Monday, March 27, 2006

Will The Right Wing Come After Cohen?

File under: The Siddhi of PR

The anti-Andrew Cohen Whatenlightenment blog is running with a letter written by an 81-year-old Republican with an axe to grind:
My grand daughter spent 5 years with Andrew and she never spoke a word to me during that time. I read some of his stuff and I think you folks miss the point, there is a lot of fancy language around what he says but he seems to me to be simply a fraud who takes advantage of people. My grand daughter now visits me all the time, she's not very well, though. Andrew took a beautiful women and turned her into a fearful depressed person, it's like he sucked the spirit out of her and left only a confused shell.
Or, she may have come into an adult onset of clinical depression.

While we'd probably disagree with everything else the guy has to say, his suggestions as to how to deal with Cohen are comprehensive:
These kinds of cults always have a shadow side. Some of this shadow is exposed through this blog, I am sure there are more lies and deceit below the surface. People who act like this are usually projecting some hidden truths. My bet is that his financial model is very tightly controlled. No one really knows what's happening except for a few (probably outside the community), these accountants and lawyers would have created not for profit trusts that are under the control of Andrew, these trusts are the then siphoned by way of special charges for consultancy, dubious outside services. My grand daughter was continuously asked for money, she gave over some $28,000 in the last 2 years.

The focus on financial donation I believe shows his weakness. I believe an IRS audit and exposure of how his multi million dollar empire is run would go a long way toward bringing his evil empire down.
But what is really frightening about the whole thing is that it's all in a letter to Bill O'Reilly.

Can you imagine that nincompoop calling for an audit of Eastern religious organizations as his next cause celebré? The mind boggles at what could be the opening of the next front in the culture wars. The Whatenlightenment folks need to understand that once they help open that door (which we suppose we're helping along too), it could be curtains for hundreds of more legitimate efforts to bring Vedic understanding to the West.

This here's a double-edged sword, folks. Let's all hope we don't get cut with it ourselves.

19 Comments:

At 3/27/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger jacflash said...

I hear you. I so very hear you, though the fact that Cohen is in Massachusetts may actually mitigate the larger effects. It is definitely something to worry about.

On the other other hand, Cohen has had it coming for years.

 
At 3/28/2006 3:48 AM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

Right or left, higher or lower, east or west there is order to everything.

By the right we shade the left , by the left we shade the right.

In all things all things must be embraced.

Think further on these things.

 
At 3/28/2006 6:06 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

I hear you too, Jody, although, politics aside, and as much as I hate the IRS, if most of these crooks were audited thoroughly, they would no longer be non-profits, or would, as some organizations have had to do, branch off into other names and countries to control the huge amounts of money and continue to bamboozle the tax folks.

The totally scary thing is the Bill O'Reilly part. But a truly mean part of me (must be that pekinese that Rita talked about :-)) would just love to see some of these guys torn about by Pervert Bill.

 
At 3/28/2006 6:20 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

But Jody,

I should add this as a counterweight -- I don't think you need to be too afraid of the right going after many of these groups. Hillary Clinton is known to the TM movement ( she's a TMer). Ravi Shankar (not the musician) claims to have been in the White House for a personal visit with George Bush. Most Indians in America are Republicans and give generously to Republican campaigns. The first Indian American member of the House (Bobby Jindal)is a staunch Republican. So I think they will probably protect the real swindlers (the Indian Swami group). If they do go after cults, it will be limited, I fear, to the American "impersonators" of enlightenment. But wouldn't it be fun to see Rasa Von Weirdo on Bill O'Reilly? LOL!!!

 
At 3/28/2006 7:36 AM, Blogger jody said...

Think further on these things.

We're smartasses around here, POOM.

This kind of folky wisdom doesn't impress or sway.

I understand you're pissed off at Cohen... and many see he's got problems, but taking them to O'Reilly is like expecting a pit bull with a tube of superglue to be able to fix a broken tea cup.

The guy is not smart, nor subtle. He will cloud the issues more than elucidate them all in the effort to spin the thing to his own public relations advantage.

You should be doing the financial investigation yourself if you're so concerned about it.

 
At 3/28/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger dharmacloud said...

I usually try to stay as far away from the cliche zone as the spin zone but sometimes strange times make strange bedfellows, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

And there would be a lovely irony to have Cohen--who is reported to have supported Bush's invasion of Iraq and to have disparaged students who did not as being wimpy bleeding heart liberals virally infected with the "mean green meme"--spun dry on high by O'Reilly.

Personally, I'd rather rhumba with Red Emma than tango with O'Reilly, but a girl can't always dictate who signs her dance card.

 
At 3/29/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Redactor said...

Good post, Jody. Can't stand O'Reilly, he's a journalistic phony, but wouldn't a legitimate investigation - by a legitimate journalist or organization - into the fraudulent gurus help clean things up for the authentic teachers and healers?

Keep up the good work!

 
At 3/29/2006 10:48 AM, Blogger jody said...

but wouldn't a legitimate investigation - by a legitimate journalist or organization - into the fraudulent gurus help clean things up for the authentic teachers and healers?

Absolutely. They can start off with the Kracki and then go after Sri Sri and the Babaster.

However, it would need to be an investigation that makes no assumptions about spiritual ideology if it's to be fair. This blog assumes Shankara's Vedanta as a starting point, which gives me plenty of ammo to show what a crock a lot of these teachings are... even before you start looking at the money.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks, Redactor. In these days of being stalked online for expressing opinions about gurus, it's nice to know there are folks out there who get it.

 
At 3/29/2006 11:48 AM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

My point is that who really cares whether a journo is legit in your eyes. Be fair we all have share this earth and you folk only want to legitimize things that you believe in. This Cohen character inhabits the USA and works within its laws. Non profits have a legitimate social purpose and definition under the law. You raise something like this and you folk start screaming about a witch hunt of all eastern religions (and you think O'reilly is over the top)

Spiritual belief is portected under the constitution. If you want to believe in the spirit of a an albino sheep born in Jersey , thats your right.

If you want to create "black sheep" a non profit though you must obey the law.

You will never know whether a teacher is authentic or a healer effective. What works for one doesnt for another. Journalists are not there to tell us about spiritual belief but we can use them to investigate financial issues.

Bill O'Reilly was chosen because he best reflected the values, style and beliefs of Andrew Cohen.

In this you will find both the irony and eventually some justice.

 
At 3/29/2006 1:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

you folk start screaming about a witch hunt of all eastern religions (and you think O'reilly is over the top)

Given O'Reilly's various penchants and the penchants of the Christian right with whom he's aligned, it's not really that over the top.

Spiritual belief is portected under the constitution. If you want to believe in the spirit of a an albino sheep born in Jersey , thats your right.

I'm glad to hear you say it, POOM.

That still doesn't guarantee that a right-wing controlled IRS wouldn't start examining all alternative religious orgs as an underhanded effort to hobble alternative religion. Look at what the Justice Department is doing to Google over online pornography.

You will never know whether a teacher is authentic or a healer effective.

But you can know that they're full of shit based on the metaphysical presuppositions they operate under and the claims they make for themselves.

What works for one doesnt for another.

That's true. Even the full of shit ones can appear to be working wonders in the lives of their sincere followers.

Bill O'Reilly was chosen because he best reflected the values, style and beliefs of Andrew Cohen.

Not being completely familiar with Cohen outside his mom's book, I wasn't aware of his being so O'Reilly-like.

In this you will find both the irony and eventually some justice.

Hopefully, provided that it doesn't turn into a general witch hunt and putsch against all alternative religion. I would have said it wasn't possible a few years back, but in light of recent history, I'm starting to think that maybe it possibly is.

 
At 3/29/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

There are both right and left wing charities that rely on the veracity and reputation of this sector to survive. These Non profits serve the needy and the greater community across the globe.

Niether the eastern or western traditons benefits from this misuse of the non profit entity.

He wears a brown velvet suit, "sony bono" moustache, brown shirts and orange ties, I dont think he really is of the eastern traditon.

I dont know allot of the easterm movements but he seems to me to be more of a performer. A bit like those TV Preachers (you hate so much on the right). I notice he has three pay per view spots per week in NYC. If you look at the buildings its shaping up as some religious marketing ploy . So he is a money making machine (just look at the financials), which is invested in Real Estate that can be rented commercially to corporates. Just last year he made 250k in rent.

So here you have a magazine , conference centers for hire, large salaries, no obvious charitable acts, (not to mention all the abuse) , so the question in my mind is one of public policy.

The "rapture" Christians need the non profit concept as much as the pagan revivilists. None of us need the false prophet, sage or priest and all traditions warn against them.

Not all conservatives are the big government Neocon's either. There is a rich tradition of conservatives who were both deitists and the natural enemy of the IRS.

Most of the founding fathers were deitists and had a healthy distrust fundemantalist christianity (which was a problem in those days as well) thats why the constitution says what it does to protect us from people that would enslave us in this way.

People like Cohen given enough money and power would do the same.

Lets also consider that all of the great traditons put our religious heroes though many tests and trials before they find their path. We should not automatically assume this is a bad experience for Andrew Cohen , he may learn greatly from this ordeal.

 
At 3/29/2006 10:05 PM, Blogger jody said...

He wears a brown velvet suit, "sony bono" moustache, brown shirts and orange ties, I dont think he really is of the eastern traditon.

It is, POOM. At least, it began that way. Perhaps it has morphed into something else now.

Not all conservatives are the big government Neocon's either.

Yet the neocons appear to still be kinda running things. They would love to see alternative religion take a dive, and they aren't above employing the Justice Department to help them with their moral agenda, so what's to stop them from taking that extra step.

I admit that I too doubt this will happen. But we are closer to becoming a theocracy than ever before. Call me paranoid, but it deserves consideration.

We should not automatically assume this is a bad experience for Andrew Cohen, he may learn greatly from this ordeal.

But also consider that you've appointed yourself his vanquisher. It's sort of like playing God.

 
At 3/29/2006 10:48 PM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

The republic is very soundly built it might look like its lurching toward theocracy but it usually self rights before then.

Vanquisher? Well I could only play that role if it was in gods plan.

I think some people obsessively convince themselves that avoidance and submission are the key to human salvation. They look at any issue and usually diagnose either a lack of submission or poor avoidance. "they failed or they asked for it"

In this system, no man or woman is perfect enough to actually make decisions about good and bad, instead we should only see difference and diversity.

I am sorry yes I see the world differently, I believe that evil happens when good people refuse to act . Can I assume that you advocate turning your back when when evil happens to good people?.

You sound like a principled person why would you not stand up for what you believe?

 
At 3/29/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

anyway isnt a Cohen community a form of village theocracy ?

 
At 3/29/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger jody said...

I believe that evil happens when good people refuse to act.

The problem is who is calling what evil. I agree that Andrew Cohen appears to take advantage of people. At the very least the guy is a major asshole. But those people are coming to him. Some of them may take more time leaving than they should, but there are others who stay because it works for them. Tearing it down isn't going to help them.

Can I assume that you advocate turning your back when when evil happens to good people?

I'm for making sure people don't get hurt. I'm nervous when people use the word evil. A value judgment is called for that can go any way the judge wants it to.

You sound like a principled person why would you not stand up for what you believe?

I do, and I have the stalkers to prove it.

I just wanted to raise the point that it could be a slippery slope to get into bed with O'Reilly, and possibly by association the neocon element. But do what you have to do. I'm not opposing it, just making sure various scenarios are considered.

 
At 4/01/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger jody said...

anyway isnt a Cohen community a form of village theocracy ?

One where all have freely chosen to join and have Cohen as their primary theocrat. Big difference.

 
At 4/03/2006 6:36 AM, Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

You get conservatism and GWB's rapture, end of times cheer squad mixed up .

 
At 4/03/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger jody said...

You get conservatism and GWB's rapture, end of times cheer squad mixed up.

You're right. I wouldn't consider myself politically sophisticated. Nor is much of the rest of the country for that matter.

 
At 4/13/2006 5:21 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

POOM said:
> I believe that evil happens when
> good people refuse to act. Can I
> assume that you advocate turning
> your back when when evil happens
> to good people?

The world is filled with people who are doing stupid things, people who'd be so much better off if they'd just come to their senses and do what I think they should do. World peace and harmony are served by my leaving all those people alone, by NOT forcing my far superiour wisdom and morality on them.

It's absolutely essential to draw a line between what people choose to do, and what they're forced to do (through violence, threats, or outright lies). If someone has a gun to his head, THAT'S when I shouldn't turn my back. Otherwise, when someone's making a choice (whether it's what the read, what they view, their religion, sex, recreation, whatever), that's when I absolutely SHOULD turn my back.

OK, actually I don't mean turn my back. I can certainly do my damned to influence people, to convince them through my superior understanding and actions that they should think and act like I do. But I absolutely need to draw the line before I force anything on them. Really, really, no matter how far inferior their morals and intelligence are to my own.

To force one's ideas on others is what's criminal, what spreads suffering. Don't try to hide that evil behind sweet words like "stand up for what you believe." Use your life, your example, your words to spread your influence. Beyond that, the great gift that you can give to humanity is to leave it the hell alone.

http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm

 

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