As a child in elementary school I lived for Saturday afternoons. During the school week I would toddle up to the main street of Farmerville to look at the marque of the local Joy Theater and see what would be showing the next Saturday. Then at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon I would walk the three blocks to the theater, place my quarter on the ticket counter, get my thirteen -cent change and spend a glorious afternoon watching a double feature with a cartoon and on occasion a short reel. In today’s world these movies would be cheesy but in the 1950s and 60s they were great and the actors and actresses did what they did best; they acted, kept to themselves and were guarded in all aspects by the giant production companies that held their contracts. Their sole purposes in life was to hone their craft and entertain a world of raved fans.
Political statements were made on the screen by the craft of the men and women that took pride in the country they lived in. Jimmy Stewart, famous for such memorable movies as It’s a Wonderful Life, North by Northwest, Vertigo and so many more, was in fact a highly decorated World War II bomber commander and retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General. Another giant in the acting community was the king of macho, the actor that simply had to walk on a set and his presence dwarfed all others. The actor, John Wayne, was the undeclared king of Hollywood and the actor that the studios, actor guilds or tabloids cared to not dispute in any way. Wayne’s patriotism came through in his flurry of military movies that covered a period from the Civil War into World War II and on to Viet Nam. His portrayal of the siege of the Alamo is legendary. As large as these actors are they both had one major attribute in common; they never attacked their country, the leaders of the country nor did they feel superior to the fans that supported them so much. Arrogance was not present.
Today we are enthralled with the rich and famous of Hollywood. Every checkout line in our retail stores is engulfed with magazines displaying the faces of Hollywood elite. Social media deluges us with photos, tweets and stories of our actors. As great as these performers are and as much as they are loved by their fans, they are not the elite group to be directing the direction of our great nation. When we hear actresses say they will leave the country or even go to Jupiter if a specific candidate is elected president discloses a disturbing bias. Instead of trying to be leaders of our nation and working with newly elected leadership, at all levels, we witness a childish attitude that displays men and women of great acting abilities displaying a child-like attitude with little true leadership character.
Recently the sexual harassment of actresses across Hollywood has become the subject of the month that brings a new revelation to an unknown epidemic of sick lifestyles among the rich and famous. Suddenly Hollywood displays shock, disdain while some even say declare they wished they had done something following decades of assaults. The truth is that these self – proclaimed leaders of America who want to tell America how we need to be governed have in fact shown no backbone when it came to stopping sexual harassment within its’ own world. Those that claim they are just hearing of this is laughable. Alfred Hitchcock’s pursuing and harassment of Tippy Hendren and her rejection and subsequent destruction of her career has been legendary since the 1960s. The joke of the casting couch has been with us for over a half century. To say that this is new knowledge is no defense for Hollywood and shows how it is easier to turn ones back instead of confronting the devil.
Those that say they should have done something earlier displays a flaw in the character and leadership of those that allowed this to continue for so long. These are the individuals that so many follow and due to the pinnacle we place our wonderful performers on we accept everything they have to say without question.
Sam Houston’s character in the History Channel’s movie on the birth of Texas stated, “Do what’s right and accept the consequences”. Unfortunately for many young aspiring actresses this never happened and the predators of Hollywood stalked the streets of California unabated for generations.

We also have those that are not vocal in a manner that is divisive.  There are those that put politics aside and  use there talents to bring a small fleeting amount of humanity to a very stressful situation that humanity has forgotten.  These are the men and women that forego holidays and time at home to entertain American troops.  Actors such as Gary Sinise  and his Captain Dan Band is a prime example.  The late Bob Hope was completely non-political but his support of USO shows in godforsaken parts of the world is legendary.

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VETERANS DAY

Posted: November 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

American have fought in many wars over the years after we decided that we would be a sovereign nation embodied with unique laws and freedoms. We fought for our freedom and fought each other. We fought to free countries from oppression and fought to keep oppression from spreading. With the exception of one war, the American fighting man returned to a nation that universally welcomed him and her home.
Each year we acknowledge the sacrifices made by all the members of our military. While many leave the military without physical or mental wounds they have still placed their lives on hold for years to insure we continue to live under the light of a free country. Such are the sacrifices of a noble youth. To honor these men and women, the United States instituted a special day to pay tribute. This day is Veterans Day.
Following the end of World War I, the war to end all wars, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day to acknowledge the men and women who participated in this conflict. His proclamation read, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” In 1938 this holiday became a legal national holiday with the intent to observe a day to promote world peace.
The War to end all Wars was not to be. Eventually the world was gripped in an even more tragic war where not only did nation fight nation but innocent men, women and children were sent to a certain death in an attempt accomplish “racial purity”. Once again America answered the call to service and after a war in two major theaters of operation we helped to keep the world safe for democracy. Within five years we were once again plunged into another war in Korea that is referred as the forgotten war.
In 1954 Congress amended the 1938 proclamation to strike through the word “Armistice” and insert the word “Veterans” and recognize all the men and women that served. Later that year President Eisenhower, the architect of the winning of the European theater in World War II, made the first proclamation of the first official Veterans Day.
Many of the of the same principle and artifacts that were with us in 1918 have remained as part of our countries fiber. I rmember as a small child my father running in to take me to the Veterans Day Parade. My first sight of the color guard, dressed in helmets and carrying the American and Louisiana flags made me know that I wanted to be a soldier someday. My father would bring in poppies to put on our shirts; a tradition that began when the soldiers marched off the ships when returning from World War I and were presented with poppies. I bought them this year for my grandchild and she proudly wore it to church.
While the observation of this holiday took a decline in the late sixties and seventies a rejuvinated nation took notice after Desert Storm and has expanded to a point that national restaurants now provide free meals as a thank you to our veterans. This is reminiscent of stories told to me by my college chemistry professor when I told him I was dropping out ot school to join the Navy. “When I got to New York after world War II and was in uniform I never bought a coffee. Someone would all ways walk up and tell me that he would like to buy the coffee for me.” This was the same gesture I passed on when in Saudi Arabia I would see young men and women in uniform in the Al Shula Mall. This continues in air ports around the country today. Hopefully this kind act will continue.
Happy Veterans Day and for those that served our nation, thank you.

 

A year ago I wrote about ISIS losing ground in Iraq and Syria and emphasized that we could expect a shift in the attack on good from evil. This materialized in 2017 in Paris and Normandy, France; London and Manchester, England; The Ohio State University, United States; Hamburg and Berlin, Germany; and the list goes on.
Amid dramatic attacks by Iraqi military forces supported by Iranian backed militia in Iraq and Syrian military units in Syria, ISIS has lost the vast majority of its’ conquered territory. In a traditional war it would be time to declare victory and dispatch the Department of State to meet with the coalition forces and prepare for the surrender talks with the vanquished foe. This is not a conventional war and there will be no surrender talks. Instead we have to prepare for an escalation of “lone wolf” attacks that we witnessed last year. Additionally, we can expect attacks that are even more menacing than the physical attacks of 2017.
So far the attacks perpetrated on innocent men, women and children in Europe and the United States have been savage, front page euphoric but limited in geographic and physical scope. We agonize over the loss of life and our hearts bleed for the mourning families but in the context of war, the destruction is small. These assaults will continue as a small investment by the enemy and garners massive headlines, Each attack requires increased security measures that impact the finances of the countries under assault.
We can also expect a new attack that does not require a physical presence in a country. No bomb-making material must be procured nor does a terrorist need an assault weapon nor does the terrorist have to rent a vehicle to crash through a crowd. Instead the terrorist will need a computer and be sophisticated in the ability to hack into operating systems and data bases. The terrorist could potentially wreak havoc on its’ enemies. Everything from electrical grids to financial institutions to pipeline oil and gas transmission to traffic lights to anything that is controlled by computers are vulnerable. Can you imagine the chaos, destruction and loss of life if all the traffic lights are suddenly turned off during rush hour in a major American city. The computer hacker can do his dastardly deed from some house buried in some city in some country ten thousand miles from the city that was attacked. This will be the new face of evil.
The war on terror is far from over. We have done a phenomenal job in defeating ISIS on the ground by empowering our generals to do what they know what to do and how to do it; win. We are providing our allies with the hardware they need to destroy terrorism. The escalation to cyber warfare will require brilliant minds to combat that threat plus continue developing our special ops teams to infiltrate and surgically remove the hackers in foreign inhospitable countries.
Traditional terrorism will remain with us for many years. These satans of evil used to have open access to America under the disguise of visitor or student visas. Much of this easy access has being eliminated so ISIS will be looking for other easy points of entry to America. This now puts greater pressure on our southern border. It is imperative that we control this border and prevent the infiltration of America by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. 2018 should be interesting and it is imperative that we stand together as one nation, UNITED.

When we look at a civilization the first thing that is noticed is its architecture. When the word Egypt is mentioned the thing we first notice is the pyramids. Speak of France and the Eifel Tower is envisioned. This is so true of so many countries around the world as well as civilizations that have disappeared only to be re-erected from the desert sands and jungle canopies.
Another main aspect to a great civilization is its’ education of its’ population. The 3,000 year old Minoans of Crete left beautiful wall paintings that depicted an affluent life and Egypt did the same. The ancient Phoenicians not only developed the first alphabet but with their large commercial ship fleets they delivered this alphabet around the Mediterranean world.
Museums and libraries, an extension of the education of a society and the treasure trove of knowledge of a country or society, are viewed as a major factor in the greatness of a civilization. The magnificent library at Cairo contained the majority of all knowledge in the ancient world only to be burned by Alexander the Great when he conquered Egypt. The same is true of the great museums of the world. The Smithsonian in Washington, the Museum of Natural History in New York and the Louvre in Paris are all world famous repositories of knowledge but this represents a very small fraction of libraries and museums around the world that contain collections of the worlds great past.
Recently the Union Parish High School opened its’ new doors. This combined architectural beauty with educational excellence. The façade welcoming students, educators, staff and visitors is bold and beautiful and defines in stone and steel the ideals of this institution. This entrance epitomizes the greatness the institution espouses. The interior provides a fresh look for the youth of the community to encourage these young men and women to achieve great things.
Of course there is more to a great civilization than merely its’ physical monuments. There is more to a school than its architecture. The real pillar to the legacy of an education institution is its’ educators and staff. Union Parish High School does not disappoint. The youthful enthusiasm of the teachers and staff at this new school is infectious and will transcend to the students of Union Parish.
There is more to this continued development of the student in the Parish. It is not only the teacher and the workers at a school that builds the student, it takes the community. To continue to grow our education system in Union Parish it will take the parents of the student and it will take the community as a whole to expand the education network of the youth of Union Parish. Hillary Clinton wrote a book, “It takes a Village”. The title tells it all. We are all in this community together and what we put into it should produce more than what we invested.

During our lives we have adversarial moments that seem to never end. We know something is right and just but wrong seems to prevail. Then we wake up one day and realize that justice is taking place and due to the untiring work of nameless hardworking individuals, right prevails. I experienced this recently.
Several weeks ago I walked through the local Wal Mart Store and discovered that a month before Halloween and in 90 degree weather Christmas decorations were appearing on the shelves. I thought that the day will eventually come when Christmas merchandise is never taken down. It really diminishes the anticipation of the holiday and waters down the true meaning of the holiday. Then I spotted something that made me think that the attack on Christmas, the true meaning of the Holiday and the happiness and good feelings it brings may be returning to our culture.
The local Wal Mart had in the past years, for the most part, refrained from selling religious significant merchandise for Christmas. Last year they did add a small Nativity Set and it was hoped that the pendulum had started to swing for a more traditional holiday period where the Holiday represented celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
This year it was a pleasant surprise to find a section of the store dedicated to Christian artifacts that acknowledged the true meaning of the time of the season. Nativity sets and wall hangings were there and other Christian significant decorations were at other locations around the store. It appears that the true story of the Holiday is returning to Wal Mart. It is only hoped that the other retail chains follow suit and we can return to a simpler, less politically correct, less money conscious time when we can truly enjoy and celebrate our Christmas season.

America is a part of the geographical landscape known as the New World. This means that it was colonized by countries from Europe that is referred to as the Old World. At the time that North and South America along with land in the Mid-East and Far-East were being colonized, the new land would become a part of the colonizing country. These new lands were then exploited for the natural resources and human resources that were available. Over time independence was achieved and individual countries gained independence. The colonization of North and South America began with expansionism policies of European countries such as Spain, Portugal, England and France and continued through World War II with Japan’s, Italy’s and Germany’s invasions and the land-grabs of neighboring countries.
This imperialistic approach to taking land by bayonet subsided at the end of World War II and most of the conquered lands were given free rule by the end of the 1950s. The United States is not a perfect country by any means, but its moral values and love for freedom and liberty does place it at or near the top of the rest of the countries on earth.
General Colin Powell is representative of everything that is good about America. He was born in Harlem to Jamaican Immigrants. He graduated from public high school and then received a geology degree from a public college. He also received his commission in the U.S. Army from the same public college. Without attending the U.S. military academy at West Point, it was almost impossible to become a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army. Powell broke this tradition. He not only crashed through Army traditions but also racial stereotypes to become a four-star general and ultimately appointed by President George H.W. Bush to become head of the Joint Chief of Staff, the highest position in the Department of Defense. Following his military service, he became the Secretary of State of the United States.
In 2003 at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, asked Colin Powel about the excessive use of “hard power” instead of “soft power”. Hard power is the use of the military while soft power utilizes religious values and building trust between these values. Powel’s answer responded to the use of “hard power” while reinforcing America’s imperialistic interests.
Powell stated, “The United States believes strongly in what you call soft power, the value of democracy, the value of the free economic system, the value of making sure that each citizen is free and free to pursue their own God-given ambitions and to use the talents that they were given by God. And that is what we say to the rest of the world. That is why we participated in establishing a community of democracy within the Western Hemisphere. It’s why we participate in all of these great international organizations.
There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.
I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.
So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world.
We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.

When I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia I was fortunate to have met numerous people with international backgrounds. One such individual was my Sr Project Manager. He had been a naval cruiser commander during World War II. Following the war he had gone to work for Standard Oil of California, now Chevron, where he worked around the world for the next 30+ years. He told me one day how much he disliked U.S. news coverage due to slanted commentary and bias portrayed by the correspondent. He said the British Broadcasting Company had is right. The BBC read the news and nothing else. There was no commentary. The listener could form his or her own opinion. It took years before I fully understood what he was saying.
The press is powerful and has made major inroads in shaping our nation. Case in point is William Randolph Hearst; the publishing mogul that built the largest newspaper chain in America and used sensationalism, supposition and innuendos to increase circulation. He began building his empire in 1887. He is noted for saying, “A politician will do anything to keep his job, even become a patriot”. The power of the press was gigantic at the turn of the 20th century and Hearst proved just how powerful.
Prior to the beginning of the Spanish American War, Hearst used the harsh treatment of the Cuban citizens by Spain as an opportunity to sensationalize the conflict and thus sell more papers. Published sketches of an American woman being stripped searched by Spanish on the deck of a ship were published by Hearst and infuriated a new nation. It was later proven to be false but in 1899 American was building a war fervor. When the U.S. Battleship “Maine” blew up in Havana Harbor there were sketches published of the ship blowing up and headlines that the Spanish had blown up our ship; thus war was declared. It is now believed that the ships boiler had blown up and not destroyed by the Spanish. When war fervor was running high in America Fredrick Remington was hired by Hearst to insurrection in art. There are undocumented reports that Hearst told Remington, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. Hearst, himself, landed in Cuba with the U.S. Army and had his group of correspondents report live from the fighting. While Hearst Publications didn’t cause the Spanish American War, his biased reporting built up a war fervor in America that made war an easy pill to swallow by the American citizen.
In Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Man in the Arena, he captured the importance of the power of the press and the care that the press must take to insure truthful coverage. “Of course all that I say of the orator (speaker) applies with even greater force to the orator’s latter day and more influential brother, the journalist. The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He can do, and often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations.”
Roosevelt’s words are just as important today as they were in the early 1900s. The veracity of news shows that attack instead of report and the multitude of multi-media comments that hold no rational knowledge is even more divisive to our populace than what Roosevelt experienced. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear or read the news and then let the reader or listener evaluate what is being reported rather than being told how we are supposed to behave when the news is presented to us.