The Dream is “sort of about pyramid schemes,” as host Jane Marie says at the beginning of the new podcast series, but it takes a moment to figure out just what that means. In the beginning of the first episode, which you can listen to exclusively here, Marie dives into a classic pyramid scheme of the 70s and 80s, the “airplane game,” a trend that became so prevalent among a certain subset in New York and South Florida that The New York Times caught on, calling it “a high-stakes chain letter.”
The company is said to have been violating the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act. More specifically, Pinckney and the two other directors were arrested in connection with a case filed by a certain Visalakshi of Kozhikode. She claimed to have incurred losses of Rs 3 lakh in trying to sell the products of Amway through its multi-level marketing network.
From time to time the absurdities and contradictions of The Business would surface in Josh’s conversation. In one of his many unguarded moments, he voiced a preference for Amway Scrub Rite because it ran out more quickly than the “superconcentrated” Amway cleaners, enabling him to buy it more often. Catching himself, he quickly added, “Of course, it still lasts a long time.” This puzzled me. Why was Josh so eager to shovel money at Amway? The rational thing would be to minimize his own purchases while strong-arming his downlines into buying as much as possible. But, of course, if everyone did that, the whole business would evaporate. This is Amway’s central dilemma.
In July 1996, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos was honored at a $3 million fundraiser for the Republican Party, and a week later, it was reported that Amway had tried to donate $1.3 million to pay for Republican "infomercials" and televising of the GOP convention on Pat Robertson's Family Channel, but backed off when Democrats criticized the donation as a ploy to avoid campaign-finance restrictions.
When HIV first came out, President Reagan formed a commission and I was honored to be on that commission. I listened to 300 witnesses tell us that it was everybody else’s fault but their own. Nothing to do with their conduct, just that the government didn’t fix this disease. At the end of that I put in the document – it was the conclusion document from the commission – that actions have consequences and you are responsible for yours. AIDS is a disease people gain because of their actions. It wasn’t like cancer. We all made the exceptions for how you got it, by accident, that was all solved a long time ago.
"Thought our kids came out," Smart said after the win. "We were sloppy at times, organizational, as far as substitution on defense, and we got some stupid, silly penalties early on offense. But they came out fast, they came out physical, and they answered the challenge which was to understand that we challenged them and said 'hey, we are creating a standard here, that we play to this level, regardless of who you play.' You have to go own the standard. I really thought the players really tried to do that. Sometimes holdings and things like that are an aggressive penalty. But that is frustrating and as an organization, we have to do a better job defensively of having the right people on the field."
Such pandering to heartland values has (along with record-breaking donations from Rich DeVos) endeared Amway to the Republican Party. But the company has also had its share of critics. In the seventies a succession of defectors charged that The Business (as the faithful call it) was a pyramid scheme, a fraudulent enterprise that made money by recruiting new members and channeling their fees to higher-ups in the organization. A 1979 Federal Trade Commission investigation concluded that Amway was not in fact a pyramid scheme—only that some of its claims to prospective distributors were overly optimistic—because most of its revenue came from sales of actual products. But that didn’t end the company’s troubles. During the Reagan years, Amway was the butt of jokes and the target of exposes. Senior distributors set up private “distributor groups,” organizations dealing in motivational materials and notorious mass rallies. Dexter Yager, founder of the Yager Group, was known to leap around stages brandishing a giant gold crucifix.
And while a state constitutional amendment legalizing public funding for religious schools is unlikely to win public support anytime soon, charters have had much the same impact. While a charter school cannot be religiously affiliated, many walk a fine line, appointing, for instance, a preacher as head of the school board or renting school space from a church. “They have a couple ways of getting around it,” says Gary Miron, a professor of education at Western Michigan University who specializes in charter school evaluation and research. “I’ve been in charter schools where I’ve seen religious prayers to Jesus Christ—they mention Christ by name—and prayer circles with students, teachers and parents.”
The Amway Coaches Poll is conducted weekly throughout the regular season using a panel of head coaches at FBS schools. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the American Football Coaches Association their willingness to participate. Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.
At 875,000 square feet, the new arena is almost triple the size of the old Amway Arena (367,000 square feet). The building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design and unmatched technology featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the largest high-definition scoreboard in an NBA venue, and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building.
‘We here, man,’ says a young black man in a blue T-shirt. ‘See all the IBOs. It’s good to be withpeople in your company, to feel the love. A lot of people back home be wondering how it is and how big of an organization it is. You see: just imagine the potential of having all these people in one group, man, even if you get ten dollars off a person’ – he points to a random person in the audience – ‘all these people. There’s a whole lot of money floating around in here somewhere.’
The recently published book, No One Would Listen, by whistle blower, Harry Markopolos, dramatically describes how SEC regulators ignored his alerts and allowed the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme to grow to enormous proportions. Their failure to act caused harm to thousands more people, despite his written and detailed warnings, which he brought to the agency five separate times over an eight-year period of investigating the scam. Additionally, the news media such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine also failed to respond to his evidence which he offered them. Madoff was apparetnly treated as “too big to expose.”