Jul 5, 2020

Is James Arthur Ray Losin' It?

I don't check James Ray's social media often, but when I do, I totally spin out on the colossal arrogance, the indulgent self-pity, the insensitivity -- nay, cruelty -- of his posts. That's probably why I don't check it often. But my darling husband keeps sticking these posts under my nose and insisting I register the sheer insanity of them.

Ray's post-prison marketing has long been either tone deaf or deliberately twisted (my money's on the latter), but in recent months, it's taken a turn for the worse. He seems to be having some sort of meltdown. His "motivational" messages have gotten really angry and seem more like an excuse to vent his personal grudges. The weirdest part is that he seems to be really proud of these petulant rants disguised as advice and keeps putting them out across all of his platforms. In a recent set of postings, Ray set out to illustrate the common axiom "only hurt people hurt people," by whining about non-paying clients and how betrayed he was by friends who testified against him in the sweat lodge trial. It can be found on his Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as in this podcast on his site. Note that he keeps moving from the general ("you") to the specific (his personal gripes and grudges).

Has any client made financial promises they don't keep?
Have they ever gotten angry WITH YOU when you ask them to pay and keep the commitment THAT THEY made?
Have they ever thought about the fact that YOU have expenses (both personally and professionally) that you have committed to, based upon THEIR commitment to you?
Probably not.
If you're in business I'm sure you KNOW what I mean.
Here's a good one: Has anyone ever told you they love you and then turned around and stabbed you in the back hard?
Like telling you "You've changed my life and I'll stand with you forever" and then testifying UNDER OATH in trial against you, telling absolute lies, when the state is attempting to send you to prison for 30 years?

I mean... haven't we all been prosecuted for killing people and had our friends testify against us? That's relatable, right? We've ALL been there!

Jun 25, 2020

Retrogrades and the Atrological "Perfect Storm"

I don't think I'm exactly breaking news when I say that everything sucks right now. But, according to a number of astrological reports I've seen, our no good, very bad year is about to get worse. And this past weekend -- with the juxtaposition of the solstice and the solar eclipse, followed by more planets going retrograde for a total of six -- is not the greatest kick-off for summer... or the rest of the year.

I'm not an astrologer, so I can't speak with any authority on what this all means. So I'm posting the best such report I've seen thus far. Steve Judd has described this set of astronomical events as an astrological "perfect storm." On the retrogrades alone, he posits that "there's not going to be a lot of clarity and forward thinking." As the week has unfolded in my own little corner of the world, I would have to agree.

Judd says the problems do not stop there. He is describing 2020 as a real "stinker of a year." And, amazingly, it seems like the worst is yet to come. Highlights include major seismic activity around mid-July. In August Mars will be squaring Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, which will likely bring significant conflict. October is also likely to bring global unrest. On the plus side, he doesn't foresee a global extinction event, but he does predict major economic fallout. He does not recommend playing the stock market or making home purchases over the next year and a half. The detailed report is below the fold.

Aug 13, 2019

Her Tealness Wants You To Respect Her Authoritah!

Respect my authoritah!!! Teal Swan and Eric Cartman

Several weeks ago Andey Fellowes asked, "Is Teal Swan Unravelling?" His concerns are well-founded. Her videos seem to be increasingly petulant, even hostile. And it's not just her critics she's angry with. We're used to that. Increasingly, it's her own followers she's not so subtly complaining about. In the "Ask Teal" video that sounded the alarm for Andey, teal huffed and pouted her way through a litany of grievances about the perils of being a "spiritual teacher" in the "information age."

According to teal, "teacher hopping" is all about the "ego" of those who dare to pick and choose from the YouTube smorgasbord of ideas. (A "spiritual teacher" complaining about sharing that stage is somehow not about ego at all.) Without a trace of irony, she complains about her followers plagiarizing from her, an odd complaint from a woman who's been caught lifting content word for word, from a multitude of sources. But how dare her followers take the ideas she stole and go on to become teachers themselves!

“One does not repay a teacher well by remaining a pupil.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

"Poor is the pupil who does not transcend his master." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

A mere two weeks later comes another "Ask Teal" gripe fest. So what social ill has her so troubled that she must vent her spleen about it for a full half hour?

At this point in history hierarchy is one of those concepts that has been thrown into the waste bin of "bad things". Now, as we all know, if we throw something into the bin of "bad things", we tend to swing the pendulum all the way to the side where we won't acknowledge something, we won't look at it and we don't become conscious in the ways we need to around it. By swinging the pendulum, we also become out of alignment to the opposite extreme.

Apr 10, 2019

James Arthur Ray On How To Leverage Self-Pity

James Arthur Ray is declaring himself an expert on the career comeback, which is weird, because he really hasn't made one. Don't tell him that, though. His marketing angle, ever since he was released from prison, has been an evolving narrative about how well he's been able to make killing people work for him. Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman, James Shore, they just had to be "sacrificed" so that he could rise like a phoenix from the ashes of their lives. It "had to happen" so he could "learn and grow." Noticeably absent in this new pitch is any reference to the "full and complete responsibility" he previously claimed to have taken for those deaths. Now it's a nameless bad thing that damaged his career. Every single element of this pitch is a study in self-pity and exploitation. What follows is a trip down that page.

Click Image to Expand

One teensy, little mistake! You cook a few people to death and no one'll let you forget it. It's just so unfair!

Apr 7, 2019

"Vanilla" Rape, Unrepentant Self-Pity, and Toothless Edicts: The Moral Sickness of the Catholic Church


On March 29th, Pope Francis took the unprecedented step of making Vatican City officials and diplomats mandated reporters of sexual abuse. Reminder: It is now the year of our Lord 2019.

The edict, called a Motu Proprio and which goes into effect on June 1, comes after an international summit of church leaders convened at the Vatican in February to address the abuse and protection of minors. It is the first set of concrete protocols established by the Holy See in response to the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church to its core.

But the Church was "rocked to its core" in January of 2002, when the Boston Globe ran a groundbreaking expose in its "Spotlight" section. That was when whispers, rumors, and dark humor became full-blown, public scandal. The Church hierarchy had known about the problem at least as early as 1985 when Father Thomas Doyle tried to sound an alarm at the US conference of bishops. His warning was ignored, as those same bishops continued to quietly move pedophile priests from diocese to diocese. For an organization "rocked to its core," it sure is taking its sweet time in taking any meaningful action. And this edict, appropriate as it may be, is not particularly meaningful. It's mostly symbolic, governing only Vatican personnel, and intended as "a model," not a directive, for the wider Church.

The decree and accompanying guidelines have no legal impact on parishes or congregations in other nations. Archbishop Charles Scicluna said in an interview with Vatican News that the edicts "are not intended to be for the rest of the world, they actually contemplate the concrete situation of Vatican City State; a number of minors, who either live there, work there, or visit ... always within its jurisdiction."

The Vatican's editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, acknowledged "very few children" will ultimately be affected but said that while the edict is limited in scope, the pope wants it to serve as a model for the entire church. The new requirements "contain exemplary indications that take into account the most advanced international parameters."

Feb 8, 2019

Catholic Nuns Are Saying #Metoo

The dumpster fire of Vatican scandal continues with the revelation of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests known of and concealed for decades. In this case it's the Church's own nuns who have been abused, enslaved, shamed, and silenced by the Catholic hierarchy. I would give the Vatican credit for displaying their dirty laundry in one of their own publications, but news of this issue has been burbling to the surface for some time now, and drew increasing scrutiny during the "year of hell" that was 2018.  Putting the issue front and center in their own women's magazine looks to me like spin control, an attempt to get ahead of emerging scandal, but perhaps I'm cynical.

The February issue of "Women Church World," distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, says that religious sisters for years have not reported offences against them by priests for fear of retaliation.

Editor Lucetta Scaraffia writes that the issue “reflects on the theme of abuse, that is, perverse use of touch”.

. . .

The article says that reports of priests sexually abusing nuns in Africa were filed to the Vatican in the 1990s. Yet, nothing changed. Now, as part of the #Metoo movement, and as the sexual abuse of minors comes to the fore, women are beginning to publicly denouce [sic] their abuse.

"If the church continues to close its eyes to the scandal — made even worse by the fact that abuse of women brings about procreation and is therefore at the origin of forced abortions and children who aren't recognised by priests — the condition of oppression of women in the church will never change," Scaraffia wrote.

It is hard to imagine a greater hypocrisy than "forced abortions" in Catholic orders.

Jan 30, 2019

From Spotlight to "Year of Hell" for Vatican

I'm not really sure why I binged Catholic abuse stories over the holidays. What sort of dark compulsion caused me to immerse myself in The Keepers and Spotlight, both of which had been languishing on my Netflix queue for over a year, I can't say. I hadn't been able to bring myself to watch them, knowing exactly the kind of emotional turmoil would be churned up. But on those cold, December days they called to me, then pulled me in like the undertow of an icy river. It was sickening but necessary viewing. Perhaps it was a need for catharsis at the end of a year that had seen one ugly eruption after another in the priestly abuse saga, events that have seriously tarnished a popular and likable pope. Both the movie and the true crime series are excellent, for what it's worth. The progress of the Catholic Church is not.

I really had hope that Pope Francis would be different than his predecessors. Yet, on this issue, he seems to have even less understanding of the seriousness than Benedict XVI. The past year has been marked by tone-deaf pronouncements, 180° reversals, high profile resignations, and troves of embarrassing documents. It's hard to believe that seventeen years after the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team exposed the priestly abuse cover-ups and forever changed the world's perceptions of the Catholic Church, new waves of scandal could keep finding the Church so far behind the curve. How have they managed to learn so little from so much? Amazingly 2018 may have eclipsed 2002 as a year of horrible revelation.

A prominent cardinal resigned in disgrace. Grand jurors accused hundreds of Catholic clerics of secretly abusing children. A former Vatican ambassador urged the Pope himself to step down.

It was enough for New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan to call it the Catholic Church's "summer of hell."

The cardinal may have been overly optimistic.

In fact, the church's hellish year began in January, when Pope Francis forcefully defended a Chilean bishop he had promoted. He later had to apologize and accept the bishop's resignation.

But the clergy sex abuse scandal shows no signs of abating, with a federal investigation and probes in 12 states and the District of Columbia in the works.

Jan 23, 2019

Breakfast With Russell Baker

Russell Baker
August 14, 1925 – January 21, 2019

I was awake well before sunrise that Friday morning. A limousine was waiting for me in front of my building in Bloomfield, New Jersey, because commuter trains don't run that early. I had no time to brew coffee, so I had to make do with a chilled Pepsi offered by the driver. I am not a morning person, but it was part of my job as a publicist to escort my authors to their New York media appearances. I had booked Russell Baker on Good Morning America

I really didn't know what to expect from Mr. Baker, having only chatted with him briefly on the phone a few times. I had read The Good Times, for which I was doing publicity. It was a delightful memoir about his career in journalism. But I had not yet read Growing Up, his first memoir, for which he'd won a Pulitzer. Our department assistant had rustled up a copy for me only the day before.

I had learned a bit of the history, the unexpected success of Growing Up. The book had gone back for a second printing even before the publication date. The original publisher hadn't anticipated huge numbers on this sweet, understated memoir about coming of age in the shadow of the Great Depression and going on to become a New York Times columnist. The Times reviewed it, of course. It was a rave, and the book had started flying off the shelves, deservedly so.

In my youthful ignorance I hadn't really understood why it was so easy to book media for Russell Baker. It began to dawn when I saw how warmly he was welcomed at the GMA studio. They seemed thrilled to talk to Baker again, even for a mass market reprint of his second memoir. I began then to understand just how beloved he was. As the day wore on, I began to understand why.

Nov 11, 2018

James Arthur Ray and His Business of Death

"The fact that he would do this suggests to me he hasn't learned all that much -- the idea of trying to turn what he did into somehow generating money by the redemption book or whatever.... I think this is just rubbing salt right back in the wounds for all of them and the people who are either financially ruined or mentally damaged by that entire event..." ~ Connie Joy, author of Tragedy in Sedona

It appears that James Arthur Ray has a new book coming out, and I say "appears" because I can find no record of it anywhere but on his website. Yet Ray has already kicked promotion of this book into gear, pitching The Business of Redemption on his local FOX, CBS, and ABC affiliates. As a former book publicist, I find this whole thing very odd. Normally, media appearances would not be scheduled until the pub date, when finished books are in stores and available for purchase. This book doesn't even have a pub date, only vague allusions to "next year."

I looked at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and found no listings or pre-order options for this book. That is something that is generally set up well in advance by publishers. But that's the other piece of information that seems to be missing. There is no mention of a publisher. My back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me that this is a self-published book and a poorly coordinated one at that. I am speculating somewhat, but unless I miss my guess, Ray is counting on pre-orders through his website to fund the production of finished books, hence the vague pub date, which is probably contingent on how many orders come in and when.

This leads us to the most disturbing aspect of this venture. Why start promotion of this project in October, the very month that three people died on his watch? Not for the first time, Ray's attachment to this tragedy seems more ghoulish than respectful, let alone repentant. I mean... what did that press release look like?! Did he send it out on October 8th? I would not put it past him.

Aug 21, 2018

In Pennsylvania, A Reckoning

The headlines alone make make my gorge rise:

Disney World! Who would knowingly help a pedophile get a job at Disney World?!!! The Catholic Church, that's who.

Like people all across the country, and probably much of the world, I have been processing, over the past week, the horrible revelations to come out of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priestly abuse throughout the state. At least 300 "predator priests" abused at least 1,000 children (their findings acknowledge that the actual number is probably much higher), over a seventy year period. And the Church establishment, as it has done in so many dioceses around the world, conspired to keep it all covered up. They moved offending priests around to different jobs many of which still gave them access to minors, they hid records under lock and key, and they threw the victims under a bus. Same story, different state. Yet somehow this time feels so much worse.

If the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that came to light in 2002 slowly unspooled through news reports, Pennsylvania's grand jury report landed like an atom bomb, dropping its online horrors all at once. With some redactions, the report was readily available for everyone to read and share: the accusations of sexual deviance, shameless lies and deceitful churchmen.

"What we have now is people freely expressing their outrage on Facebook and Twitter," said Greg Kandra, a Catholic deacon in Brooklyn, New York. "The anger is palpable. This is like 2002 on steroids."

Aug 6, 2018

Teal Swan: Cult or Movement?

People keep calling teal the c-word, cult leader, and dammit, she's addressed this! Way back in 2014, she put this matter to rest, with a blog post addressing, point by point, the cult criteria that she in no way meets. Earlier that year I had written a blog post, myself, comparing her organization to a number of cult criteria checklists, and I came to a different conclusion. I started blogging about teal way back when, because I saw a number of red flags that warned of a cult in formation, starting with the coerced, public "confession" of her ex-boyfriend to "sociopathy." Since that time, she has grown ever more culty and her long-sought mainstream coverage has acknowledged that fact. She did not help herself with her own commentary in the recent podcast series "The Gateway," wherein she told Gizmodo reporter Jennings Brown:

I have the perfect recipe for a cult. Perfect. Recipe.

No, her foray into mainstream press coverage has not gone well and now comes an article from Vice, which puts her cult leader status and her disturbing position on suicide under a microscope. And irony of ironies (note the correct use of the term), the cult expert Vice interviewed for the article is the very one whose checklist teal used to exonerate herself in that blog post, Janja Lalich, PhD. Unlike teal, Lalich appears to have concluded that teal meets the criteria of a cult leader, a dangerous one.

Though Teal has denied cult allegations, her massive social media influence and controversial practices around depression and suicide—sometimes encouraging students to imagine their own deaths in detail—have placed her on the dangerous side of Lalich’s cult radar.

. . .

Lalich sees this kind of dramatic therapy as a way to manipulate vulnerable people. “They can get very unstable, and that’s what she’s counting on,” she said. “Cult leaders will always get their people to what I call ‘reframe their lives.’ They reinterpret their lives so they see everything from before the cult as messed up, and only by staying with the cult leader will they get straightened out.” (To this day, many members of the “Teal Tribe” say they are only alive today because of her teachings.)