Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2011 No. 3


Treason, Tyranny, Folly


This issue contrasts the work of the private sector, Ucross Foundation, with that of the direction of our federal government rendered below.  In its transition from principle democracy founded under the dynamic principles of the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution as amended, under the Bill of Rights, predominate in our first two centuries but presently, non-productively gridlocked to the tune of “we are poor little sheep who have lost our way, bah, bah, bah”.  This issue contrasts the freely volunteered and supported purposes depicted and celebrated in the dedication and ceremonial activities of July 1st through 3rd at the Park at Ucross and the nearby central campus of the Ucross Foundation. 


As one enters Ucross by combined U.S. highways 14 & 16, the roadside sign reads “Population 25” where creative artists are gaining global recognition and the full campus of 20,000 acres features land stewardship and creative minds and works call us to advance both the human state of lifetime learning and deed.    


In the first segment we establish this issue, the basis for contrast in the setting of beauty and serenity, learning and expanding upon the near limitless capacities of human mind from that of the second segment depicted in this issue’s title Treason, Tyranny, Folly. 



Chapel & Park Dedication



Chapel, Park, Dedication, 30-year recognition, Artists in Residence Program


Ucross Foundation President, Sharon Dynak, led the event on July 1st with the introduction of the dedication of the small, yet beautiful non-denominational chapel for reflection and prayer.  An audience double the anticipated 100 guests were in attendance, and another estimated 200 came to the site on the 3rd of July during the Independence Day celebration.

Following Sharon’s remarks, Mike Plank was introduced, my oldest son, who en route to outstanding builder, had renovated or constructed the 14 structures comprising the Ucross campus.  Mike gave a picture of that which went into the chapel by identifying and thanking those who had performed the craftsmanship & were well represented to include the conceptualization, outstanding support of funders of the park, many present for the event.


I followed, complimenting Sharon & her management skills including participation versus the style of “command & control”, an inferior approach.


I recognized the park having inspired the financial support of the greater community including those who contributed trees and to their planting and preservation by Carol Melver, responsible for some 30,000 trees & shrubs on the greater campus of 20,000 acres under the heading of “Land & Water Enhancement & Stewardship”. 


Sharon Dynak then introduced the principal speaker, Jesuit Priest, Michael Flecky, a 30-year professor at Creighton University who had been introduced to the work of Ucross through a writing fellowship granted him fifteen years earlier under the auspices of the Artists in Residence program.  His dedication remarks were outstanding and the audience found them inspiring.  Sharon wound up the presentation and adjourned the event noting that Mike Flecky would spend the next week again working, writing and photographing at Ucross. 



Treason, Tyranny, Folly



Throughout recorded history, civilizations have risen & fallen to the accompaniment of the goose-stepping socialism, communism, Nazism.  No one knows with certainty where North America’s USA & Canada stand on the bell curve which began it’s ascent with the Declaration of Independence, now celebrated on the 4th of July reinforced by our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our revolution against colonial states imposed on us by those nations in the western and eastern hemispheres to whom the clamor of empire building once predominated.  American symbols are the American flag initially representing 13 colonies and the Star Spangled Banner sung at sporting and other events at which groups assemble.  At the Ucross Foundation 2011 celebration a wonderful rendition of our National Anthem was sung by a group of high school seniors immediately prior to the fireworks display attended by an estimated 5,000+ persons from near and far.  In the recent past our courts have ruled that burning the flag is ok with such acts often noted on television, abroad, as well as in the states by protestors.  Once more respected than feared, Americans would have made short shrift of the offenders whose “modern tactics” also include defacing public buildings of historic significance.  I am sure I’m not alone where we are on the trail evolving from gridlock democracy and proceeding down the paths of socialism, communism and Nazism.  I do believe, however, that we are far advanced in socialism and concurrently into communism, neither of which has throughout history worked. 


In an earlier Windows of 2010, I referenced the authorship of work written and distributed by 2 communist professors Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich, professors who became professors at Columbia University in New York City, plus John P. Holdren, a Harvard professor, now leading science and earth warming advisor to the President.  Subsequent to their 1977 compendium, Anne Ehrlich stumped communist groups to advance her formula for conversion to communism.  The tenancy and sequence of which have been quoted as follows “first step - cause larger cities to overspend their approved budgets rapidly to the point of bankruptcy.”  The second step, using New York as an example, one convenient practice has been that with the collaboration of the police department the base for retirement pension benefits would be tied to employment levels in the final level of compensation attained.  (With pensions based on years served weighted in their last year of compensation was pay received at the normal level compounded upward by double pay for extra duty hours and with supervisory cooperation enforcement officers on light overtime duty could earn $90-100,000 pensions at a relatively early age for the rest of the balance of their lifetimes.  The force fed city deficits lead to pressures both on states and the federal government would place additional pressure on cities and states who would turn to the federal government for added funding.)  Third, empathy would trump fiscal responsibility at the federal level increasing the margin of causing inflation to spiral. 




The decline and average performance of U.S. students and the accompanying increase among other leading nations of school performance ratings K-12 is of concern.  This is a problem contributed to by leftist democrats & conservative republicans alike.  Education and life-time learning are my top priorities.   Nor is it directly attributable to our government’s behavior.  In the United States it is, however, a rising threat notable among the following:  increasing numbers of classroom size bear on the teacher burden across the nation.  Secondly, is the burden to provide counseling assistance & motivation to students as well as parental contact, particularly in our largest cities?  An even larger factor is drug and alcohol abuse and lack of classroom discipline, sexual games amongst students, declining attendance in classes, and the necessity for students to pass through metal detectors on a daily basis in the public school systems.  The single parents of students who physically move every 3 years in search of employment or higher paying alternative employment also contribute to the rollover of teachers pre-K through 12.  For decades, pass or fail grading versus alphabetical or numerical grading has proved a deterrent within the learning process.  I inquired within an organization I initiated & heavily supported financially, I sought to learn if this were a recurring observation of teacher’s lack of authority to strongly discipline, either orally or physically, offending pupils engaged in sexual games.  In larger, public high schools across the country, I learned that teachers referred to the practice as among the problems they had encountered together with youth skipping school in favor of other daily pursuits.





To me, the role model positions in which the honorable “House, Senate Presidential appointee, and Office of Chief Executive” suggest the greater responsibility of role model leadership.  Each man or woman on the government payroll represents these high standards.  Former President Bill Clinton exemplified the worst example of moral leadership in America’s history as a role model.  In his career of political advancement to the world’s most powerful office, not only through wholesale pardons on leaving office & of personal conduct, are practices, denials, and the re-definition of sex to exclude oral sex.   Each and all were and are deplorable.  


The last two administrations fortunately do not register on this particular Richter scale.  But they do register on the performance of many students pursuit of learning.  Removal from office together with the scene of political corruption could better be served. 


Over the years I have spoken with a number of school superintendents and heads of schools and have in mind a specific head of an independent school prior to which espouses a lifetime profession as teachers in the public school system.  This particular head of school comes down hard on the union and dictates of interference in obtaining better education through the high school level.  In New York City for example, parents in pursuit of higher paying employment in a several year ago survey moved from borough to borough on average once every 3 years.  Different textbooks, computer models and course offerings varied.  Teachers suspended for a variety of reasons while awaiting discharge or re-instatement twiddled their thumbs in the “leather room” at full pay.  New York City’s school system was such a disgrace that private firms such as Merrill Lynch and the securities business and Arthur Andersen, then the largest public accounting firm, (eventually destroyed for obstructing justice) globally had school campuses on which trainees were taught reading and writing in pre-training job skill requirements.  I wish, however, to note that the students themselves in pursuit of individual skills and desired careers through diligent commitment and non-pass or fail grading can obtain an excellent education. 


Increasingly, however, with our immigration policy being an open sieve, those training in the U.S. energy profession include immigrants from abroad who now constitute approximately 60% of enrollment in advanced technology learning who plan on returning to their countries of origin to pull on their patriotic wagon.  I resent the President’s frequent below the belt shots at our industry’s outsized earnings for deeds in excess taxation in which my long delayed personal memoir will deal more substantively.  That is the type of politically inspired shot which one could best be addressed through term limits on public office holders and the avowed political correctness of referring to the office holder as the right honorable so and so, when in fact, the tactics employed are those bespeaking class warfare, middleman corruption and dishonorable designation. 


How do we reconcile the flaming arrows fired at the body politic calling for unrestricted, unlimited immigration while the duties of our able men & women attempting to limit illegal immigration performed admirably to protect those same borders from illegal entry?  Does this not demean the persons ably serving, causing conflict with the border police, and threats to Arizona, which the government seeks to overturn?  Or is the executive branch of our government seeking to appeal to the black votes of nationalities already within the United States?  Already passed socialism into communism, does this not qualify within the dictionary definition of “treason” & “tyranny”?  Is the antidote not limiting the term of office of President to one 4 or 6 year term appropriate? 


How is the floated proposal of statehood of the 51st state of the union embracing Puerto Rico, not an indication of the ends to which high office seekers will go to identify and capture the vote of Puerto Ricans within our “democracy”? 


How does the position of non-tax filing Geithner either as previous head of the largest Federal Reserve district of New York & then Treasurer of the United States, to which the Internal Revenue Service reports, hardly a probity, fail to file a tax return? 


In the current issue of Forbes dated July 18th, 2011, on pages 11 & 12 headed Fact & Comment - Steve Forbes, he writes of his recent experiences in Athens, Greece -a convention at which all but the head of state and his minions were present; housed in a leading hotel.  The second page includes a picture of crowds amassed who lobbed tear gas canisters into the hotel blinding its occupants.  What were they protesting?  Not on behalf of freedom, but for the continuation of their handouts.  The not subtle message centering on “victim freebies” is not in revolt on behalf of freedom but the road to ruin.  Germany as the strong man in the European union, with the small government of Greece, is on the leading edge of further erosion of Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy with France waiting in the wings.  The subliminal message is how far behind is the U.S. within which the frequently used analogy of “taxation without representation” is tyranny already facing possible credit downgrades of the 2 major credit rating agencies of U.S. debt instruments?  Where does the U.S. stand in the ticket line to economic oblivion waiting impatiently in the wings and when do our protests raise the concern level to the point of “out, out vile spot”?


Thank you


Raymond Plank