Thursday, October 15, 2015

Commentary: How MLM affects the current presidential campaigns

While politics is usually quite far from the world of multi-level marketing, presidential campaign is big enough that anything anybody ever did figures into the equation, and in this case, two of the presidential candidates have direct ties to MLM... Donald Trump, and Ben Carson.

Those of you who had watched "Celebrity Apprentice" should recall that ACN, the MLM telephone company, was featured on the show... twice.  And Donald Trump even had his own MLM, "Trump Network", which nobody hears about any more.

What you may not remember is Ben Carson previously offered testimonial that Mannatech stuff helped him in his battle with prostate cancer... since 2004.

And let's not forget how big some of these MLM businesses are... and they donated HEAVILY to Republican candidates of all levels. It's already documented that co-founder of Amway, Richard DeVos and two family members donated 25K per person to Scott Walker's campaign AND unknown amounts to Jeb Bush's campaign. When Mitt Romney ran he had support of Amway, NuSkin, and Xango, all big name MLMs.

So, what are some facts about ACN and Mannatech, and perhaps, related to Donald Trump and Ben Carson, that you don't know, but should?

Let's start with ACN and Trump

ACN / Trump

Did you know that in 2010, the average ACN Canada participant takes home about $41.00 per month? That's directly off their website:

"The average ACN Canada active IBO in 2010 earned approximately $500." -- ACN Canada website 

As it is 2015, and there is no update, clearly the figure had not risen (and may even have FALLEN!)

Did you know that despite ACN having sponsored Celebrity Apprentice twice, Donald Trump was quoted by Wall Street Journal of saying, "I (Trump) know nothing about the company (ACN) other than the people who run the company, I’m not familiar with what they (ACN) do or how they go about doing it, and I make that clear in my speeches."

This is also interesting considering that Trump allegedly boasted to WSJ that for a speech at an ACN event he got $2.5 million back in 2008, and pocketed another $1.3 million for 3 more recent (and presumably shorter) talks at ACN events.

Carson and Mannatech

Ben Carson is a real MD... a neurosurgeon, in fact. So it's surprising how he fell for the Mannatech woo... because he later claimed he benefited from the woo, and started endorsing it. Here's a photo of Carson at a such company event:

Most of the following is coming from a blogpost by David Gorski on

So how did a noted neurosurgeon got exposed to woo? more than 10 years ago, Carson got a diagnosis of "high grade" prostate cancer after needing to go to the restroom more often. He had access to some of the best urology doctors in the world, but apparently, he chose to look at his own X-ray and claimed to have seen lesions all over his spine instead of having a radiologist look at it. So the conclusion is he's "terminal". Is this confirmed? No one seem to know other than Dr. Carson himself.

Any way, his fight with cancer got out and he started to get unsolicited advice and products from well wishers, and one of them referred him to Mannatech and "Dr. Reg McDaniels", and Carson claimed, after doing a "regimen" of the Mannatech product for three weeks, his symptoms went away, and he toyed with not doing the recommended surgery, but ultimately decided to do the surgery after all. Furthermore, later tests shows that whatever "lesions" he saw in his spine was NOT cancer.

In other words, he does NOT have terminal prostate cancer. The so-called "high grade" cancer was taken care of via surgery by some of the best urologists in the world.

So why was he endorsing Mannatech product then, by appearing at a Mannatech event to speak? According to Carson, he wasn't endorsing Mannatech. He said people should NOT conclude that he's cured without surgery, and should NOT conclude that glyconutrients (Mannatech stuff) cured him. Instead, he's claiming that "natural products" can "supplement what's done by traditional medicine".

That sounds like more CYA (cover your ***) than a full denial, doesn't it? I mean, there's no proof other than anecdotal evidence that "symptoms went away"... Well, if you're not sure what caused it, how do you know what made it went away? You'd think that a doctor would know that... but apparently not.

Further research shows that Carson had spoken at Mannatech events in 2011 and 2013, and may still be taking Mannatech products today.

In Conclusion...

So, what does that say about either Donald Trump or Ben Carson?

Not much, actually.

Trump never held any elected office and IMHO his poll numbers was really centered on his name recognition and him pandering to the right-wing tea party folks than his real leadership abilities. His association with ACN is purely financial and mutual backscratching, not because he likes ACN.

As for Ben Carson.. He's a weird guy who held some kooky thoughts in his head about "what if the Jews were armed" and "more guns will solve gun problem", but that sort of kookiness may explain why a famed neurosurgeon would fall for Mannatech woo just because of a personal cancer scare.

I personally, would not want EITHER of them to be elected president.

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