Inside the government plans to shutdown the direct sales industry: Vemma is only the begining

September 10, 2015

The Arizona direct sales company Vemma was recently hit by the FTC and virtually shut down without a judge, jury or trial.  The income of thousands, including single mothers, housewives, young businessmen, retirees and disable veterans has been instantly blocked by the government agency.  Nobody will be paid, no matter what they have sold or how many years they have worked.

Ominously, among the reasons the FTC gave for its action, are methods that are employed by almost all other Direct Sales companies.  If Vemma is unable to survive, it could spell the end of a vibrant industry that involves 18 million Americans, 74% of them women.  It may be the last loophole allowing an ordinary person the opportunity to earn extraordinary amounts of money.

What is behind this action?


Shortly after the re-election of Barack Obama a former law enforcement – corporate security specialist called me with some interesting information.  A friend in the Justice Department was asking him for details on Multi Level Marketing companies in Utah.  They were talking names, income, the nature of their compensation plans and any questionable claims about their products.  They would welcome any gossip about lifestyle too.  Mistresses?  Lavish meals?  “Ahh, gonna take out a source of Republican money huh?” my friend joked.

It is no big secret that most entrepreneurs, including the kind who get into MLM’s, tend to be Republicans.  Just as people who believe that government has the solutions for society, tend to get jobs in government.

Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway one of the nation’s most successful MLM’s, was a major donors to both the Reagan and Bush presidential campaigns.  Frank VanderSloot, of Melaleuca, was the finance chairman and a $5 million fundraiser for Mitt Romney.

I have been an eyewitness to the political power of these companies and their sprawling networks of independence entrepreneurs.  In 1984, when Ronald Reagan announced his re-election, he did so at an MLM event at the Atlanta Georgia Dome.  Distributors came to the Dome for a weekend of seminars and forfeited the platform to the Reagan Campaign during the afternoon.  In another city at yet another event, I spoke just before Reagan to an audience of 10,000 MLM builders.

During the election campaign of George H.W. Bush I would often get a call from campaign manager, Lee Atwater.  “I need 500 people with signs cheering for Bush outside of Butler aviation in Raleigh Durham.”  Atwater would give me five photo ops with Bush at the foot of the airplane and in return the five MLM leaders would guarantee the crowd as requested.  In 1987, George W. Bush, working his dad’s campaign,  spoke at an MLM event I arranged, helping to funnel distributors into campaign workers.  It is not unlike what the unions do for the Democrats.

I have also been one of the pack who got the message from the top of the network.  In 2008 I was building a network in XanGo when word came down to make a $1,000 donation to Mitt Romney.  I complied.

It was only a matter of time before Obama would shut down this industry, which is a vibrant part of the economy of every other major western nation and flourishes in Russia.

There are many complaints about MLM.  The odds of success are not high, although probably a lot higher than a career in journalism or professional sports or Hollywood or – for that matter – the FTC.  The difference is MLM will take anybody and most other opportunities won’t.

In recent years the culture of MLM has diversified.  Shaklee, for example, the MLM vitamin giant, is owned by a Democrat billionaire who is a friend of Oprah Winfrey.  It will probably be the last one taken down and may even be permitted by the Obama administration to live out its retirement, as long as it remains quiet.

The danger for other MLM’s is the nature of the attack on Vemma.  They have been hit hard on “auto-ship” a policy that has products automatically shipped to a distributor unless he or she opts out in advance.  That, the FTC, contends, makes it a pyramid scheme.  Most former members of the Book of the Month Club or the Literary Guild are familiar with auto-ship.  If you signed up you got a book every month.  You could opt out but if you didn’t you had to pay for the book or send it back.  In our new “victim society” the FTC has determined that this is illegal.

It was also wrong, they say, that Vemma prospected college students.  Universities are now places where beer pong is a sport, abortions are choice, date rape is so rampant that universities refuse to publicly publish the numbers but selling vitamins to your roommate is now a crime.

(Donations to defend the industry should go to the Direct Sellers Defense Fund, Morrie Aaron:


Jimmy Carter: He never told a lie

August 20, 2015

Jimmy Carter held a press conference today, announcing details on his growing battle with cancer.

“I will never lie to you,” Jimmy Carter said back in 1976.  And so far, he never has.

The dignity, humility and integrity of Jimmy Carter is best illustrated by what he hasn’t done.

Unlike presidents who followed him he has not made millions off of interviews or speeches.  Or taken speaking engagements from companies who needed influence.  He hasn’t used his Foundation to trade influence for money.  He hasn’t taken bribes in return for influencing policies for friends.

Unlike many of the most recent presidents he hasn’t used the courts to block researchers or writers from accessing his presidential papers.  He has been accessible.  He simply has nothing to hide. I interviewed him the year after he left office.

Unlike the last three Democrat presidents who preceded him, he did not have sex with young subordinates on his own White House staff.

What is striking is that there has not even been a single charge of impropriety.  One can disagree with his political views but one cannot find anything wrong with his character.

Jimmy Carter followed Richard Nixon into the White House.  Nixon, who was caught in a lie over the Watergate Scandal, created what was called the Imperial Presidency.  His new White House Secret Service uniforms looked like Prussian police officers.  By contrast, President Jimmy Carter insisted on carrying his own bags when he got off Air Force One.

Secret Service uniforms at the Nixon White House.

Secret Service uniforms at the Nixon White House.

It is said that Jimmy Carter redefined the post presidency.  Most early presidents were careful to retire and stay out of the limelight.  There were exceptions. Ulysses Grant got involved in tawdry business deals with his sons and probably would have gone to prison if he had not been a former president.

In more recent times, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower, all kept the tradition that held, former presidents were seldom seen and never heard.

Carter changed all of that.  Determined to be useful, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and helped build houses for the needy. There he was, the former president, on a rooftop, pounding nails in the sun.  The media couldn’t resist.  He showed energy and compassion and his Carter Foundation impacted the world.

Jimmy Carter’s political rise was a Cinderella story.  He was a candidate for president who showed up in Iowa the year before with a 2% recognition factor.  That doesn’t mean that 2% of the state supported him, it means only 2% even knew who he was.  But by the summer of 1975, right where we are now in the presidential cycle, Jimmy Carter stunned the nation by winning the important Iowa presidential summer straw poll.  It thrust him into the nation’s limelight where he has remained ever since.

It is hard to explain the euphoria that accompanied the Carter election as president.  He was a Democrat who publicly identified himself as a “born again” Christian.  Which put border states into play and reshuffled the electoral college numbers as Republican evangelicals crossed over to support him.  It forever changed the strategic map of American politics.

His family was a hoot.

Lillian Carter, the president’s mother, was a huge personality, well ahead of her time.  Outspoken and courageous in her political views, Lillian was a Southerner who spent her life exposing racism.  A world traveler, a nurse, a former Peace Corps volunteer to India, she became a delightful bon vivant of the Carter First Family.

His sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton, was a well dressed, good looking, faith healer.

His brother, Billy Carter, was the personification of the old Southern country boy.  When Carter won the Iowa Caucus reporters descended on his tiny gas station in Plains, Georgia where Billy held court with a beer can in his hand.  “My sister is a faith healer,” Billy said. “My brother thinks he’s going to be president.  I’m the only sane one in the bunch.”

It was an exciting and compelling time of hope.  America was coming out of Watergate and corruption.  There was hope that this president could restore integrity to the White House.  He did that. But the economy sagged, Islamic terrorists seized power in Iran and the Soviet Union threatened the end of the world.  American turned to Ronald Reagan.

The Soviet threat is gone now, but the economy still struggles as American finds its new place in a post industrial era and unfortunately, the corruption is back.  The IRS, the Veterans Administration and other agencies are tainted.  The front runners for both parties include a Republican who openly brags that “I buy politicians and they do what the hell I tell them to” and a Democrat who is trying to survive charges that she offered her power for sale to even foreign buyers.

Jimmy Carter’s press conference today was a reminder that at least once, in recent American history, someone held power without corruption.

Jimmy Carter and Doug Wead, 1979.

Jimmy Carter and Doug Wead, 1979.

The Legacy of Barack Obama

February 16, 2015

Thoughts on the legacy of President Barack Obama 2-16-15

The election of Barack Obama

President Obama’s legacy will be inextricably linked to the fact that he was the first African American to be elected president.  A Black man in the White House.  The Founding Fathers, including those who wrote the words “All men are created equal” owned slaves.  So the election, in itself, will always be a great moment in our nation’s history and part of the Obama legacy.

That’s why they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize before he had even done anything.  His election alone was stunning.

How will he be immediately judged?

If his current media treatment is any indication he will be immediately praised to the heavens by liberals and critiqued by conservatives.   Liberal think tanks of historians will immediately say he is one of America’s greatest presidents.  I should point out, shortly after he was elected president the Sienna Institute named him as the 15th greatest president in history.  So get ready for a healthy debate.

What will he do?

I’ve always argued that his post presidency will be hugely eventful.  In some respects his legacy will be in his hands.  More than any other president in history his post White House years may define him.  He could be a “Jesse Jackson on steroids, with companies seeking to have his approval and putting him, or his surrogates, on their boards of directors.  Expect his team to bully the television executives to give him good coverage.  His NGO will rival Bill Clinton’s and raise billions of dollars.  He will be an international sensation.

What will it mean long term?

Long term?  The quick answer is – we don’t know.

A more prosaic answer is that it depends on the kind of America we have in the future.

If American swings back to a more constitutional form of government and to a more free market economy, your grandchildren will hear history teachers say we almost lost it all under Barack Obama.  That the whole American experiment was almost cashed in.  But don’t count on it.

It is much more likely that American continues to move toward a more government managed economy and government managed education and society, then our grandchildren will hear history teachers say that America is today what it is, because of Barack Obama.  Not FDR, not Lincoln… but Barack Obama.

So the future legacy of Obama will depend on the future of America.

And some would say that the combination of numbers, including those in the general public who benefit from a more socialist form of government and corporations who have their own government subsidies or special insider laws or contracts that give them an advantage, that those numbers mean that it is already too late.  That is, the people who are now gaming the system outnumber and outvote the people who are living under its rules – trying to make a living without any special advantage.

What was his greatest moment?

Getting Osama Bin Laden.  He made a gutsy call and it worked.

What will be seen as his greatest failure?

It has to the plight of the poor.  According to a groundbreaking study at UC Berkley, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer on a massive scale under Barak Obama.  That has to be a disappointment for him and it is a terrible legacy for a liberal president to carry.  It is causing a lot of people to rethink.


Either way, this presidency of Barak Obama has been a linchpin and will be one of the most significant in all of American history.  It was set up by 9-11 and by the failed economy of the Bush presidency but the final responsibility for what happened in his two terms is his.  Whether he is seen as a good or bad leader will be partly determined by how good and bad is defined in the future.

And in 100 years?

My guess is that like Reagan, he will gain in respect.  I have liberal friends who hated Reagan who now speak respectfully because he is gone and no longer a threat. I think that will happen with Obama for different reasons,  partly because he is African American and we are still living down a legacy of slavery in our history.  People will find other ways to argue policies and even conservatives will treat him nicely when he is gone and no longer a threat. That’s my suspicion.

What’s with Rand Paul’s blue jeans?

February 2, 2015

Doug Wead on Neil Cavuto, February 2, 2015.

Will Hillary’ granddaughter be a game changer?

September 29, 2014

Will Hillary Clinton’s new granddaughter be a political plus or minus? Will she make us feel kinder toward Hillary, a sometimes choleric personality, or will she remind us that the Clinton’s have been around too long and are corrupted by the process?  Or does it really matter?

Here’s my historical rule of thumb.  Grandkids are usually bad for male leaders and good for female leaders.  The American electorate, anyway, clearly likes their men young and vigorous like John  F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt.   And worldwide, older women have been more successful in politics than younger women.  Maggie Thatcher comes to mind.  So too does Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who was revered for her wisdom.   She was actually called “the grandmother of the Jewish nation.”

John F. Kennedy was portrayed as youthful and “vigorous,” his failing health hidden from view.  FDR’s polio was carefully shielded by an adoring press who traded access to the boss for serving as his personal public relations team.

When Ronald Reagan’s grandchildren were photographed with the president building a snowman in the Rose Garden, Reagan’s media savvy staffer, Michael Deaver, had a fit.  The grandchildren were never to be seen.  Even the children were kept at bay, when possible.  The Reagan children, products of different marriages were a reminder that the president had been divorced and the grandchildren were reminders that he was old.  Even today, while most Americans can name the Reagan children, not very many can name the grandchildren who were kept from view.

In fact, many recent presidents were grandfathers with grandchildren roaming the halls of the White House.  George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Dwight Eisenhower and FDR all had grandchildren living, at various times, in the White House.

Eisenhower’s grandson, David, lived in the White House with his mother and father, John and Barbara Eisenhower.  The latter, the president’s daughter in law, served as Eisenhower’s hostess on road trips in place of the First Lady.  Mamie Eisenhower had a fear of flying.

Meanwhile, in the Eisenhower White House, grandson David played with the Vice President’s daughter, Julie Nixon.  Years later they were married on the eve of the Nixon presidency, thus at least one president’s grandchild helped elect an American president.

The very first president, George Washington, married the widow, Martha Custis and when her children died, they raised the grandchildren as their own.  George and Martha lived with them in the president’s mansion while George served as the nation’s head of state.

America’s love affair with young, vigorous presidents may be a reaction to our European, monarchial roots.   European cultures have sometimes revered their aging political leaders as if they were Kings or Queen s.  French President Charles de Gaulle served until age 79.  British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was finally voted out of power at age 81. Otto von Bismarck served as German Chancellor until age 75.  German leader, Paul Hindenburg, served as president until age 86 and in more recent years, Conrad Adenauer served until age 87.

Young female leaders have a more challenging time.  When a younger, First Lady, Hillary Clinton tried to organize the White House push for healthcare, critics said she came off as pushy and presumptuous.  When Republican presidential candidate, Michelle Bachman, an Evangelical Christian, won the Ames, Iowa Cavalcade Straw Poll in 2011 and had a clear path to winning the Iowa Caucus, Southern Baptists leaders rejected the idea of a women candidate and pushed for Texas Governor Rick Perry, also an evangelical Christian, to get into the race.  It was a disaster.  Both candidates failed.

When GOP nominee, John McCain picked Alaska governor, Sarah Palin as his running mate, critics labeled her screechy and shallow.  Her biggest critics were other women.

The gold standard for modern women political leaders is the late, former, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher.  The story is that she was given voice lessons to help her lower her voice from a shrill housewife to the calm, sagacious leader that is known to history.

Likewise, one can see the changes in Hillary Clinton’s demeanor.  She has morphed from what critics described as the mean-spirited, know-it-all supervisor of the driver’s license bureau into a more wise and caring leader.  It is very likely that a granddaughter will only speed up that transformation.  If Hillary Clinton is elected president and her political advisers trump the Clinton family penchant for personal privacy, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, born September 26, 2014, to Marc and Chelsea Mezvinsky, may just be the most visible presidential grandchild we have seen in a long time.

Is Obama too big too fail? Why is he acting so strangely?

July 26, 2014

President Barack Obama’s shameless fundraising tours in the midst of a world in chaos have brought immediate comparisons to Ronald Reagan.   Led by his erstwhile advisers, such as Michael Deaver, who understood imagery, Reagan would have been back in the Oval Office, looking presidential and sounding like the statesman he was.  Reagan would likely have brought his government together, State Department, NSA, Pentegon, CIA and taken an assessment of how it could all impact on American economy and lives.  He would likely have given a national address, reassuring the nation and signalling the world how we expect civilized people to act.

On the surface, Obama’s actions are incomprehensible.  There is no explanation.  Obama appears transcendent, not responsible for his own administration and uncaring about the world around him.

It has been the Obama style from the beginning. The economic crisis was the fault of the previous administration.  When his own stimulus program could not produce one of the one million jobs he promised, it was replaced with more of the same and  blame on congress for failing to immediately enact more of what wasn’t working.

The president declared that he had no responsibility for the IRS which was blatantly being used for political purposes, he had nothing to do with the failed Healthcare website and nothing to do with the Veteran’s Administration which was corrupt on his watch. Whatever happened to Harry Truman and his Oval Office motto, “the buck stops here?”

It was not just that the president was not in charge of anything, or seemed to know anything, or should be blamed for anything, it was also when we found out differently he didn’t apologize.  When we learned, for example, that the $678 million , no bid, Healthcare website was awarded to Michelle Obama’s buddy from Princeton, the White House ignored it all.  When a news agency asked about it they were charged with racism.  When the president’s hand picked political lieutenant at the IRS claimed she had lost her emails the president defended her.

Sometimes, these juxtapositions can get downright comical.  Recently, General Motors was fined millions of dollars by the Justice Department for faulty ignition issues when, in fact, at that time, the company was owned and being run by the U.S. government.  Should the Justice Department fine itself?  When Obama ran for re-election he bragged about saving the auto industry?  But he has no responsibility for the company he bought.   The President is too big to fail.

On closer examination, Obama’s recent actions make sense.  He is angling for his post presidential role.  He will either be the Secretary General of the United Nations or else he will be some NGO equivalent.  Thus, he spent the week campaigning for the Democrat Party and ultimately Hillary Clinton whom he will need as an ally if he is to realize his ambition.  Nor would he want to poke the Russians more than necessary.

And the Federal Aviation Administration’s sudden cancellation of all flights to Tel Aviv?  At a cost to Israel of millions of dollars?  At first we were told that the president didn’t get involved in such things.  And given the fact that the president isn’t responsible for the economy, the IRS, his own Healthcare namesake and the Veterans Administration, to name a few departments, then one could almost believe it.    What does he do with all that free time?  But if he is now on track for his post presidency then it makes perfect sense.  The U.N. votes solidly against Israel, with only American on her side.  Obama will need to have some more of these anti-Israel moments to shore up his support from the African and Arab nations who dominate the the U.N. and will dictate the reach of any international role.

There was an awkward scene on CNN last week.  Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg snapped at Wolf Blitzer.  The CNN reporter had asked if the FAA decision represented policy.  Given Obama’s anti Israel record it was a reasonable question.  And it had just been raised by a U.S. Senator.  A testy Bloomberg was outraged at Wolf Blitzer for daring to ask such a thing.  It was another shameful moment.  Bloomberg has taken a lot of heat for his slavish support of Obama, in spite of his record toward Israel.

The irony was that Bloomberg’s very appearance was proof of the politics of the policy. If Tel Aviv was safe, and Bloomberg could fly there, then why was it ordered closed to all American airlines?  And if it wasn’t safe, why was it opened up again after the American people reacted to the FAA’ decision with outrage?

Oh, by the way, as someone who once worked in the White House, I can tell you that no one at the FAA would make such an unprecedented and politically charged decision without the okay of the president of the United States.  Sorry.

It all points to this very likely scenario.  We will have Barrack Obama on the world stage for a very, very long time to come.


Below was a controversial “what would Reagan do” moment during the Egyptian crisis and the Arab spring.  On this segment, several years ago, I voiced a lonely position that turned out to be prophetic.

Edward Snowden, American hero

June 24, 2013

Is Edward Snowden a Benedict Arnold or a Paul Revere?

According to the US government Snowden is a spy.

That is the official word from Attorney General Eric Holder who is accusing him of espionage.  He is not a hero, we are now being told.  He is not a whistleblower?  He has not done a service to the American people?

How did this happen?  How and why did the national news media change its coverage on a dime, in a single day last week, leaving its television audiences laughing aloud at the audacious about face.  All week Snowden was a hero, exposing the unconstitutional NSA surveillance and in one moment he suddenly morphs into a traitor.

Isn’t this  the same Eric Holder who told a federal judge that James Rosen of Fox  News was “an aider, abettor and / or co-conspirator” in espionage?

Oh that? Old news. Holder was exaggerating to get a warrant.  it was a white lie.  All is forgiven.  The Fox is back in the pen.  But don’t try that at home.

Meanwhile, now that Edward Snowden has sacrificed his life for freedom of speech and our right to privacy, the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution,  the  national media is falling all over themselves to prove their loyalty to the all powerful government, lining  up against their latest target.

Snowden is a fake.  He is not our friend.  “He did this for attention,” says  Michelle Cottle of the Daily Beast, during a CNN appearance.  Thanks Michelle, brilliant.  The NSA can now stop transcribing your phone conversations.   Well done.  You’re safe.  The First Amendment can go to hell.

The media seems to believe that Snowden should wait patiently to be picked up by the US government, that he is wrong to run.  That he should trust the people who he knows have been lying to the American public about surveillance and who allow torture as long as the people doing the torturing are Americans and don’t wear black or have scary music in the background.  That would be too close to the Nazis.

It is clear that Snowden did not expect to be on the run.  Did  he really think he could escape from a government who has everyone’s emails and phone conversations stored away?  Did he think that any corporation or ambassador or head of state or government in the world would stand before such a power?  This is the new atomic bomb and America has it.  No one else.  We rule the world.  Or perhaps, I should say that Barack Obama and his successor rules the world.

Poor Edward Snowden.  Running to Hong Kong and then Moscow will only help the government paint him as a bad guy, a traitor to America.  He imagined that people in American really believed in the Constitution or in a government of laws.  He thought we would care about the fact that our government leaders lie to congress and the media.  He imagined that we still have a free press, who can write and say what they believe, without direction from corporate owners who, like druggies in the inner city, now depend totally on government subsidies and easy FED loans to sustain their empires.

So two questions remain.  Isn’t the government taking a risk that by running Snowden to ground they will only make him a hero?

There ia a simple answer to that one.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what any of us say.  They have the new WMD.  They don’t need to control everybody.  There are plenty who will fall all over themselves to get in their good graces and say and do whatever they think the government wants, just to avoid the inconvenience of an IRS audit or a criminal investigation based on their emails and phone calls.  So the government will risk Edward Snowden’s martyrdom.

Why? Because the government has even more secrets to hide.  It fears another Snowden among its 4.2 million top secret cleared employees.  They have to make his life so miserable that no one else will dare speak up.

And finally, one last thing remains to be known.  If Edward Snowden is a spy, not a whistleblower, then for whom has he been spying?  Russia?  China? North Korea?  Islamic Fundamentalists?

No.  He has been spying for us, the American people.  He is our spy.  He is the first American spy to be prosecuted by an American government.  They will get him.  And he will be locked away and after the furor dies down, he may even tortured by our American government.  He is like a Buddhist monk in Vietnam in the 1960’s setting himself ablaze, signaling to the world that something is wrong here.  He is a Paul Revere with an alarming message, “The government is coming, the government is coming.”

Sent from my iPad


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