Catch and Release


James Arthur Ray didn’t kill everyone in his downline :: which is maybe like the shit-stained golden rule of pyramid scheming … or something.

See if you kill everyone in your downline :: Jim Jones style :: then there’s no one left to lie to your future prospects/victims about how you’re totally the greatest … and prolly the only one who knows the secret location of all those magical unicorns that God hid from the rest of us just to be mean. And more importantly :: there’s no one left to vouch for you before judge and jury … when you’re inevitably being tried and sentenced for all the people that you killed.

This week …

— unlike Colleen Conaway

— unlike Kirby Brown

— unlike James Shore

— unlike Liz Neuman

… Death Ray will walk away.

It’s not fucking right … but it’s what’s happening.

James Ray’s support :: and supporters … drastically dwindled from their Oprah inspired heights as the debacle of the deaths and his sandwich eating non-contrition played out for all to see. But unfortunately :: and in spite of the best efforts of a certain fake robot … it never fell to zero. At each stage of the injustice circus :: people stepped up to defend the indefensible.

With very few exceptions :: only the slightest amount of digging was required to unearth deep connections between any public defender of Ray … and the dark underworld of thinly veiled pyramid schemes that he’s so long called home.

Jennifer Horton

Caren Wendt

Sean Stephenson

Tony Alessandra

Bob Proctor

Tony Parinello

— and even {sort of} Munger Tolles & Olson

… were all defending the sick machine :: aka MLM :: aka Scamworld … and their lucrative positions within it. The murderous and disgusting Ray was just a sad :: balding :: disease riddled … proxy vessel for that wider defense. Because to those fully sucked in :: nothing matters more than the proposition that “anything goes” in pursuit of selling the dream to the dreamers. Anything. Fucking HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars :: and thousands and thousands of shamtastic “careers” … totally depend on it.

Any chink in the armor :: any crack in the dam … risks releasing a flood of sanity that could drive the business of grifting back underground where it can no longer be scaled to “buy yourself a president” type sizes.

In Scamworld … dead bodies are a resume bullet point.

AssHole1 :: Look how far he’s willing to go :: clearly this is a man who knows what it takes to succeed in this “industry” … let’s offer him the gig!

AssHole2 :: {nods approvingly} snorts Adderall and takes off pants

AssHole1 :: {nods approvingly}

Before Oprah anointed Ray’s overlarge forehead with her trademarked golden touch of negligence :: Ray was building his name and business around corporate speaking gigs. Many chuckle headed corporations {and especially AT&T} bought into :: and still buy into … the usefulness of scamworld’s cultish nonsense and manipulation as an employee management technique.

But other corporations :: ARE fucking Scamworld … and serve as the New York Stock Exchange traded foundation upon which the whole shit pyramid is built.

In determining the sentence for James, I ask that you consider my witness to his character. Namely, it is my belief that James has the desire and skills to continue being of great service to humanity. We all experience difficulty, setbacks, scrutiny and sometimes undesired outcomes, even in our noblest efforts…

Offered Herbalife President’s Team member :: Maurice D. Smith II … in a letter written to Judge Warren Darrow exactly two years ago today {page 154}.

Setbacks :: difficulties … dead people.

… or something.

Continues Maurice …

As for me, over the past 13 years I have worked with thousands, if not tens of thousands of people in all walks of life; a wide range of backgrounds, age, education, experience and personal development while assembling, training and leading a sales & service team to reach the top 0.2% of Independent Distributors for Herbatife Int’l, a 31 year old 4.3 billion dollar global nutrition company operating in 76 countries and traded on the NYSE. Along the way, I’ve encountered all types of people in business; those with good intentions and those without. In so doing, I’ve had to become a quick and accurate judge of character.

In Herbalife marketing materials :: Maurice D. Smith II and his wife Sandra claim to be making $14,000 per month selling others on the idea that it’s easy to make $14,000 per month selling others on the idea of Herbalife selling.

“Herbalife has allowed us to have a real family,” Sandra says. “Because of the flexibility, we have close bonds with each of our kids.”

People with real jobs can’t have real families and bond with their children :: and people with triple homicide convictions have the “noblest” of characters … it’s wizdumb like this that must qualify Maurice and Sandra Smith for touring the Herbalife STS {Success Training Seminar} circuit … dropping their indoctrination bombs on the unwary … in tangential service to Carl Ichan and the Wall Street fat cats that MLM gurus continuously fake burn in effigy.

The Success Training Seminars aren’t cheap :: often priced at $90 … just $5 less than the cost of a {non full on :: non action taker} bottom tier Herbalife distributorship package. Full on :: action taking :: fucking winners :: who want their children to love them … buy in at the supervisor level and drop a couple of grand. Then they start qualifying for {by recruiting others} seminars :: paying for them … and attending them on a regular basis so they can be reminded of the importance of taking “massive action” by other action takers.

Stephanie Swanson knows what I’m talking about :: says she in her letter to Judge Darrow {page 160}…

I am writing to you in regards of my mentor and friend James Ray. I met James 10 years ago when I was building my Herbalife business. I heard about him from a close friend and knew right away that I would learn many beneficial tools to help me be successful in all areas of my life by attending one of his weekend seminars.

Because what you hear at these seminars :: almost without variation … is the virtue of attending these seminars … and of “listening to your mentors.” “Mentors” who :: not coincidentally … happen to sell their own line of seminars or services promising to help you succeed at succeeding at Herbalife.

Right Ryan Swanson?

“The easiest :: the funnest … and the fastest.”

If you don’t immediately stir people into a huge vat of groupthink manipulation :: they might start to think it’s just plain ol’ crazy to pay for their paychecks. At the bigger events :: Herbalife corporate will hire especially fast talking outsiders like James Arthur Ray … to distribute their message of no hope.

Letters to Judge Darrow {page 40} …

I am very grateful for everything James Ray has taught me; and he has helped me become truly successful in all areas of my life.

I have passed what I’ve learned from James on to 1,000’s of people to positively help them and improve their lives.

Ryan Swanson

James Arthur Ray’s top henchwoman :: Megan Fredrickson … and her beautiful wife Mrs. Josh Fredrickson … were once upon a time downline of Ryan Swanson in Herbalife. And as Josh told Arizona homicide detectives …

In 2001, my current wife (she wasn’t then) Megan and I, we went to an event for Herbalife which is a nutritional product – we were selling nutritional products for Herbalife – and James was a keynote speaker there.

Yada yada yada :: eight years later and they are totally disgraced … their lives ruined.

Just another Herbalife :: James Arthur Ray :: Ryan Swanson … life improving success story.

Dark rabbit holes like the one curated by James Arthur Ray are not simply incidental to the Herbalife experience :: they are essential … they are mandatory.

Liz Neuman’s journey through JAR via HLF ended :: tens of thousands of dollars later … with her limp body being dragged over two dead bodies and deposited in the hot mud to die … as James Ray strolled away triumphantly and did NOTHING.

Such high costs can never be incorporated into the dry mathematical estimations of the damage being done to our societies by the likes of Herbalife :: but they are real … as real as death.

After Bill Ackman presented Pershing Square’s {too absurdly low to be repeated by me} Herbalife damage-to-victims estimate :: he put up this far more accurate slide …

James Arthur Ray is back on the streets :: Herbalife has yet to fucking implode … big bummers both as their harms are no small matters.

But neither the company :: nor the man … are all that important in isolation. Until we Americans have a serious meta-discussion about {out in the fucking open} pyramid schemes :: and the cultures of widespread corruption and horror that they spawn and nurture — hedge fund managers and fake robots can keep screaming their crybaby heads off {like idiots} :: but it will be just sound and fury … signifying nothing.

>> bleep bloop

UPDATE {editor’s note} :: A previous version of this story did not contain a psychopathic polyhedron making a sexually inappropriate remark about an ex-con’s recent mugshot. We regret any harm that error may have caused.

106 thoughts on “Catch and Release”

  1. Not surprising at all to see the clear connections between the Herbalife scam and James Ray. The same people who would happily exploit their friends and relatives to buy herbalife’s fructose filled crap, or better yet, to sell it, would have no qualms about encouraging those same family members and friends to be misused and cheated by James Ray.

    Reading through some of those letters of support for James Ray I was not surprised by how many were from self-proclaimed “life coaches”, (like the stunningly inept Tim Brownson who the Droid wrote about on this blog), not a single one of them spared a word on the people who died. Not one of them showed the slightest concern for the victims of James Ray.

    All of these herbalife scammers see Ray as a success story. Not one of them sees him as a cautionary tale or as the murderous cheap thug he actually is.

  2. In reading the letters of support I was absolutely sickened by one letter in particular. Linda Newton wrote:

    “During my search I glimpsed the furore (sp) about the deaths of three people and the only conclusion that I could draw was that the media hated successful people.”

    Really, Linda? That was the only conclusion that you could come to after reading accounts of this horrific incident? You couldn’t draw any conclusions about the fact that James Ray orchestrated this event and these deaths? You couldn’t conclude by his lack of care towards the victims at the time of their deaths or afterwards his complete indifference to them?

    And how did you ever come to the conclusion that “the media hated successful people”? Have you ever seen the amount of ink devoted to Donald Trump? When have you ever seen the media “hating” any success story? You haven’t. You’re a liar, like your mentor.

    Maybe we could understand Linda Newton’s attitude if we examined what first drew her to James Ray. She tells us that her grandson Benjamin had died and she read James Ray’s book and her grief was immediately gone. Think about that for a moment. What kind of person reads a trashy book and no longer cares about her dead grandson?

    She concludes her letter of support by saying that she hopes that Ray “continues to fight the subversive elements that are ready to denigrate your name.” His name is mud, Linda. And so is yours for supporting him. You are both sociopaths.

    1. @Barbara,
      Linda Newton: “During my search I glimpsed the furore (sp) about the deaths of three people and the only conclusion that I could draw was that the media hated successful people.”

      “the media hated successful people” ….Isn’t it sort of a variation on the classic MLM thought terminating cliche: “dream stealers”?

      Assuming Ms. Linda Newton is just a Sheeple…

      …I’m thinking…she riffled through her internalized mental file of handy dandy MLM cliche responses to run to when faced with outside criticism, found the “dream stealer” one, but quickly intuited that she couldn’t just say “the media are dream stealers!”, that would sound really IQ <80. She racked her brain and finally came up with a slightly more nuanced version, that still fits what she's been told about anyone that dares criticize their business cult.

      Too bad she didn't realize how incredibly insane it sounds to put her bit of spin in the same sentence with "the deaths of three people"….Ms. Linda Newton needs a little more practice in phraseology if she wants to get anywhere in ScamWorld.

      She shouldn't give up, though, because Mythbusters already confirmed that, it actually IS possible to polish poop:

  3. “Before Oprah anointed Ray’s overlarge forehead with her trademarked golden touch of negligence”

    Perfectly said.

  4. So funny to see people judge other people whom they have never even met. It’s the disease of society.. and we are all infected with it in order to be able to cope with our worthless little lives.

    1. @Mud ::

      Meeting people is overrated :: and tends to occlude one’s view of unemotional objective facts … which are all that really matter.

      But maybe I’m just saying that because I haven’t scammed an assload of people via Herbalife :: in order to make myself a “quick and accurate judge of character” … like chump-stain d-dag Maurice D. Smith II.

  5. I think James Ray will actually be quite successful. Considering all the publicity he has been getting.

    1. @Me ::

      Could you point me to this success propelling flood of publicity?

      Because to me it looks like this remains the Arizona local story that it had faded into by the midway point of the trial.

      1. CBS Phoenix –

      Which is mostly about SEEK … nice job Tom.

      2. Various versions of this Felicia Fonseca AP story …

      … which quotes reps from all the families. Felicia’s already written more stories about this than anyone other than me … so she couldn’t very well not do it.

      3. And this The USA Today column …

      Written by Christine Whelan … a member of the SEEK board.


      So yeah … no. Speaking as someone who tries :: rather diligently :: to get the press to cover this story … I feel very confident saying …

      Goodbye Oprah :: hello obscurity.

      All he’s got left now to assist him are players in the game :: and last I checked … I’m still one of those players. So good luck out there JAR … all you have to do is beat me. Without Howard Bragman :: without Mark Fabiani :: without Brad Brian and Luis Li :: without Oprah :: and without the ability to borrow money.

      Good times.

      Oh and by the way :: dot dot dot … he’s still in the middle of the Colleen Conaway lawsuit.

      Anywayz @Me/@Mud :: come back if you want to strut some more … I like strutting too.

      1. @SD,

        Oh and by the way :: dot dot dot … he’s still in the middle of the Colleen Conaway lawsuit.

        Good. I thought that was probably the case, but I wasn’t sure.

        I trust you got him the bag of chips as well.

        Furry cows moo and decompress.

  6. These people are parasites who feed on dreams. Which makes me think: is there a possibility Americans are more prone to this sort of a scam, because of the folk-legend of the American Dream? Goodness knows there are no shortage of such schemes in the UK (there’s a current Big Brother contestant talking about “The Secret” and why she’ll win because of the “Quantum Theory of the Universe”; interestingly she’s very likely to fail)…but I do worry that there seems to be more in the States. But it might just be my UK-based observer bias…

    1. @Dr Geek ::

      I think that’s right :: our consumerism-gone-wild culture is the perfect Petri dish for it to grow … and then it emanates from here to the rest of world branded “Made in America.”

    2. @Dr Geek, It makes a kind of sense, but actually I think we may be LESS prone than a lot of people. Living in a former East Bloc country just after the fall of Communism I was horrified to see how completely vulnerable people were to even the most obvious of scams. And actually, nearly all the people I knew in the US who fell for Herbilife were Europeans. I’m pretty sure it’s better laws that makes the difference not any inherent gullibility. In fact, with the ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ and the ‘buyer beware’ mentality we may somewhat less vulnerable than people from countries that expect their government to do its job and prosecute thieves and criminals- not laud them as business success stories.

  7. And the big sick machine hums on. It’s outrageous that Death Ray will be on the streets again soon. And speaking of pyramid schemes, it seems that another one of JAR’s public defenders, one Kevin Trudeau (who defended JAR a couple of times on his radio show), is still scamming away, and his big GIN scheme is still alive and well. And so it goes…

  8. Thanks to The Droid, and his passion for justice, for staying on the case.

    FYI, here’s today’s USA Today article on Death Ray:

    “Nationally known self-help guru James Arthur Ray is scheduled to be released Friday after serving 20 months in prison for the deaths of three people during a 2009 sweat-lodge ceremony he conducted as the surprise culmination of his “Spiritual Warrior” inspirational retreat.

    All signs suggest Ray will attempt to rebuild his motivational videos, books and seminar business. But unlike Martha Stewart’s post-prison rebranding through benign recipes, Ray’s return to lead workshops on “harmonic wealth,” “practical mysticism” and other “life-altering experiences” underscores the need for people to ask questions, do their research and take caution when choosing a self-improvement program.

    Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman and James Shore died and more than a dozen were injured as a result of a retreat near Sedona, Ariz., led by Ray in October 2009. Within hours of returning from a desert “vision quest,” and dehydrated from lack of food and water in the previous day and a half, more than 50 people followed Ray into a 20-by-20-foot makeshift sweat lodge of wood, plastic tarps and blankets — all part of a multiday event for which participants had paid as much as$9,695 per person.

    In the weeks after the incident, an unrepentant Ray continued to hold his workshops. “I have chosen to continue with my work. It’s too important not to,” he wrote in an e-mail to his newsletter subscribers.

    From prison, Ray has teamed up with another suspect guru to market “success” CDs. Hiswebsite is currently under renovation to “offer more” to visitors as he relaunches a career that exploded with his participation in the The Secret, a 2006 film and book preaching the unscientifically proven claim that positive thinking “attracts” life-changing happiness, wealth and health.”

    Read the rest of the article, by @christinewhelan, here:


    1. @Kar, I got an error message when trying to follow that link, but I’ll find it elsewhere. Thank you for the heads-up. And it’s true that while in prison JAR was promoting at least one other Scamworld guru: Kevin Trudeau’s Your Wish Is Your Command, the 14-CD upsell for GIN. Maybe JAR will become a sanctioned GIN speaker.

      1. @Cosmic Connie ::

        Maybe JAR will become a sanctioned GIN speaker.

        That wouldn’t surprise me in the least :: in fact now I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

        A match made in felony heaven.

      2. @Cosmic Connie,

        But James Ray says clearly: “I cannot urge you enough to grab a copy of Your Wish Is Your Command for yourself. Believe it or not, I don’t get anything for making this recommendation. Not one thin dime…”

        Do you mean you don’t believe him?! (gasp) I’m shocked!

        “Because we’re close personal friends, he’s agreed to give you, and all my other students and friends, the entire 14-CD Your Wish Is Your Command program for a ridiculously low price.”

        Isn’t it nice to have friends? Close personal friends who will give you a ridiculously low price for their latest scam? It warms my heart.

      3. @Cosmic Connie,

        “And it’s true that while in prison JAR was promoting at least one other Scamworld guru: Kevin Trudeau’s Your Wish Is Your Command, the 14-CD upsell for GIN. Maybe JAR will become a sanctioned GIN speaker.”

        Maybe JAR can win himself a few more years around the prison:

      1. @Random stuff, Good stuff & important to be out but only have one wish for that Whelan had left out the:

        “And yet there’s plenty of good advice out there promoting incremental behavioral change, if you can sift through the snake oil. Classics such as How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Road Less Traveled and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have endured for this reason — and become part of our cultural lexicon.”

        I’m not sure about if Covey studying “250 years of success literature” really qualifies as science or if it was from his Divine Center where he found so much Inspiration to go Speaking Of Success

        1. @Jack ::

          Yeah … agreed. That is muchly annoying. Expecially because Covey was one of Ray’s faux resume bullets.

          The chase for the appearance of “objectivity” :: too often leads to crap errors … and diluted truths.

          1. @SD, i love your site & just wanted to point out that most of the peeps u expose learned the the best/ greeeziest marketing skills from dan kennedy … ta da !!! a shortcut is to check out his wealth atraction for entra po nuuers seminar . but anyways ul always be the saltiest salty droid !

        2. @Jack, @SD Thanks & agreed. I missed that: made the mistake of thinking that “Christine B. Whelan, visiting assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh” would check that the books she recommended were not by the same category of ‘author’ as Ray.

          I had not read the books myself and was not aware that “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a book she should not have recommended (but I should have really guessed it from the title!).

          Maybe Christine B. Whelan is too involved in the self help industry to be in a position to commentate:

          …and is perhaps batering quid pro quo book recomendations with other ‘self help’ authors in other publications (one hopes not).

          Never the less “diluted truths” can be more effective at causing damage than outright lies.

          1. @Random stuff,

            Christine Whelan has been featured on and interviewed by Jean Chatzky, Oprah’s radio host.


            I thought her WTF book was incredibly stupid and I tend to be a believer in the old maxim if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.

            I’d rather not think about what you get from lying down with Oprah.

            1. @Barbara, …thanks & the maxim is right. I won’t be reading any WTF books. WTF!

              Irony is that one ‘journalist’ who has recently delivered a good line…

              “James Ray and others like him will attempt to capitalize on our psychological vulnerabilities for their own financial gain.”

              …failed to disclose her interests in the ‘self help’ industry.

              Making her less of a journalist, and more of a shill.

  9. I’m confused. Was Maurice Smith’s letter to Judge Darrow on behalf of Death Ray a character reference, or was he trying to recruit the judge into his downline?

    Also, is Maurice going to invite Death Ray to room with him for the next four months? Or afterwards? You know, so James can “continue being of great service to humanity…” as he put it?

    Or maybe Linda Newton will invite Ray to stay with her?

    Someone needs to consider the halfway house, which Jon Ray warned would be rife with, um, negative people, and protect them from this psychopathic human black hole who brought about the end of four lives.

    1. @Kar ::

      Given what total bullshit was that sentence :: maybe Maurice succeeded … and you’ll be able to pay $200 to see President’s Team member Warren Darrow at a Herbalife Extravaganza near you.

      “I used to be a workaday rat in the maze just like you nice folks, but then I saw James Arthur Ray fake cry – and it changed my life.”

    2. @Kar, I’m confused. Was Maurice Smith’s letter to Judge Darrow on behalf of Death Ray a character reference, or was he trying to recruit the judge into his downline?

      One of the best reader comments of all time.

    1. @Omri Shabat,
      “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class”.

      In the immortal words of a Brave New Will:
      “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

      1. @Miranda’s Warning,

        Very much likey… and we should be patient and prudent.

        “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

        – One (very) smart Chinese guy.

  10. Ah, I have been remiss in reading the Salty updates. It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since this shitbag started killing people. Sadly, most people have no idea who he is or what he has done, and I’m sure his flock will not diminish.

  11. Reading the article and the comments below.. one song springs to mind.

    Oh What A Friend We Have In Cthulhu

    Oh what a friend we have in Cthulhu
    He cares about us all equally
    If you see him you’ll go blind
    If you don’t you’ll lose your mind
    Then rip your eyes out so you cannot see

    My apologies to whomever this offends… which is probably everybody for one reason or another. I don’t mean to make light of Death Ray’s evil. One real James Arthur Ray is easily 1000 times more insidious than a horde of Cthulhus.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  12. The family of Kirby Brown has started a website “Seek Safely” in an attempt to protect the vulnerable from the type of exploitation that James Ray engaged in which led to the death of Kirby Brown. Look at some of the names that signed the pledge, it’s enough to make you weep:

    Jeff Walker
    Frank Kern
    Joe Polish
    Dean Graziosi
    Tony Robbins
    John Assaraf
    Jack Canfield
    Andy Jenkins
    Mike Koenigs
    Bob Proctor
    Louise Hay
    Byron Katie
    Rhonda Byrne

    And, unbelievably enough, Oprah fucking Winfrey, Empress of Scammers!

    The pledge they took says that they will be:

    1. Truthful. Consumers will receive accurate information about the author’s, leader’s or speaker’s professional degrees, credentials and experience.

    2. Accurate. We will clearly delineate what is personal opinion, belief or speculation as opposed to information that is supported by third party scientific research.

    3. Respectful. Participants will be able to freely express opinions, without fear of public humiliation, ridicule, shame or physical abuse.

    4. Protective. When people reveal deeply personal experiences, we recognize the responsibility to advise all seekers to enlist the aid of licensed professionals to provide service that may be beyond the scope of the event, seminar or retreat.

    5. Integrity. The leader will provide personal witness by living the program being taught.

    6. Safe. If engaging participants in a physical activity, there will be appropriate medical support available in case of injury. The leader will have a comprehensive risk management plan to minimize any risk taken by participants and clearly explain any potential risks that are part of the event.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    1. @Barbara,

      In this particular instance, you can make a sigh of relief.

      That list was of people highlighted by ‘Seek Safety’ who have *not* signed the promise.

      For once, these low life scammers have not tried to sink even lower.

      It is good their names are up there – as to sign the promise would be the final deception.

      If the web admin of ‘Seek Safety’ is reading this comment: From a page design perspective the words at the top of the page ‘Who has not’ might be better in bold, in a different colour, and changed to ‘Who has not signed the promise’ – just so that anyone visiting the site will be able to understand that it is a list of people who are to be avoided, and are to be shamed.

      1. @Random stuff,

        Thank God! My cynicism has become so extreme that it was unfortunately far too easy for me to believe those people would stoop that low.

        I probably spent too much time reading those letters of support for James Ray.

        I do hope the people at “Seek Safety” take your excellent suggestion concerning the page design, it would be truly awful if they inadvertently gave props to any of those scammers.

  13. Hmmmmm.

    But the good news is that Death Ray might have found a roomie in this man, @TheRealDrChad!! Dr. Chad says: “@JamesARay Happy your out!  Would like to chat with you more when you settle down.  I’m in Phoenix so lets get together while your here.”

    Note to “Dr. Chad:” “Your” out of your league with this one.

  14. I’ve been slowly working my way through the Rogue’s Gallery of James Ray supporters listed in the above blog post. First there’s Jennifer Horton who helpfully tells us:

    “a therapist is someone you bring your luggage to and she helps you open it up and decipher the contents; a coach is someone you bring your luggage to and, without opening it, she helps you carry it across the street”

    So, I guess Jennifer has finally found honest employment and is working as a Sky Cap now. That is good news. Now if Jenny would just get my bags to the Delta terminal chop-chop there could be a five-spot in it for her.

    Caren Wendt is still peddling Kangen water, or as one website calls it “snake oil on tap”. ( This is the $4,000 system my (ex)dentist tried to sell to me, causing me to find a new dentist.

    From Caren’s LinkedIn page: December 2010 – Present (2 years 8 months)

    “I train people to educate others about safer for your home products and how to earn residual income while living a healther and more environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

    I don’t know what the hell that means, except that she is undoubtedly working on increasing her downline and bilking more people.

    But for pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel there are the 176 YouTube videos of Sean Stephenson. Try watching this one:

    I’ll never buy anything from Zappos ever again. I can’t believe they would let this creepy scammer speak at one of their events.

    1. Whoops, something happened to a paragraph in that last comment. The Zappos reference was to YouTube videos, (176 total videos), that Sean Stephenson posted.

      From Zappos: “We were extremely honored to have Sean Stephenson, a well known motivational speaker and author, tour the Zappos Headquarters this past Tuesday and speak to our entire Las Vegas staff. This guy is definitely one of the most memorable visitors we have ever had, and he enjoys making people laugh, and getting people to talk about the size of their but!”
      (February 5 2010)

      This man is sheer, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

      Don’t watch that video before sleeping…

    2. @Barbara,

      I followed the trail of links from the “ion bunk” page to the “scientific evidence” page. THe unbelievable thing is that the first 3 studies (all in rats, in the late 90’s) showed dangerous effects from the water- myocardial necrosis and resultant hyperkalaemia. Which, to those of us who know, is the death of heart muscle cells and a potential cardiac arrest from high levels of potassium

      They don’t even understand the “evidence” they’re presenting!

      I don’t know what’s more breathtaking- the level of their ignorance or their willingness to put up any evidence they can find to sell their snake oil…

      1. Anonymous,

        Isn’t that mind boggling? While it’s bad enough to sell an ineffective device it’s much worse to sell a potentially deadly device.

        One of the most frequently told lies by Kangen salespeople is that every Japanese home, school, hospital, etc. uses Kangen water filters. I have a family member that has lived in Japan for over fourteen years and I’ve visited him frequently. He has yet to see a Kangen water filter in use in Japan and no one he’s asked about it has ever heard of them.

        I can’t say I was too surprised.

        1. @Barbara,

          Above post was by me (name box wasn’t populated, for some reason, and I was overcome by the suggestion myocardial necrosis was a good thing!)

  15. About 7 years ago I learned about ‘The Secret’ from a guy who told me ‘If things don’t work out with what you are currently doing it just means the Universe has something better in store for you.’ He went on to tell me about ‘The Secret’ and how he had a new $90,000 car, and several businesses, how he was buying a new million dollar house and had just given himself a new $30,000 watch as a Christmas present.

    So I rented the movie to learn about ‘The Secret’, and thought about it for a few days. I wasn’t sure what to think. And then it hit me. What a LOAD OF CRAP. Just imagine what you really want in life, and believe it will come to you, and magically…you will attract it.

    Well, millions and millions of people watched ‘The Secret’. So why haven’t we seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who are wealthy in the US? I mean, if all you have to do is think about what you really want, and imagine it as already having happened, shouldn’t millions of poor and middle class people suddenly become rich? Why aren’t there lots of fat guys with bad skin walking around with hot women on their arms? Why aren’t the tens of millions of obese people in the US suddenly thin and fit? Just by imagining it as if it has already happened…

    No, ‘The Secret’ does not work. It’s a lie. It’s a scam. It’s total bullshit.

    And that guy who told me about ‘The Secret’…the guy with the $90,000 car and the $30,000 watch? He was arrested, tried and convicted of embezzling from his employer and sent to prison. I guess the universe had something better in store for him.

    1. I apologize – the link isn’t posting. I put it in to the box marked Website on the comment form, so it might work if you click my name, above.

      1. @Sue,

        I honestly would not have recognized him! Somebody confiscated his black shoe polish he used to use on his hair. And what’s with the aging hippie long hair look?

        All he needs is to show a little butt crack and he could be a plumber’s helper, he’s definitely rocking the look.

        1. @Sue,

          Blimey, the only thing I recognized at first was the number. He almost looks human in that one….if humans all came from the planet Throngk and lived off raw budgerigar flesh.

    2. Possible reasons for the new longer ‘do:
      1. Prison so depressed him that he has totally lost interest in grooming.
      2. He is going incognito for a while till some of the heat is off.
      3. He is re-branding himself as a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy), going for the SNAG guru look that so many of the ladies love. (Unfortunately, so many of them DO seem to love that look. Too bad there’s a sociopath under that sad SNAG facade.)

      Either way, it appears that he at least got to take his Propecia while caged.

      1. @Cosmic Connie,

        He has the same dead eyes as always. It looks like 18 mos – 2 years of hair growth, so he probably didn’t cut it since he went to prison, maybe for some dramatic public (or YouTube) head-shearing later.

        Also, is his website really indicating he’ll have an iphone app soon? I guarantee it will upload and raid the phone’s address book for warm leads.

  16. Wow, I didn’t recognize him either. He just looks like your everyday, run-of-the-mill scumbag. Oh wait…. There’s that photo of him in the courtroom, all sweaty and shifty-eyed (the usual), looking behind him that just creeps me out – like I’ll be infected if I look too long. I think he’s been spit out by Satan – no longer useful.

  17. Seeing Oprah’s smug face reminded me of this:

    “Oprah hasn’t just endorsed “The Secret”; she’s championed it, put herself at the apex of its pyramid, and helped create a symbiotic economy of New Age quacks that almost puts OPEC to shame.”

    “Why “venality”? Because, with survivors of Auschwitz still alive, Oprah writes this about “The Secret” on her Web site, “the energy you put into the world — both good and bad — is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day.” “Venality,” because Oprah, in the age of AIDS, is advertising a book that says, “You cannot ‘catch’ anything unless you think you can, and thinking you can is inviting it to you with your thought.” “Venality,” because Oprah, from a studio within walking distance of Chicago’s notorious Cabrini Green Projects, pitches a book that says, “The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts.”

    “The most powerful woman in the world is taking advantage of people who are desperate for meaning, by passionately championing a product that mocks the very idea of a meaningful life.”

    Even though this was written long before James Ray murdered four people I still think it’s one of the best articles written on Oprah and her selling of “The Secret”. by Peter Birkenhead

    1. @Barbara,

      I can’t believe that you just wrote that!
      A few months ago a friend of mine recommended that I read “The Secret”. A perfunctory perusal of the quotes from this fiction genre novella at Good Reads spared me a purchase at Barnes & Noble and left room in my recyclables for completed Su-Doku puzzles. In my scant amounts of research I also came across a heart warming ‘blurb’ (unfortunately, the link to the article was washed away in my “IPod Diet Pepsi Tsunami of 4/13”. I know, I know…First World/White Girl problems.) In any case this is what I found:
      When Rhonda Byrne appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show plugging her book in front of 23 million viewers she espoused this brilliant piece of rhetoric.
      When asked about the principles in her book in terms of how they relate to horrific tragedies such as The Holocaust (ie. according to the ‘laws of attraction’ did the people bring it upon themselves?)
      Ms. Byrne responded:
      “Many factors” cause millions to die in tragedies such as the Holocaust, but “if their dominant thoughts and feelings were in alignment with the energy of fear, separation, powerless and having no control over outside circumstances, then that is what they attracted”.
      I threw up a little in my own mouth.
      Wish I had a rewind button and a wayback machine. I would simply travel back to pre-Nazi occupied eastern Europe, where most of my family perished, and just give my surviving grandmother’s sisters a heads up. Hey, I would say, FYI, if you’ll just put positivity out into the universe, through the Laws of Attraction,the S.S. guards won’t rape you and throw you into the gas chambers.
      At this point in time, Oprah Winfrey, Rhonda Byrne and Baba-Wawa are running a close neck-in-neck-neck to see who will grab the coveted top spot of biggest ‘C. U. Next Tuesday’ in my head.
      Thank you for the comment Barbara, and for most eloquently expressing my own sentiments.

      1. @T’eeD Off,

        Of all of the pernicious nonsense in “The Secret” the issue that has always made me unable to just laugh at it and dismiss it as badly written claptrap has been the breathtakingly glib treatment of the Holocaust.

        All of these fake gurus engage in this cheap victim bashing. Another horrendous example is the noxious Byron Katie. Before she begins “The Work” which is comprised of telling victims of incest that they attracted the abuse, or that someone paralyzed in an auto accident “drew” the experience to themselves, she first makes sure they sign the following release of liability:

        ” I agree to completely assume the risk and responsibility for any injuries or damages suffered by me arising out of my participation in The School”
        “I represent that either I will maintain my own medical insurance policy or that I will bear all costs and expenses associated with any illness or injury which I may sustain during my participation at The School”
        “I acknowledge that I am voluntarily assuming all risks associated with my participation at The School and voluntarily agree to accept any and all risks of injury or death”
        “I hereby also agree that I and any all other legal representatives of mine, including my assignees and heirs, will not make a claim against or sue BKI Inc., the Facilities, or their respective representatives, directors, officers, and employees for any injury or damage resulting or arising, directly or indirectly, from my participation at The School.”

        She hopes this will enable her to avoid the fate of James Ray and never do prison time for her immoral actions and that she’ll be able to keep every single dollar of her ill-gotten gains.

        1. @Barbara,

          Glib would actually be a step up in social consciousness for these soul sucking pain profiteers whose empathy reaches only as deep as another’s pocket.

          I was not aware of the existence Byron Katie.

          Thank you – I’m getting quite the edumucation here.
          Please, Barbara, may I have some more?

          Ok, so a cursory catechization of
          “The [Piece of] Work” was about all I could stomach before word vomit collided with real vomit. Was she seriously drunk when she concocted this? I swear Barbara, I’m not an unintelligent girl – but I could not make a modicum of sense out of her delirium tremens induced drivel.
          Her namesake Lord Byron must be rolling over in his grave penning some new prose – “She Walks in Bullshit…” or something to that effect.

          It’s like some massive bitchfestation, and they’re crawling out of the hoodworks.

          “A cockroach crawled across her foot that morning in the halfway house, and she woke up—or, as she says, somewhat confusingly—”it” woke up. Not “it” as in the cockroach; “it” as in the pure consciousness inside her own head. Katie had the sensation of seeing the world through perfectly neutral eyes, with none of her own backstory attached.”

          “There was just awareness, no story. It”—that pure, unencumbered consciousness—”had never seen anything before. It had never been born before.” (It was the kind of revelation that’s usually accompanied by the munchies.) “I realized,” she says, “that the mind projects the whole world.”

          She probably also realized that she was out of Sugar Smacks and Cheetos.

          It’s sort of befitting that a CrockCoach shared her epiphanal Kafkaesque moment with a Cockroach.

          Bonus! I soo loved the part about being able to reach out to one of the ambiguously credentialed “Facilitators” in her intrusion. Score!
          I guess one is only as sick as the “Secrets” they keep and the therapists they see.
          And of course, what scam would be complete without the metastasized to metamorphasized tear jerking testimonial?

          But I have to admit, my favorite cobbled pearl was probably this :
          “We do only three things in life: we
          sit, we stand, we lie horizontal. The
          rest is just a story.”

          Someone needs to bend Ms. Byron over and and introduce her to position number four. Otherwise known in Katiespeak as “The Turnaround”. Let’s see what she does with her “backstory” then.


          For a gal who lives in such a state of pure unencumbered bliss devoid of all fear and trepidation, her heap of CYA paperwork sure seems to belie her supposed undaunted serenity.

          I, on the other hand, have no fear. Jargon filled Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreements in legalese aside, my faith in good besting evil remains unwavering. And Karma remains a bigger bitch than Katie.

          Here’s a universal sentiment that transcends all boundaries of race, religion, creed and mental acuity from my Holocaust surviving Grandma: “Feh”!

          1. I’ve long thought it bitterly amusing that Byron Katie’s work is so much about dismissing people’s “stories” — when Katie, like so many other New-Wage gurus, has built a whole empire on her own “stories” (that cockroach thing, f’rinstance). One of her former followers, a woman who goes by the name Janaki, once had a publicly viewable blog exposing a lot of Katie’s hypocrisy, but that blog no longer seems to be publicly viewable. I wrote about it in 2009.

            I tried to communicate directly with Janaki at one point but she seemed to have no interest in communicating with me, and in fact it was shortly after I published my blog post that she removed her blog from public view. I don’t know if the two events are related or not. You can still find PDFs of Janaki’s story if you search on the Internet, but out of respect for her wishes (or what I think her wishes are), I will not post them here.

            In light of that abhorrent “release of liability” form that Byron Katie is having her followers sign now, it seems very unlikely that she will be one of those to sign the Seek Safely Promise. In fact, I fear that the entire JAR debacle hasn’t really made New-Wage hucksters more conscientious about participant safety, nor has it fostered in them a greater desire for transparency. It has merely made them more conscientious about the CYA factor.

            I’ve said this before, but sometimes I fear that both tragedy and criticism accomplish little more than to build a better scammer. I fear that scammers, like cockroaches, will continue to thrive no matter what we do to try to stop them. But that doesn’t mean we should give up trying.

            1. @Cosmic Connie,

              Janaki was threatened repeatedly by the BK people with lawsuits and that’s why she removed it.

              Byron Katie lifted her nonsense directly from “A Course in Miracles” and from the books of Ken Keyes. She never had a single original thought in her life. I think she has caused untold harm to many people around the world. I saw a video of her breaking down a young girl who had been raped repeatedly by a family member until she forced her to admit that she “drew” the experience to herself. That kind of evil is breathtaking. She’s a power-hungry, greedy, vengeful bitch who belongs in prison.

              Byron Katie tells people in ill heath that they have “cancered themselves” or “heart attacked themselves” but yet when she needed a corneal transplant because of Fuchs dystrophy and a student of hers asked what thoughts Byron Katie held to produce the blindness she snapped “It’s genetic! My thoughts had nothing to do with it.”

              Hypocrisy? You decide.

            2. @Barbara: Thanks. I am not too surprised about the lawsuit threats. (Janaki needs to join the SD Minions.) I agree that BK’s Work, like most New-Wage crap, is derivative. That is one of the things Janaki points out in her journal. And I was also aware of the story of BK’s corneal transplant. That is another point Janaki wrote about, and it’s one of the glaring hypocrisies that really stuck out for me.

    2. @Barbara, Wow. Great stuff.

      “The things that Oprah does, like promoting “The Secret,” can seem deceptively trivial, but it’s precisely because they’re silly that we should be concerned about their promotion by someone who is deadly earnest and deeply trusted by millions of people. It’s important to start taking a look at Oprah because her philosophy has in many ways become the dominant one in our culture, even for people who would never consider themselves disciples. Somebody is buying enough copies of “The Secret” to make it No. 1 on the Amazon bestseller list. Those somebodies may be religious zealots or atheists, Republicans or Democrats, but they are all believers, to one degree or another, and, perhaps unwittingly, in aspects of the Oprah/”Secret” culture. And yes, sure, a lot of the believing they do is harmless fun — everybody’s got some kind of rabbit’s foot in his pocket — but we’re not talking about rabbits’ feet here, we’re talking about whole, live rabbits pulled out of hats, and an audience that doesn’t think it’s being tricked.”

      1. @Jack,

        This part

        everybody’s got some kind of rabbit’s foot in his pocket

        Reminds me of something Penn & Teller say which is, “Everybody’s got a gree-gree.”

        Of course these days, I’m tempted to ask them what their gree-gree is. But I’m pretty sure the answer is big-L Libertarianism.

  18. The Secret was full of subliminal images too — classical subliminal advertising stuff to trigger fear, sexual arousal, greed. Directly opposing their “be positive” message too — pics that look like people being burned alive, Rhonda Byrne seeming to have sex with Einstein, a $20 bill which blends into that red seal of the Secret logo, which then blends into a close up of Rhonda Byrne’s eye; a brief shot of Rhonda Byrne’s work desk with laptop and the book “Men Are From mars, Women Are from Venus” on the table visible only for a split second… And much more. I only checked out the first 4 minutes.

    They flashed up images of all the “teachers” each for a fraction of a second at the end of the opening sequence. Here’s how most people saw Death Ray for the first time, without even knowing it.

  19. Herbal Lie has been around for over 30 yrs and in all that time– The FTC and US Govt has not done anything to stop it. Maybe they like the tax money, i don’t know, but one thing for sure, The biggest pyramid schemes right now, does not get a whole lot of press.

    Let’s hope they do not turn into a Monsanto and start to hire people to sit on the board to regulate fraud. If this happens they stay in business…

  20. i love your site & just wanted to point out that most of the peeps u expose learned the the best/ greeeziest marketing skills from dan kennedy … ta da !!! a shortcut is to check out his wealth atraction for entra po nuuers seminar . but anyways ul always be the saltiest salty droid !

    1. @nb, I was wondering how long it would take for someone to point that out. You’re correct. :)

  21. What are four lives worth? What benefits have people believed they obtained from the teachings of James Ray that made them write those letters of support?

    One of the supposed perks of Ray’s teachings mentioned most often was weight loss. Yes, that’s right, James Ray was cited as being helpful with shedding pounds by the following people:

    Barbara Waters 15lbs.
    Loretta Brown 35lbs.
    Filip Finodeyev 50lbs.
    Linda Newton 30lbs.
    Chris Pike 70lbs.
    Suzanne Lettested unknown
    Sandra Miller 70lbs.
    Michelle Gaudes unknown
    Jeff Gaudes unknown
    D. Trent Aaron unknown

    Those ten people all recommended that Ray be released forthwith because their pants fit a little better. Linda Newton described herself as “a very sociable bunny” and said she would undoubtedly have lost more weight but for the social whirlwind of Gatsby-like proportions that she was caught up in, Barbara Waters credited James Ray for her use of alkaline water and adopting the Paleo diet, D. Trent Aaron described himself as a close friend of Liz Neuman and added “I urge you to let him off lightly” and said his tennis game had improved. ( I’m sure Liz would have been thrilled to hear that)

    Do these ten people really believe their weight loss benefits in some way made the loss of four lives more acceptable?

    1. @Barbara,

      That reads like a list of cast members from a really bad season of Salt Lake City Shore where B. Wow and J. Ray are like BFF’s. Why am I so not surprised? Guess now that he’s a Free Tyrd they could like totally hook up again.

  22. SD wrote: “But neither the company :: nor the man … are all that important in isolation. Until we Americans have a serious meta-discussion about {out in the fucking open} pyramid schemes :: and the cultures of widespread corruption and horror that they spawn and nurture — hedge fund managers and fake robots can keep screaming their crybaby heads off {like idiots} :: but it will be just sound and fury … signifying nothing”

    Good news of the day: FTC meeting with Latino representatives today to discuss abusive Herbalife recruiting practices.

    Bad News of the day: Bruce Craig article this morning about this very meeting and the FTC person they would be meeting with:

    Bruce Craig wrote: Have “those at the Commission charged with enforcing laws concerning unfair and deceptive conduct, and the specific topic of pyramid schemes….been effective in their efforts. An indication of the basis for this concern is the recent FTC action to exempt MLM companies from its Business Opportunity Rule and its requirement of disclosure concerning distributor earnings claims. This was a significant, and unfortunate, exemption, given that the MLM industry claims $30 billion in annual revenues and has had a history of legal problems. It would be helpful to know, in this context, whether these disclosures would have enabled these new Latino participants to have a greater understanding of the risks they were facing. The person responsible for the promulgation of this rule – and the MLM exemption – was Lois Greisman, head of the Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices since 2006. It is also her responsibility to set enforcement priorities in respect to MLMs and she is the person who will be meeting with the Latino representatives today.

    It is further important to understand that prior to appointment to the Division of Marketing Practices; Ms. Greisman was Chief of Staff to FTC Chairman Timothy Muris. Mr. Muris, an attorney who worked in a law firm that represented the Amway Corporation prior to appointment by President Bush in 2001, returned to private practice in 2004 and filed, in 2006, an extensive comment on behalf of Primerica Financial Services in opposition to the proposed requirement in the Business Opportunity Rule that would have included Multi-Level marketers and the related disclosure requirements.”

    Such a travesty.

    1. @2+2=4,
      Oh I’m sorry mates, am I a thumbs down?

      I am just desperate to find anyone who has some clout, (like the Hispanic Caucus in DC might?) taking some action, because like the droid said, “all sound and fury signifying nothing” and all that.

      I know Seeking Alpha (ie, Craig’s article) is the anti christ or whatever, and Bruce Craig is fighting pyramids the old school way which obviously has been a big fat failure so far, except for the odd FHTM or Zeek. But even the droid admits it’s a lot of sound and fury so far even on this very bright blog.

      Please enlighten me if I am off base.

      It would seem that Lois Greisman is cut from the same cloth as Timothy Muris? Correct?

      1. @2+2=4,

        I wouldn’t say that Seeking Alpha is the anti-christ, but it’s a site for active investors and the investment industry. It’s where I’d expect to read about Billl Ackman and Carl Icahn. It’s not a site that the average American is going to read, so it’s a fat lot of good warning people about pyramid schemes there. We need warnings about pyramid schemes in Us Weekly and Hustler and other trashy media average Americans consume.

        1. @Lanna, true.

          I just subscribe to HLF articles there to pick up news.

          Michelle Celeriar at NY Post did a follow up on the Hispanic caucus meeting with FTC. FTC expresses concern about Herbalife but pleads limited resources for follow up. Idea to work jointly with state attorneys general (as was done in Fortune Hii Tech Marketing case) proposed:

          Sad that only NY Post/Michelle Celeriar seems to be covering this.

          1. @2+2=4,

            From TFA

            The Federal Trade Commission told consumer activists Monday . . .

            . . .

            The activists met with top FTC consumer fraud officials, including Jessica Rich, the recently appointed director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, they said.

            What “consumer activists” exactly? How many? Who are they? What series of events/actions/requests/etc led up to the meeting occurring?

            Furry cows moo and decompress.

    1. @Sick of it,

      Wow… I just noticed that this event starts on Halloween! How appropriate a date for when “evil” is supposed to walk the earth. The audacity of these spirial goons are beyond belief!!!

    2. Sick of it,

      That’s an absolute bargain at $1,895 per person compared to James Ray’s Death in the Desert charge of $10,000.

      It includes this entertaining event: “Come as You Were Halloween Masquerade Dinner Dance Gala!”

      You know, come as you were, namely $1,895 wealthier before you took part in this spiritual charade.

      Also on the agenda is: “Discover your personal spirit animal with Denise Linn!”

      What are the odds they’ll all discover their spirit animal is a jaguar or an eagle, something sexy?

      How many participants will Denise Linn discover to have a possum or a Norwegian rat for a personal spirit totem?

      1. @Barbara,
        Does Denise have a personal spirit Honey badger cause she “don’t give a shit?”
        Ha. Barbara – you rock!

        1. @T’eed On,

          I think Denise’s personal totem is a rectangular plastic card embossed with the Sacred Letters V I S A. There’s a lot of magic contained in that little thing, it even harnesses the awesome power of magnets in the little strip running through it.

          And how’s this for getting the marks to stay an extra day, there is a “Post-Conference Workshop Journey through the Vortex to Your Previous Incarnations”.

          If you stay your peers know that “If you’re drawn to this workshop, you’ve had past lives in which you were a seer, oracle, visionary or a shaman. Learn who you were and how it affects your future.”

          Do you want the other workshop attendees to know that you are just ordinary? Not a visionary? Not a shaman? Just some putz from Sheboygan who works at the Great Lakes Cheese factory?

          Of course you don’t, for you are a great Seer. So pony up the extra dollars, stick around and make even more of an ass of yourself.

          1. @Barbara,
            Im”possum”able to fathom.
            Are you “seer”ious?

            ‘ So pony up the extra dollars, stick around and make even more of an ass of yourself.’

            No umbrage intended to the good folks whose previous animal spiritual totem was in the Equine family right?

            Hey…I’ve got a clever ruse for getting a free Seasons Pass to this [not so] Great Adventure,[definitely] loony park – now complete with past life petting zoo.

            The Sheboygan Wimps should just tell this Sham-woman who is Delphinitely talking out of her own oracle that they had already paid her last tuesday (in a previous incarnation) for the Scamburger today!

            “Hosted by her own petar (Var.)! Ha.

            And with brevity being the soul of wit I believe I’ve overstated my welcome.

            C. U. Next Tuesday!

            1. I love the idea of a past-life petting zoo. You could probably make a fortune, since spirit animals/power animals/totems have been a big “thing” with the conspicuously enlightened set for years. It is, of course, part of their vulgar co-opting of sacred Native traditions. A few years ago there was a site called “Is This Your Name?” It no longer seems to be active. But supposedly you could find your spirit animal just by entering your name. Under my real name, Connie Schmidt, my spirit animal was a mule. Under my blog name, Cosmic Connie, my spirit animal was a grizzly bear. My guy Ron did not fare so well, spirit-name-wise.

  23. The Department of Labor has a list of standard occupational classifications in which all workers are classified into one of 840 detailed job descriptions. An alphabetized list can be seen here:

    In addition to all of the usual jobs there are the more atypical such as acrobatic riggers, embroidery patternmakers and volcanologists. But they are all genuine jobs.

    Of the folks who wrote letters of support to the judge in the James Ray case very few had anything that would be recognized as an authentic livelihood.

    In addition to the two Herbalife distributors there were the following pursuits:

    Licensed Spiritual Practicioners
    Passion Test Facilitator (“Certified”)
    Natural Tennis
    Srarr-Vision Accessories Boutique owner
    Vedic Astrologer
    Motivational Humorist
    Breathing Space Institute CEO
    Project Empowerment CEO
    Minos Consulting CEO
    Planet Grande CEO
    ChocAlive investor
    Adama Institute of Self Healing
    Capital Advancement Services affiliate

    In addition to that list there were many who said things like “certified in various healing modalities” which is a fancy way of saying Reiki Master, which means you took a weekend course in waving your hands around people supposedly feeling subtle changes in auras. The reality is there is no clinical or scientific evidence, or any studies supporting claims that Reiki is useful or effective in the treatment of any illness, none at all.

    There were also a baker’s dozen of life coaches. What they all have in common is that they are looking to make money in a way that doesn’t involve what most people, including the Department of Labor, considers to be actually working.

    They had excessive admiration for James Ray because in their eyes he was living the dream. I’m sure the “motivational humorist” would love to be able to draw the numbers James Ray drew and to charge a comparable rate for speaking. And all of those self-described CEO’s involved in breathing, empowering, consulting and coaching would like nothing better than to sign people up at $10,000 a head to impart their wisdom to them.

    1. @Barbara, The Department of Labor needs to add a new occupational category: New-Wage Dilettante. That would cover a multitude of useless non-workers.

    2. @Barbara, Unbelievable. All of these clowns who have no real skills, and provide no value to society, but all want to hold themselves out as ‘experts’ who do ‘life coaching’, ‘consulting’, ‘healing’ and other completely worthless bullshit.

      This entire sub-culture of people who can’t do anything meaningful, who never paid the price to learn a real skill, or spent time gaining experience in a legitimate career or profession, but all want to become ‘instant experts’ and make millions of dollars ‘helping others’.

      The world does not need any more fake experts. Or fake coaches who claim to teach others how to be fake experts. What a massive fraud that whole industry is. I have nothing against real experts who have specialized knowledge, skills, experience, a track record of proven RESULTS in their area of expertise and the genuine ability to help others. There is a real need for legitimate coaches who are truly experts in their field. There is a shortage of people with credibility, integrity and genuineness…and a massive over-supply of total fucking frauds who have no real skill and offer no real value, but just want to con people and get rich quick.

      Now my little schlubby, Not-Doctor Harlan Kilstein, has some wonderful ‘credentials’ hanging on the wall in his basement apartment (in his mother’s house):

      – ‘Doctor of Metaphysics Universal Life Church’
      – ‘Certified Hypnotherapist’
      – ‘Certified NLP Copywriter’
      – ‘Certified Life Coach’
      – – ‘Charter Member Frank Kern Fan Club’
      – ‘Finger Healing Consultant Level I’
      – ‘Finger Healing Consultant Level II’
      – ‘Certified Master Finger Healer’
      – ‘Ultra Grand Master Finger Healing Sensei’
      – ‘Certified Donut Hole Specialist Dunkin Donuts University’
      – ‘Fry Master Wendy’s Boca Raton’
      – ‘Burger King Employee of the Month’
      – ‘Winn Dixie Produce Department Junior Management Training Course Certificate of Completion’

      Oh, I could keep going…but I think you get the point…

      There is one real, genuine certificate hanging on Harlan’s wall that I know for a fact he earned. I saw him do it:

      ‘The Boca Raton Women’s Auxiliary Hereby Awards Harlan ‘Schlubby’ Kilstein FIRST PLACE in the 2013 annual pie eating contest.’

      Congratulations on your stunning accomplishment, you fat, pasty, flabby mother fucker!

      1. @Mother Kilstein,

        Reading through the list of non-jobs held by James Ray’s supporters I was reminded of the old Sam Kinison bit about dog psychiatry…”you’re a fuckin’ dog! You understand that? You shit in the yard!”

        “That’ll be two hundred dollars please.”

        1. @Barbara,
          Funny stuff Barbara.
          You reminded me of a Louis CK routine about jobs that seems befitting of JAR and all those sucky little boys.

          Real quality material!

  24. Hiya Salty,

    Just drove past the courthouse today where his trial was held. I never saw that surfer boy long haired photo of, where’d ya get that one?

    I wonder where he finally is holed up now. Did his brother ever find someone to donate their unused home to him? Perhaps with a spa attached and full bar? Oh brother.

    Nice to see ya again.

    1. @katiecoolady ::

      Nice to see you again too.

      It’s not exactly clear to me where he has landed :: but indications are that it’s in accommodations not befitting a God … or even a fake god.

  25. PS it’s kind of ironic that he was in to shaving his victims’ heads yet grew his own in to a bob.

  26. “How could a loving God keep me from Cub Scouts on account of not being able to afford a uniform?”

    That’s the lament from James Ray, crying out to a cruel, unfeeling universe. It’s in his bio on his current website. You’ll be relieved to know he’s updating his site as we speak and will have lots of exciting news very soon.

    What could it be? New ways to kill people who attend his seminars?

    His sobbing and self pity over his lack of a cub scout uniform reminds me of the Wendy Kaminer book on the self help movement titled “I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions”. In the book she talked about the lack of proportion shown by adults who are still whining about childhood disappointments. As she said:

    “What’s lost is a sense of perspective. If attending Harvard is oppression, what was slavery?”

    What’s a lack of a cub scout uniform compared to the deaths of four people?

    1. @Barbara, I read Wendy Kaminer’s book years ago and enjoyed it. And meanwhile, today — July 25 — is the fourth anniversary of the death of Colleen Conaway.

      And as I write this, the Transformational Leadership Council is convening for their summer conference. It started yesterday and goes through the 28th. (They’ve been real coy about where it is, though.) I wonder if TLC will let JAR back in now that he’s out.

  27. 4 yrs ago, today….My kind, loving, thoughtful sister in law, met her untimely demise……we all pray for peace, for colleen, and our parents, and the rest of our family as well…….john

    1. colleens brother in law,

      John, I know she was in the thoughts of all of us who read this blog. We do pray for peace but for justice as well, for Colleen and all of the people harmed by this man and others of his ilk.

  28. dan kennedy is the yoda but jed mckenna is a better yoda . howard stern & geoege carlin is good. ul hate me but tony robbins / richard bandler is sweet too. but so is salty droid . pick ur alfa leader & enjoy ! me ima bet on joe pesci … i luv salty droid hes da hizzy fo shizzy !

  29. It’s October 8: four long years since the Sedona deaths. James Arthur Ray is, of course, out of prison. Let’s make sure the world never forgets what he has done.

    1. @Cosmic Connie,

      I can’t speak for the world. But I for one will not forget.

      And I would not have known about it if not for this site.

      (Yes, I get that the Sedona part of JAR’s evil got on national news, but I wasn’t paying attention at the time, and I don’t have cable.)

      I will also try to make sure world does not forget either, as you say.

  30. … and now, he’s back. Tweeting. Website revamp with new (old) photo. Facebook revamp with new (old Peru) photo smiling – no longer the Angel of Death? Appearing on Piers Morgan on Monday night. To say what? Sorry??? Doubt that very much. To say he’s refunding all the monies he owes for cancelled events? Ditto. To accept some responsibility for what went down? Or to preach on about how unless you have adversity, you’re not growing, which is another way of phrasing a superior put down, ie unless you’ve suffered like he has, you’ll never grow/be spiritual/be successful/fill in the blanks and you’re a nobody…. Read his blog on the website on Gratitude …. seems it’s STILL not his ‘fault’ what happened at Sedona and here he is, Phoenix rising from the ashes, still has NO clue how not to alienate people with his crass comments. Oh yeah, and it’s STILL ‘all about him’ of course. Duh.

Comments are closed.