Connect the Dots

The cafe across the street sells them, so of a Saturday morning I walk over and buy a copy of the Saturday Pravda-on-the-Hudson: the New-York-City based government mouthpiece, owned since its inception by Jews, often prints what are called “think pieces” on the weekend, allowing the vigilant reader to dope out what the government of the day is planning; and there are often as well bits of news that are flying under the radar, so to speak.

For instance, in the 10 January issue on the op-ed page was a column by Joe Nocera, who frequently lambastes the Establishment for its corporate swindles. I t seems the federal government is wishy-washy on pyramid schemes:

There are millions of victims, says a pyramid scheme expert named Bruce Craig. I don’t know why people aren’t interested in this.”

Craig is a former Wisconsin assistant attorney general, now retired, who brought a number of pyramid scheme lawsuits in his day. . . What frustrates him even more than the lack of attention is the way the government has, in his view, largely rolled over for the industry.

A pyramid scheme is fundamentally a scheme in which the only way to make money is to recruit other people, and so on. It is a kind of chain letter with product attached to give it the sheen of legitimacy.

Until 1979 the Federal Trade Commission was tough on pyramid schemes, according to Craig. But that year an administrative judge for the FTC ruled that Amway was not a pyramid scheme. . .

Craig has written letters to FTC commissioners asking them to review the Amway decision “on the question of enforcement and enforceability of its rules, an issue he believes allows companies like Amway — and Herbalife — to pretend to be real when in fact they are pyramid schemes.

In one of those letters he quoted from a 2010 FTC staff report that said identifying pyramid scheme “entails a complex economic analysis” [and] that “there is no bright line disclosure that would help consumers identify a fraudulent pyramid from a legitimate [marketing company].” Really?

When I spoke to John DiSimone, chief financial officer of Herbalife, he insisted that that the company was legit. . . . [Hedge fund manager William] Ackman [who publicly accuses Herbalife of being an illegal pyramid scheme], for his part, says that none of this is true and that the FTC will ultimately see that Herbalife is the very definition of a pyramid scheme.

Assuming, of course, that the FTC has a definition. On Friday afternoon I called the agency and asked what distinguished an illegal pyramid scheme from a legal direct-selling company. Even having talked to Craig I found it hard to believe it wouldn’t have some kind of definition.

A few hours later I received an email from an FTC staffer [that] began, “I’m sorry but we won’t be able to offer you any on (or off) record assistance.”

O.K. people, let’s think through this. In order to see a pattern, let us observe which Party controlled the executive branch of the federal government, which contains the so-called FTC, in 1979 — the Democrats. And in 2010 — the Democrats. And last Friday afternoon — the Democrats.

And you think that only the Republicans are corporate shills? Really !

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
This entry was posted in Elections, Empire, Fascism, Global, Inequality, U.S. Constitution, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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