Dollars and Sense – Inflationary Spending and Fiscal Insanity

Bobblehead DollThese articles have discussed money, monetary policy, fiscal sanity, and government spending several times this year.  Some have called me alarmist for raising fiscal sanity during a “Global Health Crisis.”  While COVID-19 (Sars-COV-2) is undoubtedly a viral disease with a 98%+ survival rate, I cannot in good conscience call this a “Global Health Crisis.”  The pandemic declaration was a political move, the mask mandating, business closures, and every other hysterical move have been carefully formulated to present a problem where none exists.  Has Sars-COV-2 mutated; absolutely, but the emotional hysteria has mutated far faster.

Dollars and SenseApathy

When you pass paper to a store clerk, are you spending money; no, you are spending confidence.  Your confidence in the dollar’s strength, as represented by a check, cash, money order, credit card, etc., is what is being spent.  Why was the Great Depression so lasting and detrimental; a lack of confidence in the US Dollar.  People who saved their money formed sane fiscal policies personally and acted logically lost their confidence in the US Dollar, and the dollar went into a great depression.

Since President Clinton, the US Government has been on a drunken spending spree and does not appear to be stopping unless the citizens demand they cease and desist!  What does this mean for you and me; everything costs more for two reasons inflation and interest.  When the government prints money, too much money increases prices, and too few goods chase too much money, resulting in people suffering.  When the government borrows money, the interest must be serviced; the interest will increase prices and usually absorb some of the extra capital on the market to bring down inflation.Lemmings 2

Except, Quantitative Easing (QE) is hindering the absorption of money on the market.  Hence America is witnessing something truly remarkable for the first time in financial history, the debt (principal), the interest, and the extra capital, all of these storms are combining into a major conflagration economically speaking.  Usually, at this point, a country begins to look for a place to go to war, which explains China and its expansionist policies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.  Too much debt, too much interest, a military needing worked, and assets need to be stolen from other countries.  Typical historical thinking, war truly is grand larceny on a massive scale!

Where are America and China headed; let’s ask Czarist Russia, USSR, Nazi Germany, East Germany, China, North Korea, Italy, Venezuela, Greece, France, and who knows how many other economically unstable countries historically and presently.  Going to war will not solve this economic crisis, though some may try that solution.  The only solution worth advancing at this critical juncture economically is reducing the size of government, placing a firm halt on all government spending, and refusing the politicians to get into debt for at least two decades!  Yes, this means changing Social Security, Welfare, Medicaid and Medicare, and every other government benefit program to fit a reduced budget and smaller government model.  Failure to tighten belts for the next two decades will bankrupt America, and most of the world, making the Great Depression look like a summer picnic.Lemmings 4

Gold and Oil, real estate, Gross Domestic Products (the goods manufactured in America for sale), trade, all of these wealth tools and more cannot support the debt incurred, the money printed, nor the size of the government from the city and county to the White House.  As this trend continues, Wall Street will continue to be tumultuous, at best, and the confidence in the US Dollar will continue to slide.  But, as the dollar slides, which global currency will begin to take up the slack?

The Euro has discredited itself and is not worth the paper it is printed on.  China thinks they will step into the void and take up the slack with the Yuan, except their financial situation is almost as bad as Venezuela’s and Cuba’s, but their size and government type keep this hidden from the public.  Even though the Yuan is in junk status, the Communist government hides these facts; the truth is leaking out in higher trade tariffs and other global trade and finance costs.  Russia’s economic situation still has not stabilized with the fall of the USSR and will probably need another two to three decades until it can compete on the global economy again.Gravy Train 2

I heard a postulation that the Arabian Oil Rich nations of the Middle East would produce an OPEC-backed currency if the US Dollar fails.  I highly doubt this as a solution, but the potential is there.  Another person claimed the lack of confidence in the US Dollar would lead to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) issuing currency for the world; boy, would that be a significant problem!  Yet, the American Dollar is being purposefully destroyed by the current crop of politicians, and nobody is standing up and declaring ENOUGH!

Inflation

The US Government, and many others globally, have increased their drunken spending since Jan/Feb 2020 to incredibly extensive levels and used a “Global Health Crisis” as the excuse.  Except when Ebola was sweeping the world, we did not have this level of insane spending and government intrusion.  Ebola is far deadlier, easier to spread, and yet the Ebola disaster is barely remembered.  Bird Flu, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, all these viruses have had their time in the media hysterical spotlight, every single one of them is deadlier than Sars-COV-2, easier to spread, and they were never a cause for a global pandemic.Gravy Train

Inflation is caused by poor economic policy, where the government grants itself the ability to print money.  Inflation is not just money and monetary policy; inflation is also confidence, faith, and trust.  Inflation is how the government acts, thinks, and behaves.  Inflation is as real as COVID-19 and just as deadly as Ebola while being more problematic for everyone.  From Dec 2020 to the end of July 2021, inflation has increased the price of goods and services by 3.8%, seasonally adjusted, or 5.4% non-seasonally adjusted, which means that prices go up as a seasonal adjustment in the summer.

Fiscal Insanity

Consider with me an analogy; you live in a community of houses and pay a Homeowners Association (HOA) Fee.  Your neighbor has decided they can write checks on your checking account, and the HOA has granted them legal protection to write checks on your bank accounts.  Because your neighbor has legal protection, you sell off assets to provide the funds for your neighbor.  You sell to other neighbors letters of credit that you promise to pay interest on, provided your other neighbors hold those letters of credit for specific amounts of time.  Except, your neighbors stop buying those letters of credit over time because they do not like how your neighbor keeps writing checks and spending your money.  How do you keep this house of cards from blowing over and losing everything?

Tax BurdenAmerica is in this position right now!  Trend lines show a steady downward trend in the value of the US Dollar.  Inflation will keep increasing prices as too much money is chasing too few products on the market.  Debt needs to be serviced and interest paid.  But, when the interest payment is the only thing being paid, and the principal will also need to be serviced, where and how does the principal get serviced when the interest is absorbing all the monthly payments?  Simple economics, money once created and put into the money market, cannot just be absorbed or disappeared.  Just like food doesn’t disappear once consumed, the offal must come out and be handled responsibly.  Well, the dollar is in an offal position and needs responsibly handled!

© 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.

The Role of a Call Center Trainer: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Bobblehead DollI want to express my deepest gratitude to Call Centre Helper Magazine for the opportunity to advertise for my dissertation research.  I once asked a call center leader what a trainer does; their answer still makes me chuckle.

A trainer trains!

Kind of obvious, right.  Now, what does a trainer train?  How does a trainer train?  How does a business leader know the trainer has been successful in training?  What is the purpose of training?  What does training do for those trained?  These questions and the business leaders’ comment have inspired my professional and academic footsteps for several years now.Call Center 2

In early July 2021, I finally received permission to begin human testing for my dissertation.  I have posted several advertisements on social media for call center workers, trainers, and senior leaders to entice 17 people willing to answer some questions about training in call centers, a call center trainer, and what precisely a call center trainer does.  The following is a brief description of the aims and intents of my research to increase interest and hopefully glean the needed participants to finish my study.

Consider for a moment a teacher who has influenced you professionally or personally, and why did they make such an impact?  Could a different person have made the same impact?  Why?

The above questions are the crux of my research; to date, the role of the instructor has not been considered a variable in corporate training.  As an adult educator, I find this gap very alarming.  In academia, the teacher’s role has been extensively studied, and opinions abound regarding the role of the teacher.  Yet, in a professional setting, no researcher has addressed this gap to date.  With the push to move all training to computer-based solutions in autonomous environments, if the trainer does not teach corporate knowledge and behaviors, who does?

Call Center BeansIn researching the history of professional training, the model employed has not changed since a master taught journeyman who led novice instruction.  Yet, with technology, global populations, cultures, language, and globe-spanning organizations, the role of the trainer seems to continue to take a back seat.  Yet, if a corporate trainer profoundly influenced you professionally, would you not want that experience for another person?

Due to the restrictions on human testing in research, I cannot change the dry legalese of the advertisements.  I know they are long, tedious, and challenging to get through.  However, if you are interested, please get in touch with me directly using:

Msalisbury1@my.gcu.edu

Please note, to participate, you will need the following:

      • Work in an English Speaking Call Center with a home base in the United States.
      • Have a LinkedIn account (This is for verification of professional qualifications only).
      • Speak English like a native.
      • Be willing to answer demographic questions, including time in the current role, education, and so forth.
      • Be willing to elaborate upon your answers. I will ask you some questions about your experiences; please provide details, depth, and descriptions as your answer.

Knowledge Check!Important to note, your name and business will never be mentioned in my dissertation!  I am not collecting any personal data beyond education and years of experience.  Any direct quotes employed will carry no connecting data, and no one will see your details.

Thank you for considering joining me in my dissertation research.  I look forward to publishing this research and discussing the findings with you in later articles.

© 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.

 

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot – The VA Edition: More Shameful VA Chronicles

Angry Grizzly BearThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has released the details of an investigation into a veteran’s death.  The scope of the investigation included several key items, but the main point was that a nurse failed to contact the patient, the patient went without medication for four days, and on day five, died.

The facility conducted an internal review of the patient’s care. The OIG found that the review was incomplete and included inaccurate information, and leaders were unable to determine if an institutional disclosure was warranted.”

Failing to coordinate care is a leadership issue, and the leader’s failures caused a veteran’s death.  With more veterans using community-based care options, VA leaders must coordinate care more specifically, that medical records are shared timely, and communication occurs.  We are several years into expanded community-based care options for veterans; why has the VA not made progress on this issue to date?

Personal storytime, no VA-OIG investigation.  I was forcibly moved from the Las Cruces community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) to the El Paso VAMC due to the felonious and fallacious charges of being a behavioral problem in Phoenix VAMC because I cannot physically and safely wear a mask.  My new primary care provider, a nurse practitioner, sent me a letter dated 23 July 2021, almost a month after I submitted documents for completion, informing me they do not feel capable of making a medical determination on my ability to drive.  I had submitted some documents from the NM DMV to get a handicap placard and medical clearance for diabetes and my neurological condition.  A medical professional is not capable of making a medical determination.  Oh, the irony is thick with this one!

Irony Examples in Literature That are Just Perfect for a Lazy Day - PenlightenThe El Paso VAMC spearheaded a program for the VA to begin using nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacists as primary care providers to “reduce the burden” on actual medical doctors.  If the nurse practitioner felt medically incapable of making a decision, where was his supervisor?  Where was his leadership support team?  Is the problem with using no medical doctors clear?  Leadership issues abound, and nobody in Congress is taking any action.  Nobody in the VA’s highest echelons of leadership is taking any steps to correct the local and VISN level leadership problems.  Who suffers; the veterans and their dependents!

Back to recent VA-OIG investigations, we find a doctor from Florida sentenced to six years in the federal prison system, plus restitution and asset forfeiture.  From the record, we find the following:

To attain such high volumes of claims, the conspirators used bribes and kickbacks. Specifically, Davidson and his conspirators illegally purchased thousands of DME claims from so-called “marketers.” The marketers, for their part, had generated the claims under the guise of “telemedicine,” but no telemedicine had occurred. Instead, the “marketers” had bribed doctors to sign the DME brace orders that supported the claims. Davidson and his conspirators paid millions to secure the illegal DME claims for submission to Medicare and CHAMPVA.”

GavelHow many conspirators are Federal Employees?  How many are leaders of Federal Employees?  Who else knew and profited, and when will they be held culpable for the crimes committed?  Dr. Richard Davidson (42) had a lot of help to build a $20 Million healthcare fraud scheme; a lot of that help had to come from Federal Employees.  When will government employees finally start being held responsible for the problems they perpetuate?  Where is Congress in scrutinizing this case and demanding the legislative branch take action to stop the fraud?

Traveling to Puget Sound Healthcare System in Seattle, Washington, we find the VA-OIG neck-deep in conducting a comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp).  “The Director and the Chief of Staff had served since 2017, the Deputy Director for Patient Care Services and Associate Director had been in their positions since 2018, and the Deputy Director had served since 2019. Survey data indicated opportunities to improve employee satisfaction and reduce feelings of moral distress. Patient survey results showed that individuals were generally less satisfied with their care compared to VHA averages” [emphasis mine].  More thick irony is being dished out here.  Never will the VA-OIG find employees feeling morally distressed and patients being highly satisfied with their care.  There is a causal relationship between the level of moral distress in employees and lack of satisfaction from patients, and the problem is found in the leadership at the local VAMC/VAHCS level!

Knowledge Check!Never forget, the Puget Sound VAHCS is where the wait-list death scandal began before that hospital director was moved to Phoenix.  Thus, to hear of employees still feeling morally distressed in this VAHCS is not surprising, alarming, but not surprising!  To hear that patients still feel cheated is expected, as the VA leaders who took over after the wait-list scandal had been raised in a culture of corruption, where the honest left and the dishonest and disrespectful remained.  Some of the VA-OIG’s recommendations include patient follow-up and exit reviews, care coordination, medication management, and patient safety.  All of which are symptoms of poor leadership!

My wife just asked me a pertinent question, “Can you trust the VA to provide you honest care?”  No, I cannot.  Yet, due to ObamaCare, the cost of seeking outside medical service is so astronomical I cannot afford to participate in my company’s medical insurance plans.  The VA has a dearth of leadership, coupled with too many managers, lawyers, and labor unions.  Yet, who does a veteran complain to?  Congress is deaf to our pleas.  The VA in Washington is missing in action 100% of the time.  The veteran service organizations are all geared to helping get veterans enrolled into VA benefits.  Lawyers cost too much.  The VA-OIG is limited to making recommendations, and the government protects its own against litigation.

ElectionIn a representative government, the highest authority is the people electing officers to government.  Well, I continue to appeal to my fellow veterans, their dependents, and ordinary citizens.  Please, help change the VA!  Vote new blood into a public office dedicated to correcting and scrutinizing, not writing endless legislation that costs too much and increases debt.  Vote new judges into office who will see the problems and not employ judicial overreach to handle issues.  Demand accountability from elected officials.

© 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.

Customer Service Agent Abuse – Customer Service Begins with Customers

Angry Wet ChickenPlease note, I am not the best person to be around when my “cherub-like demeanor” dissipates.  I continue to invest time and energy in preparation and in unhooking emotion from knee-jerk responses to provide a better customer experience for those I connect with.  I am not perfect; I am not trying to give advice that I am not trying to implement every day, in every situation.  I have read story after story about “how to handle difficult customers,” “how to provide excellence in difficult customer situations,” and I have read the nightmarish tales of agents not allowed to control a call.

While I am a subject matter expert on customer service, customer relations, and customer attentiveness, I miss my high standards often.  I am not bragging; I hate delivering less than exceptional customer service.  I have been a difficult customer when I do not understand, and nobody is willing to explain.  I fall into many of the same traps I work to avoid and appreciate customer service agents who will see through the barbs and help me understand.  When discussing customer agent abuse, I am a bit of a bear when someone makes my people cry and feel there are solutions to challenging customers that do not require ending the transaction.  However, I will not tolerate abuse of customers or customer service agents, ever!

Angry Grizzly BearBack in the 1990s, when I started at a call center on Friday, there were no locks, no badges, no traffic control, and minimal security presence.  Monday morning, we had badges, electronic key cards, traffic control security points, and a host of new security measures.  Why; because a customer showed up at an agent’s cubicle, he had stalked this employee for months, and the only thing saving this person’s life was that she went into labor that morning.  Her stalker showed up with a shotgun and a dozen roses.  While not perfect at controlling my responses, I can clarify and support customer service agents against abuse.

What is Customer Agent Abuse?

Customer agent abuse is any actions conducted over a phone that would not be tolerated in person.  For example, only in the US Navy was going toe-to-toe with another person, threatening bodily harm, and using the foulest of language acceptable behavior.  Even in the US Navy, this behavior was only “tolerated” if you outranked the person you were hollering at, which made no sense during my time in service and even less sense now.  Customer agent abuse includes threats to personal property, life, or family.  Customer agent abuse includes making personal derogatory remarks.

Exclamation MarkWhile some may add or subtract to this list of agent abuses, I prefer simplicity.  Thus, I repeat, only for emphasis, if the behavior is not tolerated in front of a police officer, that is customer agent abuse, and should not be accepted.  Is speaking loudly customer agent abuse; probably not.  However, the situationality of defining customer agent abuse is such that professionals will need clear and specific directions.  Let us clarify a few topics.

What is a Customer?

A customer is anyone asking for assistance.  That is the entire definition, and when we understand this definition, our whole mindset and attitude swings from “customer service is someone else’s job” to “how may I assist you today?”

Who is a Customer Agent?

Knowledge Check!A customer agent is anyone able to provide the assistance being sought.  Will you be the one today to provide the service needed?  Do you realize this is a choice made every time you engage another person?

Reality Check

Would you ever see your family as customers; why?  Do you think those definitions are too simplistic; honestly, when you think about it, no.  Your fellow employees are your first customers.  Your leaders are your first customers.  Then come vendors and shareholders and external customers.  I have never agreed with separating internal and external customers.  Some try to claim an external customer pays the bills.  Sure, but without your team of employees, there are no products or services to sell.

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgA business owner once told me that this method of thinking was as valuable as arguing about what came first, the chicken or the egg.  Yet, before you can grow into a small business, you must provide a service or good for purchase.  Hence the most essential customer is your fellow employees, and failing to understand this simple fact, breeds an Us vs. Them mentality in employee and customer relations.  Worse, this aggressive attitude only grows as the business grows and is heard by your customers in every transaction!

Customer Agent Abuse

Tell me, as a business leader, would you allow an employee to scream, swear, act belligerently, and raise their voices to another employee?  If the answer is no, why do you allow any other customer to act similarly?  I have worked in many different call centers, I have had my share of abusive customer calls.  I have suffered the slings and arrows of contempt from fellow employees and customers in hostile work environments.  I have been physically assaulted, threatened, sexually harassed, and more in professional settings, including call centers.  So, why do we allow customer abuse?

QuestionWhat is driving business leaders to excuse irrational and detestably unprofessional behavior by customers?  Honest question, if we would not tolerate behavior in person, why is it allowed over the phone?  Why is the customer agent taking the brunt of the abuse when we all know the problem originates much higher than the agent you are talking to.  Customer service, customer appreciation, customer attentiveness, customer relations, customer retention, etc., all circle around the customer culture bred into the business from its days as a small business.  Worse, the leader’s approach to customer service is felt and observed by agents all over the company and soon will imitate that leader’s attitude and behaviors.

I have led teams where my agents were reduced to tears from the verbal harassment.  When I discovered this, I pulled the quality records and calls, documented everything, and exercised my right to refuse service.  Yes, I invited customers to leave employment and my company without batting an eyelash or caring a single bit.  Nobody deserves to be harassed, sworn at, screamed at, or belittled, all in the name of “customer service.”  Customer agent abuse is a failure of leadership!

Ending Customer Agent Abuse

cropped-tools.jpgSome of what I am proposing will be anathema to your organization; I realize this.  I understand that some of what I propose will be hard to implement, face tremendous pushback, and might cause some organizational design changes.  All of what I am about to suggest is achievable through leadership and customer service.

      1. If employees cannot abuse each other, then neither can anyone else!
            • Invite those who swear to call back when they are more emotionally under control. End the call, end the transaction, make notes.
            • Invite those who habitually abuse to stop being customers or employees.
            • Make notes, keep documentation, and refer to legal if additional problems arise.
            • Make your policy known to your customers, all of your customers.
            • Set high standards of behavior and train to meet those standards.
      2. Revise business policies.
            • Listen to the transactions.
            • Make notes on pain points and process problems that irritate customers, and then dedicate yourself to fixing those pain points.
            • Enter the customer transaction with the intent to act!
            • Listen… Listen… Listen… verify what was said; listen some more.
            • Appreciative inquiry, learn it, love it, live it! Your customers know where and who the problems are.  Repeat as often as needed to ensure understanding, then take prompt action!
      3. Write cohesive and clearly understood policies.
            • Train to the policies.
            • Adjust the policies as needed.
            • Revisit policies every 12-months for applicability.
            • Revise policies as needed to meet customer expectations.
            • Set high standards and train customers to meet those standards.
            • Use rewards for improving customer interaction and transactions.
            • Not all rewards cost money!
      4. Embrace Change
            • Many claim they already do this, but they secretly refuse to change and act opposite to any change that threatens their power source. Eliminate that customer!
            • Change requires courage, tenacity, and imagination. All of which become available when appreciative inquiry becomes a principle for achieving excellence!
            • Set shelf-lives for processes, policies, and procedures.
            • Delegate to achieve new blood and new thinking on old topics.
            • Demand excellence, train for perfection and watch people achieve.
      5. Praise!
            • Honest, sincere, and regular praise will demonstrate an attitude of gratitude to your people, who will then pass along the praise to everyone else.
            • Observe people until you can even reprimand with praise.
            • Never criticize!
            • Never demean!
            • Never allow anyone to denigrate or deride your customers, and your customers will always be at your back.

Bobblehead DollIt does not matter whether your business is a manufacturer or a service provider; it does not matter if you are a non-profit or government agency; what matters is your customer.  Be the customer agent they deserve.  Admit fault, always understand that you cannot know everything, and asking questions is not an evil act.  You customers today are your customer agents tomorrow, and being a better customer is a job!

© 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.

When Fiction Becomes Reality – An Illegal Safe House

Angry Wet ChickenTwo days ago, I received an email that still has me baffled.  What is an “Illegal Safe House?”  The subject line of the email states precisely that, “Illegal Safe House.”  The email had been forwarded to me from other sources, and I got lured into research mode.

01 June 2021, The Gateway Pundit published a story regarding migrants being housed in a secure closed hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Through ICE, Scottsdale Police, and other security agencies, Homeland Security, plus a hired contracting agency, provide security.  Those housed are not discussed; people with questions are pointed to an organization’s website, and nobody knows anything they are willing to release to the public.

Exclamation MarkOther sources report the following regarding this “illegal safe house,” which I have collated into a single comprehensible statement.  I am not the author of this information, and the sources from which it was gathered are not vetted for veracity.

A federal contractor began operating a temporary hotel facility for immigrant families Saturday, 29 May 2021. The site has generated substantial public and media attention.  After nearly two weeks of operation, Scottsdale police report that the only calls for service at the location are from those operating it due to people not associated with the site coming onto the property. Several protests attended by as many as 300 people have occurred, which have been lawful and peaceful.

Whether using this hotel for this purpose complies with the city’s zoning ordinance has been raised. This hotel has been rented to provide temporary stays to families.  Thus far, the city of Scottsdale has seen no evidence indicating this use is not in conformance with the zoning ordinance.  The city of Scottsdale continues to be in contact with the operator and officials from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to ICE officials, this site is for intact families seeking political asylum who are being processed and taken to transportation facilities as they continue their journey to a sponsor family or organization.  Families are at this location for an average of 48 hours, and the vast majority of people travel outside Arizona after processing.  Medical screening (including COVID-19), meals, and other services are provided on-site.  A figure of “1,200” families at the hotel in Scottsdale has been cited, which is incorrect.  The federal contract provides for 1,239 beds in aggregate for all temporary facilities along the southwest border.

The city of Scottsdale has received several hundred calls and emails regarding the facility. Immigration is a federal matter over which the city of Scottsdale has no responsibility or oversight.  If you have further concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Federal Government representatives:

Having tried to contact and engage the elected officials mentioned, good luck breaking through their bureaucracy for straight answers!  None of the elected officials mentioned care a fig for those who elected them.  They continue to prove their dissonance and derogatory attitudes towards the electorate every time they open their mouths!  Arizona, are you sure you are appropriately represented?

QuestionsQuestion 3

      • Who is hosting illegal immigrants?
      • Will those fostering them ensure they show up for court?
      • How do we know these are “intact families?”
      • If these are “temporary housing facilities,” why are they kept so secret?
      • Why wasn’t the public notified that this hotel had been rented and is housing illegal immigrants?
      • The City of Scottsdale claims the ICE operates the hotel in a manner consistent with proper zoning regulations. Yet, Congress proclaims that the Federal Government trumps local regulations and can do anything they want.  Knowing the politics of the City of Scottsdale’s “Zoning Board” and “Zoning Officers,” I can only presume that the zoning officers were hushed by the more than $600-million Endeavors.org received to “sponsor” this illegal safe house.  Who is following up on the money?
      • Where did the money originate, and who is in charge of the contract at the Federal Government?
      • Who hired Endeavors.org to operate temporary housing? Why?  Where is a copy of this contract for public scrutiny?
      • If this contract was a “No-Bid” contract, who are the contracting officers, and why was this a “No-Bid” contract?
      • How many other “Illegal Safe Houses” are being operated? Where are they?  Who is being housed?  How long are they being housed?
      • How much money is the City of Scottsdale receiving directly from this housing scheme?
      • How much money is the State of Arizona being paid for operating these domiciles?
      • Safety and security of America, who vetted these illegals? What documentation was used?  Where did that documentation originate?  How do we know the documentation is legitimate?
      • If these illegal immigrants are being housed temporarily, where are they being sent to next? Who approves travel?  Who is paying for travel?  Who is responsible for mandating appearance on court dates?Plato 2

These are but some of the fundamental questions I would expect to see addressed on Endeavors.org, the parent company operating this domicile.  Except, none of these questions are discussed, addressed, and no additional information is available from the website.  Does anyone else find this particularly odd?  Want to see something horrifying; go to the following link and look at the map for where “migrant services” are provided by Endeavors.  Now, ask yourself, is the problem on the southern US Border restricted to just the southwestern US?

Frankly, I do not care where you stand on illegal immigration, immigration, and immigration reform.  This article is not written to discuss these topics.  I am concerned with the secrecy, the lack of funds, and the government’s profligate spending.  I am concerned with national security issues.  I am very concerned with the human trafficking issues.  America has become the human trafficking capital and human slavery capital of the world.  Yet, none of the politicians locally, state, or federally are willing to act on human trafficking and human slavery problems.  We have token arrests, but prosecutions take forever, and illegal immigrants are being taken advantage of, with a nod by the Federal Government and a sly wink from the state and local governments.

Knowledge Check!With America being a representative government, this means that the citizens are responsible for the actions of their government.  I refuse to be held accountable for feeding the ever-hungry jaws of human slavery and trafficking, the sex and drug industries.  Join me; throw off the chains that threaten to bind and gag us, refuse to be governed by the current crop of politicians who refuse to do their jobs, while taking bribes and “political donations” from groups that are trying to overthrow 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.

 

When Fiction is Reality – The World Weeps!

Exclamation MarkI find a piece of fiction masquerading as science from today’s email, and I cannot help but ask myself, when did fiction become a reality?  How did Orwell’s 1984 escape the pages and become a reality?  Why did Animal House exit the big screen and become a way of life?  Mark Twain is one of the most often quoted authors, and I particularly like his comments on statistics which is pertinent to today’s discussion on fiction.

“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Consider something with me; even if you initially disagree, please humor me.  Statistics prove nothing; the best a statistical analysis can ever do is represent a bias towards a specific course of action.  That is it!  Mark Twain’s quote describes the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. Mark Twain’s point is used to doubt statistics to prove an opponent’s point.  Inherent in every statistical analysis are the researcher’s biases, the desire of the researcher to attempt to verify something via numbers that are generally unable to be proved otherwise.Anton Ego

Except research proves nothing; even peer-reviewed research, the gold standard in research, can only point a person towards a potential solution and encourage a person towards a course of action.  The numbers prove nothing, ever!  Many people have become convinced that statistical data is comparable to “Holy Writ,” which is erroneous and dangerous.  Let me prove it to you, please.

Project Implicit

Project implicit was designed by Harvard University, is hosted on Harvard’s servers, and is all about individual bias.  Implicit bias in statistics is described as bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally, that nevertheless affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors.  Bog-standard bias is considered attitudes, behaviors, and actions that are prejudiced in favor or opposition to a person, group, or thing.  But, here is the clincher, bias is judged by others as a projection of themselves when they encounter other people, places, or things.

Broccoli PNGFor example, President Bush I, did not like broccoli.  A prejudice, possibly from childhood, he does not like this vegetable and handled the situation poorly at a state dinner in Japan.  Not liking broccoli is a bog-standard bias.  Other people, especially those enjoying broccoli, will view this event and shake their heads, possibly even ridiculing the president for his disinterest in broccoli.  Others who agree that broccoli is nasty will not have a problem with the presidential bias against broccoli as they exercise the same intolerance.  Thus, a bias is a behavior, an attitude, and supporting actions against something, someone, or someplace, even if that bias is understood or not.

Implicit bias takes normal bias one step further, according to psychiatrists and psychologists.  The extra step includes the inability to explain why a person does not like broccoli.  If there is no hidden reasoning from childhood, traumatic experiences, or irrational fears, then bog-standard bias is considered implicit bias, as judged by the person observing the behaviors.  Are the differences apparent; the reason I ask this is because of the problem in naming biases, the individual doing the observing and judging.Implicit Bias Test

In a branch of science called “Chaos Theory,” there is a hypothesis “that people affect their environments to their own desires.”  The premise was accidentally discovered when humans observed particles under close study and observed under remote means, and the particles acted differently.  The human influence upon particles was a giant leap forward in science, and nowhere is the power of researchers more fully understood than in human sciences (psychology, psychiatry, etc.).  The human brain is wired to connect socially, which is part of the problem when humans are studied under observation.  The innate desire to connect means that people will choose differently when under direct observation, when under remote observation, and when under no observation.

Hence bias is a judgment of another as witnessed through a lens of another person’s understanding, opinions, biases, and experiences.  Researcher bias is a fact inescapable and remains a topic of discussion in every research paper as a contributing factor to the results.  Why; because the researcher’s influenced the results, influenced the data, and influenced the process to achieve their own desires for an outcome. QED: Thoughts become things.Thoughts Become Things | the quotes

Returning to Project Implicit, ask yourself, why would you allow someone else to judge you?  Do you know them?  Do they know you?  Do you fully appreciate that the other person and yourself will influence the results?

Project implicit claims to measure, using mathematical formula the bias of another person, using time and word lists.  Using this formula (v1-v2=BIAS), Project Implicit proclaims they can help you recognize implicit bias on a range of topics from racism to gender roles and from veggies to pets, all because the mathematics claim they are conducting science.  Except, the implicit association is rigged to produce the desired results, as discussed above; hence, where is the veracity?The problems with implicit bias training | The Spectator | Truth Conquers All

GIGO

Garbage in equals garbage out (GIGO) is an axiom that initially began in computer programming and signified that when you dump a bunch of garbage into a system, the results are garbage.  The same is true for every single human endeavor; when you begin with garbage, the best you get for a result is more garbage.  Returning to implicit associations as an indicator of implicit biases, ask yourself, who selected the terms associated with the topic under study, the researcher or the researchee?

Of course, the researcher selected the terms, chose the topic, and tested how fast you can associate a word with the topic under study.  Then comparing the two results declares you have a bias.  Except, do you have a bias; I do not think so!  But, that’s my bias, for I choose to believe that you know how to choose and act in social environments to your potential and desired outcomes.[الإنحياز الضمني] مكتبات التصنيف الجاهزة في العقل البشري | محمد بن نخيلان الشمري

An Example

I was ordered to take an implicit association test to measure my emotional intelligence in a previous position.  The test used word associations on the topic of gender roles and leadership.  Believe it or not, I failed that association test; I do not place genders into any roles as traditional or limited to one gender or the other.  The best leaders are good followers; leaders are not born, they are made; gender, like race, never plays a role in the leadership potential of the person in charge.  Yet, when I failed the association test, my organization was informed I was obstinate, difficult, and opinionated; not that I deny these accusations, I simply refuse to fit into a pre-determined box.  Plus, I would see more people escape the box that has been built for them to “fit” into!https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8368/8537356422_23bf051215_b.jpg

Later that same week, I snuck into the association exam a second and third time, mainly because the researchers kept sending active links that did not discriminate against logins that had previously taken their test.  Yes, I intentionally poked holes into these researcher’s pet project, and I will explain in a minute why.  On my second attempt, I chose what the results considered a “traditional male” with a bias against women.  In the third attempt, I decided to be a woman with a grudge against men and their traditional roles.  I wanted to show how irrelevant these word association tests are and how the results should never be taken seriously.

My plan backfired; my employer was not happy.  The researchers had to scrap their entire data set and go back to the drawing board to fix the research plan, and then after regaining approval, collect human testing data a second time.  Lots of prestige was lost for my employer.  I did not care then; I care less even now; even though I eventually left that position with people angry with me, I do not regret my actions.  Thankfully, I was not the only person offended by the word associations and the results which “snuck back” to play!Mediocrity Joke

Why is this important?

The answer to why these topics are important is found in the principles outlined:

  1. Statistics prove nothing!
  2. Statistics can only support a course of action!
  3. Research can only support a decision!
  4. Research cannot prove anything!
  5. Faux science abounds, and until researchers and academia acknowledge this problem, it will only grow.
  6. Never believe what you read, see, or hear!
  7. Faux science is being used to classify, separate, denigrate, and deride!
  8. Faux science is the excuse for stealing your liberty, freedoms, and legal rights under the US Constitution!
  9. Faux science crops up in courtrooms which is a cause for bad case law, which develops into detestable legislation!
  10. Faux science looks, sounds, and appears legitimate until you dig deeper. If you do not dig, you will be misled!

Bobblehead DollI cannot stress enough the need for every person to stop accepting the box others claim you must live in to “get along and get ahead.”  You are an individual with inalienable rights, a brilliant mind, and unlimited potential.  You are needed on the front lines of the battlefields of today.  You must play an active role, or you will not be able to leave the American Heritage and this great Republic to your children and community.

But, like the “Reading Rainbow” used to proclaim, “Don’t take my word for it!”  Meaning explore, doubt, ask questions, and keep asking questions until you are satisfied the answers are truthful, without dissemination.  Liars will tell you a thousand truths to get you to believe a single lie.  But, do not take my word for it; prove it to yourself; then teach it to another person so that you can learn more perfectly.Reading Rainbow

© 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.

COVID-19 – Authoritarians, Storm Troopers, Liars, and Thieves

Angry Grizzly BearSince February 2020, the world has seen COVID-Authotirarians, Storm Troopers, Liars, and Thieves rise.  I think it is time to start naming names and being specific that we will no longer accept this detestable behavior from government, media, community, bureaucrats, and those who have constantly been aching for a chance to exert authority over someone else!  Too often, I have witnessed these ignorant savages trying to overcome common sense and legal boundaries in the name of a survivable viral disease because the atmosphere has allowed the rise of stupidity masquerading as “Health Policy!”

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Monday, 26 June 2021, the US Mail delivered to me a letter from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), Secretary Denis McDonough, and cosigned by Acting Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Richard A. Stone MD.  Two people who were selected by the fraudulent president Biden for their political adroitness and not for their brains, experience, intellect, or even manners, and the letter received is proof!  Imagine sending a letter to all US Veterans using an attitude of childishness and the faux superiority of the intellectual elite to compare getting the COVID-19 vaccine to serving in the US Military, “AGAIN!”

Angry Wet ChickenWhat was the desired intent of this despicable piece of self-righteous trash?  I have had three calls to date from two different VISN’s and VAMC’s requesting me to get vaccinated, neigh demanding me to get vaccinated.  Yet, the VA cannot even answer simple questions about my concerns for the vaccination, including future sterility, why vaccinated people are only catching the DELTA variant, how the vaccine interacts with medications already being taken, the neurological issues and heart issues from receiving the vaccine, and the list goes on and on!  But the VA wants to send me a letter talking down to me and my intelligence trying to promote the vaccine and claiming this is like serving in the US Military again!

Quoting Colonel Potter, M*A*S*H 4077, “Bull Feathers!”

Governors who do not understand the Separation of Powers or the Rule of Law!

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Phil Murphy, governors of New York and New Jersey respectably, and too many more who act like tyrants, think like spoiled children and run their state’s like the Federal Government is their personal piggy bank and all the citizens are private property.  We, the citizens, are sick to death of being held captive to your ignominious and deleterious policies, stupidity, and damnable insanity!  You have disgraced your offices, demeaned the rule of law, and distanced yourselves from any political redemption.Apathy

I look forward to the day when you are held legally culpable, accountable, and individually responsible before the bar of justice for your behaviors, actions, double-dealings, and waste of taxpayer funds!  You named, and those unnamed who are cohorts in crime, have been the cause of unemployment, businesses shuttering, economic disaster, all for personal gain and individual ego, and your reigns of terror are, hopefully, soon to end in Federal Court and an Orange Jumpsuit!  You have betrayed the honest citizens in your states, and when they awake and arise, blessed change will follow, for there is nothing more dangerous than an honest man betrayed!

US Senators, US House of Representatives, and Every Legislator Elected in the United States

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgEvery one of you should be ashamed!  Each one who has sat by and watched your governor or president be the flaccid media mouthpiece of cheap science, faux interest in public health, and have voted to create inflation, destroy businesses, livelihoods, and communities, while cheering the destruction of law and order, you also need to be held accountable for your culpability in this most disgusting and distressing event, COVID-19!  I absolutely require your retirement packages, repayment of all funds, and a dishonorable discharge from public service for every one of you!   Why have so few of you even asked the simple questions regarding COVID; for example:

      • Why is COVID different from every other viral disease in the world?
      • Why do we need to “fast track” a vaccine using untrusted, untried, and unknown technology?
      • Why is a Chinese Viral disease able to shut down economies, close businesses, close churches, and close everything but big box stores?
      • What is different about COVID, a viral disease less dangerous than any other viral disease shipped from China with a higher survivability rate, able to throw the entire world on its ear?
      • How did Fauci go from approving Hydroxychloroquine in research to being against Hydroxychloroquine for the same COVID viruses he wrote peer-reviewed research papers?
      • Why was common-sense medicine thrown away for personal suffering at home until those susceptible to COVID were dying?

You were elected to represent the best interests of ALL your electorate, not the special interests, Big-Tech, Big-Pharma, Big-Box retailers, but the common citizens, and you refused to perform your primary function!  Legislators have only two jobs, write common-sense laws that support the best for all citizens, honoring the US and State Constitutions, and scrutinizing the legislative branch!  That is your entire job, and too many of you have failed to even show up for work.

Yes; you who have sat around and done nothing to protect citizens from run-away government are guilty, culpable, responsible, and need to be held accountable in front of a judge for your lack of job performance!  Justice demands you to be held responsible.  You will be held liable and accountable.  I long to see you in distinctive clothing, carrying sandwich boards advertising your crimes, picking up trash, pulling weeds, feeding the hungry, and doing other public services until all the funds you have squandered, and the pain you have inflicted has been paid off!Plato 2

Neighbors and Bureaucrats

America has always come together in difficult times, relying upon our neighbors and communities for strength and support.  But those who have used COVID as a means to exercise dominion, creating rules and policies at a whim, demanding obeisance, and using fear of a public health emergency instead of logic and calm-headed reasoning should be utterly ashamed of yourselves!  I have watched neighbors, friends, families torn apart by COVID Storm Troopers who have used faux science, media talking heads, and the most abysmal behavior exercising control, and this behavior must cease immediately!  When government fails, bureaucrats lose their voice.  Well, the government has failed, the bureaucrats have lost, and it is time for a reckoning with the citizens who have been cheated, defrauded, and penalized!quote-mans-inhumanity-2

Neighbors and Citizens

Do you realize that you have had money stolen from your pockets through inflation, taxes, and a run-away government?  Do you understand that through media talking heads, faux science, and out-of-control legislative branches of government, your liberties, rights, and freedoms have been stolen and replaced with socialized government?  In fact, the socialization of the government began before COVID, and this was done to directly penalize you for crimes you have never committed and enlarge the pockets of career politicians!  Are you aware of how close the US Constitution has come to being irrelevant, overtaken by a socialized/communist government?  How concerned are you that your heritage, your legacy, and your family are about to be wiped out through government actions taken in capitals and applied on main streets, and the bureaucrats are laughing all the way to the bank!

VaccineCOVID is the virus with the highest survivability of ALL the Chinese viral diseases unleashed since the early 1990s; yet, COVID is the only virus to impact the world, as we have witnessed since Jan//Feb 2020.  Why is that?  Why is COVID powerful enough to change governments to demand green/health passports to enjoy food and drink in an outdoor café?  Businesses owners, why was COVID allowed to close your businesses?  None of the other Chinese Viral diseases were allowed to close you down; why was COVID allowed?  The Ebola outbreak in the last years of Pres. Obama was insufficient to close schools, businesses or demand health checks, and health passports; why was COVID given this honor?

What is Politics?

Knowledge Check!Politics is too often a word with so much baggage; people become confused and stop listening after hearing the word politics.  According to Webster:

As a Noun, “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

  • The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.”
  • The academic study of government and the state.”
  • Activities within an organization that is aimed at improving someone’s status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive.”
  • A particular set of political beliefs or principles.”
  • The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society.”

As a Verb, politic/s is derogatory and is defined as “engaging in political activities.”

From Old French Politique “political,” Latin from Greek Politikos, and Politẽs “citizen” and Polis “city.”  Thus, we have described the term politics in all its glory and inhumanity.  Is the term more understood?  Politics is a descriptive tool used to identify certain human activities where power is sought, and devious means and divisive gestures are employed to obtain that power.  Every action tied to securing power through devious means and divisive gestures is politics or political, meaning derogatory.  For those needing more, derogatory is “showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.”quote-mans-inhumanity

COVID has only EVER been about POLITICS!  Meaning that those exercising political leadership positions have a derogatory view of you; the common citizen, those of us who elected them to power.  The politicians are in the “political game” to demean, abuse, and destroy you.  Mad yet?  Feeling betrayed?  We, the citizens, need to restrict our consent to be governed, recalling all the politicians and demanding they be held accountable for creating the mess America is in!  I am not talking about being violent, I do not condone any violence, but I demand the Rule of Law be applied to those who have abused the law, usurped power, and exercised dominion!

© 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.

It IS ALL About Leadership – More Shameful VA Chronicles

I-CareRecently, guardianships have been in the news, and I doubt this story will make the lawyers very happy.  The department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports that an Albuquerque couple has been sentenced for defrauding guardians, which included veterans.  The criminal report claims:

Susan Harris acted as president and was the 95-percent owner of Ayudando, while Moore acted as chief financial officer and was a five-percent owner. They engaged in a pattern of criminal conduct from November 2006 to July 2017 that included unlawfully transferring money from client accounts to a comingled account without any client-based justification.  They wrote and endorsed numerous checks, often of more than $10,000, from these comingled accounts to themselves, family members, cash, and other parties where payment would benefit their families.”

For the better part of 11 years, this couple has spent money not their own, abused their charges, and defrauded vulnerable clientele.  While the federal attorneys and investigators crow about catching this couple and ending this situation; what about all the rest of the guardianships where abuse is occurring?  I have read horrific stories about victims of guardianship abuse and hope more will be done on this topic very shortly!VA 3

For 11 years, where were the VA and the Social Security Administration?  Where were the local hospital leadership, social workers, and other federal employees who had to have known something fishy was going on?  Where are these Federal Employees now?  Where are the politicians scrutinizing this incident to ensure that protection for vulnerable citizens never happens again through legal guardianships?

Now traveling to Eastern Oklahoma VAHCS in Muskogee where an audiologist provided poor care and billed for unrendered services.  Pay close attention to the VA-OIG report; the leadership failures on this report alone are voluminous and unforgivable!

A facility fact-finding review revealed the audiologist provided poor care to eight of 43 patients reviewed, including misinforming patients who needed hearing aids that hearing aids were not needed. Although the audiology leaders reported the fact-finding results to the OIG, they failed to evaluate whether patients needed clinical follow-up; determine whether additional patients were affected by the audiologist’s poor care; evaluate whether clinical disclosures were required for the affected patients; and communicate the fact-finding results to the Facility Director, who was, therefore, unable to initiate the process to determine the necessity of a large scale disclosure. The instances of poor care were also not reported to the Patient Safety Manager, who was, as a result, unable to assess the adverse events to determine if patient safety interventions were indicated. The VA-OIG also found that performance monitoring of facility audiologists was not conducted as required. Annual competency assessments and annual performance appraisals were not consistently completed and did not contain adequate performance standards. Audiology leaders failed to consider whether the audiologist’s actions warranted a report to the state licensing board due to a lack of understanding of the requirements for reporting and, therefore, the Facility Director was not informed of the need to initiate a state licensing board review” [emphasis mine].

Will, someone please tell me, were the audiology leaders who failed to perform their jobs removed from Federal Employment?  What about the audiologists causing the problems?  Are they removed from Federal Employment?  Were their licensing practices curbed to protect other populations of patients?  The leadership failures here read like a Steven King horror story but do not have the satisfaction of finishing the story.VA 3

Yet, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will continue to market that they are “defining quality in healthcare.”  The jokes write themselves but cannot be fired from Federal Employment!  Politicians, why can these jokers not be fired from Federal employment for such egregious abuse of their positions and failures to do their jobs?

I-CareTraveling further to North Carolina, we find that the perpetrator of this fraud has pled guilty, but again responsibility, accountability, and correction of the VA is being skirted.

John Paul Cook, 57, of Alexander, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to defrauding the VA. After enlisting in the Army in 1985, Cook sustained an accidental injury and complained the injury worsened a preexisting eye condition. In 1987, Cook was discharged, and he began receiving benefits that would increase over the next 30 years due to Cook’s repeated false claims of increased visual impairment and unemployability. In 2005, the VA declared Cook legally blind, and he began receiving disability-based compensation at the maximum rate despite repeatedly passing vision screening tests to obtain or renew his driver’s license and purchasing vehicles that he routinely drove.”

1987 to 2020, we will be generous in counting the years here; regardless, we are looking at 30+ years this fraud continued.  Where were the verification protocols?  I have had to produce a valid driver’s license at the VA to obtain and keep current my VA identification card.  How did this fraud go on for so long?  What is the VA doing to stop, or at least hinder, those who would defraud the government before the problem becomes 10 years old, let alone 30?!?!  I cannot fathom how this fraud went on for so long without a routine checkup, a routine exam, a follow-up exam, etc.VA 3

Going north from South Carolina, we find more fraud, this time in New Jersey, where a man did not report his mother had deceased and continued to claim her benefits for a total of over $200K.

Melvin Greenspan, 72, of Perrineville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to defrauding VA of over $200,000 in survivor’s pension benefits. After the death of his mother in 2006, who had received survivor’s pension due to his father’s prior military service, Greenspan failed to notify the VA about his mother’s death and made withdrawals of the benefits through 2018.”

Where was the leadership?  Where are the leaders now?  Another fraud case, older than a decade, and still the VA cannot be held accountable for facilitating the fraud.  I am stunned!  How did this one continue for so long?  Doesn’t the VA check local newspapers, the Social Security Administration, other Federal Agencies?  Since the culprit was not held on defrauding SSA, one can only presume the mother’s death was reported there.  Why did the VA not get notified to ask the family questions?VA 3

On the topic of guardians and leadership, the following story makes me angry!  However, I will withhold further elaboration since those accused remain innocent until proven guilty by a trial of their peers.

Johnny Ray Gasca, 51, was arrested for allegedly abducting a 68-year-old woman with dementia from the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in California. A witness recognized Gasca and reported he might have previously taken money from the woman’s bank and retirement accounts. Following his arrest, Gasca described the victim as his girlfriend and told agents that they stopped at a bank where the victim made a $15,000 withdrawal after leaving the medical center.”

In the first report from the VA-OIG discussed, we found guardianship rules being violated to the Nth degree.  In this story, we have no information of an assigned guardian, and we have a dementia patient being abused.  The dementia patient was traveling with a friend; who is the legal guardian for a dementia patient?  Where are the family or friends legally bonded to render aid for this patient and monitor finances to protect them from abuse?  How can the VA operate one way in one locale and 180-degrees differently in another locale and the leadership not held accountable?VA 3

Speaking of missing leadership, the following VA-OIG report is a beauty!  The Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has a program to help homeless veterans, where contractors are used, and the VHA uses case management documentation to verify the veteran is receiving the assistance being paid for, the program is called the contracted residential services (CRS) program.

The VA-OIG found facility staff did not consistently document case management and monitor the progress of veterans in the program.  Further, four of the 14 CRS contracts reviewed had performance deficiencies, with one resulting in improper payments of $592,000. These deficiencies may affect the health and safety of veterans living in transitional settings. Moreover, VA lacks assurance that veterans received required services. There were also contract administration problems in 13 of 14 reviewed contracts. Contracting officers did not always properly delegate responsibilities to staff functioning as contracting officer’s representatives. Further, one facility’s representative did not ensure contractors provided meals or the means to purchase them, as required, and another lacked invoice supporting documentation for approval. The VA-OIG audit team estimated that 107 of 119 contracts had monitoring and administration deficiencies. Furthermore, the team estimated that VHA made $35.3 million in improper payments, of which approximately $21.6 million was technically improper because the individuals authorizing payment were not delegated authority to serve as contracting officer’s representatives.”

If your accomplishment rate in your employment was 48%, would you retain your job for very long?  If 90% of your documentation claiming how well you do your job was missing or fabricated, how long would you maintain employment?  If you delegated people to complete your work who were unauthorized and you were contractually culpable, how long do you think you would stay out of prison?  How long would your boss stay out of jail?  How long would your company exist?  Now, answer me this riddler, why does the government get a pass on these questions?VA 3

Finally, we have Deputy Inspector General David Case’s testimony regarding the failure of VA leadership where the implementation of a new electronic health record (EHR) is being stalled.  If you care, the VA leadership and the VHA leadership are failing the EHR initiative.  Not that this was not expected, and not that this is not surprising, the IT and IS departments of the VA and VHA are so hopelessly lost it amazes me the VA is even using computers and not written records!  But, do not take my word for it, Case himself claims,

“Detailed in this statement, we have repeatedly found unreliable and incomplete estimates for upgrades and costs, inadequate reporting affecting transparency to Congress, and stove-piped governance with decision making that does not appropriately engage Veterans Health Administration (VHA) personnel who are the end-users of the new EHR system.”VA 3

Knowledge Check!Get that; the leadership failures are obstructing Congress and hindering the EHR progress!  What can we conclude from this batch of VA-OIG reports:

        1. The VA, VHA, VBA, and National Cemetery leadership are actively missing, like the Democrats from the Texas Legislature.
        2. If the leaders are present, the leaders are the problems in progressing.
        3. The leaders have created a system where fraud and abuse of the veterans and taxpayers can be achieved with ease.
        4. Nobody in the US House of Representatives or US Senate scrutinizes the legislative branch sufficiently to effect changes.
        5. When in doubt about where your leaders fall, check to see if they are in their offices. Oh, wait, that won’t help, their offices have locks on the doors!

If this is how the VA defines quality healthcare. In that case, the veterans are screwed, the taxpayer is sunk, and the leaders will enjoy their magnanimous federally approved retirement packages, ad nauseam ad infinitum!

© 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.

 

The Role of Quality – The Only Path to Improving Productivity

LookWarehouse or call center, manufacturing or non-profit, service industry or product sales, the role of quality continues to be misunderstood.  Sometimes, it appears that quality is intentionally misunderstood.  Often it seems as if quality and compliance are synonymous, even though quality is a small part of compliance.  Some businesses call quality “Quality Assurance,” “Quality Control,” or the “Quality Department.”  Regardless of the name, quality is the only path to improving productivity; however, productivity is measured.Inspiring Quotes on Quality - Fortune of Africa Swaziland

I have worked with businesses that used quality as a stick to beat employees and ultimately fire them.  This is an absolute abuse of quality and the quality people!  Worse, it hinders productivity because everyone becomes worried about meeting quality demands and not meeting customer expectations.  The employees who meet “quality” in these organizations are depressed, morale is pathetic, and the brand suffers significantly.  What really hurts, everything costs too much takes too long, and the company is not competitive, flexible, viable, or even worth mentioning.

What is Quality?

Bobblehead DollQuality is a process of striving to improve.  Interestingly, people inherently know when they have received quality or not.  Be it a person, a company, a community, a state, a government, etc., how one approaches quality as a process for improvement defines that person, company, community, state, etc.  Some companies think, “We have a quality department, we are meeting quality metrics, we are doing just fine in quality.”  To which I reply, in my best imitation of Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H 4077, “HORSE HOCKEY!”Quality Quotes (40 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

Why; because that company cannot define what drives the metrics being reported.  That company has a quality department but not a quality attitude, quality focus, and quality determination.  It cannot be stressed enough if your people are not quality first; you are losing between 33% and 50% of your potential!  Worse, the loss of potential is always hard to pin precisely to a direct problem when the problem is lodged in something as amorphous as “quality.”Chinese Crisis

Recognizing Quality Value

Let’s do the numbers together.  A manufacturing plant, a call center, and a warehouse are examples A, B, and C, respectively.

Example A: Employee A has been trained on making a part; he has never been told how his parts affect the finished product and is sometimes sloppy in creating pieces.  But, because he is within set standards, his sloppy work can be cleaned up at another station, so Employee A does not want to improve quality.  Producing 200 parts made per day, with anywhere between 5 and 75 pieces, needing additional work; Employee A has an overall cost to the company above and beyond expected costs.  Regardless if Employee A increases his productivity to 250 to 300 pieces per day, his defects remain potential lost.Blue Money Burning

Example B:  XX Team has 15 agents; each agent is expected to handle 80-100 calls per day.  But the quality metrics are so stringent; the team can only meet 35-40 calls per day on average.  However, the business processes to complete work, and meet the quality standards, handicap any single agent from meeting the 80-100 calls per day.  Does the company look at the agents or their business processes and quality standards?  The business will demand higher productivity and never realize that the churn increase is from burned-out good employees walking away!blue-money

Example C:  Inbound product receivers, outbound product shippers, and quality are the three departments in a warehouse.  Inbound, they do not consider themselves part of a quality initiative; their productivity is driven by how many items get properly stowed per day.  Outbound is where the company focuses as this is where the customer satisfaction is directly observed; how much an outbound picks and prepares for shipping is productivity.  Quality is considered someone else’s job as a quality department counts for compliance to SOX and other legislation.  Inbound and outbound employees know their positions, and because they are not quality, they can create quality problems intentionally or not, and someone else will always take care of the problem.  Dirty part locations with inventory from other areas don’t matter; quality will fix it.  Torn or damaged product in a location, it doesn’t matter quality will fix it.  In this case, 2/3rds of the employee potential for improving quality is AWOL!

TOP 25 POOR QUALITY QUOTES | A-Z QuotesNow, someone might think, these are hypotheticals, not real businesses.  Those examples are directly from my experience.  Yes, these examples are slightly oversimplified for brevity; however, not having a whole company quality culture hinders productivity.  This is a truth inescapable.

Co-Equal but not Co-Valuable

kpiProductivity, however measured in your company for goods or services, should be a co-equal part of quality.  Yet, if equality cannot be achieved, err on the side of increased quality until productivity catches up.  The value of productivity is measured in green money, cash.  The value of quality is measured in blue money, potential.  Bringing up my favorite axiom, “Burn enough blue money, and cash evaporates, and no one can trace where the cash went!”

Returning to Example A, the employee does not know, has not been trained, and is unaware that their actions are directly costing the company.  Since there is a quality person to check and “fix” the mistakes, the loss of potential is immeasurable until the business leaders have to increase the manufacturing price to account for the added work in quality to correct the errors.  Hence, when all metrics are equal between quality and productivity, err on the side of quality, and productivity will catch up.

Exclamation MarkWant a secret; it does not work in reverse!  Erring on the side of increased productivity increases costs elsewhere, burns potential, and ruins company bottom-lines.  Quality cannot “catch up” to productivity — an example best witnessed in manufacturing and warehouses.  The potential costs between manufacturing or multiple handling of products carry a potential cost, with no means of recovery.  Thus, it remains imperative to understand the roles of productivity and quality defined early, and placed in the proper order, to avoid significant cash hits to the bottom line.

Quality – A Culture, Not Just a Department!

cropped-2012-08-13-07-37-28-1.jpgA quality culture is an extension of the individual’s professionalism, always striving to be better.  Not faster, not slower, but better every day.  Training is a dynamic part of quality, and learning something new should be encouraged.  Yet, training, especially in call centers, always seems to take a back seat to operations and productivity.  All because productivity is not correctly understood and placed in its proper role.  Training and quality are potential or blue money expenses where the return on investment will be unknown.  Why; because quality and training place tools into the hands of employees, who then go on to build or destroy based upon the examples of leadership.

Quality Image Quotation #4 - Sualci QuotesQuality should be felt in every conversation, in every process, in every program, in every interaction.  As the most important customer in a business is other employees, the quality program is the most important activity and process for enhancing the business’s goals, aspirations, and daily production rates.  A culture of quality will then have the ground to grow and room to expand.  But, a quality culture will not grow overnight, nor will it grow without causing stagnant processes to change.

Knowledge Check!Consider a seed.  To grow, that seed has to be destroyed completely; but no one ever mourns the loss of the seed for the potential fruit to be born from that seed growing.  The same is true for a quality culture growing; the culture will destroy the seeds of stagnation, the apathy of indifference, and the processes and procedures that are not valuable to the new quality culture.  Will you allow a quality culture to grow?

© 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.

Sales Tax Holiday’s – Pure Politikal-Gimmickry

Angry Grizzly BearUntil I moved to New Mexico, I had never heard of a “Sales Tax Holiday.”  As a kid, I learned about rebates from an economist who defined rebates as money that did not have to be charged, which pays for a program to give some money back after the purchase concludes.  However, rarely are rebates actual cash returns, but get “built” into the price to sell the product.  Consider all the gimmicks and rebates involved in selling a car, and you know the truth and deceptiveness of rebates.  Sales tax holidays are one of the biggest scams perpetrated in 17-different U.S. states, and it is time to rip the bandage off this festering wound and apply some sunshine disinfectant!

What is Politics?

Politics is too often a word with so much baggage; people become confused and stop listening after hearing the word politics.  According to Webster:

As a Noun, “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

    • The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.”
    • The academic study of government and the state.”
    • Activities within an organization that is aimed at improving someone’s status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive.”
    • A particular set of political beliefs or principles.”
    • The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society.”

As a Verb, politic/s is derogatory and is defined as “engaging in political activities.”

Knowledge Check!From Old French Politique “political,” Latin from Greek Politikos, and Polits “citizen” and Polis “city.”  Thus, we have described the term politics in all its glory and inhumanity.  Is the term more understood?

Politics is a descriptive tool used to identify certain human activities where power is sought, and devious means and divisive gestures are employed to obtain that power.  Every action tied to securing power through devious means and divisive gestures is politics or political, which means derogatory.  For those needing more, derogatory is “showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.”  Thus, at the root, politicians by their very name and nature are derogatory towards those who elect them into power.

What is Realpolitik?

Bobblehead DollRealpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises.  For a long time, the American public has witnessed the same political gamesmanship (realpolitik) in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency.  All because those in power have intentionally blurred the line between a Republic and a Democracy to stay in control.  Never does realpolitik benefit the rule of law or provide equality as a primary and fundamental governance position.

Sales Taxes

Use the link on Sales Taxes to appreciate progressive and regressive taxes more fully.  The sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression of all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a reversed pyramid scheme where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.Gravy Train 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.

How can a person tell that sales tax schemes create inequitable 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.”

What is a Sales Tax Holiday?

Lemmings 2Simply put, a sales tax holiday is a day, usually just a single day when the government allows you to purchase goods and services without paying a sales tax on the receipt.  However, all the other sales taxes are still built into the cost of the good or service; just on this special day, the final receipt sales tax is not charged.  Sales tax holidays are one of the most inefficient and ineffective methods of “sharing unanticipated government money surpluses with the taxpaying public.”

How do we know sales tax holidays are a gimmick, are ineffective and inefficient, and are nothing but the practice of realpolitik?  In 2017, the Federal Reserve researched and found that sales tax holidays only shift normal patterns of purchases, not spurring economic growth, not increasing sales, just moving sales to a holiday to see a minor benefit on regularly planned purchases.  What’s worse, sales tax holidays discriminate unequally, making taxpayers the fool.

Tax Scheme 2For example, Florida in 2021 held a “Freedom Week” where camping supplies and outdoor hobby supplies were tax-exempt.  As a disabled person, I cannot camp.  As an empty nester, there are not many outdoor hobbies for myself and my retired spouse to enjoy where we need supplies.  Thus, people like myself and my spouse would not benefit from “Freedom Week.”  The same goes for tax-exempt school supplies; not having children in school, we do not benefit from a sales tax holiday as kids prepare to go back to school.

Worse, those in the lowest income brackets, guess what, they do not benefit from sales tax holidays either!  Just like in the example above regarding the sales tax “exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose and does not favor lower-income earners.  Hence the politikal-gimmickry of sales tax holidays.  If your circumstances do not allow you to participate in the sales tax holiday on the exact day (or days) provided by your state, you lose, and the politicians could care less.

Janelle Cammenga, writing for The Tax Foundation, makes the following case:

Sales tax holidays are political gimmicks that distract from genuine, permanent tax relief. Sales tax holidays are free marketing for businesses to advertise for a 4-7% discount on products.  If a state must offer a “holiday” from its tax system, it is implicit that the tax system is uncompetitive. If policymakers want to save money for consumers, they should work to reduce the sales tax rate year-round.”

Tax BurdenI agree, mightily, sales taxes are progressive, which makes them a poor tax, to begin with.  Adding sales tax holidays make a sales tax worse!  Yet, they are sold to the public as if they were the best thing since sliced white bread.  While it may be true that taxes are the cost of society, there are better ways to collect taxes, and there are infinitely better ways to spend taxpayer dollars than the profligate waste we see happening daily!

© 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.

Knee-Jerk Actions – Micro-Aggression or Humor: A Choice!

Exclamation MarkLet me be clear, upfront, and personal; I am not here to tell you what to think, how to think when to think, or where to think.  I will not force my opinions and ideas upon you as the global corporate media does.  I will offer ideas and suggestions and how you proceed is your affair.  Your choices will determine your destiny.  I aim to aid you in understanding and viewing the world a little differently to improve your destination.

Action vs. Reaction

Action encapsulates intention, producing accomplishment from organized activity; action is a process of thinking, acting, and becoming.  Only in physics should we ever consider every action having an equal and opposite reaction.  Why; because for humans, any reaction gives control to someone else and removes intentional controls.  A reaction is all about response to stimulus, no thinking, no changing, no intent, no organized activity, and no recovery until we, the human agent, retake control of our action.Paradox

Easy example, consider the toddler throwing a fit.  The toddler is trying to obtain a reaction from the parents favorable to that toddler’s individual desires at that moment.  However, any good parent will not respond to the toddler’s demands and usually provide behavior correction to enforce the thought that the toddler cannot make demands.  To regain control over the stimulus provided, the toddler must correct behavior or will not gain control over the future individual actions without additional parental intervention, an undesirable activity.  Thus, early on, the toddler will realize actions do not bring reactions but decisive action by parental figures, which is generally not the desired outcome.

Action versus reaction is an essential principle with foundations in moral agency, individual agency, and long-term consequences.  However, if the parent reacts to every toddler fit, the toddler gains power over the parental figure, which is an undesirable activity for the parent.  Action versus reaction is not splitting philosophical hairs or linguistic nuance; action is an intention-producing accomplishment; the reaction is an intentionless activity where self-control has been given to others.Calvin & Hobbes - Irony Hurts

Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and Robert Solomon, author of “Not Passion’s Slave: Emotions and Choice,” both speak to this action versus reaction principle in a manner easily grasped.  We, as individuals, might not be able to control our every environment nor control the activities of others upon us, but we can control our actions in response.  Retaining control of self, improving who and what we are, and keeping the power of intentional activity.

Knee-Jerk Reactions

The ‘knee-jerk response’ is any reaction that is done automatically, without thought.  The knee-jerk reflex is what’s known as a mono-synaptic response. The impulse only has to jump from one nerve to another once.  Thus, the medical definition for a social activity, a knee-jerk reaction, requires no cognitive thinking, no intention and is the worst form of response to the intentional stimulus of others.

Bait & Switch 2For example, Speaker Pelosi tore up President Trump’s State of the Union speech record on live, national TV as a knee-jerk response to the sitting US President.  Of all the US President’s Speaker Pelosi has experienced, her behavior to President Trump was the most toddler-like, and people quickly excused this behavior as “Trump-Derangement Syndrome (TDS).”  Thus, we can drop the “knee” in knee-jerk responses and describe the activity aptly as being a jerk.  No thought, not intentional activity (even though the action has intention, the brain does not register cognitive effort), and the reaction to the stimulus is mono-synaptic.

Micro-Aggression and Macro-Aggression

Micro-aggression, according to Webster, is “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).”  What is missing in this definition; individual perspective.  Micro-aggression is a personal choice to take offense at “a comment or action that” is judged to be “subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally” expressing what is considered by person one to be “a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).”

Social Justice WarriorMacro-aggression is the complete opposite and are “obvious, intentional, above-board insults, where there is no chance of a mistake on the part of the transgressor to be provoking, insulting, or otherwise discourteous.”  But, again, the definition does not include the fact that the person claiming another person’s activities are macro-aggressive is a personal choice, a judgment, and a socially powered decision.

Social Justice Warrior 2Micro- and macro-aggression are often claimed to be “triggered” by specific words, colors, foods, waters, fruits, and a host of other items.  Essentially using fear and envy to demand people act differently or the consequences are toddler-like fits and fussing, picketing, rioting, looting, e.g., acting like a terrorist.  Thus, micro- and macro- aggression is nothing but the toddler throwing a temper tantrum because they are not getting what they want at that moment.  While claiming their aggression is on behalf of someone else, and their acts of terrorism are excusable because the aggression was triggered by someone or something else.  This is like the eight-year-old older brother or sister throwing a fit that the toddler was punished and claiming they are behaving irrationally in support of the toddler’s tantrum.  How many parents will buy this logic; I do not!

Humor

cropped-laughing-owlLove them or hate them, comedians have changed since I was a kid sneaking peaks of comic relief on cable while washing dishes late into the night.  Comedians now carefully pick their materials based upon their perceptions of the audience.  Thus, we have classes of comedians, including “Shock Comedians,” who try to be as offensive as possible and still get laughs.  We have political comedians; some come down equally on both sides of the political aisle, others are as cemented to a political agenda as they can be and use their “comedy” as a tool to influence their audiences towards that political agenda.  We have a host of comedians dedicated to helping people laugh and others who see themselves as able to influence, regardless of consequences.

I am not providing marketing to any comedian by giving examples of the statements made above.  You can certainly use a search engine to find these examples for yourself if interested.  You might even be able to think of several instances from history, especially recent history, that fit into the descriptions provided.  As I said in the beginning, you remain empowered to think as you prefer.

Bobblehead DollMy point is that humor, like every other emotion, can be a tool to build or a tool to destroy, and the choice of build or destroy rests in the user, but the consequences rest in the hands of the audience.  Consider this for a moment, how fast would a “Shock” comedian change their tune if the swearing, foul and degrading language, and behaviors manifested on stage did not get a single laugh, or worse, resulted in people standing up and walking out?  Some would change quickly, others it might take a little more pushing, but the result would be the same, a changed comedian.  Why; because capitalism works!

The comedian is the greatest example of capitalism at work in the world.  People will pay money for entertainment, but if the entertainer insults, denigrates, and derides, that entertainer is history and is told to find a different line of work through capitalism.  The pattern of comedians can be witnessed and applied across the spectrum from politicians to judges, from businesses to non-profits, all because capitalism works.

Why?

Why this article; why now?  On Monday this week, I received an email talking about micro-aggression.  The author used greeting cards and their sayings as representations of trigger events for micro-aggression.  We have the US President (Fraudulent or Not) being hostile and aggressive towards unvaccinated people.  But unvaccinated people are not spreading the Delta-Variant COVID virus; vaccinated people are.  We have social unrest in Cuba, where nobody is taking notice because for too long, the social elite has said that Cuba, as a Marxist-Leninist country, is a good thing and cannot stand watching their lies become evident.

Knowledge Check!Like the disc-jockey’s of my youth said, “And the Hits just keep on coming!”  Pick a spot on the globe, and you will find problems, issues, and concerns driven by micro- and macro-aggressive people who refuse to understand the difference between action and reaction—leaving this article as an attempt to aid in making better decisions.  How you choose to respond to the day’s events informs the political leaders and social influencers if they are winning or losing.  Thus, choose better, knowing that the social influencers and political leaders want you to react, not act!  Hence, choose to act.  Choose to use your moral agency and individual agency as a tool to intentionally choose your following action in the process of becoming who you want to be and not what others want you to be for their selfish gain.

© 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.

Flexible Workspaces – Alternative Work Options

Bobblehead DollAfter my service-connected injuries went crazy in 2010 and my nerves decided I needed to be a “bobblehead doll,” I quickly realized there was a need for alternatives to commuting to an office every day and working as a traditional employee.  However, alternatives to conventional employment continue to be few and far between, primarily due to the IRS in America.  2020 saw a breakout in other options to the traditional employment paradigm, and I would like to continue this discussion to generate more alternatives to conventional employment.

Olmstead and Smith (1989) wrote what I consider to be the quintessential and sentinel book on alternatives to traditional employment, “Creating a Flexible Workspace: How to Select and Manage Alternative Work Options.”  Flexibility in the workplace is not just a Human Resources (HR) duty but is helped by having HR people with imaginations and who are empowered to be creative to keep good employees.  Flexibility is not merely limited to a wide variety of work schedules which can be offered optionally.  Flexibility in the workspace also includes on and off-site employment, and cross-training, as key fundamentals in empowering employees and driving workplace flexibility programs.  But flexibility always begins with the realization that flexibility is a two-directional relationship between employer and employee and a means for enhancing the talents, skills, and abilities already hired as part of a dedicated appreciative inquiry desire to innovate.

Appreciative InquiryQuestion

Appreciative inquiry is a growth mechanism that states that they already have enough of what a business organization needs, provided they listen to their employees.  Appreciative inquiry and common sense tell leaders who want to know and change their organization how and where to begin.  Appreciative inquiry-based leadership is 6-continuous steps that start small and cycle to larger problems as momentum for excellence permeates through an organization.  But the first step, just like in defeating a disabling addiction, is admitting there is a problem.

The six operational steps of appreciative inquiry:

      1. Admit there is a problem and commit to change.
      2. Define the problem.
      3. Discover the variables and stay focused on the positive.
      4. Dream BIG!
      5. Design the future and outline the steps to that future.
      6. Destiny, create the destination you desire.

Follow the instructions on a shampoo bottle, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat.”  The appreciative inquiry model can be scaled, repeated, implemented into small or large teams, and produce motivated members who then become the force to building change.  Allow yourself and your team to learn, this takes time, but through building motivation for excellence, time can be captured to perform.

Call Center Agent - FemaleFlexibility and Viability – Not just Terms, but Lifestyles

Flexibility in an organization is understood as accepting change and positively using that change to grow and develop more flexibility.  Viability in an organization is where the continuing effectiveness of flexibility generates new growth markets and creates the organization’s potential to flex to meet the growth areas.  Flexibility and viability are interlinked and interwoven ideas that every employee should be conscious of and striving to enhance personally as part of their brand.

Andragogy - The PuzzleErroneously called “Employee Engagement,” flexibility and viability are the continued efforts of all employees to participate in the business’ success.  Appreciative inquiry is the sum of the efforts to flex and be viable in competition with other businesses, recognizing that the answers to your current problems are always found in listening to employees.  Please note, you can think your business is flexible enough, but when the winds of change blow, will your business collapse or grow?

For example, as a consultant and subject matter expert, I was called into a manufacturing company to improve flexibility.  The company had been around for more than 100-years, and the owners, a family business, figured they were pretty flexible.  From day one, though, it was apparent the business had stagnated, and there was no flexibility or viability left in the organization.  When the 2008 market recession occurred, the company lost 5 of its 6 operating shifts and barely survived by draining all remaining liquidity to stay afloat.  The company has limped along ever since, to the amazement of everyone who has worked at this facility.

GearsHence, one must understand the principles of viability, flexibility, and appreciative inquiry as a lifestyle of daily choices where the leadership is engaged in and listening to employees.  Failure to listen remains the number one reason businesses, and governments fail.  Who should governments be listening to; average citizens, not statisticians, not special interest groups, not lawyers and political cronies, the people who voted them into power.  Who should businesses be listening to; their employees, not customers, not vendors, not shareholders, all of whom need to have a voice, but the front-line employee has answers.

Realities versus Fiction

Having worked with many a small businessperson across the continental US, the smaller a business understands the need to listen to employees, but the bigger a company becomes, the less desire they have to listen to anyone, let alone employees.  This is a reality.quote-mans-inhumanity

The fiction is the proclamation that the customer should be listened to, the shareholders know what the business needs, or the vendors have essential information for the company.  While all have a seat at the table, the front-line employees remain a wealth of information generally untapped, unused, and depressingly denied the ability to help.  As a consultant, I spend most of my time listening to the employees, then presenting their ideas to management.  I have never claimed another employee’s ideas as mine and never will.  Yet, I know too many consultants whose ethical and professional brands might be slightly less demanding than my behavior standards.  This also is reality, watch the ethics of a consultant; if they waiver, there is duplicity nearby!

Creating Flexibility in the Workplace

As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I affirm in a language most somber that no single tool will be a “magic bullet” for fixing employee concerns and building flexibility and viability.  Holistic solutions are not just a current “buzzword,” but an actual truth.  The solutions must grow from an apt quote from Captain Jack Sparrow:

“The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man, or you can’t. But pirate is in your blood, boy, so you’ll have to square with that someday. And me, for example, I can let you drown, but I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesies, savvy? So, can you sail under the command of a pirate, or can you not” [emphasis mine]?

People ProcessesWhat can your company do, and what can your company not do?  Between these two extremes are a lot of different possibilities, opportunities, and areas for exploration.  For example, as a call center, can you home shore your agents?  Maybe the technology is there, but are the legal questions regarding data security and safety open to home shoring?  What about contingent employment, where you use knowledge vendors to fill in during peak times, thus allowing your call center to flex off and not have to work overtime so much?  Would your call center do well with phased retirement, partial retirement, or voluntary reduced work time programs?

Each of these options builds flexibility and viability, but they come with consequences, and the valuation of those consequences should include input from the front-line employees.  For example, a call center I am familiar with used to have stepped departments, where a rep could learn the basics, then promote into the next higher step.

3-direectional-balanceExcept, the model was broken by HR, and the depth of available personnel dried up.  Thus, the call center went to a universal agent model, where all agents were expected to know all the different departments and steps and act accordingly.  The universal model was sold as a cost-saving measure.  The employees did not like the new model as all the business processes were built on the old stepped agent model.  The universal model failed, the company could not afford to return to the stepped model, and knowledge was walking out the door at an exceeding pace.

The answer was to listen to the front-line employees, but it took more than five years and ten different consulting firms and technology firms to reach this point.  But the cost of lost potential sales and lost business knowledge is still hindering this company from a full recovery.  Why; because the change that broke the company has never been fixed, just plastered over, and the universal agent approach destroyed organizational trust between employees and the employer.  Decisions have consequences, and if you do not know what your company can do, you do not know what your company cannot do; especially, if you refuse to listen to the front-line employees.I'm not listening - boring :: Funny :: MyNiceProfile.com

What will your employees do?  What are your employees already capable of doing if provided the opportunity?  Where is the focus in your company, customers, vendors, shareholders, or employees?  Why?  Who of your employees can you absolutely trust to accomplish a task?  How do you know that employee is trustworthy?  What makes that employee happy to return to work every day?Michael Shurtleff quote: Listening is not merely hearing, it is receiving the message...

When you listen to your employees, honestly and openly communicate with them, and know the why to share the why your employees can work marvels you could not believe possible.  If you desire flexibility and viability in your company, build it!  One employee at a time using imagination, honest communication, and build organizational trust.  You will be surprised at how often the answer to improving your company doesn’t have a dollar sign but a living person and a debt of gratitude.

Reference

Olmsted, B., & Smith, S. (1989). Creating a flexible workplace: How to select and manage alternative work options. American Management Association (AMACOM).

© 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.

Call Center Senior Trainers – Focus Group

Date: 19 July 2021

Andragogy - The PuzzleI am a doctoral candidate under the direction of Professor Dr. Susan Miedzianowski in the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University. My name is Michael D. “Dave” Salisbury. I am conducting a research study to explore the trainer’s specific influence on employees’ development in an English-speaking call center based on a clear understanding of the trainer’s role.

You can participate if you can answer “Yes” to all of the following questions.

      • Do you speak English?
      • Do you live and work in the United States?
      • Are you employed in an English-speaking call center?
      • Do you have an updated LinkedIn.com profile (for verification purposes only)?
      • Are you willing to answer demographic questions about your age, level of education, years of experience in the call center industry, years in your current call center, and your current job title?
      • Are you an adult over the age of 18?
      • Do you have a trainer/senior trainer title, or are you expected to train or supervise call center trainers in your current role?
      • Do you have more than six years in the call center industry?
      • Are you willing to be audio recorded using ZOOM online software?

If you answer “No,” to any of these questions, you cannot participate in the focus group. I will verify your eligibility via your LinkedIn.com Profile before the focus group meets.

The activities for this research project will include:

If you are eligible to be in this focus group, you will be asked to:

      • What:
        • Meet with other similarly qualified professionals via Zoom, approximately 90 minutes, video and audio recorded.
        • Answer the demographic questions honestly.
        • Answer a series of questions regarding how a call center trainer has influenced you. As well as what you think a call center trainer does.
        • Review a job description of the call center trainer’s role.
        • Review data collected during interviews for completeness.
      • When: On the date and time discussed via email.
      • Where:com online meeting.
      • How: Using your home computer or Internet-capable device, connecting with Zoom.com.

Your participation in this study is voluntary.

An alias will protect all data in this study during the recording of the actual interview and in the documents by using an alpha-numeric code to tie your email address and hide any potential method to track your responses back to you.  All information reported in the dissertation will be in a collated format so individual data cannot be tracked to any single participant.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact:
M. Dave Salisbury
(435-219-5414)
msalisbury1@my.gcu.edu

Thank you!

Calling for Call Center Employees and Junior Call Center Trainers

Date: 19 July 2021

Call Center Agent - MaleI am a doctoral candidate under the direction of Professor Dr. Susan Miedzianowski in the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University. My name is Michael D. “Dave” Salisbury. I am conducting a research study to explore the trainer’s specific influence on employees’ development in an English-speaking call center based on a clear understanding of the trainer’s role.

I am recruiting individuals that meet these criteria:

      • Do you speak English?
      • Do you live and work in the United States?
      • Are you employed in an English-speaking call center?
      • Do you have an updated LinkedIn.com profile (for verification purposes only)?
      • Are you willing to answer demographic questions about your level of education, years of experience in the call center industry, years in your current call center, and your current job title?
      • Are you an adult over the age of 18?
      • Are you willing to be audio-recorded using ZOOM online software?

You cannot be in this study if you answer “No,” to any of these questions; you cannot participate in the interviews. I will verify your eligibility before setting up the interview.

The activities for this research project will include:

If you are eligible to be in this study, you will be asked to:

      • What:
        • You agree to answer the demographic questions honestly.
        • Be interviewed, via Zoom, for approximately 60 minutes, audio-recorded, or if comfortable, video recorded, your choice.
        • Answer a series of questions regarding how a call center trainer has influenced you. As well as what you think a call center trainer does.
        • Review a generic job description and comment upon what is contained and whether you would add or subtract anything.
      • When: On a convenient date and time discussed via email.
      • Where:com online meeting.
      • How: Using your home computer or Internet-capable device, connecting with Zoom.com.

Your participation in this study is voluntary.

An alias will protect all data in this study during the recording of the actual interview and in the documents using an alpha-numeric code to hide your email address and hide any potential method to track your responses back to you.  All information reported in the dissertation will be in a collated format so individual data cannot be tracked to any single participant.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact:
M. Dave Salisbury
(435-219-5414)
msalisbury1@my.gcu.edu

Thank you!

I Hate Being Lied To – Follow-Up on Diabetes and Dieting

Angry Grizzly BearEarlier this week, I went to a doctor’s appointment that included diabetes boot camp and was instructed by Dr. T., a clinical pharmacist for the El Paso VAMC.  At the time, I thought the only liars were the Food and Drug Administration and the food pyramid I have been living for 40+ years.  After some additional research, I have to add Dr. T. to the list of liars using peer-reviewed sources.  Well, at least he is in good company.  The list of liars includes a neurologist who claimed all calories are the same and reducing caloric intake and caloric burn will help a person lose weight.  The advice I have been following for the better part of six years to no avail.

Cave Man Foods

The “Cave Man Foods” pitched by Dr. T. were sourced from Keto-Diets, not “14-years of research at the VA.”  The problem with the Keto-Diets is Ketosis, and if you have a liver problem, which I do, you can do serious damage to the liver by eating eggs.  Eggs are a staple of the Keto-Diets; do you see the problem here?Gravy Train 2

I have a friend, and he and his spouse went Keto about 16 months ago.  Earlier this year, his wife had liver failure, and the Keto-diet helped create a liver problem for someone who has never had liver problems in their life.  The correlational relationship between consuming eggs and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD) is pretty solid based on my research.  However, as I am not a dietician, a medical doctor, or a food researcher, I can only rely upon medical advice and encourage you to seek medical opinions (plural) before starting any diet regimen!

Calories are not the same!

Let us establish a base of information.  A calorie is a unit of energy defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a quantity of water by one degree.  In Junior High School, we used peanuts, sugar cubes, and other home ingredients to explore calories in chemistry class.  I still remember setting foods on fire and measuring water temperature correctly to get the caloric burns right.  However, dieticians never discussed then and not discussed now that one calorie is not the same as another calorie.  Just like rocks are not all the same size, have the same value, or can be used in the same manner.

RocksFor example, calories from sugar are not the same calories from kidney beans, even though both are units of energy, and 2000 calories of chocolate are not the same as 2000 calories of carrots.  If we are clear on this, let’s discuss why this is important.  2015, a neurologist told me all my problems with my nerves lay in how much fat I was carrying around.  He claimed that if I reduced the amount of calories I consumed and increased the number of calories burned, I would quickly lose weight.  Losing weight never happened, nor could I keep any weight lost off for any length of time.

Three years after this meeting, I was told I had developed diabetes and a non-alcoholic fatty liver, as well as gallstones, and my GERD was out of control.  This was when I was first introduced to the notion that not all calories are equal, even though all calories are units of energy.  I did not understand this discussion totally then; after Dr. T.’s discussion, I still do not fully understand the entire argument.

Lemmings 3I am sure that energy sources are not equal, even though calories are simple units of energy, per the laws and rules of physics.  However, I am not a chemist, a physicist, nor exceptionally well versed in diet and health.  I am not a dietician and am left to try and figure out the best advice and live that advice.  As a foodie, I have yet to find any diet, as the first part of a diet is “die” dying of hunger!  Before you ask, yes, Garfield is a hero of mine and has been my whole life.

Complications to Weight Loss

2017 thru 2019, I had been more active and had lost a little weight.  July through December 2020 come along, and all the weight lost is back in spades; why, the injuries sustained at the hands of the VA Police in arresting me for not wearing a mask at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.  According to research conducted on people with spinal cord injuries, the following are key variables in weight loss:

      • Age
      • Race
      • Marital Status
      • Employment Status
      • Family history of overweight/obesity
      • Level and duration of injury
      • Cholesterol level at baseline.

Thus, it is only logical that since my fallacious arrests and injuries at the hands of the VA Police at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, AZ., exercise and weight loss would be impeded, acting as complicating factors in improving my health.  Why is this important; because, my new primary care provider does not think I have any problems and refuses to renew medication until other specialists claim the medicines are needed.  I find it interesting that the doctors would vary so significantly between VISN 17 and VISN 22.Lemmings 4

Mask Policies

While the following is not a variable in weight loss, it is part and parcel of the lies and problems I have experienced since Feb 2020.  The Las Cruces, NM., VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) had no problems accepting my doctor’s note regarding my inability to wear a mask.  When I arrived at the El Paso VAMC, the VA Police had no problem with my doctor’s letter regarding my inability to wear a mask, handed me a face shield, and then provided protection for me with other bureaucrats who took umbrage that I was not wearing a mask.

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgMeaning that what I have been declaring about the mask policy, the mask mandates, and the hypocrisy of zealot VA Police Officers at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC is 100% true, and my treatment was not in accordance with the mask policy (emailed directive) from Washington DC.  I hate being lied to, detest being arrested and injured when I am right and refuse to be silent about how poorly the VA is treating veterans!  Does anyone know a lawyer who is willing and hungry enough to take on the VA?

References

Chen, Y., Henson, S., Jackson, A. et al. Obesity intervention in persons with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 44, 82–91 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.sc.3101818

Gundry, S. R. (2017). The plant paradox: The hidden dangers in “Healthy” Foods that cause disease and weight gain. HarperCollins.

Joshi, S., Ostfeld, R. J., & McMacken, M. (2019). The ketogenic diet for obesity and diabetes—enthusiasm outpaces evidence. JAMA internal medicine, 179(9), 1163-1164.

Mokhtari, Z., Poustchi, H., Eslamparast, T., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2017). Egg consumption and risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. World journal of hepatology, 9(10), 503.

Taubes, G. (2008). Good calories, bad calories: Fats, carbs, and the controversial science of diet and health. Anchor.

Taubes, G. (2011). Why we get fat and what to do about it. Anchor.

© 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.

Moral Distress IS a Leadership Problem – More Shameful VA Chronicles!

Survived the VAA surprise occurred in this week’s Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports; the Boise VAMC in Idaho performed well in their comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp).  Even though 10 recommendations were left, the VAMC as a whole is performing above average, with no significant complaints found by the VA-OIG.  Congratulations to the Boise VAMC!

VA 3Let me stress something; leadership is the reason why a VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) or VA Medical Center (VAMC) performs well or poorly!  Yet, too often, the leadership IS the root cause of the problems in a VAHCS or VAMC.  The Boise VAMC just proved this point precisely; are any Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders in Washington DC paying any attention?

The VA-OIG performed a CHIp in Portland VAHCS and found moral distress in the employees, again!  This means that the Eastern end of the state is receiving better care than the western end of Oregon State!  Yet another VAHCS or VAMC with employees feeling morally distressed by the commands and directives of their leadership in how they treat veteran patients!  The VA-OIG report makes everything sound like rainbows and lollipops at the Portland VAHCS, but if employees feel “morally distressed,” there are problems, just not those included in the CHIp scope!VA 3

Where problems outside the scope of an investigation are concerned, the following is GREAT NEWS!

Robert Seifert, 63, of Utica, New York, pleaded guilty to making telephonic threats to Albany Stratton VA Medical Center employees. Seifert, who has been convicted twice before of threatening VA employees, admitted that on 14 January 2021, he made three calls to employees for no reason other than to harass and threaten them.”

I am going to repeat it, only for emphasis, “Leave the families out of your anger!”  Never, EVER, attack, threaten, or speak against the families.  They are OFF LIMITS!  I become very frustrated with the VA Leadership, but violence is not the answer, and threatening families is repulsive and counterproductive!  Seifert is scheduled for sentencing on 06 October 2021; may the judge throw the book at him, for this is his third conviction for threatening families of VA Employees.VA 3

On the topic of frustrating leadership who need to lose their jobs and reimburse the government for all wages, the following VA-OIG report is the epitome of failed leadership in action!

The VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events (NVSPSE) granted $47 million to organizations with experience in managing adaptive sports programs from fiscal year (FY) 2017 to FY 2020. … The VA-OIG found that the NVSPSE was not effectively managing the program.  The NVSPSE’s director had not established adequate internal controls, including developing standard operating procedures for managing adaptive sports grants.  As a result, the NVSPSE could not effectively evaluate risks from grant recipients, did not reimburse some recipients’ expenses on time, did not always close out grants on time, and did not appropriately authorize extensions for using funds.  By not closing out grants on time, the NVSPSE failed to free up about $346,000 that could have been used for other purposes.  It also improperly allowed recipients to spend $328,000 in FY 2017 appropriations outside the approved period and improperly reimbursed 19 recipients a total of about $247,000.”

The VA-OIG recognizes that these failures to audit and control the adaptive sports program properly potentially violate both the Purpose Statute and the Antideficiency Act, federal laws with direct consequences for Federal Employees.  I am taking bets.  Will anything come out of the director being referred to the lawyers; I doubt any action will ever be taken!  That’s not just my cynicism speaking; that is the experience in watching directors at the VA skate accountability and responsibility better than gold-winning Olympic figure skaters.VA 3

In reporting the following VA-OIG report, do not rationalize that every suicidal person will eventually find a way or means to commit suicide.  I ask you do not think this for two reasons: one, it is a lie lazy people tell themselves to disregard the act; two, helping people with suicide ideation is not cut and dried textbook medicine. Assisting people with suicide ideation takes time, effort, getting to know the person, and a lot of interlocking care from professionals.

“The patient, who was over 70 years old at the time of death, had diagnoses that included post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. After approximately 15 years of care at a California VA facility, the patient transferred care to the Las Vegas facility in summer 2019. The VA-OIG substantiated that the patient died by suicide from a VA resident mental health clinic on the day of dischargeThe emergency department social worker documented an incomplete comprehensive evaluation. The suicide prevention team did not assign the patient a high risk for suicide patient record flag despite the patient’s stressors and history of suicide behaviors. Staff did not adequately assess the patient’s substance use, incorporate relevant history into the treatment plan, or address the patient’s change in demeanor and concerning statements. The discharge safety plan had not been modified for approximately eight months despite significant life changes. Leaders had not established a mental health treatment coordinator (MHTC) policy. Staff assigned the patient an MHTC at the patient’s tenth visit and four MHTCs over nine months. Staff did not coordinate care with a geropsychologist, with whom the patient had nine appointments. Leaders did not effectively address the patient’s expressed complaints. The VA-OIG substantiated that leaders did not conduct an institutional disclosure” [emphasis mine].

The last sentence is the dead giveaway that the leadership knew there were problems and designed processes intentionally to have an excuse when a patient died!  This veteran was suffering to a great degree, and I hope that with his passing, his family and friends can find peace in the knowledge that the veteran is now pain-free.  But, the VA leadership should be held legally responsible for this death, they failed this patient, and the world is worse for the veteran’s passing.VA 3

Suicides are hard on family, friends, communities; suicides at any age are the ultimate declaration that failure occurred, the pain was missed, and the medical community and support systems failed.  Survivors often feel a great degree of guilt and carry that guilt to their graves.  But, when medical providers go out of their way to hide the problems, refusing to document, and declare, it means that the medical community had written the patient off as too costly to save.  Who speaks for the loss of intelligence and potential of the failed patient; I do!I-Care

I will continue to speak to the failures of the VA to provide the care they promised, and demand leaders are held accountable and responsible.  This was preventable, and the leadership must be held accountable if the system is to be changed!  This veteran did not have to die by his own hand, and the medical community at the VA in Southern Nevada HCS, located in Las Vegas, should be ashamed!

Follow this link if you would like to see a recap, with links, to the shenanigans reported by the VA-OIG in June.  June 2021 has been a month of incredible and horrendous behavior documented by the VA-OIG of the leadership failures at the VA.  The elected leaders of America either need to begin scrutinizing the VA more closely or vacate office.  There is no excuse for the continued irrational and detestable behavior at the VA.VA 3

The last two items are testimony recorded before a Senate and a House of Representatives Committee.  Statement of deputy inspector general David Case Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs before the US Senate Committee on veterans’ affairs hearing on VA electronic health records: modernization and the path ahead 14 July 2021Statement of Leigh Ann Searight deputy assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General before the subcommittee on oversight and investigations committee on Veterans’ Affairs US House of Representatives hearing on modernizing the VA police force: Ensuring accountability 13 July 2021.  Frankly, both statements are pure vanilla because the subcommittees refused to act, which was known before making the statement and the hearings.  Hence, why should the VA-OIG prepare action plans if the Senate and House will not take action?

Knowledge Check!Repeating, only for emphasis, “Until the US Legislative Branch will do their jobs, and scrutinize the Executive Branch with the intent to demand accountability, no single government agency will ever change.”  Want to help veterans?  Contact your elected representatives and send them these articles, demanding they take action in support of legislation and scrutinization, demanding accountability and responsibility of government employees who are currently active in refusing to change!  Want to help veterans?  Share these stories far and wide.  Everyone should know what the VA is doing and realize that every government agency from the city to the President is employing tactics to steal liberty, rob freedom, and murder veterans!

© 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.

American Heat and European Flooding – The Lies of Climate Change

BBC Logo iPad | Obama PacmanThe BBC is currently pounding the Anthropomorphic Climate Change drum pretty hard.  Currently, the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing summer, and the southern hemisphere is experiencing winter (July 2021). A typical occurrence in global life, the globe moves on an axis, and the north and south hemispheres have opposite weather patterns.  North America is experiencing drought conditions from the heat of summer.  Europe is experiencing flooding from heavier than average rainfall.

To those affected adversely by the heat or the rain, I feel for you.  For those who have lost loved ones to flooding, my sympathies.  For those experiencing days on days of scorching heat, been there, done that; drink water.  However, these weather events have been occurring for centuries, sometimes extreme one way and occasionally intense the other.  This is climate change, and it is normal to see patterns of extreme weather.  I will tell you a secret; man has nothing to do with the weather!

Climate Change HysteriaFive environmental disasters that we should make sure children know about

Anthropomorphic climate change is an invention by academicians to obtain funding from the government, control over people, and dictate how they choose to live – usually while living to extremes themselves.  How can a person know that humans have played no role in how Climate changes?  Believe it or not, there is a simple test.

How many raindrops can a man force to return to the clouds?  How many clouds can man direct to drop rain in drought regions and put sunshine elsewhere?  How many tides can man change from their regular routines?  The answer to all three questions is zero; thus, we can conclude that humans cannot change the Climate, even when extreme weather occurs and people are harmed.

QuestionI was presented with a question the other day regarding anthropomorphic climate change that has kept me thinking.  I pose the same question to you.  “How can paying a carbon tax to the government change the weather?”  Did paying taxes to the government end the war on poverty; no, in fact, the war on poverty has lost ground since the pandemic and government mandates.  Did paying higher taxes end the war on drugs; no, in fact, the drug problem is worse than ever.  Thus, how will paying the government a tax, or a fee for carbon usage, change the weather?

Common Sense

In the dictates of academicians who preach climate change religious adherence, common sense was the first casualty, and the truth was the second.  Has man, at times, been a poor steward of the globe upon which they live; absolutely, but paying money to the government has done nothing to fix the problems, only hide them.  Don’t believe me; that’s okay; let’s use recent history to detail the problem.Silverton's Gold King reckoning (The Gold King reckoning) — High Country News

The Gold King Mine was shut down.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an arm of the US Government, hid the details, closed the mine, and “hoped” the dangerous chemicals would stay put deep in the ground.  Instead, a government contractor for the EPA accidentally released a bunch of those chemicals into a river that spread to a national disaster in four US states and Mexico.  Nobody has been held accountable for the lives lost, the economic problems created, and the loss of cattle, sheep, horses, etc., that drank the waters and died.  EPA updates claim all the cases have been settled.  Now, the acidic tailings in the Gold King Mine were indeed man-caused; the release of millions of gallons of toxic water into cement creek that pours into the Animas River was man-caused.  However, man could not stand in the Animas River and demand the orange sludge return to the Gold King Mine; so how could man change the weather by paying the government?

Another interesting incident, the Cuyahoga River in Northern Ohio, caught fire multiple times throughout history.  Lightning, sparks from trains passing on bridges, cigarettes, etc., at one time or another caused the Cuyahoga River to catch on fire.  The pollution was certainly man-caused, meaning that man was a poor steward and did not fully appreciate the consequences of dumping materials that floated or sank to become sediment into a river where those materials could catch fire.  Now, the Cuyahoga River is an EPA “Superfund” site, where money has literally been dumped into burying the toxic chemical-laced dirt in an attempt to clean up the pollution.  “… A total of 650,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were taken out of the Ashtabula River and buried under 19 acres of soil in a specially built landfill. The price tag was around $85 million.”  The actions taken have been declared a successful cleanup of a river by dredging it and dumping the chemical sediment in a landfill.  Nothing was “cleaned,” simply moved from one location to another, with a price tag so high that it can only be estimated.

The Cuyahoga River Caught Fire at Least a Dozen Times, but No One Cared Until 1969 | History ...Ohio has 53 Superfund sites where similar actions are being taken to “clean” up historical pollution.  By comparison, New Mexico has 21 Superfund sites, and Florida has 92.  Dig a little into the superfund sites on the EPA website, and a fact comes clear, man is a very poor steward of his resources, but he has never influenced the weather.  Inherently, man is a changer of his environment instead of his behaviors.  For example, being cold, man will start a fire instead of wearing more clothes, build climate-controlled buildings instead of growing more hair for the winter months, or living in more tropical environments.  But, building a climate-controlled stadium is a far cry from controlling the heat in one country and rainfall on a different continent.

12 Facts About Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone 30 Years After the Disaster | Mental FlossThe Chernobyl disaster, the USSR poisoning the northern sea, China, India, France, England, Germany, and so many other places around the world where man has abused the environment is poor stewardship, not anthropomorphic climate change.  At best, man can attempt to try and influence the weather.  For example, placing silver iodide into the air to try and make it rain in a blighted drought area.  We have the science, but the science does not always work, and just like Chernobyl, the Cuyahoga, and Animas Rivers, we do not know the consequences of employing the science.https://shiftingtheparadigms.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/b3adf-13ka-w5ahgn_fabizklayrq.jpeg

Poor Steward; Yes!  Affecting the Climate; not Hardly!

Consider this for a moment, the environmental problems are still not fully understood, but the government wants to keep pouring money down that hole.  One must ask, “Why?”  Acidic tailings from gold and other mining operations have been known since the 1800s when those tailings were considered as “the cost of doing business.”  Nobody knew what to do with them then, and we still do not know what to do with them, except to “accidentally” release them en masse into nature and let nature recover.

Intern Seminar Series: Workshop on Science Communication (Interns Only) | Carnegie's Department ...Is it possible that eventually scientists will discover a way to leach the metals and man-produced chemicals from the dirt and water; possibly, and this is a science I can fully support.  But to even consider that man’s puny arm could change the direction of a cloud or dictate where and when rain occurs is absolutely silly!  To blame a man for how much precipitation falls in a designated area is insanity at its finest and most disturbing.  To even consider that man can change the temperature of an entire geographic region is blatantly and patently false as a concept and as a pseudo-science!

The best man can do, is be a better steward of the resources on and in the earth.  After that, man adjusts to extreme weather, chooses how to live, and then goes back to pursuing happiness as an inalienable right.  Government has nothing to say or do in this matter that will ever be effective and valuable.  Thus, why pay more in taxes for something government cannot perform?Knowledge Check!

Is air pollution a real problem; absolutely, and man can change how much pollution he dumps into the environment, but the government should not play a role, and every country must police their own for any progress to be made.  Again, water pollution can be influenced by man and should be monitored, but not by the government, for the government will always act as they did in the Gold King Mine incident.  Uncaring, heartless, picking winners and losers based upon political connections, never holding themselves accountable for the deed or responsible for the consequences.  Thus, why would you trust a government, any government, to change the weather?

© 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.

Loyal Oppositionists – A Leadership Principle Requiring Focus and Explanation

ToolsThe last time I discussed being a loyal oppositionist, I am afraid people missed the point.  Apparently, the thought absorbed was that only a person could be a loyal oppositionist in politics, which is incorrect.  Thus, I am revisiting the principles of choosing to be a loyal oppositionist.

Loyal Oppositionists

It is less that you are an adversary and more that you are someone with an opinion that (although frightening to me) might in some way enrich my own. And if I raise myself to being a partner with you on this mutual journey of ours, and if I refuse to bow to the posture of being a frightened adversary as you intersect my journey with a journey different than my own, we can profoundly change what we would have otherwise both died wrestling over.”  ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Webster defines “Loyal Opposition” as “a [person] whose opposition to the party in power is constructive, responsible, and bounded by loyalty to fundamental interests and principles.”  If we are ever in a position of power, we, the loyal oppositionists, stay mindful of our actions, responsible and accountable to those who supported us to power. We remain true to the organization’s fundamental principles, giving us the privilege to serve as a leader.

Lemmings 5Loyal Oppositionists never use violence to control the thoughts of others.  We refute ideas with more potent ideas.  We employ words, conviction, and confidence.  We love the freedom found under the “Rule of Law.”  We are constructive in our comments, truthful, and we research and report, even if it means we must improve our individual actions to meet our ideals.  Now, more than ever in American History, America needs loyal oppositionists to step forward, answer the call, and defend liberty against the tyranny thrust upon us.

You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”  ― Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

Principles of Loyal Oppositionists

Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any one of those is to lose all three.” – Ziad K. Abdelnour

Thus, the first principle of loyal oppositionists is to adhere to and commit to understanding this basic equation.  Failure to know and live this basic equation means loss of leadership, wasted resources, and chaos.  Important to note, these principles come before being “constructive, responsible, and bounded.”

Exclamation MarkWhile not precisely a ranked principle, a person’s character is witnessed; they are not spoken, not listened to, observed, and judged by others.

You can easily judge a man’s character by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Like trust in a relationship, a person’s character is built upon mutual experiences, time, and consistent behavior.  Loyal Oppositionists understand the power and reputation inherent in a person’s character; they are slow to judge, quick to observe and create their own opinions about other people’s character.  Realizing that a person’s character is built, allow yourself and others time to get to know your character.Virtue

The following cannot be stressed enough:

Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” – Woodrow Wilson

Self-sacrifice is not equivalent or comparable to being a floor mat for everyone to walk on.  Self-Sacrifice is all about knowing the why and being a volunteer.  Not to the point of burn-out, and not to inflate an ego or anything other than an honest desire to render assistance to the best of one’s abilities.  Loyal oppositionists want to help!  Failing to understand this mental desire is the number one reason why loyal oppositionists lose positions, roles, and employment.  Leaders, do you know who to trust as a loyal oppositionist?  Do you know how to use a loyal oppositionist to advance ideas to solutions?

DetectiveConfucius makes a powerful statement here for loyal oppositionists and their leaders.

Base yourself in loyalty and trust. Don’t be companions with those who are not your moral equal. When you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to [admit and] correct it.”

How often has a team failed in competition because one team member has the moral integrity of a louse and the entire team suffers, without ever knowing why they keep losing?  Consider your favorite sports teams, how many make the news for acting without moral integrity, and you can answer the first question quickly and easily!  Doubt this fact, pick a team, any team, any sport, and job, and you will find the truth glaring at you.  Morality matters!

Leaders…  Never Forget

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” – Edward R. Murrow

Remove America, insert your company or branded organization, and you will find significant truth in the statement from Mr. Murrow.  Dissent is defined as concluding contrary to the majority, expressing an opinion different from prevailing opinions or an official position, or simply a disagreement.

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgI was working in a call center for a prominent online adult educator, where I questioned the software being changed and the rollout of the new software system.  The software would not be finished and thoroughly user-friendly for an additional five years after the initial rollout.  I expressed my dismay at rolling out a partially completed product when time and energy should have been put into finishing the software before rolling it out for all the employees.  My director felt this was disloyal to the organization, trumped-up fallacious claims, and wanted to punish me for disloyalty.  I walked out of that job; I was not disloyal then, I am still not disloyal to the brand.  I am not loyal to that director or the supervisor who craved a promotion and signed off on my being punished on fallacious claims and charges.

Mr. Murrow’s point is extremely critical for leaders and followers to embrace.  Loyal opposition lives as long as leaders, and followers, agree to disagree.  In the middle of two extreme points, truth is found, solutions improve, and people are built.  Thus, loyal oppositionists’ value is the second point in an extreme to aid in changing perspectives and building a better product, service, country, or nation.

Knowledge Check!While killing loyal opposition is most visible in the political spectrum where partisan politicians cannot agree to disagree and work together, the problem with killing loyal oppositionists is everywhere.  From sports teams to board rooms, to political forums to every business, refusing loyal opposition has become the disease we are strangled with.  Some try to blame communication skills, others try to blame the “speed of business,” others will use one of a thousand other excuses, but as the axiom goes, “Excuses are like butt-holes, everyone has one, and they stink!”  Embrace your loyal oppositionists and allow them to help 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.

I Hate Being Lied To: Highlights From Diabetes Boot Camp

Lemmings 32015, The day I went to the VA Emergency Room with killing pains in the upper-right quadrant of the abdomen was a game-changing day.  Yet, it also marked the day that doctors started lying to me.  I was diagnosed with three things, gallstones, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, also known as metabolic-associated fatty liver disease, is excessive fat build-up in the liver without another clear cause, such as alcohol use. There are two types; non-alcoholic fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, with the latter including liver inflammation. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is less dangerous than NASH and usually does not progress to NASH or liver cirrhosis.  Essentially, my liver was having problems policing itself and had developed fattiness, not alcohol-related.

2021, a clinical pharmacist in charge of teaching diabetes at the El Paso VA Medical Center, holds a “boot camp” for veterans to help them understand and better handle diabetes.  I spent 30-minutes with Dr. T. getting the low-down on diabetes and getting questions answered.  I hate being lied to, and I hate not being able to get simple questions answered.  Today’s diabetes class changed my understanding, and I have just scratched the diet/diabetes topic.

Let me be clear right here; I am not an authority on these topics.  I am not a medical professional, and sources outside my own research have provided all medical information.  I am still learning on these topics and am simply describing my experiences.  If the same issues spark your interest, may this information help and support you and your doctor’s path moving forward.Exclamation Mark

Obesity

Obesity is the amount of fat carried on a person, above a specific level, as determined by the health and activity of the person.  Please note, no single person is identical in where their fat vs. health into obesity levels are.  I have met people who look overweight, but they are not unhealthy because of how their body works.  Whereas, I have met skinny people with very little fat on their bodies who were exceedingly unhealthy.  Thus, calling all heavy people “fat” and “obese” is the first set of lies and misconceptions we must learn and unlearn when discussing obesity, diabetes, and diet.

Obesity, and the linked diseases to obesity, is also a misnomer and a horrible series of lies.  Diabetes is considered a disease; obesity has just now (2018 or so) been changed from a symptom to a disease.  Want to hear something to blow your mind; both descriptions are 100% wrong!  Obesity is a consequence of being addicted to foods.  Diabetes is a consequence of having the addiction overcome the body’s natural defenses and cause independent problems.

DietGravy Train 2

I am not advocating any diet/weight-loss plan, nor am I using this term to describe specific foods in a health regime; in using the term diet, I am discussing the foods we eat.  The foods we eat form our diet, and our diets are killing us.

If you are around 40-years of age, you grew up with the food pyramid, as detailed by the Food and Drug Administration, as a way to select healthy foods and improve your diet.  You were taught that grains, especially whole grains, were essential for your diet and should be the bulk of what you eat daily.  You have been carefully trained and programmed that dairy, especially drinking Milk, is extremely important to a growing body.  You have been instructed that calories in, plus exercise, is the path to weight loss and healthy living.  You have been taught that salt is bad, sugar is good in moderation, and that there are pills to correct the issues if you are having problems.  Would you believe a single voice that told you those are all lies; I wouldn’t, but the researchers continue to affirm the truth of these things if you desire to learn.

Today, I finally learned just how bad these lies are, and my “cherub-like” demeanor has been brutally beaten by reality.  Since 2015, I have been told these lies multiple times, specifically to reduce the problems I am experiencing from a lifetime of eating the food pyramid!  Nothing is more dangerous than an honest person lied to, and the government needs to fear this consequence.  Salt is good in moderation, as established by your blood work.  Drinking Milk is bad for the body.  Sugar is worse for the body than dairy!

VaccineLet’s talk about historical facts for a moment.  You will not find this discussed in your history books, but I promise the history is 100% accurate, and the Internet has sources for what I am about to declare.  The East India Company, a powerful trading company from England, wanted to increase sales of sugar cane and offered what is essentially bribes to farmers to feed their animals sugar cane.  The animals quickly developed sores, open wounds, and a host of health problems, leading to death.  When this experiment failed, the focus was pushed back to sugar crystallization, which began injecting crystallized sugar into people’s diets worldwide.  Who eventually had the same problems as the animals eating raw sugar cane, only the length of time between consumption to health problems was longer, and thus more easily overlooked as the cause.

Research using fMRIs has shown that sugar and heroin have the same effects on the brain, opening the same receptors and releasing the same feel-good chemicals into the body.  Worse, the addiction between sugar and heroin is very close chronologically.  Two weeks is the upper limit to reach to begin changing the body’s dependence to both, which means that it takes roughly two weeks after the last hit to start the addiction recovery process.  The only difference between heroin and sugar, sugar does not come with a stigma and legal problems that heroin carries.

DiabetesBait & Switch

In simple terms, diabetes is the overproduction of insulin in the body until the pancreas cannot keep up and begins to fail.  If you have a Gastrointestinal problem, the levels of insulin in the body are the cause.  The powerful pancreas is directly tied to a person’s health.

Carbohydrates are the problem; carbohydrates (carbs) are comfort foods and always contain higher sugar levels.  Carbs make it very difficult to break the sugar addiction and stop the pancreas from not hitting the proper amount of insulin in the body to digest foods.  I have always preferred brown rice to white rice, beans and legumes, whole grains, and I love making my own bread.  Yet, these foods especially are why my pancreas is overworking, and I have gastrointestinal issues and diabetes.  The nine-grain cereal I love any time of the day to consume is hurting me, but for my whole life, I have been told that nine-grain, whole grain cereal cannot hurt you.

Cave Man Foods

Knowledge Check!The following were suggested to me as foods to focus on eating, cutting my meals from three to two per day, and I have a follow-up in two weeks with Dr. T.  Dr. T. called these foods “Cave Man Foods” as they are closer to what cavemen ate, and they did not have diabetes.  I include these foods as a permanent record, not as health advice.  Please consult your physician and your body for what is best for you.

      • Eggs
      • Cheese
      • Avocados
      • All types of leafy green stuff (I knew they would stick these nasty things in somewhere.)
      • Non-Starchy Vegetables
          • Cucumbers
          • Colored peppers
          • The greenest lettuce to be found, Romaine is best provided it is GREEN! If your lettuce is white, RUN AWAY, THROW IT AWAY.
          • Spinach
          • Cabbage – Oh, I love Red and Green Cabbage with brats!
          • Broccoli
          • Radishes
          • Fresh Tomatoes – If your tomatoes are processed, look at the added sugar content, and be amazed at how sodas have less sugar than spaghetti sauce. But sodas get a bad rap, and spaghetti sauce gets a pass.
          • Asparagus – I love red/purple asparagus, can never find it, but I prefer red/purple to green.
          • Mushrooms – Oh, I have a great recipe for stuffed mushroom caps for the grill!
      • Raw nuts, but any non-sugar added nuts are good.
      • All berries.
      • Coffee and Tea, no sugar – Frankly, I drink neither, for I hate the taste of green/black/white/etc. Teas and I have finally kicked the coffee habit.
      • Drink Water! As a firefighter, as a person who has suffered three major heat stress injuries, I am a huge proponent of drinking water.
      • Meat – Any type.
      • Avoid – Bread, Rice, and Pasta

IronyWhat I found unique on this list is the missing fruits, watermelon, peaches, pears, apples, oranges, pineapples, etc., and Dr. T. claimed this was because of the need to pump the body full of insulin to digest the fruits.  If the goal is to heal from diabetes and be free of the drugs, shots, needles, etc., the body needs to be weaned from sugars to allow the pancreas to heal and the insulin levels and liver functions to return to normal.  As the pancreas heals and liver functions rise, the intestines will see a marked change in healthy bacterial populations without needing to add bacteria to your foods.  Have you seen the amount of added sugar in yogurt?  The bacteria are killed by sugar, but to eat yogurt, you get a considerable amount of sugar; tell me, does this make sense to you?

References

Gundry, S. R. (2017). The plant paradox: The hidden dangers in “Healthy” Foods that cause disease and weight gain. HarperCollins.

Taubes, G. (2008). Good calories, bad calories: Fats, carbs, and the controversial science of diet and health. Anchor.

Taubes, G. (2011). Why we get fat and what to do about it. Anchor.

© 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.

Questions – Mostly Why!

QuestionFrom their Dark Horse Album, Nickelback sings, “If Today Was Your Last Day.”  The central theme discusses a principle I am struggling with, centered around a question, “Why do we wait?”  The song’s lyrics include the following:

“My best friend gave me the best advice
He said, “Each day’s a gift and not a given right.
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by.
That first step you take is the longest stride.”

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say “goodbye” to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you had?
If today was your last day.”

From the Live Like You Were Dying album, Tim McGraw, sings a similarly themed song of the same name, with the following lyrics:Rescued Butterfly 2

Said I was in my early 40’s
With a lot of life before me
When a moment came, that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days lookin’ at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time
Asked him when it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ya, when you get that kind of news
Man what ya do
And he says

I went sky divin’
I went Rocky Mountain climbin’
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying
And he said someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’

The follow-up question continues, when will you finally start living big?

Why do we wait?

LaughterWhy do humans wait to begin living until they get a death sentence?  Look, I have lived my life as hard and as full as possible, not because I am dying, but to eventually be an interesting old person.  I remember sentiments from reading books as a kid, things like, “it’s not how wide or how deep you live that matters; it’s proving you lived at all.”  Or, “if you go through life without collecting scars and enemies, you’re a coward or worse.”  I do not understand about waiting for some earth-shaking revelation before you take time to laugh, be adventurous, explore, or forgive.

I talked to a person back in Ohio; his Father-In-Law dropped dead suddenly.  There were no health indications, no warning, no previous symptoms, just got up one morning, took a step, and fell down dead!  The man I was speaking to claimed this shook his wife, marriage, and family, but it would not change him.  He was rushing to a meeting for a job he hated, to go home to a family in turmoil, and he had no clue what to do.  Just a casual conversation, the man was not looking for answers; I would not offer advice.  I wished him well!Paradox

He had a long list of things to do in his “Some-Day” Bucket List.  When is someday?  I cannot find this as a day of the week on a single calendar.  Yet, how many times a day is a person dreaming of “someday” when they plan to start living?  Please do not get me wrong; I am not claiming we all need to be “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry for tomorrow we die” people.  I am arguing we might want to stop waiting for the bus to someday, to take us to a place called somewhere, so we can become people we refused to be all our lives.

Why finally start living big?

Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote a poem I favored as a child called “Casey at the Bat.”  Not to ruin the poem, but the last stanza is essential.

“Oh, somewhere in this favoured land, the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out” [emphasis mine].

The land of somewhere, where people live like they never lived in real life, is that mythical place of rainbows, lollipops, roses, and summer bands. Casey at the Bat | Tolley's Topics

James Wilson wrote a sequel to “Casey at the Bat” titled “Casey’s Revenge.”  Again the final stanza holds a clear message for us.

“Oh, somewhere in this favored land, dark clouds may hide the sun.
And somewhere bands no longer play, children have no fun;
And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall;
But Mudville hearts are happy now — for Casey hit the ball!”

The final Casey poem is called “Casey 20-Years Later,” authored by Clarence P. McDonald.  The Mudville Nine were hurt; they needed a player to finish the game.  The coach appealed to the crowd for a player to come and play.  An older man from the crowd, unknown and unnamed, claims he knows baseball and can help finish the game.  The game continues, and the stranger comes to bat; he hits the game-winning hit and stands there and cried.  For the stranger was Mighty Casey, the man chided and derided by the crowd so many years before.

Mighty Casey at Bat - Welcome to Wayne Hunt Huebner 4 ArtI have always wondered what happened between the first, the second, and the third poems about Mighty Casey.  The humility it took to play again.  The kindness he showed to the audience and other players, the respect he showed to the umpire.  So many lessons, but the number one among them all, why are we not living larger, deeper, fuller?  Why do we worship sports heroes instead of being sports heroes?  Why do we settle for the daily grind when even in the daily tasks, there are things to discover, new things to learn, new experiences, and new methods of doing things that will surprise us if we but take a risk.

Growing up in Maine, I learned something the day I had 20 loads of laundry to complete, no dryer, and the temperature was dropping like a rocket sled on rails.  Did you know you can hang clothes on a line outside, in the freezing cold, and they will dry?  My fingers just about froze stiff, the laundry was freezing faster than I could hang it, and I had to iron a bunch of wrinkles out.  But, what a cool (pun intended) lesson.  The clothes came in dry, smelled of the Maine woods, wood smoke, and had a crisp smell that I cannot forget.Lemmings 1

On my 30th birthday, I was in Maine again; my wife bought a birthday dinner at Red Robin.  I had some great food that day, but the memory that stays in my head, clear as a new spring morning, was the table cube.  On this cube was a picture of a man, standing outside a plane hangar, looking for all the world as confident as he can.  The heading, “All I want to be when I grow up is an interesting old person.”  At this moment, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew old, an interesting old person.

Plant JokePeople had been asking me what I wanted to do or be when I grew up for years and years.  I never had a clue.  I had already been a fireman, a diesel mechanic, a truck driver, a shepherd, a dairy farmhand, a blueberry harvester, a paper delivery boy, been through the US Army and US Navy, as well as a trip through the US Army National Guard.  I had worked in call centers, been a general contractor, a business consultant, worked in multiple warehouses in different roles, and so much more.  When I turned 30, my wife and I had already racked up 20+ moves, traveled uncountable miles across the lower-48 states, and had some crazy life experiences.  The US Military had already sent me ¾’s of the way around the world.

But, I finally found what I wanted to be, an interesting older person.  Thus, when I hear these songs by Nickelback and Tim McGraw, I cannot understand why wait?  Why live large and adventurous only after getting a life sentence?  Why withhold forgiveness and forget the past only after it becomes apparent you are going to die?  Did you forget that everyone has a death certificate waiting?  Did you get stuck in a rut, put on blinders, and forget that life is more than just breathing in and out and turning food into mulch?Mediocre Joke

A Final Thought

Would you volunteer?  The poem “Casey 20-years later” is a perfect ending for this topic.  Especially with the question, would you volunteer?  Would you volunteer to pull some weeds for a neighbor?  Would you volunteer to shovel a little more snow for another person?  Would you cross a lawn and pick up a trashcan the wind had knocked around?  Would you volunteer to buy some groceries when the teller asks for more money, and it is clear that the person does not have enough?  Would you buy gas for a stranger?

Knowledge Check!The poems of Casey relate a tale of humanity and the songs of Nickelback and Tim McGraw relate that it is never too late to help someone unless you’re dead!  Why wait?  Why hold off on living larger, deeper, fuller lives?  Why not volunteer?  Why do we wait to act like we care until a few days between Thanksgiving and Christmas but spend the rest of the year not living at all?  These are just some random questions, two really good songs, three incredible poems, and my brain trying to make sense.

© 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.

Ender’s Game: The Morality of Fighting, the Manner of Winning

Dont Tread On MeEnder’s Game is a book authored by Orson Scott Card and is on the level of some of the best military sci-fi I have ever read.  While I have not read all of the Ender books, Ender’s Game is by far one of the most intellectually stimulating sci-fi books I have read in the fiction genre. Essential to the present, raised and created by President Obama and the Democratic Party, is the question, “Does the manner of winning matter?”

When I understand my enemy well enough to defeat him, then in that moment, I also love him.” – A. E. Wiggin

The Morality of Fighting

From a previous article, we draw the definition of morality.  Various sources define morality; in fact, morality has been considered a philosophical debate, and much is written on this topic.  For this reason, the definition of morality is as follows:

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.”

I am not here to dictate what is and is not moral between you, your conscience, and your supreme being worshiped.  However, I will emphasize that America was founded upon the morals of Judeo-Christian theology, and these morals have been a solid anchor in the chaotic push and pull of beliefs and morals across time.

WhyHistory is replete with wars, contention, the loss of life, and examples of fighting for moral and immoral reasons, depending upon your choices and moral codes; but, is fighting someone else moral?  In the Judaic religion, the Rabbi’s will point to the Books of Moses and declare that the Children of Israel had to obey because God commanded, and wars were begun.  The Koran has similar writings.  The Old and New Testaments and the different Popes of the Catholic church can point to writings and claim similarly.  But, does a commandment from a supreme being make war moral?

I cannot tell you how to answer; thus, I will not be pontificating on this topic.  You, individually, must decide the morality or immorality of fighting and what is worth fighting and dying for.  I know my answer and am comfortable with my answers, for I have done the research and reached logical conclusions.  I beg you to decide what your answers are individually, for, in answering, you will better understand yourself, your beliefs, your mental positions, and the world around you.Question 3

The manner of Winning

An enemy can be crushed in any manner of methods from baroque to technical; the enemy is just as dead as yesterday’s fish.  Comb through history, and you will find man’s inhumanity to man is as great as man’s humanity to man.  I find this fact very comforting!  As cruel and vicious as man can be to each other, the fact that man continues to have a spark of divinity and can show compassion and kindness equal to or greater than his inhumanity a great hope.  Bringing us to the question, does the manner of winning matter?

In this world, there are many absolutes; the manner of winning absolutely does matter!  No equivocation, no double-speak, no half-truths.  If you cannot win by the rules, you are not worthy of competing!  I know no better method of stating this absolute; how you win is more important than winning!

QuestionDoes this absolute suggest there are rules to fighting; unequivocally YES!  There are always rules to fighting, and only the most despotic criminal would shuck the rules and win at all costs.  For in winning at all costs, that person has thrown off the cloaks of humanity, the ties that bind human to human, and have become an animal most vile.  One must never forget the lesson of Ender Wiggin.

When I understand my enemy well enough to defeat him, then in that moment, I also love him.” – A. E. Wiggin

From the “Five Rings,” Mao Tse Tung is quoted as declaring, “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”  Why; because universal truths win out, today’s enemy is tomorrow’s ally.  Both Mao Tse Tung and Ender Wiggin recognize the same lesson, but from different perspectives that there is never much difference between a trusted ally and a despised enemy.  Thus, how one wins is more important than winning!

Exclamation MarkConsider this principle in real life.  We have the November 2020 elections, which began with the 2020 primaries, where fraud, the inability to count, too many votes for a precinct, and a hundred other issues popped up.  Yet, none of those issues were considered fraudulent, just politicking—business as usual.  The most extensive problem areas promised to have everything fixed by November, business, as usual, no worries.  What happened in November, the same problems in the same regions produced an election that 40% of Pennsylvania does not trust to have been truthful.  How one wins matters more than winning!

Another example; Syria, President Bashar Assad, who employed chemical weapons against his people, in a massive violation of law, morality, and ethics.  President Obama blurred his own “Red Lines,” and Assad is still in power, only a little more circumspect in using banned chemical weapons.  The Syrian civil war (2011-Present) continues, the crimes against his enemies and people continue, and the only change is how Turkey continues to be flooded with refugees.  How you win matters more than winning!

Bait & SwitchThe battle continues in Ukraine with Russia, unabated, where America refused her ally (Ukraine) for Russia to gain “political influence” with Turkey and Syria.  One of the most remarkable historical facts, Russia continues to forget, then remember, then forget that how you win is more important than merely winning!  The history books of Russia are replete with this cycle, and every few generations, the cycle repeats.  Usually, after a glorious loss, Russia remembers that how you win is more important than winning, and the people rally to clear off the invader, previously Germany!

Since the First Sino-Japanese War onward, China has refused to believe that how one wins is more important than winning.  Unfortunately, Communism has only made this country more blood-thirsty and less willing to follow Mao Tse Tung’s advice on war, even though they continue to use his philosophies against everyone else.  Worse, China is offering war to every nation on Earth, and the majority of the countries are asleep.  Japan learned this lesson well and has used this lesson to dominate the Pacific Rim nations economically.

Knowledge Check!America keeps trying to learn and apply this lesson.  However, her political leaders since Vietnam continue to refuse to allow the military to do their job with a clear set of Rules for Engagement.  Worse, the political leaders keep trying to give away US Constitutional Rights to enemies of America.  All because too many refuse to understand that how you win is more important than winning.

© 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.

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot: The Illinois Edition

Exclamation MarkThe story is linked in case you missed the news on 09 July 2021; Illinois has become the first state in AMERICA to mandate ASIAN History be taught in K-12 education.  Let that sink in for a moment.  AMERICAN History has been abused, twisted, contorted, and NOT taught in AMERICAN schools in ANY of the 50-US States.  But Illinois wants students to learn Asian History.  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Illinois!

What is the reported reasoning for this move?

According to a statement from Governor JB Pritzker, the reason for this move is as follows:

With the recent rise in acts of violence and bigotry against the Asian American community, teaching students about the rich culture and important contributions of the Asian American community throughout history will help combat false stereotypes” [emphasis mine].

For your information, the legislation is called the “Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act,” and the special interest group pushing this legislative nightmare is Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.  The website includes a Los Angeles branch, the Asian Law Caucus, AAJC, and an Atlanta branch.  Another special interest group involved in this legislation is PAVE (Pan Asian Voter Empowerment). My first question about this legislation comes from the name, “What is equitable Asian American History, especially when American History is not being taught?”Lemmings 5

What is in the curriculum?

The curriculum declares it is compliant with Common Core standards, which doesn’t mean anything as teaching masturbation to first graders is compliant with Common Core Standards.  However, PBS Learning media has a website dedicated to the curriculum plan for teaching Asian American History, even though the curriculum does not describe “equitable.”  PBS Learning media claims to be “pleased to present over 30-lesson plans based on a fiver hour documentary Asian Americans in American History.  While the Illinois legislation claims that K-12 will begin learning about Asian History, the reality on the PBS Learning media is that the published lesson plans only go from third grade to twelfth grade.  Leading to my next question, “Where is this push for historical teaching coming from?”

Plato 2I have not viewed the series; I have barely scraped the surface of the curriculum offered.  What I have seen of the curriculum worries me.  I call it “whitewashing” history, to glance over the actions of one group to reflect how other groups were treated, with the intent of stirring the racial divides and creating more chasms based on race alone.  What I see in this curriculum does nothing to “ … teach students about the rich culture and important contributions of the Asian American community throughout history” or to “combat false stereotypes.”  I ran a search engine using the string, “Violent migrant worker strikes, involving Asian people,” and the first item on the list returned originates with the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project, sponsored by the University of Washington.

The context, labor union organizing, which everyone should know, includes the growth and development of Marxist ideology in America.  How did the labor unions create a space for themselves?  They drove wedges between groups of people based solely upon race, creating contention, becoming violent, and hiding behind equity and fairness to escape responsibility and accountability for laws they sundered.

Let me be clear!

Knowledge Check!Let me be clear; every group across the skin color spectrum has historically had problems in American society.  Any time race separates, chaos, confusion, and violence are bred!  I am proud that America has grown out of oppressing people based on the color of their skin and do not judge American history as racist just because historically, people acted out of fear when treating their fellow men fairly.  History is full of people who made terrible choices, and teaching that these choices were poorly made is important, but race, religion, handicap, etc., should NOT be the focus on the content in history.  The focus of history should be on what grew out of specific actions in specific epochs of time.

America IS better for the Civil War, even though the US Government continues to hinder economically and is biased against the states that formed the Confederate States.  A dumb historical decision that has kept many states from achieving greatness is due to President Lincoln’s death and the hostility in the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and President Andrew Johnson.  All of whom believed that the Confederate States needed to be mightily punished.  In contrast, President Lincoln was pushing for national forgiveness.  Thus, we need to focus on the events, not the race, color, lines of separation and division, but on the outcomes and the fruits from those decisions when teaching history!The Duty of Americans

State’s Rights

I affirm in clear language that a state has the right to set the curriculum of government-mandated schools.  I support state’s rights to the fullest and would see each state prepare their students to meet the world and win!  Paradoxically, I also affirm in language clear that this legislation will do NOTHING to “combat false stereotypes” but will only increase racial division and disharmony in Illinois and any other state who refuses to learn the lessons from history.

History and Racial Focus

Content of their CharacterThink about this quote for a moment, who are the biggest race hustlers in America?  History has taught that when race is the only concern worth knowing people care only about race, to their demise.  Focusing on race is the sole reason why I have questioned, and continue to question, the validity of the arguments for National “Name your Favorite Minority” Month celebrations.  There are absolutes in this world; focusing solely upon race as a choice, will breed racial tensions as a consequence, is an absolute.  Recent history under President Obama reflected this exact issue to the Nth degree, yet nobody wants to have that discussion.  Why; because of race!

Bob MarleyWhen your focus is solely upon an individual’s race, race will be the only thing learned, the only lesson absorbed, and the fruit of that lesson are bitter.  Have people from various races achieved great things; absolutely, but why should their achievements be diminished by focusing solely upon their race?  Why should their achievements only be mentioned during “Name your Favorite Minority” monthly celebrations?  Has the 1960s taught us nothing about the character, knowledge, talents, curious minds, and the work performed where race was NEVER an issue?  I have books galore in my home; I continue to collect books about famous people of great accomplishment; I have never cared a whit about that person’s sex or gender.  Why; because their sex and gender, race, skin color, religion, handicap, or heritage have never been a factor.  As a kid, a thrill ran through me when I read the preamble to the US Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [emphasis mine].

Even today, these words continue to guide me.  Show me; where in the Declaration of Independence does it discuss sex, race, heritage, religion, handicap, etc.?  NOWHERE!  A lesson America needs to relearn if she is to survive.  What hinders the pursuit of happiness, capturing inalienable rights, and stops liberty; focusing upon that which divides instead of that which unites!

PatriotismFrom the National Archives website, we find the following regarding the Declaration of Independence:

The Declaration of Independence states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based. Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding, but it is powerful. Abraham Lincoln called it “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.” It continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality” [emphasis in original].

Think about this for a moment.  The American Identity, the bedrock principles upon which America was built, the power cell for liberty and freedom across the world, begins with a simple truth:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [emphasis mine].Image - John Wayne Quote

A document that is not legally binding holds power to inspire actions that unite people, provided our focus is not on those things which separate us.  Cementing the lesson discussed herein, focus on race and racial division is the only lesson learned, and the resulting fruit is bitter, chaos ensues, and problems abound in violence.  Why have we not learned these lessons from the 1960s, the Watt’s Riots, the death toll in Chicago that makes war zones safer than the streets of Chicago; the focus is on race, not the potential.  The focus is on the sex, the invented genders, the handicaps, the religions, the heritages, etc., not on what is essential, character and potential, freedom, liberty, and equality under the law.

Knowledge Check!We need to get back to teaching history, where the focus is on how the decisions and actions from the past hinder or help the present so that the future can be better.  Failing that, we desperately need to cease focusing upon race, gender, sex, religion, handicap, and heritage as these things only matter to the individual and not to historical records.  Failing that, America fails, and the light of liberty and freedom will be lost to the annals of history forever.  So, gather the fruit you choose, focus on race if you prefer, focus on gender, sex, handicap, veterans status, and every other line of separation.  Your fruit gathered will be most bitter indeed, for you will miss the rich tapestry of human interaction, for the dirt caught in the fabric.

Powering my third and final question to the legislative and executive branches of Illinois, “Knowing all this, why are you focused on race and forcing students to focus solely upon race?”

© 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.

Las Cruces – The Come To Visit Stay a Lifetime City

Monumental award | Las Cruces BulletinIn 2016, my wife and I washed up as flotsam against the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM.  We enjoyed our time in Albuquerque, but the politics and politicians are really extreme and insane, to boot!  We thought about, briefly, moving to Santa Fe, Angel Fire, Las Vegas, and several other northern cities and locations in New Mexico, but nothing worked out.  So, we began looking into southern New Mexico.

Very Large Array Radio Telescope - Electronic Manufacturing Services | Carlton IndustriesNot having much luck, I took my wife to Phoenix for her birthday and showed her the “Very Large Array,” which took her breath away and showed her places in Arizona and New Mexico I thought she might enjoy.  On the return trip, I took the southerly route through Tucson, and we spent a night in Las Cruces.  My wife was amazed at the green that just “popped up” in the desert.  The green she mentioned were the miles and miles of pecan and pistachio trees that line the highways of Las Cruces.

Christmas in Cruces - Visit Las Cruces New Mexico - Las Cruces CVBLas Cruces, New Mexico (U.S.)Well, some time passes, and in trying to find a home, we finally found something in Las Cruces.  The longer I stay here, the more the place feels like home.  Better, the people and the architecture, the policies and politics, and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces make this southern location an incredible jewel hidden in southern New Mexico.  El Paso is close enough to visit if you want the big-city experience, but truth be told, everything you need can be found in Las Cruces; the people are friendlier, and the climate is fun.

While living in Albuquerque, too many people thought Albuquerque was all to New Mexico and referred to their time as time spent in the land of entrapment.  Thankfully, employment took me around the state several times.  I got to see the influence of federal government policies on land use, and despise them for the theft of this land.  I had the privilege of seeing just how logically insane the government in Santa Fe is and detest them for their inaction, stupidity, politicking, and infernal bickering.  But, every time I came south, Las Cruces captured my attention, my notice, and my wonder.

Best things to do in Las Cruces, New MexicoDeming is another location in southern New Mexico, but they are struggling.  Mainly because of the government politics and previous economic choices, which are still creating problems in the town.  Dependence upon the federal government in New Mexico is endemic, robbing potential, crushing souls, and destroying hopes and dreams.  This reality can only be changed if the federal government shrinks to the 1940 (pre-WWII) level of government.  However, if you look, you can find small pieces of potential, like spring flowers poking up out of snow, especially in Deming, Las Cruces, and the other southern New Mexico towns and locations that are missing, almost entirely, from northern New Mexico.

At a time when people seem to be restless, are looking for new horizons, and want an escape from the insanity of politicians who refuse to listen to the electorate, may I suggest a visit to Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico.  The change is refreshing, the potential is exciting, and the possibilities for growth and development are all but limitless.  Better still, there is an undercurrent of enthusiasm found here that appears to be missing in a lot of the other places my wife and I have visited in our 26 years of marriage and 28 different moves across the continental United States.

Outdoors in Las Cruces - Biking and Running - Visit Las Cruces New Mexico - Las Cruces CVBPlease note, Las Cruces is not all roses and rainbows, lollipops, and chocolate-covered peanuts.  There are growth areas in politics, agriculture, the railroad, the highways, and the need for manufacturing industry.  Some growth areas include an embedded mañana attitude where a business operates a little slower; outdoor workers quit before the heat comes on too bad.  Siestas and taking your time is problematic if you want things done in a hurry.  But, these are also some of the things that make this little city such an exciting experience.

One of the growth areas that might not be a growth area, except for volume, is the food!  Holy…  Gustatory Experience!  The food in Southern New Mexico is like an inverted food chart for Italy.  Northern New Mexico has different foods entirely from southern New Mexico, and Southern New Mexican food is head and shoulders above Northern New Mexico.  In Italy, it is said, if you want good food, eat in Northern Italy; in New Mexico, when you eat, eat in the south!

Las Cruces makes most overlooked cities listSure, Northern New Mexico has Monroe’s, which is a phenomenal gustatory experience capturing New Mexican food at its finest.  The Owl Café in Albuquerque is a gustatory experience not to be missed in any visit to New Mexico, save room for dessert and order a Chili milkshake.  However, Monroe’s and The Owl Café are but two places for food in Albuquerque worth visiting.  Las Cruces has Caliche’s Frozen Custard, La Neuva Casita Café, A Bite of Belgium, and Salud! De Mesilla, just to name a few!  The food in southern New Mexico is incredible, and the small places are wonderful.  Just remember about mañana.  Get impatient, and you get rude service.

Hasta mañana - TnRelacionesI cannot stress this enough, mañana is in the culture, in the air you breathe, the dirt, the sand, and in every action taken.  You do not come to southern New Mexico to be in a hurry!  Want hurry, eat fast food and flee at your earliest opportunity, for southern New Mexico is not for you.  Want a little slower pace, time to enjoy conversation, time to explore, and time to get to know people; come to Las Cruces and enjoy the experience!

Knowledge Check!When you visit, bring your manners!  Say please and thank you.  Say you’re welcome.  Hold the door for strangers and ladies.  Wave, especially if someone waves at you.  Drive the speed limit!  When I was in the US Army, I was given some advice for my visit to South Korea, “show respect, get respect.”  Well, the same is true to Southern New Mexico, show some respect, and you will have a great time here.

© 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.

Respect – The Key Missing Ingredient

In Tom Clancy’s book, John Clark, “Rainbow Six” discusses the predictability of terrorists and how terrorism has rules.  However, the terrorism witnessed since May 2020 is refusing the old rules, as if they were not written in the blood of dead terrorists, and the main ingredient missing is respect.  Respect for the consequences, respect for death, respect for the need to have a functioning society to build your Marxist utopias in when the current government folds.  Throughout history, respect has been a tool, a weapon, and entirely missing from societies at various times and seasons.

Ask yourself, what was the difference between the Hong Kong riots and the George Floyd riots?  The difference is respect.  Sure, both riots had stupid people who resorted to violence.  Absolutely, both riots involved governments who acted in the most dysfunctional manner possible.  But, the Hong Kong rioters (terrorists) never gave up respect for themselves and their cause.  In contrast, their American counterparts never had respect for themselves, their cause, or their communities and just wanted to destroy things!

What is respect?

Aretha Franklin is famous for one of her songs, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” and all she wants is some respect for the loving she is willing to give.  Yet, from the lyrics, one is left wondering if she ever got her respect from the one she loved.  Aretha Franklin was reflecting to the world that love is not everything needed in a relationship, Sorry Beatles, and must be accompanied by respect!

Webster clarifies respect, claiming that respect involves providing special attention to, or regard for, another person or thing.  However, that definition does not encapsulate the essence of respect.  Other descriptions for respect include higher regard or esteem for something or someone.  Finally, we have suggestions that esteem and special consideration for someone or something are needed to fulfill the requirements to provide proper respect.  Thus, one must return to the etymology of the word respect to gain further insight.

Respect was originally used between 1300 and 1350, derived as a middle English Noun, from Old French, or directly from Latin Respectus, “action of looking back, consideration, and regard.”  Therein lies the key quality in respect, action, and history.  Proper respect is shown when history is considered, and action is taken to regard that history.  Taking us back to the terrorists in Tom Clancy’s book “Rainbow Six.”  By not properly regarding the lessons learned by previous dead terrorists, respect was lacking, and the terrorist’s mission was a failure before they boarded the plane.

Action

When discussing action in respect, we refer to deeds or the process of taking action to understand the deed mentally before physically moving.  Consider the rioters in Hong Kong; they knew that by taking action, they ran the risk of death, had to come to terms with receiving physical violence of state enforcers, and had to respect the violence potential, and felt compelled to act.  Whereas, in America, there was no respect for activities done by state enforcers in previous riot situations, as the state enforcers have been shackled and hamstrung by laws to protect the terrorist rioter’s rights and liberties.

Which party reflected proper respect; honestly, both did.  Why; because they both knew the potential and showed the government’s problems in their respective societies.  This is where America has been since the Los Angeles, California (1992) riots.  Law and order are actively shunned due to both disrespect for law and society and respect for the knowledge that police are hamstrung and neutered in response to large-scale public rioting (terrorism).  Why did Ferguson, Missouri last as long as it did; a lack of respect for the individual and respect for the knowledge that the rioters (terrorists) could do anything they wanted and escape without responsibility.  Follow the pattern in riots since 1992, and you will find disrespect for actions taken being the sole variable in the equation linking all the riots together.

History

History and respect remain intertwined to the point that if a person does not understand their own history, they will not respect themselves, their cause, or even their society.  Again, using Hong Kong and America as examples, we see the history of Hong Kong respected by the protestors.  Hong Kong has always been a separate entity, never a “Chinese” possession.  Always separate from the mainland physically, mentally, emotionally, and governmentally.  China promised that if Britain gave China to the Chinese, Hong Kong could retain its liberty, individualism, and separate status.  Guess how long that lasted, not even long enough for the ink to dry on the treaty documents.

China is in direct violation of the treaty documents where Hong Kong is concerned, but China does not care.  Why; disrespect for the west, the United Kingdom, and the people that make societies and cultures.  Why is China able to disrespect the treaty on Hong Kong?  They do not recognize the history of Hong Kong, they pervert history to their purposes, and Chinese government leaders disrespect themselves, like all good communists.  Hence, we can see a direct result of what happens when a nation disrespects its own history.

But, does America understand the lesson being taught by the riots in Hong Kong; nope!  Not only did America’s rioters (terrorists) tear down visible reminders of history, they refuse to learn history as an active rebellion, considering history to be useless.  Thus, the ignorance of the terrorists is their Achilles’ heel and how to beat them forever at their own game.

Suggestions for winning the moral high-ground back!

The following are suggestions for launching a legal counter-attack to the stupidity and disrespect of those who continue to disrespect America.

      1. Learn history! Not the rants from school, not the lies and the tortured history from K—12, I mean real history.  Sourced from multiple sources where research was conducted and then supported by published references.  History is amazing; take the learning plunge!
      2. Respect yourself! You are unique, special, and deserve a society free from terrorism and terrorists masquerading as “peaceful rioters.”  A community free from terrorism starts with respecting yourself.
      3. Respect your actions by knowing why you are taking the actions being taken. Some of the summer of peaceful rioting videos included a black person stomping (jumping up and down) on another black person in support of George Floyd.  It made no sense then; it makes less sense now.
      4. Respect your community. Respecting your community includes voting, staying interested in how the elected official is doing, and raising your voices legally to correct the behavior of wayward politicians.  Respect for your community does not include burning businesses to the ground, looting, or smashing public property.
      5. Even when you disagree with authority, respect that authority enough to handle your concerns appropriately.

© 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.

Morality, the Vaccine to Envy

Angry Wet ChickenIn reading the news today, under the heading of “equity,” we find masturbation taught to first graders, hardcore porn taught to high schoolers, and San Francisco, CA., sliding into lawlessness and chaos.  Honestly, I felt my mind trying to explode; yet, life must go on.  In several previous posts, I have described how equity is a mask for envy.  For example, sexual grooming of the innocent comes from people envious of the innocent.  The district attorney in San Francisco is envious and uses his envy to gain power and lord that power over those who elected him.

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, in their book of scripture The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121, verse 39, has an applicable declaration.

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” [emphasis mine].

Detective 2For those interested, “unrighteous dominion” is considered to be oppression, pride, vain ambitions, and a host of other contention-increasing actions designed to stay in “power” where the exercise of authority can be abused.  For example, the district attorney and staff in San Francisco were informed by those who elected the DA to power that the crime and the lawlessness in the city were hurting them. The DA and staff are reported to have claimed those raising concerns were racist.  The governmental leaders in San Francisco consider themselves as having authority. Yet, they refuse to acknowledge that their “authority” comes from the governed and was granted through the electoral process and can be taken back.  Hence the verse quoted is an excellent description of what is being witnessed today at every level of government.

Various sources define morality; in fact, morality has been considered a philosophical debate, and much is written on this topic.  For this reason, the definition of morality is as follows:

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.”

I am not here to dictate what is and is not moral between you, your conscience, and your supreme being worshiped.  However, I will emphasize that America was founded upon the morals of Judeo-Christian theology, and these morals have been a solid anchor in the chaotic push and pull of beliefs and morals across time.  I mention this because that definition of morality opens the doors for people to insist that sexually grooming young children is morally acceptable because they believe that sexual grooming should be universal.  Planned Parenthood, GLAAD, and several other groups believe that sexual grooming and stealing the innocence of youth is required because they personally envy children their innocence.

ModestyBelieve it or not, sex is NEVER free; there will always be consequences.  The 1960s sexual revolution has done more harm globally than any other revolution or clash of arms in history, bringing us back to the topic rather forcefully; morality is the only vaccine to envy.  But, who decides the morality of a nation, a state, a country, or a city?  The electorate as a collective voice selects the morality of that area.  The electorate decides the laws through the ballot box in a representative government.  In a non-representative government, the king, monarch, dictator, etc., dictate the morality of the population, which is one reason why old countries have histories where immorality was rampant as the people followed the examples of the leaders, not the leader’s words.  Want a history lesson in morality and how people copy a leader’s morality, look no further than King Henry VIII of England.

Social Justice Warrior 3Circling back again to how morality is the vaccine for envy, provided the morals involved in supporting morality are selected carefully and exemplified by leaders.  In the discussion on morality, philosophers question if there are absolutes?  Absolute right and absolute wrong, or are morals a gray area where time and social pressure keep everything gray?  Depending upon your appetite and your ability to control your appetites tends to set your moral convictions.

5 Illegal Drugs That Doctors Once Prescribed As Miracle CuresFor example, Playboy and Hustler have made billions of dollars selling sexually explicit content to the masses.  Some participate in pornography; others refuse pornography.  Those who choose to imbibe in pornography live a fantasy life where no woman will ever be good enough to meet the pictures witnessed and the lurid content from the magazines selling appetite suppression.  Both sides of the morality issue will complain they deserve attention and should be free to express their rights.  Both are using the same tool, envy, to make their moral stand become a legal standard.

Who wins and who loses?  Why?  These questions get to the heart of the problem and identify why morality is a vaccine for envy.  Morality, where all men (including women) are equal, would see the chains of pornography and set a moral standard to limit the content to adult audiences.  But, every 10-year old knows a friend whose dad has a subscription and has seen a Playboy or Hustler magazine.  Is this a failure of the law or moral codes; no, it is a failure of parents and parenting.  Yet, society will consider this a social problem. The K-12 educators will become involved in peddling worse to your children, all because of curiosity, failed parenting, envy, all of which stem from moral problems and morality breakdowns in social systems.

Exclamation MarkAs a kid, I remember the fierce debates over convenience stores being allowed to sell adult content, video stores carrying adult movies, and the continued fight over how much is too much in an R-rated, PG-13 rated, and G-rated movies.  Why were these fights and debates occurring; the lude and loose morality of the 1960s perverted sex into being “free,” and morality took a back seat to legal freedoms without accountability and responsibility.  Consider the gargantuan awards against cigarette manufacturers; why were these awards so high, poor moral choices, envy, and a refusal to accept that the daily choice of smoking 5-45 cigarettes is going to cost you your health as a consequence.

Sure, medical professionals peddled smoking as a curative; but they also peddled mercury, heroin, cocaine, and a ton of other chemicals and poisons, and those companies never got in trouble.  So why were cigarette manufacturers singled out; envy and a lack of morality where consequences are accepted for personal behaviors.  Nobody twisted arms and forced anyone to smoke.  Yet, the cigarette manufacturers have been forced to pay for advertising to prevent smoking, smoking cessation classes, and a host of other programs by legal mandate, for the moral failures of people in society.Are You Sure Grandpa Never Took Heroin? You May Be Surprised | BoredomBash

Is the connection clear?  Envy breeds bad case law, which enables poor moral choices without consequences.  Except, the consequences for personal choices cannot ever be escaped!  Therein lay the issue and the answer.  I do not care what moral code you choose to follow, provided that moral code does not infringe upon another person’s rights and liberties; believe who, what, and where you will.  Just understand that your moral code comes with consequences that others should never have to pay for.

Knowledge Check!Equality in the world, since the 1960s, has been a mask for envy.  Through the power of envy, people have become discontent, disabled, and disconnected from morality and the consequences of immoral behaviors.  America stands on a tipping point where envy is concerned, and if we, the citizens who can understand, cannot persuade, educate, and correct this trend line, disaster looms large!  We must recognize that the path of envy, in all its nicer sounding, feel-good imitations, is part of the problem we face!  Yes, I believe in liberty, freedom, the inalienable rights of man.  But freedom, liberty, and the rights of man are not government benefits to be doled out at the whims of bureaucrats.  It is not more government we need when morality is threatened by envy, but less!

© 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.

Glory and Gore go Hand in Hand – Stating the Obvious

Bait & SwitchLorde, from the “Pure Heroine” album, sings the song “Glory and Gore.”  From which both this title and the principle for this article originated.  The obvious is stated many times a day, oftentimes in an ironic accident, and today was no exception.  The headlines on several stories help prove this point and highlight some serious problems facing America.

From The Daily Signal, we find our first instance of stating the obvious when Lindsey Burke announces that “Unions are doubling down on inserting critical race theory (CRT) into education.”  Of course, the labor unions of teacher associations would be doubling- and tripling- down on applying political pressure to advance America, destroying malarkey for K-12 Educators.  Show a single instance when a Marxist labor union has ever done anything to support America, and I will show you the inner workings of liars, thieves, and cheats who will tell a thousand truths to convince you a lie is a truth.

Exclamation MarkCRT is dangerous, it is a lie thought up by academics, and the only people who will benefit from CRT are liars, thieves, cheats, and politicians.  Tell me, of all the people in history who have been enslaved, forced into indentured servitude, harassed, belittled, and betrayed by a different society, why are American Black populations the only ones ever targeted for pampering and coddling?  When you answer this question, you will discover that this population is being treated this way by racist antagonists who know they can rely upon this population for agitation, anger, and terrorism without thought, concern, and care about the consequences.  Why; because they have been intentionally groomed and carefully taught to act in this manner for the political ambitions of the same people pushing CRT.

Ever notice how President Biden and Hillary Clinton only talk at the American Black Populations, and even then only address the leaders of groups dedicated to rousing the population’s emotions, and not the population themselves?  When was President Biden ever in Harlem for a political rally?  When was Hillary ever in Compton, Philly, or Chicago?  What about a visit to Atlanta for a political rally down by the riverside?  The politicians talk to the NAACP and the Black Caucus, who then speak to the religious leaders and social justice minions. They talk to the local neighborhoods, reflecting the cowardice and true colors of the politicians as race agitators and race hustlers, not interested in the population unless it is election time.  What is CRT; trouble!

Theres moreThe Daily Signal also carried a story authored by Hans von Spakovsky, who declared that a former Justice Department lawyer testified that lawyers abuse their power at the Department of Justice.  What a revelation; lawyers were acting unethically, immorally, and illegally for personal gain in government employment.  Color me shocked!  Ever wonder why lawyers and attorneys have the most jokes written about them of any other profession; I never have!  Worse, I cannot believe how many can get elected!

Under the heading of stating the obvious, and how you cannot color me shocked, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to blame inadequate training as the go-to excuse when the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) comes investigating.  In the almost two decades I have been chronicling poor behavior at the VA, VBA, VHA, and National Cemeteries, the number one most often cited excuse for failure is “poor or inadequate training.”  As a point of reference, this lack of training drove my desire to work in training at the VA to improve the training delivered.

Raymmond G. MurphyAs an adult educator with more than 20 years in distance learning and classroom training, I thought I would be a shoo-in for the positions.  Nope, I had not served in pay grades lower to “learn the VA.”  Even though I had more education and experience, was Schedule A, and more skilled than any other candidate, I was deemed not qualified, and internal people filled the open roles.  How do I know these facts, I asked those hired, and they were glad to relate their stories, experience, and time served in the VA to get into a plushy training position where they were grossly inadequate.  Only after leaving was the other reason revealed, the HR Director at the Albuquerque VAMC claimed too many veterans were in employment at the VA and refused to hire a single veteran while she directed the HR department.

Do the VA Leaders ever think that this is the problem? Only the worst of the worst can survive the mental depravity and mind-numbing bureaucracy at the VA to obtain promotion into higher leadership positions.  Worse, those who achieve these positions have agendas, lists of enemies to crush, and power empires to build, so they are never interested in doing the job!

GearsThe result, designed incompetence is bred, excuses that could not hold reality become the accepted verbiage to deflect responsibility and accountability, and if all else fails, make sure your union dues are paid, and the union will defend your pension, your job, and your benefits.  Then you can lie, cheat, steal, and terrorize without prejudice and escape without any problems.

If you ever think that something is too far-fetched to believe, the VA will prove you wrong.  The VA-OIG continues to inspect five VAMC’s for inadequate and improper processes, procedures, and leadership where financial controls and payments to third-party or affiliated non-profit corporations are concerned.  In 2021, two additional VAMC’s have failed sufficiently to make the eternally under investigation list, Albuquerque, NM and Palo Alto, CA.  The original five are Boise, ID., Boston, MA., Cincinnati, OH., Nashville, TN., and San Francisco, CA.

The Albuquerque and Palo Alto medical centers made about $17.9 million in improper payments to affiliated non-profit corporations. The reason for improper payments was the same for all seven VA medical centers reviewed. Specifically, procedures for approving invoices did not satisfy VA policy requirements because they did not require verification that the services were provided. The audit team also noted an absence of required periodic reviews by VA supervisors of approved invoices at all seven medical centers.”

Now, here’s the other side of the coin, the internal controls at both the VA and the non-profits did not identify that their problems were internal or even an issue.  When I have worked in finance, the rule is, “no evidence, no payment!”  When the non-profit I volunteered at failed an audit with 27-pages of audit inconsistencies, I was called in and charged with fixing the problems.  Of those 27-pages of audit findings, 26 pages were for payments where documentation was missing.  Four months later, a follow-up inspection cleared all 27-pages.  Yet, no evidence continues to be the single most glaring problem at seven separate VAMC’s, and nothing has changed since this issue first reared its head in FY 2017-2018.  The VA-OIG has collected reports beginning in Boston, MA VA_OIG report number 18-00711-211, published 02 December 2019, where more than 3700 payments totaling more than $23 Million were made without evidence proving services rendered.Apathy

From the VA-OIG Report:

Of the estimated $1.6 million overpayment, about $1.5 million paid to the Boston non-profit was included in the total $35.7 million improper payments due to lack of evidence that services were received. The entire $1.6 million overpayment was for unallowable or prohibited reimbursements to the non-profit.”

The OIG previously reported a total of about $35.7 million improper payments to five affiliated non-profit corporations as shown in this report.”

VA 3Is it too obvious to declare the leadership in charge at both the non-profits and the VA needs immediate removal, transparent audits conducted, and those leaders held accountable for the money that has been lost?  Recently an author claimed the VA is more of a crime syndicate than the mob.  After reading that two additional VAMC’s have failed gloriously to prove services rendered for payments made, I can agree with this sentiment!

Our final entry today originates, unsurprisingly, with the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and a VA-OIG inspection where 88% of the claims processed involved lengthy delays in making decisions.  Tell me, if you had an 88% failure rate at your job, how long would you keep your job?  How long would it be before your bosses were shown the door, the company shuttered, and investigated for fraud?  Now, why are government employees treated differently than private-sector employees?  The inexcusable delays have led to more than $232 Million in questionable payments projected for the next two years, while the VBA is “encouraged” to fix the delay problems and “catch up.”

Knowledge Check!For the record, stating the obvious, the entire US Government is sick.  The legislative branch keeps abdicating responsibility to the judicial and executive branches. Bureaucrats and bureaucracy have overcome common sense. The whole process has been rigged to keep the dregs of society in power while the taxpayer suffers.  Let us, the owners of representative governments, remind those supposed to be in charge that they have cause to fear the electorate.  Politicians should fear the ballot box, and they should fear having the electorate hold them personally accountable for the mess they have perpetrated.

© 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.

Abominable Enabling – More VA Chronicles of Shame!

Knowledge Check!Before I begin, please allow me to emphasize a key idea, “This is your government!”  Your tax dollars are paying for these shenanigans, and the bureaucrats do not fear you.  I have written some odious critiques in my time about the VA and other government agencies.  My cataloging these incidents does no good unless everyone in America becomes full of righteous indignation and DEMANDS Action through their elected officials!

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has been super busy this week, and my email box has been chock full of reports.  The VA-OIG reports begin in New Mexico, Albuquerque, where finally the VA-OIG has investigated some of the many complaints and is finally stating what the veterans and active-duty military have been saying for a long time, the NMVAMC leadership stinks!Raymmond G. Murphy

As a patient in Albuquerque VAMC, during the June 2018 window of investigation, I can affirm the integrity of the problem but seriously doubt the VA-OIG conclusions.  I was an employee of the Albuquerque VAMC in June 2018, so I know the leadership involved personally, and I guarantee the problem goes deeper than a lack of training.  The Albuquerque VAMC is fraught with leadership dysfunction, misfeasance, malfeasance, and intentional systemic problems.  Yes, the VISN 22 leaders were advised, and no, the VISN 22 leaders did nothing! There’s no surprise there; VISN 22 is one dead veteran from a major scandal that will make the death list scandals look like a minor nuisance.

From the VA-OIG report, we find the following:

The VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted a healthcare inspection to evaluate allegations that Community Care consults were completed in June 2018 without scanning and attaching available clinical results to patients’ Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic health records (EHR).”  “The VA-OIG substantiated that in June 2018, Community Care nurses were completing consults without scanning and attaching clinical documentation to patients’ EHRs.”  “The VA-OIG determined that Community Care nurses lacked a comprehensive orientation and training program. The Chief of Community Care did not verify adherence to consult-related VHA requirements or conduct regular reviews and improvements for departmental performance deficiencies. Additionally, Community Care performance monitoring addressed consult processes before patients receiving care but did not address the consult completion process or identify non-compliance with VHA policy before 2019.”VA 3

Let me break this down; primary care providers sent orders for community care, community care would be delayed, then to clear the backlog, the nurses doing the ordering would pencil-whip the documents claiming that care had been received, canceling the orders of the primary care provider.  Then the patient and the primary care provider would have to start the process for community care all over again.  Wasting time, money, and other resources, the facility leaders and VISN leaders refused to address the deficiencies and correct the problem.  The problems with community care existed before I arrived in Albuquerque in 2016 and continue without stop after this VA-OIG inspection.  I met with providers who had not been paid for years because the community care program was poorly managed and led.  Thus, the leadership enables people to break the trust, break the law, commit fraud, waste, and abuse, then collectively blame the problem on a lack of training, which is designed into the processes as incompetence.

QuestionI keep asking for the politicians and Washington VA Leaders to rip the scab off VISN 22, expose the wound to sunshine disinfectant, and drain the pus for the good of the VA body.  Yet, nothing ever happens, and the leadership continues to get away with abusing veterans, killing veterans, and destroying veterans.  Shame on you, political and administrative leaders!

Speaking of wounds needing sunshine disinfectant, the VA-OIG reports that “Mende Leone, 37, pleaded guilty to misappropriation of a federal benefit by a fiduciary.  As her uncle’s appointed fiduciary, Leone stole at least $151,000 of VA benefits intended for him.”  Continuing to prove that after the VA, families are the second most dangerous entity to the health and support of veterans.  Despicable crime indeed!Plato 2

Unfortunately, the third most dangerous entity to a veteran is the state government where they reside.  California moved very quickly to scoop up money after a veteran died.  At the same time, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) was foot-dragging on deciding on awarding fiduciary control for the veteran in a long-term care facility.  Proving once again, if you want to see government in action, waive money in their faces, and watch them kill each other to obtain someone else’s funds.

The clowns at any circus in the world would make better administrators of the VA than those currently in power positions!  For the second time in as many months, the VA-OIG reports that unreliable information (the politically correct way to say they lied) was blamed for billions in cost overruns on IT infrastructure costs to the VA.  “… the Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization (OEHRM) estimated information technology (IT) infrastructure upgrade costs [but was not] in accordance with established VA standards and Government Accountability Office guidance.  The two $4.3 billion infrastructure upgrade estimates reported to Congress were not reliable and, because of incomplete documentation, determining the accuracy of the estimates was not possible. The VA-OIG also found VA did not report to Congress other IT upgrade costs of about $2.5 billion because OEHRM did not include costs other VA agencies would bear. OEHRM also did not update the cost estimates it provided to Congress.”VA 3

Yet, the US President continues to push to throw more trillions of dollars at the VA when they cannot correctly handle the billions already appropriated to upgrade their IT infrastructure.  The VA-OIG report, just for this farrago, is estimated at $11.1 Billion.  Einstein is famous for claiming that doing something over and over again and expecting different results is the epitome of insanity.  Maybe, it might be time to scrutinize the VA, fire some people, and get actual private-sector employees to fix the bureaucracy and obscene malfeasance in government!Apathy

The following investigation remains ongoing, and those indicted remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers.  However, the investigation needs to be reported for the criminal activity and the lack of leadership that enabled the crimes accused.

Lisa M. Hoffman, 48, of Orange, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with one count each of conspiracy, theft of government property, and theft of medical products.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From October 2015 through November 2019, Hoffman was a procurement officer at the VAMC. She used her authority to order large quantities of HIV prescription medications to steal the excess. After the medications arrived, Hoffman waited until co-workers were out of sight and removed them from the VAMC.

Once Hoffman stole the medications, she met her associate, Wagner Checonolasco, aka “Wanny,” generally at Hoffman’s residence so that Hoffman could provide the stolen HIV medications to Checonolasco in exchange for cash. Hoffman and Checonolasco used an encrypted messaging application to plan and execute their thefts and sales of the stolen HIV medications, including arranging for the medications-for-cash exchanges. After obtaining the stolen HIV medications from Hoffman, Checonolasco sold them. During the conspiracy, Hoffman and Checonolasco stole approximately $10 million worth of HIV medications belonging to the VAMC” [emphasis mine].

Where were the other employees and the hospital leadership during this crime?  When I received US Government property, I had to account for every penny, show the receipts, and held to general inspections verifying my veracity.  The supply officer lost $20.00, claimed I had spent the money, and I had to prove my innocence using documentation and a full property audit before I was cleared of the missing money.  You cannot tell me that the leadership and other employees magically are not culpable for their complicity and failure to perform their jobs.VA 3

For example, upon receipt of property, there is an inspection to verify everything purchased arrived.  Then when delivered to different stations, another audit is conducted to ensure nothing disappeared enroute.  If something comes up missing, there is another audit and inspection, as well as a host of paperwork involved in correcting deficiencies and proving where the property went.  Prescription drugs are held to a higher standard with greater penalties for those involved in missing drugs.  Thus, I ask again, where was the leadership who enabled this criminal behavior?  Where were the nurses who noticed missing drugs on inventory lists?  Where were the fellow employees in this scheme?

Multiple reports are circulating that the head of the viral, fungal meningitis outbreak from 2012, Barry Cadden, is being resentenced with stiffer penalties.  As a reminder, “In 2012, 753 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of MPA manufactured by NECC, and more than 100 patients died as a result.”  Cadden was resentenced to 174 months in prison, forfeiture of $1.4 million, and restitution of $82 million.  Frankly, I still think the sentence is too light; but nobody asked my opinion on sentencing!Gavel

Finally, in our discussion on obscene enabling by VA Leadership, the following VA-OIG reports on COVID preparedness, lessons learned, and the preparation for a pandemic.  Under the heading, “Identified Trends Among VISN 19 Respondents’ Comments on Facility Readiness and Response,” we find “All need to practice infection control protocols (wearing masks and washing hands).”  Are you kidding me?!?!  You are a hospital; hand washing should be second nature and the first line of defense, not the patient wearing a mask.  The VA-OIG gathered this data from VISN 19, which includes the following VAMC’s:

        • Aurora, CO
        • Cheyenne, WY
        • Fort Harrison, MT
        • Grand Junction, CO
        • Muskogee, OK
        • Oklahoma City, OK
        • Salt Lake City, UT
        • Sheridan WY

Having been a patient in three of these VAMC’s I find it highly distressing that hand washing and wearing masks in a hospital setting is a “trend” of “readiness and response to a pandemic.”  How were you delivering care previously?  Why is handwashing suddenly a new activity?  How many patients were endangered by a lack of handwashing?VA 3

I have been a patient in two different VA Hospitals where the nurse routinely pulled off the finger of their glove or did not glove at all, to remove blood, use sharps to give shots, and a host of other activities.  I reported these behaviors as “concerns for patient safety,” and my concerns fell on deaf ears of the leadership.  Now, I see a VA-OIG inspection relating that hand washing is suddenly vital to delivering care, and I have to ask these questions.  Of the eight collated responses from local hospitals, proper hygiene protocols are mentioned in 6.  So, how were you delivering care before the pandemic?

Pigeon RevengeStill, the VA-OIG refuses to investigate the lack of written operational procedures, policies, and mandates for enforced mask-wearing, especially when the mask prohibits or makes unsafe the patient’s breathing.  Why was there no acceptable workaround to see patients with shortness of breath without a forced mask?  Why were patients refused care under EMTALA?  Why are VA Police Officers allowed access to private patient HIPAA-protected information? Fundamental questions about the rights and protections of patients who continue to be violated by the VA Leaders enabling harassment and harming patients, and the VA-OIG remains MIA.  I find this very glaring!

© 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.

Leadership: Finding Diamonds in the Pig Slop!

Knowledge Check!Have you ever noticed the many writers pouring billions of gallons of ink into leadership guides, books, articles, and so forth, and leadership is still a problem?  As a kid, we kept pigs.  Not many, just seven or eight, had a couple of batches of piglets, and the pig slop grew the best tomatoes ever.  One day, someone visited and saw the pigs when they dropped something flashy in the pig slop.  I forget what was dropped, but we kids were told to find this item for this visitor — launching a marathon of several days crawling through pig slop all to no avail.

I saw those pigs eat snakes, squirrels, and they even ate a wild dog who got injured inside their pen.  These eating machines never ceased to amaze me, and the slop was the best place to “lose” anything.  Bringing us back to leadership and the search for diamonds in pig slop.  I am not castigating the authors of leadership books, tools, guides, etc., as creating pig slop.  I am claiming that leadership is learned, and in learning, there will be failures and success.  The books on leadership do represent a clamoring quagmire for attention, where finding that one diamond to help your particular situation is going to be difficult, if not impossible.wild pigs in pen - YouTube

What is a Leader to do?

I am a practical-minded person.  Give me information, and let me chew on that information until solutions can begin to appear.  As a leader, I have found some basic principles helpful in producing an atmosphere and culture worthy of passing along.  Use; do not use, doesn’t matter to me.  I offer some suggestions and leave the rest to you.

    1. Create a learning culture. I do not care how many degrees plaster your wall; I do not care how high your GPA is or was in academia.  If you are not a committed lifelong learner, you will not retain the data you learned and treat yourself or others properly.  Read a book!  Investigate topics of interest to you!  Read out loud to children!  Reading has a power over the mind that no other force can match.  Pick up a book!
    2. Never forget, “a leader is a teacher, and a teacher is a leader.” If you are not teaching, you are not leading!  Yes, it truly is that simple to identify a leader from a manager.  Teaching comes in many forms; use them all.  As you get to know your people, you will discover the need to use different teaching styles; don’t be scared not to know something, suggest learning it together.
    3. Delegate, delegate, delegate, and then wash, rinse, and repeat. A leader will not keep everything on their plate.  Recognize the talents around you, take those talents and grow more, using the first two principles and the power of delegation.  The best leader I ever knew never seemed busy.  He delegated as much as possible and spent his days going around to those he delegated to for updates.
    4. Know the value of emotions and use them sparingly! A military commander I served with understood this principle well.  When he got upset, change happened.  But he did not get upset often and was very selective when he showed any emotion, except humor.  When this commander showed he was upset, people respected his emotional displays and worked twice as hard to right the wrong.
    5. Humor! Know some jokes, use them often!  I was working in a call center, the VP of customer relations saw I was logging off for a break; he comes hurrying over to me, acting all important and officious; he says, “Do you know what I just heard?”  “Not a clue.”  “Elvis, he was singing a melody of songs to fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.”  Not a good joke, but I remember it.  Knowledge of humor and application of that knowledge is preeminent to leadership.

Why the discussion on leadership?

Andragogy - The PuzzleLet’s face the 800# gorilla in the room; America, and the world, are in desperate need of leaders.  We have too many managers and people who claim to desire leadership but want nothing more than a manager.  We have people all around us who have become content with management and cannot tell you the difference between a manager and a leader; worse, these same people will try and claim leaders are born, not made.  Plus, a thousand and one other excuses, diatribes, vent spleens, egoistic manifestations, and straight lies.  Worse, politics gets involved, from the government to business; the politics of wagging tongues reminds me of geese in a pen.  Hissing, biting, honking, making tons of noise, and not making a lick of sense.  Chickens cackling in a yard is almost musical compared to geese in a pen, and I think the chickens might be smarter, even without brains, than geese!

One of those authors who write about leadership but could not lead a platoon of sailors into a bar after a long deployment was recently quoted as having said something others claim is essential to leadership.  Leaders need to embrace the C’s of leadership.  The C’s of leadership include:

    • Calm. Employees and customers look to Leaders to project a sense of calm through an uncertain situation.
        • This is a true statement, but if the employees have been appropriately trained, uncertain situations are diminished proportionally to quality, value-added training as part of being lifelong learners.
    • Confidence. Being calm, but not still-water calm. Employees and customers rely on the confidence a Leader brings.
        • Calmness is a projection of inner thoughts onto situational awareness.
        • Confidence is the sum of training, plus experience and the desire to excel — all of which the leader does not control and can only influence. Thus, we have a confusion of terms and ideas that do damage when confused.
    • Communication. Relentlessly communicate and communicate more clearly. This is to avoid rumors developing the muddy waters.
        • Muddy waters will always exist; people gossip like mad. But leadership communication can only go so far when people choose to ignore communication.  Hence, again, we confuse roles and responsibilities being passed off as a leadership principle.
        • Communication is a two-directional street and requires both parties to be listeners and speakers in their due order.
    • Collaboration. Call on the resources and capabilities of ALL your team and bring them together. Have a role for everyone in which they can contribute.
        • NO! Contribution is nothing without training, training requires delegation, and delegation is only useful if you include a return and report requirement.  Collaboration has a role, but not in leadership as described.
    • Community. All of us live in communities.  It’s important we set an example, and model behaviors that are supportive.
        • Would someone please tell me how modeling behaviors is part of living in communities?
        • Modeling behaviors is essential in the leadership toolbox, and I would never implicate otherwise. However, the community is left with a choice to exemplify the modeled behaviors or not.  Worse, those outside the company cannot be controlled except through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned — all tools a leader needs to be promoting in followers.
    • Compassion and empathy, during and post a crisis are critical in leadership.
        • Every time you see the word empathy, remember it is an emotional road to ruin. Worse, add sympathy to the mix, and the speed to ruin increases dangerously.
        • Compassion is not empathy; compassion is not sympathy; it is simply recognizing pain in another person and rendering support without participating in that emotional crisis.

FAIR AND BIASED: STAY OUT OF THE HOG PEN!Thus, we have the pig slop and the diamond hunt.  Unless an author provides principles, many leadership books, guides, and articles are just noise, pig slop, where the person desiring to improve individual leadership skills is hunting for diamonds. At the same time, fighting through a gaggle of geese that are hissing, honking, and clamoring for attention.

How does a person avoid the diamond hunt in pig slop?

Gaggle of geeseThe following is not an all-inclusive list.  However, it is the beginning of a list of tools helpful to leaders in all situations:

    1. Start being a leader by being a good follower. Even if being a good follower requires you to be the loyal opposition.  “Yes,” people are managers looking for a leader to pin their star to and never understand the power of being the loyal opposition.  I have never met a leader who was not first a good follower, even if they had to be the loyal opposition.
    2. Not just books on leadership, as this is only going on a diamond hunt in pig slop.  Read books on every topic you can think of, for when you read; you discover principles for future application.  I found how to understand complex theories in biology and how to use these complex organizational systems in how the human body interacts with its disparate parts and systems.
    3. Never stop learning! Going hand-in-hand with reading, never stop learning is a principle and motto for life.  If you need or want information, go to a subject matter expert and beg lessons.  I had a boss who did not know the industry, did not know the company and had no clue how to build the team.  He was hired for a specific set of skills and discovered his collateral duties one assignment at a time.  He went around to every long-term employee and asked them to teach him their jobs.  Six months into his tenure as leader, he was the best leader many had ever experienced.  Never stopping learning means being willing to learn from anyone.
    4. Leaders are trained, not born. Leaders do not magically appear.  Leaders are carefully taught, built, and never stop!  Are you carefully building yourself mentally and physically?  In the US Army, I was taught physical fitness, and with the number of mistakes I was constantly making, I learned a lot about physical fitness.  But, until I was injured, I had not taught my brain to meet my body’s strength and made more mistakes because the strength of my body excelled the strength of my mind.  In carefully building your leadership skills, abilities, and talents, do not forget to keep the body and mind equal in strength.

Andragogy - LEARNNo single person has all the answers on how to be a good leader.  I know I am still learning, and the more I learn, the less I know, and I have been studying leadership, becoming a leader, and working as a leader for the majority of my adult life.  I have led teams in dangerous work, I have developed people in all sorts of industries, and I still fall back on these time-honored principles because they work.  Thus, I ask you to put down the diamond hunt, get out of the goose pen, and simplify your life so you can learn easier and practice better the principles of delegation, learning, reading, and using humor.

© 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.

Political Dysfunction – The IRS Detailed in Spades!

Exclamation MarkEnlighten me, how is the taxpayer to “understand and meet” “tax obligations” when the agency who collects those tax obligations refuses to answer questions, actively hinders transparency, denies accountability and refuses scrutiny?  Through forced taxation, collected by fear of the stick, America has been abused since the IRS was created out of whole cloth, not from the U.S. Constitution, but the demented minds of a president and complicit Congress.

Under the heading of “Statutory Authority,” we find the following:

The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.

Section 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the appointment of a commissioner of Internal Revenue to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.”

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 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; it is progress, right?  Not quite, according to the politicians and the bureaucrats who think they own you and me.Lemmings 1

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.

Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress without the political connotations, using 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.Lemmings 4

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 concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear that any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they discuss 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 relates to regression production, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplifying structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the act of regressing. Regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous and possibly worse or more primitive state.  It is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.Plato 2

Regressive is most used in refusing to cut taxes, so the opponents to “progressive” taxes are automatically regressive.  In actuality, progressive is all about increasing government size, government taxes, and government bureaucracy; thus, the opponents of progressive taxes should own and explain why being regressive is a good thing.  Yet, they never do, and representative governments across the globe are worse for this plastic language.  The consequences of ever bigger government and taxes, fees, surcharges, fines, etc., dreamed up as “progress.”

Tax Gap

Bait & SwitchDue to proposed legislation, the media has been quick to jump onto the tax bandwagon. The media are trying to drum up a lot of hype for the proposed bill, calling it fairness, catching the tax cheaters, working to bring “fairness” to the tax system, and progressing the tax system to close the loopholes improve tax enforcement.  The “tax gap;” is $600 million in mostly tax errors because the tax system is too complicated.  How do you tell the difference between tax cheaters and honest people trying to obey the tax authorities?  Therein lies the problem, to the IRS, everyone making an error is guilty until proven innocent, and either way, you will pay something to the IRS to get out of trouble.

What is the problem?  The IRS is going to use its newfound enforcement ability from this legislation to punish and abuse.  Congress is always talking about closing loopholes, but what they mean is allow political cronies and connections to keep doing what they are doing and force the rest of America to pay for the privilege of being abused.

Tax Enforcement

QuestionLong have I been concerned that the agencies of the Federal Government have become weapons against the citizenry.  With Lois Lerner and the 501 (C) (3) debacle still ongoing at the IRS, this concern about government weaponizing has only strengthened.  Yet, what do we find from politicians on both sides of the aisle; crickets, platitudes, double-speak, and an attitude of not caring.  What do we see from state and local government officials who are in a position to protect the citizen from run-away government, even less.  With the proposed legislation being kicked around, granting money to a Federal Agency with a history of sleight of hand, deviousness, and abuse of power, seems to be the worst mistake possible.  Why are the legislatures not taking the IRS to task and scrutinizing them more closely, ending the farrago of Lois Lerner and holding real people accountable for real crimes?

© 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.

Rights, Liberties, Freedoms, Responsibilities, Privileges: A Definitive Declaration!

Knowledge Check!In a previous post, I wrote about the principle of self-control and liberty in law; I did not realize the turmoil caused by not understanding the difference between a right, liberty, freedom, where responsibility enters, and how these principles work together.  My apologies; I learned these differences as a child and never considered that others might not be able to detail, define, describe, and delineate between these fundamental principles.  My plan originally with this article was not to provide a definitive declaration; then, I researched some of the claptrap online being passed off as learned scholarly discussion and was disgusted!  Thus, my aims and intents changed; I would see this article be referenced and used to aid in clearing up the confusion generated by word plasticity and modular language tyranny.

Along the way, I will include both links and resources for further study for your ability to grow and feel confident in defending rights, liberties, freedoms with responsibility and dedication.  Only through learning can we, the owners of representative governments, begin to change government direction and regain our liberties and freedoms!

RightsApathy

The founding fathers of America understood rights and called them inalienable.  There is a reason for this; rights cannot be taken away.  An individual can give rights away, but because a right is inalienable, it means a power greater than the government has distributed these rights, and all are equal in their possession of these rights.  Inalienable specifically refers to rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from a person.

How does a person give away an inalienable right; they refuse to accept that a right is inalienable.  Consider the US Bill of Rights, a document full of those inalienable rights or rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from an individual.  Consider one of the first inalienable rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights, religion.  What you believe is your choice; nobody can, or should, have the power to tell you what you believe.  Belief transcends thought into a unique place inside your brain; some would call it a soul.  Depending upon your flavor of religion, a soul could or could not exist.  I am not writing a definitive declaration about religion, I am writing about rights, and your personal belief where religion is concerned is fundamental to you expressing yourself.

Plato 2Is the distinction clear?  A right cannot be stripped from you by anyone, ever unless you choose to deny your inalienable rights to that particular right.  For example, the US Bill of Rights declares your ability to defend yourself is an inalienable right.  You choose how to protect yourself, e.g., guns, fists, sticks, knives, alarms, police, etc.  How you choose to defend yourself is your inalienable right, and you deserve to be protected in your rights to self-defense.  If a person attacks you, you have the inalienable right to self-protection.  This is established through case laws.  How many women have been physically, sexually, and mentally abused by a spouse or partner, who then took action to defend themselves and were acquitted at trial; too many to mention in a declaration on rights.  Just know, you have a right to self-defense, and this right can never be stripped from you by anyone but you.

Liberties

Liberties are a little more complicated to define and detail.  Some applications of the word liberty include freedom from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.  Whereas liberty is also a power to act as one chooses, even if that action breaks a society’s accepted standards, i.e., laws.  Liberties can also include unwarranted risks, deviations from facts (lies), departing from compliance to the accepted and proper methods of prudence.

The Duty of AmericansIn most societies, you can purchase and legally become the owner of an item due to the purchase.  Thus, liberty allows you to become free to use that purchase however you desire.  Until the use of that purchase interferes with someone else’s inalienable rights.  For example purchase of a baseball bat is legal, mostly around the world.  Use that baseball bat for its intended purposes, i.e., to play baseball or softball, and the government does not infringe upon your liberties.  Use that baseball bat outside its intended purposes, to break windows, cause injuries or property damage, and you can lose your liberty and your property.

Imperative to understanding, liberty can be taken by force through the law, government action, and or improper use of liberty.  Perform an imprudent act, and someone is going to take your liberty away.  For example, in Hong Kong, China has ruled that freedom of speech has been curtailed.  While freedom of speech is an inalienable right, China refuses to honor free speech as an inalienable right, and Hong Kong peoples suffer.  The people of China and Hong Kong can still speak their minds exercising their inalienable rights, but taking these liberties to exercise their rights, has been strictly and violently enforced by a government refusing to believe people have inalienable rights.

PatriotismThus the confusion and complication in defining and detailing liberties.  Liberties can be taken and refused; liberties can be eliminated by government force and social changes.  Liberties are not inalienable rights or even a right.  You do not have a right to liberty.  You may pursue happiness, but achieving happiness is not a right, freedom, or liberty.

Consider the purpose of government as detailed in the US Constitution’s preamble:

“… In order to form a more perfect Union (Government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Consider also the purpose for the US Bill of Rights, as the first amendments to a brand new constitution:

“… Prevent misconstruction or abuse of its (US Government) powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

The government creates liberties, calls these rights, and then attempts to confuse the problem.  For example, welfare benefits as currently understood (2021) are significantly different from welfare benefits understood in (1920) America.  Today, people on welfare benefits consider their government-provided support a right when in actuality, it is barely a liberty.  Most importantly, those welfare benefits can be restricted, removed, curtailed, curbed, and denied based upon the whims of government.  This is why welfare is not a right and barely a liberty.  Welfare benefits are barely a liberty because someone else has to pay for the privilege of supporting another person through forced taxation (legalized theft).Life Valued

Freedoms

Freedoms are even more complicated, and freedoms have been made more challenging to understand purposefully by political design as a means to steal liberties and rights from individuals, under a myriad of different names, i.e., social justice, equality, freedom, and civil liberty, etc.  Let’s start with civil liberties, which are neither a right or a liberty, regardless of the politician pushing the name.

LookCivil liberties are freedoms you pay the government to enjoy.  For example, driving a car requires a license.  By issuing licenses, the government can control the population, even though driving is considered a privilege, a right, and is often confused with “freedom of the open road,” which is two lies for the price one.  Another example is marriageMarriage throughout human history has been a tug-of-war between religion and government.  As a point of reference, marriage ceremonies are unique in the human condition anthropologically speaking.  But, as a civil liberty, the government can restrict you from marrying your pets, marrying objects and can grant and deny marriage privileges as it deems appropriate to the political situation.

The state does not recognize some religious ceremonies for marriage, which means that marriage is null and void under the state’s control. Yet, under that religious belief, that marriage is binding.  Consider China again; China refuses to honor Christian marriage ceremonies as valid under the law and several other religions and religious traditions.  Thus, civil liberties are at best an approved and licensed government action, not freedoms, liberties, and rights.  As the saying goes, “The government giveth and the government taketh.”

quote-mans-inhumanityFreedoms are often defined as political independence, which is fine insofar as civil liberties are concerned.  Freedoms entail several other qualities that the government cannot give, take, invent, or delete.  True freedoms do not need legal support from case law to be enjoyed.  True freedoms include living without restraints, acting without control or interference, and not being bound by conventions, rules, and authorities.  It cannot be stressed enough, even though liberties and freedoms share some components, they are merely similar, not identical.  In trying to push liberty and freedom as equivalent, the tyranny of language is discovered to sunshine disinfectant.  A right, especially those inalienable rights, are not freedoms or liberties to be granted and removed at the power of authority, and the distinction should be clear.

Privilegesquote-mans-inhumanity-2

Privileges are easy to understand; privileges are permission granted at the request of an authority to grant limited power, responsibility, or situational control over something.  What is a driver’s license, the privilege to drive, which can be revoked at the whims of the government issuing the privilege (license).  Civil liberties are a privilege granted by an authority; ownership is not conveyed, legal responsibility extends only for the controlled use under strict supervision by the authority.  For example, while a state employee, I was granted the privilege of operating a state-owned vehicle, provided I followed all the rules set forth by the state issuing that privilege.  Ending state employment ended the privilege of operating that government vehicle.  Easy enough to understand, a privilege is not a liberty, freedom, right, or inalienable right.

A privilege also contains immunity from commonly imposed laws, standards, and social constraints.  Think of the police officer who makes a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic.  To conduct their job and fulfill their duties, police officers sometimes have to break laws to enforce a greater law or protect the safety of others and are immune from breaking those traffic laws that the rest of us must follow.  However, even in this instance, a privilege is not freedom, a right, or liberty, simply authority granted immunity when on the job to act in a manner that supports public safety and enforces the state’s authority over driving privileges.

The Role of ResponsibilityPresident Adams

Responsibility is a word that gets thrown around too often where the definition is muddied, and the intent is to harm and control someone else.  Responsibility is nothing more or less than the condition of being required to account for one’s actions, behaviors, and the consequences of the same.  For example, a defendant in a courtroom can be required to account for and make restitution for behaviors, actions, and consequences that were out of compliance with societal norms; we call this type of responsibility justice.

On a less extreme example, a child is out throwing rocks, the rock thrown breaks a window, who is responsible, the child or the parent?  The child should be held responsible and taught accountability; however, society is moving more and more towards holding that parent responsible.  Except, does this hurt or help the child stop throwing rocks?  Now, I have heard parents proclaim that throwing rocks is a right of passage for children, and the child should not be responsible for the consequences.  Therein lay the problem with freedoms, liberties, privileges, and rights, the role of responsibility.

Exclamation MarkIt has been said that my freedom of speech ends where your nose begins.  Thus, I cannot exercise my freedom of speech through physical violence, or I lose my right to speak and, more likely, some freedom and property as well.  Thus, the role of responsibility begins with knowing the extent of and limitations formed around rights, freedoms, liberties, and privileges, for ignorance of the law is not an excuse.  Our responsibility of living in society is to know the rules that form the laws and the social constraints of that society.

For example, the people of Germany have worked hard to make their country beautiful, and the principle of living in a Germanic society is In Ordnung.  If something is out of order, for example, litter, the person creating that situation outside of order is publicly shamed.  In America, the societal norms have been beaten and hindered, so that a person coming into America illegally has the rights, as granted by the government, not to learn the language, learn the culture, or even assimilate.  Whereas those coming legally into America are required to learn, adapt, and assimilate into America.  Thus, the role of responsibility can be used selectively to provide civil liberties to one group while withholding those same rights from others based upon political conditions.

Conclusion

Image - Eagle & FlagRights, especially inalienable rights, are yours as provided by a higher power than the government.  Liberties are the power to act without constraint, provided your exercise of liberty does not infringe upon the inalienable rights of another.  Freedoms rest upon political independence, something feared by every bureaucrat and power-mad politician in history.  Privileges are permissions granted by a higher authority to conduct business or fulfill a purpose.  Civil liberties are not liberties, but privileges can be taken away by authorities and social changes.  Regardless, the role of responsibility is inseparably connected to rights, liberties, freedoms, and privileges. One day, accountability will be demanded for the responsibilities connected to how a person used their liberties, freedoms, rights, and privileges.

References

Leadbeater, C. W. (1913). The hidden side of things. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.

Lieberman, M. D. (2013). Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. NY: Oxford University Press, USA.

Poerksen, U. (2010). Plastic words: The tyranny of a modular language. NY: Penn State Press.

Paine, T. (2008). Rights of man, common sense, and other political writings. NY: Oxford University Press.

Tucker, W. (2014). Marriage and civilization: How monogamy made us human. NY: Simon & Schuster.

© 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.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Chapter 5: Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, and Envy

Bird of PreyAs a kid, the USSR loomed as an ever-present force that could at anytime wipe America off the map with a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  Of course, America would retaliate with nuclear weapons, and this would create MAD or “mutually assured destruction.”  People understood MAD was bad, but the communists among us were more insidious about portraying communism.  The news media showed bread lines, soap lines, and the bitter pictures of enslavement under communism.  Thus, socialism was the way to go, and the communists were selling socialism as the better way to government.

Except, socialism is communism light, and when the socialists run out of other people’s money, communism takes over.  All because under capitalism, the results of one’s choices and consequences are harsh and cannot be hidden. Those preaching socialism and communism were envious of the capitalists who achieved and wanted what others possessed but without the hard work required to obtain benefits.

One other reality is critical to understanding the role of socialism; there is an axiom that states something like, “today’s students are tomorrow’s government policymakers.”  This is precisely what has happened; the students of the 1960s are now setters of government policy, holding onto the reigns of power through sheer willpower, to see America die before they do.  Socialism has been taught in the classrooms of government-mandated schools since the early 1900s to purposefully bring down the liberty and freedoms of the citizens of every representative government, out of envy for those in power in communist countries.  Refusing to believe that under communism, less than .01% are powerful, rich, and mighty, whereas everyone else suffers, grovels, and struggles!Plato 3

Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism – Detailed for understanding.

What is communism?  Webster relates that communism is “A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which the people equally share all goods.”  Except, everywhere communism has been tried, one-party rule leads to sycophants and ideologues ruling and taking what they want, while everyone else suffers, held in power by hired guns.  Cuba was an incredible island nation, then Fidel Castro came along, and now Cuba is a cesspool of suffering, misery, and stagnation.  Venezuela used to be the crown jewel of South America; now, it is a war zone, a catastrophe, and a pit of wasted potential.  Czarist Russia was no picnic, but it was much greater than the vulture of communism that feasted on the body of Czarist Russia while it poisoned the world.  China before communism was enlightened, capable, able, and has joined the ranks of failed communist planning and operations.Plato 2

What is socialism?  Socialism is defined in Webster as “Any of [the] various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.”  As well as, “The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which the means of production are collectively owned, but an utterly classless society has not yet been achieved.”  Is the connection clear as to why socialism is referred to as “communism light?”

One last point about socialism, “legislation intended to improve the condition of the working-man. Among the measures include the insurance of workmen against accident, sickness, and old age, and the establishment of cooperative associations under state protection.”  Envy of other countries having benefits has caused legislation that never should have happened in America and many other representative governments due to costs, loss of liberty and freedom, and the destruction of fundamental processes in the “Rule of Law.”  How expensive has unemployment insurance been in non-monetary costs?  Jobs have been lost forever, the expense of hiring has pushed jobs out of America, the expense has reduced wages of those lucky enough to be hired, but the growth of government and the millstone of bureaucrats has cost more than money, we have lost liberty, freedom, and potential.The Duty of Americans

What is capitalism?  The common definition of capitalism in Webster states capitalism is “An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned, and development occurs through the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.”  Webster’s dictionary has come under the same influence of plastic words and liberal ideology.  Webster also defines capitalism as “The concentration or massing of capital in the hands of a few; also, the power or influence of large or combined capital.”  Do a few condense capital; yes, no doubt.  Except, when there is less government, and people keep their envy to themselves, capitalism brings the most freedom to the most people better than any other form of government attempted in human history.  So, while capitalism has its faults, which are legion, capitalism is not the problem as it embraces private property ownership.  Private property ownership is freedom from government oppression!Patriotism

Please note, it is entirely acceptable to reach a level of financial comfort, look around, see suffering, and want to aid in the relief of suffering.  This is a good thing and expected in a capitalistic system.  Those paying for the relief of suffering are not government officials hired through forced taxation.  In a socialized system, the money is stolen, legally, through forced taxation, then handed freely to those suffering, with several cuts made for wages and benefits of the workers doling out other people’s money.  In a communist system, political leaders get fat and enjoy all the benefits, while everyone else suffers without relief.  Yet, too many people would see you in a communist system and suffer, for there is no envy.  If you believe that, I have a gravity-resistant bridge to the moon for you to buy.

Envy

Social Justice Warriors 4Envy has been one of the seven deadliest sins for a reason; it breeds violence and discontent.  Webster shines a light on envy describing it this way, “A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.”  Fear is disgust and envy paired for the weak to overcome the powerful.  The disease of envy includes admiration, jealousy, discontent, disbelief, lies, and a host of emotions that overwhelm a person’s mind to the point where they become irrational and hostile.  Another resource claims envy (from Latin invidia) is an emotion that occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desire it or wishes that the other lacked it. Aristotle defined envy as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have.”

While academics continue to split hairs between jealousy and envy and strive to create more distinctions, what has been described regarding envy is sufficient for my purposes.  The purpose of discussing envy is to aid in clearing the confusion surrounding envious people who have a modicum of power, as they perceive it, and then abuse that power for their own benefit.  For example, Trump Derangement Syndrom (TDS) was already a disease long before President Trump left the private sector for the political arena.  TDS remains rooted in envious people acting violently, abusing power, and acting unethically and immorally because of the envy they feel for President Trump’s success.Social Justice Warrior 3

Consider Speaker Pelosi (D), who ripped her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union speech up in front of cameras.  She was jealous; her pride was hurt, and she felt envious and lacked a weapon to harm the president, so she acted immaturely and disrespected the sitting president.  All this because, at heart, Speaker Pelosi (D) is nothing but a shallow and useless person, stuck in Congress and hating every minute of her tenure there because she could not obtain a higher office.  She is envious of the Americans she despises and works 24/7/365 to destroy America, all because of her envy of other people’s success.

Social justice warriors, including President Obama, are full of envy and do everything they can to obtain revenge for self-inflicted wrongs.  Envious people hate consequences for the choices they make.  Envious people turn to drugs, alcohol, and other forms of self-medication, which in turn makes their self-loathing and self-hate worse.  Then, these same envious people curse the success of others while demanding that someone else pay for the help they need to overcome their self-inflicted consequences.Social Justice Warrior 2

I recently talked to a gentleman who was severely upset that democrats stole the 2020 elections, stuffing ballot boxes, allowing illegal immigration, and a host of other crimes that occur for votes.  While I can understand his distress, he was envious of a political party for their success at suborning American Law.  He left the conversation mad because he could not understand the role of envy in himself and what he was observing in others.  Worse, the belief that justice and mercy are alive keeps him from acting to help change the situation, shift the paradigm, and improve the problems he mentioned to a solution.  Envy captures the mind, placing shades and shutters over logic while unlocking emotion, many times without the person realizing what is occurring until that mind is chained in the captivity of envy.

IronyThere is a reason why envy is a deadly sin in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, mentioned in all the ancient books as a problem, and continues to infect people who refuse to learn.  Unbridled emotions are captivity, not freedom!  There is danger in the extremes of everything.  Envy is in the extremes and imitates a minimal issue to capture the mind and control the person.  Consider this, capitalism is the best, and envious people implement socialism to chain capitalism while rooting for communism to come in a takeover, thinking they will be better off and the “rich will finally pay their fair share.”  Reality is always disappointing for envious people, and the result will be that everyone detests them when their plans come to fruition.

© 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.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government: Chapter 4 – Tax Freedom Day – Do you know why this is important?

Working DollarIn 2019, Tax Freedom Day was 16 April 2019.  For those not in the loop, Tax Freedom Day is the day all Federal, State, County, and Local taxes are paid from your paycheck.  This date gets further into the new year every year, and with the amount of inflation seen since 16 April 2019, you can bet that Tax Freedom Day will shortly be in the middle of May or July.

What is Paper Money?

Dr. Clarence Carson wrote an article about paper money and the US Constitution, quoted heavily below.  Paper Money, “… Paper that was intended to circulate as money but was not redeemable in gold and silver was technically described as bills of credit at the time of the Continental Congress and writing of the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights. The description was (and is) apt. Such Paper is a device for expanding the credit of the issuer.”  The credit of the issuer is improved, not the benefit of those forced to use the Paper as credit.  Hence, the US Government, to improve its credit, began printing money, and the problems in American Economics took off like a rocket sled on greased rails!Plato 2

Paper Money only has value when the person holding that Paper has confidence in the government printing that money.  In every nation across the globe, the only thing keeping value in the paper currency is confidence in the government by citizens paying taxes.  Hence, the problems with depressions, the confidence in value are shaken, and the holders of Paper Money become restless and lack confidence that their money is valuable.  Bills of credit, Paper Money conveying the value of debt have been around for a long time, as discussed in a previous article on money.  Why did the USSR fall; the currency had been worthless for years, and when the citizens had finally had enough, the government fell apart.  A fitting tribute and pattern to be heeded from history if we, the government owners, cannot get the government to cease and desist forthwith!

Government and Paper Money

The US Constitution, as originally written, forbids the US Government from printing paper money why; because of how fast the government abuses this power, creating inflation.  The Continental Congress was well aware of government abuses with Paper Money, thus restricting the Federal Government to coinage and tying the value to the gold standard.  Inflation is nothing more than a hidden tax, where the government controls how much value your money is worth.  Every person using US Dollars to make a purchase pays this tax.  Thus, by the time a consumable product has been paid for in a store, that tax, inflation, has been paid multiple times, and the consumer is always worse for every point of inflation the government allows.

IronyDid you know that the Federal Government allows 2% inflation every year as a “target?”  Consider this for a moment; the government wants your money and calls this tax a “good thing” for the economy.  Thus, your prices for everything increase 2% or $.02 every year because the government wants it to.  The 2% devaluation of your money is part of the Federal Reserves’ “Dual-Mandate” to achieve 100% employment and price stability.  Do you see any logic in making money less valuable as a means to improve employment and stabilize prices?  I don’t!  Now, consider this, inflation has hit a this year (2021) and has not stopped climbing.  Worse, inflation is expected to continue to grow as the government prints more Paper Money, which will eventually end in a depression preceded by massive deflation of the value of the US Dollar.  Keep in mind; inflation has become a global problem, as the majority of governments spent money they did not have during the pandemic.  Imagine lemmings racing for a fiscal cliff.

Lemmings 5Josiah Quincy wrote George Washington “that there never was a paper pound, a paper dollar, or a paper promise of any kind, that ever yet obtained a general currency but by force or fraud, generally by both.”   Yet, Congress still refuses to learn the lessons taught during the Continental Currency.  Debts, runaway inflation, legal enforcement to demand paper money be accepted, all of these lessons were experienced by the Founding Fathers, with Rhode Island being the Continental equivalent of California for bad fiscal policy and idiotic fiscal enforcement.Tax Scheme 2

The founding fathers met during an economic period of deflation, which quickly became a severe depression caused by states issuing paper money that was useless.  The founders “hoped to erect a system that would endure, and to do that, they wished to guard against the kind of fiscal adventures that produced both unpleasant economic consequences and political turmoil. Paper Money was reckoned to be one of these.”  Paper Money, without the backing of silver and gold, has led to speculation, inflation, deflation, cycles of economic depression, and Congress essentially stole the right to print paper money and borrow from the citizens unconstitutionally!  This cannot be stressed enough; there is a direct causal relationship between Congressional action, Executive Orders, and the economic problems America is suffering, including the bondage of debts insurmountable and the abuse of tax schemes!  All of which were powers strictly limited in the US Constitution because the founders knew the government would abuse the power of Paper Money!Bait & Switch 2

History shows that when paper money was discussed, the states overwhelming voted to remove the power to print money from the US Government, seeing this as the best method for long-term economic success in America.  “The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of removing the authority of the United States to emit bills of credit. The delegates voted by state, and 9 states voted in favor of the motion while only 2 opposed it. (New York delegates were not in attendance, and Rhode Island, of course, sent none.) It is a reasonable inference from the discussion that the delegates believed that by voting to strike out the words, (from the Articles of Confederation, which made up the bulk of the US Constitution), they had removed the power from the government to emit bills of credit.”  It is important to note that allowing states to issue bills of credit, print their own money, or stamp coinage was also forbidden.  To avoid the economic crisis, the founding fathers were in the middle of when framing the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights from the Articles of Confederation.  How many problems, and how much lower would your taxes be if the Federal and State governments had simply followed the law instead of stealing rights and powers from the governed?

Facts About Tax Freedom Day

IRSPlease note, the federal deficit, state deficits, pension crisis, student loan debt crisis, and interest are not included in the numbers quoted below.  The following information comes directly from the Tax Foundation (linked above):

      • Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work to pay the nation’s tax burden.
      • This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on 16 April or 105 days into the year.
      • In 2019, Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes and $1.8 trillion in state and local taxes for a total bill of over $5.2 trillion, or 29 percent of the nation’s income.
      • Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2019 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
      • If you include annual federal borrowing, representing future taxes owed (interest on the debt), Tax Freedom Day would occur 22 days later, 8 May.
      • Tax Freedom Day in 2018 and 2019 was five days earlier than it was in 2017, primarily due to the recent federal tax law, the Tax Cuts, and Jobs Act.
      • From 1930 to at least 1995, Tax Freedom Day has taken 1.27 days longer per year to reach. – I do not have an updated reference for this information since 1995.
      • In 2019, on average, it took:
            • 42 days to pay the income taxes
            • 26 days to pay payroll taxes
            • 15 days to pay sales and excise taxes, not including surcharges and government fees for services
            • 11 days for property taxes – states control this, some municipalities, it took a lot longer
            • 5 days for Corporate Income Taxes
            • 6 Days for other taxes that always get passed along to the consumer.

Tax BurdenI have read economic reports from noted minds in economics that claim had the dollar not been loosed from the ties to the gold standard, America could not have produced the tools needed to win WWII.  To which I continue to claim, as Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H so aptly stated, “HORSE HOCKEY! and BULL COOKIES!”  Having Congress issuing massive letters of credit, borrowing tremendous sums of money, and the economic fallout remains a millstone about the financial neck of this country.  How much longer will Americans pay for debts created during WWII?  What about the ever-increasing debt burden and interest that is driving prices and taxes ever upwards?

Knowledge Check!The US Government has acted improperly since establishing the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.  Not just improperly but illegally under the US Constitution as drafted.  Illegally, immorally, and unethically towards the founders, and distorted the intent of the US Constitution to protect America from runaway government debt and inflation/deflation/depression cycles common when issuing Paper Money.  This is the utter truth, and until this problem is rectified, removing paper money is the right thing to do, even if it means some financial hardship!  America can survive financial difficulty; we cannot survive the bondage of runaway debt, interest that sucks all the GDP, and the socialism projects being paid for by tax dollars to buy votes from envious people looking for “equality and fairness.”

© 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.

Sometimes, You Have to – More Repugnant VA Chronicles

Angry Wet ChickenIn looking back, it has been a long time since I wrote two scathing chronicles about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a single week.  But, I could not allow these Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports to age any longer in my inbox.  With the Fourth of July fast approaching, as you celebrate, please keep in mind what the VA is purposefully doing to the Veterans, Dependents, and Spouses under their care.  America would not be here without her military, and military service produces veterans.  But, the VA is producing bodies and bureaucracy instead of helping veterans as they are paid and legally charged to do!

When I first left the US Army, I found myself employed in a telemarketing call center and was never paid the correct amount.  18-months later, I was employed with an Internet Service Provider, who bounced multiple paychecks before going bankrupt underneath the employees.  When the VA-OIG reports part-time physicians not being appropriately paid, I can understand the issues this causes.

I-CareThe VA-OIG randomly selected 134 salary agreements for part-time physicians on adjustable work schedules and found 44% of the physicians were either over or underpaid.  One might ask how and why these pay errors occurred.  The answer is extreme designed incompetence, not that the physicians will feel any better that they were either overpaid and owe back monies or underpaid and are now owed a considerable check.

From the VA-OIG report, we find the following as causes for the discrepancies:

This occurred because key management controls were missing or not working. Officials did not make certain that medical facilities complied with policies and procedures. Consequently, the OIG estimated VHA medical facilities had about $8.3 million in questioned costs that year (2019) and an additional $8.3 million in 2020. VHA medical facilities also may have violated the prohibition against voluntary services, and potentially the Antideficiency Act, by not correcting underpayments or by having physicians working above the 1,820-hour cap because their agreements were not properly reconciled” [emphasis mine].VA 3

The government officials’ neglect, malfeasance, and misfeasance might be illegal, as they failed to do their jobs properly.  Yet, the VA-OIG only issued recommendations.  There is potentially $16.6 Million in over or underpayments at stake, plus illegal actions, and people have not been fired or perp-walked into custody.  How can government employees get away with behavior that would have seen class-action lawsuits, criminal investigations, media reporting feeding frenzies if similar had occurred anywhere in the private sector?

IronyYet, the marketing materials produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Health Administration, a division of the VA, claims this is “Defining Excellence in Healthcare in the 21st Century.”  If you believe that, then you must believe that buffalo wings come from flying buffaloes.  Unfortunately, the problems only continue to worsen.

The VA-OIG reports that a doctor had accumulated more than 4000 alerts from the electronic health record (EHR) system.  This means that the computer system notified the doctor that patients needed care, appointments, were seen in the ER, required treatment, pharmacy prescription renewals, and much more.  The alerts, called views, are a built-in measure to help patients not get lost or have “adverse clinical outcomes” while receiving care at the VHA.  The VA-OIG found that the entire medical facility at the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Agusta, Georgia had similar issues.  The doctors were not viewing the patient EHR views as indicated.VA 3

What’s worse, the VA-OIG could not tell if “adverse clinical outcomes” had occurred because once the EHR views are settled, there is no record of the patient or why the view was required.  Talk about accountability, responsibility, and transparency in the patient-aligned care team (PACT).  In reading this VA-OIG report, it looks like when the facility leadership was alerted the VA-OIG was coming, the leadership team did a massive clean-up of the records, knowing they would never get caught and held responsible for any “adverse clinical outcomes.”  As a side note, the VA-OIG report claims the doctor with 4000 views is no longer providing care at this VA facility.  Heaven help his patients wherever this doctor is now!PACT 1

So far in 2020, I have had two different primary care providers assigned, and since moving out of Arizona, I will shortly have a third assigned to me.  My first primary care provider retired, but before doing so, he set up many EHR problems for his replacement to handle.  Including refusing to renew prescriptions, some of which were mine, which caused weeks of not receiving the proper medications.  Upon learning of my impending move, my second primary care provider essentially wiped her hands of my care, leaving me without medications and a clinic to contact for help.  Great job if you can get it; get hired to treat patients, and then not treat patients.  Before you ask, no, knowing I am not alone in this ordeal does not help!

PACT 3Finally, the VA-OIG has completed a full VISN wide comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp) for VISN 10.  VISN 10 covering Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.  For all intents and purposes, the CHIp went well; the leaders are competent and knowledgeable.  Thus, I issue my sincerest congratulations to VISN 10 for their success.  The VA-OIG inspected the VISN’s ability to respond to the COVID pandemic appropriately, and the VISN performed well.

VA 3Except, this opens a few questions needing address.  At two VISN 22 and two VISN 17 facilities, I have experienced four utterly different responses to the COVID policy and masking mandates.  None of the facilities have written guidelines that are geographically specific to the patients and weather patterns in those areas.  None of the facilities have documented processes for veterans who cannot wear masks, with an approved policy supported, written statement for accommodating these veterans.  One facility insists that the veterans who cannot wear masks be arrested, cited, and fined.  One facility insists that if you have a letter from your doctor, you are okay.  One facility vacillates wildly from day-to-day and person-to-person, and the fourth facility doesn’t have a clue but is still very helpful, with supervisor approval.Question

Yet, somehow, VISN 10 has all their VAMC’s and VAHCS’ operating to the same sheet of music and behaving similarly.  How is this possible VA-OIG?  Better still, how does this spread out to other VISN’s and facilities?  May I hazard a guess, based solely upon the perceptions of veterans in VISN 10, the masking policy from COVID remains haphazard and improperly applied because Washington, DC, never issued proper guidance in the first place, the VISN leaders never issued written guidance.  The policy process on the local level is a quagmire of egos, bureaucracy, unions, all set into a cesspit of inaction and designed incompetence!  If COVID has taught any lessons, the number one lesson has to be that the leadership at the VISN and local levels remains inadequate to the task they were hired to perform!

© 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 Neutrality – There are No More Safe Paths

Exclamation MarkM*A*S*H 4077th was a TV show, and in my humble opinion, one of the best TV shows ever.  Running from 1972-1983, M*A*S*H featured the Korean War/Conflict, a mobile Army surgical hospital, and some of the funniest stories I have ever laughed at.  The central character was Hawkeye Pierce, who held a no-neutral zone policy where death was concerned.  Not that death did not arrive occasionally, but that as a surgeon on the front line between life and death, he refused to be mediocre, refused second place, and refused, utterly, to quit as long as there was any chance that his skills could save a life.

Inheritance Cycle(Series) · OverDrive: ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schoolsIn the Inheritance series of books, Christopher Paolini uses the line, “The world is round, and the sky is empty.  There are no more safe paths.”  Another character who accepted no compromise refused a neutral stand, even in the face of great personal injury and sacrifice, and refused to allow suffering if he could prevent it using his skills.  I know both are works of fiction, but the lesson and principle remain true: there are no neutral zones and no more safe paths.

The Korean War/Conflict/Police Action ended in a demilitarized zone (DMZ) and a treaty.  Neither side victorious, neither side a loser, and neither side were satisfied.  Worse, ending the conflict in a compact and a DMZ left future generations the problems that initially caused the war to begin; thus, allowing China to have a puppet state to engage in LICLIC is driven by ideological passion, is supported by a person, government, nation, business, etc., with monetary means from a place of security, and attacks innocent people mercilessly.  LIC is guerilla warfare like nothing practiced in the jungles of Vietnam.Watch M*A*S*H 1972 full movie on 123movies

No Neutrality

To be brutally honest, there was never any neutral zone anywhere in the world after the Korean conflict.  The DMZ has been regularly tunneled under, troops have crossed to cause terror, and the war still rages across the Korean Peninsula.  Worse, after Vietnam, the world saw the attempted domination by the United Nations, which has failed gloriously.  Then “superpowers” were selected, the G-7, was tried, NATO, and so many other globe-spanning attempts to bring a neutral zone into existence, where no neutrality is possible.  Governments have interests, these interests shift, and in the shifting, enemies are made, and allies are won.

- inspiration from nature - aesthetic, calming - vibrant reds and greens making the neutral ...In nature, there is no neutrality.  Never has been; never will be.  A flower cannot decide one day not to bloom or delay blooming, for then it dies.  The same is true of animals, show me a neutral animal, and I will show you the predator who hunts that animal.  Why the human race thinks there can be neutrals is beyond my kin.  For humans must also answer to the laws and rules of nature, there is no neutral zone.  Nowhere on the planet can you find a gray spot where darkness and light do not conflict.  The place is either light or dark, hot or cold, dry or wet, with no middle ground, safe spot, or protected zone.  Go to the Jungles of Vietnam and find a location where the air is not humid, the temperature is not hot, and the jungle is friendly, kind, and supportive of all creatures, without regard for predator and prey; and I will sell you a bridge to the moon, made by rainbows and unaffected by gravity.

Some have made the erroneous claim that America was a neutral party in WWI.  Except, before we joined the war, we sold supplies to both sides.  That is not neutral, that is not informed neutrality, and it is not ethical or moral.  Legal, but many times legal is not moral or ethical.  Worse, we made the same decision in WWII.  Even worse, we have compounded the idiocy of neutrality through our actions since 2000 in the United Nations.

There are no more safe paths.

United Nations - World Ocean CouncilThe United Nations was a failed idea from the beginning and remains a bad decision to this day!  Worse, the bullish ignorance of the rules of nature, coupled with the failure of the Rule of Law, has left many a representative government across the world wondering who their allies are.  If a nation wonders who its allies are, it absolutely knows who the enemy is, but too often, the line between enemy and ally is murky and distorted.  With trade, global banks, globe-spanning businesses, and government interests constantly shifting, charting a course through these environments for a country is not an easy job.  However, the problem is not so much outside one’s borders as inside one’s borders.

Sure, India and China, and Pakistan have an active border problem, egged on by China, and influenced by social media.  Sure, the world still has tin-pot dictators and religious fanatics willing to cause mayhem and trouble at the slightest opportunity.  But those claiming social justice, working for equality, and hiding behind laws while committing acts of violence, are more pressing problems.

Celebrating United Nations Day: 5 Interesting Facts You Should KnowTruth be told, even in Eragon and M*A*S*H, there were never any “safe paths.”  The main characters had to realize this truth before they could grow mentally sufficient to overcome their dilemmas.  The same principle holds for every person in the world; we must realize there is no such thing as neutral zones, safe spaces, and safe paths.  We must individually choose a side, know why we chose that side, and then defend our choice from continued attacks.  LIC is war, and this war will only worsen until bigger weapons and nations fight against nations and begin actively throwing ammunition at each other.

Which side do you choose?

I stand for the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.  For all her faults, and they are legion, this Constitutional Republic remains the world’s best answer to the problems we face collectively.  I swore the oath; I took the pay; I know what and who I stand for.  Do you?

Knowledge Check!Please note, I do not ask this question lightly.  In making that choice, I am automatically an enemy to every social justice envious person inside America’s borders.  Including at least three US Presidents, the current House and Senate Majority leaders, and legions of others who drink the Kool-Aid and worship at the church of American Hate.  Yet, I willingly and ably make that choice, support my choice, and can defend that choice easily.  I have learned a few things, and I will list them for your consideration, strengthen you in your choices, and hopefully help raise awareness of the dangerous times we live in right now.

      1. Educate yourself. I repeat myself only for emphasis, K-12 education has failed you, your children, and your parents from at least 1900.  This was done intentionally to rob you of your liberty, freedom, and ability to choose.  You must choose to begin educating yourself.  Read books, ask questions, use search engines to discover sources and materials.  After learning something new, teach it, that you may then learn it more perfectly.
      2. Evaluate your fortifications. Your home is your first line of defense, and the best defense is a solid offense.  What is coming into your home that is anathema to your choices and breaks your defenses?  Strengthening your defenses includes your family, and the axiom remains true, your family is only as strong as your weakest link!  Thus, build your family.  Build an environment where standards can be high, the conversation does not become violence, and the free exchange of ideas is the ultimate power.  Persuasion sometimes doesn’t need words, just actions repeated, exemplifying the principles you cherish and will defend, after building your family and home fortifications, aid in building your community, then state, then nation.
      3. Building fortifications is not enough! Once built, fortifications need to be maintained.  See step 1; we must continue to educate ourselves, ask questions, demand answers, and search out through the best resources new knowledge to discuss and use to build your home, community, state, and nation.
      4. Using your home, practice! Practice discussing ideas, having wonderful discussions, and using the tools available to explore and build ideas into standards and principles worthy of defense.  Invite people who will uphold the standards into your home, especially if they disagree with you.  I know of no better house guest than a person who will agree to disagree, who around a table of food will have an in-depth conversation and discussion.
      5. Boldness, not overbearance. I cannot stress this enough.  I am not perfect at being bold but not overbearing, but I keep learning.  Boldness is standing and defending your principles without resorting to raised voices, theatrical banging on tables and podiums, and without any type of force.  Never forget the following from Neal A. Maxwell, “discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage” [emphasis in original].

US Army Logo "This We'll Defend" 12" x 18" Aluminum Sign | BUDK.com - Knives & Swords At The ...Seek opportunities to practice standing for that which you know is right and will defend.  The US Army’s official motto is, “This we’ll defend!”  What will you defend?  Why will you defend it?  Who are you defending it against?  When you know these answers, then the US Army’s motto becomes your personal motto, your brand, and your courage to defend it will increase!

© 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.

Now Panic and Freak Out!

Bait & SwitchOn my desk is a book, “Now Panic and Freak Out,” full of quotations about the lighter side of life.  No, I am not revisiting humor as a powerful tool again; instead, I am addressing some common themes in an uncommon manner.  While I agree that staying calm and carrying on is a tool that needs revisiting, I agree with Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic” is just not working, and too many people forgot their towels!  So, get comfortable; we are going to discuss why it’s okay to panic now and freak out!

Just because nobody complains does not mean all parachutes are perfect.” – Benny Hill

A work acquaintance complains that too many managers are not squeaky wheels, so problems can be discovered and proactively worked.  For example, an automated report has not been generating for 18-months, and nobody said a word, even though the report generates the productivity of associates working and plays a role in a host of other decisions.  As a society, it appears that even if the parachute fails, nobody is willing to ask questions, and that is a problem.  Why did we as a society stop asking questions, digging for answers, and being curious?Pigeon Revenge

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them.” – President George H. W. Bush

Was this one of those infamous slips of speech, a symbol of politician spinelessness, or is this a reality?  I have strong opinions, and I find it natural not to always agree with those opinions.  I do this as a reality check for my opinions and have found that playing “Devil’s Advocate” on my beliefs teaches me to learn, investigate, stay curious, and keep learning.  However, when I discuss this in public, people act like I stole their breakfast, kicked their dogs, and slapped them across the face.  Thus, I ask again, only for emphasis, when did we as a society stop chasing curiosity, valuing questions, and searching for answers?Calvin & Hobbes - Ontological Quandry

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

I heard a teenager express “I know” so often, I wanted to smack them.  Except, I was that teenager, and self-abuse was not going to help me.  I have read books all my life, and according to my wife, I have an incredible memory, plus I get the stories, just maybe not all the names and numbers.  Hence, I can tell you stories on a host of topics; on some topics, I can still quote the numbers and hazards, and on some topics, I just love having the basics nailed to see where the foundational stones can be laid to generate solutions.  But I have no clue how to live!  I still have some of my report cards from K-12, the most common comment, “Does not play well with others.”  Followed by “Would rather read than socialize.” Then closely followed by, “Does not like being interrupted when reading!”  I think Jean-Paul Sartre has something here worth discussing.  Why do we punish failure when failure is part of living?B.C. - Terminal Velocity

There was yet an uninteresting life.  Such a thing is an impossibility.  Inside the dullest exterior, there is a drama, a tragedy, and a comedy.” – Mark Twain

Jean-Paul Sartre and Mark Twain make excellent points here from both sides of the coin of life.  Better, figuring out how to live involves drama, tragedy, and comedy as tools for building knowledge.  Thus, the next time you hear someone claim, “I am dull, my life is boring,” you can assure them, Mark Twain and Jean-Paul Sartre would disagree with them vehemently.

Caution:  Cape does not enable the user to fly.” – Tag on a Batman cape.

But wouldn’t it be cool if it did?  How many have seen a Superman cape, a Batman cape, or Spiderman costume and thought, “I wish this would help me fly, climb walls, swing through the city on a web, or leap tall buildings, etc.”  Imagination and curiosity are crucial to learning, living, and being human.  Why would anyone not imagine?  I cannot fathom that reality, but the truth stares at me daily, where imagination is considered just for kids.  Have the adults in the room stopped learning; if so, why?  I cannot imagine a life without imagination as the tool to grab in problem-solving, understanding operations, or visualizing processes; yet, mention a daydream, or ask someone to imagine, and people recoil like you have leprosy.  If there was a reason to freak out and panic, a lack of imagination and refusals to learning are symptoms of the problem.Calvin & Hobbes - Pragmatic Principles

Facts are stupid things.” – President Ronald Reagan

Boy is this the absolute truth!  I see a lot of data every day!  Data are accepted as facts, and even when proven to be erroneous, people will still cling to the data as facts.  During my undergraduate statistics program, the instructor designed an awesome class.  We took a sample of data in Week 1, and by Week 8, we have proven our hypothesis, disproved our hypothesis, twisted the hypothesis, and written a host of reports to support our data as right and wrong with confidence.  Know what we learned, not to trust statistics and data as facts.  Unfortunately, not everyone has learned this lesson, want another lesson, people will always trump data!  I have witnessed people do extraordinary things under pressure that the data claims are 100% impossible.  Where people are involved, nothing is impossible, just improbable!BC - Definition

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” – George Bernard Shaw

Just to be fair, let’s include women in this category of learning from experience.  I know for a fact that men are not the only ones who struggle with learning from experience.  Plus, I think that was the point in emphasizing “Man” in the quote above; but I have learned that someone will choose to take offense that women are omitted.  Do you think this is a symptom of the disease or the disease itself?  Would you be surprised if I said this is only a symptom of the disease?

The disease is envy, labeled as equality and fairness, and aspersions are cast to justify choosing to be offended.  I was discussing this topic Sunday with several people, and the disease of envy is just too simple to understand, and the disease of envy is repeating the history of Rome.  Rome repeated Greece, Greece repeated the Byzantine Empire, who repeated Egypt, and the list goes on and on all the way back to Cain and Able.  Not a single society in history is exempt from the disease of envy, being displayed as equality and fairness.Anton Ego

Do not take life too seriously.  You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

WWGDPanicking and freaking out are not opposite sides of the emotion coin; they are extensions of staying calm and carrying on.  I promise you cannot prove you are staying calm if you have not felt a reason to freak out.  You cannot prove you are successfully carrying on if you have not experienced fear and panic.  This might at first appear to be a paradox, but telling someone to stay calm who has never experienced panic, they will not know what you are talking about or what to do.

© 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.

More Repugnant VA Chronicles! – When will this Insanity END?

I-CareMonday and Tuesday this week, 28 and 29 June 2021, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) returned three more investigations, inspections, or criminal reports.  While no veteran is dead in this batch of reports (Thankfully!), the behavior exhibited remains egregious and blatantly criminal, and the bureaucrats and bureaucracy remain intact to continue to commit malfeasance, misfeasance, and malpractice!

Before getting into the VA-OIG reports, I want to hand out some praise.  The El Paso VAHCS was the focus of a major problem just a couple of years ago when the VA Police attacked a veteran and ended up pulling his arm out of his shoulder socket.  I am now a patient at the El Paso VAHCS, being seen at the VA Out-Patient Clinics instead of the Las Cruces Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).  While the fallacious claims of the Phoenix VAMC continue to dog me, I am very happy to report that the VA Police in El Paso were professional, polite, and the customer service displayed was top-notch.  Growth has occurred since the veteran incident mentioned, and I, for one, am grateful!VA 3

The VA-OIG has announced that Dr. Kenneth C. Ramdat has received one year of probation after being allowed to “plead guilty” to touching two women’s breasts without permission.  When the VA is compared to a criminal syndicate, where the administrators are actively against the employees and the patients, I can see the connection!  What else happened at the Louis A. Johnson VA Hospital in Clarksburg, West Virginia, while this doctor was on staff and is not included in the criminal trial?  West Virginia keeps coming up as another morally distressed VA Health Care System; what is the VISN doing to improve the environment for illegal activity?  If Phoenix and VISN 22 are an example, nothing, which is negligence worthy of criminal investigations!