|US attorney, Jason Jones, author of 'The Salty Droid.'|
In the past, I have looked closely at the frankly-mystifying, Internet activities of 'Kasey Chang,' and I have to say that the body of work which has been published in the last two or three years bearing this signature which claims to be an objective scientifically-based attempt to expose scams (particularly, pyramid and Ponzi schemes), pseudo-sciences and cults, is extensive, apparently impressive and full of references, but devoid of common-sense (to the point of crass stupidity), devoid of empathy (to the point of arrogance), unoriginal, deeply-ambiguous and misleading (particularly, to the victims, and potential victims, of 'income opportunity' cults) and ultimately dangerous. Sadly, anyone engaging with this character - the self-appointed 'Devil's Advocate of MLM' (or whoever could be lurking behind 'Kasey Chang') - imagining that he/she will be able to reason with a fellow human being, has ended up wasting his/her time and energy, dancing round in ever-decreasing, jargon-laced circles. Indeed, without exception, 'MLM Income opportunity' devils are already protected by well-paid echelons of shyster advocates, so what possible legitimate reason could any individual in their right mind have for endlessly-reciting the same amoral sophistry for free?
Many years ago, I also said that:
Obviously, I didn't pull this original conclusion out of thin air; for it was the product of a hell of a lot of rigorous research and analysis - a small portion of which can be found below.
The parallels between all contemporary versions of the 'MLM' fairy story and the original 'MLM' fairy story entitled ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’, are quite remarkable. In brief, all their authors have played the unoriginal roles of ordinary men, turned super men - prepared to share their secret of unlimited health, wealth, happiness and freedom with anyone (for a price).
However, this again is hardly surprising, because ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ was, after all, the prototype corporate-front for all subsequent 'Multi-Level Marketing Income Opportunity' rackets.
Former penniless science-fiction author, turned multi-millionaire, cultic racketeer, L. Ron Hubbard, a.k.a. 'Dr.' Hubbard, posing as a historically-important, visionary scientist and philanthropist who had discovered the secret of how ordinary humans can become healthy, wealthy happy and free super humans. Hubbard was also prepared to share this secret with anyone (for a price).
Unfortunately, just as with the followers and casual observers of Hubbard, the only information made available to the followers and casual observers of Rehnborg, has been carefully controlled.
|Carl F. Rehnborg circa 1915|
Thus, to date, the world has been led to believe that Rehnborg (who w :-
Carl F. Rehnborg circa 1936
|William H. Goodrich|
Even though it wasn’t his area of responsibility, FDA Legal Counsel (1939-1971), William H. Goodrich, was probably the first senior US law enforcement agent to deduce that the innocent baby that Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry had baptised a ‘New Business Model’ (later to become known as: ‘Multilevel Marketing’) was actually the same old delinquent previously known a 'pyramid scam.’ Again, anyone with an ounce of common sense could work out immediately that, since Rehnborg had been peddling medical alchemy, the strong likelihood was that Mytinger and Casselberry were peddling economic alchemy. The sinister trio of quacks were obviously acting in association, but agents of the Food and Drug Administration and those of the Federal Trade Commission acted independently. At this time, anti-racketeering legislation did not yet exist in the USA. However, in the late 1940s, the rapidly-expanding ‘XX Supplement’ dossier was already in the hands of FTC lawyers. Apparently, prosecutors still never considered the possibility that they might be dealing with persons suffering from severe psychological problems and whose own inflexible delusions were contagious. Instead, they still felt obliged to take no action; this time reasoning that Mytinger and Casselberry appeared to have found a loophole in federal law prohibiting fraud. For even today, the fundamental identifying characteristic of all pyramid scams and Ponzi schemes, has not yet been accurately defined by legislators. As a result, another updated version of an age-old fiction was permitted to be mass-marketed as fact to an unsuspecting public. Yet again, the lack of any rigorous official challenge only brought its authors more credibility. Not surprisingly, a host of copy-cat 'income opportunity' swindles (camouflaged by banal, but pricey, wampum) quickly sprang up.
By 1947, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry were steadfastly pretending ‘15 000 Successful Distributorships in the USA,’ with ‘sales’ totalling ‘$500 000 dollars per month.’ They had also organised the production of a ‘Free’ booklet, ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’, in which they further pretended that ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ had ‘cured or greatly helped such common ailments’ as : ‘Low blood pressure, Ulcers, Mental depression, Pyorrhoea, Muscular twitching, rickets, Worry over small things, Tonsillitis, Hay Fever, Sensitivity to noise, Underweight, Easily tired, Gas in stomach, Cuts heal slowly, Faulty vision, Headache, Constipation, Anaemia Boils, Flabby tissues, Hysterical tendency, Eczema, Overweight, Faulty memory, Lack of ambition, Certain Bone conditions, Nervousness, Nosebleed, Insomnia, Allergies, Asthma, Restlessness, Bad skin colour, Poor appetite, Biliousness, Neuritis, Night blindness, Migraine, High blood pressure, Sinus trouble, Lack of concentration, Dental caries, Irregular heartbeat, Colitis, Craving for sour foods, Arthritis, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Deafness, Subject to colds.’
|Carl.F. Rehnborg circa 1950|
Rhenborg now cast himself in the role of ‘Scientific Adviser’ to ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ He toured the USA preaching the gospel to wide-eyed ‘Distributors’ - ‘for less than $20 a month’, ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ was the ‘Answer to Man’s Search for Health.’ After both companies’ owners were approached by FDA officials and warned that they could face criminal prosecution for misbranding, the booklet was ‘revised.’ Specific therapeutic claims were supposed to be eliminated. ‘All illnesses’ suddenly became a ‘state of nonhealth’ produced by ‘chemical imbalance’.… ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ cured nothing, it merely ‘enabled people to Get Well and stay Well’ by themselves. However, pages 41-52 of the booklet still recounted alleged case-histories explaining that ‘Nutrilite brought relief from such ailments as diabetes, feeble mindedness, stomach pains, sneezing and weeping.’ Not surprisingly, the FDA officials were not impressed, so they finally launched a number of raids, and seizures of ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ and associated publications.
In 1951, after a series of lawsuits, appeals and counter suits (in which Mytinger and Casselberry hired top lawyers who portrayed their clients as American capitalist heroes being crushed by Soviet-style bureaucracy), the FDA obtained (on behalf of the people) a permanent Supreme Court injunction against ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ preventing ‘Distributors’ from referring to 50 publications making false claims about ‘Health Tonics and Food Supplements’ (including various ‘Revised Editions’ of ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’). FDA agents soon found that the injunction was being flouted. As a result of mounting complaints, they infiltrated the organization (as potential recruits) and recorded deluded proselytisers chanting the same cure-all mantra about ‘XX Supplement.’ Faced with more litigation and fearing that their monopoly of information might be lost, in 1954, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry hired a leading advertising agency which handled the clean-cut Hollywood star, Alan Ladd. Along with his wife and children, Alan Ladd then briefly-featured in a kitsch 'Nutrilite' advertising campaign - published in various mainstream magazines right up until 1959.
|Jay Van Andel Richard De Vos|
| Jay VanAndel Richard DeVos|
In reality, in 1959, when it seemed that ‘Mytinger and Casselberry/Nutrilite Products Inc.’ might finally be shut down (under the ‘Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act 3381-3383’, rather than anti-fraud legislation) De Vos and Van Andel hid behind familiar, patriotic words and images stolen from contemporary popular culture. They created the ‘American Way Association’ - the first of what was to become a shoal of red, white and blue herrings.
The classic movie, 'Elmer Gantry' (released in 1960), was written and directed by Richard Brooks and is loosely-based on a novel of 1927 by the Nobel prize-winning author, Sinclair Lewis. In the Movie, 'Gantry' (played by Burt Lancaster) is a grinning charlatan in a loud suit - a hard-drinking whore-chasing travelling-salesman, who, for sexual and financial motives, attaches himself to the beautiful 'Sister Sharon' (played by Jean Simmons), the focus of a profitable 'Tent Revivalist' group working the Bible-Belt during Prohibition (1920-1933). 'Elmer Gantry' keeps his grin, but he dons a sombre suit and black hat, and is reborn as 'Brother Gantry' 'Charismatic Preacher' and 'Moral Crusader'. He soon discovers that he has the power to create mass-hysteria, and reap tens of thousands of dollars, by manipulating individuals' existing beliefs and instinctual desires. At a key-moment in the movie, a Protestant Minister (bedazzled by 'Brother Gantry's' offer to fill his church coffers) abandons the traditional Christian message and proclaims: 'Business is business, that's the American Way'.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but at almost exactly the time that the ‘
Initially (and with an irony that is close to exquisite), in order to dodge being drawn into the ongoing FDA investigation of 'Nutrilite,' De Vos and Van Andel now laundered all the unlawful investment payments into their copy-cat, dissimulated, closed-market swindle, behind the claim that they were now selling detergents (i.e. banal, but effectively-unsaleable, non-'medicinal' pseudo-scientific wampum of their own fabrication), not pills and potions. Again, the updated shielding-products were deliberately designed to look modern and scientific, whilst De Vos and Van Andel grinned from ear as they too steadfastly pretended that these strangely-familiar, cheaply-procured mixtures of common substances, were all-American, exclusive, good-value and unique.
The original 'Nutrilite' lie was progressively-absorbed back into the spin-off 'Amway' lie, 1972-1994, where it still is peddled as the truth.
Not surprisingly, this absurd and dangerous judgement was seen as an open-invitation to thieve, and, consequently, a whole host of 'Amway' copy-cat 'MLM' rackets soon began appear.
More than 30 years later, the so-called 'Direct Selling Association,' is a demonstrable lie financed and controlled by the bosses of a classic, organized crime syndicate.
Historically, door-to-door selling (or what used to be known as peddling) was a very common way of doing business in the USA, but at the start of the 20th century, its image was blighted by fly-by-night quacks and charlatans. In an age when most women did not go to work, and even the middle-class had servants to cook, clean and receive visitors, door-step products were invariably cheap and cheerful, and aimed at ordinary housewives.
From just before WWI until the 1960s, the 'Direct Selling Association' was a national trade association in the USA that represented (and was only financed by) a number of generally-reputable commercial companies of various sizes. These used to generate profits by regularly selling everyday goods (usually perfumes, cosmetics, costume jewellery, household products, books, etc.) directly to the general public through salaried, and/or non-salaried, commission agents. Although unethical, high-pressure sales tactics were increasingly used by new, and less reputable, DSA members, in their traditional format, direct retail transactions were authentic and lawful, because they were mostly-based on value and demand. Furthermore, the DSA members originally tried to keep fly-by-night quacks and charlatans at bay, and, at one time, they agreed that, like political constituencies, commission agencies for any particular company, should be limited in given geographical/population areas. This prevented counter-productive internal disputes amongst the sales-force and enabled individual sellers to have a fair chance of finding sufficient loyal customers to make a decent living.
Today, when examined in splendid isolation by casual observers, the self-proclaimed activities of the corporate structures still known as 'Direct Selling Associations' can appear to be the same as above, and entirely lawful. However, when the wider-evidence is rigorously examined, during the second half of the 20th century (as door-to-door selling died out in the USA and elsewhere) the membership of 'DSAs' came largely to comprise an ever-growing number of so-called 'Multi-Level Marketing/income opportunity' companies ('Amway', 'Herbalife', 'Nu Skin', 'Forever Living Products', etc.) which have been used to dissimulate vast closed-market swindles or pyramid schemes. The racketeers behind these counterfeit direct selling companies, have acquired their wealth by steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority, whilst deceiving an endless-chain of victims (now comprising many tens of millions of individuals around the globe) into making regular losing-investments in exchange for effectively-unsaleable wampum (i.e. banal, but grossly-overpriced products, often of a dubious pseudo-scientific nature with highly-exaggerated, and/or miraculous, claimed benefits which cannot be quantified). These transactions, already totalling many billions of stolen dollars, were actually based on the false expectation of future reward. However, they have been laundered as lawful retail sales based only on value and demand.
The outrageous 'MLM direct selling' lie, has been hiding in plain view for so long: that many people now not only accept it as the truth, but they will laugh out loud at rational persons suggesting that, in reality, so-called 'MLM recruiters' are adherents of the crackpot pseudo-economic theory that endless chain recruitment + endless payments by the recruits = endless profits for the recruits, However, it is important for readers to distinguish between short-term participants and chronic, core-believers in the 'MLM income opportunity' fairy story. The overwhelming majority of people who have been taken-in by 'MLM,' quit within a short time, usually because they find it impossible to convert, and/or maintain, other contributing recruits, and/or they have no cash, or credit, to continue contributing themselves. Since they were invariably recruited by a friend or relative, they have little reason to complain, and they wouldn't know exactly what to say, or where to complain, anyway.
The declared annual roll-over rate in groups like 'Amway', 'Herbalife', etc., has always been well in excess of 50%. Those who have persisted for more than 3 years, is certainly no more than 5%. However, if you ignore the insignificant number of grinning shills at the top of the pyramids, the overall hidden roll-over/loss rate in so-called 'MLM income opportunities,' has always been effectively 100%. Thus, the constant public-proclamations by the leaders of the largest, long-established groups like 'Amway' that their sales-force has always been expanding for decades and lately comprises 'millions of Independent Business Owners conducting billions of dollars of sales annually,' is a grotesque, criminal distortion of ever-shifting reality.
There has been a significant minority of chronic 'MLM' proselytizers, with access to cash or credit, who continue as de facto slaves to the lie, sometimes for more than 10 years. In many cases, these dangerously-deluded, self-righteous persons will do, or say, anything to sign-up, and/or maintain, recruits - convinced that they will only achieve total financial freedom by helping others to achieve it .They are indoctrinated to ignore their mounting losses/debts and to commit everything they can get their hands on. Some even steal from their friends and families, and/or deprive themselves, and/or their families, of food, heating, etc. In the very worst cases, gung-ho 'MLM' adherents known as 'Road Warriors' have been indoctrinated to go without sleep and have ended up dead at the wheels of their cars - crashing whilst en route to late-night recruitment meetings. Fanatical 'MLM' addicts have generally been compared to chronic gamblers, but I have called them 'financial anorexics.'
Once the relatively-simple, underlying modus operandi of blame-the-victim 'MLM income opportunity' fraud is clearly understood, the tightly-scripted, reality-inverting activities of the 'DSAs' form part of an overall pattern of ongoing, major racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act 1970). Tellingly, the 'DSAs' (which have posed as rigorous and ethical self-regulators vehemently opposed to pyramid schemes), have long-since ceased to set , let alone enforce, any common-sense limits on the numbers of commission agencies being created by members.
The corporate officers of the American 'DSA,' like Joe Mariano (whose salaries have been paid with stolen money), are, in fact, committing wire fraud and attempting to obstruct justice when they make the following, demonstrably false, and/or selective, and/or essentially meaningless, statements on their own Website; for even their use of the term, 'Direct Selling,' is a cruel joke:
'Washington, D.C. (Jan. 29, 2013) - Following the Jan. 28 announcement that an enforcement action against Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) is being initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several attorneys general for allegedly operating a pyramid scheme, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) has received numerous inquiries regarding whether FHTM is a member of the Association. "FHTM is not a member of DSA,” confirmed President Joe Mariano. Additionally, he stated that “the Association’s membership application process is rigorous, and is designed to ensure that only legitimate direct selling companies become members of the direct selling industry's trade association."FHTM had applied for DSA membership, but withdrew its application in 2011. A rigorous review of each applicant’s marketing and compensation plan is conducted to ensure compliance with DSA’s self-regulatory Code of Ethics. DSA works with applicant companies to address any deficiencies in policies and procedures prior to recommending to the Board of Directors that the company be approved for full membership. Mr. Mariano explained that "the membership review process serves to identify pyramid schemes that are masquerading as legitimate direct selling companies." Mr. Mariano also stated "that well over half of the companies that apply for membership in the Association withdraw their applications for a variety of reasons including failure to come into full compliance with the requirements of the DSA Code of Ethics," thus making the company ineligible for membership. Pyramid schemes and other fraudulent scams are ineligible for DSA membership.While DSA cannot comment on the specific allegations regarding FHTM, Mr. Mariano commended the FTC and state attorneys general "for their comprehensive, ongoing efforts to identify and prosecute illegal and fraudulent pyramid schemes, an approach that is consistent with concerns raised by DSA through its membership application process and its long-established self-regulatory efforts....."
.... The Direct Selling Association is a 102-year-old national trade association that represents companies who distribute products to customers through or with the assistance of independent salespersons who personally demonstrate and explain those products to the consumer, usually in the home or work place. Direct sellers are perhaps best known to the public as person-to-person, door-to-door, or home party plan sellers. Through the efforts of direct salespersons that provide personal demonstration, home delivery, and a variety of other sales-related services, direct-selling companies can offer quality products to consumers without substantial advertising or other barriers to entry found in other distribution systems, like brick-and-mortar stores. In 2011 there were approximately 15.6 million direct sellers in the U.S. with retail sales of nearly $30 billion.'
If readers just stop and think for a moment, then this is obviously a fairy story; for the above document conveniently ignores the key-fact that another so-called 'Direct Selling' company, 'YourTravel Biz.com (YTB),' was a 'DSA' member that had just been 'approved as legal and ethical' only months before being successfully-prosecuted as a 'massive pyramid scheme' and shut down by the California Attorney General. In this particular case, it was found that 340,000 persons had been deceived by 'YTB'including a significant number who had bought effectively-valueless shares in it.
Furthermore, if there really were 15.6 millions direct sellers in the USA in 2011, then how many of them remained in 2012 and where are all their customers? Readers will note that nowhere in any material published by any so-called 'DSA' anywhere in the world, is to be found a common-sense, accurate and unambiguous definition of what used to be considered a lawful direct selling company.
i.e. a corporate structure which can prove that its revenue has largely-derived from the regular retailing of significant quantities of products, and/or services, directly to the general public via commission agents: rather than from purchases made by a never-ending chain of its own losing, commission agents.
Tellingly, in all material published by so-called 'DSAs,' instead of 'the general public,' we always find the vague, and ambiguous, terms: 'end users' , 'customers' and 'consumers' which obviously can be (and are) taken to mean absolutely anyone, including the commission agents themselves. Indeed, the so-called'DSA's' own so-called 'Codes of Ethics' specifically allow so-called 'self-consumption by Direct Sellers' to'qualify' as so-called 'Sales.'
Thus, heading the list of common-sense questions which should long-since have been put to the officers of the so-called 'Direct Selling Association' in the USA, is:
'Of your members' claimed '$ multi-billion retail sales,' exactly what percentage have been authentic, external, retail sales to the general public rather than internal transactions between your members and the millions of so-called 'direct sellers' themselves, arbitrarily, and falsely, defined as 'retail sales?'
Obviously, the officers of the so-called 'DSA' have painted themselves into the same absurd corner as the bosses of 'Herbalife', and their standard escape will be first to smile-sweetly, and steadfastly pretend that they can't be expected to have a ready answer to the above question, when the direct selling companies themselves don't monitor, or publish, this information. However, if put under pressure, they will then be obliged to claim that the questioner doesn't understand how direct selling functions, because many of the millions of persons who have always been described as 'direct sellers in the USA,' weren't actually 'direct sellers' at all, they were 'discount customers.'
Thus, I will confidently predict that, when challenged, the branch of the 'MLM' Ministry of Truth known as the 'Direct Selling Association' will cease to put forward the limp defence of ignorance. Instead, they will mount exactly the same arrogant, Orwellian offensive as the bosses of 'Herbalife (HLF)'
In effect, they will say:
Read the word 'seller' as 'buyer,' stupid! Then theft is lawful.'
David Brear (copyright 2013)