Mark A. Friesel mfriesel at
Wed Jun 19 11:33:25 EST 1996

On 18 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:

> Mark A. Friesel (mfriesel at wrote:
> : On Sat, 15 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:
> : 
> : Of course, your contact is either incorrect and there is a way, or he is
> : telling the truth hence he must be part of the corruption.
> Mark, FYI, I think what you've written above is true,
> which is to say that my informant IS part of the corruption.
> But he is still a powerful person both inside and outside the beltway.
> And, based upon the NY Times headlines this weekend on how the
> two parties deal with campaign finance, I don't think my
> informant can be stopped!
> Bert

Yes, we all buckle under to the appearance of power, if not the thing
itself.  The alternatives are ghastly - to spend a small fortune becoming
educated and experienced in a profession only to have your resources
eliminated because of insufficient political savvy, or insufficient 
concern with your timing.  The rewards of playing the political game, on
the other hand, may be high - being with the right person at the right
time with the right attitude and the door to your own wealth and prestige

My own point-of-view derives from my experience:

- I don't play the lottery because the odds are too long and I don't
support rewarding people on the basis of whether or not they bought the
right ticket.  Knowing someone who has won, as I do, is insufficient

- I did a special favor for a particular group at PNL on twelve seperate
occasions - from letting them use software I had written, to taking one of
their personnel who lacked funding into one of my projects, to putting the
group on to one of my contacts at FHWA.  I got no favors or assistance in
return whatsoever.  In the end, a member of this group obtained a piece of
equipment from me by lying about the need for it (he gave me a story
about how a guy was using an obsolete computer and wanted to replace it
with the new Mac I had, and for which I had other though less-essential
uses for). He took the Mac and kept it himself. Finally they sent no less
than six individuals (on about eight seperate occasions) to request
(demand actually to the extent they could) that I turn over a piece of
hardware to them.  I had no idea what they were talking about and told teh
first few so (There's more to this but nothing particularly pertinent).

- As far as Republicans go, their programs have done nothing whatsoever
for me except reduce my resources and options on all counts.

The common thread in the above examples is that the probability of return
on some investments is simply too small to be worth the time and risk. It helps
to be able to realize when this is the case, and when it's not. Perhaps
you're in a such a position that a good return on the time you invest 
stroking your contact is likely.  I am not.  Power be damned.  At some
point it's no longer possible to bend over further and you have no choice
but to stand up.

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