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, April 20, 2015

Whirled suits, hustling from Camp Cupcake, and dates to remember


First of all, Dear Ones, following my customary apology for my laxity in blogging (I'm sorry!), I must also apologize for my April 1 fake-out. Though I embedded a link to a graphic indicating that it was an April Fool's joke, a few people were April-fooled, if but momentarily, and some were quite upset by the prospect of me hanging up my Cosmic blogging hat. I was touched by the responses. Rest assured that I am not going to willingly give up blogging any time soon. Now let's catch up on things.

Cosmic Connie and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad lawsuit
I do want to let you know about something that is going on in the background that I've only hinted at on a few blog posts over the past couple of months (including in my April Fool's graphic), though I'm not yet ready to write about it in detail. On January 28, 2015 I was served with a lawsuit for defamation. (By sheer coincidence this was also the birthday of the Plaintiff (I would make a joke about his "birthday suit," but fear it would bring up egregiously unpleasant visuals). Also by sheer coincidence it was the one-year anniversary of the day that
this article was published on the Jewish Journal site.)

By "served," I mean I that in response to a certified mail notice in my rural mailbox, I went to the post office (or, more accurately, sent my husband to the post office) to pick up the actual lawsuit. The thing was filed in a North Carolina court by --- I bet you've already guessed -- one Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell, ex-b.f.f. of and former "personal physician in Europe" to now-imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau (aka K.T., aka Katie). [Case number 15 CVS 2791, filed in the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, Guilford County, North Carolina]

Yes. The very man who, over the past few years, has publicly, repeatedly, and without any evidence whatsoever called me, among other things...

  • an AIDS-infected ex-prostitute who gave STDs to her customers
  • a Big Pharma/medical profession shill being paid to defame, hurt and ruin Coldwell under "more than 70 fake names" and on dozens of "fake web sites"
  • a criminal conspirator who recruited "two proven child molesters in foreign countries" and a "crazy criminal wannabe lawyer" Stateside to defame "Dr." C and hack into his web sites and radio show
  • a druggie
  • a seriously mentally ill (and/or mentally retarded) person who is "a danger to herself and others"
  • a sexual harasser who has been pursuing him for years and has told his own brother on the phone that she wants to "suck Dr. C. dry like the Sahara"
  • a dog-killer
...all of which are bald-faced lies... yes, that person has sued ME for defamation. The suit is rife with misrepresentations and outright lies as well as more fundamental flaws, but it is a real "thing" and I am fighting it the best way I can. I do not yet have a lawyer because -- and I am not embarrassed to admit this -- I simply cannot afford one. The sad truth is that many people can't afford lawyers, at least not good lawyers, a reality that inconveniently clashes with the litigation fever that has been burning up our society for many years. And there seems to be a dearth of lawyers willing to help a small-time blogger fight a bat-crap crazy lawsuit pro bono.

Sometimes lawsuits are necessary to get justice for those who have been wronged. But all too often, they're simply the first and last resort of whiners and scoundrels. For some people, litigation is a sport. For people like Coldwell who often find themselves cornered by the barking (or snarking) dogs of truth, abusing the legal system is a desperate attempt to silence the barking and snarking. Witness
last year's sham lawsuit, when Coldwell sued Jason Jones, aka Salty Droid (in the wrong jurisdiction, no less), for blog posts written by Omri Shabat at Glancingweb.

And then there's the present action, where we have the man who has described himself as "the greatest therapist of our times," "a great humanitarian," and "the world's most highly paid motivational coach on earth" -- you know, the guy who has cured more than 35,000 cancer patients with a 92.3% or better cure rate -- beating up on a little hobby blogger who has no money.

Writing abusive, profane, obscene and offensive lies about me for more than two years on his and some of his buddies' public social media pages did not work to shut me up. Trying to incite his readers and fans to take violent action against me by falsely accusing me of killing his dog (and publicly posting my home address and private cell phone number while openly encouraging his fans to "get in touch with me") did not work, or hasn't worked yet (we remain on high alert here, and I have not really felt safe in my own home since last summer). When telling vicious lies about me and trying to sic his craziest fans on me didn't work, Coldwell resorted to abusing the very legal system for which he has often expressed contempt (e.g., he has preached that most laws on the books are irrelevant to "sovereign citizens" such as he, and that most lawyers are "dirt" and a waste of oxygen). Despite his contempt for the U.S. legal system, the courts serve just fine as a bullying tool when it suits him.

Way to fight the good fight, Lenny.

Coldwell has apparently taken great umbrage at numerous things I have written about him (though no specific blog posts have been cited), but in the complaint, the top-named offense is that I have accused him of hating Jewish people. Yes, of all the thousands of words I have written about him, my relatively few mentions of his apparent anti-Semitism seem to have gotten his little goat the most. Make of that what you will. He also doesn't like the fact that I have shared, in passing, much-repeated eyewitness accounts regarding his ungentlemanly-like behavior at GIN (Kevin Trudeau's Global Information Network) events. He doesn't like the fact that I've insinuated he is a scammer, and he falsely states that I have called him a cult leader. And he is really, really riled because I (and another co-defendant) wrote or insinuated that he has been sued. (Actually there is a record of a civil suit in South Carolina where he is listed as a defendant, but whatever.) And so on. There is a whole laundry list of petty whines in that complaint.

The lawsuit, for which a jury trial is demanded, asks for tens of thousands of dollars in "damages" from each of the defendants (yes, there are more than one; see below), as well as permanent injunctions to make us take down our writings about Coldwell and agree not to cause any of the content to ever be republished anywhere, and, presumably, to refrain from ever writing anything about Coldwell ever again. Way to champion free speech, Lenny.

"But, Cosmic Connie," almost none of you may be saying, "You should have thought of this before you started writing those posts! If you couldn't afford to be sued, then you should never have gone after this man who has done so much good for so many sick people, and who is driven only by a promise he made to God when he was a very little boy with a very sick mommy. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the blogging game."

To which I can only say, "Some considerations are more important than money and whether or not one can 'afford' to tell the truth." Although at this point, some money would be helpful.

If you've not done so already, you can read some more bits and pieces about this judicial travesty on Salty Droid (here and here), since Jason is also named in the lawsuit.

The other main defendant is the person who is the admin for the Rational Wiki site, the offending piece being
a single article about Coldwell that appears on the site and was originally published in May 2014. The complaint and subsequent documents betray a confusion on the part of Coldwell's mighty legal team about just who is responsible for this article, which was apparently not written by any of the people named in the complaint. (Any of you Rational Wiki contributors who might be reading this: you can take this news back to the "Talk" page: there really is a lawsuit against Rational Wiki for this piece. I tried to join in the "Talk" and 'splain as much, but frankly, I don't understand how the Rational Wiki "Talk" system works, so I can only communicate through this blog.)

And in a blatantly obvious attempt to cast as wide a net as possible, the list of "defendants" is rounded out by several irrelevant web sites and domain registry companies.


NOT on the list of defendants, despite a short-lived post on Lenny's main Facebook profile that featured the blogger's beaten-up mug (a picture Coldwell stole from the blogger's Facebook page and made up an outrageous and libelous fake story about) is Bernie O'Mahony in Japan (GINtruth). Omri Shabat at Glancingweb isn't named either. Just in case you were wondering. (Here is Bernie's post from February regarding Coldwell's early hype about the lawsuit. Coldwell has been pretty silent about it recently, though.)

Though there is more than one defendant, I am clearly the main target of this suit and the one who, for some reason, Coldwell views as the greatest threat. He apparently finds my little blog threatening despite its almost embarrassingly small readership, and notwithstanding his own greatness and the fact that he is beloved by millions, and has zillions of dollars, and his business just keeps growing and growing and growing, according to the stories he tells outside of the lawsuit. Why, on his Thanksgiving Day message on Facebook this past November, he wrote that 2014 was his best year ever, and that he will just keep getting better and better. But... better destroy that pesky little blogger, all the same. It's for the cancer sufferers, Champions!

Anyway, I will give you more deets when I can. And by the way, if you're surprised that Lenny is apparently hanging his hat in North Carolina these days instead of South Carolina, as had been commonly accepted wisdom on this Whirled and elsewhere, you're not the only one.


UPDATE:
The above case ended, not with a bang but a whimper, on May 19, 2015, when the Plaintiff's attorney filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of all claims against all defendants.
Read more here.

You can view the original Complaint and the Notice of Voluntary Dismissal here.

Selling GIN from the clink
But let's get to more interesting and relevant topics, such as all-time Whirled favorite
Kevin Trudeau, without whom I and most of the rest of the world would never have even heard of the above-mentioned whiny little plaintiff. Earlier this year I caught you up on some of Katie's shenanigans, including the promos for his new "Nuggets of Gold" e-newsletter, and various continuing scams such as the Baccarat scam and his Infomercial Secrets info-frauduct. In the latter post I also provided the court updates, such as they were, and links to some of the appeals briefs. And I shared commentary and insights from a recent Business Insider in-prison interview with Trudeau.

Well, here it is a few months later, and Katie continues to spread his New-Wage/McSpirituality wisdumb from the confines of Camp Cupcake, aka FPC (Federal Prison Camp) Montgomery, Alabama. He's still apparently pooping those Nuggets of Gold out on a regular basis, along with something he calls the "Science of Personal Mastery Course," which he emphasizes is not to replace the famous Success Mastery Course (which you buy into when you join the Global Information Network (GIN)), but only to supplement it. Rest assured that via
his Facebook fan page, a page which I am allowed to read but on which I am not allowed to comment, Katie is still very much pushing the club that his close buddies took over last year. But one of his main agendas, particularly with the Nuggets of Gold poop machine, is to raise money for his legal defense fund to help defray his enormous legal expenses as well as, of course, to fight for "Free Speech and Civil Liberties for all." You know Katie, the First Amendment Stuporhero. Well, Katie, if you're so enamored of free speech, why am I not allowed to write on your Facebook fan page?

The posts appear fairly frequently on Katie's Facebook page, some of them just some standard New-Wage nonsense about the Law of Attraction and so forth, and
there was even a brief announcement of an estate sale that was held earlier this month to clear out his Oakbrook, Illinois McMansion (they had the Ojai, California McMansion rummage sale last year). He still generally gets hundreds of "likes" for every one of these possibly dictated-by-Katie but proxy-written posts, along with numerous fawning comments. So, even as Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, Katie still has quite the enthusiastic fan base, and if anyone can keep a good scam going from the clink, he can. If he can get around those pesky Feds when he gets out of the clink, he'll be ready to hit the ground scamming.

But whether or not he'll get out any time soon remains an unanswered question. His appeal (re his ten-year prison sentence for criminal contempt related to infomercials for his weight-loss book) was heard on February 24, 2015, and so far no decision has been made. When I popped on to PACER the other day I saw no new documents in the appeals case.

I did see one measly little document in the original criminal case. Whenever someone sends an email or other communication to the court, pro- or anti-Trudeau, it is added to the documents in the case. The letter I saw the other day, which out of mercy for the writer I have redacted, was not pro-Trudeau, but the writer seemed a bit confused as to which Trudeau he was really slamming.



Apparently the "Southron" boy thought he had a real scoop with that discovery that Katie's infomercials are still running on TV. So scoopworthy did he deem it that he cc'd some major media, a few Congressfolk, and even selected Feds. Obviously he didn't read my explanation last year (April 28, 2014) about why Katie is still on TV. Here's that link; see under "Katie is still on TV, and here's why." Spoiler alert, Southron [sic] Boy: It can be summed up in two words: Nick Esayian. And it can much more truthfully be summed up in seven words: No neat and tidy endings in Scamworld.

Not that Southron Boy asks such a dumb question, mind you. He makes quite a valid point. But don't count on the complicit media being hauled off to Camp Cupcake any time soon just for running infomercials about frauducts and flopportunities. Not as long as there's money to be made from Katie's scampire.

While on PACER, I poked around on the civil case docs too, because that 12-year-old case (with origins even older than that) hasn't been closed yet. That's the case that generated the huge, yet-to-be-paid $37 million-plus fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). What I found in the new-ish docs was Trudeau's motion to compel the court-appointed receiver (Robb Evans, originally ordered by the court to assume control of the Trudeau entities on August 7, 2013), to file tax returns and file a status report. This motion and exhibits were filed April 1, 2015 and a hearing held on April 7. Response is due by April 28; a reply to that is due by May 12, and a status hearing is set for May 21, 2015.

Katie is whining that he can't file his income tax returns because he doesn't have access to all of the necessary information, and besides, he adds, it's Robb Evans' job to do that because after all, they took over his whole universe in 2013. He also demands that they file another status report, because it's been a while. For their part Robb Evans argue that they are indeed filing the proper papers for the businesses, and that Kevin and his lovely estranged Ukrainian bride Nataliya Babenko's personal income taxes are the Trudeau couple's responsibility. They also say that they will file another status report soon, when they're good and ready, so there. But here, let me let you read it for yourself.

Here is the link to the latest documents in the Kevin Trudeau civil case.

So that's it courtside for now. I'll keep you posted about responses and hearings and so on. And by the way, the much-ballyhooed CNBC American Greed episode about Kevin Trudeau (and GIN) is currently scheduled to air on July 9, according to one of the producers. I'll post more about that when the time approaches.

Dates to remember
Before I close I'll bring this post back full circle, in a way, subject-wise. Today, besides being
International Weed Day, is the birthday of Adolf Hitler. The latter date is marginally and somewhat hilariously relevant to the frivolous lawsuit I wrote about at the beginning of this post. Most of that connection is not really my story to tell, so I won't, but suffice to say that it does appear that a much-touted Holocaust-denial propaganda film called Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told is a favorite viewing choice of one of the parties to this lawsuit. (Hint: not me and not Jason and not any of the other defendants.)
It dismays me to see the "Hitler was right" or "Hitler wasn't such a bad guy" contingent at work in various ways on the Interwebz. It floors me that, 70 years after the "work camps" were finally liberated -- far too late for millions upon millions of innocent souls -- the type of hatred that built and maintained those camps still exists all around the world.

But there is a powerful counter-force at work too. Over this past weekend, April 18 and 19,
marches and other events were held across the country as a "Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance -- 70 Years After the End of World War II." The Houston area was no exception; here's a trailer advertising one of the Houston marches:



I didn't participate in any marches, but Ron and I watched a haunting documentary that re-aired on PBS on April 19,
Memory of the Camps. I could not watch it dry-eyed. I was incredibly sad, of course, but mostly I was angry that there are so many people who continue to deny that these atrocities ever occurred. As Holocaust denial becomes more of a force -- becoming ever more sophisticated and widespread through vile instruments such as Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told -- and as actual Holocaust survivors and liberators and other eyewitnesses continue to die off, it will, I suspect, become ever more of a challenge to foster historical accuracy.

I am not suggesting for a moment that the Holocaust deniers or even the rabid haters be censored. Censor them, ban them, and they will simply become martyrs to the cause of free expression. Moreover, I believe that the fundamental rights of freedom of expression belong to haters as well as to the rest of us -- unless, that is, they are specifically inciting and inviting violence to individuals, and doing things such as publishing those individuals' home addresses and other personal information, or otherwise blatantly attempting to endanger them. Hate speech perpetrators in those cases should be censored, as well as punished to the full extent of the law. (Coldwell should have been but wasn't punished for endangering me, for that matter, and I am not going to let this issue slide.)

Nor am I suggesting that every person who tries to give a fair listen to some of the deniers is a hater himself or herself. It is never hateful to ask questions, to question the history we were taught. But I am saying that people who cling to Holocaust denial after all of the evidence is presented to them seem to have their own agendas, and those agendas are not exactly what you would call friendly to Jewish people or to any other group who has ever suffered at the hands of haters. That's the nicest way I can say it.


Truth-seeking and accurate historical perspective become particularly challenging when you have some Holocaust deniers who seem to have a clear anti-Semitic agenda, and proudly promote it, and then sue or otherwise try to intimidate people who point out that apparent agenda. Just saying. But I also know that lawsuits are nothing compared to the suffering of millions of people who were herded into concentration camps and subjected to profound horrors from which the majority of people walking the Earth today have the luxury of time and distance. We can't let that luxury blind us.


Never forget.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Goodbye, Whirled: Time to turn over a new leaf

I suppose you're wondering why I have been absent from my Whirled so often in recent months, despite numerous promises to start blogging more frequently again. I only wrote one post during the entire month of March (!). That is very unlike me, even during my busy times when I have lots of real work to occupy me.

Well, Dear Ones, after much soul-searching I have decided that the time has come for me to hang up my blogging hat, after nearly nine years of blogging. It is with some sadness that I do this, but it is time. The Universe has sent me many signs over the years, perhaps, but now there is an unmistakable sign,
the biggest sign of all, you might say. I have finally been outwitted, outgunned, and outmaneuvered, not only by the greatest therapist of our times but also by one of the greatest legal minds of our times. Together, they are a formidable force: true Champions, of the kind that I can only aspire to be. My Cosmic-ness is no match for their Championics.

I have, in short, been truly humbled. I shall snark no more. It has been a long, fun ride, but now it is time to move on. I thank you for your support for all of these years.

For details, including a formal statement and some important documents,
please see this link.

As they say, I'll see you on the flip(pant) side.

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