NO MORE BS: Come, Let Us Reason Together – Chapter 2

Bird of PreyAs American state, city, and county governments, begin to become greedy little children over the $350 Billion the Federal Government is “handing out for COVID relief” to “spur a national recovery from the economic toll of COVID-19.”  I wanted to take a minute and speak some reality to the situation.  Let us logically review what has happened since November 2019 in the light of a non-partisan, apolitical review.  I urge you to take what is said, conduct your own research, and come to your own conclusions.  As Dumbledore said, “I could be as wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who believed  the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron.”

    1. COVID-19 started in Wuhan Province, China. It was delivered around the world by the Chinese Government’s intentional decision to allow travel while infectious.  The virus was further enhanced by the political nature of Government, the intrusion of Government, and the mass hysteria whipped up by the global media.  Power-hungry people looked upon a virus with a 99.02% survivability rate and saw a golden opportunity to seize power from those who elected them to office.Apathy

These are basic COVID-19 facts that have never been refuted, and the adults in the room have recognized the power-mad politicians and the media usurpers from the beginning of the “pandemic.”  While politics continues to play an over-sized role in COVID, while people are still suffering, and while some “normality” is breaking out, the money spent to date will eventually need to be repaid, and no one is discussing this problem.  Worse, more money is being printed and pumped into the economies of the world to “spur growth,” and this is never good policy!

    1. Printing money causes inflation. Too much money, not enough goods, raises prices beyond sustainable limits to rebalance the economy; hence inflationary prices will continue until excess money is absorbed.  This is a fundamental economic fact everyone should know.  Money is created through several processes, but printing it to through at a problem, does not resolve the issue; it only prolongs the misery of the original problem.   The original problem was not COVID-19 but a runaway government from the Obama reign, where the economy stalled, the money pumped in did nothing, and a recession dragged on artificially due to the political hands in the economy.  The same problem from Obama’s reign will lead to the same economic issues under the fraudulent president.Plato 3
    2. Fiscal insanity is not fixed by Federal impropriety and investment. Too many states, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maine, and so many others, are in dire financial straits.  However, their fiscal health was already failing before COVID-19.  Investment by the Federal Government will not change the underlying issues and make a fiscally insane state fiscally sane.  In fact, the opposite will occur; the funds being handed to the states under the auspices of “spurring growth” will exacerbate fiscal problems.  More to the point, the excess money in the markets will mean more financial problems for the rest of the United States, which will bleed into the global economy!Plato 2

You cannot buy your way out of fiscal problems!  The only answer to spur growth is to reduce Government!  Reduce regulations!  Reduce the intrusion of Government!  Eliminate taxes!  Instead, the same tired act is being performed, print money, give it to the states, complain about inflationary prices, blame the rich, and increase taxes!  The only thing the Trump Presidency proved, without a shadow of a doubt, if America can get the millstone of Government off her neck, her economy BOOMS!  Yet, what has Washington and too many state capitals done, doubled down on policies that do not work and try to call this “progress.”

Knowledge Check!Agree or disagree, your choice and your consequences.  I have made my case; the money being pumped into the states will lead to inflationary prices, above and beyond a sustainable level.  The states all have sticky fingers and wet lips looking for these funds.  Sure, there are many promises regarding how these funds will be spent. Still, I guarantee most of the promises are empty. The politicians will have their special interests fed first—leaving the citizens to pay exorbitant fees for food, clothing, housing, services, and products until the extra money is consumed, which might occur sometime in the next 5-years at a minimum.  Who benefits, nobody!  Who loses, everyone!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Come, Let us Reason Together

Knowledge Check!In physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I am not a fan of the word reaction, for a reaction places all the control of the action into the control of the original actor, and nature does not work like that.  But, to reason, we sometimes must use language common to all to understand each other; thus, it is sufficient to my purposes to use the term reaction in this discussion.  A similar law applies to psychology; a human chooses to act, natural consequences follow.  The ability to as, agency, and the person being acted upon, the actor, play a significant role in how and why businesses succeed and fail.

Plato 2Societies, cultures, governments, and countries all rise and fall on the moral agency of the individuals in power, the common citizen, and the collective leaders of those groups of people.  I have always liked the movie “The Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye makes a statement about how without tradition, they would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.  Bringing a mental image of a fiddler, balancing upon a roof, and having two options, climb down and resume playing, or learn to balance on the roof while playing.  Both choices offer natural consequences that are easily understood, especially if you have ever worked on a roof.

Detective 4I have consistently written about VA Leadership failures for several weeks, rightly calling out the administrators at the local VAHCS and VAMC, the VISN, and the Federal levels.  Hospital leadership is not so different than leadership in any other industry, even though the VA has tried to make hospital leadership distinct.  Herein lay the problem, an employee, a nursing assistant, has just been sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences for second-degree murder.

“Mays was employed as a nursing assistant at the VAMC, working the night shift during the same period of time that the veterans in her care died of hypoglycemia while being treated at the hospital. Nursing assistants at the VAMC are not qualified or authorized to administer any medication to patients, including insulin. Mays would sit one-on-one with patients. She admitted to administering insulin to several patients with the intent to cause their deaths” [emphasis mine].VA 3

We have an affect, but what was the cause?

“While responsibility for these heinous criminal acts lies with Reta Mays, an extensive healthcare inspection by our office found the facility had serious and pervasive clinical and administrative failures that contributed to them going undetected,” said VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal” [emphasis mine].VA 3

Regardless of her intention, an employee was allowed to commit murder because of the “pervasive clinical and administrative failures” of the VAMC leadership.  Now, two days prior to receiving the results of Reta Mays’ court proceedings, I received the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General report on the clinical leadership failures.  I have not witnessed a more despicable and damnable report of leadership failures in the decade-plus; I have been following and writing about the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other government agency!

“In June 2018, facility leaders identified nine patients with profound and concerning hypoglycemic events dating from November 2017 to June 2018” [emphasis mine].VA 3

The scope of the administrative investigation is as follows.  Staff from the VA-OIG’s Office of Healthcare Inspections (OHI) assessed the following areas, in parentheses is who owns the problem raised in the investigation:

      • Mays’s hiring and performance (Human Resources)
      • Medication management and security (Pharmacy and Security)
      • Clinical evaluations of unexplained hypoglycemic events (Nursing and Doctoral Staff)
      • Reporting of and responding to the events (Facility Leadership)
      • Quality programs and oversight activities (Facility Leadership)
      • Facility, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN), and VHA leaders’ responses and corrective actions (Local and area-wide administrators)
      • During the course of this review (investigation), the OIG also noted areas of concern regarding hospice and palliative care practices and nursing policies and practices (Nursing, Patient Care and Safety, and Hospital Administrators)VA 3

Just as logic tells the fiddler on the roof that he has two choices to live a long and musically fruitful life, the investigation reveals that the VAMC leadership had choices and made both poor and potentially criminal choices in this investigation of Mays’ conduct.

Ultimately, quality health care is dependent on leaders who promote a culture of safety that reduces or eliminates those risks whenever possible. Providing high-quality health care to a diverse and complex patient population demands the support of, and adherence to, an organization-wide culture of safety. When this occurs, a patient-centric environment becomes the “norm.” Conversely, systemic weaknesses in a facility’s culture of safety can have devastating consequences. The OIG found that the facility had serious, pervasive, and deep-rooted clinical and administrative failures that contributed to Ms. Mays’s criminal actions not being identified and stopped earlier. The failures occurred in virtually all the critical functions and areas required to promote patient safety and prevent avoidable adverse events at the facility” (pg ii) [emphasis mine].VA 3

Before we go further into the report, it must be made clear; the investigation team found the leadership, the hospital administrators responsible for allowing Mays to kill seven patients.  Attack another patient with the intent to kill and a potential additional hypoglycemic patient who died under her care but could not be directly linked to Mays.  A question arises, how did Mays gain employment with the VA; the answer, a former HR employee, failed to do their job in conducting “… background investigation file and determining her suitability for employment!”  In a previous article, I wrote about the hazards the VA was purposefully opening themselves to by using “COVID” as an excuse to delay proper investigations into backgrounds when hiring.  Here is a classic case where “COVID” is not related, and failing to investigate a background led to people dying!Plato 3

The VA-OIG last year reported that hiring practices had been relaxed due to COVID and background checks delayed for employees being hired during a pandemic.  Yet, when will those background checks be completed?  If someone is found unfit due to background checks, will they be forced to return all their wages for lying on a government form?  If there is a testament to the need for comprehensive background checks on employees, the seven (7) dead patients who died at the hands of Reta Mays!  How many times will this story replicate because the hiring managers are not doing their jobs?VA 3

Let us reason together, is the VA administrators the problem with the VA?  Does the VA leadership require immediate and total removal?  How would you resolve the issues without breaking the system and further endangering the lives of veterans?  Please let me know in the comments section.

I-CareVA Secretary Denis McDonough signed onto the “I-Care” principles as core values in care for veterans in the VAHCS.  When can we, the veterans, see that these core principles have been onboarded and are correcting behavior?

“VA Core Values describe how VA will accomplish its mission and inform every interaction with our customers. These Core Values are Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence — better known as “I CARE.” VA’s Core Values will continue to serve as the right guide for all our interactions and remind us and others that “I CARE.”

          • I care about those who have served.
          • I care about my fellow VA employees.
          • I care about choosing “the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
          • I care about performing my duties to the very best of my abilities.

Mr. Secretary…  The veterans are dying now!  We are waiting!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Designed Incompetence

Dont Tread On MePlato has a point, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  When writing about the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, or the United States Postal Service, one must remember, these organizations have been intentionally designed to be as bad as they are.  The government worker refuses accountability, shuns responsibility, and simply wants to exist doing as little as possible for as much as possible.

In the private sector, the employee is expected to shoulder responsibilities, share in the companies struggles, trials, and the eventual victories.  Yet, the government employee is the exact opposite.  I have heard it said that government workers are a necessary evil, a scourge, and a disgrace.  Except, often times the government employee is just a rule follower and the really pernicious and dastardly government employee are those seeking power in their government employment.  The directors, the supervisors, the managers, and the undersecretaries.  The staff that never goes anywhere.  Political appointees come and go, but the staff is a scourge for life.

Never Give Up!While Plato has a point about apathy in public affairs leading to being ruled by evil men, what is lost in the discussion are the staff members.  Tom Clancy wrote about how a jet airliner took out both houses of the Congress, SCOTUS, and Vice President Jack Ryan suddenly found himself as President Ryan, rebuilding the entire US Government.  This Tom Clancy novel takes a person into the inner workings of the US Constitutional Government like no other book I have ever seen.  Best of all, he explains the intoxicating power the staff members, the executive assistants, and undersecretaries hold over the political appointees to hinder progress, stymie change, and control their fiefdoms against all forces of influence.  This is the root of designed incompetence.

What is an excuse?

An excuse is a method to reduce blame attached to an action, defend, or justify one’s actions, an attempt to release one from accountability, or a poor or inadequate example of something.  As children, we are taught excuses are like noses; everyone has one and picking it in public is disgusting.  Yet, when something happens, two types of people emerge, those who make excuses and those who take responsibility and work to fix the problem.

What is designed incompetence?

Designed incompetence is a ready-made excuse for inadequacies created in business operations, a method to avoid responsibility and accountability. Due to the cost of designed incompetence, it is generally only found in government operations.  Designed incompetence can also be intentional actions designed into business operations, so the expected functions are designed to fail purposefully.  Designed incompetence is always harmful and destructive in nature, generally will make no logical sense, and will always be the preplanned leadership fallback position.Apathy

Example of an excuse:

    • The USPS is running slow, so the delivery of mail is taking longer to deliver than usual.
    • COVID has a lot of employees out sick, so operations are slower.
    • The person who wrote the order requesting the work to be completed did not do their jobs properly, and the original order must be rewritten.

Examples of designed incompetence:

    • The VBA communicates using terminology not universal in medicine to intentionally confuse and hinder making appropriate decisions on veterans’ claims.
    • The VHA refuses to write policies and procedures due to a fear of risk; thus, when the VA-OIG investigates, the same recommendation can be made multiple times to write down procedures.  The leadership team can escape accountability for failure.
    • The USPS has mail carriers dumping mail in dumpsters, these employees are protected by the labor union, so the employee can keep their job, move them to a non-letter carrier position.

Designed Incompetence Feeds Inert and Toxic Cultures

Knowledge Check!Designed incompetence is the root cause for the toxic government employee workplace cultures.  When responsibility is shirked, the human psyche feels moral distress, and as the moral distress grows, so to does the self-loathing, self-hate, and feelings of hopelessness.  Worse, some people, who have constantly been ethically challenged or morally bankrupt, will use these feelings of self-loathing to capture power.  Once captured, the power becomes a drug, and that drug is highly addictive.  Thus, a self-fulfilling prophecy from Plato becomes true, “Apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  The more the morally bankrupt and ethically challenged win power, the bigger an example to others of how to obtain power in government they become.  But the remaining people who do not receive power are left with a toxic workplace, full of inert people.  Motivating inert people in a toxic culture, who are already feeling the stress of acting morally indifferent will leave multi-generational scars on the workforce.

An important point that requires mentioning, “it is not for the lack of money or technology to pinpoint abuses and problems with employees; it is all the inertia of the leadership towards action and the toxic culture which allows and encourages pushing the boundaries that are killing veterans in the VA.”  The same is true for any of the alphabet agencies created by the Federal Government, state government, and local government.  Walk into a DMV and tell me if you cannot sense a toxic and inert culture is driving down customer service levels.  Walk into a welfare office and tell me the people working one side of the counter are not inert.  Worse, walk into any IRS field office and tell me how you feel being around the morally bankrupt and ethically challenged.Plato 2

I met some school board officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was appalled at the lack of ethics and morals they displayed.  Judges and lawyers are driving drink and skating accountability because of their positions and so much more.  All because the designed incompetence in government promotes those who have the least reason and ability to be promoted.  Plato is absolutely correct, “The punishment which the wise suffer, who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.”  For too long, government employees have been allowed to run the asylum while the best and brightest pursue goals in the private sector.  If America is to win back her government, the citizen must stand and boldly proclaim “NO!” and then get into government service to change the toxic and inert cultures.

Plato might have been mentioning the following about elected officials, but I find it apt and applicable to the designed incompetence by the staff members, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up governed by your inferiors.”  The first time I met my director as a VA employee, I knew two things, she hated me, and I was doomed to suffer under her inadequacies.  Both of which came true over the following 360-days.  The intransigency of the leadership in administrative positions at the VA is frightening.  Ending these abuses of power is the preeminent position of every citizen in every democratically elected society.

Plato 3The scourge of designed incompetence must end.  If this means eating soup with a knife, then we must eat the bowl of soup to the dregs.  But, we must act if we are to save our countries from the politicians and the staff that have infested our governments!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting the VBA and Spinal Claims Issues

VA SealOne of the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports I wrote about in 2019 was how the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) was inaccurately deciding spinal claims for veterans.  Apparently, the complexity of primary injuries and secondary problems was causing confusion at the VBA, and when the VA-OIG came around to investigate, 100% of the claims from 01 January to 30 June 2018 were inaccurate in some way, shape, or form.  The VA-OIG reviewed 62,5000 spinal injury claims in the designated window; 34,700 were incorrectly processed, with approximately 5000 receiving inaccurate decisions resulting in over or underpayments totaling $5.9 Million.  Thus, each of the 5000 veterans had about an over or underpayment of $1180; whether this is monthly or in total is not detailed.

Something to think about those 5000 veterans mentioned does not include the 29,800 veterans’ claims which contained processing errors that could have had a monetary effect on veterans.  The VA-OIG could not determine monetary over or underpayments on these 29,800 claims.  Hence, $35,164,000 in possible over or underpayments was still in question if the average per person holds from the 5000 mentioned above.VA 3

More details on the other 34,700 veteran claims incorrectly processed for these claims with processing errors, VBA staff decided on the claims before completing all required evaluation steps.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conveniently designs its processes to fail, and this is referred to as designed incompetence.  Think I am wrong; check out what the VA-OIG discovered as the root cause of incorrect spinal claims processing.

The OIG found that all incorrectly decided veteran claims resulted from VBA’s inadequate process for ensuring accurate and complete evaluation. The disability rating schedule—the primary criteria for evaluating disability—contains minimal guidance on neurological and peripheral nerves. A procedures manual detailing the rating schedule is too subjective about peripheral nerve disability evaluations, which can lead to an inconsistent evaluation for a secondary service-connected condition” [emphasis mine].

Angry Wet ChickenThe manuals, designed and published by the VBA, are inadequate to decide spinal claims consistently.  The VBA created these books to be a ready-made excuse for cheating veterans with improperly decided claims on spinal injuries.  Why is this such an issue for me; I have been fighting chronic pain in my spine since 2002.  I fell multiple times onboard the ship after being pushed by a First-Class Petty Officer while carrying a load of D Cell batteries.  I experienced weakness and shortness of breath on the boat, went to medical; none of those records exist anymore.  The Chief made Senior Chief and was “encouraged” to retire shortly after I left the ship. After leaving the service, I discovered that the Independent Duty Corpsman, a US Navy Chief, was consistently sinking medical records for the Engineering Department to Davey Jones’ Locker.

Angry Wet Chicken 2Today, 10 May 2010, I had a Compensation and Pension appointment with LHI.  I discovered the VBA had edited my claim, and my C-Spine information again was missing from the evaluation.  Since my spine was inappropriately decided in 2014, I could not add the C-Spine problems into today’s appointment.  I was sent back to the VA to file a supplemental claim, using the VA-OIG report from 05 September 2019, as “New and Material Evidence” to have my 2014 claim reopened.  That 2014 claim, called bulging disks in C-Spine, bulging disks in L-Spine, and a trauma-induced S-Curve in my T-Spine as “lumbar strain with chronic pain.”  Today, I was asked how the peripheral nerve problems in my right arm were connected to my lumbar spine!  Not joking, a Nurse Practitioner asked me to explain the connection, without mentioning the C-Spine, the fact that my Right Shoulder is 1-1/2 -2” shorter than my left shoulder, not to mention the headaches at C-0, but all this has something magical to do with my lumbar spine.  After all the tedious bureaucratism I have experienced with the VA, I was not surprised; other adjectives fit, but not surprise!

Upon returning home, I filed a supplemental claim, as advised by a customer service representative at the VBA.  Best of all, the customer service representative confirmed I could use the VA-OIG report as my “New and Material Evidence.”  This is good because none of the MRIs since 2014 are allowed as “New and Material Evidence,” the neurological decision claiming I have an unknown neurological disease is not permitted. All the lost jobs, employer letters claiming a need for ADA Accommodation, or physical therapy notes are also not allowed as “New and Material Evidence.”  All because of those published books the VBA uses to make determinations, which continue to fail to accurately and consistently aid in deciding spinal claims for the VBA and for the VHA to treat.VA 3

The VA-OIG Report has the following to report, which also played a significant role in confusing the nurse practitioner interviewing me today.

“… The medical examiners did not always choose disability levels that were consistent with documented symptom details from the exam. Examiners told the review team that VBA did not provide any guidance on the definition of these disability levels. In addition, they are VBA terms, not medical ones, and there are no standardized criteria for the examiners to determine severity.”

The nurse practitioner could not explain the difference between mild, moderate, and severe.  The VHA uses a pain scale from 1-10; thus, confusion reigned during the LHI compensation and pension evaluation.  Imagine that; the VBA cannot train a third-party contractor on VBA-specific terms designed to create confusion between the language used in the VHA and the language used in the VBA.  Color me shocked; NOT!  VA 3

There have been no changes to these terms, and the confusion generated since the VA-OIG called out the VBA on their inability to communicate and accurately decide veterans claims.  Imagine my surprise when a reader claimed I was too harsh on the VA Administrators and their failures to lead, correct, and design anything that fundamentally fixes the VA.  The VA-OIG issues “recommendations,” the VBA, The VHA, and the National Cemetery ignore the recommendations and continue with business as usual.  Hey taxpayer, how would you rate the VA and evaluate their job in not wasting your tax dollars?

What blows my mind is that this is what the marketing department for the VA calls “Defining Excellence” in VA Healthcare!  The VA-OIG report continued claiming:

The same form also asks medical examiners to provide an opinion about whether the veteran’s range of motion is limited during flare-ups or after repeated use. The medical examiner can decline to provide an opinion, but a sufficient explanation is required if the medical examiner takes that route.  The VBA manual states the opinion may be insufficient if the conclusion is not adequately justified or implies a general lack of knowledge or an aversion to offering this statement on issues not directly observed.  Most of the errors the OIG team identified did not have the required and sufficient explanation about why the examiner could not express an opinion.”

Recognize a problem here; if I replicate a movement that causes me severe pain, I fall to the floor, insensate, and become an ER issue.  For the last spinal compensation and pension evaluation, the evaluator collapsed my legs four times in her office by placing her hand on my L-Spine where the disks are known to be bulging.  What did the VBA call this? Insufficient evidence for a secondary peripheral nerve problem.  I had to report to the Albuquerque ER for a shot of morphine and a shot of Toradol. Missing the next three days of work due to pain in my spine where the medication was insufficient to the task of relieving the suffering.  Those days missed directly led to my being dismissed from VA employment and spending the majority of the next two years unemployed!VA 3

So, not the VBA cannot communicate using medically acceptable terms.  They cannot understand when nerves have a primary, secondary, and tertiary issue causing a veteran loss of employment, severe pain, repetitive injuries.  Then the VBA has the gall to refuse to accept all VHA medical records as “New and Material Evidence.”  Do you know how hard it is to replicate a secondary or tertiary problem when it occurs intermittently on one side of the body but is a regular 24/7 injury on the other side of the body?  My right side is neurologically worse than the left side, but how do you communicate that to the interviewer?  How do they properly communicate that to the VBA when the VBA does not use medically recognized terminology?

LinkedIn VA ImageWorse, all the problems have a root cause in the technology forced upon the medical reviewer. There is an insufficient explanation to describe to a veteran what the VBA is asking for, so the veteran can answer the questions correctly.  The person who made my spinal claim originally had been writing VBA claims for 20+ years.  She was still disregarded by the VBA because the Veterans Service Representative reviewing the claim could not, or would not, interpret the doctor’s note correctly for an accurate decision.  Any fourth-grade biology student can tell you that the T-Spine is different from the L-Spine, and damage in one does not mean damage can be added to the other, and all the damage can be lumped together!  Yet, that is precisely the asinine decision I was handed and have been fighting!VA 3

If you want more details on this egregious example of leadership failure and VBA insanity, the whole report can be read here.  I am not joking, and adjectives are expended describing how deplorable the VBA processes are and the problems these decisions place the veteran into!  The rules are ineptitude hiding behind designed incompetence to the Nth degree, and that is an absolute disgrace!Apathy

I believe in the little rocks that start landslides.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes that create an avalanche.  I know that if enough veterans, their families, friends, and communities rise up, the elected politicians responsible for scrutinizing the government will be forced to make veteran safety and health at the VA a priority, and blessed change will finally arrive in the VA Administration and administrators.  Imagine how you would feel about learning a close friend or family member was being refused treatment at the VA because their claim was inaccurately decided.  Please respond accordingly!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting the VA Wait Scandals

Angry Wet ChickenAs the case for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrators being the number one problem continues, I wanted to revisit a topic that has been mentioned several times, but not been covered in-depth recently, the scheduling issues at the VA for veterans to obtain an appointment.  Back in 2012, the news media went ballistic over veterans dying while waiting to be seen, due to paper wait-lists, cherry-picking veterans to be seen, and employees being encouraged to practice discrimination.  I was a patient in the Phoenix VA during the first scandal, and the second scandal, and between these two scandals, nothing changed, but the medical center director.

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) 02 May 2017, released a VISN wide inspection report on the topic of scheduling and VA Scheduling Wait Times.  Please note the date of the report, as this is a crucial data point, five (5) years after the Phoenix VA Wait Time Scandal, an entire Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) was inspected for compliance with the memos and recommendations after the two VA Wait Scandals at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ.  The results of this inspection are staggering, detestable, and the practice remains unchanged in VISN 22 which includes the Carl T. Hayden VAMC.VA 3

VISN 6 was selected for the inspection, and includes the following VAMC’s:

      • Charles George VAMC (Asheville, NC)
      • Charlotte Health Care Center (Charlotte, NC)
      • Durham VAMC (Durham, NC)
      • Fayetteville Health Care Center (Fayetteville, NC)
      • Fayetteville VAMC (Fayetteville, NC)
      • Greenville Health Care Center (Greenville, NC)
      • Hampton VAMC (Hampton, VA)
      • Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC (Richmond, VA)
      • Kernersville Health Care Center (Kernersville, NC)
      • Salem VAMC (Salem, VA)
      • G. (Bill) Hefner VAMC (Salisbury, NC)
      • Wilmington Health Care Center (Wilmington, NC)

The VA-OIG claims they interviewed more than 300 staff and referred 84 patients from the sample to the VA-OIG’s Office of Healthcare Inspections (OHI) for review “We referred the medical records for these veterans to OHI to determine whether inappropriate or untimely care resulted in any harm to the veteran.”  Please keep the following in mind, the findings are reported across the entire VISN, not just one single VAMC or care center.VA 3

Finding 1: “… 36 percent of the appointments for new patients at facilities within VISN 6 during the relevant time period had wait times longer than 30 days. We estimated that the average wait time for this 36 percent was 59 days. These numbers are significantly higher than the wait time data that VHA’s electronic scheduling system showed.”  The result, “The inaccurate wait time data resulted in a significant number of veterans not being eligible for treatment through Choice.”Apathy

Finding 2: The “veterans in VISN 6 who received their care through Choice, our audit estimated that 82 percent of the appointments had wait times longer than 30 days. We estimated that the average wait time for those who received their care through Choice was 84 days.”I-Care

Finding 3: “For veterans who did not receive care through Choice within 30 days, they waited an average of 98 days to receive their care, which ranged in our sample from 31 to 389 days.”

Finding 4: “VISN 6 Medical Facilities Did Not Consistently Provide Timely Access to Health Care Needs for New Patient Appointments and Did Not Have Accurate Wait Time Data.”  This is the section header for a finding so egregious, heads should have rolled.  Understand the basis for scheduling appointments, “We used 30 days from a veteran’s supported preferred appointment date, a referring provider’s clinically indicated date, or the appointment “create date” to determine whether an appointment was timely.”VA 3

“The VA-OIG statistical sample of 618 new patient appointments completed at VISN 6 medical facilities in the first quarter of FY 2016. We reviewed these appointments to determine whether medical facilities provided timely access for new patient appointments, as well as to assess the accuracy of VISN 6 wait time data. Based on this review, we estimated about 20,600 of 57,000 appointments (36 percent) had wait times greater than 30 days. For those 20,600 appointments, we estimated veterans waited an average of 59 days. This was notably higher than the 5,500 appointments (10 percent) that VHA’s electronic scheduling system showed were scheduled greater than 30 days” [emphasis mine].

Is the problem clear, the VA is cooking their own books to reflect lower numbers of appointments waiting to be seen, than they are willing to admit?  Hence, can any statistical data reported from the VA be trusted for veracity?  Here’s the rub, VISN 22, has the exact same problem in both Phoenix and the Albuquerque VAMC’s.  I know this from being an employee and listening to the appointment schedulers discuss how they “schedule” appointments.  I know from experiencing being cherry-picked, e.g., being told the provider needs to see me within 72-hours of a visit to the Emergency Room, but not being able to be scheduled, and placed on a waiting list or the best excuse I have been told, “I double book the appointments to ensure we keep the provider busy all day.”VA 3

I understand there is a provider shortage; but how much of that shortage is being exacerbated by the policies and procedures of the administration, the leadership of the VA?  Will someone please explain to me, how the pernicious veteran killing scandal of wait lists is still being allowed, fed, and supported by the VISN leadership across the entire country?

Finding 5: The VA-OIG broke down 57,000 appointments, per the policies and directives governing scheduling appointments and found:

  • Of 10,700 primary care appointments, 3,500 (33 percent) had wait times greater than 30 days, with an average wait time of 51 days for those 3,500 appointments. This compared to an estimated 1,900 of 10,700 primary care appointments (17 percent) VHA’s electronic scheduling system showed were scheduled greater than 30 days.
  • Of 4,800 mental health care appointments, 780 (16 percent) had wait times greater than 30 days with an average wait time of 59 days for those 780 appointments. This compared to an estimated 260 of 4,800 mental health care appointments (5 percent) VHA’s electronic scheduling system showed were scheduled greater than 30 days.
  • Of 41,500 specialty care appointments, 16,300 (39 percent) had wait times greater than 30 days with an average wait time of 60 days for those 16,300 appointments. This compared to an estimated 3,400 of 41,500 specialty care appointments (8 percent) VHA’s electronic scheduling system showed were scheduled greater than 30 days.
  • We found that VISN 6 did not capture accurate wait time data primarily because medical facility staff did not consistently enter correct clinically indicated or supported preferred appointment dates when scheduling new patient appointments. Requiring schedulers to document those occasions where a veteran has a preferred appointment date is an internal control that mitigates the opportunities for schedulers to routinely and inappropriately designate all scheduled appointments as preferred appointment dates in order to show substantially reduced wait times.
  • Of the estimated 20,600 appointments with wait times greater than 30 days, staff entered incorrect clinically indicated or unsupported preferred appointment dates for 15,300 appointments (74 percent) that made it appear as though the wait time was 30 days or less” [emphasis mine].
  • Root Cause analysis showed, “Because the medical facility did not consistently enter correct clinically indicated or supported preferred appointment dates when scheduling appointments, we estimated staff did not identify about 13,800 of these 15,3004 appointments (90 percent) where veterans should have been added to the Veterans Choice List (VCL)” [emphasis mine].

Angry Grizzly BearThe administration did notconsistently conduct scheduler audits, which have been required since January 2008.”  Memos, policies, guidelines, procedures, none of these are making any difference as the VISN and VAMC leadership simply refuse to do their jobs!  Where were the politicians from 2000 to 2010 when the policies and guidelines were changed to protect veterans from scheduling abuse and improve access to the VA/Choice?  Will someone please ask Speaker Pelosi where she has been as minority and majority speaker of the house since 2000 on protecting veterans from abuses at the hands of the VA!  Will someone grab speakers Boehner and Ryan and demand they return some of their “Titanium Parachutes” because they actively refused to protect veterans from abuse by the VA!  If this is the “VA Healthcare Defining Excellence in the 21st Century,” I would hate to see how the VA defines failure and ineptitude!VA 3

I have said this before and beg your forbearance as I repeat myself for emphasis.  VISN 22, and the Albuquerque and Phoenix VAMC’s are but one dead veteran from another major scandal for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The administrators will be the 100% responsible, but they will weasel out of accountability, all because of designed incompetence.  I am sick of this abuse towards myself, and any veteran, it is shameful, detestable, and reprehensible.  There are no acceptable excuses for these managerial failures!  There are no justifiable reasons to have schedulers acting in this manner and not being held accountable by supervisors, who are directly held accountable to directors, who have to report to VISN leaders for accountability.  The leadership has failed the veteran and deserves full and complete replacement, as soon as possible!

Knowledge Check!I believe in the little rocks that start landslides.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes that create an avalanche.  I know that if enough veterans, their families, friends, and communities rise up, the elected politicians responsible for scrutinizing the government will be forced to make veteran safety and health at the VA a priority and blessed change will finally arrive in the VA Administration and administrators.  Imagine how you would feel to learn a close friend or family member died waiting for treatment at the VA.  Please respond accordingly!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: QT and LHI – Let’s Talk Customer Service

Thank you!For a long time, I have deeply respected QuickTrip (QT).  Their customer service is of such outstanding quality; even when their fuel is more expensive, I still prefer shopping at QT.  The people go out of their way to help you have a fantastic customer experience.  I have never had a rude employee, a poor customer interaction, or a left unresolved problem.  I struggle with a cane and neurological issues and have had doors held open for me; cashiers have brought me my change, always a good experience at QT.  Thank you!

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Department of Motor Vehicles, and they are joined by Logistics Health Incorporated (LHI).  I have had my share of detestable customer service experiences; I am a customer service subject matter expert and have been regularly published on customer service topics.  When I rate LHI as competing for the DMV for the worst possible customer service provider, LHI might even have the DMV shaded!Angry Wet Chicken

16 April 2021 – I enter LHI at 5333 N 7th St, Phoenix location; I am 35-minutes early to a 1200 appointment.  On 25 March 2021, the Gov. of Arizona stopped enforcing mandatory masking.  As a person with a documented medical condition where I struggle to breathe enough volume per breath and cannot physically wear a mask, I did not wear a mask to this appointment.  I was rudely asked to wear a mask by the receptionist.  I showed her my Dr.’s note about having breathing problems where I cannot wear a mask.  The receptionist, after making considerable noise, canceled my appointment as a no-show.  Guess who is not going to be paid for my mileage to and from the facility.

I went to my car, called LHI Customer Service number 866-933-8387; the representative tried calling the facility.  After several hold sessions, she told me she would find me a provider who would work with me on the mask issue to complete the VA Contracted Compensation and Pension Appointment.  I never heard back from this representative.

Angry Wet Chicken 27-10 days later, I receive a call to reschedule an appointment spending more than 2 hours talking to the representative, who finally schedules me an appointment with another non-LHI provider in Phoenix for 10 May 2021.  I received a call from that provider confirming I have an appointment.  Yet, a bait and switch occurred, and my appointment was then rescheduled for the same provider, same LHI facility, and I attended this appointment.

0750, 10 May 2021 – I arrive early for the 0800 appointments.  The receptionist is belligerent when I walk through the door about me not being seen without a mask.  She further stipulated that since I can talk, I can wear a mask, and nothing I say will change that “medical opinion.”  She eventually tells me to call customer service and have them call her to relate treatment instructions.  She refused me a supervisor and then proceeded to make a bunch of calls, often holding her iPhone in one hand and the office phone in another.

While on the phone with Emily at LHI, at 33:35, into my call with the LHI customer service center, the Phoenix Police arrive.  The receptionist had called 911 and claimed, “I have a disruptive patient, who refuses to follow directions, is swearing, and throwing things, and refuses to leave the building.”  Officer Pacheco Badge #11039, Report # 21-725905, and his partner arrive, speak with the receptionist, who repeats her claim, then they talk to me.Apathy

I report I have not used swear words.  I have not thrown anything.  I have not been told to vacate the premises.  I have a medical condition that precludes me from wearing a mask, and I cannot physically wear a mask.  I show the officers my Dr.’s note to this effect.  The officer then turns to another patient who happened to have come in after me, and he confirms to the officer everything I said.  The worst language that the receptionist can truthfully claim that was used at her was “belligerent” and “snowflake.”  I will own the fact I called her belligerent and a snowflake.

Angry Grizzly BearThe officers go back to the receptionist, who two other people have now joined, names unknown, wearing scrubs presumably from the treatment rooms in the back.  They then make several calls.  Then one of the people asks if I can wear a mask but not over my nose.  I explain it is a breathing volume problem I have, and any mask hinders my volume of air per breath and makes breathing difficult.  The people behind the desk are seriously unhappy that my breathing problem does not have a name, a disease, or some identifying characteristic: the receptionist, the officers, and the people from the back return to a hushed conversation.  I am still on the phone with Emily and on hold while Emily is trying to contact the site.quote-mans-inhumanity

Finally, a decision is made, would I wear a face shield.  I claimed I have offered to wear a face shield twice and been told, face mask or nothing by the receptionist.  A nurse practitioner finally agrees if I wear a face shield, she will see me.  She then spent the next two hours complaining about me being an hour late to the appointment, her “very full schedule,” and how we had to “get this done quickly.”

Then, the nurse practitioner proceeds to lecture me twice about getting the vaccination for COVID-19 and how if I had the vaccination, they would be more comfortable with me not wearing a mask.  At no time, in the first or second interactions with the receptionist, anyone asked me if I had received the vaccination.  I then finally left with a lecture about not being “anti-vax.” How she had no symptoms or post-injection problems, and how since I already have breathing problems, my comorbidity meant I should be seriously considering getting the vaccine.VA 3

I am not “Anti-Vax!”  I want my questions answered before I get the vaccine.  I want truthful information from peer-reviewed resources that I can reference and discuss with my primary care provider, neurologist, podiatrist, and other specialists who help me manage my health.  I want to know about drug interactions and the vaccine.  I need to know how this will affect diabetes because the experiences of Indians who are diabetic have been horrible!

I have no idea if the nurse practitioner did her job or just wasted my time.  What I do know is that LHI is about 100% useless in their customer service!  Failure to keep promises is the number one reason why trust is built or shattered.  Failure to carry through with what you promise is the second most common reason why trust is Bird of Preydestroyed in customer service.  Face-to-face providers need to be looking for solutions, not actively looking to inconvenience the customer.  100% of the medical profession IS customer service.  How the provider approaches the customer (patient) is the number one factor in how that patient will respond to treatment.

LHI, if you decide to respond, I will indeed include your response in a follow-on article.  However, at this moment, you have scored with the DMV as the worst possible example of customer service, and I hope you learn fast to care for the patient better!  I am fed up with your treatment, and change is mandatory; immediately!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: VA Leadership IS the Problem!!!

Angry Grizzly BearPSA:  If you have a weak stomach, please feel free to not read this report.  This article is discussing the ongoing and continual problems of the VA leadership to ensure clean medically reusable equipment is available for practitioners use.  While the YUCK factor is high, the issue remains a leadership failure, and worse, it was purposefully designed into the VA organization to spread infectious diseases between veterans!

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted an investigation and reported its findings 16 June 2009.  While still not the first-time endoscopes and colonoscopes being dirty have caused patience significant risks, this report clearly details the failure of VA Leadership as an organizational design flaw.  From page i of the report, we find the following:

Facilities have not complied with management directives to ensure compliance with reprocessing of endoscopes, resulting in a risk of infectious disease to veterans. Reprocessing of endoscopes requires a standardized, monitored approach to ensure that these instruments are safe for use in patient care. The failure of medical facilities to comply on such a large scale with repeated alerts and directives suggests fundamental defects in organizational structure” [emphasis mine].VA 3

Also, from page i the scope of the investigation and those requesting the investigation are detailed:

The VA Office of Inspector General received requests from the Secretary, Chairmen and Ranking Members of VA oversight committees, along with individual members of Congress, regarding the reprocessing of endoscopic equipment at several specific VA medical centers (VAMCs), and to assess the extent of related problems throughout the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The purpose of the review is to describe the pertinent events at VAMCs where problems were reported, assess VHA’s response to the events, and conduct a system-wide evaluation of current reprocessing practices” [emphasis mine].VA 3

Let us be perfectly clear, since 2009, the VA Federal Officers have been informed and kept abreast of the problems with properly cleaning, sanitizing, and documenting reusable medical equipment, specifically endoscopes and colonoscopes, and have done nothing to fundamentally correct the direction of the VA, the VHA, or the offending VAMC’s.  What good is a memo when it is not applied as a standard operating procedure, where consequences are involved?  How is a memo going to be effective against a culture trained to not do their jobs, no matter the cost to patient safety?  To fully comprehend the problem with reusable medical equipment not being properly cleaned and sterilized (repurposed) see pages seven and eight of the following report linked.  There are a lot of acronyms, but the general sentiment is clear, the VA has an enormous problem with properly cleaning reusable medical equipment!

In a VA-OIG report dated 06 May 2021, we find an employee, after having been caught once, still not being properly supervised, not doing their job, and remaining employed.  This employee was caught falsifying legal documents on the cleanliness of endoscopes, and dirty equipment was used on multiple patients.  The facility conducted an investigation, the VISN conducted another investigation, neither investigation led to any type of fundamental organizational change to protect the patient.  Even the VA-OIG investigation has not led to fundamental organizational changes and improvements in cleaning and sterilizing reusable medical equipment.  Frankly, this should scare the daylights out of every veteran going in for any type of care at the VA.VA 3

Trust is hard won and easily lost.  Right now, can any provider at the VA assure any patient that the reusable medical equipment has been properly cleaned and sterilized before being used on that patient?  Since the VA-OIG report in 2009, the direct answer to this question is a resounding NO!  Again, I ask only for emphasis, if a non-VA hospital, clinic, or provider’s office was caught not properly cleaning, sterilizing, and documenting medically reusable equipment, how could they remain in operation?  The short answer is, they could not; unless they are an abortion clinic, but that’s and entirely different subject.  The Federal Government and the lawyers would descend en masse to shut down the facility, hold the administration accountable, and demand retribution for the patients involved.  Why is the VA Administration and VHA Administration, and the VAMC and VISN Administrations able to escape culpability in risking a patient’s health with dirty medical equipment?

Angry Wet ChickenEvery single Federally elected politician should be up in arms about the double standards between VA hospitals and non-VA hospitals.  If a non-VA hospital is caught with dirty medically reusable equipment, can they use the VA as an example in court as a defense?  NO!  Yet, here is a legal double-standard and precedence that opens the door to more questions.

Returning to the 2009 VA-OIG report, we find how the investigation was methodologically carried out.  The methodology reveals just how widespread and in-depth the investigation is, and how deeply this problem is organizationally wide for the VA.

We visited the facilities which had been the subject of considerable media attention: the Bruce W. Carter VAMC (Miami) in Miami, FL; the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System-Murfreesboro campus (Murfreesboro); and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta) in Augusta, GA. We reviewed applicable regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines. Furthermore, 26 inspectors conducted unannounced onsite visits for the total of 42 probability-based randomly selected VHA facilities to examine pertinent endoscope reprocessing documentation.

Because of the unannounced nature of the inspections and for cost-efficiency, a stratified clustering sample design was employed to maximize the number of facilities that could be inspected in a single day. Two probability-based random samples of VHA endoscope reprocessing facilities were selected from the study populations for the unannounced onsite inspection: one for colonoscope reprocessing and another for ENT endoscope reprocessing. With probability sampling, each unit in the study population has a known positive probability of selection. This property of probability sampling avoids selection bias and allows use of statistical theory to make valid inferences from the sample to the study population.”VA 3

Back in 2009, the media was very cognizant of VA issues, then the dead veteran scandal of 2012 and 2017, turned the media’s attention away from how the VA conducts business.  Let me direct your attention to the final sentence of the quoted material above.  As a researcher, this is a gold standard methodology statement for researching a complex organization like the VA, to pick proper probability samples, and to reduce individual inspector bias in the combined report of findings.  Thus, from this quoted material we can presume both that the methods of conducting the research were sound and conclude that the egregious behavior by administrators is VA wide!VA 3

If dirty medical equipment is how the VA defines excellence in the 21st Century, America’s veterans are in trouble deep!  I am now in my eleventh year of writing about the behavior of the VA and how they intentionally treat veterans.  I have witnessed detestable behavior by providers as an employee, and brought this behavior to the administrator’s attention, for which I was discharged without cause!  I have written about instances of negligence so terrible that there should have been a Congressional Blue-Ribbon panel assigned to demand correction and conduct and investigation, but nothing ever transpired.  I have personally experienced providers so inept, their qualifications should be questioned.  I have observed VA employees abuse, harass, threaten, and intentionally hinder treatment.  The behavior of the VA Administration where reusable medical equipment is concerned is so far beyond the pale, words escape me to describe.

Dont Tread On MeI believe in the little rocks that start landslides.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes that create an avalanche.  I know that if enough veterans, their families, friends, and communities rise up, the elected politicians responsible for scrutinizing the government will be forced to make veteran safety and health at the VA a priority and blessed change will finally arrive in the VA Administration and administrators.  Imagine how you would feel to learn a close friend or family member caught an infectious disease during treatment at the VA.  Please respond accordingly!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: CHANGE! – Let me Explain

Bird of PreyAs a fourteen-year-old, I was wandering around an office supply store in Belfast, Maine, and came across a bookmark I thought had an interesting statement on it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I thought that saying was pretty neat, and it helped me begin a process in my own life of learning how to learn and challenging change.  Over time, I began to suspect something out of place in the pattern that quote/prayer was claiming; I do not believe there are things I cannot change!  I know that if a person refuses to change, I can do nothing until that person chooses to change.  But, I remain convinced that there is nothing man has made that cannot be changed.Leadership Cartoon

As a building contractor, I learned that the same tools I am using to destruct a building are the same tools I will employ to construct a building.  An important point where change is concerned, structures can come down, structures can be built, but the human element rests upon their own decision to change or not.  However, many times the structures can influence the individual to change.

Detective 4In the US Army, I noticed something powerful; when living in a Korean War-built Quonset hut, my fellow soldiers and I had moral problems, experienced depression, and struggled.  But,  when we moved into new barracks, many of these problems ceased almost immediately.  Thus cementing a lesson, the environment plays a role in personal feelings and influences desires to change.  In the US Navy, this was more poignantly learned.  I slept in Crew Berthing Three, the rest of the engineering department slept in Crew Berthing Two, and I hated going in there.  Between the smell, the lackadaisical attitude towards maintenance, and the general disorderliness of the compartment always left me feeling depressed.  So, even though I slept in the same berthing as Deck Department, which included the Boatswains mates, the berthing spaces were neater, cleaner, and better all around.  Environment matters and influences personal desire to change or not to change.

As my injuries have worsened with age, my ability to rebuild engines, build or destruct structures, and operate heavy equipment has been reduced dramatically.  But, the lessons taught have remained, there are people I cannot change, but there is nothing that I cannot change.  My wife asks me all the time why do I write articles for a blog.  My answer is rooted in the Serenity Prayer quoted above; there is nothing I cannot influence to change.

Andragogy - LEARNToolsThere are people who I have met who will never change.  One comes readily to mind, I was homeless on the streets of Auburn, Washington, after leaving the US Army in S. Korea.  I had a job but no place to stay.  One night while wandering to keep warm, I met a homeless man who refused to change.  He was homeless by choice, not because of any drinking or drug problem, not because he was not smart enough to get a job and improve his living conditions, but because he chose to be homeless.  He said, “I am who I am, and I refuse to change just to please society.”  A very intriguing thought occurred to me then and has repeated often, am I choosing to be homeless, or am I choosing to grow?

I choose to be a lifelong learner; this commitment sprang from this conversation with this homeless man in Auburn, Washington.  I committed to several principles knowing that I could more greatly influence my environment as I changed myself.

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Because there is nothing I cannot change, I know the power of small pebbles in a landslide.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes in an avalanche.  I understand how a small rudder can turn an enormous ship for good or ill.  Nothing man has made that man cannot unmake, remake, fix, correct, or influence change.  There are people no one will ever influence due to moral agency, individual perception, and the valuation of consequences.  But, the environment around that person can be changed, and opportunities provided to encourage a different mindset.

GearsCase in point, an engineering shipmate of mine, was kicked out of Crew Berthing Two for smelly feet, which led to smelly shoes, which upset a lot of people in Crew 2.  He was forced to come live in Crew Berthing Three.  Why did he have stinky feet, a fungus was growing on his feet, and he had never been taught how to care for his feet.  He could wash them 100 times a day, but because he did not know how to care properly for his feet, nothing would change, and his feet would stink.  When my shipmate chose to change, we taught him about foot care, he went to medical and got some fungal cream, and he purchased new shoes and socks.  Why were his feet not a problem in Crew Three; we had better, and took better care, of the ventilation system than Crew two.Courage

Those engineers in Crew Two could not understand that the environment influences behavior, and the influence of behavior led to negative consequences.  The move to Crew Three changed the environment physically and led to an eventual change in mindset for the person.  Could Crew Two have had better ventilation; absolutely, if the members living there desired it.  Since they individually decided not to have better ventilation, the consequence was a smellier and more nasty berthing space.  Environment plays a role in behavior and influences people for good or ill.  We can affect the environment, but we cannot force change upon people who refuse to change.Behavior-Change

Leading to the final thought, why do we need “wisdom to know the difference?”  I  can change the environment around me.  I can change me.  I cannot change other people, but I can change other things and influence the people after changing those things in the environment, causing problems.  Let us examine this from the viewpoint of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The administrators (people) are causing moral issues and distress in the employees.  Some of the employees like being morally repugnant. Others are ethically obtuse because of job security. Others remain true to themselves and stay in the system to help affect change.

Life ValuedHow does a person change a system built by man; start with the environment, which in this situation are the processes, procedures, and methods of conducting work.  A leader arrives and begins influencing people through how they perform their work.  Then begins the fundamental operations of training to new standards, including ethical, moral, and logical processes and procedures written down.  Then, that leader begins holding people, not written processes, accountable for their actions.  Shortly every person will be faced with a choice, change or leave.  Hence, cleaning and correction become a natural function of the environment, and change is made where many have claimed; change will never happen.

Knowledge Check!As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I know this is the path forward as I have applied these lessons in my own life.  Changing people, like destructing and constructing buildings, does not occur magically.  Plans are made, planning is carried out, and fundamental change occurs through the environment.  Use the pattern:

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Watch what happens!  It is amazing to see and possible to change.  Nothing cannot be changed; only people choosing not to change cannot be changed.  But people are not the environment, and the environment can influence people!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Leadership at the VA Continues to Shame Themselves!!!

Bird of PreyI do not believe in coincidences, I just started reporting the VA leadership as being the problem at the VA; the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) finally appears to be blaming Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leadership.  In my inbox are two VA-OIG reports where the facilities’ leadership is being called out for the detestable behavior they continue to exhibit!  In one of the VA-OIG reports, please do not allow the “YUCK!” factor to distract from the problems at hand in the VA Leadership refusing to do the jobs they have been hired to perform!

        1. Bradley Lane Croft, the owner of Universal K-9 Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, was sentenced to nearly 10 years of imprisonment for scheming to defraud the federal government of more than $1.5 million in GI Bill benefits to train service canines and their handlers. In addition to the prison term, Croft pays approximately $1.5 million in restitution.”

November 2019, Judge Ezra found Croft guilty on eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of making a false tax return.  Testimony during trial revealed that beginning in 2015, Croft provided false information in applications to the Texas Veterans Commission, including instructors’ names, certifications and training documents to receive GI Bill educational benefit payments.”

VA 3If you have access to more details, please share.  This story did not make a ripple in the news, and I want to know why!  Worse, who at the VA lost their jobs, lost their retirement package, or were sanctioned for allowing this fraud to occur?  2015-2018, three years of deception, where the VA leadership and lower-level employees were supposed to investigate and research documents submitted before awarding contracts?  The court records read like this was an IRS audit for fraudulent tax filing that discovered the school fraud of GI Bill benefits.  The VA never knew until the IRS alerted them.  Hence, I ask again, where was the VA in properly executing its duties to protect the government and the taxpayer from fraud?

      1. During a comprehensive healthcare inspection (virtual) of the Aleda E. Lutz VAMC in Saginaw, Michigan, the VA-OIG was pretty vanilla, except for the following. “Selected employee satisfaction survey results indicated opportunities for the Associate Director for Patient Care Services to improve workplace perceptions and for the Chief of Staff to support an environment where employees felt less moral distress” [emphasis mine].

VA 3Now, I have never personally been a patient in this VAMC or one of its clinics.  However, “moral distress” is a pretty universal phrase meaning that employees feel pressure to commit immoral activities.  The actual term “moral distress” is found in an “All Employee Survey,” where the employees stated that they felt pressured to commit an immoral activity at least once per day.

In the past year, how often did you experience moral distress at work (i.e., you were unsure about the right thing to do or could not carry out what you believed to be the right thing)?”

If an employee feels anywhere between 1.0 and 1.7 times (on average) a day they are being pressured to commit immoral activities, surely this should raise some eyebrows and a lot of questions about the propriety of the leadership team.  Did the VA-OIG take a sample of employees and gather quantitative data on exact actions employees feel they are pressured to commit?  If so, why is the conclusion bereft of actionable items for leadership to take?  If not, why not?  Employees claiming pressure to act in an immoral manner are a significant risk to any business organization.  The VA is already on record for having inferior to worthless administrators; now the veterans and the taxpayers get to know the Aleda E. Lutz VAMC and its clinics have morality issue problems.  Nobody in the VA leadership at the Federal or VISN level cares!

        1. The VA-OIG conducted a review to assess aspects of the care provided to a patient who was struck and killed by a motor vehicle following elopement from a community living center (CLC). The patient suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was involuntarily civilly committed to the CLC.”

Administrative failures began the day the patient was admitted to the CLC, as discovered by the VA-OIG, “… the patient’s admission to the CLC was inappropriate as indicated by the CLC’s own screening process.”  Added to these concerns, the VA-OIG expressed the following concerns, “… regarding the appropriateness of CLC admission and elopement prevention.”

The OIG determined that interventions implemented by staff were inadequate to mitigate the patient’s risk for elopement. The patient eloped multiple times, and facility staff failed to provide individualized, progressive, mental health-driven interventions to prevent the patient from eloping. The OIG also found that facility staff assigned to care for the patient were inadequately trained in mental health care, and patient safety reports were not completed as required.”

On the day of the patient’s death, the OIG found that facility staff did not follow missing patient procedures after the patient eloped. Facility staff failed to detect that the patient was missing for nearly three hours, and once the patient was noted as missing, facility staff failed to follow policy to locate the patient. In addition, the OIG found that facility leaders did not ensure the facility had a missing patient prevention policy or that staff completed annual missing patient training. The OIG expressed concern that the CLC may not have been utilized as intended, given the lack of mental health standards applicable to CLCs and the complex mental health needs of this patient.”

VA 3Take a minute, imagine you are a family member of this patient.  How are you going to feel when you see the consistent and ongoing problems with the facility?  How helpless would you feel knowing that your family member was missing for hours before it became known to staff this patient, with a history of elopement, was gone?  How frustrated would you be with the administration when you read this report and see that from Day 1 admissions, this CLC was inadequate to the task of seeing to this patient’s needs?  Now, do you understand why I, as a veteran, become so aggravated and upset with the lack of leadership at the VA?  These are my brothers and sisters in arms, and they are being abused and killed by the VA’s lack of leadership.  The only recourse we have is to try and share these horrible tales with our fellow citizens in the hopes of improving the political leadership, to demand change of the executive branch’s VA leadership!  Another needless death at the hands of the VA leadership!

Let me preface this final story a little.  First, if you have a weak stomach, feel free to skip this next story.  Second, an endoscope is an illuminated optical, typically slender, and tubular instrument (a type of borescope) used to look deep into the body and used in procedures called an endoscopy.  Endoscopes are considered reusable medical equipment, and special training and procedures are required to clean and sterilize these scopes properly.  Third, an endoscopy is a procedure used in medicine to look inside the body. The endoscopy procedure uses an endoscope to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike many other medical imaging techniques, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ.  Again, if you have a weak stomach, feel free to skip the rest of this article.

      1. Let us travel to the Chillicothe VAMC in Ohio, where we find the VA-OIG with “concerns” over “… responses by facility leaders to a Sterile Processing Services (SPS) employee’s failure to follow endoscope reprocessing [cleaning and sterilization] procedures.” The VA-OIG report stresses the following, “… the VA-OIG also identified concerns related to actions taken by Veteran Health Administration (VHA) leaders.”  Thus, we have one (1) employee and several VHA leaders from the local to the VISN whose actions are at best “questionable” in the cleaning and sterilization processes for an endoscope.

Three separate and similar complaints were raised at this facility for this exact issue!

“… VA-OIG investigations substantiated that the employee did not follow facility reprocessing procedures and falsely documented compliance. The VA-OIG determined that the Facility Director did not develop and implement an adequate plan to monitor the employee’s compliance with SPS procedures following reinstatement to SPS duty, particularly given concerns regarding the employee’s integrity and compliance. Because multiple patients were potentially affected, facility and VISN leaders notified the VHA Clinical Episode Review Team (CERT) for review and disposition. The CERT concluded there was minimal risk to patients and that a large-scale disclosure was not warranted; however, the VA-OIG found that the CERT’s determination may have been based on an inaccurate understanding of the reprocessing equipment’s capabilities” [emphasis mine].

VA 3Here is the other side to this problem. This is not the first time or first facility having problems with employees failing to reprocess medically reusable equipment, refusing to document correctly, or risk patient complications from dirty medical equipment!  This is not the first time the CERT team has made the wrong decision not to warn the patients involved; they might have been put at risk by dirty medical equipment!  The last episode involved colonoscopy equipment, and it was not that long ago I was writing about that incident!  YUCK!!!

Why was the employee not immediately fired for falsification of official documents?  Why did the facility’s and VISN separate investigations not see the directors of patient safety and hospital director fired for failure to perform their jobs?  The Chillicothe VAMC’s entire leadership should be fired in disgrace over this incident.

PACT 1While a patient in the VA Hospital here in Phoenix, I was in a clinic where a mother was trying to gather sufficient records to hold the VA accountable for her son’s permanent disability from sepsis.  The veteran caught sepsis when improperly cleaned scopes were used during a gall bladder removal surgery.  Her son, the veteran, spent 9-months in and out of non-VA hospitals; she had pictures of his bruised and swollen abdomen from the doctors trying to treat the sepsis and keep the veteran alive!  I have no idea whether this mother was successful or not getting the VA to cover the medical expenses and increase her son’s disability.  I only know I never saw her at the VA again, and the VA Police shadowed her as she moved from clinic to clinic, gathering records.  I do not know why records release could not release the proper documents to save this mother the hassle of visiting individual clinics.  I do know I can still see this veteran in the photos his mom showed me, and my blood continues to boil!  Yet, the CERT team asserts that mass notification is not needed in these situations; I demand to know why they can make this decision!

ApathyThe leadership at the VISN levels and the individual hospital levels is sick, inadequate, and desperately in need of a complete replacement to end the culture of corruption found inside the VA.  When employees record moral distress, this should be an automatic red flag, alerting the VISN leaders poor leadership practices are happening, but the VISN never does anything!  Failure of this magnitude would have gotten any non-VA hospital or clinic shuttered and class-action malpractice lawsuits launched.  Yet, when the VA gets caught, the media cannot even be bothered to report on the problem in the local news.  Maximum endurance has been breached, and these administrator problems need immediate attention from the politicians!

Dont Tread On MeHence, I will ask you, dear reader, to please share these VA articles far and wide.  Action is needed before the next veteran to die unnecessarily is a friend or family member of yours!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Clearing up the confusion! – Understanding the Government of America

Bird of PreyRepresentative Deb Haaland (D) sent out an email while a US House of Representatives member claimed America is a “Constitutional Democracy.”  I will endeavor to correct this confusion using simple terms; for Representative Haaland’s benefit, please allow me to elaborate.  Along the way, let us explore a few connected topics, including the plasticization of words and how that breeds tyranny.

A Republic finds its history lodged in the writings of Plato, who called a republic “possessing the structure and composition of the ideal state.”  James Madison provides America with the only definition needed for America to be a republic, “We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behaviour [Emphasis added].”  A republic is a government system where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.  Finally, a republic is recognized by the head of the government, not being a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

America has a Constitution that leaves all the power of the government in the hands of its legal citizens.  Legal citizens are not impostor aliens or terrorists captured on a battlefield; thus, US Constitutional Rights do not apply or cover these entities.  A Republic is formed around the principle that through property ownership, freedom is generated.  A Republic requires time, majorities that clearly surpass a simple majority, and when personal property is threatened or removed from individual citizens, that Republic slips into a democracy.  A Democracy cannot climb into being a Republic, but the Republic can be reduced to a democracy.Look

Democracy is associated with the “rule by the people,” or a simple majority wins.  The associations of democracy have become more twisted since the mid-1930s.  Therein lies the problem, democracies have existed under the feudal system of government, the communists have tried to instill democratic changes, and dictators like Maduro in Venezuela have employed democracy for personal enrichment and citizen enslavement.  Democracy, other than being dangerous, is the belief that simple majority rules for everyone.  Winston Churchill is correct, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  The reason democracy is dangerous is the belief that people control the rule when they have nothing to do with the ruling.  The “Rule of Law does not bind rulers of a democracy”; they are only restricted by statistics reported in opinion polls, which Mark Twain aptly called “Damned lies.”Finest Hour

Consider the United Kingdom, which is a “Democratic Polyarchy” as they have a hereditary monarch ruler, and a democratic parliament; when the people demanded an exit from the European Union, the supposedly democratic parliament stymied and thwarted the people’s will to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.  Venezuela is a democracy where the constitution was destroyed for personal power.  The country was bankrupted for the enrichment of the few, and the people are now left starving, wondering where their country went.

America’s founders were interested in creating a representative democracy under a republican form of government to protect the property rights of individuals that generate the most freedom for the most people.  Under a republican form of government, everyone is first bound by the rule of law; in America’s case, the code we are all united under is the US Constitution.  Even the government must answer to the lowest of citizens.  Important to note, a Republican form of government does not mean that the Political Party “Republicans” are the party to rule exclusively.  The plasticization of words and terms continues to create confusion where politics is concerned.Patriotism

America was never expected to be a direct democracy, where Representative Haaland (D) is basing her erroneous statement regarding America being a “Constitutional Democracy.”  Here is where the fallacy resides, a constitutional democracy would only require a simple majority to enact new clauses in the constitution.  America’s Constitution requires ¾’s of the individual US States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment after the Constitutional Amendment has won supermajorities in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.  Thus, any fourth-grade student who has passed American history can tell how and why America is NOT a “Constitutional Democracy,” as stated by Representative Haaland.  “Constitutional Democracy” is fallacious, deceiving, and meant to create confusion in the populace.  Since Representative Haaland (D) and Senator Udall (D) continue to disregard their constituents, I expect more but have come to realize they will not adhere to providing a higher level of respect for the offices they individually hold, representing their constituents across the political spectrum.The Duty of Americans

Property – It’s Not What you Think!

Since we discuss the rule of law, republics, and other related topics, let us dig a little into an item that is killing America and her freedom, the loss of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar as well as an author who was a Professor at Yale Law School, writes a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over, this paper is referenced below, and the link is active.

Detective 4Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, and sycophants in the Senate and House.  Establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess; picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allow to feed the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.Image - Quote Poltics is Dirty

A perfect example is found in K-12 Schools.  When a school insists they need more money from the taxpayer, they blame poverty and race as to why their students cannot learn unless more money is poured into a failing school to purchase a “magic bullet,” e.g., an expensive new toy, technology, or program—providing three lies in one, and excusing designed incompetence for the failure of students who the teachers have abused.  Race governing ability is the first lie.  Poverty dictating intellect forms the second lie.  More money needed in K-12 Education is the third lie.  The designed incompetence that allows or encourages a teacher to pass a student that does not meet the standards of learning is an abuse of students, not a problem of funding, and not a problem of the teacher, but a lack of parental involvement and student engagement.Government Largess

Here is government largess in action; if the school board does not adhere to the lies of race and poverty affecting intellectual ability, that school does not get more money.  Repeatedly, we see these lies vociferously declared in the media that poverty and race are holding a school/student back, and the government needs to spend more money.  In reality, leadership in the school, reinstating the teacher’s authority, and respect is required for those schools, not more government largess.  Indeed not another program or technology that no one can afford will fail to achieve the sales pitch.

ApathyThus, America needs to demand change through the ballot box, insist that freedom and private property are returned to the people. Those representatives who have no moral center, or cannot serve their constituents from both parties equally, are removed from politics; indefinitely!  Since America is a Republic and not a democracy (yet!), the problems in representation can be solved.

Plastic Language is Tyranny!

Stretched WordsShakespeare (2016) used Hamlet to relate a line that frequently applies, especially when communicating online, “… thou doth protest too much, methinks.”  Too often, those intent on misusing words are protesting too much about something.  On social media, every communication, every interaction, and every person is a threat to the intellect of the one protesting and must be lorded over, trolled, and publicly shamed.  A recent example of this the world witnessed during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, where the judge’s children were physically and verbally assaulted—using a warping of legal rights, guaranteed justification for the assault.  A careful review of any newspaper, news broadcast, and many politicians speaking will evidence the plasticization of words to justify actions, e.g., President Clinton, “Depends on what your definition of “is” is.”  Words to couch a threat while seeming to be helpful and friendly, or worst of all hide abuses of others through twisted logic.  Every time words become disconnected from standard meanings, society crumbles, language becomes useless, and the consequences are multi-generational, which is precisely what transpired in recovering Germany after Hitler’s demise.

Andragogy - LEARNI had the great personal pleasure of speaking to a senior citizen from Germany who lived through Hitler’s oppression and the recovery of Germany post-WWII, and the person I spoke with affirmed the most challenging social problem was relearning words and definitions to communicate without the taint of Hitler’s Germanic Language.  Hence, we can draw several lessons from this experience; language is trained.  It can be retrained; relearning language is a social problem fixed through social interactions and personal knowledge, and personal responsibility and accountability remain pre-eminent in communicating correctly.  Another lesson from my experience, history repeats itself, and those with dastardly designs will always corrupt language to gain the advantage before showing their true colors as tyrants.  Every single despot in recorded history has employed plastic language to lull the population into acquiescence before demanding loyalty and destroying that civilization, society, or culture.

Word Plasticity is LIC!LIC 2

I cannot stress this point enough; LIC (Low-Intensity Conflict) is a type and style of warfare hosted by a wealthy or politically protected party for the demise of a population through “diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures.”  Language is a social construct.  As discussed above, where Germany had to rid itself of twisted words and phrases from the Nazis, the social construct of language is generally the first step in advancing psychological warfare against a population.  Recognizing the plasticization of language is the first problem in fighting LIC.  How was Maduro able to lull the entire population of Venezuela into false security while he destroyed their constitution?  He employed psychological warfare through the plasticization of language.  Cuba, China, USSR, and every other tin-pot dictatorship employ the same strategy, twist the language, and conquer the people.

Knowledge Check!Representative Haaland (D), now Interior Secretary, was employing plastic words to hide her tyrannical ambitions, calling America a “Constitutional Democracy.”  The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  If America is to survive as a Republic; the citizens need to understand where plastic language is employed, understand their government form, and insist that the democratically elected representatives will realize the same.  Recognizing LIC is the first step, and the depth of LIC being enacted against America has been allowed to grow until America is in dire straits and dangerous waters!  The American Republic must re-embrace private property and refuse what has been done since the 1900s by presidential fiat and complicit Congresses under the heading of “progressivism.”

Reference

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The IRS – The Pernicious and Detestable Federal Agency

Angry Wet ChickenNow that tax season is, for the most part, completed and behind us for another year.  It occurred to me that many people do not know the power and reach of the IRS in their daily lives.  Plato is quoted as saying, “The price of apathy towards  public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  No truer words can describe the situation with the IRS, and I think it is time every American knows just how destructive the policies of the IRS have been and continue to be.

Employee

UseLegal.com (2012) provides the actual definition of an employee, “An “employee” is defined as “a preference eligible in the excepted service who has completed one year of current continuous service in the same or similar positions” or “an individual in the excepted service (other than a preference eligible)… who is not serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment pending conversion to the competitive service.” Ramos v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 24378 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 6, 2009)”  Essentially, a person can be hired by an employer, but does not attain employee status and protection until that person has been hired for a continual year by the same employer, is not under a ‘probationary period,’ and or appointment.Apathy

An employee agrees to be controlled by an employer; that person’s production is only one of the controls granted to an employer.  Employee conduct both on and off the job can be controlled, and the means and manner of producing the work specified.  The right to control is the primary determining factor in this relationship.  The right to control is also the deciding line between freelance workers and employees.  Upon this single imperative hang tax law, the responsibility of parties, risk, and every item in employee/employer relationships, hierarchical structures, and will ultimately decide who or which party is in charge, and is entirely governed by the IRS in America!

The Right to Control

The IRS breaks into three categories the essential components where the ‘Right to Control’ hinges, namely, Behavioral Control, Financial Control, and Type of Relationship.

Behavioral Control:  Relates to the questions, what, where, and how work is completed.  Employees have set schedules, tight restrictions about how to think, where to sit, etc., dictated by the employer.

Financial Control:  Relates to all things money.  The employee is forced to accept all terms of the employer without negotiation, from business expenses to taxes.  Where Financial Control is, risk shortly follows; where risk is, the threat of litigation follows.  Therefore, when the employer has financial Control, risk follows the employer, not the employee.  Profit and loss, tools of the trade, and the freedom to offer services to other organizations are all part of the financial controls relinquished by the employee to the employer.  Under Financial Control falls the following, the Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990 (ADA).

    • The ADA’s seminal beginning originate in 1973 Section 504, which made it illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities if the organization receives Federal Government subsidies.
          • “No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States… shall, solely because of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”(ED.gov, 1995).
          • Classified disabilities by disease; includes “Hidden Disease[s],” is changed constantly to update diseases covered, and dictates the only requirement for the condition is that the disorder “have a material effect on one’s ability to perform a major life activity” (Ed.gov, 1995).
          • Business costs mainly occur in ‘soft’ costs, i.e., changing procedures, reasonable accommodations, etc., something to keep in mind, though, “… noncompliance can cost an employer.  For example, in the fiscal year 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 15,045 disability discrimination charges.  It recovered $48.8 million in monetary benefits for workers who did not receive accommodations to which they are entitled under the ADA” (Woog, 2008).  Thus, monetarily speaking, noncompliance costs more than compliance.

Type of Relationship:  Relates to all things in the interaction of the two independent parties, including written contracts dictating the interaction, risks, penalties, etc.  The extent of the relationship is a significant point and colludes with permanency and benefits to form the marriage between two independent entities.  The employee forfeits Control in this arena to the employer who automatically sets the terms, demands compliance, and exerts totalitarian Control.quote-mans-inhumanity

Employee Surveillance

IRS.gov (2018) sets the standard upon which the premise for employee surveillance rests; the business organization holds the right to control, monitor, insist, and legally demand employee behaviors. Goshray (2013) quoted Cashmore (2009) and is correct; employee privacy is dead, and the origination is social media.  Thus, with the IRS granting legal ability to monitor and control employees, there are no other legal or ethical issues, privacy concerns, or anything else wrong with employee surveillance.  If the employee chooses to take issue with the monitoring, that employee is free to end their relationship with the company; in fact, Lyon (2017) substantiated that with newer employees, who have grown up with the acceptance of digital citizenship, surveillance is expected and no privacy concerns exist in the workplace.Patriotism

Holt, Lang, and Sutton (2017) further inform that employee surveillance does not affect potential employees’ rating of the organization’s ethics, nor the organizational views when monitoring, e.g., employee surveillance is higher than another business in the same industry. Holt et al., (2017) further added that employee surveillance has been, and continues to be, radically changed by the technology available (Waxman & Barile, 2016).  Returning to the organizational “right,” as provided by the government through both edict and legislation, employees have no individual control and relinquish privacy rights upon hire to the employer (IRS.gov, 2018).

Vargas (2017) reviewed a business and found that the employer considers each employee a criminal and that through working for the company, investigated criminalization of employee behaviors is enacted and reproduced.  Essentially, making each employee an automatic suspect anytime a crime occurs, suspecting every transaction, and disciplining for minor changes in expected corporate behaviors. While admittedly, this behavior by the business might be considered extreme, it is not beyond the legal “rights” of the employer.  An argument could be made to treat employees better to reduce churn; in this particular industry (retail), high churn means you pay less in wages because good employees leave quickly and bad employees are fired fast.  Thus, criminalizing the employee is not wrong; employee surveillance is not unethical and should have no consequences for honest employees.The Duty of Americans

However, labor unions vociferously continue to advocate privacy in the workplace and attempt to place limits upon employee surveillance by a company, completely disregarding the fact that the employer has the legal right and ability to demand and enforce all types of direct and indirect employee surveillance programs (Goshray, 2013; Holt, Lang, and Sutton, 2017; IRS.gov, 2018; Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, 2017; Lyon, 2017; Waxman & Barile, 2016; Vargas, 2017).  While Leclercq-Vandelannoitte (2017) attempts to place ethical constraints, prior knowledge, policies, and procedures around employee surveillance, nothing in the IRS.gov (2018) mandates declare an employer has to mention or warn employees that their every keystroke, every conversation, and every action are directly and indirectly monitored as the “right” of the business.

Knowledge Check!Is the pernicious role of the IRS now more understood?  Your Employer/Employee relationship is not governed by the NLRB, but by the IRS, and this was by design to protect tax money!  Every action made in an employment situation is governed by the IRS, and the IRS has given great latitude to the employer, making you the property of the IRS, with control granted to your employer.  The IRS remains a danger to every American, and the globe.  Why is the United States the only industrialized nation to not allow options to the employee/employer relationship, squashing innovation, curtailing small businesses opportunities, and unequally tipping the scales for large organizations, look to the IRS!  Want to point fingers, thank President Woodrow Wilson (D) and his complicit Congress and his executive orders!

References

Effelsberg, D., Solga, M., & Gurt, J. (2013). Getting followers to transcend their self-interest for the benefit of their company: Testing a core assumption of transformational leadership theory. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(1), 131-143. doi:10.1007/s10869-013-9305-x

Ghoshray, S. (2013). Employer surveillance versus employee privacy: The new reality of social media and the workplace. Northern Kentucky Law Review, 40(3), 593-626. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lgs&AN=90242325&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Holt, M., Lang, B., & Sutton, S. G. (2017). Potential employees’ ethical perceptions of active monitoring: The dark side of data analytics.Journal of Information Systems, 31(2), 107-124. doi:10.2308/isys-51580

Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, A. (2017). An ethical perspective on emerging forms of ubiquitous IT-based Control.Journal of Business Ethics, 142(1), 139-154. doi: http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1007/s10551-015-2708-z

Lyon, D. (2017). Digital Citizenship and Surveillance| Surveillance Culture: Engagement, Exposure, and Ethics in Digital Modernity. International Journal of Communication, 11, 19.

Waxman, S. S., & Barile, F. G. (2016). “Eye in the sky:” Employee surveillance in the public sector. Albany Law Review, 79(1), 131.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov) (2018). Independent contractor vs. employee. Available from http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,id=99921,00.html

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov). (2018). The Agency, its Mission, and Statutory Authority. Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=98141,00.html

Vargas, T. L. (2017). Employees or Suspects? Surveillance and Scrutinization of Low-Wage Service Workers in U.S. Dollar Stores, 20(2), 207–230. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoh&AN=EP123822581&site=ehost-live&scope=site

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Affirmative Action – A Discussion for Eradication!

VirtueI wonder if maybe affirmative action is not just dead but ready for the waste pits of history.  Cohen (1996) acknowledged that federal hiring has a set of laws, with exceptions for every rule, to justify not hiring individuals.  I have personally witnessed this in Albuquerque, NM., for the better part of three years.  At the V.A. Hospital and Social Security Offices, the hiring managers refuse to hire veterans, and multiple other hiring paths to keep “undesired people” from being hired.”

As a dual-service (U.S. Army & U.S. Navy) disabled veteran with a handicap that is visible (neurological shaking, twitching, and muscle spasms, which include trouble speaking) too often, I am the best candidate until the interview.  Walking into an interview with a cane, spasm, or twitch a couple of times, and the faces of those interviewing reflect their discomfort, and I will not be hired.  Government, private sector, for-profit, not-for-profit, none of these matters, people are uncomfortable around those of us with visible disabilities.  Affirmative action has never helped, and as an experiment in social behavior, should be scraped from the law as soon as legislation can be written to effect this change!Patriotism

Undesired people” includes people with handicaps (though Schedule A hiring has top priority in government hiring), veterans, spouses, and dependents with specific federal benefits, minorities (including men, people of color of all shades, American Indians, etc.) also have priority in hiring.  All the best jobs, positions, and perks are awarded through nepotism and the court of public opinion.  The system is structured in such a way as to remain in legal compliance to affirmative action; thus, affirmative action is a shield protecting lousy behavior instead of as a tool to improve workforce hiring.  My assertion of the uselessness of affirmative action is not just based upon my experiences.  I have witnessed people get into car accidents, get a disability, and go from productive worker to shunned worker almost overnight, all due to the disability sustained.The Duty of Americans

Harasztosi and Lindner (2015) discussed how the minimum wage costs jobs and excluded the neediest citizens from employment.  I contend that affirmative action has negatively impacted minorities, men and women, disabled people, etc., most significantly using the principles and logic of Harasztosi and Lindner (2015).  Rules demanding social behavior always will substantially and negatively impact those designed in the law to enjoy the most benefit.  I believe in the Missouri State Motto; “Show ME!”  Show me a single piece of legislation that has helped those it was written for.  Legislation cannot dictate behavior or morals in society; hence the following from John Adams applies, the U.S. Constitution “… was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Hence, the path forward is not more laws to avoid, but less.  The way forward is the societal education in morals as governed through a religious society.Editorial - Educational Truth

Historically, there are no legal, moral, or ethical reasons for affirmative action.  Affirmative action, and the diversity policies feeding the modern workplace adopted after affirmative action was legislated, barely have a legal foothold, let alone a justifiable reason for existence (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001).  Human Resources is the capitalization of human capital to meet organizational needs.  When capitalization of human abilities is appropriately affected, the effort becomes work, leading to finished products or services for sale to consumers.  When not adequately modified, capitalization of human skills turns into waste, loss, confusion, and the organization will eventually “fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle” (Bloom, & Kamm, 2014; Typographical Journal, 1892).Apathy

Sykes (1995) defined affirmative action as “… [T]he set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  As promising as this sounds, affirmative action remains the biggest farce crammed down the business community’s throats since the Federal Income Tax.  By focusing, as this definition states, on “eliminating discrimination past and present,” the entire country forgets the wise words from Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that is why it is called the present.”  By focusing on the past, we project the same problems of the past, ruining both the present and the future.  While providing fodder for ill-advised politicians and media hacks to accuse everyone of racism, sexism, and a host of other “-ism” claims that are erroneous.  I repeat, only for emphasis, you cannot legislate human behavior and morals, and hiring an employee is the epitome of human behavior and morals.President Adams

Affirmative action is not necessary, needed, or applicable; affirmative action, and the diversity programs replacing affirmative action, were never required, helpful, or valuable enough to create from whole cloth the legal precedent to justify implementation (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). No, the short answer remains clear, Affirmative Action was not needed in 1964 and is still not needed today. Before 1964 when the Civil Rights Legislation was passed, the educational and experience gap between those working and not working caused pay problems, yet new professional opportunities naturally occurred as educational opportunities increased.  Affirmative action was not needed.  Let’s be clear, the executive orders and complicit Congress during President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure are the reasons the 1960s were so tumultuous, and the Civil Rights movement became needed.  But the reliance upon a government fix for personal behavior and morals was the wrong answer in the 1960s and remains a horrible answer today!

Dont Tread On MeNow that Affirmative Action has pampered more than two generations, we have more women and minorities in the workplace with the same skills as white males, and the same problem exists in deferential hiring, differential treatment based upon race, gender, and other politically acceptable groups. People who want to work, start early, work hard, and prepare for better jobs through education, experience, and single-minded determinedness. Those who do not wish to work create excuses, live off the government dole, and remain entrenched in ignorance, causing poverty, loss of self-esteem, ruined families, and a host of social problems that those who are working have to deal with and pay taxes to the government, who started the problem in the first place. These same workers have to fight affirmative action and diversity policies for new jobs, promotions, pay increases, etc., including all the issues associated with a minimum wage and associated costs (Harasztosi, & Lindner, 2015; Hawkins & Sowell, 2011).

References

Bloom, R., & Kamm, J. (2014). Human resources: Assets that should be capitalized. Compensation & Benefits Review, 46(4), 219-222. doi:10.1177/0886368714555453

Brazelton, S. (2016). A hollow hope? Social change, the U.S. supreme court, and affirmative action. The Journal of Race & Policy, 12(2), 84-95. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/docview/1940981339?accountid=134061

Cohen, C. (1996). Should federal affirmative action policies be continued? Congressional Digest, 75, 181-181.

Harasztosi, P. & Lindner, A. (2015). Who pays for the minimum wage?UC Berkeley.Hawkins, J., & Sowell, T. (2011). Right-wing news: An interview with Thomas Sowell. Retrieved from http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/sowell.php

Master, Oogway (Character). (2008). Kung Fu Panda [DVD].

Oppenheimer, D. B. (2016). The disappearance of voluntary affirmative action from the U.S. workplace. The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(1), 37-50. doi: http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1332/175982716X14538098991133

Pierce, J. L. (2013). White Racism, Social Class, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action. Sociology Compass, 7(11), 914–926. https://doi-org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1111/soc4.12082

Sykes, M. (1995, August). The origins of affirmative action. Retrieved from http://www.now.org/nnt/08-95/affirmhs.html

Typographical Journal. (1892). Typographical Journal, Volume 4 [Google Play]. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=FydFAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA10-PA4&lpg=RA10-PA4&dq=%E2%80%9Cfall+an+unpitied+sacrifice+in+a+contemptible+struggle%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=DW3MDox1Xu&sig=vd-U9cqe7PVSqLbA27FIX5DgJOs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4zp3I-ZTeAhXqwlQKHZfZC6QQ6AEwA3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cfall%20an%20unpitied%20sacrifice%20in%20a%20contemptible%20struggle%E2%80%9D&f=false

Young, I. M. (2001). Equality of Whom? Social Groups and Judgments of Injustice. Journal of Political Philosophy, 9(1). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4335602&site=ehost-live&scope=site

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: LIC – Low-Intensity Conflict – Explained and Expounded

Dont Tread On MeBetween 2012 and 2014, I wrote the first article on Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC).  Somehow this article has been lost in my changing blogs and computers.  Hence, what follows is an in-depth look at LIC.  Please note, several authors have significantly contributed to my understanding of LIC, but none so much as Lt. Colonel Alan J. Tinder, who wrote a paper for the Air War College in 1990, titled: “Low-Intensity Conflict.”  From the Colonel, I have learned much and benchmarked this principle to more thoroughly understand LIC, how to recognize LIC, and how to detail LIC for others.  The other compelling source is L. C. Green’s paper on “Low-Intensity Conflict and the Law.”  My aim here is to synthesize this information into a manageable topic and aid understanding.LIC 2

Too often in America, we do not recognize LIC.  When the Verizon Labor Unions had to be legally restrained from committing LIC against Verizon, the judge seemed to want to call the acts of violence nothing but poor decisions by some people.   Yet, the labor union had begun a tactic of pressuring Verizon by destroying property, scare tactics for third-party contractors, and causing mayhem to obtain their demands.  Hence, the labor union committed LIC and got away with it, no punishment, no accountability, no responsibility.  Never forget, “Barely three percent of violent crimes committed by union members lead to an arrest or conviction. … Most victims of union violence are unemployed workers looking for a job [to] feed their families. “Scabs,” they call them. Subhuman scum. Untouchables. People who, in the minds of unionists and their enablers, are worthy of the same kind of vile abuse that Klu Klux Klansman used to dish out to African Americans that didn’t know their place.”LIC

What is LIC?

Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) is the official name for what happens when individuals or governments hire intermediaries to conduct violent operations from a position of security.  LIC is a misnomer; those who have become victims of the barbaric cruelty of those practicing LIC find nothing “Low” about the experience.  The conflict is intense, the actions brutal, and the practitioners remain cunning adversaries using and employing willing dupes to hide the true depths of moral decay inherent in the societal destructions and deprivations the practitioners are enacting.  Many confuse LIC in describing the actions of unbridled violence committed by ideologues under the banner of terrorism.  The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff define LIC as:

A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives. It is often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency. Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder 1990) [emphasis mine].”

Green (1997) adds a key ingredient to the description of LIC from Tinder (1990).

… Non-international conflict itself is a refined term for what [was] formerly known as revolutions or civil wars, particularly when these have developed into major operations with the likelihood or reality of atrocities being committed against non-combatants.  Whether civilians or those [rendered] hors de combat, a fact that is often more common in non-international … conflicts, especially when ideological, ethnic, or religious differences are in issue.  It is for this reason that it must be borne in mind that the term low-intensity [conflict] has no relation to the severity or violence of the conflict” [emphasis mine].

Some will proclaim loudly, primarily due to affiliation with or money donated from deep-pocketed entities, that LIC is only limited to those more commonly perceived as terrorists, i.e., car bombers, hijackers, etc.; however, paid rioters, looters, and those termed by the media as “violent protesters,” are practicing LIC.  Worse, labor unions have been getting away with LIC since 1892 and the Homestead Strike.  As a point of fact, K-12 educators will only teach the labor union’s side of the story during the Industrial Revolution, leaving out the capitalists providing jobs, businesses that did not need, or want, government intrusion, and the continued depravity the labor unions continually inflict upon America.  Just for the record, in 1991 alone, 4400 acts of violence were committed by labor unions.Apathy

Consider this for a moment, Americans generally despise violence for economic gains; but, due to LIC in K-12 education, the labor unions get special treatment before the law on committing violence.  Imagine for a moment how ugly the media would scream if the KKK dropped nails, broke glass, destroyed property without regard to a minority-owned business.  Oh, wait a minute; we know what the media would do, nothing!  See, when politically correct rage occurs, even when it is a minority on minority, the press closes their mouths or pitches in!  The world saw this in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta, Florida, and so many other riots, politely termed “peaceful protests” by the media!

LIC and the Law

I am not a lawyer, and the following is not legal advice.  LIC being punishable under a military court is founded in the Civil War, and President Lincoln desired to regulate the behavior of Union troops and show proper deferment to enemy troops.  While this legal precedent goes further back, the legal precedent begins with President Lincoln in the US.  Controlling troops’ behavior led to the Genocide Convention of 1948, where genocide was created.  A legal standard was set for controlling and describing proper behavior during a conflict and enforceable by third parties.  Hence the reason why, and for, international courts to bring charges against countries and leaders of countries who commit genocide.  Unfortunately, even with the United Nations “maintaining neutrality,” enforcement of genocide continues to be problematic.The Duty of Americans

However, the point is clear, commit acts of LIC, and you do not face a civilian court and judge; you face a military tribunal.  The legal precedent for handling LIC by military tribunal further clarifies that those violent protesters and labor union members using LIC to commit acts of violence are deserving of the label, domestic terrorist.  As a terrorist, those using LIC, including those paying for LIC, lose their US Constitutional Rights, face a military tribunal, and held without Habeas Corpus.  Terrorists do not deserve and have rejected their US Constitutional Rights upon paying for or committing violent LIC actions.  According to the legal dictionary, Habeas Corpusis a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.”  If US Troops must follow the Geneva Convention during peace and war, then those paying for or committing LIC are also bound, especially by Article 3:

“… Each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum … [to] persons taking no part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause [certain minimum rights to ensure that they] shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

Since those involved in LIC are terrorists and like criminals, they do not adhere to the law.  The international community should be exerting pressure to capture, hold, and try the individuals involved in LIC anywhere in the world.  For example, Cuba is currently holding a leader of BLM, an internal terrorist organization with roots in Marxism-Leninism.  Other people have found safe haven in the international community and need to answer for their criminal and terrorist activities.  However, since the American government refuses to label paid agitators as the internal terrorists they are, the criminal justice system will continue to be violated.  Those guilty of LIC are allowed to continue their licentious ways to the detriment of America.Patriotism

Labor unions hide behind the lawyers and the criminal justice system to game and play LIC against everyone they consider an enemy.  ANTIFA, BLM, and every other paid agitator group in America burning, looting, rioting, and “protesting” need to be labeled what they are, terrorists.  Their actions need to be classified correctly as acts of terrorism.  A military tribunal called to investigate funding sources and hold accountable those paying and those committing terrorist violence in America.  There is no difference between a  terrorist in the IRA, a terrorist in Afghanistan, and a “protestor” terrorist in Portland, Oregon.  America, we need to understand LIC, and then we need to apply legal precedence to fix the situation America currently finds herself in!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: LIC – What You Are Witnessing!

Andragogy - LEARNAs a topic I write extensively about, some may ask, “Why does he continue writing about this topic?”  The answer can be found in Portland, Oregon, most any night, where the rioters and looters are screaming, breaking the law, and getting away with this anarchy because it is politically acceptable to someone’s personal desires.

Minneapolis-St. Paul experienced LIC, and then the politicians defunded the police.  Seattle, Washington, regularly, not as often as Portland but regularly, experiences LIC.  People get injured, public and private property is damaged and destroyed, and always those committing the crimes skate personal responsibility, and the police keep getting defunded.  Ferguson, Missouri, experienced LIC and are significantly worse for the experience!  Atlanta, Georgia, has been bruised and hurt; people died.  The restaurant burned, all over politically acceptable “rage” masquerading LIC; has anyone followed the money and discovered who benefitted from Atlanta burning?  I know nobody cares about Ferguson to follow the money.  What about Portland, who is investigating where the money originates paying for all the LIC?Apathy

What is LIC?

Ziggy on GovernmentLow-Intensity Conflict (LIC) is the official name for what happens when individuals or governments hire intermediaries to conduct violent operations from a position of security.  LIC is a misnomer; those who have become victims of the barbarous cruelty of those practicing LIC find nothing “Low” about the experience.  The conflict is intense, the actions brutal, and the practitioners remain cunning adversaries using and employing willing dupes to hide the true depths of moral decay inherent in the societal destructions and depravations the practitioners are enacting.  Many confuse LIC in describing the actions of unbridled violence committed by ideologues under the banner of terrorism.  The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff define LIC as:

A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives. It is often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency. Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder 1990)” [emphasis mine].

Detective 4Some will proclaim loudly, primarily due to affiliation with, or money donated from, deep-pocketed entities, that LIC is only limited to those more commonly perceived as terrorists, i.e., car bombers, hijackers, etc.; however, paid rioters, looters, and those termed by the media as “violent protesters,” are practicing LIC.  The media keeps trying to lie and claim, “peaceful protests were overcome by looters, rioters, etc.”  This lie keeps being swallowed until the truth breaks out and the “peaceful protest” was anything but before it was “overcome” by violent actors.  Want to know one of the biggest growth markets in America, paid agitators!  People who do not care about a cause but are paid to scream, holler, march, act like idiots, and destroy America.  One of the most open secrets about the daily disasters being witnessed in the news is those being paid to protest, throw rocks, and destroy property.  Follow the money, and those paying for LIC become known and should be held accountable for the mess they paid to see.

Where is LIC most obvious?

Sure, the protests are apparent places where LIC is most probable.  However, we are missing some crucial aspects of LIC if we presume only the riots are the only place LIC is being practiced.  Never forget, the purpose of LIC is to accomplish “A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives.”  Note, the tools used to achieve the goal, “… diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency.”  Hence, the K-12 classroom is the number one location where LIC is regularly practiced in America and many democratically elected countries worldwide.

Social Justice Warrior 3Consider the lie of climate change.  Psychological and social controls are exerted through “Climate Change Science Pogroms.”  What is the aim; achieve mass hysteria about the climate while defying and denying logic and science, preaching social changes that empower the government while stealing liberty and freedom.  K-12 education in America has been intentionally dumbed down since the 1860s to stop people from learning to read, write, and logically think through mathematics as a control mechanism of the general population.

How much time do your children spend on climate change programming as an aim of LIC; more than 5 hours a day on average.  The subject arises in Math, Science, History, Reading, English, Social Studies, and the list goes on and on.  Then you have TV programming, from Sesame Street to the nightly news; climate change programming never ends.  Always Climate Change Science aims to program the public into giving up their liberty, freedoms, and lifestyles for the ambiguous “Climate Health,” all. At the same time, the government steals your money, liberty, and freedom, and a select few make billions in climate alarmism to buy a new luxury yacht or private jet.  Follow the money, and you find the same names, the same “influencers,” and you never see them sacrificing for the climate!The Duty of Americans

Where else do you regularly see LIC practiced in the political undermining of conservatives by the left-wing militias.  Consider Speaker Pelosi’s actions for a moment as she “deals” with the opposing party in the US House of Representatives, and you will see LIC in action.  Better yet, review Speaker Pelosi’s efforts during the Trump Presidency and LIC were clearly noticeable.  Want a better example; look to Speaker Harry Reid’s tenure in the US Senate as Majority Leader, and you see LIC being practiced against the US House of Representatives as a means of controlling legislation.  Speaker Boehner (R) was not a strong pick and was a horrible speaker of the US House of Representatives, but his job was made immeasurably worse by Speaker Reid in the Senate!Patriotism

Never forget, Speaker Paul Ryan (R) was more useless than Speaker John Boehner (R), but again, the minority leader was Pelosi and Speaker Reid in the Senate.  Because none of these Republican Speakers recognized LIC was being used against them, they failed miserably!  Thus, teaching everyone the first lesson of LIC; if you do not acknowledge your enemies are practicing guerilla warfare, you will lose!  The second lesson taught where LIC is concerned, you cannot fight by the enemies’ rules.  Anyone else remembers Vietnam; America was taught this lesson in spades!  To combat LIC, one must use a no-holds-barred, knuckle-busting, dirt-throwing, fight-to-the-death manner of combat, or your enemy will win!  You write your own rules and attack!  Forcing your opponent to give ground because they want to use their rules, and you are not willing to relinquish the moral high ground or fight by someone else’s rules.  When President Clinton promised that politics would change under his administration, the opposition should have believed him and changed their approach.  But, they refused, and America has been the worse ever since!

LookLIC is dangerous; not recognizing where and when LIC is being practiced is more dangerous still.  Ask yourself, why did the US President quadruple the number of immigrants pouring through the southern border?  The president is using LIC to breed paid agitators against the rightful citizens of America and illegally increase his voting bloc.  Why was President Trump denied his rights by Facebook; LIC.  By denying a private citizen his First Amendment rights to social media, Facebook can show a “strong and courageous” stand against conservative speech!  The rules have changed, if you do not understand LIC, you will lose, and America will continue to be lost.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: 30 April – National Day of Fasting

Since this article is being published after 30 April 2021, some people will presume that the day had passed unremarked, uncelebrated, or would dismiss the power of fasting as a religious thing.  How very wrong these people would be, but I am not here for them.  I write this article to encourage placing this day on your calendar as an annual event, like birthdays, holidays, or an important anniversary.

One of the few times the Senate under President Abraham Lincoln voted unanimously was on this resolution, introduced by Senator James Harlan of Iowa.  Adopted on 03 March and signed under President Lincoln’s hand on 30 March 1863.  The resolution came because the president of the United States needed a higher power.  He had reached the end of his knowledge, skills, and abilities and turned to a power greater than himself for guidance and direction.  I own several books on President Lincoln.  The depression, despair, and grief of the lives lost and shattered on both sides of the Civil War had worn this president down physically, mentally, spiritually.  He couldn’t sleep, could hardly be imposed upon to eat, and his closest advisors were worried about the president’s health.

Consider a time in your life when you have had substantial responsibilities, and everything you have tried has either failed miserably or made things worse.  That was the position President Lincoln was in when he proposed a National Day of Fasting and Prayer.  President Lincoln knew he was out of his depth; he had a contentious House and Senate.  He had a war raging where people and material cost the nation more than money and resources, and he needed a solution.  President Lincoln needed a checkmate, not just any solution, a game-changing solution that only the powers of heaven could provide.  What inspires me, President Lincoln knew where he could turn for answers because of his previous experiences.  Therein lay the lesson and reason for a National Day of Fasting and Prayer.

President Lincoln’s time in office also reveals a pattern as described by Richard G. Scott.

The tragic pattern is so familiar.  It begins with curiosity fueled by stimulation and is justified by a false premise that there is no harm to anyone when done in privacy when done in privacy.  For those captured by this lie, experimentation becomes powerful stimulations until the trap closes and a terribly immoral, addictive habit exercises vicious control.”

The Confederacy got into the problems they had through experimentation with human bondage.  The sin of slavery was stimulated through prosperity and ease of work until slavery had infected every single colony and state in the Union, and a rebellion broke out over a State’s Right to continue enslaving people.  The repentance process took an entire country, millions of lives, millions of dollars, and generations of heartache and stolen potential.  Is it any wonder that the Civil War would require the best of everything that could be invented to finally get every person in America dedicated to ending the slave trades and human enslavement?

Every day we hear another politician or left-wing snowflake cry something is “racist.”  Yet, America has proved time and time again; we learned the Civil War lessons, we stand against human enslavement and bondage of any kind.  And yet, still, the cry is heard; still, the problems exist.

America is the number one country for modern slavery, called sex trafficking, human trafficking, and forced indentured servitude.  We have people disappearing and then reappearing either as a body in a ditch or as victims of sex crimes and slavery.  Why is a National Day of Fasting and Prayer still needed; so, we may learn the modern lessons of the Civil War and ask for, and qualify for, the help of heaven to rid America of these heinous crimes.

What other lessons can we learn from the Civil War and President Lincoln; let us start with the problems of gangs and internal terrorism.  The Southern Confederacy began as internal terrorism.  Don’t believe me; the Confederacy was not a recognized nation when Brigadier General Beauregard and his troops attacked Fort Sumter.  Hence, a gang militarized attacked a military installation and won.  Thus, launching the Civil War.

We hear of drug cartels along the Southern Border hiding in National Parks, growing drugs for the American illicit drug markets.  This is an act of war by terrorists, but the politicians will not send troops to fight this war and protect our boundaries.  Maybe, we do need the help of heaven to change the direction of America’s politicians.

We hear of shots fired across the border by gangs, drug cartels, and other modern-day terrorists.  Yet even though this is an act of war, the military is politically hindered in acting, innocent people die, and the politicians do nothing.  Maybe we do need the help of a power greater than ourselves to aid in ridding America of our enemies “Foreign and Domestic.”

Daily, America suffers from gang violence from ANTIFA, BLM, MS-13, The Bloods, The Crips, and so many others committing acts of violence, destruction of private and public property, taunting the police, and banding together to gain political power.  Maybe, just maybe, America could use a LOT more heavenly help curb the violence and end the internal strife caused by, encouraged from, and paid for through people seeking political power (LIC).

The problem with LIC (Low-Intensity Conflict) is that eventually, the violence gets out of control, and wars begin!  We have celebrities in Hollywood, and other wealthy people are investing in the violence these gangs are perpetuating. Our current sitting president donated funds to these groups while a candidate. By practicing LIC, all of America suffers and hangs in the balance between anarchy and civilization.  Of course, we need power greater than ourselves to help curb the violence!

Without a greater power to aid in support of America, America will fall.  America has always been a “Heaven blest land.”  So, while only America has a National Day of Fasting and Prayer, I would suggest all democratically elected countries have a similar day.  The world needs help only heavenly powers can provide.  I do not care about your religious flavor of belief, including unbelief; joining in a National Day of Fasting and Prayer is about coming together, unifying, and committing to upholding the principles of a free society, embracing liberty for all, and decreasing tyranny from the few!  Please, mark your calendars now, and join the next National Day of Fasting and Prayer, 30 April 2022!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Calling Out Politicians

Rep. Greg Stanton (D) got called out on my blog and both of Arizona’s Senators, and previously I have called out the now Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (D), who was then a member of the US House of Representatives.  A comment was passed along to me that I only pick on politicians with (D) after their name.  I will call out every single politician who does not honor their oath of office or represent their constituents.  Politicians in America be on alert; I will not tolerate this behavior anymore.

America deserves better from those elected to public office, from the dog catcher to the school board and from the city council to the president’s office.  Every office-seeker is accountable to those who elected them.  Not to the special interests, banks, businesses, and other entities are pushing agendas and money into their pockets through legal but ethically questionable and illicit schemes.  Across the globe, in every democratically elected government, too many politicians are abdicating their jobs, refusing to do their jobs, endlessly asking questions to avoid doing their jobs, and exercising every excuse possible to waste time and collect a paycheck from the taxpayers.  Hence, be on alert; the electorate is awake, taking notes and passing names around.

To the Speakers, Majority and Minority Leaders, your role is two-fold, represent who elected you to office, and lead your political caucuses in the respective houses of government.  Speaker Pelosi (D), we have regularly informed you that you are not doing your job.  While the following applies to the US Senate specifically, it speaks to all majority and minority leaders and is worth knowing:

“Elected at the beginning of each Congress by members of their respective party conferences to represent them on the House or Senate floor, the majority and minority leaders serve as spokesmen for their parties’ positions on the issues.  Working with the committee chairs and ranking members, the majority leader schedules business on the floor by calling bills from the calendar and keeps members of his party advised about the daily legislative program. In consultation with the minority leader, the majority leader fashions unanimous consent agreements by which limitations of time for debate are agreed to and divides that time between the parties. When time limits cannot be agreed on, the majority leader might file for cloture to shut off the debate.  The two leaders coordinate party strategy and try to keep their parties united” [emphasis mine].

We need to be precise; a majority and minority leader are not US Constitutional offices but were created to aid the organization of government bodies.  These positions were first designed and accepted by democrats to benefit President Woodrow Wilson’s legislative pogrom.  One of those American Presidents who was quietly destroying America, one legislated article at a time!  Worse, even with a complicit Congress, the two-term president wrote 1803 executive orders and proclamations!  President Woodrow Wilson, the highest writing, end-running around the US Constitution President until eclipsed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and WWII; thus, leaving President Wilson #2 on the list of presidents ruling by executive fiat instead of legislated law.

Feel free to disagree, but the following are considered accomplishments of President Woodrow Wilson (D).  I find direct lines of congruence from the problems of today and President Wilson’s complicit Congress, and only if you intend to destroy America would I call these “accomplishments.”

      • Including an “ambitious agenda of progressive reform that included the establishment of the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission.”
      • He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Treaty of Versailles, which directly led to WWII. Winning a Nobel Prize for creating global problems reminds me of another Nobel Peace prize winner-President Obama (D)!
      • President Wilson is responsible for starting the “League of Nations,” the foundation of the current United Nations. We all know how well that has worked out for America!
      • As part of President Wilson’s progressive reforms, “Congress passed the Underwood-Simmons Act, which reduced the tariff on imports and imposed a new federal income tax.”
      • With the help of friendly Congresses, President Wilson saw child labor laws, an eight-hour day for railroad workers, and government loans to farmers all passed as legislative accomplishments, which set up the animosity between railroad and government workers against every other employee in America.
      • President Wilson used his roots in the confederacy to resegregate the US Federal Government, overturning many hard-won concessions. Republicans had fought to secure and destabilizing America while creating the problems of the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

As a dedicated independent voter, I call out any and every politician who is not doing their job, or advancing a government pogrom that steals liberty, destroys freedom, or persuades people to give up their rights for “government protection.”  The United Nations is killing the world and needs to be stopped by any legal means necessary!

The tax system in America is the reason why employees cost too much to compete with other countries.  The tax system provided government bloat to allow the government to see us, the citizens, as property, pick winners and losers and abuse the US Constitution.  With the amount of trade America does with the world, why do we pay so much in taxes at the local, county, state, and federal levels?  The income tax system is regressive, which means it hurts innovation, job creation, job growth, and the entrepreneurial spirit that has made America since the colonial era.

Want an interesting fact to chew on; America did not need an income tax when it was installed under President Wilson and a complicit congress.  The Military-Government Complex created during WWI was a tragedy that has never been corrected, and a farce force-fed to the American people, and who has paid the price, every taxpayer since President Wilson!  Why does Congress give itself tax breaks; because they know that if they paid the same as everyone else, they would pay too much in taxes.

The Great Depression was a farrago of government ineptitude from beginning to end!  The government used the suffering of millions of people to create a government jobs program, the military-industrial complex, and government debt as a means of stealing freedom, robbing liberty, and breaking the American soul!  If you are as tired as I am of the politicians, join me in calling them out.  Call out the perks they voted for themselves, the retirement benefits that make a CEO’s “Golden Parachute” look like a paper kite.  Call out the politicians who refuse to respond to their constituents.  Call out the spending and tax politicians at every level of government.  Demand your liberty and freedom back!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Information Security Report – VA Administration is STILL Failing!

VA 3Since the first time the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) lost my identity, e.g., the unencrypted hard drive incident, I have monitored the VA’s data security practices.  Let’s say I have a vested interest in data security, having lost thousands of dollars to identity thieves and having been bankrupted twice!  Thus, imagine my surprise when today, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) released the annual audit results of the VA’s information security practices as required by the “Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA)” and saw the VA remains out of compliance!  Not just a little out of compliance, but so far out of compliance that they have aged issues that are almost old enough to drink.

ApathyThe annual audit is conducted by a third-party, “CliftonLarsonAllen LLP,” who audited 48 major applications and general support systems hosted at 24 VA sites that support the VBA, VHA, and National Cemetery administrations.  The VA-OIG reports the following:

The firm concluded that VA continues to face significant challenges meeting FISMA requirements and made 26 recommendations for improving VA’s information security program. Specifically, VA should address security-related issues that contributed to the information technology material weakness reported in the FY 2020 audit of VA’s consolidated financial statements, improve deployment of security patches, system upgrades, and system configurations that will mitigate significant security vulnerabilities and enforce a consistent process across all field offices. The firm also recommended VA improve performance monitoring to ensure controls are operating as intended at all facilities and communicate identified security deficiencies so the appropriate personnel can mitigate significant risks” [emphasis mine].

Is the connection between application and administration clear?  The security deficiencies cannot even get assigned to the right people because organizational communication is ineffective, unclear, and atrociously designed to create designed incompetence or a ready-made excuse for failure!  Material weaknesses have been carried forward from one fiscal year (FY) to another since the first breach of data security, e.g., the unencrypted hard drive episode.  The administration has a second built-in designed incompetence issue, material deficiencies, even though since 1995, the VA has been “upgrading its IT infrastructure to meet the needs of today’s veterans!”  The VA has bragged about how technically up to date they are, but the audit continues to find material weaknesses leading to data insecurity!

Police and Government Lines of CongruenceWhile the VA deserves congratulations on closing two antique audit items, they were expected to close ALL aged items during the 2020 FY.  Yet, the administrators were still able to skate responsibility, skirt accountability, and act like Sonja Henie at Oslo.  Tell me, if your boss expected you to complete a bunch of items, gave you a full year to complete these items, would you be fired for only completing two items?  I know I would!  As a project manager, if I didn’t have a plan in writing, showing completion dates, inter-relationships, and explicit action items set up within 30-days of being assigned the tasks, I would have been fired!  Yet, somehow these VA Administrators, hired to perform these functions by the Government, cannot even communicate, let alone accomplish tasks assigned!  Who were the project managers, contract officers, and program managers, and their respective administration officials, line them up and fire them!

Detective 4The VA-OIG reports, “Despite VA’s commitment that the recommendations would be closed, some of them have been repeated for multiple years [emphasis mine].”  Is the connection between the administration officials, their assigned workers, and the failures and designed incompetence clearly observed?  I ask because the VA-OIG closed this report with the most useless conclusion I have seen in years of reading these reports!  “The VA-OIG remains concerned that continuing delays in effectively addressing the recommendations could contribute to reporting a material weakness in VA’s information technology security controls during the FY 2021 audit of the department’s consolidated financial statements [emphasis mine].”

Of course, the continued foot-dragging, skating, and designed incompetence will lead to problems in information security, cost veterans their identities and thousands of dollars individually, and continue to make the veterans victims of identity theft!  How could you think this would not happen?  “Hello!!!  McFly, is anyone home?”

Angry Grizzly BearThat the VA administrators continue to hinder improvement at the VA should be grounds for immediate dismissal!  Yet, these administrators are allowed to retire with full benefits, cushy benefits packages, and the veteran is left with nothing!  Where is Congress in enacting legislation that enables the Government to reduce, remove, or refuse a retirement package for administration employees who cannot or will not act in a manner that reflects competence and ability in following congressional demands and meeting operational standards?  Where is Congress working with the VA Secretary on productivity problems caused by administrators who actively hinder improvements at the VA?  Why is designed incompetence even allowed as an excuse for failure?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Highlights (?) of the first 100-Days

Theres moreOn this momentous day, marking 100-days of the fraudulent president, I thought it fitting to mark the occasion by reminding everyone of freedom grabbing runaway government promoted by President Biden.  As CNN so clearly stated, “To date, 10 of President Biden’s actions on immigration have been reversals of President Trump’s policies.”  Begging the question, do you feel safer in your home now, or this time four years ago?  I know my answer, and I am looking forward to your thoughts.

To date, President Biden has made 50-end runs around the US Constitutional process through executive orders.  For the record, you could take President Trump (38) or Obama (34), add them with President Bush II (13), and still not max out President Biden’s lead.  I have written about executive orders and why I detest this singular action made in a free Republic (if we can keep it) by any leading elected official, Mayor, Governor, or President.  The US Constitution does not need more beatings coming from leading executives, but less.  Much, much, less executive actions, executive orders, and singular people acting “for the good of all” without Congressional representation.  Why use CNN; because as the biggest cheerleaders for the fraudulent president, they have the clearest cheering squad.

Detective 2Examining closer the 50-executive orders issued by President Biden, we find the most egregious of these orders, raising the minimum wage of Federal Contract Workers from $10.95 to $15.00 by 2022 and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2024.  I am thoroughly unfamiliar with any federally contracted jobs that fall under the tipped minimum wage.  Thus, I can only presume the president is now arbitrarily setting the minimum wage for the country without congressional approval—leaving serious questions behind about the legality of this executive order.  Where is Congress in exerting its power and rights to set minimum wage?

A minimum wage is a serious issue; any time the wage goes up, jobs are lost.  A competent first-year economics major can trace that cause and effect line easily!  There are direct causal relationships between high school kids needing employment and not finding it due to the minimum wage laws.  This group of uneducated workers extends to many low-income families, minorities, and many others trying to find work as laborers and cannot find jobs.  Yet, as a political stunt, the president signs an executive order, betrays the US Constitution, upsets the separate but equal branches of government balance, and somehow this is a “nothing burger.”  I beg to differ, vociferously!

Detective 4Another interesting aspect of the president’s first 100-days is immigration.  The current president’s Trump Derangement Syndrome has him reversing 10 of President Trumps Executive Orders and writing two additional immigration-related orders.  The plasticization of modular language reveals the tyranny of ruling by executive order!  The terms “fair,” “equitable,” “just,” “proper,” etc., all point to the president’s desire to see America devalued by illegal immigrants.  Look at the rhetoric used by the president to “explain” why he has reversed, revoked, and wrecked the legal immigration process, and you will find that through Congressional inaction.  With Congresses’ refusal to exert its rights, the president can do anything he wants on immigration, and Congress’s leadership just cheers!

To the US House and US Senate, I must ask, where are you?  Did you take a taxpayer-paid vacation and stopped caring that you are a co-equal branch of the government?  Do you think the judicial branch will stop the president’s runaway government by executive fiat?  Do you believe that the American people stopped caring that the president is giving away America, one illegal alien at a time, and we would not notice?  Why are you not scrutinizing the executive branch and exerting your rights, standing up for your voice, and making sure you are playing a role in the governance of America?

PatriotismI have been insulted, denigrated, derided, and many other things for my stand that every president should have a contentious Congress!  I firmly believe that when a president has a contentious Congress, the will of America’s people is better respected, observed, and through the process of working together, real compromise occurs.  But, what do we see in the US House of Representatives; we see a Speaker who is also the majority leader and the minority leader abdicating their duties to their caucuses and the US House of Representatives.  We see members of the US House race-baiting, employing every card in the deck of identity politics deck and refusing even to acknowledge the other party.  But, the US Senate, if anything is worse, and the US Senate’s problems can be traced directly to the executive actions of Speaker Harry Reid (D) during President Obama’s tenure.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceAmerica, we learned a lot about the “families” presenting themselves at the US Southern Border for entry into America.  We learned about child prostitution, children being “attached” to two strange adults and calling it a “family.”  We learned about a lot of schemes to feed the growing human trafficking problem in the United States.  Yet, the media continues to call the separation of “families” unfair, and the president has proved he learned nothing but smoke and mirrors.  At the same time, these children are raped, abused, disappeared, and destroyed, all through executive order instead of legislated demand!  Legitimate families should be kept together, but until documentation can be obtained, separating the families for the safety of the children should be paramount!  Sorting through the MS-13 plants is not uncaring; it protects America’s main streets from terrorists!  But, these immigration policies, designed by President Trump, are hated by the media; so, these policies have to go.  Thus, I ask again, do you feel safer in your home or not?

The Duty of AmericansI was never a President Trump (R) supporter; but, I did, and do, support anyone willing to try new ideas to make America safer.  I am not a supporter of holding children indefinitely in nice hotels when veterans are homeless and fully support an America FIRST agenda.  But, I also firmly believe that the churches and non-profit groups of America can organize to help in a humane way better than runaway government supported by executive fiat!

ApathyAmerica, we need legislation on immigration, NOT executive orders that change as frequently as the president!  I have maintained this stance, publicly, since President Reagan signed the first orders providing paths to citizenship for illegals.  The illegal immigration policies in America can be directly traced to President Roosevelt and WWII executive orders allowing foreign workers access to America’s jobs in agriculture.

Feel free to look this historical tidbit up, and ask yourself, are you safer in your homes and places of business with executive orders or legislation?  Are you feeling more secure in your finances with runaway executive actions or through the “Rule of Law?”  Do you prosper more under one “Rule of Law” or under identity politics where every single identity can request special treatment, special laws, and special rights?

Image - Eagle & FlagIf the fraudulent president has proved anything in his first 100-days, he has proved America is in trouble, DEEP Trouble, due to the executive orders, runs around the constitutional process, and the abdication of Congressional rule (legislative branch) at all levels of government.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this president has proved that bigger government is a millstone dragging this Republic down.  Finally, this president has proven you cannot “trust” the government and must watch it like a toddler running with a knife!  So, CNN, and all the other corporate media outlets, you cheer the fraudulent president; but don’t you dare try to claim this is a good thing for America!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Calling Out Politicians – The Rep. Greg Stanton (D) AZ09 Edition

Foghorn Leghorn - MedicationWhile Rep. Greg Stanton (D)’s staff did respond, and this is a good thing, neither senator from Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) or Sen. Mark Kelly (D) cared enough about my concerns to respond.  Frankly, this speaks volumes about how little the senators representing Arizona care about their constituents or veterans.  Hence when re-election arrives, remember well the treatment and vote for anyone else!

Now, getting back to Rep. Greg Stanton (D).  I contacted his office initially in December 2020; by early January 2021, I received a response from the director of constituent services and was told to allow the VA 45-days to respond to my complaint.  Remember, this is my seventh attempt at contacting any of the federal elected representatives to no avail.  I was 6-months into being discriminated against by the Carl T. Hayden VAMC for my medically approved breathing problems that preclude wearing a mask.  I have sent letters to the hospital director, the VISN Director, and Secretary Wilkie to no avail.  I have sent emails to the patient advocate and gotten misleading information, at best.  My Primary Care Provider (PCP), at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC, refuses to diagnose over the phone or through distant means and has invited me to find another PCP.  I have been arrested, injured, and cited three times by VA Police, who have no say in writing policy.  The policy they are enforcing is causing me both injuries at their hands and refusal of emergency care illegal under EMTALA.  Not to mention the continuous HIPAA violations as they joke about my medications, mental diagnoses, and physical diagnoses.

PatriotismI explain this by phone at least three times to the director of constituent services for Rep. Greg Stanton (D), who called me multiple times while responding to my numerous requests for assistance since the election occurred in Nov 2020.  Not having heard anything from Jan 2021 to 25 April 2021, I sent the following message via email to the director of constituent services:

“Good Morning XXXX,

Has it been sufficient time for the VA to address my concerns and return a response to your office? The governor of AZ has made mask mandates unenforceable since 25 March, and the VA continues to push masks as mandatory and deny me access.  This includes refusing to schedule blood work through the community while insisting that I needed blood work to be conducted before I could get a prescription refilled.  I went more than 2-weeks without diabetes medication because my primary care provider refused to alert me in early February that a refill of Metformin would need blood work.  I did not discover the need for blood work was required to refill until after I had been without Metformin for a week!

Mask discrimination at the VA is real and dangerous to veterans’ health and safety, and I, for one, am sick and tired of the BS the VA keeps serving as excuses to deny service.  I am not a behavioral problem, as the Carl T. Hayden VAMC continues to claim.  I do stand up for my rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic!  I have paid my fines.  If the US Marshals at the Federal Courthouse can have situational empowerment to not press the mask issue for those of us with qualifying medical conditions, the same should occur inside the VA with the VA Police.

The mask mandate is a policy issue threatening my health, safety, and well-being, as well as thousands of other veterans with breathing problems.  Just what, if anything, has been done since January on this issue?

Sincerely,
Dave Salisbury”

I realize that the AZ State Governor does not have anything to do with the Federal Policies; I mentioned the governor’s action solely as an indicator that change in the state of AZ has come (finally), where mask mandates are concerned!  The VA claims their mask policy is “constantly changing,” but the only changes I have witnessed are moving from draconian to oppressive, then to ruthless and punitive!  The mask policy is wrong, has never been printed as a work standard, and has never been published for veterans to abide by.  The best a person has is a sign claiming masks are mandatory and a bunch of emotionally charged employees acting like snowflake Nazi Storm Troopers on a 6-day pass from hell!

The Duty of AmericansToday, 28 April 2021, I reached out to the director of constituent services as I had not received any additional information.  Sending the following email:

“I blog, I have a pretty good following, here is my latest: https://dnc-consulting.com/2021/04/28/no-more-bs-speaking-of-administration-bureaucrats-in-government/

Please note, I have not mentioned Rep. Stanton (D) by name, yet, as a politician, I am begging to perform his job of scrutinizing the government, but the temptation is real!  I have to be able to access the VA Healthcare system ASAP safely!  Where is this issue in being resolved?  Feel free to explore the other VA Articles I write on my blog.  You will find every single one of the letters to the VA, you will find other veterans having similar problems, and you will find I do not hesitate to name names and point fingers.

I am still waiting patiently, but patience does wear thin when information is lacking!

Sincerely,
Dave Salisbury”

Anton EgoWithin 3 hours of this email, I received the following:

“Dr. Salisbury,

Thanks so much for sharing! Apologies for the delayed response. I am following up with the Phoenix VA Medical Center and determine the status of the inquiry.”

Why am I writing this article?

Angry Grizzly BearFrankly, I am through!  I am done with the foot-dragging administration at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC, and Alyshia Smith, the director who has dodged, balked, and refused to engage.  I am through with the VISN 22 Director Michael Fisher being able to remain silent and unresponsive in this farrago.  I am sick to death of being ignored by the VA Secretary, Secretary’s Wilkie and McDonough and their respective staff, while many other veterans across this country and I are physically harmed by a mask policy that doesn’t have enough sense to include “except for medically acceptable conditions,” and was never a policy, just some bloody marketing signs.  I am beyond insane about having to go to court for being arrested at the VA three times, kicked off property two additional times, and harassed more than 15 times, for being short of breath, denied emergency care, and then had jokes made by the VA Police about my HIPAA controlled data!

The US Marshals have situational authority to assess and bend the mask policy; why does the VA Police not have this ability?  Simple, easy, direct policy question that everyone in the VA refuses to address as having received, let alone answer.  Why are the elected officials SILENT about this problem that is harming the safety and well-being of their constituents?  Why can a congressional inquiry not DEMAND a prompt and timely response from bureaucrats hiding from the public in their offices?

DutyRep. Greg Stanton (D), why are you not more involved personally in DEMANDING the VA to correct their errors?  Do you not realize how many veterans are in your district?  Do you think you can abuse us and through us our families and hope to be re-elected?  You, sir, are in desperate need of correcting your attitude and behavior before your re-election chances are forever harmed.  I promise this article will survive to your utter shame if a prompt and immediate response is not taken!

Dont Tread On MeI have reached the point where I no longer possess anything “cherubic” in my demeanor on this issue!  You cost me time, money, and physical health.  You cost other veterans in the AZ09 Congressional  District the same.  I will find more veterans suffering as I have, as the US Marshals reported that they had seen a massive uptick in veterans being arrested and cited for mask policy violations at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC.  The VAMC, coincidentally located in your Congressional District, is harming veterans. You cannot appear to care, let alone act in a manner befitting your office as a Congressional Representative!  Immediately come out in support and show yourself a true representative worthy of the title of your office, or leave office immediately, there is no third option!

Your need to change; its mandatory!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Speaking of Administration (Bureaucrats) in Government

I want to send congratulations to the US District Attorney’s Office – District of New Jersey; they have uncovered a fraud scheme worth $93 Million in kickback frauds, bribery, and theft of taxpayer monies; this is good news for the United States.  From me, you have my deepest thanks!

Some significant details are missing from this report, and I would expect these details to have been made public:

      1. How many of those charged were employees of Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA?
      2. How long was this scheme in place before discovery?
      3. How was this scheme discovered?
      4. Who was offered immunity from prosecution to turn traitor and open the doors to the scheme? Why?

One partial question was answered, “From March 2018 to October 2019, several conspirators withdrew money from the scheme approximately $1.6 Million.”  I guess this is as good a time as any to remind everyone that under the law, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Five people are charged in this case, where two others have admitted guilt, bringing the total of people involved to seven.

Some things might be slightly different from my time in government procurement, US Army, and US Navy.  I know that when you use the same provider more than two or three times in a single quarter of a fiscal year, someone should be asking a bunch of why questions and checking the contract.  Yet, to the best of my understanding of the case details as provided, this was not occurring.  Thus, more questions need to be raised:

      1. Who are the contracting officers in this case for the government agencies most affected by the fraud?
      2. Who are the supervisors of the contracting officers who allowed these abnormalities to exist without question?
      3. Who is reviewing the contracts to improve protection against fraud in the future?

Remember, no employment details were provided for those charged to see who was/is a government employee and who was/is not.  But, with Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA all involved, there should be a lot more details coming forth, and as of today (28 April 2021), there is nothing more available.  Bringing more questions to the front:

      1. Where is the media covering another government fraud case? Surely this should be of interest to every media outlet since the scheme covered at least some of President Trump’s tenure.  You would presume the media’s Trump Derangement Syndrome would have kicked-in to plaster this news nationwide.
      2. Where are the investigative reporters tasked with finding the details, rooting out the causes, and spurring politicians to action to “fix the government?”
      3. Where are the politicians, those who had to be notified about this case, in praising the DA’s office, clambering for justice for the taxpayer, and promising that these people involved will face stern justice? Or are these politicians silent because it doesn’t allow them to play a race/sex/gender card?

Healthcare fraud remains the number one issue for Medicare and the VA to tackle, as well as TRICARE, Tri-West, CHAMPVA, and every other government healthcare agency.  The problem lies in how the administrators do their jobs, affect policy, and scrutinize their employees.  Yet, every government healthcare fraud case leaves out the details of what the agencies will change to avoid future problems and prevent similar schemes.

      1. When will the heads of these government healthcare agencies be hauled in front of Congress to testify about healthcare fraud, and why they continue to refuse to follow the law laid down by Congress?
      2. When will Congress develop a spine and hold these bureaucrat administrators accountable for the failure of their agencies to protect the taxpayer from fraud, bribery, theft, and other healthcare scams that only make problems worse and cost billions in dollars annually?
      3. Where are the politicians who are sick to death of seeing fraud occur and not seeing action by those placed to head these organizations?

As an employee, two other employees and I signed a letter claiming that the processes being followed by the Emergency Department of the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM., were violating the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse of the government.  We proposed changes that would improve patient care, increase employee productivity, and increase the security of patient HIPAA information.  The HAS Administrator refused even to consider the letter, even with favorable approval from the supervisor.  I sent the letter to the hotline, the specific place every poster in government buildings tells people to contact when you witness fraud, waste, and abuse in government.  My answer was crickets!  Then, I was terminated from employment; that is how the VA administrators treat employees who try to raise the bar in performance and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse.  See, if you are not an employee, you cannot be a whistle-blower.  Nice loophole for administrators to employ to threaten, cajole, Quid Pro Quo, and protect themselves from accountability!

      1. When will the administrators be held accountable for the fraud, waste, and abuse experienced in their agencies?
      2. When will the taxpayer be vindicated and receive just consideration of rights and accountability for taxpayer dollars wasted, stolen, and debt increased without cause?

Please do not allow the tone of this article to produce a fraudulent thought; I have no problems with the government helping its citizens.  But I demand better accountability and responsibility from those few selected to lead the agencies involved.  I demand higher accountability from the politicians, who chose to run for office, and whose job it is to scrutinize the government!  I demand a complete and accurate accounting for my tax dollar, and this should not be a complex action for any government to make.  When fraud is your number one issue and has been since your agency was launched, I would expect some progress to have been made in processes, procedures, and standards by now, and I do not see any of this occurring!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Oh Say, “What is Truth?

moral-valuesJohn Jaques (1827-1900) wrote a poem that several Christian religions have turned into a hymn by this name, “Oh Say, What is Truth.”  The sentiments of the poem/hymn/song strike me as a worthy pursuit and a commitment for life.  Here are the words of the poem.

Oh, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire;
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies.
‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp
When with winds of stern justice, he copes,
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast,
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.

Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time, it steps o’er.
Though the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

What is truth?

Dont Tread On MeDefining truth may appear utterly elementary, but I beg your forbearance, dear reader, with all the plastic words thrown “hither and yon” across the earth, knowing the definitions and being able to discern truth are two different processes.  Truth is defined as a quality or state of being true and something true in accordance with fact or reality.  Thus, true is defined as accurate, exact, without variation, loyal or faithful, and honest.

Would it surprise anyone that one of the words most needed in language has a global decline in usage since 1850?  I find this disconcerting and will elaborate further later.  I want to spark a thought at this moment.  With all the need for truth in the world, why is the word in decline?

Discerning Truth

Detective 4An analogy might help to improve understanding.  Using statistics, injecting a certain bias, and a low confidence level (signifying that the statistics are verifiable), I can claim that the sky is purple!  But, you will run to your window and find different colors, blue being predominant.  However, I can still justify the sky is purple and not blue.  Proving two points clearly: statistics do not prove anything, and truth depends on more than just statistical inquiry.  Mark Twain is oft-quoted as claiming a significant truth about statistics, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”  Yet, data, especially statistical data, has replaced words and ideas in decision-making and been used to hide truth purposefully, even though statistics can be used to lie with confidence, as demonstrated by the analogy above.

During my undergraduate statistics course, the instructor was a math lover and held a Ph.D. in math.  Great instructor, amazing class.  We took a single data set of numeric, quantitative data during the eight-week course, proved our hypothesis right, wrong, and twisted the data until even we had trouble understanding our own data.  The lesson, do not solely trust numeric data.  I mention all of this as part of the discerning process in understanding truth, recognizing truth, and embracing truth, all of which is part of the discernment process to test a fact to reach a truth.

Detective 2Please note: one of the modern problems where truth has been plasticized is making truth a reality.  For example, my statistical data is my reality; thus, I exist in a state of truth.  Which is all well and good, except as we just proved, believing in your statistics is a great way to delude yourself into believing a lie.  Worse, elements of truth make lies more convincing and improve the successful liar to a deceiver.  Hence, the process of discerning truth must contain other elements to work correctly.

The following are elements of truth:

      1. Truth does not change over time. For example, an anchor will sink to the length of the chain or bottom of the water body, which does not change over time or between fresh and saltwater, and anchors have been a facet of ships and shipping since recorded history began noting humans setting sail.  Hence, we may safely conclude anchors are a needed tool onboard a vessel and vital to shipping.
      2. If it is true for one person, it will be true for all people. Consistency is a paramount virtue of truth.  For example, electricity is carried worldwide in copper cables, shielded, and designed to carry electricity safely.  Copper doesn’t only work for moving electricity in Russia, and the Greeks have to rely upon titanium, while the Arab nations use Gold, and America uses silver.  Even though these metals are good conductors of electricity, copper shielded lines remain the consistent standard around the world.
      3. Truth advances knowledge. For example, a dropping apple helped spur lessons in gravity.  Lessons in gravity have led to space flight, airplanes, and a lot of other physics-based discoveries.

A lie cannot stand the test of time, the test of application between cultures and people, nor can it advance knowledge.  Worse, a lie, even when it contains particulars of truth, cannot long survive scrutiny.  One of the most important lessons I have ever learned in improving decision-making has been to scrutinize information.  When lies are embedded in truth, the scrutiny makes the lie stand out like a bloodstain on a white veil.  For example, when President Obama was promising that under ObamaCare, you could keep your doctor, the adults in the room had doubts, and when the law was passed, we had our suspicions proved correct.

Image - Eagle & FlagThe same pattern is available to every person who chooses to dedicate themselves to finding the truth and living the truth.  If someone is offering you the “True Truth,” be suspicious, use the elements in discerning truth, and report your findings.  I have found that the more we share truth, the less lies can deter, confuse, and hinder progress and growth.  The first step in a truth-filled, truth-centric life is knowing that statistics cannot tell the truth, ever!  If we rely solely upon statistics, we live a lie that will eventually trip us up and, like the leaders of ENRON or Bernie Madoff, finds us in jail!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Competition, Collaboration, Cooperation, and Compromise: Revisiting the 4-C’s

Ziggy - The GovernmentIn 2014, I wrote about the powerful tools of competition, collaboration, cooperation, and compromise.  I have been considering a revisit of this topic for several days, as the need for compromise, collaboration, competition, and cooperation seem to continue to fade and be plasticized.  I also feel a dire need exists for every citizen to know what is happening and how to recognize when you were fed rotten mushrooms when you expected steak.

Andragogy - The PuzzleThe inherent discussion is condensed from Thomas (1992), who advocated this combined approach to organizational design as a masterstroke to getting people working together. The same basic philosophy can be seen in the writings of Goldratt and Cox (2004), Lencioni (2002), Lundin, Paul, and Christensen (2000), Boynton and Fischer (2005), and Boylan (1995), among many others. Notably, these principles have been understood throughout time; Jucius (1963), in speaking of the broader issues in personnel management, understood the combined power of collaboration, cooperation, compromise, and competition and wrote extensively about using these effectively in the organization. Cruickshank and Davis (1958) understood these principles as a combined and more effective tool than different general direction strategies.  All of these authors have strove to ensure business leaders understood the practical application and inherent need for the organization to adhere to these principles as a combined effort of all organizational members. McNichols (1963) strove to keep these items combined in executives’ minds, thus empowering them to discover solutions employing all the strengths in the consolidated collective use of competition, collaboration, compromise, and competition. The empowerment felt in combining these tools elevates the individual focus into a collected culture and body, and the solutions for an organization are improved dynamically.

Collaboration

Collaboration is strengthened by cooperation, compromise, and competition.  Collaboration is all about action, working together with another person or entity to produce or create a product or service.  However, like all words on this list, the term has a dark side and a legal standard born from the historical collaboration with enemy forces as a traitor.  Collaboration originates with Latin from Collaborare, meaning to work together.

Senator McCain would call his political gymnastics with the then-Senator Obama as collaboration, or working peacefully together for the common good; but in honesty, the resulting product was more the traitorous use of collaboration.  Unfortunately, the same pattern is visible in many current politicians who “make deals” to “make history.”  Instead of writing laws suitable for everyone and are constitutional, while scrutinizing the legislative branch for runaway government.

Competition

Competition is the act of competing, and competing is all about striving to achieve something through defeating or establishing superiority over another.  Competition must end in collaboration, cooperation, and compromise; in fact, competition will breed collaboration and cooperation to reach a compromise before those competing against; this is why competition is so powerful but not independent of the others. The fires of competition are crucial to purifying those collaborating, compromising, and cooperating into a single, honed unit that can more effectively work together.

The dark side of competition is what is witnessed in too many governments’ capitals. The hostility of establishing superiority has created monsters of hate, envy, spite, malice, and the citizenry are left betrayed and confused.  The competition between political parties has bred such tremendous angst that neither political party can see past the next election and realize the competition they are in is meaningless, at best!  I was disgusted with the political response to the Bush/Cheney election and the “Chads.”  But, since that election, the rhetoric has only climbed higher and higher. The parties try to make enemies of each other and the citizens until a war of words and silly emotional jokes are running around, displaying their childish stupidity.

Compromise

Every adult in the room should be aware by now that a good compromise leaves everyone upset.  This is a simple truth of humanity and has been apparent in every age of recorded human history.  As a verb (denoting action taken) or a noun, the common definition of compromise boils down to the same thing, settling a dispute by mutual concession.  Webster and Cambridge Dictionaries are pretty clear on this topic.  Every side concedes a little for the whole to gain a lot.  Compromise without cooperation or collaboration is nothing, and competition is an added value, or force multiplier, to ensuring more decisive compromise.

However, Speaker Pelosi (D) feels a distinct need to continuously offer this word as what happened in a political committee.  But, she uses compromise as a verb with the following definitions:

    • Bringing into disrepute or danger by indiscreet, foolish, or reckless behavior.
    • To cause to become vulnerable or function less effectively.
    • Weaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable.
    • To accept standards that are lower than is desirable.

Hence, let me be explicit, compromise when discussing the 4-C’s uses the term as a noun or a verb using the common definition.  Do we understand why Speaker Pelosi (D) and many other politicians from both sides of the aisle use compromise as a verb or plasticize compromise as a noun to describe the political chicanery happening outside the light of day?

For example, we could use the compromise of BREXIT as to why BREXIT went from a good thing to a punishment.  We could use ObamaCare as a perfect example of political compromise, where lower standards became acceptable, and America’s healthcare became vulnerable due to the reckless and feckless behavior of the politicians involved!  We could use the wasted time of the District of Columbia becoming the 51st state legislation as a dispute brought by foolish behavior that forces the US Constitution to be violated by lower standards than desirable.

Cooperation

Cooperation is a process; this fact can never and should never be forgotten.  A process requires investment from all sides, time, trust, and a clear goal to achieve.  Cooperation is the rendering of assistance through ready compliance, not compulsory means!  Cooperation can do nothing without the shared responsibilities of collaboration and compromise; when competition is added, the cooperation is strengthened, not weakened.  Yet, even cooperation can be abused, turning friends into enemies, family into distant associates, and countries to war.

WWI and WWII brought the dark side of cooperation into life, and the same hatreds borne from those conflicts still exist today!  Consider the US Civil War; President Lincoln wanted to forgive the Confederate States and welcome them back into the Union with open arms, no hate, no animosity, no recriminations.  When President Lincoln was shot, the South was not brought back into the Union, except as an outcast.  The citizens of the confederacy were treated horribly then and now through the punishment of the law.  There are still actively used laws to punish the Confederate States, keeping the area in depression; this is the dark side of cooperation.

Angry Grizzly BearThe first post on this topic explicitly dealt with business and how businesses can use the combined power of the 4-C’s to more powerfully work together, advance towards a common goal, and achieve greatness.  The same lessons taught in business should be applied to government offices and the elected officials holding public office.  Yet, what do we find daily reported as news; childish behavior, tantrums, and vile deprecations towards those in the minority party.  Even though history proclaims that today’s majority party is tomorrow’s minority party; hence, we should not be making enemies of each other.  We should not be using the dark side of the 4-C’s as weapons of state to destroy but employing the light side to build, create, and grow.

References

Boylan, B. (1995). Get Everyone in Your Boat Rowing in the Same Direction. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble.

Boynton, A., & Fisher, B. (2005). Virtuoso teams: Lessons from teams that changed their worlds. FT Press

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap…and others don’t. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

Collins, J. (2006). Good to great and the social sectors: A monograph to accompany Good to great. London: Random House Business.

Collins, J., & Hansen, M. (2011). Great by choice: Uncertainty, chaos, and luck: Why some thrive despite them all. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Collins, J., & Porras, J. (1994). Built to last: Successful habits of visionary companies. New York: Collins Business Essentials – A Collins Business Book: An Imprint of Harper Collins.

Cruickshank, H., & Davis, K. (1958). Cases in management (2nd ed.). Homewood, Ill.: R.D. Irwin.

Goldratt, E. M., & Cox, J. (2004). The goal: A process of ongoing improvement. (Third Revised ed.). Great Barrington, Massachusetts: North River Press.

Jucius, M. (1963). Personnel management (5th ed.). Homewood, Ill.: R.D. Irwin.

Lencioni, P. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team: A leadership fable. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons.

Lundin, S. C., Paul, H., & Christensen, J. (1996). Fish! A remarkable way to boost morale and improve results. New York, New York: Hyperion.

McNichols, T. (1963). Policymaking and executive action; cases on business policy (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Mintzberg, H. (1980). Structure in 5’s: A synthesis of the research on organization design. Management Science (Pre-1986), 26(3), 322. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/205849936?accountid=458

Mitchell, J. (2003). Hug your customers: The proven way to personalize sales and achieve astounding results. New York, NY: Hyperion.

Punia, B. K. (2004). Employee empowerment and retention strategies in diverse corporate culture: A prognostic study. Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective, 8(81), 81-91. doi: 10.1177/097226290400800107

Robinson, G. (1999). Leadership vs. management. The British Journal of Administrative Management, 20-21. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224620071?accountid=458

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: VA Administrators – Heaping More Shame

Angry Wet ChickenI believe in public shaming; I am an equal opportunity shamer.  Where the VA is concerned, well, I tend to be more motivated to pass out shame than any other government entity.  Not that I won’t pass along shame, or congratulations, when warranted, the administration of the VA deserves a few more scoops from the shame bucket today!

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) passed along two issues today, and I have to weigh in on serving more shame, cold, hard, and well deserved.  Long have I maintained that the administration and administrators of the VA are the problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Today’s VA-OIG reports provide more justification for demanding cleaning of the house for administration officials at all levels in the VA.

      • Rita Copeland, 59, of Portsmouth, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to defraud veterans. Copeland operated an entity known as Veteran Services of the Commonwealth and purported to provide various services to veterans from 2016 through 2020. She caused a number of victims to apply for VA home improvement grants and then used a portion of the grant payments to her own benefit instead of performing the promised work.”
      • Sophia J. Quill, 60, was charged with defrauding the VA and the Michigan Department of Treasury out of $470,000. Quill and her co-conspirator Melissa Flores, who was arraigned last year, allegedly created aliases and obtained or created fraudulent documents to make it appear that they were heirs to various individuals who died.”

VA 3If this is VA Excellence in action, we all need to be concerned!  Do you notice anything missing from these reports?  Let me help; where are the approving officials expected to do due diligence in being held culpable for allowing the fraud to thrive?  I fully admit I have limited experience being a document reviewer and approving authority.  I cannot help but ask about these approving officials who have been trained and gathered experience for their employment role.

ApathyI submit documents to the VA all the time, and every time I have to submit anything, the intake “officer” has to certify the document’s validity.  Heck, the VA had my NGB Form 22 and both DD 214’s, and I still had to submit valid copies to ensure I was not defrauding the government.  Forget innocent until proven guilty; submit forms to the VA, and you are guilty until they begrudgingly claim you are innocent.  Submit documents to Social Security for a claim, same thing, same process, same everything.  Yet, somehow three different people were able to defraud the government, stealing money, and are now hosts of the government.

Detective 4Now, returning to the VA-OIG reports, who authorized accepting the fraudulent documents?  Where were the inspectors?  How many veterans had to complain they were being cheated before anyone took notice of Copeland’s crimes?  How many congressional members were contacted for help that never arrived?  How many letters to administrators were written that were never answered?  How long did veterans suffer before the VA took action, especially in Copeland’s case?  How many evidence intake specialists lost their jobs in either case?  Were any held accountable for failing to do their jobs?

Congress, you have two straightforward jobs, write laws that are constitutional and scrutinize the legislative branch to protect the citizen from runaway government.  After the last two weeks, I have to ask, where are you in performing either role?  Passing District of Columbia Statehood for the “umpteenth time” is unconstitutional!  Overlooking the scrutinizing of the legislative branch is unconstitutional and criminal negligence of your sworn duties.

The administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs is rotten to the core!  Yet, even when directly responsible for fraud, negligence, and dead veterans, the administrators are given a “Get out of Jail Free Card.”  Wasn’t Speaker Pelosi pretty upset with CEOs and “Golden Parachutes?”  Yet, the VA Administration has precisely this and more, and the veterans and taxpayers cannot even get your attention for a second of work!  Where is the corporate media taking the politicians and the VA administration to task for criminal negligence and failure to protect the citizen?  It seems to me we can add a culpable third party to the needs a dish of shame, the media, who are also criminally negligent in performing their duties.The Duty of Americans

Where are the lawyers?  Copeland’s case undoubtedly deserves a Class-Action Lawsuit to help those defrauded get the money they need.  Where are the lawyers, hungry to see change and willing to risk becoming known for taking on the VA and winning?  The actions of the VA Administrators need to be corrected.  If Congress refuses to scrutinize appropriately, the lawyers need to begin processes in all 50-states and US Territories and Districts to demand the VA get fixed!

Bird of PreyThe time for kid-glove treatment and soft-shoe approaches is past and dead; more positive and forceful measures are required.  Where are the lawyers?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Putting Shame in the Right Place at the VA – Administration

Angry Grizzly BearI have found great and good providers at the VA, as well as some truly awful and detestable providers.  The Doctors, Nurses, Medical Support Assistant (MSA), and the patient are supposed to form a PACT team to improve the health and welfare of the patient in the VA Health Care System (VAHCS).  The PACT Team is a VA organizational program to assist in improving care and stands for Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), as an extension of patient care services.  The PACT Team also includes the Patient Advocate and several others, as detailed in the image below.PACT_model

I mention all this because I have heard from a veteran, we are going to call him “Boats,” a chief Boatswain mate for over 20-years in the US Navy, honorably discharged, and a disabled veteran of the Vietnam Era.  Boats’ doctor changed clinics, thus shaking the PACT team to its core.  Since the doctor was reassigned to a different clinic, the nurse has been changed but not explicitly assigned, so the coverage nurse cannot be reached by phone, and secure message falls on deaf ears and plastic lips.  Hence, reaching his PACT team has become a burden, his health has suffered greatly, and the mask mandate makes his safety in the VA Clinic doubtful at best, as the mask aggravates his ability to breathe.

PACT 1Because his clinic has no doctor, other doctors have been sharing their time in the clinic.  This means that if treatment requires time and interactions over multiple visits, the patient loses any type of continuing care and is left frustrated, with continuity of care hindered.  Here’s the rub, this has been an ongoing situation for a long time, and the continuity of care has become a root cause in the failing health of this veteran.  Unfortunately, this is not a new or rare problem for the VA, and as shortages in providers continue to increase, it will only worsen.

PACT 3Boats is in the same situation as many other veterans.  While misery loves company, this type of misery costs lives, and that is an administrative problem Congress legally bound the VA to fix, and they refuse to address.  Like the mask policy that does not include a face shield option or include the verbiage for approved medical conditions, the administration of the VA continues to market lofty and grand standards and fails even to meet minimum legal requirements.  I have witnessed the administrative officers, known by their online pictures, refuse to help veterans, pawn off veterans, and even go so far as to hide from veterans to avoid providing customer service.

The hospital administrators have been schooled in the VA; many have “come up through the ranks.”  These administrators have been taught how to avoid accountability, responsibility, and work the VA Bureaucracy to keep their jobs, even when veterans are dying from the administrative problems they created.  While an employee, I heard the tales of how my Hospital Administration Services Director got her job; draw your own conclusions, all I do know is someone was promoted to an exceedingly great height above her maximum level of incompetence!

Detective 4Consider the hospital director moved, at taxpayer expense, from Seattle to Phoenix.  She had been killing veterans in Seattle and took over an award-winning hospital, which very shortly became a national joke for where veterans go to die!  Her lessons are still being taught, veterans are still dying, and the administration is still the problem!  The mask mandate that has stopped my prescription from being refilled, my abusive PACT Team led by a doctor who invited me to find a new provider, refused to contact me for two months about needed blood work to refill diabetes medication.  After two weeks without diabetes medication, magically, diabetes medication arrives. No blood work ever occurred because I cannot access the VA due to my approved medical condition that makes wearing a mask impossible.

The administration of VA Hospitals is a crime!  I had an assistant director, while an employee, who said, “If a non-VA Hospital did anything like the VA does things, they would be shut down for malpractice.”  The assistant director is now a clinic director for the VA; her resume included 20-years in non-VA hospital administration.  She joined the VA to help veterans.  Where is the VA-Office of Inspector General in rooting out these administrative landmines of ineptitude that makes hiring more difficult and retaining talent near impossible?  Where is Congress in scrutinizing the VA and helping those working to change the VA to succeed instead of actively contending with them?

LinkedIn VA ImageBoats has serious problems.  The legacy of the VA is to kill him instead of fixing their administrative problems.  But, the VA’s mission statement is still, “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.
“Our department remains fully committed to fulfilling the sacred obligation that we have to those who serve in uniform.” ~VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

VA SealWhere is the VA acting in accordance with the mission statement and fulfilling its “sacred obligation?”  The answer, with the current leadership in administration, nowhere!  The VA has been purposefully designed to kill veterans and can be fixed.  The fix must include Congress, and we all know how Speaker Pelosi (D) feels about veterans; when she called them terrorists, it was clear her scrutinizing the government where the VA is concerned will not happen.

I-CareVA Secretary Denis McDonough signed onto the “I-Care” principles as core values in care for veterans in the VAHCS.  Well, when can we, the veterans, see that these core principles have been on-boarded and are correcting behavior?

“VA Core Values describe how VA will accomplish its mission and inform every interaction with our customers. These Core Values are: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence — better known as “I CARE.” VA’s Core Values will continue to serve as the right guide for all our interactions and remind us and others that “I CARE.”

  • I care about those who have served.
  • I care about my fellow VA employees.
  • I care about choosing “the harder right instead of, the easier wrong.”
  • I care about performing my duties to the very best of my abilities.

DutyMr. Secretary…  The veterans are dying now!  We are waiting!

Like my enlistment oath, I signed onto the I-Care principles and even though I am no longer employed by the VA, I live I-Care!  Where is the VA in proving “I-Care?”

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Outlining the Problems – Candidate to Elected Official

Broken RobotRecently, an email purportedly written or approved by Warren Buffett came through my email inbox.  The email has me thinking about the perks and problems in elections, allowing politicians of all levels of government to act like “Lords and Masters” over other citizens.  Agree or disagree, your call; however, I do passionately believe that America needs better politicians, and the following are my thoughts on obtaining better politicians.

    1. Better politicians begin with better candidates. The corporate media has proven how inadequate and biased they are in reporting upon candidates, vetting candidates, and sharing candidate information.  Thus, the first step in improving better candidates is better reporting of information.  Not just websites, not just Twitter feeds, not just the speeches, the candidate needs to be vetted, but games of gotcha and 20-year-old mistakes should not kill a candidate.  However, if a pattern of behavior stretches 20-years, that should be reported and discussed as part of the morals and ethics of a candidate.
          • Being a politician should never be a popularity contest as portrayed in Hollywood.
          • Morals, ethics, and living one’s beliefs need to be witnessed long before a candidate becomes a candidate!
          • Stop the emotional game playing. Sexism is stupid, racism is wrong, and playing either card makes you, the player, appear imbecilic, and you have lost my vote forever!
    2. Vetting a candidate should not include a test; however, the candidate should be able to answer basic questions about constitutionality, the US Bill of Rights, a citizen’s role in government, and have a working knowledge of history. Practice in public speaking is helpful but not mandatory.
    3. A candidate should not be elected for life! While I am not fully supportive of mandatory term limits, I am a full supporter of impeaching and replacing any politician for failure to follow the law!  Then the ex-politician becomes a defendant in a court of law, by a jury of their peers, for crimes committed.  Why can’t a mayor, a member of the US House or Senate be recalled and fired?  Let’s make this process easier and running for office less expensive.

Let us Talk Term Limits.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceAgency and freedom, liberty, and capability are interconnected principles needed for a Republic to select its politicians.  Term limits unfairly reduce all these interconnected principles, and while I believe in the “Rule of Law,” the framers had good reason not to include term limits.  Please note, I am not advocating for a permanent ruling class, nor am I arguing for career politicians; I urge people to think beyond the current disastrous crop of politicians and how they got there.  Living in a Republic means change requires time, a lot of time, and sometimes the best politicians need more time but do not have that time due to term limits, so they rush, and in rushing, what could have been a good thing, becomes a disaster!

Indiana is an excellent example of the need for time.  Through 10-years of fiscal sanity, the government has been able to accrue $2 Billion that can now be used to aid a lot of people.  But, these funds were not available without a decade of sacrifice.  But, this does not mean the governments can go from fiscal sanity and sacrifice to spend crazy!

ApathyThus, bringing us back to the need for better candidates for elections, and a need for better vetting, lower election costs, and keeping an informed electorate firmly in control over the politician elected to lead.  Does anyone remember when President Clinton faced impeachment in the Senate for lying; he was genuinely scared of being defeated and kicked out of office.  Yet, the governor of California, when facing an impeachment, laughed.  That is where politics have fallen since, and because of President Clinton and his vile blaggard of a spouse!  Why was President Clinton successful in winning the impeachment process.  For two reasons, his wife is an expert in backroom dealing, bribery, and sycophancy, and the Republican Party fell apart without a clear successor that would have been superior to President Clinton.

    1. I agree; there IS too much bloody money in politics, especially for candidates.  As a candidate, the need for money leads to promises, deals, and Quid Pro Quo like no other business.  In fact, if businesses operated as candidates for political office, their owners would be arrested and jailed!  But the answer to the problem, like in business, does not require more laws, lawyers, and government, but less!  How many election commissions does it require for a candidate to apply for political office; too bloody many!  This means that the legal process to become a candidate is too expensive, long before the first dollars are ever raised.  The laws governing a candidate for public office have become so convoluted that it makes the election commissions the Praetorian Guard, instead of what they are, flaccid, impotent, bureaucrats with too much time, too many connections, and too much politics to survive much longer!  Do not forget the IRS plays a significant role in the candidate becoming a politician, debt, banks, and other lending institutions (e.g., the mafia, drug manufacturers including illegal and illicit, big business, etc.) all become the “silent partners” in a politician’s life.Image - Politics is Dirty

Ask yourself how did the fraudulent president win, the counters and election commissions who govern them.  Worse, the legislative and executive branches of the state, city, and county government stood by and allowed, cheered, and promoted the fraud to occur.  Leading to a question; is it possible for any post-2020 election on any level of government to be trusted?  How much money did President Trump have to fork over to election commissions to have a day in court, to freaking much, and even then, too often, all he got was an election commission, not a judge and jury.

    1. Corporate Media and Debates. My entire life, I have debated.  As a kid, I learned the rules of debate, and some of those debates ended in fights.  Some won, some lost, but I learned.  In high school, I learned public speaking, debate, and parliamentary procedures.  It did not stop me from wanting to knock a bloke’s block off his shoulders, but I learned how to win using words and ideas!  I still think some arguments should be settled with a duel, not guns, not swords, but quarterstaffs, public forum, and you fight out the problem.  How many current snowflakes in office would quickly retire if the opportunity to fight it out was still allowed?

LookI have yet to see a “debate” during an election; by the way, neither have you!  I have seen manufactured plastic candidates, witnessed corporate media play gotcha, and I observed weak-kneed spineless people talk, but never a debate!  A debate includes ideas, not emotion, logic, and reason, not hyperbole and media controllers.  A debate does not include commercials!  Nor does a debate include 26 or more people on a stage answering questions and interrupting each other for “points.”  After a debate, I do not need a talking head “explaining” anything, which is why debates in public used to mean something in politics.  A debate should never include more than three people at any one time on a debate platform, and the media are not “asking questions or arbiters of rules, nor are there stopwatches and timed speeches.  A debate begins with ideas, ends with logic, and there is no place for the media to interrupt.  Pick a topic, detail your ideas, and allow the public to decide.

Chinese CrisisIn conclusion, I have some questions for consideration.  I hope to take these questions and form future articles, but before those arrive, I want to spur conversation, and I hope to get mental juices flowing while considering these five fundamental points.

      • Why isn’t a politician’s pay commiserate with and a ratio of the debt the government owes? For example, get a tax and spend politician in office; they have no incentive not to spend.  But, if their pay is reduced by XX Amount for every thousand dollars in government debt, how would that politician be willing to spend taxpayer dollars?  How would many political appointees be spending if every dollar costs the boss?  How many political appointees would survive the smell test for fiscal sanity?
      • America is a Republic (If we can keep it), why do politicians have retirement packages? Why do they have medical, dental, vision, and other benefits after leaving office?  What would happen if these citizens had to live the laws they created?  Remember ObamaCare and the fit threw when the politicians were “encouraged” to have the same plans for medical, dental, and vision as ObamaCare citizens were forced to acquire?
      • Why are politicians excused from paying Social Security and the other federal and state pay deductions that every other citizen has to pay out of every paycheck? Live and work in DC, but represent a state elsewhere; you should be paying a lot more in taxes, but you have excused and loopholed your paycheck.  Not allowed, and I think those paycheck debts should be backdated and paid.  Imagine how much Speaker Pelosi would owe in back taxes… No mercy, you cut yourself out, now pay up!

Dont Tread On MeLet me reiterate, America is a Republic (if we can keep it)!  A Liberty FIRST Culture knows and understands political accountability and responsibility is crucial to maintaining a free republic.  Better candidates are needed to improve those who win political office.  I do not know about you, but I am through with coddling the current politicians across America.  They need to act for the best of all America or leave office and be held accountable!  There is no third option!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

No MORE BS: A Worthy Resource and Government Funding

VirtueI am a nerd; when it comes to data, I am a sponge.  I tell dad jokes because they make me laugh.  I have many resources for these articles, and I generally do not share my resources, as I find many people are not as nerdy as I am when it comes to the issues surrounding America.  I also find abbreviating stories fun and hope they are helpful for others who need information but do not have time to track all the data sources I follow as a  nerd.

I am going to recommend the following resource and getting on their email list.  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is an organization that works to help state legislatures work better.  The NCSL Mission is all about increasing independence and integrity in state legislatures, and I have been very happy to gather and use data from this source.  When I found this resource, I immediately signed up for their email list and occasionally receive state legislature news that is considered “local” or not “worthy” of corporate media reporting.

Ziggy - How Government Should Have to RunA critical activity of the NCSL is training state legislators to operate in their elected roles more fully.  Training has been a concern of mine for many years due to how America selects its elected representatives.  I do not want more bureaucracy, but junior legislators need mentoring, training, and having a network dedicated to watching, reporting, and offering help in training is a critical niche market for Americans to produce more trust in government and those elected to scrutinize the government.  I do not want, and I think America could use, a lot less, lawyers as elected representatives.  Thus, I promote the NCSL’s efforts to help.

My congratulations to the Executive and Legislative Branches of Indiana, you appear to be working well together, and I hope this trend continues.

“The revenue forecast Indiana received is good news and comes on the heels of a decade of fiscal discipline that is paying off in a big way for Hoosiers,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, in a statement [emphasis mine].
House Speaker Todd Huston said the legislative leaders hope to use the extra $2 billion to pay off state debt, give public and private schools funding, and make one-time investments.
Just one year ago, the pandemic entered the ring and seemed to deliver a knockout punch to our booming economy. Our near-record-low unemployment of 3% skyrocketed to a record-breaking high of 17% in a short period. Now, Indiana is not only bouncing back but winning the fight,” said Huston, R-Fishers, in a statement.Government Largess

Now, here is the bitter pill in the good news posted above by the NCSL.  A question has been percolating in my head since writing the series of education articles, Here, Here, and Here, “Where do states get their money?”  With the continuing changes to state tax law, where the state is stealing county and city government tax revenue for school budgets controlled at the state level, more questions continue to percolate.  I do not like the answers I am getting.

Hence, we introduce the information gleaned to inspire action in a more informed manner and understand the relationships between funding government on the state level and the incestuous relationship on the federal level.

Detective 4We find the following article from PEW: “Where States Get Their Money: FY 2019.”  The report contains a graphic that spells out the problems quite well, and I encourage you to visit, find your state, look at the sources, and ask questions!  Averaging all the states, 49.1% of a state’s funding arrives as tax dollars directly.  31.4% arrives as funding from the Federal Government.  However, this is not a good indicator of the incestuous relationship between the federal and state levels of government.  Not all states are equal in receiving federal funds or the reasons for acquiring those funds.  11.3% arrives in state coffers as service charges for teachers’ licensure, building permits, and other executive branch-controlled service charges.  7.4% originates in a miscellaneous category (discretionary funds), which is a problematic category, as political payoffs are paid out of many a miscellaneous fund.  Finally, 0.8% arrives from local funds, or the cities and counties are forwarding funds to the state for various reasons; for example, taxes on homes meant for local public schools but have to be filtered through the state coffers.

Thankfully, no single state is 100% funded by the federal government.  However, FY 2019 definitely should raise some eyebrows and questions in Alaska, Louisana, Montana, and Wyoming, as to why these states top the list for receiving federal funds.  The top 10 receivers of federal funding are Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Alabama.  The states receiving the lowest funds are Hawaii, North Dakota, Virginia, Kansas, Utah, and Iowa.  Also, a category needing more questions asked, scrutiny, and a lot more answers using audits and third-party auditing to explain.

ApathyPlease note, I am only using PEW reported data; I do not know how these numbers were collated, I do not have access to the raw data, or see the bias built-in by humans when reporting numbers through statistics.  I can only report the numbers and hope people take action by asking questions.  FY 2019 needs examined quite heavily as the past is a prelude to the future.  Unfortunately, the past being a prelude to the future is especially true where government funds arrive and depart in any level of elected representation.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Climate Change is GOVERNMENT CONTROL!

Angry Grizzly BearTo some of you, I am preaching to the choir; but sometimes the choir sings better when they have more knowledge.  Please help sing louder.  To others, what I am about to say is so far out of your current understanding that your brains might hurt; I am sorry.  You will never understand snowflakes and trolls, but I am willing to take that chance!

According to the Wall Street Journal, the fraudulent president, President Biden, is taking the same plan President Obama used to restrict America to a Climate Change job-killing pogrom!

Mr. Biden is essentially doing an end-run around the Constitution, which requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate for the President to enter a treaty. The emissions reductions that foreign leaders pledged on Thursday aren’t legally binding, but Mr. Biden intends to use regulation to bind Americans.”

This single statement should scare every American, whether you believe in Climate Change Hype or not.  President Obama and now President Biden refuse to act within the law where climate change is concerned.  This means there are nefarious problems, greedy hands, and legal issues the sitting president is trying to keep hidden from American citizens.  Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the Climate Change Pogrom Plans that have been made public.Problems

What is a Pogrom?

A pogrom is a violent massacre or destruction by a government entity against its own citizens.  Nazi Germany changed the law, then massacred legally their Jewish, Catholics, Handicaps, mentally handicapped, and other aspects of undesirable citizens.  Stalin and Mao have used pogroms to murder, execute, and destroy their own people, neighbors, and many others.

Why is Climate Change a Pogrom?

From the Wall Street Journal, “Businesses will be conscripted as foot soldiers in the progressive war on fossil fuels.  America’s founders believed that the Constitution’s separation of powers would safeguard individual liberty, but this assumes Congress guards its power” [emphasis mine].  The separation of powers was supposed to stop this madness.  As President Obama demonstrated, there are loads of chicaneries the legislative branch can get away with, and Congress and the Judicial Branch refuse to exert their powers.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceNow, let’s talk about the 10-year plan, a $2.3 Trillion plan that is a “more-than-infrastructure proposal” but is nothing but the Green New Deal in disguise.  So far, the best record for the details that have been released comes from DailyMail.com.  We need to be clear, not all the details have been released, but those released details should scare every person in America into action against this power seizure!

  1. Biden vowed that America would be “on a path of a zero-emissions economy by no later than 2050.”
      • Where is the US Congress in agreeing to this plan?
      • Where is the complete plan laid out for the American People to review and approve?
      • America is a Republic (if we can keep it), and I do not see anything that reveals this information, neither does DailyMail.com.
  2. From experts, to reach a zero-emissions economy, the following will have to occur within the next 10-years:
      • All meat consumption, especially red meat, will have to drop to less than 4 pounds a month per American, or roughly 90% of today’s consumption rates for red meat and a 50% cut in all animal consumption. Essentially, America would be on a 0.18 ounce of meat per day for protein.
      • Every single American will have to buy an electric car, currently a $55K investment.
      • Electric heat, solar panels, windmills, and more would have to be drastically increased, increasing the cost of electricity to roughly $5700 a month for heating and cooling your home.
      • The costs of the plan, to start, begin at $2.3 Trillion. If ObamaCare is any indicator at how fast cost estimates by the government are surpassed, a closer cost estimate is around $500 Trillion!  Don’t forget the farrago that was the ObamaCare Website!  Including:
          • $85 Billion for infrastructure modernizing public transit.
          • $174 Billion replacing lead pipes and modernizing drinking water and sewer systems.
          • $100 Billion to protect nature-based infrastructure.
          • $40 Billion for housing infrastructure.
              • What does this mean?
          • $100 Billion for upgrades to the electrical grid.
          • $100 Billion for new public schools.
              • Why?
              • Isn’t this a state issue?
              • Aren’t I, and every other American, already paying for school modernization?
          • $10 Billion for upgrading federal buildings.
              • Why isn’t this already occurring?
          • $35 Billion for investing in climate science.
          • $10 Billion for an enforcement arm, called the Civilian Climate Corps.
  1. How many dairy farms, ranches, and other animal husbandry jobs will be lost to reduce protein intake to 0.18 ounces daily?
  2. How many restaurant jobs will be wiped out due to the costs that will disproportionately fall upon the reduced middle-class and lower class of people?
  3. How many American jobs in Natural Gas and Oil fields will be lost to other countries that do not have to follow the same plan to reduce emissions?
  4. How much of the economy will be sacrificed for science projects and liberal pipe dreams?
      • Public transit systems are a colossal waste of tax dollars just for inner-city transit; how about intra-city transit?
      • AMTRAK hasn’t been able to turn a profit on carrying people between cities ever; how does modernizing public transit improves the loss of taxpayer dollars down this well of liberal insanity?

Andragogy - LEARNRemember, our pattern for this insanity is from President Obama, who had a comfortable first two years due to a friendly House and Senate. They could not do these enviro-legislation issues due to US Constitutional problems, so President Obama used executive orders.  Again and again, climate science has proven to be a money-sucking black hole for taxpayers while the limited few buy new jets, new luxury yachts and force restrictions upon everyone else.

ApathyHow many people will die from the cold or the heat due to the cost of electricity, electricity failure, and not having a backup or tertiary source for heat or cooling?  Every year America sees people die from the cold and excessive heat.  Want a pattern for how higher electricity costs and liberal-brain dead solutions work; let’s look at California.  Last year, loss of power killed people on medical equipment, where electrical lines were not properly maintained, sparked fires, and rolling brownouts are common.  Now that you see the middle and lower class sacrifices, ask yourself, did Speaker Pelosi (D) or any of here Hollywood and political buddies suffer any inconveniences from brownouts and loss of electrical power?

LookHey Speaker Pelosi, how big are your freezers and refrigerators again?  How many do you have in your walled mansion?  How much electricity do you consume?  Climate scare is a method for an unconstitutional power grab, plain and simple, and every single American needs to be actively engaged in fighting these restrictions!  The fight for liberty is cloaked in “Climate Science,” and every nation on earth has been infected with this power-grabbing sickness where politicians win and the citizens lose!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Let’s Talk About Root Cause Analysis

Flying BuffaloSome of you are thinking, “I will skip this article because the title does not sound interesting.”  I beg your forbearance, just please keep reading.  I laughed today, long and loud, over the incompetence of the current elected leaders in America, fully supporting public mocking, public shaming, and public humiliation over the following piece of news.

You cannot make headlines like this up:

Kamala Harris Emphasizes “Root Causes’” of Border Surge, Says the Problem is “Complex” while blaming climate change for the border crisis.

Let that sink in for a minute; the person who cannot hold a press conference, cannot even get VP added to her title, and cannot do root cause analysis!  I have been working since I was twelve; I was taught root cause analysis as a shade-tree mechanic; you have to be able to diagnose the correct problem to fix the engine.  This article looks like VP Harris is fixing the tires on a car without an engine, claiming this will get the vehicle running real good.  Here is VP Harris’ actual quote:

We are looking at extensive storm damage because of extreme climate, we’re looking at drought in an area in a region where agriculture is one of the most traditionally important basis for their economy, we’re looking at what’s happening in terms of food scarcity as a result of that and in fact, incredible food insecurity, which we used to call hunger food insecurity.”

Detective 4Let me see if I understand this statement correctly.  Political instability, Venezuela’s continuing meltdown politically, and the invitation from many politicians with (D) after their names have nothing to do with the “border surge.”  Just like a stricter stance on illegal immigration by President Trump (R) didn’t slow down illegal immigration on the southern border; do I have that correct?  Let’s talk about incentives, mainly welfare, housing, education, and a political base that refuses to enforce immigration law, do these not influence a southern border crisis, and buffalo wings come from flying buffalo.

What is Root Cause Analysis?Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a process of logically working through a problem as a solution is developed.  I know some of you have other definitions for RCA, and that’s okay.  I am just trying to be real simple here, for if VP Harris sees this article, I do not want her confused with big words.  There are three goals to simple RCA, discover the root of the problem, understand how to fix the problem, apply what is learned to prevent future issues.  VP Harris’s comment above has already failed the goals of RCA; hence we can conclude that RCA was not accomplished!Fishbone Diagram

Effective RCA processes possess core principles that are apolitical and easily understood:

      • Focus on fixing the problems, not band-aid solutions
      • Symptoms relief is a short-term answer to buy time for long-term solutions.
      • Multiple root causes are possible; however, each root cause requires factual justification and logical discussion.
      • Who is never part of RCA, just HOW and WHY.
      • Methodical cause and effect evidence is required for each root cause.
      • Future prevention requires increasing learning and understanding.
      • Corrective action requires information and ACTION.

I am not here to hurt VP Harris’s feelings, but her comment about the southern border crisis being climate-related still does not pass the smell test on the core principles of RCA.  Let alone any logical test for veracity.  Thus, again, we can conclude that RCA was never followed to justify her commentary!

The easiest and simplest RCA is the 5-Whys Approach.  Here is the 5-Whys Approach in a simple analogy:

      1. Why? – The car battery is dead. (First why)
      2. Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
      3. Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
      4. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced in a timely manner to save the battery. (Fourth why)
      5. Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

Using the 5-Whys Approach, one can also work backward from a completed RCA to double-check integrity in the process.

5 – I am holding the maintenance records showing timely maintenance was conducted.
4 – The alternator belt is broken, but so are the other belts in the engine. Are we sure the root cause is the alternator?
3 – The alternator is missing.
2 – The battery is missing.
1 – The car is not working; why?

Using VP Harris’s comment above, we can back check the climate-change excuse to the erroneous assumption using the same technique.

5 – How many illegals at the southern border are only from the three countries being blamed for illegal immigration?
4 – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, suffered from El Niño and El Niña in 2017 and 2018, but there was no increased immigration during those tumultuous years of extreme weather.
3 – Since 2015, food security has been an ongoing problem in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Again, we do not find a surge in citizens from these countries immigrating illegally to the US Southern Border.
2 – According to the World Bank, regardless of the weather issues and the global financial crisis, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are still being favorably looked upon as places to invest in for good returns on investment.
1 – What is causing a southern border crisis immediately after a presidential election year?

Please note, I only researched to 2015 for the weather, economy, and food security issues, as obviously President Trump (R) never had a positive influence on the Southern Border Crisis.  President Biden just inherited President Obama’s mess.  Does the RCA backward and forwards process make sense?  I ask solely because we have had migration issues on the southern border before today.  The politicians in America never seem to find the root causes and act to protect America’s defensible borders!  Blaming the weather, which has been changing in cycles since recorded history, for recent events, is akin to blaming the position of the planet Mars for burning one’s hand on a hot stove.

ApathyYet, let’s give VP Harris the benefit of the doubt; maybe her staff did complete an RCA process to reach this conclusion, while she has been sequestered and unavailable since the election.  If so, it would be easier than stepping off a curb to produce the RCA in detail and allow us, the electorate, to see how and why she is blaming the weather for a migration crisis.  This is a reasonable request, produce the proof an RCA was completed, where climate change is the only root cause in a “complex problem.”  Want to raise the stakes a little; if you cannot produce the RCA and accompanying evidence, along with the plans of action, you leave American politics forever.  If you produce the evidence and RCA, I will issue a sizeable public apology and never write about politics again.  I am waiting!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

 

NO MORE BS: Statehood for DC – A Total Waste of Time!

Angry Wet ChickenAnother legislative session, another brain-dead idea passed off as needed, fair, and necessary, and wholly without merit.  Gosh, I am fed up with the time wasted by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  Speaker Pelosi (D) is pontificating about the U.S. House passing (again) legislation to make the District of Columbia a state.  Except, Speaker Pelosi (D) never saw a liberal idea she didn’t immediately love, embrace, and wholeheartedly support, so nothing new in this news.

President Biden (no surprise here) backs the idea he has previously not supported as a Senator.  Color me shocked!  What did not surprise me was racist and belligerent commentary on the house floor during the debate.  It seems, every time someone with a (D) after their name can play the race card, the race card gets thrown down.  No objectivity, no specificity, no reason, logic, only plain emotion, malice, and stupidity!  Man, the use of the race card has gotten ridiculous.  Read Rep. Jones’s (D) comments, and feel free to laugh at the stupidity!  Plain ol’ public scorn should follow commentaries like the statements Rep. Jones (D) made, including mockery, shunning, and shame!

On the issue of race, the 2019 Census estimates 46% of D.C.’s residents identify as “Black,” and 46% identify as “White.”  Leaving a mere 8% of the population to fill all other ethnicities and races.  Yet, Rep. Jones (D) wants to make D.C. becoming a state a race issue.  Queue the mocking laughter and public shaming!Calvin & Hobbes - Irony Hurts

One of the issues brought up for making the District of Columbia a state was the amount of taxes they pay.  Personally, I laughed at this argument!  Still laughing; not sorry!  How long has the District of Columbia elected mayors who have done nothing but tax and spend; almost forever!  Taxation without representation is a dead issue when you elect tax and spenders into office.  As I was told as a kid, “You made your bed, now sleep in it!”  Think I might be wrong, understand the following:

No Republican has ever been elected mayor since D.C. home rule began in 1975. The DC Republicans have had no representation in the D.C. Council since Carol Schwartz left office in 2009. As of January 7, 2019, there are 30,001 registered voters affiliated with the Republican Party of the District of Columbia” [emphasis mine].

It appears to me, thou doth protest too much, and consequences hurt!  One-party rule is never a good idea, but the District of Columbia has embraced one-party everything and is suffering accordingly!  Please note, I am not claiming the Republicans could rule any better, but I am arguing that one-party rule is NEVER a good idea!

What is the issue?

Detective 4The District of Columbia keeps petitioning to become a state.  The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive authority of the U.S. Congress; D.C. is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.  Since this is a U.S. Constitutional issue, it will require all 50-states to ratify a change to the U.S. Constitution, not simply the wasting of time and resources of the U.S. House of Representatives.  But, as they say on the Home Shopping Network, “There’s more.”  With 34 US States never having been made states properly, according to the US Constitution, and their lands remain under “Federal Government Control,” I do not see DC being a state that big of an issue!

The District of Columbia is a unique federal district of the U.S. The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Mayor and thirteen-member Council.  The District of Columbia Home Rule Act was a compromise back in the 1970s to allow more self-rule to D.C. while still being within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.  While the District of Columbia Home Rule Act caused some pretty wild protests, this was expected as a compromise between Congress and the local D.C. residents.  All the adults know that a good compromise leaves everyone upset.  How effective has the District of Columbia Home Rule Act been; well, look at the before and after economics, and the problem becomes loud and clear.  Taking us back to why I am still laughing and still not sorry!

For the lawyers in the house, the District of Columbia Home Rule Act is a quagmire of legal jargon and directionless logic like no piece of legislation it has ever been my displeasure to review.  If you can make sense of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, please I.M. me directly, for I have questions and need answers.  Thank you!Apathy

Alert!

Dont Tread On MeToday’s chicanery in the U.S. House of Representatives was not the first time a piece of legislation making D.C. a state has passed the house.  I doubt this will be the last time our tax dollars are wasted on passing frivolous legislation on a U.S. Constitutional issue that will be passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Have any of the elected officials in the U.S. House or Senate read the U.S. Constitution, US Bill of Rights, or other founding U.S. documents?  I figured those with (D) had read their Marx and Keynes, but they were not elected to act like Keynes or Marx!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Sacrifice and Selfishness – Understanding Begets Power

Personally, I do not care what you believe for religion, nor do I care about your bedroom choices, your skin color, your culture, heritage, or even your clothing or hairstyle.  What you do is more important.  What I do is more important.  How we form a free-thinking society, responsible people who love freedom and liberty under the “Rule of Law” is more important.  I have been called a bigot, a racist, a sexist, and so much more, primarily by ignorant byzantines who projected their own inadequacies, and I happened to call them out.  I have thick skin and big shoulders; you want to accuse me of stupid stuff; that is your choice; thankfully, you will also enjoy the consequences.

What is Sacrifice?

Webster provides multiple definitions for sacrifice; only those contained below are we considering:

      • An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”
      • A bid made in the belief that it will be less costly to be defeated in the contract than to allow the opponents to make a contract.”
      • Give up (something important or valued) for the sake of other considerations.”

Gary Hamel is quoted as saying, “A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation, and encourages perseverance.”  Herein lies the importance of understanding sacrifice as a principle of power, a tool for constructing a life, and a mode of understanding the world.  People will always sacrifice for that which they desire; understanding this principle explains many human behaviors and the resulting consequences.

Consider our current (fraudulent) president, Biden.  He has sacrificed dignity, potential, life, and much more to attain in his senility the president’s chair.  I long to ask him if it was worth the sacrifice.  Except, the consequences of the president’s actions have ripped holes in the fabric of America, monumentally increased distrust in government at all levels, and is actively working to ruin America during his remaining days as president.  Hence, we must ask America, was the candidate worth the consequences?

As a principle, sacrifice must be understood as a double-edged sword; it cuts both ways.  Selfishly sacrifice, and you get harmed, selflessly sacrifice, and you gain even as you lose.  Like the double-edged sword, there is no safe spot to stand; you either slide one way or another, and danger lies on the edge of decision making.

What is Selfishness?

Interestingly, selfishness is being selfish, and being selfish is all about “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with personal profit or pleasure,” according to Webster.  More specifically, selfishness is also self-centeredness and realizes that one is only concerned excessively or exclusively for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others.

James Altucher is quoted saying, “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill-will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along your path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”  The perfect summation of a life lived as selfish and self-centered.  Thereby presenting a person with some interesting questions, especially for juries deciding guilt or innocence, managers of people in employment, and parents of children.  Do we understand that selfishness is an empty hole that can never be filled?  Do we appreciate that sacrifices made selflessly are many times lost in the selfishness of others?  Will we choose to learn, connect, build, generate, and support?

Speaker Pelosi (D) is the most selfish person it has been my displeasure to know.  Blind to other people’s struggles, refusing to represent her district properly, continuously thinking she is the keystone in American Government and an institution in her own mind who refuses to act in any manner worthy of anything higher than utter contempt.  Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi (D) is not alone in her attitude, actions, or refusal to represent those who elected them to a seat of American power.  If Speaker Pelosi had an ounce of humanity, she would have retired many years ago; instead, she bitterly clings to power and projects her insecurities and ineptitude onto others in her vile and detestable manner and methods.

Why is this topic important?

Sacrifice and selfishness are two sides of the same coin.  The extremes of a decision matrix line, where the person must choose, and cannot long remain neutral.  However, like all things, selfishness and sacrifice can be taken to the extremes, and in the extreme’s bondage, chaos, and trouble lie.  Do we, the lovers of liberty, understand that the extremes of anything bring problems, sickness, death, and disease?

Consider for a moment a friend of mine.  He sacrificed a lot of credit card debt to fund projects that were supposed to help other people.  But in the end, he had to file bankruptcy, he lost his house, he lost his spouse, and too many people thought his “sacrifice” was for selfish ends and hated him for his “gifts,” all while being “grateful for the gift” to his face.  Can a selfish act be a sacrifice worthy of the name; no!  We see this pattern explained in the New Testament when Jesus Christ is teaching the sermon on the mount; he talks about a man who fasts to be seen of men and has his reward not from God, but man.  He speaks of a man who prays on street corners to be seen of men and has his reward.  What is a sacrifice-minded person to do; enter into your closet and petition God in secret, and He who sees in secret rewards openly.

The connection between sacrifice and selfishness is clear, but also the extremes of action in selfishness and sacrifice are also apparent.  We have examples all around us of selfishness taken to extremes and the danger that lies on that path.  We also have examples around us of those who sacrifice selfishly and struggle.  The answer is to balance sacrifice and err on the side of selfless sacrifice; essentially, not running faster than we have strength.

Selfless sacrifice is not a new principle, tool, mode of living, or human capability, but selfless sacrifice requires discernment in making decisions.  Selfless sacrifice requires education, knowledge, and experience and includes failure!  Selfless sacrifice does not have a media cheering section but does come with genuine gratitude by those who know, and the reward is always greater than the sacrifice, law of the harvest.  Selfless sacrifice includes action, trust, hope, faith, and joy.  Paradoxically speaking, one would not involve joy in the activities of sacrifice.  Still, selfless sacrifice does include feelings of joy, hope and can be considered an extension of a person’s commitment to charitably living with others.

Best of all, selfless sacrifice is not a “religious” anything!  I know many great, and good people from all walks of life, and every religious flavor possible, and of them can be said, “They walk as an example of charity, hope, and faith embodied in human frailty.”  Hence, to all the irreligious and atheistic people, you can walk in like manner and have honor without affecting your choice of religiousness.  Selfless sacrifice contains the power to connect with other people, animals, and even plants in a more profound, more full manner than currently enjoyed.

I offer these thoughts for your consideration, hoping that by choosing differently, we can create a truly better world and not just a surface polish.  We, the humans on this planet, can live differently, without ruining our economies, without destroying each other, and without sacrificing freedom and liberty for the chains of government, and bondage to politically powered people.  All I ask is that you think about these principles and take action.  Thank you!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Intention and Discernment – Tools Worth Knowing

Foghorn Leghorn - MedicationParents, how many times have you witnessed a toddler going about their day, an idea crosses their face, and you can tell they are about to do something that gets that toddler in trouble?  I heard a comedian talk about witnessing this as the toddler saw the cat sleeping in the sun, the toddler crossed the room and kicked the cat.  When asked why the toddler claims “it was accident.”

What is intention?

Intention is all about deliberate action, using a plan, and involving ideas in action.  According to Webster, intention is also the healing process of a wound, but this definition is not part of our discussion.  From Latin, we find intentio as “stretching purpose” and originates with intendere meaning “towards, stretch, and tend.”

Calvin & Hobbes - Irony HurtsConsider these definitions for a moment and the story about the toddler kicking the cat.  We have a plan, a purpose, and a deliberate action.  How does the parent discern the act was deliberate; the use of observation as to what the toddler had done to the cat previously, what the toddler was doing immediately before they kicked the cat, and the attempt to use an excuse to get out of trouble.

Discerning Intention.

Never Give Up!When defining discernment, I am not entering holy waters to discuss the pieces of discernment that belong to discerning for religions.  Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions, observations that empower decision-making.  Discernment can be psychological, moral, or aesthetic.  Discernment is also defined through the contexts; scientific, normative, and formal. The process of discernment involves going past the mere perception of something and making nuanced understandings about its properties or qualities.

Note, there is also a legal definition, or standard, for discernment, “the cognitive condition of someone who understands; savvy, understanding, apprehension knowing about their actions before, after, and during the act;” which is where things get sticky when discernment and intention cross paths.  Hannity and Carlson disagree on the actions of the jury in the Derek Chauvin case.  Not being a lawyer and not knowing all the legal jargon, the best I can do is form an opinion.  I base my opinion on other high-profile cases where the media has condemned an individual as guilty before the judge and jury are formed.  Meaning, I feel the jury was intentionally and unfairly biased against Derek Chauvin due to the influence of the media and the mob outside the courtroom’s doors.Thin Blue Line

There was a shooting of a teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio, by a police officer.  The girl had a knife in hand, did not listen to the police officer responding, and lunged at another person before being shot.  Again, we come to discerning intention and split-second decision-making.  Only, in this instance, the officer has no history of the person holding a knife, only reports of a stabbing and an apparent altercation involving a knife when they arrive on the scene.  I offer no judgment in this case as this case continues to unfold, details are still being investigated, and family interviewed.  Yet, the media is already off and running their biased opinions, and mobs have formed for mobocratic justice, which is never just nor proper.

Calvin & Hobbes - Ontological QuandryUnfortunately, this pattern repeats too often, and thus the need to understand discernment and correctly discerning intention.  My intent is not to make you as adept at this practice as a police officer. In a Republic, and even in many democratic societies, the citizens need to discern and discern intention, two separate processes.  The media will sell a lurid and emotionally charged story with all the bias of a bull in a China Shop and never care about the consequences.  But, the citizen does not have the same luxury or legal protections as the media.  Hence, we must discern what the media relates and discern the media’s intention before we ever read or listen to their story/reporting of events.  Thus my intent in this article and bringing up this topic, we, the citizens, are held to a higher law than the media and cannot afford to form mobs, trust the media’s reporting, or even rely upon the press reported “facts” to discern and discern intent.

How do you make a decision requiring action?

GearsThe process for critical thinking, leading to intentional decision-making, with purposeful action, generally follows the following pattern:

      1. Gather data
        • Requires knowing the validity of the source data and trusting the sources.
      2. Organize the data
      3. Make preliminary decisions and determine an action to take.
      4. Beta test the decision through application to a minimal audience to refine the solution and ensure the integrity of the data.
      5. Roll out the entire decision, including the solution and the reasoning, take timely action.
      6. Monitor and make course corrections as needed.

Detective 4These steps are useless unless we understand our own intention before launching a decision-making process.  Consider, do you intentionally believe that others are doing their best or giving their best efforts?  Do you intentionally shut down your own opinion to consider the perceptions of others in making decisions?  Where in those steps do you stop and take a moment to ponder the short and long-term consequences of the solution devised?  When making decisions, do you ever consider the axiom, “If a solution is not Win/Win, everyone loses?”  Do we fear failing to make a correct decision if the future teaches us something new about the data changing the pattern of decision-making?  How do you learn?

Let us briefly examine that axiom, “If a solution is not Win/Win, everyone loses,” does not mean making everyone happy.  A good compromise leaves everyone upset and feeling cheated and settled on the issue under consideration.  Yet, the media and many politicians firmly believe that unless they win everything they desire in a solution, they have been robbed and feel justified in stirring up public angst and creating a worse problem.  The adults in society must understand both the good and the ill in creating Win/Win solutions, or all is lost, and the patients run the asylum.

Anton Ego 4In going back to the analogy of the toddler kicking the cat.  Does the solution in the short-term mean corrective behavior modification for a long-term lesson learned?  Does the better solution involve instruction as well as behavior modification?  Have we, the parents, discerned correctly the intention of the toddler sufficient to justify our decision?  Will the cat be safe around the toddler in the future because of the action we take at that moment?

How do you learn?

In answering this question, we must return to the topic of failure.  Do we consider failure a learning moment?   Do we appreciate the power of failing as integral to achieving success?  A close relative of mine in high school went out for the track team as a pole vaulter.  I looked into pole vaulting to learn more and was surprised at the ways, means, and multiple times the pole vaulter will fail.  The technical skills to pole vault are incredible, almost as unbelievable as being an operations manager in a manufacturing environment and being a parent.  Hence, the need for discernment and intention.

2012-08-13 07.37.28I close with a challenge, use discernment more intentionally in learning your way through failure to success.  Liberty and freedom allow us the power to fail our way to success, but only if we consciously choose to learn and discern better our steps in decision-making.  Know your intent, take a moment every day to consider your intent, and purposefully make decisions to live your intentions.  Trust yourself to discern.  Your confidence in discerning is key to understanding and using your intention to power decision-making as a process.  Please remember, what I am discussing requires time, you will fail, but you will also win and win BIG!  Enjoy the journey of discovery!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Let us Stop Judging Based Upon Projection

LaughterI had to laugh today (20 April 2021); I received a comment based upon an article written, and the first words read were, “You do not know what you are talking about.”  I have been discriminated against for not wearing a mask, for being white, for what I know and don’t know, and always the discrimination stems from a judgment based upon the projection of the person speaking.  Judging based upon projection has become tiresome!

What is Judging?

Judging is the action of a judge.  A judge has several definitions especially apt to this discussion:

  1. To form, give, or have as an opinion, or to decide about something or someone, especially after thinking carefully.”
  2. To express a bad opinion of someone’s behavior, often because you think you are better than them.”
  3. Used to express the reasons why you have a particular opinion.”

The definitions originate with the Cambridge Dictionary and, in my opinion, are particularly well stated to provide sufficient explanation without additional commentary from me.  Most interesting of all, the definitions challenge the reader to think about actions and behaviors where judgment, often confused with discrimination, is the first or only response to anything new.

GavelMany, many, many, atheists have complained in terms vociferous that I do not know anything about atheism.  Several theists have made similar claims but are generally more hostile than the atheists.  Regardless, one of the topics I enjoy studying are people’s closely held beliefs, and religion is one of those beliefs that are both closely held and motivational in nature.  Politics is a close second, and I enjoy studying the why behind political choices.

I have a close relative who is not allergic to food in any shape or capacity but will use the allergic excuse for food they particularly do not like, peanut butter, fish, canned peas, mushrooms, and much more.  Without ever tasting many of these foods, a judgment has been made, an excuse offered, and a diet established.  If my relative had the ability, they would live off only one food type, and actively refuses to believe that variety is a spice in life, especially where food is concerned.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceJudgments make hasty decisions with natural consequences that must be shouldered.  Like the proverbial millstone about the neck, a judgment can become very heavy to carry.  Especially when that judgment is based on false or erroneous data, the judge will not be swayed, which explains why many people continue to smoke but do not blame smoking for the cough, lung problems, cancer, or death.

One of my favorite authors is Robert Fulghum, best known for authoring “Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.”  In a follow-on book, he related a news story about a guy who was rescued from his smoldering bed, where he had fallen asleep after drinking heavily and needed a cigarette before sleep.  Who got up, relieved themselves, and then crawled back into bed after noticing that the bed was on fire.  One could judge the man as stupid for crawling back into a burning bed, but if they did not know about the heavy drinking, they might judge erroneously.  Others might judge both drinking and smoking as dangerous, and the man deserved his fate.  I laughed the first time I read this story at the absurdity of it all.  Then I got a lot of experience about what people do when intoxicated, and I understand the man a little better.  By not judging the actions or circumstances, I understand better the decision to crawl into a smoldering bed, pull the covers to my chin, and go back to sleep.  The understanding does not limit my finding humor in the absurdity of the actions, but I understand the decision-making process better now.

What is Projection?

Editorial - Educational TruthFrom PsychologyToday.com, we find the definition of projection.  “Projection is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection—attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another.”  For example, the man who climbed back into a smoldering bed could be declared a lot of things by someone projecting their own biases, opinions, and poor judgment behaviors onto the man climbing into a smoldering bed.  In doing so, the ignorance of the judge becomes as apparent as the rising sun.

Still quoting from PsychologyToday.com, “Unconscious discomfort can lead people to attribute unacceptable feelings or impulses to someone else to avoid confronting them. Projection allows the difficult trait to be addressed without the individual fully recognizing it in themselves.”  I have several relatives who regularly attribute their own feelings of insecurity onto others, and it has been quite humorous to observe them in public.

Finally, also from PsychologyToday.com, we find the following, “Projecting a threatening trait onto others may be a byproduct of the mechanism that defends the ego, rather than a part of the defense itself. Trying to suppress a thought pushes it to the mental foreground, psychologists have argued, and turns it into a chronically accessible filter through which one views the world.”  We need to understand this comment as quoted fully.  Research on thinking confirms that any thought we try to suppress moves into the mental foreground and remains the only thought we can hold onto.  The more force we try to kick that thought out, the more stuck that thought becomes.  Enough experience with that thought, and the thought becomes the filter through which we see the world.

Emtional Investment CycleFor example, I know an alcoholic and a chocoholic with the same disease, but with different drugs, whose power over the individual is precisely the same because the same thought is stuck in the foreground of their mental capacities, and both see the world through their addictions.  The only thoughts allowed in their brains are how to get chocolate or alcohol.  Nothing else can stay in their minds because their addictive thought has become the filter of behavior.  Essentially the projection of their fears and desires became the addiction that controls them.

Is the relationship between stuck thoughts and projection clear?  People project to protect themselves, avoid things they do not desire, and socially fit into a peer group they desire.  All of which involves making judgments as seen through the filter of stuck thoughts.  Leading to more stuck thoughts, more filters, more behavior changes, more judgments, and the cycle repeats ad nauseam ad infinitum.

How do we break this cycle?

Andragogy - LEARNThe first step in any problem is to admit there is a problem.  Refusing to admit there is a problem is another stuck thought which allows justification for projection and judgment, perpetuating the problems, addictions, and issues.  It is okay to admit you need help!

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one of the most powerful methods for overcoming stuck thoughts.  A little research, a little practice, and change can begin.  Please note, weird thoughts, they happen, and they do not mean you are a bad person.  Fighting those thoughts leads to stuck thoughts, so the opposite is recommended.  Admit that the thought was crazy, didn’t belong, and move forward consciously.  The thought might return, acknowledge it, and move in a different path.

Detective 4I have a great resource on this topic, “Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts,” authored by Sally M. Winston PsyD and Martin N. Seif Ph.D.  The book is humorous, easy to read, and very helpful.  The book employs CBT as a method for getting unstuck, and I recommend all adults, and many teenagers, to read this book as a tool for directing energy and thinking into productive areas.  I am not trying to sell the book; feel free to find your own CBT resources, and feel free to share them.  For when we understand our own behavior, we can improve!

Better, when we understand this connection between projection and judgment, we can observe others and discern better the sources we allow to provide information, we elect to public office, we trust with our money, or allow into our lives.  Liberty and freedom are not built upon a fallacy, bias, opinion, and outright lies projected by scared and power-hungry people.  Liberty and freedom are built upon law, control of self, and sacrifice for the good of many.  Embracing a “Liberty FIRST Culture” means understanding those behaviors that got us into the mess we currently are in, and through understanding, solutions begin to generate.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The VA Chronicles of Shame Continue

VA SealWhile I have been fighting the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center for humane treatment (June 2020) and medical services, making no progress, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has undoubtedly been busy oppressing others, allowing their employees to skate responsibility, and avoiding accountability.  For the record, I have not deep-dived the legal proceedings reported below and would remind everyone that those charged are not guilty until a jury of their peers says so in a court of law.  I am not passing judgment and am only reporting from official VA-OIG reports, leaving the conclusions mainly to you, the reader.  The conclusions offered are mine alone, and you are free to draw your conclusions based upon the data delivered and your due diligence.

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has been busy filling my inbox all week.  Here are the latest stories of shame from the VA Chronicles:

  1. VA Health Care System (VAHCS) Fort Harrison, Montana, the investigation began with two people calling for help to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL). From the VA-OIG report, we find the following:

The VA-OIG substantiated a VCL responder failed to assess caller 1’s homicidal risk factors, address lethal means restriction, complete an adequate risk mitigation plan, communicate critical information to a supervisor, and take actions to prevent a family member’s death. VCL leaders did not consider an administrative investigation board to review the responder’s potential misconduct. The VA-OIG substantiated that two social service assistants (SSAs) failed to dispatch local emergency services for caller 2 following a responder’s rescue request. The VA-OIG identified deficiencies in SSA oversight.
VCL leaders did not fully adhere to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) policies related to reporting and disclosure of adverse events. A facility primary care provider failed to include caller 1’s mental health diagnosis in the assessment and plan of care. Also, the primary care provider did not submit caller 1’s non-VA medical records for scanning into the electronic health record or document a review of the records, as expected by VHA policy.

Angry Wet ChickenI have been trained in emergency psychological triage; this was part of my training as a Chaplain’s Assistant in the US Army.  When you work on a crisis line, you cannot not take immediate action to save a life!  When my friend called me all depressed and intimated he wanted to end his life, I called 911, explained the situation, and asked for help.  They provided help.  I was not acting in any official capacity; I was not working a crisis line; I was simply a concerned friend.  How can these crisis line employees, managers, and other staff escape accountability and responsibility?  The whole chain of events is a lurid report of failure to take action by people duty-bound and placed in positions to act, and they refused to take action; this conduct is inexcusable!

As a substitute teacher, I was a mandatory reporter.  If I heard anything untoward, I had to act!  As a Chaplain’s Assistant, I was a mandatory reporter, and I was empowered to act, even without my chaplain’s permission, which by the way, pissed off my chaplain; but he refused to see specific soldiers in crisis.  Not my fault, but I took my Article 15 with pride!  Taking us back to the VA employees who failed miserably the need to take action, and still escaped accountability and responsibility!

  1. Survived the VAOur next story is a back-slapping congratulatory declaration regarding a soldier committing fraud.

Shawn Pierre Hobbs, a soldier for the Connecticut Army National Guard and a Rikers Island correction officer employed by the New York City Department of Correction, was arrested yesterday in El Paso, Texas, on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal said, “The charges unsealed today are the result of the hard work and dedication of the VA-OIG’s special agents working with our law enforcement partners. The VA-OIG will seek to hold accountable those who perpetrate fraud and steal benefits that are intended for deserving veterans.”

LinkedIn VA ImageThere are still many details missing in this story that I bet the public will never see.  Since no VA Employees were mentioned, I can only surmise that they escaped accountability because the main perpetrator was caught, so according to the VA-OIG, no harm, no foul.  I believe that as much as I believe in buffalo wings originating from flying buffalo!Flying Buffalo

  1. Our next report is one of such supreme idiocy that words can barely describe the situation and the current findings. Consider the following, you arrive at your doctor’s office and need several routine shots.  If the doctor and nurse fail to document these shots properly were delivered, and you have an adverse reaction, they can be held liable for medical negligence under the law.  Why does the same not apply to the VA?  The following comes from a memorandum issued by the VA-OIG, declaring an investigation is ongoing on this issue, but problems have already been found!

While reviewing the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) plans to document receipt and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) determined that VHA facilities did not consistently document the COVID-19 vaccination status of veterans living in VA’s Community Living Centers (CLCs).
The VA-OIG determined that VHA could not know at a national level whether the vaccine was offered to some CLC residents, and if so, what their status was. Because CLC residents are in the highest COVID-19 vaccine priority group, they should be offered the vaccine, when possible, before other groups of veterans. With vaccine supplies limited, VHA should know which CLC residents still need to be vaccinated.
The VA-OIG found VHA has made important strides in distributing vaccines to CLC residents, but [needs to] move toward more comprehensive and consistent data collection to guide ongoing actions and protect this vulnerable population. Doing so would include making sure all CLCs routinely track refusals and contraindications in a consistent manner. Guidance should be clear that all communications should be consistently documented in accordance with VHA processes.
Similarly, clear guidance and consistent oversight should help ensure CLCs are properly tracking veterans who fall in the 23 percent of CLC residents missing information needed to determine their vaccination status. It was not possible by January 2021 to establish which of the 1,899 veterans in this cohort had been offered the vaccine. The VA-OIG will continue its oversight work on vaccinations within VHA and plans to issue a full report, including specific recommendations. In the meantime, the VA-OIG requests to know what action, if any, VHA takes to mitigate the potential risks identified in this memorandum and the outcome of those actions.”

Angry Wet Chicken 2Essentially, the VA-OIG is claiming the VHA cannot document in their long-term care facilities which residents have and have not been vaccinated against COVID.  Can you believe the incredible negligence being witnessed; I cannot!  In the US Army, due to chiggers and a violent allergic reaction to them, I spent several weeks in what is called the “Reception Battalion.”  My job was documenting who got vaccinated, what shots were received, and I was held responsible if the documentation was incorrect.  I have worked in long-term care facilities not owned by the VA and witnessed the time and energy spent documenting everything the patient experiences.  I have visited family members in long-term facilities and witnessed the documentation procedures.  Yet, miraculously, the VHA does not have to submit themselves to the same level of documentation requirements.  Where is that memo, policy guideline, or written procedure?  Where are the lawyers?  For the VHA to have a problem with documentation of a patient is 100% inexcusable, and people’s heads should roll over this failure to document!

  1. Our next chronicle of shame is both a good and bad report.

Muhammad Z. Aabdin, 30, of New York City, has been charged by complaint with offering a bribe to a VA contracting officer in September 2020. Specifically, Aabdin allegedly offered to share profits with the officer in exchange for her awarding VA contracts to Aabdin for personal protective equipment.”

That the VA employee reported, the bribe is a good thing.  That a contractor felt comfortable enough to offer a bribe is considerably less of a good thing.  Are there additional questions being asked and investigated in this procurement office regarding the offering of bribes and the potential of having previously taken bribes?  Where are the supervisors in this affair?  The VA persists in hiring from inside for the advancement of careers, not a bad thing, but when a contractor is comfortable offering bribes, there should be many questions being asked of supervisors, directors, and so forth.I-Care

The fact that the behavior of VA employees breaking the law is both widespread and well known should be a wake-up call to the leaders of the VA and the elected officials charged by law to scrutinize the government.  Except, this behavior has never been scrutinized sufficiently to end the behavior, only scrutinized enough to encourage the behavior, the negligence, and the extreme indifference.  Every American Citizen should be outraged and motivated to shout at their elected officials using all communication channels until this abhorrent behavior is sundered forever from the VA body!

ApathyExcept, I am preaching to crickets.  Your taxpayer dollars are funding the abuse of veterans at the hands of the government.  Shameful!  Inexcusable!  Outright blasphemous!  Yet, allowed to continue because of apathy; Plato was right!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: COVID Mask Discrimination Policies and Your Health

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceThe Atlantic published an article well worth reading, “End the Hygiene Theater.”  To summarize, SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19’s official name) is an aerosol and does not survive in the outdoors or on surfaces.  Just like 99.9% of all viral infections.  Consider how much money the government mandates had wasted on power cleaning surfaces since August 2020 when the scientific peer-reviewed journals began publishing the science of aerosol viral fighting tips.

Angry Grizzly Bear15 April 2020 was a high watermark day for me; I was forced to go to the Sandra Day O’ Connor Federal Courthouse to fight three citations for not physically being able to wear a mask at the VA Hospital here in Phoenix.  My injury at the hands of the VA Police was not allowed as evidence; the policy that continues to hinder care at the VA Hospital was not allowed as evidence.  However, it was used frequently as an excuse, and my being erroneously declared a behavior problem at the VA was inadmissible as that is an internal policy of the VAMC.  The end result, I lost more money to pay the fines.

In the US Republic of America, you have the right and freedom to wear a mask if you choose. Suppose you desire that face diaper as a safety blanket, even though peer-reviewed science has found zero evidence that masks help; feel free to wear a mask.  Please understand that thousands of people cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions, medications, and other breathing problems, which means alternative health measures are needed.  Medical policies should never be written as one-size-fits-all.  The policies writers are discriminating and putting people’s health at risk.

ApathyAs my breathing has become more labored since my spinal injuries in 2002, at the hands of a First-Class Petty Officer, I have had to exercise more healthy options to keep myself safe.  I take vitamin supplements, including C & D, at both a medical professional’s request and my wife’s knowledge.  I drink tonic water, which has quinine in it, specifically the tonic water sold at Trader Joe’s, for it has no high-fructose corn syrup and less sugar than soda, so my diabetes does not take a hit.  I was told by my primary care provider, at the VA almost 10-years ago that quinine will help my nighttime leg cramps, it worked for me.

I am not a medical professional, and am not saying everyone will have the same benefits; the quinine in tonic water has helped me, and overtime I have experienced less sick time from common colds, flues, and other aerosol borne sicknesses.  Always discuss with your doctor the vitamins and drugs being taken, this is also your right and freedom!

Historically, quinine has been used as an anti-malarial drug, and is effective in calming muscle cramps, leg restlessness, and is a base ingredient in chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.  “Use of chloroquine (tablets) shows favorable outcomes in humans infected with coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay.  US CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as a prophylactic (preventative) measure against coronavirus.  Chloroquine is an inexpensive, globally available drug that has been in widespread human use since 1945 against malaria, autoimmune diseases, viruses, and various other conditions.”  Facts are coming from multiple peer-reviewed resources since 1950, including Dr. Fauci.

Angry Wet ChickenTo arrive at court, I had to walk more than ¼ of a mile from the closest parking spot to the 2nd floor mezzanine of the Federal Court House.  By the time I got through the US Marshall security buttress, I was completely out of breath, and the first words out of security’s mouth, “Where is your mask?”  I explained I have breathing problems, and they insisted I at least carry a mask to meet the “stringent judge mandated legal requirements for mask policies.”  Thankfully, they did not insist I wear the mask, as I would have become an emergency right then and there.

Leaving me with an incredible question, “How can the US Marshall’s in charge of security at a Federal Courthouse use common sense and keen observation and make executive decisions, but the VA Police on Federal Property cannot do the same?”

The answer to that question lies with the draconian leadership and the egos inherent in the VA.  Same Federal Policy regarding masks but applied with 180-degrees of separation.  The VA Police Officer who oversaw my asset forfeiture/remediation did not have a problem with my not wearing a mask the entire time we spoke.  We maintained 6’ of separation and conducted business like adults.  Yet, in the VAMC, this officer would have been under obligation first to arrest me, which always leads to me being injured, cite me, then kick me off the property.  All Federal Property, all handled by sworn legal officers possessing arrest authority, and we have two different outcomes.

Foghorn Leghorn - MedicationAs a point of reference, there are more than several hundred thousand people like me in America right now who have breathing conditions that preclude wearing a mask for personal health and safety.  Polio victims with lung scarring are especially susceptible to COVID and should not wear a mask.  I know veterans who are missing a lung, who struggle to breathe, they cannot access the VA for medical care; this is mask discrimination!  I know cancer patients who, due to the drugs and cancer, cannot wear a mask and cannot access the VA for cancer treatment; this is mask discrimination.  I am one of several thousand people on a steroid to help breathing problems, where a mask is warned against wearing for physical safety and personal health.  However, I am still denied VA Medical Care over the mask policy.  The list of medical conditions and breathing issues is endless. Still, the policy from the Federal VA Director’s office, supposedly, does not come with a line, “except for those with approved medical conditions.”  I claim allegedly, as I have yet to receive a copy of this mask mandate policy or find a copy anywhere online.  I have even gone so far as to use an FOIA request for the policy and never have received a response.

I asked a supervisor about the policy at the VAMC and was pointed to a marketing sign.  I asked a hospital director, in fact, the patient advocate director, and was told there is no official policy.  Because that would require writing things down, and the VA refuses to document anything for fear of reprisal and recrimination.  Also, a topic I have covered ad nauseam and ad infinitum in these articles to no avail, as an excuse for designed incompetence.

Never Give Up!Ask yourself this question, “Who is the primary person responsible for my health, myself, the media, the insurance companies, or the government?”  For how you answer that question will determine how you approach situations where your health is jeopardized.  We have programmable vaccines being passed off as a cure-all for a virus that makes up the common cold, yet people are still catching the common cold and testing negative for COVID.  We have had flu vaccines around since the 1930s, with mass vaccination campaigns since 1945; yet until COVID came along, we still had people dying from the flu every year!  By the way, an interesting fact, no one has caught the flu since February 2020; do you believe the COVID testing works?

America has witnessed years when the flu guessers guessed the wrong flu variant strain, and the flu vaccine people got was 100% ineffective.  Yet magically, this COVID vaccine comes along to end all those problems without long-term testing and in-depth research, and how many are lining up to get their COVID shot?  After getting the COVID jab, how many still are forced to live under COVID mandates?  See, the problem is not COVID; the problem is who controls your health decisions, the government, the media, the insurance companies, or you?

Non Sequitur - DecisionsThe discrimination we have been told all through school is “bad,” but the VAMC can mask discriminate against the population they are duty-bound to serve, and there are no legal consequences; where are the lawyers?  We have people who have been and are suffering from COVID-related vaccine sicknesses who lost their legal rights to sue the pharmacological manufacturer; where are the lawyers?  I would think the ACLU would be head over heels angry at this blatant abuse of people’s rights, except they are silent on these issues.  We have hundreds of thousands of veterans who cannot access their medical center, their doctors, and so forth due to a policy that isn’t a policy and are dying; where are the lawyers?

Dont Tread On MeWho controls your healthcare choices, you or the government?  I know my answer!

Reference

Sturrock, B. R., & Chevassut, T. J. (2020). Chloroquine and COVID-19–a potential game-changer? Clinical Medicine, 20(3), 278.

Todaro, J. M., and Rigano Esq, G. J. An Effective Treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19). In consultation with Stanford University School of Medicine, UAB School of Medicine, and National Academy of Sciences researchers. Retrieved from: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vR1adodKPhWalV9djnerI2x_v1LGgGyhZZxpl0O5r-ZNyDdagqFq1rTCxXBqaeicfxgvypDOqKCZVyV/pub (Google is blocking access to this information)

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: What is History? A Prelude to the Future.

There is an axiom in history, “If you do not learn history, you are doomed to repeat it.”  Some have refused to believe this lesson, to their utter misfortune.  Others have refused to accept this sentiment and have suffered likewise.  How do I know this; history shows the willing student how history is a prelude to the future.

Ancient Greece was the center of knowledge, but their people stopped learning history, and Rome came in while Greece was napping and took over the country lock, stock, and barrel.  Then, over time, Rome stopped learning the lesson they had taught and was forced to relive their history when caught napping; others came in and ruined the Roman Empire.  Ancient Egypt was a grand empire until Rome.  More history leading to preludes of the future.

Moving forward several centuries, and we see the rise of the Muslim Empire, suffering the same fate as those behind it when they too forgot their history.  The repetition of history is both scary and clearly written in the annals of history.  When one stops learning their history, they become doomed to repeat that history, for history is ever a prelude to the future.

Now, I am not a doom and gloom type, nor do I have grand aspirations of being a prophet or prognosticator.  I am simply pointing out the truth and hoping others may join me in learning history to avoid repeating history.What historical lessons do we need to learn?

To answer this question, I beg you to indulge me for a moment.  I have to ask a few more questions to answer this most pressing question.  As a modern citizen of your country, do you understand the family’s value and importance to your society?  What are you doing to support the family as the preeminent foundational stone of a sound and growing society?  Are you willing to sacrifice worldly reputations, money, power, etc., to have a family?  The leading cause of the Roman Empire’s fall was that they stopped having nuclear families, and within a generation, they fell.  Why did the sunset on the Egyptian Empire; they stopped believing in and supporting the nuclear family, and they failed.  Before WWII, why was England, the world’s mightiest empire since Rome, failing; they lost the nuclear family and still haven’t recovered.

Why is France struggling, Italy disappearing, Germany struggling, and the US and Japan all having such incredible problems; all have forgotten the nuclear family.  As the nuclear family goes, so does the state’s power and the identity of a country’s soul.  Let that sink in a minute.  As the nuclear family goes, so does the country’s soul.  A country’s identity, liberty, law, freedom, and lifestyle rests squarely upon the shoulders of the nuclear family.

I have read reports that Italy will no longer be the traditional “Italy” in less than 10-years because the Italians are not getting married and having families.  I love my Italian family members, but I am so distraught to think that “La mia famiglia,” the quintessential Italian experience, will not be around for my posterity to enjoy, except through fading pictures and journaled memories.  What makes this worse is Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and every other nation on earth have the same problems.   The nuclear family is disappearing at a frightening rate, and as the family goes, so do the historical lessons that need to be learned to avoid repeating.

An ignorant barbarian suggested, “well, just have people have more kids.”  I wanted to gently take this person by their ears, look deeply into their eyes, and ask, “Is anyone in there?”  Children are important but more important is the nuclear family experience.  Another person once suggested that the nuclear family, consisting of a mother, a father, and children living in the same home, is copyable for homosexual couples, divorced couples, and single parents, so what’s the big deal?”  In asking that question, the individual’s historical ignorance was apparent, and society’s problem leading to a repeat of history.

Living together as a family is messy, it is hard, and it requires learning how to live together.  These fundamental lessons become the experience that binds a nation to its culture, faith, and fundamental societal core.  There is no substitute, no shortcuts, and no other possible way to exist.  Yet, too often, the nuclear family is shunned, disrespected, and disregarded for the pleasures of living more easily.

No, I am not casting aspersions on those parents raising children as single parents.  I have known the great and good and the incredibly terrible in single parents and would support that person and those children however I can.  But, I hold this perception and desire because I know the value of the nuclear family, the nuclear family’s potential, and I know how a family makes a community, and a community makes a family.

I read the research on homosexual couples rearing children, and I weep for the children!  A more honest statement I cannot make.  I know the abuse and problems inherent in any family organization, but the problems are only multiplied a hundred-fold in homosexual couples rearing children.  The second most destructive power in Rome’s fall, mirrored from the Greeks, was the rise of homosexuality, which was preceded by a loss of morality, religious living, and the nuclear family.