vwlogoSince the Volkswagen TDI Diesel Emissions defeating scandal hits me very personally, I thought I would address my concerns to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. CEO Michael Horn here on the Daily Diatribe.

So here goes:
19 Octobler 2015

Michael Horn
President and CEO
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

SUBJECT:  My 2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium

Dear Mr. Horn: Continue reading

Below is an excerpt from my best-selling book, “Honest Money” and is a subject I feel is very important to understand.  Please have a look and see if you don’t agree.

The First Bank

Image courtesy of Jimmy Haagenson

Image courtesy of Jimmy Haagenson

Back in the Middle Ages, they didn’t have banks. People either carried their money with them or else hid it in their houses. Some people who wanted more security for their personal wealth sought out a safe place to keep it, but the only people who had vaults or safes were goldsmiths because they naturally had a supply of gold and needed to keep it safe from robbers and thieves.

Goldsmiths started storing other people’s gold for a fee. People would pay them a certain amount per month or year for storing their gold in the vault. The goldsmith would issue a paper receipt, stamped with his personal seal, for the specific items or amount of gold on deposit with him. This was the first use of what became known in the bullion business as a “warehouse receipt.”

When people wanted to spend their gold, Continue reading

CarlFBPicOne of my rules for life is:

“Never underestimate the capacity for stupidity in your fellow man.”

A corollary to this must, following simple logic, therefore be:

“Never underestimate the capacity for stupidity in yourself.”

So here’s my story.  As many of my readers know, I live in Thailand.  What you may not know is that my wife and I bought a house in Minnesota last year.  We still live in Thailand but we’re keeping the home in Minnesota for that dreamed-of day in the future when we move back to the land of the sky-blue waters.

I also have a storage bin of possessions (from the “BH” or “Before Helen” period of my life) that are still in the storage bin I rented several years ago.  These items are not all moved into the new house because, well, there’s a lot of stuff there and I don’t want to just dump them in the new house because then I’d spent my painfully short vacations going through stuff and I’m not ready to do that yet.

In aviation, we say that an accident is usually the result of a chain or series of mistakes or poor choices, and I think that’s true in all endeavors.

First mistake:  Take the keys to the storage bin to Thailand. Continue reading

THAI USA FLAGAs I was winding up my one and only tour in the Foreign Service of the United States, I was invited by a friend to attend a dinner in Bangkok with a group of senior Thai Police Officers.  There were about eight, at least half were four-star generals, and I was the only foreigner at the table.

At this point in Thai history, there was an election underway and lots of discussion and debate about the different parties’ methods of winning votes.  One getting a lot of attention in the press was the practice of swooping into a town around election day and just paying cash to residents for a commitment to vote for the candidate of “their” choice.  (a practice that, regrettably, has not been completely eradicated).

While this distinguished group of gentlemen discussed the topic over dinner, I just listened, until one bald-headed general turned to me and asked, “So Carl, do you have vote buying in America?”

Gulp…
Continue reading

screamingreenmachineIn the interest of full disclosure, I warn you that this story is a bit of a meandering tangled web but I promise, on my honor, that I will put it all together for you at the end.  Please don’t read ahead.  It will be worth it.

The story you are about to read is true.  None of the names have been changed “to protect the innocent” because with only one exception, there are no “innocents” involved!  
Continue reading

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