
...where potential criminal charges are concerned, it seems to me (though of course I am not an attorney) that Trudeau is a slippery one. He could potentially get himself into all sorts of trouble with the SEC and other authorities for doling out actual investment advice or clearly presenting GIN as an investment or business opportunity, and I imagine there are ways he could get into a serious legal jam for unfulfilled promises of bonuses and so forth. But I have noticed that he also uses all kinds of disclaimers, both written and spoken, as well as a lot of doublespeak, so perhaps he and his attorneys are banking on that to keep criminal fraud charges at bay. (Just look at the disclaimers on the GIN web site, for instance. They have apparently been there from the beginning.)

As for the other claims and tall tales about the GIN council and Trudeau's association with secret societies and the elite of the world, I think he is really banking on free-speech protection there. A few years ago, when he was still giving interviews,
he told the blogger who wrote the WalletPop blog that he can write and say anything he wants, that he should have the right to tell people in all seriousness that the moon is made of cheese -- and that this right should be protected.

Setting aside the legal realities concerning
the limits to free speech in marketing and advertising copy, I think Trudeau's statement indicates that he is more interested in testing and pushing the limits of free speech protection than of telling people the truth about anything.

Anyway, as far as legal action against that stupidity about the GIN council is concerned, you may be running into a brick wall, Abe. Or you may be setting a precedent. Who knows?

But there is always the weapon (or more accurately the tool) of education, as well as snark and ridicule. In the long run, these may be more effective than giving more money to lawyers. Not that I am discouraging anyone from pursuing legal remedy if they feel they have been defrauded, but realize that this is not KT's first rodeo and he no doubt has most of his bases covered where his tall tales and most of his false claims are concerned.

However, at the very least he seems to be setting himself up for more criminal contempt charges regarding the FTC matter, so there is that small comfort. On the other hand, he continues to exploit that situation to make his sheeple feel sorry for him, and give him more money.

In any event, this story is far from over, and I am glad Ryan and his colleagues are on it.
And I am glad. But as I noted in my remark -- and as Ryan seemed to be implying in his -- successful pursuit of criminal charges regarding GIN's false claims could be a challenge.

The reason I mentioned the GIN council and the secret societies in my own remark was that there had been buzz on some of the Facebook forums a few weeks ago suggesting that these lies could possibly constitute criminal fraud. A couple of folks were even suggesting mail fraud charges were a possibility, since some of the promotional material was sent via direct mail (in addition to being posted on the Internet or broadcast via infomercials). However, given that the people suggesting the possibility of criminal fraud charges for the tall tales were some who had their own agendas in sucking in the ex-GIN, I took those suggestions with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.

In any case, my sense is that specific (broken) promises about payouts may be a better lawsuit target than the stupid stories about the GIN council and whatnot. Then again, I am, as I noted, not an attorney... so who knows?

One story can only do so much (but that may be a lot)
As I mentioned above, there's been a lot of buzz about this story, pro and con. If the snippets I've seen quoted on various Facebook forums are any indication, GIN defenders are working overtime to discourage their peeps from reading the story. (Can you say, "cult tactics," boys and girls?)

But even some anti-GIN/anti-KT forces seemed disappointed and a little let down about the investigative story. Some noted that it was only a little over eight minutes long, and couldn't have possibly covered all of the bases in that time. Some seemed disappointed that the airing of this story did not devastate GIN and Trudeau in some very obvious way right off the bat. Apparently some were expecting a nearly instantaneous end to GIN as a result of this one story. (No doubt that was partly because people such as
not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell, former b.f.f. to Kevin Trudeau but one of his loudest detractors since he was reportedly forced out of GIN, was going on and on and on about it for weeks before the story aired. He's been yapping nonstop about how this story will be "the end of Kevin Trudeau and the Global Information Network.")

First off, as I've harped about many times before, GIN is a big, sick machine that is part of an even bigger and sicker machine, and one story is not going to drive a stake into its heart. But I think it's a very important story nevertheless.

Secondly, the story was obviously cut to fit the format of the local news show. And there is no doubt that the project was given a very thorough vetting by the station's legal department, which may have cut it even more than originally intended. But I think the fact that it happened at all is a victory. It is going viral and the ex-GIN are giving it more legs than your normal "local" investigative news story. So I would advise people not to underestimate this effort.

Of course the backlash from Kool-Aid guzzlers was expected and so far has been predictable, and very amusing. You can see some of that on the KSHB-TV web site.
Here's that link again.

Besides the expected babble from pro-GIN and KT fans about how the FTC or some other evil big force must have been behind the news story, there has also been the expected grumbling about the KSHB-TV news crew for going "underground" at the GIN "Family Reunion" in Nashville. They were criticized for being sneaky and underhanded, and for invading the privacy of attendees, including those whose faces were blurred. They were also criticized for being biased and having an agenda.

Yawn. It's much the same brand of criticism that gets slapped on virtually every investigative news story that has ever been aired or published, often from the targets themselves or from their most devoted advocates. But in this case the target -- that would be Trudeau -- didn't agree to an interview, so the news team had to settle for speaking with some of the GIN guzzlers in Nashville.

I have no doubt that Ryan Kath and his team were expecting the backlash. I also have no doubt they had all of their legal bases covered. As for ethical debates about "invasion of privacy" -- well, those have been going on for as long as investigative journalism has existed.

Demagogues and demographics
The investigative news story has also been criticized by some for showcasing Abe Husein as a victim of the GIN con. Granted, Abe may not be the most sympathetic character in some people's eyes. He is young, brash, and obviously ambitious. He admitted that he knew about Trudeau's past but still jumped into GIN, assuming (or perhaps just hoping) that Trudeau had changed. By his own admission he tried very aggressively to get many people to sign up for GIN. Although this was not really noted in the news story, Abe apparently ended up "sponsoring" (paying for) others' memberships so he could reach Platinum level and get a promised bonus. In all, he laid out upwards of $30,000, by his own estimate. Some GIN defenders have cried foul, saying that Abe was "cheating" the system, and that Trudeau himself has repeatedly warned against doing this.

Yet -- and this is something I have argued with GIN defenders and Abe detractors -- the GIN system allowed this sort of thing, when it could have easily been prevented. The GIN administrators could certainly have tracked the source of fee payments to make sure people were not "cheating." But my guess is that the money mattered to Trudeau more than the "ethics." Abe gambled, and apparently lost (though that story isn't over yet either). But I still think he did a very good thing by taking it to the media.

Moreover, as may be obvious, Abe was featured on the Kansas City story not only because he was the one who had the initiative to approach a reporter, who in turn had the vision to see that there was a much larger story here -- but also because this was originally a "local" story, with a mandate to focus on "local" people. But, as should be obvious by now, this story is much bigger than one station's eight-minute offering, and much broader than the Kansas City metro area. It is going national and international, and not just on the NBC network. That was inevitable, given the fact that the story was already spreading all over the Internet almost before it was aired.

People should also keep in mind that Abe's is just one story of many. Even Ryan Kath would probably acknowledge that Abe is not representative of the GIN demographic. Apparently there is no representative demographic. As I have pointed out several times on this blog (
including here), GIN/Trudeau have marketed to, and attracted, a very diverse demographic. This article from a Kansas City PR firm's site drives the point home:
Kath and [his colleague Michael] Butler signed up as “affiliates” for the [GIN Family Reunion in Nashville in October], which meant they were not members yet. Affiliates are interested in recruiting members to GIN and receiving a portion of the commission.

“The thing that amazed me the most about the conference was the diverse crowd: people of all ages and all demographics, coming to Nashville from all points of the globe,”
[Kath] says. “People we spoke with at the conference had an overwhelmingly positive take on GIN. Many told us it had changed their lives. Some people really enjoyed the motivational speeches and the support structure. Others liked the networking and the ability to meet people from around the world.”

Kath says there was no major common denominator among attendees at the conference.

“Some people were in the midst of a career change, but others seemed to have stable jobs,” he notes. “For instance, there was a Kansas City area business owner at the conference who was a Level 6 member.
[It costs $25,000 to upgrade to Level 6. ~CC] This means he has probably paid at least $40,000 in membership dues and level upgrades (not to mention travel costs to events like the one in Nashville). I contacted him for an interview, but never heard back.”

I was first really struck by the broad demographics last year when watching videos taken at GIN events. As the camera panned over the audience I saw people of all ages, looking starstruck. The brash young males were far from the only ones in these crowds.

Media: a two-edged sword
Where the TV stations are concerned, the elephant in the room is TV's longstanding complicity -- and of course I am talking about networks and individual stations alike -- in keeping the big sick machine running. I've mentioned this before one or two times, or maybe a dozen or a hundred times, but it bears mentioning again. Obviously, TV stations benefit from the infomercial revenue from some of the very people their investigative reporters try to expose. They also benefit from ad revenue on their talk shows and other content that glorify self-help industry players. (Oprah, anyone?)

So while they may offer the occasional exposé of a nationally or internationally known scammer (or selfish-help/New-Wage/McSpirituality guru with fingers in the Scamworld pie), they are NOT going to crap in their own nest too much. And of course they have to be particularly careful to do what they can to avoid lawsuits from their targets. (People have been laughing at Trudeau's "in-house" lawyers, but I wonder what his REAL legal team is cooking up behind the scenes.)

I imagine that the factors listed above are a constant source of frustration for Ryan Kath and his colleagues at the station, as well as for investigative reporters in similar positions all over the US. Time constraints within an evening news format are frustrating enough, but the fact that the TV news departments long ago became profit centers has tainted TV journalism far more than any "liberal bias" (or "conservative bias" in some cases) ever could. And the fact that there is a lawyer waiting around every corner these days adds to the frustration.

And then we have to take into account that even now there is widespread indifference about GIN-ish types of fraud. Even while the story was airing in real time, a woman on the KSHB-TV Facebook page threatened to change the channel if they didn't start reporting "real" news.

And of course there are the victim blamers: the ones who say that anyone with common sense and/or critical thinking skills should have known better than to trust Kevin Trudeau. I have said or implied that myself, and it occurs to me sometimes how arrogant and self righteous I must sound.

The truth is that we all have the capacity to be fooled and manipulated and persuaded to do something that is not in our best interests. It may not be by Trudeau. It may be by another infomercial predator, or a politician, or an accused sex predator masquerading as a healer. But we are all vulnerable.

I have mentioned this before on numerous forums, but it was actually the foul-mouthed Salty Droid and some of his other readers who helped make me more compassionate and understanding about these things. In addition, reading and hearing personal GIN stories reminded me again that even smart people were fooled by Trudeau.

On the other hand, I don't cut much slack for those who personally knew Kevin Trudeau for many years and yet still went along with the fraud -- particularly if they are still trying to suck ex-GIN into their new MLMs and other schemes. And I am still not above poking fun at the most annoying and arrogant Kool-Aid drinkers.

My point is that even though the media have helped build the big sick machine, occasionally the mainstream journalists get in a good dig at the predators. We should celebrate every victory as it happens.

Even so, I still think that it is the task of grass-roots journalists/bloggers, activists, and advocates to pound away at these issues and show people why both the indifferent ones and the victim blamers are off base. Which is where Abe on his Facebook forums, and Bernie O'Mahony on his blog, have come in. And yes, where accused "cosmic sluts" and salty-tongued little fake robots come in too. And just for good measure, toss in Steve Salerno's SHAMblog and the ScienceBlogs and the critical thinking blogs (there's a good index of those on Skeptico's blog). They are all out there, just waiting to put rats in the heads of those with open minds.

But a little help now and then from the MSM is a good thing. Keep in mind, though, that the mainstream journalists increasingly rely on the grass-roots media and interested individuals more than may always be obvious. And who knows how far this one story from KSHB-TV -- this story that began with one pissed-off individual -- will go? William White, one of the participants in some of the private Facebook forums, wrote this (and gave me permission to quote him), regarding the possible effects of this single story:

...who knows how many thousands of people were saved from being scammed, from skipping bills and house/car payments in the name of delayed gratification, from selling family heirlooms and expensive items to upgrade, from selling jewelry and watches to allow Trudeau to afford his own, from divorces and children having to grow up with divorced parents because one parent wouldn't drink the GIN koolaid, from thousands of people being called a "loser" to their face by a best friend, from people's hearts getting broken from not making huge amounts of money, from people's professional credibility being destroyed for presenting an MLM to serious business partners, from people draining their life savings.... these are what we (but most credit above all to Abe and Bernie) saved people from today.

This wasn't a victory for those of us who were frustrated and bitter, this was a victory about stopping something disgusting from hurting many people and families all over the planet. The decision you all made to stand up and make noise about it has saved many. This was months and months of effort for a short-period of satisfaction in winning, and it was all worth it to know how many lives were spared this greedy scam. I guess we finally understand what delayed gratification feels like after all these months of effort put into this, thanks KT ;)
As Bernie O'Mahony, who also also quoted William on a recent blog post on, noted, "Trudeau often states that we should indeed, sell what we can to get to the next level [of membership in GIN]."

My advice, for what it's worth: Don't listen to the people who insist that they know the day and the hour that GIN (or any other scam) will end. But never underestimate the power of a single story... or a dozen single stories.... or a hundred. And never stop doing whatever you can to knock your own little dents -- or help others knock theirs -- into the big, sick machine that is Scamworld.

PS ~ I don't think I have given due credit to Ryan Kath's colleague, Michael Butler, who worked on this project with him. Michael put this amusing and illuminating video together, showing a GIN participant pushing a frauduct based on applied kinesiology "muscle testing."

More True-dough on this Whirled:

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Alien nation: Just how crazy is Kevin Trudeau (not to mention his sheeple)?

NOTE: In the time since this post was written, several of the links to Kevin Trudeau interviews -- links I have embedded in the body of this post -- have been removed from the Web. I apologize for the ones that don't work, but it's an occupational hazard. The good news is that my friend Julie Daniel found a good link to one of the Kate Valentine interviews with Trudeau regarding UFOs, alien DNA, and other esoteric matters. Here is that link.
~CC, 10 July 2014

The buzz continues around
Kansas City investigative reporter Ryan Kath's story about serial scammer Kevin Trudeau and Trudeau's Ponzi-ish Global Information Network (GIN), which I first wrote about here in December 2009. And some pretty interesting and intense buzz it is, not only on the KSHB-TV (NBC) Web site -- you really should expand the view so you can read all of the comments -- but also on various anti- and pro-Trudeau Facebook forums. There's the expected and very predictable backlash from the pro-KT contingent, as the remaining Kool-Aid drinkers blame everyone from ex-GIN participant Abe Husein -- who spearheaded the story in the first place -- to the "haters" and "naysayers" who try to put "rats" in the heads of the GIN faithful, to the negative mainstream media, to the government, to Big Pharma, to "Them." Actually, I was planning to write a commentary on the buzz -- the buzz about the buzz, I guess you could say -- and I have that post half-finished. But I decided to serve up some comic relief first, inspired by a couple of emails I received yesterday from someone who had read some of my posts about Trudeau.

Well, make that cosmic relief (as befits
a cosmic-slut type).

In particular, the person who wrote to me referenced my May 2012 post about
Trudeau's claim that he has alien DNA. And by alien DNA, we are not talking about those filthy undocumented aliens who, according to Trudeau, and as reported last year on this Whirled, have infested the US of A and are posing a serious threat to American exceptionalism. (Apropos of the latter, Salty Droid wrote a short post about Trudeau's thoughts on US immigration policy.) No, this is about extraterrestrials, and Kevin's claims to all sorts of seekrit knowledge about them, as well as his "special" connection with some of them.

Actually, the more I have read about what has been taught in GIN, and Trudeau's ramblings in general, the more I see how much he has borrowed not only from Dianetics and Scientology --
as I discussed at length in this July 2012 blog post -- but also from science fiction movies and kooky conspiracy theories. Of course, he has added his own proprietary touches, as well as a heaping helping of other self-help/motivational/pop-spirituality gurus' work. But the biggest attractant for the GIN faithful is apparently Trudeau himself, with his larger-than-life ego and his phony hero/martyr persona. The sheeple are just eating that stuff up, even now.

Anyway, my correspondent sent me some links to some interviews in which Trudeau elaborated on the "alien DNA" and high-vibe themes. This isn't GIN material, but Trudeau has used some of these interviews to promote GIN. And these are not new interviews; they were recorded in 2010 and 2009. So some of you may already be familiar with them, or at least familiar with Truduau's thoughts and beliefs on aliens and DNA and vibrations and so on. But I did not know about these interviews at the time I wrote my May blog post about True-dough's alien DNA. Moreover, this post is for the benefit of those who are mainly familiar with Trudeau as a con artist, and perhaps not as familiar with him as a purveyor of wackadoodle tales and conspiracy theories.

My May KT-as-ET post was actually inspired by buzz from some of the ex- and soon-to-be-ex-GIN participants, who at the time were chuckling about KT telling his "Inner Circle" members (who had paid either $50,000 or $75,000 for that dubious status) that he had alien DNA, and they did too. Or something like that. But I didn't actually provide any links to hard evidence of him saying these things, because I really didn't have any such evidence. I did provide links to Facebook conversations, but that was just second- or third-hand buzz. And some of the buzz was initiated by Lenny Coldwell, so I wondered if perhaps I should take it with a grain of Himalayan pink salt. I casually asked around the ex-GIN circles for something more concrete, but didn't get anything. And there were so many other ludicrous things about GIN and Trudeau, so many other story angles, that the alien stuff seemed rather trivial by comparison, so I didn't really bother with it much.

The alien material is really nothing new for True-dough, as I now realize. He has been yammering about aliens for several years, and wrote about his take on Area 51 and the alien bodies and so forth in his 2006 magnum dopus, More Natural 'Cures' Revealed. As it happens, that is also where he "revealed" his long-time involvement with a seekrit society called The Brotherhood. Who knew at the time that this tall tale would, within just a few years, form the big hook for his biggest scam of all, GIN? Well, Kevin prolly knew. He and a couple of his marketing scam-buds such as
Mark Scamilton of Neo-Tech notoriety were probably plotting GIN even then. Anyway, here's a paragraph that appears towards the beginning of More Natural 'Cures':
As a member of this secret society I have sat in private meetings with the heads of state from countries around the world. I have attended secret international business meetings where business leaders, politicians, and media moguls coerce together to create the new world order with global control over individual people everywhere. I have been shown and have seen with my own eyes secret government and corporate documents. I have heard with my own ears how BigPharma, the food industry, and the oil industry are working together with governments and media outlets around the world. I have been in over sixty countries, yet there are no stamps of evidence in any of my passports. I have been to Area 51 in Nevada. (This top secret military installation is still denied to exist by the U.S. government.) This is where much of our technology has been developed. Area 51 houses most extraterrestrial artifacts, including a working spacecraft and dead alien bodies. I've seen these things with my own two eyes. As a member of this secret society I was used in covert operations around the world.
And there you have it: many of today's most popular conspiracy theories rolled into one big ball of whacks. It's the kind of stuff on which True-dough and his paranoia-porn colleagues have been capitalizing for years.

Since I am busy and distracted, I'm just going to take the liberty of copying and pasting from the emails I received from my correspondent, who was never a GIN member but is familiar with Trudeau's work. I have edited a little bit for clarity. Again, you may already be familiar with all of this content, but this is for those who aren't, or who just want to review the looniness for sentimental reasons. (And as you will see, I have provided links to this interview so you can listen for yourself and see how accurate my correspondent's summary is.
I apologize in advance for the time you will never get back.) Here goes...
Hi, Connie:
I've read a lot of your recent posts on KT, specifically the one about Kevin claiming to his Inner Circle members that he and they have alien DNA. You said "that does seem a little out-there, even for KT". I don't think that is accurate. Back in 2010 he did an interview with Kate Valentine on the "Kate Valentine UFO Show" which is still up on his site 
Here, or more specifically here.  I made some notes on the interview, although some of the quotes are my paraphrases.

He starts by claiming he visited Area 51. When asked how he was invited to go there, he says, "It's a long story. but I was inducted into an organization called The Brotherhood, which is a secret society." He continues, "It's a group of people who have very high levels of DNA vibration and a lot of them can do certain things." He then references the 2009 movie
Push, and says, "It's a fictitious movie but it has a little truth behind it."

He continues, saying that some people are born naturally with certain abilities; he says you can call them "psychics" or "spoon benders." He says that when these people are located, The Brotherhood takes them in and trains them even more, and they are used in the world for various purposes.

He continues on with all that vibration/frequency stuff and explains how certain DNA frequencies give the person certain gifts like cooking or singing. He says that if you have gifts for using your mind, you are taken into The Brotherhood. He claims that it was in The Brotherhood that he learned the alien technology of how to use your mind.

He then makes further claims that people with this frequency can be found "like beacons of light" and "there is a machine that can find people on the planet who have these "vibratory patterns."

The interview continues, and he talks about how the theory is evolution is all wrong because "the only species that evolves is human beings." And he gives an example of the alligator, which has been an alligator for years. Then he claims that humans have a DNA that is "spliced" and adds that our DNA has been genetically modified at some point in our history. He says that this modification was designed to make us continue to evolve.

He then claims that he learned his "natural cures" from Area 51 and from these extraterrestrial beings. And then he claims, "The brain in your mind itself creates spontaneous healing."

He then addresses the question of when and who did the genetic modification on humans. He explains, "There are a lot of theories on this but if you look at the texts from The Bible, the Sanskrit texts, they all suggest that beings from another planet came to earth. and did DNA modification and thus created man, which is in line with the Biblical account of creation that says 'we created man in our image.' However, he says he really doesn't know who did the genetic modification.

Then he is asked [to tell more] about his visit to Area 51, and he answers, "I was physically there, and they have hangars... people think it's underground but actually they are more off of Area 51. The hangars are a part of the mountain or hill and they are in the side." He continues, "That is where the alien spacecraft is housed, the one that I saw, I don't know if there are more, but that's where the dead aliens use to be housed." He continues, "I was there back in the 80s but I believe that they have spread out and moved the materials to other locations."

He also claims, "The Nazis had a spacecraft as well." And "Because of alien technology they reverse-engineered."

Then a listener emails in a question about vibrations. KT answers by pitching GIN as a "private club," saying, "We teach our members to change their DNA vibration." He adds that GIN members are taught "how to use your mind to broadcast a frequency to get what you want." He also talks about the GIN Council of 29 billionaires. Then he talks about the problems humanity has, since their DNA vibration doesn't match the vibration they are broadcasting. For instance, if someone says ,"I want a Ferrari" or "I can fly," they're not going to achieve that if their vibrations don't match.

Then he is asked if he ever met aliens. He explains, "There are different groups, from different planets, they have their own flaws and are still evolving." He then continues to talk about a particular race of aliens, and says that "what happened with them is that their communication was telepathic instead of verbal and interpersonal, communication was stopped."

Then he talks about problems with our own evolution, with kids not being able to communicate verbally, or people constantly texting (to use one example) instead of calling and talking.

the interviewer asks more about aliens, and Kevin continues to explain, "The alien groups that are on Planet Earth come and go. I have been in contact with two from two different races, face to face." She asks Kevin if they need any special technology to exist in our atmosphere, and he explains, "They look just like us," and he references the Bible quote again: "We made man in our image."

They talk a little bit about t
he Bell Project and the speculation that it was some kind of time travel device. Although I don't think that Kevin claimed to believe that.

After that, the interviewer asks about why the aliens came to earth originally, and Kevin explains, "The first purpose was to mine gold." He explains that this is the case on other planets as well. He says, "Gold has been the metal of the gods." He explains that it has a unique energetic property and that when you have it in your possession -- at least on Planet Earth -- it actually attracts more gold and material wealth.
[Maybe this is why, according to his former marketing guy Peter Wink's testimony to the Federal Trade Commission, KT kept all of those gold bars in his home. Too bad he hasn't been able to attract enough gold to pay that FTC fine! ~CC]

One reason Trudeau says the aliens who were looking for planets with gold chose ours was that they needed slave labor. Also, they needed a place to exist in the future in case their own planet was dying.

Kevin claims that our own DNA was [programmed for slavery], but it would keep evolving to be closer to our alien creators. Obviously this doesn't make sense since he first claimed he didn't know about "when and who did DNA modification" earlier in the interview.

Finally he makes the claim, "I have a particular frequency, I have the ability to read other people's frequency and affect their frequency." And once again he references the move
Push, and says that if you watch it, you'll get a pretty good idea of Kevin's own special skills.

I have watched the movie. Here is the plot summary from IMDB: "Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does."

There are some similarities between this movie and what Trudeau claims [about his own past with the Brotherhood, etc.] In the movie there is a secret organization called Division, which gathers kids/teens that have special supernatural abilities abilities, such as fortune telling ("Watchers") or people who can plant thoughts ("Pushers.") Sound familiar? [Several of the plot points seem] very similar to Trudeau's narrative. In any case, much of what he claimed in the interview is common in the conspiracy world anyway. And I would bet he has borrowed from Scientology as well, but haven't looked into it...
My correspondent is of course spot-on about the Scientology derivatives. And I have a very strong feeling that True-dough also borrowed from Mark Scamilton's Neo-Tech/NovaTech/Nouveau Tech for his GIN narrative.

In a subsequent email, my correspondent wrote:

Also just found this interview on UFO Encounters Live with Ronnie McMullen, found here or here 325300.mp3
Fast Forward to the 15:00 mark, where he starts talking about secret societies and aliens, underground bases, railroads, and his special abilities.

He had another appearance on that show but it seems to be taken down, and the only way to get it is through the other site, and you have to pay $5. It can be found here: 10/16/10 is the date to look for if you are interested.

This interview seems to confirm his belief in "abilities" of being able to heal people as he talks to them -- or, as he lately is calling it, "energetic work" [which you can experience] if you donate [$5,000] or more to his legal defense fund.
Whining and begging and rants, oh my!
And speaking of that legal defense fund -- a ploy Trudeau has been using for years to extract still more money from people --
my correspondent also commented on the recent news that Trudeau is back with his radio show and with renewed efforts to beg for money for this fund. Of this video posted on YouTube on November 8, my commenter writes:
He is promoting a new site for his legal defense fund found here. He says says he is "facing a 30 day jail sentence which is on appeal," and "facing a huge criminal case." Then he begs for money with the usual [lines]: "I fight the government for you." And, "How would you like to be facing 10 years in jail because you wrote a book?" At times he seems to get real mad, and constantly looks away in other directions as he says, "I am facing 10 years in prison." And he goes on about how, "You need to make a donation; it's the only way I can continue with this." And, "I know you can afford $100, $500, $2,500, or $10,000 or $20,000 or $50,000." The rest is just typical [KT radio show] trash.

You even have a chance make monthly donations to the great cause. If you donate $5,000 or more, you can maybe get a chance to do some "energy work" with True-dough and experience some of his special abilities for yourself. Oh, boy! And by the way, my correspondent was, if anything, understating the content of that video linked to in the paragraph preceding the block quote. Trudeau really does seem angry, and repeatedly talks about the sacrifices he is making for us, and the fact that he has to deal with things such as armed Federal agents knocking down his door. It's the same thing we've heard and seen over and over and over -- though admittedly he's been looking a little more pale, thin, and scared in his latest vids. But apparently there are people who are still buying into the mythology, embracing the First Amendment Stuporhero.

Trudeau also seems to really be playing on a lot of New-Wagey-woo stuff these days, even more than usual. And his enablers are encouraging this every step of the way. Among other things, some people seem to believe,
or at least they are pretending to believe, that Trudeau has the ability to "clear negative energy," and evidently he teaches controversial techniques for doing so, some of which are based on Dianetics and Scientology. As one of True-dough's B-team bitches, Fred Van Liew, wrote on a recent Facebook thread on the GIN International page (and I can't link to it because I don't have access; for some reason, they kicked me out soon after I joined):

KT has always had the ability to take the good and leave the negatives behind. He has literally saved the lives of scores of women who were going to die if they continued their lifestyle by putting them through what has shown itself to be a consistently effective detox and lifestyle change mechanism. How do you fault that?

Why did he single out women? I wondered when I read that. But maybe I don't want to know. In any case, someone else added to the thread:

From what I know about KT, and [his] trainings, I think he is an angel sent to us. I am very blessed to be a GIN Member and to have KT's training audios.

Jesus Christ on a bicycle, that is disturbing.

Nutcake or sociopath? World traveler or fugitive?
So the big question for me is this: How much of this stuff does True-dough really believe, and how much is he just yanking people's chains, simply because he can? Is he really nuts, or is he just a sociopath who appeals to nuts (as well as a surprising number of perfectly sane people)? What do you think?
Meanwhile, the fate of GIN is up in the air. Despite the great hopes of a few folks that Ryan's and Abe's story would mark the absolute and instant end of GIN, the tale is far from over. Even some of the ex-GIN are saying GIN was a good idea that was ruined only by Kevin Trudeau's greed. And some say the "club" would still stand a chance without KT at the helm. I disagree on several counts. I disagree that GIN was a good idea (well, as anything but a social club), and I disagree with the notion that GIN could survive without Trudeau. To a very large extent, GIN is and has always been about Kevin Trudeau. And there's far too much of a culty aspect to GIN -- something Trudeau was very careful to create and nurture. He has always been all about selling himself as well as selling frauducts and flopportunities.*

For the time being, he may have to stick to selling himself from somewhere in Europe or elsewhere outside of the United States, because the Feds in the US are after his a$$ big time. And if he doesn't show up for his November 20 court hearing -- absent another stall by his lawyers, or his decision to actually cough up the $37.6 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission -- he's going to be a man on the run for a long time to come.
[See PPS, below. ~ CC]

As of now, he is reportedly in Switzerland for some already-scheduled GIN trainings. Apparently he has a full schedule for several weeks; there are Level II and Level III "trainings" scheduled in Zurich for December 15.
Here's the Event Information Page linked to in the email sent out to GIN members, although frankly, it seems to be very little information and mostly paranoid and sinister disclaimer:

This system is the sole property of the Global Information Network. All related resources are provided only for authorized use of its members. All systems may be monitored for all lawful purposes, including to ensure that their use is authorized, for management of the system, to facilitate protection against unauthorized access.

Monitoring includes testing to verify the security of this system. During monitoring, information may be examined, recorded, copied and used for authorized purposes. All information, including personal information, placed on or sent over this system may be monitored. Use of this system, authorized or unauthorized, constitutes consent to monitoring of this system.

Unauthorized use may subject you to criminal prosecution. Evidence of unauthorized use collected during monitoring may be used for administrative, criminal or adverse action. Use of this system constitutes consent to monitoring for these purposes.
Gosh, that makes me want to sign right up! By the way, all of the actual registration information, and most of the other stuff on that site, is in French. How very cosmopolitan.

So will True-dough stay in Europe and be a fugitive from justice? [See PPS, below. ~ CC] Or will he pay up? It doesn't seem to matter. My guess is that no matter what happens, the sheeple will still continue to follow him,
looking up to him as their high-freq leader, their hero who is willing to take a bullet for them, their angel with alien DNA.

And that's pretty pathetic.

Here's the link again to the 2010 interview I cited at length above:
Show: The Kate Valentine UFO Show
Play Interview with Kevin Trudeau: 12-17-10

PS ~ If you share some of those beliefs about aliens and conspiracies and so forth yourself, I apologize for stepping on your toes, but I respectfully suggest that you avail yourself of some Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic magazine. They don't have all the answers either -- nor do they pretend to -- but a little more reading of the skeptical material and a little less of KT'S and Fred Van Loony's outrageous claims (as well as the claims of various health quacks) could have probably saved a lot of people a lot of money and emotional investment. Science can be as much fun as science fiction, and in my opinion it does not put a damper on the sense of wonder we all crave, but enhances it.

PPS, November 20, 2012 ~ I prolly overstated that whole "fugitive from justice" thing, since contrary to what I had previously been told by an increasingly unreliable source, Trudeau was not necessarily required to appear at that hearing. As of now I don't know the latest status, but my guess is that there was another continuance or some other stall, and there's no immediate danger of KT being thrown in the clink.
* July 2014 update: I later changed my mind about GIN not being able to survive without Trudeau. Though it may never enjoy the success of its glory days, there are currently some dedicated Trudeau buds trying to carry on the proud tradition.

More True-dough on this Whirled: