A Dangerous Moment – A Warning!

A colleague of mine on LinkedIn said something that has me thinking.

“Divergent narratives are being weaponized to habituate people to increasing the threshold of violence.  A country should talk to each other not develop proscription lists.  Proscription lists dehumanize and demonize social or political opposition rather than engaging them in pragmatic ends towards the common good.  America is in a very dangerous moment.”

Consider for a moment the message my colleague is making.  Political thought that does not match that of another is automatically discounted, denigrated, and derided.  Social views of how to improve which differ from, even slightly, are castigated.

America is currently in the middle of a very contentious election count.  Where documented skullduggery, political shenanigans, and illegal activities are so egregiously apparent that anyone with eyes can see there is a problem.  Yet, to vocalize doubts, to ask for time to cull the fraud, and apply legal processes is being squashed while at the same time the narrative of “Unify the Country” is blared from every media outlet.

Just before the election, a member of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), made the following statement clear in a tweet.  “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?”  This is a perfect example of proscription lists with the threat of weaponized government for those who disagree with AOC and her party.  How do we know this is true; within hours of AOC’s tweet, the “Trump Accountability Project (TAP)” was established to ensure no “Trump sycophant goes unpunished.”

The objective of TAP is “to make sure anyone who took a paycheck to help Trump undermine America is held responsible for what they did.” This objective should give every American pause and create concerns that America is falling into a totalitarian nightmare.  Worse, none on the political left are making any attempt to hide their agenda, to employ the “smoke-screen, and mirrors” tactics so common used by those with hidden agendas.  Sadly, TAP will not limit itself to President Trump’s administration officials and will include everyone who voted for Donald Trump as well as everyone who disagrees, dissents, or even asks questions.  How do we know this; Climate Warrior 7 tweeted a message similar in hate to that of Jennifer Rubin who writes for the Washington Post and MSNBC, saying,

Any [R]epublican “now promoting rejection of an election or calling to not to follow the will of voters or making baseless allegations of fraud should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into “polite” society. We have a list.

 

If you know anyone who supported Trump please add their names to our database.  They will be dealt with in due course, once the appropriate legal framework can be put in place.” – Climate Warrior 7

Now someone could make a claim that these are two private citizens, exercising their free speech rights, and since there is no direct threat these two individuals are simply opining.  Yet, if that is the case, was Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” simply a citizen expressing his personal views?  When a person makes another person an enemy, and then stops communicating with them civilly, there is danger that must be addressed appropriately.  When this is occurring across an entire nation, that nation is in a very dangerous moment.

Unfortunately, very few people are recognizing this danger and calling for civility.  Across the Spring, Summer, and fall of 2020, America has witnessed incivility, mob violence, terrorism, as nightly rituals where political leaders from all parties refused to renounce and vocally condemn the violence.  The media played their part in silencing the few who tried to speak up or speak out, while simultaneously cheering on and even participating in the violence.

Lack of communicating is a direct correlation to a lack of trust.  A lack of trust is further compounded by theft, non-transparency in government processes, and by the use of law to punish the innocent and free the guilty.  Where has this been witnessed; mask discrimination and criminalization, terrorists caught and released after causing damage and harm to a society Portland, Oregon and New York City, New York both come readily to mind.

Now, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are broadcasting calls to unify and heal the country.  Why make these calls now, when they were begged to do so during the presidential campaign and they refused?  Where was the need for civil discourse when CHAZ/CHOP was being erected and people’s rights violated?  Where have Biden/Harris been while Portland, Minneapolis, and how many other cities burned, property was destroyed, businesses destroyed, and terror reigned?

America, we are in a dangerous moment!  But, this is one of those historic moments where either we rise together against the forces of tyranny and destruction or fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.  How we, as a country, leave this dangerous moment is up to the individual citizens, banding together, putting aside the differences that forces would use to divide us, and standing up for our rights, our freedoms, and our families.

I choose to stand against this oppressive force which threatens to choke the life out of America and feast upon her remains.  I choose to stand with anyone who chooses to stand and not go quietly into the night of tyranny and oppression.  I choose to stand and defend that which I love, the United States of America, a free republic, under God!  Join me?

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

 

America: Unity is Our Strength

President Lincoln, quoted the New Testament, and said, “A house divided cannot stand.”

Since the 1960s cultural rebellions by the children of the day, America has been slowly and inexorably torn asunder.  We have been split along racial lines, in the name of racial equality.  We have been split along sex lines, in the name of love, peace, and harmony.  We have seen rabid separation along political lines to the point where a sitting president can feel safe in physically threatening the lives of political opponents and never be held accountable.  We have seen the dumbing down of America’s children through K-12 Education, and then the propagandization of those minds in colleges.  We have seen neighbors trying to help neighbors and had the fist of government, wielded by petty authoritarians, create angst and trouble.  We have witnessed a complicit and biased media throw away common sense for political power, and openly aid and abet criminals in their work of destroying America.

Worst of all, we have seen activist judges usurp power from the legislative and executive branches and creating laws for America from whole cloth.  Members of the House and Senate, the legislative branch, now regularly feel they can usurp the powers of the executive with the help of the judicial branch and their media cheerleaders.  We have seen the executive branch crumble, and American’s have died with no help ever arriving.

Social Justice Warrior 3All these problems and more have torn at the basic and fundamental power American’s have always held, unity.  Unity born of hope, fed a diet of accomplishment, nurtured with education and exposure to work.  The unity of farmers has seen America fed.  The unity of churches has seen America support religious freedoms and become a bulwark to religious beliefs.  The unity of schools of higher education kept standards for academic performance that paved the way for great minds to leave academia prepared to lead industries and stand against tyranny and oppression.  The unity of the states has allowed America to weather fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and every other natural disaster.

Unity of being “AMERICAN,” UN-hyphenated, whole, and linked with other American’s has seen compassion thrive, poverty fought, and hunger abated.  Americans, (Ah Me I Can) is a statement of power. The power of “I can” built the Panama Canal and changed the world.  When hundreds of people committed, who were and accustomed to the motivating power of “I Can” and stood shoulder to shoulder, two World Wars were fought and won, hundreds of brush-fire wars were scuttled and despots removed for the betterment of society.

When America forgot the power of “I Can” Vietnam fell into disarray and ruin and those who lost lives never came home.  Cuba and Venezuela have been lost to communism and tyranny.  The Ukraine has all but become a territory of Russia.  Alliances have been written off, red-lines crossed with impunity, and more people have lost their lives.  The political left was able to force shame upon the body of America, and in so doing captured power that never should have been theirs.  Refusing America, the ability of coming together and unifying after Vietnam, the political left kept pushing new powers of separation, new lines of contention, and new causes for concern until chaos reigns and terrorists can be called “peaceful protestors.”

Religion Quote 2America has suffered since the 1960s from the disease of disunity.  We have failed to grasp the power we all possess, which is exponentially greater than the sum of our individual numbers, when we boldly stand and commit to “I Can” America’s enemies quake and pale.  Combined, “I Can” does not become “We Can.”  Combined, the power of “I Can,” is a force greater than “We” because each person shoulders their own load, looks after their own families and friends first, and in doing so multiplies the power of “I Can” into the wonder and majesty that has lured millions of people to come to America and become citizens; that is unity in action!

        • A house divided cannot stand.  A house divided cannot long endure.  A house divided is weak and ready to be pushed over and destroyed.
        • A unified house can stand.  A unified house can long endure.  A unified house is strong and pushes back against all the winds that blow.

A principle that the political left has failed to grasp and refuses to believe, we can have differences in opinion and still be unified in purpose.  Americans have always been contentiously unified, we have regularly disagreed about ways and means, but until the 1960s cultural revolutions we remained unified in purpose, unified in belief, and unified under the rule of law.  America, we must return to being unified or we will lose this the Republic of the United States of America!

Consider how normal it has become to castigate California and New York for pushing America ever progressively leftist, socialist, and communist.  While states like Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, and others are quietly moving socialist at the same or faster rates.  Instead of fighting back against this intrusion, the political leaders have embraced something that is fundamentally anathema to the majority of Americans, the loss of America.  But, these politicians could do this, because the citizenry have been so wrapped up in petty separations foisted upon us by the same people trying to destroy us.  We have lost our purpose, had our unity shredded, and remain in danger of losing America.

The Duty of AmericansAn example, illegal immigration.  If you support the rule of law, and fair play, you would see illegal immigration closed for the good of all current and future immigrants.  But, between rabid and hostile factions, a complicit media, the person opposed to illegal immigration is castigated, denigrated, and derided; while, those who are for illegal immigration, law breaking, and chaos are heralded as heroes.  Simple right and wrong, many of us were taught at our parent’s knee, but the issue has been twisted and warped until confusion reigns and the issue now divides homes, families, and communities.

One might ask, what is the purpose of America; the US Constitution’s preamble gives this answer clearly.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, 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, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” [Emphasis Mine].

That is why America was created, the US Constitution written, and blood shed to establish this country. Establish justice, create domestic tranquility, improve the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our children, and provide a common defense, which leads to a more perfect union.  All this is possible through unity in purpose, where we the citizens of America understand the rule of law is a tool to meet our obligations.

Want to know how far we have fallen from being unified in purpose, look at the hostility heaped upon a person not wearing a mask in a grocery store.  Look at the vile and pernicious comments left when a police officer is killed.  Check out the hate and discontent when you simply praise on social media the sitting president for accomplishing peace deals in the Middle East.  That is where disunity and all the petty lines of separation have left America.

PatriotismToday’s America is full of hyphenated Americans, “Black-American,” “Irish-American,” “Mexican-American,” and the list goes on.  Today’s America is full of petty and pernicious lines of separation, Republican, Democrat, Atheist, Catholic, Protestant, and so many more.  Today’s America is full of hate, spite, envy, malice, and every type of egotistical maelstrom possible to keep feeding the fires that separate, divide, and destroy.  It has gotten to a point that what one watches, or does not watch on TV is now prey for creating and casting aspersions, insults, derogatory commentary, or worse physical/mental abuse and violence.

Why is America different, because our unity has always been our strength.  But, the strength of unity is like a muscle, if not used regularly it begins to shrink and atrophy.  President Lincoln said,

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as newNorth as well as South.”

Right now, America is in the same place as when President Lincoln made these remarks.  We are divided; make no mistake.  Either the opponents of America will destroy America, shred the Constitution, and remake the laws to fit their own idiocy catapulting America in socialism and thence to communism.  Or.  America will unify, rediscover her purpose, discover she is strong, and begin to thwart the evil plans of her opponents who have been elected as political leaders, placed into professorships, and held in other offices of power by the enemies of the state.

Image - Eagle & FlagPresident Lincoln’s full address can be found here and represents a blueprint for how America found herself in the first Civil War.  Pray that we quickly learn the lessons of unity, that a second Civil War is not necessary!  America must put on her strength, what strength must she put on, unity of purpose.  Casting off the chains of separation, classification, and division, and embracing unity to conquer the political will and wiles of the socialists, communists, anarchists, and fascists who have taken advantage of America’s hospitality.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Remember the Captivity of your Fathers: A Paradigm for Freedom!

RememberTo remember is to do something that is necessary or advisable which brings honor to the past and freedom to the present.  Remembering is the power of becoming aware that you are more than the singular person and many others have held a hand in making you, your personality, your strengths, and your weaknesses.  A greeting card reads, “I am a strong person, because a strong person raised me.”  Remembering is also the power that propels the person from their starting point into a glorious future.  Ralph Marston has the last word on remembering, “Remember why you started, remember where you are headed, think how great it will be to get there, and keep going.”

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, revers as scripture “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” in which the reader is encouraged to “Remember the captivity of your fathers” (Mosiah: 27:16; Alma: 5: 6; Alma 29:11-12; 36:2, 29).  The captivity originally spoken of was physical captivity, where a group of people had been militarily taken over by their enemies and were in physical bondage, slaves pressed into cruel service.  But, as this theme evolves the reader is encouraged to remember other types of captivity their fathers have been subjected to, as a means of more fully enjoying the freedoms and opportunities they possess, because of their father’s captivity and release from captivity.

To the person escaping Cuba as Castro came to power, the captivity of communism and the celebration of freedom in America is a tangible memory, and powers many a child to act.  The release from concentration camp captivity powered and motivates even to this day the children and communities where freedom now rings.  The captivity of those in the USSR powers the minds and freedoms of those living in Russia.  Problems still exist, but the freedom from captivity is worth remembering, and by remembering, honor is paid to those who suffered that captivity, by the growth and development of those present and in the future.

CaptivityCaptivity comes in many shapes, by many names, and is visible only through the suffering of those held captive.  For example, during a conversation with several older adults, I asked a question about the captivity of illiteracy and asked how many generations back in their families does it take to find an illiterate family member.  One very lucky person it was more than 8 generations, another said three, a couple said four, but a very elderly person in the back said 1, his parents never learned to read or write in their own native language or English.  This man is a Native American from a tribe in Northern Arizona, when I met him he was in his late 80’s.

As a child of 8, he was separated from his tribe, his family, and the reservation he knew, loaded onto a bus, and sent to Oklahoma for education.  He spent 10-months of every year for the next 10-years, going to school in Oklahoma.  During which time he never received a single letter from his parents.  Was not allowed to speak his native language, and all native culture was forbidden.  He credits this traumatic period of his life as the crucible for all the good that has come to him through education.  His children and grandchildren, all successfully completed college becoming engineers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and more.  He had two great-grandchildren just entering college, and his first great-great-grandchild was soon to be delivered.

On the topic of remembering the captivity of his fathers, their illiteracy, he remembers every day in gratitude, even though his parents’ thirst for learning meant he endured such harrowing experiences to go to school.  The captivity of his fathers, drove and motivated him to ensure his progeny would not suffer the same captivity.

Another example, similar question about the captivity of their fathers, how many generations back before your fathers never left a small plot of land, whose only views of the world were restricted to that single plot of land.  One answered, his grandfather had been hated by his family for leaving a place of comfort in Scotland, for a rough life in the western states of America.  Many of his family only ever saw the titles, the land, the benefits, and wanted those things.  The family desiring these things never saw the captivity and the family remains broken and separate to this day.

What was the captivity the grandfather escaped from if he had land, titles, money, servants, etc.; freedom to grow, change, and become.  As long as his family stuck to the same life and ways of his fathers, they would have a comfortable physical life.  Herein lay the captivity and this gentleman tells his story as a caution about researching family history.  I have always held this story, not as a caution, but as a parable regarding individual choices.  Born into freedom and plenty, but requiring ceaseless toil, members of this gentleman’s family preferred captivity and luxury to hard work and accomplishment.

Government Largess 2I see the welfare state in America that strips pride and accomplishment and replaces it with appetite suppression, and I see millions in captivity.  A captivity that breeds wasted and blasted lives, people who have potential dying under government handouts, forever stuck in subsistence living and not knowing how to escape the captivity of their choices.  Where for the work requirement for welfare that same person would know and understand different lessons and potentially choose a different path; thus, discovering that through work captivity is broken.

I see the captivity of thought, children raised in homes as rigidly controlled as Nazi Propaganda, controlled by the captivity of hate and choices of parents, and becoming leeches and vermin to America’s health.  Consider upon the state of these children and weep for their lost innocence and America’s future.  These are the children in the streets since May throwing bricks, lighting fires, attacking helpless victims, and causing such tremendous violence upon the American Soul.  Look upon these children in mental captivity and remember, “But for the grace of God go I” (John Bradford).

Government Largess 4Other types of captivity our fathers suffered, and our children are suffering includes, mental/physical/sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, criminal activity, gangs, single-parenthood, the loss of the nuclear family, technology, and so much more.  Why should a person remember the captivity of their fathers?  Because by remembering by recommit to not passing along that captivity to our children or communities.

The Old Testament carries a similar theme to remembering the captivity of our fathers, when the children of Israel were commanded to remember the Passover.  Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is another holiday set apart for remembering the captivity of our fathers and recommitting to freedom from oppression.  Buddhism has Bodhi Day upon which the full day is set apart for remembrance and meditation.  Catholics have All Souls’ Day as a day for remembering the past, honoring the lives of loved ones lost, and recommitting to a brighter future.

LiberationThese holidays are mentioned, and more exist, to aid the reader in understanding the importance of remembering the captivity of our fathers.  America’s fathers have fought much, and bled much, suffering incredible injuries, all to make the future better.  Can we, the recipients of these sacrifices to shed captivity, do less and lose this great Republic, without suffering the indignation of our fathers in ages past?

Consider the frozen feet and fingers of Valley Forge; what was a little frost bite when compared with the glorious vision of freedom to the soldiers on duty there?  Consider the bloody battles of the Civil War, the fear, the anger, the soul shattering pounding of the guns; both sides consider themselves correct, both sides wanted a vision of freedom, but only one side could win, and in winning bring complete freedom to all the people of America.  Consider the soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines in Afghanistan, South Korea, Africa, and every other place America sends her military might, can we sit at home comfortable and not feel gratitude for their sacrifices, the cold they suffer, the wounds, the physical and mental strain?

Image - Eagle & FlagRemembering is an action, a thought process with impetus power to drive commitment and action in an individual.  Let us not forget the captivity of our fathers and by remembering act in a method that will secure liberty, justice, and freedom for our children’s children.  America is in danger of being lost; this great republic, blessed with a Constitutional form of government is in danger.  I for one, refuse to sit idly by and lose this precious country; I implore you to remember the captivity of your fathers, and join me in voting intelligently, join me in throwing off the shackles which threaten to bind us down in captivity to communist and socialist styles of governance.  Join me in taking back America!

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

 

Apathy, Empathy, and Sympathy: The Emotions of Ruination

Of all the titles I have been branded as a professional, one that holds the most truth is that I am heartless.  I do not share your emotional choices; thus, to you, I am heartless, and I will not invest my time to dissuade you otherwise.  Emotional outbursts have somehow become popular, and it is my intent to reduce the amount of emotional blather found in the workplace, as an extension of real emotional intelligence.

Empathy v ApathyApathy is all about a lack of enthused concern.  Being apathetic is a choice to show no concern, emotional connection to an issue, or interest.  The choice to be apathetic is personal and does not indicate that a person is heartless; simply, that the person being apathetic is making different choices where emotion is concerned on a topic.

Empathy, of all the emotional pitfalls empathy, is the most devious of the emotional tools on this list.  Empathy is all about acting like you understand the emotions of another person, and you have a personal desire to share in those emotions.  Empathy is fake; empathy is a choice one exercises in an attempt to control a person or situation through emotion.  Being empathetic is a skill set learned as a manner of defense or, for the more nefarious, to control others.  Empathy is nothing more than faking concern, justifying the emoter’s emotional responses.

Sympathy is a process of coming to a common feeling.  The emotional pathway journeyed by people or groups, to feel the same sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.  Sympathy is the most dangerous of the emotional tools on this list, not for the one experiencing the sorrow or misfortune, but for those who jump in with the person feeling the sorrow or experiencing misfortune.  Understand, the sympathetic person attracts other sympathetic people, like moths to a flame, or lemmings to a cliff.

Sympathy v Empathy v ApathyHere is the problem with all three emotional tools above, they are emotional responses to external situations.  Jean-Paul Sartre is quoted thus:

For the idea which I have never ceased to develop is that in the end one is always responsible for what is made of one.  Even if one can do nothing else besides assume this responsibility.”

Robert Solomon made Sartre’s quote above more meaningful when a person considers that, “Emotions involve social narratives as well as physical responses, and an analysis of emotions is an account of our being-in-the-world.”  The freedom to “make of one” does not include showing no emotion, nor does it mean that one must partake of every emotional current that swirls and eddies around a person during a typical day.  Solomon continued by empathetically stating, and supporting that, “Emotions are not occurrences and do not happen to us… emotions are rational and purposive rather than irrational and disruptive, are very much like actions, and that we choose an emotion as we choose a course of action” [Emphasis mine].

Therein is the crux of the entire argument, the summum bonum (the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system) if you will where apathy, empathy, and sympathy are concerned; emotions are as easily selected.  Emotions are as purposefully chosen as the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and every other course of action undertaken.  Emotional selection is always cognitive, and represents a system of beliefs and personal desires, which includes appetites, hopes, expectations of reward, behavioral standard programming, and has as a core an object to emote about.

Girls ListeningConsider the announcement that someone’s cat has died.  What does society say one should do in this situation; take visual cues and match the emotions of the person whose cat died to the environmental situation, and respond in a similar manner.  Feel sad the cat died; why it was not your cat that died.  What if the owner is feeling relief because the cat had suffered from health or physical defects; do we still emote sadness?  What if the owner inherited the cat and is relieved they never have to clean the cat box again, step in wet hairballs, or take as much allergy medicine; do we emote sadness when the owner emotes joy?  Thus, one can more easily see, and understand that emotions are a choice, and empathy and sympathy are emotional traps.

Carrying the dead cat analogy one step further, what if the owner is only reporting their cat died to gain attention?  Emotional responses from others in the social environment feed the control this person now has over the group.  If the cat owner reporting a cat has died uses the situation to get out of mundane tasks, is this acceptable, warranted, or allowed; if so, the control through emotional responses is complete, and the behavior will repeat.  Hence the danger and deviousness of empathy and sympathy as emotional tools in social settings.  Solomon reports on this topic that the cognitive nature of emotions allows for pride to remain intact.  Thus, we conclude that emotions are formed around beliefs and judgments, just like the atomic particle must have neutrons, protons, and electrons.

By comparing emotional creation to the atomic particle, it is not reducing the human emotion to a mathematical formula, nor does it demean any true emotional response to a situation.  The comparison is simply acknowledging the complex nature and elements that are required when the emotion is selected.

Pride 2Pride, is an interesting element of emotional response and centers around self-elevation and enmity (being actively opposed or hostile to someone). The proud person will say, I am better than someone else and be violently opposed to any influencers who are perceived to threaten the superiority of the person emoting pride.  The proud person will always use emotions as a tool for controlling others, which is one of the most compelling arguments against the current business fad, emotional intelligence.  Pride, with its underlying core of enmity, is the root of the common conception of, and popularity for, emotional intelligence. Real emotional intelligence recognizes the cognitive, judgmental, and social aspects of emotions, and works to control oneself.

My best friend has no appreciation for jokes, puns, wordplay, etc.; in fact, my best friend has such an interesting sense of humor, one can often ask why they laughed and receive a logical and cognitively reasoned response.  Yet, my best friend has never been called heartless, unemotional, or the reverse emotional, apathetic, empathetic, or sympathetic.  People interact with my friend and always leave knowing they were listened to, cared for, and appreciated for the good they perform in the world.  My friend has spoken with governors and politicians, homeless people, the sick and afflicted, the whole and happy, and all are treated equally.  How does my friend do this; buy not taking the easy road of emotional connection, but forming a truer relationship through logic, as a cognitive choice.

CourageConsider the anger people chose over the death of Rayshard Brooks earlier this year in Georgia.  Many people chose to be angry and then expressed that anger in burning down a Wendy’s restaurant franchise, rioting, lootings, clogging traffic, stopping commerce, and other actions considered acceptable expressions of anger by the media who reported the events.

In no specific order, the following must be recognized in the Rayshard Brooks event.  First, the expressions of anger were chosen and were considered acceptable by a third party in a social environment.  Second, the actions (visible signs of anger) were an outward display of an inner emotion that was also chosen cognitively as a response to a situation (Rayshard Brooks being shot).  Third, the third-party involved, the media, expected to see these types of actions to justify their time in reporting the incident.  By being a vocal third-party, cheerleaders, if you will, the third-party fed the expected response.  This accelerated and expanded the violence and other deprivations, the same as what occurs in any sports contest where fans are invited to watch and participate vicariously through cheering their team on.

The problem with using my friend’s pattern of living, where the same anger could have been communicated but without all the violence, looting, theft, destruction of private property, and a better community would have ensued, is that of control.  The media would not have reported this event because they could not be a vocal and invested third-party feeding the emotional actions and receiving a return on their investment of time and other resources.  Thus, added to the emotional atomic particle analogy, are the elements of social acceptance, social expectation, and a vocal third-party to justify the actions taken in the name of the emotion granting those actions acceptability.

On a smaller, and thus more socially acceptable scale, the same can be witnessed every day, where the justification for emotional responses, is granted by a third-party expressing sympathy or empathy for those emoting.  Leading to a question, what does the third-party gain from justifying another person’s emotional responses; the power to control.  The emoting person will return to the third-party for justification after each emotional outburst for approval until the third-party deems the actions are no longer acceptable at that given period.

Emotional OutburstFurther emotional outbursts and increased levels of emotional criminology might occur later.  Still, at the moment, those actions have reached the limit of justification and the emoter will choose differently to gain favor and approval from the third-party.  As witnessed in the Missouri riots that spawned the political group “Black Lives Matter (BLM).”  Further, the third-party that controls the justification can turn-on and turn-off those emoting at will, by telling them how they should be responding to a given situation.  The third-party possesses considerable power through the justification of emotional outbursts, the same influence as exerted by an owner or a league over a sports team.

Thus, the paths and dangers of emotion.  Hence one can see the connections between emotions as a choice, a judgment, and a tool.  The sword of emotions is more dangerous to the wielder than to those affected by the emotional outburst, for those wielding emotions are never free of the control-justification cycle, and will remain subservient until they individually cognitively choose different emotions and emotional responses to social situations.

The danger in America right now is that of a vocal and invested third-party, and the justified actions of the minority by the third-party for political ends.  The overabundance of emotions, emotional responses, which include apathy, empathy, and sympathy, and the deprecation of logic and reasoned responses, are doing significant harm to the society called America.  Too much emotion is driving road rage incidents, mobs, destruction of private property, looting, theft, and so much more.  The solution is two-fold, not in any particular order of priority:

  1. Hold the vocal third-party accountable for the actions their minions are taking.
  2. Recognize the cognitive power in choosing emotional responses differently as an individual.

America can heal from these events and be stronger for it, provided we first capture our emotional responses, and eradicate the cheerleading section who grants justification for emotional outbursts not tolerated in children.

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceFor more on the connection between emotion and choice, please read Solomon’s book, “Not Passion’s Slave: Emotions and Choice.”  It is a masterpiece of logic and aids the cognitive person in choosing their emotions more purposefully and intentionally.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/.

Revisiting LIC – Know the Paradigm

Tucker Carlson brought up a very important point on 16 Aug 2020 regarding District Attorneys who are refusing to do their jobs and are being bankrolled by rich and powerful people.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-democrats-media-americas-dying-cities

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

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

Some will proclaim loudly, mostly due to affiliation with or money donated from deep-pocketed entities, that LIC is only limited to those more commonly perceived as terrorists, i.e., car bombers, hijackers, etc.; however, paid rioters, looters, and those termed by the media as “violent protesters,” are practicing LIC.

Since May 2020, America, and the world has seen explosive violence hardly ever witnessed previously without a global war as a backdrop.  Those unhinged aspects of society who are always upset with something and ready to destroy others have been bankrolled by deep-pocketed entities charges reduced or dropped by District Attorneys who have relationships with deep-pocketed entities, and then we have organizations like Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA, among many others.

LICUp until May 2020, the following aspect of LIC was generally accepted:

“Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder, 1990).”

Except, this is no longer the case, as entitled entities who are hellbent on destroying their societies have crossed international boundaries, establishing branches in foreign countries, and sharing the wealth generated in one nation to support the anarchy in other nations.  If you do not believe this is true, look to the BLM expansion into Europe as a perfect example of LIC spreading through a branded organization with monetary influence.

BLM has received donations totaling billions of dollars, based upon the media reports of large companies making donations, and the total refusal of BLM to forthrightly declare where the money is going and why.  ANTIFA has been investigated, or are still being investigated, for ties to ISIS.  The money trail paying for violence, or helping the perpetrators to avoid justice, is all LIC.  Somewhere, there is a party who is enjoying the violence, mayhem, and criminal actions immensely that considers themselves above prosecution, beyond political and moral rules and restraints, and these entities need to be held accountable.

A misnomer in LIC is that only nation-states can participate as parties in LIC.  While many nations do participate in LIC to their neighbors’ demise; the power of money to purchase intermediaries to break the law is not new in history.  The following resource remains imperative to understand what is being observed and the connections to LIC:

https://forwardobserver.com/breaking-down-the-conflict-of-low-intensity-conflict/

It cannot be stressed enough, there ARE entities inside America that will use LIC as a means of distracting people to achieve political aims, social change, or simply to cause chaos and destruction.  Knowing the enemy is critical to stopping the enemy!

LIC 2Reference:

Tinder, A. J. L. (. (1990). Low-intensity conflict. Informally published manuscript, Air War College – Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Retrieved from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA241060

 

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Democracy vs. Republic – American Governance

Please note: A republican method of governance does not mean everyone belongs to and votes the “Republican Party” ticket.  Nor, does the democratic governance method mean everyone adhering belongs to the “Democratic Party” ticket.  The political party is not the style of governance, and this is the first distinction that must be realized.  No political party deserves your support, unless they espouse, and live, what you want them to espouse and live.  America has had good and poor elected officials from both major political parties.  America has even changed major political parties; and this is a good thing!

The Duty of AmericansToo often people are confusing democracy, democratic governance, and the American Republic.  Talking heads in the media get this wrong all the time.  Hollywood has never gotten the distinction correct, ever.  But, this ignorance might be by design as Hollywood has always been a breeding ground for disinformation, propaganda, and elitist posturing.  Regardless of the political party, or lack of political party, every American citizen should be able to recognize Democracy from Republican styles of governance.  The following uses real events to help distinguish the line.

A democracy, at its most basic level, can be described and defined by the control of an organization by the majority of its members.  A simple majority is all it takes to gain the high ground and punish the loser.  A simple majority is if 100 people gather in a room, they need 51 to agree to support a single idea.  Democracies are full of simple majorities who then try to proclaim a moral high ground, and then attempt to extrapolate the single simple majority into a system of keeping the simple majority.

A republic begins with the philosophy and doctrine that embraces equality between its members as the ideal in governance.  Recognizing that today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority, rules provide equality between people, and all titles are transitory.  A republic is messy; equality in treatment under the law allows for every person to have the same opportunity because their inalienable rights have provided them with eternal potential to become anything they desire.  This is especially true when a person desires through their actions, attitudes, and behaviors, which is not desired by the rest of the society, provided the individual does not break the law.  However, laws are not changed to outlaw behaviors, curb ideas, or infringe upon inalienable rights as laid out and codified in the Bill of Rights.

Lady JusticeFor example, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), recently sent a report regarding an investigation of Peter Shelby, the previous VA Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration (HR&A), who steered a $5 million contract for the benefit of individuals with whom he had a personal relationship.  This is a prime example of democracy in action.  The person in charge had to pay for the simple majority that kept him in power.  Consider the following direct consequences of Mr. Shelby’s actions.

“The contract … included talent assessment services for evaluating whether to hire or promote candidates. When the contract concluded in August 2019, it became evident that VA had purchased services far in excess of what it could use. VA used only 232 of the 17,000 one-year training licenses it purchased for $3.8 million and VA received no value whatsoever for the talent assessment services because required privacy and security certifications were not obtained.”

Mr. Shelby was allowed to resign when he discovered he was about to be fired from Government service.  Thus, he keeps all his retirement, all his Federal benefits, and the money gained from his ill-gotten ventures.  In many countries around the world, these actions are considered, “Realpolitik.”  Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises.  In America, Mr. Shelby’s actions are illegal and should have been punished accordingly.

Government Largess 3The American Public has witnessed the same political gamesmanship (realpolitik) in the US House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency, for a long time.  All because, the line between a Republic and a Democracy has been intentionally blurred by those in power, to stay in power.  Never does realpolitik benefit the rule of law, or provide equality as a basic and fundamental position of governance.  Bringing into the conversation the critical quality of genetic behavior and the exponential growth of behavior from one generation to the next.  If Mr. Shelby’s actions can be traced upwards through the behavior of elected officials; how many more unethical behaviors are hiding inside the government workforce waiting for their opportunity to practice realpolitik at the expense of the veterans, taxpayers, and citizenry of America?

Genetic behavioral growth is witnessed when a congressional member is allowed to bend an ethical rule in the name of politics so the simple majority can be sustained.  The next generations are the governors and state legislatures who then replicate and advance that unethical behavior to one that is blatantly illegal, but not “really bad.”  Extramarital affairs, drug use or abuse, alcohol abuse, spouse abuse, homosexuality, etc., are all not “really bad,” laws that are regularly shattered and overlooked to maintain the simple majority.  This then leads employees of governments to act in a looser and more illegal or unethical manner, stealing the public money, misusing government tools and supplies, or in the case of Peter Shelby, forming a relationship and then steering a $5 Million-dollar contract to the entity that most benefits him.

Behavior-ChangeIn a republic, those in power recognize the genetic nature of their behavior, understand that any lapses in good judgment are dangerous, and work to live in a manner that first allows for equality among all.  Even if they must tell another person no.  Consider how much corruption is in Washington, D.C., and every state capital in America, all because the simple majority has lured good people into acting against their principles, against the Republican form of American governance, and against the law established and maintained by the people, for the people, and of the people.  The simple majority will always, to maintain power, refuse to say no, set boundaries, and live by rules and laws.  The republican form of government lives by nothing else but the rules and the laws because equality only occurs under the rule of law.

Notice something important, the first rule of realpolitik is to disconnect the equality of everyone for the power of ruling.  Just as in the book “1984” we see some are more equal than others; which is an extension of democracy.  Then, realpolitik disconnects explicit notions of morality and ethics from actions and behaviors.  Thus, equality is the first casualty in the hostile takeover of democracy.

Consider labor unions for a moment.  Disney produced the movie, “Invincible,” or the story of Vince Papale and the NFL Eagles.  In the movie, there is a union striking, and one sign is made clear, “Striking is DEMOCRACY IN ACTION” [emphasis in original].  The truth in this lie is that strikes are selfish, and represents democracy perfectly.  But, the strike is not democracy in action, the labor union is democracy in action as a legal “pyramid scheme.”  The strike of a labor union, along with all the other work slowdowns, bureaucracies, and other silly games played to thwart republic governance are but tools of democratic leaders to exercise their power.

Religious ThoughtThe labor union spouts a lot of good democratic styled speeches; but acts like thugs, for the benefit of the elected few, at the cost of the dues-paying members.  Proving that democracy is the last thing a labor union wants as the labor union remains a Marxist method of governance.  Take any labor union, anywhere in the world, and you will find the elected officials living large on the backs, sweat, and labor of the dues-paying members.  The fewest of the few long-term dues-paying members will be provided benefits and a lifestyle to be desired, but never obtained, even though the dues have been paid, the labor performed, and the sacrifices made.  The Wall Street Journal has covered the loss of benefits paid for through dues payments, and while the Wall Street Journal does it’s best to keep the union out of the picture, it is not the company’s filing lawsuits, but the unions.

Always, the same principle determines the separation between democracy and republican governance, equality under the law.  The solution is not found in more government programs to “level the playing field,” which is a democratic principle that has never worked!  The solution is found in less government.  Equality under the law is not found in government force; but, in less government potential to exercise that force.  In the 1980s President Reagan was heralded for his nationalizing of the air traffic controllers; thus, ending a strike of the national air traffic controllers.  But, the air traffic controllers still have the same inequalities, same problems, and the same issues as experienced under the air traffic control unions.  Nothing changed fundamentally, and this overreach of government, “for public safety,” has kept the air traffic controller in bondage.  Sure, the cage is nicer, but the cage is still a cage; only now, there is no possible way of escaping the cage.  The same is true of railroad workers, teachers, and so many other employees kept under a labor union’s thumb, or government mandate.

In a democracy, it is perfectly acceptable to maintain the simple majority through nefarious means and ends.  Whereas in a republic, the equality that keeps everyone equally refuses the nefarious types every society produces from having a purchase hold to establish themselves.  Consider the violence that has rocked America since May 2020.  Consider also, all the violence that has shocked and dismayed America since the Watts Riots in 1965.  The Watts Riots are a perfect template reflecting the problems of democracy.

The media, and many people in government including most of the judicial branch, allowed personal anger over issues to become a violent outpouring, where the victim was the community and not the actual target of the violence.  People acted in a selfish manner, with a total lack of self-control, and the community of Watts burned to the ground.  The land is barren, dreams destroyed and lives ruined.  Since the Watts Riots, the community has reached out for more democratic solutions, as if this was not the reason the Watts Riots happened in the first place.  Fast forward from 1965, and every riot since has been glorified for their anger levels, because this helps feed the democratic solutions, keeping people unequal, refusing people their eternal potential, and denying inalienable rights to maintain power and authority.

America, we need to stop the lies that democracy is the “American Way.”  Superman was correct, “Truth and Justice” are the American Way, which is the Republican manner of governance.  America was established upon the fundamental principle that ALL are first equal under the law.  Sure, we have not always lived up to the ideal; but, we are human.  Our humanness is allowing us to falter, not fail.  We fail the great American Republic every time we allow a democratic solution that forces people onto unequal terms.  We stumble, we fall, when we forget that equality is precious and considering all to have the same equality means allowing people to suffer consequences of attitudes and behaviors.

President AdamsWhen one person can be supported in their immorality because of their money (Jackson, Kennedy, Epstein, Clinton, Weinstein, etc.) when others are punished for the same crimes (pedophiles, murderers, thieves, rapists, etc.) we have a democracy.  When all, regardless of money, titles, political power, etc. are held to the same laws and legal standards the great American Republic survives and gains strength.  To rebuild the American Republic, we must first cleanse the inward vessel, removing from public office all those who refuse the blessings and work of a republic for the ease and captivity of a democracy.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Moving Past Active Listening to Facilitate Communication: Shifting the Paradigm

GearsIn several previous professional positions, especially those in call centers, there has been considerable time spent training people to actively listen.  The problem; active listening can be faked, and fake active listening is as useful as a shower without soap or shampoo.  You might get wet, but you do not feel clean.

Listening has four distinct levels, these are:

  • Inactive listening – Hearing words, seeing written communication, zero impact mentally. Mostly because your internal voices drown out the possibility for communication.
  • Selective listening – Hearing only that which confirms your own voices, opinions, and biases. While others are speaking, you are already forming your response.
  • Active listening – Show the other person you are paying attention, engage with meaning in a reply. Focused upon removing barriers to get your point across.
  • Reflective listening – Paying attention to intent and content, reducing emotion, two-direction as both parties are engaged in achieving mutual understanding.

Tools for listening effectively, which for all intents and purposes, means listening reflectively, requires several tools, along with considerable experience in using these tools.  Customer service focus – not sales in disguise, not having a hidden agenda, and not covertly looking for opportunities to turn the conversation back to you.  The attitude of service – is all about what your intention is after listening.  Sales are all about attitude and winning over someone else; however, how many sales require first being able to reflectively listen; every single one.  Desire – desire determines your choices, your choices form decisions, and decisions determine destiny!

ElectionConsider the press conferences at the White House.  A room is full of people who would claim they are professional listeners, who then report what is being said.  Yet, how many times do you see questions asked with an agenda, personal opinions warping what is said into what they desired to hear, and then reporting what they erroneously heard to satisfy their desires politically; every single time.  Hence, the problems with active listening and how active listening can be faked.  Desire and attitude of service are not being applied to improve customer service focus.

Communication occurs in two different modalities, verbal and non-verbal.  Good communicators adapt their message to the audience.  Adapting the message requires first a choice, determining who the primary and secondary audience is, then focus the message onto the primary audience.  Next, adaptation requires prior planning, which includes mental preparation, practice, and channels for feedback.  Finally, adaptation requires listening to achieve mutual understanding, careful observation, asking questions designed to lead to mutual understanding, and clarifying what is being said to achieve mutual understanding.

Too often, those labeled as “good communicators” cannot listen reflectively.  They have never learned how to use the tools of desire and attitude of service, in a manner that builds customer service focus into reflectively listening.

Leadership CartoonConsider two people the media has proclaimed as great communicators, Presidents Reagan (R) and Obama (D).  President Reagan was listened reflectively, asked good questions, listened to the answers, asked more questions, and then listened some more.  In listening and asking questions, President Reagan built people (customer service focus) and was respected by enemies and friends for his ability to communicate (personal desire determined destiny).  President Obama has been labeled by the media as a good communicator; but by all accounts, he never listened, his questions showed he desired to be heard, and his focus was all on him as the smartest person in the room.  Desire builds an attitude of service, which then forms the customer service focus, which then reflects a desire to reflectively listen and achieve mutual understanding with those being communicated with.

One of the most despicable problems in customer service today is a theme established by Stephen Covey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  On a recent issue, a letter was sent to Senator Martha McSally (D) of Arizona, the response has formed the epitome for not listening in written communication as the response had nothing of the original issue even discussed.  The response was a form letter, on a different topic, and lacked any response that the sender had been heard; but, the letter advertised Sen. Martha McSally and her commitment to listening to her constituents.  But, you might say, a Senator is too busy to respond to every communication delivered, a few other examples of both verbal and non-verbal communication failures.

  • Two lieutenants, representing the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Police Service, stationed at the Phoenix VA Hospital. Engage a person not wearing a mask.  Body language clearly states they are the authority and will broker no resistance.  The officers spend 45-minutes haranguing the patient before cuffing and frog-marching the patient to a holding cell, where the patient who was seeking services in the emergency room, waits for an additional 60-minutes before being forced off Federal Property.  The patient informed the officers multiple times of their pre-existing condition and inability to physically wear a mask.  The hospital mask policy allowed for a face shield to be worn instead of a mask, and after the patient put the face shield on, the officers continued to verbally engage without listening, until the foregone conclusion of arresting the patient could be justified.  The patient was fined $360.00 (USD) for “disorderly conduct” by refusing to wear a mask.
  • Calling a major cellular phone provider (AT&T) with questions about the price plan. The representative answered every question but needed to make a sale, and their focus was on making that sale, not on assisting the customer.  Not the agent’s fault, the policy of the call center is to up-sale on every call.  If the agent does not up-sale, the call is automatically downgraded in quality assurance and the agent gets in trouble.  Hence policy dictates that the customer not be listened too reflectively as the sale must come before the customer.
  • Hotel check-in, online registration was made specifically for a particular sized bed, but due to late check-in, the customer is not provided what was asked for, and the attitude of the clerk is one of disgust at being bothered. Verbal and nonverbal cues are sending messages that the customer is the problem and is interrupting the life of the clerk.
  • A patient receives a call to make an urgent appointment with a VA medical provider in general surgery. The medical provider has demanded the patient be seen in the clinic, thus negating a phone or video styled appointment.  The patient’s record clearly states the patient has trouble complying with mandatory masking for patients seen in the clinic.  The provider arrives 20+ minutes late to the appointment, and because the patient is not wearing a mask immediately refuses to see the patient, wasting 90-minutes of the patient’s day.  The provider gets off in 10-minutes, and seeing the patient will make the provider late getting off.  Was the mask really the problem; not likely.

Social Justice Warrior 2Not listening is probably the largest social problem in the world today.  Everywhere fake active listening is observed, along with copious amounts of observable inactive, selective, and active refusals to listen.  Some of the problems in improving listening are policies and procedures that do not allow for individual adaptation or situational understanding.  However, too often, the individual choices to grab power, exercise authority, and pass along inconvenience are the real problems in not listening.  Harvey Mackay is reported to have said, “Easy listening is a style of music, not an attribute of communication.”  Proving again that listening is a choice, a personal choice, borne from desire, bred on attitude and reflected in verbal and non-verbal patterns of communication.

The following are some launch points for improving listening in society:

  1. Understand your desire.  Know that your desire choices are determining your destiny.  If your destiny is not one, you appreciate, return to the desire and make different choices.
  2. Practice mental preparation, based upon previous situations, to make different choices. Listening is a voyage of discovery to reach a mutual understanding, but mental preparation is key to safely reach the destination.  Prepare, use a mirror, practice until what currently feels alien becomes familiar.
  3. Reduce emotion. The principle of empathy and sympathy are destroying listening and only reflect the internal voices.  The volume of internal voices is silencing the ability to reflectively listen, necessitating the need to fake actively listening for employment’s sake.
  4. Listen as you would have others listen to you. This is an adaptation of the “Golden Rule” and remains applicable as a personal choice.  How you choose to listen will determine your destiny.
  5. Listening remains the number one tool you control and has application to written communication and verbal communication channels. Body language is a non-verbal communication channel that can be heard as well as seen.  How are you communicating non-verbally, which is interfering with your written and verbal communication attempts?

Listening is a choice.  Listening is hard.  Yet, many people have pointed out that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as often as we speak.  Choose to reflectively listen, choose to reach a mutual understanding, watch your destiny change.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

The US Bill of Rights – Knowing the Paradigm

GI JoeDuring much of the 1980s G. I. Joe cartoons had a commercial that ended, “Knowing is half the battle.”  In the spirit of “knowing,” the following is a discussion on the US Bill of Rights.  The US Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution.  Many people think that the US Constitution begins with these 10 amendments, and there remains significant ignorance over what is said, and what is meant, in the US Bill of Rights.  Finally, the US Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments, was passed by the US Congress and ratified by the states too, “… 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.”

Never forget, the preamble to the US Constitution describe why governments are formed stating, “… 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.”

Amendment 1 states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  There is much to discuss regarding what is being witnessed in America right now where the First Amendment is concerned.  Peaceable assembly does not include throwing rocks, blocking traffic, interrupting the free flow of commerce into or out of a building, starting fires, shouting, screaming, or anything else like unto the behavior witnessed in America by radicalized youth and adults.  How does one tell the difference between peaceably assembly and protests; the answer is simple and comes down to one word, respect.

Aretha Franklin (1967) taught America about R-E-S-P-E-C-T and just following the basics she sang about, will differentiate between mobs and peaceably assembling.  But, do not forget, there is a purpose to peaceably assembling, to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  Petitioning does not include screaming, using a megaphone, “sit-ins,” and other actions that disrupt the working of the government.  The actions of those in Portland, Seattle, New York, and several other cities where fires burn, private and public property is destroyed, commerce interrupted, business halted, and fear is spread, is the work of anarchists, terrorists, and villains, not people peacefully assembling to petition for redress.  Politicians take note, if you cannot tell the difference between a peaceful assembly and a riot, I am sure there are several police officers who can make the difference perfectly clear.

Respect is a two-directional path leading to communication, improvement, and the betterment of society.  If the respect flows out but is not returned, then the problem is with the receiver being selfish and communication will never occur.  If the sender is not sending out respect, the problem is a selfish sender, and contempt is all that will be returned.  Why is respect important; because in today’s political environment there is no respect.  Contempt for the voter, contempt for the other political side, contempt for law and order, contempt is running rampant and the fruits of contempt are a bitter fruit indeed.

Politicians, ask yourself, what do you do to reflect respect to the people you represent?  What do you do to reflect respect for the office you hold and the heritage left you as you fill the duties of that office?  What does your staff do to reflect respect back to those who hired you, through an election process, and pays for your staff through forced taxation?  If you only represent the big business and big donors who helped elect you, you are not respecting anything or anyone, especially yourself.  The first amendment to the US Constitution reveals much about a person, almost as good as holding up a mirror of the soul.

Amendment 2 states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  Much continues to be said and written about this amendment.  Many have tried to wrestle meaning from this amendment that runs contrary to the specially selected wording in the amendment, covering their actions by calling their shenanigans “the intent of the authors.”  Each citizen of America was considered a member of the militia, and as such the security of the American Republic, rested first in the hands of freedom-loving, gun-toting, people.  Stop selling snake oil, start accepting the fact that those who try to “judge intent” of the US Constitution are the problems in America.

kpiAmendment 3 states: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”  The language of this amendment, particularly, never ceases to amaze me.  In order to protect the liberty of individuals, soldiers cannot be housed in a citizen’s home; thus, protecting the ability and freedoms of thought and property from unlawful government intrusion.

Since fourth grade, it has amazed me to no end that the second amendment needed to be understood through the intent of the authors, but the first and third amendments needed no “intent” clarification.  This is not irony; this is blatant bias and opinion masquerading as benevolence.  I reject utterly and completely any and every argument based upon the “intentions” of the authors in understanding the US Constitution.

Amendment 4 states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  Speaking of “intentionality arguments,” the fourth amendment continues to be replete with interpretations by judges, lawyers, interfered with by bad case law, and weak-kneed Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions.  Like the third amendment, the fourth is all about keeping the government out of a person’s home, properties, papers, and so forth.  If there is anything more egregious in modern America, the abuse of the US Constitution must rank first, and foremost, in the minds of every American.  Several current issues are before the court and the lawyers will make more money, and the judges will make more money, but the citizens of America will be abused.

Lady JusticeConsider how the Patriot Act, a horribly misnamed piece of legislation, allows for warrantless searches in the name of protecting America.  Like the Affordable Care Act produced the reverse and increased the cost of health care while reducing the quality of health care, the Patriot Act has stripped patriots of safety in their property, papers, and so forth.  2018 had two cases argued before SCOTUS regarding warrantless searches and seizures; warrantless search and seizure is unconstitutional, yet they occur.  The two cases of warrantless searches were both decided by SCOTUS in the petitioner’s favor (Collins v. Virginia & Byrd v. Government).  SCOTUS has ruled on cellphone data, and many regarded that law as dangerous due to the argument that survives that since the government owns the technology the cell phone providers use, then the individual users have no right to privacy or constitutional protections by using cellular phones, cellular data, and where that user goes is able to be scrutinized without warrants.

Now, enter the lawyers, attorneys, and armchair lawyers who will argue and complain about my ignorance of the law, throwing up arguments, and muddying the issues.  Yet, the ACLU is making the arguments that the Patriot Act has reduced the American Citizen’s rights to the fourth amendment.  FISA Courts have been discussed due to the role they played in obtaining warrants to illegally spy on political opponents.  FISA Courts should scare the hell out of every American!  Yet, the Patriot Act passed with no debate, no discussion, and many legislators never read the bill before or after voting.

Amendment 5 states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”  FISA courts empowered the FBI to be the politician’s best friend and the freedom-loving person’s worst enemy.  The taking of private land for public use continues to be abused beyond measure.  Eminent domain abuses abound, and one axiom of law I have come to appreciate is as follows, “Bad cases make bad case law!”  Where the concept of “eminent domain” is concerned this axiom remains telling, and the abuses of government unabated.  Between the principle of eminent domain and the Patriot Act, the fourth and fifth amendments have been stripped, the power shifted to the bureaucrats and politicians, and the abused American Citizen left without recourse.

LinkedIn ImageAmendment 6 states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”  When it comes to legalese muddying the intelligence of an issue, I have not found anything more convoluted than the definition of a “speedy trial.”  Worse, with the FISA Courts not having to inform the accused, a person could be accused of a crime and never know they have been accused.

Amendment 7 states: “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”  The seventh amendment remains important specifically for the re-trial in a different court of an issue settled by a jury trial.  Enter the convolution of “small claims court” as a method of settling matters between people or businesses (under $10,000).  To be frank, you can have a jury trial in small claims court, and some issues are worth having a jury hear evidence.

Amendment 8 states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  What does excessive mean according to a dictionary; “more than is necessary, normal, or desirable; immoderate.”  Bail is all about incentivizing a person to appear in court.  Excessive bail used to be set in England as a means of keeping a prisoner in jail, to work.  Thus, the founding fathers desired bail to be reformed to prevent people from wasting away in jail from poor living conditions, harsh work conditions, and languishing in prison for a considerable time without trial.  Modern America has seen the abuse of language, the plasticization of terminology, and the convolution of excessive, into decreasing bail to nothing.  New York and California both have laws representative of these practices, to the detriment of law enforcement, the revolving doors of prisons, and the decrease in safety for the citizens affected.

ScalesAmendment 9 states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  Rights of the people, the US Constitution, and the individual constitutions of each state and commonwealth in the American Union, cannot infringe upon other rights of the people as they individually dictate.  How did we American Citizens lose sight of this amendment and what it means?  How did we lose the US Constitution?  Under Amendment nine FISA Courts should never have been established.  The right to die without health care intervention is encapsulated in the ninth amendment, but somehow this has been lost.  I remember distinctly losing the classroom debate that assisted suicide is a right under the ninth amendment; I also remember the day when states started passing laws to counter assisted suicide.  Consider the case of Boston Children’s Hospital v. Justina Pelletier, and you will find the ninth amendment abused and tattered by the hospital bureaucracy, as well as horrible malpractice.

Amendment 10 states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Yet, America is replete with Federal and State laws which represent government overreach.  Yet, America is inundated with bureaucracies who design new rules without the consent of the legislative branch that empower the executive branch to trample individual rights, state’s rights, and liberties.  America, you have been abused by a runaway government, powered with politicians and bureaucrats who strive to “keep the gravy train running,” at your expense.

According to the US Constitution can a person choose to live in poverty; yes!  According to the US Constitution does the government have the power to pass out government benefits, which are nothing but taxpayer funds; no!  Yet, the US Government and the various states and commonwealth continue to choose who to pass out government funds to and interfere in people’s lives and choices.  How many times in American History has the actions of government improved a situation; zero!  War on poverty; lost!  War on drugs; failed.

Whale in OceanThe politicians, from both major parties, are guilty of government overreach and unconstitutional power grabs at the city, county, state, and federal government levels.  America must stand, to survive America must return to the roots established by the US Constitution.  Yes; this means getting the government out of Social Security, Welfare, and butting its nose into the rights and liberties of the individual citizen.  Consider the following, a whale and the ocean.  Does the government represent the whale or the ocean?  For if the government is the ocean, then the wale is reliant upon the government.  But, if the whale is the government, then we the citizens of America are the ocean and the government is dependent upon us.  The US Constitution claims the government is the whale and we the citizens are the ocean, and the government depends entirely upon the consent of the governed.

Well, I am revoking my consent!  The government has abused me enough.  I am done with government and bureaucratic overreach.  I reject the thought posited by Charles Reich that I am the property of the government.  Until the government is placed upon a strict constitutional diet, I revoke my consent to be governed.  We, the American Citizens, can retake control from the bloated feck beasts in government and correct the course of this Republic through the powers provided to us in the US Constitution.

The Duty of AmericansI speak by way of invitation; join me, revoke your consent to be governed by these totalitarians!

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.  All text quoted from another source set in italics and is not the property of the author.  Minor punctuation and spelling changes made.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

The US Constitution – Understanding the Paradigm

Since February 2020, to date America, and the world has witnessed the cruel and unyielding hand of mobocracy practiced.  Mobocracy is the rule of the mob transformed into governance.  Consider the actions of several city councils and state legislatures where defunding the police has become the hottest political topic.  The mob screams for changes to the law, politicians pander, politicians pay “Dane-Geld,” and the laws change to satisfy the appetites of the mob.  Thus, mobocracy is being practiced.

To everyone who reads this post, I will without doubt or fear maintain that the actions of the politicians to allow mobocracy in America, state for the record that, “You are committing an illegal act; must be held accountable before the bar of justice for your heinous crimes!”  Make no mistake, the actions of politicians to appease the mob, to rule through mobocracy, and to thwart the will of the governed to the masses of screaming mobsters is treason, the calumny of the blackest sort, and a rejection of your oath of office rendering you and your authority moot!

LinkedIn ImageBeginning with the US Constitution’s Preamble, a person will find why the government was instituted.  “… 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.”  The politicians who have sworn an oath to uphold the US Constitution who deny these statements are already guilty of treason and breach of office.  Domestic tranquility cannot be achieved through the rule of the mob.  Domestic tranquility cannot magically appear, it must be built through law and order, through justice and mercy before the bar of justice, and must be fought for when tyranny rears its ugly head.  The general welfare of the population can only be established by obedience to the just laws of the society to which a person belongs.  Defunding the police tramples the welfare of society, domestic tranquility, and calls for the defense of the rule of law by every freedom-loving person in that society.

Article 1 Section 1: Established for every government in America the separation of powers, where legislation is equally shared between a house of representatives and a senate, who must work together in their separate but equal duties to fulfill the actions dictated in the preamble.  Sections 2 and 3 establish the finer points regarding the house of representatives, the senate, the powers of the executive branch in filling vacancies and establishing the terms of office.

Article 1 Sections 4-8: Establish taxes, the military forces, the day of elections, when a term begins for an elected officer to the Congress and other details of government.  Nowhere in these articles does it allow for one branch to dominate another branch.  Nowhere in these articles does it allow for the senate of the house of representatives to do the others job.  Each establishment of government has a specific job to perform, and those politicians who refuse to do their job are in fact breaching their oaths of office.

Consider the actions of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Nowhere in the US Constitution is she allowed to meddle in world politics, write letters to foreign governments, or pass legislation that has not been read.  Yet, all these and more are regularly being done, instead of doing her job as outlined in the preamble, to the improvement of the American people, she is duly sworn to support.  Her failure to represent all her district is the most egregious example because she is also third in line for the President, she has been re-elected so many times, and is the speaker of the US House of Representatives.  Thus, not only does she speak for her district, but she also represents all the US House of Representatives, of all parties.

Root Cause AnalysisOne of the clearest lessons discovered in life is that of genetic behavior, usually to the shame of the person witnessing their behavior being acted upon by others.  We pass behavior onto our children, our acquaintances, and our circles of influence.  The problem with genetic behavior is that of exponentialism or the exponential growth between generations.  Research supports that cheating behavior in high school is found in cheating an employer later in life.  Research also relates that those witnessing the cheating behavior will then steal.  The third generation of people the behavior is passed onto will steal bigger items, cheat more, and commit more crimes.  The cycle just keeps building until the criminal justice system is full of hard crimes committed.

In the political realm, we see the same exponential growth of behavior.  Speaker Pelosi is witnessed by her party, who then act as she does, and commits larger or worse actions than the Speaker.  If you look at those termed “The Squad,” the representatives are by far worse than Speaker Pelosi, but they learned how to be detestable to freedom-loving peoples from the Speaker, and the second-generation politicians that surround Speaker Pelosi.  Want another example, look at any recent (2000 to present) presidential election and you will still find traces of previous President Clinton in the candidates of both parties.  Consider Mitt Romney’s candidacy, he is very Bill Clinton in his politics and speech mannerisms, which remains the main reason he failed as a candidate for president.

Grit - DefinedThus, freedom-loving people, who support justice, desire domestic tranquility, seek to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and well-being of others, and work tirelessly to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, witness these politicians and want them removed, and held accountable for their crimes.  Not to punish without cause, but to support the common good in America.  The reason we have courts, lawyers, judges, etc. is to separate the crimes committed from the criminal committing.  This is the epitome of the word justice.  The US Criminal Justice System is imperfect, without doubt, but it remains the best system the world has ever seen and deserves support from law-abiding and freedom-loving people.

Article 1 Section 9:  Deals with two legal precedents that have been much maligned and abused.  Immigration and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.  Immigration is a topic for a different post.  However, the Writ of Habeas Corpus is crucial to this discussion.  Simply stated Habeas Corpus is, “… The legal procedure that keeps the government from holding you indefinitely without showing cause. When you challenge your detention by filing a habeas corpus petition, the executive branch must explain to a neutral judge its justification for holding you.”  The Writ of Habeas Corpus can be suspended, and American History including recent history has provided examples of when and why habeas corpus has been denied, suspended, or revoked.  The riots and acts of domestic terrorism are a clear example as to why the Writ of Habeas Corpus can be and should be suspended.  Rebellion and the breach of public safety are two separate excuses for denying habeas corpus and rioters and terrorists deserve to have habeas corpus suspended.

Finest HourMake no mistake, I am not advocating for the refusal of these people to have their day in court, before an impartial judge, to be sentenced for their crimes, and held accountable before the bar of justice.  I am advocating that until their trials can be arranged, they deserve to be held in prison awaiting the slow turning of the wheels of justice.  When you break the peace of society, you give up your rights and liberties; thus, these mob members deserve to be held and witness their rights to habeas corpus rescinded.

Article 1 Section 10:  Has several items that pertain to the illegality of state governors during the current COVID-19 health crisis, reflecting that these governors do not know the law, and are in breach of their oaths of office.  When the governor of New Mexico made a law stating that all the citizens of Arizona must be quarantined, interrupting the free flow of commerce from state-to-state, the governor forfeited her authority for political points, and the US Congress should have been demanding corrective behavior.  Yet, not a peep has been witnessed.

The Duty of AmericansCOVID-19 does not represent a sufficient “imminent danger” to refuse or interfere with commerce passing between states.  The “public health measures” enacted by the various state governors are a travesty of justice, unconstitutional, interferes with the rights and liberties of the people, and damaging the commerce and economy of the United States.  Where are the politicians at the Federal Level to correct these abuses?

Articles 2 and 3: establish the executive and judicial branches of American governance.  These articles remain critical to freedom-loving people as the articles clearly dictate terms in office, how to perform their duties, and establishes the various courts in the judicial system.  The jury trial is set forth without restriction and remains a key component in all trials.  Section 3 of Article 3 contains two items of note.  Item 1 defines treason narrowly and specifically; item 2 discusses the penalty of treason.  “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them (the United States), or in adhering to their enemies (following an enemy’s directions), giving them aid and comfort (monetary means, housing, food, or other transferable goods).”

PatriotismA legal dictionary provides a slightly broader definition of treason, “The offense of attempting by overt [or covert] acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.  The betrayal of a trust: treachery.”  Therein lies the justification for labeling the actions of politicians who breach the public trust with treason, the politician who breaks their oath of office to support and defend the US Constitution is committing treason.

Articles 5-7: Deal with how the US Constitution can be amended, national debt, the supremacy of the US Constitution in America, oaths of office, and ratification of the US Constitution.  With these final words, the US Constitution closed, “Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty-seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our Names.”

Military CrestsEvery member of the US Military swears an eternal commitment to upholding this document, to securing the rights and laws of the United States as prescribed therein, and to follow the orders of the commander in chief before God.  I have had the privilege of taking that oath six times in my life.

The Oath of Enlistment: “I, [State your full legal name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So, help me, God.”

I will not allow the US Constitution to be thrown down and mobocracy, meritocracy, democracy, communism, socialism, or any other form of government to supersede the US Constitution.  To those politicians working hand-in-hand with the mobs and others for the destruction of America, you are committing treason and will one day answer for your crimes before the bar of justice.

Image - Eagle & FlagDuring my military service, I read a quote, applicable to the relationship between politicians working to destroy America and freedom lovers who support the US Constitution “No truer friend; no fiercer enemy!”  No truer friend can be found than I in the support of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  No fiercer enemy can be found than I to those working to suppress the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights; “So, help me, God!”.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Realities and Uncertainties – The Paradigm at the VA

I-CareThe Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports they are returning to a more regular schedule of release for the inspection reports with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recovering from COVID-19.  Congratulations are in order, to the VA, as they begin returning to normal operations and procedures.  The reality is that standard operating procedures (SOP) are regularly missing at the VA, this absence causes uncertainty, and forms the crux of this report. A question for the VA-OIG, “How can you assess employee competency without SOPs?”  To the VA VISN leaders, “How can your directors and supervisors, conduct employee evaluations without written SOPs?”  The short answer is you cannot!

Congratulations are in order, for the Marion VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Illinois.  The Marion VAMC experienced a “comprehensive healthcare inspection” and were generally praised for the excellent work being conducted, the happiness of the patients, and the overall condition of the facilities.  While there were recommendations made by the VA-OIG (29 in 8 different areas), the overall report was satisfactory, and this is mentionable.  Hence, my heartfelt congratulations for your success in this inspection.

VA SealThe Marion VAMC VA-OIG report raises a common theme, and this is a reality the VA appears to be incapable of addressing training and two-directional communication.  From the hospital director to the patient-facing staff, training always appears as a significant issue in VA operations.  Having experienced the training provided by the VA for employees, and as an adult educator, I know the uselessness of the training program and have several suggestions.  Perhaps the problem would be best addressed if more evidence was provided of a systemic failure in training employees at the VA.

In 2017 Congress mandated a change in research operations for the VA, specifically where canine research was concerned.

The OIG found VHA conducted eight studies without the former or current Secretary’s direct approval, resulting in the unauthorized use of $393,606 in appropriated funds.VA continued research using canines after the passage of the funding restrictions, in part, because VHA executives perceived that then VA Secretary David Shulkin had approved the continuation of the studies before his departure.”

The cause of the problem, the VA-OIG discovered was, “Unclear communication, inadequate recordkeeping, and failure to ensure approval decisions were accurately recorded and verified all contributing to VHA’s noncompliance.”  The researchers and executives relied upon two leading causes for not following regulations, designed incompetence, and a lack of training through clear and concise communications.

Congress mandated the documentation to assure approval was obtained before research commenced; yet, the researchers and administrative staff collectively failed to do their jobs and were able to hide behind the bureaucracy they established to excuse their poor behavior.  Loopholes for designed incompetence and lack of training need closed; but, two incidents do not clearly illustrate the reality of the problem.

ProblemsThe VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in North Las Vegas, in response to a referral from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), was investigated by the VA-OIG after a community healthcare worker was attacked.  The VA-OIG findings are appalling, but the reasons for the problem are worse.

The OIG determined that facility managers failed to timely respond after the social worker reported an assault during a home visit and did not address the social worker’s health needs after the assault. The social worker’s supervisor failed to immediately report the incident to the community and VA police. The facility’s policies lacked specific guidance regarding employee emotional and mental health injuries. Further, the OIG substantiated that the social worker was not informed by a supervisor of a homicidal threat, occurring subsequent to the assault, until two weeks after facility leaders became aware of the threat.”

The facility leaders knew there was a problem, yet did nothing before or after the event, that could have cost this healthcare worker their life!  VA-OIG recommendations boil down to a need for clear communication and staff training.  The recommendations highlighted another issue entirely that forms the reality and creates uncertainty at the VA, communication is not a two-directional opportunity to share information.  Single directional communication is useless, and those leaders supporting the bureaucracy to only allow communication to flow in, need immediate removal from the VA.  During my time at the VA as an employee on the front-lines, facing patients, I regularly experienced the lack of communication, and this issue is systemic to the entire VA as witnessed and observed at VA Medical Centers across the United States.

The Nevada incident is deplorable, reprehensible, and the potential for loss of life cannot be overlooked by VA leadership in Washington, at the VISN, or at the Medical Center any longer!  The problems of communication cannot explain this incident, and failure for training cannot excuse this behavior!  Since the OSC initiated the complaint, I am left to wonder, did the employee reporting this incident get fired and needed to appeal to the OSC for remediation?  I ask because the knee-jerk reaction to problems at the VA is to fire the person reporting the issue, as previously observed and personally experienced, and as described to Congressional representatives during televised hearings.  A more thorough investigation into causation needs to be concluded and reported to Congress for this incident reeks of politics and CYA.

Leadership CartoonThe Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, and multiple outpatient clinics was recently provided a comprehensive healthcare inspection, and the leadership team provided 14 recommendations in 7 different areas for improvement.  While congratulations are in order, for the patient scores, the employee scores, and the overall conditions discovered.  Yet, again staff competency, e.g., training and communication, remain critical articles requiring targeted improvement.  Is the pattern emerging discernable; in Nevada, an employee is assaulted and training and communication are blamed, comprehensive healthcare inspections are conducted in three different geographic areas and the same causation factors discovered; training and communication are systemically failing at the VA.  But, the evidence continues.

The John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, recently underwent a comprehensive healthcare inspection.  The VA-OIG issued 17 recommendations in 6 fundamental areas, including staff competency assessments, e.g., training and communication, as well as the inadequate written standard operating procedures.  When discussing designed incompetence, the first step to correcting this problem is writing down the standards, operating methods, and procedures.  Then the medical center leaders can begin training to those standards.  Barring written instructions and published standards, employees are left to ask, “What is my job? and “How do I perform my job to a standard?”

The Oscar G. Johnson VA medical center, and multiple outpatient clinics in Michigan and Wisconsin recently underwent a comprehensive healthcare inspection, 11 recommendations in 3 critical areas.  As did the Tomah VA Medical Center and multiple outpatient clinics in Wisconsin, 4 recommendations in 3 crucial areas.  Both facilities are to be congratulated for their continual improvement and their success during the inspections.  In case you were wondering, staff competency assessments, e.g. training and communication, are vital findings and variables in improving further for both facilities.

The VA has what it calls “S.A.I.L” metrics that form the core standard for performance.  S.A.I.L. stands for Strategic Analytic (sic) for Improvement and Learning.  Learning is a critical component in how the facility is measured and yet remains a constant theme in the struggles for improvement.  Thus, not only is two-directional communication a systemic failure, but so is the poor training results found on all the comprehensive healthcare inspections performed by the VA-OIG.  Poor communication almost cost a healthcare worker their life, and staff training was a key component for recovering from this incident in Nevada.  How can the VA consistently fail at two-directional communication and training, designed incompetence?  Those in charge require an excuse for not doing their jobs, and the most common excuse provided is a lack of training and poor communication.

I-CareIt is time for these petulant and puerile excuses to be banished and extinguished.  The following are suggestions to beginning to address the problems.

  1. Easy listening is a musical style, not an action in communication.  By this, it is meant that the VA needs to stop faking active listening and engage reflective listening.  Reflective listening requires reaching a mutual understanding and is critical to two-directional communications.  In the world of technology, not responding to email, not responding to text messages, and untimely responses to staff communication are inexcusable on the part of the leaders.
  2. Staff training remains a core concept, but before staff can be properly and adequately trained, standards for performance, operational guidelines, and procedural actions must be clearly written down. The first question I asked upon hire was, “Where are the SOPs for this position?”  I was told, “Do not mention SOPs as the director hates them and prefers to work without them.”  Do you know why that director preferred to work at the VA without SOPs because she used it as an excuse to get out of trouble, to fire those she deemed trouble makers, and to escape with her pension and cushy job to another VA medical center?  A repeatable pattern for poor leaders to spread their infamy.  Shame on the VA Leaders for promoting this director to a level beyond her incompetence.  Worse, shame on you for creating an environment where many like her have excelled and done damage to the VA reputation, mission, and patients, including killing them while they awaited care.
  3. From the VA Secretary to the front-line patient-facing employee, cease accepting excuses. The private sector cannot hide behind immunity from litigation and act in a more responsible manner.  Thus, the VA needs to benchmark what private hospitals do where staff training and SOP’s are concerned.  Benchmark from the best and the worst hospitals for an average, then implement that average as the standard.  One thing discovered in writing SOPs for the NMVAMC, the committee for approving SOPs, and the process for writing SOPs were so convoluted and time-intensive that the SOP was outdated by the time it could be implemented.  Shame on you VA leadership for creating this environment!
  4. Training should be an extension of an organizational effort and university. The VA is not properly training the next generation of leaders; thus, the problems multiply and exponentially grow from generation to generation.  Launch the VA Learning University concept, staff that university with adult educators, and allow lessons learned from the university to trickle into operational excellence.
  5. Form an independent tiger team in the VA Secretary’s Office who has the authority to travel anywhere in the VA System to conduct investigations with the ability to enact change and demand obeisance. The Nevada incident was a failure of leadership and needs a thorough reporting and cleansing of the bad actors who allowed that situation to occur.  Worse, in my travels, I have heard many similar stories.  I heard of a patient getting their ear chopped off when a veteran assaulted another veteran after becoming irate at waiting times in the VA ER.  I have heard and witnessed multiple incidents of furniture being thrown, employees being assaulted, employees harassing and assaulting patients, staff property trashed, and so much more.  These incidents need direct intervention and investigation by a party not affiliated with that affected VAMC and the leadership’s political policies.

Carl T. Hayden04 October 2016, the VA-OIG released a report on dead veterans after the comprehensive investigation into the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, Arizona.  The same event occurred in 2014, at the same hospital, with the same causes and the same conclusions.  The core causes for the dead veterans, no written procedures, poor to no training, and reprehensible communication practices.  The Phoenix VAMC went out of their way to fire all the employees who reported problems at the Phoenix VAMC before the veterans began dying in 2014, I can only speculate that the same occurred in 2016.  Staff was frightened in 2014; they are demoralized in 2020.  Nothing has changed at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, Arizona, after two successive hospital directors, if anything the problems have worsened.  The problems worsened because leadership failed to act, failed to write down SOPs, failed to communicate, and failed to train.  The hospital directors since 2014 have been appointed from the same pool of candidates who created dead veterans in the first place, and that is a central failure of the VA Secretary and Congressionally elected representatives’ failure to act!

How many more veterans or staff must die before the VA is willing to act?

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/