Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If one penny of the money you make for a company goes to terminating the rights of thousands, you MUST rethink your involvement with that company. Period.

Last year, a very good friend became involved with a skin-care company and, after several months, offered me the "opportunity," to join also. Today, another acquaintance called me to "offer an opportunity to create endless residual income." This is MLM-speak for "sign up a bunch of people and take a cut."<br />
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I say join because the way people in these organisations make money - and the way the people above them make money - is by recruiting new 'dealers,' not through selling a product, although the product does exist. It's just that most of the sales of that product are to new dealers, not to clients or returning clients. <br />
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As I am inclined to do, I researched my friend's skin care company fully, including the claims it was making about the product line, as well as the other initiatives the company was involved with. <br />
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On the face of it - and that is all most people will bother to look at -&nbsp; this company has a good product line that seems to do what it says, and it is involved in a variety of seemingly great philanthropic initiatives. <br />
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However, what is clear with a bit more research is the product line is grosso modo equal to many others available. No biggie; that's the case with loads of products. <br />
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What caught my eye and what dragged me off in a different direction of research was who was on the board of directors and more specifically what other major organisation these people are 'leaders' in. <br />
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As background, I shall offer this tidbit: y'know those nice mormon kids who come round selling their particular brand of Invisible Man, Complete with Magic Underwear? Yeah. <br />
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These companies, the types that sell what amounts to memberships - otherwise known as MLMs -&nbsp; are almost entirely developed and run by members of the mormon church. They are also, almost every one of them, either located in Utah, or if elsewhere, linked to Utah via another company or by being a subsidiary of another company; and they are very, very heavily populated by none other than those by-now very experienced door-to-door sellers, the were-missionaries, who often have very few other viable business skills. Oh, and the IRS does not like these companies and many of them have come under a fair amount of scrutiny in terms of how they operate, how/if they pay taxes and to whom, and for a variety of other things. Suffice to say, one must at least acknowledge there is a raft of men (I used that term specifically) behind the 'curtain.' <br />
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Fine you say? <br />
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Well, no. <br />
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Every mormon is required by that 'church' to tithe 10% of their annual income to the church. Tithing, for the record appears nowhere in the bible - but I don't suggest here the bible has any more value than what it might give off in heat when tossed into a fire pit on a cold winter night... <br />
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Where that 10% concerns those companies, however is this: the directors of those MLMs, who, if one reads the sales pitch on any of their sites, are making a very nice six-figure salary annually, some of those running into the 1/2 million dollars a year. That means they're funneling quite a large amount of $$ into the mormon church annually. Fine. Their right you say. <br />
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The majority of people in those organisations, with the exception of the very bottom rungs, is also mormon. Below them is Joe You and Me, who is probably not mormon and, from what I have discovered from various conversations, usually has no clue how tightly-tied to the mormon church is the company they're recruiting or selling for. And a point here: one cannot actually just buy the product. The initial kit is always large and expensive and ALWAYS come with a title of some type, and with the means of recouping your 'investment' by simply recruiting two others to the 'opportunity.' See how that works?<br />
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What all this means is for every unaware-of-what-they're-getting-into person an also-unaware person signs up, 10% of the sign-up cost is ultimately being funnelled into the coffers of the mormon church. It's starting now to sound like a lot of dollars. Somehow, no matter what, a whole bunch of money is being forwarded to the church thanks to a whole bunch of people who have no clue WHO they are really working for.<br />
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Now consider this: some of those dollars are definitely going to humanitarian efforts and in areas where those efforts are desperately needed. Fine. Except the efforts come with the catch of "We're here, providing food and education, and helping set up businesses for your people and OH, HEY! Come on over to our church. All you need to do is "feel the fire in your bosom" and contribute 10% of your meager salary back to us - 'cause y'know, we're here to help you.... <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_and_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints" target="_blank">Oh... also, never mind that our church doesn't exactly see you as fully human, you brown people. Don't worry about that</a>.... <br />
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Otherwise, the mormon church is frankly political. In California, the mormons mounted a very, very heavily-funded attack on <a href="http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_8,_the_%22Eliminates_Right_of_Same-Sex_Couples_to_Marry%22_Initiative_%282008%29" target="_blank">Proposition 8</a>. Now I understand that some people have a massive distaste for the idea of two same-sex people getting it on. Fine. If you don't like the idea of gay, don't be gay. If you don't like the idea of gay marriage, don't have one. Otherwise, butt the hell out of other people's bedrooms. <br />
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So the fact that the mormon church was able to bring such a narrow religious perspective into the light and that it was able, by force of lots and lots of money, to so heavily influence legislation that terminated certain human rights for a huge swath of the public, MUST be cause for concern; because, if that organisation can do it to people who happen to be "<a href="http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/twospirit.php" target="_blank">two spirited</a>" then that organisation has the power to affect other rights,&nbsp; A LOT of other rights. <br />
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Consider just this: the number of people who live together prior to marrying, or who live together and never marry is very high - and growing in many places. The number of women (ok, girls in too many cases) who have children and are not signed on to a legal contract is also very high - nearing 90% in some states in the US. Neither of these realities is ok in mormon world. So, those of you who think it's ok to limit rights for some people must consider how it might affect YOU if the mormon church turns on its powerful financial and influential taps in the direction of cohabiting couples or single parents. That lives closer to home, now, doesn't it?<br />
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I doubt there is a single person reading this who doesn't know someone or is someone themselves who has had a child "out of wedlock." I betcha some of you readers are the RESULT of an out-of-wedlock liaison. I also betcha there is not a single reader here who doesn't know someone in the state of non-contracted co-habitation or is in that state themselves. Getting the picture? The mormon church is a very, very politically-powerful force with a LOT of money behind it and, thanks to these MLMs, about which people do no research, the mormons are assured of always having a money supply drawn from mormons and the rest of us alike. <br />
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How this relates to my friend's skin care is this: if you're buying those products or you are signed on as a 'distributor' of those products, you are LITERALLY putting dollars into the coffers of the political organisation called the mormon church. <br />
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This means you have literally supported the termination of human rights via such things as the defeat of Proposition 8 (this was reversed in 2010, when the US supreme court said it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights). <br />
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It also means you - regardless of your not necessarily being a US citizen with a vote - are funding the Romney campaign, paying for the production of Who Do You Think You Are (which is a great show, it pisses me off to say), paying for Ancestry.com and for the maintenance, staffing and growth of the mormon geneological database - by which dead people, including Jewish people killed by the Nazis - are re-baptised post-mortem, by the mormons as mormons; a frankly disgusting practice. <br />
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Today, my other friend, who didn't digest my email to him or my call yesterday, wherein I stated that I would, under no circumstances, ever sell or sign on to a company that was and MLM specifically due to the fact of the mormons being, in nearly 100% of cases, at the helm, called me and put me on a conference call with his upline director. This hapless person launched in with his "residual income," and "retire comfortably" and

Update.... Apparently my geek skills have abandoned me!

It seems my having monkeyed with this post from my phone caused a bunch of HTML code to be inserted AND removed the last 1/3 of the post itself!


The long/short of the last bit is, despite my research, my arguments based on that research, and my entreaties that this 'friend' and his upline consider the reality of how the mormons have established a source of funding from unknowing non-mormons - and how that does and potentially could affect these two people personally, their last word was, "Well, if we were to meet face-to-face, I'm sure you'd change your mind."

Ironically, such statements are also the stock and trade of fundmentalists. In fact, the entire structure of these MLMs is, and it should be a surprise given their owners, exactly the same as any church/temple: "JUST BELIEVE."

In MY  Ten Commandments, there is one primary directive. DO NOT IGNORE THE FACTS.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The United Church and its Official Gay Leader....

The United Church has elected a leader who happens to be gay.

Why, in 2012, we are STILL obsessed with what other people are doing - and with who - in the privacy of their bedrooms, is incomprehensible!

Such obsessions should be quickly dealt with by getting the obsessed into their own bedrooms, where they may occupy themselves by getting laid, which will perhaps refocus their energy....

The second point brought up in the discussion was the false premise that evangelical churches are growing. This is simply not the case, generally, although it is true in some demographics.

Not surprisingly, the sheep have ganged up on ME, rather than deal with the SUBJECT, and are bleating about their "one true god," and "our faith is growing leaps and bounds," with no basis for any part of that argument and a complete blindness to the fact their "evidence" (none) ALSO "proves" every other "god" humans  have ever, and will ever, conjure up.

I have just posted the following on another, live, board and an likely seconds away from the braying of the idiots who cannot stand to have it uttered in public, where they can see it, nor have it highlighted how flawed their logic is.

My post begins with a question (below), which will NOT be answered but which will surely be met with indignation, which makes me laugh out loud, particularly when accompanied by "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL AND YOU DESERVE IT!" unaccompanied by the least shred of evidence or any reasonable proposition as to where this "hell" might locate itself in the incomprehensible vastness of just the known universe.

"WHICH "god" are you referring to, of the 30 or so currently being worshipped and of the approximately-5000 that humans have conjured in their 160,000 years?

What is your proof for whichever of those you choose, and how does that proof ONLY quantify the god you choose, and none of the others?

The idea that evangelical churches are growing, generally, is NOT supported by any reliable research.

Where evangelical movements ARE growing is in the US, where politics and fundamentalism are becoming more and more interwoven, in direct contravention of the US constitution and of the will of the framers of that constitution and where those movements are more and more populated by very, very undereducated people.

To whit, the average education of members of the Tea Party is less than grade 12 with the vast majority having no post-secondary. In short, certainly with Tea Party supporters but also with the larger "conservative" demographic (in Canada and the US), their real ability to comprehend what is going on is severely limited by very poor education, low literacy, and hence poor ability to read - or even know where to seek out - information. There is also, in this demographic, a very low use of digital resources, and so very low exposure to other opinions and research.

Undereducated people tend very much to superstition, which is why this demographic is also the most likely to spend money on "psychics" and believe the earth is 6000 years old, humans rode dinosaurs, and a six-hundred-year-old man managed to stick two of each of the entirety of the world's animals, along with the vast array of foods they'd need for survival, on a wooden boat alleged to be half the size of the Titanic, keep them alive, fed and afloat for a year, and manage all the literal shit that would have piled up every day - and not succumb to any of the two of every virus - or poisonous spider - that must also have come on board....

In respect to how the US forms policy where it concerns other fundamentalist regimes, all this is ironic and confusing - at best. At worst, it seems some factions currently operating in US politics seek to impose their brand of fundamentalism on other countries - as those countries also seek also to impose theirs - yet they do not see the danger and irony in all of that: the US has hung thick, black sheets over the mirror that would reflect it. Would that the current, atheist president of that country finally speak out. I hope he will, when he is re-elected or later, when he will be truly free to speak.

As to the point of this article, as much as the United Church has eschewed SOME of the oppressive and negative strictures of christian religious dogma, most notably the biblical incitement that women just please shut up, and that people who are same sex be stoned to death, the fact they still base their philosophy on a compilation of stories and myths, in the year 2012, is bizarre.

That the UC has - like all churches and attendees of those churches do - picked and chosen which bits of that book it will adhere to and which it won't, is yet another (among millions) example of just how very flawed that book is, in terms of morality and ethics. It simply cannot be adhered to in every instance, because, in 400 or so of those instances, there is direct contradiction somewhere else in the same book.

If the UC had a backbone - and it does seem to be forming - it would say "This book, as much as it contains some interesting philosophies, is no longer - and can no longer - form the basis of our existence; the illogic and immorality of the book outweighs its good and cannot in any way be considered an appropriate source of reference."

Christianity, like ALL religions, has its roots in political oppression. When you have an uneducated, non-scientific culture (and the US seems bent on returning to such a culture, given its war on science, education and the educated - and our Harper seems to like those idea, as well), where natural phenomena are incomprehensible, where stories are related ear-to-ear and where certain humans are granted extra-human qualities, it is reasonably easy to direct (by coercion, fear of death and by instilling fear of what may happen in an 'afterlife') that culture towards the will of a select few. See the Rise and Establishment of the Roman Empire for exactly how this works, and the significant role religion - and it's characters, very few of whom ever lived - has in that process.

Until such time as anyone can produce evidence and proof that supports ONLY one 'god' and does not also support all other 'gods' humans have created, the rest of the argument cannot be made.

To draw a simple analogy, one cannot say, "Our new theatre will produce and play the best of all theatre in the world and be the most influential force ever known," if the THEATRE does not exist."