While traveling through the Caribbean Islands and Mexico it became apparent that the Spanish conquest and subsequent ownership of the major lands of the Southern Hemisphere is not looked on favorably. The current tour guides talk openly about the oppression and actual genocide this part of the world witnessed as Spain’s hunger for gold drove soldiers and mercenaries to commit atrocities that would not be witnesses again until the 1930s and 40s in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.
Some of the destruction of human life and material goods was meant to take place by the conquistadores and some was accidental. By accidental, I am referring to diseases being introduced from Europe to people in the Americas that had never seen the diseases and thus had no immunity to them. When Columbus landed he spoke of a race of large natives that welcomed him to the new world. Disease took its’ toll on these people as smallpox and other organisms killed with impunity. If you look at a map of Spanish exploration routes in America it can be seen how once-strong Indian cultures were weakened or died out where the Spanish had passed through. Disease is thought have been a main culprit. These are examples of accidental genocide where the intent was never to destroy or enslave the indigenous people.
The truly horrific acts of mans destruction of man were not accidental but acts of barbarism. In Jamaica we were told that the Spanish worked the local inhabitants with brutal tactics. We were told that women would strap children to themselves and jump off cliffs into the sea. In the Dominican Republic island of Hispaniola where Christopher Columbus landed, a massive fort was built. The first University and the first Hospital and the first Church in the Western Hemisphere were erected at Santo Domingo. While these monuments to European power and success displayed control over a new country, the successes came at a price to the local natives. One Spanish Friar wrote to Spain and stated that the original island population of 400,000 had been reduced to a mere 200 in a few decades. To renew the labor force slaves were brought to the islands of the Caribbean from Africa.
In Mexico the Spanish conquistadors traveled through the country in search of gold. Four hundred Spanish ransacked the Aztec capital and pillaged gold “like monkeys taking fruit”. Disease decimated the city. Some say that 50% died of smallpox and then the mighty Aztec nation fell; albeit after many of the Aztec enemies had joined the Spanish.
While gold and other wealth are seen as the only reason for the inhuman treatment of native America, another part of the Spanish conquest paid a part in the genocide. This was religion. The Spanish, unlike the English and French, felt compelled to spread Christianity in the new world. How sad that a religion of love and tolerance was used to suppress a noble race. The local inhabitants were not taught the religion in the hope of converting local inhabitants through the good deeds recorded in Holy scripture. Instead they were tortured and killed if they would not convert to Christianity. The great Mayan nation in Yucatan converted but privately performed Mayan rituals when away from the Spanish. When this was discovered the local Bishop ordered that all the Mayan documents be burned and thus the documented history of the Mayans was lost forever. These acts are totally contrary to the teachings of the religion and will hopefully never be allowed again. We can learn from our past mistakes.
In the end the Spanish occupation faltered and failed. After the slave labor died out and more ethical, affectionate and caring nations took on the great Spanish empire; the nation fell back to its’ original geographical boundaries. The plundered gold was gone and there was nothing left to take advantage of.
It is fortunate to live in a country that continually tries to improve on its’ current living standard. A country that advances on its’ own merits and not on the backs of other countries and a country that looks to raise the standards of the oppressed.
Today Spain is a beautiful country that has fallen into socialism with no bright outlook for the future for its general population. Let us not fall into that trap.

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THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FARMERVILLE LOUISIANA GAZETTE THE WEEK OF 5/11/2019
In 1934 America was crawling out of a disastrous depression. Known as the Great Depression, America and the rest of the world had experienced an economic downturn that had not been experienced at any other time in the modern world. This economic disaster that saw unemployment as high as 25%, began in 1929 and it was not until 1933 that America began to recover.
In 1934 communication within our nation was extremely poor as compared to the instant phone calls, texting and e-mails we are fortunate to have today. A disaster in Mid-America could go un-noticed for weeks, months or never realized unless it was reported in one of America’s major newspapers. Washington was immersed in attempts to restart the economy and bring relief to the millions of oppressed citizens. Louisiana’s own Huey Long rose to national prominence with his new political party that promised a bright future for the United States; a promise that was cut short by an assassin’s bullet. What was not understood by our leaders in Washington was that an environmental disaster began in 1934 that would exasperate the Great Depression and threaten one of the core elements of what made America great.
When the pioneers entered the great plains they discovered an abundance of plains that made farming a dream-come-true. They began agriculture and used deep plowing techniques that left large areas exposed to the elements. In 1934 drought conditions had dried the soil. This was followed by winds that stripped the top soil from the ground and led to what is known as the dust bowl. The Federal Government finally acted and in a big way but it was not until dust storms invaded Washington that it was fully realized that 100 million acres of America was being destroyed.
Today we have a current dust bowl or sorts. A crisis of monumental proportion is taking place before our eyes and many of our leaders in Washington are oblivious to what is happening in real time. It is hard to determine which is worse; ignorance of what is happening, hiding from the facts as they are presented or denying any problem to provide a skewed story for political gains.
The crisis referred to is what our nation and law enforcement is tragically encountering on the southern border of the United States. This crisis is multi-faceted. An excessively large number of immigrants are attempting to illegally cross our border. The magnitude is much larger than we have witnessed in the past. Not only is the magnitude great but the mix of the immigrants has changed. Past apprehensions made by our Border Patrol was mainly immigrant males. Today there are unscrupulous smugglers that use children to pose as a family member to allow easy entry into America. The smuggler claims the child to be family member. With limited space to hold the “illegal” immigrants, they are released in twenty-one days. Success for the alien. Instead of border control agents patrolling and protecting our borders they are changing diapers and tending to the welfare of their new-found wards. This is further diluting the protecting organizations on the southern border.
Those immigrants that are released into the entrails of America with a date to report to a local court are, for the most part, never seen again. They are here, making a living in the dark economy and sending money home so that their relatives can pay the cayotes to bring them across the border and the cycle continues.
So the question dares to be asked, “Why is this crisis on the border being ignored and even denied by many leaders in Washington?” Are some of these elected officials and their staff so oblivious to the real world that they cannot comprehend what the issue is and how it is unfolding on the Mexican border. Or are they in such a frenzy of hatred of our current president that they will sell out our country’s protection for the sake of discrediting the office of the President of the United States.
It’s time to get the heads out of the sand, quit denying there is a crisis on the border and be a part of solving the problem.

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FARMERVILLE GAZETTE THE WEEK OF 5/5/2019
When a person travels that person is continually surrounded by individuals that they have never met nor communicated with. If that traveler would take the time to speak and provide some friendly tone to a quick introduction, it will be quite amazing what will be exchanged in the ensuing conversation. The two people interacting will have an opportunity to exchange ideas and even though ideologies, race or religion may be different; common threads will be uncovered that make us so very unique. We begin to realize what makes America tick and the positive aspects that bond us together.
When in the Dominican Republic with our good friends the Davidsons on our yearly pilgrimage to learn about our beautiful planet Bonnie and I bumped into a couple one evening that had just arrived from Massachusetts. Immediately flags came up as we had met a “Northerner” that probably has opinions that would be totally foreign to anything we believe in the south.
Lesson one; don’t stereotype people and don’t let prejudice enter into preconceived notions. They were a wonderful couple and we all hit it off immediately and we had far more in common than we had differences. The one thing that came from the conversations was that America is wonderful and a great place to live.
Lesson two; ask questions and enjoy the response. Do not be confrontational with the conversation but consider it to be an exchange of ideas.
Lesson three; Listen to the exchange of ideas, evaluate what is being said and look at it in the context of what is happening within our immediate lives and also in the world as a whole. Our new friends told us about visiting Spain and how living there is not bad but there was no built in need to achieve in the normal life style. They went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. It opened an hour later than posted. Their daughter spent the summer in college there and the American students arrived five minutes early. The professor arrived about twenty minutes late but he was not the only one late; the Spanish students were arriving as late as fifteen minutes. When the afternoon siesta is over the store may be an hour late re-opening. This perpetuated throughout the country and I wondered how a country could ever progress like this and what is it that caused a beautiful country that once ruled much of the world to fall into this type of general attitude.
CNN had made a quick comment on Spain referring to it as Socialist Spain. Suddenly the light came on it was not the genetics of the people that caused the attitude. It was the political ideology. Since the 1920s Socialism had been a part of the culture of the country and it is Socialism that ultimately has taken its’ toll. When people are stripped of the laurels when they achieve and the benefits of trying and succeeding are not present, complacency replaces motivation. Also, when there is always a safety net and all purported needs are addressed by a central government there is nothing to be concerned about. A citizen receives what the government provides; nothing more and nothing less.
So where is the incentive to achieve anything. Where is the incentive to build for today and lay the foundation for the future. Why is there any reason to be in any hurry to open a store, to show up for a lecture on time or to provide the additional effort to build a nation. Socialism strips and decline follows.
When this reality of Spain hit home I understood that the last thing our great nation needs to do is to embrace Socialism. The only thing we need to do is to let the Capitalistic train run down the track pulled by an engine fueled with innovation and creativity and lubricated with the ideals of our founding fathers which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

VOTING PRISONERS?

Posted: April 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

I listened to part of Bernie Sander’s town hall meeting on CNN last week. From a personal standpoint, Bernie is a very likable individual and anyone at his age that can6 garner a large vote from the young men and women of this nation should be commended. His plans for America are very idealistic. While he is convinced that he can be the savior to provide blue skies, singing birds and peace and happiness to everyone in our country, his ideology will eventually end in the ruin of our great nation as we wallow in degradation just as Cuba, Venezuela, the former Soviet Union and other Socialist countries have suffered.
One issue that caught my attention that Bernie had addressed was allowing convicted prisoners the right to vote. He noted that it was their democratic right to be allowed to cast their vote and they should be allowed to do so. A person in the crowd asked if the bomber at the Boston marathon should be allowed to vote. He stated that we should not whittle down the list and leave some out. Everyone, including the bomber should be able to vote. Mr. Sanders is partially correct, we should not whittle down the list of convicted or incarcerated prisoners; none of them should vote.
When a person becomes a citizen of the Unites States, either through birth or naturalization, they are provided certain rights as outlined in the Constitution of the United States. One of the rights accorded a citizen is the right to vote in elections and each man’s vote is equal in weight. A mans financial status, race, religion or any other difference has no bearing on the weight of that man’s single vote. One man, one vote is the basis of our election system and the core of our democracy.
The rights conveyed to citizens of the Unites States do come with a constraint. Each person must adhere to the laws of the United States and the individual states that make up our great nation. When a person breaks a law and is incarcerated, that person loses some of the rights provided to the free citizen. These include gun ownership, traveling abroad, public social benefits and housing, parental benefits and voting.
The right to vote is a powerful right and a person giving up this right when in jail or prison is not trampling on a person’s civil rights. The removal of the right to vote is a consequence of being a bad citizen. This rule has been in place since the founding of America, so why do we need to or want to change this. Is there a new social norm that has just been realized that would lead to felons being provided with the right to vote? While Bernie Sanders may have a moral requirement to allow the incarcerated to enter the voting booth, there could also be an ulterior motive. In 2016 there were 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States. If these inmates are given the right to vote it is probable that the votes would go to whoever removed the prohibition from casting a vote. What would be next; allowing non-citizens that reside in America to cast a vote for the President of the United States.
Another question is also asked. “Should a prisoner released from jail be given back their right to vote?” The answer is “yes”. When a person is placed in jail they are done so to be punished for breaking a law. When they are released they have fulfilled their punishment and obligation to society and become free men and women. There is no reason to suppress their right to vote.

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE BERNICE BANNER THE WEEK OF 4/20/2019
When I was in elementary school I had heard the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. The body of Jesus, nailed to a cross, looking down with blood flowing from a crown of thorns was branded into ones brain.

Crucifixion is a very painful and slow method of execution. It not only tortures the person being executed but it also has a psychological impact on the local population. The public display of a human hanging from a cross while fighting to live sends shock and terror to the civilians that are intended to be oppressed.

The universal belief of crucifixion depicts a person on a cross with nails driven through the hands and feet. This in fact is an incorrect image. If nails are driven through the hands the flesh would tear and not support the weight of the body. Many may say that this contradicts the accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. In fact it does not. The Greek word for hand actually means the forearm and the hand together. When translating from one language to another and then from an ancient language to a modern language much can be lost in translation. It is most likely the nails were driven into the wrists and this would be referred to as the hand.
As horrific as driving nails through the body is, that is not the cause of death unless a person would suffer a heart attack. After a person is hoisted upon the cross the punished will remain alive for several hours to several days. When a human has the arms spread and the body is hung from the arms it is extremely difficult to inhale. The unfortunate person on the cross must try to lift himself to breath. Eventually exhaustion takes over and the condemned dies of asphyxiation within a few minutes. The fight to live is over. On occasion they would break the legs of the crucified person to prevent them from lifting themselves and thus hasten death. There was nothing humane nor forgiving about this method of execution. There is a story of Spartacus, a Roman slave that led a slave rebellion that threatened the future of mighty Rome. He was camped near a Roman legion and dared them to attack which the Romans refused to do. Spartacus crucified a physically fit Roman soldier in front of the Roman Legion. For days the Romans watched their soldier suffer in agony as he died in front of them.
Crucifixion began hundreds of years before the Romans began the practice. Persians, now Iran; and Carthaginians, now Tunisia; used crucifixion prior to the Romans but it was the Romans that took it to a new level. Carthage would even crucify its’ own generals if they would lose a major battle. Alexander the Great, conqueror of the majority of the known world, crucified 2,000 survivors from the Phoenician city of Tyre.

The Romans took a leaf from the book of crucifixion as a psychological weapon. Crucifixion was supposedly a death to be used for lower classed citizens and slaves. When Spartacus’s army of slaves was finally defeated the Romans took the 6,000 captives and crucified all of them along the Appian Way, the road leading into Rome. When Jesus was crucified the fact that this type of execution was to be used for the lowest of Rome’s population displays the contempt felt toward the religious leader. It was considered to be a disgraceful manner of death.

The Romans took joy in the executions and turned the concept into an art. Many times the convicted would be beaten in a method known as scourge. This beating would tear deep gashes in the back and the prisoner would be near total shock. So good were the Romans that they knew when to stop the beating less the prisoner would. Contrary to popular belief, the entire cross was not taken to the execution location. Instead the prisoner would carry the horizontal piece to the execution location. A four-man specialized execution team carried out the grizzly final parts of the crucifixion to include attaching the horizontal arm of the cross to the vertical member. Rome’s Constantine, the first Christin Emperor abolished crucifixion in Rome in AD 335 due to Jesus’s death by that manner.

When the person died the remains were brought down and the nails removed for future use. The body usually decayed on the cross before the nails were removed. Until 1968 no archeological evidence existed proving crucifying existed. That year the foot bone of a man that had been buried by his family was found with a nail through the bone and attached to a part of a cross.

Unfortunately Crucifixion has now returned to our planet. ISIS has been reported as crucifying Christians in certain parts of Iraq and Syria.

WHY CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG

Posted: April 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FARMERVILLE GAZETTE THE WEEK OF 4/20/2019
I will occasionally scan social media; not as a source of news but instead to get a pulse of society. It is quit saddening to see attacks on one political group or another. The venomous rhetoric discloses outright hatred that is fragmenting and tearing our country apart from within. This is not just posturizing in the public, it is a deep seeded feeling that is permeating our society. Ironically the majority of America is sick and tired of it.
Occasionally Facebook will display something positive that can be inspirational. I saw one of these posts that caught my attention and grabbed the heart strings. A small girl, maybe two years old, dressed in a simple white dress, barefoot and totally innocent was standing outdoors with her arms outstretched. The caption of the photo stated, “Can We Just All Get Along”. This lovely two-year-old, in her innocence, had captured in one short statement the epitome of what Americans long for. She displayed more maturity than many of our leaders currently guiding our great nation.
There was a time in recent years that America came together for a common good that, for a very short period of time, the world sat back in admiration at what America had done and how America had pulled the world together to save one small country. Saddam Hussein had invaded small and seemingly unprotected Kuwait. At stake was a large portion of the oil provided to the world from the Mid-East. Potentially at stake were the gigantic Saudi Arabian oil fields and the opportunity for Hussein to control the majority in the world oil. Our planet could be held hostage.
It was all over in seven months and the greatest coalition since the landing at Normandy on D-Day had successfully been completed. I had been asked to volunteer to go to a point just south of the Kuwaiti border to fight the largest oil spill ever at that time. Of course within hours of the war’s end, I had to visit Khafaji, a town that straddled the Saudi/Kuwaiti border and thus became the first civilian to do so after the war. The municipality was a ghost town waiting for the citizens to return. I wondered where the inhabitants had gone. I soon found out. When I left the job site to return to my apartment a hundred and fifty miles south I drove along the Dhahran/Safaniya highway. Cars were parked about a hundred yards in the desert. Families were living in the vehicles and waiting for the all-clear so that they could return home in Kuwait. Standing on the side of the road were small children, waving and some holding up signs. Hand drawn American flags and signs saying “Thank You America” were displayed by the smiling children. This was one our finest hour.
Unfortunately the admiration was short lived. President Bush did not garner a re-election and the rift began. Clinton did a good job of administering the country with a split legislative branch. Then his scandal tarnished the White House and polarized the government. Bush came into to power and the close election returns displayed a country that was very closely divided. The animosity grew. Social media came into the public domain and open season was declared on anything a person does not agree with. Then President Obama came to power and the polarization was complete. It was as if no one reached across the aisle to do what was right for the country and politics took priority over patriotism. Finally Trump walked into the White House and I thought this is it, we can now come together and rebuild out nation. At Trump’s inauguration address he was somewhat indignant to the seated former presidents behind him and my hopes were dashed; it was game on and the division in Washington is greater than anytime in the history of our nation.
We must discard our political biased views and look to the future of our nation and this future must be free to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” but without guaranteed handouts and a centralized big brother telling us how we live.
Can We Just All Get Along.

I will occasionally scan social media; not as a source of news but instead to get a pulse of society. It is quit saddening to see attacks on one political group or another. The venomous rhetoric discloses outright hatred that is fragmenting and tearing our country apart from within. This is not just posturizing in the public, it is a deep seeded feeling that is permeating our society. Ironically the majority of America is sick and tired of it.
Occasionally Facebook will display something positive that can be inspirational. I saw one of these posts that caught my attention and grabbed the heart strings. A small girl, maybe two years old, dressed in a simple white dress, barefoot and totally innocent was standing outdoors with her arms outstretched. The caption of the photo stated, “Can We Just All Get Along”. This lovely two-year-old, in her innocence, had captured in one short statement the epitome of what Americans long for. She displayed more maturity than many of our leaders currently guiding our great nation.
There was a time in recent years that America came together for a common good that, for a very short period of time, the world sat back in admiration at what America had done and how America had pulled the world together to save one small country. Saddam Hussein had invaded small and seemingly unprotected Kuwait. At stake was a large portion of the oil provided to the world from the Mid-East. Potentially at stake were the gigantic Saudi Arabian oil fields and the opportunity for Hussein to control the majority in the world oil. Our planet could be held hostage.
It was all over in seven months and the greatest coalition since the landing at Normandy on D-Day had successfully been completed. I had been asked to volunteer to go to a point just south of the Kuwaiti border to fight the largest oil spill ever at that time. Of course within hours of the war’s end, I had to visit Khafaji, a town that straddled the Saudi/Kuwaiti border and thus became the first civilian to do so after the war. The municipality was a ghost town waiting for the citizens to return. I wondered where the inhabitants had gone. I soon found out. When I left the job site to return to my apartment a hundred and fifty miles south I drove along the Dhahran/Safaniya highway. Cars were parked about a hundred yards in the desert. Families were living in the vehicles and waiting for the all-clear so that they could return home in Kuwait. Standing on the side of the road were small children, waving and some holding up signs. Hand drawn American flags and signs saying “Thank You America” were displayed by the smiling children. This was one our finest hour.
Unfortunately the admiration was short lived. President Bush did not garner a re-election and the rift began. Clinton did a good job of administering the country with a split legislative branch. Then his scandal tarnished the White House and polarized the government. Bush came into to power and the close election returns displayed a country that was very closely divided. The animosity grew. Social media came into the public domain and open season was declared on anything a person does not agree with. Then President Obama came to power and the polarization was complete. It was as if no one reached across the aisle to do what was right for the country and politics took priority over patriotism. Finally Trump walked into the White House and I thought this is it, we can now come together and rebuild out nation. At Trump’s inauguration address he was somewhat indignant to the seated former presidents behind him and my hopes were dashed; it was game on and the division in Washington is greater than anytime in the history of our nation.
We must discard our political biased views and look to the future of our nation and this future must be free to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” but without guaranteed handouts and a centralized big brother telling us how we live.
Can We Just All Get Along.

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE BERNICE BANNER THE WEEK OF 4/14/2019.
We do have a humanitarian crisis on our Southern border with Mexico. In an effort to find a better life in the greatest nation on the planet, men women and children are entering Mexico from Central America and traveling over a thousand miles to the American/Mexican border and request asylum in America. Most of these requests are an attempt to game the system and these individuals are truly not in such a dire situation that they must flee their country and seek asylum in America. In actual fact, international agreements require that a person seeking asylum must request the asylum in the first country the person enters; thus the Central American immigrants should apply for asylum in Mexico and not travel to the United States and apply there. While some legally apply at a border entry point; most illegally enter America, are arrested, incarcerated and eventually see a Federal judge. The judge then determines if the person should be allowed to remain, deported or requires additional investigation. If further investigation is required, the immigrant may be released and told to come back for a further hearing to which the majority never show up and are then in the land of milk and homey; America.
If a person has a child, the child can not be held for more than 21 days so the person with the child must be released and thus is free in America. This is where a major problem exists with what is happening on the border. A child walking alone from Central America may be “adopted” by an unknown adult in-route to crossing the border. The adult claims to be a parent and thus in 21 days of crossing the border the adult and child are free in America. What is even worse is when an adult has taken custody of a child with the purpose of getting the child into America and then selling the child to sex traffickers when released from detention in America. This is so sick that it is nauseating.
A trafficker will gain the confidence of the unsuspecting child. This is referred to as the grooming stage and a lone child trying to enter America is a perfect find. The child is vulnerable, scared and needs support. The trafficker then moves to the seasoning stage where the trafficker asks the child to provide sexual favors. In fear of losing the support structure, the child is obliged to do what is asked. This association then expands and the victim finds it very difficult to escape; especially in a foreign country. The child has become a sex slave. This is one reason that children are removed at the border from the “parent” who they have illegally entered America with. Instead of being the horrible monster that pulls screaming children from their mother’s arms, America is instead the country that insures the safety of the children entering our nation.
While the immigration laws will certainly be changed to allow mothers to remain with their children, that is not the law on the books today. When a person illegally enters the United States they have broken the law and are then incarcerated. When a female breaks the law in north Louisiana or any place in the United States they can be placed in a detention center. How many children go into the facility with the woman. The answer is zero and the child is placed in a place of safety. This is exactly what is happening on the Southern Border. A person enters America and breaks the law by doing so, the adult is placed in custody and the child is housed in a safe place.
There is more to the sex trafficking of children. If there was no demand there would be nothing to supply. If sick Americans were not looking for child sex slaves there would be no children trafficked across the border. Unfortunately, this shows the dark side of our society that we must take a hard line to correct. It is a complex problem and will take a multifaceted approach to correct this sick problem that makes up a small part of our society.