Monday, September 2, 2013

The Real History of The United States: Just Follow The Money

G. Edward Griffin
I've just completed G. Edward Griffin's book "The Creature From Jekyll Island" and I must admit I feel a bit duped.   Like many Americans, I always thought that the Federal Reserve was federal or government bank holding US reserves.    Well, I've learned that the Federal Reserve is not federal and doesn't hold reserves.  In fact, as Griffin lays out so well, The Federal Reserve Act was authored by a banking cartel in 1913. 

From its inception, and because it was authored by America's biggest bankers, The Federal Reserve Act put the big banks in control of American banking.  It also gave the Federal Government the ability to create money from nothing which resulted in inflation (an invisible tax) that, to this day, most Americans don't understand.  "Jekyll" lays out a history of money's involvement in war that is beyond chilling. 

After reading this book, I have a new understanding of the history of both money and the world.  In fact, to understand the history of the world post 1400, all one has to do is 'follow the money.'   Money and banking have impacted history in ways that our school's text books never describe. 

After you read "The Creature From Jekyll Island",  I recommend spending some time on G. Edward Griffin's website,   Beyond "Jekyll", I highly recommend "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis to further solidify an understanding of "bankers behaving badly." 

It's interesting to note that politicians on both sides of the aisle are largely silent on the topic of The Fed.  I suspect that some don't understand the issue while others do understand but don't want to touch the topic.  Fortunately, in the 2012 primary season, Ron Paul helped to increase awareness regarding the corruption of The Fed.   But this is only the beginning.    In order to demand change, mainstream America needs to read and understand this book.   Due to its length, I recommend listening to the new audio version, available on Audible

Now that I've read "Creature from Jekyll Island", I want to know more.  As a result, I'm getting my hands on everything I can find on the topic.   At my company, McQ Media, we're in the planning stages of developing several radio specials regarding The Fed.   I'm especially interested in putting this story into digestible podcasts and short video features.  I'll report back with updates in the near future.  

Until next time, buckle up, this is going to be very interesting.

Pete Thomson
Twitter:  @pwthomson

Editor's Note:  Pete Thomson is President/CEO of McQ Media, a Dallas based advertising and marketing firm.   Thomson is involved in consumer advocacy journalism and serves as host of The Consumer Team radio program, broadcast on KRLD Radio, Dallas.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Best Summer Memories....Family Vacations in Clear Lake, Iowa

My Brother Steve at Hilltop Pool
For a kid, a great summer vacation doesn't have to be a European trip that costs 5k per person.  Growing up in "America's Hometown" Charles City, Iowa both my mom and dad operated retail businesses.   Time off was tough to find, but we always seemed to find 3-4 days a couple of times each summer for a family vacation.   Our favorite destination was Clear Lake, Iowa.   Clear Lake was less than an hour's drive from Charles City, but for us kids, it was just as exciting as a summer in Europe.

Our favorite place to stay was 'The Hilltop Motel' which was operated by Al and Louise Allen, good friends of our family.   Clear Lake and the grounds of The Hilltop were full of places to explore:  The Dairy Queen was a favorite.  And there's no better meal than a foot-long hot dog after swimming all day.   Just across the street was the legendary Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly played his last show.   Although I was too young to attend concerts, I watched with great interest as bands like Tommy James & The Shondells, The Grassroots and The Guess Who all came through town to play The Surf.

In Chicago with my son Mac (2004)
One of our most memorable Clear Lake adventures was during the summer of 1968, a year of political and social turbulence.  In August the country was on edge after the violent Democratic National Convention in Chicago.   Woodstock was happening.  And in Iowa, there was a powerful rumor circulating that The Hells Angels were going to come rolling into Clear Lake to 'take over' the town over Labor Day weekend.  People got so worked up that the Governor of Iowa called out the National Guard to protect the town.  I was 11 that year and remember being very excited to see military jeeps and personnel all over town.  Nothing materialized as far as the Hells Angels...but us kids got some great memories out of the deal.

As a dad I've thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my son on vacation.  We make it to Iowa at least once a year...usually over July 4th.  And this year, Mac's really excited about going to New York City for the first time.  More on NYC as the trip unfolds.  Until then, I hope you have a great summer that includes some vacation time with your family. 

-Pete Thomson

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Remembering Mom

My mom passed away nearly 20 years ago.  I think about her in some way every day.  On Mother's Day I think about her a lot.
Mom With Baby Steve

Mom was Always There.  And not just the obvious things like rocking you to sleep at night.  My mom had a way of being really connected to each of us kids.  She had keen sense for when one of her kids was troubled with something.  She could tell when I was the least bit upset purely from body language.   

Mom was a Teacher:  Her class room was the dining room table, where she set up 'camp' most days.   Problems with homework?  It got handled in the dining room.  Issues with a girl friend?  Again, the dining room.  I learned how to write in the dining room.  Mom taught all of us the art of writing at a typewriter.  Each of us had our own Underwood typewriter and Mom was always there to proof our latest short story or piece for the school paper.  Mom also loved to read.  She was often reading 2-3 books at one time.  I read a lot because of my Mom.

Heading To Work With Grandma Fan McQuillen
Mom was Funny:   You had to get to know my mother to understand her sense of humor.  She wasn't particularly outgoing.  In fact, she avoided parties and social situations, preferring to be at home with her family.   But around the people she was comfortable with, she was very, very funny.   She was well read and had a sort of sophisticated, off beat and cheerfully caustic way of talking about life.

Mom Made Life Fun:   Whether it was telling very interesting and creative bed time stories or taking us out on daily drives around town, Mom always found ways to make our lives fun.  Some of her bed time stories, like 'The Witch in the Chevy 2' were funny and very original.

Mom Sacrificed:   Mom majored in journalism at The University of Iowa.  Her dream was to be a writer for New Yorker.   And, she was smart enough and good enough to have made it to a high level in the writing world.   Still, because she put others ahead of herself, her dream didn't happen the way she had planned.  She gave up the bright lights of the city to stay home in her hometown of Charles City, Iowa where she could be with her mother, run her own business and start a family.  
First Communion With Mom

Mom Taught Us About Business:   Both of my parents owned their own businesses on Main Street in Charles City.  As the owner of Janan's For Young Ages, a children's clothing store, Mom was decades ahead of the explosion of women-owned businesses.   Mom and Grandma Fan worked the business together for many years.  Most days after school all of us kids would head down to Mom's store to catch up on the news of the day and bum a quarter from Grandma for a Coke.  What we didn't realize at the time was the education we were getting about small business and balancing a career with a family.  One of my favorite memories as a child was 'going to market' with Mom in Chicago at The Merchandise Mart.  

Mom Loved Unconditionally:   No matter what you did, Mom was always there.  And through the tough days growing up, knowing that she was there was the greatest comfort and security a kid could ever have.

When I consider all these things about my Mom and realize that not all kids had mothers like mine, I know that I was truly blessed.

So as we celebrate Mother's Day 2012, a toast to you, Janan McQuillen Thomson, my Mom.

Pete Thomson
Twitter:  @pwthomson

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions Made Simple....3 Words!

If you're like a lot of people, you start the new year gung ho about your goals and dreams.  New Year's Resolutions are often shared with other family members, published in blogs, on Facebook and Twitter, but almost never accomplished.  Why?   We don't identify the small. incremental daily activity that make achievement possible.

I really like blogger Chris Brogan's latest piece on setting New Year's Resolutions.  Instead of specific goals, Brogan suggests selecting 3 words that embody a direction you want to take your life.  For example, you might want to lose weight, improve your relationship with a family member and get control of your finances.  The key words for these goals could be Health, Family and Focus.   Instead of setting specific goals, select a word that describes the direction you want take your life.    Then, every day, try to do do something that supports that area of your life.

Kudos to Chris for introducing this concept.  It's simple but it has the potential to help us get closer to realizing those goals and resolutions that never seem to materialize.

By the way, my 3 words are:   Focus, Health & Family

What are yours?

Happy New Year 2012.

Pete Thomson
Twitter:  @pwthomson

Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Tis the Season for Christmas Movies....

Christmastime is here!  One of our family's favorite aspects of the holiday season is the chance to gather round the fireplace and watch Christmas movies.   Here's our family's list of 'The Best of Christmas Movies'. 

I didn't see any of the Home Alone movies when they came out in the 1980s.  I was busy being a single guy in Dallas.  However, once my son was born in the late 90s, we quickly discovered this iconic Christmas movie and all of its sequels.

McCauley Kaulkin plays a great cute kid who has to come up with devious ways to fight off the 'Wet Bandits'.  But the real stars of these films are Joe Pechi and Daniel Stern who play the best 'bad' guys I've ever seen in a comedy.

Home Alone's soundtracks have become a standard part of our Christmas listening.  From the compostions of John Willams to the Christmas classics, these are worth the price.

Tim Allen....Mr. Christmas
Between The Santa Clause series and Christmas With The Kranks, Tim Allen has become a big part of our Christmas.   When Mac was younger, the 'Clause' movies were a big hit.  The depiction of The North Pole, especially, is so vivid.  Now that Mac's a teen, his sense of humor is more in line with the Kranks.

As much as we love the older classic versions of 'A Christmas Carol', we love Bill Murray in Scrooged.   I think it's one of his best movie performances of all time and although it's a long way from Dicken's, it captures the essense of the storyline in a very interesting way.  Great support performance by John Forsythe.

And the Award for All Time Best Christmas Film goes to.........Christmas Vacation!
Mac and I agreed on this decision instantly.   It is the funniest, feel-good, capture-the-season film I've ever seen.  Chevy Chase is at his best and Randy Quaid is hilarious as Clark's (Chevy's) white-trash, mooching, yet good hearted brother-in-law.  Each year, Christmas Vacation, is the first Holiday movie we watch.

Christmastime can get pretty busy.  We hope you can slow down a bit and enjoy one or more of these Christmas film classics.

Merry Christmas! 

Pete & Mac Thomson

Friday, November 4, 2011

The 'Feel Good' Story of The Year

Jason McElwain is a special ed student and for several years has been the equipment manager for his high school's basketball team.  On a special occasion recently, the coach gave Jason a chance to play.  What happened is unbelievable.   This story of an unlikely hero is the 'Feel Good' story of the year.

After you watch this video, please leave a comment below and feel free to pass on.

Pete Thomson

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lessons From My Dad....

Just enjoyed a Father’s Day lunch with Vicki and Mac.  They each endured my favorite Mexican ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant, El Matador, which has the best authentic Mexican food around.  (Even though the place won’t win any restaurant design or decorating contests).   Anyway the lunch was great and it was nice to be appreciated and see other dads out to lunch with their families

Each year when I call Dad on Father's Day, I try to tell him something that I appreciate about him.  Often, I’ll talk about valuable lessons he taught me through the years…and there were many.   The best lessons I learned from Dad were about business.  He is a true entrepreneur with an outstanding work ethic and a good ‘gut’ for business deals that will be winners.

Dad (L) with me, Steve, Molly & Charley
Early in his career, he recognized the value of franchising.  Indeed, even in the 50s and 60s, the mortality rate among start-up businesses was high.  (SBA still has it at over 75% after 5 years in business).  Dad recognized that in franchising you were in business for yourself but not by yourself.   Dad’s years with Ben Franklin, owning at one time up to 5 stores, were full of great memories.  During those years, all of us kids worked in the stores…as baggers, checkers and stockers.  Having to handle money at an early age was valuable as was seeing the discipline that was needed to be a success in business.  Through all the hard work, Dad made it fun.

As WalMart and K-Mart began to take over the retail world, Dad recognized that this business was not going to make it long-term.  Wisely, he liquidated his stores and turned a going out of business sale into a major profit center.   Another lesson learned:  Make lemonade out of lemons.

Next, Dad found Subway Sandwich Shops.  Back in the early 80s, everything about this franchise made sense to him.  It was the ground floor.  The corporate support was strong and he liked the franchise system that helped the business owner be successful.  So, without a day of restaurant experience, my dad and his partner went to ‘Subway U’ in Connecticut and learned the restaurant business.  20+ years later, Subway and my father have been successful.

So, as I celebrate Father’s Day, I’m very thankful for not only being a dad myself, but also for the blessings I’ve received from a dad who is a great teacher.  I hope my son remembers me in a similar way. 

-Pete Thomson