Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2012 No. 9


Often it’s helpful to look backward in the mirror of time to assess that which may be positioned to overtake us.  Many have reflected the phrases from Harry Truman, the wisdom of whom is relevant sixty years after first impacting history and U.S. consciousness.

“The only thing new in the world is the history we haven’t read.”  Not quite accurate, the phrase omits the major impacts of technology that connect the globe daily but accurate enough to caste enlightenment on major global and U.S. challenges.

His second quotation, “The buck stops here” was recently quoted by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, as she was led by Obama to the podium to comment on the Benghazi terrorist attack, took responsibility for the tragedy which had made the circuit around the world, to the accompaniment of “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” centuries ago, and the U.S. looked the other way in 1941 to cover up, possibly, the impending attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, seventy one years ago.  Together the two Trumanisms seem to fit well into the “babies crib” which rolled over American minds on November 6th, 2012.

Presumably most Americans, among the sixty to seventy million on T.V. were, like myself, glad that the campaigning and after a billion dollars of political advertising from both sides of the aisle, were over.  I retired at 10:30 p.m. (12:30 Eastern Time) the clear choice made.  Over the next two days, I was interested in the commentary, and particularly so while watching some of the responses.  I should consider where the next steps related to investments and tax consideration to seek in behalf of donor funds and for the non-profit small world in which I might make a small difference.

Anecdotes:  A bright younger Fox T.V. reporter noted, “I began to run down the list of countries to which I might move, after thinking about England, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, and Italy, I decided on Texas, the spirit of which moves us.  So I decided I’d sell my machine gun and look for a tank.”

In speaking with a close friend in South Dakota, whose wife has suffered with cancer, and sought help for several years, my friend noted that in speaking with two specialists November 7th, they sought alternatives to serve their needs other than Obama Care which would drive up costs versus benefits to a point beyond present mounting difficulties.

From Nebraska and of the medical doctors who had fled Cuba years earlier for liberty, two were making their plans to head to another Latin American country, Panama.

The Wall Street Journal reported a businesswoman, who believes in paying her bills, cancelled remodeling her kitchen and negotiated her way out of her contract.

I notified a contractor who had performed excellent service of reroofing my house after forty years, that I could not accept a several month delay to also reroof my garage unless he could schedule the work in the next thirty days.  A day later he called, having adjusted his schedule and the work is in progress.

A week before the election, having decided to move up tax planning and securities transactions, the primary consideration was the amount of funds available to primary charitable interests before government grabbed a larger share via taxes.

Approaching the deadline the data were being assembled earlier this year than usual, and I was going to need fast responses.  Those addressing the problem didn’t think a turnaround could be affected by November 5th, the day before the election.  Noting I hoped they could get the job done on time, I observed, “Okay, I know you will if you can.”  Somehow they did, and the Dow went down 330 points the day after the election, and 170 points the day after – a total of 500 points.

Now, I can cogitate long term, frequently contrarian strategies. Yet, I fail to appreciate why our State Department did not act on a timely basis at Benghazi, given the killing patterns of slaughter followed by those over decades who have repeatedly demonstrated their hatred of Jews and America.

Several years before 9/11 and the Twin Towers slaughter following the planned killing of Germans, two friends and I had flown commercially to Argentina where Jew haters burned out several blocks of small Jewish shops and homes in Buenos Aires, killing hundreds, and causing the second day closing of airports and delays to travellers from the country, of which we were three. 

The destruction, of course, was on the date of similar, less deadly terrorism several years earlier; clear in my memory because Apache folks were looking to evacuate us by boat up the coast.  I requested that measure not be taken.  Benghazi fits a nauseating pattern, with ample warnings not to have written off American lives by turning our backs on fellow countrymen. 

If the cover up be clear, where are the lessons to learn that may be applied to America’s future?  For this “Windows” I want to cover “why” which invariably translates into “motive” for the Raymond Plank Library and Museum, and the third vision and mission from “Center for Land Stewardship” to “Center for Learning” which in its mission statement can readily encompass “land stewardship:” a worthy thirty year on-going objective.

Library is for papers and documents harvested over the past six or seven decades.

Museum is for artifacts and collectibles tied to the documents. 

The Center for Learning is the nexus where the three come together.  What the center is not intended to be is a dogmatic opinion center, but rather for those who spend time, thought, and energy for what they believe holds value for them in their lives and our country in the decisions we make.  There being such persons, it’s my hope and intent that their life time learning may provide stimulus for fuller, happier lives than that phase in which we are in November 2012, a box/canyon, driven by gate keepers who might better be situated in outer space than among us. 

Given “it is what it is,” our challenge, I sought and seek to portray in my memoir, “A Small Difference,” I hope to be better able to advance the hope, and confidence, which can accompany the remarkable capacity of the individual.

Raymond Plank

November 12, 2012