Megyn Kelly for president!

January 28, 2016

Dateline January 28, 2016

Megyn Kelly, a former attorney, now Fox News journalist, conducted herself with grace and grit this week. GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, made her the target of his wrath promising he would not participate in the GOP Fox News Debate if she were one of the moderators.  Fox News stuck by her and her performance in tonight’s debate was stellar.  Her questions were provocative, cleverly constructed, persistently delivered and her follow ups were tenacious. She did it all with a smile and a good nature. I have watched every presidential debate since Kennedy and Nixon and served as a shill in practice debates for numerous presidential candidates but I have never seen such a polished and effective performance by a debate moderator as Megyn Kelly tonight.

Megyn Kelly is not the first journalist to become the center of controversy in a presidential race.

George Will had been a favorite of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  His brilliant analysis and insider information made him a fascinating commentator.  But in 1987 George Will, at the time a pundit on ABC and a columnist for Newsweek, referred to vice president George W. Bush as president Reagan’s “lapdog.” Bush prided himself on his loyalty to Reagan and felt that this was his duty as vice president. Newsweek ran a cover story of George Bush entitled “The Wimp Factor” questioning if the senior Bush would be strong enough to be president.

The bitterness in the Bush family ran deep. In 1988 I accompanied the president’s son, George W. Bush, to Iowa.  On Caucus night we walked into a ballroom where famous pundits, sat on platforms, talking to the nation. No one recognized or acknowledged George W. Bush , who would one day be president himself, but George Will commanded respect, sitting on one of those platforms, pontificating on the results of the Caucus. Young Bush was furious. When we passed under the ABC platform, Bush muttered to me, “Look at George Will sitting up there. Pompous asshole.”

Actually, as president, the father, George H.W. Bush, showed himself to be quite strong, invading Panama to bring Manuel Noriega to justice, invading Iraq to defend the national integrity of Kuwait. Ronald Reagan had called for the Berlin Wall to come down but it happened under president George H.W. Bush.

The Bush family eventually, after a long period of punishment, forgave Newsweek Magazine, they had too. At the time it was too powerful to ignore. But George Will was vulnerable. And they never forgave him.  This was their message to any other journalist who might take them on. For the next eight years Will would be in the deep freeze and the White House would carefully withhold any information that could have helped his career. At the time, I was a senior White House staffer, and the word was out, no one could talk to Mr. Will.

Today, George Will is back, as brilliant and polished and well read as ever. Ironically, he is on television thanks to the Fox News Channel.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Megyn Kelly. If Donald Trump becomes president she may find herself on his blacklist, no White House Christmas party invitations. But if tonight’s debate is any indication, we have only begun to hear from Megyn Kelly. And Donald Trump may have met his match.

I have had the privilege of being interviewed several times by Ms. Kelly.  One of those interviews was characterized by political critics as being harsh or unfair.  One of them ran up 250,000 views. Friends sent me emails asking if I was irritated by the questions. The truth was that the harder her questions the better. I did not resent them. They were expected and fair and exactly the questions that she should have asked. And her nature was pleasant.

Here is that interview, judge for yourself. I see Megyn Kelly as a great journalist and she was on her game tonight justifying her bosses at Fox News.


Another Shoe Drops for Hillary Clinton

January 19, 2016
     Another scandal from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State has come to light.  Warning.  This is not for the faint of heart.
     Throughout Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State she was constantly nagged by a pesky question.  Why was she refusing to name the Islamic Boko Haram as a terrorist organization? In fact, Hillary Clinton never would.  It took John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State to get it done?
     What was the problem? Hadn’t the Boko Haram publicly pledged to assassinate the American Ambassador in Nigeria?  They had bombed the United Nation’s Headquarters in Abuja. Reportedly, the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, even the White House urged her to do so.  Some were saying that her own State Department was urging her as well?  Get this, eventually, even Al Qaeda condemned the Boko Haram.
     CNN,  careful to be balanced during its coverage of the Clintons during their many scandals raised the issue and asked the question.  Congressman Peter King was interviewed saying, “For the life of me I cannot understand why?”   For more than two years the team at Fox and Friends was totally befuddled asking again and again, “Why?”
     Well, now we can see more clearly.
     It turns out that the Clinton Foundation had received several million dollars from Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton campaign donor, Gilbert Chagoury. The billionaire owned the five star Ekko Hotel in downtown Lagos and the five star Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
     Bottom line? Could it be that labeling the Boko Haram as a terrorist organization would be bad for tourism?
     What is especially galling is the outrage Hillary Clinton later demonstrated when the very same Boko Harm kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian school girls from a boarding school in Chibok.  Most of the girls were raped and sold across Africa as slaves by the Boko Haram.  Clinton joined First Lady, Michelle Obama in a campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls.”  The mainstream media covered the story straight.
     It remains to be seen whether the media will now pick up on this story but previous accounts of Clinton’s alleged “pay to play” escapades at the State Department have passed with little or no comment.  If you resent life behind this new Iron Curtain, be sure to click on all of the links in this story and track for yourself its careful documentation.  It is one thing to live in a society where the news is censored.  It is another to passively accept it without challenge.
     Contributing to the problem is a long held American media conflict about racism and religion.  For decades our television executives and publishers have discounted African deaths, especially if they involve religious-sectarian issues. From Idi Amin to Rwanda, they have unashamedly tolerated the slaughter of thousands.  On those occasions, when covering a war was unavoidable, they would show the displaced persons camps but obfuscate when it came to the cause and the identities of the combatants, letting their North American viewers guess at what was going on.  A former employee at one of the major networks told me that the use of the names Muslim and Christian were actually forbidden in news segments until the recent rise of Islamic militants made such censorship ludicrous and damaging to the media’s own credibility.
     But for that small percentage of Americans who are trying to keep track of the truth and keep the tangled mess of the Clinton money trail somewhat coherent, here is a replay of what happened.  Hillary Clinton ended her tenure as secretary of state on February 1, 2013.  Boko Haram was not designated as a terrorist organization until November 2013.  Clinton never gave them terrorist designation on her watch.  Apparently, Gilbert Chagoury got what he paid for.  Say whatever you will about the Clinton’s, like the Lannister’s in The Game of Thrones, they always pay their debts.
     By the way, if the national news media refused to consistently report on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, ABC did feel it important to file a story about  Homeland Security apologizing to Clinton donor Gilbert Chagoury.  It seems that Chagoury’s name showed up on a no-fly list in 2010.  The billionaire Clinton buddy got a written apology from the Department of Homeland Security and ABC duly reported this historic and newsworthy moment in a special segment for its viewers.  You gotta stay informed.
     Meanwhile, the Boko Haram slaughter of Christians in Nigeria which has been ongoing for years continues unabated.  For example, while last year Isis killed 6,000 people reports say the Boko Haram killed even more, closer to 10,000.
     We may never know the salacious details of how this drama played out inside the State Department, where Hillary Clinton held off everyone from the White House to the CIA, no doubt pleasing her big money crony and Clinton Foundation donor.   She destroyed her personal emails remember?  And you can be sure those emails to Gilbert Chagoury were most definitely personal.

Clinton takes a dump, Media blames Trump

December 23, 2015

Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s, ill timed toilet break in front of an audience of 7.8 million television viewers is an excellent metaphor for the 2016 presidential election.  It happened during the ABC Democratic Presidential Debate, December 19, 2015.  Basically, the whole democratic process is now in the toilet.  The national media has determined to give the White House to Hillary Clinton and no scandal, no incompetence and no lack of decorum will dislodge them from their task.

“Sorry,” Clinton said when she came back to the podium.

Of course, the mainstream media is well aware that ridicule can be even more damaging than scandal so their handling of the “Clinton Dump” is instructive. The next day the television networks refused to tell anyone in their audience what had happened. If they hadn’t found out on their own through social media they were out of luck. And it had been the smallest television audience for a debate so far this cycle.  The Democrat National Committee had arranged for that, making sure it happened the week of Christmas, trying to minimize the possibility of any opposition to Clinton.

Yet the story of Clinton’s departure from the stage was so widespread that they couldn’t ignore it either.  The network evening news, with its half hour weather reports, is verging on the cliff of irrelevancy.  It had to say something.  Thus, at the beginning of the next night’s newscasts the major networks led with a story of Donald Trump’s comments on the Clinton toilet break, as well as his comments on other events.  Trump had dismissed the moment as “disgusting.”  The networks attacked Trump’s response, and did so without telling their audiences what had triggered it.  He had done it again, they intoned, for those who could figure out what had happened.  That Donald Trump is just so classless.

In fact, it is the major television networks, now bent on cramming Clinton down our throats who have become classless.  We are talking about a handful of old men, who want to see a woman elected president in their lifetime.  It will be their gift to their wives and daughters.  And while there are many civilized and intelligent Democrat women, whose creation of wealth is less criminal and outrageous than Hillary Clinton, they know that she is the only chance they have to elect a woman in their lifetime and so she will have to do.

Hillary knows this too.  And so, say her critics, she did not shrink from extorting every major international company or government on her way through the experience of Secretary of State. “They will all forget this in a few months,” Bill probably assured her. “Look at me.  The public forgets.  And remember our dinner at Claridges?  Old Mr. so and so and his daughter love you.”

When Paula Jones first made her outrageous accusations against Bill Clinton, she was dismissed by the Clinton entourage – and the national media – as “trailer park trash.”  No one believed Ms. Jones.  Women’s groups ignored her story. The nation dismissed incumbent President George H.W. Bush’s campaign emphasis on character.  Obviously, character doesn’t mean much in American society anymore.

But today, after a decade of Bill Clinton, and stained dresses, and endless stories, we know that Paul Jones was not lying.  She was being crushed by powerful men who control television and politics in America and the pain and abuse and sexual exploitation of a single young woman did not matter.  It could be laughed off. The victims of the Clinton’s must shut up and take their medicine. Laws do not apply.  Ask the Clinton’s White House counsel, Vince Foster, who once said, that in Washington “ruining people is considered sport.” Ask Sally Perdue, who was warned not to talk about her affair with Clinton. “We know you go jogging by yourself, a former Democrat Party official allegedly told her, “and we can’t guarantee what might happen to your pretty little legs.”

It is now clear that Hillary Clinton, who turned $1,000 into $100,000 in 92 transactions in less than a year in the commodities market is going to get a pass to power.  She will not be asked to answer questions about the conflict of interest of the Clinton Foundation.  It now appears she will not have to explain anything to anybody.

Only now we know.  It is not Donald Trump who lacks class.  And it is not Paul Jones who is trailer park trash. It is the Clintons and it is the wealthy, powerful old men who are delivering up America on a platter.  They are asking that once more we put the American dream and the U.S. Constitution in suspension, this time so they can make Hillary Clinton the next president, a birthday gift wrapped in a ribbon, for their indolent daughters.

To put it in Hillary’s own words, “Sorry.”  Or, “At this point, what difference does it make?”

 

 


Exclusive: Inside the Trump campaign panic!

December 16, 2015

“Now the trouble with trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”  – C.S. Lewis

The national media prides itself in its ignorance of religion but that can sometimes lead to unintentional blackouts, where the news makes no sense to them or anybody else. This past month we experienced such a blackout in American politics and so I am tasked with offering an explanation.

As you know, presidential candidate, Donald Trump announced we should temporarily ban all Muslim immigration into the U.S.  The media is still puzzled about what he is up to.  Most just chalk it down to his erratic behavior, a random act of trying to stay in the headlines.

Then there is the Ted Cruz lift off and the Ben Carson collapse.  With no explanation for either one.  It is just something that happened.  Evolution.

Now, here is the skinny, I summarize for those of you locked into the Boston-New York-Washington corridor who have just a tad bit of intellectual curiosity.  Those of us dirty, ignorant, religious rabble living on the outside knew this all along and have been watching with fascination as you have tried to put together this political rubrics cube.

On December 1, 2015, Sally Quinn wrote a piece for the Washington Post on “Why Ben Carson doesn’t believe in hell.”  Now, I should point out that Sally Quinn is not your typical, left wing, ultra liberal bigot.  She is an informed person who knows the width and breadth of American culture, including its Evangelical Christian plains and Southern cities.  She has bumped into the 51% of Americans who claim to be “born again.”  She and her late husband, Ben Bradlee, must have had a cousin or sibling or servant who was “born again” because they had a knowledge of how it works that not many in their circle can boast.  So when Sally cornered Ben Carson, she knew what she was doing.

Unfortunately for him, Ben Carson, did not.

Sally asked Carson if he believed in a literal hell.  Carson said he did not.  He should have said, “None of your damn business.” Or, “The U.S. Constitution says there is no religious test for office.  Now, if you want to give this list of questions to Hillary Clinton go right ahead but my faith is a very private and personal thing.”

But in that moment,  Carson, who was leading in some national polls, was agonizing over how he was going to win the general election and, perhaps, how he was going to win the “Sally Quinn Caucus.”  And so he gave his answer and those of us who understand religion know what followed.

61% of all Americans believe in hell.  87% of Evangelicals do.  And who knows how high that number gets when you narrow it down to Republican activists most likely to vote in Iowa?

Soon after the Sally Quinn piece appeared, the Ted Cruz folks started passing it around the internet and the Carson bubble burst.  Even Evangelicals who didn’t believe in hell started to slip away. Did it mean that Carson did not believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

The move to Ted Cruz became so pronounced that Bob Vander Platts, the Family Life-Tony Perkins- incarnation in Iowa, who prides himself with picking the winner, rushed to get in on the act. Wait for me, I am your leader.  I am the guy who names the winner.  People pay me money to endorse them. Vander Platts endorsed Ted Cruz on December 14.

Meanwhile, right after the Carson-Quinn interview from hell,  insiders with Donald Trump saw a disaster in the making.  The original thinking was that the Evangelical vote in Iowa would be divided between Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum.  The Catholic vote would be divided between Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and, again, Santorum, who is a switch hitter.  But now the Carson collapse was feeding into a Ted Cruz ascent.

The Trump camp was confronted with this reality. Cruz would win Iowa, cause an explosion of excitement, maybe lose New Hampshire to Trump the next week but come back to win South Carolina and lock in his place as the Trump alternative and win the nomination.  Trump had to do something.  And it had to be newsworthy.  It had to be bigger than anything before it, which was a bit of a challenge.  And yet it had to be something he could walk back later in the general election. Hey, forget the general election.  If Trump didn’t win the nomination who cared?

And so, one week after Carson told Sally Quinn that there is no hell, Trump announced we should stop all Muslim immigration.

Two days later he also made a clumsy attempt to hurt Cruz by saying, “Not many Evangelicals come out of Cuba.”  This was Trump trying to sew doubt about the purity of Cruz born again bona fides. Like other Trump statements there was a seam of something dark here. Was Trump trying to appeal to an imagined Evangelical anti-Catholic bias?

And that, my poor, dear, ignorant, religious free, members of the mainstream media,  is how and why it all happened.  I thought you should know.  The rest of us do.

Here is the story in Newsmax

http://www.newsmax.com/DougWead/carson-cruz-trump-2016/2015/12/16/id/705984/


TOP TEN CELEBRITY CHARITY FUNDRAISERS OF ALL TIME

November 30, 2015
PatBoone

Pat Boone, the greatest celebrity charity fundraiser of all time.

So who are the top ten entertainment-celebrity charity fundraisers of all time?  With dollars raised adjusted for inflation?  And counting only money raised from the private sector, not factoring in money raised by influencing government legislation? And not counting business celebrities such as Bill and Melinda Gates?

This is not an easy question to answer.  Many donations are anonymous. Forbes Magazine wanted to make a list but thought better of it.  Instead they tried to measure how the coattails of a celebrity endorsement benefited their chosen charity.  This gave them a metric on how much of a celebrity’s fame was “given” to the named cause.

This subjective list below comes from 45 years of experience working with six presidents and first ladies and hundreds of charities around the world.

 

1.) Pat Boone: His years of fundraising for the national Easter Seals telethon, which involved a massive nationwide ground game, brought in millions of dollars.  The ground game is the key here.  Easter Seals involved multiple charities and causes, not just Muscular Dystrophy as in the case of Jerry Lewis.  Thus multiple NGO’s, corporations and donors were involved at the grassroots.  Boone also had a prominent role in co-founding Mercy Corps which alone has distributed $2 billion in food and medicine around the world.  And he has helped found countless other charities.  By any money measurement, Pat Boone is at the top of my list as the number one celebrity charity fundraiser of all time.

2.) Jerry Lewis: His national Labor Day telethons were watched by millions and raised $2.6 billion for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  At one time, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon dominated every television channel available to American viewers.

3.) Oprah Winfrey: She is just getting started and is likely to some day top this list.  She has probably given more personally to charity than anyone else mentioned here.  By 2010 she had donated $400 million to educational charities, including 400 scholarships to Morehouse College in Atlanta.  Meanwhile, at last count, Oprah’s Angel Network has raised $80 million in private funds.

4.) Danny Thomas: As a poor actor he promised himself that if he ever made it big he would remember the less fortunate.  He made it big and he founded the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

5.) Bob Hope: He may have put in more miles in behalf of charity than any other celebrity, including those listed above who out-raised him.  Between 1941 and 1991 Bob Hope made 57 USO tours for American armed forces.  Hope tried several times to launch his own televised charity effort, and had some success with the project “Fight For Sight” in 1960. Bob Hope never met a charity he didn’t like and never missed the Annual Charity Awards.

6.) Bill Clinton: This former president, as a private citizen, raised more money for charity than all other American presidents combined. And we are not counting government money here.

7.) Lady Diana, Princess of Wales: Yes, former president Bill Clinton actually raised more private money for charity than Lady Diana.  But if her life had not been cut short, who knows what would have happened? At one point, Lady Diana was making more than 300 appearances a year, most of them for charity.

8.) Bono: He has raised millions in private and corporate money and funneled it into the neediest projects. Bono is listed by TIME magazine as one of the most influential persons in the world.

9.) Paul Newman: Along with writer A. E. Hotchner, he co-founded Newman’s Own, a food-beverage company. Newman dedicated all after tax proceeds from the business to charity.  As of this writing it has topped $400 million.

10.)  Angelina Jolie: She is still young enough to eventually out raise them all. Her world travel and selfless appearances for UNHCR have inspired many.

This list above is quite inadequate and establishing a “top ten” is not really very fair.  There is a long list of many others who have changed the world.

Elizabeth Taylor worked for AIDS research. Phyllis Diller worked for many charities in a long public career. The actor, Michael J. Fox has been the visible figure of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Cheryl Ladd and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. were fixtures for ChildHelp USA.

Sean Penn has mixed art, charity and politics in a career that has helped raise thousands of dollars for needy victims. Christopher Reeve, who portrayed Superman onscreen, teamed up with his wife Dana to create The Christopher Reeve Foundation and later co-found The Reeve-Irving Research Center.  William Shatner, Justin Beiber, Ben Affleck, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Don Imus are just a few of the many others who have given much and have been quick to champion a good cause.

Their songs have soothed our fears and their onscreen dramatics have provoked us and entertained us.  But it is their off screen work for people in need that makes them true celebrities to me.


RUPERT MURDOCH FOR PRESIDENT

October 8, 2015

Rupert Murdoch doesn’t need me to defend him but I’m going to anyway.

He owns Twentieth Century Fox, World News Corp, The Times, Fox News Channel, Wall Street Journal, (Ha, I am out of breath and don’t need to continue, but you get the point.)  Nevertheless, when he recently tweeted aloud his thoughts about Ben Carson and how sweet it would be to have “a real Black American president” it caused quite an uproar.  All of his rival media buddies, bloodied by his prowess in the marketplace now pounced on a genuine gaffe.  If they can’t beat him in business perhaps they can draw some political blood?

The fact is everybody knows what he meant.  He meant wouldn’t it be nice to have an African American president who actually tried to heal race relations instead of drive a wedge between them?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own American Nelson Mandela?  The kind of president we had hoped Barrack Obama would be.  The kind of president the world hoped he would be when they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize before he had even uttered a word or done a deed.

Pundits on the other networks piled on Murdoch, incredulously asking aloud, “Now, what could he possibly mean?  Does he mean that Obama is not really black?  What is his point?”

But we all know his point.  And we know that those pundits know it as well.  So let them laugh, act puzzled, and revel in their pious, moral superiority.  The joke is on them.

Ben Carson is hated and feared by the political police because he is Black and not a bigot.  And well, perhaps, because he is also a Christian.

Let’s face it, there is a new hatred in America, a new bigotry.  It is reflected in the stifling, anti intellectual media language and in the on air segment choices they make.  One network newscast recently refused to allow witnesses from the Roseburg shooting to say that the gunman asked his victims if they were Christian.  Instead, they allowed the quote, “He asked us our religion.”

After the massacre at Umpqua Community College people debated gun laws and the impact on society of violent videogames and our dismal mental health record but no one dared utter a word about the fact that in our current atmosphere Christians are being targeted for murder, simply because of their religion.  That doesn’t fit the narrative but it is an astonishing fact.  And don’t expect it to ever be called a “hate crime.”  That is reserved for the select and approved people in American society who should not be killed.

It is the national media which feeds this new bigotry, which is why they became so alarmed when one of their own, like Rupert Murdoch, insisted on speaking his mind about Ben Carson.

It is remarkable how this trend persists against all logic.  In 2007, CNN aired Cristiane Amanpour ‘s production of “God’s Warriors” which implied that Islamic terrorists were not much different than fundamentalists in Christianity and Judaism.  All three were equally dangerous.   It won the Peabody Award and was accepted as a basic truth about society.

By 9-11, the disparity between deaths at the hands of Muslim terrorists as opposed to Jewish and Christian terrorists had outdated Amanpour’s bogus documentary.  Today, I am told that “God’s Warriors” is shown to much laughter in dorms at Notre Dame, BIOLA and other Christian Universities, but the bigotry behind this media narrative has not changed.

A couple years ago ABC television tried to promote a sitcom called “Good Christian Bitches.”  One can imagine the outcry if the target community had been gay or Islamic? Christian’s are acceptable targets.  Their women are “bitches” and their young people can be ordered to stand up and be killed without comment from journalists.

There is no doubt that the backlash against this controlled speech about race and religion is behind the rise of Donald Trump.  The public is not racist, nor are they anti-Islamic, but they are tired of being treated like children and having insolent demagogues cram stilted propaganda down their throats.

They are suffocating in the smog of political correctness.  Moments of truth, such as Rupert Murdoch’s wistful reflection on Twitter, no matter how painful or rare they may be, are brief glimmers of hope that the Gulags are still a few years off.

Rupert Murdoch for president.  Oh, I know, let me have my fun.  Don’t be a “birther.”


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?

Money.

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: maaron@mca-financial.com)

 


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