The last eight years has been anything but desirable for the Unites States as it addresses the American spirit and cooperation between opposing political, racial and minority groups. We have seen our politicians vote on legislation based solely on partisan politics while protesters take to the streets simply because they do not like who won an election. America has witnessed a specific political party vote against any legislation, regardless of merit, simply because a person of a different party is president. This has taken place under two presidential administrations and the country is tired of it just as the country is becoming weary of groups rioting and destroying under the guise of freedom of speech.
The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, had the welfare of the people at heart when it was developed. It was an entitlement program that would guarantee healthcare for everyone. Like all entitlement programs it has to be funded in one way or the other. Existing revenues that come into the national coffers in the form of taxes can be diverted from existing programs and can then be used to fund the health act. If other programs are not eligible to be defunded, then additional funds from additional taxes can be obtained. If the country has no interest in additional taxes to an already large tax structure then America can borrow money to fund the program. The problem with the tax option is that borrowing money for entitlements has no return on the investment and no revenue is generated by the borrowed money. Our national debt would continue to rise and our children and grandchildren will bear the brunt of bad decisions.
True the form of centralized control, assumptions are made that don’t reflect the common sense nor allows the common man to make decisions. Communism was based on Centralized Control and ultimately failed miserably and led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Obamacare based a large amount of funding on young men and women in America taking mandatory insurance. Instead the youth opted to pay a penalty and not be forced to pay extremely high insurance premiums for insurance that they do not need. This left only the older workers that need insurance to pay for the insurance. The base of people was much smaller than anticipated and the funding suffered. Prices have sky rocketed and in some states the private insurance companies have dropped out of the markets causing distress in these geographical areas.
The Republicans have had seven years to get a plan ready for appealing the current Affordable Care Act. So far, after six months of controlling the entire Executive and Legislative branches of government, the Republicans have had no success in repealing and replacing Obamacare. Congress is in gridlock, America is sick of it and many loyal patriots that we sent to Washington are facing backlash back home. Some is justified but much is not justified; however, the perception of incompetency permeates throughout the country.
Finally, after years of waiting and hoping someone uttered the word that so many have been waiting to hear; “bipartisan participation”. It was stated by a key member of the Republican party that there needs to be bipartisan participation to work through the details to dismember the current Affordable Care Act, insure that key parts of the act remain to protect vulnerable Americans and provide adequate funding in a realistic manner and allow Americans to make decisions for healthcare on their own.
Let us hope that “bipartisan participation” is not only isolated to health care reform. Let us pray that this is the beginning to true collaborations between all political parties and we put the good of the nation at the forefront of future legislation. If this happens we will once again see America shining brightly around the world as the pillar of freedom.

North Korea has finally developed and tested via a successful launch an International Continental Ballistic Missile, ICBM, that is capable of reaching the United States. At this stage in the fledgling North Korean missile program, the only state that the missile can hit is Alaska but it won’t be long before Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angles will become targets. Parallel development of a nuclear weapon that can be transported by one of these missiles is ongoing. Even if a nuclear payload is not available a conventional bomb can be transported on the ICBM and can ultimately cause damage to our beautiful nation.
Another threat leaves North Korea clean when it comes to launching a missile on the West. It will let some other country do the dirty work. North Korea will be able to dismantle and sell its’ weapons of destruction to countries that wish to do harm to Western nations. If transport is not available for the weapons, North Korea can sell the technologies and then let rogue nations build their own missiles much as a child designs and builds an erector set. The nuclear warhead will come later and we are then in a huge and complex mess as countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Germany become easy targets for North Korean Technology that is launched from reprobate locations in the Middle East. North Korea becomes a double winner in this scenario. Western countries are hit and harmed while North Korea’s coffers are filled with foreign money funded by the sale of the sinister weapons.
It appears that the decision is simple; let’s hit them and hit them quick. Not so quick my friend. There is no way short of a nuclear strike that we could hope to neutralize the North Korean Military. Nuclear attack is not an option. With a standing army of 700,000 and several million reservists, we can damage the beast but not destroy it. North Korea is waiting for provocation and they will not be satisfied to take a defensive posture. North Korea will move south and with speed. So where will the North horde go. It will wear out tanks speeding to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Seoul is only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries and contains ten million residents. The loss of life would be catastrophic. While the North Korean army would take large losses it would continue to function as it moves south. I worked with Koreans in Arabia and the Koreans are a tough race, very tough. The North Korean army can take a lickin and keep on ticken.
Another concern is China. While China has become a major world economy there is all ways that isolated chance that China will enter the campaign and support North Korea just as it did during the Korean War of the 50s. This is almost incomprehensible but if that happened we could see an escalation that could pull the Mid-East into the conflict as an opportunity to strike a blow against the West. Then we have to ask what will Russia do and who will they side with.
Korea is quit complex and it is not a new issue. It began when America had a warship stopped, boarded, captured and taken to North Korea in the 1960s. The USS Pueblo’s crew was eventually released, but only after the Unites States paid ransom. Since then North Korea held America at lower esteem and America thought it could negotiate itself out of any conflict. We fooled ourselves and for the last forty years North Korea has built one of the largest armies in the world while laughing at America and the West. We have really painted ourselves into a corner and we can’t wait for the paint to dry to walk out.

 

We all know the common names of the authors and signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Names such as Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and of course Hancock are all synonymous with this historic document.  Not only did they craft the document that would announce to England that America was declaring independence but it meant that the signers committed treason. They were all subjects of Great Britain and they now declared to be independent and would no longer obey the laws of their home land.  In essence, they signed their own death warrants.

While some of the signers of the Declaration are etched in American history and later went on to create the Constitution of the United States, the majority of the fifty-six Declaration signers have been lost in history.  Each was unique but each had one commonality, they felt that a new nation was possible where men lived free and they would be allowed to pursue their dreams unencumbered by class standing.

One of the little known signers was John Witherspoon.  Witherspoon was a Scottish born Presbyterian minister.  He sailed to America to become president of the College of New Jersey; now Princeton.  He was influential in American education and was famous for intimidating both students and peers.

He was one of the early member of the Continental Congress and was a staunch supporter for independence.  When an individual stated that America was not yet ripe for independence, Witherspoon commented,  “In my judgment, sir, we are not only ripe, but rotting.”  During the Highlander uprising in Scotland he was captured and imprisoned thus his fervor for freedom from England was embellished in his psyche.  When the signing of the Declaration of Independence took place he was the only clergyman to ink the document.

Once war broke out Witherspoon experienced the horrors of treason and the sad reality of being a patriot.  His oldest son joined the continental army,  rose to major and was killed in the battle of Germantown.  Later that year his home was burned to the ground by the British soldiers. 

He continued to serve his new country following the end of the Revolutionary War.  Princeton had been badly damaged during the battle there.  He spent two years to help repair the damage.  Witherspoon also became a member of the New Jersey convention that was convened to ratify the constitution.

Several years after the end of the war in 1789 Witherspoon’s wife died.  She was the mother of ten Witherspoon children.  Witherspoon was then 66 years old.  Two years later at 68 Witherspoon married a 24-year old widow.  He died in 1794 but not before fathering two more children.

This is only one of the fifty-six signers of our Declaration of Independence and characterizes the character of the individuals that forged our country.

 

 

 

 

Two hundred and forty-one years ago America was conceived by a handful of courageous men in an assembly hall in Philadelphia. Something so bold, so grand as the building of a nation in a new style takes time and massaging accompanied with changes, restarts and sometimes failure. What was born in Philadelphia on July 4th 1776 is the exception. The Constitution of the United States, the hallmark of our great Nation, the document that was originally signed on that fateful day by the brave men of the Constitutional Congress remains the Constitution of our nation with few changes. There have been over eleven thousand attempts to change or amend the Constitution; however, there have only been twenty-seven amendments added. Ten of these were added soon after ratification of the Constitution and is known as the Bill of Rights. The men who gave birth to the American Constitution got it right and the document stands as the cornerstone of our country.
America is made of varied and unique individuals. This uniqueness is what has grown our country to where we are today but it is time to act like one country and pull for the betterment of our great nation. John Kennedy, the Democratic President that was taken from us way too early, knew what our nation needed to do to confront the communist threat and move our nation forward. Let us not forget his iconic message, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”.
Very few of us are native to America. Even the “Native Americans” migrated to the United States over the land bridge that connected North America with Asia during an ice age thousands of years ago. It doesn’t matter if we trekked across the frozen north or were stuffed in a suffocating barbaric hold of a slave ship or endured a perilous crossing that killed many passengers only to starve in a new world or fled political oppression or gas chambers or even walked across a perilous desert for a new life or came in many other methods and for many reasons; we are here and we are here together.
It doesn’t matter what religion brought us to the country. We are a melting pot of religion. The Hebrew fleeing genocide, or the Pilgrim fleeing religious persecution, or the Muslim seeking a better life, or the Buddhist who came to America to build the railroads in the West, or the Catholic who came to spread the word of the religion when the Spanish explored the West and deep south. All of these religions are in America and living next to each other in a country that guarantees that there will be no government mandated religion and allows each person to worship or not worship as a person desires.
We are all products of our nation and the nation is a product of us. It is time that we look inward and instead of seeing what give away the nation has for us we need to see how we can give back to our country. America is full of volunteers. Our young men and women put their lives on hold to ensure that our country remains safe. Our first responders continually ”serve and protect”. Volunteers across the nation take time from their own lives to help make the country a better place for the citizens or our nation. These are the individuals we all need to mimic. Those that feel that they are entitled to a free ride need to look inward and become retrospect at what they receive and what they can give back. Put on your big boy pants and quit whining about what America is not handing out in freebees. Let’s live by the creed from the Declaration of Independence that guarantees the right to provide “the pursuit of happiness”. There is no guarantee that the government provides “happiness” only the freedom for the citizen to be able to freely pursue happiness.

Louisiana has been known for its’ flamboyant politicians.  Long, Edwards. Leche and many other names conger up memories of politicians that you either loved or hated.  Politicians that in many cases received bad publicity from the national press and thus put a blemish on the political landscape of Louisiana.  I remember looking at a national publication on the news rack in our commissary in Saudi Arabia.  In broad headlines on the cover of the magazine was “Louisiana, America’s Banana Republic”.  My blood boiled until I got home that night.

As bad as some make Louisiana look, it has had its’ share of good politicians that have the best interest of Louisiana and America at heart.  Politicians that have few or no black marks against them an.  Since they are good guys the sensationalism is not there and thus the press ignores them.  One of these men that dedicated his life to public service was Bob Kennon.

Kennon was born in Dubberly, near Minden, in Webster Parish.  He enjoyed the outdoors and was active in Boy Scouts where he obtained his Eagle Scout rank.  After graduating from High School he entered LSU.  His freshman year he received the award for the best academic record.  His organizational ability and leadership skills were apparent by the time he graduated from LSU.

Kennon was on the debate team and wrote for the campus paper.  Academics was not his only achievements.  He was Captain of his Reserve Officer Training Corps and was vice president of the Interfraternity Council.  He won a letter for playing center on the LSU football team.  LSU had no tennis team so Kennon help to organize the tennis team and was one of the first two players to letter in the sport at the university.

At 23 he became the mayor of Minden and for a period of time was the youngest mayor in the United States.  He did not run for re-election but instead was elected district attorney in 1930.  He remained in office for ten years until   By 1940 he had risen to Colonel in the Louisiana Army National Guard.  He had also run for and was elected Circuit Judge the same year.  It was normal to wait a year to move into a judgeship after an election.  Soon after Kennon took office, World War II drew America into the conflict and Kennon’s XIII Corp of the 9th Army was called to service.  He did not shirk his responsibility and took his unit to war.

When he returned from WWII he assumed his role as Judge.  Then in 1948 he ran for governor but was defeated by the infamous Earl Long.  Four years Kennon was victorious and became the 48th governor of Louisiana.  Following his successful run for governor, Governor Kennon appointed Farmerville businessman Fred Preaus  at his Highway Director and later backed him for the 1956 gubernatorial race.

Kennon died in 1988 and Bill Dodd, an opponent in several campaigns wrote an eulogy in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.  Part of the article read:

Governor Kennon was never tried and acquitted of wrongdoing because he didn’t break the law or do anything suggesting he ever acted illegally or even unethically. He never spent any time with AA or in a CDU for he didn’t drink alcohol and didn’t snort cocaine. And when he took trips on boats, he went fishing or to a hunting camp with his boys and not to a hideaway like Bimini. His family was exemplary and made no waves that called for suppressing hospital or police records or anything else.

Perhaps the fact that Kennon was honest and efficient and ran the state and his life according to the laws of God and man, he missed out on the press coverage that goes to those who have to be rehabilitated and forgiven for their unethical and illegal conduct; coverage that often praises those rascals for their courage and fortitude to face the public after disgracing themselves and their friends who elected them.

Whatever the reason for Governor Kennon’s lack of recognition for having been a model father, soldier, judge, and governor, the cold base record shows that he was exactly the kind of man the public, the preachers, and the press say they want but seldom get in the governor’s office.

Bob Kennon was, with all his success, a humble man and, if living, he would not want credit for what he did. He regarded his going a good job as his duty, and Bob was a man who always did his duty.”

COUNTRY GONE AMUCK    

Posted: June 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

We can look back on the world and see third world countries struggling to find themselves and orient their way into the future.  Time and time again new regimes or parties take control of a country only to be torn down from factions within their own borders.  Despite well meaning individuals with well-meaning agendas the time to allow the country to evolve is not permitted and a continuous elect then overthrow scenario persists.  While this can be witnessed in emerging nations or banana republics it should never be evident in a mature country; especially one that is a leading nation of the world.

Today America is at a major crossroads and it is confusing how we got here.  During the presidential election, many minority groups within America were concerned that they would become alienated.  Much of the concern centered around a new administration’s understanding and acceptance of the minorities and the progress they made to legitimize their acceptance within the American culture.

When the presidential election was over it was understood that the new president would take office and at that time it would be an opportunity to continue the growth of our great nation while building on the past accomplishments of our many and diverse minorities and cultures.  At this juncture in our nation’s continuing development, an opportunity to petition a new president and merge philosophical ideas was lost.  Groups that had struggled for generations for acceptance were now thrust into the role of non-acceptance.  Organizations that had pleaded for peace and understanding suddenly turned their backs on this ideal and took to the streets to protest in a violent and venomous manner. 

Many colleges have now placed professors into teaching positions that not only teach a subject but also introduce their own politics into the classroom.  In isolated instances students make demands of universities and weak leadership within the administrations allow the students to over rule the universities’ decisions.  Speakers brought onto a campus to speak before the student body are not allowed to have freedom of speech due to jeering protesters that claim they have their own right to freedom of speech.   Civil order is degenerating and rude behavior takes the place of professional and respectful social graces.

Last week the United States reached the pinnacle of unrest.  Members of the Republican delegation in Washington were practicing for a friendly baseball game against their Democratic colleagues.  A lone gunman approached the targeted group and opened fire on the Republican players.   This followed the Kathy Gifford debacle where she thought it would be clever to be pictured holding a severed head of President Trump.  In that case the public backlash was brutal and swift as she screamed she was being bullied by the Trump administration while her career took a downward spiral.

It’s time our nation takes a timeout, steps back and then takes a deep breath.  We can not continue in the path that we are going and expect to survive.   This is reminiscent of the great Roman empire prior to its’ collapse.  We must get back to the basics and learn to work together for the common good of our great nation.  We need to get off Social Media spouting vile and filthy rhetoric that does nothing but harm the fiber of our country.  We need to look for ways to build, not tear down.  We need to learn to share ideas and not wholistically dismiss what another is saying.  We must learn to live together.

1842

Posted: June 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

America has had a magical growth that can be characterized by wars followed by periods of a quiet peace. During these passive periods, political and economic growth was allowed to manifest themselves, unbridled by world conflict.
America unshackled its yoke as a mere colony in the late 1700s and gained independence from England. A period of peace and experimentation of a new form of government followed and lasted for about twenty years. America was then tested and the nations metal was forged in fire as it took on a vengeful Great Britain and to the wonderment of a surprised world it emerged from the flames victorious.
Peace then pursued until 1846 when American gained massive lands from Mexico in the Mexican – American war. Twenty years later and America was torn apart with its’ Civil War. By this time Colonial Europe looked at America as the great agricultural experiment and somewhat looked down its’ nose at the fledgling nation. This war and peace has continued to this day.
One period of peace that is fascinating to our nation is the period between the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War. The year 1842 is a good representative year of peace.
In 1842 Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd. Ironically, Mary’s family was a prominent slave owing Kentucky family. It was nineteen years later that a President Lincoln would prove to be the catalyst to abolish slavery and would also be on the opposite side of the war that included Kentucky.
PT Barnum added a four year old child to his Barnum American Museum in New York. The four year old child had stopped growing years earlier and stood 25 inches tall and weighted a mere 15 pounds. Despite the size the child’s features were normal. The boy was given the stage name of “General Tom Thumb”. Barnum paid the father $3.00 a week to display the boy. The child was taught to sing, dance and impersonate famous people. Later Barnum would join with other shows and form Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus; “The greatest Show on Earth”. Unfortunately, the Circus closed its’ doors for the last time earlier this year.
Hawaii was feeling foreign encroachment on its’ beautiful island. In 1842 a Hawaiian delegation visited Washington and received recognition by the United States of its independence. Ironically in 1959 Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States.
Thomas J. Jackson entered the United States Military academy at West Point. He was allowed to enter only after the first selection from his area dropped out after the first day. He struggled due to little educational preparation but worked his way up to become one of the higher-ranking graduates. He would later become one of Robert E. Lee’s most trusted generals and would be nicknamed Stonewall.
In all of football legacy, one school stands out as a hallmark to the sport. A school whose team that nicknamed its’ running backs the four horsemen and the linemen the seven mules; a team that invented the forward pass; a team that had had a legendary Swedish coach called the “bald eagle, and a team that had two movies made about it legacy was a part of the university that was founded by Catholic priests in 1842, Notre Dame would become not only a great football school but a major institute of higher learning.
Overall 1942 was a quiet year between two wars. It did have a special meaning for rural North Louisiana. Union Parish had been carved out of Ouachita Parish three years earlier. In 1842 Farmerville was cut out of the forests and was officially chartered as a town in Louisiana. One hundred and seventy-five years ago.