Scrutinize the Executive Branch – The Charge for the Legislative Branch: Part 1

In what has become typical and usual, the following stories arrive:

From 2019 to 2021, Ira Westbrook of Bozeman, Montana, served as the fiduciary of an elderly relative who had suffered a stroke and became disabled.  A multi-agency investigation found that, during these 16 months, Westbrook stole more than $57,000 in Social Security and VA benefits and used the stolen funds to purchase personal items, including a Jeep Wrangler, a travel trailer, and other day-to-day expenses.”

From 2016 until 2018, Sloane Signal-Debose of Slidell, Louisiana, served as the fiduciary of a veteran who needed assistance managing his finances.  During that time, she took more than $100,000 from the veteran’s accounts, used it as the down payment on a home in her name, and used additional funds from the veteran to pay contractors working on the home.  Signal-Debose then submitted false records to VA to hide her misuse of the veteran’s funds.  The former fiduciary pleaded guilty to misappropriating funds and faces up to five years in federal prison.  The VA OIG conducted this investigation.

In 2013, Brandi Goldman of Jonesboro, Arkansas, was married to a US Army reservist who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a service-connected accident.  As a result of this injury, her husband had many serious physical challenges, and Goldman was appointed as his guardian and fiduciary.  Between April 2015 and November 2017, Goldman received more than $258,600 in VA disability payments and $36,000 in Social Security payments.  During that timeframe, she withdrew close to $200,000 in cash and accrued about $900 in ATM and overdraft fees.  Goldman admitted to spending much cash to fund her methamphetamine habit, spending $150 on methamphetamine two to three times per week.  She also admitted that five other people moved into the residence with her and her husband, none of whom paid rent or contributed to expenses, some of whom she regularly gave cash to.  She also admitted to paying $68,000 in cash for another home, furnishings for the home, multiple vehicles, and a motor home.  Goldman was sentenced to 20 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $143,000 in restitution after previously pleading guilty to misappropriation by a fiduciary.  The VA OIG and Social Security Administration OIG conducted the investigation.”

Why are these stories of particular interest to the supreme legislative body in the United States of America?  The executive branch has refused to police its branch of government, and crimes like this have become all too familiar.  You, the Congressional bodies of these the United States, are duty-bound and sworn to perform two jobs, scrutinize the executive branch (harshly when necessary), and write laws.  You have recently failed too often in monitoring the executive branch, and this story perfectly represents what happens when the executive branch is not examined minutely!  Tell the US Public who put you in elected office, how these crimes continue and what programs and processes they MUST change to prevent them in the future.

By pleading for the legislative branch to scrutinize and audit the executive branch minutely, I am in no way condoning or diminishing the personal accountability of those who committed crimes.  These three examples are from the October and November press releases of 2022.  The widespread ability to commit fraud is a symptom of a more significant problem at the VA.  Their leaders have consistently been able to boondoggle, evade, and profit from abusing veterans through designed incompetence, criminal neglect, and obtuse actions.  When will Congressional leaders take action to clean up the Federal Government in general and the VA specifically?

The US House of Representatives holds the purse strings for the executive branch; use this leverage to claw back your powers and authority to balance the Federal Government and demand accountability from those empowered to lead their designated branches of the executive branch of government.  Let’s talk about patterns; in less than 45 days, three cases of fiduciary fraud were closed, and the speed of closing these cases has escalated throughout 2022.  The American people will see more, not less, of these fraudsters being underreported by the US Media before the year ends.

Shifting slightly, let’s talk about government employees and the need for more scrutiny of the executive branch.

Bruce Minor, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $462,256 in restitution for his scheme to embezzle money from the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.  Between December 2015 and September 2019, Minor, a former travel clerk, created fraudulent travel reimbursement claims in the names of at least three other VA medical center employees.  He then diverted the funds into bank accounts he controlled.  The VA OIG investigated this case.”

Kyhati Undavia, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.  From December 2012 to December 2018, Undavia hired employees to market Memorial Pharmacy, which she controlled and operated, to physicians as a place to submit compounded drug prescriptions.  Instead of providing prescriptions directly to the patients who could select a pharmacy of their choice, physicians sent the prescriptions directly to Memorial Pharmacy.  Then, Undavia paid the physicians illegal kickbacks for the prescriptions.  Beneficiaries often received medicated creams that they did not need or want.  Undavia received approximately $22 million from TRICARE, Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, and CHAMPVA for the prescriptions.”

These stories also fall into the same timeframe mentioned above.  But, they are not the only stories from 2022 where VA employees conducted long-term fraud for personal profit.  Here’s the rub: hundreds of additional employees knew of these schemes, were probably running their schemes, and haven’t been caught, and nothing is being done by VA leadership to cease the fraud and abuse of veterans by VA employees.  There is a culture of corruption at the VA, long hidden by scheming and abusive leaders and condoned by previous Congresses, that must be stopped!  What will you, the congressional leaders of the United States, do to halt this insanity, demand personal accountability, and clean house of the designed incompetence that allows these criminal activities to flourish?  The American People are waiting!

The following site holds press releases for the VA specifically, but investigations often cross into Social Security, the Department of Defense, state investigatory bodies, the FBI, and more.  Suppose nothing else is learned from only perusing this site, that more scrutiny needs to be done to every single department of the executive branch.  In that case, we, the American People, might count ourselves lucky.  However, this is not the case.  The rot from poor leadership, criminal mismanagement, and supreme dereliction of duty is etched deeply into the workings of the executive branch operations, and more needs additional discussion.

03 November 2022, the VA-OIG released a report titled, “VHA Progressed in the Follow-Up of Canceled Appointments during the Pandemic but Could Use Additional Oversight Metrics.”  The report only covers the time from 2020 to the present, and regular readers know that the VA has been failing on every measurable metric for over a decade.  To couch in politically correct non-threatening jargon, how designed incompetence continues to hamper and hinder is not surprising.  That the current Congress has bought the excuses hook, line, and sinker, from the inept VA leadership, was not surprising either.  This article is about the future, and the next Congress MUST take immediate and direct action to root cause and improve VA performance!

31 October 2022, the VA-OIG released the following: “Review of VA’s Staffing and Vacancy Reporting under the MISSION Act of 2018.”  This is a report about how the VA continues failing to report improvements in hiring practices to the legislative branch.  The report details VA leadership’s continued failures through designed incompetence.  Tell me, if you were in charge of a report for your business that is essential to receiving funding, would you keep your job if, from 2018 to the present, you still cannot report what is happening and why and be held personally accountable for a report to a legislative body?  Don’t take my word for it; read the report, and be careful of the temperature of your blood boiling!

Unfortunately, this behavior is the normal operating procedure for the VA.  The same can be easily and quickly witnessed in every other Federal Department of the US Government under the executive branch.  As the legislative branch, you are duty-bound to investigate and demand compliance in a timely manner.  Where have you been; more importantly, will you allow these problems to continue or kill them?

Do you doubt designed incompetence is a standard operating procedure?  Let’s discuss another part of the MISSION Act of 2018 that the VA-OIG recently reported on, “Additional Actions Needed to Fully Implement and Assess Impact of the Patient Referral Coordination Initiative,” dated 27 October 2022.  The Referral Coordination Initiative (RCI) is a program to improve timely access to care using community providers.  RCI sounds good in theory, but as usual, in the practical application, the program is full of self-serving charlatans, unsupervised or poorly supervised people, weak policies and procedures, and zero accountability!  Plus, when the veteran runs into problems with local providers, reporting these problems is so time-consuming as to be ineffectual at best!

A personal example that was reported to the VA when it happened, and nothing was done but to issue the provider a check.  Dr. Herekar, Neurologist, clinic: Advanced Neurology Epilepsy & Sleep Center, El Paso, Texas.  A VA Primary Care Provider wrote to my employer on VA Letterhead with a wet signature, declaring my inability to wear a mask.  Dr. Herekar’s office was presented with this letter and hassled me before both appointments for not wearing a mask, becoming hostile, argumentative, and a nuisance over the mask issue, even after I complied with putting on a face shield.  23 September 2021, over Facebook messenger, I was informed that I would be invited to find a different provider due to my refusal to wear a mask.  Imagine that; Facebook Messenger became the medium of choice for ending a patient’s relationship with a medical provider.  What did the VA tell me to do; file endless paperwork with TRICARE and then disregard the problem’s urgency.  Worse, the medical care for the neurological issues decreased, and I have had to wait, sit, and hope for future consideration and possible treatment.  Does this sound like an aberration; it is, unfortunately not!

The VA Leadership realized if community care succeeds, they lose power to control the destiny of veterans.  Thus, they implemented the MISSION Act of 2018 with such feet dragging, designing incompetence into every facet of the program, to promote more complaints to Congress, and hopefully to squash the MISSION Act of 2018 and end community care.  07 November 2022, while waiting to speak to representatives of Community Care Services at the VA Out Patient Clinic in EL Paso, the veteran being served ahead of me was told, “The provider does not fax documents, so you will need to go to the provider, and then walk the paperwork back to us.”

The normalcy of reporting providers not submitting paperwork was beyond the pale.  Not having secure document transfer processes between the VA and local providers is technically abysmal and unacceptable.  Are we in the 1990s, where the cream of technology is sending and receiving a fax?  The designed incompetence includes Luddite-like technical disciplines, and the VA_OIG and the Congress should be furious; I know I am!

Before the MISSION Act of 2018, I was making 5 and 6 trips to local providers to retrieve hard copies of medical records, going to the VA Records office, submitting the documents, and then following up 7-14 days later to find out I had to repeat this process as my VA Providers still had not received the records of my interactions with community providers.  Interestingly, in 2020 I discovered the treatment records still had not been submitted from community providers into my VA eHealth Record, from treatment received from 2012-2016.  Is the pattern of designed incompetence clearer?  Is the VA Leadeship’s intransigence more apparent?  How about the fraud, waste, and abuse of VA resources?

You, the congressional leaders, must take immediate action, not wait, not hold hearings, concrete action to demand compliance from the executive branch leaders to the congressional leaders who are held accountable to the citizens.  America is a representative republic, and it is time the bureaucrats learned the citizens are awake and interested.  You, the congressional leaders, are the people’s tool for correcting government abuses; you have two years to show you are dedicated to that principle, or you will be replaced!

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

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Added Upon – An Eternal Investment Principle

WhyPlease note that while the following begins with truths found in the Bible, this is not a religious discussion.  Galatians 6:5-10 reminds us that what we reap, we will sow.  Some have called this the “Principle of the Harvest,” others try to frame this discussion as Isaiah proclaimed (Isaiah 10:15) “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?  or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?  as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.”  Each iteration proclaims the same truth, where you invest, you shall gather the interest thereof.

I could stop right here, and the entire lesson will have been taught to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.  However, there is something else I wish to communicate and will beg your attention a little longer, dear reader, for the principle of added upon does more than merely render unto a person that which they carefully sowed.

As a child, I grew up in a home full of abuse.  Mental, sexual, physical, spiritual, if you can name the abuse, we suffered it.  Carefully sown, this abuse has grown bitter fruit indeed.  Except, those who planted were not only my parents; the fruits were bitter indeed for the receiver of the abuse and the deliverer of additional abuse.  Shortly after working out a plan to commit suicide and failing, boy did I feel like a loser; I came to my senses and committed to breaking, forever sundering, the chains of abuse.  I would not have my children raised in the turmoil, abuse, chaos, hate, strife, and pain I was raised in.

See, the investment principle is powerful.  Interest must be paid, and the principle of added upon works like this:

If I act in a specific manner, it will be observed by those around me, and they will multiply my behaviors (for good or ill) 10-fold.  Those who see this second generation of behavior will imitate that behavior 20-fold, multiplying and forever working to exceed the earlier behaviors observed.?u=https3.bp.blogspot.com-fYRTNk48SCwT8ua0IRDWPIAAAAAAAAFZUpexSmJsN2Kos1600overcoming-adversity-help-yourself-believe-cubby-motivational-1289878102.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

The principle of added upon works in other ways.  In the 90s, I read a research report about how high school students who thought cheating acceptable stole from their employers.  But, the children of those who stole from their employer took the behaviors of theft and added upon them to steal purses, rob stores, murder, lie, and cheat, all with no abandon.  The interest came from the behaviors of the original sin of cheating on a test in high school, and the fruit destroyed potential lives.

But, I am not without hope in discussing the principle of added upon, as the reverse also occurs.  A dear friend of mine was raised by his single mother, his father was an alcoholic, and there were generations steeped in abhorrent behavior.  Yet, my friend broke the chains, invested in learning, and his children were free of the evils of abuse, alcoholism, and sexual abuse and were raised in a nuclear family.  My friend worked exceedingly hard and continues his efforts to protect, teach, guide, mentor, and build his children into productive and valuable members of society.

The principle of added upon holds such power as to bloom potential in the darkest abyss, bringing light, life, and deliverance to future generations.  Why is this important right now; America is in trouble.  Too many have sown seeds of destruction and are reaping the whirlwind as natural consequences.  Too many broken homes, too much welfare destroying the principle of work, too many imaginations have uprooted common sense and decency for the politically easier path, and so much more.  Personal interest fuels wars, contention, strife, and every social ill from coast to coast.Tax Burden

Consider this, the government “Of the People, By the People, and for the People” has intentionally been sown with seeds of complacency, bureaucratism, hate, envy, strife, malice, and abuse of all kinds and flavors, done in the name of securing power and personal wealth.  That which the government has sown is being reaped in her citizenry, and the citizen’s tears must be answered by those wielding government power for personal gain.

Much has been written about Liz Cheney’s recent loss, and the personal wealth garnered while serving in the US House of Representatives.  Some have called this karma; others believe it is a heaven-sent miracle.  I hope that which she reaps will build a new person.  How many of us are in a similar position?  We have sown, and are praying, hoping, wishing that the fruit of our labors is not bitter?

I have some suggestions, and I hope you may find peace in some of all of these thoughts.  Please take the time to learn, and choose the seeds you sow more wisely.

  1. If you hate who you are right now, do you want to change? Do you desire the ability to change with every fiber of your being?  Do you want to change your consequences?  If the answers are YES!  Then make a choice to change, and start rooting out the seedlings sown.  This alone is a good first step, but it will not be easy; yet I echo words from the master teacher, it IS worth it!
  2. Start RIGHT NOW! I cannot emphasize this point enough.  Procrastination is the enemy of change, as surely the enemy of food is a starving beggar.  How do you start?  Forgive yourself, commit to change, and begin acting.  Even if you think you are incapable of changing, let the desire feel your mind, write down your ideal person, and start rooting out the weeds and bad behaviors of sown seeds.
  3. Ask for forgiveness, and render forgiveness. Saying sorry and committing to not repeating destructive behaviors are HARD.  But, the German axiom is well remembered, “The hard IS good!”
  4. Forgiveness will eventually bring the fruit of forgetting. Please, be kinder to yourself and others, forgiving and repenting daily.  How do you change the past; you practice forgiveness and repentance in the present, and the future will shine brighter, eventually.

I was privileged to hear a person speak about hourglasses in my youth.  When trying to change, we are in the bottom glass, and there is plenty of room.  But, as we swim against the tide coming down, the space diminishes until we are in the neck of the hourglass.  If we can but hold onto the change we desire, then as we exit the neck, still moving upwards, we get a little more space from the problems and troubles, the tide pulling against us lessens as we get further from the neck, and the added room provides places of safety.  The hourglasses stacked on top of each other form the pattern, and we can succeed gloriously, as we were not created to fail!Never Give Up!

If you need more help, confidence, or a shoulder to lean on (but not rest), choose someone as committed as you are to change and make them central in your life.  You CAN do this!  Believe, and then go to work!

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Leadership Series:  Juran’s Rule and the Call Center

We have a problem, speaking plainly and simply; this problem is that a truth has been bent to escape responsibility.  Tribus (n.d.) was plain and stated:

WARNING: In presenting the reasons for change, the leader should accept the responsibility for whatever is wrong.  Remember Juran’s rule:
WHENEVER THERE IS A PROBLEM 85% OF THE TIME, IT IS IN THE SYSTEM, ONLY 15% OF THE TIME WILL IT BE THE WORKER [emphasis in original].”

Please allow me to note that I have regularly advocated that Juran underestimated and personally have found that 90-95% of the time, the problem is the process, not the workers.  This is my opinion, and I am not here to convince you but merely to help clarify Juran’s rule and provide some clarity on the writings of Tribus (n.d.) as well as build foundational understanding.

The Situation

A client company has a problem where managers are not holding their people to productivity standards.  Deep diving into the situation, we find several fundamental issues, in no particular order:

    • Human Resources tells operations what production goals can be.
    • No production goal can be set where 75% of the workers cannot easily meet the goals set.
    • Goals cannot be changed without HR approval, a lengthy research process, and a legal team review.
    • No productivity goal is published. Feeder metrics, KPIs, and so forth are not communicated or standardized.
    • No standard work crosses from one geographic location to another.
    • Facility leaders might receive training in other facilities, but the training is broken and disjointed, and the regional managers charged with holding leaders to a standard lack standards and feeder metrics to hold facility leadership accountable across regional areas.
    • Currently, no region or facility is meeting any goal regularly or uses a process that can be replicated.

Interestingly, this situation has existed for more than 15 years, and none in higher management remember a time when this situation was different.  But, every manager will quote a version of Juran’s rule to explain why they are hunting for operational processes to review and change.

Conflict vs. Contention

At its most fundamental level, conflict is about helping spur growth and development and bringing about change in an organized and logical manner.  However, I cannot stress this enough; conflict is NOT contention.  Conflict is not born of pride and a desire to feel better about yourself through violence.  Conflict can be observed in a disagreement or difference in opinion, but conflict does not include emotional hyperbole (pride).  Conflict should be about mental disturbances spurred by people seeking greater ideas and ideals, personal growth, or team development.  Does conflict lead to contention?  Yes, but only because pride entered into the disagreement, emotions were injected, and desires to be right at any cost dictated, it is time for violence.

Let me be perfectly frank, contention and conflict are not the same.  While the terms are close, they are distinct and tell different sides of the same story.  First, contention is an act of striving or an assertion.  Contention is a violent effort to obtain or protect something vehemently!  There is effort, struggle, and exertion in contention; there are violent efforts, and the core of contention is pride.  Pride breeds animosity, animosity breeds struggle, and struggle is contention, where pride demands that violence is acceptable to achieve the desired end goal.  When contending, “The ends justify the means.”

Contention is animosity personified into action, effort, and desires become evident as contention unfolds.  We cannot forget these facts about contention.  Consider the following; I went to work in a hostile atmosphere; due to a contract signed, I could not quit and find a new job, and reassignment was not going to happen.  Jealousy and pride entered because I was very good at my job, and violence followed like the sun rising after a moonless night.  Contention was born and festered, violence was perpetrated against me, and the violence was acceptable to the organizational leaders as it gave them feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The violence was justified because I was “too good” at my job, made “decisions above my paygrade,” and “I needed to be taught humility.”  The result was four disastrous years of struggle, incredible stress levels, and mental torture, with physical acts of violence thrown in to spice up the environment.  I am not bemoaning my fate nor holding myself up as an example of anything, merely hoping to convey that contention stunted organizational growth in everyone unlucky enough to experience this organization during this period.  Contention is pride expressed through violence and justified to fit the individual’s desires.

Conflict is a tool; like all tools, it can build, enhance, strengthen, and create when used appropriately.  If the tool is improperly used, destruction, damage, and chaos are spawned.  Conflict happens; what a person chooses to do with that conflict and how that person considers conflicting occurrences is how the labels “good,” “bad,” “valuable,” “beneficial,” etc., are applied.  McShane and Von Gilnow (2004, p. 390) postulated, “conflict as beneficial [when] intergroup conflict improves team dynamics, increase cohesiveness, and task orientation.  [C]onditions of moderate conflict, motivates team members to work more efficiently toward goals increasing productivity.”  The sentiment regarding conflict as a tool and beneficial is echoed throughout the research of Jehn (1995).  Jehn (1995) reflected that the groups researched labeled the conflict as beneficial, good, bad, etc.  Based on the group’s dynamics and the conflicts faced and settled, the groups formed an integrated model for organizational conflict.  Essentially, how the conflict is approached and used by the team members individually and collectively dictates how beneficial the conflict is for the team and the organization.

Rao (2017) built upon previous researchers’ shoulders, perceiving conflict being a tool, and provided vital strategies for leaders to employ conflict.  Rao (2017) provided that conflict builds character, whereas crisis defines character” [p. 93].  Rao (2017) recognized that conflict labels are an individual choice.  In organizational conflict, one team could label the conflict as valuable and beneficial, while another department could label that same conflict as damaging and horrible.  When the conflict in an organization has disparate labels, understanding why conflict is disparately evaluated remains more important than changing the label.  Important to note, conflict is not competition, although occasionally used synonymously, there are important and distinct differences, important enough for a different article.

Thompson (2008) raised significant points regarding conflict, beginning with a real-life example of how conflict spurred organizational change and growth for the H. J. Heinz Co.  Thompson (2008) calls those who actively work to avoid conflict as those taking “trips to Abilene;” included in those making trips to Abilene are those who take conflict personally and choose to become offended, as well as those who choose not to see conflict as a method of ignoring conflict.  Thomas (1992) again captured how individual choices about the valuation of conflict open or close the door to the productive use of conflict.  Ignoring conflict, avoiding conflict, and other strategies of not facing conflict form the most dangerous people to be around, for when conflict grows beyond a point where it can no longer be ignored or avoided, that conflict that can destroy people, places, and things.

Thomas (1992) echoes Jehn (1995), Lencioni (2002), and Thompson (2008) in declaring the distinction between conflict as a process and the structure in which the conflict process occurred is critical to how beneficial the conflict will be for the team, business, or society.  Consider, for a moment the structure of the organizational environment.  Conflict is the mental thinking, adherence to operating procedures, and individuals working who become the instigating factor, which threatens what is known or done at the current time.  Hence, Thomas (1992) provided a keen insight into conflict as a tool, purposeful initiation of a process (conflict) to improve a structure (organizational environment).

When people recognize the power of conflict and purposefully employ conflict, everyone receives the potential to improve through conflict (Lencioni, 2002).  Thus, conflict continues to be a tool, nothing more and nothing less.  The disparities between organizational conflict labels are critical to understanding the chasm between teams evaluating conflict as the process and business structure.  The gap in understanding conflict’s results can create inhibitions to future organizational conflict and create unnecessary additional conflict processes, all while undermining the organizational structure.

Tribus – Changing the Corporate Culture

Juran’s rule is prescient but based on several foundational situations underpinning their understanding; the following applies regardless of whether the organization is building a learning society or merely keeping the money tap flowing.

    1. Operations, and by extension, operational goals, productivity standards, and processes for producing a product or service, are the sole domain of operations personnel. Does this preclude Human Resources from having a seat at the operations table; NO!  Having HR dictate operational goals to operations is akin to having a bullet tell a shooter how to aim.
    2. Training is a process. Training requires standards to judge performance as a means to declare training exceeded.  However, the quality of training, and the proof of trained personnel, is not an HR function, nor is the trainer the sole person involved in judging the efficacy of producing trained personnel.
    3. Organizational hierarchies are a process, the business culture is a process, learning is not training, and both learning and training are processes but have two different controlling entities; accountability and responsibility are a cultural extension of the process of organizing people into a functioning business organization.

Consider the fibers of an interwoven rope.  Each fiber is twisted with other fibers, then these twists of fibers are turned into more twists, repeated until eventually building a finished rope.  The same goes for these preceding foundational aspects.  Operational principles make, like many fibers twist, into a rope that can secure a multiple hundred-ton ship to a pier.  How the ropes are used is an operational process, but the core of the ropes are these essential aspects.Cut Rope with Rope - The Prepared Page

Some have argued, to their demise, that too many companies with this mindset are suffering from silo-mentality; when the obverse is true.  Each department of a functioning business organization relies upon processes similar to these foundational fibers.  Operations managers should not go into another business unit and expect to use the same tools from successful operations in those different business units.

For example, while I have been a successful operations manager, the tools I use in leading software teams are decidedly not the same tools I would employ on a production floor, even though both business units are expected to produce a product.  The people are different, their approaches to problems are different, and the environments conducive to product delivery are dynamically opposed.  Similarly, the tools HR would use to solve production issues are not opposed but definitely not employed similarly to those used in troubleshooting a problem in legal or accounting.

Juran understood these foundational situations, Tribus understood these foundational situations, and the best corporate leaders understand these foundational situations.  However, Tribus made clear something dynamic, leadership is not management, and management never achieves anything.  The dichotomies between leadership and management could not be more explicit in today’s business operations.Leadership versus Management - Entrepreneur Caribbean

Tribus (n.d.) calls upon the words of Homer Sarasohn, stating [emphasis in original]:

“THE LEADER MUST, HIMSELF, BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN HIS FOLLOWERS.”

“Managers must practice what they preach.”

“DON’T SAY, “FOLLOW ME; I’M BEHIND YOU ALL THE WAY”
(IT MAKES EVERYONE GO IN CIRCLES).”

Application

What do we find in my client; managers who first do not know the work their operational employees do.  Managers who are disconnected by good jobs to the point they never engage in the better and best jobs their positions of trust demand.  The managers are not led but are managed and never were trained for their current positions.  These three items are why the client company is a dumpster fire of potential (blue money), where the bottom line evaporates, and nobody can explain why.  However, like in the Shakespearian play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” a lot of noise is made but goes nowhere fast!

Unfortunately, the much ado about nothing is worsened, not improved, by Kaizen, Six Sigma, Agile, and Lean efforts at process improvement.  The core problems are considered “untouchable,” “too dynamic,” or “too extensive” ever to be improved upon, and the new manager settles to change an operational process instead of core problems.  Essentially proclaiming, “Follow me, I’m behind you all the way,” the operational employees keep circling the drain.

What is the solution?

Solution generation for my client company begins with understanding the compelling evidence there is a problem.  Right now, the client thinks, “We are big enough to absorb these insignificant issues in the name of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”  This is where every business begins its failure; no business can long survive dumpster fires of potential (blue money).  People leave, and this has a high replacement cost.  People work slowly or below their potential, which is a tremendous cost in green (cash) money and potential (blue money).  Operational costs increase, increasing customer costs and the loss of customers is a dynamic cost to the business.Estimating Startup Costs

After admitting a problem, the next step is envisioning an end state.  Since I began to lead men and women, I have advocated a lesson I learned as a teenager, “Never take your body where your brain has not already traveled.”  If you cannot envision the result, do not start trying to make changes until you have envisioned an end state.  I sliced my fingers badly with a knife while cutting onions.  Why did I slice my fingers and not the onion?  I did not understand the end state and assumed I could start cutting and reach an acceptable end state (diced onion).  I should never have started cutting; between the loss of the onion and the damage to my fingers, the lesson was not “Never cut onions again,” but “never begin something without a clear end state (goal) in mind.”

The third preparatory step to building a solution is START!  The client has this problem of always wanting clear instructions, plans, and supplies on hand before beginning.  The speed of business requires action, not plans and instructions.  Take the first logical step and begin!  Tribus (n.d.) makes this clear with the assurance, “There is a sensible first step,” take that step!  I will reiterate a point Tribus (n.d.) makes, employees work IN a system of processes, and the manager should work ON the system of processes, with the employee’s help.  A manager should be analogous to a mentor, who, like a leader, after understanding the vision, looks sideways and builds people to meet their level before taking that next logical step into the darkness.

Conclusion

The simple truth is that Juran’s rule has been used as an excuse to dodge responsibility in too many operations, businesses, and organizations.  Like my client, the good news is that change is possible with the people you have right now.  My client is not a bad company; your company is not inherently bad.  People are intrinsically good, and when we better understand the fibers that help tie Juran’s rule to reality, we can employ reframing to shut down the noise and move from much ado about nothing to effective management and leadership.  How do we reframe:

    1. Establish legitimacy and shift from passive to active.
    2. Bring outsiders into the discussion, but do not shift responsibility for developing the solution or owning the goals.
    3. Get the stakeholder’s definitions in writing – Common words, AREN’T. Common understanding; is a goal to strive towards.
    4. Ask what is missing
    5. Consider multiple categories, seek out those subject matter experts, and add them to the discussion as equals
    6. Analyze positive and negative data equally without bias
    7. Question the objectives, focus on the future and keep moving forward.

As we, the leaders of call centers, strive to change our understanding, realize our roles, and build people, we will build people, not processes, to meet the future.  The first step is committing to the decision framed in the question, “Is your company a money tap or a service to the greater good of society?”

References:

The references are included if you want to further research conflict as beneficial.

Amason, A. C. (1996).  Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: Resolving a paradox for top management teams.  Academy of Management Journal, 39(1), 123-148.  doi:http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.2307/256633

Baron, R. A. (1991).  Positive Effects of Conflict: A Cognitive Perspective.  Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal, 4(1), 25-36.

Brazzel, M. (2003).  Chapter XIII: Diversity conflict and diversity conflict management.  In D. L. Plummer (Ed.), Handbook of diversity management: Beyond awareness to competency based learning (pp. 363-406).  Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.

Du, F., Erkens, D. H., & Xu, K. (2018).  How trust in subordinates affects service quality: Evidence from a large property management firm.  Business.Illinois.edu. Retrieved from https://business.illinois.edu/accountancy/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2018/03/Managerial-Symposium-2018-Session-IV-Du-Erkens-and-Xu.pdf

Jehn, K. A. (1995).  A multi-method exanimation of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict.  Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 256-282.

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

Lumineau, F., Eckerd, S., & Handley, S. (2015).  Inter-organizational conflicts.  Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, 1(1), 42-64.  doi:10.1177/2055563614568493

McShane, S. L., & Von Gilnow, M. A. (2004). Organizational Behavior, Third Edition.  Boston: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Moeller, C., & Kwantes, C. T. (2015).  Too Much of a Good Thing?  Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Conflict Behaviors.  Journal of Social Psychology, 155(4), 314-324.  doi:10.1080/00224545.2015.1007029

Rao, M. (2017).  Tools and techniques to resolve organizational conflicts amicably.  Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(2), 93-97.  doi:10.1108/ict-05-2016-0030

Thomas, K. W. (1992).  Conflict and conflict management: Reflections and update.  Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13(3), 265-274.

Thompson, L. L. (2008).  Chapter 8: Conflict in teams – Leveraging differences to create opportunity.  In Making the team: A guide for managers (3rd ed., pp. 201-220).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

“That’s Crazy!!!” – More Chronicles from the VA Chapter 8

I-CareI fully admit I got behind in April.  Dear reader, my apology.  I have been whipsawed between emergency room visits, depression, extreme pain, and other issues.  Not offering an excuse but a tiny peek into my world as a disabled veteran.  Luckily, I have maintained employment because my employer allows me to work from home.  My driving privileges are threatened again with removal due to the neurological issues I suffer, and this will dynamically change my life, but this article is not about me, but the continued catastrophe called the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports published.

We begin with a financial efficiency review reported from the inspection of the Durham VAHCS of North Carolina.  I know the jokes write themselves when we discuss any government agency and financial efficiency, but I digress.  This is a head exploding report of leadership failure in the observation and governance of employees who did not perform the functions they were hired to perform.  The VA-OIG found the following from October 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021:

    • The healthcare system had 309 inactive obligations totaling $81.7 million.
    • Of these 309 obligations, 200 (totaling over $74 million) had no activity for 181 days or more.
    • In a subsample of 20 obligations, VA staff had not reviewed 17, as required.
    • Contrary to VA policy, healthcare system staff used purchase cards instead of contracts for 21 of 40 sampled transactions (53 percent), totaling approximately $328,000. These 21 transactions were missing required supporting documentation to verify that the transactions were approved and payments were accurate, resulting in $308,000 in questioned costs.
    • 105 more administrative full-time equivalent staff than the expected number, all not doing their jobs as required under Federal Law!

While not all of the findings, those mentioned are the most egregious and in need of corrective action.  Would the citizens of Durham, North Carolina, please tell me, has this been reported in the local news?  Has anyone lost their jobs as the VAHCS right-sizes the financial department?  I can find no additional information that this problem has been corrected, and I am really curious!VA 3

Oh, the irony is thick; consider the following:

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General Training Act of 2021 would help ensure that VA employees continue to be empowered to assist the OIG in improving VA’s operations and using taxpayer dollars to the greatest effect; helping protect patients and improving their care; and ensuring veterans and others receive services and benefits for which they are eligible.”

The above-quoted material originates from Chris Wilber, who testified to Congress’s HVAC Subcommittee on oversight and investigations.  What is the number one failure on every comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIP); the lack of staff training, the inadequacy of staff training, or adequately trained staff.  Yet, the statement by the VA-OIG indicates that training has met a threshold for providing adequate training.  Let’s talk about a specific action, “the VA secretary signed a directive in September 2021 mandating that all employees complete a one-time training within one year—an important step in improving VA’s culture of accountability.”  It is now May 2022; the VA-OIG is pushing for training directives to be legislated, not dependent upon any single VA Secretary.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Where is the congressional oversight and scrutiny that allows VA training to continue to be subpar and threaten the lives of veterans?

Long have I wondered how the VA could frustrate VA-OIG actions, investigations, inspections, etc.  Guess what; the answer has become available:

“… there have been instances in which the OIG has been informed that staff have been told that they cannot share information with OIG investigators without first clearing it through supervisors or leaders—contrary to the Inspector General Act of 1978 (the IG Act), as amended.  Under that authority, VA employees at all levels have a duty to cooperate with OIG personnel, including providing information and assistance in a timely manner.”

Employees have been caught lying to the VA-OIG regularly, and what action is taken to remove those employees promptly and efficiently from government service?  From direct observation and employee conversations, it is clear that plans are carefully laid before a scheduled VA-OIG visit to present what the VA-OIG wants, but to gloss over the problems, and nothing ever happened to the managers, supervisors, and employees who lied and misdirected the VA-OIG.  All contrary to established Federal Law!VA 3

Want a specific example of employees intentionally misrepresenting information to the VA-OIG?  Look no further than the statement by Chris Wilber, and this incident was covered as a failure of leadership in a previous article.

Hospital staff at a VA facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas, had concerns about potential substance abuse by the chief of pathology that were not heard and promptly acted on by local management, which allowed him to work while impaired for years.  He misdiagnosed about 3,000 patients with errors resulting in death or serious harm and is currently imprisoned.  The OIG found a culture in which staff did not report serious concerns about the chief pathologist, in part because they assumed that others had reported him, or they were concerned about reprisal.”

From personal experience, I reported problems to the VA-OIG concerning patient abuse, fraud, waste, and other issues.  Never were my concerns acted upon promptly, and I was removed from employment for being a whistleblower.  The culture of corruption at the VA is incredible.  The examples mentioned by the VA-OIG only further sustain the problem with leadership and how sick the VA truly is as an organization!VA 3

We next turn our attention to the VA-OIG report on the inspection of information technology security at the VA Financial Services Center, another head exploding example of leadership failure bordering on criminal!  The findings include:

    • component inventory
    • vulnerability management
    • flaw remediation
    • Identifying 252 vulnerabilities, of which 228 the local IT team could not identify.
    • the VA-OIG team identified access control deficiencies, as 107 of the 278 FSC systems failed to generate or forward audit logs for analysis.
    • the video surveillance system was not fully functional. Ineffective monitoring and recording facility activities supporting information systems minimize the FSC’s incident response capabilities.

How do you spell failure; these findings spell failure to me rather pointedly and dramatically!  Want to laugh; staff training remains a concern, but not a finding, of the VA-OIG inspection team.  Frankly, with this level of incompetence, staff training should have been a finding.VA 3

To be concise and illustrate further the poor leadership, convoluted processes, and brazen noncompliance of VA officials, the following discussion is about two different VA-OIG reports that reached similar conclusions.  First, we have the VA-OIG report on “Noncompliant and Deficient Processes and Oversight of State Licensing Board and National Practitioner Data Bank Reporting Policies by VA Medical Facilities.”  Second is the VA-OIG report on “Concerns with Consistency and Transparency in the Calculation and Disclosure of Patient Wait Time Data.”  Nothing says convoluted processes more than having two written policies, both originating from Washington DC.  The superseded policy does not have an expiration date.  This means that employees have a designed incompetence excuse ready for not adhering to the most current and applicable policy.  Don’t believe me; one of the key findings was, “VHA has presented wait times to the public without clearly and consistently disclosing the basis for their calculations.”  Designed incompetence does not come more blatant than this, and who suffers, the veteran.  Worse, wait time correction and policy clarification has been stalled by COVID-19, the neverending excuse paying dividends to bureaucrats everywhere!Timelines for Wait Time Calculations

However, both reports are substantially summated by the VA-OIG; thus, “The lack of programmatic oversight contributed to the failure of VHA leaders to detect and intervene upon facility noncompliance.”  Meaning that due to COVID-19, the VHA has refused to do their jobs in deference to the pandemic, and since this is a good enough excuse, the VA-OIG has bought the designed incompetence, lock, stock, and barrel.  The VHA leadership is failing; doctors or dentists let go for poor performance were not reported to state and federal boards, so these providers lacking can continue to harm patients.  It is a federal law (42 US Code § 11151, US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Workforce, NPDB Guidebook, October 2018, chap. A., 8 USC ⸹ 7462(a), 38 USC ⸹ 7401(1), among others) that providers let go for cause must be reported within 7-days to the regulatory boards at the state and federal levels.  Wait times are hidden because they are so bad; the VHA is embarrassed, so the leaders fall back on designed incompetence to shield themselves while looking for another excuse for poor performance!  In both reports, the ramifications of noncompliance are putting people at risk for sentinel events (death, injury, disability, etc.), and the leadership is at best lackadaisical in the performance of their duties.  VA 3

Where are the congressional overseers in ending the abuse?  When will this insanity and bureaucratic inertia end?  How many “sentinel events,” including deaths and permanent injuries, will it take until those tasked with scrutinizing the executive branch finally take committed action and hold people accountable?  When will the elected representatives stop throwing good taxpayer money at problems that money cannot fix?  If these questions are too difficult to answer, please stop running for elected office, for the citizenry is not happy!

We conclude with two related reports so astoundingly obtuse they defy logic and sanity.  The first is the annual CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA) audit of the VA’s information security for 2021.  The second is the continuing failure of the new electronic health record modernization (EHRM) program.  The VA has failed the CLA audit for more than a decade, with many of the hits repeated year-over-year.  In fact, the CLA audit is so bad this year; it has taken my mental breath away and stunned me into a gibbering idiot!  Reading this report was infuriating; describing it as my head exploding is akin to comparing an M-80 to a nuclear bomb.  How in Dante’s Inferno can this level of incompetence be allowed to remain employed?  But, as bad as the CLA audit is, the continued failure of the new electronic health record system pales in comparison.  The new EHRM continues to suffer from reliability weaknesses, which is polite speak from the VA-OIG for the new system fails to do the job.  We are three years from the new extended deadline, we are already past the original deadline, and the system is worthless today than it was a year ago.  With this success rate, the new EHRM will be utterly bereft of value and need replacement before the year’s end.  How many millions (billions, or trillions) of good dollars must chase this ineptitude before the plug is pulled and those involved held accountable?VA 3

Join me in having your head explode:

Additional deficiencies included known tasks not being reflected on schedules, no risk analysis, lack of longer-term actions scheduled, and no complete baseline schedule or overall schedule that fully integrated individual project schedules. VA also did not comply with federal regulations when it paid its contractor for deliverables before accepting them (reviewing compliance with contract requirements).”

Consider this other gem from the VA-OIG report, “$1.95 billion in cost overruns per year” are estimated, meaning the final tab will be significantly higher and compounded year-over-year.  In plain speak, the contractor is being paid for products delivered that fail, the products offered are not usable, there is no schedule of completion, there is no schedule for deliverables, many of the products paid for have never been delivered, and costs are overrunning like a plugged toilet. Worse, no one is being held personally liable for these problems, which were apparent in the last EHRM update from the VA-OIG a year ago!  Like the CLA Audit, I am thrilled the VA agrees with the VA-OIG findings, but what are they DOING to fix the problems?

FYI: the image below is a year old, and comes from the last major update to the EHRM.EHR-VA-OIG

?u=https1.bp.blogspot.com-aqaqk18MHoEWRHHsCi_TyIAAAAAAAAAXc7hY4JQuyylIQHYudoR8sbezGZntic4SSwCLcBs640Betrayal2BSayings2Band2BQuotes2Bwww.mostphrases.blogspot.be.jpg&f=1&nofb=1There is no excuse for behaving like the VA’s bureaucratic legions behave.  Bureaucrats, from the city government (including the school board) to the Federal Government, you hold a sacred trust to act better than you are currently performing.  I refuse you any leeway for acting like pompous overlords when you are paid through forced taxation!  You have trespassed upon my patience and kindness long enough, and the day of reckoning has arrived.  You work for me; you work for every taxpayer and citizen in this country, and you have violated our trust, charged us too much and too often, and if you do not begin to show yourself worthy of the sacred trust, we will force you from your cushy jobs and hold you liable for the monies you have squandered!  The law is on our side; you need to begin showing you honor our trust and investment forthwith!

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Employers and Employees – The Battle is Waged: The Fight is Important

LookEmployers throughout the world, including Disney, American Express, Wells Fargo, and thousands more, have begun to battle their employees.  Unionized shops, the battle has been waged for 50 years and shows no sign of relenting.  Only recently have other employers joined the fray, not to help employees but to rid themselves of employees.  These businesses are fighting employees against their employees for the company’s culture and soul.  Couched in many a buzzword, political stance, and archaic practices, the employers want to rid their workforces of those they despise, and the battle is legal!

Make no mistake, what the employers are doing is immoral, unethical, and disastrous to those employees unfavored, but the actions remain perfectly legal, and this is the point we must understand.  Laws have been changed against the majority for the selectivization and advancement of the minority.  The fight is important because you might be next and never know your termination has been affected, but not enforced until it is too late.  This article intends to raise awareness, not cover every particle in the fight or catalog every avenue an employer might take to attack an employee.  Imperative to know and remember, as long as the actions are against individuals, no laws are being broken, and the employer wins when they can make the situation untenable, and the employee on the out quits or is forced out under a miasma of quasi-legal terms, so it appears that employee was treated fairly.Plato 2

Never forget, a lawyer’s job is to make the illegal appear legal, and the legal appear illegal, so a judge must decide.  Add in judicial activism and legislation from the judicial bench, and the trouble becomes apparent quickly.  Unfortunately, the lawyers’ training has shifted, and the legal mind’s quality has slipped under the weight of many of the topics discussed herein.  The vicious cycle can only be broken when the collective beliefs of the majority are re-established, not to the demise of the minority but the growth of the entire society.

Culture and Politics

As long as people have banded together into organizations, societies, governments, etc., there has been the push and pull of politics.  All of recorded history bears truth to this fact.  People have beliefs.  They express these beliefs through representatives who rise and fall in different leadership positions, and societies change according to the expressed beliefs through which a society is governed (law).  Pick a governing style (Communism, Socialism, Representative, Direct or Indirect Representation, Monarchy, Theocracy, etc.), and you will find the collective beliefs of the people expressed in how long a leader remains in power or the stability of the society so governed.  Politics happens and is best described as the push/pull of collective beliefs expressed by populations.  Economies rise and fall based upon the collective beliefs, expressed in the stability of the society and the government leader’s length of time as leader.Lemmings 1

History has shown when a governing leader is short-lived, it is generally because they refused to follow the collective beliefs of the population, giving rise to the credit ratings of stable governments and societies being higher than for those who are changing leadership every couple of weeks or months.  Those leaders who can tread the waters of public opinion maintain their jobs and, many times in history, their heads by following the collective beliefs in the morals of the people.  The US Dollar’s stability is one of the strongest reasons this currency is one of the world’s benchmark currencies.  Politics did that, and politics are the push/pull collective beliefs expressed by the citizens to their government leaders.  The process is messy and needs to be messy for a reason; only in the expression of two divergent points can a healthy middle ground be established, and society can grow.

Culture is not politics, but politics and politically minded people can influence it.  If politics is a society’s expressed beliefs, then culture is the expressed moral convictions as lived by a community.  For example, many institutions have been built on the law that coveting (envy) is wrong, but the practices of the people living build a culture that accepts graft, bribes, and other incentives that, while violating the law, are accepted.  Make sense?  The closer the culture is to following both the letter of the law and the living of the law provides for a stable and influential culture to invest resources into.?u=http2.bp.blogspot.com-BKwWSo412lIUngTRkmSYwIAAAAAAAARd8GqxDhvovmRgs1600salestaxcartoon.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

How does one change the collective beliefs of a society and the living practices of that society; first, you capture the children.  Bad ideas do not go away, they are either replaced with good ideas, or the bad ideas go into hiding, awaiting the time they can make a new appearance.  Everything modern society is facing has been faced previously, and the difference is that the seeds for the current dilemmas were planted more than 100-years ago, but the bad ideas first captured the children.  Why have these bad ideas advanced so rapidly?  The education of children in social customs, collectively shared beliefs, and individual duty, has been eroded and attacked mercilessly since “progressive education” (the refusal to teach children to read, write, and perform math) began in the late 1800s with Dewey, who called functional illiteracy “Progress!”

One of the first words plasticized, twisted, ripped apart, and then put together to fuel tyranny through modular language was the term progress.  Unfortunately, language has continued to suffer relentless attacks since the late 1800s, and more words have suffered the same fate in the modularization of language.  Consider with me the history of Tea.  Tea plantations in India were ruled by the iron fist of laws drafted in America and marketed with women in distress to the consuming nations geographically distant to where the crops were grown.  The tyranny of slavery is the same tyranny we face with modular language.  Nobody realizes this because to mention this connection is frowned upon by those making money off the tyranny of language.  The tyranny of modular language fueled the oppression of entire populations to fuel an empire.  The language led to actions (afternoon tea) and a host of other practices, words, and social customs to fuel the demand for Tea.  Unfortunately, the tyranny of modular language also fueled hot wars in China, more geographically distant suffering from the population consuming Tea.History of Tea | Dilmah School of Tea

Language – Plastic Terms

Diversity, what is it; what does it mean in practice versus meaning from a dictionary; what value does it have for a business?  Equity, same problem, fewer answers, more confusion.  Inclusion, same problem, confusion, chaos, and eventual destruction.  These are, but a small sample of current buzzwords strung together and causing problems in businesses.  There are entire word classes set apart for plasticization, which sound good to the ear, and that people love to rally behind, but these terms cover a hidden agenda.   They have been weaponized to destroy, not lift and build—tyranny through modular language, plastic words.Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language By Uwe Poerksen

American Express is a perfect example of how DE&I efforts (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) have been weaponized to pick away, through politics, the non-politically affiliated, those who show up to their employment and merely want to work their job.  The University of Phoenix is another company long captured by, and suffering from, DE&I tyrants.  Both American Express and the University of Phoenix began their DE&I journeys with the best of intentions.  Still, the result remains the same, the minority classes bring politics anathema to good order and discipline into the company, initiating change cloaked in DE&I.  The result has been the discouragement and disenfranchisement of employees.  The DE&I champions crow and cheer for these people leaving as it injects more DE&I hiring, and the new employees realize that unless they are politically affiliated, read that as aligned to a militant tyrant in DE&I, they too will be out of work very shortly.

Language matters, and when terms are plasticized, the only result is destruction and tyranny.  Consider the teachers in the Albuquerque Public Schools System or the employees of the State of New Mexico; both populations stress DE&I initiatives under various names but with the same purpose.  Who are the enemies of DE&I; those who do not wear their politics on their sleeves, acting as emotionally charged smart bombs of the media.  Even if a person holds some of the DE&I beliefs, if they are not militant in their beliefs, they are ostracized by their language, judged, and removed from employment.Political Correctness = Language and Thought Control | Wake Up World

When the patients rule the asylum, the problems for all patients in the asylum double and triple, not improve.  The same result occurs when the vocal minorities of a population gain power that is not theirs, and they make no concerted efforts to rule fairly and justly.  One of the truths about any revolution is that those who initiated the revolution rarely (if ever) get to enjoy the fruits of their rebellion as they are so focused on fixing what they perceive as injustices, they miss that they have become worse in action than those they deposed.

80-20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule is known by many monikers, but always it is the same rule, in different wrapping – 80% of a population will be controlled by 20%.  In standard terms, the minority is setting the culture for the 80% to follow, and they hope you will never realize you are stronger without the vocal minority than with them.  Take the recent changes at Disney.  There is a vocal minority demanding change, couching the changes in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the Disney business model is about to self-destruct.  The same is true of American Express, where if you are male and white, you are not welcome.  But, if you are one of the members of any number of protected classes, you are welcome.  When politics interferes in professional pursuits, 80% will always suffer under the tyranny of the 20%.  What happens when the vocal minority becomes the majority, they fang themselves to death, and nobody is left to care because that 80% majority has left them to their own devices.Pareto Principle: understanding the 80/20 Rule

It should go without saying, but I will make plain, I am not against diversity.  I do believe that diversity for diversity’s sake is wrong, immoral, unethical, and anathema to good order in a society.  Diversity of thought should be preeminent as the diversity of thought transcends skin color and lifestyle choices.  Diversity of thinking includes the desire to see all succeed on merit, character, and individual action.  I abhor in the strongest terms picking a person solely based on their gender, skin color, religious preferences, disability status, culture, or any variable that supersedes accomplishment, education, and learned skill set.  The same is valid for inclusion and equity; when people cannot compete solely upon achievement, education, and intellectual skill sets, this creates an imbalance in the population.

Hence roadblocks to education must be removed, character-defining and building experiences should be shared and taught, and achievement recognized.  What is missing from schools from K-12 and up; is accomplishment, education, and learned skill sets.  What has replaced these; is DE&I, where the vocal minority is destroying with no thought for what replaces the institutions, societies, corporations, and more.  Iconoclasm in its most destructive form has taken over employers, and these companies are committing suicide to pacify, tranquilize, and placate a small population at the expense of all.Make the 80/20 Rule Work for Your Online Marketing Efforts | WillTan.com

Inherently, change is not bad but growing, productive, and useful change requires inputs from a diverse population.  Inclusion is not inherently a bad thing, but the current demands for inclusion, only for the sake of inclusion, make the activities of the vocal minority lethal to the entire social body.  Equity is a prerequisite for society to grow, develop, and be stable long-term.  This is why societies built on slavery, or those muzzling 50% of the population, are inherently ripe for hostile takeovers.

The actions of the vocal minority in employment right now are precarious at best, suicidal at worst, and permanently immoral and unethical.  The models they promote have no substance and enable unfair, unjust, and unequal systems.  Worse, companies that flout their customer base, which is the largest stakeholder in any business, will find smaller profit margins and higher expenses as employee churn increases.

Knowledge Check!One truth that should give hope to the employees affected is that when the minority becomes the majority in a body and does not have any substance, they destroy themselves.  C-Leaders, are you sure you want to take the company you have been placed in control over down this dangerous path?  On my first day at American Express, new hires were introduced to the rich, proud, and stable company history and core values.  How sad it is to witness how fast this company has fallen!  Who will replace these companies?  Will their replacements learn from the failures of the past?

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Sermo Datur Cunctis; Animi Sapientia Paucis – Remind you of Anyone?

Exclamation MarkDistichia Moralia provides with keen wisdom the following, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  After the European trip of US President Joe Biden, intelligence is in short supply in the White House, the staff, and of course, the US Media!  Would someone please tell me how so many can say so much, yo-yo’ing from one point to another, and still make no sense?  Honest question, the other day someone told me the patients were running the asylum, and I countered no, the clowns took over the circus.  Both sentiments are accurate, but I detest clowns, and mental patients can occasionally do something brilliant.

Now, to be perfectly fair, little Joey Biden has a mental cognition problem that is more than likely some form of senility or Alzheimer’s disease.  I am not entirely blaming little Joey; his spouse and handlers bear the full brunt of the blame and deserve their punishment for not allowing this senile old man to retreat to his beloved basement and finish the rest of his days in solitude and grandchildren.  May little Joey sniff hair and massage shoulders in a creepy fashion after retirement to his heart’s content.  But his handlers, the complicit media, and his spouse need to be hauled in front of a judge for elder person abuse!

From Australia’s Sky News, the BBC, Daily Mail, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and Jerusalem News, essentially covering the entire globe, every media channel worth a small moment is complaining about Biden’s European performance.  Not all media channels are created equal, but to have them all complaining about Biden in Europe is pretty phenomenal.  To have Biden walk back his handlers’ “clarification” and then renounce his previous sentiments in the same speech is nothing short of a full-blown communication failure.

To clarify, I do not care what you embrace for your political party.  Any person with half a brain cell can observe what is happening and know instinctively that the elected leaders have no clue and even less intelligence.  Worse, their intellectual ability for self-preservation is running on fumes and day-old flatulence.  Truly, “speech is given to many, and intelligence to few.”  Unfortunately, this is not the tip of the iceberg humanity is headed towards at full speed!If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all ...

Satire is truth wrapped in comic wit and presented for discussion.  Never taken seriously as supported by how many “shock” comedians?  Yet, the Babylon Bee is removed from Twitter because some Twitter employees think they have a special mission from their god CEO Parag Agrawal to silence any voice they deem “hostile.”  More people prove that “speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  Would someone please tell me how Kathy Griffin can parody cutting off then President Trump’s head, and she can maintain a Twitter account, but the Babylon Bee has their account suspended.  Worse, Kathy Griffin, a fully non-humorous comedienne, got a Netflix special, but Dave Chapelle was hounded mercilessly for weeks because he told the truth and was actually funny.

Kathy Griffin, Dave Chapelle, Biden/Trump, Babylon Bee, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, and others are tied into a Gordian Knot over the topic of controlling speech unconstitutionally.  Whether as perpetrators, victims, or politics, every actor mentioned, especially those not mentioned, as this was NOT a definitive list, all share in the ongoing saga over the First Amendment.Abraham Joshua Heschel quote: Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out...

A reminder, the First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The perpetrators who are pulling the political strings to hinder and thwart the First Amendment hide, like evil thinking cowards, cower behind the shield, “Congress.” Claiming that since they are not Congress, they only prohibit speech on their private platforms conditional as part of the “User Agreement” or as private citizens or businesses.  Hence, limiting the speech of others is entirely legal, moral, and socially acceptable, intentionally muddying the lines between legal and illegal for entertainment or some other bloviated excuse.  Except, what these perpetrators are doing is stealing freedom from everyone for personal profit.TOP 6 QUOTES BY ZECHARIAH CHAFEE | A-Z Quotes

What is “Hate speech?”  Sure, the lawyers have concocted a definition for court, but in practice, “Hate Speech” is anything any person who thinks they possess a modicum of power deems it to be.  Any tool that limits speech will be used as a weapon to beat people out of their rights and freedoms and steal the same to enslave all.  The Supreme Court regularly hears cases on First Amendment issues, specifically speech.  Of the five freedoms protected and enshrined in the First Amendment (Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition the government), speech is the one most often attacked.  The Supreme Court has wisely used the rule of thumb, “Screaming ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater,” as the basis for whether to rule speech as governed under the First Amendment or not.

Why is this a wise rule of thumb?  Because creating panic in a population enclosed in a building should not be protected “free” speech as the consequences are dire indeed.  But does this mean anything else goes; absolutely!  A simple rule exists to explain why, “When you limit the freedoms of a single person in a society, the entire society loses ALL of their freedoms, rights, and liberties.”  Democracy is messy!  A constitutional republic is doubly chaotic!  We, the citizens of either a democracy or a constitutional republic, accept this as a necessity to protect our individual rights, freedoms, and liberties.The Legal Lens: Why Free Speech Matters To You

This means when Twitter declares something as broaching their “User Agreement” and limiting one person’s speech, as a citizen of the United States, every citizen of the United States loses!  When Facebook or LinkedIn practice censorship in the name of “socially acceptable speech,” they are thwarting the US Constitution and decrying they are the wisest of us all and intelligent enough to declare what is and is not “acceptable” speech in a public environment.  When YouTube ends people’s livelihood because they do not like the content in a video, everyone loses their right to produce content free from burdensome oppression.

Chris Rock was free to make a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith as a point of reference.  Will Smith was perfectly in his right to first laugh at the joke and then choose to become offended.  But, Will Smith’s rights ended when he took action and hit Chris Rock.  Speech is a responsibility, and exercising speech properly means sometimes being held accountable for the speech made.  Unfortunately, modern society has allowed people to make offensive and degrading remarks without accountability for too long, which is a problem.  However, the solution is not to control speech by a business, company, government, non-governmental board/organization, etc.  The solution is to remind people of the accountability inherent in exercising their rights to speech.

Speech is never “Free.”  Free speech means no consequences to what you say, but the reverse is true, and speech has a significant cost!  Ask any disabled veteran about the cost of speech, and let me know if they claim their injuries are free.  Worse, ask any person jailed who made a speech if their speech was free, and tell me if their sufferings, depravations, and sacrifices were without cost.  Chris Rock was entirely in his right to make an offensive joke.  I did not find it funny.  But could Chris Rock have been held accountable for his poor sense of humor without being slapped on international television; absolutely.  But, name me another group of people who abuse the rights, freedoms, and liberties of others without care and concern than Hollywood.  I know of no other industry!

Yet, Hollywood has taken it upon themselves to be the lords and masters over everyone else when they cannot control themselves.  Solidifying the permanence in the principle, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  How many known victims of Harvey Weinstein?  How many unknown victims are living?  How many dead victims?  How long was Harvey Weinstein abusing his power to subjugate people to whet his appetites and passions?  How many others are currently copy-catting Harvey Weinstein’s example?Speech is power: speech is... | Inspirational Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The government has failed to police Hollywood, and Hollywood refuses to police itself, but how many in Hollywood are willing to insist that Hollywood needs a deep cleansing, an injection of values, morals, and law; not many, if any.  Name another industry so rampant and steeped in villainy, depravity, and disgust that it can escape basic law enforcement.  Hollywood spawned Bollywood and how many other incarnations in countries around the globe, all suffering from the same moral vacuum and creating the same social decay without consequence.  Spoilt children, parading as virtuous adults, demand their rights, liberties, and freedoms, all while denying others the same rights, liberties, and freedoms.  Demanding politicians, the same politicians fawning and feeding the Hollywood monster, to use the powers of government, and big business, to thwart laws for their own profit and gain.

Have you ever heard of a “Casting Couch?”  In business, the military, and government, a “casting couch” is sexual harassment, a crime worthy of jail, heavy fines, and social scorn for the perpetrator.  In Hollywood, the “Casting Couch” is regular business for those desiring to be in Hollywood, and the victims, if they speak out, are scorned and unemployable.  The horror stories about the “Casting Couch” are depraved, disgusting, and the victims’ ages run the gamut, all with little to no consequences for those soliciting sexual favors in return for employment in Hollywood.  The case of Harvey Weinstein ripped the scab off the festering wound of Hollywood, but Big Business and Government have helped keep the wound alive and infected, to the shame and horror of the victims.

Knowledge Check!Will Smith, enjoy the spotlight your actions created, and may the consequences fit the crime.  Chris Rock, you’re still not funny.  Wanda Sykes, you lost your funny.  The Oscar’s is not worth my time and energy to scorn, let alone watch.  But, Hollywood, your industry is sick, and the greatest crime is that your infection is spreading faster than a case of Chlamydia in the Playboy Mansion.  Hollywood, you have lost any and all claims to tell anyone else how to live and until you clean up your mess, I will continue to refuse you my money.  You might start by remembering, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Brevis Ipas Vita Est Sed Malis Fit Longior – Adversity

Father Mulcahy 3The title is Latin for “Life is short, but trouble makes it longer.”  Recently I was reminded of the power and blessing of adversity.  One of the comments that struck me was, “You will all experience your own Gethsemane’s.”  Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives and became famous in the New Testament for the place where Jesus went to pray and, according to the New Testament, completed the atonement.  Gethsemane remains a symbol of hope for people experiencing trouble, difficulty, or adversity.  However, the thought of us experiencing our own Gethsemane individually intrigues me as a concept.

One of the scriptures that holds a lot of hope for me comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 7-9:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands
.

Nowhere is recorded how long Jesus spent in Gethsemane; one might presume the time was longer than an hour, but less than 8 hours.  Beyond that, I cannot guess and will not venture an opinion.  However, the thought that adversity will be but a small moment rings like an eternal truth in my mind.  Let me elaborate on this point, my wife and I spent 6-months homeless, living out of our car, showering at her mom’s apartment, and working as often as I could find work.  During this time, I was studying for a master’s in business administration and struggling with depression for feeling like an absolute failure for not being able to provide a home for my spouse.Adversity is an advantage to embrace, not an annoyance to avoid. | Art Coombs Art Coombs

Yet, as I look back on this homelessness period, it seems but a small moment.  While I know mentally that the timeframe was six excruciating months, the truth is that the adversity felt like a moment even during the adversity and the months following.  My friends found during this time were such an incredible solace; my wife’s family and even my studies became lifts to my spirit and a balm to my mental processes.  How grateful I am for the adversity that has shaped me since this event and the incredible people who supported my wife and me.

Interestingly, in M*A*S*H 4077, the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” the poignancy of Father Mulcahy’s predicament with losing his hearing has become more meaningful since this episode of homelessness.  Indeed life is lived forward and understood backward.  As Father Mulcahy said, “What good is a deaf priest?”  The value is found in learning and living, but the learning and living is the adversity shaping us physically, mentally, and spiritually.Grit - Defined

Long have I pondered what a piece of clay must think as it is placed on a potter’s wheel, and if it realizes that when the potter is done, the adversity on that wheel will make it something beautiful, useful, or both.  Whether you believe in god, God, or gods, what are the adversities in your life making out of you, and will you recognize yourself when the potter is done?  Will you care what the potter has made you?  Those two questions lay on my mind, not with weight, but nonetheless with power.  A final question struck me as Father Mulcahy was marrying Klinger and Sun Lee, will we respect the potter for the work invested in creating us through adversity?

30 Best Adversity Quotes To Regain The Courage | Brainy ReadersIt’s no secret to those who have known me that I did not like serving in the US Navy and the pressure cooker of the USS Barry (DDG 52) from 2000-2004.  I have often cursed and shook my fist at the sky over the experiences during the US Navy.  Yet, even now, the experiences in the US Navy are felt as a small moment, and time does help heal wounds.  Better still, time tends to soften the edges, and one of the other things I have found is that how we choose changes how we remember.  I loved being “haze grey and underway” in the navy.  Many things were better while sailing that worsened to the point of breaking while in port.  More to the point, being “haze grey and underway” was always an adventure, fun, and never dull, even while pulling five and dime watch standing, doing maintenance on a pitching deck, or even climbing the mast while underway to fix something broke.

Adversity QuotesMajor Winchester leaving M*A*S*H in a garbage truck reminds me of my time in the US Navy, very appropriate.  As soon as Major Winchester came to M*A*S*H 4077, I watched to see what pranks could be done to Major Charles Emerson Winchester the third.  I loved watching Charles become the butt of a joke.  Yet, even as I type, I cannot help but wonder, was a garbage truck appropriate; is it disrespectful of the potter to see another person struggle and heap more scorn upon them?  Charles’ life changed dramatically and horribly; his ways of thinking, the path of his life, and even his belief in his own self-worth were constantly challenged and scrutinized.  I can understand Charles’ experiences more now than at any time previously.

Having been homeless multiple times in my life, one of my greatest difficulties is seeing someone putting up their petition for help and not being able to help.  I know there are a lot of scams out there, but that has never mattered to me; not being able to help bothers me greatly.  The war in Ukraine, the orphans left after war and storms, the hunger and depravity in this world, those individual adversities we see all around us.  I always want to help.  Long have I thought if I could relieve an ounce, a dram, a smidge of suffering, I could sleep better at night or know I succeeded at something.  Life has taught me how to fight, then it taught me how to think, and then my body was injured, and I am left stuck somewhere in between—proving that adversity comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and types!Adversity Quotes

Please know, I am not maudlin or melancholy about my life.  I have some great stories, met some truly amazing people, and lived to tell those tales.  All I ever wanted out of life was to be “an interesting old person,” and if I can keep reading and thinking, and especially writing, I should be able to tell some of those stories.  If I died tomorrow, I could say I lived a rich, full life, with no regrets.  I have no complaints and look forward to learning a lot more.  Bringing up another exciting facet of adversity, the learning that comes through adversity.

For example, did you know you do not teach adults?  Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.  Teaching only happens to children, and if those kids are like me, barely even then.  For adults, you help them see their life experiences in a new light, applying existing knowledge to current situations to improve how they think.  You do not teach adults; they teach themselves; as an adult educator, my job is to help them learn how to think.15 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity Never to Forget

I know a kid, now an adult, who had been molested, beaten, and suffered greatly.  Growing into a scrappy adult, this child had experienced the horrible and survived.  Sure, you might teach this kid how to reach a formulaic solution, but the core knowledge of life, this kid held a doctorate.  Adversity had trained this kid how to think, how to act, how to understand, and how to fight back.  While other kids learned how to wield a bat and hit a ball, this kid was learning how to throw punches, duck, dodge, and handle pain.  While some kids learned how to cook, this kid already knew how to cook and could make meals out of practically anything.  Adversity taught this kid, and the student was worthy of the master’s teachings how I have longed to be as apt a pupil to adversity’s teachings as this kid.A Layman's Blog: Pasternak on adversity.............

When considering the potter, as we are placed upon the wheel, then into a kiln, are we clay, easily molded, or a rock choosing to be chased off the potter’s wheel for refusing to change and be moldable?  A young adult uttered the saddest commentary on life I have ever heard.  My father did it this way; his father did it this way; his father did it this way; going back as far as family memory can relate, I am doing it this way.  When I saw the stubbornness of this person, I felt like weeping for the potential lost to generations who choose not to change.  Adversity gets us asking questions; for me, those questions are always about how I improve—improving myself, a process, an environment, the situation, anything that can be changed to drive improvements.John Wooden Quote: "Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate ...

Another book referred to the “captivity of the fathers.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevia sings the song of “Tradition!”  Is adversity trying to tell us there is a better way, and tradition is trying to hold us back?  In previous articles, I discussed how a friend of mine related that he is the first generation of his family who could read, and his children and grandchildren are graduating college because as a child, he was forced onto a bus, driven to Oklahoma, and forced into school and off the Indian reservation.  He experienced traumatic adversity as a child of seven.  The blessing of that adversity has lived and made him every day since, but to make him, the traditions of his fathers had to be forced out of his mind by formal education hundreds of miles from his northern Arizona home.  I weep for that little boy but cheer for the man he became and cherish my friendship with a man who had to justify two worlds.  Beware the traditions of your fathers so they do not become captivity your children must suffer to escape.

Not for any other purpose than trying and making the adversarial moment something I do not have to repeat.  I have repeated too many adversarial moments; there must be a better way to live!  For example, I was forced into bankruptcy twice!  I hope to learn from my mistakes, and if anyone knows how to raise money, improve earnings, and live more fully within one’s means, I am all ears!  If you know how to monetize a website, I will trade for this knowledge and assistance.  Bringing up another powerful tool of adversity, placing us into situations where we can help and will choose to be helped.Adversity Opportunity Quotes. QuotesGram

One of the reasons why some adversarial incidents last as long as they do is because we are proud people, and giving help is easier than accepting help and multitudes of times easier than asking for help.  My first time homeless, I had to get off the streets as walking the streets all night was interfering with my ability to work a complete shift.  Plus, it was cold, and those nights in Auburn, Washington in October and November were miserable!  So, I asked for help from a church, and asking for help was one of the most challenging events in my life.  In fact, asking for help has never gotten easier with time or experience.  I would rather get beat with a brick stick than ask for help; is it any wonder that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?Adversity | Adversity, Lds quotes, Church quotes

To ask for help, I felt I needed to have a plan to repay the money.  I demanded that I stick with that repayment schedule, even after being told, very kindly, that I did not have to repay and that there was no debt to repay.  How often do we make the pains and problems of adversity worse because we struggle to ask for help or feel a need to repay debts when there are no debts?  The reality is that when adversity appears to drag on and on without end, being a relentless taskmaster, many times I am the problem making adversity worse.Adversity Quotes By Famous People. QuotesGram

Bring us back to that garden near the Mount of Olives and the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Leaving me with a final question, how do I know when enough is sufficient?  I do not know how to answer this question, nor am I sure I am asking the right question; I merely know that adversity is not occurring because the intelligence’s of the universe want to see me struggle, adversity is not happening because I committed a crime or deserved being punished.  Adversity is a tool that helps us gain strength and I am weak, and the only way to get my attention is to put me in situations where I can grow through the things I suffer.  But help is always available; this is another lesson adversity teaches.  Help, assistance, support, we are not left bereft of these in our times of need, and this is a comfort and a hope.

Knowledge Check!Let us choose to be more charitable, relieve suffering where we can, ask for help when we need, and choose to make today a little better than yesterday through our involvement in the world around us.  I am not asking anyone to go broke helping those putting up their petitions, and it does not matter where the money goes.  Be the hand reaching out, and you WILL always find a hand reaching out to you; this is the final lesson adversity teaches us.

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Woman!

Detective 4The majority of this article was drafted before the controversy with the SCOTUS nominee.  The intent is to honor the role of women and woman.  Affirming again that how you choose to live is your business and is between you and whatever god, God, or gods you worship.  Provided you allow others the same rights to life, liberty, and pursue happiness, I do not care how you choose to live.

How you choose to live should not denigrate anyone, let alone biologically living males and females, men and women.  Leading this discussion to answer the simple question posed by US Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) to SCOTUS nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, “What is a woman?”  Again, affirming the role and embodiment of a woman is more than the sum of her sexual parts; the question does have merit and deserves answered.  What is a woman?

The Bible relates that all creation occurred in six days; on the sixth day, the woman was created as the supreme creation of God, and then God rested on the seventh day.  Not here to argue religion, but to herald that final glorious act of creation, the woman.  How grateful I am for the women in my life.  Various scriptures relate that woman was created so man would not be alone, so a helpmeet was found for Adam, and the woman would be equal to the man in all things.  An interesting dichotomy was found in creating the woman: Adam was created of the dust, but the woman was created from Adam’s side.  According to biblical accounts, no other female in the species created replicated this pattern.  Clearly, there is a lesson for us to understand, acknowledge, and support socially through laws and societal norms.

Male v. FemaleWhat a unique creation the woman is.  Paradoxical in all things, a woman is soft and strong, inflexible and flexile, independent, and a great team member.  What family is complete without a woman and a man?  One of the great truths in life is that man and woman were created separate and dependent, and gender is an eternal construct.  Each person is born male and female, with their creator’s traits, personalities, and intelligence.  Yet what do we see in all modern societies; the continued blurring of lines, roles, and dehumanization of the grandeur of man and woman, but of the two woman, has been taking the worst hits.

Consider fashion; since the feminist movement began, fashion for women has warped and destroyed the modesty, chastity, and glory of a woman.  Fashionistas are trying to make the woman into a young boy at best.  Always to be “fashionable,” the woman is made to squeeze, pinch, and be uncomfortable.  Women’s shoes are a contortion and torture exercise, a balancing act sacrificing function and comfort for some twisted idea of style.  Long have I looked upon the inequality in fashion between men and women and been abhorred, disgusted, and discomfited by the base and profane ideas accepted as “stylish” and “fashionable.”  Women, why do you allow yourself and your high and holy station to be demeaned in the name of “fashion?”

Consider make-up and all the chemicals a woman is “supposed” to use to “improve” her beauty.  The emoluments alone are sufficient to baffle and bewilder, then add the smells and paints, and the woman is taught from day one that being natural is insufficient to being attractive or whole.  Yet, I know differently, for I have seen strong and powerful women who never touch these things and remain effective, regnant, and influential.  Tell me honestly, what you put on your face, to make up, what value is there in this process?  Who told you you needed these chemicals to be a woman?Virtuous Woman 3

Human biology, and I would presume all biological sciences, defines a female as having two X chromosomes, whereas males have an X and a Y chromosome.  I passed biology with high marks but failed zoology as I did not attend enough to be scored.  If there is a biologist who would like to weigh in, please feel free to correct me.  The developing fetus develops as either a male or female as growth occurs in the germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages of life.  The physical characteristics separating males and females are coded into a person’s DNA, and fourth-grade science was apparent on these topics.

Psychology in recent years has declared that a person’s choices can change the gender of a person, but the sex of a person remains coded genetically.  Thus, woman, as a biologically separate class of animals, have different bone structures, hair, glands, skin, hormones, etc., coded from birth, regardless of how that person chooses how to live.  Please allow me to make a strong point, a woman, and for that matter, a man, are more than the sum of their sexual parts.  If this were not true, then those men having sexual reassignment surgery to obtain female genitalia would automatically adopt all the characteristics of a woman upon the conclusion of surgery.  VaccineEstrogen and testosterone, hormones, and chemicals would not need to be supplemented, and the mental processes separating a man and a woman would not need to be fought so assiduously by those having their sex surgically or chemically altered.  Again, supporting the fact that it is psychology and not biology, establishing the difference between biological men and women, and the sum of their sexual parts is a non-issue.

On the topic of psychology, look to the results of choosing to live in a manner opposite of birth sex.  We discover suicides, depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental diseases prevalent in this population, not witnessed to the same degree in different populations.  Why the LGBTQ+ populations have such prevalent and significant occurrences of these mental diseases is a question modern society refuses to research as this has been termed out of bounds as potentially anti-LGBTQ+.  Thus, research supports that the populations of those choosing to live life in this manner have these mental problems but refuses to ask why; do you see a problematic situation?  All this while attacking the role, lifestyles, and position of woman.

20 Inspirational Quotes for Women All Around the WorldUnder the role of woman, there is a title worthy of acknowledgment, and the title is lady.  Like gender, being a lady is a choice, a lifestyle, and contains social obligations, societal expectations, and requires significant effort on the part of the woman to obtain the title lady.  For example, Nancy Reagan was a lady, Hilary Clinton is merely a woman.  What separates these two women is class, respect, dignity, and more, not politics, not personality, and definitely not lifestyles and social circles.  Being a lady requires sacrifice, making choices over long periods of time, and it demands total commitment to achieve.  Females become women through growth, females become ladies by choice and sacrifice, and are granted this title by others.

In attempting to make this distinction clearer, allow me to draw a more specific example between women and ladies.  Gretchen Wilson sings a song, “Redneck Woman.”  The song lists qualities of a woman, specifically a class of woman “Redneck women.”  No aspersions cast, no denigration, and no offense offered.  Frankly, I have deep respect for several redneck women.  I am also proud to know and respect a lot of women who ride horses as cowgirls and rodeo stars, some really kick butt women from the US Military, and more.  But, a lady is phenomenally different by choice, and this is the point.18 Inspiring Independent Women Quotes By Famous & Powerful Women

Great ladies of history include amongst their ranks Katherine Hepburn, Doris Day, Nancy Reagan, Barbara “The Silver Fox” Bush, Abagail Adams, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, Sarah and Esther of Old Testament fame, Mary of New Testament fame, these and more are ladies.  First and foremost, these females are women, strong and independent, then they choose to become ladies and are honored more than mere women or as the sum of their sexual parts.  Women honored, revered, and respected for their contributions to womanhood, society, and sacrifices, women who practiced gentleness, compassion, respect, and kindness as quintessential aspects of their core identity, not for worldly fame or personal gain.  Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, honored two women as mothers and called both ladies of influence.  Yet, Disney would have us believe that all stepmothers are horrible creatures.  A vast chasm exists between women and ladies, and this is but one of the separations or classifications between women; by the choices the woman makes, a lady is created.Strong Women Quotes, Powerful Independent Woman Quotes

In trying to make a point about not hitting women, President Biden accidentally created a problem.  President Biden remarked that nobody should punch a woman in the face.  Distinguishing multiple times in the same speech that hitting a woman in the face, specifically, is not allowed.  As a kid, I learned not to hit women at all; even if being attacked by a woman, a man merely defends themselves restraining a woman if necessary, not to cause additional injury to herself or someone else.  But, Biden implied that only hitting a woman in the face is problematic; what a detestable creature is the man who would hit a woman!  I am not condoning violence in any shape or against any person.  For thousands of years and across hundreds of societies, those who would enact violence, society, rightly, has dolled out steeper punishments to those committing violence against women.Quotes from some of the most Famous Women in History ! - TechStory

Social laws throughout recorded history have always treated women differently.  Sometimes in history, this has been to the detriment and unequal treatment of women, and recently in history, treating women as equals to men is a fact that should be cheered and heralded.  Yet, along comes transgenderism demanding equal treatment under the law, not as a separate but equal category, but supplanting women, representing more attacks on women and womanhood by conspiring men for personal gain.  Don’t believe me; look at the story of the NCAA and the recent swimmer making news and winning championships, and tell me that conspiring men are not attacking the equality of women.  A charade of disrespect is cast before us, slandering women and womanhood for some amorphous and ambiguous term for lifestyle choices and not sound science, or respectful dialogue about laws.

Knowledge Check!I conclude where I began, respecting women, honoring ladies, and decrying the attack on women and womanhood as the demented and twisted attack of conspiring men and women who would see women destroyed upon the altar of political correctness.  Ladies, you have my respect, admiration, and sword, for you are deserving.  Women, you have my respect for the roles you fill as opposites of men and your work as mothers, teachers, and the co-equal helpmeet of men.  May those conspiring to destroy you be found buried in the hole they have dug for your destruction.

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – The Power of, Reliability of, and Majesty in, the Law

Exclamation MarkFrank Crane begins our discussion with an absolute flash of brilliance from the Eternal Semaphore:

I am law.  I am Nature’s way.  By me comes order, unity.  In my hand, I hold three gifts: health, happiness, success.  I am more clever than the cleverest.  I am as old as God.  I am the secret of goodness; I am the horror of sin.  I am the eternal path, and besides me, there is none else.  Without me, men wander in the labyrinth of death.”

Do we understand what Frank Crane is trying to communicate?  Nature is ruled by law, God executes actions according to law, and justice and mercy can be served without compromising either.  Law is eternal, and nobody can escape the power and majesty of the law.  Consider another truth when understanding the majesty of law:

Give a man a chance, and you will often find him equal to the occasion.” – The Majesty of the Law (Short movie 1910).

What is the potential of a man; nobody but God knows for sure, but through obedience to the law, that man can become more than he ever thought possible.  I am listening to M*A*S*H 4077, episode 18, from season 9.  This is the episode where two buddies come in wounded, they enlisted together, they got injured, and the buddy discovers he has leukemia.  In the same episode, Father Mulcahey is expecting a visit from a Cardinal.  Two men were given a chance, faced with difficulty, who both rose to the magnitude of their stations.  What is Nature’s way; law.  R. W. Alger is quoted:

Laws are silent assessors of God.”

Father Mulcahy 2When the law is described, Leo J. Muir provides five words that are inseparably connected to describing what law is:

Eternal; Immortal; Immutable; Irrevocable; Inexorable!”

Looking back to Rome, how was Rome able to achieve greatness; they wrote their laws down and posted them above everyone’s head to symbolize that no one is above the law.  Writing down laws was nothing new, but holding everyone accountable to the law equally was unique in human history.  On this single principle, Rome rose in glory and failed ignominiously; everyone was accountable to the law equally.  Senator, pauper, soldier, general, no one could escape the equality under the law.  How did Rome lose their empire; Ceasar held themselves above the law.  At the second that law was to be applied unequally to the various classes of citizens in Rome, the fall of Rome was set in stone.

Flash forward a couple of thousand years, what do we find; the law is no longer the supreme entity governing civilized behavior.  For the cost of a lawyer, all laws become rubberized, twistable, and not applicable to those with enough money.  More than that, the tools of law, police officers, are not treated to the same laws they are enforcing, and the Monday morning quarterbacks strip them of their initiative, ability, and dignity.Gavel

The USA Today calls this Monday Morning Quarterbacking “transparency.”  As a point of fact, USA Today credits their actions to George Floyd’s death.  The officers involved in the George Floyd debacle followed standard and acceptable policing procedures.  George Floyd died from the drug combination in his system and his own stupidity.  Yet, the officers have been harassed into jail, their lives destroyed, their families ruined, all because the George Floyd inanity “looked bad” to the same media who hold themselves above the law.  The same laws that magically did not apply to Michael Jackson, politicians like Hillary Clinton, or even the Bidens and Romneys.  The media harps and complains when the rules are applied equally to them, and then harps and complain when the law equally applies to causes or people the media protects.  What destroyed Rome was the failure to equally apply the law to all citizens regardless of job, title, and friendliness with reporters.  H. W. Beecher sums the problem nicely:

Expedients are for the hour, principles for the ages.”

Laplace also pitches some additional power for consideration:

Truth and Justice are the immutable laws of social order.”

What is most often missing in modern society, any country globally; truth and justice are the laws of good social order.  Calling upon Frank Crane again, we find more consideration upholding the majesty of law:

Truth is the logic of the universe.  It is the reasoning of destiny; it is the mind of God.  And nothing that man can devise or discover can take its place.”The only constraints that you have on your income and advancement potential are those you place ...

What are the constraints upon a mans potential; look to the laws that man will obey.  Going back to Rome, Julius Caesar was but one of the more notable of Rome’s emperors; what moral laws did he obey; not many.  What social laws was he willing to follow; few to none.  Is it any wonder he was stabbed?  Modern society has the term “Arkancide,” it was invented to describe all the mysterious deaths, accidents, and happenstances that occur to people close to the Clinton political machine.  True, nothing has ever been proven, and neither President Clinton nor Hillary Clinton has ever faced justice, and I am not casting aspersions.  Merely noting there are a lot of incidents that need full and complete explanations, and transparency and accountability appear to be dodged by the Clintons at every turn.

Not that these two are the only politicians needing to face a judge and jury to explain and expound the whys and wherefores, merely noting they are definitely in the top ten of those needing to come clean about their actions while supposedly being “public servants.”  Hence the point of laws and the power in obeying the law.  When those who need to explain and expound come clean before the law, this concludes the speculation and truth and justice are meted to those needing it.

Image result for grace and truth came through jesus christ | Law quotes, Lovely quote, WordsThink of the great questions in modern society where truth and justice would solidly end speculation.  JFK’s murder, Epstein’s “suicide,” TWA Flight 800, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, etc.  Yet, for all the world, the truth remains missing, and questions rightly remain.  What is the power of law; the ability to publish the truth.  Consider the wise words of Rousseau:

Truth is the most precious of all blessings; it is the eye of reason.”

Radcliffe detailed the same semaphore a little differently:

There is no progress in fundamental truth.  We may grow in [the] knowledge of its meaning, and in the modes of its application, but its great principles will forever be the same.”

Both authors are semaphoring the same message and provide clarity of reason to denounce the falsehood that the US Constitution is a “living breathing document.”  This constitutional republic’s foundational principles of the American experiment are not living or breathing but are alive only through our continuing growth of knowledge in how we apply the principles.  Only those who would destroy the law talk of the principles as “living and breathing,” easily changed,” or “plasticized” into any shape to justify the application of law to let the guilty free and punish the innocent.Law Cartoon # 6402 - ANDERTOONS

Cast your mind upon the first amendment to the US Constitution, also the first of the rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why is this the first right in the US Bill of Rights; without this right being acknowledged by the government, the executors of government would have zero restraint before forcing people to believe what they choose them to believe.  Communism in China requires the CCP member to carry their “little red book” close to their hearts.  Mimicking and parroting the twisted ideals of Mao, who learned them from Marx.  Equally as important is the final phrase, the “right of the people to PEACEABLY assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances [emphasis mine].”  Tell me, how often have riots been “peaceful petitions for grievances to be redressed” in any of the recent years?  I repeat only for emphasis, when you block traffic, start fires, yell, scream, destroy property, etc., you are no longer “peaceably assembled” you are a terrorist group, and the total weight of the law should come down upon; you!Ravi Zacharias Quote: "Justice is the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is ...

Consider all the “criminal justice reform,” “bail reform,” and other legislated and judicial chicanery foisted upon the American citizenry.  Surely Colton and Joseph Parker are semaphoring an urgent message:

Truth, like light, travels only in straight lines.”

Falsehood is in a hurry; it may be at any moment detected and punished.  Truth is calm, serene; its judgments on high; its king cometh out of the chambers of eternity.”

Leo J. Muir asks a question worthy of deep consideration, “Why this rigorous inflexibility of law?”  The answer should be apparent, especially when considering Rome and comparing America’s growth and current deterioration, “The immutability of law is the assurance of progress and the guaranty of justice upon the Earth.”  The US Constitution cannot be an easily plasticized document and still be a foundational bedrock of this constitutional republic.  A stone cannot be like silly putty, a non-Newtonian fluid.  Solid one moment, flexible another, shatterable, and resilient.  Laws cannot be a law and be shapeable and moldable to a situation, for then it is no longer a law, but a good suggestion applicable only to specific situations and people.  Is the point clear?truth : alcoholism

William Ernest Henley, in his immortal poem, “Invictus,” declares this immutable truth poignantly in the final stanza:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

The entire poem Invictus is a declaration of the majesty of law, the power of law, and the reliability of law.  Obedience of law does produce fruit or consequences for choices made, and in that choice and consequence cycle comes the justice and mercy of the law.  Once, I was asked, when I step before the bar of God, for a final judgment, do I want a lawyer or an advocate?  I do not want a lawyer, for a lawyer only plays with the law.  I want an advocate who knows the law, is aware of my good and ill choices, and can plead my case as if my fate was worth the universe’s weight.  How would you answer, and why?  Do you understand the role of law better?  What will you do right now to honor the law, even if in honoring the law you must loyally oppose those who are twisting the law for personal gain?

Knowledge Check!Let me be perfectly clear; I abhor the suffering the Ukrainian people are experiencing in the strongest language.  I denounce the actions of Russia in creating violence.  But, Zelensky is using the excuse of a Russian invasion to destroy the laws of Ukraine and create a dictatorship.  These actions are as reprehensible to me as the invasion of Ukraine!  Yet, if the American citizenry does not awake and arise, using the laws currently written, we too will see ourselves in a similar position.  Where the laws of America are twisted out of shape and then used as a cudgel to beat the American spirit out of her people, and destroy the last bastion of freedom on Earth.  The saving grace for America is her laws, and her citizenry needs to demand that all are equal under the law, for the innocent to escape and the guilty to be punished.

Let us now understand the role of law and thank “Whatever gods may be” for the immutable power of law!

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – The Law of the Harvest

Exclamation MarkConsider a well-known truth that never appears to be fully understood, does a man sow thistles and reap strawberries?  Leo J. Muir’s book, “Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore,” lists this as the fifth semaphore, and of the six semaphores, this one is probably my favorite to discuss.  Not because I am sowing rocks and reaping corn and beans, but because I often sow rancid vegetables and reap garbage, then wonder why I cannot improve my harvest.  As the writings on flash four stated, “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” I am a slow learned and generally only really grasp things after experiencing some consequences that would kill others.  As we discuss the Law of the Harvest, please note I am not here to convince or convert, merely to help myself.  If you find value in this topic, join me, teach me, that we may both then learn more perfectly.

The law of the harvest is straightforward; many farmers know this law cold, “You reap what you sow.”  If you sow lima beans, you do not raise grapes.  If you are sowing carrots, you cannot harvest apples.  No matter how many times you plant them, Cheerios do not sprout a doughnut tree; I know as I planted a LOT of Cheerios.  Bubble gum, when planted, never grows into a bubble gum tree; my mother lied!

Yet, with this mindset, many people, myself included, become depressed, disconnected from reality, and mentally unstable.  Thinking, oh, I can sow gossip and truth, and equity and justice will be shown to me.  I can tell lies, cheat, steal, then become rich, famous, and never have any negative consequences.  I can take and plant some cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc., in my body and remain healthy, strong, active, and never suffer mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  The law of the harvest doesn’t work like this, yet, this remains the greatest living lie.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

From the eternal semaphore comes the following:

Be NOT Deceived!  [emphasis mine]”

Now, consider how many people drink alcohol and expect not to suffer a hangover.  Consider the people consuming vast amounts of sugar, in all its various forms, who think they will never suffer diabetes, become overweight, or suffer any consequences from all that sugar.  My aunt is a great woman, fantastic artist, amazingly kind and generous person, and a chocoholic.  She never thought about the consequences of consuming chocolate because the research shows chocolate is healthy; she never could overcome the mental illness she suffered from that the chocolate was a comforting influence.  Her family mourns her passing!

The law of the harvest is a stern warning and an incredible promise.

He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The pattern is evident for those struggling who sow goodness, kindness, and happiness.  Hold on; your harvest WILL come, and it will be glorious.  In the same breath, those sowing hate, envy, strife, malice, greed, and so much more, your harvest is also coming, and I feel awful for what your harvest will be.  For the law of the harvest comes with a profound sentiment:

God will not be mocked.”Frederick William Robertson Quote: "You reap what you sow - not something else, but that. An act ...

I promise, there is a God, an atonement IS available through His Son, and the Holy Ghost is real and powerful.  The enclosed sentiment in the Law of the Harvest remains my comfort when harvesting the bitter fruits my heart grows.  Yes, many times, I quake for the thought that I desperately need to find a way to raise a better crop on the stony ground of my heart.  Long have I prayed for a change of heart, for a line from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” rings forever in my mind:

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground.  A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  ‘Cause, what you buy is what you own.  And what you own… always comes home to you.”

If you get nothing more out of this flash than the need to change fertilizers and seeds, all with an eye to improving your harvest, I have accomplished my goal.  Confucius is quoted as saying, “Our headstrong passions shut the doors of our souls against God.”  What great counsel, our passions are the seeds, the consequences are the fruit, and the law of the harvest governs whether we will have a harvest to enjoy or curse, and we choose how to value that harvest.

Bear with me a moment; I might have lost a few of you.  Let me explain.  As a kid, we often had gardens, and I was regularly on the working end of a hoe killing weeds.  I cursed those weeds; I despised every second I wielded that hoe in the garden.  My cherub-like demeanor was nowhere to be found working those garden rows!  Then came the endless days of harvesting, canning, storing, and eating that which could not be stored; I still was NOT a happy person.  Ever eat zucchini for weeks on end because that horrible stuff reproduces like rabbits in perpetual heat whose water is full of Viagra?You reap what you sow. #bible #liveBigly #life #affiliate #quote #inspiration #message #world # ...

That is the point; when the harvest comes, and a harvest always comes, we choose how we value that which is being harvested.  My father tried hard to teach me this lesson, but all I ever saw were the endless hours sweating in a kitchen preparing jars for canning, the blisters from hoeing the weeds, and the time spent doing that which we would eventually purchase in cans as winter dragged on and on.  I could not see any value in gardening, so the blessings of the harvest were lost on me.  Headstrong passions blinded my eyes to the blessings of the harvest, and I cursed the day I was conceived.  Confucius is correct, and I have witnessed the problems with headstrong passions interfering with the Law of the Harvest many times since.

I am also experiencing the truth from Cicero:

A youth of sensuality and intemperance delivers over to old age a worn-out body.”

I would add, an intemperate youth also yields a worn-out mind!  Having observed this as a youth, I thought I could escape the problems of being intemperate, and I can honestly proclaim, I was wrong!  Since my youth, I lifted objects heavier than practical; I gloried in the strength of my body and pushed it to the absolute limit many times.  What am I reaping; I was disabled by the time I was 30.  I am now older but not wiser.  I still want to push my boundaries without regard for consequences and wind up on the floor, in hospital, or mentally unable to think properly for weeks on end.  As a kid, when my parents were told of one of their kids being punished (a not infrequent occurrence), they regularly said, “Well, he brought that on himself.”  To quote Ray Stevens, “Yeah, I Did!”  I did bring on myself the harvest of intemperance and am delivering a worn-out body and mind to old-age.  There are lots of seeds we plant and many different types of harvests we reap.  When valuing the harvest, choose wisely how you evaluate the crop.#everything #you #do #say #choice #soon #later #quote #lessons #learned #life | Lessons learned ...

Pliny, more famously known as Gaius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny, the Elder,” was a Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, and naval and army commander.  He is quoted as saying:

Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, [a] canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all of the body.”

Lust is regularly only thought of as an intense sexual desire.  This type of lust definitely fits what Pliny is warning about; however, lust is also an overwhelming craving, unassailable desire, and intense eagerness or enthusiasm.  Yet, many might not fully grasp the semaphore Pliny is flashing; Henry Wordsworth Longfellow might be easier to understand:

The blossoms of passion, gay and luxuriant flowers, are bright and full of fragrance, but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.”

Henry Giles and John Howe are both flashing the same message, trying to capture our attention and teach the same lesson:

The passions are at once tempters and chastisers.  As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wreaths of snakes on the forehead of deformity.  They are angels of light in their delusions; they are fiends of torment in their afflictions.”

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

What do you regret from your youth as the first tastes of passion’s deadly fruits?  Let me speak plainer; of course, you remember your first time in love, the rush of passions start, and the heartbreak of closure.  Do you see the seeds of passion and the harvested fruits as beneficial or deadly?  I know my answers to this question and understand more fully why modesty, chastity, and virtue are to be honored, respected, and cherished.  You choose how you evaluate your experiences.You reap what you sow | Everyday quotes, Peace quotes, One word inspiration

I currently work with a person who curses their ex-wife in the vilest language imaginable, yet, they praise their child in the same breath and bless the day they came into their life.  What seeds are being planted in the child, the co-workers, and society?  Will the bitter fruit be understood and evaluated as good?  Time will tell.  Byron summed this semaphore perfectly:

Vice digs her own voluptuous tomb.”

Of all the advice given, I wish I had observed the following more perfectly, and while I do not know the author, many have semaphored the following message in one form or another:

Shun the obscene!”

A long time back, exactly when escaped me, I watched a comedian who told some off-color stories for the audience’s amusement.  Those seeds bore some of the most pernicious weeds in my mind, choking out life and pleasure, goodness, and all things clean and kind.  Killing those weeds is a constant exercise, some would classify as futile.  But, I have chosen differently and fought those weeds desiring something better, and the fight continues.  I do not find swearing, debauchery, lewdness, immorality, perversion, and such amusing anymore.  When I came to myself, I cleaned out a LOT of entertainment, removing books, magazines, music, movies, and more in an effort to cling to the good and shun the obscene.  I had to re-learn lessons from childhood.

Now I look back on those mistakes, those seeds planted carelessly, and the bitter and thorny weeds I now fight and wish I could help others understand the same lesson I learned.  Not shunning the obscene leads to problems immeasurable.  In the US Navy, I had a good acquaintance who went to a party, was slipped a mickey, and woke up having been raped by another female.  I counseled my friend to report this event and get tested.  My friend declined because she “did not know if she liked it or not.”  I mourned my friend that day and many days after as she experienced what happened after not shunning the obscene.  Before she revealed her true self, her rapist was a person I respected and who was removed from military service for other actions.  But the crime of rape went unreported, a sad commentary indeed!  John Howe was absolutely correct:

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

Quotes You Reap What You SowMy friend’s experience in the US Navy always brings a poem to mind courtesy of Alexander Pope:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
as to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace
.”

The truth of the matter remains permanently etched upon our souls or consciousness, “You reap what you sow.”  We inherently know this truth, and then become sidetracked by temptation, which comes in the forms of misery, depression, beauty, emotions, and more; wrapped in shiny foil, the fruit inside is always bitter, but the first bite is a temptation that over time becomes that which we would have died to avoid.  Robert Southey, the English poet, semaphored this message thusly:

They who engage in iniquitous designs deceive themselves into thinking that they will go so far and no farther.  One fault begets another; one crime makes another necessary.  Thus downward they go into the depths of guilt, which at the commencement of their career they would have died rather than incurred.”

QuestionCan you relate to your experiences with planting and harvesting?  What are you teaching and semaphoring?  Dr. Johnson adds a comment worth remembering: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”  While Dr. Johnson is correct, there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there are chain cutters available through repentance and a path back.  There is a reason to hope!  Not speaking religiously, nor am I here to convert anyone to any religious flavor, merely to alert those needing it that there is a way to clean your mind and heart, that your future may produce a better harvest.  Even if you might have to harvest garbage for a while as the ground cleans itself of the impurities dumped into it.  Mr. Muir quotes Simons, a reference unknown, regarding the path:

Impure thoughts awaken impure feelings, lead to impure expressions, and beget impure actions, and these lead to imbecility both of body and of mind, and to the ruin of all that is noble and pure in character.”

We who have survived youthful transgressions understand this path perfectly.  Note, we live in an age of severe iconoclasm, where every day, we are bombarded by attacks on established beliefs by institutions built for the sole purpose of tearing down others.  Who cannot replace their depravity and destruction with anything wholesome, good, pure, or worthwhile.  Where beliefs of religion, societal norms, and institutions representing the living and breathing were destroyed for the wanton pleasure of the iconoclasts.  The age of the iconoclasts began with the 1960s, and nothing built since is worth the pain and suffering we are experiencing now.  Worse, those iconoclasts from the 1960s are now teachers and professors, elected leaders, and their legacy of destruction stares them in the face while they laugh and take pleasure at your suffering.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

With each successive generation of iconoclastic behavior, the succeeding generations are a factor of 10 worse than their parents.  Think of how many generations have come and multiplied this abhorrent behavior into society.  Is it any wonder as a society we are in the mess we are in, where criminals get off, the victims are repeatedly punished, good is heralded as evil and evil for good.  But, I promise there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there is a path forward that leads back to life, growth, happiness, goodness, and a morally upright society.  Shunning the obscene is the first step!

Knowledge Check!We must be the generation that begins the repair job from the iconoclast’s destruction.  The ravages inflicted upon us will require re-learning, embracing hope, building faith, and acting charitably through faith and hope to act charitably first to ourselves, then to our families and friends, and then to the broader societies we all live in.  Whether you embrace a religious community or not, the imperative to “Shun the obscene:” the need to sow better crops to reap a more desirable harvest valued by others is universal.  Not to create fervor and fanaticism, but to create a people dedicated to improving ourselves and after improving ourselves to improve the world around us.

May we all enjoy a better harvest is my hope!

© Copyright 2022 – 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 images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.