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…
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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!  
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Do you have any ancestors who are of Indian descent?

Do you have any ancestors who are of Indian descent?

The crew and I arrived yesterday in Bangalore to the most unusual welcome.

Starting with my first visit in 2011, I’ve been to India six or seven times, each time using the same five-year, multiple-entry, tourist visa I got in 2011.  Each time has been as part of the crew of a non-commercial, private flight.  (no charter or ticket paying passengers or cargo involved).

This time was different. Continue reading

That’s right.Time To Vote

It’s never “time” for a woman president.

It never has been and it never will be.

Just like it never was “time” for a black president, an Asian president, a Hispanic president, a gay president, a Native American president, or a transgender president.

Or a white president.

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Every needless death is a tragedy.  Let me repeat and amplify that.CarlFBPic

EVERY NEEDLESS DEATH IS A TRAGEDY.

It is not the purpose of this article to imply that one who dies in a car accident, from heart disease, or is killed by a criminal is any more or less dead, or their loss is any more or less tragic for their families, regardless of their age, than Continue reading

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