We are in an election frenzy. We are also witnessing a national debacle where the Democratic Party is so incensed with the election of an outsider that defeated an assumed anointed presidential candidate, that they are making a spectacle trying to unseat and defame America’s seated president. Within the rhetoric of hatred and ignorance, a word that is so vial and so powerful is being used in a very nonchalant manner. This word is racism.
Two of the most powerful words in the English language are love and hate. They are strong, are pulled from inner feelings that originate in the soul and are two of the most misused words. Both should be used at a moment that a true feeling of emotion is felt within one’s self. Instead love and hate are used as a commonly used verb in so many conversations that the true meaning is lost.. Similar to this is the term racism; a term that is just as powerful and depicts a social norm that has seen the worse in mankind. It is also a term that, like love and hate, is being thrown around without regard for the true meaning or without understanding of its’ origin.
Those raised in the 1950s and 60s will have a clear understanding of racism and will also realize the inroads made to abolish it. Our new courthouse in Farmerville was constructed in the mid-1960s. The enlightened structure depicted the era of modern architecture. It also captured the racial past of the deep south. Black and White water fountains and bathrooms were present. The town’s movie theater had seating for blacks in the balcony. Schools were segregated and laws were on the books that made it very difficult for blacks and poor whites to perform their constitutional right to vote. White supremist such as Governor George Wallace of Alabama found a following so strong in the 1960s that he was making a run for the presidency. Georgia’s Lester Maddox stood outside his café with a baseball bat in hand to maintain his right to segregate and later was elected governor. All this is in the past. These harsh examples of racism are no longer with us and we have no segregated water fountains, bathrooms, lunch counters, public schools and no legitimate segregation platforms that elected officials are running under.
In today’s world of political correctness when we have to be cognizant of every word we use, the term racist is thrown out like popcorn being fed to pigeons in a public park. If a person is not liked or if someone disagrees with a person’s point of view, the person is tagged as a racist. If there is a controversial point of view or decision; these can be twisted and turned into something that is referenced as racist. This isn’t right and we need to get a handle on what racism really is.
Racialism is defined as, “prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” There is no place in our country for this and the Constitution of the United States directly addresses racialism. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”. This one statement from the greatest governmental document to be penned by man is self-explanatory.
As our country continues to grow and morph, mature and develop, lead and manage; let us be empathetic of our use of the terms racialism and racist. We have come too far to trivialize such powerful words.

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I can’t believe it’s been thirty years. Occasionally events happen in our lives that are so indelible in one’s mind that the event remain crystal clear over the years. So vivid are these memories that they feel as if they happened only yesterday. For me one of these occasions was the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; an event that eventually changed the face of the Middle East and ultimately revamped the politics of the world. I can’t believe it has been thirty years.
In the summer of 1989 I was returning to my job with Aramco in Saudi Arabia. My family was driving me to Shreveport to capture my flight. As we drove past the race track the news on the radio talked of negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait being hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah. Iraq wanted reimbursement for oil It claimed Kuwait had taken from an oil field that straddled the border plus it wanted more of the physical oil field. I was surprised as Kuwait had just bankrolled Iraq in its’ disastrous war with Iran plus provided a forward observation base on its’ island of Falaka.
Five days later and I was eating dinner at the company’s restaurant I Abqaiq with three British friends. It was a Wednesday and the work week was over. Wednesday in the Muslim world is the same as Friday in the Western world. The restaurant was pleasant, clean and served meals cafeteria style. After dinner I returned to my small apartment to settle into a cool evening and escape the incessant 110+ degree heat of the day. Normally I would not watch the Saudi Arab news but for some reason I thought I would turn it on this night. The news was usually slanted and always negative toward Israel. Israel could not be mentioned by name but was instead referred to as occupied Palestine. But on the evening of August 1st, one news item caught my attention. The talks between Iraq and Kuwait that were hosted by Saudi Arabia had ended. The news cast said that there was no negotiated settlement; however, both countries had agreed to meet at a future time. About an hour later I went upstairs and laid down on the cool bed and thought of home.
I tuned in the British Broadcasting Company, BBC, radio station to catch the news. American Armed Forces radio was not available and the Voice of America was very difficult to find so the BBC provided the best nonbiased news in the region. It was that broadcast that announced that the talks between Iraq and Iran had collapsed, both delegations had left Jeddah and there were no plans for future talks. I thought how apropos this was. Saudi Arabia had glossed over the real issue. Then the announcement came that troops were moving toward the Kuwaiti border. “Saber rattling”, I thought. After all Kuwait had done so much for Iraq. I drifted off to sleep and the BBC went off the air at mid-night.
At six in the morning of August 2nd, BBC came on the air with its’ traditional trumpet blowing followed by “this is London”. That was followed with the announcement that all news programming was cancelled to cover the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. We were at war.
This was one of America’s finest hours as the United States led a coalition that ultimately removed Iraq from Kuwait. Over time and several other wars Iraq would throw off the yoke of Hussein which led to a splintered country that saw the rise and fall of ISIS. The Arab spring came forth and saw democracy launch in several countries. Libya fell, Qhadafi was executed as America led from behind and the country is still in chaos at times. Syria launched a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and produced a migration problem in Europe of Biblical proportion. The world would never be the same.
I can’t believe it’s’ been thirty years.

A LITTLE RESPECT PLEASE

Posted: July 28, 2019 in Uncategorized
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The United States Senate is the most prestigious lawmaking body in the world with the United States House of Representatives not far behind. The image that should be portrayed of these two bodies should be one of decorum, intellect and respect. Over the years the image is anything but these distinguished attributes.
Unfortunately for our legislative body the image of incompetency, bungling and insolence are portrayed by the local and national press From what is presented to us we sense nothing but gloom and doom for our great nation and while many accounts are correct, many more are tainted or just wrong.
We have several types of politicians in our nation’s capital. There is the elected official that truly wants to improve the country and insure that we continue to be the strongest nation in the world. These men and women are proud to be American and are patriotic in nature. One problem encountered is that the two major parties have become so different that the image of what America should be has become a detriment to moving the country forward as a unified nation. A second type of politician is the one that is in office for his own personal gain. While so many Americans believe that this type of politician makes up the majority of elected officials, nothing could be further from the truth. This is a small number and in many cases they are weeded out by the laws of the nation or by members of congress. These individuals have no place in our government. A third type we find in Washington are the ones that want to change the complexion of our country. While anarchy is a strong word and is not appropriate here, the term socialism is appropriate and is not what we need as a great nation and is not what built our nation. This group makes up the smallest numbers in Washington, but be careful. When the Nazi party was formed it was felt that it was nothing more than a group of boy scouts parading through Berlin.
Recently we have been witnessing various congressional hearings where different individuals have testified before congress. Congress demands, and justifiably so, the respect of those that are called to the hallowed chambers. Unfortunately, respect begets respect and this is lost in many of the congressional hearings. While the committee sits behind its table, the person being questioned has been demeaned and insulted. It is embarrassing to see our countries elected officials conduct themselves and public hearings in such a manner. It is as if the rhetoric intensifies, the volume is turned up and the grandstanding begins when the cameras are turned on. Instead of a chamber of statesmen the hearings become a stage for drama and showmanship.
I have often said that you can demand discipline but you have to earn respect. Perhaps if our elder statesmen would display the wisdom and tolerance required of their position we would have a more respected legislative branch of government. Why not begin this at the hearings and especially the hearings that the world witnesses via the American press.

Last week I watched on television as two police officers in New York City were having water poured on them by members of the community that the officers had sworn an oath to serve and protect. Another video clip showed an officer standing quietly as a man screamed in his face. This action was shameful and sad as we witnessed loyal public servants undergoing assaults that most men would physically respond to.
This is reminiscent of a time when servicemen came home from Viet Nam not to parades and praise but to insults and attacks. Some that were physically spit on could not be restrained. General Norman Schwarzkopf returned from Viet Nam as a senior office and said that he had heard of the assaults and he had made up his mind that if he was spit on he would retaliate; even if it meant his career. Richard Harrison from Pawn Star fame told a story that he had been spit on and the guy that did it would never make that mistake again. My materials specialist in Safaniya, Saudi Arabia was a recon Marine during Nam. When he returned from deployment his only desire was to visit Washington D.C. and enjoy the city that he had gone to war for. While riding a bus enjoying the sites a woman walked by to exit the bus, stopped, looked at the young marine in uniform and spit on him. He remained under control but the story broke my heart. These days of disrespect for those that served our great nation do not need to be repeated. No police, firefighter, EMT or anyone that serves our great nation should be disrespected.
An incorrect message has been sent to the general population as it relates to the respect due to our police forces. These forces are our local police departments, the state police and the various federal law enforcement agencies. While there have been times when a bad deed was committed by a police officer, the vast majority are on duty to protect the citizens of America. President Obama had made statements that were taken as anti-police and many felt he justified acts against the men and women in blue. I personally do not believe that the President of the United States supports or condones violence against our police; however, the perceived message, though incorrect, is that he does condones these actions and thus attacks on police increased. The perpetrators felt empowered to do so. It doesn’t help when the former Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, made a statement recently that America has never been great. This type of rhetoric only empowers individuals to attack police whiling feeling justified to do so.
Some cities and even states are not going to cooperate with Federal authorities and proclaim themselves to be “sanctuary” entities. On the borders our border patrol is condemned by certain members of congress for doing the job they were hired to do; enforce the immigration laws of the United States. In some cities the police are finding that their hands are tied as they are discovering the ability to protect a very difficult task. Still they put on their uniforms each morning and go forth to enforce the laws of our great country. Elected leaders such as Mayor De Blasio of New York has made it so difficult for the largest police force in the world to perform its’ mission that during a funeral he attended for a fallen officer, the police officers in attendance turned their backs on him.
It is time that America takes time to reflect and think about what a drastically different world we would have without our men and women in blue. It is also time for the elected officials to reflect on what they can do to drive home the point that the police, firefighters and EMTs deserve the respect from a grateful nation. Tougher laws need to be passed at the state and local level that aggressively punish anyone attacking an officer; either verbally or physically. Federal laws need to be passed that makes it a federal felony punishable by incarceration for any physical crime against a police officer, firefighter or EMT.
It is time to say “thank you” to these responders and let them know that we have “their” backs.

WHY DO WE EXPLORE

Posted: July 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of a major milestone in human development and accomplishment. I had just graduated from high school and sat in front of the family television and watched an American astronaut step foot on the moon. How proud to be an American and what a magnificent sense of accomplishment. We were truly exploring a new frontier.
My entire life there has been this built in sense to explore, to go where no one else had been or at least to go where I had never been. Then one day someone asked me why do we want to explore space, then later someone asked why do we want to explore the ocean depths, then I heard someone ask why do we want to spend the time and effort to uncover ancient civilizations. Of course there have been comments that equate exploration to the price tag for searching or exploring. Such folly cannot be financially justified. The sad part of these comments was that I had no valid answer. Exploring had no real basis in my life for rational thinking, it was just something to do so I was perplexed to come up with an answer.
NASA did come up with a response. Since it was on the cusp of the new frontier to explore it is only natural that NASA would have an answer. NASA feels that man has an innate desire to learn the world around oneself. This desire is ingrained in the psyche of humans so that primitive man ventured out to find resources to provide food, clothing and shelter. It is this genetic need that leads us today to explore and discover. Mankind has been benefiting from exploration for thousands of years. Attempts to find a better route to the Far East led to the discovery of the New World which led to colonizing the Western Hemisphere with people from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Dr. George Mallory was a clergyman and world-famous mountaineer. In the 1920s he made three attempts to climb Mt. Everest. He lost his life in the last attempt and his body was finally discovered in 1999. At a fund-raising event in Philadelphia, A New York Times reporter posed the question to Dr. Mallory, “Why do you climb mountains?” The climber paused for a moment and thought about the question to which he responded, “Because they are there”. There was no response to the question that could rationally justify why he climbed mountains. It was truly a desire to go where no one had gone before, to acquire new knowledge, to achieve what others had not.
This genetic programming to explore is manifested in the American spirit and may help to explain why we are compelled to explore, to discover and to achieve. The majority of the first American immigrants took a very bold decision to leave home, go to a new world where little was known, and realize that they will never see their homeland again. These individuals that had that fire-in-the-gut to explore made up the majority of the new world’s population. This genetic fingerprint is with us today and is part of what drives us to explore, even when there is no financial benefit identified at the beginning of the expedition.
NASA will be the first to expound on the fact that space exploration has brought many collateral benefits to mankind. Everything from cell phones, to integrated chip in computers, to corning ware in the kitchen are all developments from space exploration.
So, if I am ever asked why do we explore may response is simple, “Because we can”.

IT’S JUST A PARADE

Posted: July 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

America has been celebrating its’ birthday and what a celebration it has been. The 4th of July is a wonderfully fun time for the United States as we celebrate the founding of a great nation. Men took chances, other men defiantly went to war and some men died so that a fledgling piece of land in the wilds of the North American frontier could seek its own destiny.
There is no easy way to obtain freedom and there is no easy way to maintain this freedom and there is no easy way to ease the suffering of friendly nations. It takes guts, determination and a strong military. Since the first days of America’s founding, the American military complex has kept us safe and secure, has made the world safe for democracy and has kept the sea lanes open for free and safe trade.
America went to war to gain its’ freedom. In 1812 America was back at war with England and America won. In the early 1860s America was gripped in a horrible civil war as brother fought brother in a four-year series of battles that devastated a great nation. The war ended and then the nation healed and within thirty-five years of the civil war America was again at war; this time with Spain and once again the great agricultural experiment that had been looked down on by classical Europe had defeated two colonial powers. Within twenty years of that victory, America would be back in battle as World War I had ground to a paralyzing stalemate. The shot of adrenalin provided by the American Expeditionary Force would be the catalyst that doomed the German army. America took a breath and twenty-two years later it was again in a two-front war in Europe and the Pacific. Within five years of that war’s ending, America would be on the Korean peninsula and a few years after that war America would be bogged down in Viet Nam. Twenty years after America exited Nam and the country was in the Middle East for a series of wars that brought freedom and security to countries around the Persian Gulf.
For all intents and purposes, America has been at war for a large amount of its’ existence. It is that man and woman that heard the call to arms and picked up the rifle that ensured our freedom and made sure that we sleep under the light of a free moon. What better way to honor our men and women in arms than to parade them through the streets of America amid cheers and flags waving; showing America’s appreciation.
Military parades have been a part of America’s legacy since the birth of the country. Ticker tape parades were held following World War II and troops marched through New York City as confetti showered down from the skyscrapers. Presidential inaugurations have been marked with military units participating. President Dwight Eisenhower had a large military parade as did John F. Kennedy.
Parades that contain military displays make people proud. There is something about a sharp military unit marching down a boulevard with ole glory flying in the breeze at the front of the column. There is nothing wrong with America displaying the arms that are keeping the world safe and what better time to show this display of power than the birthday of our great nation.
At a time that we should be celebrating the magnificence of the United States, individuals are more interested in taking down the president of our great nation. How sad that petty politics is taking precedent over celebrating the birthday of the greatest nation on earth. How sad that so many in our country do not realize how fortunate we are to be living in America during this period of time. How sad that a magnificent event such as a military parade to honor our great nation can not be viewed as an American heirloom.

We have just completed the celebration of the birth of the greatest nation in the world. Some refute this to say that we are not the greatest nation, or never have been great. My response to this would be to look at the rest of the world and ask how many countries are struggling to keep people out and then look within America and ask how many people are beating down the doors to migrate out? My final question is to ask what country is greater than the United States?
In 1776 fifty -five brave patriots, men performing treason against their mother country of England, signed a document that would certainly place a bounty on the heads of each signee. This document, the Declaration of Independence, has become the iconic case for liberty and freedom throughout the world and displays how a young fledgling country can grow to prominence when the spirit of the human mind and body can be set free.
One year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the second Continental Congress met and one item that was agreed to was the development of a flag to represent the newly declared country. The resolution read, “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation”.
By 1779 the Congress had not decided on the final design and requested George Washington to provide input. Ultimately the design was completed and seamstresses from around Philadelphia were made busy sewing the new symbol of freedom, the American Flag.
Betsy Ross has been given credit for producing the first flag though some dispute the assertion. Still this is a part of our country’s history and legacy and symbolizes the enthusiasm of a new country. How wonderful it must have been when the Continental Army was standing in ranks ready to take the field against the greatest army in the world and saw the flag being unfurled and waving in the wind like a beacon announcing the arrival of a new world power.
The flag consisted of thirteen alternating red and white stripes while thirteen five-pointed stars were placed in a circular pattern on a field of blue. Since Betsy Ross was credited with making the first flag, this original flag design of the United States if referred to as the Betsy Ross flag.
American patriots marched into battle under this flag. Thousands died from British bullets while many thousands more lived in deplorable conditions, falling ill from cold, disease and hunger. Still these young men and women continued on and through the suffering and won the independence for a new nation.
This flag, the Betsy Ross design has been the symbol of a great nation ever since the first flag flew. It has been a symbol of pride for our great nation and has decorated the landscape of presidential inaugurations. President Barak Obama, living proof of the great strides taken by America, used the Betsy Ross flag for his 2013 inauguration backdrop.
Nike, the world leader in athletic gear and a company that takes advantage of families by providing “must have” shoes at greatly inflated prices, designed a Betsy Ross Inspired shoe to commemorate the 4th of July. Then as the shoes were hitting the floor, the shoes were withdrawn. A protest from Colin Kaepernick that cited a racial period in the country when the flag flew ended the celebration of a great nation. Nike, an American icon had succumbed to political correctness instead of patriotic prevalence. Other despicable comments link the flag to deplorable white supremist and even the Nazi swastika.
Arizona has long been independent and provided a major source of American patriots. Cowboys and Indians from Arizona were part of the famous Rough Riders that followed Teddy Roosevelt as they charged up San Juan Hill. Navaho Indians from Arizona made up the core of the famous U.S. Marine Code Talkers in World War II. Arizona was scheduled to have a new Nike plant built in its’ state. Due to the Nike decision, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey pulled all state incentives that were to be given to Nike to build in Arizona. A bold statement from a bold Governor and State.
California stated that it will welcome Nike’s new plant to its’ state.