Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Amendment Stuporhero


I've blogged several times about infomercial king Kevin Trudeau, one of the most recent posts being about his apparent business ties with Neo-Tech and Mark Hamilton, son of Neo-Tech founder Frank R. Wallace. True-dough and, to a lesser degree, Scamilton, have been so successful because they have struck a resonant chord, playing to people's deepest longings and their greatest fears, as well as their growing discontent and anger -- and not incidentally to the perennial human fascination with "secret" societies, "forbidden" information, and the many "conspiracies" that allegedly keep this information out of the reach of ordinary folks.


Like the
big boiler rooms and Internet Marketing Syndicate members that Salty Droid writes about on his muckraking blog, the "secret society" and conspiracy merchants pander to several vulnerable demographics: the young and naive; the panicked midlifers who suddenly find themselves jobless but are years away from retirement benefits; and the old and desperate. Whether the hucksters are selling frauducts, flopportunities, or just misinformation, their marketing is very effective.

The fan testimonials, such as those on
Kevin True-dough's KT Radio Network site, speak volumes. Some are giddy "success" stories in which the writers give credit to information they got from True-dough, either through listening to his radio show, buying his books, or participating in a flopportunity such as his Global Information Network (GIN). Many are merely thank you notes for the good work he is doing on behalf of humankind. "We need 1,000 more Kevins!" one writer enthused. Another wrote:
You are a true human being for getting the TRUTH out at great personal risk. There is no way I can get to the next level without your extended “hand” because the system is so rigged. I keep you in my prayers to protect you. You are a forever friend. I look forward to all your shows.
And then there are the comments on some of the photos on True-dough's Facebook pages (about which we'll have much more in a little while):
  • Bless you Kevin Trudeau. Keep up with the greatness that you are achieving in the name of love, fairness and equality. Thankyou x :)
  • Kevin - you are from above...
When I read stuff like that I have to ask, once again, "Good Goddess, is there any hope for the human race at all?!?"

But then I remember that not everyone is buying the hustle. The mainstream media in the U.S. aren't all that kind to True-dough (which only gives him more ammo for his martyr act), and Down Under they don't seem to have much tolerance for him at all, as indicated by the headline on this May 2011 piece:
US felon spruiks with visitors' centre address
I just love the Aussies and their slang. "Spruiker" is a perfect description for True-dough, Scamilton, and their ilk.

And so on. When I read critical comments about True-dough I begin to think that there is hope for the human race after all.

But then when I take a look at how True-dough has continued to sucker people into believing he is a hero, that sense of hope begins to dwindle.

Phony heroics and the First AmendmentThere's no doubt that True-dough is capitalizing fully not only on his checkered (or striped) past but also on current efforts to rein in his...um...overly-enthusiastic marketing. Like most marketers he relies heavily on that most effective of tools: storytelling. He uses storytelling to sell products; for instance, there's that "Secret Brotherhood" whopper he uses to peddle his 14-CD GIN upsell,
Your Wish Is Your Command. And more relevant to the topic of this post, there's the well-spun tale of his legal woes. The version of the KT narrative that you believe will depend largely upon whether or not you're a True-dough fan and have an emotional and/or financial stake in his empire.

We've covered this ground here before, but for the benefit of new visitors or those who simply wish to review,
here's the simple Wikipedia version of the saga of True-dough v. The Man (I left the footnote reference numbers in the copy so you can see the sources):
In 1990, Trudeau posed as a doctor in order to deposit $80,000 in false checks, and in 1991 he pleaded guilty to larceny. That same year, Trudeau faced federal charges of credit card fraud after he stole the names and Social Security numbers[2] of eleven customers of a mega memory product and charged approximately $122,735.68 on their credit cards.[53] He spent two years in federal prison because of this conviction (Choi, 2005). Later, in an interview, he explained his crimes as:
"... youthful indiscretions and not as bad as they sound, and besides, both were partly the fault of other people, and besides, he has changed. The larceny he explains as a series of math errors compounded by the 'mistake' of a bank official. As for why the bank thought he was a doctor, that was just a simple misunderstanding, because he jokingly referred to himself as a 'doctor in memory'. He still can't quite believe he was prosecuted for the larceny charges. 'Give me a break,' he says."[3]
Now here's the version of Kevin's battle that currently appears on his "Stand With KT" Web site, a site that exists to give fans a convenient outlet for contributing to the Mighty One's legal defense fund:

FEARLESS WHISTLEBLOWER

Kevin Trudeau is a best-selling author and leading consumer advocate, standing up for freedom of speech, exposing government and corporate corruption, and extolling natural cures for Americans. In Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About, More Natural Cures Revealed and The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You To Know About, Trudeau offers an unfiltered look at natural prevention, remedies and diets, gleaned from decades of research over dozens of countries with thousands of physicians. After release, these books have spent a total of more than 35 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Millions of copies of his books have been sold worldwide.
Soon after publication, however, the government began to question Trudeau’s freedom of speech, threatening him with silence, jail time and fines of up to $37 million dollars. As a former corporate and government insider, and founder of multiple companies worldwide, Trudeau recognized the government corruption and the influence of major drug companies in his legal battles, and realized he was in for the fight of his life. Natural Cures Health Institute started the Kevin Trudeau Legal Defense Fund to offset millions of dollars in legal fees in his ongoing fight for free speech in the United States.
Doesn't that make it sound as if his legal woes began only after the publication of the Fearless Whistleblower's books? Since the first one mentioned, Natural Cures, was initially published in 2005, that's really kind of misleading. And what's this about KT being "a former corporate and government insider?" Well, he did spend a couple of years "inside" a Federal institution, so I'll concede that one to him.

These days True-dough is all about the First Amendment, framing his entire defense fundraising scheme as a battle to protect the rights not merely of Kevin True-dough, Fearless Whistleblower, but of all Americans. His basic argument on his own behalf is that the First Amendment gives him the right to say and write pretty much anything he wishes.

Besides his multiple Web sites, True-dough has several Facebook pages, promoting various products, his Global Information Network, and, naturally, his dramatic ongoing battle against the tyrannical U.S. government that is oppressing, repressing, and suppressing him. There are also pages of photo albums of hopeful future zillionaires at GIN gatherings, pawing through MLM fodder such as GIN T-shirts, GIN trucker hats, and stacks of Kevin Trudeau "Life's Daily Essentials" nutritional supplements. These pages are magnets for comments from fawning admirers (sample comment: "Because of everything you do i can say i stand on the shoulders of a giant!").

Most of the Facebook activity on behalf of True-dough appears to be in the service of persuading fans to join GIN, or offering encouragement to those who have taken the plunge, and equally or perhaps more importantly, to encouraging people to donate to KT's legal defense fund. The
"Kevin Trudeau Show" page has numerous mentions of KT's noble cause. There are fairly frequent references to the Stand With KT blog; on a recent status update, for instance, True-dough (or, rather, someone writing on his behalf) wrote:

Country Music Star Trace Adkins adds his thoughts to today's #StandwithKT blog: http://ow.ly/66Y1I

Though the copy makes it seem as if the famous Trace Adkins actually wrote a post or a comment on True-dough's blog, that's not the case. I followed the link and found this instead:

Country Music Star's Opinion

In the Country music world, you will be hard pressed to find a star bigger than Trace Adkins!
And when I say big, I mean big in size and big in fame. He is man's man - a passionate man about America and especially about the 1st Amendment! When I recently came across this video clip from Trace, I knew I needed to share it with all of you that support Stand with KT!

If you watch the video you'll see that Trace doesn't actually mention KT or his cause. In fact he probably doesn't even know that he "added his thoughts" to KT's blog. Apparently the person handling the blog merely embedded a YouTube video showing Trace at a radio show in Pennsylvania, explaining in his gruff and manly way that, contrary to what most folks think, the First Amendment doesn't give people the right to run around and be a smart-ass and say anything they want about someone. Rather, Trace 'splains, the amendment protects citizens from the government and gives them the right to criticize Unca Sam without fear of repercussion. He warns people who are thinking of "hiding behind" the First Amendment: "It doesn't protect you from me. If I don't like what you say I might hunt you down and give you a beatin'...So don't just think you can run around and say anything you want to about me. I'll beat the crap out of you, and then we'll deal with it in court...I've been to jail before and I ain't scared. I'll go back again." Of course it was all in good fun, punctuated by virile heh-heh-hehs from Trace. I couldn't help wondering if the inclusion of this video on KT's blog is an implied threat to critics of True-dough. Heh-heh-heh.
I'm a critic but I try to be a fair one, and I think it would be egregiously unfair of me not to mention a recent post on the Stand With KT blog, "No Wrong Doing." This post features a video of Kevin telling a recent dinner crowd that after every single Federal government agency investigation of him, the agency has invariably issued and signed a document at the end of the investigation saying they can find no wrongdoing on Kevin's part. "But you never hear about that!" he says. I immediately thought that we should all hear about that. I felt Kevin should publish those documents, and I further decided that if he does I will publish links to them.

One of his fans was thinking along the same lines as I. On the KT Facebook page, the person wrote, "You should post those letters here and link it on wiki. Plaster them all over the internet..." And True-dough's online proxy replied, "funny you should say that, we are already working on that - with everything to be posted at StandwithKT.com soon!"

Funny that KT didn't think to post them years earlier. Maybe his marketing team just came up with that story and it's taking them some time to create the documents to go with it.
While we're all breathlessly awaiting the documents exonerating True-dough of any wrongdoing, information on a 2005 decision in a case where KT turned the tables and sued the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). His suit was dismissed. And here's a link to the FTC's archives on True-dough.

As far as I'm concerned, however, whether or not the FTC or any other government agency has a legitimate case against KT has always taken a back seat to my contention that he is a consummate b.s. artist who sells false promises to desperate and gullible people.

The proof is in the videos
"Oh, Cosmic Connie, enough already with your naysaying!" some of you might be grousing. "How can you say that all of KT's fans are gullible or desperate? After all, success stories abound in the Global Information Network. If you don't believe the written testimonials on the KT Radio network site or the GIN sites, or the enthusiastic comments on the Facebook pages, why not watch some GIN Leadership Cruise videos, and listen to some of the successful members talk about how all of their dreams are going to come true as a result of their GIN membership?"

Okay, I'll bite. I'll give hope one more chance. Here are some vids I found, picked at random.

This one, for example, has had an entire 63 views:
My Vision is a Reality: Cruising with GIN (Global Information Network)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUod2RkiiAs&feature=related
And then there's this one, with 105 views:Global Information Network is the Best Club Ever!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z89SQdmmjK0&NR=1
And just to prove how much gosh-darn fun it is to be a GIN member -- particularly if you're into Neo-Tech/Nouveau Tech/Neothink as well (see, I haven't forgotten the titular subject of my recent series) -- there's this one, starring 'Neothink man' Steven Hinz. This vid has had...and I can scarcely believe it's possible...a whopping 141 views:Neothink man Steven Hinz dancing on GIN Leadership Cruise 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt688U2ygcU&feature=related
"So with all of that evidence, Cosmic Connie," you might be saying, "all of those testimonials, the videos, and so forth, how can you still be a doubter?" All I can say is that I'm a hardcore case. We haters are like that.

Evil emperor, or buffoon in a silly hat?
Throughout all of my posts about True-dough, I haven't really revealed anything new, haven't exposed any hidden secrets or previously unpublicized scandals. And many might think I've belabored the point. Some might say that in spite of his felonious past and long history as a con artist, True-dough is just one relatively harmless guy in a dorky hat, mouthing off on infomercials and radio shows. Unlike
James Arthur "Death" Ray, he hasn't killed anyone that I know of, and apparently isn't part of some big evil marketing empire on the lines of the self-described Internet Marketing Syndicate or the Utah boiler rooms, whose scams are, as noted above, continually being exposed on Salty Droid's blog.

I have little doubt that the Syndicate players are scam artists and that the boiler rooms are destructive, and Salty seems to be building a devastating case against all of them. In a recent comment on his
"Scamming Two Debbies" blog post he described the boiler rooms as "a giant doom machine." And while it is easy to blame the aggressive, fast-talking closers who man the phone lines, Salty writes...
It’s the masterminds of this consciously evil scheme :: and their political enablers [such as Utah's Attorney General Mark Shurtleff ~ CC] :: who deserve most of the punishments.
As detailed here regarding another boiler room …
http://saltydroid.info/inside-dot-con-secrets/
… most of the sales staff get paid jack shit … come from vulnerable situations themselves … are heavily manipulated … and often drugged.
A loathsome system indeed, and I've a feeling that Salty will be exposing much more about the boiler-room crimes and Syndicate shenanigans in the weeks to come.

But where does True-dough fit on the spectrum of scoundrels? As noted, he isn't a Syndicate member. On the other hand, some might point out that True-dough is an empire unto himself, evil or not. They might also note that the business models as well as the favored marketing techniques of the boiler rooms and Syndicate members have much in common with those that KT has been using for years -- decades, even.

Some might say that the infomercial scammers, Internet marketing spruikers, and New-Wage gurus are all rotten fruits from the same huge evil tree.
There's a lot to be said for that argument; the evidence is everywhere, and the same names just keep coming up. I'm not entirely comfortable with providing a link to a post by someone who clearly has his own marketing agenda, but this 2009 blog post does a connect-the-dots with young infomercial scammer Anthony Morrison, infomercial producer Donald Barrett, and Kevin True-dough.

Here's a Wiki-bit on Barrett and True-dough:
On October 5, 2007, the FTC sued ITV Direct, Inc. [Barrett's company ~ CC] and Donald Barrett for misrepresenting Kevin Trudeau's "Weight-Loss Cure" book in the infomercial they produced to market it.[6] In response to the FTC's suit, ITV Direct sued the FTC for alleged harassment and violation of free speech rights.[citation needed] Subsequently, on November 19, 2007, in a separate FTC action, Trudeau was found in contempt of a 2004 court order for making "patently false" claims in the weight loss book.[7][8][9]
And those are just a couple of examples of familiar swine feeding at the same trough (no offense intended to swine). At any rate, although True-dough may not be a Utah boiler room owner, he does use call centers to process responses to his infomercials and other marketing efforts, with all of the concomitant sneaky call-center tricks that have generated hundreds of consumer complaints about him over the years. Here is just one link. (According to this fact sheet on True-dough's misdeeds, there were 192 complaints about True-dough on the infamous Ripoff Report as of February 2008, but amazingly, every one of those seem to have disappeared, even though the Ripoff Report says they never delete complaints.)

My own guess is that many of the hucksters in the Syndicate, and for that matter many of the boiler room operators, envy True-dough and look up to him as a marketing genius. Maybe they're even taking note of how deftly he is handling his FTC and other prosecution issues, of how he is taking the lemons of potential career disaster and turning them into pure marketing lemonade. Maybe some of the Syndicate members will soon be setting up their own "legal defense funds." But they may not be nearly as successful as KT because, let's face it: few of them have either his longevity or his broad platform. Over the years True-dough has successfully painted himself as a hero to many ordinary frustrated people, and the same cannot be said of, say, Frank Kern or Jeremy Johnson (who?).

The consensus on Salty's blog is that indictment of Internet Marketing scammers and boiler-room operators is the only way to stop them. For instance, see the thread
on this blog post, beginning with my comment August 25th, 2011 at 12:19 pm. I expressed my doubt that the FTC and other authorities could do very much, and I pointed to KT as an example. One participant going by the name Sh-t Storm listed some good reasons he thought I was wrong, and Salty added that KT continues to operate not because the government can't do anything, but because they won't. In any case the main focus of the general discussion was the IM Syndicate, and there's speculation that the Syndicate members are getting scared, and justly so.

That may be, but if I'm perfectly honest I have to say that not all of the issues surrounding True-dough are completely black or white. (And I know I've covered much of this before too, but I think it's worth repeating.) Not only are there some possible First Amendment issues -- though they're not nearly as dramatic as True-dough self-servingly portrays them -- but it is also true that our daily lives are compromised, our privacy violated, and our very freedoms threatened, by government and corporate interests alike. It's true that giant industries such as the pharmaceutical industry are more interested in their own bottom lines than our health. It's true that medical science doesn't know everything and that some accepted medical treatments sometimes do more harm than good. It's true that the major political parties and other institutions, including religious institutions in many cases, are more interested in their own power than in improving the quality of life for average people. This is true in the U.S. and all over the world. Everywhere you look you can see evidence that "the fight is fixed, the poor stay poor and the rich get rich," as Leonard Cohen said in his song, "Everybody Knows."

In other words, there's just enough "truthiness" in True-dough's Web site copy, infomercials, and radio rants to keep him well-supplied with fans and followers and, more importantly, with paying customers. Given the state of the world today it is all too easy for True-dough and other scam marketers to don the crown of truthiness, polishing it till it shines so brightly that it blinds the hopeful masses to the slimy, grasping hands that are reaching for their wallets.

The big problem -- and again I beg your indulgence as I re-state the obvious -- is that among these few kernels of truthiness there are also multiple layers of deception, misleading content, tall tales, and outright lies. One of the biggest current True-dough lies is the implication that pouring thousands of dollars into GIN will magically enable one to rise above the problems of ordinary citizens and join the ranks of a largely imaginary elite on some remote and resplendent beach. "NEXT year...I will be Swimming in the Caribbean or someplace as nice...OR Better!" wrote a hopeful Global Information Network affiliate recently on Facebook,
reminding me of the wistful prayer at a Passover Seder: "Next year in Jerusalem." The difference is that the Seder participant has a much better chance of getting to Jerusalem than the average affiliate does of reaching those glorious turquoise waters via GIN. The money the affiliate gives to GIN, however, will almost certainly end up in a sweet Caribbean tax shelter. From there some of it will probably travel to the bank accounts of those pricey attorneys True-dough brags about, and much of the rest will go to supporting KT's lavishly fulfilling lifestyle, which he dangles like a carrot to current and prospective affiliates.

But there is a point where black and white sometimes blend to shades of gray. In my opinion, the fact that much of what True-dough peddles is bulls--t doesn't necessarily mean he belongs in prison. If GIN is a fraudulent scheme then it needs to be stopped somehow, but I don't think True-dough belongs in prison just for producing crappy books and infomercials
that are full of lies and misrepresentations. Nor, for that matter, do I think that all infomercial and Internet hustledorks should be locked up and the keys thrown away. Many should be behind bars, no doubt, but not all of them. And while it does make me profoundly sad to think of some desperately earnest affiliate investing twenty grand or more to become rich the "lazy" way, as I wrote about in this recent post, I also have to acknowledge that there is plenty of available information exposing these hustles for what they are. Yet people continue to believe what they want to believe, ignoring the sage advice about things that sound too good to be true. Too many continue to act as if throwing money at something or someone will buy them the life of their dreams.

Kind of like Gilligan's Island, except the comedy is unintentional
Still, the hustledorks have to bear a large part of the culpability for taking advantage of human frailty.
Consider the latest desperation marketing by Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, who recently blogged that he is thinking of hosting a $50,000-per-head "Mastermind" weekend on Richard Branson's heart-shaped Makepeace Island, which is located off the coast of Australia. That $50k is only for the privilege of hanging with Joe and his genius pals on the island; attendees will still be responsible for any expenses to get there. (Or they could just rent the isle themselves for $16,000 per day.) While Joe cautions his readers not to spend money they don't have, and not to go into debt, he also "challenges" them to stretch their thinking and imagine themselves prosperous enough to blow fifty grand on a weekend with him and his masterful masterminders.

If the time isn’t right now, then this is a perfect addition to your vision board, and write it down on your ‘if it fell out of the clear blue sky’ list. (Or as in my most recent “wouldn’t it be cool if…” blog post http://blog.mrfire.com/cool-law-of-attraction-short-cut/)
But if you have the money and you really want something, make the purchase because if you don’t, the unconscious message you send to yourself is of scarcity.


Taking an adventure trip to Spiritual Treasure Island is an inspired prosperous purchasing EXPERIENCE of a lifetime!
He continues:

This is like a Rolls-Royce Phantom Mastermind but on an island, and instead of an evening, it’s an exclusive weekend retreat.


Consider this: Just going on a trip with big thinkers can expand your mind, open you to new ideas, and lead to breakthroughs that are impossible to predict right now.
Right after that is a picture of Mr. Fire and Gorgeous Fitness Model Jennifer Nicole Lee, who went on a Rolls-Royce Mastermind with Joe in early 2010 to learn how to attract miracles in her life and take her businesses to the next step. (Months later, she attracted some mean ABC reporters.)
Then Joe goes on to relate how he and his buddy Pat went on a day trip to a nearby city one day, and on that trip they came up with an idea that made them tens of thousands of bucks. Writes Joe:

And that idea came from a day trip to a near-by city! (The idea we received became [link to low-priced info-frauduct on how to get rich via ClickBank].)
Imagine what could happen going to an island off the coast of Australia!!!

And...wow. Imagine what could happen going to, like, OUTER SPACE!!!!!!

Or to another dimension entirely!!!!!!!!

And consider the amazing achievements real people have really achieved by paying Joe $5,000 to ride with him in his Rolls-Royce. You can read about some of them here. Just imagine how much more could be achieved by spending ten times that much to go to Shill-again's Island!
Joe already has one ostensibly serious taker for his Island Mastermind, though if I know my New-Agey flakes -- and I think I do -- he shouldn't start counting that money just yet. That person wrote:

Hi Joe,
I am up for the challenge to go to Makepeace Island with you.
I am selling my home.
I’ll have some money when that is complete.
And I am open to however the money will present itself.
I am ready to live the life of my dreams, ready to contribute on a whole new level, ready to be financially free and ready to have more fun!
Won’t all that just be so cool…?
Thank you for all your great work – I am doing just about everything that you send me.
Love,
Kari

Thank you, Karl [sic]. I appreciate your kind words.
Bursting with curiosity, I followed Kari/Karl's link and learned that apart from being an actor and acting coach and a life coach, she has a remarkable skillset that includes various visual arts and crafts, crochet hat-making, ear candling, ear wiggling, throwing confetti in Times Square on New Years' Eve, driving a stick shift, juggling three balls, and blowing saliva bubbles. She also notes that she is good with her hands. She should be a lot of fun on Mr. Fire's Fantasy Island, but I am trying hard not to think about it too much. The thought of the saliva bubbles and the handwork alone are enough to put me off my feed for a week.

The points. Finally.
One point I'm working towards in my snarky little hater way is that Mr. Fire's notion of "prosperous purchasing" in this context is a ludicrously transparent hustle. You can just see the wheels of hype-notic copywriting turning, and they're getting a little creaky from overuse. But another point, perhaps less popular with some consumer advocates, is that anyone who would be
stupid enough to pay $50,000 to spend a weekend on an island with a hustledork and his minions has to take at least some responsibility for a lousy ROI.
The same might be said for anyone who researches MLM/get-rich-quick schemes, and reads a little about Kevin True-dough's background, and still continues to believe that (1) True-dough really was a member of a "secret society" from the age of twelve (or fifteen, depending upon which story you're reading or which infomercial you're listening to); (2) True-dough is a heroic consumer advocate and First Amendment champion; and (3) it really is possible to get rich the "lazy man's" way by "investing" $20,000 or more into True-dough's GIN scheme.
This isn't about blaming the victim, and where there really is victimization I think victimizers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But I also think that at some point people have to choose to wake up and smell the con.

Meanwhile, I will continue to exercise my own First Amendment rights, through snarkitude, ample links, and the occasional serious rumination. You should too, if applicable. If you live outside the U.S., you should exercise your own applicable constitutional and human rights. And if you or someone you know has been scammed,
Salty Droid has several handy links on his site that you can use to report it.
PS added 28 December 2011: I was Googling around today and saw this May 2011 post, which is much more concise than mine. It's from the fab As Unseen On TV Web site, a fact-check site for infomercials. If I had the power to do so, I would require every TV infomercial to have the URL to this Web site prominently displayed on the screen throughout the entire spiel. (Not that it would do much good to those who don't have Internet access, but it might help a lot of folks.)
* * * * *

Additional reading, if you're not completely worn out
More True-dough on this Whirled:
On conspiracies: Skeptical Inquirer has had some very interesting articles this year on the conspiracy meme, such as this piece. (Naturally, some conspiracy theorists took umbrage.) If you're interested in the conspiracy-theory phenomenon as explored by Skeptical Inquirer, and especially if you're interested in the 9/11 conspiracy theories, do yourself a favor and order the July/August 2011 issue of the magazine. The SI writers did a fine job deconstructing all of the claims of the 9/11 "truthers." Not that I really expect the fans of Kevin True-dough, lover of 9/11 conspiracies, to take my advice, but the rest of you might enjoy it.
And speaking of skeptics... here's a March 2006 piece about True-dough and his first Natural Cures book, written by skeptic and author Michael Shermer for Scientific American. Of course the piece brought out some passionate True-dough defenders.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Everything old is Nouveau again (or, Neo-scam by any other name) -- Part 2 of 2


As you may recall, we began Part 1 with a visit to Utah and an old polygamist patriarch, Bob Foster of Rockland Ranch (aka The Rock). Bob, as reported by journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya in his fine book Secrets & Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy, by all appearances had a full and happy life, but nevertheless had been taken in by some of the oldest mail-order marketing ploys in the world. Most of the mail-order hucksters used flattery and outrageous promises of wealth, health, and good fortune, and some offered forbidden information that had supposedly been kept under lock and key by "secret" societies for centuries. Naturally, they were willing to share that information for a price.

One organization that seemed to really have Bob in its thrall was
Nouveau Tech, aka Neo-Tech, often spelled Neotech. Bob owned three large and ponderous books from this organization, all "heirloom editions" inscribed with his name, and he had apparently pored through the text, highlighting copy and scribbling notes in the margins. As I read about Bob in Secrets & Wives I was struck by Nouveau Tech's "secret society" theme, and I wondered if it had anything to do with one of this blog's pet snargets, Kevin True-dough, who has an apparently lucrative seekrit-society shtick of his own. So I did my usual superficial research and indeed found some connections, and that's when the post took off in new directions.
In fact, as a commenter on that post pointed out, and as I subsequently wrote in "Part 1 and 1/2" of this series, True-dough actually met the founder of Neo-Tech, Wallace Ward, aka Frank R. Wallace, when both were serving time in Federal prison. In case you didn't see it or didn't follow the link, here it is again.

Notwithstanding the title of this series, Part 1 covered much more than Nouveau Tech, veering effortlessly into True-dough territory, where it more or less ended up at the conclusion of Part 1 (and stayed through Part 1 1/2). Well, we're going to change lanes again for most of this post, but I have no doubt that we'll be drifting back into True-dough's lane again soon enough.

Neo-persuasion and Miss AnnaBull
If you dig around a little, you'll find lots of information on Neo-Tech's history as both a philosophy and a business. Regarding the latter,
here is a 1998 discussion forum thread that gives some insight into how the very prolific Frank Wallace and his son Wallace Ward, Jr. (pen name Mark Hamilton, Whirled name Mark Scamilton) made their Neo-Tech publishing empire seem larger than it was. One way was by publishing literature under several pen names.

I found the link on
a thread about NovaTech on the "Above Top Secret" site. That thread, started in July of 2004 and continuing well into 2011, began with this explanation from the site's moderators:

The Novatech Society appear to have instigated a form of book "promotion" one that appears to be widespread as members from the U.S.A,UK,and Australia have all reported it..

The "promotion" seems to take a predictable form.

1/An individual first receives a letter which appears to be an invitation to join them and discover truths and knowledge.The individual is asked to return an answer to this invitation within a certain amount of days and receive
free imformation.

2/If a reply is given then the individual will receive a pamphlet.This pamphlet contains little extra imformation than that which was in the original letter but it also contains an order for a book which cost over $130.

3/If the book is bought further letters are received offering more books.We don't know how many more books.

The
Novatech Society far from being a secret society are very much involved with e-books and are closely tied to a place called Neo-Tech publishing company and another "front" Novus Tek

So,if you receive this letter from the Novatech Society and you are curious about what exactly it's all about then we can tell you now before you get embroiled in a marketing ploy.
The Novatech Society are trying to sell you books for an inflated price.

Of course Nouveau Tech/Novatech was using this basic scheme for many years before the Above Top Secret thread made its appearance. Apparently the strategy has worked well enough through the years to keep the Neo-Tech publishing empire, in its numerous incarnations, alive and well despite many run-ins with the authorities due to their dodgy business practices.

And it doesn't even seem to matter that the books are generally poorly written and shoddily produced, nor that some contain a hearty dose of hokey speculative fiction masquerading as "fact." (This is probably why the author of Secrets & Wives automatically concluded that all of the characters in the books were completely fictional.) Consider, for example, a work by Scamilton titled
The Nouveau Tech Package of Miss Annabelle's Secrets. If you act now, you can get a used paperback copy from Amazon for only $55.00. But hurry, there's only one left, and judging by the photo, it looks like it's in pretty crappy shape. But I guess it's the information that counts.

Not everyone loved this work, though. Wrote a disgruntled one-star reviewer in July 2010:


In the second Neo-Tech book, called "Inner Circle Secrets," one of the authors, Mark Hamilton, states very clearly that the third book, called "Miss Annabelle's Secrets," is actually a longer version of his science-fiction novel, "Earth's First Immortals." It is just that, along with some advice regurgitated from the first two Neo-Tech books.

A bit of background information: Mark Hamilton's real name is Wallace Ward, Jr. Wallace Ward Sr.'s nom de plume was Frank R. Wallace, and he was the actual founder of Neo-Tech. Neo-Tech, calling itself a "secret society," advertises itself as being able to help ordinary people achieve greater wealth, happiness and prosperity if they purchase Neo-Tech books and read them cover-to-cover. The average price of each book is in the $100-$150 range. Upon receiving the "Inside Secrets" and "Inner Circle Secrets," books, one quickly learns that neither delivers what it promises. Instead, there are various tips on effective time management interspersed with conspiracy-theory rants against various government agencies, historical figures, etc. None of it is especially enlightening. There are also lofty claims that certain enlightened humans have achieved biological immortality and can create all manner of things, including galaxies, with the power of their minds. The reader is never told how to achieve this, just that it's possible.
In the promotional letters encouraging people to buy this book, there is a claim that, once upon a time, a primary school teacher known as "Miss Annabelle" divulged her great secrets to one group of students. The promotional letters imply that Miss Annabelle was a real person, not a figment of Mark Hamilton's imagination. Her extraordinary students, prospective buyers are told, went on to accomplish great things, including receipt of Nobel Prizes. One would suppose that one or two of her former students would have acknowledged her great influence on their incredibly successful lives. One would also suppose that, if her entire primary school class went on to such lofty heights, the rich and powerful would be clamoring to send their own children to the same school. Miss Annabelle herself should be the subject of various books and films trumpeting her prowess.

As it happens, no one in Miss Annabelle's supposed class has ever come forward, and there's no evidence of her existence anywhere except in this book. However, many disillusioned Neo-Tech customers apparently have come forward. Neo-Tech's membership in the Better Business Bureau was suspended in 2006 for fraudulent advertising practices.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that never was a Miss Annabelle and this book contains no more "secrets" than the first two Neo-Tech books did. Don't waste your time or money on this unless you're looking for an expensive sci-fi novel.

Another person responded both with a five-star review and a copy-and-paste comment in the section following the one-star review. Here it is in part:

...First of all, this book speaks of very noble and beneficial undertakings in the transformation of our rather diseased society toward a much more enlightened and friendly one. Keep in mind that of the progress that we've made as a civilization thus far, every achievement first started out as merely a dream - in other words - a fiction.

That the book was advertised as real served actually as a psychological tool to put the reader in the frame of mind that the dreams and ideas contained therein were tangible and could therefore be achieved. In my view, all thee things can be achieved if true progress is not impeded, is defended, and is thus allowed to flourish.
...

...
In the beginning of the book, the author stated that this work was something that he called "faction"; in other words, a blending of fiction and hoped for accomplished fact. So the whole thing comes across as very real and, based upon what most every human desires, why shouldn't it be?

In other words, it's okay to call fiction truth as long as it's a desirable future truth. And science faction is a perfectly legit genre. Another defender wrote:

I'm in No way Connected to Neo Tech Nor Do I work for them , I'm A Ordinary person who Ordered All 3 Volumes Have read the first & I'm On my Volume 2 "Inner-Circle Secrets" & Next will be this Book with "Annabelle's Secret's" , I read a lot of Books upon The "Law Of Attraction" & In the First Orientation Booklet it Tell's you The Secret is A 2300 year old Secret Hidden in These Volumes Of Books If One has Read " The Secret" " The Wisdom Of Robert Collier" & "The Wisdom Of Wallace D. Wattle's" Anyone can Figure out that The Neo-Tech Is only Teaching its Readers " The Law Of Attraction" But In A More In-deft Detailed Manuscript It can easily go over Ones Head If they've Never Read About "Attraction " & The Law of getting what you Want by Using your Thoughts When I Read the First Book I Knew Exactly What The Book Talked About " God-Man " This can be also Read In " Robert Collier's" Books if one Buys His Books upon the Law Of Attraction .

With that said To the Above Reviewer Its Not that These Books Don't have anything to Offer Or any Teachings If You have Read Other "Law Of Attraction" Books that are More like A Lesson Of 1 , 2,& 3 Step Type Books Then you Would know What the Secret Of Neo-Tech Books Hide & When I Read its about A 2300 Year old Secret I knew it Meant " The Law Of Attraction" & each book Brings Into Steps Of how to Manage Your day in order to Achieve What You Want in your life & How to Manage Those Days in order to Achieve them & how to Keep them .

For me it toke awhile to figure this out Cause it is hard to read & I'm like ok its 2300 Yr old Secret & I refered Back to The Book " The Secret" That also Refers to The 2300 year old Secret & I finally Got What these Books are about .

It is also hard to rite, apparently. But I'm like ok with that, especially since I now understand that The Secret and the Neo-Tech material are all about the same thing: The Law of Extraction, which is all about extracting as much scratch as possible from as many folks as possible.
"Neo-Tech changed my life!"
Like his buddy Kevin True-dough,
Mark Scamilton has a throng of passionate followers. They adore his books, for example, as hinted by some of the Amazon comments above, and as the testimonials and love letters on this page further demonstrate. (Or check out these raves about Scamilton's novel, Superpuzzle.) People seem to truly believe him when he declares himself to be on a mission to help everyone have "a creation-driven life," which he talks about in his intro vid on the Neothink Society Web site. I honestly tried to watch that video all the way through, but kept getting distracted by the alternating views of Scamilton, particularly when he was sporting those sunglasses that made him look like a bad imitation of actor David Spade's sleazy Rules of Engagement character, Russell Dunbar.

Sleazy or not, Scamilton and Neo-Tech have inspired many folks, such as a prolific wingnutty sort going by the pseudonym David L. Hunter. Hunter apparently uses a pen name to protect himself from the evil anti-civilization agents, Socialist-Fascists, and neo-cheaters who would surely come after him and destroy him if they knew his true identity. Writing under the guise of something he calls
The Local Group ("Enriching Individuals Worldwide"), he explains in a 2005 article how Neo-Tech changed his life forever. He begins the piece with an "Executive Summary" in which he dramatically refers to himself in the third person:

In February 1993 an ordinary man placed an order for a secretive manuscript. He had no idea what to expect. When that manuscript arrived, it revolutionized his life. As a result of utilizing that secretive material, his body has become muscular, lean and fit. His mind has become clear and logical. His wealth increases by five figures annually.

Five figures...wow. This passage is followed by a footnote, which explains the source of the miraculous five-figure income increase:

This is due to a gift from relatives. The secretive material is credited for enabling the recipient to understand and master financial markets, which allowed him to parlay that financial gift into an ongoing income-producing asset rather than consuming it.

As the article progresses, Hunter drops the third-person conceit, sharing, among other things, his amazing physical stats:

...I am a 39-year-old man and here are my results from using Neo-Tech:
Biological Statistics
Cholesterol level: 100 (ideal is under 200)
Triglyceride level: 24 (ideal is under 190)
HDL level: 48 (ideal is above 35)
LDL level: 52 (ideal is less than 130)
Glucose level: 95 (ideal is less than 110)
Liver function: normal
Kidney function: normal
Blood pressure: 120/80 (ideal is 120/80)
Body Weight: 135 (ideal is 135-140)
Since encountering Neo-Tech in 1993, I have never been admitted to a hospital nor have I taken any prescription drugs. Also, as per Neo-Tech, I am a teetotaler. As can be deduced from my biological statistics above, abstinence from alcohol has not led to any cardio-vascular problems or diabetes. This contradicts recent findings in the popular scientific literature that implies abstinence from alcohol increases a person’s risk for cardio-vascular disease and diabetes.
I am completely healthy without the need for any dietary supplements, drugs, alcohol, medication, doctors or hospitalization. While the American Medical Association might not like to hear this, I credit my naturally healthy physique to Neo-Tech. In all fairness, I think medicine has its appropriate uses. I just have no use for medicine.

Why am I having icky visions of the diabolical Colonel Stuart,
played by William Sadler, performing nekkid tai chi in the movie Die Hard 2? It occurred to me that Hunter's amazing story would not only be displeasing to the American Medical Association but also to Kevin True-dough and other aggressive dietary supplement and frauduct pushers. But never mind that.
Hunter goes on to impress us with more numbers, and gives us a peek at his romantic life as well:
Financial Statistics $44,300 securities (stocks & bonds)
$06,200 cash (bank deposits)
$00,000 debt (loans & credit cards)
$50,500 total financial assets
I have relatively few material possessions but they are paid for. So my net worth is higher, although my material possessions are not liquid like my financial assets. It is true that I have been lucky at times, but I agree with the adage that says luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Neo-Tech prepared me for life. Hence I was able to capitalize on my lucky situations rather than squander them. As a result, I know for sure that my financial assets will grow significantly from year to year.
What about sex and love? I attract numerous beautiful women online from around the world. Some of these include an Australian page-2 pinup girl, a Budweiser bikini babe, a famous television actress and other lovely women. The women I chose to engage in sexually and romantically have similar responses like “That was incredible” and “I never knew I could love anyone so much” and “You are more valuable to me than all the money in the world.” I credit my sexual and romantic prowess to the scholarly research on sex and love that underpins Neo-Tech.

Jeez, who says there are no good men left? Here's a guy with more than fifty thou in financial assets, and he can attract beautiful women online. From around the world! He continues:
...The next question is: was it worth it? Was it worth taking the time to learn, master and apply Neo-Tech? Yes. Could I have done the same or better in life without ever hearing about Neo-Tech? No. I am sure I could not have experienced these results without applying Neo-Tech. Why not? Well, for starters, I was a confused 27-year-old when I first encountered Neo-Tech. Relentless efforts by church and state had effectively sundered my mind from reality, leaving me vulnerable to professional manipulators called mystics and neocheaters (hidden criminals).
Moreover, I lacked a solid understanding of money, banking, financial markets and the economy. As a result of Neo-Tech, I got the exposure I needed to master money, markets and the economy...

Despite his debt to Neo-Tech, Hunter insists that he does not follow the advice to the letter, and has actually pulled away from Neo-Tech somewhat. At the end of the article he explains why and how he parted company with them. Still, he has continued to draw inspiration from Wallace and Scamilton's ideas, as we'll see in a little while.

Meanwhile, Mark Scamilton is all over the Interwebz, offering a variety of flopportunites,
such as the Neothink Business Alliance, whose Web site has one of those mystical parchment-looking backgrounds like The Secret Web site used to have, so you just know it's infused with magickal wisdom and great money-attracting ops for you. Here's what it says on the home page:

The essence of the Neothink® Business Alliance (The Alliance) is to leverage the buying power of the market place toward achieving the super puzzle and biological immortality. This is accomplished by reaching out to individuals and businesses outside as well as within the society to experience the new business philosophy that will be the spear head for curing aging and death. The Alliance is actualizing a new business philosophy from the inside while supporting the depoliticization of our country on the outside through support of The Twelve Visions Party®.
Vision The Alliance is a uniting of businesses and individuals who desire to be part of a movement within the society to honest and pure love business. Only suppliers and vendors who are members of The Alliance will be welcome to compete within the society. All members of The Alliance share a common denominator in curing aging and death and all members of The Alliance are supporters of The Twelve Visions Party®.
Mission The mission of The Alliance is to reveal the white collar hoax and unlock the true essence of Laissez-faire capitalism and free markets. The Alliance will reach out to the Anti-civilization and bring individuals and businesses into The Alliance to become members of the parallel Neothink® Society. Individuals will discover their Friday Night Essence within the TGIF Employee Placement company and the member companies will place these integrators into their companies.

Did you get all that? The bits about curing aging and death were some of the things that hooked Utah Bob and have doubtless attracted many others as well. You can join the Neothink Society and be part of the grand experiment for only $30 a month. Dozens already have. Watch the videos and you'll see. On second thought, I guess you can't watch the videos; they don't seem to work. Oh, well.

Move over, Tea Party!

Even though -- once again, like True-dough -- Mark Scamilton and the Neo-Tech bidness empire have kind of a shady history, that just doesn't seem to matter to admirers and believers. After all, Mark is a visionary on a grand scale, and is even the head of his own "political" party, the aforementioned
Twelve Visions Party. The party's Web site, which sports a spiffy retro-90s look, seems to crash frequently, and has numerous nonfunctional links, has some very credible testimonials, such as this one:

Mark hamilton and his Twelve visions Party are above reproach.

Mark hamilton and his Twelve visions Party are above reproach. His late father, Frank R. Wallace was the author of Neo- Tech. I have been a Neo – Tech owner since 1987 and have found it very helpfull in my life and finances. There are amazing technologies just under the surface of our society which are just about to burst forth – 100% free energy for all men – commercial biological immortality and many others. We just have to get rid of those that are keeping it from us. TVP will do all this and more. Power to Mark and TVP!!
Chuck B

There's that promise of immortality again. That just keeps coming up. There are pages and pages of testimonials on the Twelve Visions Party site, at least 212 of them bearing the "Mark Hamilton" tag.
Here's another testimonial, in all its unedited glory, from October 20th, 2010:

The Neothink literature I own is a product that accentuates the positive and elements the negative insight of all things. Further it shows what’s wrong in this country and the world and is actually playing itself out in daily events that get reported.
The ruling class has now the American people to battle with. With new party affiliations emerging, what neo-tech speaks about is coming to pass proving the people are feed up. With the Twelve Visions Party advocating the ideas of value creation by every individual for themselves and for a better society and with the support of our members.

Anyone or anything that "elements the negative insight of all things" and can help the people who are "feed up" can't be all bad, I guess.
But what exactly does the Twelve Visions Party stand for? You won't find much on the FAQ page on the Party Web site, which only has one question so far. That question concerns the meaning of the TVP emblem which, appropriately enough, features a serpent and a dollar sign. Elsewhere on the site, however, there's plenty of information.

Like most "third parties," the Twelve Visions Party has big plans for fixing what's wrong in the US of A:


With the TVP National Platform, Make All the People Rich, Including the Poor, I announce the birth of the Twelve Visions Party. The Prime Law of Protection and The Protection-Only Budget are the two pillars that hold up this new party. They manifest the original beauty behind the two old parties [Democratic and Republican] without the lies, tricks, and power-plays that destroyed those beautiful original intentions...
...The rising rule of man and his strengthening ruling class of Democrats and Republicans have severely damaged this country. Ordinary people are suffering. The Twelve Visions Party is here to reverse the rising rule of man and eventually eradicate it and its destruction of government and country. The Twelve Visions Party recognizes a very unique opportunity to rapidly and radically turn this economy around. Whereas people’s wallets suffer greatly under the rising rule of man in America, the Twelve Visions Party sees a unique opportunity to arrest the rule of man and its suppressive ruling class in order to free the geniuses of society to make everyone prosperous, including the poor!

Free the geniuses of society... hmmm. Would that include geniuses such as Mark Scamilton and his twin brother from a different mother, Kevin True-dough? Actually, we all have the potential to be geniuses, according to the Twelve Visions philosophy.

Which leads us to this question: Just what are those twelve visions? If you don't feel like plodding through the TVP Web site, here's a cheat sheet, which I got from
this very informative page:
  • Vision One: Become the Person You were Meant to Be
  • Vision Two: Live the Life You Were Meant to Live
  • Vision Three: Feel Extraordinary Every Day
  • Vision Four: Slow Down Aging Permanently
  • Vision Five: Land the Job of Your Dreams
  • Vision Six: Build the Business of Your Passions
  • Vision Seven: Experience the Love of Your Life
  • Vision Eight: Have the Body You Always Envied
  • Vision Nine: Become a Genius of Society
  • Vision Ten: Have Everything You Ever Wanted (via the free-to-soar geniuses and super technologies)
  • Vision Eleven: Ride A Prosperity Wave to Riches (via falling prices and soaring buying power)
  • Vision Twelve: Enjoy Nearly Perfect Health (via soaring medical technologies and falling prices)

Sounds like an info-frauduct series, doesn't it? Maybe it's just me inaccurately reading between the lines and jumping to illogical conclusions again, but something about Scamilton's whole "political party" shtick seems a little self-serving. But then, I suppose that is true of all political parties. And true to politix -- and, for that matter, scam marketing -- the excuses for failure are already built in. If those geniuses of society fail to make everyone prosperous, they can claim that it's only because of interference from that rat-bastard rule of man (not to mention the tyrannical, oppressive gummit). "It's a conspiracy, like we've been telling you all along!" I suppose that's marginally better than blaming the economically challenged for not using the Law of Attraction properly to manipulate the Universe into giving them stuff.

I've discussed this matter here before but now seems a good time to bring it up again, if you don't mind another slight digression. I have often wondered about that lofty ideal of making everyone "prosperous," which has not only been a dream of sincere idealists through the years but has also been the implicit or explicit promise of virtually every New-Wage hustledork and Internet Marketing scammer. In a market economy, prosperity brings price increases, and there are always goods and services -- even basic necessities, in some cases -- that are beyond the reach of some people. (Consider what's going on in Brazil right now;
it's suddenly the hot place to be, and Rio, the land of the $35 martini, is now one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.)

Moreover, despite the feel-good Law of Attraction tenet that the Universe has a boundless supply of everything that anyone could ever possibly want if he or she will only invest in the right products, it seems to me that there's only so much good stuff on Earth -- for example, there are only so many desirable spots on which to build one's dream mansion. And human nature being what it is, there are always people who want to grab more stuff than they need, while keeping others from getting what they need.

I found
an interesting piece that speculates about a scenario where everyone in the U.S. suddenly becomes a millionaire. As the author notes, "The scarcest goods & services in the economy do not multiply magically just because the amount of money being held multiplies dramatically." I think that's probably true no matter how earnestly one implores the magic Law of Attraction Genie.

I don't think this frees us from a moral imperative to do what we can to improve the quality of life for others as well as ourselves. But I think we can pretty safely assume that neither the Twelve Visions Party nor Neo-Tech/Neothinking holds the key to wiping out poverty. Nevertheless Mark Scamilton insists that all people can live like millionaires, even the poor.
 

This seems to be a summation of the Twelve Visions Party's worldwide "get rich" scheme
. Apparently you can join the revolution by ordering a $9.95 114-page "forbidden document" that explains The Prime Secret. Or you can download the Get-Rich Plan for free here. In case you're worried, be assured that the Twelve Visions Party hates "span" as much as you do and will not share your information with anyone.

One seekrit behind the Twelve Visions Party and Neo-Tech seems to be something called "Zonpower," which Scamilton's daddy Frank R. Wallace invented...er...discovered. I've read a lot of Neo-Tech stuff online and still haven't figured out exactly who or what Zon is, but apparently it is something like The Force that enables those who have it to be like really evolved members of the Illuminutty...I mean the Illuminati. And apparently anyone can be Zonnish, if one only buys and reads all of the Neo-Tech literature, and lives the life of a Neothinker.

Once again we turn to our wingnuttish pal, David Hunter, whom I quoted at length above.
He 'splains how Zon has shaken up history and continues to influence it. Sez Hunter:
 
Without Zon, you will watch life on earth shift from the creation of new wealth to the usurpation of existing wealth. You will witness the reversal of the economic and political gains of the last quarter century since the Reagan Revolution began in 1981.
Those gains include the rise of young people such as Michael Dell, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who, starting as teenagers, created empires of unprecedented wealth, jobs and values for all civilization. Plus Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine that restored free speech to the airwaves, which made possible people such as Mark Levine, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who pioneered the field of conservative talk radio to bring free-market ideology and Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to a combined 50 million listeners per week.
Other important gains include the peaceful collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the strengthening of the US dollar, deregulation of businesses, expanding the capital base for new business start-ups and business expansions, as well as burgeoning private-sector jobs that provide real income and opportunities for growth among the populace.
Yet today without Zon, you will watch Steve Jobs perish, Bill Gates move his business out of America and see Levine, Savage, Hannity and Limbaugh driven off the radio. Financial markets will decline, old foes of America will rise with new threats and the primary route to riches will be a John-Edwards-like draining of producers via clever deceptions. Every economic and political gain made by Ronald Wilson Reagan will be reversed as parasitical bureaucrats gain increasing control over your thoughts and actions.
However, with the power of Zon you will wake up from the above nightmare to discover a new world of personal liberation that puts you in complete control of your thoughts and actions rather than mindless bureaucrats controlling and draining you...

Now, I'm sure some of the above will come as news to those of you who thought that the collapse of the Soviet Union was due to the efforts of those miracle meditators in Maharishi's organization. Turns out it was Zonpower all along. And the fact that Steve Jobs' health isn't so good these days... oh my Goddess, could that be due to a deficit of Zon?
But all is not lost...

The Mystery Continues

More than three decades ago Dr. Wallace wrote in a precursor to Neo-Tech that even if he was destroyed, his work would mysteriously continue to be developed and spread. As everyone vested in earth’s irrational anti-civilization breathed a sigh of relief upon the death of Dr. Wallace, few understood that Neo-Tech and Zonpower would continue to grow and spread.
Sometimes an idea is so compelling it cannot be stopped with the force of destruction. Neo-Tech/Zonpower is just such an idea. It has reached earthlings just in time before life on earth is annihilated. Will you be spared the destruction inherent in an anti-civilization? And will you meet Zon?
Zon is closer than you think. In fact, you do not need to send a letter across the world nor make a long-distance phone call nor fly on an airplane to a far-away place to meet Zon. All you need to do is look in the mirror. When the being that looks back at you has transformed from a chained slave in Plato’s cave to a free Citizen of the Cosmos as Dr. Carl Sagan would say, you have met Zon.

Conclusion

Even the most brilliant minds within the anti-civilization such as Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway and Jim Cramer of Mad Money are ultimately limited by the 2500-year-old matrix of mysticism and neocheating. Such brilliant minds are caught up in the seemingly inescapable web of illusions and deceptions such as global warming, universal healthcare and government takeover of businesses including General Motors, Chrysler, banks, investment firms, hospitals, energy companies and so on.
But forget about the dishonesty-and-death matrix that has dominated conscious beings for the last 2500 years. That irrational matrix means nothing now or in the future. You can climb out of Plato’s cave of illusions using the rock-solid steps laid down by Aristotle (logic), Ayn Rand (reason) and Neo-Tech (honesty). When you do, you too will hear the immortal voice of Zon.

If you have trouble understanding the concept of Zon and don't want to make your way through endless books, maybe you can check out the comic books that were inspired by Zonpower and Neo-Tech.
 

By the way, if you read the endnotes on Hunter's Zon piece you'll notice that he expresses disappointment in Kevin Trudeau. Even though True-dough learned about Neo-Tech straight from the source years ago, and in Hunter's opinion has since produced a lot of valuable content since then, Hunter is disappointed with one of True-dough's works, a book telling people fake ways to get free money from the government. In Hunter's view, getting money from the government is just supporting a corrupt machine (never mind that much of the advice in True-dough's book is exaggerated, misleading, or totally bogus). Hunter seems almost surprised that True-dough would be such an opportunist. I guess Hunter's eyes aren't as wide open as he imagines them to be.
 

Anyhow, Scamilton's Twelve Visions Party claims to have a brilliant plan for restoring the U.S. to its former greatness -- as indicated, for example, in this treatise, How Government Could Evolve Into A Super-Competent, Customer-Driven Protection Service. And there's much more on the Twelve Visions Party Web site. As may be glaringly obvious, I haven't explored it in depth. But I did happen to notice that Article 1 of the Prime Law is:
No person, group of persons, or government shall initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against any individual’s self, property, or contract.

Fraud... oh, my, don't get me started on that. Let me just say that, not surprisingly, the site also contains many enthusiastic testimonials that also have kind words about True-dough's Global Information Network (GIN).

Kevin True-dough and Mark Scamilton have both made noise in the direction of running for president of the United States. There's even a Kevin Trudeau for President 2012 Facebook page. Here is the full link, although you might not be able to get to it unless you are a Facebook member and are signed in:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-Trudeau-For-President-2012/146088388768724. I also recently covered KT's bid for political office, and even provided a campaign poster, which he is more than welcome to use.At one time Mark Scamilton announced that he was going to run for president in the 1996 election. But apparently he did not. I know this will come as a shock to you, but some people think the presidency thing was just a stunt to sell books and perhaps save Scamilton's foundering business. Moreover, at the time he first made his announcement, his political party was apparently called "The People's Party for Economic Prosperity." Here's more information from the person who made the vid I linked to above.
Apparently Neo-Tech did have big plans for 1996, as indicated in this old article from the Jewwatch.com site:

The Neo-Tech Trojan Horse
Over the years, the Neo-Tech/Illuminati dynamic has evolved into today's Zonpower. This 200-year-old dynamic is increasingly undermining false, harmful authorities throughout governments and religions worldwide. The Neo-Tech/Illuminati dynamic has been the hidden force beneath the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the collapse of the conservative party in Canada, and America's sea-change first reflected in its 1994 elections. The seventh and final cyberspace stage of Neo-Tech/Zonpower -- the public phase -- will activate in late 1996 with the Internet distribution of the Zonpower Protocols...the Trojan-Horse penetration of Neo-Tech into the heart of the Establishment in America and worldwide.

I'm sure the Establishment is still quivering from all that penetration.
Apart from his faux-litical aspirations, Scamilton clearly has something else in common with his buddy True-dough, something he apparently inherited from his Neo-Tech founder dad: a willingness to cash in on the "ancient secrets" meme. There's this, f'rinstance:
 

Held Back for 3000 Years, Now Revealed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkxjnnBL7V8

In this vid Scamilton doesn't employ True-dough's characteristically overwrought presentation techniques -- the aggressively earnest gestures, the dramatic vocal inflections, the wide-eyed facial expressions. Rather Scamilton is quiet and understated, speaking slowly and staring at the camera with heavy-lidded eyes. Either he intends for the net effect to be hypnotic in some way, or the man is on some serious downers. I guess I'll have to read up on my covert hypnosis techniques to figure it all out.

I suppose that some folks might think that despite Scamilton's sweeping proclamations, his grand political vision, and his vast publishing and Web empires (he apparently owns dozens of domains;
start here and check out the list on the right-hand side of the page), he is a relatively obscure crackpot, and basically harmless. Even his bidness ties with True-dough -- the affiliate love between Neo-Tech and GIN that we covered in Part 1 -- haven't exactly made Scamilton front-page news. That could change, of course. It's possible that Scamilton and True-dough are gearing up to completely repackage and resell the voluminous Neo-Tech/Nouveau Tech content, which is probably one reason that a lot of the material that was on the Neo-Tech Web site has been deleted. Why give it away when you can sell it for inflated prices? Maybe it's not just coincidence that True-dough's marketing guy Peter Wink mentioned on his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago that he was re-reading The Neo-Tech System. Or maybe I'm way behind the curve and a lot of the NT stuff is already being offered exclusively to people who are foolish enough to sign up for GIN.

But despite any mighty marketing efforts it is always possible that Scamilton will remain just another two-bit philosopher and fourth-rate sci-fi writer. More than likely he's not destined to become the next ElRon Hubbard. Then again, if the Twelve Visions Party or Neo-Tech ever became as celebrity-infested as Scientology, all bets would be off.

Scamilton certainly seems to have cultish aspirations, if this page on Neo-stink clubhouses is any indication.
One thing is sure: Scamilton and True-dough both have a knack for rallying the troops, as this comment, taken from the December 2009 Neo-Think newsletter announcing the GIN/Neo-Tech affiliate program, demonstrates:

I am proud to be a member of the worlds saviors, we are modern day heroes like those who wrote the constitution each and every one of us. History is being made and we are all part of it. Also I was invited to join the GIN when it first began, and I never got started because of financial difficulties, and computer crashes, i am still very interested as I am still in need of finances. I need help creating my own web page if anyone can give me a boost I will certainly do the same for another in the future.

I see our mission clearly, and I also see the obstacles the neo cheats will do their best to dis-credit us. They will even commit serious crimes to stop us, but they will not succeed. We must utilize integrated thinking, we must always be four steps ahead of those who want to stop us.

And there's even more good news. It seems that Scamilton has global aspirations for the Twelve Visions Party. Today the U.S., tomorrow the world.

What about Bob?
We end this mini-series where we began it: in Utah. You may be wondering whatever happened to Bob of The Rock, who had sent so many hundreds and hundreds of dollars to mail-order scammers over the years.
He passed away in September 2008 of cancer, despite his declaration earlier that year that God had sent him a message telling him he had ten to twenty more years on Earth. He was survived by three wives, 38 children, and 85 grandchildren.

Regarding the scammers, though, I like to think that old Bob had the last laugh. Even though he, like countless others, seemed to really believe that he would come into a great deal of money through Nouveau Tech and countless other similar scams perpetrated by the Secret Brotherhood of Mail-List Sharers, it would appear that he could give as good (or as bad) as he got. In Secrets & Wives, Sanjiv Bhattacharya began the section about Bob and the scammers by writing about the day he was hanging with Bob making small talk, when a FedEx truck came rumbling through the wilderness towards them.
"I'll bet that guy's looking for me," says Bob. "He's got a scam on his hands. Some people called me the other day saying, 'We've got a $150,000 sweepstake, and we're sending the money out but you need to pay the man three-hundred-something dollars. This guy's going to deliver a package and he'll want a check,' they said. Well, my check will bounce, but you know, their check's going to bounce too..."

I have no idea if Bob, who was so enamored of his Nouveau Tech tomes and probably poured hundreds of dollars into the Wallace/Scamilton empire, ever gave any money to Scamilton's good buddy Kevin True-dough, and actually I think he departed this vale of tears before True-dough's biggest MLM boondoggle, the Global Information Network, was officially launched. But I will note that GIN currently doesn't take checks, only credit or debit card payments and money orders. That makes sense; KT does not strike me as one to allow himself to be bamboozled by some old coot or cootess writing a rubber check. If anyone is to do the bamboozling, it will be True-dough, thank you very much. And we'll have more about him soon.
* * * * *

More fun reading
A list of Neo-Tech literature, and some Neo-Tech-inspired literature, can be found on the above-mentioned wingnutty guy's site. Apparently he needed the money and, at the time this page was published, was trying to sell the stuff:
http://neo-tech.localgroup.net/portfolio/
Plenty of folks are suspicious of Neo-Tech, as demonstrated in discussions on various forums. In addition to the Above Top Secret forum I linked to towards the beginning of this post, I found these:

For a look at another man with grand plans not only for the U.S. but for the world, I give you the founder of Technocracy:
The ultimate wacko bailout plan?

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