Monday, 9 September 2013

'Salty Droid' propaganda comments - David Brear sets the record straight.




US attorney, Jason Jones, author of 'The Salty Droid.' 






In the last few days, some very specific, reality-inverting propaganda has been allowed to be broadcast in the form of comments on an increasingly-popular, US-based, anti-scam Blog, 'The Salty Droid,' which has been highlighting, and discussing, so-called 'Multi-Level Marketing'. Prior to this, I had been in direct contact with the young (but legally-qualified) author of 'The Salty Droid,' Jason Jones, because it had been brought to my attention (by third parties) that the same inflexible, and annoying, commentator (who apparently, to date, has made hundreds of interventions) has been trying to broadcast some rather familiar lies about me. These lies only began to appear when a link to 'The American Dream Made Nightmare' was posted as a comment on a 'Salty Droid' article highlighting the 'Herbalife' racket. At that point, the annoying commentator, who uses the name 'Kasey Chang,' immediately began to try to portray me as someone who, for personal motives, simply believes that 'all MLM is fraud, ' that I have never produced any evidence-based analysis to support my biased, closed-minded position, and that I absolutely refuse to engage with any open-minded person(s) challenging my black and white view of 'MLM.'

http://kschang.hubpages.com/

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?   



Just to set the record straight, it should be abundantly clear to anyone who ignores the above, false and defamatory, comic-book characterization of me, and takes the trouble to read any article on 'The American Dream Made Nightmare,' that I am probably the last person in the entire world who could be accused of having entered an intellectual bunker and sealed the door. Indeed, I have spent the last 15 years attempting to apply common-sense, and explain in accurate, unambiguous, deconstructed terms, how the core-adherents of all pernicious cults are sadly-deluded individuals who have been deceived into mistaking essentially the same two-dimensional (negative v. positive' , 'good v. evil' , 'us v. them) fiction for fact. Furthermore (as far as I recall), at no time have I ever made the simplistic, and essentially-meaningless, statement: 'MLM is fraud.'



Meanwhile, back in the multi-dimensional adult world of reality, what I have actually said is as follows:



More than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that what has become popularly known as 'Multi-Level Marketing' is nothing more than an absurd, cultic, economic pseudo-science, and that the impressive-sounding made-up term 'MLM,' is, therefore, part of an extensive, thought-stopping, non-traditional jargon which has been developed, and constantly-repeated, by the instigators, and associates, of various, copy-cat, major, and minor, ongoing organized crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim closed-market swindles or pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites'), and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate training and motivation, self-betterment, programs,' etc.).


Many years ago, I also said that: 



Any commentator who repeats the reality-inverting shielding terminology of any cultic group, but without detailed qualification or heavy irony, demonstrates that he/she remains at a pitifully low level of understanding of the cult phenomenon. 

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.


In the early 1950s, 'Nutrilite' was a highly-controversial trademark owned by Carl F. Rehnborg a.k.a.'Dr.' Rehnborg, a previously-penniless, American toothpaste-salesman (of German origin) who'd acquired a considerable fortune by reinventing himself as a historically-important, visionary-scientist, autodidactic scholar and philanthropic businessman. Lawyers from the US Food and Drug Administration Bureau of Enforcement, who successfully-challenged the authenticity of some of Rehnborg's many, absurd lies in the federal courts during two decades, privately knew him to be nothing more than one of a trio of sinister quacks protected by an echelon of shyster attorneys, who’d combined, and updated, the medicine show and Ponzi-scheme to reflect the spirit of the age. However, Rehnborg was no ordinary charlatan. He almost certainly suffered from severe and inflexible Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

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).

http://mlmtheamericandreammadenightmare.blogspot.fr/2013/06/scientology-herbalife-nutrilite-amway.html
The Nutrilite Story


Tellingly, Rehnborg's own comic-book version of his life and achievements (set-down in various published documents, including a book signed by his son and heir, Sam Rehnborg), reads uncannily like the autobiography dreamt-up by 'Scientology' instigator, L. Ron Hubbard - a man who was once famously described as 'a combination of  Baron M√ľnchausen and Adolf Hitler.'


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 was born in 1887 in St. Pitersberge, Florida) :- 

- was a noted-child-prodigy who read voraciously and who amazed his teachers with his detailed knowledge of: philosophy, religion, history, politics, astronomy, mathematics, aerodynamics, chemistry and human rights. 

- was  fluent in many languages, including Chinese. 

- was not a believer, but he studied Christianity, making a boyhood pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt.

- had a great passion in his teen-age years - the study of planet Earth, its population, its food reserves, and the 'technology of conservation of natural products, but his first love was always the science of nutrition. 

 - was, by the tender age of 27, already a 'doctor of chemistry' who had moved to Tianjin in China to work as an accountant for an American Oil company.

- ran a shipbuilding company, before becoming the representative of the 'American Dairy Company' and, eventually, the representative of 'Colgate Products Company' in Shanghai.

 - witnessed ‘mass-starvation’ in China, before surviving a ‘siege of Shanghai’ by supplementing his diet (and that of his starving friends) with an improvised, vitamin and mineral-enriched broth made from grasses, vegetables, powdered limestone, ground-up bones and rusty nails, etc.

- sailed across the Pacific (studying its many island-cultures on the way) and landed on the West Coast of the USA, where, despite having no money, he managed to establish a 'research laboratory’ in his modest loft-apartment on California’s Balboa Island.


- selflessly dedicated 6 years of his life (1927-1934) to develop a ‘Revolutionary New Food Supplement’ to save mankind from starvation, assisted only by his dutiful young wife, Edith.

- first naively tried to give his wonderful new formula away, but the cynical world wasn’t interested, so, in 1934, he reluctantly decided to create ‘California Vitamins Inc.’ 

- moved his flourishing  ‘Business’ to a ‘Manufacturing and Processing Facility’ in Buena Park, California, and created the ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ in 1939. 

- acting in association with a ‘Network Sponsoring Company’, ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ (to whom he’d sold ‘Exclusive Nutrilite Distribution Rights’) created the ‘World’s First Multi-Level Marketing Scheme’

- had lived the American dream, starting from nothing to become an admired and respected millionaire through ‘Helping 15 thousands fellow Americans to build their own MLM Businesses.’ 


Carl F. Rehnborg  circa 1936



  

Exactly like L.Ron Hubbard, scant quantifiable evidence has been produced to prove that Rehnborg was qualified (let alone expert) in anything, other than lying to people to get their money. There is even reason to doubt that Rehnborg (who apparently did once work for 'Colgate & Co') was in China in the exact period he claimed during, and after, WW I; whilst all the other exciting episodes in his various occidental and oriental odysseys are largely anecdotal. However, the truth about Rehnborg’s convoluted ‘Rags to Riches’ American fairy story is an entirely different matterIn 1934, Rehnborg (aged 48) created ‘California Vitamins Inc.’, allegedly to manufacture and distribute what he arbitrarily defined as 'the World’s First Multi-Mineral/Multivitamin Plant-Based Food Supplement - a Unique Combination of Vitamins and Minerals in a Special Base.’ At first, this so-called ‘Health Tonic’ was brewed up, and peddled as 'Vita-6'  a.k.a. 'Vitasol, in insignificant quantities. Consequently, it was of no particular interest to regulators. However, anyone with an ounce of common sense could immediately tell that Rehnborg’s ‘invention’ was just another essentially-inert potion (in the absurd tradition of the medicine show); a random mixture of cheaply-procured common substances with an expensive price tag. It had probably taken Rehnborg 6 hours to concoct, not 6 years.


Aerial View of Nutrilite Products Inc. Plant



By 1939, Rehnborg had spotted the existing term, 'Nutrilites' (probably in an old scientific magazine). So he legally-changed the name of his pay-to-play game of make-believe to the technical-sounding ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ and moved his quackery onto an almost unprecedented scale. Soon, Rehnborg was legally employing dozens of white-coated workers in purpose-built industrial buildings in Buena ParkCalifornia. He also acquired an alfalfa farm near to the city of Hemet in California's San Jacinto valley, but it is unclear exactly where he suddenly found all the necessary capital to pay for these impressive sites and their modern equipment. To his followers and casual observers, Rehnborg’s activity looked like any other lawful enterprise. His staff were ordinary honest folk, to whom the truth was also unthinkable. At this time, Rehnborg rechristened his potion ‘Nutrilite Double X (‘XX’Supplement.’ He now proposed to offer it as two ‘complimentary products’ in one pack -  comprising little green bottles of bright red ‘Multivitamin Capsules’ and boxes of pale-coloured ‘Multi-Mineral Pills.’ The product was deliberately designed to look modern and scientific (like a proprietary medicine), but, tellingly, the price was fixed at just less than $20 a box (the equivalent of several hundred dollars today). Rehnborg claimed that the ‘XX’ brand-name was derived from the Roman numeral representing twentyIt should have been read as ‘double cross;’ for when the former toothpaste salesman’s pricey wampum was routinely analysed by independent chemists working for the FDA, it was discovered that (although it contained essentially what it said on the labels and was quite harmless) ‘XX Supplement’ really did mostly comprise a random mixture of cheaply-procured, common substances (dried vegetable extracts: alfalfa; parsley; watercress; yeast; etc.). FDA experts later estimated that XX Supplement’  cost no more than a few cents a pack to produce. Thus, FDA lawyers must have known that Rehnborg was, in fact, using authentic pharmaceutical equipment to mass-produce a precisely-measured, harmless placebo, but labelled as a ‘Health Tonic’ (a meaningless term), and peddling it at an exorbitant mark-up (certainly, more than 1000%). This crack-pot pseudo-scientific swindle, which was tantamount to a self-styled 'alchemist' stamping a valueless amalgam of base-metals, 'Pure Gold,' and selling it for the price of pure gold, could have been quickly nipped in the bud, simply by charging Rehnborg with criminal fraud. Apparently, prosecutors never considered the possibility that they might be dealing with someone with severe psychological problems whose own inflexible delusions were contagious. Instead, at first, FDA lawyers felt obliged to take no action; reasoning that, by truthfully listing the banal ingredients, but avoiding making any specific therapeutic claims, on his packaging, Rehnborg had found a loophole in federal laws concerning criminal misbranding of medicines. As result, an up-dated version of an age-old fiction was permitted to be mass-marketed as fact to an unsuspecting public. Unfortunately, the lack of any rigorous, official challenge only brought its author more credibility. Not surprisingly, a host of copy-cat'Unique Vitamin and Mineral Health-Tonic’ scams quickly sprang up.




As WWII drew to its close, ‘Nutrilite’ had lost its novelty, so Rehnborg (who was approaching 60) had teamed-up with two respectable-looking associates, Lee S. Mytinger and William S. Casselberry (later described by FDA officials as a ‘cemetery-plot salesman’ and a ‘psychologist’). The result was ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.,’ a second corporate structure peddling ‘Exclusive Commission-Agency Rights’ to ‘Distribute XX Supplement’ using (what was first defined by the company’s owners as) a ‘New Business Model.’ In theory… you could try to sell ‘XX  Supplement’ to your social contacts for a small profit, but, if you wanted to make big money, you didn’t need to sell anything… you could buy a monthly quota of ‘XX Supplement’ yourself and sign-up your social contacts to do the same… your ‘Sponsored Recruits’ would then ‘Sponsor’ their own social contacts, etc., ‘compensation’ would automatically multiply in an infinitely-expanding geometric progression

‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’offered a mind-numbing contract’ in which the ‘company’ undertook to pay its ‘Independent Distributors’ an escalating ‘monthly commission’ on the totality of their escalating ‘Business Volume’ [i.e.their own regular monthly purchases (falsely defined as ‘sales’), added to the regular monthly purchases (falsely defined as ‘sales’), of their ‘Sponsored Recruits’, and those of the recruits of their recruits, etc. etcad infinitum].






In reality, the new set-up was merely the original lie with a second chapter added, but to casual observers ‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’ appeared to be exclusively manufacturing for, and wholesaling ‘XX Supplement’ to, ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.,’ whose commission agents, in turn, appeared to be retailing it to the public for a profit. Although‘XX Supplement’ was presented as ‘Unique,’ it mostly comprised substances which could easily be bought at a fraction of their exorbitant, assembled fixed-price, in traditional retail outlets. The product was effectively-impossible to sell to the public for a profit on the open market. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of its final customers were merely the non-salaried agents of the second corporate structure, which itself was the sole agent of the first corporate structure. In order for them to maintain the false hope that if they signed-up further contributing participants they would automatically become rich, the participants in this dissimulated money game were obliged by its rules to keep handing-over a monthly payment to Mytinger and Casselberry, to be shared with Rehnborg. From all points of view (medical, economic, legal, etc.), ‘XX Supplement’ might have well not existed. It was just a convenient means of laundering illegal payments in a closed-market swindle based on the crack-pot theory of endless-chain recruitment. New victims were supplied with a $49.50 ‘Business Kit’ (i.e. a large cardboard box stuffed with a month’s supply of ‘XX Supplement’ and a fat folder containing page after page of mystifying pseudo-economic/medical presentations and diagrams, and instructions in how to go about remembering, contacting and recruiting everyone they’d ever known during their lives). These presentations contained the concrete evidence which FDA lawyers could use to prosecute RehnborgMytinger and Casselberry. Contributing participants were being instructed to smile, project excitement and enthusiasm, and to recite a precisely-worded script which proclaimed ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ to be ‘good value,’ because it could ‘cure or prevent,’ virtually any known human illness.


William W. Goodrich
William H. Goodrich


Interview with William W. Goodrich, Office of General Counsel, 1939 - 1971
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 alchemythe 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 publicYet 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.  



 



The charlatan-trio, 'Mytinger, Casselberry and Rhenborg,' also paid a team of Hollywood professionals to produce a 20 minute colour propaganda film, From the Ground up’ (featuring themselves as three nice ordinary American guys turned philanthropic scientists and industrialists), and they began to publish their own propaganda magazine, ‘Nutrilite News’ (stuffed with colour photos of happy, healthy and wealthy ‘Distributors’). 

Jay Van Andel                                                         Richard De Vos

Circa 1950

Soon, they were organizing ‘Rallies and Seminars’ (addressed by ‘Successful Christian Distributors’ like Rich De Vos and Jay Van Andel). No quantifiable evidence (in the form of audited accounts) was ever produced to prove what percentage of claimed ‘sales’ were authentic retail transactions to the public for a profit, or how many people who’d signed a ‘contract’ with ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ had actually received an overall net-profit from the operation of what its instigators arbitrarily defined as an ‘MLM income opportunity’. Excluding the tiny percentage of grinning shills at the top of the pyramid, the hidden, rolling insolvency/churn-rate was 100%. Since there was no significant or sustainable external revenue, participants were actually buying infinite shares in their own finite money.

It should come as no surprise to the regular readers of this Blog to discover that, just as with the followers and casual observers of Hubbard and Rehnborg, the only information made available to the followers and casual observers of the two former 'Nutrilite' shills,  De Vos and Van Andel, has been carefully controlled.

However, the early lives of ‘Rich’ De Vos and Jay Van Andel are largely a matter of public record. As their names suggest, they were descended from Dutch immigrant stock. Although the pair were born within a few miles of one another in the ‘Bible-Belt’ State of Michigan, and brought up in the same strict Christian Reform Church’, they first met as teenagers at ‘Grand Rapids Christian High-School’. They then volunteered (from college) to serve in the USAF at the end of WW II, but they were barely out of training when hostilities ceased. After demobilization, De Vos and Van Andel returned to Michigan, where (influenced by their brief military experience) they operated various, lawful small-business partnerships (selling flying lessons, hustling hamburgers, etc.). 

At this point, the authorized version of De Vos and Van Andel's star-crossed lives (as constantly repeated by themselves and their apologists) begins to sound like a comic-book yarn written by L. Ron Hubbard mixed with a page from the ‘Wall Street Journal’.



In 1948, De Vos and Van Andel (aged only 22 and 24) suddenly sold everything they owned and bought a Connecticut schooner, ‘Elizabeth’. 



They then set sail to find fame and fortune, but their boat sank off Cuba in March 1949.



The two young adventurers were miraculously snatched from the jaws of death by a passing Italian cargo-ship and taken to Puerto Rico. After 5 months of travelling in the Caribbean and South America, they returned to Grand Rapids with the idea of ‘importing craft products from South America’. 



On September 6th. 1949, De Vos and Van Andel joined the first ‘Network’ of a pioneer ‘Multi-Level Marketing Company’, and created the ‘Ja-Ri Corporation’ — to ‘Distribute Exclusive Food Supplements and Vitamins’. 



Ten years later, the pair (aged only 33 and 35) were so ‘Successful’ that they had 'Sponsored over 5000 Distributors' in their own ‘Ja-Ri Network’, but they were ‘having problems’ with their ‘Sponsoring Company’ (‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’) and its ‘Supplier’ (‘Nutrilite Products Company Inc.’). They decided to branch out on their own as the ‘Sponsors’ of a new type of ‘Christian-Inspired Multi-Level Marketing Scheme’. 



‘Ja-Ri Inc.’ became their own ‘Supplier’ and the ‘American Way Association’ (soon re-branded the ‘Amway Distributors Association’) was created as their own ‘Sponsoring Company’.



De Vos and Van Andel's first product was ‘Frisk’ (soon re-branded ‘LOC’), an ‘Exclusive Biodegradable Liquid Detergent’, manufactured by the Eckle Company of Detroit



The pair then bought Eckle (using ‘Ja-Ri Inc.’), moved its equipment across Michigan to Ada and re-branded it the ‘Amway Manufacturing Company’.

In November 1959, they also created the ‘Amway Sales Corporation’ and the ‘Amway Services Corporation’.

In November 1963, the ‘Ja-Ri Corporation’ was itself re-branded the ‘Amway Corporation’.

Finally, on the January 1st. 1964, the ‘Amway Sales, Service and Manufacturing Corporations’ were all merged into the ‘Amway Corporation’.… 

Driven by their ‘100 % Positive Mental Attitude’ and guided by their ‘Egalitarian Christian Values’, by the start of the 21st. century, De Vos and Van Andel had become ‘Admired and Respected Billionaires’ through ‘Helping over 3 Millions People in more than 80 countries to start their own Businesses’.

It is almost impossible to prove or disprove every detail of De Vos and Van Andel's Caribbean odyssey, but the truth about their convoluted American Rags to Riches’  fairy story is an entirely different matter.




          Jay VanAndel                                                             Richard DeVos

circa 1965

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 American Way Association’ first appeared, ‘Elmer Gantry' was playing to packed movie-theatres all over America.




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.


Only after the 'MLM' virus had spread to almost every State of the Union, did the US Federal Trade Commission finally make a half-hearted attempt to close-down 'Amway.' After  receiving a significant number of complaints,  FTC prosecutors, advised by specialist economists, recognised that what they were faced with, was not a direct selling scheme, but as a classic pyramid scam, without a significant or sustainable source of revenue other than its own victims, but hidden behind a smokescreen of effectively-unsaleable products . However, after years of investigations and hearings, in 1979, a naive, and/or corrupt, federal judge ruled that although 'Amway' had previously been massively in breach of the law and would have to pay fines, the company would be allowed to continue to trade. This was because the judge accepted the latest unbelievable chapter of the 'MLM' fairy story. i.e. That 'Amway' s owners were repectable Christian businessmen who were vehemently opposed to  pyramid schemes and that, consequently, they had stopped fixing prices and introduced their own rule which would, henceforth, oblige the members of 'Amway's' sales force to retail at leat 70% of the products which they had bought wholesale from the company, to at least 10 external customers, before they could receive commission payments. Amazingly, no independent, common-sense mechanism was created to ensure that this latest twist in the fairy story was true, and that 'Amway' would now be in compliance with the law. 

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.




Today in the USA and elsewhere, due to many factors (not least supermarkets, discount stores and the Internet) virtually no one buys consumer goods on the door-step.




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.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh6z1hP4H0o

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.'

http://www.dsa.org/press/press_releases/?fa=view&docID=5448

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)



4 comments:

  1. David

    Did you spot the guy in the red and white striped shirt on the vintage Nutrilite ad.

    He looks just like Herbalife CEO, Michael Johnson.

    Perhaps it's Johnson's dad, or perhaps 'Herbalife' works and Johnson is over 100 years old?

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    1. We'd better keep this hilarious coincidence quiet, or the 'Herbalife' racketeers might start peddling 'time-travel machines' and using this ancient 'Nutrilite' ad, to prove that they work.

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  2. After all these years do you not think it's become too late to stop MLM?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous - Please go back and read my article; particularly, this sentence:

      'Any commentator who repeats the reality-inverting shielding terminology of any cultic group, but without detailed qualification or heavy irony, demonstrates that he/she remains at a pitifully low level of understanding of the cult phenomenon.'

      If you are able to understand what this sentence means, then you should also be able to understand that, in its present form, your question is effectively-meaningless, because (without the slightest qualification) you have repeated, 'MLM,' which is clearly the reality-inverting shielding term of a cultic group.

      Oh, and please don't try to convince us that you were using 'MLM' in a heavily-ironic sense!

      David Brear (copyright 2013)

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