Posts Tagged ‘Farmerville Louisiana’

I recently watched a news show and the reporter went out into the public at a local northeastern university to ask general questions about the Constitution and some of its; amendments. A week or so later the same reporter went onto the streets of New York to ask questions of young men and women about geography. One in four could answer which ocean is on the east coast of America. None were conversant about the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I asked myself what are these young men and women being taught or were they taught the basic parts and then quickly forgot what was imparted as they immersed themselves in some video game or television show. I may sound harsh in the criticism but I vividly remember Mrs. Armstrong’s 4th grade geography class and standing at the board writing the names of all the continents and being tested on the names of all the states and their capitals. My criticism is not toward our education system nor the valiant efforts our educators perform; it is more amazement that so many of the people that protest our country, embrace socialism or advocate political change are so out of touch with the real world and what the world is all about. The parents must take much of the responsibility in a child’s education while providing a guide for the integrity and moral fiber of these children.
When the noble men crafted the document that we know as the Constitution they amended the final paper. The first ten amendments are also known as the Bill Of Rights and provide specific rights guaranteed to the citizens of our great nation. Unlike much of our legal jargon that comes from laws that are being put into force today, the Amendments followed the three C’s; clear, concise and complete. In many cases an amendment is so concise that over the years they have to be interpreted to be understood in our ever-changing lives. The highest court in our country, The Supreme Court, is the final word in interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution.
The first amendment of the Constitution has the most impact to the citizens of our nation than any other single amendment. Of the twenty-seven amendments, the first amendment guarantees a citizen with the freedom of religion, speech and press and the rights to assemble and petition. The verbiage of this far reaching document is quit simple as it relates to the impact on America: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Unfortunately, people may take the constitution and look at only one side and use that to allow poor behavior. When a person is speaking to an assembled group and someone jeers, screams in protest and disrupts the speech and then claims freedom of speech, that is a false use of the first amendment. The speaker has a right to speak and by interrupting the speaker, the person in the crowd is actually denying the speakers right to free speech.
Today we see people that have become angry. This group has gathered and eventually civil unrest takes place. Windows are smashed, cars burned and looting takes place. Many state that they are entitled to assemble and protest. This is correct but there is no excuse, no matter what the circumstances, for violence and destruction of property. To assemble peacefully, the citizens of our country are guaranteed. To assemble and then perform violent acts, this is not a guarantee.
It is important that we understand the law of the land and embrace these laws that were written by very intelligent and brave men. And oh, the ocean on the east cost of America is the Atlantic.


I love the 4th of July. I like sharing the day with friends and taking my granddaughter to the cemetery to place flags on the graves of veterans. Most importantly I enjoy reflecting on what it took to build our great nation.
Every once in a while a specific program or speech seems to capture the essence of the moment. I have come across a speech from a radio program that encapsulates the magic of our nation’s birthday, the 4th of July. I hope you enjoy.

“At this time in our history when we view other nations in distress and oppression of dictatorship, the threatening clouds of war, and men lined up by the thousands to destroy with cannon, airships, and destructive machinery of every kind, not only property and lives but the fundamentals upon which True Americanism was founded, how fitting it is that we should pause from our daily pursuits to defend Americanism, to remind our neighbors, our friends and our people of their duty to protect the principles upon which real Americanism rests, with the American Flag flying over your head.

When Washington, Morris and Carol, all of different faiths and creeds, signed the immortal, everlasting document which became the tenants and creed of Americanism, they, with inspired hearts and minds, planted as the most beautiful flowers in the garden of Independence, tolerance, justice, freedom, liberty and patriotism.

So let us ,on this occasion, bind ourselves as Americans to keep alive, watching out for hidden adversaries and enemies, these elements which will forever inspire peace, happiness and tranquility to the American people and their future generations as intended by our forefathers when they founded this great republic.

Isms, false doctrines, and race or religious prejudices have no place in this country. All alike the Jews, the Gentile, the descendants of those from every land, who live in obedience to our laws, have equal rights and privileges. Let every man and good woman teach this ideal, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love tolerance and fairness in their relationship with one another and to one another in all instances, and Americanism will live on.

In these tragic days when man’s inhumanity makes countless millions mourn, when racial and religious groups are oppressed elsewhere, persecuted by the ruthless, damnable and barbarian practices of dictatorship, when the cherished ideals of democracy are being trampled upon, there is no greater moment of importance in America than to let every man, woman and child stand as a sentinel watching for an enemy, standing as a soldier to guard the immortal principles that we have inherited, and to remember there is but one way to happiness. Love and peace can always be maintained, and that is by upholding, protecting and maintaining democracy, religious freedom and tolerance, which all summed up together are Americanism.
To his great common altar of Americanism there comes daily into this country the Jew, the Protestant and the Catholic with the best traditions of each, coming to pray that their traditional rights may always be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved by an edict and the sanction of Almighty God will not be blemished by the polluted and bandit hand of dictatorship or false propaganda spread among our people through those who would take from us the heritage of the past and leave us with a false and cruel idol to steer us to anarchy and chaos in the future.
And why should not the Jew and the Protestant and the Catholic, together with the other various sects, come to this common altar in the great country of ours.

First and foremost it is fundamentally right. Second, we are a people who came from lands across the waters where oppression dominated at the time they came over. Third, and most important of all, highest and greatest of all the reasons we could set forth, do we not have the challenge of the old Bible. Is it not true that after all is done and said that we have but one Father? Were we not created, after all is done and said, by one and the same God?
Civil and religious liberty with the rights and privileges given us under what is known in America as The Bill of Rights, a national jewel, adopted by all of the states of these United Commonwealths, stands as a gift not only from our forefathers, but from Almighty God, as they in turn were inspired by their Creator when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States, which guarantee freedom of thought, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and personal liberty as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others, is not abused, and the laws of the country are obeyed and not entrenched upon.
To me it is necessary that the best of our people, old and young, should not forget the altar of Americanism, for when the day comes that the altar is forgotten, then America will cease to be a land of freedom.

At this common altar of Americanism let us steer the youth and the children of this historic land in order that in the days to come, when we have passed away to an unknown and, there will still remain an army and host of true Americans, plighted and pledged to uphold the ideals, the noble sentiments, the achievements and the principles of real Americans.
I thank you.”

This speech rings true in so many ways and is appropriate at a time that we celebrate our Nations birth; however, the speech was not presented recently. Nor was it given within the last decade or for that matter within the last generation. As much as this reflects our country and the challenges we face today, the speech was given on radio station KWKH in Shreveport on March 1st, 1939.

Most of us have some general understanding of our founding fathers, who they were and what their contributions were to the founding of our great nation. While names such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are common, others are recognized but little is known of their contribution to defining a new nation and fueling the fire of tyranny.
Many of these men’s works and writings could be near-prophetic. This is found in their writings that powered a revolution and again when the nation was designed and then built. So much of what they put on paper is just as true today as it was in the late 1700s.
One man that is relatively wide known by name but not as widely understood or read was Thomas Payne. Unlike many of the American founding fathers, Payne was born in England and was in his late thirties when he migrated to the United States with the help of Benjamin Franklin. Once in America he fed the flame of revolution with his pamphlet titled “Common Sense”. All the founding fathers had read this document as had thousands of American colonists. John Adams said of the writing, “”Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”. He continued to write in support of the American revolution which continued to add fuel to the fire and emboldened Americans to continue the fight against England. After the war he had a further calling and moved to France where he penned revolutionary documents targeting the ruling aristocracy. For this he was imprisoned in Paris.
In today’s world of vile, venomous and sceptic rhetoric; I question if the person spewing this garbage could eat from the same mouth that utters such verbiage. Perhaps is we look back on some of Payne’s workings we can find some way to understand what our country stands for and what it took to become such a great and noble nation. It would be a breath of fresh air if America would take time to reflect on one of his writings, “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Thomas Paine.
Though it has been over 200 years since Payne fed his writings to a hungry world; work ethic and the role of government providing support to citizens was with us even then. Payne wrote, “There are two distinct classes of men – those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon taxes.” – Thomas Paine. Today America struggles with how much government is to provide to its’ citizens and then how the government entitlement programs will be funded.
Today we look for instant gratification. In many instances, if we can’t achieve something quickly and easily it is not worthwhile trying to accomplish the goal. It’s important to realize that many goals are extremely difficult and fortunately for many individuals difficult tasks become a badge of honor to attempt and accomplish. There is nothing easy about military boot camp but look at the way the young recruit carries himself and herself after completing basic training. Take a look at that young man or woman at graduation when they have struggled with life, classes and work to finally receive their diploma. Payne had a comment that encapsulated this work ethic, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – 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.

When I grew up in in the rural deep South in the 1950s and 60s racism was rampant; and accepted.  It was accepted by both blacks and whites and it wasn’t until civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King gave a voice to the African American and a new conscience to the nation.  When Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of an Alabama public bus where African Americans were supposed to sit and she refused to do so, a bold stance turned into a rally call for civil rights.  Then there were the blacks that would walk into a white restaurant, ask for service and then were asked to leave.  If they refused they would be arrested or beaten or thrown ouT but they were not served; at least for a while.

I recall as a child walking through our new courthouse and seeing one water fountain with a sign stating “white” above it while another identical fountain had a sign labeled “black”.  Just as there were segregated water fountains there were also segregated bathrooms, schools and sitting areas in movie theaters.  I grew up in this and it was acceptable as that was the way life was in the deep south.  By the end of the 60s all was changing.  The water fountain signs had disappeared as had the segregated toilets.  Out movie theater had burned down so segregated seating was not an issue but in neighboring towns there was no longer segregated movie seating.  The college football ranks were integrating by the end of the 60s and in 1970 I had the privilege to play a year of football at Northeast Louisiana with the school’s first black football player and the first round draft of the Atlanta Falcons.  Like the Benson and Hedges cigarette sloganstated, “You’ve come a long way baby”.

My mother was born and raised in Nevada so every year we trekked across the country along old Rt 66 and finally arrived at the Tahoe basin.  It was along the route that I was able to witness other forms of segregation.  The Native American, the Indian, was the oppressed American.  Reservation schools dotted the western landscape where the Indians were “encouraged” to adopt white language and culture.  No longer were the Native Americans allowed to roam native lands in search of game.  To paraphrase a parable, instead of learning to fish they were fed, by the federal government.  A noble race was relegated to living off government assistance.  Federal law even prohibited the sale of alcohol to Indians.  When visiting Keems Canyon in Arizona for work I talked to a white technician that was married to a local Hopi girl.  He told me how his wife had been sent to Carson City, Nevada, 500 miles west, to attend an Indian school when she was a child.  Much of this has changed and though there is much to improve, life is so much better than it used to be.

Our nation has made great strides to cause racial equality over the last 70 years and we should be proud of our combined moral conscience and the strides taken in our great nation.  No longer do we deny service to anyone based on race, religion or gender so it was surprising, no alarming, when I heard that a person was denied service and asked to leave a restaurant because of her political beliefs and who she worked for.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was born in Hope, Arkansas and attended Little Rock Central High School; the same High School that saw 9 black students being escorted to class by members of the 101st Airborne as America watched forced-integration in the deep south.  She was raised by  her minister father who later became the governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee,  She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and moved on trough the political juggernaut to eventually become  the press secretary for President Donald Trump.

Last week Ms Sanders was with friends and went out to eat at a small quiet restaurant.  It was there that she was asked to leave, she was being denied service because of her political belief and who she worked for; President Donald Trump.  I thought these days were over.  America had matured and how sad that  denial of service is returning to the nations vernacular.  It will be interesting how this is treated by the main stream press and how the liberals justify this.  Is this something the ACLU will consider taking on as a form of discrimination.

At the time of this writing Sanders has been gracious and dynamic while a worker at the restaurant showed little class by posting the boast that she had been kicked out of the restaurant.  What next, move to the back of the bus.

The United States, for that matter the world, places a high value on formal education. While education discloses an individual’s desire to learn and identifies a dedication to obtain a formal edification it is not a measure of intellect nor does it always guarantee a road to success. Many individuals that have a high desire to succeed, are self-taught and possess a keen sense of honor and integrity have become overwhelming successes in their endeavors. One of these individuals come to mind.
He had only six months of formal education and was raised on the fringe of the great American frontier. Home was rough, and dangers surrounded him yet he still managed to be elected to congress from his rural state. Some of his quotes shows his individualistic spirit and proved that there is more to a man’s fiber and intellect than education alone.
He had a sense of humor and wit as he described himself as, “fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree].”
Definitely not an illiterate country bumpkin, he spoke on what would become entitlement programs and the use of tax payer money and how it should be managed by the Federal Government. Speaking to Congress he stated, “We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”
The frontiersman turned federal congressman saw at an early time in America’s history what it took our country a hundred and fifty years to realize that “I want people to be able to get what they need to live: enough food, a place to live, and an education for their children. Government does not provide these as well as private charities and businesses.”
Sam Houston said “Do right and risk the consequences.” Our intellectual frontiersman turned politician made similar statements. “Be sure you are right, then go ahead,” he stated. In the same frame he stated, “My tongue speaks what my heart thinks” and thus displays the individualistic spirit that build America. Houston and the man who is a subject of his article had not met nor ever would meet; however, they would become synonymous when speaking of a major part of our early history.
While our man-from-the-south was elected to congress, he was quit outspoken about politics, his lack of respect for the Federal political system. This adversarial approach helped to fuel his defeat for his re-election bid. He vehemently fought against President Andrew Jackson and opposed much of his policies to include Jackson’s relocation of the American Indians. He spoke of his individualistic spirit in Congress by stating, “I would rather be beaten, and be a man, than to be elected and be a little puppy dog”. When speaking of President Jackson he stated, “It was expected of me that I was to bow to the name of Andrew Jackson… even at the expense of my conscience and judgement. such a thing was new to me, and a total stranger to my principles.” Now understanding his disdain ha comically spoke of politics in general; “There ain’t no ticks like poly-ticks. Bloodsuckers all”.
Our self-made man decided it was time to move on following his political defeat. He was quit outspoken about how he felt with the working of the political process when he spoke, “I also told them of the manner in which I had been knocked down and dragged out, and that I didn’t consider it a fair fight any how they could fix it. I put the ingredients in the cup pretty strong I tell you, and I concluded my speech by telling them that I was done with politics for the present, and they might all go to hell, and I would go to Texas”.
There was also a message of foretelling when we stated, “I know not whether, in the eyes of the world, a brilliant death is not preferred to an obscure life of rectitude. Most men are remembered as they died, and not as they lived. We gaze with admiration upon the glories of the setting sun, yet scarcely bestow a passing glance upon its noonday splendor.”
In January 1836 Davey Crocket crossed into Texas with 65 volunteers and signed an oath of allegiance to the Provisional Government of Texas. On March 6th Crocket was killed at the battle of the Alamo and thus his prophecy of being remembered for his death rather than his life came true.

The history of the world is unique. Civilizations survive for hundreds or even thousands of years living one day at a time. Some change does takes place but major social norms, traditions and policies remain basically intact. Then suddenly something changes within the civilization and a major transformation takes place within that country. Many times, these changes take place in a relatively short period of time; many times over a generation.
In 1978 I moved to Saudi Arabia to work and live. We had a five day orientation before departing America and during this time we were versed in the local traditions and laws and we were lectured on not trying to invoke American traditions on the Saudi citizens while not criticizing their ways of life.
When I lived in Saudi Arabia the only women allowed to drive were American women and this privilege was extended to the compound we lived on. No female could drive off the compound. Movie theaters did not exist except on the compounds where we lived. The Saudi Stock Exchange opened soon after I arrived but only Saudi citizens could purchase stock and invest in the Kingdom. The first generation of drivers were on the roads and this could be quit an experience when driving in heavy traffic or on the open road. The void that separated the West from Saudi Arabia was quit wide.
In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the world changed for Saudi Arabia. American and coalition troops poured into Saudi Arabia to defend the Kingdom; an Army that contained members of all religions including Jews. Thousands of years of abhorrence was cast aside as members of different religions worked together for a common goal.
The war also introduced something else to the general population of Saudi Arabia; the female driver. Women in Saudi could own cars but could not drive them. Enter the United States Army, the Humvee and the female driver. This was a major cultural shock to everyone, including American expats. To see a woman behind the wheel was a true novelty. It was not long before a protest was planned. Many women in Riyadh got behind the wheel and drove around the capital. They were eventually arrested, taken to the police station where their husbands were called and the women were turned over to the husbands. Those that were employed by the government were terminated. This simmering protest has been a part of Saudi criticism for the last 35 years. Last September it was announced that women would be allowed to drive. Not only did this move the country into a more progressive image as the world would see it but it can also spur more internal entrepreneurial investment.
Entertainment is breaking new ground. A New Orleans Jazz concert was held in Riyadh; the first in 20 years. The next open society experiment is the movie theater. On March 1st the Kingdom allowed public movie theaters and CinemaCity, is planning a 20 screen theater in Riyadh. Other theaters will go up around the Kingdom.
The new ruling government of Saudi Arabia is far more deep thinking than just theaters and driving. Last year many extremely wealthy individuals. Some being princes of the Royal Family, were placed under house arrest and charged with skimming money from the government. Billions will be returned to the Kingdom in return for freedom. This is a bold move that promises a more enterprising country.
Tourism was not allowed when I lived there. Only workers were allowed in. This has changed and in 2012 over 12 million visitors had gone to Arabia as visitors. Today there is even a female dive club on the Red Sea.
Probably the biggest change in what used to be a closed country is the sale of 5% of Saudi ARAMCO. Valued at 200 billion dollars, this stock offering will be the largest Individual Public Offering, IPO, in the history of the world. For Saudi Arabia to offer part of its crown jewel, ARAMCO, for sale speaks volumes about the changes going on within the Kingdom.
When I first arrived in Saudi I was told that an aged, very wealthy and very wise Saudi had made the following statement based on the country’s wealth that was derived from the oil resources. “My father rode a camel. I drive a Mercedes. My son will fly a plane. His son will fly in space. His son will ride a camel.” As prophetic as this may have been at the time, this may well be incorrect with the changes that are taking place in the Kingdom today.
It’s amazing what the difference a generation makes.

The debate continues about what can be done to prevent violence in the schools such as we have witnessed in Broward County. That horrific act fills the emotions of everyone except the most stonehearted across our nation. These emotions swell up into a frenzy that divides a great people as simple solutions to a very complex problem are suggested. In fact the solution is multi-faceted and will take social modification; financial asset reassignment; training and most importantly, cooperation, understanding and teamwork.
America is a nation of laws. We have no dictator and the laws come from the governed. We may not all ways agree to this statement but in fact the people that make our laws are elected by the citizens that the laws encompass. This thesis of a democratic nation holds validity of a democracy from the very lowest levels of local government through state government to our national régime. We have rights guaranteed by our constitution and these rights are provided to all citizens; however they are guaranteed only if they do not trounce on the very basic tenant of American rights. These are the rights of American citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When emotions run high we often let these emotions take control of rational thinking as we seek quick solutions to our problems. Over the past week we hear that gun control is the answer to the death of so many innocent lives being lost. We also hear that trained police officers refused to enter the school to stop the shooter and these officers are now receiving the wrath of a nation that ignores the police that did enter the school and thwarted even more deaths. Adults that took in a homeless adolescent had death threats posed on social media after they tried to comfort the youth for the loss of his mother, placed strict rules for the youth to follow and even called the police asking for help with the young man; the same man that slaughtered the children in Broward county.
The second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. It does not give Americans a right to take a gun and kill or injure someone else. We must understand there is a difference. It is known that some individuals are not emotionally fit to carry a weapon. This was not an issue when our founding fathers guaranteed that America could be armed. We must do an even better background check that better identifies an individual that has a high probability of performing gun violence if allowed to own a gun. This is a serious endeavor to balance personal rights versus safety and will require an unemotional response that is developed by professionals that understand the importance of this criteria. Both the NRA and Left Wing Liberals must come to some common ground, remove biases and develop criteria that is in the countries best interest.
One of the biggest threats to American ideals is the mis-use of social media and the social changes that it brings. A person reads some posted message that was made by a person whose post contains half truths or by a person that is totally ignorant of what is being posted. When it is read it is taken as fact and taken as fact without checking the source. This is leading to a world relying on mis-information as being the truth. This also leads to professionals that are responsible for our safe keeping to be inundated with false reports of potential danger. Unfortunately this can lead to a numbing effect on organizations that are continually receiving threat tips only to find that they are false. We need to change the understanding of what needs to be published while at the same time make it fully understood that every reported threat must be investigated by the proper authority.
When Germany determined that it would invade Switzerland during World War II, Switzerland called on its’ Army and Reserve Force to fill the mountain passes and thus Germany decided that the cost would be too great. The invasion never happened. We can think of our schools in the same manner. There has been quit a bit of discussion pertaining to arming school teachers. Perhaps using the Switzerland analogy in a school setting would discourage a shooter from entering the premise. There must be constraints though to arming teachers. A potential armed teacher must want to be armed and not forced to be armed. The armed teacher must be well trained in how to operate a weapon and must be extremely well trained in when to use the weapon.
The violence we are experiencing is complex we need to stand back and take a good look at what we must do to curtail this violence. At the same time we must address the horrendous violence that is rampant in the inner cities of America and what must be done to bring hope to that segment of society.