MY CONTEMPT KNOWS NO BOUNDS......
If you are reading this blog, you will probably read, or have already read my post, HOW I GOT INTO THIS..... I have detailed how I discovered one of the biggest frauds that is being committed on the American people (and now 80 other countries) for over 25 years, and how I was absolutely appalled that my own party, the Republican Party has been supporting and condoning this monstrous fraud to date. I am no statistician, but the evidence on the critical websites seems to suggest overwhelmingly that these abuses, cult-like-tactics, income-misrepresentation etc. is pervasive, rather than isolated.
Sidney Schwartz was the first critic who put up detailed information about this fraud on the internet, I believe in 1996. Other critics followed in his footsteps. It's been 10 Years Now. 10 YEARS. 10 YEARS OF REPEATED, CONTINUING EXPOSURE OF THIS FRAUD.
And a high-level Amway/Quixtar Distributor turned whistle-blower, Eric Scheibeler has recently produced a DETAILED (10-years) and compelling account of his personal/eye-witness experience of the massive fraud that is being perpetrated on people. He has also, alongwith other well-known former regulators/consumer advocates, petitioned the regulators as well as Senator Rick Santorum, to initiate an investigation into this fraud. And what was their response? The FTC's Director of Marketing Practices, James Kohm apparently told Eric Scheibeler, that "it's in the hopper, but they don't have the funds to pursue it at the moment"!!!! Senator Rick Santorum? He, of the party that preaches “Honesty, Integrity, Values”? DEAD SILENCE!!! Not a peep out of him. Not even a form letter indicating receipt of Eric Scheibeler’s 10-pound package of evidence showing blatant fraud being committed. Why? Because the Amway/Quixtar/Alticor group of corporations and their owners, the Devoses and the VanAndels are one of his biggest political contributors.
Our regulators are twiddling their thumbs, and our legislators are asleep at the wheel. And some of them are in cahoots with these thugs!! NC Rep. Sue Myrick, for example. AMAZINGLY, one of the chief scoundrels in this saga, Dick Devos (of the Devos family that owns the Amway/Quixtar Corpn.), is running for Governor of Michigan!! How does this thug sleep at night??!! Does he really think his sins won't find him out? In the meantime, these con-artists continue to separate millions of people from their hard-earned money.
I am what the media would call, a “Conservative, Evangelical Christian”. But, I have often pondered the Republican party’s (in general, I think) lax attitude toward white-collar crime. There was George Bush - the man who promised to restore integrity and honor to the white house - cautioning people after the corporate scandals broke out, that “these are just a few rotten apples in the barrel and that we should be careful about not painting all CEOs with a broad brush”! What the heck was that???!!! Thousands of people have been robbed of their savings/retirement-funds, and our President is more concerned about the ‘reputation’ of other CEOs? Give me a break! They make enough, they ought to be able to take a little heat! This attitude seems to be almost pathological among a lot of my fellow-republicans. There seems to be an automatic sense of entitlement - "If you are wealthy, you have automatically earned it”. Big Business is one of our biggest constituents, so we shouldn’t criticize it. The “credibility by magnitude”, that Eric Scheibeler talks about.
This pathology also manifests itself in a slightly different form among “Conservative Evangelical Christians”. Here’s how the argument goes: George Bush, is a born-again-christian, and he is the one person who will govern with Christian Principles, so we (evangelicals) should not criticize him or do anything that might undermine his authority or his chances at re-election. ????!!!! Don’t Christian Principles require us to criticize that which is wrong? Shouldn’t we distance ourselves from that which is unethical/immoral? If a Pastor of a church does something immoral/unethical/illegal, shouldn’t the church condemn it? Wouldn’t it be against Christian principles to sweep the issue under the rug, because we think the information might harm the church by reducing the membership? Shouldn’t the loss of membership in this case be the right thing? Shouldn’t we pay the price? One of my extended relatives has a very successful and fast-growing Missions Ministry. Prior to Governor Bush deciding to run for President, he would frequently write letters, on behalf of the Ministry, telling him, how we need a ‘Man of God’ in the White House, and that he was praying that Bush would run, and win. Needless to say, he got an invitation and a ticket to the 2001 Inaugural Ball. Not that that means anything. But I explained the whole history of the Amway/Quixtar Fraud, and how the Corporation has escaped prosecution by virtue of its owners', the Devoses’ and the VanAndels’ political payoffs to the Republican Party. I asked him, if he could try to write and see if he could wrangle an invitation to see the President. (Naive? Maybe, but you don’t know unless you have tried. And who’s to say he might not get an audience?) His reaction to my detailed explanation of the fraud? Bland indifference! I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the Devoses and the VanAndels are one of the biggest contributors to the GOP. Exposing this fraud might hurt the Republican Party, so it’s better not to – Who cares about the millions of people being defrauded by this cult? His comment on the Abramoff Saga? Another sign of 'Liberal Media Bias'. Huh??
When it comes to sexual morality, we Evangelicals are great at pointing fingers at Democrats as being permissive. But what about financial morality? Is it okay to rob people, to deceive people? I don't know of any scripture that says that one sin is greater than the other! SO, WHERE IS OUR OUTRAGE???!!!
I guess, my frustration is evident in the above paragraphs. It is this frustration that had me decide that I had to take matters into my own hands. That was the reason for my start on this vigilante trip for the last few years. I figured, if our regulators and legislators are not going to do anything to stop this fraud, the very least I can do is put a dent in this fraud by attrition. Hence, my baiting of Quixtar IBOs, and my crashing their meetings and disrupting their attempts to con new prospects. My contempt for this so-called “business” is unspeakable! Whenever someone refers to this scam as a “business”, I want to gag. That has inevitably spilled onto my blog, my writing here. In my zeal to drive home that contempt, in my attempt to convey the depth of my emotion, I have used smiley faces rather liberally (I guess, maybe I felt that my sarcasm, my disdain, wasn’t coming through)…. And ‘liberally’, would be quite the understatement…..
A couple of readers pointed this out to me. One in a fairly genteel, yet brutally honest way. Another one, in a rather savage :-) put-down. And as brutal as the comments were, I couldn't but help laugh my guts out...I think they are both, right on. And I am sure you will agree. I have their comments in red and my comments in blue.
Here's the first one:
You need to take a moreprofessional tone. You're spewing :-) smiley :-) faces :-) like :-) some :-) emotionally :-) disturbed :-) thirteen :-) year :-) old. (OUCH!) That's unbecoming in a guy with a graduate degree. Try to back off onthe all caps/large font stuff too. You can actually be more effectiveif you maintain a cool, reasoned tone.
As the lawyers say:
If the law is against you, pound on the facts.
If the facts are against you, pound on the law.
If both are against you, pound on the table.
You have both the law and the facts on your side; you don't wantpeople to think you have a need to pound on the table.
If you think that was brutal, take a look at this one:
BLACKFOX>> Hi, I find your latest article quite interesting, and I found your conversation with snoturkey particularly amusing, and yet, I have to point out a couple of problems...
First, dude, what's with all the obnoxious smileys? You obviously can spell, and you obviously are skilled with the english language, why do you think you need to make yourself sound like a pre-teen girl? Bold, Italics, LARGE FONTS make a point. Smileys after every other word? Smileys that look like a squinting double-chinned lard-a**? WTF? (OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!)
But really, that's a minor quibble. The real issue is that you have, with a wave of your hand, dismissed an entire economy that actually exists. Your arguments about commodities all being about the same price in order to actually sell doesn't wash.
If I go to a convenience store, and buy a box of sudafed (12 tablets) (assuming that they don't run me through a national criminal database and accuse me of running a meth lab and arrest me on the spot) I am willing to bet that I'll pay significantly more per pill than if I go over to Wal-Mart and buy a bottle of 150. Does that invalidate the convenience store model? No. Do the boxes of sudafed at the convenience store all have expiration dates of 10 years ago because they've been sitting on the shelf for that long? No. Does the fact that if I buy a quart of Milk at the convenience store for the same price as a gallon at Wal-Mart mean that I got ripped off? (300% price difference!) Why are convenience stores still in business? *I* don't shop there (at least not if I have a choice) but clearly lots of people do.
Is a Starbucks Coffee at $3 a rip off? I can buy a whole bag of beans for that price and make my own. Yet, there are starbucks everywhere. There are 5 within a block of my office building.
Russet potatoes are a commodity, absolutly, but what about Organic Russet Potatoes? Those could conceivably sell at a 50% premium.
Your arguments about pricing only apply when there is perfect (or close to it) information symmetry. Even a mercantile or stock exchange that behaves according to microeconomic principles doesn't actually work this way.
As far as Franchises go, I found, but then lost, an article in Fortune Small Business that looked at a few people who quit their corporate jobs to buy franchises. Now, granted, these are not McDonalds or anything close, but Curves and Snap On were mentioned, and based on the article, I would actually say they they are a LOT more corrupt and unethical than what you described. Snap-On would routinely sell overlapping routes, and break up the routes of those who were doing well. Isn't it the responsibility of the FranchisOR, as you point out, to protect the franchisEE and the brand name by preventing exactly those sorts of shenanigans?
Curves' "training" (which the buyer had to pay for) was telling people to leave flyers at local business, and to buy "Information Request Drop boxes" and put them up in local restaurants so that people could leave their business cards. Not to mention charging the franchisEE for unspecified "Marketing costs" that were not actually driving traffic to the particular Franchise in question. Curves also sold "Reservations" for future franchises at $5000 a pop, without disclosing that the "reservation" was only good for one year. Are these bad apples in an otherwise respectable business model? Sure.
I think you've got a surprising amount of great information here, but I bet you're turning people off with your snarkyness and abuse of punctuation.
There's a great study that Harvard did many years ago, where they found that emotional appeals and scare tactics actually result in a *decrease* in the desired behavior, while an objective, dispassionate presentation of the facts was much more effective in getting the message across.
One thing you might want to do to help break people away is to provide concrete examples of ways that they can puruse whatever "dream" they might have without getting caught up in the system.(Real Estate investing, perhaps?) Otherwise, you just sound like a disgruntled ex-employee with an axe to grind.(Which I know you're not, you obviously want to help people.)
I just want to make a quick note here, that BlackFox misunderstood the thrust of my argument - I definitely agree with his comments about a reasoned tone being more effective, but not necessarily with his interpretation of my argument against Amway/Quixtar. I definitely did not intend to, as BlackFox says, "with a wave of my hand, dismiss an entire economy that actually exists". Of course, I know, that particular sector of the economy does exist. I will expand a little more on what exactly I was driving at, later on.
But then I digress. My primary thrust in this post, is about the abject apathy that Republicans/Evangelicals seem to show when it comes to white-collar crime.
ANY Party that does not perform its duties/civic obligations deserves to lose. Republican or Democratic.
What I am saying is this. We conservatives/evangelicals should hold our leaders to a higher standard. Even if they are doing a better job of promoting sexual morality, even if they stand for all the things that Evangelicals believe in (pro-life, pro-prayer etc.), IF they are not promoting better financial morality/ethics, we HAVE to kick them out of office. It should never be one or the other. ONE GOOD GOAL should NEVER justify the perpetuation of ANOTHER EVIL.
This is a Clarion Call to all Conservatives/Evangelicals. Enough is enough. We must take our leaders to task, and if they are not willing to clean up white-collar crime, we need to vote them out of office. One way to get them to act, is to put them on the spot. Go to their official websites, and post your feedback there. Direct them to Eric Scheibeler's MERCHANTS OF DECEPTION website. Threaten to withold your vote if you don't see any action on their part.
If you want a format for your letter, here's one: My letter to NC Rep. Sue Myrick. (I will post the link shortly). Admittedly, it is a little harsh, but I think niceties and polite language doesn't cut it anymore. You have to be in their face.
As for Democrats reading this, you are welcome to quote me on this: “I think Republicans seem to have an aversion to cracking down on white-collar crime.” You can take it to town. If you think you want to quote it as evidence that even Conservative Evangelicals are disillusioned with the Republican Party, you are more than welcome. Use it to your best advantage.
Dramatic? Maybe. Overwrought? Sure. But so be it.