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Sherman H. Skolnick

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r, or putting a wing on the buzz. Even so, some Soviet writers had to flee the country. A great fairy tale is that America is the land of the free. But, telling the truth can cost you your job, your career, your personal happiness and security. Living in a good style is not free. Americans who do not own their own digs, still call the owner collecting the rent, the LANDLORD. To many thoughtless renters, Old English fear-provoking putdowns do not seem to refer to great negatives. Who notices? Law books have a section on MASTER and SERVANT. Considering themselves "losers", some call themselves wage slaves.

Close enough to the incandescent bulb of reality to sense both the light and the heat, an insider told us a story.

There once was a fellow with a famous father. Or was the elder, sinister and infamous? He wanted his oldest son to go in footsteps as planned by the Family. Sonny boy was selected to be the new head of the company, with worldwide business. The firm required someone to guide it who knew big business, politics, and how to be successful. How to influence if not bribe foreign potentates who were sources of company revenue---that had to be ingrained in the top executive.

Junior never was greatly interested in foreign business, the history of the world, even current affairs. But Daddy was in good health. And Daddy and his friends would tell him how to run the company, and avoid pitfalls. With the latest technology, Junior could get virtual face to face advice from Daddy, even if both were thousands of miles apart. Daddy would fill up the nearby executive offices with Daddy's advisers. And Daddy's circle would write the company statements for Junior to read.

As the designated head of the firm, Junior knew he had to play the part and be the front man. Yes, there were problems even being selected to be the head man. The Board of Directors, as Junior well knew, were Daddy's fixers. The Directors had big investments in other companies.

The convoluted connections were such, that the Directors had to make unholy deals---get this---with a competing firm. This trick cost 40 million dollars of off-the-books funds. Of all things, a competitor knew some inside details that could have prevented the Board of Directors from accepting Junior as the new head man. And who started the vicious rumors, that Junior was a misfit and would steer the company into a wreck? Did these terrible stories some from competitors or from some old-timers inside Junior's own company?

Junior took over as the head man in an off-year. Business was not good. The firm's French unit was causing all kinds of business problems. The frogs, as Daddy called the Frenchies, had their own commercial intelligence unit that was, of all things, compiling dirt on Junior. The purpose? TO get better commissions and shipping terms for the Paris branch.

To show they are serious, the frogs instigated two highly skilled investigative reporters to come out with a book detailing crooked business deals that Junior's home office had with their Mid-East affiliates. As the book pointed out, a top official in one of the company's subsidiaries, resigned. Why? As quoted in the book, he claimed that Junior and Daddy told him to stop asking questions about a certain family of Mid-East swindlers who were secretly in business with Daddy and Junior, and with Daddy's advisers and fixers.

In his first year on the job, Junior was told by Daddy's advisers that the company was in big doo-doo. The company, they said, in fact may simply melt down, its stock go to hell, and the firm go bankrupt. The advisers told Daddy that Junior was, after all, a misfit, and not capable of guiding the firm through a financial storm. The company's bankers wanted something done and Junior, they claimed, was not equipped to handle it.

Would the second in command of the firm agree to take over? The company doctor said the latest medical check-up showed a lot of negatives for that person.

The book circulated throughout Europe by the frogs was causing the company's European customers to be greatly concerned. Would some European television network program put the whole mess on the air? Their documentary makers were quietly in the U.S. for some time now.

The parent company's problems could spread throughout the subsidiaries. The various units of the firm have for some time been falsely showing huge profits by cooking their books. Junior was not interested to know about it. Problems like that, Daddy and his confidants would handle it.

Junior, after all, was not interested to study history. If he did, he would have known and understood Daddy's answer to the problem. When the founder of the infamous Standard Oil Trust, old John D. Rockefeller, had a business problem, what would HE do? Typically, he would bomb some of his own buildings and immediately blame it on his competitors who thereafter were the target of a witch hunt.

The pressfakers always accepted Rockefeller's version of what happened.

The higher ups in the government, those that knew about Rockefeller's scheme ahead of time, would not interfere. Even with prior knowledge, they allowed it to happen. It was the way of the real world. As always, if you want a well-fixed future, telling the truth would cost you everything.

As the company headed for financial ruin, Junior sensed something was happening. He wrote a letter resigning as head of the company. The letter started out, Dear Daddy. It told how sorry Junior was that he cannot save the company from bankruptcy and the Family from scandal. A copy of the letter was also scheduled to be sent to the Board of Directors.

Before the letter was ever sent, two of the company's buildings were mysteriously bombed. Lots of people died. Daddy arranged for the pressfakers to blame it on competitors of the company. Under the command of Daddy, Junior remained as head of the firm.

___________________________ This parable is circulating in the Washington, D.C. underground. Long-time capital reporters and editors understand it all, acknowledging it with a wink and a nod. "Henry, since you do not have a copy of the letter of resignation, our shop cannot go with this", was the way a network boss, with a false rejection in his voice, dealt with his savvy White House correspondent, both of whom have to remain nameless.