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/

 

Republican Government: The Judicial, the Executive, and the Legislative

Disclaimer:  Calling America a Republic is the correct form of language to describe America’s Governmental system, it does not refer to the political party of the same name.  Referring to America’s government operations as democratic, does not refer to the political party of the same name.

The US Constitution set forth three separate and equal branches of government, possessing their own powers, authority, and processes for governing America.  The problem America is facing right now, the legislative especially, and the executive too frequently, have abnegated their powers to the judicial branch until it is quite common and acceptable for a Speaker of the House of Representatives to rely upon the judicial branch to ascertain intent of a piece of legislation, instead of fixing the legislation in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  So, since America’s schools have refused to teach this coequal system of government, and have bastardized the US Constitution, the following is produced.

The executive branch of government is where a person finds all the bureaucrats, or government employees, who exert the government influence through their decision-making authority granted them by elected officials.  This is one of the reasons why certain offices in government need both the Mayor, Governor, or President’s approval and the approval of an elected governing body, city council, State or Federal Senate.  The US Constitution put in place multiple checks and balances between the three coequal branches of government to ensure that no single branch could dominate all the branches or government.

The legislative branch, which includes city councils, state Houses of Representatives and Senators, and Federal House of Representatives and Senators, write the laws the executive branch is mandated to uphold and serve.  Thus, the will of the people in establishing laws through representation was established.  Therefore, legislators and senators have such tremendous power as to attract the special interest groups in our representative government.

The judicial branch does nothing more, or less, than interpret the constitutionality of a problem brought before a judge.  Criminal judges have a slightly different and more expansive role, but the constitutionality of an action remains the core and the boundaries of their power.

Inherent in the republican form of America’s government is the fundamental belief that there are boundaries and restrictions to action.  This is called the US Constitution.  Not to be confused with Federal, State, and Local rules, laws, and procedures.  A city ordinance is not the US Constitution and if that city ordinance is deemed unconstitutional for the state or federal constitution’s, a judge should declare as much and return the core issues to either the executive or legislative branch for correction.

We must be clear on this issue, the judicial branch can levy fines to encourage behavioral changes, but cannot, and should not, legislate from the bench.  Yet, when the legislatures refuse to enact laws that are fair, just, and timely, it has become common practice to run to a judge and get a judicial ruling.  Thus, causing chaos in the citizenry, and developing a new term for legal scholars, Lawfare.

Judicial Activism is where a judge declares that the US Constitution is a “living document” that should bend to every conceivable contemporary value.  Judicial activism removes the voice of the people from the legislative branches of government and interposes the opinions of a couple of judges as being more valuable than the will of the citizens.

Judicial restraint requires intestinal fortitude and limits the powers of judges to the US Constitution and state constitutions.  Judicial restraint is not popular and as such is regularly castigated by the media and those showing judicial restraint have aspersions, insults, and problems set before them.

Here are several examples of judicial overreach, e.g. judicial activism, that support the problem of legislatures or executives writing bad laws or executing poor policies, and demanding the judicial branch sort out the problems.  Where chaos in the citizenry ensued.

  • June 2015 – Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the Court ruled that a federal program requiring raisin growers to set aside a percentage of their crops for government redistribution was an unconstitutional “taking” under the Fifth Amendment.
    • An extension of judicial overreach from In United States v. Rock Royal Co-operative, Inc., 307 U.S. 533 (1939), the Court sustained an order under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, 50 Stat. 246, regulating the price of milk in certain instances.
    • The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 was a New-Deal Agricultural order that allowed the government to seize personal property from farmers, dairymen, etc. and give it away, to regulate prices across America. This is the same time where the power of the USDA began to rise and property began to change its definition as elaborated by Charles Reich in the 1960s.
    • Judicial activism allowed the government to break the fifth amendment of the US Constitution, and the practice continues to this very day by bureaucrat’s hell bent on destroying personal property safeguards in the US Constitution.
    • The legal precedent was set by another case of judicial activism in the Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon 260 U.S. 393 (1922), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that whether a regulatory act constitutes a taking requiring compensation depends on the extent of diminution in the value of the property. This decision started the doctrine of regulatory taking and features prominently in the legal grounds for Eminent Domain.
  • June 2005 – Eminent Domain, Kelo v. City of New London by a 5-4 majority, it affirmed the city’s right to seize private land as part of an economic development plan—a redefinition of the “Takings Clause” under the Fifth Amendment. The US Constitution states clearly that, “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
    • Until this decision the Eminent Domain and Taking Clause had been strictly and rigidly defined. Five judges who believe in judicial activism opened this “Pandora’s Box,” and the havoc has been nonstop ever since.
    • What was in the “Pandora Box;” before Kelo, eminent domain had been limited to direct government ownership, excluding property transfers to private corporations. With Kelo, the question of whether economic gain, resulting from a “taking” for corporate interests, constituted “public use” finally came under Supreme Court scrutiny, and five judges declared that if a corporation has interests, those interests are the same as government interests.
    • As proven by Eminent Domain, corporate interests change with economies and when corporate interests change, the property holder does not get their property back, and if seized under eminent domain, the government can choose what the value of the property is worth.
    • Ever want to see the power of bureaucrats in action, look at the abuses that property owners have suffered through eminent domain. Ever want to see why judicial restraint is critical, look no further than the still undeveloped land in the Kelo case!
  • January 2011 – Obamacare, everyone should remember all the chaos that ensued in this political tug-of-war between the legislative branch and the judicial branch, with a healthy dose of political grandstanding thrown in for good measure by the executive branch.
    • A judge in Florida issued a decision in a case filed by 25 Republican Attorneys General and Governors striking down the Affordable Care Act.
    • Twelve federal judges have already dismissed challenges to the constitutionality of the health reform law, and two judges – in the Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Virginia – have upheld the law. In one other case, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law’s “individual responsibility” provision and upheld the rest of the law.
    • Worse, there remain multiple issues in Obamacare yet to be decided by the courts because the legislature refuses to clarify, act, or even respond to judicial opinions.
  • Continuous Issue (1973) – Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
    • A little history on this subject, 1820s and 1830s abortions were common through the fourth month of pregnancy and herbs, pills, and other home remedies were prevalent for use. Then, the physicians of America and the government stepped in to prevent poisoning and assert control over home remedies, midwives, and other medical opinion providers of the time.
    • New York was the first state to legalize, or codify into law abortion, as a public health measure to improve the lives of women. But, the abortion industry had not begun targeting black and non-white communities.  The first women getting abortions mainstream were, a middle- or upper-class white married women.
    • Original feminists opposed abortion practices and wanted only voluntary motherhood through the “right of women to control sex with their husbands.”
    • The original laws banning abortion were enacted to humiliate women who had to discuss their bedroom affairs with the executive and judicial branch representatives.
    • Judges made the decisions to outlaw abortion, through judicial activism because it was taking the legislative branch too long to enact laws the special interest groups, the American Medical Association (AMA), wanted.
    • Judges then made the decision to make abortion on demand legal, through judicial activism, because again it was taking too long for the legislative branch to act and enact the appropriate laws.
    • Thus, judicial activism and abortion have a long and sordid history of causing chaos in America since at least the 1840s. Hence, when a person discusses Roe v. Wade they are only discussing the abortion on demand industry, and not the whole problem of judicial activism on this issue.
  • June 2015 – Homosexual Marriage. The executive branch of government, almost as soon as America was codified into law, began regulating marriage between a man and a woman, based upon Judaeo-Christian understandings of marriage.  By regulating marriage, the government gained a revenue source, a control mechanism for the behavior of the population, and set legal precedents for what is and is not considered a marriage by the state.  Each state adopted their own legal precedents, guidelines, rules, laws, and so forth leading eventually to 50-different opinions on marriage.
    • Important to note, nothing in the US Constitution requires the definition of marriage for all 50 states, nothing in the US Constitution prohibits the state executive branch to regulate marriage. The executive branch acted to regulate marriage licensing as a control measure on individual morality, e.g. the number of wives of husbands a person may have, marriage to animals being forbidden, etc.
    • Five judicial activists decided that all 50-states need to adopt homosexual marriage and exerted their opinion accordingly through the courts. This decision has trumped the executive and legislative branches of government, stolen the individual citizen’s voice, and created untold havoc and uncountable expenses for every person in America.
    • A marriage license and a driver’s license are both executive controls on the population through government setting rules, regulations, and policies. The definition of marriage is a state right’s issue, as the individual states claimed they have the right to regulate marriage when they individually began issuing licenses to marry or drive.
    • For or against homosexual marriage is a state right’s issue, not a Supreme Court, or Federal Government Issue. Hence, the judicial activism that drove this decision is the problem, not necessarily how the judges expressed their opinions.  This decision is a clear-cut example of needing to return a judicial decision to the states to decide through legislative action.

Judicial activism has been carefully cultivated into America, so that every time there is a problem, the solution is to grab a judge and demand a decision.  However, as shown herein, the courts are a gamble, and the worst that occurs is more societal chaos because a judge has overstepped their authority and made unequal the three branches of republican government.  Worse, that judge has rendered the democratic processes of the people’s rights to self-rule invalid, null, and void.

For example, Kelo should have been referred to the legislative and executive branches for a decision, as the “Taking Clause” was constitutional, but rigidly controlled.  But, because the judicial stepped in to “solve the problem,” through adjudication, chaos has ensued, which has forced, at a minimum, 40 different interpretations of the “Taking Clause.”  Which opens a minimum of 80-different potential decisions if the courts decide to take up the Eminent Domain issue again.  Talk about chaos!

The executive branch and the legislative branch must be held accountable for abnegating their duties.  This accountability occurs at the ballot box where the lazy and recalcitrant lawmaker is returned to being a private citizen.  Then, launching a judicially correct investigation into why that person abnegated their duties; especially, if personal enrichment occurred.  Judges are supposed to be held accountable through the actions of the legislative and executive branch taking firm action, not creating new laws.  The judicial branch oversees executive and legislative investigations only to ensure the US Constitution is properly followed.  Proper checks and balances!

However, there is a caveat to the US Constitution provided by the second president of the United States, John Adams.  “Our Constitution, [which includes all the separate state constitutions,] [were] made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other [type of person].”  Why has the executive and legislative branches abdicated their duties to the judicial; they are not inherently moral or religious.  Why has judicial activism exploded; the people in office are not moral or religious.

Thus, the solution for America is to begin hiring through the election process morally upright and religious people.  Every vote, in every election, matters.  Those on the political left understand this policy and use it as a weapon to create enmity and negate the power of the people to self-government and republican rule through democratic processes.  Make the time, get knowledgeable about candidates and issues, and then vote!

© 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/

August VA-OIG Updates: More SHAMEFUL VA Conduct.

I-CareDue to personal issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), specifically the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Phoenix, AZ I fell a little behind in June/July/August of 2020.  As I work to clear the backlog of completed Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports from August, please keep in mind solutions to these problems are available. The failure of leadership to be held accountable, by the elected officials is staggering, and the lack of accountability and responsibility boggles the mind.  Without exception, I know the VA can be improved, developed, and saved.

August 2020 begins with an individual employee making a decision regarding healthcare decisions for a veteran at the Robley Rex VAMC in Louisville, Kentucky.  The VA has a process where individuals can be allowed to be surrogate decision-makers for a veteran who needs additional assistance.  This process works is legal and is a great tool for family and friends of veterans to play a significant role in the healthcare process of the veteran.  In this instance, the process failed, not because the process was bad, but because people did not do their jobs properly.

The VA-OIG assessed an allegation that providers permitted an individual with no legal authority to make medical decisions on behalf of a patient, and a host of other patient rights were trampled as documented.  “The patient experienced a three-week medical and mental health hospitalization with repeated episodes of confusion, agitation, and combative behavior. The patient was transferred to hospice care and died five days later.  The VA-OIG found that facility staff did not take the required appropriate steps to identify and confirm the eligibility of this surrogate.  The VA-OIG determined records did not contain sufficient documentation of physicians’ clinical assessments to support diagnoses and treatment decisions. Clinical communication and collaboration were inconsistent, insufficient, and negatively impacted the patient’s continuity and quality of care. Providers did not consistently document medication monitoring and oversight activities to ensure safe patient care. The patient’s transfer to hospice was completed without fully pursuing other diagnoses and treatment options and staff did not ensure the patient’s rights were upheld regarding involuntary admission and behavioral restraints. Facility leaders did not complete a thorough quality of care review to understand the reasons for the patient’s atypical hospital course and outcome” [Emphasis Mine].

Many times, the VA-OIG reports do not clarify all root causes due to employee privacy; however, from the report, the employees who repeatedly allowed the neighbor to make healthcare decisions were exceeding their legal bounds and made decisions that harmed the patient.  This veteran died and from the report, it is clear the veteran died confused, possibly due to medication changes, and the family was not notified in a timely manner because the neighbor, without legal and written authority, was allowed to make healthcare decisions for the veteran, even though there was written healthcare directives on file for a family member to make these decisions.  Utterly shameful behavior!

PatriotismThe Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN), is a geographical grouping of VA Healthcare Systems, e.g. hospitals and clinics, under a combined leadership plan.  One of the tools the VA-OIG uses to monitor the quality of patient care inside VISN’s is called a “Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection Program (CHIP).  CHIP covers selected clinical and administrative processes all of which are deemed consistent with promoting quality patient care.  The CHIP occurs on a rotational 3-year periodicity and the focus is shifted slightly each 3-year cycle to, theoretically, encompass all administrative processes over time.  The VA reports the following are the specific areas that lead to quality patient care through administrative practices:

  1. Quality, safety, and value;
  2. Medical staff privileging;
  3. The environment of care;
  4. Medication management (specifically the controlled substances inspection program);
  5. Mental health (focusing on military sexual trauma follow-up and staff training);
  6. Geriatric care (spotlighting antidepressant use for elderly veterans);
  7. Women’s health (particularly abnormal cervical pathology result notification and follow-up); and
  8. High-risk processes (specifically the emergency department and urgent care center operations and management).

All of which is mentioned as an explanation providing details for the following VA-OIG inspection reports of CHIP received in August 2020.  A total of seven CHIP reports were received in August recording performance from inspections carried out.  These reports, while somewhat individualized for the specific VAHCS, reads like a carbon copy.  Repeatedly written procedures for standard operation are missing, staff training is inadequate or antiquated, risk analysis is not able to be competently and correctly conducted, patient safety issues abound, and the proper utilization of management processes remains glaring!

Root Cause AnalysisThe CHIP reports are so repetitive in nature, the VA-OIG recommendations are grouped, conveniently, into the eight administrative areas listed above.  According to proper management techniques, the VA-OIG then “encourages” the leadership team to select one or two areas for improvement and focus their efforts on leading change in those areas.  For example, if the VAHCS wants to improve in risk analysis, the leaders can begin by promoting training on properly conducting risk analysis online, hold meetings to review risk analysis procedures and begin to train and develop staff on improving n this area.

However, here is where reality meets theory, without written standard operating procedures risk analysis cannot be completed properly.  The bureaucracy protects itself and will thwart the implementation of written standard operating procedures as this removes designed incompetence that keeps the bureaucrat in power at the VA.  Thus, the root cause of improving root cause analysis is the lack of written procedures that measure performance against a single written standard.

CHIP Report after CHIP Report the same issues arise, are noted, recommendations from the VA-OIG are documented, and the same response is supplied; this represents the epitome of designed incompetence and the root of the problem the VA is facing.  Recommendations for improvement have been repeatedly provided and change can occur; but, not without dedicated leadership, not management, to thwart the bureaucratic quagmire that the VA has fallen into.

Leadership CartoonAnother regular entry on the CHIP reports is the following: “Employee satisfaction scores revealed opportunities for the Associate Director for Patient Care Services to improve employee attitudes towards senior leaders.”  Here is the problem, how many of the “senior leaders” are less than managers, promoted beyond their maximum level of incompetence, solely because they were the next warm body in line; too many!  When staff training is a repeated issue on CHIP reports, one must ask how employees are being measured?  Where are the written scorecards that reflect a process that was used to measure employee performance fairly and equitably?  Was the employee trained on how to perform their role according to the standards published?  Do the scorecards reflect that all employees have been trained, measured, and reported equally?

Guess what, since staff training remains a consistent problem, the staff leaders are the problem!  A major part of “Quality, Safety, and Value” is “Leadership and Organizational Risks.”  A lack of training in properly, timely, and correctly performing one’s role as hired is both a leadership and an organizational risk.  Failing to train employees is the absolute worst comment a leader should be informed of by a third-party inspection team.  Yet, the training of staff is consistently the root cause after a lack of standardized operating procedures.  Every mid-level supervisor, trainer, manager, director, etc. titled individual at the VA should be embarrassed when told their staff is untrained; but, it appears these same leaders do not care!

The Duty of AmericansHow can a person draw the conclusions that the VA appears to not care about improvement, or that the lack of caring is rampant across the entire VA structure; look no further than the site visit VA-OIG inspection report of the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).  The deputy undersecretary for field operations expected regional office managers to be aware of issues raised in other regional office site visit reports, but there was no written policy for addressing frequently identified errors.  So, the mid-level regional office managers must be told to investigate internal websites to gather lessons learned and apply those lessons in their regional offices.  What an incredibly inept excuse; shameful conduct by a senior leader, and how much worse does this attitude become as it filters down to the troops?  The behavior that claims a new policy is needed to improve performance is utterly bereft of logic and demonstrates the lackadaisical attitude being discussed.  Then these same leaders wonder why their staff is disengaged, disconnected, and distrusting of leadership; unbelievable!

One of the first lessons I learned in becoming a business professional was, “If you have to write your ethics down, you have already lost.”  The VA policies on ethics, ethical conduct, and ethical behavior are voluminous, trying to cover every detail, every loophole, every issue, and mostly the VA-OIG reports on ethical breaches reflect individual poor judgment at best, and designed incompetence at worst.  Yet, still, the VA tries to implement ethics without a source, moral behavior without a purpose, and the individual employee is left with plenty of excuses for not behaving in a properly ethical manner.  This is the topic of another article; but it must be made clear here and now, ethical lapses continue to abound at the VA.  From the nurse not giving drugs to patients and selling the drugs on the street, to hospital directors not disclosing what appears to be a conflict of interest, the VA remains afloat on a sea of ethical violations.

The remaining reports in August reflected an investigation that the VA-OIG was unable to substantiate due to a lack of reports filed in a timely and proper manner.  More designed incompetence on the part of the VA.  Also included in these final reports were more repetitions of issues discussed where staff training was the root cause for ethical violations, failure to properly perform duties as hired, and staff training was the problem with adherence and compliance issues.

The disconnect is obvious, and the direction forward is clear.  Hospital Directors, write the standard operating procedures, using the resources of how the work is performed currently as the baseline.  Then begin correcting and amending the written procedures over the following year to improve performance to a written standard.  Once the written standard is completed, e.g. the baseline, begin training of staff.  You cannot measure individual performance without standards, and standards cannot be followed without written operating procedures for conducting business.

Behavior-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/

July Updates: OIG Reports That Should SHAME the VA!

Survived the VALate last week, I received a call from the Chief of police at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.  In July, I had been arrested for not wearing a mask.  By late August, I had figured the Phoenix VA Medical Center Director was going to just “forget me” and hope I go away, then the call comes in.  The Chief of police begins by stating, “I do not know why I am calling you, but I was requested to call and see what I can do to help.”

This response of the chiefs can be viewed two ways, he honestly does not know and needs to be updated, or he is using this as a conversation starter and does know.  I choose to see the best in people and gave the chief the benefit of the doubt.  I explained the situation, the multiple different stories regarding “VA Policy on Mask Wearing,” my multiple visits where I was not hassled about not wearing a mask, the confusion with the face shield, and the behavior of his officers in trying to implement poor policy.  To which the chief replied, I cannot help here and will return this issue to the director’s office where I had initially filed the complaint.

I do not blame the VA Police for arresting me.  They are tools of policy, as I have discussed previously and you can review here.  The police in my situation are stuck in the middle between a ridiculously inept hospital director, and the need to enforce the policies which issue forth.  At the beginning of COVID-19 hysteria, the director received a memo from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding how to handle COVID-19.  The director did not adapt the policy to the local hospital, placing patients at risk who wears a mask in Phoenix summer conditions; nor, did the director include the ability for individual adaptation to individual patient health concerns, SAIL Metrics.  Thus, the VA Police are stuck, they cannot allow exceptions, they cannot allow for individual accommodations, and this places more burden upon the veterans seeking and requiring care at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and clinics.

The VA provides the rating of VA’s and the following website: Why not the best VA which will easily explain in a numeric format the indicators of problems with each VA.  What I find interesting is how many times the worst VA hospitals find themselves on the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) for egregious breaches of common sense, customer service, and common decency.  The Phoenix VA Medical Center is in VISN 22, and knowing the various hospitals intimately in VISN 22, the only conclusion possible in reviewing the data is that the 8 different hospitals in VISN 22 are in a dead heat race to the bottom, and the Albuquerque NM VA Medical Center is the best of the worst.

Carl T. HaydenThe VA-OIG conducted a healthcare inspection at the Atlanta VA Health Care System (VAHCS) in Decatur, Georgia, and found they had a backlog of open community care consults, and the OIG found deficiencies in processing, scheduling, and timeliness of these consults. Important to note, the contributory factors included but were not limited to, inconsistent scheduling processes, inconsistent oversight, and deficiencies with third-party administrator scheduling oversight, shortages of scheduling staff, and lack of training and supervision for scheduling staff. The facility did not consistently meet facility process requirements for scheduling audits and lacked a process to identify consults that were missing documentation after administrative closure.  While the Decatur VAHCS should be praised for not having any critical patient concerns due to the scheduling failures, this appears to be more luck on the patient’s part, than efficiency on the scheduling staff part.

The VA-OIG conducted a healthcare inspection at the Nashville VA Medical Center in Tennessee to evaluate alleged deficiencies in cardiac telemetry monitoring services including policies, staffing, and communication.  The facility should be praised for its progress in fixing deficiencies without the recommendations of the VA-OIG investigatory team.  The facility leaders also deserve praise for their attention to details, improvements in communication, and other facility improvements made since Feb 2019.  The last time this facility made the VA-OIG inspection report, the investigation was not pretty and their improvement needs to be praised; while more progress is needed, congratulations on the progress made.

Speaking of providing praise where praise is due, the VA-OIG conducted a comprehensive healthcare inspection of the Kansas City VA Medical Center (VAMC) and multiple outpatient clinics in Kansas and Missouri.  While this VAMC and outpatient clinics still have significant growth in improving SAIL metrics, they have progressed and growth is happening.  I send my regards, and sincere congratulations on the progress made.  I also wish them the best in continuing to improve.  This VAMC has a long road to recovering, but I know with patience, improved organizational design, and better staff training, they can get where they need to be.

ProblemsImagine you’re a patient, or worse a family member escorting the patient, with suicidal ideation, and you hear the doctor say, “the patient can go shoot themselves. I do not care,”  How would you feel about the 12-hour stay in the Emergency Room, after seeing seven different providers who did not read the notes, complete adequate patient handoff between the ER and outpatient mental health, which also includes deficiencies in the hand-off processes, and providers’ failure to read the outpatient psychiatrist’s notes, which led to a compromised understanding of the patient’s medical needs and a failure to enact the outpatient psychiatrist’s recommended treatment plan.  Completing six-days later in the veteran taking their life.  This exact scenario should NEVER have occurred but did at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.  Now, the physician making that detestable comment had previously made similar comments about other patients; crickets from leadership.  The ER physician making this incredibly obtuse statement has a history of making “inappropriate comments” about patients in the ER, and this has been known to leadership since Feb 2019.  No action, no investigation, no remediation, and now we have a dead veteran because the representative of the VA had the gall to say, “the patient can go shoot themselves. I do not care.”

I-CareWhen any veteran dies by their own hand, it is a tragedy.  But, when the VA has any responsibility in that veteran committing suicide, heads should roll, individual people should be held accountable, and in this case, especially, criminal proceedings should commence!  I worked in the VA ER, I know what the providers, nurses, and other staff providing patient interactions say.  I have reported several inappropriate comments that the patients heard to no avail, no recourse, and no action by hospital leadership.  I know, intimately, the political chicanery that occurs at the VA, and I can tell you, this IS a pet issue with me, and I am unapologetic in calling for criminal charges on these providers who are abusing veterans and their families!

Leadership CartoonThe VA-OIG inspected the VA Illiana Health Care System (VAHCS) and multiple outpatient clinics in Illinois.  The VA-OIG also inspected the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and multiple outpatient clinics in Illinois and Wisconsin.  I have been in both and I can say unequivocally, more progress is needed and the leadership desperately needs to improve professionalism among staff, improve patient safety from the bureaucrats not providing care, staff competencies, and staff training.  All of which were among deficiencies mentioned by the VA-OIG.  There is great potential in these VAHCS’ for achieving greatness, but the bureaucrats need deep cleaned, and removed!

What continues to astound me is the replication of excuses and issues between VAMC’s and VAHCS’ when these comprehensive healthcare inspections are conducted.  On average, I can expect 3-5 comprehensive healthcare inspection results from VA-OIG per week in my email box.  Yet, the same exact issues and excuses are used time after time, location after location.  Those VAMC’s and VAHCS’ who are failing know they are failing, and the lack of care witnessed by the inaction of the hospital leadership infuriates this veteran.  Leaving me asking, “Who will care enough to demand change and cease allowing these tepid and weak excuses to be allowed?”  Are the elected officials even looking at the repetitive nature of the issues and asking follow-up questions, demanding answers, or even bothered by failures in comprehensive healthcare inspections?

I have not personally visited or been a patient in the following VAMC; however, the stories I hear from my friends and colleagues tell me the VA-OIG might have missed a few indicators of problems in this inspection and bought the excuses for designed incompetence.  The VA-OIG conducted a review at the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center in Reno, Nevada. The review proactively identified and evaluated declining performance metrics that could affect the quality of care and patient safety.  The staff blamed the falling metrics on “losing focus, staff pay, other change initiatives, inefficient processes, which all contributed to performance deficits.  These are standard excuses for designed incompetence and I refuse to accept these conclusions by the VA-OIG.  Will the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center in Reno, Nevada be the next Phoenix, AZ VAMC to kill a couple hundred veterans before these excuses are no longer accepted?

VA SealThe behavior of the VA as recorded in these VA-OIG investigations and inspections continues to reveal significant problems with staff, where the staff has designed processes and procedures to allow a ready excuse for any problems that arise and continues to prove that a veteran takes their life in their hands when visiting the VA.  These actions must cease forthwith.  There is no excuse for the behavior investigated and reported.

© 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/

Call Center Chaos and Appreciative Inquiry

While this article discusses government call centers generally, and New Mexico (NM) Government call centers specifically, please do not think the problems described are specific only to, or lessons could not be applied to, many other call centers.  New Mexico Government call centers all have a common problem, they are purposefully designed to not help or serve the customer.  Worse, the work processes are convoluted to the point that work takes anywhere from 10 – 15% longer than it should, costing 30 – 50% more than it should.  Worse, if a customer gets connected to an “Escalation Department,” the workers in that department have no authority, no tools, and nothing they can do but repeat marketing materials, and hope the customer goes away.

Cute CalfEssentially, the NM Government call centers, at the city and state levels of government are as emasculated as a spring-born calf!  Let that sink in for a moment.  No tools, no authority, no support, and only their verbal wits to make the customer go away.  If you think this problem is only apparent in government call centers; well, you are wrong.

AT&T has a very similar, though not as endemic issue.  Sprint, the problem is both apparent and not considered a problem.  AIU, COX, Comcast/Xfinity, FEDEX, UPS, UoPX, and more, you all have very similar issues where the work processes and the customer service are disconnected, leaving employees emasculated and stuck spouting marketing lines in the hope of appeasing the customer.  Sure, some of you have better call escalation processes, but these escalation processes only show the emasculation of your people more exactly.

For example, take today’s interactions with a NM Government Call Center.  The representative on the call escalation line could very easily reach out to their supervisor and take the criticisms and ideas from the customer’s call, put them forth as their own ideas, and improve the call center and customer attentiveness of the organization.  Unfortunately, sad experience has shown that new ideas in NM Government Call Centers are anathema to the good order and discipline of the call center.  Thus, proving that the endemic lack of customer attentiveness is systematic in NM Government Call Centers and considered a benefit to the customer/taxpayer using the government service.

Purposeful customer abuse is not appreciated, not acceptable, and eventually leads the call center to ruin.  Which is a monumental waste of the potential in your employees, as well as being ruinously expensive for some future disaster.  In speaking with retail associates at Comcast/Xfinity and COX Communications, one learns from frontline representatives what to expect from calling the call centers.  If the retail associates are frustrated with the inability to be served, this is automatically passed to the customer.  Bank of America has this problem in spades!

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

Coming back to the NM Government Call Center, the front-line supervisor upon hearing about this representative’s experience, chooses to believe there is a problem.  Knowing that the problems are endemic and systematic in the organization, decides, “For my team, we will be the core of excellence.”  Thus, this supervisor is now motivated to take the second step in the appreciative inquiry cycle, “Define.”

The supervisor defines what they can change, and then from that list of items that they can control will select the first item to change by asking themselves and their team, “Which item on this list can we tackle first?”  Thus, leading to the third step in appreciative inquiry, “Discover.”

Imperative at this step is the focus upon what is already going right on the topic selected.  Not focusing upon what is wrong, or upon what cannot be controlled or influenced by the team.  Focus on the positive, list the best of what is going right!  For example, if the inquiry will be reducing hold times, and the team has been trending down from multiple hours to single hours of hold time, focus on the positive, and get ideas about tips used from those who are successful in reducing hold times.

The idea in discovery is to create the motivation for the next step in appreciative inquiry, “Dream.”  But, do not dream small!  Remember, when you shoot for the sun and miss, you still land among the stars.  Dream BIG!  Dreaming is all about setting your sights on what currently is considered impossible, that your team can make possible.  Going back to reducing hold times, set the dream at 30-minutes.  You can always come back and dream bigger or repeat the appreciative inquiry cycle on this topic again in the future.

Next, “Design,” design the future and it becomes your destiny; which also happens to be the remaining two steps in the appreciative inquiry cycle.  President Thomas Monson is quoted as saying, “Decisions DO Determine Destiny” [emphasis in original].  If you decide the status quo is acceptable, that decision determines the destiny, and ruination will follow.  If you decide to pursue excellence, this decision will determine how successful you and your team can be.  Design the future you desire, state the goal, write it down, post the goal, speak positively about the goal, and build momentum through accomplishing small steps towards the goal.

Thus, the destiny is born into fruition and what today is impossible, is tomorrow’s reality.  Destiny in the appreciative inquiry cycle is defined as creating what the future will be.  Positive growth occurs through incremental steps and changes the destination.

A pilot friend of mine loves the story about a new pilot who is making their first cross-country flight with a more experienced pilot.  The young pilot is close to being able to solo, and the experienced pilot knows the route, the weather, and decides to let the young pilot fly solo for a few hours.  The new pilot gets bored holding a single course and wavers a little to the left, and a little to the right of the base course and does not think anything of the consequences.  Several hours go by and the experienced pilot returns to the flight deck to discover bad weather is moving in fast, the small lane cannot fly in the weather that is coming necessitating an unscheduled landing, and the plane is 400-miles off base course.  The young pilot said, I only moved a few degrees left and right, we cannot be that far off course.  Later the experienced pilot shows a track of the airplane on a map to the young pilot and reality sinks in, by a matter of a few degrees, over time, the plane got in trouble.

A few DegreesAppreciative inquiry is exactly like the plane, by having a destination, defined according to positive desires, through the process of discovery, dreaming of the possible future, while designing the future, the appreciative inquiry leader can make the small changes today that move the destination from ruination to success.

The first step is admitting there is a problem, and desire to fix that problem at all costs.  What are you passionate enough about to fix at all costs?  Whether you are a representative or a company director, the same question applies and the answer will determine your ultimate destiny.  The key is action at all costs.  The efforts, time, resources, etc. will be spent to achieve does not matter, the new destination does matter.

A call center supervisor friend of mine had three stellar and highly experienced employees on their team.  My friend also had some young talent with incredible potential.  Because the three stellar employees did not want to become supervisors, this effectively blocked the new employees from achieving potential.  My friend had to make a choice, lose the new potential, or reorganize the team.  My friend chooses to keep the experienced people, and shortly after this decision was made, two quit for other opportunities, the new potential quit because they longed for professional growth, my friend was promoted, and the new supervisor had no depth of experience left on the team.

Some would blame the new employees for quitting too soon, others would lay the blame on the supervisor for not developing the talent pool, others might express dismay at the senior talent leaving; honestly, they are all right, and all wrong!  My friend decided to hang the costs, and the decision was a tremendous learning experience.  Using appreciative inquiry will provide similar learning experiences, prepare, and commit, now to learn first and stay focused on the positive.

Appreciative inquiry can help; there are six operational steps:

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

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

© 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/

 

Updated Inspector General Reports – Department of Veterans Affairs: These Actions Must Cease!

I-CareLong have I written about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports which cross my inbox.  Long have I been utterly disgusted with the waste, fraudulent behavior, and the utter disregard for the patient witnessed in the VA Medical Centers across America.  As a veteran and taxpayer, it is past time to begin to see action to rectify these types of issues.

The VA-OIG conducted an inspection to evaluate concerns related to a Virtual Pharmacy Services (VPS) pharmacist’s discontinuation of antidepressant medication for a patient of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, which resulted in the patient not having prescribed antidepressant medication for approximately six weeks before dying by suicide.  The VA-OIG found that the pharmacist never notified the psychologist, never checked the patient’s record, simply discontinued the medication.  While the VA-OIG found process and procedure issue, the fact that a medication could be arbitrarily discontinued without a “Red Flag” being raised with the provider and the patient is deeply troubling.  Worse, the quality control processes in the pharmacy did not trigger a problem when a medication was discontinued without a provider order; why?

There is a dead veteran, and a pharmacist who claimed they did not know they could access a patient file; and the excuses do not hold water!  This incident is a tragedy of epic proportion and I must ask, how many more veterans will die because medications are arbitrarily turned off?

ProblemsThe next VA-OIG inspection is a bit of a pretzel, there is another dead veteran by suicide, and processes and procedures were recommended by the VA-OIG to correct some small issues in bariatric surgery patients.  Reading this report, it appears that this veterans’ suicide was not directly connected to preoperative counseling for bariatric surgery which was essentially the scope of the VA-OIG investigation.  If there is a connection between the bariatric surgery and the suicide, it was beyond the VA-OIG investigatory scope.  Hence, the VA might not be at fault for the suicide, but the VA-OIG recommendations indicate more can and should be done in the future to decrease the risks postoperatively.

Let me be clear, room for improvement to decrease risk does not assign or negate blame in this situation.  The death of a veteran through suicide remains a tragedy and the VA can and should be doing more to help reduce veterans committing suicide.  With the convoluted processes and the contradictory bureaucracies inside the VA, much more can be done as an organization to streamline and bring efficiency, transparency, and responsibility to the employees making patient decisions.

Chinese CrisisAnother VA-OIG report does clearly reflect the responsibility and lack of care a patient received at the VA.  The Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville is responsible for test results still not being properly communicated to the veteran in a timely manner, which delays treatment and care.  Fall 2018, a patient went undiagnosed and untreated for pancreatic cancer due to failures in communicating test results, collaborating with the primary care providers, and for the electronic health records not containing a system of alerting providers that an adverse test result occurred.  Hence, this patient’s problems have three root causes:

  1. Failure to notify the patient.
  2. Failure to collaborate between different hospital units for patient care and safety.
  3. Failure of the electronic health records programming to include alerts.

From personal experience, I must wonder if any patient notification would have made a difference.  The patient notifications are simply the results, not definitions, no descriptions, just ranges, and results.  Hence, the patient notification process must include clarity of the results so non-medical people can understand what was found and the implications.

While I applaud the VA-OIG for insisting that an internal review is conducted and problems rectified, I have significant doubts that change will occur.  It appears that unless the VA-OIG is following up on their recommendations; which is outside the VA-OIG’s authority, the change will not occur.  A truly unfortunate series of events occurred in this patient’s life and the bureaucracy of the VA will prevent anyone from being held accountable for the failures, nor will change occur to protect another veteran.

The W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina, was recently inspected for concerns regarding anesthesia provider’s practice.  While no issues were found under the VA-OIG scope regarding the provider’s practices, other issues were discovered.  The problems found were all administrative in nature and included the usual training, timely record keeping, following the policies established by VHA, etc.  Juran’s Rule states that “When there is a problem, 90% of the time the problem lies with policies and procedures, not people.”  How, and when, a person does their job is more often the root of the problem and is evidenced again with this VA-OIG investigation report.  The fact that this problem continues at all VA Medical Centers (VAMC) across America is indicative of a systematic issue in poor organizational design, then in the individual employee.  The VA must address these organizational issues that breed complacency in employee adherence!

LinkedIn VA ImageWith confirmed cases of nepotism still occurring in the VA, this time in Miami.  With continued issues regarding ethics violations and the proper use of time and materials for teleworking employees.  With the continued employee obstruction witnessed in so many cases of records not being readily available to VA-OIG inspectors.  The VA desperately needs to have a deep cleaning and reorganization.  Why has the VA not adopted ISO-9001 for Hospitals?  Why hasn’t the VA adopted ISO-9001 for the VBA or National Cemetery as a coherent process for organizational change and improvement?

Consider that there remains a dearth of written processes, procedures, and policies in the VA.  So much so that more than one VA Hospital operates on “Gentlemen’s Agreements” between departments, instead of official policy statements and procedural plans.  This lack of written policies and procedures is the excuse and the general recommendation of so many VA-OIG inspection reports that I am shocked Congress has not begun asking about this single issue.  The first rule I learned as an EMT was, “If it is not written down, it never happened.”  I was told this is the first rule of medicine; yet, somehow the VA can escape without writing down how to perform work.  Doesn’t that seem strange to anyone else?

Where the lack of written procedures is most noticeable, is at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), where the quality control people missed 35% of the errors routinely, never checked each other’s work, never learned lessons to improve performance, and were not properly supervised.  Yet, training, communication, and written procedures are routinely used as excuses, and corrective action is outside the VA-OIG investigatory scope.  So, while the problems are being identified, the leaders are refusing to do their jobs!  From the VA-OIG report comes the following details:

“The VA-OIG estimated that during the review period, regional office managers inappropriately overturned errors in 430 of 870 quality reviews (about 50 percent) where claims processors requested a reconsideration from a quality review specialist- identified errors. The VBA has not established adequate oversight or accountability to ensure the timeliness of error corrections. The OIG estimated that during the review period 2,000 of 4,400 identified errors (45 percent) were not corrected in a timely manner and 810 of 4,400 identified errors (18 percent) were not corrected at all.” [Emphasis Mine]

Again, I ask, where are the written procedures that form the standards of work which are used to hold employees accountable?  With an 18% error rate never being addressed by quality control, this means that veterans are being underpaid or overpaid for their benefits, and the VBA does not care that these issues are killing veterans.

Survived the VAPersonally, I experienced a VA overpayment that took more than 3-years to payoff.  Three years where my benefits were docked for an administrative mistake that was not found until the next decision was made on my claim several years after the original mistake was made.  What is worse, the mistake I paid for, was not a mistake at all, and the funds were later returned as another quality person found the error and corrected the documents accordingly, but the discovery took another VBA claim decision to catch, from beginning to end this issue of overpayment took three different decisions by the VBA and more than 8 calendar years from beginning to end.

Every single taxpayer in America has a personal stake in seeing the VBA do their jobs timely, efficiently, and correctly.  Every single veteran in America has a vested interest in seeing the VBA perform their roles with fewer rates of error than those reported by the VA-OIG.  Every elected official in America benefits in some way from the decisions of the VBA and should be able to demand higher quality decisions, better performance, and more transparency from the VBA.  Consider, if the problems of performance are this bad for a spot check analysis by the VA-OIG, how bad are the real numbers?

The VBA was also investigated for improper payments to schools through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) to the tune of $554,998.  Most of the errors were in transcribing numbers and the electronic program did not raise any alerts or attempt to rectify the problems, and no quality control system is in place to protect against human error.  The VA-OIG investigatory scope included 1.8 million payment transactions from 01 Jan 2014 to 30 Dec 2019.  While this is a much better error rate; the fact that the technology and the work processes were not catching these errors timelier, which means more billing issues, more wasted resources, and more problems for the VA, the VBA, the VR&E program, the taxpayer, the colleges and universities, and the impact goes on and on.

The VBA was also recently inspected for failing to accurately decide service-connected heart diseases.  The root cause was the questionnaire developed to ascertain what and when regarding the heart diseases experienced.  Six months, 01 Nov 2018 through 30 Apr 2019, were selected and 12% of the claims were improperly decided which totals $5.6 Million in improper payments where a veteran either received too much or too little for their claim.  Necessitating repayments or backdated payments once new and material evidence was procured to force the VBA to make a new determination.  Inaccurate decisions on claims involve a lengthy appeals process, expenses for testing, and the veteran is always responsible for the mistakes made on their claim.  Thus, the exasperation of these mistakes on the families, friends, and communities of the veteran involved in a VBA mistake.

When the VA-OIG finds errors made by the VBA the veterans affected are not notified that the VBA made an error in their determinations.  The VBA does not form a task force to evaluate these errors and correct them internally unless money is owed and then the collections department is left to muddle through the decision, not the VBA.  Thus, when veterans ask for transparency in the VBA processes, we are asking for the VBA to own their mistakes, fix the problems they are creating, and correct the errors in a timely fashion.  It should not require new and material evidence to trigger the VBA to make a new determination when the VBA made the original mistake in determining eligibility in the first place!

All because the quality controllers do not have written procedures to measure standards of performance against.  All these errors are due to improper organizational design and old computer systems, which are ready-made excuses for not performing work in a timely and efficient manner.  All because the leadership fails to delegate, monitor, observe, and function.  Why are the leaders missing, because they are all in meetings, all day, every day, and not at their desks!

Military CrestsJust like the labor union provided bumper sticker proclaims, “SAVE the VA!” [Emphasis in original], it is time to “SAVE the VA!”

© 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 Power of Tiger Teams – Shifting the VA Paradigms

I-CareA key aspect of Tiger Teams is their ability to stress test, beta test, and routinely check how operations are performing and recommend changes from the position of the customer.  Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA_OIG) investigated a critical piece of the Mission Act of 2018, the health information exchanges.  While the VA-OIG received useful and valuable information from the VA and the community provider side, the customer/patient side was not included. From experience, I can affirm this is broken!

Recently, a veteran needed emergency care and received that care through the community providers under the Mission Act of 2018.  The records from the community care provider never transferred to the VA, the billing has been a mess of letters and notifications, and the patient’s issues were never followed up with the VA provider until the patient called and made it an issue.  One of the main selling points for community providers was to share electronic health information easily with the VA, which included notifying the primary care providers when a patient was seen in the community.  This aspect remains a “pie-crust promise” as well as a frustrating issue for patients and VA providers alike.

Before the Mission Act of 2018, if the veteran patient was sent to a community provider, the patient transferred manually all records to and from the VA and the community provider.  Allowing for lost records, duplicated records, and a host of problems in bureaucracy.  One of the issues the veteran experienced in seeking community care was the historicity of medical records to reduce costs and not duplicate tests; however, the community provider was never able to obtain that historicity and the emergency room costs were greater for the VA.

Thus, the need to operationally check the system, processes, and patient experiences using Tiger Teams.  A Tiger Team is a group of experienced people who interact with the business as customers, who have been granted the authority to make changes and see those changes implemented.  These are a selected group who work from a central office and are dedicated to improving business performance.  While I applaud the progress made with conforming to the Mission Act of 2018, there remains significant work in the patient experience to be completed and currently, the situation is not the roses and rainbows the VA-OIG is portraying.

ProblemsTiger Teams are also helpful in another way, that of “bird-dogging,” or acting as the researchers, and developers of ideas towards making improvements.  The VA-OIG recently brought to light that the VA needs to expand retail pharmacy drug discounts.  With the number of prescriptions filled by the VA hourly, the fact that the VA does not have volume discounts was surprising, but unfortunately, not unexpected.  The VA-OIG estimated that of the $181 million spent on retail drugs in fiscal year (FY) 2018, $69 Million would have been saved.  From the VA-OIG report:

“VA is one of four federal agencies eligible by law to receive at least a 24 percent discount for prescription drugs purchased for its facilities and dispensed directly to patients. However, for prescription drugs purchased through retail pharmacies for beneficiaries, VA pays the higher average contracted wholesale price because it does not have the authority to require drug manufacturers to provide the drugs at discounted prices.”  [Emphasis Mine]

Unfortunately, the program inspected for savings on retail pharmacy prescription was but one of several VA drug programs lacking statutory authority to save the taxpayers from being gouged on prescription drugs dispensed through retail programs at the hands of the VA.  Hence, the findings are surprising, but not unexpected.  How long before the VA secretary will collaborate with the Office of Regulatory and Administrative Affairs to pursue whatever changes are required to give VA the appropriate legal authority to purchase all prescription drugs through retail pharmacies at discounted prices?  At the tune of one program saving $69 Million a year, the benefits add up in a hurry.

How would Tiger Teams help in this situation; by doing the legal leg work, establishing relationships, initiating inquiries, and discovering all the other programs where the statutory authority is missing to close a gap and save money.  While the VA Secretary is responsible, delegating this authority to a Tiger Team saves time and improves the patient and taxpayer experiences.  This is why the Tiger Team must work from the VA Secretary’s Office, endowed with the power of the secretary, to make and affect change for the good of VA.

Leadership CartoonFinally, the power of Tiger Teams is also manifested to the VA in another way, returning to a situation after the VA-OIG has made recommendations to ensure compliance occurs.  Another recent VA-OIG report shows that after a scathing VA-OIG inspection, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), was still out of compliance in their internal quality control procedures, systems, and processes.  While some improvement had been made to spot errors, the procedures and processes that allowed those errors to occur were receiving zero attention by the internal quality inspectors.  Which is akin to noticing the horse is out of the barn, but not shutting and locking the door to keep the horse in the barn.  There is no valid excuse for the VBA quality controllers to not have been doing their jobs since the last VA-OIG Inspection.

The Tiger Team, with sufficient and specific authority, has the power to cut through the excuses, the red tape, and the intransigence of federal employees to root out the why, and establish a path to correction.  Yet, the VA Secretary is not using the Tiger Team concept as a tool to effect change, power compliance, and intervene to improve the veteran experience with the VA, the VBA, the VHA, and the National Cemetery.

Suggestions for improving the processes at the VA continue to include:

  1. Establish forthwith a roving Tiger Team, provide these employees with proper authority, and set them to work fixing the VA.  Allow the Tiger Team to establish flying squads inside the agency, hospital, medical center, etc. to report back on compliance issues, and any pushback they receive in correcting errors.
  2. Cut the bureaucracy that intransigent employees are using as a tool to stop or slow down change. The VA’s internal bureaucracy is the tail that wags the dog and since it is out of control, it requires an external force to regain control and proper order.
  3. Imbue the Tiger Team with an active mission statement, purpose, and organizational design. The Tiger Team is an active, not passive, tool that requires people dedicated to making change and seeing results.

VA SealNever has the axiom, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” been less true.  The VA is broken and desperately needs fixing.  With the help of those dedicated VA Employees, the proper leadership, and a Tiger Team to aid, the VA can be fixed and fixed quickly!

© 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/