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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-16-06 02:22 PM
Original message
An Argument Against DeVos
I have just started reading some things about this bastard DeVos online, to get more of a real sense of DeVos's (inherited) "business" background, and subsequent failures and unethical ties, as to DeLay, Abramoff, and others (proven). I would like to get enough basic information--since the media is not exposing, or even questioning, any of this--to put together a quick, shorthand but comprehensive, way of telling the threat that DeVos would be, and respond to this totally uncritical attitude that I have actually heard, where, "because DeVos is in business, DeVos would know how to fix things and make the economy better, Granholm has failed, let's try something new," blah blah blah--very scary, and annoying.

I found a really great group of articles, on many topics, at the Michigan Democratic Party News Archive page, . One of the best articles was "DeVos Has a History of Influencing Tax Policy to Enrich Himself and Amway," from May 4th. An excerpt:

Throughout his career, Dick DeVos has used his and his familys political influence to enrich Amway and himself at expense of average working families, said Brewer. In 1997 DeVos got a $300 million dollar federal tax break on Amways China investments. In 1998 he lobbied for the elimination of the federal estate tax, which would save the Amway heirs $1.3 billion. And now he is trying to again save Amway and himself millions of dollars by eliminating the SBT. Add it up - nearly $2 billion in tax cuts for Dick DeVos and Amway.

DeVos pattern of conduct shows that his true motivation for changing tax policy has been to enrich himself and Amway at taxpayers expense, continued Brewer. This is yet another reason why Dick DeVos must disclose his tax returns so the citizens of Michigan know how much he will benefit from his self-serving advocacy of repealing the SBT.

(The SBT is the single business tax, by the way.) There are also the examples of DeVos claiming that Michigan has lost the most jobs in the Nation--which is not only not true, but Michigan during Granholm's tenure has actually gained almost 99,000 jobs ( ) while Bush's America has lost millions and had no net gain at all, while losing one-third of all manufacturing jobs to outsourcing, never to be replaced. Granholm's record is actually better than the Nation's as a whole. What the excerpt really does, though, is give a lot of ammunition against the "good at business" claim, and keep a focus on the totally phony way DeVos has been propping profits up--if even that--while actually the business has been collapsing. Any decent showing for Amway has been the result of tax code manipulations, collusion with DeLay's tax shifts, and, very important, DeVos can be tied to the small group of treasonous, extremely rich families, trying over and over again to eliminate the estate/inheritance tax, and cause a loss of almost a trillion dollars for this country, that will be made up for by increasing taxes and the poor and middle class. DeVos is so inept, so corrupt, that there has been no good showing by Amway except by these underhanded manipulations--and this is who is going to take over from the intelligent, working plans of the Granholm Administration, and run our economy?

DeVos claims to have "created jobs," as capitalists running for office always do, but DeVos/Amway has actually only outsourced or downsized over 1,400 jobs, and has created jobs only in China and other countries, which DeVos still lies about. DeVos should be painted, over and over, as one of these spoiled, non-working, useless ultra-rich types, who produce nothing, and work at nothing but shifting their taxes onto us and exploiting their cozy relationships with other corrupt rich Republican types; someone who would use not only the tax code but the entire workplace, safety, trade, social safety net, and every other code, for only their own personal enrichment, and our further debt. The fact that DeVos and this type is the cause of our increasingly depressed economy, by their stupid, selfish class warfare--which is also why their corporate media would never criticze it, but pretend that is is "normal/middle class"--should be referred to over and over as a backdrop to things.

The important point about this is to answer and get rid of this false, unexamined stereotype of DeVos as the "knowledgeable business leader, who really understands how things work, unlike an amateur like Granholm," etc., which is a complete lie, but is believed by some people who do not think. We should be getting these pieces of information and developing an argument against DeVos, based on clear but quick, easily remembered statements on what DeVos really is. Not "framing" and slogans, but an answer to their false but unexamined premise. What are some other things about DeVos that can be stated as easily-remembered arguments or points?

Answering the claim that DeVos is some "business leader" and is doing well, when really there is only corruption and increasing corporate failure, is really important. It is one of the biggest recurring lies of their whole TV-ad campaign.

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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Then, of course, there's the deal Reagan made on Amway's behalf
In the 80s, Amway cheated the canadian government out of millions of tax dollars. The Reagan administration brokered a deal to get them out of it. I don't know if it was DeVos or his daddy that the canadians wanted to indict. There should be a record of it all somewhere.
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Here's some info on the Amway/Canadian tax dodging scheme:
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 02:34 PM by Lefty48197

"...The solution, while it might solve the Canadian tax problem, also meant that the Amway Corporation would also have to give up some of its potential income."

"...confirmation that Amway had evaded Canada's customs law and had misrepresented its marketing operations"

"The trial records show that in May of 1974, the Amway Corporation attempted to refine the scheme in case further evidence was required by Canada... ...The object of this new plan was to create not only invoices but canceled checks as well. Two schemes were proposed. One by Discher that was laid out in a memorandum to Van Andel dated May 9th, 1974, which stated:"

"As soon as an invoice is prepared on a shipment (after the loading of a truck is complete), a telex will be sent to the warehouse with the amount of the invoice. The warehouse will immediately mail us a check for the invoice amount. We will, at the same time, mail a check to the warehouse for the invoice amount. This system will produce an invoice and a canceled check in payment of the invoice for each shipment to a warehouse. Neither the warehouse or Amway Corporation will have to commit any funds to the program since each will deposit the check of the other before their own check clears back through the banking system to their own bank" (Regina v. Amway, 1983, p. 136)."

"...establishing documentary proof or our 'arm's length transaction' with a disinterested third party in the event we are audited by Canadian officials."

"Unbeknownst to Amway in January 1978 one of its employees in its tax department disclosed to an employee of Border Brokers Limited (Amway of Canada, Ltd.'s customs broker and consultant) Amway's practice of submitting fictitious invoices to the Canadian officials. He stated that "he personally had procured and submitted 'phony price lists and invoices' to the department" (Regina v. Amway, 1983, p. 162). In May of 1978 new auditors (Arthur Anderson & Co.) hired by Amway of Canada, Ltd. also discovered the illegal practices of the Corporation (i.e. Amway Corporation and Amway of Canada, Ltd.). Both companies, Border Brokers Limited and Arthur Andersen, advised the Amway Corporation to make full disclosure to the Canadian officials and seek a resolution of the problem. Realizing that their advice was not taken and prevented from fully functioning in their duties both companies resigned their positions with Amway of Canada, Ltd. in the early months of 1979. Upon its resignation Border Brokers Limited informed the Canadian Revenue officials of Amway's non-compliance as required by Canadian law."

"...While this current ruling is being appealed by the Amway Corporation, the Corporation and its counterpart Amway of Canada, Ltd. pleaded guilty on November 10, 1983 to criminal charges of defrauding the Canadian government from February 5, 1965 through January 31, 1980. Amway admitted that they:"

"...unlawfully did, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, defraud her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and the Government of Canada of an undetermined amount of property, money or valuable securities of a value in excess of Twenty-eight million dollars ($28,000,000)... with respect to goods purchased by... Amway of Canada Ltd. from... Amway Corporation and imported into Canada" (Regina v. Amway, 1983, p. 103)."

"On November 10, 1983, before Chief Justice Evans of the Supreme Court of Ontario, the Amway Corporation and Amway of Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty to charges of criminal fraud and paid a C$25,000,000 fine, the largest ever imposed in Canada. The crime was tax evasion..."

For a real laugh at just how sleazy the DeVos family is, read the letter that they sent to their distributors and to various newspapers "explaining" the settlement with the Canadian Government. It's sickening...

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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-18-06 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. I made this little info sheet from the website under the title.
I just copied and pasted, so it's not my original work. The second sheet I did write. I put these two pieces, a business card with Granholm's website on it, some talking points sheets, and a pamphlet on Granholm's achievements and goals in a manilla folder. I distributed the folders at a get-together with some friends. I told them to read the material, then pass the folder on to someone else. This was really inexpensive to do ($5.99 for 150 folders at Costco and the cost of printing out some copies of the two attached pieces). The folders were very happily accepted and I found that people were really interested to get more information about Scamway Dick. If I make any more folders to distribute, and I probably will, I will include a copy of this page:

so people will know where to go to volunteer to help with the campaign.

The copy for the folder had starred bullets. ______________________________________________________________________
What You Dont Know About Dick

DeVos and Families
Dick DeVos is opposed to raising the minimum wage and therefore keeping many
families living below the national poverty level.
Former Michigan Republican Party Chair Betsy DeVos said that Michigan workers were paid too much and that Michigan should be a right-to-work state.
Devos For Governor Campaign Chair David Brandon agrees with DeVos on opposing a raise in Michigans minimum wage, calling it a job killer.
Dick DeVos has proposed a yearly tax increase of $800 per family by eliminating the Single Business Tax. DeVos' tax scheme will shift the tax burden from corporations to individuals, helping DeVos' corporate executive friends and costing Michigan households an additional $800 a year.
DeVos and Public Education
Dick DeVos was the primary financier and chairman of the 2000 Voucher ballot initiative, a scheme to cut funding for public school education. He remains an advocate for Vouchers and has said that "when the time comes, we will bring the fight back to Michigan again."
Dick DeVos quit the only position he has ever been elected to, the State Board of Education. DeVos quit two years into an eight year term, "cutting and running" on our children.
Dick DeVos has no plan for improving education in Michigan. There are no policy initiatives listed on his website. While on the board of education, he was a proponent of plans to undermine Michigans public schools, by taking millions of dollars away from your neighborhood public schools, giving them away to expensive private schools, and then raising your taxes to pay for it.
DeVos and Jobs
As head of Amway, Dick DeVos laid off nearly 1,400 people in Michigan in 1998 and 2000. The 1,400 jobs never came back to Michigan.
Dick DeVos invested over $200 million in manufacturing plants which created jobs in China.
Dick DeVos supports unfair free trade agreements, like NAFTA, and failed Washington policies that send Michigan jobs everywhere else. DeVos supports free trade, despite how it has hurt Michigan.
Dick DeVos, though quick to criticize the work of others, has yet to come forward with a detailed, realistic plan of his own, other than political rhetoric. DeVos has been in the race since June and has not offered a single solution to Michigan's economic future.
Instead of showing bi-partisan leadership in this time of crisis, Dick DeVos, through personal phone calls and media appearances, used his money and political influence to attempt to force Republicans in the Legislature to break their agreement for his own political gain, and at the cost of Michigan jobs.
DeVos and Ethics
Dick DeVos was personally offered an Ambassadorship by Karl Rove for his help on the Bush Campaign.
Dick DeVos' campaign Matthew Dowd has been described as 'former top lieutent' and at one point second only to Rove. Alex Castellanos worked with Rove on Media Strategy. Castellanos' past media strategy has included the infamous 'Rat Ad'.
Rove chose Calvin College as one of two places Bush gave a commencement speech this year because of the DeVos family. DeVos Family has contributed to Rove's friends PACS. Betsy DeVos worked personally with Rove on Election strategy.
Dick DeVos refuses to disclose his taxes, even though that has been the tradition in Michigan.
Dick DeVos has been one of the biggest campaign contributors in Washington. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DeVos family "contributed more than any other to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party," around "$602,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington."
Taking advantage of the family political influence created by soft money contributions to the GOP, as President of Amway DeVos sought and got federal tax breaks on Amway's China investments and favorable China trade legislation, legislation which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of benefits for Amway, himself and his family.
Dick DeVos personally allowed Tom DeLay to hold a Republican Majority Issues Committee meeting on his yacht.
According to the FEC, DeVos and his Political Action Committee (PAC), Restoring the American Dream have exchanged thousands of dollars with DeLay, his campaign committee and his PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority.

The copy I made for the folder had some clipart, etc., but this is what it said.

Before you cast your vote, consider the following:

Decide which candidate has the most to gain in terms of power and/or money by winning, then vote for the other candidate.

An elected official who uses their office as a means of expressing their will, frequently gains this power by taking away some of yours in terms of your freedom, your voice, or your rights.

Money, like energy, doesn't evaporate into nothing. It is simply transferred from your pocket to theirs, or to the pockets of the few who are closest to them.

So think about it before you vote this November. Which of the candidates has the potential to gain the most in terms of power and money? You want to vote for the candidate that has the least to gain personally, because they most likely have your best interests in mind.

Hopefully, these materials will help you to make the best decision, for you, for the people of Michigan, and for our great state itself.

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EmmitFitzhume Donating Member (173 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-18-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thanks, that's great stuff
is that all that's wrong with Dick.

I also have to refernce the Fact Check portion of the Granhlm for Governor site to clarify the tremendous amount of misinformation out there in the press and coming from Dick and Saul.

Good news this week with the Det News and Rassmusen polls hopefully next week has more of that in store.

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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-19-06 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. There is a Lot of Great Information Here
These are all really great replies; thank you. I have printed up this thread and have been reading and memorizing the points made here--there is a lot of information that can be woven together to make persuasive, conversational arguments against DeVos, easy to remember, but making the important factual points.

It seems to me that there are three really good areas to concentrate on:
1) DeVos is a horrible/unethical/phony, etc. capitalist; a Bush-Cheney-Halliburton type who only influences legislative and trade policy for crass, greedy personal gain, and at the expense of us all. All of DeVos's politcal activity has been of this type, with disastrous results, and with no concern whatsoever for how any of this affects the rest of us. Points could be made about the downsizing/outsourcing, the accomplished and attempted tax shifts from the extremely wealthy onto the rest of us, basic business failures after inheriting the family business, a refusal to explain intended plans as Governor, etc.
2) Tie DeVos to DeLay, Abramoff, Bush, etc., and the now-proven heavily interconnected web of bribes, payoffs and outrageous corporate-welfare type legislation, all violating the will of the people. Use the slogan that has appeared on DU and elsewhere: "If You Like George Bush, You'll Love DeVos." Also, pay a little bit more attention to exposing what a kook Betsy DeVos is. I haven't really started reading that much about her yet.
3) Tie DeVos to the corrupted, current state of the Michigan Republican Party, a group controlled since the 1980s by extremist elements that do not represent, or respond to, the mainstream, moderately liberal Michigan population, that wants relief from underpaid minimum wage jobs, price-gouging, and constant budget cuts to government services, and does not want these neverending attacks on the rights of women and the poor.

Get this information--and other things still to be discovered--organized in your mind so that you can quickly and easily answer these mistaken ideas and deliberate lies from the DeVos campaign and the assholes of the corporate media, and you can very clearly convey what a threat DeVos is, and how Granholm has actually had many accomplishments--ignored by media--all while fighting an extremist archconservative Republican legislature that has done not one Goddamned thing for the people of Michigan.
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