Monday, June 30, 2008

Illusory criticism

Following up on my post regarding WMC, Tom Foley says that I have called Epic's statement that it does not want to do business with WMC a "threat" and suggested that J.P. Cullen submitted to it without evidence and, in fact, in the face of evidence to the contrary.

The evidence to the contrary is Paul Soglin's statement that J.P. Cullen withdrew because of dissatisfaction with WMC. But, of course, Paul Soglin isn't J.P. Cullen and "evidence" from him. as I am sure Tom knows, is either incompetent or hearsay.

Here's what we actually know. Cullen does lots of business with Epic and, contra Paul Soglin, their withdrawal from WMC was not accompanied by any criticism of the group. Instead, Dave Cullen said he wanted to manage his business "to the benefit of our valued clients" and said, again contra Soglin, that "I continue to support the ideals of the organization to promote a healthy business climate for Wisconsin, and it is my intent to continue to advocate for sensible public policies that will benefit both the businesses and people in our great state."

Tom says that I "imagined" the fact of threat and submission, quoting me as if this is what I wrote. This is strange. When I used the phrase, "I can imagine" it was followed by the words "under which Epic's threat - and J.P. Cullen's submission to that threat - may provide support for a constitutional challenge." What I was imagining was legislation that would attempt to put additional disclosure requirements on groups like WMC for which a constitutional challenge would be aided by the Epic/Cullen affair. My point was that the desire of Soglin and others for additional regulation may ultimately be impeded by their encouragement of this kind of boycott.

The only other thing I imagined was a boycott of businesses that supported Planned Parenthood - an organization who some people are every bit as upset with as Soglin and Faulkner are with WMC. My point was that, although one has the right to do this, it is susceptible to fairly substantial escalation.

And that's why it tends to stress the social fabric.

9 comments:

illusory tenant said...

Well, perhaps we're both conflating a couple of distinguishable questions here but I must say I'm loving that post title.

By the way, do you think Mr. Cullen reads your blog? If so, may I post my résumé here?

John Foust said...

I suppose we'll have to wait for the future post that explains how WMC's involvement in the Supreme court race strengthened the social fabric and improved the quality of discourse, and how this benefit trickles down on all citizens.

Dad29 said...

From the other thread's combox:

All I am inferring from that is a requirement of evidence for "threat" and "submission to that threat," which you haven't provided

Thus spake Mr. Foley.

Only the wilfully blind and deaf could miss the cause/effect of Epic's statement and Cullen's withdrawal from WMC.

30 years ago, I would have believed that there was no connection--rather, that Mr. Cullen had undergone a Damascus-Road conversion.

But maybe IT's just a young'un.

illusory tenant said...

Threat, dear old Dad, is a term of art meaning, an intent to inflict harm or loss. Unsuccessful bidders suffer neither. If they do, then either they made a misstep themselves, or else they shouldn't be in business.

It's evidence of "threats" and "submissions to those threats" I was asking for, and haven't seen any yet.

Thirty years ago speculation and 25 cents would have bought you a cup of coffee, nowadays there is Starbucks.

John Foust said...

Starbucks? I thought it was Fourbucks.

Epic says “… After careful consideration, we made a decision to try to work only with vendors that do not support WMC with its current management. This was not a decision we made lightly, but believe it is the right thing to do.” Isn't this a rather watered-down "threat"? (Reminds me of the recent food-stamp riot.) Is the problem that Epic is bring frank and open about the factors it weighs when making business decisions, as opposed to, say, other companies that very well may examine whether a company is a member of WMC or which candidates their CEOs supported in the last election?

Isn't it possible that most of Epic's vendors are not WMC members? I'll float other possibilities: There exists a spectrum of opinion among WMC members. It may be possible that WMC's figureheads and staff aren't accurately representing their membership. For example, as Soglin has pointed out, manufacturing members ranked taxes their seventh-most concern. While WMC may have nearly 4,000 members, many of them may not regard it as recreational politics. As one WMC board member put it, tooting his own horn along the way, CEOs already spend 120% of their time on their companies, so WMC's staff steers the bus. What exactly would a WMC course adjustment or management shake-up resemble? Perhaps other WMC members have critical views, but they're afraid of - gasp! - WMC-style smear tactics on their business if they're quoted in the paper.

Dad29 said...

an intent to inflict harm or loss

And yanking $200MM of put-in-place construction contracts is not "harm or loss"?

I agree that Epic did not say to Cullen that 'unless you quit WMC, you can pick up your trailer from our site and go home.'

Dad29 said...

By the way, 30 years ago, gasoline was $0.40/gal--the same price as cigarettes/pack at the time.

Coffee was 15 cents--a quarter if you purchased from a vending machine.

illusory tenant said...

And yanking $200MM of put-in-place construction contracts is not "harm or loss"?

One more time:

Does anybody have any evidence that Epic Systems "threatened" to pull JP Cullen's contract for Buildings H & K?

Or that David Cullen's decision to withdraw from WMC was prompted by Epic's "threat" to rescind existing contracts?

Or even that Mr. Cullen's decision was informed by the prospect of failing to secure future contracts -- or extras to existing contracts -- with Epic?

Anyone? Bueller?

illusory tenant said...

Coffee was 15 cents--a quarter if you purchased from a vending machine.

I didn't start drinking coffee until I started working in construction, which was more like 23 years ago.

I don't know much, but I do know something about the construction game and trust me, there are many ways for owners to harm contractors, but simply informing a contractor that you're reconsidering the process by which you're going to evaluate future bids ain't one of them.