It’s Not A Campaign, It’s An MLM Scam!

While we’re on the topic of Willard “Mitt” Romney’s baseline mendacity, and the roots thereof, Stephanie Mencimer has an article in the May/June issue of Mother Jones explaining why “Get-Rich-Quick Profiteers Love Mitt Romney, and He Loves Them Back

In 1999, Nu Skin’s 10th international convention featured a speech by the CEO of the organizing committee for Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics, who had managed to secure a $20 million sponsorship from the company. The deal had helped to close some of the revenue shortfall plaguing the games, so Romney was effusive in his gratitude. Nu Skin and the Olympics had something in common, he told the 10,000 distributors in attendance: Both are “about taking control of your life and managing your own destiny.”

Speaking at the same event, Nu Skin’s then-president, Steven Lund, didn’t dispel the impression that the company was trying to buy its way to legitimacy. “We have aligned ourselves with the Olympics because this alignment helps you do your jobs better,” he said, according to the Deseret News, promising that the Olympic logo newly affixed to distributors’ business cards would bring in loads of new recruits.

Years later, as Romney embarked on his first presidential bid, Nu Skin—founded and led by Mormons—was a natural base of support. The company’s founder and chairman, Blake Roney, became a bundler for Romney’s 2008 campaign. Roney was also a partner at Rainmaker Sports and Entertainment, a Utah consulting firm that worked for the Romney campaign in 2008. Nu Skin employees donated more than $50,000 to Romney during that election cycle…

Grifters gonna grift, but when grifters are targeting the same shoal of marks, competition is never as profitable as collaboration.

… Yet for all the empowerment rhetoric, companies like Melaleuca and Nu Skin appear to subsist in large part on the hopes and fears of Americans losing their grip on financial security. Industry watchdog Robert L. FitzPatrick says Nu Skin’s business model “sets the average person upon his neighbor to get at his assets, savings, and investments.” Their structure—vast numbers of foot soldiers feeding a tiny layer of top earners—may not offend Romney, who has dismissed questions about income inequality as a matter of “envy.” But a close association with companies that seem to prey on consumers might not play well for a candidate who has battled allegations that the private equity firm he cofounded, Bain Capital, engaged in vulture capitalism. (Romney’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.)

Yeah, I do believe it could be argued that Bain Capital’s “management consulting” is just multi-level-marketing in a really expensive suit: Find a desperate business owner, spin a powerpoint-enhanced tale of UNLIMITED CORPORATE DOLLARS!, siphon off every bleeadable asset, move on to the next target. No wonder Romney’s handlers are so busy ‘helping’ him forget where he came from…

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48 replies
  1. 1
    rlrr says:

    Also, Amway – a big supporter of the GOP.

  2. 2
    Carolinus says:

    BuzzFeed: Three anti-gay marriage ads Mitt Romney helped pay for in 2008

    They’re all basically along the lines of, “Watch out, they’re coming for your children!”

  3. 3
    MikeJ says:

    The twentieth century’s latest scam
    He’s a half a boy and half a man

  4. 4
    Steve says:

    I have no idea what Nu Skin is, but one of my Facebook friends is always promoting them.

  5. 5
    r€nato says:

    MLM schemes are the epitome of Republican predatory capitalism. By their very nature, only a few can do well; the rest desperately struggle against the odds to barely scrape by, encouraged to prey on their friends and neighbors, motivated by greed more than a sincere belief in what they are selling.

    A couple of dear friends once tried to hawk some of the acai berry crap to us; thank goodness they gave up on that scam before very long. I was concerned our friendship was going to be undermined by them seeing me as a mark rather than as a friend.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    As soon as people in this country hear the phrase “I’ll run this country like a business” as “Everyone who works for a living is going to get fucked when I’m in charge,” we’ll start making some progress.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    OMG..local news cbs atlanta is reporting on Romney’s bailout lie… Off to the fainting couch..

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    Speaking of the Romney campaign, many of my local Republicans have recently taken to putting Ron Paul lawn signs up. These are the same people who had no problem putting John McCain signs up in 2008 so it’s not like they’re diehard Paulistas. To me, it seems the same as someone putting up a Dennis Kucinich sign up after John Kerry won the nomination, and I really don’t know what to make of it.

  9. 9
    rlrr says:

    @JPL:

    “liberal media! Liberal Media!! LIBERAL MEDIA ! ! !”
    — Fox “News”

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    Taibbi goes there:

    The people who work for the wire services and the news networks are physically incapable of writing sentences like, “This election is even more over than the Knicks-Heat series.” They are required, if not by law then by neurological reflex, to describe every presidential campaign as “fierce” and “drawn-out” and “hotly-contested.”
    __
    But this campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it’ll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a hand job in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It’s just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate. Even the news reporters who are paid to drum up dramatic undertones are having a hard time selling Romney as half of a titanic title bout.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/po.....r-20120507

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    Grifters gonna grift, but when grifters are targeting the same shoal of marks, competition is never as profitable as collaboration.

    Related to Romney and funding: where did the Koch money flow to in the primary? Was it Romney or someone else? I could see rich corporate assholes sticking together, but I could also see the Kochs being fanatical enough to fall for the “he’s not a True Conservative” shtick.

    (I apologize also if this was discussed here before and I either missed or forgot it).

  12. 12
    Rick Massimo says:

    Yet for all the empowerment rhetoric, companies like Melaleuca and Nu Skin appear to subsist in large part on the hopes and fears of Americans losing their grip on financial security. Industry watchdog Robert L. FitzPatrick says Nu Skin’s business model “sets the average person upon his neighbor to get at his assets, savings, and investments.”

    Whew. I was afraid Romney was being backed by the company that makes that awesome stuff you paint on your fingertips to avoid/work through blisters. Moral dilemma averted.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @JPL: The key to stressful lying is that the lies be at least somewhat plausible and centered around a tiny kernel of truth. Mitt Romney’s lies are neither plausible nor are they reality-based enough to where they can be “finessed”.

  14. 14

    Isn’t MLM huge in the LDS community?

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    @Rick Massimo: The Melaleuca scam also happens to be run by a Mormon. Coincidence?

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @beltane: His years at Bain Capital taught him how to spin the truthlie.

  17. 17
    c u n d gulag says:

    All Obama needs to win, is to photoshop Mitt’s face on the old Joe Isuzu ads from the late 80’s, and vice versa, Joe on Mitt’s ads, and the point will be made!

    As a liar, Mitt makes Joe Isuzu look like a piker.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    I’d completely forgotten about Joe Isuzu. Maybe my favorite ad campaign of all time. They were meta before meta was called meta. (Which, harkening to two threads down: Mitt’s not meta, he’s triple-meta!)

  19. 19
    Magnet Man says:

    @Cris (without an H): Yeah, it is. I spent almost 5 years running the marketing department for a medium-sized MLM company, and as I learned more and more about the industry, I was struck by how many MLM companies are based in Utah — especially those selling “wellness products” — and how many Mormons were involved.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    @trollhattan: Heavy meta. It’s your one way ticket to midnight.

  21. 21
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @beltane: That’s a pretty interesting development… hmmm…

    @rlrr:The entire allure of the GOP for those in the bottom of the pyramid is they think they might get rich quick; and this feeds the people at the top.

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    @Magnet Man: Joseph Smith himself was quite the flim-flam man so this is probably a feature not a bug.

  23. 23
    Calouste says:

    @beltane:

    Was just going to say that. The LDS sounds and smells like a MLM scam to me. These people are just applying what they have learned in Sunday school, with the added advantage that the lower level Mormons who are the marks within the LDS can now set their eyes on conning their own group of marks.

  24. 24
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    It could be argued that capitalism is just multi-level-marketing in a really expensive suit.

  25. 25
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I think the “take a lot of credit” tactic is about muddying the waters over Romneycare.

    “Oh, so I didn’t have anything to do with saving the auto industry but Obamacare was my idea? Make up your mind, Obama! Am I feeding you all your ideas or am I not?”

    That kind of thing. Spectacularly ill-advised right now, but no doubt this is coming.

  26. 26
    DonkeyKong says:

    “Your name is “you’re wanting”, and you can’t play the man’s game, you can’t close them, and then tell your wife your troubles. ‘Cause only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you fuckin’ faggots?”

  27. 27
    Nutella says:

    I do believe it could be argued that Bain Capital’s “management consulting” is just multi-level-marketing in a really expensive suit: Find a desperate business owner, spin a powerpoint-enhanced tale of UNLIMITED CORPORATE DOLLARS!, siphon off every bleeadable asset, move on to the next target.

    I hadn’t connected those two things, but you’re right. Neither are going away without legal action, though, because they’re both obscenely profitable.

  28. 28
    Cluttered Mind says:

    @Calouste: Mormonism is nothing more than 19th century Scientology. The only difference between Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard is the time they were born into.

  29. 29

    OT but has anyone seen/heard from John Cole? Is he hiking the Allegheny Trail?

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    @Cluttered Mind:

    Book of Mormon would have been spiced up considerably with the addition of Thetans and Xenu.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Not unpossible he’s recovering from frat reunion weekend.

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    Am I the only one hearing Ray Liotta’s voice in my head explaining how to “bust out” a business after the Mob has sucked all the credit out of it?

  33. 33
    Maude says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    He’s prolly working. Haven’t seen any tweets, so he’s sober.

  34. 34
    Anne Laurie says:

    @WereBear: Ray Liotta’s voice? Or Paul Ryan’s?

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    @trollhattan: Fly to Kolob on a DC-8.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    While we’re on the topic of Willard “Mitt” Romney’s baseline mendacity

    Ahh…Can’t we condition folks to go all old school and say:

    He lies, he lies, he lies.

    Mendacity sounds too polite and half of our voters don’t know what it means.

    edited again

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    Karl Rove is now preparing an ad stating how the president lies. That he hopes will stop the attacks on his lying candidate. Either that or he’s sitting in a room sayin..oh f..k.

  38. 38
    quannlace says:

    trollhattan Says:

    Taibbi goes there:

    A horse, a horse-race, of course, of course. That’s what the media wants. I think they’re still pissed that it won’t be a brokered god-awful of a mess Republican convention.
    ************
    Glad to see there’s some reporting of Romney’s crazy=ass lying about the auto industry bailout.

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @JPL: Gosh, there’s no way the media would fall for a “both sides do it” strategy, would they?

    Even Karl’s almost out of ideas in supporting this douchebag.

  40. 40
    MikeJ says:

    @quannlace: The same article shows Taibbi as another person who should be beaten senseless with a bag of dimes though.

  41. 41
    Delia says:

    As someone who grew up in Utah, I’ll tell you how these things work. The organizers of the grift will target a few men in leadership roles in the LDS wards in a community. Those guys will do fairly well with whatever the business is, and then in all sincerity they’ll recommend it to everyone they know. Since they’re known to be religious leaders (and are presumably nice guys as well), they bring in a lot of naive people who lose money.

    I had some friends who got taken on a nutria farming venture.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @Delia:

    I had some friends who got taken on a nutria farming venture.

    The Other Mormon White Meat.

    What could possibly have gone wrong? Large rodents as a food source?

  43. 43
    Redshift says:

    @JPL: I predicted this one would have legs!

  44. 44
    Redshift says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    “Oh, so I didn’t have anything to do with saving the auto industry but Obamacare was my idea? Make up your mind, Obama! Am I feeding you all your ideas or am I not?”

    That doesn’t seem likely to me. First, the Romney campaign hasn’t shown any signs of that much subtlety. They’re constantly reacting. Was there any instance in the primaries where he laid a trap any less blunt than dropping a safe full of money on someone?

    Second, it’s a complex proposition with a simple answer: you lied in both cases to get away from a politically toxic position.

  45. 45
    Cluttered Mind says:

    I think the GOP base views Romney the way most people would view an android programmed to be the perfect mate. Yeah the android says all the right things and does all the right things, but you can’t bring yourself to love it because you know it’s not real. No matter what Romney says or does, no one will ever believe that he’s not just doing it because that’s what he thinks his current audience wants to hear.

  46. 46
    mdblanche says:

    @MikeJ: So many beatings to dispense, so few dimebags. No, wait, that didn’t come out right.

    Also too, isn’t beating most of these people senseless redundant?

  47. 47
    Citizen_X says:

    UNLIMITED CORPORATE DOLLARS!

    See, who says trolls are useless? At least we got a decent meme out of this one.

  48. 48
    Xenos says:

    @Cluttered Mind:

    Mormonism is nothing more than 19th century Scientology. The only difference between Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard is the time they were born into.

    There is a lot of psuedoarchaeology and corrupted freemasonry mixed in there, too. Throw in some really severe white panic following the civil war, and you have this uniquely American stew of the crackpot greatest hits of the 19th century. Mix in some slightly laundered 20th-century prosperity gospel and Voila: the modern MLM culture.

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