Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One More Reason Not to Trust Amway Global
Scam artist Kevin Trudeau touts it (he's not only a con artist but a quack who, among other things, recommended Scientology in his book on natural cures).   On Trudeau's radio show, he mentioned how Ronald Reagan appeared at an Amway convention.  Reagan appeared at Amway events before and after he was president.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Best Posts from this Blog

In no particular order are the following posts about Amway Global:
1. Amway Global's niche in the theocratic chain of misery.
2. A Strategy to address Amway's Global Community Program.
3. The Internet as the enemy of destructive cults--three case studies (including Amway Global).
4. YouTube videos here and here of the Dateline NBC Investigation of Amway Global/Quixtar
5. Bankrupting Amway Global is a worthy and attainable goal.
6. The Incredible Shrinking Amway Global Rally.
7. Why Amway and the Unification Movement are "Hierarchies of Misery"
8. Why Amway Global is imploding (and why this is great news)
9. Amway's war on bloggers (apparently Amway can dish it out but can't take it)
10. A Message to Readers of my Sun Myung Moon and Amway Blogs
11. Why Financial Guru Robert Kiyosaki and Amway Global are Birds of a Feather
12. My Open Letter to New and Prospective Amway/Quixtar Distributors
13. Picketing Amway Global Rallies: An Effective Strategy
14. My Victory against Amway! (contains info about Dexter Yager and Larry Winters)
15. Amway Global and the Satanic panic.
16. Why progressives are chumps for not targeting Amway Global.
17. Erik Prince, the shady in-law of the DeVos family. Posts about Prince and Blackwater also here, here, here, and here.
18. How to Google Bomb Amway Global/Quixtar/Alticor
19. Biggest Unreported Story on the 2006 Elections: A Huge Setback for Amway/Quixtar/Alticor
20. The Amway Global Video Blog

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Must Read Article on the DeVos Family's Plan to Destroy Labor and Defund the Left

In Mother Jones, Andy Kroll has the article "Meet the New Kochs: The DeVos Clan's Plan to Defund the Left"

I find it amazing that the Democrats and much of the left are reluctant to take on the DeVos family and Amway.  It's a multibillion dollar scam that is being used to destroy labor and the left.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Rolling Stone article mentions Dick DeVos' anti-union and anti-reproductive freedom activities in Michigan

In the article, "The Stealth War on Abortion, " in the latest Rolling Stone, Janet Reitman writes:
In Michigan, Amway scion Richard "Dick" DeVos, the 58-year-old former Republican candidate for governor, is a force behind what he refers to as the state's "freedom to work" legislation, which passed in 2012 despite a 12,000-person protest that locked opponents out of the state Capitol. DeVos has also funded a variety of religious-right groups, including Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Family Forum, which supported the state's "rape insurance" bill.
Thank God DeVos was defeated when he tried to become the governor of Michigan in 2006 (I wrote about how 2006 was a bad political year for Amway and how DeVos was a benighted theocrat here). 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hilarious Comix about an Amway IBO

Read "Dinner at Dales" by Dennis Eichhorn.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Amway's Dick and Betsy DeVos Promoting Dominionism in America's Schools

Salon's K.C. Boyd has the story: With the money of wealth funders like Richard and Betsy DeVos (sister of Blackwater scion Eric Prince and daughter of Elsa and Edgar Prince of the Amway fortune) and the Walton, Koch and Scaife Foundations, simpatico politicians are hard at work bringing Dominionist ideals quietly into the forefront of American education policy. While much of the country argues about budgets, deficits, and guns, a cleverly camouflaged package of School Choice and ”Bible-driven curricula“ make their way up the ladder.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Union Activists Should Picket Amway Rallies

Back in 2007, I came up with the idea of having ripped-off former Amway distributors going to Amway rallies and picketing them.  My idea didn't gain many adherents.  In the update, I acknowledged that it would be an uphill battle because most new Amway distributors are right-wing Republican types who have had little experience picketing (except maybe women's health clinics). 

However, since Amway bigwigs were big backers of the union-busting in Michigan, I believe it would be a great strategy for union activists to picket Amway rallies--not just because of their anti-union activities but because Amway Global is a giant scam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amway Global’s Two-Pronged War on the American Middle Class

In many ways, Amway Global is a microcosm of the winner-take-all society that the American right has been working hard to create over the past thirty years.  As this blog as pointed out numerous times, the Amway business model (i.e., the multi-level marketing model) is one in which the lucky ones who have sales and marketing skills and who got in on the ground floor have become extraordinarily wealthy.  Americans who join Amway now have an infinitesimally small chance of joining the upper middle class through joining Amway; the idea of being wealthy: forget about it.

Amway Global is a classic hierarchy of misery.  What separates Amway Global from other MLM companies is that it has a double whammy for new recruits: the tools scam, thepyramid scheme within the larger pyramid scheme.  While with most other MLM companies, a person’s upline doesn’t make serious money unless the recruit makes money through sales or recruiting a downline.  With the tools scam, Amway kingpins are able to make money off of a recruit whether or not he/she makes any money in the business.  Essentially, the recruit is pressured to buy tools (motivational tapes, videos, and tickets to motivational rallies) through his/her upline and the money goes to the upline.  Usually, the recruit gives up after a year or two (the attrition rate in Amway is very high) but the tools money is pure profit for the Amway upline (Amway’s parent company doesn’t get a cut).  Thus, it’s not surprising that many of the high-level Amway distributors make most of their money from their tools businesses and not from Amway (this fact give lie to the oft-repeated statement given at rallies that Amway is the best business opportunity in the world).

These Amway recruits, these largely Republican aspiring entrepreneurs, are left high and dry.  This is one way that Amway takes a blow against the American middle class.  However, it’s important to keep in mind that Amway wages war against members of the American middle class—most of whom wouldn’t be taken in by the Amway recruiters’ song and dance.  These are members of labor unions who aretargeted by Amway’s Dick DeVos’ political organization with recent right-to-work law passed in Michigan.  It’s bad enough that Amway makes billions off of the misery of its misguided recruits but then uses the ill-gotten profits to lower the living standards of other Americans.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Must-See Video: Michigan Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) Bitterly Denounces Dick DeVos for his Anti-Union Actions

DeVos, along with the Koch brothers, is behind the Michigan right-to-work legislation.  Watch the video:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jane Lynch Take on Amway

She's joining an anti-Amway boycott for the DeVos fmaily's support of anti-gay organizations.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Amway/Quixtar makes's list of "5 Retarded Get-Rich Quick Scams (People Still Fall For)"

Click here and scroll down to scam #3. The article is hilarious (and truthful). Here's a sample:
Quixtar says they are a multi level marketing company and not a pyramid scheme, which is like saying "call girl" instead of "whore." If you think that's harsh, here's a legal expert comparing them to the mafia.

But at least the mafia makes money. The average monthly income from an active Quixtar "business owner" is only $115 a month. We don't need a beautiful mind to know that $115 a month is a whole lot less than $250,000 a year. If you only worked 10 hours a week on your business you are looking at a return of about $3 an hour, or less than half the Federal minimum wage. But that's OK, because you won't need money after you've driven away all of the friends who used to go out with you by pestering them with sales pitches.

UPDATE: Read the comments section for the article. There are priceless comments.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amway IBO Sue Myrick (R-NC) Retiring from the U.S. House

Read the story of her retirement here. Also, here is an article from Mother Jones about how Myrick used her power in Congress to aid Amway.

Monday, February 6, 2012

MLM Front Group Slams Amway in Radio Ad

I was listening to Sean Hannity's radio show and there was an ad for an "income at home" opportunity. It turns out to be a front for the network marketing company Herbalife. The radio ad doesn't tell the listener this but assures the listener that the business doesn't involve "selling soap" which is code for "it isn't Amway."

In other MLM news, Mother Jones magazine is reporting that Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of the MLM company Melaleuca, is going hog wild for Mitt Romney.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Anti-Union Robocall from Pat Boone (Ohio Issue 2)

pat boone issue 2 amway
A relative of mine in Ohio received a robocall from Pat Boone urging a yes vote on the anti-union Issue 2 ballot referendum. Boone has been an advocate of Amway and has emceed events for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Someone at the IMF is Interested in Britt World Wide

I was checking my Statcounter stats and found that someone from the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC wanted information about the Amway tool system group Britt World Wide (BWW) came to this site based on a Google search for "bww new diamonds amway blog 2011." One of the posts on this blog that the IMF person read was "The Theocratic Chain of Misery."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Must Read

Check out this letter to John T. Reed about the shady dealings between Amway kingpins and financial self-help guru Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book series. Reed has previously written a scathing analysis of Kiyosaki's programs. Here is a previous post from this blog about Kiyosaki and Amway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Anti-Amway Blog

It's called The Amway Nightmare Stories Blog. Check it out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amway's Anti-Union Activities

Andy Kroll has the details here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amway Profile: Richard W. Miller

I was reading Anson Shupe's book The Darker Side of Virtue: Corruption, Scandal, and the Mormon Empire and came across an interesting story. Longtime viewers of 60 Minutes might be familiar with the sad tale of Richard W. Miller, the first FBI agent indicted for espionage. Shupe's book addressed Miller because Miller, a complete incompetent, was protected by an informal network of fellow Mormons in the agency. Miller was the exact opposite of the hard-nosed FBI agent:
Miller occasionally took three-hour "lunches" at the 7-Elevens near his Los Angeles office, gorging himself on stolen candy bars while reading comic books. He was alleged to have cheated his own uncle by selling a muscle-relaxant device he'd patented, and skimmed cash from bureau coffers meant for one of his informants. Miller also ran auto-registration checks and searched FBI criminal indexes for a local private investigator at $500 per search.
Shupe notes that one of the reprimands that Miller received was for selling Amway products out of his FBI vehicle.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Amway Global in 2011

I don't think that 2011 will be a good year for Amway.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dateline NBC Investigation of Amway Global/Quixtar

In 2004, Chris Hansen and Dateline NBC did an yearlong hidden camera investigation of Quixtar and the tools scam put forth by the kingpin predators. Featured in the videos are Bo Short, Bill Britt, Larry Winters, Greg Fredericks, Dexter and Birdie Yager, and Eric Scheibeler.

It is divided into two parts:

Part I:

Part II:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Success in Amway is So Rare

Blogger Joe Cool succinctly gives the reasons.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Great Amway Blog I Just Discovered

It's called Amthrax (get it?) and there are some interesting posts such as the one that reports that Penn & Teller regard MLMs as "BS." There's a lot of inside info on this blog.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DeVos Inlaw to Flee Possible Extradition?

Erik Prince, brother-in-law to Dick DeVos (son of Amway founder Richard DeVos) and the head of Xe (formerly Blackwater) is possibly moving the the United Arab Emirates in order to avoid extradition to the United States according to an article in The Nation by Jeremy Scahill. The United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with the United States. I have written about Prince and DeVos here, here, and here. This guy is a piece of work.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Articles on the Web

Joe Cool asks if tools have any value. The answer: not unless you're selling them. . . Corporate Frauds Watch Versus an Amway IBO. . . Amway Functions Suck! has some recent interesting posts

Monday, January 4, 2010

Must View

Along with my blogs devoted to exposing Amway, I have a blog that looks at the insidious influence of The Reverend Sun Myung Moon. The Unification Movement and Amway, though very different, are inextricably linked in that they have support the same reactionary causes. Cult expert and former Moonie Steve Hassan discusses Amway Global with Eric Scheibeler. Watch the videos here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Articles on Amway Global

Check them out: "Life after Amway", "Mother of Mercy, Could This Be the End of Amway?", "Another Interesting Amway Comment," and (via Tex) Another Amway IBO bites the dust.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Updated: Eric Scheibeler's Book Merchants of Deception

When I first read Eric Scheibeler's book Merchants of Deception, it was shocking to me even though I was familiar with Amway. Because Scheibeler was an insider, he knew where the bodies were buried. Now an updated version of the book is available that includes details of recent class action lawsuits filed against Alticor, as well as the companies troubles in Great Britain, India. Here is the web site to receive your copy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Must Read

Amway--The Dream or the Scheme addresses the sophistry of Amway Global IBOs who say that a college education is a waste of time and money.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Announcing the Amway Global Video Blog

I've seen a lot of good, critical YouTube Videos about Amway Global. I decided that one way to spread the word about Amway would be to start a blog devoted to videos about Amway. Click here to view the new Amway Global Video Blog.

UPDATE: Welcome Alticor! Even though I announced the creation of the Amway video blog yesterday, my Statcounter stats indicate that someone from Alticor--the parent company of Amway Global--was lurking on the video blog this morning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Must Read

David Brear on the questionable past of Carl F. Rehnborg, the man who established Nutrilite.

Friday, August 7, 2009

DeVos In-Law Implicated in Murder, Arms Smuggling, Child Prostitution

Erik Prince, brother-in-law to Dick DeVos (son of Amway founder Richard DeVos) and the head of Xe (formerly Blackwater, is implicated in the murder of potential witnesses, arms smuggling, and providing child prostitutes. Jeremy Scahill, who has extensively researched Prince and Blackwater, gives the details.

Prince views himself in an apocalytic terms:
A Virginia court also received sworn statements from former Blackwater employees [August 6, 2009] alleging that Erik Prince, the company’s founder, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."

Keith Olbermann is devoting segments to Blackwater/Xe this week.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Amway Versus Costco: There Isn't Much of a Comparison

Click here. Also, check out this hilarious YouTube video comparing Quixtar with Meijer. I'm not a big fan of Walmart (Robert Greenwald has an excellent movie about the company) but the Walton family are enlightened philanthropists compared to the DeVos family and Amway kingpins like Dexter Yager.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Must Read

Quixtar Cult Intervention blog article on the similarities between Amway Global and the Church of Scientology. I have a previous article that looks at Amway, Scientology, and Sun Myung Moon's Unification movement as well as an article on how Amway has a symbiotic relationship with other hierarchies of misery.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Failed MLM Schemer Robertson Has a Book on Financial Advice

I went to a Barnes & Noble the other day and prominently displayed in the window was a copy of Pat Robertson's new book Right on the Money: Financial Advice for Tough Times. It's not enough that in the 1990's, many evangelical Christians lost their shirts in Robertson's attempt at network marketing American Benefits Plus (later known as Kalo Vita). Also, in the previous decade, Robertson had business schemes involving diamond mining in Africa.

When I did a little more research, I discovered that Robertson promoted the book on Fox News. I don't even want those viewers to take Robertson's financial advice.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Must Read Article on "Pro-Sumer" Hoax

Amway Soap Box has a comprehensive article.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Go Lakers!

I don't follow the NBA so it wasn't until last night that I found out that the LA Lakers were playing the Orlando Magic in this year's NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic are owned by Amway co-founder (and one-time president of the scary Council for National Policy) Richard DeVos.

UPDATE: Woo Hoo! The Lakers have beaten the Magic in the NBA finals!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Does the business work if you work it?

No. Amway-The Dream Or The Scheme explains:
Let me make a disclaimer that some people do make significant money from Amway, but most of those folks are tenured diamonds who are almost in an exclusive club. There is only a short list of new diamonds that I know of in the US, and I have heard that even these new diamonds may have had legs in other countries. It would seem that Amway is not growing in the US and Canada. Also of note, Amway did not release figures that are separate between Amway North America and the rest of their overseas operations. . . Few people will even bother to see the plan once you mention "Amway" and for those who are open minded and motivated to register end up having to deal with a hard to sell opportunity along with high priced common commodities such as soap, vitamins and energy drinks. It's pretty easy to see that the business does not work, even for most of those who actually work it. There are simply too many issues with the business that handicaps those brave enough to try. It seems even the fiercest defenders of Amway are unable to provide a shred of evidence that they have actually made a profit from this opportunity.

Also, the blog has a comparison of the cost of Amway Global products with Costco.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Donald Trump Starting a MLM/Network Marketing Company The Trump Network

The Trump Network, which will focus on vitamins and supplements, will launch October 2009.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Theocratic Chain of Misery

theocracy falwell amway moonieI have previously discussed the concept of what I have dubbed "the hierarchy of misery." The term refers to organizations or movements in which a tiny parasitic elite benefits on the backs of a large mass of people. I discussed how Amway and the Unification movement embody this category. In this post, I will show that one thing that makes these groups particularly pernicious is that many of them often have a mutually beneficial relationship with other hierarchies of misery. It is a synergistic relationship in which the overall pathology becomes greater than the sum of its component parts.

In the diagram, I have charted how this insidious mutualism has taken place in recent American history with groups that have a theocratic orientation. Let me discuss the players:
1) Amway/Kingpin IBOs. This refers to Amway Global network marketing company as well as some of the more reactionary distributor organizations headed by wealthy reactionary "kingpin" distributors (known in Amway as Independent Business Owners-or IBOs). Here is a newspaper story on the exploitative nature of many of the top Amway kingpin IBOs.
2) The Falwell Organization. This pertains to the various organizations run by Jerry Falwell (1933-2007).
3) Sun Myung Moon Groups. This includes the Family Federation for World Peace, 1000 front groups, and media organizations, notably the Washington Times and the UPI wire service.
4) The Right-Wing Governmental Apparatus. Prominent members of the right who exercise governmental power.
5) The Neo-Confederate Movement. This refers to the white supremacist movement in the United States that usually poses as a movement to preserve "Southern heritage." In fact, this heritage is largely one in which a small oligarchy kept itself in power in the American South for over a hundred years by pitting poor white against poor black--to keep both groups oppressed.

The diagram shows what each groups gives and receives from other groups
1.Amway to Falwell. Falwell's ministry has been receiving significant financial support from Amway kingpin IBO Dexter Yager (more on Yager here).
2. Falwell to Amway. In turn, Falwell spoke out in defense of Amway against critics who were trying to expose unethical practices by Amway and various kingpin organizations.
3. Moon to Falwell. In the early 1990's, Sun Myung Moon funneled $3.5 million to bail out Falwell's floundering diploma mill, Liberty University (quick note: a Brown University student went undercover at Liberty U. and is writing a book about his experiences). Also, when Moon was facing legal problems in the 1980's, he freely gave to various sectarian right groups.
4. Falwell to Moon. Jerry Falwell was not a big fan of Moon when the would-be Messiah was converting young Americans to the Unification Church in the 1970's, Falwell said, "Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported [sic]." Falwell changed his tune in a big hurry when Falwell had a chance to line his pockets with Moon's ill-gotten cash. Falwell lavishly praised Moon, giving Moon further legitimacy with the American conservative movement.
5. Moon to the right-wing governmental apparatus. Moon has been the biggest contributor to the American right. Moon has dumped over $3 billion into the right-wing newspaper the Washington Times and has provided workers and funds to right-wing causes. Moon has given lucrative speaking fees to prominent GOP politicians, notable former president George H. W. Bush.
6. The right-wing governmental apparatus to Moon. Prominent GOP politicians, such as Orrin Hatch and former President Bush have given Moon the legitimacy he craves. This culminated in the disgraceful coronation ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in 2004. In addition, the videos of prominent politicians heaping fulsome praise on Moon have allowed Moon to gain converts and bilk money from gullible people.
7. The Falwell groups to the right-wing governmental apparatus. Falwell has devoted massive resources to electing right-wing politicians and causes. Falwell bragged that once a person entered his church the new convert was registered to vote (as a Republican, of course).
8. The right-wing governmental apparatus to Falwell. Falwell has been given legitimacy by every Republican president since Reagan. When Falwell died, Republican presidential candidates tried to outdo each other in praising Falwell.
9. Amway has been one of the largest contributors to the GOP and right-wing causes. In 1994, Amway gave to then what was the largest corporate contribution to the Republicans--$2.5 million. Most of the kingpin IBOs are on the hard right (a recent post on my main blog has a lot of information about the warped ideology of Amway's biggest IBO Dexter Yager). In addition, at Amway rallies, prominent right-wing politicians are paid huge speaking fees to extol the virtues of Amway to distributors; GOP politicians who have spoken at Amway rallies include "former Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and former Vice Presidents Bob Dole and Dan Quayle, along with other GOP heavyweights like Gingrich, Oliver North, Senator Rick Santorum and even the latest SE Regional Chairman for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, Ralph Reed."
10. These de facto contributions to prominent Republicans have been lucrative for Amway. The late Molly Ivins reported that then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich inserted a special tax break in a bill that created a $283 million for Amway's parent corporation Aliticor. It is also worth noting that during the Bush years, nothing was done by governmental regulatory bodies like the FTC regarding the illegal but highly lucrative tools pyramid scheme (YouTube has the Dateline NBC segment here and here that has undercover footage of how the tools scam works--the segment also shows the bizarre cult-like atmosphere of the Amway/Quixtar rallies; quick note: for more of the fucked up shit that goes on at Amway rallies, watch Dexter Yager's wife Birdie speak at a rally here).
11. & 12. I put these two grouping together because, unfortunately, much of the right's governmental apparatus is comprised of neo-Confederates or people sympathetic to the neo-Confederate movement.
13. The neo-Confederate movement has filled the Washington Times' editorial page. I have written about this on my Moon blog. The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Nation's Max Blumenthal have addressed this phenomenon.
14. The Washington Times' editorial page appears to be the last quasi-respectable refuge for white supremacist crackpots. Having white supremacists working for a newspaper in the nation's capital has accorded the neo-Confederate movement a great deal of undeserved legitimacy. A quick note on Moon and white supremacists: I'm not sure what Moon's deal is with white supremacists. Although Moon is Korean, like the white supremacists, he is an anti-Semite and an anti-black racist. I recently asked a prominent academician about this and she told me that she had asked some people and they didn't have a clue).

Who loses?
Humanity in general loses when these reactionary and benighted ideologies prosper. However, there are specific victims:
1) New and prospective Amway distributors. Despite claims by Amway kingpins that Amway is the best way to get rich, only one person per 100,000 who joined Amway/Quixtar in 1999-2000 attained an income over $90,000 a year.
2) Moonie converts. These people waste their lives in the belief that a demented megalomaniac is the Messiah. It is very sad.
3) Victims of Moon scams. This category includes not only those who contributed to Moon canvassers claiming to represent charities and youth groups (this practice is know as "heavenly deception" in Moonie circles) but more seriously it includes the "spiritual sales" scandal in which widows in Japan were swindles out of their life savings by church operatives.
4) American journalism. It's bad enough that Moon scammed many people out of their life savings. It's worse when he uses $3 billion of this ill-gotten money to create a rag like the Washington Times. The Washington Times constitutes an assault on journalism.
5) Jerry Falwell's victims. This includes not only those members of Falwell's flock who were scammed by paying huge amounts for Falwell's tapes that purportedly showed evidence that Bill and Hillary Clinton were involved in murder and drug-running but the American people in general. Falwell poisoned American political discourse and he will not be missed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Amway and the Facts

A saying used by Amway kingpin distributors like Dexter Yager is "If you have a dream, the facts don't matter" (to no big surprise, Amway kingpins were rabidly supportive of George W. Bush). Blogger Joe Cool has some facts that can't be ignored.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How Amway Fraud Makes Bernie Madoff Look Like an Inept Schoolboy

Quixtar Cult Intervention has the details:
Amway has been allowed to operate their form of Ponzi scheme by masking their ‘closed market swindle’ behind a labyrinth of corporate structures, significantly masking the atrocious loss ’independent’ investors have reaped throughout the history of Amway. Exactly as in the case of Madoff, Amway critics have thrown up significant red flags about Amway‘s operation, all an elaborately disguised swindle enriching the cultic initiators and a handful of ‘kingpin’'distributors' operating exactly like the mafia.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lanny Davis: Glutton for Punishment and Ridicule

lanny davis wimp fox news liberal
When I was doing research for a post on my main blog about why taking on Rush Limbaugh is a winning strategy for the Obama administration, I found some interesting information about former Clinton adviser Lanny Davis. The reason I was doing research on Davis was that early in the Clinton administration, when Limbaugh and other talk radio jocks were running roughshod over the truth and concocting lunatic conspiracy theories about Bill and Hillary being behind the death of Vince Foster, instead of an strategy of aggressively exposing the lies of Limbaugh, Falwell, Liddy and others, the Clinton administration sent out Lanny Davis to appear on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show. Liddy was one of the top proponents of the various Vince Foster conspiracy theories. He should have been easy to discredit. For one thing, the man is an unrepentant terrorist who had planned to bomb the Brookings Institution. He had Nazi sympathies and was one of the Watergate conspirators. I defy anyone to read Liddy's autobiography Will without concluding that the man is a complete nutcase.

Instead of taking the fight to Liddy, Davis appeared on Liddy's radio show and took the role of the liberal punching bag (good practice for Davis' later role as a Fox News Democrat). Liddy and Davis became fast friends. What a clueless pussy.

Davis is a masochist. He loves being abused by the right. Davis was in George W. Bush's fraternity at Yale and being an underclassman to Dubya, Davis was hazed by the future president. In addition to being an on-air punching bag on Fox News, Davis provides legitimacy to Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times by writing a column for the rag.

One hilarious thing I recently found out, Davis was a victim of the right-wing scam-business Amway (for more information on the Amway Global scam, read my blog devoted to Amway). That's right: Lanny Davis used to be an Amway salesman. This is the nadir of humiliation. Not only was Davis a victim of a scam that helped to fund the radical right but Davis acted like a typical Amway drone. I busted a gut when I read this excerpt from a 1997 Washington Post article by Lloyd Grove on Davis:
After he narrowly lost a 1976 House race, Davis, 51, began evangelizing for the motivational door-to-door distribution company, which markets everything from toothpaste to telephone service. A prominent Maryland lawyer-lobbyist, who refused to speak for attribution, recalled that Davis once invited him to lunch to discuss a "business opportunity."

"We didn't order yet when he started talking, and it was like a switch went on," the lobbyist recounted. "He asked, `Are you interested in making more money?' Well, what lawyer isn't? `Do you want to be in control of your destiny?' And I go, `Wait a minute, Lanny -- is this an Amway pitch?'

"And he says, `Can I finish? I've got these wonderful products to show you.' So he opens this box from the front to reveal a beautiful array of multicolored bottles and packages of toothpaste, dishwashing soap and other stuff. And I said, `No, Lanny. Please. No demonstrations. Thank you and good luck.' I had to virtually push myself away from him, but I got up and left."
This guy is a piece of work. It's just sad that the Clintons trusted him to deal with the right's media.

Addendum: Grove's Washington Post article is not available online so I posted it on the archives of my main blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amway and the Movies

On my personal blog, I mention a film that mercilessly lampooned Amway. Read the post here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Amway Global in 2009: Aiming for a Comeback

One of the big ironies of 2008 is that the recession, largely created by GOP economic policies and an incompetent Bush administration, has created an opportunity for a GOP-dominated Ponzi scheme: Amway Global. In the past few months, Alticor, Amway's parent company has devoted millions to television commercials, newspaper ads, and market research. People who lost their jobs or who fear unemployment are undoubtedly attracted to Amway's slick ads. I think this is a tragedy. The overwhelming majority of people who join will be worse off financially. Amway Global is not as big of a Ponzi scheme as Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme but it is in the billions.

May 2009 marks Amway's 50th anniversary. Let's hope that the comeback attempt is unsuccessful.

UPDATE: Here's an Associated Press story on Amway's attempt at a comeback.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One More Reason to Dislike Amway

They hired John Tesh. Note: They already have Pat Boone on board.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to Viewers of the Amway Global TV Commercials

(Updated below)
Yesterday when I was flipping through the television channels, I noticed that Amway had bought some airtime for the NFL games and put on some highly stylized commercials (I also noticed a huge spike in traffic for this site; quick note, this site is in the top ten for a Google search of "Amway Global"--take that, Amway). Getting NFL fans to sell expensive soap? Whatever.

This gives me an opportunity to discuss how the Internet can thwart scams. Many people who saw the commercial did a Google search of "Amway" or "Amway Global" and saw the official Amway site as well as critical sites (not to pat myself on the back but I deserve a lot of credit for pushing critical but fair sites about Amway to the top of Google searches by starting an anti-Amway googlebomb). Information is the enemy of totalistic organizations such as Amway (for more on this, read my post on the Internet versus totalistic movements).

Let me conclude by telling potential Amway distributors about myself and sending a warning. I have opposed totalistic movements such as Amway and Sun Myung Moon's Unification movement. As far as I'm concerned, you are free to join Amway, but all I ask is that you read both positive and critical assessments of the company. I have more about this in my welcome message to readers of this blog.

UPDATE: I checked on my Statcounter stats for this site and noticed that someone from Alticor (the parent company of Amway Global) was checking out this post:

Referring Link No referring link
Host Name
IP Address [Label IP Address]
Country United States
Region Michigan
City Ada
ISP Alticor Inc
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 1 min 8 secs
Browser MSIE 7.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution 1024x768
Javascript Enabled
Navigation Path
Date Time WebPage
2nd December 2008 07:18:59 No referring link
2nd December 2008 07:19:39 No referring link
2nd December 2008 07:20:07 No referring link

Friday, August 15, 2008

The U.S. Justice Department Apparently Likes My Blogs

I have noticed that someone from the U.S. Justice Department has been lurking on my main blog and my anti-Amway blog for the past several months (see the addendum for info from my Statcounter page on the Amway blog).

Quick note to Justice Department lurker(s): if you really want to do your job, do something about illegal activity, do something about the illegal "tools" pyramid created by some top Amway distributors which have netted them hundreds of millions of dollars--if not billions of dollars. Also, you could refer to the INS the charges made by Nansook Hong about how the Reverend Sun Myung Moon engaged in immigration fraud to bring an underage girl to the United States to become the unlawful bride of his adult son.

Initially I was amused that the Justice Department reads my blog; however, this morning I listened to Sam Seder's interview of journalist Scott Horton.

Addendum: Info from my Statcounter page for my anti-Amway blog:
Host Name
IP Address [Label IP Address]
Country United States
Region District Of Columbia
City Washington
ISP Us Dept Of Justice
Returning Visits 10
Visit Length 54 seconds
Browser MSIE 6.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution 1280x1024
Javascript Enabled

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Amway/Quixtar on Countdown: Say it Ain't So, Keith

I was just watching Countdown with Keith Olbarmann and there was a commercial for Amway/Quixtar. To give the devil his due, the commercial had very high production values. I was watching at a friend's home in Powell, Ohio so I don't know if it was a local buy or not. E-mail me if you also saw the commercial in your viewing area.

UPDATE: I should have used Google. Kos mentioned this over a month ago.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dick DeVos: A Glutton for Punishment?

After getting trounced in the 206 Michigan gubernatorial race, Dick DeVos is planning to run again in 2010, according to the IBO Rebellion.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bankrupting Amway: A Worthy and Attainable Goal

Would a bankrupted Amway/Quixtar/Alticor be a good thing? Fucking-A!

The following are just a few reasons why a financially ruined Amway would be beneficial to American society and the rest of the world:
· Amway has ripped off millions of people out of billions of dollars. I have disccssed this on this blog and others, notably Eric Sheibeler, have documented this. If you are not familiar with the kingpins "tools" scandal, check out Dateline NBC's segment on Quixtar from a few years ago (Part 1 and Part 2). Amway, Quixtar, and Alticor's other incarnations are nothing more than a duel pyramid scheme comprised of Ponzi schemes surrounding the products and the "tools"--the motivational aids and rallies that have made a small elite wealthy on the backs of their downlines.
· Amway represents just about every characteristic that non-Americans think about when they envision "the Ugly American."
· The owners of Amway and the top distributors (the "kingpins") adhere to reactionary, dominionist, and theocratic politics. Bankrupting the company would be one way to de-fund the radical right.
· Much of Amway is cult-like and is antithetical to freedom of thought and conscience.
· Even though a new distributor has little chance of getting rich--or even breaking even--many of the motivational organizations possess an ugly theodicy that blames the se "failures" not on Amway's corrupt system but encourages these people to blame themselves for their own victimization.
· The rank-and-file of Amway are mostly decent people but the leadership and kingpins are just awful people.
·Killing two birds with one stone. Erik Prince, who heads Blackwater USA, is an in-law of the co-founding DeVos family. Amway's financial problems could lead to financial problems for Blackwater USA.

What can be done to attain this goal?
· Media hacking. Use your computer skills to fight Amway. The blogger Google-bomb I initiated has been a huge success and has cost them a lot of business.
· My idea of providing a multi-lingual series of websites that appeal to non-Americans that emphasize the pro-Bush, reactionary, and Christian theocratic culture of the Amway leadership would go a long way to hurt the company's prospects in the rest of the world.
· Supporting disgruntled former Amway distributors. One of the problems with these former IBOs is that they tend to be conservative and tend not to be familiar with potentially effective direct action tactics (e.g., picketing Amway rallies). An outreach to these people could be very beneficial.
· Encourage progressives to fight Amway. When I talk to progressives about Amway, they often respond the same way that they respond to Sun Myung Moon and the Unification movement--that it's old hat from the 1970's. Progressives ignore Amway and its poisonous agenda to their detriment.
· Enlist the Democratic Party. I list this option last because I have I have given up on the Democrats. As a whole, the Democrats are the biggest wusses in the world. When I look at how Amway and the Unification movement have run roughshod over this country, I point the finger of blame on the Democratic Party for doing nothing about it. It would be nice if a future Obama administration were to appoint members of the Federal Trade Commission who would enforce the law.

The upshot is that a lot can be done with very little.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tools - The Big Deception?

A former Amway/Quixtar IBO gives the details.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quixtar Distributor and Member of Congress Wants to Pull Jimmy Carter's Passport

sue myrick amway quixtar Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), the subject of a revealing Mother Jones article on her ties to Amway, called for former president Jimmy Carter's passport to be revoked because he recently met with leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas.

More ReasonsWhy the Amway/Quixtar System Doesn't Work

JoeCool of the blog "Quixtar: The Dream or the Scheme" gives the details.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The World's Most Powerful Cult

I have a YouTube video, "The World's Most Powerful Cult." It deals with the Unification movement (here's my blog that addresses the group). I hope you get something out of it:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Book Review

Here's a succinct review of Eric Scheibeler's online book Merchants of Deception.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Quixtar Family Tragedy

Quixtar Cult Intervention has the sad details.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Video: "Is Quixtar a Cult?"

Someone spliced together footage from "Mind Control Made Easy" and the Dateline NBC segment (part 2 here) on Quixtar to make this video:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Web Vs. Cults: The Cults are Losing

anonymous scientology dianetics xenu A while ago, I did a post on why the Internet is the bane of totalistic movements. I gave examples of three destructive organizations (Scientology, Amway Global, and the Unification movement) that have had a difficult time adjusting to a populace that free access to information at the click of a mouse. John Cook of Radar magazine has a article on the anti-Scientology group Anonymous and their use of conventional protests along with computer-based tactics to put the Church of Scientology on the defensive.

Addendum: Radar magazine interviewed me for its 2007 article on Oscars crashers (I'm mentioned on the second and third pages of the article).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Deception in Quixtar/Amway Global

Quixtar Cult Intervention has a thought-provoking post.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Doug Wead: Amway Kingpin and "Compassionate Conservative" (As If)

doug wead douglas wead amway quixtar bush In the past few weeks, I have read two excellent books that mention Amway/Quixtar IBO kingpin Doug Wead: The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg and Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right and Built an American Kingdom by John Gorenfeld (I discuss The Bush Tragedy here and Bad Moon Rising here). I will write a long post about Wead soon. This guy is a piece of work.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rich DeVos is the 288th Richest Person in the World

The Grand Rapids reports that DeVos and another western Michgan billionaire Fred Meijer of the retail chain Meijer, Inc. That's amusing that both men are from the same area: Anti-Amway critics posted a hilarious YouTube video comparing Amway prices with those of Meijer.

New Link: Quixtar Cult Intervention

Quixtar Cult Intervention is a blog I just discovered. It has some informative posts. Check it out.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Quixtar's Sales Declined in 2007 (I can't wait to see 2008)

According to a press release put out by Amway, Quixtar's sales declined from $1.12 billion in 2006 to $1.072 in 2007.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Internet as Enemy of Destructive Cults: Three Case Studies

An imbalance of information is the mother's milk of totalistic movements. Conversely, an informed citizenry is the bane of predatory cults. Cults thrive on secrecy. They strive for a situation in which they know much more about a potential mark than he/she knows about the group. This allows the cult members to know what values a person has and makes it easier for them to push the buttons of the novice member. This asymmetrical relationship between the cult and the devotee is the cult's source of power. If increasing numbers of potential recruits have access to critical information about the cult, the cult's power will be significantly diminished. Information is the bane of groups the seek to control people.

In Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, the authors describe how a lone gadfly helped to break the back of the Ku Klux Klan during the post-World War II years. Stetson Kennedy, a civil rights activist, determined that one of the Klan sources of power was its information control regarding its organizational structure and culture. Kennedy infiltrated the Klan and sent information regarding the Klan's mode of operations, including secret code words and rituals, to the writers of the popular Superman radio show. The writers incorporated
the Klan's heretofore secrets radio shows in which Superman fought the Klan. The workings of the Klan's inner operations were broadcast to the nation and, as a result, the Klan was demystified and it has flagged in influence ever since.

With the advent of the Internet, it is a lot easier for those opposed to destructive secretive organizations to expose these groups for what they are. Here are three examples of how Internet activist have exposed the dark secrets of destructive organizations:

The Church of Scientology l ron hubbard
I first heard about Xenu, the galactic overlord described to Scientology converts in the highest levels of the cult, from William Poundstone's book Bigger Secrets in the late 1980's (and later in Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard Jr.'s book L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah Or Madman?). When the Internet took off in the early 1990's, the Xenu cat was out of the bag. Anti-Scientology sites popped up exposing the Xenu theology to widespread mockery (the most prominent site has been Operation Clambake which uses the URL Attempts by Scientology to suppress these sites have been a complete failure--one of the earliest examples of "the Streisand Effect." Although there has been much attention given to the tactics of a group of Internet-based anti-Scientology hackers known as Anonymous (click here for a video about the group), it was the older web-based groups that have set the stage for the mass exposure of the church's exploitation of its followers.

Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movementsun myung moon cult leader
As I have noted previously, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification movement have kept a much lower profile in the US since staging massive public rallies and actively recruiting American members (mainly because because the would-be Messiah is the anti-Obama: the more people are exposed to the cult leader, the more they are repelled). It's revealing the the story about the coronation of the "True Parents" in the Dirksen Senate Office building was broke on an internet site, (by John Gorenfeld--whose book on Moon will be available March 1). Other critical web pages and blogs have made it into the top sites for Google searches of Moon's name and Unification-related keywords.

Amway/Quixtar dick devos
I have to hand it to Amway. As soon as critical but truthful web sites emerged to counter the company's propaganda, Amway started google bombing--"using its large network of websites to move sites critical of Quixtar lower in search engine rankings." This was ineffectual because a counter-google bomb that I created more than counteracted the effects of the company's efforts to manipulate search engine results. The result: the first page of Google searches for "Amway" and "Quixtar" are loaded with critical sites.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

United Kingdom to 86 Amway?

Great Britain will decide soon whether or not to expel Amway. If they do, it will be just one more nail in the coffin of the multinational Ponzi scheme.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Destructive Cults and Legitimacy

First let me apologize for the dearth of recent posting. I have some articles I am writing for this blog and I hope to post them soon. I briefly discuss Amway in my most recent post on my blog devoted to exposing Sun Myung Moon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Amway/Blackwater Family Tradition: Sponging off the US Government

Eric Prince Dick Devos os amwaya/quixtar/alticor
I have previously noted that brothers-in-law, Rich DeVos of Amway and Erik Prince, who runs Blackwater USA, have a penchant for high mark-ups of their products and services as well as a dislike for paying their taxes.

Another DeVos/Prince family tradition is living off of the largess provided by the government. It's no secret that being a recipient of corporate welfare is good work if you can find it. Quick aside: David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill), recently appeared on Bill Moyer's Journal.

It's well known that Prince makes a lot of his money from no-bid government contracts. What about DeVos and Amway? As the late Molly Ivins reported in 1997, being one of the top contributors to the GOP is not all give and no take: in fact, Amway was able to enjoy a $283 million tax break passed by the then-Republican Congress. More recently, DeVos and his wife received a windfall from the government for land they own. Although they rail against big government, DeVos and Prince like the government big enough for them to enrich billionaires--namely themselves.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Today I went into a men's room in the San Fernando Valley and there was one of those signs telling employees to wash their hands. Someone had engaged in some creative graffiti by scratching out some words and replacing them with others. The sign looked like this:


Handwashing is The Most Effective Way to Stop the Spread of

Crossposted on the Moon blog.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Multi-Level Marketing Mike Huckabee

Christi Parsons and John Chase have the story:
WEST DES MOINES--They came to hear Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speak, but first the crowd of hundreds had to sit through a soft-sell pitch on the wonders of multi-level marketing.

For half an hour, two businessmen paced the stage where Huckabee would soon stump. They never said the name of the company during their talks, but afterward some members of the crowd shared with others the good news of a company called Quixtar Inc.

Quixtar is a sibling company of multi-level marketing giant Amway – and, according to Huckabee's public schedule, the host of the event.

"We found out later from a friend it was some kind of Internet marketing thing," said Bill Evanich, an avid Huckabee fan who attended the evening event late last week. "I thought it was political, and that we'd get to ask questions."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thorstein Veblen Would Have Had a Field Day

Forthcoming post: "The Ostentatious Cheesiness of the Amway Kingpin Culture."

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Incredibly Shrinking Amway Rally

As I have indicated (also here), Amway/Quixtar is imploding. One of the indicators of this is the drastic decrease in the number of people attending major Amway/Quixtar rallies in the United States. I have some inside information from a reliable source about the rallies for Amway Kingpin Dexter Yager's organization. Each year in the autumn, Yager holds a "Yager Free Enterprise Celebration" (YFEC).

For the 2003 and 2004 YFEC events, there were audiences that numbered from 15,000 to 18,000. In 2005, YFEC was scaled down to 2 shows, one in Cincinnati at the Riverfront Arena which drew about 13,000 and the other one was at the smaller Long Beach Arena in California which drew around 6,000 or 7000. In 2006, the decline was evident: the crowds for the two events were about 4000 and 7000. In 2007, the numbers dropped further to approximately 6,000 and 2,000.

These are the statistics of an organization in serious decline.

UPDATE: Someone e-mailed this post to a lot of people because I've received many hits from emails . . . I couldn't believe that there would be such a freefall in Yager rally attendance considering such coherent rally speeches such as this one by Birdie Yager . . . Perhaps the decline in rally attendance is not only that there are fewer Quixtar recruits but that the ones who have been attending rallies have wised up. Former Amway Diamond Bo Short (who was featured in the Dateline NBC show on Quixtar) once mused that in the typical Amway rally, the people in the audience change (due to high turnover) but that the people on the stage stay the same (largely because these people got in when the getting was good).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Forthcoming Post
"The Incredibly Shrinking Amway Rally"

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Message to Readers of my Sun Myung Moon and Amway Blogs

A couple months ago, when I decided to create separate blogs addressing Sun Myung Moon and Amway, my aspirations were modest. In terms of reader hits and attention from the right people, both blogs have exceeded my expectations dramatically.

I can't take full credit for this. There have been a small number of dedicated people who have helped to promote both blogs. All I'm asking is for a little more help. If you think the messages on one or both of these blogs should be spread, you can do one of the following things:
1) If you're a blogger or have a web site, you can do a post on these blogs. Also, you can ad these blogs to your list of links.
2) Go to you e-mail contacts and send a brief e-mail telling people about the blogs.
3) If there's a post you find particularly compelling, link to it on a newsgroup or Internet bulletin board.
4) Write your member of Congress about abuses by one or both of the target groups and mention the respective blog.
5) Write members of the mainstream media about Moon or Amway and provide a link to the respective blog.
6) Help out with my outreach to Amway's Global Community Program (details here and here). If you are proficient in the following languages and want to do a little translation, e-mail me at Chinese, Japanese, Javanese, Hindi, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, or Korean.

Amway and the Unification movement are destructive cults that hurt people psychologically, emotionally, financially. My blogs provide information that cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet. Every little bit helps. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Amway is Imploding: Some Evidence

I wrote about it a while ago. The IBO Rebellion has some recent evidence such as its report on the Achievers 2007 meeting and the drastic decrease in new distributor (IBO) signups for Amway/Quixtar:
The number one issue on the table today is that Quixtar is not only bleeding from lack of sales, but in fact sponsoring is down substantially. Multiple CWPF's have reported to me that Quixtar would usually add new IBO's at the rate of 1000-1200 IBOs per day. As we have outlined here before Quixtar relies heavily on sponsoring and the volume generally associated with it. My CWPF's say that current numbers have fallen to the approximately 600 IBOs per day. This is a dramatic decrease.

Monday, November 26, 2007

RIP British Amway?

Amway may be on the way out in the UK. Read the story in News Corps' London TimesOnline.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Working on an Anti-Amway Page in French

In my post on countering Alticor's global community program, I mentioned that there should be more critical web sites in languages other than English. Since I used to be fluent in French, I decided to create a critical page in French. The page is not finished and I'm sure there are a lot of mistakes to fix but I just let you know that I'm working on it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cult Deception: A Recent Personal Case Study

On my two anti-cult blogs dealing with Moonies and Amway, I emphasize that cults use deception about who they are to potential recruits. A recent personal experience is revealing: I was in Hollywood and a man was passing out free tickets to the "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death" Museum on Sunset Boulevard. When I asked, the man claimed that the museum was not affiliated with the Church of Scientology. A quick Google search finds that he wasn't telling the truth. Information and totalitarian cults like Scientology, Amway, and Unification are incompatible. That's why the Amway Google bomb was so powerful.

Note: This is crossposted on the Sun Myung Moon Blog.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How Destructive Cults Recruit and Control People

Mind Control Made Easy (or How to Become a Cult Leader)a film by Carey Burtt:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Family Tradition of High Markups, Part Deux
Rich DeVos is selling his five-bedroom, 8.5 bath home. As I mentioned previously, the DeVos family has a tradition of high markups (also click here). According to the IBO Rebellion blog, the house is overpriced, too (make sure to read the comments section--it's priceless).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Amway/Quixtar Loses in Court
(Via Ed Brayton) A Kent County (Michigan) judge sided with members of Team of Destiny (Orrin and Laurie Woodward, Chris and Terri Brady) against Amway's parent company Alticor. TEAM includes many disgruntled former Amway/Quixtar distribuotrs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tell Us Your Amway/Quixtar Story
I have not encouraged the use of the comments sections of this blog. Here's a chance to use them. Tell us about your experience with Amway/Quixtar. This applies to whether you have been a distributor or not.

I'll start things off with my own Amway/Quixtar experiences
1) When I was in grad school, a woman from Uganda lived in my apartment building. She was walking in the building with a clean-cut looking young man. I later asked her who he was. She told me that he was offering a great business opportunity called Amway. I told her that it was a big mistake. I told her to research the company on the Internet. She did and she wanted nothing to them. She asked me to help give the guy the brush-off. She told him that she couldn't do Amway but that I was interested. I figured what the heck so I acted like a live one. He gave me the spiel and a tape by financial adviser John Sestina, probably the only financial planner who ever recommended Amway as a business opportunity(Sestina quote: "In Financial planning you trust no one; in Amway, you trust everyone." Yeah, right). When I got tired of the guy I told him flat out that I wasn't interested.

2) In 1998, I had an administrative job in an office with a bunch of gossipy mother hens. I didn't fit in to the office environment in a big way. One of the women in the office was in Amway. At unit meetings, she would weave into the conversation that she would be retiring in about 18 months due to Amway. When we had group lunches, she would take Amway vitamins and do a pitch about how they helped her. When I was given two weeks notice, she came up to me an offered me the Amway business opportunity. I ignored her. I checked her office website recently. Nine years later, she still works at the same office.

3) Once I was in the Columbus Public Library. I was walking in the hallway and a recent immigrant from Poland introduced himself and then asked me if I would like to do Amway. I told him I didn't want to do it. He moved on.

Tell us your Amway/Quixtar experiences.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Strategy to Address Amway's Global Community Program

One thing I have noticed is that the critical web sites dealing with AmQuix are in English and are focused on the United States. I believe this is short-sighted for the following reasons:
1) From information I have received from multiple sources, Alticor's management is focusing less on the United States and more on markets in foreign nations (Amway calls them their "Global Community Program"). This makes sense because the corporation's fortunes are declining in North America. In the United States, Amway is a punchline; in many countries, Amway is a new phenomenon and many people in these countries don't know about the company well-deserved bad reputation.
2) Amway is the amplification of everything that people around the globe hate about certain aspects American culture: (1) Conspicuous consumption; (2) Greed being treated as a virtue; (3) A Christian Recontructionist world view and a desire to create Christian theocracies around the world (4) Republican Party values (5) Jingoistic Militarism (especially the case considering the DeVos/Prince family ties); (6) Bigotry and homophobia (e.g., listen to Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager on "the queers") (7) Exploitation of the Third World in the guise of helping it.
Critics of the Amway cult should emphasize these aspects of their corporate culture to people outside of North America.
3) Informing people around the world about Amway is a way to show good will to the global community.

Here are some easy-to-implement tactics to appeal to the global community:
1) Non-English web sites that are critical of Amway. Critical blogs in Chinese, Japanese, Javanese (the most popular language in Indonesia), Hindi (the most popular languages in India), Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Korean would be especially helpful.
2) Web sites that are nation-specific that appeal to Amway IBOs and potential recruits.
3) Publicizing the Prince/DeVos family connection. Amway is the corporate embodiment of the Ugly American archetype and Blackwater USA is Amway on steroids.

Fortunately, with the advent of the internet, these tactics can be done by anyone, anywhere. Think globally but act locally!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Scares Amway and the Kingpins: Picketing Rallies
When I wrote this post on the tactic of picketing Amway/Quixtar rallies, it generated a lot of attention. I noticed in my Statcounter stats that many people came to this specific post based on the link being e-mailed to them. I strongly suspect that many of the people who received the e-mail were people affiliated with Alticor who were concerned about this.

Why? For one thing, picketing is a high visibility tactic that is cheap. In addition, if picketers were to have some of the picket signs that have short, easy-to-remember URLs on them, it would encourage new IBOs attending the event to check out the web sites. If the web sites have accurate information about the many problems with Amway, then it could lead to problems for the company. That's all there is to it.

Amway and the Unification Movement: Hierarchies of Misery

When I started my main blog, it was more media-oriented. I monitored the right's media and devoted a lot of time and energy to exposing deception in the right's media apparatus. Recently, I have devoted a lot less time to media analysis and have been focusing on bizarre cult-like organizations--specifically, Sun Myung Moon's Unification movement and Amway.

Someone recently asked: why the switch? For one thing, when I started this blog in 2002, there wasn't a good web site out there monitoring the right's media. That changed in 2004 with the advent of Media Matters for America (when MMFA's David Brock was first interviewed when MMFA started out, he praised me for doing "a great job of pointing out some of the media’s failings"). I'm glad that Media Matters is out there. Taping and transcribing Rush and Hannity was not much fun.

I decided to have more of a niche blog. I have been concerned with the effect that Sun Myung Moon's media outlets were having on the national discourse (Moon's Washington Times--though rightfully dismissed as a journalistic monstrosity-- is an integral component of the hard right's media apparatus). The more research I did into Moon's organization, the more I discovered that the man is a demented megalomaniac. In addition, more recently, I have done extensive research into Amway, a major funding source for hard right and Christian reconstructionist causes. I discovered that the Unification movement and Amway have a lot in common.

Amway and the Unification Movement: Hierarchies of Misery

Amway and the Unification movement are two of the biggest funding sources of the contemporary American right and both have dominionist goals. However, that isn't where their similarities end. As I researched Amway and the Unification Movement, I discovered that their organizational structures were exploitive, controlling, and deceptive.

Let's discuss some of those similarities in depth:

1) Both organizations are hierarchies in which a tiny few at the top live like kings while the overwhelming majority live modestly (while doing the work to provide the lavish lifestyles of the elites in their organization). In Amway, most of the top distributors make most of their money, not from Amway sales or sponsorship, but from the ancillary tools business--selling the dream to lower level distributors in the form of books, tapes, and rallies. Likewise, in the Unification movement, new recruits are sent out on 15-20-hour days selling flowers and trinkets to support the Moon family's lavish lifestyle and Moon's desire to become a Washington power player.

2) A corollary to the first similarity is the paradoxical situation in which those at the top are jaded and cynical and those at the bottom are the most fervent believers in the cause. Nansook Hong, Moon's illicit daughter-in-law, wrote in her memoirs about how Moon's children were treated like royalty but viewed their father's religion as a money-making scam. On the other hand, former Moonies have said that they would have killed for Moon. The pumped-up Amway distributor who thinks that he/she will become a millionaire is a sad spectacle that most of us have witnessed. The kingpin distributors who provide the motivational services to these new distributors--at a hefty price--certainly know that their promises of wealth to those who work hard are a pipedream. The monthly reports these kingpins receive from Amway about how their downline members are doing contradict what they tell these people at their rallies. I can think of few better examples of cynicism than people who make most of their money telling people that Amway is the best opportunity out there when their own tax returns show that most of their money is made from selling tapes, rallies, and functions, not from Amway sales.

3) Deception in recruiting. Both Amway and the Unification movement have a pattern of deceiving potential recruits about who they are. Moon has hundreds of front groups that do recruiting. Many former Moonies and people approached by UC members have reported that the recruiters were vague about their group and often sidestepped the issue about the name of their organization and that they represented Moon. Many people in Amway don't use the words "Amway" or "Quixtar" during the recruiting process.

4) Blind faith and the taboo against questioning. In Moon's organization, it is taught that Moon is the messiah and that his word is not to be questioned. In many organizational groups within Amway, there is a culture of not questioning one's upline. I have heard of many reports of this culture within Amway.

5) Megalomania. Moon literally thinks he is the messiah who has been blessed by "[t]he founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin . . ." Similarly, there are self-styled leaders within Amway such as Dexter Yager who have a Messiah complex (former Amway IBO Eric Scheibeler has audio of Yager's various rants that clearly indicate a power-hungry and delusional person.

6) A theocratic agenda under the guise of "American values." Moon views America as "Satan's harvest" and believes in an authoritarian theocracy in which he rules; anyone who dissents against Moon's rule will be "digested." Similarly, Dick DeVos is a member of the Council for National Policy, a secretive dominionist group that seeks to make the United States a Christian theocracy. Despite both groups' undemocratic agendas, both groups wrap themselves in the American flag. Founders DeVos and Van Andel named their company Amway as a contraction of the "American Way." Similarly, the editors of Moon's pseudo-newspaper, The Washington Times refer to it as "American's Newspaper" (which is especially ironic since most of the Times' editors have more allegiance to the Stars and Bars that to the Stars and Stripes).

This list is far from exhaustive. I believe the best way to look at both organizations is through former Moonie Steven Hassan's BITE model. Hassan's BITE analysis of Amway is here, here, here, and here.
One thing is certain: both groups are pathological and are responsible for the misery of many people.

Note: This article is cross-posted on The Real Sun Myung Moon.