Posts Tagged ‘Farmerville Louisiana’

In 1934 America was crawling out of a disastrous depression. Known as the Great Depression, America and the rest of the world had experienced an economic downturn that had not been experienced at any other time in the modern world. This economic disaster that saw unemployment as high as 25%, began in 1929 and it was not until 1933 that America began to recover.
In 1934 communication within our nation was extremely poor as compared to the instant phone calls, texting and e-mails we are fortunate to have today. A disaster in Mid-America could go un-noticed for weeks, months or never realized unless it was reported in one of America’s major newspapers. Washington was immersed in attempts to restart the economy and bring relief to the millions of oppressed citizens. Louisiana’s own Huey Long rose to national prominence with his new political party that promised a bright future for the United States; a promise that was cut short by an assassin’s bullet. What was not understood by our leaders in Washington was that an environmental disaster began in 1934 that would exasperate the Great Depression and threaten one of the core elements of what made America great.
When the pioneers entered the great plains they discovered an abundance of plains that made farming a dream-come-true. They began agriculture and used deep plowing techniques that left large areas exposed to the elements. In 1934 drought conditions had dried the soil. This was followed by winds that stripped the top soil from the ground and led to what is known as the dust bowl. The Federal Government finally acted and in a big way but it was not until dust storms invaded Washington that it was fully realized that 100 million acres of America was being destroyed.
Today we have a current dust bowl or sorts. A crisis of monumental proportion is taking place before our eyes and many of our leaders in Washington are oblivious to what is happening in real time. It is hard to determine which is worse; ignorance of what is happening, hiding from the facts as they are presented or denying any problem to provide a skewed story for political gains.
The crisis referred to is what our nation and law enforcement is tragically encountering on the southern border of the United States. This crisis is multi-faceted. An excessively large number of immigrants are attempting to illegally cross our border. The magnitude is much larger than we have witnessed in the past. Not only is the magnitude great but the mix of the immigrants has changed. Past apprehensions made by our Border Patrol was mainly immigrant males. Today there are unscrupulous smugglers that use children to pose as a family member to allow easy entry into America. The smuggler claims the child to be family member. With limited space to hold the “illegal” immigrants, they are released in twenty-one days. Success for the alien. Instead of border control agents patrolling and protecting our borders they are changing diapers and tending to the welfare of their new-found wards. This is further diluting the protecting organizations on the southern border.
Those immigrants that are released into the entrails of America with a date to report to a local court are, for the most part, never seen again. They are here, making a living in the dark economy and sending money home so that their relatives can pay the cayotes to bring them across the border and the cycle continues.
So the question dares to be asked, “Why is this crisis on the border being ignored and even denied by many leaders in Washington?” Are some of these elected officials and their staff so oblivious to the real world that they cannot comprehend what the issue is and how it is unfolding on the Mexican border. Or are they in such a frenzy of hatred of our current president that they will sell out our country’s protection for the sake of discrediting the office of the President of the United States.
It’s time to get the heads out of the sand, quit denying there is a crisis on the border and be a part of solving the problem.


When a person travels that person is continually surrounded by individuals that they have never met nor communicated with. If that traveler would take the time to speak and provide some friendly tone to a quick introduction, it will be quite amazing what will be exchanged in the ensuing conversation. The two people interacting will have an opportunity to exchange ideas and even though ideologies, race or religion may be different; common threads will be uncovered that make us so very unique. We begin to realize what makes America tick and the positive aspects that bond us together.
When in the Dominican Republic with our good friends the Davidsons on our yearly pilgrimage to learn about our beautiful planet Bonnie and I bumped into a couple one evening that had just arrived from Massachusetts. Immediately flags came up as we had met a “Northerner” that probably has opinions that would be totally foreign to anything we believe in the south.
Lesson one; don’t stereotype people and don’t let prejudice enter into preconceived notions. They were a wonderful couple and we all hit it off immediately and we had far more in common than we had differences. The one thing that came from the conversations was that America is wonderful and a great place to live.
Lesson two; ask questions and enjoy the response. Do not be confrontational with the conversation but consider it to be an exchange of ideas.
Lesson three; Listen to the exchange of ideas, evaluate what is being said and look at it in the context of what is happening within our immediate lives and also in the world as a whole. Our new friends told us about visiting Spain and how living there is not bad but there was no built in need to achieve in the normal life style. They went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. It opened an hour later than posted. Their daughter spent the summer in college there and the American students arrived five minutes early. The professor arrived about twenty minutes late but he was not the only one late; the Spanish students were arriving as late as fifteen minutes. When the afternoon siesta is over the store may be an hour late re-opening. This perpetuated throughout the country and I wondered how a country could ever progress like this and what is it that caused a beautiful country that once ruled much of the world to fall into this type of general attitude.
CNN had made a quick comment on Spain referring to it as Socialist Spain. Suddenly the light came on it was not the genetics of the people that caused the attitude. It was the political ideology. Since the 1920s Socialism had been a part of the culture of the country and it is Socialism that ultimately has taken its’ toll. When people are stripped of the laurels when they achieve and the benefits of trying and succeeding are not present, complacency replaces motivation. Also, when there is always a safety net and all purported needs are addressed by a central government there is nothing to be concerned about. A citizen receives what the government provides; nothing more and nothing less.
So where is the incentive to achieve anything. Where is the incentive to build for today and lay the foundation for the future. Why is there any reason to be in any hurry to open a store, to show up for a lecture on time or to provide the additional effort to build a nation. Socialism strips and decline follows.
When this reality of Spain hit home I understood that the last thing our great nation needs to do is to embrace Socialism. The only thing we need to do is to let the Capitalistic train run down the track pulled by an engine fueled with innovation and creativity and lubricated with the ideals of our founding fathers which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

America has had a myriad of individuals that through intellect, perseverance and intestinal fortitude founded, built, molded and transformed a geographic area from a wild and beautiful frontier to become the greatest country the world has known. As important as these individuals are by building America from within, there are other diabolical individuals that can be characterized as nothing less than sub-human that have actually helped to build America from the outside.
In the 1920s Germany was feeling the economic tribulation brought on by losing a costly war and then having to pay war retribution to the winning side of World War I. Instead of taxing the individuals the country simply printed more money. This led to inflation that swallowed the country. People that had worked their entire lives could only afford a cup of coffee from their retirement benefits. A vengeful world wanted to punish Germany for the war. The country was in dire straights and then the country was plunged into the Great Depression with the rest of the world. Germany was ripe for someone to take control and lead it out of a hopeless future. Enter Adolph Hitler.
Hitler moved away from a state owned socialistic style of government and privatized much of its’ industry. This had a positive effect on the country and wages increased over 10%. Germany also placed tariffs on imported goods and this had a negative impact on imports. Also, Hitler believed that placing the country on a war economy to build his military was a method to grow Germany’s economy. While we in America believe in entrepreneurship and the small businessman, Hitler encouraged mergers and monopolies. This worked for a country struggling to survive. He was so successful that he appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1933 and was named man of the year in 1939. This is where the outward successes end and a look behind much of the prosperity of the nation discloses a sick government.
Hitler funded much of his military expansion from the plundered wealth of the countries he conquered plus the personal wealth of the six million Jews he sent to their deaths. Slave labor was rampant in Germany Poland alone provided five million salve laborers used by Germany and by 1944 twenty-five percent of the civilian labor force was slave labor.
So how did Hitler help to build America. In the 1930s America was gripped in the Great Depression and then followed up by a massive recession. Desperation was rampant as people were forced to live in shanty towns while men looked for some type of work to feed their families. A massive drought exasperated by poor farming practices in the mid-west and farmers watched their farm land blow away. When things seemed as if it could not get worse, President Roosevelt ordered one shanty town’s occupation to be moved. The army came in and burned it down. Douglas McArthur’s military unit had displaced some of the most needy families in America. Still through all of these saddening situations, the American spirit remained alive. That inner glow that all will improve and that feeling that we will survive was still a part of the American spirit. Enter Adolf Hitter.
Hitler surprised the world when he annexed parts of East Europe; Hitler shocked the world when he invaded Poland. A swelling of American pride exuded itself across our great nation as America began to prepare for war. Then Hitler’s ally, Japan, attacked a sleeping American fleet and the fight was on. Our noses can be bloodied but we can’t be knocked out. Not only did men go to war but an untapped resource, women, built the war machines that won a war and brought additional funds to families across America. Football players were inducted into the Army at halftime of the Cotton Bowl while men committed suicide when they were not allowed to enter the military. Because of Adolf Hitler, America was provided the opportunity to rise to the occasion and stand proud in front of the world. America did not disappoint.

The United States was recently on the verge of war with a despicable and harsh regime in Southeast Asia, North Korea. America refused to allow any further expansion of a nuclear weapons program that, if allowed to continue to develop and grow, threatened all of mankind. Harsh sanctions by the United States, its’ allies and other countries associated with Korea lead to North Korea sitting down at the negotiating table with the United States. These negotiations are nothing new and have taken place under different American administrations for decades.
A major summit was held in Hanoi two weeks ago with the purpose of signing an agreement to disarm North Korea’s nuclear arms program and at the same time lifting the economic sanctions levied on North Korea. The location of the meeting was quite ironic. America, myself included, did everything possible to blast North Viet Nam off the face of the earth. Fifty years later North Viet Nam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. An economic move from being a total communist government and allowing Capitalism to hatch and grow coupled with normalized relationships with the United States and the West has lead to a vibrant economy in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Holding the summit in Hanoi should have been inspirational to the North Korean regime as Viet Nam’s successes discloses what Korea could accomplish if it would throw off the yoke of Communism and Socialism, embrace a more open country and dispose of their weapons of mass destruction.
Negotiations with North Korea have been ongoing with the same outcome. America goes in with a list of grievances and identifies what it requires to ease a tense situation. North Korea states they will meet the agreements but it requires some type of economic aid. America agrees, shouts out a high five and provides the aid. Korea backs out of its’ commitment, nothing changes other than North Korea has reaped a short-term economic benefit and America receives nothing.
This has been the normal tactic for decades; make promises, obtain economic benefit, forget the promise and laugh at America and the West. America quietly lets it pass and the agreement breakdown is un-noticed by the American public. In 1968, during the Lyndon Johnson presidential term, the USS Pueblo, an American spy ship operating in International waters, was attacked and captured by North Korea. America had sent out attack aircraft from Japan only to call them back claiming darkness was closing in. Following coercing by North Korea, the skipper publicly admitted to spying and America then paid a ransom to have the men released. The ship is still in Korea. In 1985 during the Regan administration, North Korea agreed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in 1991 the Bush administration announced America would remove nuclear weapons from South Korea. South Korea announced it would not produce nuclear weapons. Then in 1992 North Korea and South Korea signed an agreement to not test, posses or deploy nuclear weapons. One year later, 1993, North Korea said it will withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation agreement but later decided against it following “discussion” with America. It was estimated that North Korea then had enough Plutonium to make two bombs. In 1994 under the Clinton administration North Korea agreed to stop building reactors to enrich uranium. In 2002, after years of negotiations, talks broke down and North Korea exited the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. 2006 saw North Korea test its’ first nuclear bomb. The Obama administration failed to get North Korea to the negotiating table despite increased sanctions. Two weeks ago President Trump met with the leader of North Korea and expected to sign a treaty. Korea wanted all sanctions lifted first. Trump walked out of the negotiations and gave no concession to North Korea. America screamed another failure.
This was, in fact, a win for America. For the first time America gave no concessions to obtain a hollow victory. For the first time America held its’ ground against North Korea. The talks are far from over and we can ultimately expect a strong bi-lateral agreement that will insure a far safer world.

America is one truly unique country. Like the other parts of the New World, the Europeans and Asians came and settled it. Unlike South America, Central America, Mexico and Canada; America was settled by more than one or two predominant European countries. England on the East coast, Spain in the Southeast and Southwest, France in the South and Mississippi Valley, Scandinavians in the Mid-West plus a large contingent of Asians on the West coast and boatloads of Europeans and Russians made up a country filled with immigrants that wanted nothing more than to be Americans. Additionally, the slave trade filled the southern landscape with men and women that wanted no more than to be free.
The spirit to live life to the fullest permeated the American culture. Fiercely independent, strong willed, religiously solid coupled with intestinal fortitude and grit were attributes that brought immigrants to our shore. All wanted one desire, to be Americans. They didn’t want to change our great nation; they wanted to be a part of building it.
America grew up. Amid a great Civil War, one that we still feel the pangs of the nations’ separation, slavery was abolished and slowly the words of the Constitution, “all men are created equal” took root and was slowing accepted by the population of our nation.
As America turned over a page of the calendar and ushered in a new millennium we experienced the industrial revolution, the likes of which the world had never seen. Names such as Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Hurst became such moguls that their fortunes eclipsed many national treasuries. When America almost went bankrupt and there was no central bank, J.P. Morgan had to lend enough money to the American treasury to keep the government from defaulting. While these men wielded enough power to pay to have William Jennings Bryant defeated, their workers suffered from very low wages, poor working conditions and no chance for upward mobility. There was little left of the American dream. The strange thing about America is that when things seem to defy the base principles that built America, a shot of light is thrust through the clouds and all things bad are made good. In the case of the disparity between industrial leaders at the top and the worker in the mills and in the trenches, Theodore Roosevelt appeared on the scene. He broke up the monopolies like giant ice packs on the frozen rivers and water began to flow. The American spirit was again alive thus and ushered in thirty years of vibrant growth.
The one thing that America had going for it was its’ independent spirit. A capitalistic spirit was and has always been with us. During the dire times as a nation the one thing that our country cast aside was the notion that we must turn to socialism to solve our problems. During the Great Depression Upton Sinclair from California proposed that the country needed to turn to socialism. During this time of destitution and hopelessness, socialism was appealing to many Americans. As bad as the world seemed to the poor souls of that time, America could not embrace a socialist government and the concept withered on the vine. Louisiana had its’ view of individualist spirit when Governor Huey Long declared free text books for all children. Claiborne Parish rejected the idea of a central control dictating its’ destiny and rejected the books. The Parish did eventually lose and Long provided the books.
At the time America was struggling, Russia overthrew its monarchy and adopted a socialist government with added parameters and thus Communism became rooted. This lasted until 1989 and the economy of this large and resource rich country collapsed. Socialism failed and capitalistic virtue flourished.
America is in the throws of the greatest economic growth a peace-time country has ever seen. There is nowhere, not anywhere that socialism has a place in our great nation. Why would America even consider this type of government at this time in its’ history.

Two hundred and forty-three years ago America gained its’ identity and a nation began its’ maturation. While we think of America being founded in 1776, it was actually hundreds of years earlier that the roots of a great nation began to be formed.
America is a unique country, an experiment in social interaction, that was a resounding success. The men and women that founded our great nation were fiercely independent and wanted no more than an opportunity to live free and unshackle the bonds of an oppressive and controlling home nation. Unlike our neighbors to the south that were settled and directed by a single controlling country, America was settled by a diverse group of immigrants that came from a multitude of countries and thus diverse cultures, traditions, religions and governments. English on the East coast, Spanish in the Southeast and Southwest, French in the deep South and interior and even Russian on the west coast made up the major colonial influences. Pepper this with a sprinkling of countries from the likes of Italy, Ireland, China and others and then add the brutal slave trade and we have the final mix of a nation that no one has ever seen.
The mere thought of leaving ones home country behind and realizing that the family and friends and physical goods will never be seen again is a major step in anyone’s life. It takes a very independent person to take this step and the only thing that these individuals asked for was an opportunity to be independent and control their own destiny; and it worked. Fiercely independent individuals formed together and moved across the mountains and the great plains like a cloud expanding its shadow across our wonderful land.
As America developed, morphed and grew stronger and more financially vibrant it became apparent that the ability for the average American to compete was being hobbled. Monopolies controlled by a few industrialist held America’s labor force hostage and the ability for independent growth and initiative was suppressed. President Teddy Roosevelt ended this with his monopoly busting and like a log jam breaking up, the entrepreneurial spirit was again inspired in America.
Unfortunately America is now being viewed by many as a country that does not need independent thinking. Allowing Americans the opportunity to make their own decisions is not a part of the new philosophy. When creativity is stymied so goes the future of the nation. These people that want to change the complexion of the American government feel that tight central controlled government that dictates to the needs of all Americans is the way to govern our country. This form of government, socialism, is the same government style that led to shambles such as the Soviet Union.
Socialism is defined as “ a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole”. This regulation by the community is total government control at a central location with little independent opportunity to grow at the individual level. Carl Marx, the father of Communism in Russia, saw socialism as an intermediate step in moving from the freedom of capitalism to the shackles of Communism. He wrote that socialism was, “a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism. This theory of socialism is totally alien to our great nation.
In some socialist experiments, the philosophy has failed. Communistic countries in the Soviet Union cast aside extreme socialism, Communism, and embraced capitalism. Major communistic countries in Asia such as China, Laos and Viet Nam have slowly moved away from centralized control and moved to more of a market economy. Centralized control does not work for an extended period of time.
The question is, if socialism has failed in so many attempts why do we need to experiment with it in America?

Last week a grateful country buried a noble president. I do not recall the genuine outpouring of love and respect for any presidential funeral as we witnessed over the national period of mourning as we saw for President George H.W. Bush. Yes there were some that took the opportunity of the moment to bring up and benefit their own personal political agendas instead of holding the moment respectful. Despite feuds on the “View” and derogatory comments from liberal Northwest press, America took such bold moves as to shut down the American stock markets and mail delivery in honor of George H.W. Bush.
Bush felt that a person should take whatever they are doing very seriously but do not take themselves so serious. The goal is the important aspect and the leader should reside in the background while giving credit to those that performed the day to day tasks. This characteristic of President Bush was apparent in his term as the 41st President of the United States.
In 1989 Bush took the oath of office for the presidency. That same year the Berlin wall came tumbling down as the Soviet Union dissolved. Two years later the Soviet Union formally disbanded, the flag of the USSR was lowered over the Kremlin to be replaced with the flag of Russia and the Cold War was over. At that time a leader of the United States had two options to publicly portray. He could have thrown out his chest, extoled the superiority of the United States and degraded the ability of the USSR to survive. No better way to alienate the former USSR and make it question its’ decision to break apart. In contrasts, the president could have taken a more philosophical and respectful approach to the Soviet Union. This would allow bridge building and instead of humiliating a proud people, America could build a strong ally to move the world into a better place to live. This was the approach that Bush took. There was no gloating and America reached out with aid and education to help the former Soviet Union. Countries such as Poland flourished and are now strong allies of the United States, great trade partners and appreciate the ability to live free.
President Bush’s biggest international accomplishment was the coalition he built to oust Iraq from the country it invaded, Kuwait. It was enormous to build this army from improbable allies. A coalition of thirty-three countries; many from unlikely allies that saw diverse armies such as Syria, former communist Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, and tiny Senegal; all fought together to free Kuwait. Not only did the formation of this massive army require great leadership and fortitude but the brinkmanship to solidify this alliance prior to and during the Gulf War was nothing short of amazing. This is testament to Bush’s earlier experience as a Navy pilot, United Nations Ambassador, de facto Ambassador to China and then director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is unclear if any other President could have pulled off such an extraordinary feat in such a short amount of time. Even Bush had reservations as the clock ticked toward military action. It was his close friend and military ally, the iron lady of England, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that brought him back into focus and provided words of wisdom; “Now George, don’t go wobbly kneed on me”. The most amazing war effort since World War II took place and the president quietly stood in the background and allowed his generals to receive the lion’s share of the spotlight.
Next week we will look at the details of what President Bush did to insure Saddam did not walk out of Kuwait unscathed and how he held the coalition together during the war. Then we look at what beat this noble gentleman in his re-election bid.