Friday, March 20, 2020

The Lie-land of Dr. Trudeau: Kevin Trudeau joins the ranks of the corona-crapitalists


In my previous post I took a look at some of the kooky conspiranoid narratives surrounding the current world health crisis, COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus. I also took some potshots at fraudsters who were (and in some cases still are) peddling remedies for the contagion. Crazy stories and frauducts continue to pop up everywhere, and I'm not sure I'll have the time or energy to keep up with all of them. But after I discovered that one of this blog's pet subjects, imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie on this Whirled) had joined the corona chorus, I knew that this discovery deserved a post of its own.

You're most likely aware that for decades, Trudeau has traded in his proprietary cache of information that "They" don't want you to know. Over the years he has earned quite a loyal following of folks who look to him for this "forbidden" information. Apparently many still do even though he is currently confined in a federal prison camp, FPC Montgomery, Alabama, which he has fondly referred to as "Camp Cupcake," presumably because the livin' is so easy there. So it was all but inevitable that at some point he would glom on to the coronacrisis.
 
And indeed he has. Since March 15, 2020 it's pretty much all he's been writing about, through a proxy, on The Official Kevin Trudeau Fan Club page on Facebook.
Today he really hyped his output.
I have released 3 extremely urgent and important "Covid-19 Updates" over the last few days. If you have not read them CLICK HERE.
https://kevintrudeau.com/covid-19-updates/

They are available on this message board/blog and also on:

KevinTrudeau.com
GuruKev.com
NuggetsofGold.com

I will be releasing more updates every few days.

I have access to information directly from high-level sources that is not being revealed in the main-stream media. This is extremely urgent information that "they don't want you to know about”.

The internet is now censoring information about the virus. The "truth" and "real facts" are now being blocked. I highly encourage you to go to the websites listed above and get on our email list so that you will be able to get vital updates on the virus and the economic situation going on around the world.

I have sources in the United Nations; The World Health Organization; America's National Institutes of Health; The USA's Food and Drug Administration (FDA); The USA's Centers for Disease Control; other health organizations from several other countries; several current and past Prime Ministers of various countries; members of several Royal Families, including a King and a Crown Prince; members of The Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, Council on Foreign Relations, and Skull and Bones; and many other high-level sources in the European Union and the global banking industry, including the US Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank.

I also am in direct contact with several "Gurus" who can "tap into the ether/universal field" and access and download "information".

There are also other sources I am in direct contact with that I cannot mention here.

Check here often as there are several extremely important updates that I will be revealing.

Members of the private club, “The Global Information Network”, have access to this information, and most importantly, are part of a worldwide global support group that is vital in situations like this. If you are not a member, consider joining, as membership can be a critical part of prospering in times of crisis like this. Having access to 'insider info" before others can give you a major advantage in life. Having a support network of people helping people around the world who are upbeat, positive and have been trained to use the "Law of Attraction", can mean the difference between success and failure. Go to
GlobalinformationNetwork.com for details.

If you would like to speak to Tonya or Rahelios personally about The Global Information Network, you can contact them at:
https://gurukev.com/contact-us/

Look for updates coming very soon with major news. Remember, this too shall pass and all IS well.

Kevin Trudeau
There he goes again with those "secret" sources, some of which are so top-secret that he "cannot mention" them. This is the same steaming load of thrice-crapped crap that suckered who knows how many gullibles into GIN more than 10 years ago. (When will people ever learn?)

And the urgent call to "get on our email list so that you will be able to get vital updates on the virus and the economic situation going on around the world" is just another transparent attempt to cast an even wider net, for as all good scammers know, there are plenty of suckers in the sea. I know I've quoted
this 2014 Salty Droid post several times on this blog, but it needs quoting again because this is Kevin Trudeau (and his cronies in the GIN leadership) that we're talking about.
After a lifetime of epic grift :: serial huckster Kevin Trudeau is finally in jail … rotting like he always was. KT got ten years for failing to comply with some government paperworks he signed ten years ago as a punishment for the bullshit he’d been pulling the ten years previous to that. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been brutally sucked from the sad in the meantime :: and basically … nobody gives a fuck.

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the total revenues from Trudeau’s life of scamjobery had topped a billion dollars. This book :: that book … whatever … the books don’t matter. It’s about cartels of badguys buying {preselected for sadness} people in bulk from media/info companies :: and then trading those people around until they become empty vessels … robbed of their money … and often of their sense of self.
But maybe you're not a sucker, but you just want to see Katie's updates because you are desperate for some entertainment, and perusing them will give you something to occupy your time besides hunkering down in a closet hiding from your cranky kids who have been furloughed from school, or standing in a three-mile-long line in front of Costco in a desperate effort to score some toilet paper. And maybe you don't want to get on any scamlist in order to get that entertainment. Well, that's why I'm here. Here we go:

Update # 1 was published on March 15, 2020.

Katie begins by saying he has been "flooded" with mail asking about the COVID-19 pandemic. So of course he has to accommodate the information-hungry masses. He starts by listing COVID-19 mortality numbers and comparing them to the flu, and then goes on to mention heart disease, cancer, accidents, wars, and so forth. He reassures us that unlike COVID-19, World War II was a REAL problem, and "the world made it through that war and recovered." Then he goes into his globalist-agenda spiel, all of which leads into the Big Sell.
Could this hysteria cause a global economic collapse, millions of bankruptcies and governments defaulting on debt, creating that the “only solution” is a new, one-world currency and global government so that “this never happens again”?

Could this create the “need” for “marshal
[sic] law” to “protect” citizens, thus giving the government TOTAL power and control?

Maybe. Or maybe this is just a trial run for the future.

These things will eventually happen. Maybe in our lifetime, maybe the next generation.

This is just one reason why being a member of the Global Information Network (Globalinformationnetwork.com) is so important.

When these things happen, members will get the real insight from the “insiders”, not the propaganda machine called the “news”. 
To tell the truth, I worry about martial (not "marshal") law in the US, simply because of #NotMyPresident Donald John Trump's authoritarian impulses; his recent rebranding of himself as a "wartime president" in the wake of the coronacrisis should be enough to make anyone nervous. (If the Department of Justice's reported request for infinite detention powers to fight the coronavirus doesn't give you the creeps, you're part of the problem.) Trump is arguably a "wartime president," but as this incisive article in the April 2020 Atlantic explains, he is engaged in a war on American institutions. But I digress.
 
A little later on in Update # 1, Trudeau writes:

The good news is this. Look at all the people, including “famous” people that have tested positive for the virus. They all say the same thing: “I felt a little sick, like a cold, for a few days, but now I am fine”; or “I felt like I had a mild flu, but that only lasted less than a week, and now I feel fine.”

The majority of people (98%) will only show mild cold-like or flu-like symptoms and probably not even realize they have the virus.

This too shall pass.

Consider building up your immune system and keeping it strong. Take 5,000 IU of vitamin D3, 3 times a day, and 1 gram of vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 3 times a day.

I am not a doctor, but medical and health experts around the world make these very good suggestions.

There are many more “anti-viral” things you can take such as allicin (from garlic), hydrogen peroxide (35% food grade, but it MUST be diluted in water. Get instructions and be careful with this), red marine algae, propolis, honey, and many other things that you can find online easily. 
I think he forgot to mention colloidal silver.

Update # 2 was published on March 16. And, indeed, it was ripe with number two. The over-arching message seems to be that COVID-19 is NOT a deadly virus, that the world has been through much worse, and even those worse things were NBD in the end, so COVID-19 is really NBD.

I couldn't restrain myself from joining the conversation on this one, particularly when I saw this bit:
Q.) How come the media has stopped mentioning the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in China and South Korea?

A.) Because the facts don’t fit the story they want to tell. In both countries, the number of new cases are GOING DOWN. And the number of deaths are going down. This is VERY good news, but NOT being reported. 
On the Facebook page, I responded:
I find it incredible that people are still turning to this con artist as some sort of fount of wisdom, particularly regarding medical or health advice. I won't address all of the inanities in this "update" because that would make my post far too long, but let me address one.

Actually, the media HAVE been reporting the dramatic decline in deaths in China. They've presented it as hopeful news, but with the cautionary note that the story isn't over and there could very well be new waves of outbreaks. And there have been numerous reports about the contrasts between the way South Korea handled the virus (responsibly, from the beginning, because the MERS outbreak a few years previously had prepared them); and the way the US handled it (irresponsibly at first, because our "leader" -- whom Kevin and his fans have spent so much time sucking up to in order to get him to spring Kevin from prison -- is a bumbling egomaniac who was trying to suppress the bad news until it no longer became possible for him to do so).

Here's ProPublica on South Korea v US.
https://www.propublica.org/article/how-south-korea-scaled-coronavirus-testing-while-the-us-fell-dangerously-behind
Update # 2 also included this question:
Q.) Kevin, are you nervous about getting the virus?

A.) No! I would love to get it to show the world the hysteria is out of control. The sky is NOT falling. Look at those famous people like the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, who tested positive, and Tom Hanks. Both reported MILD symptoms and no problems at all. In fact, they said that it was much more mild than a flu, and more like a regular cold and not even a bad cold.

Friends, consider that when HIV (AIDS) first came out, the media said that if you contracted the HIV virus, it was a “death sentence”. Well, they lied. We now know that some crazy low number of people who get HIV actually have any symptoms and die. The media predicted hundreds of millions worldwide would die of HIV. They mislead the public. What they did then, and are doing now, is irresponsible and only being done for ratings and a globalist political agenda. 
I certainly don't want Katie or anyone else to get COVID-19, but if he did get it, and if it were really bad, I wonder if he would change his tune. Even though most people who contract COVID-19 probably will not have serious symptoms, and even fewer who get it will die of the virus, many have had serious symptoms, and so far thousands have died, and contrary to Trudeau's smug reassurances to the faithful, not all of them have been old and/or had other underlying health problems. If Trudeau really believes the claim that only the old or otherwise ill are in for a tough time and are in danger of dying if they get the virus, maybe he should try to convince the family of 12-year-old Emma in Atlanta that they're just imagining their little girl is fighting for her life.
 
But let's talk about HIV/AIDS (and I can't help but notice that Kevin didn't add that he wishes he would get that, just so he could show the world it's no big thing). Actually, the media were not deliberately misleading the public about HIV. The world was truly scared at the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s, when so little was known about this terrifying and seemingly new disease that was so lethal, though it seemed to disproportionately affect certain groups (most notably gay men, at least in the West). I remember the fear very well. I still grieve for dear friends I have lost to this horror.

 
This 2010 paper on "AIDS exceptionalism," published by the Journal of the International AIDS Society, gives some historical perspective.

A more recent piece (updated November 25, 2019), published on the Very Well Health site, also offers
a realistic look at HIV/AIDS. In the early years of the epidemic the mortality rate was signficantly higher than it is today.
Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy has profoundly lowered the rate of HIV-related deaths, both in the U.S. and globally. Some of the greatest reversal have been seen in sub-Saharan Africa, the region of which accounts for 75 percent of all HIV infections...

...According to the WHO, 32 million people have died of HIV since the beginning of the epidemic out of the 74.9 million who have been infected (roughly 43 percent), Moreover, of the 37.9 million people living with HIV today, just over 770,000 died in 2018.All told, AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by more than 56 percent since the peak in 2004.
Unfortunately, infection rates continue to soar in Russia and Central Asia, due mainly to intravenous drug use. In short, and contrary to Trudeau's claim, HIV/AIDS has been and continues to be a pretty big deal. The disease may not have killed the "hundreds of millions" of people that Trudeau claims was once the projection, but it has killed many millions, and has left a brutal mark on the world.

Update # 3 was published on March 18.

Here Katie is in true "all is well" motivational mode, though he doesn't miss an opportunity to return to his favorite globalist/elite conspiracy narrative.
Consider that the worldwide panic about the coronavirus does not agree with the facts.

First, there is really not a worldwide ‘Panic” among normal people.

Only in certain countries, did the mainstream media outlets create a panic. This created panic is for OTHER reasons.

Mostly this panic is designed to create a global economic disaster that leads to:

-a resetting of all debt
-a one world currency
-a one world government of non-elected officials (like the European Union)
-a one world police force

In America, there IS panic among the majority of citizens. But even with the data I revealed at the beginning of this message, there is NO reason to panic about the virus, OR the economic “disaster”. This will all pass as other MUCH more catastrophic events have all not only passed, but created a BOOM in the world economies and an INCREASE in the standard of living and quality of life for more people all around the world. Just think about what happened AFTER WWII.

The world became a MUCH better place for a much higher percentage of people.

But people have been brainwashed and hypnotized by the misleading media. 
The missive concludes:
Check back here often. I will give my next update shortly with the REAL numbers and where you can see them online. THIS data will make you feel MUCH better. I will also talk about the economy and how this media hype will affect your financial situation. I will also share more about “who” is behind this and “why”.

Don’t worry, you are not going to lose your house and become homeless and be without food. All is well my friends.

Remember, all you have to fear, is fear itself. All is well and most importantly, this ‘event” will be a trigger for a better world for more and more people.

Much love.
Your friend,
Kevin Trudeau
All-righty, then.

I know it will probably come as a massive disappointment to those who depend upon Katie for all of the information that "They" don't want you to know about, but as of today, March 20, 2020, he and his fellow inmates at Camp Cupcake are on lockdown because of the coronavirus.
That's according to a Facebook post on the "official" Kevin Trudeau fan club page. As shared by the pseudonymous Rahelios on that page:
We have all been restricted to our rooms. So we have been "locked down" until further notice. We think it could be up to a month. This means no access to phones and VERY limited access to emails. This is just an FYI. All is very well.
Kevin
Well, gee, that's too bad.

You might be wondering how Kevin, locked in his room with no phone and almost zero access to email, is going to continue receiving all of that information from his seekrit sources: you know, those multiple health orgs from several countries; and all of those Prime Ministers and members of several Royal Families; and the Bilderbergers and Bohemian Grovers and Skull and Boners; and, yes, those "high-level sources in the European Union and the global banking industry."

It's possible he will just have to rely on the "Gurus" who know how to tap into the ether and download all of that data that "They" don't want you to know about. Since these gurus are so powerful, and since Kevin himself has such a powerful brain, a fact that we know because he has told us so many times, it's possible that he can communicate telepathically with them. (I wonder if Esther Hicks, who has made millions with her imaginary-friends collective "Abraham," is one of those gurus. For years Trudeau has been an enthusiastic endorser of the Abraham-Hicks scampire, and even now some of the Abe-Hicks info-frauducts are on Kevin's "recommended" list.)

If the ether-tapping gurus fail him, perhaps Kevin can fall back on those "other sources I am in direct contact with that I cannot mention here." They probably have all sorts of amazing ways to infiltrate the lockdown.

I know that nothing concerning Kevin Trudeau should surprise me by now, but sometimes I'm still baffled by the fact that so many people seem to be looking at him for guidance in every aspect of their lives. It's not really much of an exaggeration to say that he has assumed Messianic qualities in the eyes of at least some of his followers, and sources much closer to the situation than I am have shared that they find this fact more than a little disconcerting.

In recent months Trudeau has doubled down on his efforts to rebrand himself as a spiritual leader:
a true guru nicknamed, apparently without irony, Guru Kev -- and he has a group of enablers who are helping this along, and a willing audience to lap it all up. Like so many other phenomena I've written about on this blog over the years, I think this near-worship of a serial scammer/inveterate deceptive marketer is both scary and sad.

 
This is just a small example of the near-worshipful responses on Facebook
to Kevin Trudeau's "Coronavirus updates." These appeared on
Update # 2.
As of the last time I checked, 152 people had shared that "update."

Look, I have nothing against maintaining hope and even optimism that most of us will get through this crisis, and that some good will come out of the devastation. I also agree that panicking is not a constructive response. And it's true that we can't always rely on the media or our "leaders" to present a realistic perspective about what's going on, particularly in the midst of a crisis, when news, rumors, and speculation are coming in so fast and furious that it's difficult to keep up with all of it. It's also true that the media -- both mainstream and otherwise -- do thrive on ratings, and often this involves sensationalism. We all know the drill: "If it bleeds, it leads."

But at the risk of once again over-stating the painfully obvious, it is sheer folly to look to a known con artist for wisdom and guidance on this or any other matter, particularly since so many of Kevin Trudeau's "facts" are just plain wrong, even if they do come from "forbidden secret sources." And on a smaller scale, Trudeau's counsel to his followers to totally ignore the mainstream media and view COVID-19 as trivial is arguably just as counter-productive and even potentially dangerous as the mixed messages from Donald Trump and the misinformation from governments in other countries such as Italy.

Though you may be weary of hearing this from me, I maintain that Trudeau's chief motivation for being a source of (mis)information is and always has been not to enlighten and uplift humanity, but to line his own pockets and solidify his standing as what amounts to a cult leader, sort of a latter-day L. Ron Hubbard. And all evidence points to the probability that he has been working on that pocket-lining project nonstop since he's been locked up, within the limits imposed upon him by the Camp Cupcake rules.

My best advice is to do whatever you can to stay healthy and hopeful, without looking to scammers and conspiranoids for vital information. Meanwhile, if you want a more realistic perspective about historical pandemics than what Your Friend Kevin has to offer,
start here.

And if you want some real numbers, don't wait for Kevin Trudeau's "exclusive" information that is being "censored" from the Internet. Start here.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronacrazy: COVID-19 virus brings out the conspiranoids & fraudsters

To even the most casual observer of popular culture over the past couple of decades, it will probably come as no surprise that the current world health crisis -- the disease now known as COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus called SARS-CoV2 -- has been the focus of some pretty nutty conspiracy narratives, while presenting a golden opportunity for fraudsters claiming to sell all sorts of wacko preventatives or cures. In some cases, the conspiranoids are the same folks who are peddling the frauducts.

Fear-porn mongers and alt-health crapitalists are always on the lookout for new crises, real or manufactured, to help them line their pockets, so in a sense there's nothing new here. And the fact that
some governments have been remiss (and I'm being very polite here) in their responsibility to keep the public informed about the present contagion (now a pandemic) makes it even easier for the conspiracy peddlers and the frauduct pushers to spread their toxins. Ignorance and fear are their best friends.

The most popular coronaspiracies
One of the most talked-about coronavirus-related conspiracies, which has only recently receded into the background a bit (but don't count it out yet), was the Trumpublican narrative that the mainstream news media and the Democratic party were engaged in some sort of conspiracy to make Donald Trump look bad/tank the stock market and the economy/sabotage his chances for re-election. Trump himself was braying about this until he finally realized that hey, the virus is a real thing, and as a result valuable time was probably lost. There's buzz that his d-bag son-in-law, Jared, may have been at least partly responsible for the big delay. But another factor could very well have been what Vox calls the GOP's decades-long war on expertise. Even after Trump began taking the crisis more seriously he remained on the defensive, seeming to focus more on bragging about his administration's actions than actually responding in a rational way to the pandemic -- and he was still sending mixed messages.

And don't be fooled by Trump's new, somber re-branding of himself as
a "war time president." While on the one hand the re-brand could be viewed as yet another indicator that he is taking COVID-19 seriously, the war talk is also clearly an attempt to improve the ratings of his ongoing reality show: to restore confidence that may have been wavering in some of his base, and to win new supporters. With his now-daily briefings, flanked by experts who actually have useful information to offer, and to whom he defers for at least some questions, he is taking full advantage of this opportunity to paint himself as a heroic leader. I can't help getting the impression that this is all still a game to him. And at this point, it's anyone's guess as to how some of the supposedly temporary measures he may take to fight this "war" could morph into permanent restrictions on our already endangered civil liberties.

* * * * *
 
But let's focus now on some of the more traditionally wackadoodle conspiracy narratives, which, while infused with politics in some cases, are not uniformly political. On March 12, 2020, Listverse posted a piece about
the top 10 crazy conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19. The theories range from the US government being the creator of the virus (or the Chinese government, or the Canadian government -- take your pick); to Microsoft's Bill Gates being behind it all; to a meteorite explosion back in October 2019; to a Chinese woman eating bat soup; to Corona beer being somehow involved; to 5G internet being the culprit.

The 5G theory has gained quite a lot of traction with online conspiracy fans, although there's no evidence linking 5G and COVID-19. From the Metro UK site, 25 February 2020:
The theory centers on the fact that Wuhan was the first city in China to receive 5G (it wasn’t just Wuhan), that 5G damages the immune system (there is no evidence to suggest it can) and that COVID-19 is just a more virulent version of a cold (it isn’t – its genome has already been sequenced).
Earlier in the crisis -- January 27, 2020, to be exact -- Vice.com published an article about the exciting opportunities the virus presented for some of the most well-known professional conspiracy pushers, most notably, Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams and Alex Jones. From the Vice piece:
“It’s over for humanity,” Mike Adams declared the other day. The self-proclaimed Health Ranger and one of the internet’s more prolific conspiracy-mongers offered a dark prophecy. “There will only be lone survivors. The strategy must now shift. You can be a survivor. We can help you survive, the information here at Infowars and what I do.”

Adams is the founder and main voice at
Natural News, the often demented “health site” which has trafficked for years in anti-vaccine misinformation, bogus cancer cures, and heated warnings about what the globalists are up to. Adams has recently claimed that unspecified shadowy attacks are making it difficult for him to share information on the coronavirus on his own site (which has, in fact, run dozens of specious articles on the coronavirus.) On a recent afternoon, in a change of venue, he was calmly predicting the end of humanity on InfoWars’ live webcast, where he shared a segment with its founder, Alex Jones. Over the course of an interminable two hours or so, the two men had a couple of aims: to lavish each other with mutual praise over their bravery against the Deep State and, more importantly, to foment as much fear and panic as possible about the coronavirus, the epidemic which originated in Wuhan, China and has, to date, killed at least 81 people. [Obviously the numbers have increased considerably since then. ~CC]

It’s not surprising that
conspiracy theories and hoaxes have begun circulating about the coronavirus. Conspiracy peddlers make their money and retain their audiences by selling panic, and they’ve leaped onto this new epidemic with glee, using it to sell all kinds of bullshit theories, market questionable products, and—in a particularly depressing twist—push the Trump administration to impose new, xenophobic travel bans.
That pretty much sums it up.

The article drove home the point that both Adams and Jones, regardless of what they might actually believe, were pushing the theory that the coronavirus is just another attempt by "the elites" or the "New World Order" or the "Deep State" or [insert name of scapegoat here] to depopulate the globe, for whichever nefarious reason or reasons make the most compelling stories. As for the nefarious reasons behind the compelling stories themselves, it's not all that difficult to figure out.

Luckily, they had a solution: Every InfoWars story we’ve seen about the coronavirus has concluded with a link to one of Jones’ products. “People who know what’s coming,” one read, “are taking advantage of the up to 50% off savings on our storable food.”
But it wasn't the storable food that ultimately drew the attention of the authorities. I'll get to that shortly.

I haven't actually watched
the Jones/Adams video mentioned in the Vice article. I figure that's nearly three hours I'll never get back, and I have other things to do. But if you watch it, let me know what you think. And if you really want to get into Mike Adams' (cynical marketer) noggin, take a look at the coronavirus "reporting" on his infamous Natural News site. I will say one thing: though he has been a devoted Trumpster for years, in at least one piece he castigated Trump for not being able to "do the math" about the spread of the virus. But mostly, you'll see Adams patting himself on the back about being correct re "predictions" he made, and warning that people who continue to ignore his screeds are dumb sheeple. And of course you'll see scads of ads for various frauducts to help you through COVID-19 and any other apocalyptic scenario that comes down the pike.

Suffer the little children
Perhaps the most nutcakey narrative of all, and one that hasn't been mentioned in most of the articles I've seen about these coronaspiracies, is the claim that the coronavirus crisis is an elaborate hoax, employed by the Trump administration as a cover while they carry out mass arrests of pedophiles.
Blame Q Anon for starting this one, which was actually hatched long before COVID-19 was even a glimmer in Mike Adams' or Alex Jones' shifty eyes. Here's some background, from the March 2019 Daily Beast piece linked to in the previous sentence.
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that falsely accuses President Trump’s opponents of involvement in child sex-trafficking and sometimes cannibalism. Over its 17 months of existence, QAnon fans have regularly invented new “deadlines” for the pseudo-fascistic purges of their enemies, which they claim are coming at any moment. But the movement hasn’t passed with its deadlines. The original theory is morphing with time, not diluting as much as it is seeping into America’s bloodstream.

When QAnon began with a
series of anonymous posts in the troll-ridden forum 4chan in late October 2017, the theory promised near-immediate results. The poster, “Q,” implied he was a military official with access to privileged information about Trump’s foes. Former Hillary Clinton aides John Podesta and Huma Abedin would be indicted on Nov. 3 and 6, respectively, the anonymous poster claimed.

Readers on the right-leaning forum rejoiced. When the date passed without the predicted arrests, Q spun up more predictions. New revelations about “taking back our great country” would come in the following days, he wrote. Trump opponents in the media would be arrested. Trump opponents would commit suicide over a specific weekend.

None of the prophecies came true, and some followers defected. But rather than turn on their anonymous prophet, other followers simply adopted looser interpretations of Q’s claims...
Since devotees of Q's narrative have continued to find a way to fit it into events as they unfold, it's no surprise that earlier this month two conspiranoid right-wing Trump fans brought the coronavirus crisis into the story. On March 10, 2020, RightWing Watch reported that wingnut and "firefighter prophet" Mark Taylor appeared on a video in which he really let loose with the crazy.
...Taylor suspects that the current coronavirus outbreak is possibly a cover to get leading Republicans—like Reps. Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Doug Collins, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who are all under self-quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected attendee at the recent CPAC conference—out of Washington, D.C., so the Trump administration can carry out the mass arrests.

“They’re using the coronavirus as a cover to go in, shut places down, and go in and start making arrests,”
Taylor said. “Are they pulling these guys out, like Matt Gaetz, are they getting them out of D.C. for a reason?”

“They’re pulling these guys out of D.C., the good guys, before they lock D.C. down, possibly, and go in and really start arresting people,” Taylor speculated. “Or could they be sending these guys home, and then they lock D.C. down in a way so that it’s secure, and then they go get these guys at their houses? I don’t know.”
And on March 12, RightWing Watch reported that another Trumpster conspiranoid (and friend of Mark Taylor), Liz Crokin, reinforced that narrative.
“I do believe that when these mass arrests happen that we will be in martial law for our own safety,” Crokin said. “I believe that the coronavirus, which the president of the United States and many doctors have said is no more serious than the flu, is the cover to put the country into lockdown—just like Italy is in lockdown—to possibly declare martial law, get people off the streets, keep them in their homes, so they’re safe so when the military and the National Guard sweeps in and conducts these mass arrests, it is done in a manner where people are kept safe.”

“Since 2017, Q has been talking about these mass arrests, and Q has also been talking about how when these mass arrests happen, there will probably be many days of darkness, social media might go down, the National Guard is going to come in, and the military will be used to arrest these people,” she added. “That is what I believe is happening right now.”
I'll say one thing about this lunacy: at least it brings some context to a March 9 Facebook post by one of this blog's least favorite fraudsters, Leonard Coldwell, aka Not-Doktor Stoopid.

I was honestly puzzled when I first saw that post, because it didn't link to any article about pedophiles being "arrestet." Instead, it linked directly to Coldwell's own web site. I thought perhaps he was making a confession. But now I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was referencing the latest miasma from the QAnon fever swamp.

Like many other right wingnuts, Coldwell has seemingly been obsessed with pedophilia for years. When poking around the Interwebz for some more insight on this obsession, I came across
this excellent article from the July/August 2019 issue of Mother Jones by reporter Ali Breland. As the teaser blurb notes, and the article explains in depth, it's not really about the kids; rather, it is about fears of a changing social order. It didn't begin with QAnon in 2017, or with "Pizzagate" during the 2016 US presidential campaign, or even with the McMartin preschool scandal of the 1980s. Arguably, it began centuries ago.
Conspiracies centering on the vulnerability of children are neither new nor distinctly American. Wild claims of Jews killing Christian children and using their blood in rituals—the “blood libel”—date back to at least the 12th century and have popped up every so often since then, and long before that Christians were suspected of performing similar rites. “Hurting children is one of the worst things you can say someone is doing. It’s an easy way to demonize your enemy,” says Kathryn Olmsted, a professor of history at the University of California-Davis, who has studied conspiracy theories.

Why do child-abuse conspiracies explode into public consciousness at certain moments? Explanations offered for the peculiar resonance of Pizzagate and QAnon tend to focus on pathologies in the media ecosystem—epistemic bubbles, polarization, the unruly growth of social media. But years before the fracturing of mass culture and the dawn of Reddit and 4chan, the McMartin accusations fed a national spectacle during which scores of people were wrongly accused of sex crimes against children.

The continuities between the McMartin case and Pizzagate suggest a broader explanation for pedophile conspiracies: They aren’t the residue of malfunctions in our media culture. They’re an outgrowth of the normal workings of reactionary politics.
Take some time to read Breland's article; it provides some good insight.

Hi ho silver!
The aforementioned Coldwell, being the chronic conspiranoid that he is, has been posting continually on Facebook about the coronavirus. He flatly declares it's a hoax; for now he seems to favor the 5G theory. In a couple of Facebook posts he promoted
a March 1 article published on the nut-hub Before It's News (and in both cases Facebook flagged the source as "false information," as verified by independent fact checkers). Yet on his own web site he allowed an article written by his long-time cohort and site admin Sarah, who writes as if COVID-19 is indeed a virus, and a real one.

But just so he has all of his bases covered and maintains his cred as a phony medical "expert," Coldwell is also promoting one of his go-to remedies, colloidal silver, claiming that it "eliminates EVERY bad Micrope [sic]".


He has been promoting colloidal silver for years, in his books and online; here is a link to a 2009 Wordpress blog that he has probably long since forgotten.

Here's the rundown on colloidal silver in medical usage. The bottom line is that there is very little evidence to back up the health claims about colloidal silver, and it can be dangerous to your health. It's true that some forms of silver, particularly topical silver solutions, actually have legitimate medical applications, but that's not what Coldwell and his alt-health colleagues are promoting.

Coldwell, by the way, has gotten some mainstream media lovin' in the past year or so, most notably as one of the subjects of a critical article in the Washington Post in June 2019. Just in case you can't access that article due to pay-wall issues, here's a good summary, published in July of the same year on the Science-Based Medicine blog. The post focuses on the ways that social media platforms have enabled, but are now making efforts to counter, the health misinformation peddlers.

Coldwell is far from the only person pushing silver frauducts, in or out of the context of the COVID-19 scare. The aforementioned Alex Jones, for instance, just got a dressing-down from the New York Attorney General for suggesting that the products he's been selling fight coronavirus. In a letter sent to him on March 12, AG Letitia James' office advised him to "immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims as they violate New York's consumer protection statutes." From Mother Jones (no relation to Alex, of course):
Jones—who has promoted the idea that COVID-19 is a manmade bioweapon—has been using his massive platform to hawk products for sale on his Infowars website that he has claimed are “literally a stop-gap” against coronavirus. That includes supplemental pills called “DNA Force,” as well as a special nanosilver toothpaste with ingredients that he said had been tested by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

“For just your daily life and your gums and your teeth and for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have—the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security and said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus,”
Jones said on March 10, in comments first reported by Media Matters.
Here is a link to the letter the NY AG sent to Jones.

Apparently undeterred, Jones seems determined to continue business as usual. From Mother Jones again:

Jones, who was arrested Monday night on charges of driving while intoxicated, seems to be unfazed by the threat of legal action. On his show Thursday, Jones dismissed the effort to stop him from selling his coronavirus-related products. “They claim that I am selling toothpaste that I say will cure you of the coronavirus,” he said. “Never said that. We have a company that makes it out of Colorado that has certified that it takes out viruses in general, and in that same family of corona, not this corona, but it’s the same deal. I sell the toothpaste as a tooth whitening toothpaste with nanosilver.” He then went on to advertise more nanosilver-related products that he claimed will boost immunity.
COVID-19 seems to be keeping state AGs busy. Disgraced televangelist and born-again huckster Jim Bakker was sued on March 10 by the Missouri Attorney General for peddling a frauduct called Silver Solution in an infomercial in which his "guest" was a "natural health expert" named Sherrill Sellman. Sellman strongly implied that the potion would eliminate the coronavirus.
"Well, let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours," Sellman said. "Totally eliminate it. Kills it. Deactivates it."

Silver Solution "has been proven by the government that it has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV," Sellman continued. Four 4-ounce bottles could be yours,
a message on the screen said, for just $80.
Here's a link to the lawsuit. Although Missouri is the first state to file a lawsuit against Bakker for selling this phony "treatment (which makes sense, as his company is based in Missouri), others have also been warning him to stop. On March 3, the New York AG's office, which seems to be really on the ball, and more power to them, sent him a cease-and-desist letter, accusing him of defrauding the public. NPR reports that as of March 11, Bakker's web site was no longer selling the solution, but his production company did not respond to NPR's request for comment. And a spokesman for the Missouri AG's office said that they will continue their pursuit of a temporary restraining order to keep Bakker from selling the "miracle cure" again in the future.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have also jointly sent warnings to Bakker, as well as to six other companies that have been pushing colloidal silver, teas, tinctures, or essential oils as treatments for coronavirus.
Here's a link to the FDA's March 9, 2020 press release.
 
Of course, warnings from those "alphabet agencies" are pretty much meaningless to the alt-health faithful, who still flock to the phony experts for potentially dangerous advice. For instance...
What's even more pathetic than "Dr." C's awful spelling,
and the blatant lies in his post, and the fact that the post links
to yet another one of his fraudulent web sites,
is the fact that a vulnerable person asked him
a medical question that he is not qualified to answer.
My guess is that he will not answer it on a public forum like this,
because he knows he could get in trouble for giving "medical" advice.
But at least the government agencies, with all of their shortcomings, are attempting to stem the tide of phony coronavirus remedies.

I'm optimistic that there will be a real cure, or at least a safe and effective vaccine, soon. For now, I just wish someone would come up with a cure for stupid.


This post has been updated since initial publication; I have made some clarifications and have added the information about the New York AG's warning to Alex Jones; in addition, I added commentary and links to the section about the "Trumpublican" conspiracy theory and Trump's response to the pandemic.
~ CC

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Department of Just-Us (And Screw Everyone Else): Kevin Trudeau, Donald Trump and (lack of) accountability


Quick take: Imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's loyal fans, many of whom are also Donald Trump supporters, are still campaigning for "justice" for their hero, looking to Trump to deliver that justice by commuting Trudeau's ten-year sentence and, ideally, pardoning him as well. Some declare that by doing so, Trump would be taking a stance not only for justice in general but also for increased government accountability (it was the US government that prosecuted and sentenced Trudeau).

However, folks who look to Trump for either justice or accountability are, for numerous reasons, on very shaky ground -- particularly in light of recent events, e.g., Trump's meddling in high-profile criminal cases (especially that of convicted felon and long-time Trump buddy Roger Stone); and the recent clemency spree in which Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of a string of corrupt white-collar criminals who were well-connected (either by virtue of the criminals' support of Trump/the republican party, or by their celebrity status, or by a personal connection to Trump). These acts of clemency totally bypassed the usual channels in the Justice Department.

In a sense it's a bit surprising that so many Kevin Trudeau fans are still so enamored of Trump. After all, Trudeau has been posturing for decades as a brave fighter against government tyranny and corruption, and his fans have often echoed that battle cry -- but Donald Trump seems to be dragging the US headlong down the path
towards tyranny and unfettered corruption, raising the question of whether people who are fans and supporters of both Trump and Trudeau are experiencing any sort of cognitive dissonance. It seems unlikely, though: what appears more likely is that both Trump and Trudeau, against all reason and logic, are still viewed by their supporters and fans as rebels who are fighting against a corrupt establishment -- despite the fact that Trump has been very much a part of that establishment all of his life, and Trudeau has benefited from it as well. Regardless, anyone who views either or both of these men as heroic clearly needs to choose better heroes.


It must be enormously frustrating to be a loyal defender of imprisoned serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie), particularly a supporter who has been participating in a shamelessly sycophantic multimedia plea campaign imploring #NotMyPresident Donald Trump to commute Trudeau's ten-year prison sentence and, ideally, issue a full presidential pardon as well. This campaign has been going on ever since Trump assumed office; I've written about it a few times.

Every time one of Trump's pardons or commutations has made the news, the Free KT contingent have gotten their hopes up, doubling down on their efforts to convince Trump that Trudeau deserves clemency as well. So I can only imagine the frenzy that Trump's
latest clemency spree is stirring up. When, oh, when, will it be Katie's turn?

Trump's pardons and commutations thus far have either been a result of pressure from mostly-useless celebrities like Kim Kardashian, or they've been politically motivated. The most recent clemency orgy, which may not be over yet, has targeted high-profile folks who are either celebrities or have some ties to the White House -- well-connected people, in other words. And most of the clemency grants bypassed the Justice Department.

That said,
a piece in the Washington Post noted that so far Trump has ruled on only 204 clemency requests -- 24 approvals and 180 denials, which is the slowest pace in decades. The White House wouldn't answer detailed questions about Trump's approach to clemency. But former head of the pardons office Larry Kupers, who quit in 2019 over frustration that under Trump the office had become little more than a bureaucratic way station, had this to say when asked what advice he would give to an offender seeking leniency: "Find a way to get to Kim Kardashian. I'm very serious about that." (Yes, that is pretty much the "advice" I offered in my May 2018 post about this very matter.)

It appears that Kevin Trudeau's army still doesn't have either the celebrity angle or the political clout to get the Orange Oaf of Office's attention. They can't even use Troy McClain, former Apprentice star and once a pretend-buddy of Donald Trump. As many may recall, Troy purchased the Trudeau-founded Global Information Network (GIN) a few years ago, and was head honcho for a while, but sold his interest some time in the summer of 2017. Besides, credible rumor has it that he dislikes Trudeau, so why would he advocate on his behalf? And a couple of years ago he caught flak from Trump supporters for allegedly playing a racist Trump tape for former White House staffer Omarosa M. Newman. (Troy vehemently denied it.) So Troy McClain is a wash.

But the lack of celebrity or political connections hasn't stopped the Free KT contingent from trying.


The Trump-Trudeau connection
The obsession with getting through to Trump on Katie's behalf is not at all surprising. To begin with, Katie himself is apparently a longtime admirer of Trump, though there's no indication so far that the love is mutual, or that Trump himself is even aware of Katie's situation (and no, form responses issued by the White House, and bearing a reproduction of Trump's signature, don't count).

Regardless,
Trump and Trudeau seem to have a lot in common, such as serial scamming and chronic lying and pandering to racists. Furthermore many -- dare I say most? -- loyal Trudeau fans, at least those in the US, are also Trump supporters, and they clearly look on both of these guys as heroes who are sticking their necks out to protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans. Convincing these hero worshipers that they are either misinformed, misguided, or willfully blind about Trumpdeau is an uphill battle, and possibly a losing one, not that this will prevent my ongoing efforts to do so. I am nothing if not obsessive.

Among the most loyal and persistent defenders of Kevin Trudeau is former Congressman
Ed Foreman, who has gone to such lengths on Trudeau's behalf as getting himself physically dragged out of court -- and fined for his disruptive behavior -- during the sentencing part of Katie's criminal trial in March of 2014. Eric Nicholson of the Dallas Observer mentioned that incident in a short piece that leads with this observation about Foreman:
It's not impossible to see how voters, first in West Texas (1962), then in southern New Mexico (1968), might have decided to send Ed Foreman to Congress. He has a hypnotic stage presence and exudes a folksy charisma, complete with an endless supply of homespun anecdotes.

Also pretty easy to decipher is how he was unseated in both cases after just one term, and it's not that he was running as a Republican in traditionally Democratic districts. His charm is that of a snake-oil salesman; for many, perhaps most, his manic shtick would wear thin rather quickly.
Manic or not, Foreman has been front and center in the "Free KT" campaign, posting content online and spearheading the concerted effort to get Trump behind the cause. (Katie himself cited Foreman's efforts in some of his own communications directed to Trump.)

One of Foreman's most detailed messages, originally written in 2017 and
apparently updated recently, is filled with the usual distortions, misinformation, and outright lies about how the US government committed an outrageous act of injustice against Trudeau. Here's the link to the latest edition of Foreman's twisted history (twistory?) about Trudeau's legal woes.

At some point I may take the time to go line by line through Foreman's long screed and point out exactly where he is either providing incomplete information, distorting the facts, or just plain lying. I've actually addressed several of these distortions and lies, particularly as they were presented by Kevin himself, on past blog posts over the years (
here is one from 2016, addressing the relatively minor fib that Kevin's sentence is the longest ever imposed for contempt in the US). But I know it would be much more convenient if the information were to be consolidated into one post that directly addresses the Trudolt camp's "official" narrative. For now, though, I want to address one crucial item in Foreman's twistory that stands out like Trump's fake tan under an energy-efficient light bulb.

Oh, the hypocrisy...
At the conclusion of his KT timeline, Foreman invokes the Constitutionally granted right of the US president to reduce the sentence of any federal inmate, solely at the president's discretion. Given Trudeau's repeated failures with his appeals, Foreman clearly views Trump as being Kevin's last best hope.

At this point, one man, and one man alone – President Trump – can rectify this grotesque derailing of our entire judicial process.

By commuting Trudeau’s sentence, President Trump will be sending a clear message of accountability to the judiciary, demonstrating that they are not bullet proof and remain subject to the same checks and balances as every other branch of the government.

President Trump will also show that judicial overreach, abuse of discretion, and politically motivated legal actions will not be tolerated.
No irony intended, I'm sure. But the actions of Trump and his Department of Justice following the sham impeachment "trial" and acquittal make Foreman's words about Trump sending a message of "accountability," and Trump showing that "... politically motivated legal actions will not be tolerated" seem even more absurd than they were when Foreman first wrote them. In fact, the very concept of Trump being a defender of the system of checks and balances is ludicrous.

During the entire process of impeachment, from the inquiries and hearings in the House to the "trial" in the Senate, the republican lawmakers demonstrated that they had little interest in checks and balances or the rule of law, particularly the spirit of the law. From the February 5, 2020 Vox piece I linked to in the paragraph above:

Senate Republicans didn’t violate the Constitution’s rules for holding an impeachment trial. They adhered fairly reasonably to the letter of the law and can credibly claim they did all that was legally required of them. But this was a sham trial, one whose outcome was never seriously in doubt. By following the formal rules, Senate Republicans gave this fiction a veneer of formal legitimacy. All of them, with the brave exception of Mitt Romney, weaponized the letter of the law against its spirit.

This kind of corrupt legalism is a common practice among ruling parties in democracies that have fallen into autocracy. That these regimes contain the most direct parallels to what’s just happened in America makes clear the precise way in which our democracy is under attack. We should not fear a coup or seizure of authoritarian emergency powers, but a slow hollowing-out of our legal system to the point where the people no longer have meaningful control over their leaders.

On Wednesday, the United States took another notable step in that direction.
Trump, of course, emerged triumphant from impeachment precisely because the republicans had done his bidding. Clearly the legislative branch -- or at least the republican part of it -- doesn't think the rules of accountability that Ed Foreman mentioned apply to them.

And Trump himself has already demonstrated, many times over, that he believes the executive branch is answerable to no one but himself. Of course he is not alone in his inflated view of executive privilege. Ever since the republicans let their Mad King off scot-free (and even before that), another key figure in the executive branch -- that would be Trump's plump little lapdog, Attorney General William Barr -- has also demonstrated that in Trump's America, "accountability" and "checks and balances" are abstract concepts at best, and "rule of law" only matters if (mis)used to quash Trump's critics and opponents.

For several reasons Barr has been raising alarm bells for years, at least among those who care about civil liberties in the US. He is particularly alarming to people who care about the separation of church and state -- although the secretive and extremist org Opus Dei insisted in November 2019 that Barr is not now and never has been a member of Opus Dei. But The Nation reported that as recently as 2017, he was on the board of directors of a DC-based organization called the Catholic Information Center, whose leadership are Opus Dei members, so that's probably a bit less than the proverbial six degrees of separation.

But the current kerfuffle is over Barr's
intervention in the criminal case against longtime Trump associate and evil person Roger Stone, which has had a chilling effect nationwide on federal prosecutors who are only trying to do their jobs. From The New York Times on February 12, 2020 and updated on February 14:
In 2001, William P. Barr, describing his first stint as attorney general, under President George Bush, spoke of the department’s protected status in the post-Watergate era. “You didn’t mess around with it, didn’t intervene, you didn’t interfere,” he recalled in an oral history.

Fast forward to 2020, and Mr. Barr is attorney general once more. But President Trump’s ground-shaking conduct has demolished those once-sacrosanct guardrails. Mr. Barr’s intervention to lessen a prison sentencing recommendation for the president’s convicted friend Roger J. Stone Jr. prompted all four career prosecutors handling the matter
to quit the case.

To career prosecutors around the country, the Stone case raised new fears of what is to come. Until now, according to conversations with more than a dozen career lawyers in some of the 93 U.S. attorney’s offices, they had watched other divisions in the Justice Department execute significant shifts in response to Mr. Trump while the work of prosecuting crimes was largely unaffected by the politics of the moment. Now career prosecutors said they worried they might face more pressure...

...Prosecutors across the United States, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals, said this week that they had already been wary of working on any case that might catch Mr. Trump’s attention and that the Stone episode only deepened their concern. They also said that they were worried that Mr. Barr might not support them in politically charged cases...
Also from the Times, on the same day:
Mr. Trump has established a new normal at the senior legal leadership of his administration. The rhetoric of Mr. Sessions’s successor, William Barr, suggests that he accepts, to a disturbing degree, the president’s desire for a politically responsive Justice Department. Mr. McGahn’s successor, Pat Cipollone, defended the president in the impeachment proceeding with arguments of the kind, in tone and variance from the factual record, you would expect to hear from Trump surrogates on Fox News.
Mark Sumner at Daily Kos summed it up in an email to subscribers:
Here's what you need to know about Tuesday and Wednesday's stunning and terrifying events:
  • Federal prosecutors had recommended sentencing longtime Trump associate Roger Stone to seven to nine years in prison. Trump tweeted that this was unfair.
  • Just hours later, Trump Attorney General William Barr intervened in the case, instructing the Department of Justice to overrule the prosecutors in the case and reduce Stone's suggested sentence.
  • All four of the U.S. attorneys who had signed on to the sentencing recommendation have resigned, sending the strongest possible signal that things at the Justice Department are not normal.
  • Trump again took to Twitter, even more unhinged. He mocked the prosecutors and threatened to bring charges against them. He spread lies and conspiracy theories about them, their connections to Robert Mueller, and even accused Mueller of lying to Congress.
  • Barr has given up even pretending to be the country's top law enforcement officer, as NBC News reports he has "control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump." That includes persecution of Trump’s enemies, such as former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and protecting Trump allies such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
In the past 48 hours, Trump has fully transformed the Department of Justice from the country's top law enforcement agency into a personal and political instrument of Donald Trump.
I don't have a convenient link to that email, but here's a link to one of Sumner's articles, dated February 12, 2020, about the same events.

And nobody should be fooled by
Barr's seemingly "bold" condemnation, in an ABC News interview, of Trump's Twitter habits. From The Guardian on February 14:
Matthew Miller, an Obama-era justice department official, wrote on Twitter: “Don’t be fooled by this one, people. Barr is telling the president that his impulsiveness is making it politically harder for him to deliver the results he wants. If Trump would just shut up, Barr could take care of him much more effectively.”

“The best indicator of future performance is past performance,”
wrote the US congresswoman Val Demings, of Florida. “Attorney General Barr’s past performance was to mislead the American people (about the Mueller Report) in order to cover up wrongdoing by the president. Why shouldn’t we believe that’s exactly what he’s doing now?”
Indeed. Fortunately, it appears that a lot of folks were not taken in by Barr's theatrics.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to declare, as
David Corn at Mother Jones did on February 13, 2020, that the Trump presidency has "entered its most dangerous phase."
With the impeachment behind him, Trump has been acting like Michael Corleone on steroids, intent on settling all the “family business.” He sacked impeachment witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Next he moved onto the Justice Department and the judiciary. At the same time, Barr set up a special “intake” channel at the department for Trump’s henchman Rudy Giuliani to feed rumors, dirt, and supposed leads about Trump’s rivals.

All this is crooked and horrific. Trump is rigging the justice system, trashing norms that have been in place for decades, and attacking the notion that the rule of law is essential for democratic governance. Early in his presidency, facing the Russia investigation being run by the FBI, Trump
exclaimed, “Where is my Roy Cohn?” He was referring to the thuggish mob lawyer who had been red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy’s chief hatchet-man years before becoming a mentor and consigliere for the young Trump. Though Trump placed Barr, his own lapdog, in charge of the Justice Department last year, Trump has become his own Roy Cohn, consolidating power and seeking vengeance. And extracting revenge has long been one of Trump’s primary psychological motivations, as I first explained before he was elected president.
But hey, don't take the word -- or the many words -- of those "liberal" or "fake news" media outlets I've been quoting at length. More than 2,000 (and counting) former federal prosecutors, who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, have signed a scathing letter condemning Barr's actions regarding Roger Stone, and calling for Barr to resign. An excerpt from that letter:
...As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases....

...Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.
Yeah, what they said. Then again, if Barr goes, that means Trump will most likely appoint an "acting" AG who won't require Senate confirmation, and that person could very well be someone who is even more willing than Barr has been so far to "play ball" with Trump -- so it could be a case of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

It doesn't help the general anxiety level that
Trump has also (falsely) declared himself to be the "chief law enforcement officer" in the US. This was in the context of his (fake) conflict with Barr over the TrumpTweets and Barr's intervention in the Roger Stone case, and also in the wake of the aforementioned clemency spree. Given this context it appears that Trump is pardoning and commuting a string of corrupt white-collar criminals for the same reason that a dog licks its privates: because he can.

So far I've gone on (and on) about the legislative and executive branches of the US government, but some might wish to point out that Ed Foreman, in his long lament about Kevin Trudeau's legal saga, was specifically targeting the third branch: the judicial branch, which handles the courts. But that is precisely where the unintended irony grows even richer, because, far from making any kind of statement against the politicization of the judiciary,
Trump has actually done more than any president in recent memory to shape the courts in accordance with a far-right political agenda. The Vox piece linked to in the previous sentence concludes:
The truth is, by worshipping at the altar of Trump, Republicans haven’t simply ensured conservative dominance of one branch of government. They may have entrenched conservative governance for decades.

And let's not ignore what's been going on, under the Trump administration, at the very tip-top of the judicial branch, i.e., the Supreme Court of the United States. On February 21, 2020, SCOTUS voted along very familiar ideological lines to allow a Trump admin rule targeting low-income immigrants to take effect, making it much more difficult for many of them to enter the US (Wolf v. Cook County). The case involves the "public charge" rule, aka the Immigration and Nationality Act, which would make it harder for immigrants who are "likely at any time to become a public charge" to obtain green cards. Critics have called it a "wealth test" for legal immigrants. Wolf v. Cook County had sought to reject the policy's effect in Illinois; a district court had filed a preliminary injunction while the case was being played out in the appeals courts. The conservative-dominated High Court voted to lift that injunction, clearing the way for Trump's "immigrant wealth test" to take effect all across the US.
 
It is not the first time that SCOTUS has appeared to be doing favors for the Trump administration. In
a dissenting opinion to the February 21 decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor accused the Court of "putting a thumb on the scale in favor of" the Trump administration. She described the ruling as part of a "now-familiar pattern" of the Court granting a stay pending appeal of a given case, an action that in a previous dissenting opinion in September 2019, she had said should be an "extraordinary" act. Under the Trump administration, however, it has become the "new normal."

Here's Vox again, posting about the February 21 action:
The Trump administration, moreover, has a high win rate when it seeks extraordinary relief from the Supreme Court. It’s achieved a partial or full victory in about 65 percent of the cases where it asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block a lower court’s opinion.

As Sotomayor explains in her Wolf opinion, it is very unusual for the Supreme Court to grant such relief so easily.

Because the Supreme Court is the final word on nearly all questions of federal law, it typically likes to let novel legal issues percolate in the lower courts before handing down a final command. “Stay applications force the Court to consider important statutory and constitutional questions that have not been ventilated fully in the lower courts, on abbreviated timetables and without oral argument,” Sotomayor writes in her Wolf dissent. They also “upend the normal appellate process, putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won a stay.”

And in this Supreme Court, that party is almost always the Trump administration.
Should you have any doubt about Trump's attitude towards SCOTUS, consider this: he has called for Justices Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to recuse themselves from cases involving him or his administration. He claims Ginsburg "went wild" with criticism of him during the 2016 campaign, and he is not at all happy about Sotomayor's "highly inappropriate" comments in her recent dissent. (Ginsberg made one comment about Trump to The New York Times in July 2016, but a few days later, after a round of criticism, she admitted that she had made a mistake and that her remark was inappropriate.) Absurdly, Trump is claiming that there should be a "higher standard" for Supreme Court justices, but I think we know what his definition of "higher standard" is.

As former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
wrote on Facebook February 25, 2020:
Trump has called on Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to recuse themselves from all cases involving him and his administration, accusing them of being biased against him. Last Friday, Justice Sotomayor objected to the court’s decision to allow the Trump administration’s cruel “public charge” immigration rule to go into effect, criticizing the court for fast-tracking cases at the government’s request and warning of a dangerous precedent.

Meanwhile, Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife is personally delivering personnel recommendations to the president and advocating for purges of supposedly disloyal staffers. Now that he has been emboldened by his sham acquittal in the Senate, Trump has stepped up his attacks on the judiciary and launched a full-out assault on the basic notions of checks and balances and separation of powers. How can we teach children in America about these core principles of our Constitution when our very president tramples on them every day?
Accompanying Reich's post was a link to a Business Insider piece about this matter.

It's no exaggeration to say that the Trump administration seems to view SCOTUS as its personal fixer, and that the Court's actions have supported this view.

* * * * *

Do all of these events and facts constitute evidence that the US, under Donald Trump, has taken another few giant steps towards tyranny? Possibly. If so... are you paying attention, Kevin Trudeau fans? After all, Katie has been posturing for years as a brave fighter against tyranny. Don't Trump's actions bother y'all in the least?

Or is this situation more like
those lines in the 1990 Bruce Willis flick, Die Hard 2? Like, say, Trump may be a tyrant of sorts, but he's "our kind of tyrant?"

On the other hand, if you've seen Die Hard 2, you know that the John Amos character who told Bruce Willis' character that he was "your kind of asshole" turned out to be a very bad man who wasn't good-guy Bruce's kind of asshole at all. And by the time Willis found this out, it was almost too late. 

Now, I am perfectly aware that most of Trump's supporters, whether they're Kevin Trudeau fans or not, do not perceive Trump's actions as tyrannical at all -- only strong and forceful and patriotic and alpha-male and America-first-ish, just like Murica has been needing for a long, long time. But I am also reasonably certain that most of them would perceive similar actions from an Obama or a Clinton or some other liberal or progressive as the very tyranny that they fear.
 
Of course, Ed Foreman originally composed his KT legal timeline well before most of the events we've been discussing, but then again, as I mentioned earlier, the chronology has been edited and updated recently -- and even at the time the original was posted, the writing was already on the wall about the type of "president" Trump was turning out to be. Clearly Foreman didn't see those indicators as troublesome then, and I'm thinking he probably doesn't see the latest events as problematic either.

But the next time you hear any preaching from Ed Foreman or from any Trudeau and/or Trump fan about accountability, or justice, or preserving the sacred system of checks and balances, take their sermon for what it is worth, which is absolutely nothing.

The "hate-love" list -- and a few foolish inconsistencies
If you're still wondering how being both a Trump supporter and a Kevin Trudeau loyalist could be a bit problematic at times -- at least for those who are bothered by glaring incongruities -- let me belabor the point a bit.

When poking around on the kevintrudeau dot com site, I redisovered
a PDF that was originally published in November 2017, judging from the date in the link. The document summarizes the central mythology embraced by Trudolts after years of being subjected to Trudeau's own propaganda, regarding what a hero Katie is, and how loved he is by so many millions of good folk, and how loathed he is by a host of bad actors (the "they" who don't want you to know "the truth").

It was the hate/love list that interested me the most, for it highlights some truly foolish inconsistencies (apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson). And here, unlike on Ed Foreman's long post, I am going to annotate. I pulled the bullet points directly from the document, but the non-italicized comments, and the links, are my own additions. You'll see several links to pieces about Trump, because the industries, agencies, and groups that Kevin Trudeau has supposedly been battling for decades -- and that allegedly "hate" him, and that he has convinced his fans to hate as well -- are some of the very same entities to which Trump has given major passes since he assumed office.

First, the "hate" list:
Generally speaking, Trudeau is "hated" by the:
  • FTC [nope, got that reversed. It's Trudeau who hates the FTC, because they've repeatedly nailed him for his frauducts and flopportunities and lies]
  • FDA [see FTC, above. Also possibly add FBI and SEC and a few other alphabet agencies.]
  • Washington, D.C. political establishment [I'm pretty sure that most of these people couldn't care less about Kevin Trudeau -- former political establishment member Ed Foreman being a notable exception]
  • mainstream media [the mainstream media don't "hate" Katie; he hates them because they have a long history of duly reporting his mulitple grifts (not that this has prevented thousands of people from falling for his lies, over and over). There's also the fact that mainstream TV stations have been running his infomercials for years, which benefited Kevin greatly for years, which doesn't sound much like "hate" to me.]
  • liberal elites [this decades-old conservative talking point has become increasingly meaningless, and I'm surprised that anyone still falls for it. Now more than ever, the concept of "elite" has become a two-edged sword in both politix and Scamworld, intended as either an insult or the insincerest form of flattery, depending upon how it is used. Back in 2018 I wrote a two-parter about that:
    Part 1: On Donald Trump's misuse of the word "elite" and his apparent misunderstanding of both elitism and populism.
    Part 2: On elitism in Scamworld. This is where Kevin Trudeau enters the picture.]
  • deep-state operatives [gimme that ol' time conspiranoia]
  • globalists [too bad Donald Trump is a globalist... Also, given the fact that GIN is earnestly trying to expand its global reach, and there's every indication that Kevin Trudeau wants to do the same, it seems that being a Katie and/or GIN fan and a hater of "globalism" would clash at some point. Also, Kevin more than likely still has some cash stashed in various places all over the globe, so...]
  • Big Pharma [too bad Donald Trump is a pushover for Big Pharma]
  • banks [too bad Donald Trump is a friend to the big banks]
  • insurance companies [too bad Donald Trump is trying to do everything possible to kill Obamacare, with its protections for pre-existing conditions (that bane of the insurance firms, and one of the focal points of Trump's gas-lighting re health care); plus he seems to have his eye on privatizing Medicare -- all of which should make the insurance companies quite happy]
  • Monsanto and the entire food and diet industry [too bad Donald Trump and the Trump EPA seem to have a cozy relationship with Monsanto...
    January 2020:
    Trump EPA Once Again Greenlights Roundup
    February 2020:
    Why we should all be pissed off about Trump still having Monsanto's back
    As for the food industry, let's start with Big Ag,
    to whom the Trump administration has been much, much kinder than to the small family farmer, despite Trump's big promises to the latter.
    This is hardly surprising, since Trump's pick for Ag Sec, Sonny Perdue, has
    big ties to Big Ag and Big Food.
    And overall,
    the Trump administration favors the meat industry, as indicated by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for America. This is part of a larger pattern of the administration making an across-the-board effort to suppress scientific information about diet and health and sustainability.]
For me, several items on this list once again raise that big question I've been bouncing around throughout this post: How does someone who passionately supports Kevin Trudeau and Donald Trump reconcile Trump's unwillingness or inability to stand up to, and in some cases his apparent alliance with, the very "enemies" that Trudeau has been fighting for so long? Or do these fans and supporters simply shrug it off as not important, because Trump is their kind of tyrant, and Trudeau is their kind of huckster, and both Trump and Trudeau make them feel good? I'd really like to know.
 
Now here's the "love" list... 

Trudeau is generally "loved" by:
  • millions of his loyal supporters, readers, radio show listeners, and most importantly, his customers [notwithstanding the hundreds of consumer complaints against him over the years -- and please don't be fooled by the clusters of "five-star" reviews, most of which occurred during very brief time periods and suggest an effort by supporters to "stack" the reviews]
  • Christian conservatives [pander, pander, pander. It's understandable, though, since many of these folks possess a combination of gullibility and disposable or semi-disposable income that makes them a scammer's wet dream]
  • spiritual seekers [more pandering, this time to the new-agey/McSpirituality types (see above, re gullibility and disposable income)]
  • people who believe in God or a higher power [just so all the bases are covered]
  • entrepreneurs [especially scammers or wannabe scammers]
  • free enterprisers [again, scammers or wannabe scammers, as well as pretty much everyone for whom doing business would be so much easier if all consumer protection laws, environmental regulations, and other constraints on greedy businesses were to just go away]
  • self-reliant citizens [is this code for "sovereign citizens," I wonder? Kevin attracts these types, as well as survivalists and conspiranoids]
  • libertarians [we don't need no stinkin' protective laws or regulations! Of note, the Koch-funded libertarian think tank, The Cato Institute, did try to intervene in Katie's court dramas back in 2012, but they ultimately failed.]
  • those interested in natural health alternatives [and for decades, Kevin Trudeau has been a big promoter of all manner of alt-health frauducts and the scammers who sell them. Like Katie's former b.f.f. Not-Doktor Leonard Coldwell. And this joker.]
  • free-speech advocates [free speech for those who support Kevin and his pet causes, that is... everyone else (particularly Katie's critics), not so much. Back in GIN's heyday Kevin warned GIN members to ignore the "rats in their heads," which was code for the "negative" voices discouraging them from immersing themselves in GIN. Even today Trudeau's followers use the term "rats in your head" to describe critics and "naysayers." For the most part they don't like hearing from critics at all; I can't count the number of pro-Katie forums where I've been banned from participating. I guess I'm a "suppressive person," as they say in Scientology. I realize that these are private forums so this isn't technically a First Amendment issue, but still, you'd think that "free-speech advocates' would tolerate a little dissent.]
  • Second Amendment advocates [another obligatory conservative talking point, and while many if not most Katie fans may also be gun-rights advocates, I haven't actually seen an NRA endorsement of Kevin Trudeau.]
  • the "middle class", the "forgotten men and women", and "working men and women" [a cynical echoing of Donald Trump's hollow promises during the 2016 campaign, despite the fact that neither Trump nor Trudeau gives a flip about the actual lives of these "forgotten" folk. Trump wants their votes, Katie wants their money, but apart from that, the "forgotten" ones are disposable. Trump has shown that he is no friend to the middle class, and Kevin Trudeau enjoyed a lavish lifestyle for years on the backs of thousands of working men and women. If those "forgotten" legions really looked honestly at either Trump's or Trudeau's records, maybe they wouldn't love these guys so much.]
  • people who want to "drain the Washington, D.C. swamp" [flagrant pandering to Trump supporters, who overlook all the evidence that Trump has simply made the swamp swampier -- including the above-mentioned recent clemency spree where he pardoned the swamp]
  • those who believe in "Making America Great Again" [more flagrant pandering to Trump supporters and to Trump himself, should he be reading this document (or having someone read it to him)]
Trudeau has always been a proponent of, and personally embraced, the values of free enterprise, capitalism, and entrepreneurship. Kevin is a true patriot who loves our flag, our Constitution, and the United States of America.
Cue The Star-Spangled Banner. Or better yet, O Trumpistan -- to which, unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to add a few new verses, just to keep current with all of the atrocities.

Love is blind, and blinding
In Trump's America, "accountability" is becoming an increasingly meaningless concept, "justice" is only relative, and the rights and privileges that most Americans claim to hold so dear apply to "just us" -- the "us" in this case being Trump and his cronies and supporters, and everyone else be damned. I will concede that tribalism seems to have reached an unprecedented intensity all across America, and it's not just a thing among Trump supporters. But Trumpism has morphed into a cult in which tribalism and the attendant "just us" double standards are particularly powerful, both driven and reinforced by a chronic unwillingness or inability among cultists to perceive anything negative in Trump's actions and rhetoric.

And those same characteristics -- intense tribalism, double standards, willful blindness -- are seen in Scamworld as well, particularly with charismatic figures such as Kevin Trudeau who rely so heavily on the cult of personality. Like the Scientology-inspired cult leader he is, Trudeau has pushed his "who do you listen to?" shtick for years in the service of persuading his followers that they should listen to him above all else, and that critics and outsiders and all mainstream media constitute "rats in your head." 

In a sense, then, I've answered some of the big questions I raised above. I think it is a safe bet that most Trudeau fans who are also Trump supporters will have no problem with the inconsistencies and incongruities, no matter how blatant they may be. Trump and Trudeau may be liars, but they're "our kind of liars."


The sad reality is that Trumpdeau loyalists, against all reason and logic, apparently still view both men as rebels fighting against a corrupt "establishment." This is despite the fact that
Trump himself has been very much a part of that establishment all of his life, and as a businessman he benefited for years from America's broken political system. And it's despite the fact that Trudeau has also benefited greatly from an "established" system/society that (1) all too often looks the other way when scam artists ply their trade -- and is even complicit in various ways; (2) has inadequate resources to fight every scam and con; and (3) on one level, actually admires the ingenuity and brazenness of con artists. (Fraud has arguably been an integral part of American enterprise since the early days of the republic, a matter explored at length in a 2017 book by Edward J. Balleisen, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff.)
 
Love really is blind, and blinding.


A big question that remains unanswered is whether or not Donald Trump will finally hear, and heed, the desperate pleas of Kevin Trudeau's fans to spring their hero from the hoosegow. No matter what happens, it is abundantly clear to me that some folks really need to choose better heroes --- but when I read near-worshipful comments to and about Kevin Trudeau on Facebook forums, or when I watch the cheering, chanting, red-capped throngs at Trump's fascist MAGA rallies, that prospect doesn't look very promising.

But I'm still not giving up hope.