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.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#FreeKevinTrudeau sucks up to Sheriff Joe

There is an October 21 update to this story at the end of this post.
~ CC


I've written before about the efforts of serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, aka Katie, to persuade #NotMyPresident Donald J. Trump to free Katie from Federal sleepaway camp (aka Montgomery Federal Prison Camp in Alabama) and to pardon him. F'rinstance, I mentioned it back in February and in June.

The #FreeKevinTrudeau campaign continues, and
you can track it on this site. In his most recent entreaty to Herr Drumpf, dated 15 September 2017, Katie blames Obama and Hillary for the mess he's in. And he invokes fellow faux-hero/martyr and ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom Trump did pardon back in August.

criminal contempt charges against Arpaio, which of course Katie proclaimed to be totally unfounded, Katie brought up his own conviction for criminal contempt.

My “contempt” was I dared to express my First Amendment rights of free speech on TV when talking about one of my books. The fact that my views and opinions were “conservative”, exposed special interest and political corruption, and were listened to by over 50 million people made my “free speech” even more “offensive” to the Obama administration.
Yes, Katie is quite the First Amendment stuporhero. And later on in the letter...
I have also been relentless at exposing the “Deep State”, the swamp as you call it! This means I have pulled no punches at exposing the Clintons, Obama, and all the Establishment politicians who go to Washington broke and within a few years magically become multi-millionaires.

For this, I have been on the Clinton and Obama “hit list” for decades. It has been said that Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State called me “politically dangerous” and “must be silenced”.

This is one of the first instances I've seen where Katie overtly plays the "Help, help, I'm being repressed because I'm conservative!" card. But he has been anti-immigrant/xenophobic for years, as noted in
this June 2011 Whirled post.

And while we're on the topic of anti-immigrant xenophobes, here's a link to
a suck-up letter that Trudeau penned directly to the loathsome Sheriff Joe shortly after the Drumpf pardon.

Dear Joe,

You are an American hero.

I just heard the great news that President Trump pardoned you!

CONGRATULATIONS!! I am SO happy for you!

You should now be given a medal by the President for all your service to America:
-for fearlessly enforcing the LAWS;
-and for fearlessly upholding the Constitution.

This is Kevin Trudeau, #1 NY Times bestselling author of 6 books (almost 50 million copies sold), former radio host, TV Celebrity, natural health freedom advocate, and promoter of Free Speech.

I am also a 100% Trump supporter and I have been a fan and outspoken vocal supporter of yours for years.

I watched you on Fox talk about your ordeal with the “Obama radical left judicial system and justice department”.

I watched in amazement at how a 50 year law enforcement professional, doing all he can do to protect the legal CITIZENS of America was unjustly targeted by the Obama Justice Department simply for doing his job.

And so on, and so forth, as Katie cleaves like a remora unto Sheriff Joe's sagging whatever.

You've probably read the horror stories about Sheriff Joe, but they're worth a mention here because, of course, they lend a truer context to Kevin Trudeau's shameless sycophancy. From
a Washington Post article published shortly after the pardon:
As sheriff, Arpaio was known for a hostility toward undocumented immigrants that was functionally indistinguishable from hostility toward Latinos. He conducted sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and stops of Latino drivers in attempts to find undocumented immigrants. He held inmates in brutal and degrading conditions. He installed publicly accessible webcams so that the public could gawk at inmates, and one of those cameras showed female prisoners using the toilet. And he was a leading proponent of the racist lie that President Barack Obama was not a natural-born American citizen.

Arpaio’s entire claim to national recognition was based on his being a xenophobe, a racist and an officer of the machinery of government who relished wielding that machinery to degrade some of the most powerless members of our society.
And here's another WaPo link: a first-person account from a former inmate/victim of Arpaio.
The rules of the tent city were strict, arbitrary and brutally enforced. There are no newspapers allowed; Arpaio hated newspapers. The only food allowed for those of us in the work furlough program was the food in the vending machines, which was grossly overpriced.

During the sweltering summer, the temperature could reach 115 or 120 degrees. I was in the tents when we hit 120. It was impossible to stay cool in the oppressive heat. Everyone would strip down to their underwear. There was no cold water, only water from vending machines; and eventually, the machines would run out. People would faint; some had heatstroke. That summer, ambulances came about three times. One man died in his bed.

But the winter was even worse. During the winter, there were no heaters. Most jackets and heavily insulated pants weren’t allowed; they don’t want you to be comfortable...

...Arpaio saved worse abuse for others. Those who were in full detention had to wear pink socks, underwear and flip-flops. They ate peanut butter and bread, and the only other meal they received was baloney and bread. They also had the option of “slob,” which was an unknown, disgusting substance that looked like some kind of thick stew and tasted like cardboard. (The poor people in the work furlough program who couldn’t pay for vending-machine food had no choice but to eat it.)

And in the unintended irony department, given
Herr Twitler's repeated threats to the free press in America -- which I've mentioned here previously, there's this August 4, 2017 post on the Free Katie site.

As I've also mentioned on previous posts, Katie and fans haven't limited their entreaties to Drumpf himself. Among others contacted, according to Trudeau's September 15 missive and several earlier posts on the web site and social media, the #FreeKevinTrudeau contingent have reached out to "KellyAnne Conway; John Kelly; Ivanka; Jared; Eric; Don Jr; Melania; Rudi Giuliani; Mike Huckabee; Carl Icahn; Sean Hannity; Andrew Napolitano; Janine Pirro; Laura Ingraham; Newt Gingrich; Jay Sekulow; and many others."

But so far, it seems that all of these communications have been for naught. Katie continues to languish in Camp Cupcake, waxing spiritual about his achievement of perfect peace and happiness out of one side of his mouth, while out of the other side he desperately begs some of the most despicable political figures in the U.S. -- and indeed in the world -- to free him so he can scam at large again. The more things change...

Important update, 21 October 2017: There's bad news for Sheriff Joe, but perhaps good news for some of those who have been harmed by him and might want to pursue legal action: on October 19, U.S. District Judge Susan Richie Bolton, stating that Trump's pardon of Arpaio does not "revise historical facts" of his case, refused to vacate her ruling that deemed Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt. From the NPR piece linked to above:
On Thursday, Bolton quoted Black's Law Dictionary to say that a pardon "releases the wrongdoer from punishment and restores the offender's civil rights without qualification." But she then added a further interpretation in her own words: "It does not erase a judgment of conviction, or its underlying legal and factual findings."

Citing legal precedents, Bolton said that while a pardon removes the threat of punishment, it does not "blot out guilt." Instead, she wrote in her decision, accepting a pardon implies a confession of guilt. Bolton also suggested that the timing of President Trump's pardon — when Arpaio had not appealed her verdict — played a role in her decision to preserve it.
This situation, noted NPR, could land Arpaio in a type of Catch-22 scenario in which he would be powerless to clear his name fully in the legal record despite the fact that Trump's pardon saved him from being punished by the legal system (thanks for nothing, Donny John!). Arapio attorney Jack Wilenchik indicated that the pardon had robbed Arpaio of a chance to appeal the ruling, leaving him open to future lawsuits. Couldn't happen to a better guy, as far as I'm concerned. Natch, Wilenchik has appealed the judge's order to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, so the story isn't over yet.

No matter what happens in the Appeals Court, and regardless of whether or not Arpaio is sued again, and no matter whether or not he is ever held fully accountable by the justice system for his systemized cruelty... none of this changes what Arpaio did and who he is. And it speaks volumes about both Trump and Trudeau's character (or complete lack thereof) that they continue to support Sheriff Joe and laud him as a hero.

Related on this Whirled:

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 08, 2017

James Arthur Ray Death Lodge Eighth Anniversary: Never Forget

Death, it seems, has dominated the news even more than usual for the past several weeks: there is the death and destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (and we're holding our collective breaths about Nate as I write this); and, of course, there is the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas a week ago today.

I don't expect the mainstream -- or even most of the independent -- news media to remember, much less focus upon, deaths that occurred years ago on a much smaller and less dramatic scale; after all, the journos and commentators can barely keep up with all of the mass shootings in America, much less the deaths caused by the arrogance and reckless actions of a sociopathic selfish-help "leader." But here in this obscure little outpost of the blogosphere, the deaths of three people in New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality guru
James Arthur Ray's phony "sweat lodge" in Sedona, Arizona will never be forgotten.

It was on this day, eight years ago, that
Kirby Brown and James Shore perished as a result of their heavily manipulated/coerced participation in Ray's torture chamber. Nine days later a third participant, Liz Neuman, passed away as well, without ever awakening from a coma.

As I've written in previous anniversary posts, I knew none of them, though some of the family members are now my Facebook friends. But I think of them every year at this time. Mostly it is with sadness but also with anger, because the man whose recklessness was responsible for these three deaths (four, if you count
Colleen Conaway's death at another Ray event in July 2009), served a prison sentence of less than two years for the Sedona deaths. (He served no time at all for Colleen's death, and wasn't even charged, to say nothing of tried or convicted, although my understanding is that there was a civil settlement.)

But James Ray goes merrily on his way, scrabbling to reclaim his elevated spot in the selfish-help pantheon while spinning Sedona as his own personal tragedy. As I wrote here
last year:
...these days, James Ray is exploiting the Sedona tragedy and his time in prison for his own purposes, still parading as a success guru but with a new hook: he uses the pain and loss of others to portray himself as the hero who has walked through fire.

He may have walked through fire, figuratively speaking, but he did not die by fire, literally, as did James Shore, Kirby Brown and Liz Neuman.

He may have lost a lot, but he is still alive and capable of writing unmitigated crap such as, "In the process of losing everything...I actually found myself."

That theme -- redemption through profound loss -- is the one that Death Ray is still flogging.

Kirby Brown's family, trying to pick up the pieces and create something good and useful from the horror that James Ray bestowed upon their family and on so many others, continues to promote their non-profit, Seek Safely, whose purpose is to educate people about how to safely participate in the self-help industry. Check it out.

Others are doing their part too. As you probably know if you've been hanging around here for any length of time, one of my favorite blogging colleagues, who wrote in great depth about the James Ray nightmare, is Salty Droid, aka Jason Jones. He is a practicing lawyer again, and as I noted here, is using the law to go after destructive and potentially dangerous Scamworld players, e.g., MLM giant Herbalife, a company that, as he explained last month, he first began thinking about in 2009...

… when Liz Neuman died in James Arthur Ray’s fake sweat lodge. Liz got her first tastes of Death Ray’s self-help poison while attending Herbalife related events.

The deadly fake sweat lodge {that killed three people and seriously injured many others} was the culmination of James Ray International’s “Spiritual Warrior” weekend :: a deeply manipulative $10,000 event … the most expensive in a never ending sequence of events that Ray dubbed the “Journey of Power.

These events are dangerous :: weaponized fraud … and they permeate the scam industry. Every wretched festering scamhole I’ve climbed down has contained one of these escalating event sequences at the heart of the harm … anchoring victims to the bottom of Lake Misery.
Here is a direct link to the extended version of the Herbalife lawsuit (Rodgers et al. v Herbalife).

(Jason is also representing, pro bono, a blogger, Christina Hinks of the MommyGyver blog, who is being targeted and harassed by billion-dollar fashion MLM LuLaRue. According to the Truth In Advertising site, LuLaRue seems most upset by the blogger and other critics calling it a cult. Well, MLMs very often are cults in a sense, and it seems to me that the more cultish they are, the more likely they are to sue you for calling them cults or even hinting that they might be (consider the example of LGAT (large group awareness training) giant Landmark, f'rinstance...). Anyway, you can read Jason's take on the LuLaRue case here.)

I have neither a nonprofit nor a law degree, but as always I will continue, as I have for the past eight years, to do my part to make sure that people never forget what happened on October 8, 2009.

For insights into the sociopathic behavior of James Ray, and how it led up to Death Lodge,
see this post, written on the first anniversary of Sedona. Also read Connie Joy's book, Tragedy in Sedona. There's also a public Facebook group, James Arthur Ray is a Felon.

Labels: , , , , , , ,