NOTE: ALL links to web pages, and comments about the content on those pages, were accurate at the time this post (and updates) were originally written. In this post, information about said content was accurate at least through February 2015, but it appears that subject may have subsequently taken steps to redesign/"clean up" some of his sites.
Leonard Coldwell, fake doctor and former good buddy of imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, may not be an A-list alt-health "hero" or even an A-list Scamworld player (we discussed some of those A-list health gurus in the previous post in this series), but he still has his small following of passionate fans. Some are nice people who are simply uninformed or misinformed, though a few seem truly deranged. Many are willing make excuses for his increasingly erratic behavior, continuing to cheer him on even as his social media posts grow dafter. Just about every time he opens his mouth or posts something on Facebook Coldwell betrays that he isn't very bright. But is he actually dangerous? And in the larger scheme of things, does he really matter? These are some of the matters we'll cover in this concluding (finally!) installment of a series that has dragged on far too long. And just in case you're wondering why I have devoted so much time to Coldwell on this blog, I'll 'splain that (again) in this post as well. In case you need to catch up, links to previous installments in the series are at the end of the post. OMT: I am fully aware that this post contains anecdotes and screen shots that I previously shared on this blog. Redundancies are intentional.
As daft as he is, not-doctor Leonard Coldwell still has a small following of loyal fans who don't hesitate to rally against his critics, particularly when he prompts them to do so, as he recently did when he lied about me poisoning his pit bull dog, Blue. That was an eye-opening experience for me. I think that's when I finally understood that trying to communicate with the most stubborn or (dare I say it?) stupid fans is futile.
It's not that I've had exchanges with very many of them; to the contrary, despite Coldwell's paranoid ranting that I am involved in some awful conspiracy to turn people against him (rantings that include his patently false claims that I have devoted thousands of hours to creating numerous "fake" web sites all over the Internet to defame him, and that I have "harassed" his followers), I have spent surprisingly little time and effort communicating or trying to communicate directly with actual Coldwell fans. I have, however, engaged in conversations with a few of them over the past couple of years. Most of the time they initiated the conversations, though on occasion I have done the initiating, and sometimes it was all just part of a public conversation on social media.
For instance, here is one comment from a Coldwell fan who began a private conversation with me on Facebook on July 17, 2014, in the wake of Coldwell's crazy, unfounded accusations about me poisoning his dog and trying to "defame" him.
Dear Connie Schmidt : I know that you may not agree with everything that Dr. Leonard Coldwell says but I ask you , Please give him the right of free speech and tell his truth. He is a good man and helps many to create a good life. May this be one of the many ways you can show your love . With many blessings - [signed]"Tell his truth?!?" Spoken like a true SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy/Gal).
I wrote back thanking the person for writing to me and for communicating with me in a civil way. I reiterated a capsule version of my now oft-told story about how Coldwell had made up lies about me out of whole cloth, and had put me in possible danger by posting my full name and address on his social media pages in conjunction with his lies. I mentioned that I had tried in a polite and civil way to defend myself on those pages but my comments were deleted and I was blocked from commenting any further. I mentioned that other folks had tried to politely defend me on those pages and the same thing had happened, and then Coldwell had lied about the content of their posts and had said they were I, writing under fake accounts. "What kind of 'good man' does this?" I asked my correspondent. And I respectfully asked the person to read my blog post about the dog poisoning allegations.
I had a private exchange with another person who had referred to me as an "evil sick woman" after reading Coldwell's accusations that I poisoned his dog. I initiated this one; I sent this person a private message via Facebook with a link to my blog post about the dog incident. A couple of days later he replied.
I read your post and although Dr. C's may be falsely accusing you of poisoning his dog he concluded that based on you cyberbullying of the past 2 years. Dr C is not the evil man you think he is, he's a hero who dedicated his life to curing other people of cancer after he made that promise to God. He had a very hard childhood and did everything he could to find a way to cure his mother of cancer. You can read all of that in his book "The only answer to cancer". I really feel pity for Dr. C that he's being attacked so hard on the internet and his reputation is being destroyed despite his good intentions.I responded with a few observations and insights about Coldwell's inconsistent, mostly unverifiable stories about his past, mentioning some of the suspicious details in his narrative -- most notably, the claim that he cured his mom of hepatitis C many years before it was even identified by medical science. I also mentioned to my new friend that, subsequent to the rash of accusations against me, Coldwell had quietly and with little explanation used his Facebook page to post a list of household and yard plants that are toxic to dogs. And I noted that asking legitimate questions about a public figure who makes extravagant claims is not "cyberbullying." The fan responded:
Dear Connie, I agree that we don't have proof of his 35,000 cured patients besides Dr Hohn's affirmation. However if you read his books it's not hard to believe it since he he makes use of several proven alternative cancer cures like Gerson therapy, Dr. Hamer's work, Dr Burzynski, Essiac tea, vitamin B17,... There's a lot of documentation to be found on these if you google them. I'm not sure about the Hepatitis C, but I remember he mentioned his mother getting liver cirrhosis due to a blood transfusion. Maybe he connected the dots and found out it was likely she got Hepatitis C back then? I can understand you feel angry and wronged due to Dr C.'s hasty conclusions, but he acted on the information that was handed to him. He even admited [sic] this himself: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-N83sbPKr5A8/U8b0-2EHc_I/AAAAAAAAEM0/XBciQwxTu3E/s1600/36-Coldwell-More-Accusations-against-Connie-Schmidt-on-Answer-to-Cancer-page-07-15-14-A.jpg Anger is a response to pain, I guess he was so emotionally shocked by the poisoning of his dog that he lashed out at you like that, because you were a "likely" suspect to him. You're probably correct about the reason for posting that list of plants and he seems to be leaving you alone as well at the moment, I haven't seen any posts about you on his FB pages lately. In my opinion it's just all been a big misunderstanding on his part.Here we have a Coldwell fan -- probably a perfectly nice guy, despite having previously called me an evil sick woman -- trying to cling to his fandom and to the narrative he clearly wants to believe. From the post above you can see that even though shadows of doubt seem to be looming, he is still more willing to make excuses for his hero than to believe me. He would rather believe that Coldwell's accusations were based on anonymous misinformation than to entertain the notion that Coldwell would create a body of vicious lies about me.
Notice too how the fan struggles to rationalize Coldwell's hepatitis C claim, which is one of the larger holes in Lenny's backstory. Most of Coldwell's narratives leave no doubt that he is claiming to have cured his mom of Hep C back when he was a young lad. This snippet, from his July 17, 2014, screed about fighting the good fight against the forces of evil, is typical:
By the way, here's a screen shot of some info I came across regarding Coldwell's very awkwardly named "Foundation for Drug and Crime Free Schools and Health for Children," in which he nobly claims to have put all profits from his "books etc." because "I do not want to make money on the suffering of ill people." Uh-huh. Actually in most of his hundreds of boasts about the "Foundation" he calls it the "Foundation for Crime and Drug Free Schools and Health for Children" (instead of Drug and Crime Free). But I quibble. I doubt that the "Foundation" is active at all, but in any case it seems to have had its exempt status revoked.
Regarding some of the examples my correspondent listed in his second message to me, quoted above: In Part 4 of this series I did not cover the work of Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer (inventor of Germanic New Medicine, née German New Medicine and New Medicine). Nor did I mention Essiac tea, or vitamin B17 (laetrile). For that matter, I didn't mention someone else whom Coldwell has cited and my correspondent failed to mention: the late Royal Raymond Rife (1888-1971), who, not surprisingly, blamed a "conspiracy" by the med establishment for the rejection of his work. I did, however, discuss Burzynski and Gerson therapy. As I noted on that post, my list was hardly comprehensive. Hamer, Essiac tea and B17 are additional examples of unproven practitioners and protocols, contrary to the claims of the fan quoted above. All have been disputed by the medical establishment but, I should also note, they have not been violently repressed.
Based upon correspondence he shared privately, Bernie at GINtruth went through much the same type of exchange with this same Coldwell fan via private message, civilly and patiently explaining to him that contrary to Coldwell's false accusations, Bernie did NOT hack into Coldwell's web site(s), and Bernie is NOT a cyberbully, and Bernie is most certainly NOT a child molester. As was the case with me, the person seemed to become marginally more conciliatory as the conversation with Bernie progressed, but it appears that he never went so far as to accept the possibility that Coldwell was lying. The fan finally told Bernie that Coldwell had made the accusation about child molestation only because Coldwell's buddy and business partner Abe Husein had told Coldwell that Bernie had been caught raping a child.
Bernie and Abe have had their differences, but I'm pretty sure Abe never said anything like that, and I actually thought that Abe wouldn't appreciate his pal Coldwell using his name in that way. Turns out Abe doesn't care, though; when I mentioned it to him on Facebook recently he said he never pays attention to negative things people say or write about him. He added, "To be honest, I don't think that is DR C posting those things from his profile." Uh-huh.
Long before the latest cycle of Coldwell lies, I noticed a pattern in fans' attempts to rationalize his erratic (to say the least) behavior. For instance, there was this fan's defense, which was part of a November 2012 conversation about the infamous Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina police report and Coldwell's rants about me being a disease-infested former prostitute who is on Big Pharma's payroll:
Dr. C is an emotional man. He loves strongly and when he is unhappy he doesn't pull any punches. I think he is honest and I appreciate that. Besides, most of the time he has the nerve to SAY what we are all thinking anyway but are too nicey-nicey to say out loud."An emotional man"... so that's what the kids are calling "bat sh-t crazy" these days. This person had privately told me that she did not believe Coldwell's accusations that I am a former prostitute. Yet she continued to defend him and even told me privately that he is a great man who has accomplished far more than I ever will. She also egged him on in the early days when he was threatening to sue me for trying to "destroy" his business. Even so, I have seen recent indicators that she is not nearly as enamored of him as she once was; I heard buzz that he eventually alienated her with some crude sexual remarks on Facebook. He has a way of alienating people on his own, sooner or later, with no help from the critics.
Once again I've probably belabored the point, that point being that a handful of people continue to enable Coldwell and support him even as he becomes more erratic. Some who seem to be fighting their own inner doubts about him chalk his lunatic statements up to an honest misunderstanding on his part, or they speculate that Coldwell was simply given bad information, or they theorize that his crazy posts were written by someone else -- an assistant, perhaps, or a hacker... you know, the usual suspects. Those are the excuses Coldwell himself has used on more than one occasion when directly accused of writing something particularly stupid. And when need be, his fans and friends are only too happy to hoist the banner of external blame. It's always someone else's fault. There are so many forces working against this brave and heroic man.
Is it love... or just cognitive dissonance?
Though Coldwell may sometimes seem to represent an extraordinary type of evil, it could be argued that he is just a garden variety psychopath who has found a few themes that resonate with certain types of people: the alt-health hero v. the medical establishment shtick, the loathsome "the Jews run the world" meme, and various other conspiracy-related motifs. Whether he's extraordinary or garden-variety, there's really nothing so extraordinary about the reactions of some of his fans to criticism about their hero.
Excuse-making, or rationalization, is pretty typical human behavior, and we all do it at one time or another -- either on our own behalf or on someone else's -- to make life a little less painful. For instance, we often do it when we're in the painful process of letting go of some cherished belief. When we are obliged to reevaluate a belief or a person or a situation to which we've grown attached, rationalization shields us, for a while, anyway, from painful truths.
Of course for some people (and some governments, for that matter), excuse making is not part of a painful process; it's just part of doing business and protecting one's income stream, power, or both. It is nothing more or less than cynical propagandizing and disinformation in order to keep the followers (or the citizens) in line.
But I'm more interested in what is going on with the people who are genuinely struggling with "letting go." This means I'm more interested in the Coldwell fans who seem like genuinely nice people struggling with doubts than I am in the cronies and business partners whose behavior indicates, at best, a gaping hole where their conscience or moral compass should be.
Much has been written about the human tendency to defend people or beliefs in the face of mounting evidence that they are defending the indefensible. The gurus being defended may beam and say this behavior is an expression of abject love (in contrast to the "hate" being expressed by critics), but it is anything but love. At best it is evidence that the gurus' cultish mind-control tactics are working.
This excerpt from the online Skeptic's Dictionary entry on cognitive dissonance seems appropriate here. In this instance the writer was referring to the followers of a 1950s UFO cult leader, but much of this applies to other "public figures" such as Coldwell or anyone else who somehow manages to create a devoted following.
With this kind of irrational thinking, it may seem pointless to produce evidence to try to persuade people of the error of their ways. Their belief is not based on evidence, but on devotion to a person [emphasis mine. ~CC]. That devotion can be so great that even the most despicable behavior by one's prophet can be rationalized. There are many examples of people so devoted to another that they will rationalize or ignore extreme mental and physical abuse by their cult leader (or spouse or boyfriend). If the basis for a person's belief is irrational faith grounded in devotion to a powerful personality, then the only option that person has when confronted with evidence that should undermine her faith would seem to be to continue to be irrational, unless her faith was not that strong to begin with. The interesting question, then, is not about cognitive dissonance but about faith.And in the end, that's what really fuels Coldwell's sputtering career: the faith of his followers. To argue with the most deeply faithful is indeed an exercise in futility. It is not my job, nor is it yours, to try to convince them that their noses are up the wrong behind. They will have to find their own way out of that situation.
Coldwell is his own worst enemy
Coldwell has falsely and repeatedly accused critics of conspiring to destroy his "grounds of business" and seriously cutting into his income. The truth, as discussed on this blog numerous times, is that his income was cut into in a major way when he was fired from Kevin Trudeau's major scam, the Global Information Network (GIN), from which Coldwell profited handsomely for a few years. He was a paid GIN speaker, receiving automatic payments of nearly $17,000 a month, plus he had a downline that he reportedly worked quite aggressively. Here's a little thing from 2011:
Coldwell still hasn't really recovered from his divorce from GIN and Trudeau, although he has made a second career of "exposing" Trudeau's scams and pretending that he was duped just like everyone else.
Beyond his propensity for getting involved in failed scams, Leonard Coldwell is and apparently always has been his own worst enemy, which is just another way of saying that his public behavior and statements make him look far worse than anything any blogger or other critic has ever written or said about him. Virtually everything he says or writes makes him look stupid, scammy, crazy, gullible, or (at best) ill-informed.
He continues to push his iffy health "advice" as well as every conspiracy meme going around the Net, particularly those that have to do with the New World Order, Obama and the allegations of "false flag" events. When he can combine alt-health crackpottery and New World Order paranoia into one meme he is truly in his element, and the deeply disturbing Ebola outbreak in Africa seems to be providing a prime opportunity for just that. In some of his rants Coldwell has promoted the tale that Ebola was an invention of the NWO and is being brought to the U.S. by Obama in order to weaken the population so that it will be easier to herd Americans into FEMA camps... or something like that. His other pet theory is that Ebola was invented by the big drug companies so they could make a fortune selling vaccines... or something like that.
Fortunately there is colloidal silver to help get the nasty Ebolas out of your system, although in a recent blog entry Coldwell copied and pasted an article from a guy who says silver is useless for Ebola. Here's some Coldwellian healing advice from August 9:
Coldwell is also promoting his buddy "Dr. Rima's" colloidal silver frauducts. "Dr. Rima," who sells something called NanoSilver, is another person who claims to be the victim of a "rampage of disinformation to keep you in the dark about natural ways to dispose of dangerous microbes without damaging your beneficial bacteria."
If you're interested in more scientific information, here is a good blog post from 2009, which talks about colloidal silver and other forms of medicinal silver, and mentions Ebola in passing.
A couple of days after the Ebola silver silliness, Coldwell weighed in on the tragic suicide of the much-loved actor and comedian Robin Williams. This time Ebola and Obama weren't the culprits; it was Red Bull with aspartame, suggested Lenny.
Many very bad-taste things have been said and written about Williams in the wake of his death, and I was expecting Coldwell to bring his own unsavory dish to the bad-taste potluck. He did not disappoint, although I will give him this: on the bad-taste meter his statements really couldn't measure up to Rush Limbaugh's idiotic insinuation that Williams' profound depression was due to his "leftist attitude," or with the piece on the conspiracy site World Nut Daily that strongly insinuated Williams died because he deliberately let the devil in to aid his art... or something like that. But what Coldwell's statement lacked in horrendous taste, it more than made up for in stupidity, for Coldwell seems to have confused Robin Williams with the Brit singer Robbie Williams, who is very much alive and well, and he insinuated that Robin Williams died because he was addicted to Red Bull with aspartame.
Here is Bernie's post about Coldwell's blunder.
I suppose it was in poor taste for Coldwell to use Williams' death as an opportunity to flog his buddy "Dr." Betty Martini's obsessive crusade against aspartame, but the stupidity factor outweighed the poor-taste factor this time. Beyond the major gaffe of getting the two men's identities confused, Coldwell seems not to have read the specific article he linked to very carefully. That piece, apparently written some time in 2009, was all about Robbie-Williams-the-singer making a comeback after some very tough times. There was one passing mention of Red Bull, in the context of a paragraph about Robbie having checked into rehab in the U.S. in 2007. According to the article, there was speculation but no substantiation that Robbie was "addicted to Red Bull and coffee." (By his own account, his real addictions were to more serious substances, such as prescription pain pills.) Moreover, there was no mention of aspartame in the article Coldwell cited. Perhaps Coldwell is unaware that not all Red Bull contains aspartame anyway; only the Sugarfree and Total Zero Calorie versions do, and the article contained no speculation about whether Robbie Williams preferred sugar-free or no-cal to the sugary version.
Granted, Lenny wasn't the only person who had a little bit of identity confusion between the two R. Williamses. Others did as well. On the other hand, the vast majority of those folks were just ordinary people, not highly-educated, all-knowing miracle healers and health experts as Lenny claims to be. As Bernie wrote in his GINtruth blog post about Coldwell's comical mixup:
Sure, the names are similar, but the least you can do when you claim to be a multi-talented-cure-all-lying-piece-of-crap, is check your facts before posting them on the world wide web for everyone to clearly see just how much of a complete and utter moron you really are!
You just can't [be] much more stupid, not to mention shallow in trying to capitalise on someone's misery.
That's about the size of it. But I suppose that this whole identity confusion thing is not really that surprising, since Coldwell has a problem keeping people's identities straight. For a long time he thought (and may still think) that my friend Julie Daniel and I are the same person. He thought that blogger and book author Alexandra Nouri was Bernie, and then later decided Alexandra is I. He seems firmly convinced that someone named "Tina S" is I (more on that below). He thought my friend Tim Donohoe was Salty Droid. And perhaps most comically of all, he thought Jason "Salty Droid" Jones and Omri Shabat are the same person, took both of them to court as such, and, after his own lawyer quit the sham case and Lenny couldn't (or didn't even try) to get another one, he failed miserably. Mistaken identity seems to be one of Coldwell's stocks in trade.
Another Coldwell fave is to dig up old and debunked alarmist Internet memes and recycle them as something totally new. Lots of ignorant people do that, though, so he is in good company. For instance, on August 16, 2014, he posted this on his misinfotainment hub on Facebook, "The Only Answer to Cancer":
You'll notice that the writing in the post above is much more literate than the usual Lenny offering. That's because he (or possibly one of his dimwitted admins acting with his approval) copied and pasted from this site -- despite the fact that much of the "information" had been declared a hoax a couple of years ago.
Then there's this snippet of a 2012 interview -- brought to you by a clown who calls himself the Cosmic Cowboy of Internet Radio -- in which the bad Mocktor waxes icky about sex and so forth. We're so uptight in America, he says, as indicated by the fact that families -- mommies and daddies and little kiddos -- don't all bathe nekkid together like they do in Germany and other parts of Europe and other places in the world. "If Germany is such a paradise of freedom and enlightened attitudes, why doesn't the little perv just go back there and stay?" you may be asking. I don't really have an answer to that.
I think you get the point, although I'll be more than happy to belabor this one too, for the sheer bloody fun of it. Apropos of that, we'll have a couple more Coldwell stupidities later on in this post. The point here is that Coldwell's public writings, videos, and speeches about... well, anything he talks about... make him look profoundly unprofessional, to say the least. And his methods of handling criticism and critics make him look even worse, if that's possible. Rather than ignoring his critics, as most Scamworld players do (though certainly not all -- more on that in a moment too), he goes after them in clumsy, comical, deranged and even illegal ways.
And the more he tries to prove how legitimate he is, the more apparent his phoniness becomes, and the stupider he makes himself appear. His train wreck of a Bio site is a recent case in point, and it appears he has no intention of stopping there, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the site got its little wings cut due to numerous complaints about the defamatory and legally actionable lies he had published. [Update, September 2014: Here's a newer and more positively focused, but still train-wreckish and comical, online attempt to vindicate Lenny: the Dr. Leonard Coldwell Hugs site. I wonder how many people quoted and pictured on that site now shudder at the thought that they will be linked to him in perpetuity via those online train wrecks.]
Honk if you're horny
Some interesting emails were sent out last week. On August 12, 2014, Bernie received an email with the following header:
From: gonnie schmid <firstname.lastname@example.org>On the same day I also received an email from someone going by the name "Tina S" -- which she told me is not her real name. Naturally I was interested, because on July 15 Coldwell had posted that he was getting emails from "Tina S," and he falsely insisted she was I; he made this claim in the context of his equally false accusations that I had been sexually harassing him by email and phone.
Date: 12 August 2014 08:38:36 GMT+9
To: Bernard O'Mahony
Subject: wow the info on www.hornyconnie.com is unbelievable all of your guys past dirt on there unbelievable
In her email to me, "Tina" mentioned that Coldwell had apparently confused our respective identities, and she admitted that she had emailed him. But it wasn't to sexually harass him (I know, I'm as shocked as you are). Tina said she wrote to him about "the ethics (or lack thereof) of his anti-vaccination posts seen by his gullible audience."
She also wanted to let me know that she had received an email with the subject line: "Just saw the content of www hornyconnie dot com Wow I cant [sic] believe it." When I responded to "Tina" I asked her where the email came from, and she said it came from hornyconny at gmail dot com -- the same party who'd sent Bernie the email. She added:
I only recently heard about Leonard Coldwell and his antics. A colleague of mine posted a video of his on our work's communication platform. It was meant to give everyone a laugh (which it did!!). After watching the video, I became curious as to who this guy was and a bit of searching brought me to your blog (along with GIN Truth, Glancing Web, and Salty Droid).Tina also wrote that having studied microbiology and having worked as a microbiologist, she finds Coldwell's attacks on vaccination to be disgusting, especially since he has the power to influence his followers, who seem to take his words at face value.
Currently there is no content on the new site, which was only registered on August 5, 2014; it was registered via Domains By Proxy, LLC, and the registrant's name is private. The site is being parked on GoDaddy, and presumably because of the word "horny" in the domain, the adbots assume that it is destined to be a porn site.
Beyond the fact that the emails about this new site seem to have been targeted at Bernie and at someone that Coldwell thought and may still think is I ("Tina S"), there are several solid reasons to believe Coldwell is behind this, despite his web person's suggestions to the contrary in a private conversation we had last week. She seemed to be trying to be genuinely helpful but my very strong sense is that Coldwell is not above lying to her or keeping things from her, even though he claims to be her friend.
In any case I am watching the new site and have reported it for potential abuse. If whoever created and is promoting this site actually intended for it to aid Coldwell in any way, the effort is already dead in the water. And until and unless I have credible proof to the contrary I will simply believe that this is one more stupid (and painfully immature) misfire from little Lenny Coldwell, or someone close to him.
So... stupid, yes. But is he dangerous?
Coldwell has demonstrated repeatedly that he is a ridiculous little man, but some have suggested he is also dangerous. Whether he is or not is a matter for debate. I think that he personally is a coward, but he has also demonstrated a desire to incite others to violence on his behalf, and I have certainly taken that into consideration. Some of the threatening things his fans said about me in response to Coldwell's false accusations that I poisoned his dog gave me pause for thought.
Prior to that, I had heard from sources once close to Lenny that he has been known to make disturbing threats about hiring a "hit man" to take care of anyone who betrayed certain confidences. On another occasion he reportedly asked a former employee if that employee knew any hit men, and that employee said Coldwell seemed to be perfectly serious. Whether this was all bluff and bluster or not, I couldn't tell you, but the people from whom I got this information seemed to take it seriously enough. Salty Droid apparently asked Coldwell directly about the hit man allegations (and numerous other allegations as well), but never received a response.
I wonder if he'll try to deduct such a purchase as a business expense on his income tax... oh, wait, he probably doesn't mess with income tax, as he is always preaching that Americans are under no obligation to do so and that the IRS has no jurisdiction. Anyway, in the context in which he presented this post, Coldwell seemed to be targeting cops, whom he has railed against many times on Facebook. But in light of previous threats he has made against his critics and anyone who crosses him, it's reasonable to assume that somewhere in his tiny reptile brain (no offense to reptiles), he was also thinking of his critics, and at the very least attempting once again to intimidate them. In any case the post didn't stay up long; a few hours later it was gone, and in its place a more innocuous one with the link to the same "Call the Cops" vid. Bernie at GINtruth wrote about the whole thing here. His graphic of Lenny and his "vision board" is hilarious.
Apart from an apparently volatile temper and disturbing reports about his personal behavior, some people simply think that Coldwell and his alt-health colleagues are dangerous and should be stopped because they may keep people from seeking conventional treatment for cancer and other devastating diseases. However, as may be apparent from my explanation in Part 4 about my "middle of the road" views on these issues, I do not agree with this stance.
Beyond anecdotal evidence, I think it is very difficult if not impossible to truly quantify, on any reasonably large scale, any damage done when people opt for natural "cures" in lieu of conventional medicine. It seems to me that there are simply too many variables; every case and every person is different. Some people die of their cancer even when they choose conventional cancer treatments, and no doubt some live when choosing "alternative" or no treatments. I imagine that the reverse is also true; some die when they eschew or delay conventional treatment in favor of alternatives.
Accordingly, I do not advocate the banning or criminalization of all "natural cures" advice, no matter how wacky that advice may seem, nor do I advocate banning the "natural" methods themselves. To me such bans would constitute an untenable restriction on people's freedom to make up their own minds about their personal health. Of course, this does not mean I endorse Coldwell or other quack-titioners; again, see Part 4, under "The lure of the black-or-white."
Does Coldwell really matter?
Part of the argument about whether Coldwell is dangerous or destructive rests on the question of whether or not he really matters in the grand scheme of things. After all, it could be argued that his most deranged rants over the past couple of years have been on Facebook, to a relatively small audience. If he doesn't have a very broad reach, how dangerous can he really be?
And notwithstanding Coldwell's own tales about daily death threats and running from guns and car bombs, you can get an idea of his insignificance in the grandscape by considering the fact that so far, the skeptical organizations/publications (like Skeptical Inquirer) and the respected science-based medicine bloggers (like Orac, aka Dr. David Gorski, at "Respectful Insolence") have not bothered to write about him. But they have tackled other quacks -- particularly, in the instance of Orac, cancer quacks. (There is a discussion about Coldwell on "Respectful Insolence," but a reader started it on one of Orac's posts about other cancer quacks. (The Coldwell part begins here.))
Update October 2014: Orac finally did dedicate a post to Coldwell.
And yet... although not the world-renowned, superheroic self-help and alt-health guru he claims to be, Coldwell does have a considerably broader reach than Facebook. He's on just about every conspiracy-nut, fear-mongering radio show on the Internet, though apparently the big guy, Alex Jones of InfoWars, has refused to have him as a guest. However, his being butt-hurt over being rejected by Alex didn't seem to have discouraged him from promoting Alex's wacko conspiracy theories about the recent -- and long overdue -- indictment of Texas' doltish governor, Rick Perry on two felony charges. I have a feeling nothing will come of the indictment, given the fact that Republican politicians (particularly in Texas) seem to find a way to squirm out of trouble, but the news was welcome to many anyway, though obviously not to Lenny and his little conspiracy nut-buds. This is from August 16:
(For those of you who need a bit of digression or want some background info on Rick Perry's past atrocities, this October 2011 Rolling Stone article is a great place to begin. And if you want to get caught up on exactly what the Perry indictments are about, this rather optimistic (for those who dislike Perry) piece from HuffPost should prove helpful.)
Hosts and workshop leaders who present themselves as resources for "alternative" health information seem particularly susceptible to Coldwell's dubious charms, a case in point being these two UK ladies, who recently played host to nearly an hour of Coldwell blathering that tumors are good and that mainstream cancer docs just cut people open in order to give them more cancer and make as much money as possible from them before killing them. And then there's "Dr. Livet" in Trinidad, a former computer programmer whose real name is Uchenna Hackett, who recently (April 2014) had a health-misinfo expo that featured Lenny as a keynoter.And of course he is polluting YouTube as well, boasting about his videos with their cumulative millions of views.
So Facebook is only a small part of Coldwell's outreach efforts. With or without the aid and support of Alex Jones, Coldwell seems to be doing a pretty effective job of playing to crowds who are all too willing to believe in every kind of conspiracy, including and especially the organized conspiracy against natural-cure advocates. The desperate, the bored, and the easily fooled eagerly embrace Coldwell's narratives that Big Pharma and the cancer industry have conspired to destroy his reputation and even kill him. And although some of his crazier fans might be dangerous, I would like to think that most are probably harmless. "Psychopaths are for the most part lazy," another blogger told me on the phone not long ago. And this person should know, having dealt with numerous psycho threats over years of blogging.
That said, I believe Coldwell still has the potential to do harm in several ways, by spreading misinformation or deliberate lies, as well as by abusing his position of "authority," such as it is, e.g., taking advantage in various ways of vulnerable people.
Moreover, because he has failed so often in his attempts to silence his critics, he also seems to be growing increasingly desperate and arguably more dangerous in that area. On a larger scale, the attempts by alt-health gurus and other hucksters to use the legal system to silence critics is potentially a matter of concern and could have a chilling effect on the freedom of expression that many of these gurus claim to cherish. Just a few examples: Scientology... Landmark Forum... Tony Robbins... Bill Harris of Holosync infamy... and -- bringing it back to Lenny's field, sort of -- Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski (in Part 4 I wrote in more detail about Dr. B's threats to his critics). It's not a sign of a persecution complex (another matter discussed in the previous installment) to acknowledge that in many cases the critics are under a more serious threat than those they criticize. (For those who are interested, here's a resource about SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) issues.)
Whether Coldwell himself is dangerous or not, though, he is indisputably silly, and lately seems to have ramped up the silliness with a vision of starting his own "sovereign nation." This could either remain silly or become dangerous, depending upon how many people Coldwell can ultimately persuade to follow him on his fool's errand. I give you...
Lennyland: Big dreams of Wootopia
|Thanks to my delightful and talented pal|
Jonathan Woodliff for this pic.
"When you build upon a scam/With a not-doc who's a sham..."
I will leave it to you to fill in the rest of the lyrics, to the tune of "When You Wish Upon A Star." On a Facebook thread initiated on or about August 9, 2014, Leonard Coldwell announced his vision for a new sovereign nation -- presumably somewhere in North Carolina if he can procure the land, with possible plans to move it overseas at some point. As usual, his garbled writing fails to make it clear.
Does anyone know what happened to the 130-plus acres that Coldwell claimed to have purchased in South Carolina last year? He made such a big fuss about it in April 2013, even stating that it would be its own town.
We are working on Town-rights and will have our own elected Sheriff etc. The first step towards liberty and freedom. And NO restrictions on what kind of treatment we apply here!On a later comment on the same thread Coldwell wrote, "All my friends in the Health world will give seminars and possibly treatments there." (Eeeewww.)
But then after that... nothing. I followed up a few months later on one of Abe Husein's Facebook pages where Abe had shared the news of the "purchase." I asked whatever happened to the 130-acre "health resort," but my question was ignored and soon deleted.
And now we have Lenny's newest and arguably larger vision -- an entire sovereign nation, y'all! -- with a whole new, though no doubt considerably smaller, gang of idiots to support it. Lenny used to blather on about Kevin Trudeau being a cult leader and GIN a cult in the making, and Trudeau having visions of Jonestown. Look who's talking.
It's amusing that Coldwell gripes about America being Orwellian, when he talks about his own vision of a "new Nation built on love and honor..." In that context I think of Coldwell's homophobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic vitriol, not to mention his history of pathological lying, and his fierce attempts to disguise his past and many of his present activities; if those are examples of "love and honor," then all I can say is: Newspeak, anyone?
Apparently in support of his new-old vision, Coldwell has returned to one of his favorite themes: the powerlessness of the Federal government and the sovereignty of any nutjob who declares himself or herself to be a sovereign citizen. The screen shot below is from August 17, 2014. Note how one of Coldwell's fans, Gloria, apparently suffering from a bad case of Jeezus fever, advises that everybody needs to rebuke Stan. Who is Stan, and what did he do that deserves rebuking? Gloria, by the way, is one who was very supportive of the idea of my being hunted down and poisoned in punishment for allegedly poisoning Coldwell's dog. Duly noted and recorded.
For a more detailed review of Lenny's sovereignty obsession, see this March 2013 Whirled post, as well as this one from February of the same year (under "And let's not even get into the fear-mongering, gun-nuttery, and krazy conspiracy theories...").
Coldwell is not the first person in history to have grand visions of an ideal community. At best, his vision will fail to get off the ground and he'll just go on to his next daft idea. It may not even get so far as an actual land purchase -- unlike the potentially disturbing camp/resort/change-the-world thingy that the leaders of the cultish sex-and-money org Access Consciousness seem to be creating in Costa Rica (see "Update 21 August" towards the end of this 2013 post). If it gets off the ground at all, Lennyland will probably end up in the scrap heap of failed utopias. Let's just hope there are no mass suicides or murders.
Why I have spent so much time writing about Leonard Coldwell (in case you're still wondering)
Though Coldwell has at various times lied that I am a disease-ridden ex-hooker being paid by Big Pharma to discredit him, and (more recently) that I am sexually obsessed with him and write about him only because I am angry that he "rejected" me, the real story is not nearly as satisfyingly lurid as his versions. Many of you know this part already, so feel free to skip it. But as is the case with all of my purely intentional redundancies of late, this is mainly for those who are new, or just want to review.
As I've noted many times before, Coldwell only came on my radar in the first place because he was associated with one of my frequent blog subjects, Kevin Trudeau. I was writing about what a scammer Trudeau is and what a scam GIN was years ago, back when Coldwell (who later claimed to have been harboring the knowledge of Trudeau's scamminess for at least a year before he was kicked out of GIN) was still happily chewing on the GIN teat and trying to lure thousands of others into his GIN downline. Coldwell caught my eye not only because of his association with Trudeau but also because of the wild claims on his web sites and videos. He would have remained nothing more to me than a clownish sideshow to Trudeau's big circus, and more than likely I would have stopped at my initial (May 2012) post about him, but for the fact that additional information continued to surface about him. I didn't go looking for the information; it came looking for me.
When Coldwell subsequently went on his manic lying rampages about me (and about other critical bloggers) he secured a more permanent spot in the critical blogosphere. That was his doing -- not mine. Not Salty's. Not Bernie's. Not Omri's. Not Big Pharma's or the medical establishment's.
Coldwell brought it on himself.
I had actually laid off writing about him for a while, having grown bored with recording his predictable, almost formulaic, lunacies. Then in June of this year he put up that awful Bio web site with its atrocious "Defamation" page (which, as mentioned, has since been taken down). So I wrote about that. Shortly afterward, perhaps in retaliation or perhaps it was just random lunacy, Coldwell initiated the appalling dog-poisoning lie about me, and anybody who expected me to remain silent in the face of that atrocity clearly does not know me. Early on in the dog-poisoning saga, when I was making haphazard attempts to defend myself against Coldwell's accusations, one of Coldwell's fans told me I needed to get over myself. "I don't give a sh-t about you, I just care about the dog," he wrote to me. Others had similar responses: "This isn't about you, it's about the dog."
Well, no. It could have been just about the dog, but Coldwell, displaying a characteristic combination of derangement and possibly drunkenness, invited me to the party. After a little over a week of histrionics he appeared to be acting as if the party was over and the lights were out, the implication being that I should just go home and shut up.
But I will not shut up -- and I am not going anywhere. I am home -- perfectly at home -- on this Whirled.
I will keep on writing, and you can be assured that I will keep striking back with words when I am hit -- even if it makes me appear obsessive. I will carefully and patiently record the lunacies and will report them to the appropriate parties as necessary.
Though I have gone on so much about myself for the past few weeks -- even more than usual, if that's possible -- I know that this is and always has been about more than one frequently self-centered (I admit it) hobby blogger. The lies Coldwell has told about me are but a small part of a larger and much uglier picture. So I will continue to ask questions about him and, for that matter, about any other Scamworld guru who strikes me as silly, stupid, crazy, dangerous, or all of the above. I will continue to share information and opinions as appropriate. I will continue to be part of the conversation.
My stories may never be as good or as entertaining as Coldwell's. But all things considered, they always have been and always will be far more truthful than his. And for the most part, that's good enough for me.
The rest of the story...
- Part 1 -- Coldwell rolls out hilarious new bio site, tightens rope around his own neck (published 30 June 2014)
- Part 2 -- Leonard Coldwell's medical lackground and other hilarities from his new Bio website (published 4 August 2014)
- Part 3 -- Sound and fury, Sturm und Drang: Leonard Coldwell's meaningless bluster (published 7 August 2014)
- Part 4 -- Leonard Coldwell: The facts don't matter if the story is good (published 16 August 2014)
- Not part of the series but pertinent -- Leonard Coldwell goes too far: lies about me poisoning his dog (originally published 16 July, 2014, with several updates)
- Update post: Dog dies, Coldwell resumes attacks on me (published 5 September 2014)