TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE IMPEACHMENT

Posted: December 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FARMERVILLE GAZETTE AND THE RUSTON DAILY LEADER THE WEEK OF 12/22/2019

‘Twas the night before impeachment, when all through the house
Not a congressman was stirring, not even a mouse;
The articles were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that McConnell soon would be there;
The Democrats were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of removal danced in their heads;
And Nancy in her ‘kerchief, and Chuck in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the mall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the TV I flew like a flash,
Turned on the set and listened to the trash.
The image of the moon on the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of impeachment to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and plump,
I knew in a moment it must be President Trump.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Abraham, now Richmond, now Higgins now Johnson and who knew!
On, Graves, Scalise, McCarty and VanDrew too
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
It’s time to adjourn; Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of surprises, and President Trump too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof                                                                             The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the stairs came President Trump with a bound.
He was dressed to the fours, from his head to his boot,
And his wife was with him, so elegant and cute;
A bundle of agreements he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a President just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the hair of his head was turning white as the snow;
The stump of a pen he held tight in his hand,
And the power it emitted was anything but bland
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know the Dems had everything to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
His team was in place in order to teach
It takes true crimes for Congress to Impeach.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the stairs he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT,  WITH A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO ALL REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, LETS END THIS DESTRUCTIVE FIGHT!

Merry Christmas everyone and may the true meaning of Christmas exude its’ love and peace on all of us.

REVISITING DE-OILING AMERICA

Posted: October 24, 2021 in Uncategorized

Last spring I wrote about America’s oil and gas industry, how it was good to be energy independent and how new legislation was going to cripple America’s independence and leave the United States vulnerable to other countries.  I had noted that American oil and gas companies are in the business of providing energy products to a hungry nation and regardless of where the oil comes from these companies will provide the products as demand dictates; it is what they do.  I also mentioned that we were empowering Saudi Arabia and Russia by allowing these two countries to take a broader activity in the American oil market.

Over the last ten months Americans have experienced severe sticker shot at the gas pumps.  Anyone fueling their vehicles take a big gulp when they have finished fueling and look at the register on the gas pump.  Various reasons have been identified as to why we are experiencing this inflationary part of an economy that is being impacted negatively by the high energy costs.  Truth is, there are several aspects that have caused the price rise and unfortunately these high fuel prices are with us for a while.

Immediately after taking office the new president signed an executive order cancelling the Keystone pipeline.  This had two effects on the oil and gas industry.  First it sent the message that America will quickly distance itself from fossil fuels and future development is a thing of the past.  It also sent the message that America no longer wanted the Canadian crude that the Keystone would transport to refineries on the United States Gulf Coast. America would have to rely on other sources to fuel our great nation.  Part of the crude shortage could be made up from America’s domestic crude program but the administration took measures to curtail this. 

A moratorium on future leases was quickly enacted.  This closed the door for future develop on public lands.  Huge is the only way to state the impact to America’s energy program.  Eventually the Supreme Court of the United States overturned this presidential order as being unconstitutional.  Leasing resumed but with a twist.  Leases were usually granted for five years to give time to develop and produce the crude.  New leases on public lands are being granted for two years instead of five thus not providing enough time to develop and drill a large lease trac.  In essence the new leases on public land are being stopped by process instead of executive order.

Perception is important, even when reality may be different.  Soon after the enactment of the presidential orders that intended to destroy the future of oil and gas in the United States in the name of green energy; prices at the pump began to rise and did so precipitously.  This was initially perception as we had no immediate shortage.  Perception of a crude shortage leads to speculation and the speculators came out buying and selling on the spot market.  Prices rose at the pump.  Eventually the supply chain came into play and crude prices continued to rise as oil came in from Saudi Arabia and other oil exporting nations.

Then a strange situation occurred.  The administration contacted Saudi Arabia and asked them to produce more crude and thus reduce the crude price.  An attempt to curtail the use of oil in America has backfired on the administration.  If America can’t produce the oil it uses, the oil companies will import it.  This will then enrich foreign countries, tanker ship companies and speculators; and enrich them from the pocketbooks of American families.

There is another twist to this Delima.  Capital expenditures at the refineries did not keep up with future demand.  Why would an oil company spend a large amount of money on expanding its refinery capacity when the message from Washington was that oil and gas was on the way out and solar and wind was the immediate future of America?  America came out of the pandemic and America wants to travel.  This has prompted a surge in refining demand and this is where another problem exists.  Refineries in the United States are operating at full capacity.  Even if the president’s comments that he may open up the strategic oil supplies, the same stored oil that is to be used in a catastrophic emergency, the oil will not have a place to be refined. 

This  problem is exactly what happens when a knee jerk action is taken without understanding the full consequences of the action.

God Bless America.

We Need A Good Leadership Style

Posted: October 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FARMERVILLE GAZETTE ADN THE RUSTON DAILY LEADER THE WEEK OF 10/23/2021

America is experiencing confusion, chaos and out-and-out push back when it comes to policies and leadership from our Federal Government. While some policies are bad, some of them could actually be good and benefit citizens of America. Some of the problems that have led to chaos in America are due to poor policies. This is because of a lack of general understanding of how our society and economy actually function and an understanding of what the effects of new policies will have on the American citizenry. The answer to some of these issues lies not in the intent of the legislation but instead on the method the legislation is presented to America.

When talking about the implementation of leadership there is no clear-cut leadership style that fits all situations. An army officer moving his unit into combat is a different leadership situation than leading the same troops into a training assignment at a friendly location. The army officer is the same person but the mission is different and the outcome will be different. The leadership style used in different situations is referred to as Situational Leadership. 

Situational Leadership looks at the maturity level of those that are being led and then evaluating the best method to address those that are being led. The situation dictates which method to use. The situational leadership model displays four leadership styles.

The highest maturity level of those being led should see the leader delegating the work. There is a strong leadership team in place and the situation has been acted on before. Little support from the leader is needed. This is the Delegating style.

The second style has a strong team in place but requires support from the leadership. This is a situation that is somewhat different from the normal day-to-day operation and the leader must step up. This is the Supporting leadership style.

The third style addresses a much more unique situation but the there is still a high level of maturity from those being led. The leader must take the initiative to provide a higher level of guidance and direction for his team. This leadership style is referred to as a Coaching style.

The fourth style is used in a crisis situation when those being led are not well trained or at a low maturity level or the situation is new. Leadership must provide direct guidance and is the opposite to the Delegating leadership style. This style is referred to as Directing.  

We have a crisis at our Western ports that is crippling our nation. The ultimate responsibility to unravel this conundrum resides with the Department of Labor which is headed by the cabinet level Secretary of Labor. While this crisis is worldwide the leadership in America should be the inspiration for others to follow. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The Department of Labor is a capable organization but the crisis at the ports is anything but normal.  The Labor Secretary lacks the experience to manage a crisis such as we are witnessing, yet he delegated the fix of the problem to his team and then went on leave.  Instead of taking a walk in the sun, the Secretary should have used a more Supporting or even Coaching leadership styles and showed the world how America handles a crisis.

America is surrounded by a world of vaccination mandates.  These mandates have torn at the fiber of America with raw emotions so high that men and women are forced to choose between dictates and freedom of choice.  The science of the need to vaccinate is lost in the discussion.  The mandate comes from the leader of the free word, the President of the United States.  The way the vaccination mandate was deployed and the subsequent handling of the negative fallout leaves a lot to desire when viewed from a leadership perspective.  We have seen Americans treated as if they were ignorant buffoons that needed to be guided by the nose like a heard of cattle.  The dictates, the insults, the arrogant innuendos and the use of punishment threats instead of positive reinforcement has polarized the vaccination effort.  Instead of a Directing leadership style that is reserved for a dictator of a country, a Coaching leadership style would have been a more palatable method that would have led to better acceptance and understanding of what the final goal was.  Unfortunately, we are experiencing front line workers, workers that saved our country a year ago, being terminated for not following a mandate. 

The leadership blunders continue when we view a Delegating leadership style instead of a Supporting or Coaching style when the border crisis is analyzed. Additionally, the use of the Directing (dictatorial) leadership style would have been better led by a Supporting or Coaching style as we are being forced to endure the daily agony of the socialist spending package.

What is required is for the leadership of our nation to stand up, put on their big boy and big girl pants and do what is right for a free and independent nation. God Bless America.

DEVOTION TO DUTY

Posted: October 17, 2021 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE BERNICE BANNER THE WEEK OF 10/17/2021

America has been built on devotion to duty.  Loyalty is one of the most important human aspects.  Without it the day-to-day operations of a business or a government crumble and disintegrates.  This loyalty is encompassed in all aspects of an organization.  It is not only the employees, the worker bees, that we perceive as showing undying and blind loyalty to a central command.  Loyalty must also come from the leadership when it comes to the employees and those that are served by the leadership.  I recall while attending Officer Candidate School that the Army officer has two mandates. The officer will accomplish the mission and look out for the welfare of his men.  The mission must come first but the officer must do everything possible to take care of his men.  This is true in all aspects of life and becomes more difficult as a person climbs the leadership ladder.

America has a major crisis confronting it.  No, it is not the fiasco at the border where our nation’s leadership tells us one thing in front of the cameras and then ignores everything said as America’s southern border crumbles. The crisis I am referring to is the confusion and congestion at our Western ports and our inability to unload goods and get them delivered to retailers, manufacturers and individuals throughout America.  Touted as a problem for Christmas, this problem at the ports and the subsequent transport and distribution of goods is far greater than toys from Santa.  All aspects of life in our great nation is being affected.  Automobile parts, dishwashers, produce to feed a hungry nation and everything in between is impacted by the congestion.  This is a crisis, and it is at the Department of Transportation at the Federal level to get the arteries open and the goods flowing. So where is the leadership to get this done.  

The Federal government is comprised of various organizations, and each has a specific purpose in the success of America.  The Department of Transportation is the responsible agency that would fix the mess that threatens the economy of a nation that contains three hundred million citizens and is the cornerstone of freedom and the beacon for democracy.  The man that should be leading the initiative is the head of the Department of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg.  With the crisis getting worse we hear from the White House Press Secretary that a committee has been working on this since August.  A committee is good for analyzing a problem and providing scope for a problem but it usually fails when it comes to actual execution.  A committee will come up with a design of a three-legged chair when a four legged chair is required.  A project team implemented and empowered by the committee will usually lead to success.  It appears that in the case of our economy’s ability to move cargo from overseas, neither the committee or teams to unravel the problems have been effective.

The question begs to be answered, where is Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg.  He has been invisible at a time that the country requires strong leadership, visibility and answers to questions.  The answer came last week.  The head of the Department of Transportation at the most critical time in the history of our nation is on maternity leave.  He and his partner have adopted a child and he took leave to be at home.  This is a noble gesture but the leadership to handle the transportation issue and help the citizens of America are lost in this action.  I think of George Patton racing with his armored division to save the 101st  Airborne at the Battle of the Bulge.  What would have happened if he had taken leave to go home and visit his sick wife or what if Eisenhower had taken leave just before the D-Day landing to go back to America to enjoy the cherry blossoms at Washington.  The answer is simple, the initiatives would have suffered severely and possibly collapsed.  Leadership has consequences and placing our nation behind personal preference in a crisis is inexcusable.

The Secretary of Transportation is not some buffoon placed in a position to become a lacky.  He is very intelligent but being intelligent does not mean the direction one goes is always the best for the job the person is placed in.  Buttigieg comes from in intellectual family and was raised by two university professors.  His father is an immigrant from Malta and he met the Secretary’s mother while they were both on staff at the University of New Mexico.  Both of his parents went on to have careers at the University of Notre Dame where his father taught English.  Buttigieg father would act as a translator and editor of the three-volume English edition of Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks.  As a senior in High School, Buttigieg would win a national essay contest for the Kennedy Museum.  The title of the essay was “Profiles in Courage” and addressed the “courage and integrity” of the senator from Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders.

What we need is leadership that will stand up and do what is good for our great and noble nation.  Instead of rhetoric we need leaders to stand up and take action for the good of our country and do so in a manner that does not promote socialism and social dependency of basic goods and services from a Federal Government.

God Bless America.   

What Goes Around

Posted: October 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

Let’s play make-believe and allow me to tell you a story. There was once a peaceful country where people struggled to make ends meet but still had an opportunity to live their own lives. Then a leader came along that planted a seed that this working class of citizens could have the ability to advance but only if the leader was installed in government. The existing government was strong and the country was immense and full of natural resources. How would the potential leader overthrow the existing ruler and install a new style of government.

A single event saw riots in a major town. Burning and looting ensued. This in turn sparked riots in other towns. The leader that wished to overthrow the existing government realized that to perform the takeover he would have to form an alliance with the poor and oppressed of the country and spur a revolution. He would build on their plight in society and amid promises of a better life they would become his ally.

The existing ruling class felt the power of the devious leader that wished to change the existing government. That ruling party made concessions in an attempt to appease the masses. Additionally, the press was used to fan the flames of dissent as those that believed in the theory of the new government controlled much of the printed media. The papers encouraged a wider participation of citizens in the country to change the government.

Over the years the idea of a new government grew. War was also taking its toll. For several years the country had been in war and the citizens wanted it to end. The anti-government regime continued to spew its rhetoric. Siting the use of foreign lands where cheap labor abounded and capitalism flourished, the poor of the country were encouraged to revolt.

Eventually, the revolution did take place and the old-world government fell. It was a brutal revolution that waw the ruler, his wife and their children taken to a basement and executed by a firing squad. The bodies were un-ceremonially dumped in a well.

The revolution was a success and after decades of diligent effort, the new leader was in power and had a new government to build. Land was confiscated from wealthy landowners and the church and then distributed to the poor. Freedom of the press disappeared as opposition papers were closed. The legal system was abolished and the country initially grew prosperous.

Over time the government became excessively oppressive, workers would become subservient to a central power and amid a paranoid ruler, millions of citizens died at the hands of the government. While many thought they were being liberated from their original government, the final form of government proved to be even more oppressive.

Truth is, this is no fictional story; it is the story of Vladimir Lenin and rise of the communistic country or Russia. Unfortunately much of what was experienced in the early 1900s is being reenacted today. The one thing we have in favor of freedom is that the American government is still in tact and operating as originally designed.  As long as responsible individuals in Washington do not allow fundamental changes to our government, such as eliminating the filibuster, changing the Supreme Court and eliminating the electoral college, America will continue to be America. We just have to be vigilant and recognize that the only replacement for democracy is socialism and that is not an acceptable option.

God Bless America.

Democracy Teetering on the Abys

Posted: October 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

The last eight months has been anything but dull when it comes to competition. The only difference is that we are not viewing a football team that we analyze and cheer for an all or nothing victory and then lick our wounds if we lose or surround ourselves in of self-satisfaction if we win. Eventually the thrill of victory of the agony of defeat will wain as we go about our normal lives. This is not how we should view our great nation with what looms in front of us. The potential threat we are witnessing is that our normal lives will cease to exist. 

We are standing on the edge of an abys staring into the deep precipice and we are gingerly balancing on the rocky ground under our feet. This abys is in fact the culmination of a lifestyle that we refer to as democracy. The outcome of a fall into the deep rock canyon is the end of America as we know it today with the adoption of socialism and the slide into communism. Amazingly, the Democratic party, the party of the Klan in the 1920s and the party apposing   social justice for minorities during that same time period has now become the poster child for the oppressed; or at least that is their ploy to divide America. Just as amazing as the morality change for political benefit has been, it is just as amazing that two Democrats are the keys to keeping our republic intact.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema hold the future in their hands. One is considered a maverick just as her home state predecessor, John McCain, had been thought of.  The other is a strong man of high moral value from the hard-working God-fearing rural state of West Virginia. As much as their common resolve to maintain America as a free and just nation, their personal lives could not be further apart.

Senator Sinema is a cute vivacious blonde that arrived on Capital Hill like a breath of fresh air.  She stripped the stoic persona of Washington in much the same way as Reese Witherspoon’s character in “Legally Blonde”. She was born in Tucson Arizona and following her parents divorce she and her mother moved to Florida. Her stepfather fell on bad financial times, lost the home and the family moved into a deserted gas station. She had no running water for two years and life was not easy but she still persevered. At 16 she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. At 18 she obtained her bachelor’s degree from BYU.  She would later earn a master’s degree from Arizona State University in Social Work while she worked as a social worker. Later she received her law degree. She worked as a criminal lawyer before receiving her PHD in justice studies. Prior to becoming Senator, Sinema was elected to the U.S. Congress for several terms. Quite an accomplishment for a person that puts the good of the nation and the citizens of our great nation ahead of the desires of a political party.

Half a country away from Senator Sinema’s state of Arizona, Joe Manchin was born and raised in West Virginia. Unlike the preppy Sinema, Manchin is the epitome of that raw boned individual that carved a nation out of a wilderness.  He is much like the characters epitomized by  John Wayne. Like Wayne, he went to college on a football scholarship and like Wayne his college career was cut short by an injury. After graduation, he went home to a family that had immigrants from Italy on his father’s side and Czechoslovakia on his mother’s side. Over several years he became a successful businessman and began climbing the political ladder. Manchin was elected Secretary of State of West Virginia and was later elected governor before becoming a United States Senator. He is considered the most conservative Democrat in Washington and is famous for his bipartisanship approach to Washington. While West Virginia generally votes for a Republican president, the state has widely voted for Manchin. He is the only Democrat in a statewide elected office yet enjoys a 75% approval rating. Senator Manchin looks to the good of a nation instead of a political party. He voted against President Obama’s energy bills while voting with Republicans for abortion legislation and gun control but voted with his party when Obamacare came under attack and when the Trump tax cuts were introduced. It’s refreshing to find an individual that votes for his beliefs and the nation and not simply along party lines.

Two people, both of different genders, backgrounds and personal ideologies are the key to keeping America a free and independent country. If both succumb to the immense pressure that is being placed on them today to pass a gigantic paralyzing government expenditure bill,   America will cease to be the beacon of Democracy. Instead America will slowly become the largest banana republic in the world. 

We need to ask ourselves a simple question. “If Socialism is so great then why do the immigrants flock to America instead of Venezuela. The Venezuelan border is half the distance as the United States border for the immigrants to travel”.

God Bless America.

AMERICA THE GREEN?

Posted: October 3, 2021 in Uncategorized

America is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  From the wild and beautiful landscape in Alaska to the gorgeous blue waters of the Florida Keys to the reverent mall in Washington D.C. to the towering Red Woods along the California coast and everything in between, America is blessed with its natural beauty. 

It is imperative that we protect this beauty and insure that it is available for generations to come.  We must insure that the world can experience the tranquility of America’s outdoors.  We must be good stewards of what God has given us.  It is also important that we are not hijacked by those with ulterior motives in an effort to advance some political agenda.

We have a relatively new president   One of his first actions was to cancel the Keystone pipeline that would provide a large amount of crude from Canada to our refineries in the deep south.  This was a green project and the construction would provide very good jobs to eleven thousand pipe liner construction workers and hundreds of operators when completed.  Additionally it would help to continue the elimination of overseas dependence of crude oil to power our nation.

The current administration stated that it wanted America to become greener and American pipeline workers could walk across the street and get a good job manufacturing solar panel.  At the same time the Keystone was shutting down, America pushed to eliminate sanctions on Russia so that it could complete its monster pipeline across Europe to Germany.  That left a lot of head scratching as Russia could now produce more crude for energy while America’s oil and gas industry was being throttled.  We have seen a price rise of 50% or more at the pump while American laborers that had extremely good jobs were forced into the unemployment lines.  So where are those readily available solar plant jobs.  Now as the price at the pump has risen our president asked the Saudi Arabs to raise their crude output in an effort to reduce prices.  This has surely led the world to question what America is doing when it come to its energy program.

The U.S. solar energy industry is vibrant with over 250,000 jobs available.  Most of these solar jobs are installation while the pipeline industry employees just over 200,000.  Part of the oil and gas sector’s lower number is due to the low crude prices. Now with the increases in oil prices due to the new government regulations we can expect a higher demand for crude and thus future pipeline expansions.  Even though the jobs are there in the solar sector, most of this growth came from installations, not manufacturing. Truth is, the majority of solar panels are manufactured in China.  The panels manufactured in the United States use silicone sheets.  These sheets also come from China. 

This raises the question of why are we attempting to shut down oil and gas in America.  It is another government control point in our society.  Turning America totally green is a noble gesture but doing so with the flip of a switch makes one question the logic behind such a move.  It has taken us over a hundred and twenty years to get us to where we are today in our energy development.  We have once again gained energy sufficiency and were in control of our own destiny.  This is now being thrown away without a true plan or roadmap of how to become totally green.  Platitudes and rhetoric is not the answer to a well laid out and scalable project plan.  Emotion must be removed while logic and common sense must be inserted into the discussion.

The biggest aspect that must be removed from a goal such as turning America green is to remove politics from the equation.  Lofty goals such as this must not be implemented as we root for a football team on weekends.  These is no winner take all.  It has to be approached in a manner that everyone, and I mean America, is the winner.

God Bless America.

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE RUSTON DAILY LEADER AND THE FARMERVILLE GAZETTE THE WEEK OF 10/3/2021.

America is working its way out of a man-made economic shutdown that was believed to be a necessity due to a Chinese-originated virus that spread throughout the world. It is unimaginable that anyone saw the long-term effects of this shutdown and the consequences of the shutdown. As Isaac Newton stated, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

Several months ago, I fulfilled a bucket list item; I took a cruise to America’s last frontier, Alaska. The beauty and stark wilderness of our 49th state did not disappoint. In the late 1950s I had a cousin move to Alaska with her husband and establish a bush flying business. I often wonder at the pioneer spirit that must have been with them to pick up everything they owned in Reno and move to a state whose capital has only 30,000 residents, bears are a common companion and where cold weather is truly cold. This spirit of self-reliance has remained a part of the legacy that is in the DNA of Alaskans and though many have dismissed this spirit, it is still alive in the lower 48.

We have been digging out of our economic woes for eighteen months. Some felt that we needed to simply open up the economy and let nature take its course. America’s economy and society is built on a market economy and is free in nature. Unfortunately, in an effort to ease the burden on American’s, the Federal Government instituted economic parachutes that were in fact Socialistic in nature. We are now seeing the effects of these actions. 

Our cruise ship pulled into three ports. The first, Skagway was the farthest north and was the jumping off place for miners coming from Seattle in search of gold in the late 1800s. A small town that use to see twenty-five cruise ships land every week, is now just seeing the first ships in sixteen months and the quantity is much less than what they had once experienced. Still with all of the reductions in revenue, the spirit is alive as Alaska claws itself out of a dark place. We walked through a town that was used to thousands walking the streets. When we reached the restaurant, circa 1880s, we discovered that several items were not available. The owner told us that the local supply chain was having problems. Eggs were sporadically available as was butter. Some fish could not be provided and to make matters worse, the one waitress employee was leaving the next day.

This story was repeating itself when we reached Juneau and later at Ketchikan. Lack of labor was apparent and supply chain issues plagued a needy economy. As bad as the situation was, there was one common thread; Americans come from a unique stock and ultimately this DNA will kick in and our Nation will return to what we remember. The way we perform our work, communicate, heat and cool our buildings and travel will change over time but this has always been the case. We discovered a genuine appreciation for us visiting their state. Residents at all stops were quit vocal as they thanked us for visiting Alaska. 

Upon arrival in Seattle, reality and the full magnitude of a broken supply chain were apparent.  We drove past the port of Seattle. Several ships were in port but we wouldn’t have known it.  Shipping containers were stacked so high and so deep that the docked ships could not be seen. Ships were backed up, thousands of containers were needed to be moved, and needed material for a desperate nation were sitting idle. Then a second epiphany presented itself. I saw no trucks entering or leaving the port; very little material was moving. What a massive bottleneck was being witnessed.

Seattle is not the only traffic jam for material entering the United States. Los Angeles and Long Beach is mired in container ships. Some of these ports are antiquated so additional shipping is quite detrimental to the ports ability to handle the cargo. There is even more impairments to the operations of our ports. Ships are landing with more and more shipping containers onboard. Long Beach has experienced a seventy percent increase in containers on ships landing at its dock. The impact to the port is extremely negative while an American economy that has built its industries on a supply chain with key parts coming from overseas while instituting a Just In Time manufacturing philosophy can only sit and wait for vital inventory to be delivered from the American ports. Additionally. only ten companies around the world control eighty percent of the ocean shipping.  Quite a dangerous situation to be in and discloses how vulnerable America’s soft belly is.

Rest assured America will overcome but it will not be without some pain. We will see changes and amidst past calls to move American manufacturing back to America, we will see more and more of this taking place. This will especially be seen when current products are produced outside North America. Last week Ford Motor announced that it will build a manufacturing facility north of Nashville that will employee eleven thousand workers, will be totally green, will manufacture everything for its total electrical trucks and cars. Made in America.

God Bless America.

PROTECTING AMERICA’S BORDER

Posted: September 26, 2021 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE BERNICE BANNER THE WEEK OF 9/26/2021

The United States of America has a southern border that is 1,933 miles long.  This is a very long border with our neighbor Mexico and has long been a source of entry to the United States for those that wish to illegally enter our country for various reasons.  America is one of the few, if not the only, countries that must secure its border to keep immigrants from illegally entering.  Unlike some countries such as the former communist Eastern Block where walls were built to keep citizens inside, America must build walls to keep immigration at a level that will pose no danger to America’s citizens nor the customs and values that built this great nation.

America is a country of laws.  Unlike communistic or totally socialistic countries, these laws are derived from the elected individuals that make these laws.  In essence, laws come from the people and are intended to make America a just country.  Just as we have laws that are administered for traffic violations, felonies such as murder, rape or robbery and numerous other violations that keeps America free and just; we also have laws against illegal entry into the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security is now responsible for the security of the United States when it comes to border security.  Homeland Security assumed this role in 2003 when the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was dissolved, The Department of Homeland Security is composed of three organizations.  These are:

(1) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): USCIS administers immigration benefits, processing applications for naturalization, lawful permanent residency (“green card” status), non-immigrant visas, work authorizations, political asylum, and granting other immigration benefits.

(2) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): ICE enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.

(3) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): CBP handles inspection and admission of people and cargo into the U.S. and is charged with keeping terrorist and weapons out of the country.

The laws that the Federal Department has been mandated to support are quite basic and easy to understand. These regulations are included in U.S. Code 1825, Improper Entry by Alien.    These state:

Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—

(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or

(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.

Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.

The laws of the United States are clear and the organization that is responsible to enforce these laws on our Southern Border is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department of the Department of Homeland Security.  This is our Border Patrol and due to open border policies that have been recently enacted, their job is enormous.  So enormous that the border is now so porous that entry by terrorist, flow of drugs from the south is enormous and child trafficking, the scourge of the world, is wide open.  The U.S. Border Patrol is our line of defense against unlawful entry into the United States.  It would be expected that an appreciative nation would send a thousand shout-outs of appreciation to the men and women on the border.  Unfortunately political officials are using this brave organization as a whipping boy to divert criticism away from the catastrophic crisis on our Southern Border.

Last week a mounted unit of the Border Patrol was used to stop illegal aliens from entering the United States.  The initial view probably looked disturbing to an untrained eye and the existing administration took full advantage of what was viewed.  What appeared to be “barbaric” treatment of the aliens trying to enter America was truly a play on the eyes as the cries of whipping Haitians like slaves in the past were unfounded.  The photographer stated that what was being reported was not what happened and there was no human rights violations.  This still didn’t end the rhetoric that came from individuals whose total experience on a horse was pony rides on a carousel at the local carnival.

Liberals have already demonized the police to the point that crime is soaring and moral has plummeted.  Now it’s time for America’s Border Patrol to take the hit.  It wasn’t bad enough that they have been worked to a point of total exhaustion, they now have to be chastised and condemned for  doing their jobs.  There is no reason for the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United and a United States Congresswoman to call for punishment of Border Patrol agents when the allegations are unfounded, there have been no investigations and no guilt has been levied.  This is only a smoke screen to divert attention from a border crisis, the Afghan debacle, a COVID pandemic and a faltering economy.

Thank you Border Patrol for all you are doing to attempt to keep us safe.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Small Town America

Posted: September 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE FRMERVILLE GAZETTE AND THE RUSTON DAILY LEADER THE WEEK OF 9/25/2021

Last week I had an opportunity to experience America at its best; I went to a high school football game. If anything embraces the American spirit it is high school athletics. At the game that I attended the spirit of competition was present and equally as important was the camaraderie experienced in the stands. Before kickoff the stands rose to hear the prayer and then all faced the American flag for the playing of the national anthem. The stands were full and diverse nationalities were present. There was no dissension, no protests, no disrespect. There was just Americans coming out on a beautiful autumn evening in Louisiana who wanted no more than enjoy a good high school football game; the way it should be.  This is small town America and this is the genuine spirit of America.

Union Parish residents are teaming with Lincoln Parish residents to build a Christmas extravaganza that will bring the joy of the holiday season to life through light and merriment. The Union Parish Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring a Christmas in the Park holiday celebration at the Lake DarBonne State Park on December 8, 9, 10 and 11. While the park will build on the fun and excitement that thousands experience at the yearly Lincoln Parish Park Light up the Pines, it is stressed that the Union Parish will in no way compete against that lighting gala. Instead, the DarBonne Park Celebration will dovetail behind the Lincoln Park lighting and provide a unique opportunity for North Louisiana residents. Also, a very large contingent of Lincoln Parish campers will be joining Union Parish residence in setting up and decorating for the pleasure of those that will be driving through the park. This is what community spirit and regional cooperation is all about.

The DarBonne park experience will also add a new dimension to the seasonal lighting shows that we find in the North Louisiana/South Arkansas area. There will be food vendors located at the end of the lighting roadway. Ample parking is available and there is the possibility of Santa Clause and craft vendors being available as well to provide an English Fair Christmas feeling with the lake as a backdrop. 

This is just one aspect to small town America in North Louisiana and this is why there is nothing better than rural America where faith, love and family are paramount.  As for our football game, 5A Ouachita defeated our 3A Union Parish Farmers by a score of 31-28. While the points declared Ouachita the winner, the actual winners were both teams and the fans. These teams left everything on the field. We often hear that it is important to be a good winner but it equally important to be a gracious loser. Union Parish has lived to fight another day and the sting of a lose will only make these young men better in life. 

Very proud to be an American, very proud to be a Louisianan, proud to be from Union Parish and very proud to live in Farmerville near the banks of beautiful Lake DarBonne.

If anyone would like to join the campers at the state park, please call the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce for instructions. Also, spots are available for businesses to decorate and join in the excitement. The Chamber can assist with this also.

God Bless America.

Department Of State

Posted: September 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

The United States Department of State is a department of the federal government.  Responsibilities include the nation’s foreign policy and international relations with primary duties being to advise the U.S. president, administering diplomatic missions and negotiating international treaties and agreements. Recently we witnessed what happens when the State Department becomes politicized to a point that much of its mission is cast aside and the luster of the department becomes tarnished.

In project management we use the term triple constraint to prioritize important aspects of a project. The constraints are schedule, cost and quality. These are arranged in an order of importance to provide a priority for the project. In the situation that we have recently witnessed in Afghanistan the priority was schedule, quality and cost. The most important part of the Afghan withdrawal was to be out of the country on a specific date. (Priority 1) The quality of the project was to have all people that were identified to be out of the country to be removed when the military departed. (priority 2) The cost of withdrawing to include removing all Americans and those in danger for supporting America has the lowest priority; whatever it cost was insignificant. (priority 3)

We now know that placing schedule ahead of cost doesn’t work and leads to a situation that makes America the joke of the world while looking weak, ineffective, and inefficient. The Department of State coupled with the U.S. Military has sustained a black eye. Unfortunately, the thousands of men and women that are in the trenches doing their jobs and performing at a high level of competency and loyalty to the country are, in some cases, led by those that are more political than patriot. The priority of the Afghanistan withdrawal should have been quality, schedule and cost. The quality, not leaving until all are on planes heading to safety, should have been paramount. Once that was determined a scheduled departure date could be determined BUT with the understanding that it could change if all people had not been removed.

The State Department is responsible for the removal of all identified civilians from Afghanistan.  This may have been praised as a great success by the White House. That is political spin. The ability to remove 140,000 people by the United States Military was amazing. The fact that the selection of those that were withdrawn, the fact that America deserted and left many behind, the fact that we removed military just to return and extract 140,000 civilians does not speak well for America. This bungling rests squarely with the Executive Branch of government and the State Department.    

We may think this is a single incident; a one-time stumble when it comes to protecting American civilians overseas. It isn’t. I once knew a man that spent time out of the United States and had asked for help to get home. The story he told me was quite unique filled with international intrigue.

The man had been in the Marines and was discharged for fighting. It was the late 1930s and Marine life was anything but easy but it built real fighting men in the middle of the great depression. The man ended up in New Orleans with no job and hungry. He saw an ad for men who could train Bolivians in the use of the American machine gun. He answered the ad and after an unheard of bonus of $50.00 he found himself at the New Orleans pier at mid night for a trip to South America. I recall he said he went down on a United Fruit Company ship but he later refuted this.

The man arrived at a Bolivian training camp in the middle of the Chaco war. It was a border war where Royal Dutch Shell was backing Paraguay and Standard Oil supported Bolivia. Bolivia was losing so the gentleman from Farmerville decided it was time to leave the jungle. Much as the immigrants from today walk across Central America and then on through Mexico so did our mercenary from Farmerville. He finally stumbled into the American Embassy in Mexico City. 

The man told the State Department staff his story and asked for assistance to get back to America. The message was simple, short and definitive.  “We didn’t send you down there and we don’t send you back,” to which he was shown the door of the embassy and ultimately found his way back to America.