Thursday, July 20, 2006

Raising the Next Ken Lay

Hal Becker is one of those obnoxious sales gurus/motivational speakers who make a living telling anecdotes intended to inspire. In this week's Kansas City Business Journal, he talks about his thirteen-year-old daughter, praising her as a "Master in International Negotiation", but inadvertantly showing that he is raising her to be an unpleasant, unethical, lying thief.

First, he describes her as "a great kid who loves to play any game as long as she can win." Wow - just what the world needs now.

Then, he describes taking her to China, explaining that "the business climate there has no regard for trademark, patent infringement or copy protection. You can buy fake or perfect copies of anything from the current release DVDs to Nike shoes, Rolex watches, Prada purses or even new Nintendo DS games (which is my daughter's favorite)." Does he use this fact as a teaching opportunity about the damage that theft of intellectual property can do (he's a freaking writer, after all . . .)? Does he teach his daughter the value of holding to your own ethical standards even when surrounded by others who do not share them? Does he discuss with her the fact that the knock-offs around them may have been produced in subhuman conditions?

Of course not! He takes a "when in Rome . . ." attitude and teaches her to get away with whatever she can get away with. (Thank God he didn't take her to one of the child prostitution palaces that Rush Limbaugh is suspected of visiting with his Viagra.) He gives her $7 to steal some intellectual property.

How could this unethical, thieving daughter possibly make her father any more proud?

She lies!! He approvingly tells how she lies to the vendors and tells them that she only has $5. He is proud of her for abandoning her integrity to save a whole $2! What a great kid! Many lesser kids would have managed to negotiate without actually making a material mistatement of fact, but this young Ken Lay jumps right into the ethical cesspool for only $2.

Now, I don't mean to be a moral prig here. I won't deny that I may have an unauthorized item or two of intellectual property in my life. And I understand that standards of truth are lower in a Chinese market than elsewhere.

But I can promise you that if my father caught me lying and stealing for a $5 game, he wouldn't have praised me in a newspaper column. And, of all the reasons that I have bragged about my two wonderful children, I will never brag about them for lying and stealing.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

"Thank God he didn't take her to one of the child prostitution palaces that Rush Limbaugh is suspected of visiting with his Viagra."

Now I'm no fan of Rush; have never listened to his show, perhaps other than a blurb here and there.

But I did a Google of this Viagra matter, and found not a whiff anywhere of any suspicion of a "child prostitution" trip. That's a serious charge; care to provide ANY evidence??? Any at all?? No???

Just another cheap shot from the cheap seats on the cheap left, perhaps???

Inuendo, rumor, smear. This is acceptable? And from, I understand, a member of the bar, no less. Are you taking up XO's tactics, being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous?

Over the last week or so, your credibility has taken a serious hit, my friend. This is truly beneath you. If it's not, I have no reason to come back to this site.

7/20/2006 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Brooksider said...

Maybe it is time for a new edition of Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! Only this edition would be titled Ethical Dad, Morally Bankrupt Dad: What the Ethically Unrestrained Teach Their Kids About Letting Go of Self Respect and the Moral High Ground--That the Other Suckers Do Not!

Maybe the family dog can fill in the missing pieces on Tuesdays with Muffy.

7/20/2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The Dominican Republic is noted to be a center for child prostitution by the Bush Administration: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/iclp/tda2004/dominican-republic.htm.

Rush Limbaugh was headed to this center of child prostitution with a bottle of Viagra, in an all-male group. The possibility that he was headed to the Dominican Republic to get something he can't get here has been discussed on Salon. http://letters.salon.com/politics/war_room/2006/06/27/limbaugh/view/index5.html?order=asc

7/20/2006 9:01 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Hey Dan, I haven't payed attention to Rush since college and I really don't know much about this viagra situation (having no need for the stuff myself... ahem).

Also, I didn't follow your links so this thought is completely off the top of my head.

But as I recall Rush is quite a cigar afficianado, and the DR is pretty reknown for its cigar tobacco production.

Just sayin'...

7/20/2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

You've cited speculation, Dan, not evidence. Rush said he went to tour cigar operations. He's a known cigar afficianado. He went with all guys (not a lot of ladies like cigars). Shocking, isn't it.

My criticism stands. Rumor, inuendo, smear. Cheap shot from the cheap seats. A few letters from a Salon blog does not evidence make. The apparant fact that you're not the only one doing the smearing doesn't change the smell.

You leveled serious charges. Serious charges require evidence. You provide none. I call smear. Prove me wrong.

7/20/2006 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody's gonna call him out for talking trash on a thirteen year old girl?

nobody? nobody? nobody thinks that calling a little girl "unethical and thieving" for BARGAINING?

stop defending rush and get to the real point... this is low.

7/20/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

It's speculation - not smear - based on circumstantial evidence. Not like Rush Limbaugh has a good track record for truth telling, or avoiding felonious situations, for that matter.

I think the scenario warrants further investigation, and speculation is not out-of-bounds.

7/20/2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous GeoffE said...

In fact, as this administration has pointed out, if there's even a mere 1% chance that this is true, it would be irresponsible NOT to speculate.

7/20/2006 4:55 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Geoffe..as this "administration" has pointed out? And, just what office does Rush hold? Sounds like Bush derangement syndrome to me, at least on your part.

As for Hal Becker, I vomit. A totally worthless article about his daughter. Surely he has better things to write about concerning his daughter. But referring to her as a thieving daughter? I think not. Have you never been to a flea market right here in the U.S.? It's never ever expected that you pay full price. How the deal is negotiated varies. Really not that much different than an auction..or Ebay.

But with respect to the issue of China, now we have a different debate. The business climate there indeed has no regard for property protection, but they commit much worse atrocities, such as kill their girl babies. A despicable place. I don't ever care to go there. I would never take my daughter to such a place, Great Wall or no.

7/20/2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

My critics are missing two important points. First, buying pirated software is theft. In buying the game, she is stealing.

Second, it is unethical to lie in a negotiation. I don't criticize her for bargaining - that is fine. I criticize her for lying - that is not fine.

Emaw - if you need Viagra to enjoy a cigar, I have been completely mistaken about cigars, and I am in desparate need of more information. On the relatively rare occasions I have enjoyed cigars, I have merely smoked them. I must be missing something major.

Anonymous Me - I said he was suspected of it, and I showed that he was suspected of it. Now you want me to prove that he did it. Okay, I'll take the challenge, as soon as you provide the funding for an investigation.

Travelingal - GeoffE, I am sure, was referring to the One Percent Doctrine, from Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion during a post-9/11 CIA briefing that a perceived terrorist plot with a one percent chance of success needs to be treated as a certainty." I agree that criticism of Cheney's overzealousness is a bit of a derail, but I wanted to make sure Geoff's reference was understood.

7/20/2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Dan my man,

"it is unethical to lie in a negotiation"

Gonna have to call bullshit on that one. I think everyone involved in any negotiation realizes and expects that there is a lot of lying going on. The bigger the deal, the bigger the lies.

In fact, "negotiation" could almost be defined as "lying to each other until you feel comfortable agreeing on a truth."

I agree with everything else. The guy's a dick, he's teaching his daughter all the wrong things.

I just take solace in the fact that at 50 years old, I doubt that I'll ever wind up working for her.

7/20/2006 6:43 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

XO, my man - I strongly disagree. It is NOT okay to lie - that is a bright line that should not and need not be crossed. I've handled plenty of serious negotiations with big dollars involved, and you don't need to make an actual mistatement of fact to do so. The distinctions may be subtle, but they are important. Saying "I only have $5" is different from saying "I will only pay $5", and the difference should make all the difference in the world to anyone who takes his or her integrity seriously.

7/20/2006 7:26 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Ohhh I didn't catch Geoffe's meaning..I withdraw my comment on that one, BUT

The daughter is not a thief unless she knew the items she was purchasing were stolen..now how could she for certain know that? How would that hold up in a court of law..and by the way, are you a lawyer, Dan? Somewhere on one of your blog comments, I got that impression...just curious.

And a liar? Hmmm.. that's a real stretch in my opinion.

7/20/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Dan, I think you're splitting a very fine hair on the negotiation thing. For one thing, the quote is "All I have is $5. Wether she has more or not, that is all she is willing to pay, so for the purposes of the negotiation, $5 was the maximum. That was it. That was all.

Obviously, if she said she had $7, she would still by lying by your standard, since she doubtless has a savings account/college fund somewhere.

7/21/2006 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

Dan:

You didn't offer suspicion, you offered unfounded and rampant speculation. HUGE difference, as especially you should know.

ANY evidence at all? No? Then perhaps you should knock off the charges.

I'd expect better from you. A site I have grown to respect (though often disagree with) is rapidly falling off into tinhat territory.

7/21/2006 8:48 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...

I supose, because of his "celebrity" status, Limbaugh is guilty until proven innocent.

7/21/2006 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Well, Dan, there is certainly much more foundation for the charge that Bill Clinton is a rapist than there is for your little attack on Limbaugh.

In the future, please always identify Clinton as a suspected rapist -- because at least one of his victims has come forward.

7/22/2006 11:07 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You defenders of Rush really do need to know how to read. I said he was suspected, and he is. Game, set, match. Deal with it.

Emaw - Lying is lying. And your confusion of a statement with implied limitations with a lie makes me wonder if you can tell the truth. Every human being understands that if I'm in a bar and I say "I only have %5", that I mean that I only have $5 on me, without reference to what may be in my checking account. If I say "I only have $5", knowing that I really have $7, then I'm lying.

RWR - stop being ridiculous. If you want, on your site, to refer to the president who left our country with a surplus and had his eye on bin Laden, as a suspected rapist, that is your choice. I certainly won't, but I'll even let you refer to him in that manner here in the comments section. Nor will I expect you to refer to Limbaugh as someone suspected of paying for child sex. I fully accept the fact that he may have been flying to the Dominican Republic in the company of men and viagra to have gay sex on the beach. It's really not all that important to me.

7/22/2006 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

"I said he was suspected, and he is. Game, set, match. Deal with it."

Dan, Dan, Dan; saying it over again does not make it so. Serious charges require evidence. You've heard of that - Evidence? Not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, just evidence? ANY at ALL? You've offered speculation by a blog writer. Period. In other words, absolutely nothing. And you made the charge; the burden falls on you to back it up. You've offered nothing.

Game, set, match, indeed.

It's not about defending Limbaugh. As I said, I don't think I've head his show for a decade, at least. It's about the common decency of not leveling serious charges without some foundation. RWR is exactly right; there is more actual support for the proposition that Clinton is a rapist than that Rush visited child prostitutes. I'd therefore fully expect you to put the phrase "suspected rapist" before Clinton from now on.

I'm kidding on the last one. But the point stands, nontheless.

Perhaps you should get your tinfoil hat ready.

7/23/2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Alright, AM. I don't owe you evidence, because I've proved my point that he was suspected of visiting child prostitutes. He was, and I showed it. I win.

But you keep on acting like I said that he did, in fact, visit child prostitutes. I guess you didn't do well on reading comprehension tests, did you?

Well, okay, I'll go ahead and do more than I need to do. You've got a repulsive Republican of a sort who has shown a willingness to use other people to satisfy his sick needs - a la his maid scoring hillbilly heroin for him. You've got a man who does not hesitate to use his power over less powerful people as a way of settling his illegal cravings.

Now, you've got a guy who is traveling with viagra, without women. Why do you take viagra? To help you have sex.

So, it appears that this power-abusing asshole is traveling to the DR to have sex, while carrying illegally prescribed drugs. Why would he go to the DR to have sex with illegally prescribed drugs? Wouldn't it make sense to avoid going through customs on your way to have sex on illegally prescribed drugs?

Of course it would. So, if he were simply going to have sex, he could have gone to Nevada, where he can hire a prostitute without having to take his illegally prescribed drugs through customs. But, instead, he goes to DR, a hotbed of child prostitution, according to the Buah Administration.

Now, I'll agree that this ugly american could have other reasons to travel with men and viagra to the DR. He may have wanted to have hot gay sex on the beach with his male companions. He could have been hoping that he would meet someone new on the beach. I don't know what goes on in his head. I really don't.

The guy is willing to abuse power relationships to satisfy illegal urges. It sounds like he could be the sort to exploit a child prostitute, but I can't prove it. I sure can suspect it, though.

Satisfied?

7/23/2006 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

"because I've proved my point that he was suspected of visiting child prostitutes. He was, and I showed it."

You've done no such thing. Saying it does not make it so.

Your logic, BTW is the equivalent of "Dan went to KC, and came back with napkins. KC is a hotbed of BBQ; therefore Dan ate BBQ."

Meaningless.

And your last post says it all; it's all about Rush's politics. If Clinton came back from DR with Viagra under similar circumstances, would we be having this conversation? Absolutely not, I guarantee it.

Start folding that tinfoil hat, Dan.

7/24/2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My man Dan - you have taken a quantum leap assuming that because Rush had viagra and went to a place where child prostitution is rampant, he was looking for child prostitutes. You are better than that.

Let's break it down. Rush went on a trip with Viagra. The trip was to the Dominican Republic. What can we safely assume:

1. He either planned to have sex or just keeps the pills in his travel bag all the time.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that he intended to bring the Viagra because he planned to have sex. What do we know and what can we safely assume?

1. We know the Dom. Rep. has men, women, children and farm animals in abundance.

2. We can assume Rush planned to have sex with one of the above groups or he planned to have fun for one.

There is nothing in the above scenario that makes sex with children appear to be probable. It seems much more likely he planned to spank it or planned to hook up with a woman at a bar than your supposition.

Don't let your right wing hatred cloud your frequently keen grasp of logic and reasoning. People you detest are not automatically pedophiles. You would never conclude that a man traveling to San Francisco with a bottle of Viagra was necessarily gay simply because San Francisco has a large gay population. I don't think that scenario gives you one bit of information to conclude the man is straight or gay.

7/25/2006 5:45 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - you need to go back and read what I have written. I never said he went there to have sex with child prostitutes. Methinks thou protest too much.

7/25/2006 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - I don't think I missed a thing. You gave new life to the statement that Rush was suspected of visiting a child prostitution palace with his Viagara. No, you didn't say he did it. You just said he was suspected of having done that. If you didn't mean to imply it, why did you say it? Because you wanted a reaction - but I never thought this blog was about unsupported sensationalism. You could well have made the same point by saying you were glad the man did not bring his daughter to a child prostitution palace which is commonly found in the Dominican Republic. I don't think you can articulate a single reason for spreading that malicious rumor about Limbaugh other than your dislike of the man. Heck, you were kinder to Jan Helder who was convicted of a sex crime.

7/26/2006 2:43 PM  

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