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Tag Archives: Afghanistan

How a speech at Arlington Cemetery changed my views on personal finance

The amphitheater at Arlington National Cemeter...

The amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery just across the Memorial Bridge from Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The invite was a highlight in a professional career to have the honor to speak at Arlington Cemetery to the military families impacted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The speech was to address families who lost a spouse during the war, or a spouse was injured severely and recovering at Walter Reid Army Hospital. The year was 2009, and the impact of the speech would be a cumulative effect to events in my recent past to become an advocate of change in personal finance.  The failings of people in personal finance are not always a failure in the responsibility of a person. My speech was the way to rebuild financially in asymmetrical techniques since the loss of a spouse on the battlefield due to grave injury or by sacrifice of life, and I could connect to the audience listening to the words and watching the presentation. A survivor of an illness that lasted 24 months made me empathetic to the situation.  The audience members and I could not be responsible for the unexpected path of life. I was having a second discussion during the speech about the importance of Trigonometry is in warfare, Algebra is important in passing assessments for employment, but personal finance is important in the quality and stability in life. Why all Americans aren’t provided the education and integration as part of the education curriculum?  These audience members would not be looking for a stranger to show them the basics.

As the speech concluded, time was made after the speech to meet in private with the military families to address any issues of financial concern that assistance could be granted. The stories were heartbreaking as the shame of individual situations were almost overwhelming. Surviving a medical illness or a death of a loved one are scenarios with emotional grief and challenges alone. A personal reflection in surviving an illness for 24 months was being kept alive to be pecked to death by vultures and defending my character against being incapacitated. The military families were experiencing a worse hurt that I could ever imagine. The greatest cause is service to your country, but service to your country was the catalyst for the catastrophic situation of today. Bill collectors or some potential employers do not have any empathy toward the situation. Service to America is honor, but our society has a different value on honor, being a survivor, and starting over especially some creditors and some employers. Everyone is a deadbeat no matter the situation or circumstance. These stories and my own experience made me realize that personal finance is such a crisis in our country, and a seed of passion was planted on that very fateful day.

Furthermore, the experience at Arlington Cemetery was a game changer personally and professionally. I assisted around 15 military families with certain situations in weeks after the speech. The appreciation for small amounts of assistance of my part was amazing. That day did change my mission and goal in life. The creation of a new financial future where people are the center of the financial model, where education is available to children with a goal of financial literacy by 18, personal finance access and choices by everyone, products and technology to the customers to have alternatives in the marketplace, and creation of a new business startup model to negate credit or investors in a business startup.

As a result, this year is ending but the goals of the aforementioned paragraph are coming to fruition. The personal sacrifice has been pushing and pushing taking time away from the more profitable items in life. Several individuals were working in this collaboration, and there is a profitable side to what is being implemented. The purpose was the gift of financial literacy, empowerment, and quality to millions. One person was discussing anything that would benefit their children as the country falters on the brink of collapse for the future generations would be supported with every effort possible. Another person was describing the horrible situations being presented in their work environment, and our goal is to enrich and assist millions of people to restore the future for our children.  What is being attempted in bringing a drastic change to the status quo in personal finance is not prestigious. Our efforts were delayed because these two advocates are not part of the project anymore. My passion is true, and my goal is still the same to bring the customer back into the center of personal finance. Our policymakers and financial services companies have failed in these aspects. The future of technology and passionate people are the hopes to restore quality in empowering the customer in personal finance.


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Super Tuesday Blues: Charlie Wilson’s legacy in comparison to the political leadership of today

Charlie Wilson’s War Trailer courtesy of MovieClips on You Tube

Charlie Wilson’s War was the unmasking of one of the true stories of the behind the scenes efforts by many to hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Congressman Charlie Wilson was the individual to make the War in Afghanistan for the Soviet Union   into a Vietnam nightmare for the communist regime. The story was not public knowledge because of the man behind the operation. Congressman Charlie Wilson was the over the top (movie does capture how over the top) 12 term Congressman from Texas that liked drinking, women, and alleged illegal substances. Congressman Charlie Wilson would be thrown out of Washington, DC on his respective ear. The bad behavior was the other side of Charlie Wilson as his love of country and respect for the principles of this country was the triumph card over all in his life. Charlie Wilson’s antics would not the everlasting legacy of his political leadership, but his involvement was paramount in bring down the Soviet Union.

In the times of peril, America had to utilize every resource of talent in leadership, and those times did require more unorthodox people such as President Abraham Lincoln and Congressman Charlie Wilson. Both men would not be tolerated in today’s political environment, but both men did play a role in keeping America secure for the future generations to enjoy. Our current political leadership in Congress does not publicly act so out of the mainstream as Abe and Charlie, but the legacy of this generation’s political leadership is the approaching  financial ruin due to fiscal madness in Washington, DC. Our politicians may be transparent in bad behavior as being publicly drunk or chronically depressed, but the legacy of this Congress is nothing less than moral culpability in the decline of the American society for the future generations to come. Super Tuesday Blues are knowing the status quo is alive in the halls of Congress, and the full speed ahead to the path of financial ruin is real as the debt ceiling worries are rearing again. Holding out for hero at this point may be nothing less than wishful thinking.

Content by: Donny Wise @ donny-wise.com


Charlie Wilson’s War: When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Written By Martin Frost

Published December 17, 2007


  • The real Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson

    The real Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson

  • Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a rogue CIA agent in the new film, 'Charlie Wilson's War.'

    Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a rogue CIA agent in the new film, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War.’

  • Actress Julia Roberts plays the love interest in 'Charlie Wilson's War.'

    Actress Julia Roberts plays the love interest in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War.’

Some times truth is stranger than fiction.

My guess is that a significant number of people who see the new movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” about the exploits of my former Congressional colleague from Texas, Charlie Wilson, will walk out of the theater shaking their heads thinking that Hollywood made all this up. It simply couldn’t be true.

Well, folks, it is true. All of it. Congressman Charlie Wilson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee for much of his 24 years in Congress representing a rural district in East Texas, single handedly convinced Congress during the 1980’s to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to finance a covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The money went to provide weapons for Afghan rebels who drove the Soviet Army out of their country, humiliating one of the two greatest armies in the world and contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.

What makes the story even more incredible is that Charlie Wilson was a rake — a fun-loving Congressman who liked whisky, beautiful women and, allegedly, an occasional dose of recreational drugs.

Tom Hanks plays Charlie and, if anything, portrays him in a somewhat subdued way. If Hanks had really come over as outrageous as the real Charlie Wilson, absolutely no one would have believed the story. Julia Roberts plays Charlie’s Houston socialite love interest — a born-again beauty who first interested Charlie in the cause of the rag-tag Afghan resistance force. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the rogue CIA agent who showed Charlie how to actually get the arms to the Muslim Afghans without causing an international incident. Would you believe that he devised a plan to use the Jewish state of Israel as the middleman?

Before Charlie took up the cause of the Afghan resistance, no one was providing them the sophisticated weaponry needed to shoot down Soviet helicopters and to blow up Russian tanks. Charlie basically traded every chit he had accumulated as a member of the Appropriations Committee over his Congressional career by doing favors for other Congressmen (many of whom were liberals from the North East) in exchange for his project of defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Thanks to Charlie and the courage of the Afghan rebels, Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam.

Several things make this a great movie: (1) it is true; (2) it does not try to hide the fact that Charlie Wilson had large faults that probably would have made it impossible for him to accomplish something like this today (20 years later); and (3) Hanks, Roberts and Hoffman have real star power and play their roles perfectly. Hoffman is simply brilliant in almost any role and this has to be the best performance of Julia Roberts’ career.

Charlie pulled this off in the era before 24-hour cable news. CNN was in its infancy. FOX and MSNBC didn’t even exist. Charlie’s foibles probably would have been exposed in great detail in the new media environment and he might have been driven from public office before he could ever have performed this great service to the country.

It is certainly possible that the Soviet Union ultimately would have collapsed even if it wasn’t humiliated in Afghanistan, but Charlie Wilson’s successful personal war may have accelerated the timetable.

The real tragedy of all of this was that the United States walked away from Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out. We refused to provide vital educational and developmental aid to the new government which eventually was replaced by the extremist Taliban.

Charlie tried to persuade Congress to provide this economic aid after the military aid was successful, but even he couldn’t accomplish that. The movie shows this effort and concluded with a quote from Charlie about how we lost a golden opportunity to avoid Muslim extremism. He was right then just as he was right in helping drive the Soviets out of the country.

This is the type of movie that should be seen by people of all ages because it is truly an inspiring story. However, there is enough nudity and profane language that it couldn’t come close to a “G” rating. The nudity really wasn’t necessary to the story but you couldn’t eliminate the strong language. It wouldn’t have been credible in a sanitized version.

So here it is — warts and all. “Charlie Wilson’s War” is a wonderful story, well told. I loved the movie and I am one of the people who believe that Charlie Wilson is a great American.

Respond to the Writer

Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a partner at the law firm of Polsinelli, Shalton, Flanigan and Suelthaus. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317196,00.html#ixzz1oMFt2bbr

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