The Snake Oil Bulletin: This Week Full Of Actual Snakes!
Greetings and salutations, readers! It's time once again for the Snake Oil Bulletin, your weekly dose of magical cure-all tonic to detox all the normal shit right out of your system. We have a bulletin bursting with bullshit this week, so let's dive right into our first story about con artist and human snake Kevin Trudeau.
Jailbird con artist about to lose all his monies, so sad :(
Have you ever had insomnia and/or been unemployed, dear reader? If so then chances are you've been awake at 4am to see the comedy stylings of one Kevin Trudeau, professional whistleblower and author, who is constantly (and we mean constantly) blowing the lid off every conspiracy out there. If you existed NEAR a television set between 1998 and 2007, you've seen this delightful not-at-all-punchable little ferret face smirking at you from behind the screen, eager to sell you just about anything.
The first thing you'll notice about Kevin's exhaustive library of book credits is the rather limited title selection: Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, Free Money "They" Don't Want You to Know About, The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About. Lather Rinse Repeat. Who are "They" exactly, and why don't "They" want you to know this top secret information? If you don't know, man, "They've" already got you brainwashed!
Well it seems the gravy train finally flew off the rails and ran into a ditch (most likely "They" were at the helm), because Trudeau is on the hook for some unaccounted $37.6 million dollars, and he's going to have to pay that money back to some 800,000 customers by writing individual checks to every single one of them in increments of $11 each, and then write them all checks for the remainder of the bill once they cash the first round. Wonder if Trudeau's book has a natural cure for carpal tunnel.
Trudeau has been an infamous fraudster for decades, with a rap sheet longer than what Donald Trump claims is his penis size. The FTC probably has Trudeau's picture up on its wall with a shiny bronze plaque underneath that reads "Our Most Valued Customer."
Trudeau distinguished himself in the early '90s by pretending to be a doctor in order to deposit tens of thousands of dollars in phony checks, and compounded the assholery by stealing Social Security numbers from some of his scam victims and withdrawing hundreds of thousands from their credit cards. After jail time, Trudeau got caught running a pyramid scheme that eventually cost him about $2.8 million in fines and lawsuit settlements, and got him banned from doing business in the state of Michigan. His next scam involved a wave of infomercials and speaking engagements in the late nineties that included such beautifully bullshit cure-alls as magnetic toe rings, memory-boosting "mega memory" supplements, cancer-eliminating calcium pills, sclerosis-curing mattress pads, crocodile protein peptide, and an "electronic chaos eliminator" necklace that protects your brain from microwaves. Jesus, Kev, you're even muscling in on tinfoil's market.
The FTC sued him in 1998 for blatant lies he told in the promotion of his Weight Loss Cure book. He settled the suit in 2004 when he agreed to pay a $2 million fine and also agreed to a lifetime ban on selling or promoting products, a ban that an upstanding citizen like Kevin Trudeau no doubt followed to the letter. Well, except for that later conviction that found he violated the ban in its entirety, but details schmetails. Naturally, Trudeau found a loophole to the ban, namely that books are not considered "products" because they are considered vehicles for free speech, and thus cannot technically be banned by the government. That's when he hit the airwaves in the mid-2000s with book after book flooding the lizard brains of millions of Americans trolling through infomercials late at night after downing the last pint of ice cream in the fridge (not that we've been there or anything, ahem).
It was Trudeau's Weight Loss Cures that placed him on the bestseller list. The book purported to be a compendium of easy-to-follow weight loss tricks to reduce belly fat, when in fact "it actually called for prescription injections of a hormone found only in pregnant women, a month of colon hydrotherapy and a 500-calorie-per-day diet."
Trudeau also caused a stir by jumping on the enema train hard, and if you've ever read this Bulletin, you know we love us some enema woo. (Jesus, how did butt squirt medicine become our signature feature?)
He followed up his earlier success with the release of his also-bestselling Natural Cures book, whose claims number among the following:
Get an electromagnetic chaos eliminator. Do some "bioenergetic synchronization." Give yourself some enemas, and then give yourself some more enemas. Wear white, for positive energy. Don't use a microwave or an electric tumble dryer or fluorescent lights or artificial sweeteners; don't dry-clean your clothes or use swimming pools or eat pork. Don't use deodorant (causes cancer) or nonstick cookware (causes cancer) or watch the news (stress alters your body's pH, which can make you get cancer). Remove the metal fillings from your mouth, and you're all set!
It was Trudeau's Weight Loss Cures that finally cooked his goose. It was the one that got him that lifetime ban back in 2004. The FTC filed a contempt of court action in 2007 saying that Trudeau violated that original order by selling an updated version of the book, with the same outrageous claims. The 500-calorie-a-day diet wasn't enough, because Trudeau also told readers to eliminate entire food groups from their diets and stop taking any of their medications. What really stuck in the FTC's craw was that, in the course of telling readers the diet in Weight Loss Cures and Natural Cures was "free" and easy to follow, word got out that much of the diet was only obtainable on Trudeau's website and was hidden behind a subscription paywall. So for a "free" diet you could be paying as little as $9.95 a month to as much as $499.00 for a lifetime subscription. The FTC came down hard, and in 2008 ordered he pay $37.6 million for all the people he scammed and issued a lifetime ban from infomercials.
Two years later, Trudeau was arrested for contempt of court after an email blast asked his customers to hound the judge who convicted him until he overturned the charges. Here's a hint to all aspiring criminals out there: DON'T FUCK WITH YOUR JUDGE. Nobody deserves to get doxxed. If a dickbag lion murderer doesn't deserve it, your fucking judge sure as hell doesn't either. This whole string of idiocy eventually landed Trudeau in jail for ten years after he didn't pay a penny of his $37.6 million fine and even claimed he was penniless despite sitting on several (!) million dollar homes. Now he's been caught trying to hide money from the feds in Swiss bank accounts like he's a James Bond villain and/or Mitt Romney.
All in all the feds have only recovered $8 million of Trudeau's fine, and that's the amount he's on the hook to refund his customers as of today. Look, Kevin, we know prison sucks. We've seen enough Oz and Orange is the New Black to know that unless you have a raging hot prison wife, there's not a whole lot to do in jail. So don't look at this stack of 800,000 checks you have to write by hand as a punishment. Look at it as an opportunity to eliminate the boredom while you're stuck behind bars. And hey, if you only sign 80,000 of them a year, you'll be done just in time for when your sentence is up and you'll no doubt face even more fines for the rest of the money you owe!
Congratulations on all your success, Kevin. You really, really deserve it.
Pastor convinces congregation a live snake is made of chocolate, remains dumbfounded that it's still made of snake
To get the taste of Kevin Trudeau out of our mouths, let's wash it down with a heaping helping of delicious snake meat. Excuse me, I mean delicious "chocolate" meat. It's "chocolate," I swear. You can trust me. With the "chocolate."
Meet self-appointed prophet Penuel Mnguni, a 24-year-old pastor from South Africa who leads the no doubt appropriately named End Times Disciples Ministries church. Mnguni caused a veritable shitstorm this week after he had members of his congregation consume live snakes during a worship service, claiming that his powers as a Man of God(TM) had turned the snakes into chocolate. Posting photos of the spectacle on his Facebook page, he claimed:
"#Demonstration of God's Power, Romans 14. Those with small faith eats (sic) only vegetables but the ones with a great faith eats (sic) everything. During service Man of God commanded a snake to change into a chocolate and it obeyed. People ate it and enjoyed it. To God Be The Glory!" noted the message.
Pretty (sic) stuff. Also too, pretty egregious hashtag fail there, #PastorFuckNuts.
The delicious chocolate smorgasbord came to an end, however, when the South African animal-welfare group SPCA got wind of the event and reported it to the police. Mnguni was arrested on charges of animal cruelty and is out on bail awaiting trial. That'd be all fine and dandy, except the local courts neglected to place any restrictions on the bail, and Mnguni celebrated his release by making the congregants at his next service eat rats.
Eating weird shit has kind of become a "thing" in South African churches as of late, as last year a pastor in South Africa ordered his congregation to go out into the field to eat grass and later had them drink gasoline because he'd turned it into delicious pineapple juice. And oh hey, whaddya know, Mnguni happens to be a disciple of the gasoline grass peddler. What are the odds? Mnguni previously made waves in the Christo-sphere when he commanded his congregants to strip down naked so he could stomp on their backs. We're hardly devout believers here at Yr Wonkette, but isn't it generally a bad thing when your purported Man of God thinks he can walk on peasants like a Pharaoh?
The pics of the event are pretty gruesome, so pregnant women and people with weak stomachs probably shouldn't look at them because ew, but your Volpe's favorite moment comes in this little photo right here, which we have lovingly censored for your casual viewing:
Take a look at that old man's face in the background. That is the face of a man who has seen WAY too much shit today.
Can this guy be the new mascot for the Snake Oil Bulletin? Next time we find a story we literally can't even, we'll just post the link without comment with South African Danny Glover's disapproving skeptical glare. We can even hear him in our heads right now: "What the fu-- People today. Mmnn nnn nnn."
Flotsam, Jetsam, and Hokum
- Ole Ladykiller Mike Huckabee knows the real reason all you foxy dames joined the military, to get free boob jobs.
- That poor Oregon baker who's being hate crimed just because he refuses to serve the fags and dykes and queermos (but he loves them!) is so sick and tired of all these sequined jackboots stomping on his face forever.
- Good news! The AP US History Exam will be updated to included portions on American Exceptionalism. Coming soon: essay sections defending that Peculiar Southern Institution.
- Dead Ronald's lifelong dream to kill old people faster has officially fizzled and died.
- Hillary Clinton's new media team is laying down the snark on all these Republicans who aren't scientists but just happen to have a lot of opinions on science.
- Wingnuts have a solution to the latest scourge of Devil statues popping up all over: only apply the First Amendment to Christians, because that's how "law" works.
[Chicago Tribune / Infomercial Hell / Chicago Tribune / ABC 7 Chicago / Chicago Sun Times / Washington Post / Salon / Christian Post]