Monday, August 05, 2013

Wheels of Fortune?* -- Man crawls off plane and right back on to my Whirled

It's been quite a while since I wrote about one of my favorite SNAG-gy posers, the performance artist who calls himself Dreaming-Bear (real name Baraka Kanaan. Oh, wait. Make that DR. Baraka Kanaan, aka "Dr. Baraka" or "Dr. DreamingBear."). Dreaming-Bear, whom some ditzy journo nicknamed "The Kissing Prophet" a few years ago, and who calls himself "The Modern Day Rumi," has been a Whirled favorite in past years, by virtue of having built his empire upon a whole pseudo-erotic shtick involving over-wrought poetry and prose about "kissing" his followers into consciousness. He used to do most of this nearly-naked, but has tried to soften his image a bit in recent years.

Dreaming-Bear has aroused suspicion about his true provenance (is he Native American? Middle Eastern? Boring white-bread boy trying to improve his mystical creds?)... but that, of course, has not prevented him from attracting followers. Often times, people who want to believe don't just ignore inconsistencies; they embrace them as mysteries. In this September 2007 post I snarked at some length about DB's pandering and his (mostly female) admirers' responses.

He continued to capture my attention, even though he was really pretty small-time by Scamworld standards, because he seemed, to me, so ridiculously phony -- that low-hanging fruit that certain species of lazy bloggers love to toy with while
other more serious bloggers are going after the really bad guys. Over the past few years, however, DB has also made efforts to align himself with the larger Scamworld, where the real money is and some pretty bad guys are. Look, here he is with Mock Victims Hansen, co-perp of the Chicken Soup series.

And here's pop-psych author Harold Bloomfield, M.D. (who helped popularize Transcendental Meditation in the 1970s), waxing poetic about DB. Dr. Baraka just seems to inspire that kind of writing in people.

Click to enlarge. (Nausea advisory in effect.)

Of Dreaming-Bear's Lovevolution concerts, Bloomfield writes:
Each concert begins with a brief ceremonial honoring of the women who are present, in which DreamingBear invites the men to verbally acknowledge the feminine energy in a kind of apology for the past and proposal for the future.

Word had it that Deebie had his own way of "acknowledging the feminine energy" and that all too many of his personal "proposals for the future" involved picking some attractive females in the audience to exploit in the near future, in one way or another. But oh, what a pickup line: "Men are dicks, but here's mine." (Did I just make a rhyme?)

Although I hadn't been writing much recently about "Dr. DreamingBear," as he now seems to prefer to be called, I still get fairly frequent emails or comments to my blog, thanking me for poking holes in his sacred image. Some of the messages are from women who have thanked me fervently for keeping them from falling into DB's seductive trap -- he seems to be quite the exploiter of the ladies, as are many in his position. I've heard from women who said they attended his events and he targeted them with his "charms," and they were tempted even though they had sort of an uneasy feeling about him... and then they read my blog, which made them realize that they were wise to listen to their gut feelings.

For a while, it seemed that my blog posts were just about the only press that DB was getting, to the point that he sent me a couple of emails a few years ago, asking me to give him a call so we could talk, and begging me to please quit writing about him, and asking me to take down the things I had written about him, and subtly threatening me with legal action or at least karmic consequences. I wrote a little about that on this January 2009 blog post (
scroll down to "Calling on Dreaming-Bear").

I did quit writing about DB so much, but only because bigger and admittedly slimier fish grabbed my attention.

But now he's in the news with a new claim to fame: He is, according to press reports, a "disabled paraplegic," aka the man who crawled off a plane and right into a lawsuit. Someone just alerted me to this today, suggesting that I Google "Man Crawls Off Plane." And sure enough, there was my old friend Dreaming-Bear. On July 23, 2013, he
filed a civil lawsuit, with a request for a jury trial, against Delta Airlines for an unspecified amount, in response to a couple of incidents that occurred in July 2012. The incidents, he claimed, caused him "intense physical and extreme emotional suffering." Compensation and damages will be determined at trial.

The story just hit the media late last month (I don't know how I missed it).
Here's another article about the incident.

And here is Baraka Kanaan's actual complaint.

I briefly wrote about Dreaming-Bear's reported disability on this July 2008 post (scroll down to
"Dreaming-Bear: rolling with the punches"). Some accused me of being a little unkind. Although Dreaming-Bear claims he was in a car wreck some years ago, and various back surgeries have forced him to use a wheelchair at times, there was some dispute, including among people who said they knew him personally and had observed his behavior first-hand, about whether he was exaggerating or exploiting his situation for various reasons. Dreaming-Bear himself wrote to me, in one of the emails I mentioned above, that he is "legally disabled."

Some of the recent news stories have said he was in a car wreck in 2000 that left him partially paralyzed. It does seem that he has gotten around pretty well in the intervening years, despite that partial paralysis. (DreamingBear himself has an explanation for that; see the PS below.)

Now, lest you think I'm still being heartless and am making light of people with disabilities, or that I'm excusing any bad behavior on the part of Delta Airlines (or any airline who mistreats the genuinely disabled, or any other passenger or employee), I'm not. Delta apparently has a history of egregious treatment of the disabled. And if you read the July 2008 Whirled post I linked to above, you'll see that I have, in the past, tried to give DB the benefit of the doubt on this matter.

Even so, something keeps nagging at me, and in light of Dreaming-Bear's shenanigans in the past, I have to look at this story with raised eyebrows. Forgive me for thinking -- even after looking at things from his perspective (see below) that there may be more to the tale than meets the eye.

It could turn out to be a real case that actually forces offending airlines to improve their treatment of passengers with special needs -- which would be a good thing. Or it could be just more histrionics from an established drama queen and New-Wage dilettante who is scavenging for yet another source of (eventual) income. I'm not making that call yet. I'm open to either possibility and will certainly make corrections as necessary.

But my b.s. meter is on full alert for now, and maybe yours should be as well.

PS, added 6 August, 2013 ~ Although a cursory search for stories related to this incident revealed mostly uncritical reporting (with a few mostly sympathetic commentaries in the mix), I found this entry on the First2Board blog, Travelblawg, which had an interesting comment about "Dr." Deebie's Twitter feeds around the time the incidents actually occurred, as opposed to his Twitter feeds around the time of the lawsuit. Dreaming-Bear is on Twitter under the user name, Mauitopia, with this tag line on the banner:
"I am the voice of the cosmos & of nature, the ecstasy of stars is with me & the birth pangs of Earth are with me. I have become the tongue of trees." Uh-huh.

The Travelblawg blogger screen-shot those respective feeds, with a little bit of snarkin' about Deebie's poetics. As per usual, click to enlarge.


Granted, it does take time to put a lawsuit together, and Deebie apparently went through channels (complaining to the airline, to the FAA, etc.) and gave Delta a chance to make things right before the suit was finally filed. And he could have also been advised by counsel at the time the incidents occurred not to write much about them. (He also had spinal surgery some time after the incident; his legal complaint suggested that the surgery, which had already been scheduled, had to be delayed because of injuries suffered during the incident.) Moreover, he did note in one of his 2013 tweets that he had "reported" the incident last year, presumably meaning that he informed his followers at some point about what was going on. So a Twitter feed alone is not an indication that this was not a matter of concern for him at the time it first happened. Still, it seems blogworthy.

Baraka certainly hasn't been silent on Facebook in the wake of the lawsuit filing. A couple of days ago he wrote about the "defamation" campaign by Delta. He explains that he is being unfairly persecuted for having "a life before being in this wheelchair." In fairness to him I will post a screen shot:

On that same post, he also posted some shots of his medical reports as of February 2012, nearly six months prior to the Delta incidents. Here they are:

So there you have it, or some of it, anyway, from Dr. DreamingBear's side. Funny thing, though: my b.s. meter is still on alert. And for the record, I am not working for Delta, or on behalf of Delta, or for or on behalf of anyone else in the army of persecutors whom Deebie likes to imagine are after him. I'm here on my own behalf, doing my part to keep hustlers and scammers from hustling and scamming any more people than necessary.

Baraka 'round the Whirled:
* With apologies to the producers of the old sitcom, Frasier.

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Sheila O'Shea said...

It's funny--I stumbled on one of your old articles about this douche quite recently through some link you'd left in another article and found it hilarious. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he's still at it.

Even the pictures of him ping my DoucheMeter. That "knowing" smirk is all too familiar to me--the kind of men who think they know everything about everything, when instead they know nothing about anything.

I've been subjected to enough terrible poetry in my life (particularly of the "this shit will totally get me laid" variety) that I don't want to even look at his stuff except maybe for the lulz.

Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Shelia! Listen to some of Deebie's performances when he talks "poetry" in that "seductive" deep voice and you get an even more complete picture. I could be WAY off base in my speculation about this lawsuit but as I noted in my post, there's just something about it... and about Deebie... that raises some very large red flags.

Anonymous said...

Bless you for your work Connie. Great blog.

I live on Maui, and although I have avoided crossing paths with Dr. DB, the island is full of that sort, and their low-info, flunky groupies. I found them harmless, if a bit pathetic initially, but they really are annoying in their self-righteous ignorance. They truly can be convinced of anything. If we weren't supporting them via welfare of myriad flavors I might temper my judgement.

This weekend at the beach, one spaced-out new ager spent 5 minutes lecturing me about how my unusual looking dog had supernatural powers. WTF.

It's amazing how these people can utter so many words, yet say absolutely nothing of grappling with a cloud.

travelblawg said...

Thanks for reading! :)

Cosmic Connie said...

Travelblawg: Thanks for writing!

Anon Aug. 14: I am sorry I didn't respond to your post when it came in. Thank you for sharing your observations about the New-Age ninnies on Maui. I have never been to Maui but have observed that type of ditzy behavior many times. :-)

Anonymous said...

I saw this guy in a local grocery store up-country Maui. He seemed to be covered in baby oil and was with a lovely young woman. He had questions for the cashier but he refused to talk directly to her; instead, he whispered to his companion who 'interpreted' for him. When he caught my eye, I smiled, at which point he hid his head on his friend's shoulder. I knew of him and seeing him in person did not disappoint. Very creepy, very weird vibe - hard to explain. Maui is full of such people, who utter nonsense and think they're 'far out'. He is such a load of bullshit.

Anonymous said...

I met DB through facebook after seeing a few of his vids online. We started communicating through email msg's and then later phone conversations. I fell for his spiritual schtick as you put it, so much so that I agreed to work with him in a performance capacity which meant him coming to Canada and staying with me for the duration of the trip. It didn't take me very long to figure out that the only reason he was interested in me was because of how I looked and his intentions were just to hook up with me sexually. He started making comments about my appearance, asking me how much I worked out etc. Our final phone call consisted of him making bizarre requests for when he arrived including whether or not I could get him drugs. In retrospect, I see that I was naive and too trusting but it didn't take me long to clue in. I quickly revoked the invitation explaining that I was no longer comfortable with the idea of him coming to visit which resulted in him calling me all sorts lovely names and being anything but understanding or spiritual. He is a full blown narcissist and I hope that others don't fall for his spiritual persona. I believe that everyone has the ability to heal, deserves love etc so I'm not meaning to slam in a negative way, but this is a true (and rather mild) account of my brief dealings with him and he isn't what he says he is. The one good thing is that he's not very good at "hiding the crazy" so unless someone is SUPER clueless, they should be able to get a good read on him rather quickly and walk away.

Anonymous said...

The problem with self-proclaimed ‘new age’ “mystics” is that no one checks their credentials (especially not on an Island full of people lost or in a phase of rediscovery, seeking a new meaning, a new purpose, a new ‘religion’). I mean how could you? How could you test the true spirit of a person? The genuine purity of a person? The intention of a person? You cant. At least not by looking at his or her list of institutional awards and degrees. And definitely not by blindly believing some bullshit bantering about kisses and stars and cosmically incorrect equations of earthly/mystic connections that are better depicted by real mathematicians and cosmologists. The character of a person can only be evaluated through a collective understanding of his or her history… and by history I don’t mean ethnicity… by history I mean, very plainly, that individual’s extant persistence: what does s/he create, what does s/he leave in the wake? I am writing this to shed light on the real character behind the façade of “Dr. Bear” (as so many refer to him). But more importantly, I am writing this for the sake of justice… because as sure as I am that the sun will set tonight, I am even more sure that no one should be praising this desperate, dirty mess of a man.

As he his self said “truth is the lie you choose to believe….question everything.” So here it is for you Kanaan—the “gun called remember” because an honorable truth isn’t written it is lived, and despite your best efforts to re-write your truths—as exemplified by this string of posts—people see you, the true you, and you are being questioned.

“Dr. Dreaming Bear Baraka Kanaan” (Born Michael Kanaan in Oklahoma)
Suitable aliases: bastard liar; egotistical user; abusive prick; narcissistic mess; oily faced, greasy haired embodiment of Lucifer; soulless wannabe artist; Dr. imposter.

So you can scratch the “Dr” portion of this title. He received his “Doctorate of Philosophy” from an online unaccredited school that gives ANYONE who pays $100 and takes a quick test a certificate titled “Doctor of Philosophy” (go ahead, look it up, ULC or University Life Church). Ok, so we know that’s B.S.—a cracker-jack constellation. Also, there is no evidence that he ever completed a second Masters degree. He did however receive a MA in Communications from Long Beach State when he was 29 years old (that was back in 2002…yep…he lies about his age and time-line). However, shortly after finishing his MA he was disavowed as a professor for fraternization with a minor; he was knowingly sleeping with a 17 year old student (I bet he failed to mention that on his Douchetopia show).

And what of this whole car accident in 2000? Oh THAT. Right. Well I can personally attest that that NEVER happened. He did however get into a fender-bender back in 2000 in which he hurt his toe…his big toenail jammed in a bit upon impact, but that was literally the worst of it….and as you can imagine he milked every bit he could because of that toe back in 2000 (pathetic right? What a man…).

So how do I know all of this? Well, I had the unfortunate experience of spending two precious years of my life in a relationship with Kanaan. Two terrible, abusive years (back when I was an unsuspecting virgin and WAY too young/naïve to see what my intuition so clearly indicated).

So what kind of partner was he to this fun-loving, devoted, and intelligent yet ignorantly blissful young woman? Well for starters he pumped me full of drugs every chance he got, putting pressure on me if I was hesitant to join. He manipulated me on a regular basis into paying for virtually EVERYTHING: He was that guy who would trail behind you when it was time to pay in line at the grocery store… that guy who would literally suggest a place to go for dinner, drive there, order, and then nonchalantly mention that he didn’t bring his wallet, following up with “but you have money so we’re good”. Again, what a man…

Anonymous said...

And of course, he cheated, all of the time…which definitely hurt, spiritually, emotionally, and nearly physically (but I was spared that shame when his side-job had the decency to call me and let me know she got as STD from him—talk about dodging a bullet!). But what really scarred me was the abuse. In very text-book fashion it began with daily, cascading criticism: I wasn’t skinny enough (I was 5’7” and 112 lbs btw), my skin looked pale (this coming from a man who would go to the tanning bed 3 times a week), I plucked my eyebrows too thin, I didn’t read enough, my art was “mediocre”, I didn’t make enough money (said the unemployed man in his twenties living off of money sent from his grandma and mom), etc, etc….

Naturally the cliché POS moved on to punching walls, then to slamming me against walls, grabbing me by the throat, smothering me with pillows, until finally he felt poetic enough to offer me his close-fisted prose. The scariest bit was that he wouldn’t go away; he wouldn’t let me go away. There was NO leaving Kanaan. “You are mine for eternity” he would say in the most terrifying, crazed way. To be sure, a man of his egotistical magnitude couldn’t handle that kind of rejection. Two hospital visits, three police encounters, an address change, and a new phone number later, I finally got away.

Being in an abusive relationship at such a young age is difficult and devastating; add to that experience a man that everyone thinks you are oh sooooo lucky to be with and it is nearly impossible to recover from. Indeed, I was not the only victim of his, just one of many very young girls he manipulated and used. Luckily for me I am not one of the three girls that ended up with an STD, nor am I the poor girl he forced to have an abortion (kicking her in the stomach repeatedly when she expressed the desire to keep it). I count my blessings.

So tell me Delta Air…how was he able to beat the crap out of me so often if he was disabled? How was he able to go skydiving if he was disabled?

Kanaan is just so typical. A typical Scorpio a-hole— an egotistical, manipulative, greedy, abusive, hedonistic, sad pile of flesh. He is not a mystic. He is not a lover or a representation of peace. He is not even the son of a refugee as he claims to be. He does not speak Arabic (save 5 short phrases). He is not and never was disabled. He’s just a pathetic and desperate man…desperate for attention and purpose and so very desperate for praise. He has a way with words, sure. He can ding, dong on a hang drum, great. But I promise you can find more talented, creative, humble and genuine versions of what he claims to be every year at burning man, and the world over really. Don’t give him your praise. Don’t give him your pity. Don’t give him your money. And if you are a woman (still his primary prey I see) don’t let him near your divinity. Love yourself sisters (and brothers) and you won’t need a self-serving man to remind you to shine.

Anonymous said...

The post above mine gives me chills. Almost the same thing happened to me minus the major physical abuse. I dated him for a year and a half. I met him just after I left an abusive marriage and I was very scared and insecure. I was his perfect victim and quickly I became a devotee, booking events for him, taking him to doctors appointments (where he often left with lots of prescription pain medicine), taking up for him, trying to convince everyone that he was a wonderful guy, paying for his meals, the list goes on an on. I was with him when he suddenly became unable to walk. Being the devotee that I was, I spent the next six months taking care of him, driving to to doctors appointments, and another demands that he had. The entire time this was going on I never saw him walk again but I truly believe he was faking it. There were a few doctors that cut him off and refused to see him. I think that he does have issues with his spine but not necessarily what would make it impossible for him to walk. A few things give it away. One is that he used to fly around on his wheelchair like a race car driver. If he was in terrible pain, the movements would have been impossible. Also he loved to have sex. He cheated on me all of the time. Even though he tried to pretend like he couldn't move, there were moments when he would and I know if he truly was paralyzed, those movements would have been impossible or very painful. Even though he was supposedly wheelchair ridden, he maintained the physique of a very fit person. I think when no one was looking, he would spend hours doing sit ups and push ups...moves that your average paralyzed person would find difficult. He is on welfare and I think the reason why he gets away with this is because he has enough of a condition that makes it difficult for doctors to dispute his pain claims. I could tell a few were suspicious but they probably didn't want to fight it. I think they would rather just do the treatments for him and collect the money rather than tell him he's wrong. This is horribly embarrassing for me. I've never wanted to come forward because Im sure he will try to hurt me if I do. The entire time I was with him, he fed me tons of drugs. I didn't do drugs before I met him but he made me feel like doing ecstasy and LSD brought enlightenment. LOL! When I finally escaped he let me know he was going to "ruin my life." I know when he reads this, he will know who I am but I cannot stay silent anymore because he is a very scary person and anyone who is in a close relationship with him is in danger.

Kate said...

Met this guy. Almost let him stay at my home. Found out the woman he was currently staying with came home to find him naked and smoking pot in her backyard. Known to use women!

Unknown said...

This guy Dreaming Bear actually attacked me in Bubba Gumps yesterday ... He was trying to get a birthday discount, I overheard him say it was his birthday ...knowing he's a Scorpio... I said Happy Birthday ...he freaked out ...on camera ...a liar ... and total borsht ...Narcissist, woman abuser .... crappy writer ... stay away from this asshole. We had to evict him years ago ...The worst person ever ...scamsmoney from lonely women.

Unknown said...

Total drug addict ...wesaw him walking around when he was supposed to be disabled.

Anonymous said...


I just ran across this old post and I wanted to add my two cents. This guy is beyond a crook and a fraud. He used to stay with my good friend and he is a druggie addicted to pills and does manipulate and use women. when I first met him probably in 2006 he was actually walking I didn't think the accident happened to his legs until like 2010 or something. Your BS radar should definitely be up with this guy. There are tons of these posers on Maui it's actually quite ridiculous. And I know they're all about money. He actually hangs out with a very wealthy woman that he uses to have a place to stay for free anyway keep up the great investigation work good job calling out the evil dark spirits of the world. To be honest he's always made my stomach sick to look at him and I knew from the second I saw him he was a total womanizer and fake ! The sad thing is he does have a lot of people fooled on the island of Maui. He actually gets to say things weekly monthly in local papers it's pretty sick a lot of people here need a reality check. But I guess like I read earlier a lot of people are very desperate and will just latch onto anything or maybe some women looking for a connection with some man. it's sad though I hope everybody wakes up with him and sees him for what he truly is.