grift is a very big thought indeed

Just how much clownery do you need to completely obliterate the good will you built up from starting a foundation to do brain surgery for poor kids? How much pure nonsense does a trailblazing brain surgeon need to peddle to convince the world that he is venal and/or not very smart? Dr. Ben Carson, 2016 GOP presidential nomination hopeful/flirt, isn’t entirely sure, but being a student of the scientific method, he is apparently extremely determined to find out.

Apparently our man Dr. Carson has shilled modern snake oil nutritional supplement company Mannatech (yes, manna-tech, they wanted the religious overtones of naming it after the miraculous God-bread that fell from the sky in the Old Testament, combined with, y’know, modern science and technology). What’s wrong with Mannatech? That’s a good question, one that our best buddies over at the National Review have answered:

In 2007, three years after Carson’s first dealings with Mannatech, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott sued the company and Caster, charging them with orchestrating an unlawful marketing scheme that exaggerated their products’ health benefits. The original petition in that case paints an ugly picture of Mannatech’s marketing practices. It charges that the company offered testimonials from individuals claiming that they’d used Mannatech products to overcome serious diseases and ailments, including autism, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and life-threatening heart conditions.

Separately, the suit alleges that the company sold a CD entitled “Back from the Brink” that “provided example after example of how ‘glyconutrients’ (i.e., Mannatech’s products) cured, treated, or mitigated diseases including but not limited to toxic shock syndrome, heart failure, asthma, arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, and lung inflammation.”

Needless to say, Mannatech products can’t actually cure any of these diseases, nor can they cure AIDS or cancer, as the company also has suggested. But their intentionally deceptive advertising and aggressively unscientific attempts to dupe the gullible and desperate did not, apparently, dissuade Carson from advocating for Mannatech and their products in both a compensated and uncompensated basis over a period of about 10 years, even after the company faced lawsuits over its behavior.

Carson’s interactions with Mannatech, a nutritional-supplement company based in suburban Dallas, date back to 2004, when he was a speaker at the company’s annual conferences, MannaFest and MannaQuest. He also spoke at Mannatech conferences in 2011 and 2013, and spoke about “glyconutrients” in a PBS special as recently as last year.

Carson’s MannaQuest to MannaBless Mannatech’s most recent feat was an appearance in a promotional video on Mannatech’s website, giving a testimonial about how he began to feel “different” after buying and using Mannatech products, placing their importance on the same plane with getting a good night’s rest and eating healthy food. If you have a passion for infomercials and their pleasantly soporific and slightly sinister blend of natural light photography and genreless mall music, you can watch that below.

The whole thing is pretty embarrassing, and culminates in this embarrassing coda, in which Carson suggests that Mannatech is the key to achieving the original diet handed down to us by God in the Garden of Eden.

The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel. And that fuel was the right kind of healthy food. You know we live in a society that is very sophisticated, and sometimes we’re not able to achieve the original diet. And we have to alter our diet to fit our lifestyle. Many of the natural things are not included in our diet. Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health.

Look, Ben Carson is perfectly within his rights as an American and as a human being to take advantage of the placebo effects of scam unscience, and we do not begrudge him this right. But he’s smart enough to know that when Mannatech asks him to speak, they are not asking him to speak as just any American — they are using him for his unassailable credentials as Dr. Ben Carson, literal brain surgeon, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. He was either being irresponsibly negligent or flatly corrupt when he allowed himself to be used in this, uh, MannaManner. Stay MannaBlessed.

[National Review via Right Wing Watch]

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  • I had noticed that- up close and personal, his eyes are still half closed, like slits, as though the tropical sun is too much for him – indoors.

    One of the most vehement critics of Mannatech is microbiologist Ronald Schaar at Johns-Hopkins – you’da thunk Carson would have checked with his colleague before extolling the virtues of these deluxe sugar pills.

    He cannot expect us on the one hand to believe that he is wise and smart enough to lead the nation, and on the other hand to believe that he swallowed the bunk about Ambrotose and other Mannatech products.

    From the 20/20 epsiode called “Hope in a Bottle” – note the doctor quoted is from John’s-Hopkins


    (VO) And, say these scientists who are outraged that their
    groundbreaking work is linked to Mannatech and its sugar pill, there
    is no proof the sugar in this food supplement can be used by our


    (OC) Mannatech says that we don’t have enough of these basic sugars.


    It’s wrong that we don’t have enough of these. As a matter of fact,
    just about everybody absent just a handful of rare congenital, genetic
    disorders can make all the sugars already.

  • That’s Infinite IMPROBABILITY Drive, dear Cuz.

    “Improbability Factor 1:1 – we have normality, I repeat, we have normality – anything [Carson] still can’t deal with is his own problem!”

  • Yeah – right along the lines of “See this video before the government takes it down- again!”

    I think Greg Abbot is a much smarter man than Carson, and he took Mannatech to court back in 2007. By that time, Carson has been picking up large speaking fees for 3 years already, and he didn’t quit then, or even after his 15 minutes of fame at the National Prayer Breakfast.

    If Carson actually believed that he was going to run for prez, he could have ended his association with Mannatech in 2013, but Noooo – he actually cut a video for Public Television extolling the virtues of Glyconutrient supplements (did not name Mannatech) just last year!

    Ambertose might make your toes yellow (joke), but the sugar pills are actually called Ambrotose – talk about FRAUD!!
    Named the company after bread from Heaven, and named their leading product after Ambrosia- the food of the Gods! Just reading about this company makes me see flashing warning signs – how coome the smartest surgeon on the planet didn’t see that?

    In the end, I must sadly conclude that Carson sold his good name to promote a shoddy company in exactly the same way Scott Brown sold his good name to a fake armaments company – for money, just like wearing fishnets on a street corner!

  • Have you looked closely at the Clinton Global Graft Initiative yet?
    The only way you can count their expenditures as being for good works is if you count having Slick Willie show up and hug all your women as “good works”!

    The conservative movement is alive and well, and has no time for hustlers of either party – what you are referring to are what Angelo Codevilla calls “The Ruling Class” a self-perpetuating class of feudal overlords in DC – we should join forces to reduce government graft by turning out almost all the bums in congress!

    Dr Carson should follow his initial instinct and retire to Florida – he’s not conservative, and the Establishment has no time for him either. Feet of sugar-coated clay!

    • Zippy

      The conservative movement is in no way, shape or form alive and well. It’s composed of the chronically greedy, who hustle and grift the chronically stupid and it’s not even conservative in any classic sense of the word. The movement runs on white Christian resentment and anger and is driven almost wholly by what it hates and opposes-namely anything that is not just exactly like it or that doesn’t directly benefit those at the top. It’s a death cult and there’s nothing conservative about it. Modern conservationism is actually nothing more than the worst sort of vile, toxic reactionary populism, dumbed down to appeal to the lizard brain of the base.

  • Have you looked closely at the Clinton Global Graft Initiative yet?
    The only way you can count their expenditures as being for good works is if you count having Slick Willie show up and hug all your women as “good works”!

    The conservative movement is alive and well, and has no time for hustlers of either party – what you are referring to are what Angelo Codevilla calls “The Ruling Class” a self-perpetuating class of feudal overlords in DC – we should join forces to reduce government graft by turning out almost all the bums in congress!

    Dr Carson should follow his initial instinct and retire to Florida – he’s not conservative, and the Establishment has no time for him either. Feet of sugar-coated clay!

  • Nice – you are, of course referring to some so-called TEA Party groups who were soliciting money to persuade Carson to “Run, Ben, RUN” – actually, most of the true TEA Party folks weren’t buying it. Any time a group starts a business and says it is representing the TEA Party, you can tell that they are only representing their own wallets!
    The actual TEA Party is very decentralised, united by a desire to shrink the cost of government before the country goes bankrupt like Greece.

  • He’s not that radical – “Nein, Nein. Nein” most likely.

    Come back Herman – We’ve got a lot of alterin’ and abolishin’ to do!!

  • Karmasue

    So how did the Greg Abbott and other lawsuits fare? No mention of the results of those lawsuits. Who walked away a millionaire? Who went to jail? Are the lawsuits still pending? Wish you had “the rest of the story”.

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  • COMALite J

    Glyconutrients are made from gloppet eggs.

  • COMALite J

    Oh, he was a good neurosurgeon. What you have to realize is that the deeper someone’s knowledge is in one particularly narrow field, the shallower it tends to be outside that one very narrow subject.

  • SLP


  • hankusmc

    Well, here we go! Like I predicted a while back. If Ben Carson starts to get “too much attention”, they (his own Party) will start to “put things out there” to interfere with his campaign. Remember how they did Herman Cain? Cain had started to generate too much “positive” attention and look what happened? All I’m saying is, watch out Ben Carson! You can’t see it yet, but they’re getting ready to pull a “Herman Cain” on you! :-)

    • Odd Jørgensen

      Carson is more than capable of doing it all on his own.

  • kimothyanne

    Wow! Something’s got to be pretty bogus for Greg Abbott to sue!

  • iralarry

    It seems somehow perfectly legitimate and authentic when the Pope spreads the gospel but entirely disingenuous when Dr. Ben Carson attempts the same. At least we find comfort in knowing the Pope can never be leader of the free world.

    • drdanj

      Two wrongs don’t make a right. And, by the way, when the Pope talks about science, he has full claim and legitimacy. Medical doctors are in fact not scientists unless they go off in that direction. Carson did not.

  • P_Ivcec

    Mannatech sounds pretty changey/hopey…

  • Michael

    You’re a racist!

  • Sheila F

    Faith Based medicine? What is that? Nee heard of it. Are there hospitals which practice “faith based medicine?”. How does it differ from “scientific based medicine”?

    • Expired

      Oh thats easy, and here is one that actually happens. You drink a bleach solution, or shove it up your ass in small doses. Then you pray that it will have a positive effect instead of corroding your innards, inflammation, edema, or internal bleeding over time.

  • Neilfan1957

    Moron. Dr. Oz is TURKISH. He is not a Muslim.

  • Expired

    Oh…you mean like bleach enemas? Please, keep taking your faith based medicines, I have faith that you will eventually have a slow, painful and well deserved death. Stay away from hospitals and real doctors. We wouldnt want to interfere with your precious lie based self medicating.

  • James Nickel

    This is a nice story about Mannatech ….

    In 2004, Mannatech, several of its officers,
    and a chiropractor who was a major distributor were sued by the mother
    of a child who died of Tay-Sachs disease whose photograph was used to
    promote Mannatech products. According to the complaint:

    Mannatech distributors circulated a nude picture of the child and claimed that he had
    benefited from their products.

    The child actually died in 1997, shortly after using the products.

    The marketing campaign persisted until 2004 despite requests by child’s mother to stop it. .. cont.

  • James Nickel
  • Piano Lady

    This article is a total fabrication. Ben Carson has said that he takes Mannatech’s supplements and that he has found they are beneficial for him, but he has never officially endorsed Mannatech. He did a couple of paid speeches for Mannatech, but Carson has done tons of paid speeches all over the world. Ben Carson is the best of the best, a really kind and intelligent man, and the media lies again……

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