Friday, October 18, 2019

Don't Mentz words: Magus Incognito brings Illuminutty angle to politix/Scamworld merger

There's a devil lurking at the crossroads of politix and Scamworld, a phenomenon that I first made note of back in early 2016 in a post about #NotMyPresident Donald John Trump and imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie). Since Trump took office, the politix/Scamworld connection has only intensified, the latest case in point being Trump's nomination of one George Mentz, JD, MBA, BSA*, a lawyer/"educator"/selfish-help author, to the Commission on Presidential Scholars. It's one of those nominations for which Senate confirmation is not required.

And this, as you might have guessed, is Whirled-class blog fodder because Mentz happens to have penned a number of selfish-help and financial books using "the Illuminati" and other popular McSpirituality/esoterica concepts as a hook, e.g., The Illuminati Secret Laws of Money -- The Wealth Mindset Manifesto: The Life Changing Magic and Habits of Spiritual Mastery. Then there are these gems. Why, there's even a book about "Quantum Bliss!" As you may recall, "quantum" this and "quantum" that were all the rage back in the heyday of the Universe's most successful New-Wage moviemercial, The Secret. Mentz's book was about eight or nine years behind the trend, but one should never leave a good exploitation stone unturned.

Mentz's Illuminati shtick kind of reminds me of the ways
Kevin Trudeau used his own Illuminati-like "Brotherhood" as a hook for his massive GIN scam. In a recent interview with The Denver Post, however, Mentz laughed away the Illuminati angle, saying that it's just a marketing thing -- but seeing as how he has also penned several McSpirituality works under the pen name Magus Incognito, I'm thinking that he's just a big ol' liar.

According to their web site description, the
Commission on Presidential Scholars is "a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars." The Scholars, of whom 161 are chosen each year from a pool of high school seniors across the US, "demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service." Sounds pretty impressive.

Given all of the above, you may be asking, "What actually qualifies someone like George Mentz to be appointed to such a prestigious education board?" Well, first of all -- and I don't mean to be overly critical if you're asking an honest question, but... since when did genuine qualifications and credentials have anything to do with a Trump appointment or nomination for any position, particularly where important areas like education are concerned? I mean, come on...
Betsy DeVos, anyone?

But since you may have asked, I'll answer. George Mentz's main qualification, besides his apparent ability to fudge the facts about his own nuttiness (and/or cynical New-Wage crapitalism), is almost certainly his utter loyalty to Herr Twitler. From
The Denver Post, which first reported the nomination on October 16:
In 2015, Mentz wrote a blog post predicting Trump would win the 2016 election. The next year, he became a member of the Trump campaign’s economic coalition. On his website, Mentz says an unnamed publisher has bought the rights to a “blockbuster book” about Trump’s “success principles.” In an interview, Mentz said he did the research and expects the book will be written by someone else next year.

Mentz said his support of Trump dates back three decades, to when he met Trump at the Superdome in New Orleans, where Mentz is from. Trump was kind and gracious with his time, Mentz said, and he has been a fan ever since. He has
donated thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign and political action committee.
Mentz has also donated substantial sums to other Republican candidates and causes (see link in the second paragraph of the above excerpt). And he writes finance columns for the conservative website Newsmax.

In all fairness, however, Mentz does have an "education" hook as well. In the real(ish) world, he is, as I mentioned, a lawyer, and he's also a professor of a couple of online courses on wealth management at the Texas A&M University School of Law (see page 8 of
this document).

But wait, there's more! Much like
Scammer in Chief Trump with his defunct Trump University scam, Mentz has a bit of an edumucation scheme of his own. He currently owns something called the Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM), which is registered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And he was previously CEO of a similar Colorado Springs company called the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM). From the Denver Post article cited above:
Both companies award certifications, allowing applicants to add an alphabet soup of titles after their names. For a fee, you can become an accredited life coach, a certified political scientist, a master Islamic financial specialist or more than a hundred other titles. Having such a certification “makes you one of the next generation of global leaders,” according to a message from Mentz on the GAFM website.
The Huffington Post piece I linked to in the first paragraph of this post (here's that link again) elaborates:
For $378, the company awards certifications to individuals who can then list official-sounding titles and acronyms after their names. (The certifications are “valid” for two years and then “members” must renew them annually.) At least 118 such titles are listed on the GAFM website, including “Certified Chartered FinTech Professional (ChFP),” “Master Business Analyst (MBA)” and “Registered Islamic Financial Specialist (RIFS).”
The Denver Post piece continues:
A Wall Street Journal article in 2004 found AAFM awarded certifications to applicants who had never taken a course and, in some cases, had not taken a test to prove they knew the topic at hand. In 2010, another Wall Street Journal article found several people listed on AAFM’s board of advisers had never advised the company and were unaware the company was claiming them as an adviser.

Mentz defended his certification processes in the interview Friday. He says his companies have rightly used college degrees as a “pathway” to certifications.

“Our standards are pretty basic,” Mentz said, using a journalist as an example. “If you took 135 hours of college education to get your degree from a particular university and satisfied a major in journalism, then you’re qualified for certification in that area if you had a GPA or 3.0 or higher. So, instead of having someone go to Sylvan Learning and take a quiz to be certified, we would allow somebody like you to apply directly for a certification.”
So... maybe not exactly like the faux-degree industry I used to snark so much about back in the day, but definitely not exactly unlike it, either.

"Oh, Cosmic Connie, you're just jealous of accomplished individuals," you might be saying, as so many others have over the years, in response to something they read here. To validate your point you might direct me to
Mentz's page on the site of the American Academy of Financial Management -- the company of which he was formerly CEO -- which expounds on his impressive credentials. (Try to ignore the typos and other glitches, such as the fact that in the third-person blurb that was fake-written by someone else but clearly written by Mentz himself, he forgot to use the third person consistently throughout.)
Counselor Mentz  ( 乔治·孟子 ) and his companies have contributed assistance and services to thousands of professionals around the world, to Fortune 1000 companies, and privately held corporations an individuals  in over 155  nations.  Over 10,000 people have been trained with “professional development programs” and certified under the unsurpassed standards of his pioneering  global educational programs along with hundreds of others receiving benefits of the Mentz Scholarship Program.  Having personally taught over 250 law, MBA and college courses to thousands of students worldwide, my insights and experience with global education and e-learning are cutting edge in the world of education and consulting.  Mentz has consulted with the US government, UN Education Officials, US Dept of Labor, Top Universities, and some of the biggest companies in the world. Presently, the Mentz companies are delivering executive education to professionals in Africa, Arabia, the US, India, China, Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.

George S. Mentz is the first person in the United States to be multi credentialed as a Lawyer, MBA, Qualified Financial Planner, Certified Financial Consultant, Chartered Management Consultant, and Registered/Licensed Financial Planner. Mentz is the first author in the USA to have bestselling books and publications  in the following categories in 2013-19: Money and Monetary Policy, Management Science, Organizational Behavior, Wealth Management, Mysticism, Religion, Spirituality, Psychology,  History, Theosophy, Greek & Roman Philosophy, Personal Growth Men & Women,  Politics & Social Sciences -Consciousness & Thought, and even in Celtic Studies.  Prof. Mentz has held faculty and professional positions with major business schools, top law schools,  and top Wall Street Firms.
Oh, goodness, a true Renaissance Man. I stand humbled.

Anyway, I've been thinking that in light of Mentz's Illuminutty leanings, there really is a place for poor caged Katie -- that would be Kevin Trudeau, of course -- somewhere in or around the Trump administration. Granted, Katie hasn't been able to actually give Trump money, at least that I know of, but
he has been relentlessly rooting around in Trump's aperture for several years -- and the two have so much in common! -- so surely that should count for something. Now if only he and his persistent minions could persuade Trump to commute Katie's sentence and pardon him, a goal they've been pursuing for years... Unfortunately, Drumpf seems to have other things to occupy his mind besides uncaging Katie, such as avoiding the cage himself.

But as long as the devil is still sitting there grinning at that crossroads, anything could happen. 

* Bull Sh-t Artist, of course

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

James Arthur Ray Death Lodge 10th Anniversary: Never Forget

It has been ten long years since James Arthur Ray, selfish-help/McSpirituality guru and egomaniacal star of the New-Wage moviemercial The Secret, held his infamous phony sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona, resulting in the deaths of three people: James Shore, Kirby Brown, and Liz Neuman. And as I have mentioned on this blog numerous times, one of the most recent occasions being in April of this year, Death Ray is still trying to make his comeback in the industry after having served less than two years in an Arizona state prison, on charges of negligent homicide, for the deaths of these people.

As I've also mentioned several times, Ray never served any prison time at all for another death for which he was responsible, that of
Colleen Conaway in San Diego in July 2009.

Ignoring all the considerable flak he has gotten from many directions since he's been out of the clink, Ray continues to play on his "redemption" shtick, and
is still promoting his utter failure of a book about same on his web site. (What appears to be an earlier version of the book is listed as being out of print, and Google Books couldn't even be bothered to get an accurate description of the book's contents.)

In late October of last year, San Diego's ABC affiliate, KGTV, ran
a story about Ray's comeback efforts and his attempts to frame his offerings in that redemption theme. It's worth a watch.

In case you haven't been following this story over the years, and would like some insights into the sociopathic behavior of James Ray and how that behavior led up to Death Lodge,
see this post, which I wrote on the first anniversary of Sedona. Also read Connie Joy's book, Tragedy in Sedona. There's also a public Facebook group, James Arthur Ray is a Felon.

One final word, and it's the same message I've conveyed repeatedly on post after post after post about Ray over the years. In fact, if you don't mind me quoting myself verbatim from
that post I wrote in April of this year...
...if you're at all tempted to give money to James Arthur Ray for any reason: Give it instead to a worthwhile organization, such as, say... Seek Safely, which was founded by Kirby Brown's family to guide consumers and make self-help practitioners more accountable for their actions through legislation. (Here is the link to donation info.) So far, more than 160 leading lights in the industry have been invited to sign the "Seek Safely" promise... and not one of them has yet done so. In all fairness, some of them are now dead, such as Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer. But as for the rest... well, the invitation has been open for years, but nobody who's anybody in the industry seems very interested. That should tell you something.
When Googling around just a while ago, I found this on-point opinion piece from the Deadspin site, published in February 2019. The headline says it all:

Felonious Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray Wants You To Remember Oprah Loves Him And Forget He's Killed People

Too bad, James: there are tons of folks -- and I'm one of them -- who will never forget.

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Trump, Big Pharma, and a Whirled sense of deja-cuckoo

#NotMyPresident Donald John Trump continues to unravel in the face of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, spewing and sputtering and tweeting statements that are either silly, stupid, alarming, self-incriminating, or some combination of the above. As Bess Levin, writing for Vanity Fair on October 3, noted:
We regret to report that the president of the United States is becoming increasingly unglued, which is a troublesome development when the only glue holding him together in the first place was right wing memes, fake Time magazine covers, and a barely comprehensible text chain with Rudy Giuliani. Never the picture of mental stability, this new Donald Trump has responded to allegations that he withheld aid from Ukraine unless the country investigated his political rival—which he literally did!—with a series of statements, tweets, and conspiracy theories that would concern even Batshit Trump 1.0. Those include but are not limited to: calling for the whistle-blower’s sources to be executed, ranting that Rep. Adam Schiff should be arrested and charged with treason, threatening a Civil War, and something about jockstraps. Which brings us to today, when the president floated the theory that Big Pharma is behind the push to impeach him. Yes.
It is the Pharma/impeachment theory -- which Trump introduced in Florida during a shameless attempt to pander to a group of cheering, supportive senior citizens after signing an October 3 executive order to "improve" Medicare -- that has rendered him prime Whirled fodder (yet again).

I had a couple of thoughts when I read about Trump's Big-Pharma conspiranoia -- I mean, apart from the obvious thought that any older American who isn't a member of the fabled one percent, but who still thinks that Trump has her or his best interests at heart, is misinformed, willfully ignorant, or deluded. Take that executive order (please).
As Charles Pierce wrote in Esquire, the document contains "a poison pill the size of a horse's head" in Section 3. Pierce explains that the provisions in this section are...
...pretty much the same plan that Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, spent years trying to slime into law. It is the first big step toward Ryan's lifetime goal of privatizing the Medicare system, which, as someone who has enjoyed its benefits for almost a year, I can tell you is a terrible idea. Look at all the little buzzing land mines in there. "Competition." "Market pricing." This thing even expands Medical Savings Accounts, a terrible idea that emerged in the 1990s and that Bill Frist was going to ride into the White House in 2000.

The president is a blight and impeachment is the only cure, but the conservative project rolls merrily on. I'm not entirely sure he knew what he was signing, because he doesn't know anything about anything, but the people who find him useful do, which is why he'll be around for a while longer.
Beyond that, my first thought was that Trump's rationale for the Big Pharma/impeachment connection is beyond silly, based as it is on his insinuation that the big drug companies resent and fear him because he has done so much to try to rein them in and get them to lower prescription drug prices, as he'd promised during his campaign. Not only has he fallen far short on that promise, as outlined by The Atlantic in May and NPR in July, but he has in some cases actually acted as an ally of Big Pharma, such as this Pharma-friendly trade agreement with India.

Back in July 2017 on this Whirled, I
speculated about Trump's likely policies regarding the big drug companies (see under "Little Hitler strikes again"). My premise then was that contrary to insinuations by alt-health crapitalist and devoted Trumpster Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, Trump was not going to turn out to be the big hero fighting against Big Pharma that Mikey and others had predicted he'd be; to the contrary, his chronic and incurable allegiance to big business would render him more likely to be a friend to the big drug companies. And so far, for all practical purposes, that's pretty much been the case. In other words, Trump has been about as tough on Big Pharma as he personally has been on Russia.

But the other immediate thought I had after hearing about the alleged Pharma plot -- and this is where that sense of deja-cuckoo comes in -- was that Trump's evocation of the pharmaceutical industry's big money and enormous power reminded me of the whiny claims of various alt-health quacks, scammers, and predators whose marketing efforts are often framed in their
yuuuge hero/martyr complex, which focuses on the big drug companies and the medical establishment as the enemy. I've blogged about a few of these hucksters, most notably fake doctor/cancer quack/neo-Nazi/devoted Trumpster/conspiracy fan Leonard Coldwell, aka LoonyC, who has been whining for years and years about how Big Pharma is after him, and has repeatedly claimed that "they" have even tried on several occasions to kill him.

Not long after I wrote my first blog post about LoonyC back in May 2012, he decided I was a Big Pharma shill,
publicly and falsely accusing me time after time of being paid big bucks by the drug companies to ruin his reputation. A few years ago he even (falsely and crazily) claimed that Big Pharma had paid me to kill his dog. His followers believed every word he wrote and never even questioned it, as do the followers of most alt-health quacks. The facts don't matter if the story is good.

But Coldwell is just one fourth-tier Scamworld lunatic. No doubt, being
the fervent Trumpanzee that he is, he feels proud to be in the same imaginary boat of Big-Pharma victimhood that his orange idol is, and I won't be surprised to see some garbled writings from him on social media about this very topic. (I'll be sure to share if I do.) My point, however, is that Coldwell's sphere of influence is very limited, while Trump is still in a position to do a lot of damage, some of which may be irreversible, on his way down. His claims about Big Pharma being behind impeachment efforts may be hilarious, but the multiple reasons that impeachment is being pursued are anything but funny.

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