Posts Tagged ‘THOMAS T FIELDS JR’

America went through a tumultuous time in its’ history during the 1960s. Civil rights went to the forefront of America’s interests and was right there with Viet Nam, the Kennedy assassinations and landing a man on the moon. It was a hard struggle and within Louisiana’s political landscape the ability for minority voting was enhanced with the abolition of the poll tax. Unlikely politicians such as Earl Long promoted minority voting and helped to open the doors for those that had never been given the constitutional right to vote.
Segregated water fountains and bathrooms disappeared as did segregated schools a minorities appeared at a quick pace on television and in movies. America had transitioned to an integrated society where African Americans no longer discriminated against in the deep south just and American Indians were integrated into a white man’s world in the West. America had grown up; at least in many quarters.
Many of us had fathers and grandfathers that went to war to fight a diabolical philosophy, an enemy that was committed to purify the earth from innocent men, women and children in a horrid social engineering experiment. The Nazi viewpoint was taken to an extreme and six million Jews were murdered simply because to their linage. Blacks were slated to be on the extermination list as were others deemed to be inferior and sub-standard humans. This was a sad time in the history of the world and a young black man by the name of Jesse Owens disproved this ideal race concept when he destroyed the track competition at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany with Adolf Hitler looking on.
Many good men and women from the Allied nations never returned from World War II but their sacrifices insured that much of the hatred in the world would be eliminated and we could live in peace without fear of repercussion due to race, creed or religion. This ideal took a long time to be adopted and then understood by the masses. It took a long time after the war to fully espouse the concepts of Americanism; but America has come a long way. Is total equality with us today? The answer is “no” but it is so much better than a decade ago and it will be better in the future decades.
Last week a protest in Virginia ended in tragedy and death as a protest turned deadly. White supremist spit venom into a lovely southern community that is an echo from a time in Germany that saw the goose stepping Nazis terrorize a country and spread its’ hatred across Europe. Actions like this are not a part of our great nation and there is no place in America for this behavior just as marches espousing the killing of police followed by police assassinations are likewise divisive and filled with hatred.
It is imperative that we realize that a few protesters spewing a sick rhetoric in front of a news camera hungry for television ratings does not reflect the majority of any one group. We must look beyond these bumps in the road and look at the greater requirement ; the continued growth of our nation. We must continue to strive to place prejudice behind us from all quarters and place God and country at the forefront.

The last eight years has been anything but desirable for the Unites States as it addresses the American spirit and cooperation between opposing political, racial and minority groups. We have seen our politicians vote on legislation based solely on partisan politics while protesters take to the streets simply because they do not like who won an election. America has witnessed a specific political party vote against any legislation, regardless of merit, simply because a person of a different party is president. This has taken place under two presidential administrations and the country is tired of it just as the country is becoming weary of groups rioting and destroying under the guise of freedom of speech.
The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, had the welfare of the people at heart when it was developed. It was an entitlement program that would guarantee healthcare for everyone. Like all entitlement programs it has to be funded in one way or the other. Existing revenues that come into the national coffers in the form of taxes can be diverted from existing programs and can then be used to fund the health act. If other programs are not eligible to be defunded, then additional funds from additional taxes can be obtained. If the country has no interest in additional taxes to an already large tax structure then America can borrow money to fund the program. The problem with the tax option is that borrowing money for entitlements has no return on the investment and no revenue is generated by the borrowed money. Our national debt would continue to rise and our children and grandchildren will bear the brunt of bad decisions.
True the form of centralized control, assumptions are made that don’t reflect the common sense nor allows the common man to make decisions. Communism was based on Centralized Control and ultimately failed miserably and led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Obamacare based a large amount of funding on young men and women in America taking mandatory insurance. Instead the youth opted to pay a penalty and not be forced to pay extremely high insurance premiums for insurance that they do not need. This left only the older workers that need insurance to pay for the insurance. The base of people was much smaller than anticipated and the funding suffered. Prices have sky rocketed and in some states the private insurance companies have dropped out of the markets causing distress in these geographical areas.
The Republicans have had seven years to get a plan ready for appealing the current Affordable Care Act. So far, after six months of controlling the entire Executive and Legislative branches of government, the Republicans have had no success in repealing and replacing Obamacare. Congress is in gridlock, America is sick of it and many loyal patriots that we sent to Washington are facing backlash back home. Some is justified but much is not justified; however, the perception of incompetency permeates throughout the country.
Finally, after years of waiting and hoping someone uttered the word that so many have been waiting to hear; “bipartisan participation”. It was stated by a key member of the Republican party that there needs to be bipartisan participation to work through the details to dismember the current Affordable Care Act, insure that key parts of the act remain to protect vulnerable Americans and provide adequate funding in a realistic manner and allow Americans to make decisions for healthcare on their own.
Let us hope that “bipartisan participation” is not only isolated to health care reform. Let us pray that this is the beginning to true collaborations between all political parties and we put the good of the nation at the forefront of future legislation. If this happens we will once again see America shining brightly around the world as the pillar of freedom.

North Korea has finally developed and tested via a successful launch an International Continental Ballistic Missile, ICBM, that is capable of reaching the United States. At this stage in the fledgling North Korean missile program, the only state that the missile can hit is Alaska but it won’t be long before Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angles will become targets. Parallel development of a nuclear weapon that can be transported by one of these missiles is ongoing. Even if a nuclear payload is not available a conventional bomb can be transported on the ICBM and can ultimately cause damage to our beautiful nation.
Another threat leaves North Korea clean when it comes to launching a missile on the West. It will let some other country do the dirty work. North Korea will be able to dismantle and sell its’ weapons of destruction to countries that wish to do harm to Western nations. If transport is not available for the weapons, North Korea can sell the technologies and then let rogue nations build their own missiles much as a child designs and builds an erector set. The nuclear warhead will come later and we are then in a huge and complex mess as countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Germany become easy targets for North Korean Technology that is launched from reprobate locations in the Middle East. North Korea becomes a double winner in this scenario. Western countries are hit and harmed while North Korea’s coffers are filled with foreign money funded by the sale of the sinister weapons.
It appears that the decision is simple; let’s hit them and hit them quick. Not so quick my friend. There is no way short of a nuclear strike that we could hope to neutralize the North Korean Military. Nuclear attack is not an option. With a standing army of 700,000 and several million reservists, we can damage the beast but not destroy it. North Korea is waiting for provocation and they will not be satisfied to take a defensive posture. North Korea will move south and with speed. So where will the North horde go. It will wear out tanks speeding to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Seoul is only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries and contains ten million residents. The loss of life would be catastrophic. While the North Korean army would take large losses it would continue to function as it moves south. I worked with Koreans in Arabia and the Koreans are a tough race, very tough. The North Korean army can take a lickin and keep on ticken.
Another concern is China. While China has become a major world economy there is all ways that isolated chance that China will enter the campaign and support North Korea just as it did during the Korean War of the 50s. This is almost incomprehensible but if that happened we could see an escalation that could pull the Mid-East into the conflict as an opportunity to strike a blow against the West. Then we have to ask what will Russia do and who will they side with.
Korea is quit complex and it is not a new issue. It began when America had a warship stopped, boarded, captured and taken to North Korea in the 1960s. The USS Pueblo’s crew was eventually released, but only after the Unites States paid ransom. Since then North Korea held America at lower esteem and America thought it could negotiate itself out of any conflict. We fooled ourselves and for the last forty years North Korea has built one of the largest armies in the world while laughing at America and the West. We have really painted ourselves into a corner and we can’t wait for the paint to dry to walk out.

Two hundred and forty-one years ago America was conceived by a handful of courageous men in an assembly hall in Philadelphia. Something so bold, so grand as the building of a nation in a new style takes time and massaging accompanied with changes, restarts and sometimes failure. What was born in Philadelphia on July 4th 1776 is the exception. The Constitution of the United States, the hallmark of our great Nation, the document that was originally signed on that fateful day by the brave men of the Constitutional Congress remains the Constitution of our nation with few changes. There have been over eleven thousand attempts to change or amend the Constitution; however, there have only been twenty-seven amendments added. Ten of these were added soon after ratification of the Constitution and is known as the Bill of Rights. The men who gave birth to the American Constitution got it right and the document stands as the cornerstone of our country.
America is made of varied and unique individuals. This uniqueness is what has grown our country to where we are today but it is time to act like one country and pull for the betterment of our great nation. John Kennedy, the Democratic President that was taken from us way too early, knew what our nation needed to do to confront the communist threat and move our nation forward. Let us not forget his iconic message, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”.
Very few of us are native to America. Even the “Native Americans” migrated to the United States over the land bridge that connected North America with Asia during an ice age thousands of years ago. It doesn’t matter if we trekked across the frozen north or were stuffed in a suffocating barbaric hold of a slave ship or endured a perilous crossing that killed many passengers only to starve in a new world or fled political oppression or gas chambers or even walked across a perilous desert for a new life or came in many other methods and for many reasons; we are here and we are here together.
It doesn’t matter what religion brought us to the country. We are a melting pot of religion. The Hebrew fleeing genocide, or the Pilgrim fleeing religious persecution, or the Muslim seeking a better life, or the Buddhist who came to America to build the railroads in the West, or the Catholic who came to spread the word of the religion when the Spanish explored the West and deep south. All of these religions are in America and living next to each other in a country that guarantees that there will be no government mandated religion and allows each person to worship or not worship as a person desires.
We are all products of our nation and the nation is a product of us. It is time that we look inward and instead of seeing what give away the nation has for us we need to see how we can give back to our country. America is full of volunteers. Our young men and women put their lives on hold to ensure that our country remains safe. Our first responders continually ”serve and protect”. Volunteers across the nation take time from their own lives to help make the country a better place for the citizens or our nation. These are the individuals we all need to mimic. Those that feel that they are entitled to a free ride need to look inward and become retrospect at what they receive and what they can give back. Put on your big boy pants and quit whining about what America is not handing out in freebees. Let’s live by the creed from the Declaration of Independence that guarantees the right to provide “the pursuit of happiness”. There is no guarantee that the government provides “happiness” only the freedom for the citizen to be able to freely pursue happiness.

Louisiana has been known for its’ flamboyant politicians.  Long, Edwards. Leche and many other names conger up memories of politicians that you either loved or hated.  Politicians that in many cases received bad publicity from the national press and thus put a blemish on the political landscape of Louisiana.  I remember looking at a national publication on the news rack in our commissary in Saudi Arabia.  In broad headlines on the cover of the magazine was “Louisiana, America’s Banana Republic”.  My blood boiled until I got home that night.

As bad as some make Louisiana look, it has had its’ share of good politicians that have the best interest of Louisiana and America at heart.  Politicians that have few or no black marks against them an.  Since they are good guys the sensationalism is not there and thus the press ignores them.  One of these men that dedicated his life to public service was Bob Kennon.

Kennon was born in Dubberly, near Minden, in Webster Parish.  He enjoyed the outdoors and was active in Boy Scouts where he obtained his Eagle Scout rank.  After graduating from High School he entered LSU.  His freshman year he received the award for the best academic record.  His organizational ability and leadership skills were apparent by the time he graduated from LSU.

Kennon was on the debate team and wrote for the campus paper.  Academics was not his only achievements.  He was Captain of his Reserve Officer Training Corps and was vice president of the Interfraternity Council.  He won a letter for playing center on the LSU football team.  LSU had no tennis team so Kennon help to organize the tennis team and was one of the first two players to letter in the sport at the university.

At 23 he became the mayor of Minden and for a period of time was the youngest mayor in the United States.  He did not run for re-election but instead was elected district attorney in 1930.  He remained in office for ten years until   By 1940 he had risen to Colonel in the Louisiana Army National Guard.  He had also run for and was elected Circuit Judge the same year.  It was normal to wait a year to move into a judgeship after an election.  Soon after Kennon took office, World War II drew America into the conflict and Kennon’s XIII Corp of the 9th Army was called to service.  He did not shirk his responsibility and took his unit to war.

When he returned from WWII he assumed his role as Judge.  Then in 1948 he ran for governor but was defeated by the infamous Earl Long.  Four years Kennon was victorious and became the 48th governor of Louisiana.  Following his successful run for governor, Governor Kennon appointed Farmerville businessman Fred Preaus  at his Highway Director and later backed him for the 1956 gubernatorial race.

Kennon died in 1988 and Bill Dodd, an opponent in several campaigns wrote an eulogy in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.  Part of the article read:

Governor Kennon was never tried and acquitted of wrongdoing because he didn’t break the law or do anything suggesting he ever acted illegally or even unethically. He never spent any time with AA or in a CDU for he didn’t drink alcohol and didn’t snort cocaine. And when he took trips on boats, he went fishing or to a hunting camp with his boys and not to a hideaway like Bimini. His family was exemplary and made no waves that called for suppressing hospital or police records or anything else.

Perhaps the fact that Kennon was honest and efficient and ran the state and his life according to the laws of God and man, he missed out on the press coverage that goes to those who have to be rehabilitated and forgiven for their unethical and illegal conduct; coverage that often praises those rascals for their courage and fortitude to face the public after disgracing themselves and their friends who elected them.

Whatever the reason for Governor Kennon’s lack of recognition for having been a model father, soldier, judge, and governor, the cold base record shows that he was exactly the kind of man the public, the preachers, and the press say they want but seldom get in the governor’s office.

Bob Kennon was, with all his success, a humble man and, if living, he would not want credit for what he did. He regarded his going a good job as his duty, and Bob was a man who always did his duty.”

 

PTSD seems to be a term that has come to the forefront of visibility when discussing war injuries from the Iraqi Wars and the Afghanistan War.  Viet Nam had earlier taken its toll on the young men returning from war.  The mental anguish imposed on our youth from an unpopular war was apparent; however, the nation was not ready to embrace the returning military or the emotional effects the war imposed on many individuals.  Ignore it and it will go away.

 

While PTSD seems to be a recent malady of war, it is in fact as old as man himself.   In 490 BC the battle of Marathon took place.  The Greeks defeated the invading Persian army on the Marathon plains.  It was reported that Epizelus, a Greek soldier, witnessed the death of his friend and immediately went blind without being injured.  Dreams of battle and a fear of night was later reported of soldiers by the physician Hippocrates, the same man whose name is associated with the oath taken by every American Physician; the Hippocratic oath.  While ancient historical documents speak of PTSD, the Christian Bible eludes to what modern military historians and biblical scholars believe to be PTSD.  One battle depicts the Hebrew army destroying a city and killing every man, woman and child.  Upon returning home the army cannot enter their own city until they have had a week of cleansing.  It is speculated by many that this cleansing was not one of the body but instead a cleansing of the mind. 

 

In 1678 the Swiss described PTSD as melancholy, incessant thinking of home, insomnia, weakness, loss of appetite, anxiety, cardiac palpitations, stupor, and fever.  The term used was “nostalgia”.  During the Napoleonic war the term “cannon wind” was used to describe a near miss and later a German writer wrote of his own encounter with PTSD.   Your eyes can still see with the same acuity and sharpness, but it is as if the world had put on a reddish-brown hue that makes the objects and the situation still more scary … I had the impression that everything was being consumed by this fire … this situation is one of the most unpleasant that you can experience.”

 

America experienced the first recorded accounts of PTSD during the Civil War.  When the war ended, towns or states would pin a note on the clothing of the PTSD victim and send them off as being insane or allowed to wander off and let nature do the dirty work.  The term used at that time was “soldier’s heart”. 

 

War was not the only cause of PTSD.  The Industrial Revolution in America saw a vast expansion of the rail roads.  Horrific accidents took their toll on the men that worked in the construction and operations of the rail networks.  The term “railway spine” was used to describe PTSD at the time it was believed to have been caused by lesions in the spine brought on by the accidents.

 

By World War I the term “shell shock” was used to describe PTSD.  The renowned psychiatrist Sigmund Freud was called on by the Austrian government to see if there was a treatment to which he reported that his horrendous electroshock treatment had no effect on the illness.  All armies witnessed the same malady and unfortunately there was lack of understanding of the illness.  Many British soldiers were executed for malingering or cowardice. 

 

By World War II “Battle Fatigue” was identified and methods of treatment were developed.  One General, George Patton, did not believe in PTSD and was relieved of command for slapping two soldiers while in a hospital under medical care.  His referral to the soldiers actions as cowardice was a major black mark against one of the greatest Generals in the American Military.  While researching one of my books I uncovered a letter to the Secretary of the Army.  The letter objected to the treatment of the soldiers and criticized General’s Patton’s actions.

 

We live in a time that PTSD is understood and is treatable and is no longer ignored by a grateful nation; a nation that welcomes their military home from battle.  I have witnessed firsthand the scourge of PTSD.  My roommate while at NAS Memphis was there to be near the hospital following his tour in Viet Nam.  He told me of a truck back firing and then driving off the road onto the beach at Pensacola and then again how he fell to the ground when neighbor children set off firecrackers.  After leaving the navy I entered Northeast Louisiana and became friends with two individuals that never knew each other.  One was a recon Marine.  The other was an Army infantryman.  Both were in school and strived to re-enter society.  Each spoke seldom of their time in Nam.  One thing was common to each; their marriages had failed and then neither completed their education.  Years later when returning from Arabia I discovered that each had another common bond; they had both taken a firearm and had taken their lives. 

 

Thank God for a country that is far more understanding than the past and if far more grateful to its’ returning service men and women.

 

 

 

 

Several years ago I wrote an article dealing with the crumbling infrastructure and what has led our great nation to be in an approaching crisis.  President Trump is returning from a very successful trip overseas and will be faced with his first budget.  A major provision of this budget is rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and how to fund this without adding to the country deficit.  With the nation at such a junction in its’ future it’s time to look at the dilemma so I am reprinting the article.  The crisis has now arrived.  +

 

America is the greatest country on earth today. When viewed in the context of world history the last two hundred and twenty-five years has witnessed the most explosive growth and leadership of any country on record. Unfortunately for a country to remain as a leader of the world it must continually evaluate its’ own position and make changes to the way it administers the successes it had achieved.  We are in a crossroads in which change is required if we want to continue our internal and external growth or we will slowly degrade our country and eventually become a state much like the former great nations of Greece, Rome Spain and others that once influenced vast parts of our world. How did we get to a point in time that our past internal decisions are now leading us to economic chaos with an out of control downward spiral?

 

America is a benevolent society. We pride ourselves on helping others that are in need. Do you notice at Christmas the Bell Ringers, the organizations helping needy families, the toy drives and all the other good things that Americans do to help their fellow man? This is no accident, it is America. In the early days of our country’s founding and growth, if we had not had this desire to help each other the early settlers would have found it extremely difficult to manage the harsh new world. It was this inherent desire to help our fellow man that led to the mother marches that ultimately stamped out polio around the world. This desire is still alive and is currently leading to successes in cancer, placing roofs over the heads of the homeless and provides aid to widows and children. This generosity is America and who we are. Probably the photos that best describe our love of man are the pictures of American GIs, dressed in battle gear, helmet on the head and handing the chocolate bar from his C-Ration kit to some hungry and appreciative child in some nameless village that America had just liberated.

 

America resonates with another key word, build. We are a country of builders. It may be the man building the sky scrapers in our metropolitan cities, driving a nail in a new home, paving a new road or building a company from a small business into a multi-national corporation. The desire to build and be a part of this growth is built into our genetics. Our country was founded on immigrants that left their homes and families and knowing they would never return nor see their homeland again, set sail to a new country that would allow a person to attempt to be whatever he or she wanted to be. As long as we balance our benevolence with our growth and manage if accordingly and understand how decisions will influence our nation at a future time, then we will have no conflict. Unfortunately the word economics enters into our discussion and this is where we now have our conflict within our nation.

 

After World War II our service men came home to a new country. We were catapulted from the great depression and later a horrible recession into a manufacturing giant as we tooled our output to become a war machine. Following the war plants re-tooled and America was providing goods that war ravaged Europe and Japan and Southeast Asia were unable to produce. Money poured in and growth continued. The government spent billions on an interstate highway system that would double as landing strips for B22 bombers if their bases had been destroyed. Infrastructure projects such as schools, roads, bridges, dams, air ports, civic centers, plants and a multitude of other projects were happening everywhere. Eventually these were completed and money was filling the government coffers from and expanding economy and money no longer required for building projects. We now had the ability to fund dream projects such as our bold ambition to place a man on the moon. It also allowed us to look inward and ask ourselves what can we do for our fellow man. How can we best help society?

 

With money available at an alarming amount it only sounded reasonable that we expand social programs. This is good in the short run but has consequences in the long run if not correctly managed. Once a social program goes into effect and funding is provided, it is very difficult to stop the funding. Also, the great structures built in the 1950s and 60s have a certain life span. Nothing survives forever unless we may look at the great pyramids of Giza or the Mayan ruins in Yucatan. Our projects were not designed in that manner so we are now experiencing a very fundamental economic question. This question is, do we rebuild an infrastructure that is quickly deteriorating and falling apart and if so where do we acquire the funds. Do we pull back on our great social programs and use that money to rebuild America. Some say add more taxes but that has a limit. Just this week Pfizer announced it planned to leave America and relocate to England due to taxes. Halliburton, a hallmark in oil field operations has moved corporate offices to Dubai. Increasing taxes will eventually cause our downward spiral to accelerate.

 

What our country needs is to take a strong hard look at what we really need and not just what people want. Control government spending and put the money where we get the best bang for our bucks. Take a hard look at where the country should be ten years from now and not how we will appear at the next election.