Response From the Texas Medical Board (TMB) – Insanity From Bureaucrats

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=127 October 2021, I complained to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) about an incident with a Texas Medical Doctor and his unethical treatment of me, the patient.  The full complaint can be reviewed here.  The file number for this action: #22-1620, and the response I received is a textbook case of bureaucratism from beginning to end, in a letter dated 02 November 2021.

  1. The author of the letter, writing on behalf of the TMB, cannot even use my appropriate title, name, and the letter dismissing my concerns is a form letter of the worst design, surpassed only by the VA whose form letters cut off almost an extra inch in the right-hand margin.
  2. An investigation into the issues with the Dr. AAMR Arif Herekar MD was not launched as the actions by the provider “do not fall below the acceptable standard of care.” The letter references “Sec. 154.058” as the legal standard.

Texas Occupations Code – OCC § 154.058. Determination of Medical Competency is a truly interesting document, designed, I can only surmise, to protect the asininity of the bureaucrats.  A point-by-point breakdown is discussed.

  • Each complaint against a physician that requires a determination of medical competency shall be reviewed initially by a board member, consultant, or employee with a medical background considered sufficient by the board.”

Nowhere in the letter does it reference an individual who reviewed my complaint.  If I read this section of the code correctly, all that has to happen is a living person check to ensure Dr. Herekar has a license to practice medicine in Texas.  Essentially, Dr. Herekar has met the basic competency for this section.  Dr. Herekar is living, paying his dues, and a living bureaucrat has assured us he is licensed properly by the State of Texas.  As a side note, do you feel better that a bureaucrat assures the general population a doctor is appropriately licensed and dues-paying; I do not!

  • If the initial review under Subsection (a) indicates that an act by a physician falls below an acceptable standard of care, the complaint shall be reviewed by an expert physician panel authorized under Section 154.056(e) consisting of physicians who practice in the same specialty as the physician who is the subject of the complaint or in another specialty that is similar to the physician’s specialty.”
  • The expert physician panel shall report in writing the panel’s determinations based on the review of the complaint under Subsection (b).  The report must specify the standard of care that applies to the facts that are the basis of the complaint and the clinical basis for the panel’s determinations, including any reliance on peer-reviewed journals, studies, or reports.”

Yet, my complaint was somehow satisfied under section (a), so sections (b) and (c) do not apply.  Leading me to wonder, but not to question enough to “file an appeal.”  What I wonder about is the professional and ethical standards allowing for a provider to lie about a patient’s actions and then dismiss that patient from receiving further care, based upon the lies generated, and dismiss the patient using Facebook instant messenger.  As the bureaucrat cannot, and will not, respect me sufficiently to explain, expound, and address me correctly, one must wonder about the rest of the State of Texas and the bureaucrats who call their actions competent.

  1. Consider with me the problems of a medical provider lying about a patient’s actions, and ask yourself, would you trust that medical provider?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the American Taxpayer is paying for me to visit a non-VA or “Community Based” provider.  That provider does not want me as a patient and makes this clear from the moment he introduces himself.  Why; possibly because I cannot wear a mask. Perhaps because the VA chooses how much that provider will be paid. Maybe because the provider simply does not want more military veterans as patients.  Fundamental core reason never provided, but the provider is at best passively hostile and willing to invest the barest of minimums in care to receive the maximum amount from the VA possible.

Because the provider must provide the VA with patient notes, the easiest way to rid himself of a military patient is to lie about that person’s conduct.  Thus, the doctor can play the victim, receive payment, and continue the veteran abuse perpetuated by the VA.  The lies of this provider are reported to the VA, and providers at the VA consider the veteran a “behavioral problem,” further reducing the quality of care.

Yet, the TMB considers the actions of this provider above the “acceptable standard of care.”  It must be a good gig to be a liar and thief in medical practice in Texas, for the bureaucrats at the TMB will protect you and assure the community that care was above the “acceptable standard.”  Tell me, TMB, what is below the acceptable standard of care?  If a medical provider can lie, cheat, and dismiss patients using unsecured methods of communication, and this is above “the acceptable standard of care,” what are actions below the “acceptable standard of care?”

Explain to the community, dear bureaucrat, how HIPAA was protected and the patient’s rights protected as part of “acceptable standards of care.”  Relate how trust in medical providers is enhanced when a medical provider can lie about a patient’s behavior, slander and ridicule that patient, causing more issues in receiving healthcare for that patient.  The Texas Medical Board is supposed to be the arbitrator and settler of problems; yet, this problem is not resolved, simply pushed on to other bureaucrats.  That is the epitome of job security for bureaucrats, not properly fulfilling your duties.cropped-bird-of-prey.jpg

I repeat, only for emphasis, “Houston, we have a problem!”  That problem is internal malfeasance and misfeasance on the part of bureaucrats.  To the Governor of Texas, to the Texas State Legislator, what are you willing to do to fix these despicable actions of useless bureaucrats?

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the photos or images used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Houston; We Have A Problem! – The Texas Complaint!

COMPLAINT REGISTERED AGAINST:
Practitioners Name: Dr. Aamr Herekar M.D

PERSON REGISTERING COMPLAINT:
First Name: Michael David “Dave”
Last Name: Salisbury

DETAILS OF COMPLAINT:
I possess a note from my doctor, a VA Primary Care Provider, written to my employer on VA Letterhead with a wet signature, declaring my inability to wear a mask.  Advanced Neurology Epilepsy & Sleep Center (ANESC), Dr. Aamr A. Herekar M.D., and the office staff were presented with the same letter and hassled me before both appointments for not wearing a mask.  At the second appointment, the commando secretary became hostile, argumentative, and a nuisance over the mask issue, even after I complied with putting on a face shield.  If, as a provider, you reserve the right to refuse service, why did you agree to see me in the first place?  This simple question is a mark of the deplorably low and execrable service I received in this office!

Over Facebook Messenger (23 September 2021), I was informed that I would be invited to find a different provider “due to my refusal to wear a mask.”  Except, I never refused to wear a mask, I physically CANNOT safely wear a mask for health reasons.  I have several breathing problems that begin with asthma, low-lung volume, and rigid T-Spine from a spinal injury sustained in US Navy service.  I suffer from chronic pain and a musculoskeletal-neurological issue in my chest that does not allow me to breathe with enough force and volume to safely wear a mask!  Even a face shield causes me breathing problems; CPAPs, cause me breathing problems; surgical masks cause me breathing problems.  I reiterate and repeat, only for emphasis, I have NEVER refused to wear a mask, I have NEVER refused to wear a face shield as an alternative; provide me an alternative, I will comply.  Act all huffy, put on attitudes, get hostile, rude, argumentative, and I will ask to leave and not return.  Just validate my fuel chit so I can be reimbursed for my wasted time and fuel, which Dr. Herekar’s office was singularly inept at doing!

Yet, imagine that; Facebook Messenger has become the medium of choice for ending a patient relationship with a medical provider.  How very inappropriate!  How very unprofessional!  Wait.  Does Dr. Herekar have alternative methods of technology available to him to communicate with patients?  Does he know how to use these other channels of communication?  Yes, he does, and I cover these further down!  When did Facebook Messenger become the channel of choice allowed by the State of Texas to end patient relationships with providers officially?  Seriously?!?!  Using social media to make claims that I harassed, swore, threatened, and sexually propositioned an office staff member.  These are crimes; yet, the Dr. can think of no other means or methods of expressing the end of a patient relationship except to use Facebook Messenger; tell me, is this professional practice in the State of Texas?  If I did not have access or a Facebook account, would he have hired an airplane and used sky-writing to alert me the doctor-patient relationship had concluded?  Prior to this notification, I had spent two-solid weeks trying to call, leaving phone messages that were never returned, text messaging and not receiving a response, and emailing to no avail.  Yet, the doctor decides the only channel to employ to return communication is Facebook Messenger.  Do you see a problem with his conduct here?  As an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist with more than 20-years in the trade, I certainly see several ethical breaches and operations problems here!

30 August 2021:  I enter Dr. Herekar’s office and am confronted by a hostile office person, a commando secretary.  Who knows I have a breathing problem and cannot wear a mask, who was presented the VA letter on my first appointment, and I did not have to wear a face shield to be seen.  Important to note, no further contingencies were mandated for my next or any future appointments.  Who proceeds to invent a reason to deny me care.  She calls a supervisor, then “politely” (in a rude, condescending, and hostile manner) invites me to a back room to try and tell me off.  She then walked out when I suggested she had two options, move my care to another neurologist or have me wear a face shield, and I was leaning towards option 1.  I had no patience for the commando secretary who was inventing reasons to deny me care after having already been almost run over by traffic and being in the middle of a bad pain/nerve day.

Let me digress for a moment; I am hypersensitive to ALL touch.  Nobody touches me, and I shy away from anyone trying to touch me.  The commando secretary or Dr. Herekar invent that I swore, was rude, threatening, and propositioned the commando secretary to sit on my lap!  All of which is a gross and fallacious LIE of the blackest hue!  Then to use social media to discharge me from his clinic like I was the one committing some type of crime takes unprofessional conduct to a new level of abhorrent and repugnant low!  I twitch 24/7/365, I suffer from neurological spasms, my chronic pain levels continue to be in 10’s and regularly climb to levels beyond.  Now, one final piece of private information, I am married, and I have never even propositioned MY WIFE to sit on my lap, why in the name of all that is holy and pure would I proposition a complete stranger in a doctor’s office to do something I would not ask my wife to do as it would cause me excruciating pain?

Let me address why it has taken me so long to file a complaint.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) set up this doctor-patient relationship, I needed to allow the VA the opportunity to handle the problem.  As they have referred me to you, and pulled a Cesear.  I now have free reign to discuss this odious and abominable incident with what I sincerely hope is an avenue where other patients can be protected from a cherry-picking doctor.  From the first minute Dr. Herekar entered the room, it was clear that I was not the type of patient Dr. Herekar wanted to see.  He immediately began trying to push me back to psychology, “fix” with pharmaceuticals, and rush me out of his office.  Due to the glacial speed of the VA, I will be obtaining more information about my neurological problems from a VA-provided neurologist in November.  However, this incident with Facebook Messenger needs to be clarified to me the patient as to whether Dr. Herekar’s actions in ending the doctor-patient relationship were of the highest ethical and moral standards according to Texas.  Then someone needs to investigate why my good name is being slandered and defamed, having these fallacious and execrable accusations created.  Just because I am a disabled veteran who cannot (not will not, CANNOT) wear a mask, does not mean medical providers can create from whole cloth excuses and falsify medical records!  As it says in the country song, “Houston, We have a problem!”

Remote Signature: 73.242.128.97

In the name of transparency, the above document, with some slight alterations to hide addresses and phone numbers, is what was submitted today (27 Oct 2021) to the State of Texas Medical Liscensure Board as a complaint!  When I figure out the New Mexico pathways, I have two additional complaints to file.

I am sick to death of medical providers falsifying records to hide incompetence, discriminate against those who cannot wear masks, and have the ethical behavior of pigs in the mire.  Enough is enough; I will not take this disrespect anymore!  Vaccination status is nobody’s business and mask or no mask should not dictate social acceptance.

COVID should not be the reason that America dies!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.

Taking a Longer View – Actions Really Do Have Consequences

Bobblehead DollIf you are dead set on living a life devoted to the philosophy of, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die,” there is nothing I can do to help you.  Feel free to stop reading now.  If you are suffering from the consequences of overeating, a hangover, and are feeling nauseous from being too merry on the merry-go-round of life, keep reading, we might have something for you to consider.  If you are not one of the people described, you might want to consider continuing to read for some moral support.

Throughout my life, people have been made available when I have been ready to learn.  They have also been made available to laugh and scorn when I needed my butt-kicked and to provide remedial behavioral therapy when I have gotten way off the beaten track.  For which I am eternally grateful!  One of the first of these people, who made a significant impact in my development for the good, I might add, was Miss Murphy.  A school principal, who left the nunnery to help save children, she did a phenomenal job.  She also gave me the worst chewing out I ever got, the most brutal punishment I have ever had to take, the best compliment I had gotten to that date, and made me feel like a million dollars, all at the same time.  I left her office thoroughly convinced I was never going to do, whatever I did, again.

Grit - DefinedYears later, when I heard the comment, “Decisions Do Determine Destiny,” I knew exactly what the speaker was talking about, for I had experienced this phenomenon.  This is the first principle in need of understanding. If we live in the here and now, every behavior has an excuse, and depravity, abuse, murder, everything abhorrent can be excused for tomorrow we die—what a terrible way to live.  When our choices do not have consequences, and those consequences do not have long-term effects, we, as vapid human beings, lose an eternal spark of goodness, a willingness to strive, and a desire for achievement.

Consider with me a common theme since the early 1960s, it is a theme I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing, but it is a pernicious and invasive theme, “Free Love,” “Love is Sex,” “Love is All You Need,” “Just Love.”  By perverting love, the morals of society broke, chains of modesty were sundered, social decency was abolished, and curbs of compassion and care were thwarted.  Worse, it opened, for everyone to see, the windows of perversion that lurk inside some very troubled souls.  Today, it is considered normal to have statistics from the CDC regarding the number of live births to single, unwed children ages 10-14, decisions determined destiny, and the consequences are dire indeed!Courage

Consider for a moment the following from President Jefferson:

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Hence, one can deduce a person is taught morals from their society and then is personally responsible for the continuation of that society by living the morals as taught.  What are your morals?  Who taught them?  What are you teaching as morals?  What morals do you live in public that you refuse to live privately, and do you see a disconnect in this moral behavior?

In asking these questions, I am not holding myself up as a moral authority, the moral police, or the enforcer of the moral squad.  I am just as prone to moral stupidity as the next guy, and I am often worse, as my wife continually reminds me.  I suffer for my mistakes and faux pas, just like everyone else.  So, please do not think I am making any judgments here.  As socially wired creatures, humans adopt and adapt to the social norms in our surroundings minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and we make a life by adapting to the environments when we cannot change the environments.Anton Ego

For example, when humans can control the weather inside a building, we change the environment to make it hotter or cooler based on our desires.  We do not alter our behaviors to fit the environments unless we cannot change the environments.  For example, being outdoors, we cannot change the weather, so we pack extra clothes for cold conditions, waterproof clothes for wet conditions, and make do in hot conditions by changing behavior and drinking water.  Does this make sense?  When we can change the environment, we prefer to change the environment than our behavior, even if it means we suffer consequences.  For example, dressing in revealing clothing to satisfy a trendy designer and packing a heater because the office is always “frigid.”Bait & Switch 2

Unfortunately, taking a longer view is not inherently natural in human beings; we are not born with a desire for delayed gratification.  Hence, we must choose, do we want a marshmallow right now or six marshmallows in 15-minutes?  Neither, we want the first marshmallow right now and the rest of the bag while we watch TV over the next 60-minutes, and we will accept the painful stomach ache, nausea, gas, possible vomiting, and the other discomforts because we got our marshmallows.

In our family lore, there is a story told of my older brother and a large bag of salt-water taffy.  It is near Halloween, and a large order of orange jack-o-lantern salt-water taffy Halloween candies have been procured.  The flavor is orange and anise, like a cross between black licorice and orange, and the amount is somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds.  My older brother gets caught stealing some candy, and my mother claims he will be forced to eat all the candy by himself in her infinite wisdom.  After much vomiting, a lot of whining, crying, and my father’s helping hand, the entire bag is eventually emptied.  But, the lesson that was supposed to be taught to stop stealing was not the lesson learned.  What happened, my older brother got better at getting the younger brothers in trouble, and he kept right on being a petty thief.  Why was the lesson learned not the one desired?  My brother made a choice, that choice had consequences, and he liked the consequences, even though the consequences made him sicker than Irving, the drunk dog on M*A*S*H.Father Mulcahy 5

Taking us back to the longer view and consequences.  We can have a short view, live for today, and die tomorrow.  Lots of people in the history of the Earth have taken this road.  But, what was their satisfaction?  What was their heritage?  A friend of mine related a story of a person with a short view and ended the story with, “He was an enjoyable idiot.  “Fun to have around during leisure time, a pest during work time, and a scallywag who could not be trusted to walk a dog.”  If that is the heritage you want to leave, be my guest; I promise not to try and stop or interfere.

For the rest of us, let’s consider what these morals are teaching in society.  Do we really want American society, a society built upon hard work, personal discipline, and individual effort, to be wasted for instant gratification and immediate death?  Do we want the American experiment to end with one bourbon, one shot, and one beer, where the rent is never paid, the job never worked, and the lifestyle unlived?

Knowledge Check!All I ask is that you take a minute, think about what you want people to say about you after you leave a room, and then live the way you want to be remembered.  I worked with a man who lived his principles, and I salute his willingness to live his principles.  He was going to die at age 40, with a fifth of Jack Daniels empty by his head, an empty six-pack of Mountain Dew scattered around his bed and empty bags of Lay’s Dill Pickle potato chips on his blankets.  He worked very hard to meet his end as he wanted while I knew him, and I have no doubts that he met his fate as desired—good guy, great worker, but not an example I would ever choose.

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

The Consent of the Governed – A Further Discussion

QuestionThe Virginia Declaration of Rights prefixed the Virginia Colony’s constitution and was written by a reluctant statesman and largest landowner, George Mason.  In sixteen statements on government and the rights of man, we find the consent of the governed and the need for controls on government pertinent to our day and time.  For this article, we are focused upon the first three articles in the Declaration of Rights and the fundamental principles of liberty that must be refreshed and revisited often to maintain a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and where the consent of the governed is respected.

      1. All men are by nature equally free and independent, have certain inherent rights, … namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

This first declaration is important for several reasons. The first is that it places responsibility upon the individual made free to maintain their rights by exercising those rights responsibly and in a manner that the government expects.  How the government is expected to behave is modeled on how people in society behave.  Hence, freedom is a double-edged sword; want to keep your liberties, the way you act is how the government will act.The Duty of Americans

      1. All power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them.”

Have you ever had a bureaucrat treat you like you are scum; well, maybe it is time we reminded them of this principle!  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is regularly documented on this blog as abusing, killing, and harming veteran patients.  I use this principle as the backbone of logic to try and reprimand Congress and the VA into improving their behavior.  I document the behavior of the US Postal Service, the different state Departments of Motor Vehicles, and other government agencies for abusing the taxpayers and acting like feudal lords instead of public servants.

Amenable is described as agreeable, ready to consent, willing to accept a suggestion, or submit to authority.  How many times has a bureaucrat treated you in an amenable manner?  Heck, having worked with them as a fellow employee, I can affirm they are not amenable to their bosses, let alone the customers.  There is a cultural problem in the bureaucratic mind, rejecting all authority as they are protected by labor unions and a quagmire of laws!  Do you think this should be changed for the benefit of the public good?Plato 2

      1. Government is or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people. … A majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.”

I realize the language here is a bit old-fashioned.  All right, a LOT old-fashioned.  Let’s break this down.

        • Indubitable: Anything that is so plain that doubt cannot be admitted is indubitable. For example, water is wet.  If I throw water on you, you will get wet.
        • Unalienable: Also known in legal documents as inalienable. Describing something that cannot be separated from a whole, given away, taken by another, or discharged without destroying the whole.
        • Indefeasible: Anything that cannot be voided, annulled, or defeated; something permanent. This is mostly a legal term.
        • Public Weal: A way of saying public good, the public well being, or the prosperity of the general public, not just the special interests, select citizens, etc., but all citizens.

Mr. Mason is declaring here in the third article that governments can be reigned in, changed, abolished, and remade if the majority of the citizens demand it and if the changes are beneficial for the public good and prosperity.  Consider this for a moment; since Jan/Feb 2020, America, and the world, has witnessed runaway totalitarian government hysteria over a viral infection with a 98%+ survival rate.  As a scientific fact, the annual flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 globally; yet, the flu does not shut down a business, close schools, and ruin economies.  Since the start of COVID, there has not been any Flu-related deaths or Flu-related illness at all.  Doesn’t this raise some serious concerns in the COVID-Mandates and measures?quote-mans-inhumanity

Using the pattern outlined by Mr. Mason, the people being represented can withhold their consent to be governed, reject the current government, or eliminate the current government and start a new government if the changes are more beneficial to the public good.  I find this pattern interesting both in a philosophical and academic sense and in a practical sense.  Long have I argued that the officers of government should have a fear of the ballot box and the people they are responsible for representing.  The insanity we are experiencing because the politicians have gerrymandered the congressional districts to protect their election results is not ethical or moral and is barely legal.

No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles” [emphasis mine].

          • Justice: Decency to all as a behavior of equality and commitment to moral rightness.
          • Moderation: This is all about not going to extremes, being restrained, knowing the boundaries and staying within limits, and being reasonable and approachable.
          • Temperance: While primarily used in drinking alcohol, this also applies to any behaviors where self-restraint, moderation, and expressions or observance of temperate behaviors are required.
          • Frugality: Besides being a good steward of other people’s resources, being frugal requires being sparing, prudent, economical, thrifty, and reserved.
          • Virtue: Requires moral excellence, modesty, personal dignity, goodness, and conformity to a standard of righteousness.

Knowledge Check!The Eagles sing a song called “Lyin’ Eyes,” in which truth is revealed:

There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes!”

Look to the politicians.  I do not care about your political affiliation.  Take an honest look at them, their deeds, and their faces; can you see their lying eyes?  Use the pattern discussed above; are the politicians in public office right now frugal with your hard-earned tax dollars?  Do they practice virtue in public and private?  What about moderation and temperance?  Do they perform their jobs with justice and moderation?  If so, do they deserve your vote to stay in office?  If not, do they earn your vote to remain in office?Scared Eyes!

Better, would you trust them to watch your children in your home while you went out to dinner with your significant other?  Your consent to be governed is expressed firstly in the ballot box, next in the actions you take, and then in your investment in trusting that person to continue under supervision.  Too many local politicians have set up permanent camps because Federal politics is so amazingly in-your-face atrocious and attention-grabbing.  But, your local school board wields considerable power that affects you more directly, and they get away with abysmal behavior while the focus is on State and Federal elections and politics.

Local judges have set up horrible empires of inefficiency, dastardly inefficient and unjust, almost criminal courtrooms, while the attention is focused elsewhere.  Mayors, County Supervisors, City Councils, and the list goes on and on of political empires designed to do serious and lasting harm, steal your consent to be governed, and ruin America, all because the focus is on the more noticed elections at the state and federal levels.Modesty

America, tell me, is the government you witness daily the government you deserve?  What about the other representative governments across the globe?  Australia, has your government overstepped its legal authority and demonstrated enough contempt for the consent of the governed?  China, has your government punished you sufficiently to consider a change of government?  Hong Kong, you are being punished for agreeing to a treaty that was full of pie-crust promises, and your productivity has been propping the unjust communist regime since you joined the mainland.  Have you had enough yet?

LookI weep for Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and so many other countries where the people’s voice was twisted, distorted, stolen, or outright silenced to implant a government that does not represent the people.  But, the principles remain the same; your consent to be governed remains the tinder upon which your money is exchanged.  Your consent to be governed remains the trust used to keep unjust regimes and totalitarian officers in office.  Your consent to be governed is the straw that will break the camels back and force changes to government.  If the last century has taught us anything, when the people have had enough, collectively stand, and refuse their consent to be governed, blessed change will come, and governments crumble and blow away like dust in heavy winds!

Let us withhold our consent to be governed until the government starts listening to us, not the special interests, their own capacious egos, and monied influencers!

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

When Fiction is Reality – The World Weeps!

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

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

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

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

Project Implicit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIGO

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

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

An Example

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

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

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

Why is this important?

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

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

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

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

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

NO MORE: “Constructive Criticism” – Killing The Lie!

Bird of PreyPoerksen (2010) provided sage counsel regarding how language plasticity leads to tyranny. Unfortunately, when discussing criticism, the tyranny of “constructive criticism” is displayed, and it is time for this lie to end, permanently!  Let me state, for the record and unequivocally, criticism never constructs positive behaviors!  Criticism doesn’t change simply because an adjective attempts to make criticism less harmful.

Criticism

Criticism defined, provides key insight from the common definition, “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.”  Disapproving based upon perception and expressed through words, looks, actions, and behaviors; this is criticism, and the best people in the world to criticize are the British.  IIf I call the British extremely critical and claim that is a compliment to the residents of the British Isles, those in Scotland and Ireland will understand, and no adjective in the world can make this criticism “constructive.”  As a point of reference, I draw this conclusion about the British from history, but knowing that does not make the criticism less accurate or less painful. On the contrary, I think the British have come a long way in changing their critical behaviors, actions, and manners and applauding them for their growth.

NO FearThe remaining definitions in the term criticism expand nicely upon the point that criticism and being critical can never be “constructive.”  “The analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of work.”  “A person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.”  The etymology of critic, which is the root of criticism, comes to us from Latin criticus, from Greek Kritikos, from kritēs ‘a judge’, from krinein ‘judge, decide.’  Never forget criticism, or the act of being critical originates from personal perception, a choice to be judgmental and critical.  The intent is to pass judgment upon something, someone, or someplace with the intent to cause personal harm or sway the opinions of others.

Constructive

Being constructive is “serving a useful purpose, or tending to build up.”  As noted above, criticism cannot be constructive because the adjective “constructive” is the polar opposite of criticism, which tends to tear down, demean, and depress.  Yet, when business leaders begin to write annual reviews, they are told to constructively criticize their employees, to sandwich criticism between praise to make the criticism less painful, and to construct comments in a manner that showcases strengths while not dwelling on the criticism.  Why; because this is the “scientifically approved” method for leadership, provide “constructive criticism.”  Except, criticism is a personal opinion and can never construct anything!

Why are we discussing criticism?Why

09 June 2021, in my company email box, I received an email, considered a “Thought of the Day,” from no less an auspicious source as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department (DEI).  If anyone knew the damage of tyrannical language, I would think those in DEI would have a clue.  Yet, by their email, it is clear that DEI continues to drink the Kool-Aid and act the tyrant where language is concerned.  The email attempts to define destructive criticism and constructive criticism and then provides steps for distinguishing between the two forms of criticism.  Completely forgetting that criticism can never be constructive and will always be destructive.  From the email, we find these two fallacious concepts:

      • Destructive criticism: is undermining and can cause harm. There is no upside or way to positively spin what is said/written because the critic does not have your best interest at heart. It is destructive criticism that gives people fear of criticism in general.
      • Constructive criticism: is designed to be helpful and is based on valid facts/observations. It’s meant to help you grow and become stronger. It’s not always positive, but it can help you to see things in a new light. The critic almost always gives it based on their experience and genuinely wants to help out.Anton Ego 4

Using the definitions provided, can you see the tyranny?  Are the problems with plasticizing criticism behind the adjective “constructive” evident?  Do you understand the term plastic language and how plasticizing a word can destroy a person? Finally, ask yourself, does the professional critic write to “help the subject” of the criticism out, or do they criticize for another purpose entirely?

undefined1960, Doris Day’s movie, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” has a character who moves from being a professor of acting at a college to being a theater critic.  The movie is a comedy and delightfully shows the problems with criticism.  Better, the film underscores how criticizing never leads to constructing a person, a reputation, or an industry.  A more recent example of the problems with criticism can be found in the Disney/Pixar animated movie “Ratatouille.”  Anton Ego is the critic of restaurants, and his name strikes fear and dread into the hearts of the cooks and chefs in a restaurant.  Anton Ego is a tyrant who employs criticism as a tool for his own ends.  The final criticism of Chef Gusteau’s Restaurant near the end of the movie is a stunning example of how criticism can never be constructive!

Bait & SwitchFrom the DEI email, we find something very interesting in the Constructive vs. Destructive questions; the lack of the term “criticism” in the constructive criticism questions. Instead, criticism has been subtly changed to “feedback” in every place the term criticism should reside. So, for example, the first item under constructive is stated, “Feedback and advice from others are essential for growth and success.  Look at criticism as a learning opportunity.”  Better still, the third item in the constructive list states, “Detach yourself from criticism.”

Your ability to understand and refuse to play word games promotes operational trust in an organization, brings stability to teams, and establishes you as a person willing to learn.  Learning thwarts tyranny, and the tyrant has to give ground.  Never lose the moral high ground!

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

        1. Question terms used—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 an explanation.
        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 emulate a vampire in the sunshine!

Freedom requires a willing mind and a courageous heart; you are never alone when you take a stand against tyranny. So stand and watch the tyranny begin to fall like a rock slide.  Be the tiny rock that starts something big!

Reference

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

© 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 for Eradication!

VirtueI wonder if maybe affirmative action is not just dead but ready for the waste pits of history.  Cohen (1996) acknowledged that 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.  At the V.A. Hospital and Social Security Offices, the hiring managers refuse to hire veterans, and multiple other hiring paths to keep “undesired people” from being hired.”

As a dual-service (U.S. Army & U.S. Navy) disabled veteran with a handicap that is visible (neurological shaking, twitching, and muscle spasms, which include trouble speaking) too often, I am the best candidate until the interview.  Walking into an interview with a cane, spasm, or twitch a couple of times, and the faces of those interviewing reflect their discomfort, and I will not be hired.  Government, private sector, for-profit, not-for-profit, none of these matters, people are uncomfortable around those of us with visible disabilities.  Affirmative action has never helped, and as an experiment in social behavior, should be scraped from the law as soon as legislation can be written to effect this change!Patriotism

Undesired people” includes people with handicaps (though Schedule A hiring has top priority in government hiring), veterans, spouses, and dependents with specific federal benefits, minorities (including men, people of color of all shades, American Indians, etc.) also have priority in hiring.  All the best jobs, positions, and perks are awarded through nepotism and the court of public opinion.  The system is structured in such a way as to remain in legal compliance to affirmative action; thus, affirmative action is a shield protecting lousy behavior instead of as a tool to improve workforce hiring.  My assertion of the uselessness of affirmative action is not just based upon my experiences.  I have witnessed people get into car accidents, get a disability, and go from productive worker to shunned worker almost overnight, all due to the disability sustained.The Duty of Americans

Harasztosi and Lindner (2015) discussed how the minimum wage costs 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 will substantially and negatively impact those designed in the law to enjoy the most benefit.  I believe in the Missouri State Motto; “Show ME!”  Show me a single piece of legislation that has helped those it was written for.  Legislation cannot dictate behavior or morals in society; hence 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.Editorial - Educational Truth

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 was legislated, 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 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, 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).Apathy

Sykes (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, ruining both the present and the future.  While providing fodder for ill-advised politicians and media hacks to accuse everyone of racism, sexism, and a host of other “-ism” claims that are erroneous.  I repeat, only for emphasis, you cannot legislate human behavior and morals, and hiring an employee is the epitome of human behavior and morals.President Adams

Affirmative action is not necessary, needed, or applicable; affirmative action, and the diversity programs replacing affirmative action, were never required, helpful, or valuable enough to create from whole cloth the legal precedent to justify implementation (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). No, the short answer remains clear, Affirmative Action was not needed in 1964 and is still not needed today. Before 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.  Affirmative action was not needed.  Let’s be clear, the executive orders and complicit Congress during President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure are the reasons the 1960s were so tumultuous, and the Civil Rights movement became needed.  But the reliance upon a government fix for personal behavior and morals was the wrong answer in the 1960s and remains a horrible answer today!

Dont Tread On MeNow 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. 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).

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: An 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 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.

Let’s Talk About the VA – The Insanity Must Cease!

I-CareWhen the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does something good, I praise them.  The VA recently had a good report come from the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), apparently there was progress made in improving performance once policies were written down, training of employees occurred, and over time there has been an improvement, however small and seemingly insignificant.  I offer my sincerest congratulations on making progress and change on this issue.

Carl T. HaydenHowever, I will castigate and deride all abuses of veterans, myself included.  At the Phoenix VA Medical Center, the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital remains a hotbed of bureaucrats on a power trip weekend from Dante’s first ring.  The abuses at this hospital continue and the leadership needs to be corrected!

For those who do not remember, the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ used to be an award-winning hospital, a pillar of good performance, and an example of how VA Hospitals could be run.  Then, the director was changed, the hospital staff changed, awards stopped coming, and veterans started dying.  Leading to the fiasco of dead veterans on paper waiting lists, during Pres. Obama’s reign.  CNN reported on April 30, 2014, that at least 40 United States Armed Forces veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona, Veterans Health Administration facilities.

On 29 June 2020, I reported to the VA ER sick and in desperate need of assistance.  The assistance was refused because I cannot physically wear a mask.  In my medical records, it is noted that I suffer from shortness of breath and any mask exasperates this problem.  In direct violation of Federal Law that commands all emergency rooms to see whoever walks in, the ER staff refused me service due to the “Mask Policy” as part of their “Covid-19 response.”  No options, no exceptions, no excuses, I as the patient could either endanger my health or find a different hospital ER.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA; 1986) is a federal law that requires anyone coming to an emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.  EMATALA also dictates that no person can be refused treatment in any Emergency Room.  The EMTALA is not new and is part of the training from day one for all staff at the VA.  For ER staff, this is the golden ticket and special care is taken to ensure this law is followed to the letter; rather, this law is supposed to be the premier standard from which good health care policy is built for emergency rooms.  Except, the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ., and the Raymond G. Murphy VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM., both appear to be the exception to EMTALA, by order of the staff bureaucrats, who are supported in their illegal and nefarious behavior by the hospital administration collectively, and the hospital leadership specifically.

Raymmond G. MurphyI have written previously of the patient abuse I witnessed, and reported, at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Hospital, in Albuquerque, NM.  I have written about the patients turned away by nurses and other staff because these staff members refused to follow the law.  I reported the risks and problems being run by refusing patients in the ER, and this all fell on deaf ears.  Well, I will not stop raising this illegal practice as a major concern for the hospital leadership all the way to Secretary Wilkie and the elected officials in Congress who refuse to act to improve the toxic culture found in the VA.

You, the bureaucrats in the VA cannot break the law with impunity and your actions are leading to major patient safety concerns, increased hospital operating costs, and putting real people in real harm!  I spent more than an hour in the VA Parking lot trying to calm my breathing down to safely operate a motor vehicle, so as to drive to a different hospital emergency room, where I was treated without ever having to deal with the mask issue.  While in the VA Parking lot, I was attended to by three Federal Police Officers who were willing to try and get me seen at the ER but were stuck trying to force the “Mask Policy,” regardless of my physical inability to wear a mask without causing additional harm and injury.  The Federal Officers were called because the ER staff reported a violent and non-responsive patient had just left the building.  I was both responsive and never violent in the ER.  Regardless of the fact that I was extremely short of breath, unable to walk, and unable to be seen at the VA.  When the officers found me in the parking lot, I could barely breathe and was so weak from lack of oxygen that I was graying out in vision and other major issues; thus, how the ER staff can say I was violent and non-responsive is beyond my comprehension.

The behavior of the ER Staff at the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital in Phoenix is beyond the pale and bordering on obscene, as well as illegal!  Where is the accountability?  Where is the patient advocate?  Where is the Administrator on Duty who has the power to demand corrective action?  Where is the rightful opposition; well, I know where the rightful opposition is, it is buried with the dead veterans, who died awaiting care at the hands of the VA!

VA SealWhere is the patient advocate in this problem; well, that night after being refused care I reported the problem to the patient advocates office via secure message, and the following morning, the patient advocate replies that “It is VA policy to mandate all people wear masks if they desire treatment.”  Not caring about the federal laws governing ER visits, not even bothering to mention that the treatment by the staff as reported was ludicrous and vile, and not even to bother to ask if I was seen elsewhere.  Just a brief, less than 100-word, statement telling me my concerns for my safety and health are not important and policy must come first.  The perfect bureaucrat, with the most detestable response it has been my displeasure to experience since the last time I visited the DMV.

I am sorry but everyone is required to wear a mask at the VA Facility. I understand you may have shortness of breath but you can wear a mask and undo one side every couple of minutes. This is for your safety and the others around you.

T. C. M. [Name Shortened for Privacy]
Patient Advocate

Will someone please explain how this can occur?  Will an elected official please demand a behavior change at the VA, and remain interested long enough to facilitate the solutions Sec. Wilkie needs to effect change?  How many veterans will have to die needlessly at the hands of the VA before the elected officials decide that veterans’ lives matter and the VA is taking our lives?

I get it, there are a lot of problems in America, and more in the world.  But, the US House of Representatives, instead of passing a budget, which they are statutorily mandated to do, is writing letters, and meddling in Israel’s business.  If the US House has the time to meddle and jump down every rabbit hole on the political landscape, they must have time to assist the veterans and improve the VA.  If the US Senate has the time to meddle, postulate, and pander, then they have the time to review the plethora of VA-OIG reports and begin assisting the VA Secretary in correcting the problems in the VA.

The saga continued this over the first two days of July and forms the bitter cherry on top of the crap sundae the VA is trying to serve the veterans.  I received a call from my primary care provider’s nurse who has the attitude of supreme petty authoritarian to a lesser subject, reminding me several times that the mask policy was political, trying to blame all hospitals in the region of implementing a similar policy (which is fake), and then trying to excuse himself by claiming he was just a messenger and not involved in the policy implementation.  Concluding the call, with the temerity to tell me that I was in the wrong to not follow VA policy.  The patient advocate had the effrontery of sending a message to me stating that I should have asked for a full-face shield instead of a mask.  Seeing as no face shields were offered as a workaround, seeing as the policy enforcers demanding only a mask as the single viable and allowed option, and seeing as I spent more than an hour while in extreme pain trying to be seen to no avail, none of that mattered, the patient was at fault, per the patient advocate.

LinkedIn VA ImageMy cherub-like demeanor has taken a bloody beating over this incident.  Worse, my health has suffered tremendously and I have had to question myself and my advocacy of the VA.  The behavior of the bureaucrats and petty authoritarians of the VA at the Carl T. Hayden VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ is detestable, and I can only conclude and wonder if I am having these problems, what are less outspoken and less knowledgeable veterans suffering?  I will not be the quiet little mouse in the corner where my safety and the safety of other veterans are being endangered by the politics and illegal actions of Federal Employees.  The policy is wrong and needs immediate revision before more veterans die at the hands of the VA!I-Care

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

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

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

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

Insane Abuse – The VA Edition: The Leaders of the VA Must Shift the Paradigm

I-CareDuring new hire training for working at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New Mexico Medical Center (NMVAMC), the first day contains a lot of warnings about what you can and cannot do as a Federal Employee.  Annually, there are mandatory classes that must be passed to remind an employee of their obligations as a Federal Employee.  Leading to a question, “How could an attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of General Counsel (OGC), be allowed to break the law for eight years?”  The department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) investigated after a second complaint about the same person was received, and only then did the OGC take action.  The attorney in question was released from government employment, but where is 8 years’ worth of wages being requested back?  Did the attorney lose anything other than an undemanding job and title where they could be paid for not working for the Federal Government while advancing their private practice, violating ethical laws, and breaking several Federal Statutes along the way?

What this attorney has done is insane, it is an abuse of trust, and for it to go reported and not acted by the senior leaders at OGC represents inexcusable abuse!

ProblemsOn the topic of insane and inexcusable abuse of the VA, the VA-OIG investigated the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in California and found a supervisor in an “other than spouse” relationship with a vendor and they used the VA property to improperly conduct business on contracts the supervisor oversaw.  These actions are a clear and blatant violation of the Federal Statutes on contracting as a Federal Employee, even if these consenting adults were married, it would remain illegal, unethical, immoral, and inexcusable!  Yet, because the supervisor quit during the investigation, the VA-OIG has no power to take any action.

Federal Employees are blatantly breaking the law, abusing the trust and honor of their stations, flagrantly flaunting ethical, moral, and legal regulations with impunity.  Why?

From the VA San Diego Healthcare System, California, we find another VA-OIG inspection. Staff manipulated time cards for seven fee-basis medical providers to pay these individuals on a salary or wage basis rather than a per-procedure basis.  While the medical center took appropriate action and no VA-OIG recommendations were made, the question remains, “Why was this behavior allowed in the first place?”  Another supervisor, improperly acting in their office, and abusing the VA; this behavior is inexcusable!

moral-valuesThe VA-OIG performed an audit, also referred to as a “data review.” “The data review consisted of a sample of 45 employees and found the employees were paid an estimated $11.6 million for overtime hours for which there was no evidence of claims-related activity in the Fee Basis Claims System in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, representing almost half of the total overtime paid. Significantly, 16 of the 45 employees each received more than $10,000 in overtime for hours during which there was no claims-related activity.”  The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Community Care (OCC) is backlogged and this is leading to late payments to providers, delays in care, and is generally a bad thing.  However, the sole reason for the overtime being abused was due to a lack of processes, poor supervision, and training.  These are the same three excuses that are used by the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and is designed incompetence at its most disdainful and egregious level.  Worse, this was a sample of employee misconduct on overtime pay.  How many more cases are floating in the OCC that were not included in the audit that will pass unresearched because the VA-OIG did not refer the cases for disciplinary recommendations?

The VA-OIG cannot be everywhere and clean every hole in the VA organizational tapestry.  This is why supervisors and leaders are in place to execute organizational rules, regulations, policies, and monitor employee performance.  Why are the supervisors and mid-level leaders not being held accountable for failing to perform their jobs?  If overtime pay is going to be clawed back from the employee, the managers, team leaders, and supervisors need first to write and train to a policy standard.

Root Cause AnalysisThe VA-OIG conducted a comprehensive inspection of the Eastern Kansas Health Care System, Kansas, and Missouri.  The findings are startling for several reasons, one of which being the deficient lack of leadership leading to poor employee satisfaction, patient care issues, lack of knowledge in managers and supervisors, and minimally knowledgeable about strategic analytics.  Essentially, there is a lack of leadership in this healthcare system.  The director has been working with a team for 2-months, but the director has been in charge in 2012.  Leading to questions about long-term staffing replacement, staff training, building the next generation of leaders, and why this long-term director can brush off the criticisms of leadership failure because the team has only been in place for two months at the time of the inspection.

Again, the VA-OIG audited a system and found a lack of training, lack of oversight, lack of leadership, and made recommendations to “close the barn door, after the horses got out.”  From the VA-OIG report we find:

“The VA-OIG found that VA lacked an effective strategy or action plan to update its police information system [emphasis mine]. In September 2015, the VA Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) acquired Report Exec, a replacement records management system, for police officers at all medical facilities. Inadequate planning and contract administration mismanagement caused the system implementation to stall for more than two years [emphasis mine]. LETC spent approximately $2.8 million on the system by the fiscal year 2019 [emphasis mine], but police officers experienced frequent performance issues and had to use different systems that did not share information. As of April 2019, only 63 percent of medical facility police units were reportedly using the Report Exec system, while 37 percent were still using an incompatible legacy system. As a result, administrators and law enforcement personnel at multiple levels could not adequately track and oversee facility incidents involving VA police or make informed decisions on risks and resource allocations. The audit also revealed that information security controls were not in place for the Report Exec system that put individuals’ sensitive personal information at risk [emphasis mine].”

Behavior-ChangeNo controls, no direction, no strategy, no tactical action, losing money, and not even scraping an F in performance.  The repetition in these VA-OIG investigations is appalling!  Where is the accountability?  Where is the responsibility and commitment to the veterans, their dependents, and the taxpayers?  Where is the US House of Representatives and Senate in demanding improvement in employee behavior?  Talk about a culture of corruption; the VA has corruption in spades, and no one is taking the VA to task and demanding improvement.

The VA is referred to as a cesspit of indecent and inappropriate people acting in a manner to enrich themselves on the pain of veterans, spouses, widows, and orphans.  There have been comments on several articles I authored which would make a non-veteran blush in describing the VA.  These actions by supervisors and those possessing advanced degrees do not help in trying to curb or correct the poor image the VA has well and truly earned.  A behavior change is needed, culture-wide, at the VA for the tarnished reputation of the VA to begin recovering.

Only for emphasis do I repeat previous recommendations for a culture-wide improvement:

  1. Start a VA University.  If you want better people, you must build them!  Thus, they must be trained, they must be challenged to act, and they must be empowered from day one in the classroom to be making a difference to the VA.
  2. Immediately launch Tiger Teams and Flying Squads from the VA. Secretary’s Office, empowered to build, train, and correct behavior. These groups must be able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and make changes, then monitor those changes until behavior and culture change.
  3. Implement ISO 9000 for hospitals. If a person does not know their job but has held that job for over a year, every person in that employee’s chain of command is responsible for training failures.  Employees need better training, see recommendation 1, need clearer guidelines and written policies.  Hence, with the VA University training, each process, procedure, rule, regulation needs written down, and then trained exhaustively, so employees can be held accountable.

There is a theory in the private sector called appreciative inquiry.  Appreciative inquiry is the position that whatever a business needs to succeed, it already has in abundance, the leaders simply need to tap into that reservoir and pull out the gems therein.  Having traveled this country and witnessed many good and great employees in the VA Medical Centers from Augusta ME to Seattle WA, and from Phoenix AZ to Missoula MT I know that appreciative inquiry can help and promote a cultural change in the VA.  I do not advocate a “one-size fits most” policy for the VA, as each VISN and Regional Medical Center has a different culture of patients, thus requiring differing approaches.  However, the recommendations listed above can improve where the VA is now, and form a launch point into the future.Military Crests

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

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

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

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