NO MORE BS: Change vs. Knowledge

Guns and Liberals - A Pipe DreamWhile reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge.  What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.

What is Knowledge?Detective 2

Knowledge is a formula:

Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time

During the knowledge process, change happens.  Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues.  The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge.  I love the show “Married with Children.”  In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle.  The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”

What is change?

Non Sequitur - ClassicChange is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming.  There is nothing to fear in change.  Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change.  During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?”  Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization.  I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.

That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become.  Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot.  Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.

Why is this important?Leap Day

To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?”  For that which you desire, you will change to acquire.  Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.”  His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team.  Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.

A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife.  They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem.  This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired.  My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place.  Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.

Detective 4That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  As a kid, I wanted a book.  Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00.  I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book.  Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday.  I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.”  Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.

Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire.  Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency?  What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire?  What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?

Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?

Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Therein lay the caution.  Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition.  But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making.  During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.”  Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.

Never Give Up!Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable.  Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained.  Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful.  Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful.  You choose; choose wisely!

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

NO MORE BS: Hope, Faith, Confidence, and Your Money

Life ValuedImagine you are going about your daily duties and visit the grocery store.  Where for a specific amount of confidence and hope, you complete an exchange for a product groceries.  Another trip sees you investing hope and faith in retirement using confidence to help protect against the vagaries of the future.  April 15th is fast approaching, where confidence in the government is measured through tax revenue, and government officials then spend your confidence on various projects where you hope the investment will be rewarded by improved roads, better economic conditions, and safety inside defensible and sovereign boundaries.

What is Hope?

Hope, according to Webster, is a feeling of trust, as an extension of an expectation, and desire, that something will occur.  For example, I hope for my diet to work, as I desire to lose weight, an expectation that exercise will aid in losing weight, and trust that my weight will reduce over time.  Does this make sense?

Wasting TimeI ask, because too often, when hope is mentioned, people immediately tie religious expectations and connotations to the word, then plasticize hope into being something it is not.  Hope is not an end goal but the journey to an expectation born of desire and bounded by trust in a system that supports a person’s hope.

What is Faith?

As detailed by Webster, Faith is both an expression of religion’s doctrines and complete trust or an expression of confidence.  Faith is the launch process of hope.  Going back to my desire and expectation to lose weight, I have trust that the doctor was correct in ordering me to lose weight.  Hence, my conviction in the doctor’s words is an expression of faith, and my action is putting faith and hope to work actually to lose weight.

Never Give Up!Complete trust is observable all around us daily, from inserting the key into the car ignition to start a car to the hours spent working where we trade our time (a precious resource) for a tangible item (paycheck) and in so many other ways and means.  Consider grocery shopping; we make selections using our best judgment, with complete trust that the products purchased will not make us sick from food-borne illness or the ignorant or malicious actions of other people.  Why does spitting in a police officer’s cup of coffee make us mad; because it breaks that complete trust that the same will not happen to us.

What is Confidence?

Detective 4Confidence is a unique term, and Webster spends an inordinate amount of time trying to capture the power of, and reality is confidence.  Confidence is “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities; firm trust, a specific feeling  regarding the truth of something, a feeling or belief upon the reliance of someone or something.”  The key to confidence is your own self-assurance.  For example, you are assured through past transactions that your employer is not kiting paychecks.  Your confidence in receiving a salary drives you to be motivated and return to work each day.  When that trust is broken, you will leave and find new employment.  Hence, people do not work for companies, but for managers and leaders, they like.

Confidence is a reality when many people all have trust in the same thing, which creates societies, social standards, and governments.  Confidence in the government is expressed using the government’s monetary system to trade for products and services you would not have if you had less confidence in the government system.  Firm trust in the “value of the US Dollar (insert your own currency here)” leads to gains and losses in economic values.  Consider the events of the Christmas Holiday, which is fast approaching.  The individual expresses confidence, faith, and hope in holiday shopping.  The government uses the data of the volume of trades of confidence as a measuring stick in how well they are doing in government to improve a person’s return on investment.  Shopkeepers, stores, and others selling products and services represent a two-way street of faith, hope, and confidence as they trade with customers and with other suppliers, government, and stakeholders in conducting business.

ResilienceConfidence is never an unconscious decision!  One cannot have firm trust, faith, or hope, in something without being consciously aware and possessing experience and knowledge in that someone or something.  Hence, confidence is the conscious use of trust as a destination in the journey of hope, launched by faith.

What is spent when money exchanges hands?

Confidence, faith, and hope.  But, you claim, “That was my money.”  Really, what value does your money have?  The answer is nothing!  If I give you a piece of cloth/paper stamped with a 20 symbol on it, you interpret this as a $20 bill, having the value of 20 dollars, pounds, euros, etc.  That which we call money is nothing but faith, hope, and confidence in a governing system where products and services are exchanged for time and faith and hope through our individual confidence in the government.  But the reality is that the piece of paper/cloth is nothing, has no value, and can do nothing without the express faith, hope, and confidence of the one trading services or products for that value statement.

Dane-GeldBy removing the Gold Standard from money, we stopped trading in a fungible and tactile substance (Gold, Silver, Grain, Salt, Animal Hides, etc.).  We began trading in a measured system of confidence as provided by the government.  Your “money” is nothing but your faith and trust in the government sponsoring your system of confidence be that confidence called a US Dollar, a Rial, a Pound Sterling, a Euro, etc., you deal in nothing but confidence.  Raw products with tradable value, grain, precious metals, oil, etc., are all injected into the monetary system through investment and speculation markets, not the individual farmer, rancher, miner, etc.  Who receive their wages not through trading their products but by trading their efforts and time with their confidence in an employer-supported by a functioning government system.

Your Money!

I love this phrase!  Rather, I like asking the question, “What does ‘Your Money’ mean to you personally?”  The answers never cease to amaze and horrify me.  I asked a 20-something this question and was told it was what they spent on college.  So, I wondered does your education and academic success provide the value of the investment of money?  To which, the 20-something had no coherent answer.  Let me be clear, the value of an academic gamble is not found in the money made with an employer but in the power of changing how you think and approach the world. Educational costs have far exceeded the value of the academic experience.  The connection between the value and cost of education is warped and twisted, and the only people winning are governments, unions, and the controllers of educational experiences.

Detective 4If I hold a piece of paper/cloth with 100 stamped upon it, I could claim I have money.  Except, I do not have money; I have a bit of cloth/paper with ink declaring that piece of cloth/paper had value, but only if I trust that government.  Consider the trouble Venezuela is currently in, the thin ice of economic problems Mexico, Greece, France, and so many other countries exist presently.  The confidence in those government systems is shaken.  The value of that currency is weak compared to other currencies.  If a blacksmith in Ohio produces a sword, and similarly skilled blacksmiths create the same sword in Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Peru, and Cuba, why does the value of that sword change?  Are the sweat and efforts of the blacksmiths different; no!  Does the value of experience change; no!  Did the cost of gaining that knowledge, experience, and talent change; no!  Is the steel cost to mine different; only because the governments’ currencies are different.  Does the value of the sword adequately represent the value of the currency exchanged; more than likely, No!

What is “Your Money?”  For when we lose confidence in the government, the value of the currency slips, which leads to expressions of fear, a lack of faith, and a refusal of the citizens to hope and trust.  Recently, I had a statement arrive declaring I had XX thousand dollars in a retirement account.  Is the value of those funds found in the report received; no!  The value of those “retirement funds” is located in the government system’s future, invested with faith, on a journey of hope to the time that I can remove those funds without being taxed to death.  If the value of the dollar goes down, those retirement funds are useless.  If the dollar’s value goes up, more faith, hope, and confidence are being invested in the government operations over time.

LinkedIn ImageA “Liberty FIRST Culture” understands their money relationships to government, is engaged in preventing government abuse as that leads to lower values of currency, and the lower the value of a currency, the more expensive products and services become.  Kate, the blacksmith from the (2001) movie “Knight’s Tale,” is absolutely correct, “Each drop of sweat has a price!”  But the price of that sweat is not always competitive with the currency used to remunerate that effort, all because of hope, faith, and confidence in the government managing the currency.  Think about that the next time you are asked to vote!

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

NO MORE BS: Bureaucratic Fiat, a Veteran Suicide – Scrutinizing the Government

ApathyThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in trouble due primarily to the employees’ lack of written directions, procedures, and processes to complete work.  Of the poor Veterans Health Administration (VHA), there is none worse than the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital system in Phoenix, AZ.  I support this conclusion with both personal observations and through comparative analysis.  Much research has gone into this conclusion, and while there are other VHA’s that compete for the bottom, the clear winner remains the Phoenix VA Medical Center (VAMC).

What is bureaucratic fiat?

Bureaucratic fiat is government employees who make decisions in their positions who rigidly adhere to any rule not to perform their job, inconvenience the customer, or thwart responsibility, accountability, and maintain their positions.  Bureaucratic fiat survives sections from the Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) through designed incompetence, lack of training, confusing processes, unwritten rules and guidelines, and simple negligence.

LinkedIn VA ImageVeteran Suicide!

Outside of first responders and active military, the suicide rates of veterans are too high and rising.  The suicide rate is disgusting to behold and tragic beyond words.  Of all the topics I discuss, veteran suicide remains my pet topic.  When veterans or military members (Reserve, National Guard, or Active) commit suicide, this rips a hole in communities, families, and the guilt the family and friends carry is so intense, they struggle not to commit suicide themselves.

Scrutinizing the Government!

DetectiveThe VA-OIG reported on a veteran who committed suicide, with ties to the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix.  The veteran reported to the hospital, asking for help.  The VA-OIG found that processes were intentionally not followed.  Help was not forthcoming, and the veteran committed suicide before the VA got their thumbs out and offered this veteran help.  The VA-OIG found the following:

      • “While the patient awaited the testing, facility staff failed to offer mental health treatment.
      • The social worker did not complete a suicide risk assessment and relied on another social worker’s suicide risk assessment completed eight months prior.
      • A family member called and left a voicemail message for the social worker. However, the social worker’s documentation did not include essential information, specifically that the patient died by suicide.
      • Upon learning of the patient’s death by suicide, a Suicide Prevention Coordinator failed to complete timely documentation of outreach to the patient’s family… the mental health delegate did not approve the community care psychology consult within three business days, as required by VHA.
      • The third-party administrator scheduled the patient for therapy rather than psychodiagnostics testing.
      • The facility scheduling staff did not complete required outreach efforts when the patient missed a primary care appointment one day before the patient’s death by suicide.
      • The Suicide Prevention Coordinator did not complete the patient’s behavioral health autopsy within 30 days, as required.”

One incident, one VAMC, one veteran, and nothing from the VA will protect veterans and improve the adherence to the policies and procedures moving forward; why even investigate by the VA-OIG?.  I weep with this family who lost their loved one to suicide.  I scream in frustration that the VA can continue to kill veterans struggling with suicide with impunity.

Detective 3Do not be deceived; this is not the only incident in Phoenix or all of the VA Healthcare System.  A veteran reaches out for help with suicide ideation, receives bureaucratic nonsense instead of support, and is treated to the red tape that becomes the noose in the suicide of that veteran.  One event a year is a tragedy of epic proportions.  The list never seems to end, nor do the bureaucrats ever get held accountable for their inactivity, contributing to veteran suicide.

12 November 2020, The Military Times reported that from 22005 through 2018, veterans committing suicide had risen dramatically, to a high in 2014 of 6,587.  Is the epicness of this tragedy more apparent?  Presuming that each of these veterans had two parents who came together and invested time to create the child that became the veteran,  13,174 parents now weep to lose their son or daughter who committed suicide.  According to the US Census, families in America had 1.9 children per couple (2014), rounding up to 26,348 is the potential parents and grandparents affected by suicide, and 52,696 is the pool when siblings are added.  If each of these suicides had a significant other, with two parents and two siblings, the potential affected by suicide is now approximately 105,392.  Add employers, friends from employment, communities, and educational or academic acquaintances, and the number of people affected by suicide can quickly reach a million people.  I used 2014 as the year to base the numbers upon as this was the highest number currently available, but 2020 saw a dramatic increase in suicide among all age groups and those with the Census delays; I doubt America will learn the full impact from COVID government madness any time soon.

LookNow, consider the following, each of those veterans who committed suicide in 2014 (6,587) had a suicide prevention team in place at the VA who failed to act.  6,587 people who deserved better treatment at the hands of the government employees, who have pledged to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.  Failed the veteran and played a role in the suicide of the veteran.  Rarely do the veterans who commit suicide, in VA parking spots, on Federal property receive the attention they deserve.  I am intimately aware of one such issue with the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque.  The veteran could not get help, became frustrated, walked to his car, and killed himself.

2019, The Washington Times, who proudly continues to declare that “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” ran a story about veterans who take their lives on VA Campuses, is a “form of protest” against the VA Healthcare system.  No, this is not generally the case; the veteran is not protesting; they are fed up with the fight to be respected, noticed, and receive assistance from people who have pledged to fulfill the Department of Veterans Affairs Mission Statement.  To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.”

DutyI demand to know where are the legislative branches of government in scrutinizing the operations at the VA?  Why are suicide rates allowed to climb without significant input from the legislative branch?  Why are veterans, directly after an encounter with the VA bureaucracy, committing suicide without in-depth investigations where heads roll for failing to perform the most basic customer service in fulfilling the VA’s Mission Statement?

While an employee of the VA, to get to the directors of the hospital’s offices, I had to walk past this mission statement that hung on brass letters, and all my attempts to aid in change fell on brass ears and plastic lips!  Every time the VA-OIG reports another death by suicide, death by negligence, with ties directly to VA employees not performing their jobs, I want to scream in frustration!  Veteran suicide rates are egregiously high, and for veterans to commit suicide within 96 hours of a visit to the VA is 100% unacceptable!  Why 96 hours; because to date, this is the longest time between actions by the VAMC and the death by suicide the VA-OIG has reported where VA employees should have been held accountable for their refusals to act in a manner to prevent a veteran from committing suicide.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceAfter over a decade of reading and reporting VA-OIG reports and investigations, the deaths by suicide and negligence are the ones that raise my ire the most!  I would see the VA improve, but until the VA admits, or is forced by elected representatives to admit, they have a problem, nothing will change.  But the horror in that sentence is that veterans will continue to commit suicide and die through VA Employee negligence, and their deaths are as unremarked as if these heroes were common criminals who died in a prison brawl.  This remains an abysmal testimony to the incompetence and uncaring bureaucrat found in the VA’s vaunted halls!

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

Operations and Praise – The Connection and The Power

Early in the first decade of the new century, a lot of research originated regarding the power of praise in the workplace.  The problem, it appears that this lesson has been ignored, avoided, or abused.  Business operations cannot long sustain energy in employees on a day-to-day basis without incentives; however, the individual employee chooses that which is valuable to them as an incentive.  Want a universal tool to help maintain and sustain employee motivation, issue praise!

Andragogy - The PuzzleWhat is praise?

Praise is an expression of approval or admiration, according to Webster.  Except, this does not frame a reference for what praise truly does or embodies.  Hence, when reviewing Webster, one must look further than the first one or two definitions, for then we find an expression of respect and gratitude.  Unfortunately, this definition of praise is often restricted to religious societies or the worship of a deity.  Yet, when we speak of praise, expressing respect and gratitude is precisely what is needed when we discuss business and motivating employees.

Etiology of praise.

From Latin, praise originates in the word pretium (price), then later Latin as pretiare and is compared to the word prize.  Consider this for a moment, a prize motivates competitors, but praise encourages all.  As a point of reference, from Latin to Old French, praise and prize were considered in the same French term preisier.  Hence, the etiology, or history of the word praise, was initially defined as “setting a price upon or attaching value.”  Why is this important; how many people are driven by the price or the value attached to an item?  Now, translate this to human interactions, and we find the need for attaching value to a relationship between people as a human need.  People need praise to ascertain their value to another person.  A critical aspect of human interrelationships is the willingness of people to issue praise to other people.Courage

Praise can be a compliment; Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”  A compliment is issuing praise, attaching value, and providing a person a prize.  When researchers used fMRI to look at the brain, issuing praise to a person was equal to giving someone cash!  Better still, praise lowers blood pressure, releases chemicals in the brain to form relationships, and so much more;  yet, we too often disregard the complete etiology of praise and sacrifice praise to religious communities and never issue a kind word.

Identity and Ideology predict behavior!

This point cannot be stressed enough; identity is how someone evaluates themselves.  Ideology is the identity placed into action when no one is looking.  Identity and Ideology feed into behavior in many ways, but generally comes down to the following reason: “I want respect from someone else and to gain that respect, will sacrifice identity, and shift my Ideology.”  Consider a thief who wants to change his behavior. He first must overcome his identity of a thief.  In choosing to overcome being a thief, they will sacrifice their current identity and peer relationships to meet the new identity’s desires will eventually reshape their Ideology and behaviors.

Life ValuedLet’s presume that our thief has found a religious type, a moral lifestyle that is sincerely desired; this thief values more the new identity than the current identity and will force themselves to adopt that which is valued by the religious society selected.  Hence, the thief will make different choices for thinking, acting, and believing as a means to learning new behaviors for the opportunity to belong to a new society that is regarded better than a thief’s culture.  Hence the connection between praise and desire to relate to something or someone new.

Types of praise and limitations!

There are three different types of praise:

      1. Personal Praise: One-on-One praise, an individual focus upon talents and skills that you desire to see more of in future behaviors.
      2. Effort-Based Praise: Emphasizes what people can control, behavior, attitude, and actions.
      3. Behavior-Specific Praise: Evidence-based and promotes helping the person see how well they are doing.

LookLimitations:

      1. Praise must be honest!  False praise will destroy people, wreck chaos, and manipulate situations into creating more people relationships.
      2. Praise must be regularly made! If you are not going to issue praise regularly, do not start issuing praise!
      3. Praise must be unbiased! Unbiased praise means everyone receives praise equally.  If employee A does something and receives praise, then employee C does the same thing but doesn’t receive praise, then praise is being issued in a biased manner, and problems arise!
      4. Issue praise regardless of risk. Risk in praise generally leans more heavily towards personal praise being issued, where the individual fears the risk of taking a chance.
      5. Never confuse or mix praise and criticism. Some people preach the “Sandwich Method” for issuing praise or putting criticism between giving praise initially and at the end of a conversation.  Mixing praise and criticism is NEVER a good idea!
      6. Praise can be used to correct behavior, but never punish using praise as it creates confusion.

The power of praise!

ToolsGovernor Anderson Elementary School, Belfast, Maine, I spent a LOT of time in Principal Murphy’s office for classroom behavior issues.  All these many years later, I remember walking into her office, seeing all the red-ink reports on current behavior problems, and receiving praise.  The principal knew I deserved a tongue lashing, I knew I deserved a tongue lashing, but I received praise, which made all the difference!  I left that office more motivated to change and live differently from any previous tongue lashings and punishments.

Better still, I was not the only recipient of praise correction who fundamentally changed their behavior to obtain additional praise from Principal Murphy.  I had several friends who experienced the same treatment from Principal Murphy, and we have all lived differently from that moment.  The best part, I have used this event several times and witnessed the power of praise in advancing a person from one lifestyle to another and succeed.

I worked in a call center; the Vice President walked around with two different colored post-it notes in his pocket.  Praise was one color and was issued directly upon witnessing the behavior, and if there were growth opportunities, that was handed to the supervisor for a private conversation.  Better still, the praise notes were allowed in the annual evaluation as a critical piece of proof of how good you were and improved your score for potentially earning a bonus or a pay raise.

Duty 3What is the power of praise; incalculable!  Hence, if you find yourself in problems with employees’ behaviors, if you need to increase employee motivation if you need to change a company culture, issue praise!  Start issuing honest, sincere, and unbiased praise.  Create praise moments by actively looking for the good your employees are currently doing.  Praise is an excellent segue into training an employee to improve.  For example, “You are doing a great job counting this inventory; are you aware of methods to increase productivity?”

Praise is like clay; how you employ praise will directly influence the final product!

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

NO MORE BS: The Role of the Rule of Law

GavelRome made global history when it wrote down its laws and posted these laws in a manner that told everyone that the law was the highest order in the land, and everyone is held to the same legal standard.  Writing down laws was nothing new in societies; the Jews had written and codified their laws long before Rome, but to hold everyone accountable to the same legal standard set Rome apart and blessed their land.  Why did Rome eventually fall; they stopped holding everyone responsible to one rule of law.

What is the Role of Law?

Ask a lawyer this question, and you will get a similar answer to the following:

Laws provide a framework and rules to help resolve disputes between individuals. Laws create a system where individuals can bring their disputes before an impartial fact-finder, such as a judge or jury.”

Frankly, my experience with lawyers is as productive as my relationship with the VA, hostile and not productive.  Hence, I infer that the law’s role in society is to bring order to a social environment, produce equality under the law, and punish those who decide to break the law.  Law is an expectation, a social contract, that restricts and constricts behavior to a socially acceptable level.

Thin Blue LineConsider today’s tragic events in Boulder, Colorado.  Before the blood was even clean at the scene, we have the President and selected hysterical gun-grabbing politicians making hay and demanding “gun reform.”  Except, “Gun Reform” always means stealing guns from legal owners and doing nothing about illegal gun holders.  Nothing is being urged to avoid and eliminate criminal behaviors with a firearm.  The Rule of Law’s role only applies to those who choose to live according to society’s laws and rules.  Those choosing to live outside society’s rules are terrorists and need to be treated as such!

President Lincoln is quoted thus:

Let every American, every lover of Liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their abuse by others. As the Patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America]… become the political religion of the nation.” President Lincoln is quoted thus: “Let every American, every lover of Liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their abuse by others. As the Patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America]… become the political religion of the nation.”

President Lincoln continued to proclaim:

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made, I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, “Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois” (January 27, 1838), p. 112.

Does President Lincoln’s plea inspire you, encourage you, and provide direction for improving the government moving forward?  The role of the “Rule of Law” is to empower and motivate people, to create order in a society, and to constrict and restrict behaviors for those choosing to live outside societal norms and acceptable behaviors.  Is the role of the “Rule of Law” clear?

President AdamsWhat is the “Rule of Law?”

As President Lincoln was quoted above, the “Rule of Law” in America is:

“[The] support of the Declaration of Independence, the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America] … become the political religion of the nation.”

Are laws currently abusing America; absolutely!  Herein is the charge to action; the government has chosen to declare you are the US Government’s property (Reich, 1964).  Charles Reich’s discussion on “New Property” is unacceptable and unconstitutional in the extreme.  The lack of treating the western states in a constitutional manner is also unconstitutional.  The theft of farmer’s goods, fisherman’s wares, and ranchers’ products remain 100% unconstitutional.  Yet, the bureaucrats’ actions and the politicians continue to treat you and me as unwanted property in our own country.

ApathyLike Rome, the legislators and the President are not above the “Rule of Law.”  Even though these people continue to consider themselves above the “Rule of Law.”  Worse, no matter how many laws a country produces, if the society is immoral, the “Rule of Law” is a joke.  Consider the knife and machete attacks in the United Kingdom, outlaw guns, and people are still finding ways and means to hurt other people.  France has stringent laws, yet people rent vehicles and mow their neighbors down in case lots.  Japan, very orderly society; how do criminals make the news there; they use chemicals to poison their neighbors on a subway.  Laws do not dictate moral behavior, ever!

Laws can only, ever, restrict and constrain those amenable to living a moral life.  A “Liberty FIRST Culture” understands this principle and protects itself accordingly.  Bringing this topic to a subject closely related to the “Rule of Law,” morals, morality, and moral living are all products of people amenable to religious belief structures.  Those people who desire to maintain connections to a religious society act their ideology through living a moral life.

Life ValuedI am not saying everyone needs to change religions; I am claiming that religion plays a significant role in reducing people’s animal minds to become amenable to living in a social order that respects the law and being ruled by law to enjoy maximum freedom.  We also need to be clear, atheism is a religion per Webster, and while this is a topic for another article, religion is a codified belief system with adherents that form a social order based upon expectations of behavior.  Liberty and freedom require choices; choices require more than a single option or two for a person to make more; Liberty and freedom require written and codified moral statements that grow from living a moral lifestyle.

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

Atheism – A Religion: Understanding Brings Knowledge

Are we in trouble?  We didn't do it!!!
Are we in trouble? We didn’t do it!!!

Public Service Announcement:  I cannot find where I originally posted this article.  So I edited the article, and am re-posting here.  Please note, I respect people’s choices to believe as they will, provided their beliefs do not interfere with the liberty of someone else to worship as they please.  The same day I originally wrote this article, the following fictional analogy came across my feed, and I include it here as a point of interest.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: ‘Do you believe in life after delivery?’
The other replied, ‘Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.’
‘Nonsense,’ said the first. ‘There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?’
The second said, ‘I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.’
The first replied, ‘That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.’
The second insisted, ‘Well, I think there is something, and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.’
The first replied, ‘Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.’
‘Well, I don’t know,’ said the second, ‘but certainly we will meet Mother, and she will take care of us.’
The first replied, ‘Mother? Do you actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, then where is She now?’
The second said, ‘She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.’
Said the first: ‘Well, I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.’
To which the second replied, ‘Sometimes, when you’re in silence, and you focus, and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.’” (Pablo Molinero).

Detective 3Recently, Atheist Republic posted a question on LinkedIn that was intriguing and promoting a multi-week discussion.  As I seemed to have kicked over an anthill, I figured I would expound on the principles discussed to more fully detail why atheism is just another religion.  Agree or disagree as you choose; however, all I ask is your consideration of the ideas discussed.  Through the use of language and the accepted definitions from reputable sources, I posit that atheists and theists are closer together than they are apart.  Atheists have taken for their religion the only belief that separates, a cognitive refusal to believe in god, God, or gods, as supreme authorities in the cosmos.  Other items that can be considered religions include daily routines.  When taken too far, consumerism becomes a religion to those thus engaged, as do sports, debt, and any other belief that creates enthusiasm in the individual.  Many theists will find significant support among atheists regarding these different beliefs.

Religious ThoughtAtheists do not have a belief structure in god, God, and gods.  An absolute insistence that there are no supreme beings is a belief structure and an organized belief system.  Consider for a moment that a particular religion believes that a gigantic beet runs the universe; the atheist would automatically reject this for lack of evidence.  Star Trek: Next Generation had “Q,” a potent being in the galaxy; again, a supreme power the atheist will reject out of hand.  I met an atheist and a theist who both insisted that their belief systems allowed them to be rude, crude, disrespectful, and so forth as a method of worshiping and acting — proving, to me, that individual belief is stronger than training and the traditions of their parents, communities, and society.  Two more miserable people I have never found an equal; yet, together, these two people found and lived after their manner and understanding of happiness.

As an organized belief structure, and in the most exact definition of the word, atheism is a religion.  Every person spouting non-belief is a belief structure.  In describing their beliefs to others, which begins with, “I believe…”  More to the point, Webster, the accepted repository for words, has religion defined as “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.”  It is of supreme importance to atheists to not believe anything; thus, we can only conclude that atheism is a religion.

President AdamsI have found that atheists have a specific personal belief structure regarding god, God, or gods that then is projected onto others.  While many times the atheists are not finding their expected belief structure reflected, the atheist becomes hostile to all others they come in contact with and attempt to change other people’s beliefs through legal or other force mechanisms.  Individual belief, even if not shared, can be considered a religion to that person; hence, Webster’s definition is very accurate and applicable to this discussion.  Regardless of the belief in god, God, or gods, there are other beliefs of supreme importance to the atheist that makes up their religion.  The Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary carries a similar definition, “an activity that someone is extremely enthusiastic about and regularly does.”

Religion QuoteHenry Chester is quoted as saying, enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world; it beats money, power, and influence; it is nothing more than faith in action.  Not believing in, or following, a god, God, or gods is of supreme importance to atheists. Other beliefs are based upon the personal theology and behavior, dogma, mantra, etc., of the person. Thus, those beliefs range from abortion through environmental activities and feelings to the power of food, science, and so much more. Without a core written tenet, the only belief that is universally accepted as distinguishing atheists from theists is the belief in god, God, or gods.

According to Webster and Cambridge, religion carries the following definitions and related words. “ideas about the relationship between science and religion.”  Synonymous with: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching,  doctrine, theology, sect, cult, religious group, faith community, church, denomination, body, following, persuasion, affiliation.  “A particular system of faith and worship.”  Synonymous with: faith, religion, religious belief(s), religious persuasion, religious conviction, religious group, faith community, church, persuasion, affiliation, denomination, sect, following, communion order, school, fraternity, brotherhood, and sisterhood.

Religion Quote 2One of the most egregious issues in our world today is the plasticization of words to exclude all definitions, but the “common” definition, usually known as the first definition found in a dictionary.  Common definitions do not provide the complete etiology of a word; thus, closing minds to the language’s glory.  As a noun, theology defines as “religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.”  Hence, when taken together, religion being beliefs that are of supreme importance, when systematically considered and developed, can be attached to any belief one chooses to raise to the level of devotion.  Even non-belief is regarded as a religion and theology.  People have chosen belief structures that include thousands of different topics, including, but not limited to, people, animals, and methods of living.  I have met footballers, American and European, whose devotion to their sport is a religion!  I know one religion that worships making beer; thus, belief and non-belief in god, God, or gods is not so farfetched.

We could speak about lines of congruence, paradox, and assimilation brought about by religious organizations, including the fellowship reward obtained by adherence to a specific religious flavor.  We could speak about how everything that exists in theism is directly observable in atheism.  Atheism and those claiming to be atheists are a religious organization in every meaning and aspect of Webster’s definition. Substitute god, God, or gods, with whatever is the most substantial item clung to, e.g., science, math, football, consumerism, abortion, climate change, etc., and you have a type of religiousness recognizable by every theist in existence.

Non Sequitur - Carpe DiemAtheists and Theists have a belief structure centered around god, God, or gods. I have met many beautiful people who were raised in homes with a belief structure that was absent a centrally recognized god, God, or gods, whom theists would term “non-believers,” atheists would term “atheists,” and both terms would not apply.  To first be a theist or atheist, one must have been taught about a god, God, or gods.  The people I discuss have a belief structure and system made from their fathers/mothers, tribes, and society’s traditions.  Thus, they are not unbelievers or non-believers, as they have a belief structure and system.  They are not atheists as they have not been taught god, God, or gods; thus, the only term I know to use is “person.”  We choose the labels we call ourselves.

If atheism is not a religion, why do atheists cling to the “Freedom of Religion” clause in the US Constitution? Why do atheists cling to the Freedom of religion clauses in all countries allowing Freedom of religion and then try to warp the laws of those countries into Freedom from religion?  It seems atheists cannot claim “Freedom of religion” and not be a religion.

moral-valuesInherent to understanding Freedom of religion, by necessity, requires understanding “Freedom from religion.”  However, a specific set of beliefs that a person is enthusiastic about forms a religious belief; thus, the phrase “Freedom from religion” itself is a misnomer and fallacy.  The separation of church and state is meant to protect your right to believe and not believe in a supreme being, defending your beliefs from government oppression.  Then no religion can claim authority over others, and all are equal and free to exist without fear. Atheists are covered by the Freedom of religion, as are theists.  The Freedom of Religion clause in the US Constitution implies a people can rid themselves of all religion as a personal choice and ritual, without cause to fear reprisals from any government body.

Atheists cannot have it both ways, claiming Freedom of religion, then demanding Freedom from religion, all at the expense of other religions! Hence, returning to the original point, atheism is a religion.  Atheism is an organized belief structure centered around the refusal, after being taught, of god, God, and gods.  Atheism is a belief system where the refusal to believe in god, God, or gods, then cultivates an entire process of a belief that leads to action, enthusiasm for those stated beliefs, e.g., or non-beliefs, as a tool for governing behavior.

Freedom's LightDogma, “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”  This definition is straight from Webster and a congruent description found in the Cambridge dictionary.  By experience, every atheist I have ever crossed paths with, takes upon themselves the authority to lay down the principle of no supreme being, as incontrovertibly true, plus belligerently insists that all others must bow to this belief structure.  I am not saying this makes the atheist right or wrong; I am saying that atheism has a dogma, and is very much a religion, and a religious belief, based solely upon not believing in a supreme being.

In conclusion, I consider the following three points as central to a peaceful society under the US Constitution and inclusive of all state’s laws where religion, and religious free exercise, is concerned:quote-mans-inhumanity-2

      1. The world is not split between theists and atheists. Not believing in a supreme power can be caused by a lack of education and experience. To be an atheist, a choice is required after schooling is provided for Freedom of religion.
      2. Not sharing another person’s theology doesn’t make either person right or wrong. I do not have to share in the rituals of other believers to have a shared identity. Simple respect for those closely held beliefs is all that is needed.
      3. Provided the moral values of a religious belief do not interfere with my rights under the US Constitution, let them worship “… how, where, or what they may.”

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Declaration of Independence

Image - Eagle & FlagThe introduction to The Declaration of Independence contains the following, and as the discussion here commences, look for similarities between 04 July 1776 and 17 March 2021.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“The separate and equal station,” decent respect,” and a “declaration of cause,” these three articles impel separation.  The colonists in America had experienced enough of the tyranny and had collectively decided it was time to declare, “Enough is Enough!”  Ask yourself, do you feel the government at the city/town, county, state, and federal levels of government are treating you equally, with decent respect, under the “Rule of Law,” or do you have a declaration of cause for just complaint?  “Just complaint” is a common theme; we will return to this theme multiple times.

The second sentence of The Declaration of Independence is a long but powerful:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [emphasis mine].–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

What truths do you find; first, “ALL men are equal” [emphasis mine].  For those militant feminists, YES; this includes women, and the use of the term “men” was never separating or degrading women.  Cultural word choice to include all of Adam and Eve’s Family as “men.”

Second, “endowed with unalienable rights, … to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness” [emphasis mine].  Life involves the ability to make choices, others might not like or appreciate the choices, but I have the right to live my life without anyone else’s opinions stealing my liberty to live as I choose.  Happiness is NOT an inalienable right; only the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right.  Do you understand the difference?  We need clarity; inalienable or unalienable refers to that which cannot be given away or taken away.  Hence, the government is not supposed to have the right to interfere in your choices for life, liberty, or your ability to pursue that, making your pursuit of happiness successful.

Let us be clear, pursuing happiness is not a journey on a bed of lilies and rainbows; it is a hard slog through difficulty, challenge, failure, and success.  The less intrusion of government in your personal journey of happiness improves, not hinders your pursuit of happiness.  If the current intrusions of government providing a “just complaint” for your success to pursue happiness?  I know my answers to these questions; I am asking for yours!

The third sentence of The Declaration of Independence claims a human truth:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Of a truth for certain, humans will live with onerous governments out of the ease of the “Devil you know” instead of changing government to relieve suffering.  But, the question remains, where is the line when “Enough is Enough?”  The Declaration of Independence reflects the pattern for when “Enough is Enough,” “while “evils are sufferable.”  Returning us to the theme of The Declaration of Independence, have we reached the ultimate “just complaint” for evil government intrusion into our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

The fourth and fifth sentences of The Declaration of Independence proclaim more details:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

A “just complaint” must include the crimes that form the absolute truth of, and support for, the proclamation of a “just complaint.”  Then, duty empowers throwing off the tyrannical chains and providing new guards for “life, liberty, and pursuing happiness” through a new form of government.  The current 50-states, plus Puerto-Rico, Guam, and other non-states, have you suffered enough under the absolute despotism of the current non-representative government of the United States?

The subsequent two sentences are directed to the King of Great Britain and catalog his crimes against the colonies.  As I review these claims, those quoted from The Declaration of Independence will be italicized, and the current abuses will not be.  To compare and contrast the abuses that were intolerable in 1776 and those abuses currently suffered in 2021.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The US President, Senate, House of Representatives, the Judicial Branch, many governors, and mayors across America refuse to assent to the “Rule of Law” necessary for the public good. They allow those guilty of crimes with money to run roughshod over the law creating a two-tiered justice system.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

State’s rights have been continually trampled and the US Constitution abused by the elected representatives in conjunction with the Judicial Branch, specifically the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).  Including “Eminent Domain,” “theft of elections through refusing time to investigate electoral fraud,” the Western States not owning the land they are founded upon, and hundreds of other oppressive legal decisions where SCOTUS has trampled the just powers of the legislative branch at the whims of cultural approbation.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

The US Senate and US House of Representatives have refused to pass a budget, live within a budget, and respect the rights of the governed under a representative government. They are bowing to the highly populated coasts and ignoring the rights of all citizens.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

Since the 1940s, the government has changed the legal definition of the term property to include living people, removing the freedom of owning property, and using the bureaucrat to pick winners and losers of government largess, never the bureaucrat’s job in the first place.  The government has retaliated, utilizing the force of government to fatigue complainants and frustrate the citizen into compliance.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

The government has warped the representative nature of US Governance until the invasion of privacy is expected, personal identity theft is a common occurrence, and under unconstitutional FISA Courts made no private citizen safe and secure in their property, papers, or business from abuse by government.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

Using the threats of force through the National Guard and Federal Police, they refused access to the elected representatives to send just grievances to the government directly.  Exposing the American People to the dangers of runaway government without representation.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

From the 1940s, the Federal Government has repeatedly obstructed the legal system for naturalization of foreigners into America, carving out whole programs without legislation through bureaucratic fiat ways and means to create and change US Citizenship’s meaning abusing the citizens of America.  Under the War Powers Act, illegal immigration was concocted to steal jobs from Americans, intern Americans, and these legal thefts of the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness remains a stain on the Seal of the Republic of the United States of America.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

The Federal and State Legislative branches are abdicating their roles to make laws and scrutinize government to the judicial branch, which is an abuse of the citizen!  The elected representatives feel justified in ignoring the judicial branch if the decision goes against the party in power desires and promises.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

Since the “Great Depression,” the government has invented rights, which inflated government, producing bureaucrats to harass, harm, and destroy America through government bloat, all in the name of producing jobs and improving America.  The only jobs delivered are non-productive government jobs, and America has declined as the government has grown, repeating the process multiple times since the 1930s to America’s ever-greater demise!

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

The Government-Military-Industrial pact has never been eradicated.  Politicians have created ways and means to keep the money flowing by using our military ineffectively in wars and activities where America has no business interests, no personal interests, and where the government is the winner.  The soldier, sailor, airmen, and marine are the victims of government inaction and military suffering’s politicization!

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

What exactly is the United Nations but a money pit with hatred and disgust for the United States where Republican Representation is overshadowed by bureaucratic fiat, with no hope of having US Constitutional Law prevail inside American Territory.  The United Nations’ entire reasoning is nefarious and injurious to American Interests at home and abroad, and the injustices caused by the United Nations members must answer to American Jurisprudence!

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

The political wars on taxes without representation remain egregious and harmful to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness inside America.  Unfunded liabilities are a hidden tax on the people and should be unconstitutional, but they remain like a millstone around American Productivity’s neck.  Imposing taxes without the consent of the governed is wrong, and the politicians involved need to be held personally responsible for correcting their crimes against the citizenry.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

FISA Courts, the Patriot Act, and other legislation that established unconstitutional offices in government not overseen and controlled by the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.  To remove the Constitutional Rights of all people living inside 100-miles of the US Border is inexcusable.  No government body should be above the law and outside the representative government’s controls, including and especially, the Federal Reserve, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and FISA Courts.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

Speaking of fundamentally altering the forms of the US Government, debt is doing precisely this, and nobody in the representative government, at any level, wants to address this problem.

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Sound familiar with the words and actions of the militant arm of the Democratic Party through Executive Orders?

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Sound familiar where BLM riots and mobs are treated 180-degrees differently from how the Tea Party was treated?

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Eminent Domain, anyone?  Unconstitutional FISA Courts?  Unconstitutional government and NGO offices who, according to legislation, are beyond the strictures of the US Constitution?  IRS scandal during President Obama’s reign?

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

According to one political party and their media sycophants, does this sound like the Summer of 2020 and every single police incident not politically correct in the United States?

Tell me, truthfully, doesn’t the American People have a “Just complaint” against the current forms and restrictions of bloated government?  Does this quote from The Declaration of Independence sound familiar:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”

What about the following, sounding familiar, from the conservatives, the Tea Party, and others who care about America’s future:

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends [emphasis mine].”

American citizens have been trying to obtain our elected officials’ attention, the same in 1776 as in 2021.  Since the 1980s, the government has routinely turned a deaf ear to anything that smacks of responsible governance in a Representative Republic, and it is past time for this to change.

The conclusion of The Declaration of Independence states:

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor [emphasis mine].”

LinkedIn ImageLong ago, I pledged my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to the United States of America.  I had the privilege of taking this pledge eight times.  I could not go back on that pledge any more than I could chop off my hands and feet.  I vehemently oppose the government in its current life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness theft and beg all who still have a spark of divine freedom to burn ever brighter.  The Declaration of Independence is the greatest of our founding documents and supports the US Constitution and the Articles of Confederation concisely and plausibly.

Join me in insisting on a “Liberty FIRST Culture” in America that this great Republic may live and thrive!

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

NO MORE BS: Extreme Plasticity of Words – Media Tyranny

BiasConsider the following article title from the BBC, “Tragic Optimism’: The Antidote to Toxic Positivity.”  The article discusses coping during COVID, which is trying in the extreme with a pandemic issued for a viral infection with a survivability rate of 98.8%.  With governments across the globe stretching their powers to an almighty height with no logic, the BBC just had to plasticize and spread a little more tyranny.

To the BBC, toxic positivity is a recurring theme,  as one of the “Best of 2019” was “How Positive Thinking is Harming Your Happiness.”  If the BBC is your news source, I must ask, do you feel the BBC is trying to keep you depressed?  The BBC’s Allie Volpe, who authored Tragic Optimism as an antidote for toxic positivity, really stretched to tie these plastic terms to Victor Frankl.  Frankly, I am unsure how the BBC can put up with such foolishness unless they practice modular language tyranny by insisting that being positive and optimistic is toxic and tragic.

DetectiveWhen fighting modular language tyranny, we must have a full and complete understanding of the definitions of the terms plasticized.  Positivity is mainly defined as a practice of being, or an innate tendency, to be positive or optimistic in attitude.  Optimism, understood as a general term, is understood as practicing hopefulness and confidence about the future or a successful outcome.  The dictionary has no entries for “tragic optimism” or “toxic positivity.”  Hence, the only conclusion is to consider the BBC as practicing tyranny through modular language, or stretching words to meet a political agenda, purposefully causing chaos, and attempting to control people through the misunderstanding of words and language!

Theres moreIn searching less reputable sources online for toxic positivity, I find myself shaking my head and laughing hysterically at the mindset of those who would support thinking positively is toxic.  Would one of the modular language tyrants please explain how a person who chooses to look on the positive side of life can be toxic?  Would one of the modular language tyrants please explain how optimism can be “tragic?”

Previously I have recommended Uwe Poerksen’s book, “Plastic Words: The Tyranny of Modular Language.”  I keep hoping this book will soon be available on digital devices, for I promise the book is worth the time to read.  I bought my copy before the hardback version went to $150+ US Dollars.  Still, if you can find a copy of this book, it is highly recommended for it shows precisely how those who consider themselves influencers of culture have adopted language tyranny to control populations.  I was not facetious when I asked if the BBC’s audience is expected to be depressed, someone must ask the BBC why they think they can control optimism and positivity in their audience.

Detective 4One of the most challenging parts of my doctoral degree has been the proliferation of “operational definitions” researchers adopt, which is nothing more than the plasticization of words to fit the researchers’ bias.  The BBC’s articles quote researchers, who have drunk their own Kool-Aid, and gotten high off the power of authoritarian thought and the policing of the emotions of an audience.  Repeatedly, I have gone to research documents from peer-reviewed resources and found the language used so deplorable that I cannot consider that source reputable, usable, or even worthy of my time.  Yet, too often, I have been forced to use materials academically that I would never consider using professionally.  The problem always arises from how a researcher plasticizes (operationally defines) a term to fit the researcher’s intentions just as the BBC has done to try and make optimism and positivity wrong and demean people who choose to be optimistic or positive their emotional choices.

Fighting tyrannical modular language, or the plastic word games people play to control an audience, I suggest the following:

  1. Question terms used that make no sense—demand logical answers.
  2. Know words and definitions; if unsure, ask SIRI, look the terms up in multiple dictionaries, but don’t rely upon one source for a definition.
  3. When in doubt, practice #2, then #1 until you are less confused. I have found those working to plasticize words cannot stand scrutiny.
  4. Sunshine disinfectant works when tyranny is found; put the tyrant in the sunshine and watch them become a vampire!

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” will not allow words to become plastic to the ruination of all!Never Give Up!

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

NO MORE BS: Affirmative Action – A Discussion

Non Sequitur - ClassicI wonder if maybe affirmative action is not just dead but ready for the waste pits of history.  I was refused a schedule at a McDonald’s in a small Utah town after being hired and trained.  Why; because a local workforce specialist pointed out to the franchise owner they had no mentally challenged people in their workforce.  Thus, in a time of depression, where college-degreed people competed for entry-level jobs, I and ten others were “bumped” from the schedule to accommodate affirmative action.

Cohen (1996) affirmed federal hiring has a set of laws, with exceptions for every rule, to justify not hiring individuals.  I have personally witnessed this in Albuquerque, NM, for the better part of three years.  All while there are specific laws in Albuquerque to hire veterans first.  Law does nothing but provide excuses for manipulators to excuse their behaviors.

Literary FiendAt the V.A. Hospital, the Forestry Service, Social Security Offices, and so many more local, state, and federal government offices, the hiring managers refuse to hire veterans.  Using every trick, legal loophole, and multiple other hiring paths to keep “undesired people” from being hired.  “Undesired people” includes people with handicaps.  Even though through Schedule A hiring, Federal Policy claims they have top priority in government hiring and veterans, spouses, and dependents with specific federal benefits, minorities (including men, people of color of all shades, American Indians, etc.).  All the best jobs, positions, and perks are awarded through nepotism and the court of public opinion.  The hiring system is structured in such a way as to remain in legal compliance to affirmative action while denying those for whom the law was supposed to help.  Thus, affirmative action is a shield protecting lousy behavior instead of as a tool to improve workforce hiring.

Detective 3Harasztosi and Lindner (2015) discussed how the minimum wages cost jobs and excluded the neediest citizens from employment.  I contend that affirmative action has negatively impacted minorities, men and women, disabled people, etc., most significantly using the principles and logic of Harasztosi and Lindner (2015).  Rules demanding social behavior always most significantly and negatively impact those designed in the law to enjoy the most benefit.  It seems to me the following from John Adams applies, the U.S. Constitution “… was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Hence, the path forward is not more laws to avoid, but less.  The way forward is the societal education in morals as governed through a religious society; atheism is a religious society, and the belief structure fits well in the path ahead.

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

Detective 4Sykes (1995) defined affirmative action as “… [T]he set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” As promising as this sounds, affirmative action remains the biggest farce crammed down the business community’s throats since the Federal Income Tax. By focusing, as this definition states on “eliminating discrimination past and present,” the entire country forgets the wise words from Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that is why it is called the present.” By focusing on the past, we project the same problems of the past into the future, ruining both the present and the future.

No, affirmative action is not necessary, needed, or applicable; affirmative action, and the diversity programs replacing affirmative action, were never required, useful, or valuable enough to create from whole-cloth the legal precedent to justify affirmative action (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). No, the short answer, no, remains clear, Affirmative Action was not needed in 1964 and is still not needed today.  In 1964 when the Civil Rights Legislation was passed, the educational and experience gap between those working and not working caused pay problems, yet new professional opportunities naturally occurred as educational opportunities increased.  No affirmative action was needed.

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

VirtueThese are my thoughts, and I welcome your comments on this topic.  A “Liberty FIRST Culture” allows for disagreements in opinions as a means to improving a situation.  I have listed my sources for the views shared.  I have listed my experience with affirmative action.  Feel free to disagree and comment accordingly.

References

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

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

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

Harasztosi, P. & Lindner, A. (2015). Who pays for the minimum wage? UC Berkeley.

Hawkins, J., & Sowell, T. (2011). Right-wing news: Interview with Thomas Sowell. Retrieved from http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/sowell.php

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO MORE BS: The Honest Minimum Wage Discussion

Calvin & Hobbes - Pragmatic PrinciplesThe following is a brief history of the minimum wage in America.

President Roosevelt asked the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, “What happened to that nice unconstitutional you tucked away? [emphasis mine]”  President Roosevelt was speaking of the “Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).”  The 1938 FLSA Act generally applied to employees engaged in interstate commerce or the production of goods for interstate commerce.  FLSA (1938) demanded specific workers be paid a minimum wage of $.025 an hour while also setting the maximum workweek to 44 hours.  Passing FLSA (1938) ran a gauntlet of Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions before and after being passed into legislation, and those SCOTUS decisions continue to influence FLSA even today.

FLSA (1938) has been revised several times by Congressional Legislation, and in 1961 Amendments extended coverage primarily to employees in large retail and service enterprises and local transit, construction, and gasoline service station employees.  It also increased the Federal Minimum Wage to $1.00, but wage disparity remained where original minimum wage earners were concerned who continued to earn $1.15 an hour.

Frank & Ernest - EconomyThe 1966 FLSA Amendments extended coverage to State and local government employees of hospitals, nursing homes, schools, laundries, dry cleaners, and large hotels, motels, restaurants, and farms. Subsequent amendments extended overage to the remaining Federal, State, and local government employees.  That was not protected in 1966 to individual workers in retail and service trades previously exempted and certain domestic workers in private household employment.  The 1938 interstate wage disparity disappeared, and the first two classes of minimum wage earners made $1.40 an hour, while nonfarm and farm employees made $1.00 an hour.

FLSA revisions in 1977 saw legislation passed to start 1978 with all covered employees earning $2.65 an hour.  This FLSA revision was important as now the wage disparity between groups of employees was finally eradicated, and FLSA finally applied to all workers.

Frank & Ernest - ITGrandfather FLSA clause – Employees who do not meet the tests for individual coverage, and whose employers were covered by the FLSA on March 31, 1990, and fail to meet the increased annual dollar volume (ADV) test for enterprise coverage, must continue to receive at least $3.35 an hour.  A piece of legislation that was a sop to the president and a contentious Congress.

FLSA revisions beginning 09/01/1997 created a subminimum wage — $4.25 an hour — established for employees under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer.  The FLSA revisions represented more contentious legislation that played the American worker and American Economy as pawns for personal political power.

Non Sequitur - DecisionsWhat did the minimum wage do to America?

Never forget, the actions of a legitimate government will always cause injury.  Where the minimum wage is concerned, this aphorism is doubly applicable.  Minimum wages reduce entry-level jobs, training, and lifetime income. Politicians regularly propose a minimum wage as a means of raising income and lifting workers out of poverty. However, improvements in some young workers’ income due to a minimum wage come at a cost to other employees.  For example, a young retail worker begins at minimum wage and works hard.  After 5-years, that employee has had a couple of pay raises that they worked hard to obtain.

Frank & Ernest - EmploymentNew FLSA revisions increase the minimum wage.  Now that hard-working employee is back to working for minimum wage because a politician wanted to incentivize other young workers to get a job.  But increasing the minimum wage cuts the hard-working employee’s hours; they now need a second job to make ends meet at the new minimum wage because they both lost their hard-earned raises and saw hours cut to afford new hires an opportunity.  Add in the inevitable rise in the cost of living to pay for higher wages, and this hard-working employee has been injured three times by their employer, due to government actions.

To make matters even worse, the fraudulent president tells that employee they should have learned to code and program computers.  The government injuries are sufficient to create an eternally challenged and debt-ridden poverty class in America.  Begging the question, what is just or fair about a minimum wage?

Editorial - Educational TruthThe other injury to that hard-working employee, entry-level jobs are going to dry up due to a higher minimum wage because technology will be implemented to replace that entry-level worker and eliminate their positions.  Look at the rise of contactless stores, walk-in, place items in your cart, walkthrough checkout, pay with your phone app, walk out.  Robots have been developed to replace kitchen workers making pizzas, flipping burgers, and stocking shelves.  More entry-level positions are dying because the cost of keeping an employee has become too expensive, which is especially true in the businesses and industries where profit margins are already slim, grocery stores, fast food, and warehouses, among others.

Minimum Wage Laws – State Government Injuries

Each state has the power to negotiate a higher minimum wage or meet the FLSA mandated minimum wage.  When America had a lot of entry-level jobs, workers would move to states with higher minimum wages.  The moving started a cycle that has now come back around to bite everyone involved in tender lower parts best left unbitten!  To pay for the higher wages, taxes increased, the cost of living adjusted upwards, and entry-level jobs began requiring skills, experience, education, etc., to match the higher salaries in the states paying more minimum wages.

Ziggy - IRS Non SequiturInflation became a problem, excess populations began to despair of making that higher wage and improving their upward financial mobility, and depression set in.  Instead of reducing the minimum wages, which would have lowered costs and incentivized hiring, the politicians increased the minimum wage, causing further injury to the government’s excess populations’ despair and disgust.  The government compounded their error by increasing welfare benefits and then put exclusions onto welfare benefits, and the problems in depressed populations only grew!

Now, that hard-working employee has three jobs, cannot afford to stop working any of them, cannot obtain welfare, and with the reduced hours cannot maintain their standard of living without a spouse also working three to four different jobs.  Leading to more chaos, less parenting, greater school influence, and the politicians keep compounding the injuries to the people voting them into office.  Is it any wonder why the American population is so angry, disgusted with Congress, and politicians rank lower than public toilets and used car salesmen in integrity and usefulness?Ziggy - The Government

What does a “Liberty FIRST Culture” look like?

  1. No minimum wage!  I know this sounds completely counter-productive, but please understand, the minimum wage law was 100% unconstitutional when it first passed!  The minimum wage is the source of inflationary price gouging and the source for a lot of social unrest, angry people, and wasted blighted neighborhoods in America.
  2. Return to the states their sovereignty where competing with other states is concerned. State sovereignty where wages are concerned will shift populations to where jobs are, incentivizing investments in local communities and local hiring.  There are jobs here in the United States, there are populations who want the work, but the disparity comes from people needing incentives to move, not moving the jobs to those population centers.  Cost value equations play a significant role in deciding where to put manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and other businesses.  State sovereignty is more important in this issue than many realize.
  3. Realize this truth; not everyone needs to go to college. There are thousands of jobs where skill and experience matter more than academic degree success.  The politicians are pushing education because the cost of a college education is where a lot of their power is derived from student loan debt.  Bernie Sanders promising free college should scare the pants off every American; look how bad K-12 is, and imagine all advanced schools in America operating in the same manner.

DutyAmerica, and every other country with a mandated minimum wage, please consider the damage done by higher prices, runaway inflation, and market conditions where unskilled people are paid wages employers cannot afford, forcing massive shifts to technology or simply closing their doors.  Skill attainment requires practice and time, learning, and working; as skills are developed, the market will pay a fairer share than any government mandate can demand.  Trust the system; capitalism works because it rewards people for working, learning, developing new skills, taking risks, and being active in their own futures.  Put Liberty FIRST and watch the world shift for the better.

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