Surrender to fear of the unknown

It is a shame when grown men and women allow themselves to be manipulated by a few strong people. I happen to like strong people. They are the ones who make change and change is necessary.

The problem arises when people are so comfortable and “safe” with things as they are that they become afraid of change. They become afraid of those strong people, they become afraid of everything. It then is so very easy to manipulate them.

A person who allows fear to rule them is a lamb who is being led any way the the wolf pleases. They have lost their selves and their volition and their free choice to fear. Soon it is the fear that rules their life. They say things like “what if something happens?”

They do as they are told by the few strong people and they march in a line to the gas chamber, to the factories, to the sweat shops, to wherever those few wish them to go and they become less than puppets, looking to their keepers for their safety, then their decision, then, even their opinions.

Scott Cahill

Politics and Business

The political arena of our country, from city councils to the presidency is a complex machine that sets the course for our country’s future. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to understand. It seems immobile and beyond our reach. At times it seems corrupt, and, in fact, sometimes it is.

Still, it is real and it is significant to your business and its future. Many of us wade in to the political fray, unprepared and flounder and leave. We are appalled by the lack of caring, by the wholesale rejection of our ideas, of the soulless churning of such a machine. We become defeated and we sit on the sidelines and try not to notice the things that are happening around us.

It is the difficulty and the cost of participation that keeps the gate to the machine. You must push past the pain to gain entrance. Some buy their way in, some gain a foothold through their sweat equity to campaigns and to parties. A few are given access as a birthright. For most of us, the top of the bleachers will be our vantage point.

Still, we matter greatly – and not for our vote – that is, unfortunately, a secondary reality – it is for our word or two, our one issue, well placed our one thing that we can inject into the mechanism that may, just possibly, churn out of the other side of the evolution.

The game is separate from the players and at times the words of the politician sound like the words of a marionette, emanating from behind the black curtain. Indeed, if you come to know the person on the stage, you may see, in their words true separation of the politician and the person. I have seen friends give speeches professing ideals that are completely diverse from their actual beliefs. That is the cost of entrance that they must pay.

How, then, can we bend the machine of politics to serve us and our business? First and foremost we must ask ourselves “is my desire universally advantageous”. If it is not, the effort is without honor and, the machine has a horrible way of spitting out the best laid plans of those who attempt to manipulate for simple gain. (no – not always but usually).

Second, we must ask ourselves if the change is supportable by many who will act to make it an issue. Many issues fall in the fodder that collects under the workings because no one showed up to stand before the great machine and to show themselves. This, too is a gatekeeper to the great machine. It chews on only the germ of the kernel, leaving the chaff to fall into the dirt and drippings beneath the workings.

Last, and most importantly, are we willing to pay the cost in sweat and blood that it takes to stand, naked before the great machine and introduce our thought? It is a heartless, huge, intimidating machine wrought of cold steel with the force of millions driving its gears. Do you dare to confront it and to risk so much for so long to do that thing that you wish? If not – better stay clear of the workings.

A business needs politics and politicians need business. It is a partnership like that of the frog and the scorpion. Feelings and more will be hurt. Money will fall to waste. Well laid plans will evaporate, yet, you must play. Failure and frustration are the cost of admission. Money is only a chip, and everything is in flux with nothing under control and nothing absolute.

If you are lucky enough to find a good person who you believe in, support his campaign. Give time if not money. Be and stay involved. Forget the things that don’t work out and work hard to support the things that really matter. It may be a painful process, but politics drive our nation and business deserves a place at the table.

Scott Cahill

Justice, and other fantasies of contractual law

Justice is expensive. It is slow. It is a crap shoot and nobody knows how it will end.

The process has become so distorted that it often takes years and years to get to court. Clearly, the advantage is in the court of the one who has the money in their account. By the time that it finally is heard, those who were involved have forgotten much about the disputed details.

If you wish to not pay for a service given, here is how it works:

First: Don’t pay them. Lie, tell them that the check is in the mail. Tell them that you are waiting on a payment from which they will be paid. Act like their friends. Be pleasant and nice and tell them that everything will be fine “just trust me”.

Second: When they become upset, stop talking to them. Don’t return their messages, don’t take their calls, don’t answer their Emails. 

Third: When they become inflamed and punitive, have your attorney send them a letter stating that their work is sub-standard and you are shocked to find that the work that you had previously accepted was, actually, of poor quality.

Fourth: Wait. Wait for the people who were in positions of power to go away. Wait for everyone to forget the particulars and to come to “remember” the story that you have told over and over again about how this all came to pass.

Fifth: Postpone. At every turn put off and stall. Time is your friend. It is the enemy of truth.

Sixth: in order to support your false claims against the unpaid, spend some money on similar material or work. Befriend the supplier and, even if you have to damage the work of the unpaid, show the “poor” work of the unpaid to the new “paid” supplier. Now, you have made yourself a “friend” who will testify how he had to “fix” the work of the unpaid. OK now you are ready.

Now you are ready. Think of it as entertainment. You can sit and smile at the unpaid and try to get him to react. You can attack his character. You can question his judgement. You can lie. Lying is perfectly acceptable in court. Everyone does it and the court even expects it so don’t let them down, lie. 

Even if you lose, you have lost nothing, the worst case is that you must pay what you owed. More probably they will settle for a pittance of what is owed – or you might wish to appeal.

When and how did it become so convoluted? How can justice be delivered on  issues that have sat on the court’s docket for many years. It can not.

How did our justice system become so deeply broken that justice itself is but a shadow on the gilded walls of the great courtroom.

With so flawed a system, the tables favor the dishonest and the corrupt. They, and the attorneys, are the only winners in a courtroom. The honorable can only hope to get a bit of what they contracted to receive, and the contract is a worthless piece of waste paper.

From Edgar Lee Masters’  Spoon River anthology:

(Respectfully “lifted” from the “Law and the Humanities” course at the Romatre University)

  “l saw a beautiful woman with bandaged eyes

  Standing on the steps of a marble temple.

  Great multitudes passed in front of her,

  Lifting their faces to her imploringly.

  In her left hand she held a sword.

  She was brandishing the sword,

  Sometimes striking a child, again a laborer,

  Again a slinking woman, again a lunatic.

  In her right hand she held a scale;

  Into the scale pieces of gold were tossed

  By those who dodged the strokes of the sword.

  A man in a black gown read from a manuscript:

  “She is no respecter of persons.”

  Then a youth wearing a red cap

  Leaped to her side and snatched away the bandage.

  And lo, the lashes had been eaten away

  From the oozy eye-lids;

  The eye-balls were seared with a milky mucus;

  The madness of a dying soul

  Was written on her face–

 But the multitude saw why she wore the bandage.”

Justice is no longer the servant of the honorable. She has become the ally of the corrupt and the dishonest.

Can we, as a society, change so flawed and so deeply embedded methodology? Can we ever again have a simple and fair discharge of our judicial process?

Scott Cahill

A corrupt act, and an act of absolute honor.

 Long ago I was a project manager. I had built a very large building, housing a stacker for a very large corporation at their new plant. Another identical building was yet to be built and I wanted it. After the successful completion of the first building, a senior officer of this very large corporation called me into his office. “Do you want to build our next Structure?” he asked. ” Of course I do. Why would you use another contractor? The project was flawless. It was ahead of schedule. When you have a team that works well – why would you change things?” I said.

He took, from his desk drawer, a brochure. It was for a Mercedes Benz. I must have looked as puzzled as I was. I looked at it and at him. “Is this your car?” I asked. “Not until you buy it for me” he responded. “You buy me that car and you will build our next structure.” I felt my face flush. I controlled myself and listened. Finally he was finished and I responded.

“I will not build your building”, I said, but I will take this to my boss and let him know your desires, but then our relationship will end. I will not manage it or have anything to do with the project. I turned and left his office and I honestly felt sick.

I walked into the president of our companies’ office and I slid the brochure across his desk. I told the story and explained that I understood if he wished to spend eighteen thousand to make almost a million, but I would not help, except to forward my documents to his chosen Project manager. He looked at me and said “what would you do?” I said “Sir, I would tell him to shove it up his a#*.”

My boss looked straight at me, slid the brochure back and said “Take this thing  back to that son of a b., and tell him to shove it up his a%*.”Are you sure?,” I asked. “Do it” – Yes sir!

It was a twenty minute ride back to the plant and another ten minutes to get in and up to his office. I did just that. I turned with a smile and I walked away from that man and our company walked away from a million dollar payday. I was so proud that I was ecstatic. I almost skipped to my car and I drove off to celebrate, with a beer, the fact that I worked for the greatest company anywhere.

At that moment I promised myself that I would find, bid, and do enough work to make up the shortfall that the loss of that project had cost us.

Time passed and I wondered if the project would come out for bid. In a couple of weeks, Jan, my awesome secretary, dropped a package on my desk. I opened it. It was a contract for the second structure – same price as the last one. No explanation, nor even a letter was enclosed, just a contract completed and ready for our execution. The corrupt executive’s name was gone from the documents.

I built the second building and it was a great thing for the company that I worked for and for my honorable boss. Years later, looking back on those events, I often wondered if it may have been a test. Were they testing me or our company to see what we were made of, or had his corrupt ways brought the corrupt executive down, as they should.

I guess I shall never know. One thing is certain. I was a lucky guy to work for such a man a long time ago.

Scott Cahill