ConspiraSea Day 7: I failed.

This is Day Seven, the last in my seven-day series of updates from or about the ConspiraSea Cruise. You can read Day 1 here, Day 2 here , Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 Part 1 here, Day 5 Part 2 here, Day 6 here, and an explanation for what I was doing here. We’ll have an index page up soon collecting these and future pieces. This is the last of the seven-day series, but not my last post about conspiracy theories. We’ll be posting an exclusive interview with Andrew Wakefield soon, and then I have a number of analytical pieces planned for future updates.

This is the most difficult of the ConspiraSea articles I’ve written. I have to confess a very personal and frustrating failure. I made just one serious attempt to persuade someone on the cruise to reject some very bad and dangerous advice. This was contrary to my “do not interfere” policy, but I couldn’t just stand by and watch someone’s future ruined by charlatans. And unlike many attendees, whose minds were made up before they ever boarded the boat, this person claimed to be persuadable and actively sought out my advice. I don’t know for certain whether I could have changed their mind, only that I didn’t. I hope this piece and the news in it reach that person, and I hope it’s not too late.

I can’t give you any details about the person I’m writing this for. I promised them anonymity, and I seriously considered not writing this at all. But if I don’t, then I have no way to reach them and give them an important update. And it’s important to show how dangerous some conspiracy theories can be; I have some responsibility to the people like this person who might be persuaded to make safer, better decisions. I’ll call that person Q, to protect their privacy while still telling a coherent story. Because this piece isn’t just for Q, but anyone in the same situation or who’s just curious about whether pseudolaw is as dangerous as pseudoscience or pseudomedicine.

As far as everyone but the two of us are concerned, this is what Q looks like:

Pessoa_Neutra.svg
Q

Q’s age, race, gender, nationality, profession, education, marital status, shoe size, politics, military service—all of that is irrelevant. All you need to know is that Q is a human being. And Q’s future is in real danger because of the advice two pseudolegal gurus were selling on the ConspiraSea Cruise. Specifically, Q took advice from a dangerously incompetent and ignorant “attorney in law,” Sean David Morton. A man whom Q trusted. A man who never told Q that not long before the cruise began, he’d been indicted on serious criminal charges. Q probably has no idea that he was arrested by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division as soon as he got off the boat, or that he’s now facing over six hundred years of jail time for doing the same sort of things he advised his audiences to try for themselves.

Indictment
You don’t ever want to see your name on a header like this. I’ve concealed the name of his co-defendant; it’s a matter of public record, but it’s also irrelevant to this message.

 

I don’t know Q’s full name and I don’t have any way to make contact. And I’m sure there are other people from the cruise who are in the same situation, about to implement some of the horrible ideas they got from Morton. So I’ve asked the ConspiraSea Cruise organizers to notify attendees of these developments. I think they need to know that one of the lecturers who gave them legal advice is facing enormous criminal liability for taking his own medicine. I suggested they simply send out a request for prayers and good thoughts on Morton’s behalf in light of his recent legal issues. I thought that would be a decent compromise because people like Q would be put on alert, and cruise organizers wouldn’t have to explicitly criticize one of their guests. They’ve refused. The person I wrote to, whom I believe to be a personal friend of the guru in question, responded only, “I have no comment to make about Sean David Morton.”

I do. I hope it reaches you, Q.

A Quick Re-Introduction to Two Gurus

Winston Shrout and Sean David Morton were the subjects of my Day 2 post. That post was much more critical and aggressive than I expected any of my writing to be. To the extent that it earned me a little browbeating from a Shrout fan who was upset that I criticized him. (If you’re reading this, hi. Please keep reading. Don’t give up just because you don’t want to hear it.) I couldn’t hold back. As I’ve said I’m a lawyer, and I know that what Shrout and Morton were teaching was absolute crap. It wasn’t arguably right. It wasn’t thinking outside the box. It wasn’t creative reinterpretation of the law. It was complete nonsense, in that it literally did not make any sense.

Winston Shrout Lecture
Winston Shrout, who claims to be the third dimensional delegate to the Galactic Round Table and friend of fairies and elves–who helped him move the Prime Meridian one time.

How bad was it? Before the cruise started, Shrout went on record predicting that we’d have a new currency and that the IRS would be sent “back to Puerto Rico” by the time we sailed. When that didn’t happen, he bumped his prediction back to February 8, the date I’m writing this–and it still hasn’t happened, and won’t, because despite what he says the IRS is not a private corporation headquartered in Puerto Rico. He claimed that he once used an elf’s powers to move the Prime Meridian out of London, which I think he said is why the Federal Reserve banks couldn’t be rechartered and now the Fed is dissolved. He claimed he’d been working for six months to sell 350 tons of gold, which would be worth over $10 trillion. He told his audience that their birth certificate is actually title to a trust owned by the government and if they can recover ownership by having it verified by John Kerry (which you have to do by saying that it’s for use in Taiwan, or else they’ll notarize it instead of verifying it) then some kind of magic happens and you don’t have to pay taxes anymore. I could write ten paragraphs like this one just listing his bizarre, false, totally unsubstantiated made up stories. None of it makes any god damn sense. None of it.

You don’t have to take my word for it: none of it works. If he’s really unlocked the secret to limitless wealth, then why the hell is he selling you those secrets in a $30 DVD? Is Bill Gates doing lectures on a cruise ship, hawking merchandise to make ends meet?

Morton’s no better. As I wrote in my Day 2 piece, he’s apparently made a lot of dubious claims about his own background, from being a major player in getting Star Trek back on the air to being trained in secret sexual arts by “black hat” Tibetan monks. These guys claim to have checked it all out and documented a lot of lies. He spun more stories like that on the cruise, telling us that his book has been optioned for a $100 million movie or series and that he has psychic powers to predict stock market movements. I was going to fact-check the claim about his book deal, but obviously there’s no point now. I already know he doesn’t have the psychic power to predict the stock market; he couldn’t even predict the $11 million judgment the SEC won against him as a consequence of that scam.

2016-01-30 20.10.10 (2)
Sean David Morton and Winston Shrout. Anyone know what the crest on SDM’s blazer is?

One thing that comes across in that expose of Morton’s background is that he likes to pose as an expert. That’s what he did on the boat, trying to persuade people that he had figured out the secrets to beating the government in court, clearing debt without having to pay it yourself, and getting out of paying taxes forever. He gave a halfhearted disclaimer halfway through one lecture, insisting that this secret knowledge was for “entertainment purposes only,” but I don’t think anyone believed him. I certainly didn’t. It was painfully clear to me that Morton wanted people to believe him, and unfortunately people like Q did.

The View from Q

I think Q must have heard that I’d written something critical of Shrout. After one of the pseudolegal lectures, Q pulled me aside and asked what I thought of him and Morton. I said I thought they were con artists, and shouldn’t be trusted. Q allowed that this was possible, and maybe even likely. But Q’s not a lawyer and doesn’t have any basis for judging the accuracy of the stories people like Shrout and Morton spin. At the end of the day it was my arguments against Morton’s lectures. He won.

I can’t describe the conversations I had with Q without jeopardizing his/her privacy. I can say we had several discussions about whether it was safe to trust Morton’s advice. We never discussed the details of Q’s life, but just like everyone else it’s safe to assume that Q had some kind of debt. Taxes, student loans, mortgages, credit cards, car payments, could be anything–but Q didn’t seem desperate to me. Just willing to try unconventional methods to get rid of it, the way someone might try homeopathy or reiki to clear up an annoying rash.

I tried as hard as I could to persuade Q that Morton was untrustworthy. It’s hard for me to understand how someone could fail to see that, which is a testament to how hard it is to get outside of your own head and see the world from a different perspective.

For example, Morton claimed more than once that this is a “Supreme Court case,” handed down in September, that establishes that United States district courts have never had any jurisdiction outside of Washington, DC. Thus, presumably, no one can be tried in federal courts located in a state like California. None of us knew at the time that a federal grand jury in California had indicted Morton on serious criminal charges a couple of months before. You can sort of see how the idea that federal courts have no criminal jurisdiction in California would be tempting to a man in that position.

To a lawyer, Morton’s claim is incredibly foolish. There are lots of tells, from the subtle (Supreme Court cases aren’t handed down in September) to the blazingly obvious (the Supreme Court doesn’t use a WordPress blog to announce cases). And of course, if the Supreme Court had held last year that federal courts have no jurisdiction outside of Washington, DC, it would still be headline news today.

But if you don’t know anything about courts, and never think about courts, and someone you want to trust–like someone who’s been propped up as an expert by cruise organizers–tells you otherwise, it’s tempting to assume he must know what he’s talking about. And it’s not like Morton gave people a chance to really review the case. He briefly described it and flashed a page or two on the screen during a lecture.

Similarly, he told people that if they could change their status from Fourteenth Amendment citizen to plain old Constitutional citizen, they wouldn’t be taxable. No, that doesn’t make sense. It’s connected to a weird, very racist idea that the Fourteenth Amendment only applied to freed slaves and their children, making white and black people fundamentally different kinds of citizens even after the end of slavery. It’s not true. But if you’ve never studied constitutional law, would you know that? And would you stop to consider the strange racism of this fanciful segregation? Morton certainly didn’t dwell on it, although he did use some very ugly racial and sexist “humor” in his lectures.

Q Askew

Just like I can’t describe my conversations with Q, I can’t describe the decision Q made in any real detail. All I can say is that Q ultimately concluded that while Morton may be wrong about some things, it was worth trying at least. I don’t know exactly why Q wasn’t persuaded by my attempts to show how badly wrong Morton is. I suspect it was a combination of two things. First, Morton, as an invited lecturer and self-proclaimed expert, simply had more innate credibility with Q. He was part of Q’s culture in important ways, while I was a self-defined skeptic and outsider. Q and I built a wall in between ourselves just by the way we defined our respective communities, largely in opposition to one another. Second, Morton was promising something Q wanted to be true. Not just an end to debt, but a hard-won end to debt by means of secret knowledge most people aren’t clever enough or dogged enough to master. And of course, maybe I just plain failed. Morton was just more persuasive.

So in the end, Q decided to take Morton’s advice. I don’t know what advice in particular. I don’t know if Q’s going to be playing games with the IRS or sending phony bonds to creditors or issuing bogus promissory notes or just trying to change the name on a birth certificate from Q to q. I hope none of it. All of it is foolish, much of it will end in financial ruin, and some of it leads straight to prison. I didn’t get the details, because I don’t want to know. I just wanted to protect someone, at least one person, from Morton’s and Shrout’s incredibly irresponsible, stupid advice.

 

Gurus or Villains?

When I boarded the boat, I had a pretty strong suspicion that Shrout was a true believer in this pseudolaw nonsense, but probably not foolish enough to try it himself–I assumed he just thought he hadn’t quite cracked the code, but was still willing to sell the guidebook. I presumed that Morton was smarter than that, and an outright con artist just pretending to be a pseudolaw believer to make a quick buck.

I was very wrong. Shrout and Morton are both believers. They both practice what they preach. And because what they preach is a completely fictitious made-up version of law, they can’t actually navigate the world of taxes and debts and court cases. And when you decide to stop paying taxes, as Shrout and Morton did and as their audiences may be enticed into doing, it’s kind of a big problem when your ideas turn out to be worthless in real-world courts. Morton’s trying to fight his criminal case with the same goofy nonsense he and Shrout taught on board the boat, like using “cestui que” trusts and appointing his own prosecutor as his fiduciary. I can’t imagine the frustration his public defender must feel.

 

Want to take a guess whether those tactics are working? This is an excerpt from one hugely pointless motion he filed, appointing his own prosecutors as the fiduciaries for a mythical trust that may or may not include his body as a trust asset.

Fidu

There’s so much wrong with this paragraph I won’t even try to list it all. Basically, Morton doesn’t know how trusts work. The federal government didn’t create one in his name the day he was born. And you can’t just declare someone to be your fiduciary. And if you could, it wouldn’t stop the prosecution. I suspect people file things like this because it makes them feel better to pretend to themselves they’ve got a fighting chance to win the case. He doesn’t.

And yet, even though I walked away convinced that Shrout and Morton are true believers, I still think they’re con men. Why, if they really believe in the product they’re selling? Because they knew it didn’t work. Maybe they thought it could work, maybe they thought it would eventually work. But they both knew they had lost prior judicial proceedings, and were each currently facing criminal charges, based on the same behavior they were teaching to others, like ducking taxes and issuing bonds and promissory notes they never intended to pay. And I think they both knew that the “legal” arguments they were teaching others, for money, don’t really work in court. They each had lots of little anecdotes about tiny victories, like a traffic court judge throwing out their case because he was tired of the vast quantities of nonsense they filed to bury the court in paper. But when I asked Shrout what major cases he’d won, for example, he wilted. He promised he’d look some up and get back to me, but obviously he never did.

Even if Shrout and Morton honestly believed their pitch, they had a clear, basic moral duty to warn their customers. Something like, “I think this could work, but you should know I’m currently under indictment for doing something very much like this.” “I think I’m going to win my case, but I don’t know for sure, so you should be careful.” “I know how to unlock billions of dollars in secret government money, but I’ve never actually been able to get my hands on it, which is why I’m here selling books to make ends meet.” What their customers got instead was a half-assed disclaimer from Morton, warning that his ideas were for “entertainment purposes only” – but still for sale in private sessions, away from the prying eyes of skeptics.

So what about the cruise organizers? Not the logistics people, but the ones who found and promoted the speakers? As I said in my last update, overall I’m a big fan of the ConspiraSea project. It was a brave notion to put a hundred conspiracy theorists together and let them explore some out-there ideas. It was even braver to let a skeptical author and a few professional journalists tag along. In the long run that kind of transparency humanizes conspiracy theorists in the eyes of skeptics, but it must be stressful to have your beliefs exposed to criticism and even potential ridicule. That’s one reason why I’ve been reluctant to criticize the organizers.

This is one place where it’s very appropriate to criticize them. They aren’t lawyers, and it may not have been obvious to them that Shrout and Morton were hugely incompetent. And I doubt that they knew that both men had been indicted for serious crime related to the bad advice they were giving; they had already signed on to the cruise by the time either one was indicted. But now the organizers know. I’ve told them very explicitly, in person and with my posts, that Morton and Shrout are dangerous. I’ve told them that I know of at least one person who left the boat intending to follow their advice. And they’ve washed their hands of it.

That’s not acceptable. The cruise promoted Shrout and Morton and gave them the credibility they used to put people like Q in danger. Its promoters share some of the responsibility. I’m not naming names because I can’t tell, from the outside, where that responsibility should fall. But I know that they have the power to notify the people who paid them money for the privilege of learning at Morton’s feet that his lessons bear tragic fruit. And I don’t think they’re going to do it. For all the cruise’s high rhetoric about fighting abuses of power and supporting light energy and peace and justice, they seem very unconcerned with actually reaching out to help their own customers.

Q, I Hope You’re Reading This

That’s the overall picture for all our readers. I hope you’ve all found it interesting. But really, I only need one person to read this. I said on the cruise, to Q, that I’d be proud of myself if I could just convince one person not to follow Morton’s horrible, dangerous advice. I failed. I’m sorry. Please look at where Morton is now–out on bail, awaiting trial–and reconsider. Please don’t fall for his tricks. Please save yourself.

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “ConspiraSea Day 7: I failed.

  1. Chris February 9, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    “And you can’t just declare someone to be your fiduciary.”

    We just finished setting up a Special Needs Trust to protect our disabled son when we both die. A fiduciary company is named to succeed us, and they had to sign the document. I doubt that those that Morton declared as “fiduciary trustees” signed anything for him.

    And when we do die, our estate is divided among our two younger children, and to the oldest’s trust fund. The fiduciary company then gets paid about $3000 per year from the now funded trust to manage our son’s housing, health, etc. There is quite a bit of actual trust in them required. Which is why our younger son will be the “Trust Protector.” It’s complicated.

  2. Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 10, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    There are different types of charlatans. There’s the knowing charlatan–the guy who absolutely knows s/he’s selling lies. There’s the unknowing charlatan–the person who believes the story. Then there’s the person who convinces him/her-self at the time of the pitch that it’s the truth.

    Sorry to be trite, but Merideth Wilson captured this in “the Music Man”. Harold Hill tells a boy at one point about how he wanted him in the band to help him, “I always believe there’s a band, kid”.

    There are also multiple types of shill. There’s the shill who is in on the pitch. A partner of the charlatan. That type can be a believer, or a non believer. There’s also the shill who is a true believer/follower. The person who is so taken with the charlatan and her/his message that the follower becomes a pitch man for the charlatan. Many of my fellow autism parents have fallen into that role. Some spending a lot of their own money in the process.

    • Nick H February 25, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      It’s specifically the crest of Exeter College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. There’s no indication that he’s ever been there on his Wikipedia page, though, so it might just look similar to something else (although none of the crests of universities/colleges he’s associated with look much like that).

      • The Mad Heraldist March 3, 2016 / 4:39 pm

        It’s not a crest, it’s a coat of arms. A coat of arms will generally be composed of the shield (or “arms”), and a crest (which is the part on the top of the helmet).

  3. Erickson February 10, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Thank you for the article. I have read many of Sean’s pleadings on ufowatchdog:

    http://ufowatchdog.blogspot.com

    While they are entertaining in a perverse kind of way I would not want to go to Sean for legal advice. It has not worked out very good for him. That kind of law of course goes beyond Sean’s contributions- it extends from “Judge” Anna Von Reitz up in Alaska to common law barristers. I once lived in a small town and many of the town’s attorneys would come to watch a common law “lawyer” fight a traffic ticket with arguments about being a natural born citizen who tore up his contract with the state by destroying his license and who couldn’t be forced to pay with federal reserve notes.

    Pseudolaw is a good word for it.

    Thank you also for being on the cruise so the rest of us do not have to go. I have been invited to go on similar cruises to assist a friend (long story) but I could never face the idea of being on a boat with Sean and Kerry.

    • Jake Eschen February 11, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      I have one question for these common-law experts: What’s the Rule in Shelley’s Case? If they can’t answer, they know nothing about the common law.

  4. JaneH February 10, 2016 / 8:58 pm

    Hey Colin, don’t beat yourself up too much. At the end of the day, Q is an adult; you weren’t there to guide or to hold their hands. Yes, you had knowledge that could have helped, but this is their decision, their future and their consequences.

    Take care. 🙂

  5. mem_somerville (@mem_somerville) February 10, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    I hear ya on failure. A lot of the people I do battle with on crank ideas are just tossers. I don’t think it much affects their lives if they go off and buy organic sprouts or skip their whooping cough booster.

    But one time I was at a table at a CDC event, with a bunch of anti-vaxxer moms. They were certain the CDC was about to roll out a mandatory avian flu vaccine that would harm their kids–who were already medically fragile because of autism (caused by previous vaccines).

    I tried to explain to them if their kids were medically fragile in most ways, protecting them from illness was a really good idea. However, for my nephew (who at the time had leukemia, now in remission because SCIENCE), he couldn’t be vaccinated and protected. So the community needed to help him stay safe.

    I couldn’t reach these moms. It put their kids at risk, and it put my nephew at risk.

    However….

    At one point I asked one of the moms: what information, and from what source, would you accept information that was in support of vaccination? She hesitated, and said she didn’t know. I felt like in that moment she realized the difference between skeptic and denier. And although she couldn’t say in that moment that the wall had been breeched–I think it was.

    That’s one of the hard things about skeptic battles. You don’t know if later there was impact. But I would bet that there was in this case. Maybe not that day. Maybe not today. But a few more google searches and ….

    The seed of reality had to get in first. That mattered. And it was worth trying.

    • Chris February 11, 2016 / 1:13 am

      I applaud you. There was a CDC vaccine meeting in my area, but I had a *&^%$#! time conflict (due to appointments about a child’s genetic heart disorder… blame a vaccine on that!). I really wanted to tell a certain prominent local anti-vaxxer to not use his anecdote unless he was willing to publish the relevant medical records.

  6. George Benkel February 12, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    350 tons of Yellow is worth more than 10 Billions, not Trillions!

    • Colin February 12, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      You are correct! Thanks. I’ll update the post when I get a chance.

  7. Chris February 16, 2016 / 4:32 pm

    This is tangentially related in a kind of pseudolaw where they invoke their own interpretation of the constitution, and some really bad cattle ranching. It is a document submitted outlying why Cliven Bundy should not go home to await trial:

    • Chris February 16, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      Oh, wow. I did not expect it to do that when I posted the link.

  8. justweirdenough February 18, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    I love the idea of a court using wordpress, made me laugh. Pseudolegal advice is seriously dangerous and his halfassed disclaimer does not make it any better. Glad hes getting his just deserts.

  9. Drugie February 26, 2016 / 7:48 am

    First time commenter here. Felt compelled to post after reading the article. I have some strong opinions regarding conspiracy theorists.

    Ive been complaining to my spouse for a few years about the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and how utterly catastrophic that can be.

    Yes, folks can believe what they want. When the absence of fact, logic, reason, and critical thinking reach such a point where bizarre fantasy become acceptable as rational explanations for a complex world, then we have failed to evolve forward and are regressing back to a more primitive state.

    As the mainstream becomes more and more comfortable with CT, our family members, friends, business associates and leaders will be allowed to proffer wild nonsensical responses to the pressing matters of the day, preferring to live in an alternate reality where life’s loose ends are always tied up neatly with explanations literally pulled from one’s own ass.

    Imagine President Trump telling us the reason we should be cautious of government, past government obviously, is that he has evidence (which he doesnt) that 911 was an inside job performed by the usual suspects-the Joooozzz, the Bush family, the Saudi’s, the Illuminati in conjunction with the Bilderberger Group and on and on. We are doomed the very day a majority of our fellow citizens agrees with such insanity.

  10. John Phillips February 29, 2016 / 8:07 am

    Thanks to Orac I have found yet another excellent blog to read, where oh where will I find the time :). By the way, this series was excellent and I look forward to your follow up blogs when you have the time.

  11. Muz March 10, 2016 / 1:48 am

    Despite my lateness I can’t help but comment in a ‘joining the crowd’ kind of way. I’m particularly fascinated by these folks, the sovereign citizens, the ‘free men on the land’ and other Pseudolegal movements and it’s great to read about them.
    We talk about magical thinking a lot in the skeptical circles, or really just enjoy pointing it out. But these characters and their fans cross over into actual magic a lot of the time, it seems to me. In a way that even actual witches don’t a lot of the time. I doubt the pseudolegal folks would see it this way, but it seems very clear to me that their methods and even their appeal to others is in the way they appear to be casting spells to bind others to their will, using obscure incantations and procedures combined with sheer force of will to control a nebulous system that is more sensed than seen.

    I’m probably not the first to point this out of course. In my largely irrelevant categorisation I think it does tip over from magical thinking into actual magic. What’s really interesting is I think it kinda makes some sense in a weird way. I think the general public’s relationship to the law is so bad that this an extreme position which was almost bound to appear, given what we know about human minds/brains.
    The law can appear chaotic and capricious and utterly mysterious as well as so mind bogglingly expansive it is incomprehensible . It’s presided over by a priesthood who are at an increasing remove from regular people, starting with pricing. It sits (or can sit) in that mental space of being real but also imaginary, existing only on paper and in the willing and agreeing minds of people, giving it all power and none at the same time. It is not beholden to even the basic physics of cause and effect to explain it, so it can invite other explanations for its arcane workings even more easily than medical and other woo. People with the right sort of “power” and knowledge can bring its proceedings to a halt and remain seemingly untouched by fearlessly wielding obscure precedents that negate its workings at a particular time.

    It’s all wrong, of course, and the law is actually explicable when you look at it for a while. But at the same time I appreciate that dread at its machinations and the desire to believe there’s some way to be free of it; you just have to find a forgotten ‘spell’ to bind the beast. It’s sad, but unsurprising that this is a burgeoning area.

  12. M. September 10, 2016 / 12:36 am

    I understand why you say it’s important to establish a dialogue and not a fight, and not call believers stupid and so on. I really do. I am in awe of your patience, as I could never do something like that.

    But sometimes, I think you are simply too nice. Some of these people really ARE blithering idiots. I’m not sorry to say this because I really believe it. Not all of them, no. Some are misguided or whatever. But take this passage:

    “I tried as hard as I could to persuade Q that Morton was untrustworthy. It’s hard for me to understand how someone could fail to see that, which is a testament to how hard it is to get outside of your own head and see the world from a different perspective.”

    No, see, it’s hard, because you are not a stupid person, and they are. For someone to take ~legal advice~ from a charlatan with no credentials on a cruise ship, over the advice of an ~actual lawyer~, is simply astonishingly stupid. You cannot understand why someone would fail to understand that, but I can think of at least one possibility: they’re. just. stupid.

    I know it’s not very nice or PC to say, but seriously, there’s no other explanation sometimes. 😉

    • Colin September 12, 2016 / 5:52 pm

      Sometimes, yeah. But how do you tell when it’s one of those times? Q, for example–I don’t know their background. Maybe they have good reasons not to trust lawyers. Or maybe they just come from a family situation where it would never feel right to trust a lawyer. Or, much more likely, they’ve just never been in a situation where they needed and had access to a lawyer, so there’s no background of trust to build on.

      Morton, on the other hand, is all smiles and laughter and bullshit stories about how awesome his legal skills are. He sounds BETTER than a lawyer, but if you have no experience in that world it would be hard to tell how stupid his ideas are.

      Sure, some people would trust him because they’re dumb. But others trust him because he’s a talented con artist, and people are bad at seeing through those. How do you tell which situation you’re dealing with in advance? I figure you always assume the latter, because once you treat someone like they’re dumb you’re just done with them. You’ve lost your chance to persuade.

  13. Bamboo Haley May 3, 2017 / 10:29 am

    facts on vaccines…
    Prevention Mandates for Daycare and K-12 began in the mid 1990’s
    NOW ask yourself why was it so difficult for the FDA to fill the position of Lead Deputy Commissioner since Michael A. Friedman, M.D. (1997-1998)

    TAKEN FROM “The Delicate Dance of Immersion and Insulation: The Politicization of the FDA Commissioner” 29 April 2003
    Over the past 5 years, a permanent, confirmed commissioner has been in charge only about one-third of the time.
    https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8852141/Gordon.html?sequence=2

    COULD this be that no one wanted to be hung-out-to-dry?

    what law was passed in 1998?
    10 U.S. Code § 1107

    Why did Michael A. Friedman, M.D. leave the FDA in 1998?

    What did/does the FDA truly know about vaccines?

    I believe you might consider doing some due diligence before commenting on vaccinations
    RE vaccines “protecting them from illness was a really good idea”

    You may enjoy this video
    Sebelius v. Cloer: Oral Argument – March 19, 2013

    jurisdiction
    judgement
    attorney fees
    on the record

    • Colin May 3, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Any chance you could do a second draft of this comment?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s