Posts Tagged ‘bernice louisiana’

THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE BERNICE BANNER, BERNICE, LOUISIANA THE WEEK OF 7/8/2018
We have all witnessed the heart wrenching images of children sitting in holding locations on the American borders while parents and adult guides are taken away to custody. Images of children being pulled from mother’s arms are placed on the minds of Americans while some press accounts compare the process with Nazis breaking up Jewish families as they are sent to concentration camps and execution. Time magazine carried a picture of President Trump looking at a crying infant that was supposed to have been taken from the arms of its’ mother. In fact the child was taken for 2 minutes to allow the mother the opportunity to provide identification. The child was quickly back in the mother’s arms.
The truth is that the laws that being implemented have been in place for years and children have been relocated by both the Obama and the Trump administration. What has changed is that America is not allowing a free pass to anyone that has a child with them. The adults have broken an immigration law and they are placed in custody. A child cannot be placed in custody with a parent so the children are separated. Is this wrong? The laws of the United States says it is not and these laws have been in effect for years. Is this morally wrong? No human should think a child should be separated from a parent so it is the responsibility of the Congress of the United States to pass laws that will allow children to remain with their parents even when being incarcerated due to immigration violations. It is also the responsibility of Congress to have laws in effect that will insure that our borders are safe. If a person is not a legal alien, then that person should remain in custody until they have valid reason to enter the United States or are sent back home. Is this so difficult?
We have heard so much about the border debacle that it is hard to differentiate what is truth and what is political rhetoric aimed at injuring another political party. What we have to do is to take an objective look at what we want to accomplish as a nation, get the laws in place that will insure that we are safe and provide a controlled and fair policy for immigrants wishing to live and/or work in the United States.
There has been ample notice as to what was going to be allowed when it comes to border security. “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in May. “If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” It is not a case of America being the bad guy on the border. It is a case of people ignoring this notice and it is also a case of individuals fleeing deplorable conditions in their home land risking incarceration in their attempt to enter the United States.
Today there are 2049 children on the border that the U.S. is trying to repatriate with their parent. In addition there are about 1000 additional children that were separated before the “zero policy”. This is an exasperating ordeal for the government. Some of the children were already separated from their parents before crossing the border so are not a part of America breaking up the families. Also, in some cases the person bringing the child over the border is not a parent so the child could be getting trafficked. Also, some of the 1000 children that are in our society are with illegals and when contacted the person who has the child is not responding. Now a judge has stated that all the children must be reunited by this week. There is a concern that the quick date will require a reduction in the quality of the verification process and to achieve the date mandated by court may jeopardize the safety of the children when released.
As bad as it appears on the border, and we can be assured that the children are being very well taken care of, America has done far worse when it comes to treating foreign nationals as well the original Americans.
In the early 1800s President Andrew Jackson drew up a blue print for social cleansing as he set the path to cleanse the Southeastern United States of American Indigenous people, the American Indians. Indian tribes such as Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Poncas were sent west of the Mississippi. The journey commonly called the Trail of Tears caused up to 10,000 Indians to die of disease and starvation.
In 1941 Japan attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor and thrust America into World War II. In a moment of paranoia, the Roosevelt administration ordered 110,00 to 120,000 Japanese Americans to be moved into internment camps. Sixty-three percent of these were American citizens. Property was stripped from the Japanese Americans and there were stories of depressed and disillusioned incarcerated Japanese to walk out into the desert, never to be seen again. In 1980 the Carter administration set up a neutral council to evaluate the need to have imprisoned the Japanese Americans. Very little disloyalty was discovered and the incarceration was racially motivated. President Ronald Reagan signed a law apologizing to the Japanese American and authorizing a payment of $20,000 to each survivor. Ironically a Japanese American Division was the highest decorated unit in World War II.
Neither political party can be held solely responsible for civil disgrace. While the issues at the border are under a Republican Administration the laws in force today were from a Democratic administration. Andrew Jackson’s supporters founded the Democratic party, Roosevelt was a Democrat but a Democratic President, Jimmy Carter, launched the investigation that deplored the treatment of the Japanese Americans.
We all need to take a step back and look at what is best for our great nation. We must protect our citizens and thus control the border. We also must be benevolent and show understanding and compassion for those oppressed and downtrodden who desire a better life. This is a balancing act that will not be easily fixed.

Advertisements

Most of us would do anything for our children. When a child picks up arms and goes to war for his motherland but never returns, any parent would gladly to have taken his place. It is a built-in instinct to protect our off springs. The one aspect shared by all parents is that our children live in peace. Thomas Paine captured this thought in “Common Sense” as he called for war and thus have a free world for the children of the new nation. “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” – Thomas Paine
The Constitution guarantees that all men are created equal and each man has equal rights. The Constitution does not guarantee all men are to have the same material goods and services. The Constitution does guarantee that every man has the same rights to attempt to achieve success in life; but no guarantee of success. This is the way a democracy works and how a free market economy functions. Unfortunately we have had our stumbles and we as a country has not been perfect but we have come a long way on our journey as a young nation. Payne addressed the rights of man in his pamphlet, “Common Sense”. “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” – Thomas Paine
Education is paramount for the growth of any nation. It is through education that development is achieved. It is also through education that the government itself is questioned and thus through constructive dialogue change is achieved with the intent of bettering one’s government. Unfortunately we see in many of our institutions of higher learning a censorship of free thought. Speakers arrive only to be jeered and in some cases speakers are cancelled due to concerns of unrest on campus. In countries where a vast amount of education is regulated by the elite and by unions, free thinking is thwarted and productivity is stymied. Payne wrote about education and how education is desired in a free nation. “A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.” – Thomas Paine
As we celebrate the birth of our nation my wish would be that all Americans take a step backward, take a deep breath, reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation and look to the future with a desire to work together as one country; one people. Happy 4th of July everyone and if you see a veteran, thank him or her for the sacrifices they made to keep our country free.

 

For several years I have been quit vocal about North Korea and how it had been running under the radar when it came to public awareness of it harsh policies. This was advantageous to prior administrations as America’s North Korean policy was more of pacification than confrontation and ultimately delaying major hostility between the United States and North Korea. For decades numerous administrations’ foreign policies were to do just enough to keep North Korea from bubbling up into a confrontation and thus let some future administration make the tough decisions when it comes to getting North Korea under control and act like a responsible nation. This concept of kicking-the-can-down the road and let the next administration handle the tough options has finally come to an end.
North Korea has snubbed its’ nose at the United States, the West and the United Nations since the armistice was signed on July 27th, 1953. There was no peace treaty and no surrender document. The war between North and South Korea has simply been put on hold.
North Korea has been testing the resolve of South Korea and the United States, South Korea’s biggest ally, since the 1950s. In the 1970s North Korea kidnapped ordinary citizens from the costal areas of Japan. The reasons are widely speculated. Some were believed killed so their identity could be used by the North Koreans. Some women were believed to be kidnapped to be married to Japanese terrorist living in North Korea. Others were believed to have been kidnapped to teach Japanese to North Korean spy schools. Officially only 17 kidnappings took place but unofficially the number is in the hundreds.
Prior to the kidnapping of Japanese citizens, the North Koreans attacked, boarded and confiscated a United States Naval ship in International water. The ship was a spy ship but was not operating in North Korean waters. America did launch a flight of fighter jets from Japan but recalled the aircraft. It was stated that it was becoming dark, so the planes returned to base. The truth is more likely to be that concerns with Chinese intervention during a time that we were mired in Viet Nam was a more viable reason for allowing North Korea to sieze an American war ship.
As South Korea flourished and became an internationally economically viable country, North Korea concentrated on building a massive army and required armaments. Eventually this morphed into the development of nuclear weapon and a deployment system that could reach the United States. In the past the United States indirectly negotiated the nuclear issue. North Korea placated American fears, Washington gave high fives for averting a North Korean nuclear threat and North Korea resumed nuclear weapon development as they giggled behind closed doors at the naivety of the West. All this has now changed; or has it?
The North Koreans have called for a meeting with South Korea and the United States. What a shock! Out of no where the North sent athletes to the Olympics in Seoul. Accompanying them were North Korean cheerleaders and the sister of the North Korean leader. Shortly after the Olympics ended North Korea asked for the meeting. Now there are reports that North Korea is prepared to dismantle its’ nuclear program.
This is a wonderful belief and it is hoped that the world has learned in the past that North Korea promises anything but the promises hold no merit. The possibilities are empty rhetoric. We can’t be duped any longer and there are several reasons to believe that foreign policy with North Korea will be different this time.
We have a president that is not skilled in previous international policy but is a master in negotiating. Prior failed negotiation tactics will take a back seat to new tough talk that brings a new look to how we work with North Korea. China used to be a major threat to our involvement on the Korean peninsula. China has grown up, has become the second largest economy in the world, has smelled economic success and does not want a major confrontation with the United States and desires an end to North Korea’s foolishness. A third reason that the North Korean meeting may be constructive is due to increased heavy economic sanctions placed on North Korea may be hitting deeply into the country. They may soon be in very dire economic straits. This could come to a head this fall so North Korea is anxious to come to a quick agreement.
I am optimistic that we may finally see an end to the Korean armistice and then see a peace treaty signed. Even more optimistically I am hoping that all the pieces come together and North and South Korea are unified into one country; a country that finds freedom and liberty for all citizens of the Korean peninsula.

When I was in Arabia we had some pretty big projects. We would design a facility and then invite construction contractors to build what had been designed. The contractor would take the drawings and the scope of works and estimate what it would cost to build the facility and would then submit a bid to preform the work. If a contractor was the successful bidder they would be awarded the contract. If they were not the low bidder, they would have to absorb the cost to estimate and prepare the bid. Some estimates cost the contractor as much as $100,000 dollars. The construction contractors that bid on the job were from countries around the world. One day I heard that the countries were not truly on a level playing field. Not all the contractors had to eat the cost of the estimate. The Korean contractors that were not the lower bidders and thus did not receive the contract had their estimating costs reimbursed to them by the government. The American or Italian or Lebanese contractors were not so lucky. This was not a level playing field but there was nothing that could be done and the Koreans won some quit large contracts.
On the surface we would be upset that this was going on in the world of business. This is similar to what President Trump just addressed with his tariff on steel and aluminum. America is being attacked by countries that are dumping iron and steel on American markets at a cost that is less than what it costs to make. Foreign countries are subsidizing these companies and American industry is paying the price. To counter this unfair trade, President Trump has announced that he is imposing costs on imported steel and aluminum; tariffs. Is this a wise move or are there underlying problems? Has this been attempted before.
Implementation of tariffs is as old as our nation. A large set of tariffs was implemented in 1828. President William McKinley was an expert on tariffs when he took office and executed tariffs when he took office just prior to the Spanish American war. Even though the tariffs provide immediate support for the American worker that is under attack there can be consequences to the country. For every action there is a reaction and if America places tariffs on another countries products there is a probability that the other country will place tariffs on American goods. This tit for tat can build on itself and ultimately force an all out trade war. This is when a Savior becomes a Satan.
In 1930 America was at the front of the Great Depression. It was felt that protectionist trade practices had to be implemented to defend American products. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff act passed in congress placed tariffs on 20,000 goods imported by the United States. This in turn launched a trade war that failed to help the American worker. Today economist and economic historians feel that the Smoot-Hawley act exacerbated the Great Depression.
When the Smoot-Hawley Tariff passed in congress, 1,028 economist signed a petition asking President Herbert Hoover to veto the bill. Henry Ford spent an evening with Hoover an tried to talk him into vetoing the bill. Hoover never vetoed the bill and a trade war ensued. It is unclear what the negative impact of the tariff was for the country but it is understood that while it did not directly cause the Great Depression it make the depression more difficult. American jobs were ultimately lost.
Ironically, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla motors defended the tariffs that were implemented by President Trump last week. He stated that steel and aluminum competition in the American markets was like an athlete competing in the Olympics but had to wear lead shoes.
The United States federal government must understand that while dumping steel and aluminum on American Markets is not ethical and is costing American citizens good jobs and thus deserves tariffs, this must not launch into an all out trade war. The Executive Branch of the United States has all ready modified the tariff language and has excluded Mexico and Canada from being tariffed. The president also stated that other countries could petition the United States and request that they also be excluded from the tariff. This may be exactly what the President had in mind. The biggest culprit of steel and aluminum dumping is China. If China wants the tariff lifted on their products then they will have to petition the United States to do so. This will then open one-on-one negotiations between China and the United States and thus hopefully will reduce a world wide trade war while re-opening steel and aluminum plants across America.

There is much discussion going on at this time pertaining to the Second Amendment and the right to carry a weapon. This amendment has been in place since the ratification of the Constitution. Since the early days of our country debate has taken place pertaining to this amendment and this has then led to courts throughout our great nation attempting to interpret what our founding fathers actually meant when they inked the Constitution which contained the second amendment. Emotions take on a new fervor when tragedy occurs as we have recently witnessed.
What did the founding fathers have to say about the second amendment and the right to bear arms after they had drafted the Constitution?
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Constitution, “”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
In 1787 Jefferson wrote to James Madison, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Today we hear something like this quote, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” While we may associate this to today’s discussion on gun control, this was actually written by an 18th century criminologist and was then spoken by Jefferson. The debate about arming peaceful and law abiding citizens has been going on since the beginning of our nation.
Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, signatory of the Constitution and scientist wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
George Madison wrote, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” This is where the discussion of gun rights begins to open dialogue as to the intent of the second amendment. Is the second amendment a vehicle to insure that the citizens can own a firearm or is it the intent to insure that America can pull together an opposing force quickly and thus prevent oppression from another country. If the latter is the intent then what was referred to as the minuteman in 1776 is today the state National Guard. At the time of the Constitution writing, the colonies did not have their private militias nor their private store of weapons. It was the citizen militia that had to respond and bring their own weapons.
In 1788 Richard Henry Lee wrote, “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” This reinforces the discussion that the purpose of the second amendment was to insure that we had an armed standing militia and free men were to provide their weapons.
There is also a part of this writing that screams the truth of what we need to address today in our country; “especially when young, how to use them”. This is the part of our right to bear arms that has undergone no discussion. When we and our forefathers grew up we knew how to handle a weapon. This was taught to us from very early years and it was our fathers and grandfathers that taught us. Today this is a dying tradition, pardon the pun. Adages such as treat every gun as if it was loaded, never point a gun at anyone and keep the weapon pointed down range are not part of the vernacular when discussing guns. Never, never, never should a person place a gun to a person’s head and pull the trigger thinking it is unloaded. Never should a real gun be treated as if it is a part of a video game and never should a person be allowed to purchase a gun until they can show they know how to use it.
Gun education is probably an answer to gun control. Since the family unit no longer provides the majority of gun education, a training program for our youth may be required to insure that they know how to operate the weapon and when to use it.
There is one discussion today that assault weapons should have an age limit of 21 years. Others say that if a person can go into the army at 18 and carry an assault weapon then they should be able to buy one over the counter. If anyone goes through U.S. Army weapons training then this statement is true; they are trained to handle this weapon better than anyone on earth; but until that level of training takes place we are placing a weapon intended to do nothing more than kill into the hands of a person trying to figure just what they want to do in life.
The debate on gun control has been going on for 200 years and undoubtedly will continue for another 200 years.

 

For anyone that is not aware we are in the middle of the Winter Olympic Games. What a wonderful sporting event for the world to witness. This is the 23rd time that the Olympics have been held (XXIII Olympiad) and is an add-on to the original games, the summer Olympics. Originally both the summer and winter Olympics were held on the same year. Recently this changed to provide more time to enjoy the games and thus allow time for sponsors to not be stretched so thin when it comes to marketing dollars.
The Olympics were supposed to be void of political intrigue and pure of heart. Unfortunately this has not all ways been true. The intestinal fortitude and sacrifice required for any Olympic athlete is nothing short of amazing. The pressure to participate and to win are enormous. For a select few the financial rewards are enormous but for most the opportunity to receive a single medal and stand on a podium as the flag of the winner’s country is hoisted makes it all worthwhile. This pressure to achieve is so great that many individuals and in some areas the majority of a countries teams will take illegal drugs to insure success.
When Russia invaded Afghanistan the Carter administration boycotted the Russian hosted Olympics to protest the invasion. Forget the purity of the games, it was then politicized. This year Russia, as a country, was banned from the Olympics due to sanctioned doping of its’ athletes. If athletes could be proven to not have performed any doping they would be allowed to participate in the Olympics; not as a part of the Russian country but listed as an athlete from Russia. No Russian flag would fly at these games.
America has it’ own political drama. Linsey Vaughn stated she would not go to the White House to visit President Trump if she won a medal. Unfortunately, it is the position and not the person that should be respected. This boycott does nothing for the country except to be divisive; however, Linsey does have every right to express her own views. Our founding fathers founded our nation on this concept and laws have been instituted to insure this right is protected. Unfortunately this freedom of speech and dissent is not a popular concept to many. After her first loss in a downhill event the Tweeters came out in droves with wishes of physical harm to the skier and hopes she continually loses. Two problems with this; first: she is still representing our country and she should be paid the respect for that and wish her good will, second: the presses assessment that the Trump supporters are wishing her bad luck is incorrect. Many Trump supporters do whish her good luck as a flag bearer of our nation. We are all Americans.
Korea has its’ own political drama. North Korea sent a contingent to the games. This is unprecedented and what is even more astounding is that some team sports consisted of both North and South Koreans competing together. The biggest point of intrigue was when the leader of North Korea’s sister arrived for the games and then offered an invitation to the leader of South Korea to meet with her brother. This has sent a flurry of diplomatic chatter between the United States and Korea and if unilateral talks take place between the two Koreas the United States will be in a very vulnerable position.
We have grossly underestimated the North Korean government. We thought it was a back wood country that was on the verge of collapse. They proved they had the ability to develop and the knowledge to hack into American computer systems. North Korea has built a nuclear weapon and now has developed a missile that can hit Washington D.C. Now they appear close to have performed and end-around of the United States diplomatically. They have definitely proven themselves to be a worthy adversary. One last political coupe that North Korea performed at the Olympics; the North Korean cheerleaders. North Korea sent an entourage of beautiful young cheerleaders to support North Korea during the Olympics. A minor detail that has proven to be a big hit at the games. No other country sends cheerleaders.
The original Olympic games were founded in ancient Greece in the country that developed and then spread the unorthodox concept of Democracy. The first Olympic games were founded in 776 B.C. These games were to honor religious gods Zeus and Pelops and consisted of athletic events. Wars were even suspended during the celebration. Due to the religious games the Spartans could not send its’ army to stop the Persians from invading Greece. Instead Sparta only sent 300 Spartans to stop the Persians from invading Greece. The games were held every 4 years, just as they are today. Location of the games was at Mt Olympus. City States and geographical areas of ancient Greece sent their athletes to compete just as countries compete today. But what was amazing was that the men competed for; glory and the admiration of their countrymen. The award was simple. A crown of olive leaves adorned the heads of the winners.

Christmas holds a special place in the hearts of man. It’s hard to understand just why there is such a warm feeling that envelops us like a fog moving into a high-country snow-covered meadow. A feeling of goodwill and a feeling of peace fills our being. It is during this time that we believe that as tragic as our circumstances are, there is a future, bright and friendly, waiting for us. It is during this period that we take time to reflect and greet neighbors that we would otherwise not even acknowledge. Yes, Christmas is a special magical time that brings out the best, even in the middle of a war.
In 1914 the world was at war. America had not entered the conflict at that time but England and France were locked together in a bloody fighting against Germany. It was not a quick moving war but had deteriorated to a series of static geographical areas where troops lived in muddy trenches, shivered in bitter cold and lived under constant artillery attacks. It is said that France lost an entire generation of males as suicide attacks into German machine guns often took place.
Christmas of 1914 found the two great armies facing each other. France and England were both Christian based countries and Christmas held a special place in the hearts of the soldiers. Much of the Christmas traditions that we follow today originated in Germany. The Christian doctrine had begun in Germany via Martin Luther so all warring factions had a special place for Christmas. Even Christmas trees with candles hanging from the branches were a part of ancient Germany. Christmas held a special place in the hearts of the combatants of World War I on both sides.
On Christmas Eve of 1914, German troops began decorating their trench lines. They placed candles along the trenches and on Christmas trees which they displayed to the enemy. The Germans then began singing Christmas carols. The English and the French returned the gesture with carols of their own. What a surreal world this must have been on a cold December night where two opposing forces had made every effort to destroy each other and then peace settled over the artillery pocked landscape and Christmas carols filled the night air. This was not local as it is estimated that eventually 100,000 soldiers fell under the spell.
The celebration of the greatest holiday continued and opposing troops walked into no-mans land, shook hands and exchanged cigarettes and cigars. A portion of our world where no man is supposed to remain alive was now a place of Christmas celebration. There were reports that soccer games also took place between opposing armies. What an amazing time of the year where peace is possible.
Captain Robert Patrick Mile was attached to the Royal Irish Rifles and wrote home about this special Christmas day. “Friday (Christmas Day). We are having the most extraordinary Christmas Day imaginable. A sort of unarranged and quite unauthorized but perfectly understood and scrupulously observed truce exists between us and our friends in front. The funny thing is it only seems to exist in this part of the battle line – on our right and left we can all hear them firing away as cheerfully as ever. The thing started last night – a bitter cold night, with white frost – soon after dusk when the Germans started shouting ‘Merry Christmas, Englishmen’ to us. Of course, our fellows shouted back and presently large numbers of both sides had left their trenches, unarmed, and met in the debatable, shot-riddled, no man’s land between the lines. Here the agreement – all on their own – came to be made that we should not fire at each other until after midnight tonight. The men were all fraternizing in the middle (we naturally did not allow them too close to our line) and swapped cigarettes and lies in the utmost good fellowship. Not a shot was fired all night.”
Unfortunately, the cease fire did not last past Christmas and very soon both sides were doing the best they could to kill the men they had just befriended and celebrated with. On December 30th, just five days after the Christmas celebration, Captain Robert Patrick Mile of the Royal Irish Rifles was killed in action.
Merry Christmas to everyone and take a moment to reflect on how special this time of the year is. It is not the presents we receive that really matters; instead it is the Christmas cheer that we give that really makes this time of the year so special.