What We Are Witnessing – What We Can Do!

Angry Grizzly BearThe US Senate passed the non-infrastructure bill, loaded with everything but infrastructure initiatives and a bloated price tag that is not paid for, which will increase inflation and the National Deficit.  The US Senate is on its way to passing a $3.5 Trillion spending spree, again no accountability, no restraints, not paid for, balloons the government, and robs freedoms and liberties from every American.  Did you know all legislation that spends money is supposed to originate in the US House of Representatives?

Long ago, a couple of legislators crammed down some rules that allowed for spending bills to originate in the US Senate, as long as the US House of Representatives got the legislation, eventually, and voted for that legislation.  Generally under immense pressure from the upper house and the special interest groups lobbying for the lower house to “just go along.”  All of which is legal but unconstitutional, but allowed as legislative chicanery called “doing business in Washington.”

Tired of Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

My wife brought up an interesting question regarding the now resigned Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, “Will he be prosecuted?”  I do not know, and from the headlines, I cannot tell.  Worse, it is not apparent if a deal was struck to compensate the victims from the New York taxpayers and avoid accountability if Gov. Cuomo left before electioneering could begin to hinder Democratic efforts to keep the office in New York.  Tell me, how can private industry have significant penalties for even a suspicion of sexual impropriety, but government elected officials can weasel out of accountability time after time if you are in the appropriate political party?Angry Wet Chicken

Speaking of Ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, his anti-apology/resignation speech was the worst kind of political skullduggery since Anthony Weiner was disgraced for sexual impropriety.  If Chicago is the land of pay-for-play politics, then New York must be for sexual impropriety politicians, beginning with William Jefferson and Hillary Clinton!

Tired of Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

Can someone tell me how and why YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other Social Media companies, private companies, can block content and customers?  First, the companies take money to be news outlets and media giants, obtaining tax breaks and special benefits for being tech giants and other prime companies for the government.  Then, they squawk they have the right to silence content, isolate content providers, shame politicians, and spout political beliefs like private companies while receiving public funds.  The IRS came down hard on churches in the 2020 election cycle for having 501 C status and being mouthpieces for political speech; how is this not the same principle with social media companies?  Why aren’t social media companies forced to either maintain neutrality or stop receiving preferential treatment from the government?

Tired of Legal and Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

Exclamation MarkLet’s talk about scientific facts for a moment, and if you like, feel free to look up the corresponding research.  I am not a medical professional, epidemiologist, virologist, or chemist; however, I can read a research paper, and this is what I have found.  One of the reasons it is so difficult to vaccinate against viral infections is the ever-changing viral infection itself.  Essentially, the virus mutates a lot, and these generational mutations tend to keep a vaccine from working effectively against a virus for very long.  The only sure-fire way to protect a population against a viral infection is to allow the people to experience the viral infection and build herd immunity.

The Delta-Variant of the Sars-COV-2 (COVID-19) viral infection is essentially a fizzle.  Vaccinated people are catching this mutation, spreading it, and then complaining, “But I got vaccinated.”  However, the fizzle is that the virus has mutated into a half-life in a previous mutation, and the Delta-Variant is a half-life again of the previous half-life.  This is why the Delta-Variant will make you sick but not keep you sick, and the antibodies your body builds against Sars-COV-2 are actually beneficial in the long run.  Having said all this, do you think the media will report this information; do not bet the farm, Lucy!  Will, the government, relinquish control; hold your horses, Mack!  Totalitarianism has broken out, and reigning in these out-of-control bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians will take a lot more than the half-life deaths of Sars-COV-2.Anton Ego

I am a person of action; I do not take kindly to being told to sit down and wait or shut up and stand still!  Never have been; in fact, learning patience has been one of my biggest challenges and hardest lessons, and I still fail gloriously DAILY!  Worse, I see the danger and the emergency, and I desperately feel the need to take action immediately!  It makes me good in the trenches but not very good in the stadium.  Here are my thoughts on taking action now; agree or disagree, take action NOW!  We can talk about the problems later!

      1. Start right now, calling the US House of Representatives and DEMANDING in the strongest language possible that your elected representatives refuse the boondoggles being passed in the US Senate right now!
      2. New Yorkers, you are some of the toughest people in the world; show it! Put your backs up, put your mouths in gear, and DEMAND that Governor Cuomo be held accountable, in a court of law, for the crimes for which he is accused.  Guilty or not, these accusations need to be settled in a courtroom.  Not a pressbox, not a media-feeding frenzy, but by a jury trial!  Force the truth!
      3. America, lead the world in throwing off the totalitarianism that is killing representative government across the globe! From the mayors to the governors to the US President, it is time to end the farrago called COVID and throw the bums OUT!  Yes, this includes the MEDIA!  The politicians’ lapdog needs to be held accountable for spreading half-truths, lies, and falsehoods for personal power, and rightly so.  When discussing the media’s role in spreading and fanning the flames of COVID, we include social media and hold these tech companies responsible for their roles.  Nobody is “Too Big To Fail!”
      4. If the elected officials, including judges, refuse to listen to you, begin the recall procedures! Refuse your consent to be governed!  You own the power of and the keys to the government, and it is past time for the government to begin fearing us, the electorate!The Duty of Americans

As the politicians take the rest of August off, lets us remind them who is in charge.  Turn off your TV.  Turn off your Cable.  Turn off your social media.  Call, text, email, and visit their town halls, demand an audience with the elected officials.  Get heard!

© 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.

Division vs. Unity, Labels, and Big Tech

Angry Wet ChickenLast week, while scrubbing my SPAM folder on Gmail, I discovered that Google had arbitrarily been sending several emails containing news of a more conservative slant straight to SPAM.  Why would Google arbitrarily act in a manner to thwart the delivery of email?  A topic for discussion later in this article.

America faces a huge test right now; division is costing us opportunity, liberty, freedom, and potential.  Worse, it will eventually destroy the United States of America, a free Republic (if we can keep it).  What is this nefarious foe; a lack of unity.  The political parties have become so divisive that families are being torn asunder over something as petty as which political party to embrace.  Religion, lifestyle choices, employment opportunities, and so much more are being used to erode America at the family foundation.quote-mans-inhumanity

Socialsolutions.com reports some disturbing statistics from 2018.  However, the COVID-Farrago has seen these numbers only increase, and the numbers for 2020 are still not compiled and updated.  ACLEDdata.com provides some of the statistics from 2020, and the political violence inflicted on families is stunning!  Where does the blame lay for all this violence, property damage, public property destruction, and the host of terrorism committed in George Floyd’s name; the US President, Vice President, Speakers of the House and Senate, the governors, the mayors, and state legislators.

Bait & SwitchI am not excusing individual accountability for specific acts, but every silent politician in America has condoned the divisive behavior.  The corporate media have fed the violence and division, and the press has even been videoed participating in the violence.  My wife stated something, “The problems have become too great for any single individual to make a difference.”  I vociferously disagreed then and state unequivocally now that good is still in the majority of America and Americans and that one individual who declares enough is enough can make a world of difference!

Charmaine Yoest, Jack Spencer, John G. Malcolm, and James Carafano, writing for The Daily Signal, published an article on 11 June 2021 worthy of reading.  The twelve points they outlined are listed below, and additional commentary is mine.

      1. Protect Our Vote – I cannot stress this enough. The November 2020 elections, like all elections since we allowed computers into the mix, were fraught with illegal and illicit behaviors and reflects malfeasance towards the voter. However, that problem is specifically targeted at the local political leaders and judges who refused to allow time for transparent investigations.  President Biden and his administration are definitely not helping the situation.  Getting the Federal Government out of elections is the pre-eminent step we need to return State Rights to State Governments.President Adams
      2. Secure Our Border – America was built on defensible borders, and neglecting those borders is the height of Treason! Webster defines Treason as “The betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.”  Hostile acts can be refusing to act when problems arise if the failure to act benefits you personally.  The continued flaunting of National Security on America’s borders (North and South) is treasonous, and those committing these actions of inaction need to be held accountable before the bar of law!photo_slideshow_max
      3. Stop Adding Debt – Of all the points raised in this Daily Signal article, this point is second most important, only behind defensible borders! Inflation must be fought with smarter monetary policies.  Want a good reference for smarter economic policies; Mark Skidmore is a leading economist in the field of government economics and is almost entirely unknown unless you have a hobby in following government monetary policies.  Dr. Skidmore has worked with a highly intelligent team of economists to try and find more than $94 Trillion in lost money in the Federal Government.  Before America spends another dime, a full and transparent audit must be completed, all the books opened, and criminal charges brought!Plato 2
      4. Stand Up To China – One of the things I particularly loved about President Trump, and honestly, there weren’t very many, was his hard stance against China! I applaud President Trump’s efforts at leading America while surrounded by enemies foreign and predominantly domestic!  But to take a hardline stance against China is still desperately needed; yet, what do we see in the capitols of America, kowtowing to China by America’s elected leaders.  ENOUGH!  Stop committing Treason with a dedicated foreign enemy!Apathy
      5. Do NOT Raise Taxes – [Emphasis Mine] You cannot spend yourself out of debt, and you cannot tax your populace for personal benefits to remain elected by buying votes through forced taxation and government largess! America has never had an income problem; we have always had a spending problem!  Debt is captivity, captivity to our enemies is Treason, and those committing Treason need to be held accountable before the law.  From the bureaucrat to the politician, every single one needs to be held responsible for what they have and have not done in properly honoring the funds delivered to the Government through forced taxation!Life Valued
      6. Stop the woke! – From Critical Race Theory to wave upon wave of identity politics, America is being divided so as to be more easily conquered. If you cannot see how dangerous these lines of division are, we need to talk about waking up mentally and recognizing the 800# Gorilla in the room!  You do not need to have special identity laws for every single invented identity, and going down that slippery slope produces nothing but harm, chaos, and destruction.  Ask Caesar from Ancient Rome how identity politics worked in Ancient Rome.  History relates what happens at the end of the identity politics games, and the results are never beneficial!Courage
      7. Cut Red Tape – Another one of those things I applaud President Trump for doing was cutting the Federal Government Red Tape to free the American worker, businesses, and manufacturing. Want a startling statistic; besides inflation, the only other driver of higher costs is government red tape.  I learned this as a kid when I saw the taxes included in a gallon of gas.  I asked if the same was true of all prices and my parents had no idea.  Thus began my hobby of understanding and tracking economics!  But, do not take my word for it; look up the cost of bread from 1940 to today, and look at how much government red tape has influenced just a loaf of bread.  We, the proper owners of the Government in America, must regain the reigns from the asylum patients and cut government red tape!The Duty of Americans
      8. Help Us Sleep Safe at Night – Talk about a conjoined issue with defensible borders! Tell me, why are portions of America’s National Parks just as deadly as Northern Mexico?  I have read first-hand accounts of scouts stumbling upon drug manufacturing facilities, landmines and guerilla war tactics employed to dissuade investigation, and the armed terrorists living in America’s National Parks to produce drugs for the American markets.  Before Big-Tech thought this would blacken certain political parties’ chances at re-election or election, many of those stories were scrubbed from the Internet.  Tell me, do you sleep safer at night right now than you did three years ago?  My home security costs have skyrocketed, 24/7 surveillance makes me feel like a prisoner in my own home.  Yet, the elected officials have blocked all attempts at using the military to root out the terrorists and gangs from America’s National parks and defend the US Borders.Plato 3
      9. Stop Big-Tech! – Have you noticed the censorship occurring across the Internet? How one day you can find stories on a specific topic and the next you cannot locate those same sources?  Perfect example, in February 2020, I could find Dr. Fauci’s research on Coronaviruses and many other research topics.  Now, I can find nothing of those early research projects that proved Dr. Fauci is either lying in his research then or lying to the public now.  I have emails being sent arbitrarily to SPAM if it is content Google opposes politically.  I have witnessed LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media restrict access, shut down accounts, and destroy people’s livelihoods, all because of content the Big-Tech does not find politically palatable.  I am done being censored, censured, and prohibited, all because some tech company does not like the truth!PACT_model
      10. Deliver School Choice – Long have I written that K-12 education is sexually grooming and abusing America’s children instead of teaching them how to read, write, and think logically through arithmetics. K-12 education in America, since the 1860s, has been purposefully designed not to teach students how to read because a literate society knows freedoms and liberties, and an illiterate society can be controlled.  Hence, I disagree with these authors; even school choice cannot save America’s youth from abuse at the hands of teachers and bureaucrats embedded in the education system.  The individual states need to be freed from the Federal Department of Education.  Then, the states need to revamp what education means and begin to throw out the bureaucrats and increase the abilities of teachers to lead and instruct in their classrooms!Patriotism
      11. Empower Patients, NOT Government – [Emphasis Mine] Being a disabled veteran, having my medical care through the VA, I could not agree more that the Government needs to be ripped out of healthcare and the doctor-patient relationship. However, we also need the litigious nature of society to be corrected.  The cost of malpractice insurance is so exceedingly prohibitive that doctors cannot practice independently, and the corporatization of medicine has been growing twice the government intrusion rate!  Thus, the red tape needs to be removed, government intrusion needs to be clipped, and people looking at the judicial branch as a gold mine need to be shunted and stopped!Social Justice Warrior 2
      12. Make Our Streets Safe! – Again, we find an issue with root causes behind defensible borders, military action to fight the drug trade, and the overhaul of the criminal justice system. When the criminal has more rights and protections than the victims, justice is not served!  When sentences do not include community service to repair damage to a society, justice for the community is not served.  When jail has more privileges than not being incarcerated, the criminal justice system is everything but bringing justice to criminals!  We have enough trash, graffiti, weeds, and other community service work needing to be performed for three armies of criminals.  Get them on this service instead of sitting all day.  Worse, all those “peaceful protestors,” a.k.a domestic terrorists, need to be out repairing the damage to the communities they wrought!

Knowledge Check!Unity is a precious resource America has always enjoyed in abundance, and the political enemies of America despise America for the unity that has always been here.  We might fight like brothers amongst ourselves, we might have ancient grudges and family disputes that spill over state lines, but we are inherently a unified people.  Stop allowing the media to preach division, hate, and identity politics.  Stop allowing those elected as representatives to divide you and your family.  America, we have a choice before us, unite and live, or divide and fall.  All of the changes discussed stem from a simple point, will we choose to unite and live or allow division to separate us to be conquered as unpitied sacrifices in a contemptible struggle?

Image - Eagle & FlagJoin me!  Join with your neighbors and family members!  Let us for a community of responsible and intelligent citizens, who are informed, and active in halting the government abuses at every turn!  As a united front, we can win!  Believe that, and we are halfway to restoring America to the ”Shining city on a hill!”

© 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.

How Do I Know? – An Update on the VA Mandatory Mask Policies and VA Leadership Failures

Question24 May 2021 – 1200-1500 I visited the Las Cruces Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Upon entry, I was asked to wear a mask.  I described I could not wear a mask, and the employee said I might be required to wear one but left the decision to those working more closely with me.  I waited in line and was called to the Team 2 window, where a gentleman was more than happy to assist me in getting the paperwork started to change VA hospitals after relocating.  About 45-minutes into my time in this CBOC, the gentleman asked me to wear a mask.  I told him I could not and had brought my VA Doctor’s note as proof.  The gentleman read the letter, confirmed I was good to receive care without the mask, and provided exceptional customer support.

After the past year at the Phoenix VAMC, where my every movement on the property was shadowed by VA Police officers looking for a reason to injure, arrest, cite, and force me from the property, the employees here in Las Cruces was a breath of fresh air.  However, the experiences in Las Cruces provide further evidence of the following facts:

      1. The Hospital Director has statutory authority for adapting and creating policies and procedures that benefit the safety of the employees and the patients. A point I stressed to the leaders of VISN 22 and the Phoenix VAMC to no avail.
      2. The Federal Mask Mandates can be situationally applied for the circumstances of the individual. Yet, another point I have repeatedly stressed since July 2020, and the first time I was injured, arrested, cited, and forced from Federal Property. At the same time, I was being denied emergency care under EMTALA and having my HIPAA information repeatedly violated by the VA Police Officers.
      3. The bombastic and unprofessional behavior of the Federal Police employed at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC is a problem of the leadership, and the failures of leadership to instill professionalism, proper attitudes and behaviors, training, and tactics in approaching and handling situations in the Phoenix VAHCS. At the behavior of the Federal Police Officers in the Phoenix VAHCS, Che Guevara, Mao, Stalin, and Fidel Castro would be proud!VA 3

How can a person be sure the problems caused are a direct result of leadership failures?

ApathyBy tracing behaviors, attitudes, and influence to their source, the police chief acts as he considers appropriate, but the underofficers generationally multiply and mirror his behaviors.  The same is true for the chief who takes his example from the assistant director, director, and hospital leadership.  Chains of command always have this consequence; the example of those above are mirrored, replicated, and multiplied to impress the higher officers to gain attention and promotion opportunities.  Want to take a measure of a leader; look to the most junior person in the chain of command and watch them for behaviors, attitudes, and actions that originate in the leadership.

GavelCase in point, long have I detailed and described the failures of leadership at the VA.  The latest is a wire fraud scheme in Jackson, Mississippi.  From the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), we find the following:

Anthony Kelley, the owner of Trendsetters Barber College in Jackson, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in a scheme to steal federal funds. From October 2016 through March 2019, the college offered a master barber course that was not accredited by the state’s board of barber examiners. Kelley fraudulently represented that this course was approved and, as a result, was allowed to collect GI Bill money from veterans enrolled in the program.”VA 3

As the lowest person in the chain of command, Mr. Kelly was allowed to attempt to commit fraud by the VA.  Never in these reports is the VA employee, their supervisor, and their manager, who were complicit in allowing fraud to occur, mentioned and held accountable.  Somehow, we, the taxpayer, must presume that those committing frauds could hoodwink the Department of Veterans Affairs without any inside help.  Help coming directly or indirectly from government employees charged with investigating, ensuring, and following proper protocols and procedures to protect against theft and fraud.

Angry Grizzly BearLet the US Attorney and VA-OIG special investigators crow about catching the person perpetrating fraud.  Before they break open the champagne, they need to be looking into the leadership that either overtly or covertly allowed this fraud to occur.  The elected officials need to be demanding why fraud opportunities are so rampant at the Department of Veterans Affairs that criminal proceedings are being reported almost every week and asking about the culture of corruption and leadership failures allowing these behaviors to thrive.

Is it a “Culture of Corruption?”

Absolutely; the VA is sick with a culture of corruption!  It is my sad duty to report on another employee who was able to steal from the VA, stealing hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions from the VAMC mailroom and mailboxes at some 40 locations in Kerrville, Ingram, and Center Point.

Scott M. Brown, a pharmacy technician at the Kerrville VA Medical Center in Texas, was charged with one count of theft of US mail for stealing hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions from the medical center’s mailroom as well as from residential mailboxes between March and April 2021.”VA 3

Currently, Mr. Brown is being held in custody and remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers.  However, the fact that Mr. Brown has been charged and is in custody speaks volumes to the lax leadership that allowed these prescription thefts to occur.  Where is the VA-OIG in asking how the robbery was possible?  Where are the special investigators demanding answers from the leadership on policies and procedures that an employee could easily violate to obtain these drugs?  Who else was involved, or had to know, what was happening and said nothing?Plato 3

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been overtaken by those without skill, knowledge, and ability to understand cause and effect and properly interrupt the cycles of corruption.  Worse, these same people will bleat about how they need more money for technology solutions when their personal example, leadership failures, and human-to-human relationships are the actual problems.  The leaders will bleat like sheep in a corral about engagement, customer service, and industry buzzwords because they have no substance and even less desire to see things change.Plato 2

Recently I detailed the failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs on information technology.  The fallout from the deplorable designed incompetence in the IT/IS infrastructure at the VHA continues to represent just how incompetent the current leaders genuinely are.

To promote compatibility with the Department of Defense’s electronic health record system, VA is replacing its aging record system. This requires VA medical facilities to upgrade their physical infrastructure, including electrical and cabling. The OIG determined from its audit that the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) cost estimates for these upgrades were not reliable. VHA’s estimates did not fully meet VA standards for being comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. The audit team projected that VHA’s June and November 2019 cost estimates were potentially underestimated by as much as $1 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively. This was due in part to facility needs not being well-defined early on. The estimates also omitted escalation and cabling upgrade costs and were based on low estimates at the initial operating sites. Because cost estimates support funding requests, there is a risk that funds intended for other medical facility improvements would need to be diverted to cover program shortfalls. The Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization (OEHRM) also did not meet its obligation to report all program costs to Congress in accordance with statutory requirements. Specifically, OEHRM did not include cost estimates for upgrading physical infrastructure in the program’s life cycle cost estimates in congressionally mandated reports. Although VHA provided OEHRM with an approximately $2.7 billion estimate for physical infrastructure upgrade costs in June 2019, OEHRM did not, in turn, include them in life cycle cost estimate reports to Congress as of January 2021. OEHRM stated it did not disclose these estimates because the upgrades were outside OEHRM’s funding responsibility and that they represented costs assumed by VHA facilities for maintenance—including long-standing needs” [emphasis mine].VA 3

Angry Wet Chicken 2Did you catch that; the office specifically tasked with handling estimates intentionally low-balled estimates, did not include all necessary contractual requirements, and then lied to Congress to cover their hides, and fell back upon designed incompetence to skirt blame, responsibility, and accountability when the VA-OIG came investigating.  Lying to Congress is a CRIME!  Yet, these federal employees can break the law with impunity, and all the VA-OIG can do is make recommendations for improvement!  If you want to read the full report of shame, you can find it here.

Leadership is change; management is stagnation and corruption.  When will the VA start hiring leaders to enforce, demand, and execute change to benefit the taxpayer and the veteran community?  Where are the elected officials willing to work with newly hired VA leadership in establishing legal frameworks for evicting employees who refuse to change from the federal workforce?  When can the veteran community and the taxpayer expect to see real and tangible change at the VA?

Knowledge Check!I am not asking these questions and not expecting an answer!  I am asking these questions looking for and expecting real results to begin immediately, if not sooner!  This is a national embarrassment with a global impact, and it is time for the United States to lead in correcting their detestable government workforce!

© 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: Come, Let Us Reason Together – Chapter 4

Bird of PreyPSA:  I am not a cynic; I understand the concepts being discussed, and it might appear that I am cynical about insurance companies by the tone of the writing.  Please note, I am generally in favor of the insurance industry.  However, when government mandates insurance coverage to spread the risks out for the benefit of the insurance industry, insurance has become a tax.  When a business offers insurance, but the co-pays and the costs are too high, insurance is no longer a benefit, and I want the option to opt-out of the employer “benefit.”

Insurance as a concept has been around for a long time, historically speaking.  Maritime insurance was a concept from the 1340s, and Benjamin Franklin dreamed up property insurance in 1752, becoming America’s first insurer.  Insurance separated investment as a method of managing risk, making investing more palatable and shoving the consequences of natural disasters, pirates, and other methods of losing onto another responsible party.  Some of the biggest names in insurance can trace their roots to the Great Fire in London in the 1660s.  We mention all of this, as a foundation for understanding the role and the meaning of insurance.

Interest vs. Investing

Ziggy - The GovernmentInterest, in this usage is referring to the advantage to a group or single person, as well as improving one’s welfare.  Maritime shipping would take on several loads, and people who owned those loads had a vested interest (having a personal stake in something) in seeing that ship arrive on time at its intended destination.  For example, sugar has been a huge commodity in history, and a sugar mill would ship the sugar to destinations for sale.  People interested in improving their welfare could invest in the sugar mill, or with a higher risk, expecting a higher return, invest in the shipping company, or the ship.  Thus, investing became one where opportunities to increase interest became popular.

The modern stock market traces its roots to the 1600s and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, where for the first time, people interested in investing could be joined to companies needing investors, and money could exchange hands for certificates (stocks or bonds) showing interest.  A point of reference, the Dutch East India Trading Company was an original benefactor of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, and sugar, molasses, and spices were the commodities being shipped.  Not saying all the Dutch East India Trading was in non-human commodities, but sugar was a huge driving factor for separating risk through insurance that drove the stock exchange creation.

photo_slideshow_maxOne final point, government’s have interests, generally traced to those paying the highest taxes, or with the most political connections.  Government’s do not have allies, as much as they have groups of governments that share a common interest.  For example, countries belonging to NATO.  NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and was designed for those countries with interests in seeing trade safely through the North Atlantic.  Not all the countries in NATO are friendly with all the other countries, but the common interest in seeing trade and markets operate smoothly has generated NATO and kept it alive since 1949.  Government never has friends; they only have relationships based upon mutual interests.  These are cogent points that must be remembered!  Incredible as it seems, interests change, and when interests change, relationships between countries and governments force ideological changes, and today’s relationship might not be the same tomorrow, which is one of the reasons why the United Nations is such a pile of hypocrisy and uselessness!

Insurance and Investing

Insurance as described by Webster’s dictionary is a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.  The payments of premiums provide the insurance company with vast sums of cash.  Some of which are placed into long-term investments, medium -term investments, stocks, bonds, T-bills, and other methods of protecting the money paid in premiums.  The higher the risk, the higher the cost of the premium.  The one rule in insurance that has never changed from the 1300s is, if the insurance company can collect a premium, and not pay on a claim, the interest the premiums collect remains and the shareholders see larger returns on their investments.

Calvin & Hobbes - EnmityHence, lawyers and bankers have a vested interest in seeing insurance companies not have to pay claims, but still collect premiums.  Thus, contract law was established, and the insurance companies took full advantage of language to protect their premiums from paying a claim.  Another growth industry directly tied to the insurance industry, was special courts for hearing claims and awarding damages (Tort Law).  Cornell Law university provides some clarity on tort law, “A tort is an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.  In the context of torts, “injury” describes the invasion of any legal right, whereas “harm” describes a loss or detriment in fact that an individual suffers.”  Placing insurance companies squarely into the middle of tort law, and thus opening up new avenues for protecting against paying a claim from the premiums paid and invested.

Types of Insurance

ApathyImportant to understanding, Carl Marx and communism uses the ideas of mutual insurance companies to create a society where all share the risks, all benefit in the gains, at least in theory.  However, like insurance companies, someone in communism must enjoy all the benefits for taking the risk of establishing the community, and the reality of China, Cuba, and USSR become evident.  Where the leaders take everything for themselves, and the regular people live in squalor and depredation.

Janet Hunt wrote an great article on types of insurance companies and her article can be found here.  Currently there are nine different types of insurance companies available and are detailed below:

    • Mutual Companies – owned by policy holders who are also considered shareholders, sharing the risks, and benefiting from the lack of paid claims.  The mutual society of this type of insurance company shares dividends and when losses occur, generally the shareholders (policyholders) might not see an increase in premiums.
    • Stock Companies and Mono-Line Carriers – Stock companies are corporations and the distribution of dividends become payments to shareholders.  These insurance companies are very averse to paying claims.  Mono-line carriers only carry a single type of insurance.  For example, a company might only carry car insurance, specializing in just car insurance provides savings in overhead, and they might have agreements with other carriers to provide linked coverage for other insurance products.
    • Lloyds of London – When you want to insure the weird, Lloyds of London is the carrier of choice.  I cannot tell you how hard I have laughed at people willing to insure body parts, unusual, or high-risk items.  Share my laugh, look up what policies Lloyds has written insurance policies for and you too can have a good chuckle.  Lloyd’s does carry insurance for mundane and normal, but those policies do not make me laugh.  I feel sorry for the citizens of the United Kingdom, since Lloyd’s of London is backed by parliament, the taxpayers are on the hook for Lloyd’s losses eventually.
    • Alien Carriers – These are insurance carriers that are owned and operated in one country, doing business in another country, selling premiums, and paying claims.  Important to note about alien carriers, the lawyers charged with engineering methods to control risks to paying claims can create a nightmare using the laws of both countries.  Alien carriers can also be operating in one US State but be owned and governed in another US State.
    • Domestic Insurance – These are companies who are owned and operate in a single US State, or other geographical area.  For example, a domestic insurance company in Texas, might or might not have the ability to operate outside Texas, where it would be considered an alien provider.
    • Direct Sellers – Do not use insurance agents, selling directly to the public or insurance consumer.  To be considered a direct seller, the majority of the business occurs online or over the phone.  Direct sellers are pretty straight forward, and some of the biggest names in insurance providers are direct sellers.
    • Captives – A captive insurance company is a unique insurance provider, generally specializing in one type of insurance product for a specific industry or groups of individuals.  For example, if a business owns a fleet of vehicles, they will have insurance through a captive insurance company who specializes in handling the risks of fleet vehicles.  Another type of captive insurance company occurs when a parent corporation needs insurance but builds a branch of their company to handle the insurance instead of going through an insurance company.  In this model, the parent company keeps the premiums in-house and has a vested interest in protecting their investments.
    • Standard Lines – This is your normal insurance company with insurance agents, local offices, is regulated by the state board of insurance, pay fees into the general state guarantee fund, and are subject to the laws and ordinances of the state in which they operate.
    • Excess Lines – Think of these companies as insurance for high-risk individuals and companies, who cannot get insurance through a standard line company.

I know, that is a whole lot more than you think you want to know about insurance companies.  However, my only logic for making these distinctions in this article is to aid in understanding the classifications of insurance company, and some of the peculiarities in insurance products.  I feel the more you know, the better questions you can ask, leading to improvements in your bottom-line.

Emtional Investment CycleWith all the ties to investing, savings products, and the flow of money into and out of an insurance company, the discussion of insurance companies remains critical.  Especially when the government can create an insurance company, then mandate that company be used to provide coverage, creating a tax and fee that the taxpayer might not realize.  For example, around the time that states began demanding drivers have car insurance, GEICO began selling policies to non-government employees.  GEICO is an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company, and by selling policies to non-government employees, the government is able to reduce the risk of insuring their employees.  Thus, an argument can be made that the government only created GEICO to reduce the risks of insuring government employees, as well as benefiting from a flush of cash from premiums paid.

Ziggy on GovernmentBoth Lloyds of London and GEICO leave me worrying for taxpayers.  However, since the US Government is the only provider for some types of insurance, specifically flood insurance, which is mandatory for homeowners living in a flood plain, one must ask more questions about where the money goes and why?  What steps have been taken to protect the public from large scale incidents where the insurance company will have to make massive payments?  What does the government invest in to protect the premiums paid against the time of claims?

When a person begins discussing savings instruments, investments, and the links between insurance companies and government, a lot of potential questions arise, and the answers become more sparse inversely to the specificity of the questions asked.  For example, if a savings account interest is so low, due to inflationary spending by the government, what interest does the government, as a holder of savings accounts, receive for their investment?  Where does the government invest their premiums from insurance payments?  How is the government protecting their customers from inflation as a result of poor fiscal policy?Plato 2

Never forget, an insurance company must pay dividends to their shareholders who have invested interests (money).  GEICO is a Berkshire Hathaway company, and stopped being publicly held in 1996.  The questions for why the Government Employee Insurance Company is wholly owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway opens a lot of questions.  This would be akin to Lloyds of London being sold to a private company, where parliament stopped caring or backing Lloyds.  Why becomes a major question requiring detailed answers.  Look at the political situation in America at the time of the sell, and more questions rise, and less answers are provided.

Knowledge Check!America, when it comes to cash flow, money, and government fiscal policy, we need answers.  We need the elected representatives to understand basic economics, and we need to hold a tighter rein on those elected representatives.  The current fiscal health of America is poor, solely because of the elected representatives and their bureaucratic minions.  We must have a solution that protects America, and this solution needs every citizen involved and engaged.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
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