Posts Tagged ‘Farmerville Louisiana’

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.


Every year fall brings the change of the season from bright days and summer fun to cool evenings, shortened daylight and changing leaves. As one approaches November a special feeling begins to envelop the individual like a fog rolling over the body. More smiles are noticed and people seem to want to help each other with a little more vigor. Christmas is on the horizon and the Christmas spirit begins to fill the inner soul of the body. Unfortunately for various reasons some find it harder and harder to get into the Christmas spirit. There are several suggestions that can help a person get out of that pre-season funk and get into the spirit of the season.
Ignore crows and celebrate the real reason for the Season; the birth of Jesus Christ. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers that relish in the negative and proclaims that Jesus is dead or builds on the theme that there is a war on Christmas and thus the sky is falling. The sky is not falling and for those that proclaim that there is no reason for the season you do not need their petty lives to be considered in the Christmas discussion. Enjoy the quiet and relish the nostalgia that Christmas brings.
Decorate the home. Put up a tree and decorate it in a manner that brings back memories of Christmas past. Don’t forget the lights and burn scented candles and incense that brings the senses of the season into the home.
Get the music going. It doesn’t matter if it is Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas”, Kelsea Ballerini singing the same song seventy years later or any other carol in between, crank up the volume and get in the Christmas spirit. The first Christmas carol began in 129 A.D. but the development of carols around Europe really got started in 760 A.D. for the Greek Orthodox Church. Christmas carols are part of our DNA.
If you really want to get into the Christmas spirit in a way that you remember from childhood; read the story of Christmas. Pull out the Bible and go to Luke 2:1-20 and indulge yourself in the story that got all this started. Do this early in the season and reflect on the birth of Christ and the real reason for the season. Then if you want to get a real Christmas high, read it again; but this time to a child or children on Christmas eve.
Christmas is intended to be the time for giving so go out and give. It doesn’t have to be big grandiose gifts filled with glitz and glamour. Small simple gifts that are symbolic for the time makes it special. Also, the gift of food or clothing to someone you never met can make you feel quite warm inside. It has been said that it is better to give than to receive and there is no better way to experience this than at Christmas. Whether its’ buying a bag of food for the needy at the local grocery store, purchasing a toy for a needy child’s Christmas, sending a Christmas box to the Navajo in New Mexico or dropping money into a Salvation Army kettle; the good feeling of giving a Christmas gift is simple and easy.
Share Christmas service at a local church with friends and family and enjoy the special moment.
Drive around the town to see Christmas decorations and observe what residents want to share with you. Enjoy the evening and bring a small child with you. Share stories of Christmas past.
Greet friends, strangers and store clerks with “Merry Christmas”. Consider this to be your opportunity to protest the “politically correct” Christmas greeting that many stores mandate their clerks to observe. There is no “Happy Holidays” in my vocabulary, it has always been “Merry Christmas.”

In the early to mid-1980s AIDS was just being identified and understood. Only a handful of identified cases had caused death and if anyone was diagnosed with the horrible disease there was no cure; you died. I recalled a friend telling me at that time that he didn’t understand why people were making so much about AIDS and the few deaths that had taken place; other diseases were worst. This was surprising as the real harm was that there was no cure, no treatment and thousands of unknown people were infected, not diagnosed and re-infecting other individuals. It was not where we were with the new disease but where the disease was going to take us. This is a similar analogy to the caravan of immigrants from Central America that is beginning to arrive at the Mexican American border with the desire to cross the border in-mass.
Many of these immigrants will apply for asylum and many of these will be denied. The majority of those will join the individuals that did not want to wait for legal entry and will cross the border illegally. Several thousand illegal immigrants crossing the American border is not a major concern to the American economy or a major crime concern but like the AIDS epidemic, it is what is not seen that causes the biggest problems.
Once the announcement is received in Central America that the first caravan members had entered the United States the flood gates will be open. Mexican highways will be clogged with immigrants trying to reach the Mexican/American borders and potential freedom. This new source of immigrants is in addition to the Mexican citizens that illegally come across the border daily in hopes of a better life. While this is putting a strain on American immigration law enforcement and has raised the concerns of increased violence it is understandable why we are faced with this dilemma.
If I lived in the conditions that the majority of the Central American immigrants are fleeing I would do anything I could to get to a country that boasts of being the land of the free; a country where anything is possible and you don’t go to bed hungry and death squads don’t roam the streets. Yes sir, I would do anything possible to get to America. Being an American I will do anything to support our laws and keep them out.
What is a benevolent country that is concerned with its’ own future going to do. How can we stem the flow of illegal aliens and at the same time provide at least the creature comforts, food, clothing and shelter, to those that that desire a safe life with some semblance of a future.
Immigration law is of paramount importance while foreign aid needs to be revamped to work on the illegal alien issue. A border wall will help to stem the flow of immigrants from the south and this will give America relief while other measures are put in place to encourage citizens from other countries to not want to come to America.
To confront the immigration issue America must do two things. First America must change its’ laws and allow easy access for work visas and legally bring in foreign workers that we need to continue to grow our economy. These have to be issued at the borders with sponsors waiting to take them to their jobs. A process must be in place to track these workers. They are not in America for citizenship; they are in America to legally perform work.
America must provide aid to assist impoverished countries but only with American management by teams within the countries. It takes $750 per day to hold a child at the border. This money can be better spent within the child’s country to make that country a better place to live. Training programs, in-country economic development, a new and strong military and weeding out corruption are but a few things that America must accomplish in these brutal countries that are south of the border.


For many years I have defended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the citizens of that desert sheikdom. As a very small child my mother told me about being in San Francisco after World War II and attending the opening ceremony of the newly created United Nations. She spoke specifically of the elegantly dressed Saudi Arab delegation in their flowing robes marching into the great hall. We were fascinated about the country from the writings of T.E. Lawrence and then later when the book was turned into the academy award winning movie “Lawrence of Arabia”. Then as the world grew up and a thirst for oil expanded we tasted brinksmanship from the Saudi led OPEC as an oil embargo was placed on the United States in the early 1970s and we ran dangerously low on imported crude. Oil had become a tool, a bargaining chip, for the Mid-East.
The embargo was short lived and full diplomatic relations were restored between the United States and Saudi Arabia. When I arrived in Saudi in the late 1970s the country looked like a full force military operation. Large Mercedes trucks carrying construction materials were clogging the roads. Men could be seen driving large steel wheel rollers down the road to and from their homes. The port at Dammam had ships waiting for weeks to unload their cargo and the ARAMCO port at Ras Tanura was filled with tankers waiting to get their supply of crude oil. Construction was everywhere and there was even a story that huge ice bergs may be brought to ports to get much needed fresh water. There was a cry in the United States that we were sending all our money to Saudi to pay for the oil when in actuality Saudi Arabia ran a trade deficit with the United States.
I enjoyed going to the local Arab town and sitting with the older men on rugs, drink tea and listen to stories. There was even a time that I visited a Bedouin tent in the desert and accepted the hospitality of fresh dates and camel milk. All that I met were very friendly, all liked Americans and their lifestyle was totally non-aggressive. Life was peaceful and stress less.
While the average Saudi lived a middle class life style there were some very successful business men that counted their wealth in billions, not millions. Osama Bin Laden’s grandfather was from Yemen, started a construction company that received exclusive rights to upgrade the Holly City of Mecca. Today the Bin Laden company grosses over two billion dollars a year. Another man, Adnan Khashoggi, became a billionaire as an international arms dealer and was close to the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia.
The Royal Family was very sensitive to negative press. I had a young Saudi take my office when I move to a design office in Al Khobar. One day I received a call that said the man had been arrested for writing negative articles in a local paper. His office had been searched and I was told to not go through the police barricade tape across my old offices door. He had been terminated from Aramco and finally six months later he showed up at my new office to visit. He was very pale but otherwise healthy. I do not believe he ever wrote again.
Over the last several years Saudi took broad steps to improve the plight of females. Women can now drive and hold jobs on the local economy. These new freedoms provide a new perspective on the Kingdom and coupled with the ability to now invest in Saudi and the possibility of ARAMCO to be broken up for partial sale, Saudi Arabia is rolling into the 21st Century with a new modern vigor. That is why the prospect of a Saudi hit squad assassinating dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi is saddening and sickening. At first it seems impossible but when viewing in the perspective of a new Kingdom power grab where many people have been imprisoned, including royal princes, where negative press is not tolerated and a time in the world where governments have grown up, the idea of Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination is plausible.
I hope that sometime and somewhere Khashoggi will walk back into the light of day and he proves the neigh-sayers wrong. Unfortunately the story going around is that a hit team from Saudi Arabia assassinated Jamal in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey and then dismembered the body with a bone saw. Hopefully there will be some closure to this story. At the time of his disappearance Jamal was writing for the Washington Post and a resident of the United States where freedom of the press is a right by way of the Constitution.

Last week America was treated to a most despicable example of what America is not supposed to be. In my last article I stated that the confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court of the United States was a circus filled with lions, tigers and magicians. Unfortunately, the spectacle that took place last Thursday in the hallowed halls of the United States Senate proved me right and I so wish I would have been proven wrong.
The role of the Legislative branch of the United States government is well documented. “Established by Article I of the Constitution, the Legislative Branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers.”
The Senate of the United states is considered to be the upper house of the Legislative Branch that also includes the House of Representative. Since the Senate is elected to a six year term instead of a two year term associated to the House of Representatives, the Senate can be more far looking in the work they perform. I consider the Senate to be the elder statesmen of our great nation; entrusted to be the keepers of the decorum, the great traditions of our founding fathers and the moral fiber of America. What the world witnessed at the last confirmation hearing of Judge Kavanaugh is anything but these virtues and shows the absolute bottom of any sense of order or respect as is associated to what is supposed to be the senior legislative sector of the United States Federal Government.
We witnessed political folly at its’ worse. A young lady that has definitely had some traumatic sexual assault in the past was brought to Washington to be used as a pawn in this game. She stated she is terrified of flying so the Senate committee contacted her legal team and offered to fly to California to talk to her in either private or in public. At the hearing in Washington she stated she was unaware of the offer. By getting the lady, Dr Ford, to Washington she could then be showcased to the public. She had also been guaranteed anonymity but this did not happen and her name was leaked to the media and she will be forever tormented by dissidents. There was a call to not have old white men interrogate her. The Republicans brought in a female prosecutor with deep knowledge in sexual abuse to question Dr. Ford. This was then met with cries that the Republicans should have performed its’ own questioning even though the interrogation was very respectful and non-intrusive.
Judge Kavanaugh did not receive the same respect accorded Dr. Ford. This also caused the two sides of the Senate to tear into each like a pack of wild dogs. A very distinctive and senior chamber of the United States Government was relegated to tribal warfare reminiscent of slings and arrows launched in Biblical times.
There was a silver lining to this travesty of our great American government that has been deeply wounded. Last week I stated that there will be a delay tactic proposed to slow down the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. This was achieved when Republican Senator Flake proposed to move the vote to the Senate but only after the FBI investigated the sexual conduct allegations. While the delay tactic worked, in this case it is appropriate and the one week for the investigation will cause no political advantage; but this has to be the end and the vote needs to take place the end of this week or early next week. This one achievement by Republican Senator Flake may be the one action that can potentially begin a healing process that will begin to mend our great nation. For years I have said that our leaders must reach across the aisle and put America first and this one action may be the beginning of this respect.
The real loser in these proceedings is America and its’ citizens. Let us hope that what unfolds this week will lead to a healing that is desperately needed. It will be an uphill battle though. Most people have their minds made up and instead of weighing the evidence presented with an open mind they will be looking for confirmation of their own biased beliefs.
One thing are certain; this will be one interesting week.

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.