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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the irony is thick; consider the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join me in having your head explode:

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

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Moral Distress IS a Leadership Problem – More Shameful VA Chronicles!

Survived the VAA surprise occurred in this week’s Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports; the Boise VAMC in Idaho performed well in their comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp).  Even though 10 recommendations were left, the VAMC as a whole is performing above average, with no significant complaints found by the VA-OIG.  Congratulations to the Boise VAMC!

VA 3Let me stress something; leadership is the reason why a VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) or VA Medical Center (VAMC) performs well or poorly!  Yet, too often, the leadership IS the root cause of the problems in a VAHCS or VAMC.  The Boise VAMC just proved this point precisely; are any Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders in Washington DC paying any attention?

The VA-OIG performed a CHIp in Portland VAHCS and found moral distress in the employees, again!  This means that the Eastern end of the state is receiving better care than the western end of Oregon State!  Yet another VAHCS or VAMC with employees feeling morally distressed by the commands and directives of their leadership in how they treat veteran patients!  The VA-OIG report makes everything sound like rainbows and lollipops at the Portland VAHCS, but if employees feel “morally distressed,” there are problems, just not those included in the CHIp scope!VA 3

Where problems outside the scope of an investigation are concerned, the following is GREAT NEWS!

Robert Seifert, 63, of Utica, New York, pleaded guilty to making telephonic threats to Albany Stratton VA Medical Center employees. Seifert, who has been convicted twice before of threatening VA employees, admitted that on 14 January 2021, he made three calls to employees for no reason other than to harass and threaten them.”

I am going to repeat it, only for emphasis, “Leave the families out of your anger!”  Never, EVER, attack, threaten, or speak against the families.  They are OFF LIMITS!  I become very frustrated with the VA Leadership, but violence is not the answer, and threatening families is repulsive and counterproductive!  Seifert is scheduled for sentencing on 06 October 2021; may the judge throw the book at him, for this is his third conviction for threatening families of VA Employees.VA 3

On the topic of frustrating leadership who need to lose their jobs and reimburse the government for all wages, the following VA-OIG report is the epitome of failed leadership in action!

The VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events (NVSPSE) granted $47 million to organizations with experience in managing adaptive sports programs from fiscal year (FY) 2017 to FY 2020. … The VA-OIG found that the NVSPSE was not effectively managing the program.  The NVSPSE’s director had not established adequate internal controls, including developing standard operating procedures for managing adaptive sports grants.  As a result, the NVSPSE could not effectively evaluate risks from grant recipients, did not reimburse some recipients’ expenses on time, did not always close out grants on time, and did not appropriately authorize extensions for using funds.  By not closing out grants on time, the NVSPSE failed to free up about $346,000 that could have been used for other purposes.  It also improperly allowed recipients to spend $328,000 in FY 2017 appropriations outside the approved period and improperly reimbursed 19 recipients a total of about $247,000.”

The VA-OIG recognizes that these failures to audit and control the adaptive sports program properly potentially violate both the Purpose Statute and the Antideficiency Act, federal laws with direct consequences for Federal Employees.  I am taking bets.  Will anything come out of the director being referred to the lawyers; I doubt any action will ever be taken!  That’s not just my cynicism speaking; that is the experience in watching directors at the VA skate accountability and responsibility better than gold-winning Olympic figure skaters.VA 3

In reporting the following VA-OIG report, do not rationalize that every suicidal person will eventually find a way or means to commit suicide.  I ask you do not think this for two reasons: one, it is a lie lazy people tell themselves to disregard the act; two, helping people with suicide ideation is not cut and dried textbook medicine. Assisting people with suicide ideation takes time, effort, getting to know the person, and a lot of interlocking care from professionals.

“The patient, who was over 70 years old at the time of death, had diagnoses that included post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. After approximately 15 years of care at a California VA facility, the patient transferred care to the Las Vegas facility in summer 2019. The VA-OIG substantiated that the patient died by suicide from a VA resident mental health clinic on the day of dischargeThe emergency department social worker documented an incomplete comprehensive evaluation. The suicide prevention team did not assign the patient a high risk for suicide patient record flag despite the patient’s stressors and history of suicide behaviors. Staff did not adequately assess the patient’s substance use, incorporate relevant history into the treatment plan, or address the patient’s change in demeanor and concerning statements. The discharge safety plan had not been modified for approximately eight months despite significant life changes. Leaders had not established a mental health treatment coordinator (MHTC) policy. Staff assigned the patient an MHTC at the patient’s tenth visit and four MHTCs over nine months. Staff did not coordinate care with a geropsychologist, with whom the patient had nine appointments. Leaders did not effectively address the patient’s expressed complaints. The VA-OIG substantiated that leaders did not conduct an institutional disclosure” [emphasis mine].

The last sentence is the dead giveaway that the leadership knew there were problems and designed processes intentionally to have an excuse when a patient died!  This veteran was suffering to a great degree, and I hope that with his passing, his family and friends can find peace in the knowledge that the veteran is now pain-free.  But, the VA leadership should be held legally responsible for this death, they failed this patient, and the world is worse for the veteran’s passing.VA 3

Suicides are hard on family, friends, communities; suicides at any age are the ultimate declaration that failure occurred, the pain was missed, and the medical community and support systems failed.  Survivors often feel a great degree of guilt and carry that guilt to their graves.  But, when medical providers go out of their way to hide the problems, refusing to document, and declare, it means that the medical community had written the patient off as too costly to save.  Who speaks for the loss of intelligence and potential of the failed patient; I do!I-Care

I will continue to speak to the failures of the VA to provide the care they promised, and demand leaders are held accountable and responsible.  This was preventable, and the leadership must be held accountable if the system is to be changed!  This veteran did not have to die by his own hand, and the medical community at the VA in Southern Nevada HCS, located in Las Vegas, should be ashamed!

Follow this link if you would like to see a recap, with links, to the shenanigans reported by the VA-OIG in June.  June 2021 has been a month of incredible and horrendous behavior documented by the VA-OIG of the leadership failures at the VA.  The elected leaders of America either need to begin scrutinizing the VA more closely or vacate office.  There is no excuse for the continued irrational and detestable behavior at the VA.VA 3

The last two items are testimony recorded before a Senate and a House of Representatives Committee.  Statement of deputy inspector general David Case Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs before the US Senate Committee on veterans’ affairs hearing on VA electronic health records: modernization and the path ahead 14 July 2021Statement of Leigh Ann Searight deputy assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General before the subcommittee on oversight and investigations committee on Veterans’ Affairs US House of Representatives hearing on modernizing the VA police force: Ensuring accountability 13 July 2021.  Frankly, both statements are pure vanilla because the subcommittees refused to act, which was known before making the statement and the hearings.  Hence, why should the VA-OIG prepare action plans if the Senate and House will not take action?

Knowledge Check!Repeating, only for emphasis, “Until the US Legislative Branch will do their jobs, and scrutinize the Executive Branch with the intent to demand accountability, no single government agency will ever change.”  Want to help veterans?  Contact your elected representatives and send them these articles, demanding they take action in support of legislation and scrutinization, demanding accountability and responsibility of government employees who are currently active in refusing to change!  Want to help veterans?  Share these stories far and wide.  Everyone should know what the VA is doing and realize that every government agency from the city to the President is employing tactics to steal liberty, rob freedom, and murder veterans!

© 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.

Was COVID-19 a “Dry Run?” – Let’s Discuss

VirtueI am not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I sitting at home wearing a tin-foil hat and talking to walls.  I am not a China Basher, but I have significant reservations with China and how her Government continues to act. Including the open hostility shown to China’s neighbors, which amounts to war.  So as we begin this discussion, please take your emotional hat, remove it from your head, and put your question and discussion hat on.  I am asking an honest question, will present what I am seeing, and leave the conclusions to you to draw.  I am not pressing a political agenda, but I am concerned and feel an open and honest discussion will improve global COVID recovery.

Dr. Fauci

Question 3If you haven’t heard already, some 3000+ emails from the pre-and early-COVID period were released under a freedom of information act (FOIA) request.  What I find distressing is how the Chinese Government praised Dr. Fauci for his “brave positions taken.”  One thing I have learned in dealing with China, everything is controlled by the Government. So when praise is offered to a foreigner, I am left asking what the relationship behind the scenes is?  More to the point, Dr. Fauci researched coronaviruses before government service; he knew that most actions taken by the Government were wrongheaded, at best. So why did he go along, preach, and work so hard to implement straight anathema actions to common sense and good discipline where a viral disease is concerned?  Why has Dr. Fauci worked so diligently to deny science and bury the truth?  The emails I have read leave me with a lot of questions and even fewer answers.

Principles of LIC

Having served in the US Army and US Navy, I have a background in planning operations. Additionally, as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, I know that significant changes are always beta-tested before an organizational-wide change is implemented.  One of the principles of low-intensity conflict (LIC) is to dry run an operation to ensure plans can be successful.  Guerilla groups and terrorists, small cell military teams, heck, even Hollywood uses the same philosophy, dry run something to ensure it can go right, mitigate risks, and plan safety zones to protect those in danger and those filming.  Was COVID-19 a dry run for another more deadly disease being intentionally dispersed?photo_slideshow_max

Earlier this year, these articles ran a series on infectious diseases from China over the previous three decades.  Each time China releases a disease, the Chinese economy’s recovery has been grander and more complex.  Each time the world has suffered economic losses, witnessed government indifference and seen global financial struggles everywhere but China.  President Trump was squeezing China for the good of the global trade associations.  Yet, China was pretty laid back in its response until COVID was released, then China became intransigent, belligerent, and threatening.  As President Trump continued to blame China, China’s response became more hostile, and I am left wondering if China purposefully released COVID-19 (Sars-COV-2) as a bargaining chip for economic freedom.

If COVID-19 was not a dry run, was it a “Wolf Call?”

“Wolf-Call”

As a kid, one of the stories read to me was the “Boy who Cried, Wolf.”  We all know the story, a boy watching the sheep grows bored, cries wolf, sees the village go crazy, and gets some entertainment.  He cries wolf a couple more times with the same result.  Finally, he cries wolf for real, and there is no response; the boy gets eaten, the sheep are consumed, and the village is left without sheep.Apathy

Now apply this pattern to China’s diseases, the release schedule, government indifference until COVID-19, the theft of liberty and freedom experienced, and ask yourself, do you trust the Government more or less after the COVID-Hysteria being pushed as a pandemic and health emergency? For example, a comedian has claimed that “Jock-Itch has a higher approval rating than the Government.”  People laugh at this statement, and it is funny; except, if COVID-Hysteria was a “Wolf-Call.”  Then it stops being funny pretty quickly.  One of my most important questions, which has never been answered, continues to be; “Why was COVID-19 treated 180-degrees differently than any of the other China diseases the world has suffered from since the 1990s?

China and Bio-Warfare

Vaccine03 April 2020 is the first time I read about the possibility that China is practicing Biological Warfare (Bio-War).  A report has surfaced, discussed by The Weekend Australian, 10 May 2021, discussing this exact topic again, only where the report states categorically that China IS practicing Bio-War.  08 May 2021, the Daily Mail reports that the US State Department has seen the report about China practicing Bio-War and how COVID-19 was part of their strategy.  While I can honestly admit I have not personally read this report as mentioned by the linked stories, I do not doubt that China has and continues to threaten global stability.  I do not doubt that China would be interested in researching ways and practicing delivery methods for nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.  Conventional weapon sales are a cash transaction, and I tend to believe China is arming America’s enemies.  Exploring that last link will reveal a map of where and how much arms sales in those areas are benefiting China to America’s detriment.  There is no doubt in my mind that China is selling advanced weaponry, manufacturing, and intellectual property to other nations to develop and deliver unconventional weapons of war.

Plato 2Conclusion

Is it plausible that COVID was a dry run for something more heinous; I think so, and I think this needs to be investigated thoroughly and transparently.  Is it plausible that China is gearing up for WW3; I honestly do not know.  Their actions are always inherently hostile unless they get what they want from the US, then their relationship warms slightly from passively aggressive to chilly.  Could COVID have been an activity run to “Call Wolf” and reduce trust in the Government to pursue other more offensive agendas at a later time; I cannot rule out the plausibility of this situation.Bait & Switch 2

I see lines of congruence to potential answers and like none of the options currently appearing.  However, I know that not openly discussing these potential options breeds fear and chaos, both of which I would eliminate so logic may provide truth.  The answers come back to the same root causes, the root causes for the media-hysteria were the Government giving them an excuse.  The Government went hysterical over COVID because the press went hysterical.  The media and the Government fed off each other to the detriment of every person across the globe.  We saw pockets of leadership but saw too many examples of government mandates instead of representative governments acting in a manner that was scientifically and logically sound.

QuestionThen we have this shadow activity in China. When we add those politicians with financial ties to China’s good graces, we find potential reasoning that looks more like criminal activities than harmless politicking!  The Biden family, the Clinton Machine, and George Soros, among many others, have considerable ties to China being the dominant economy globally.  These facts open more doors to questions and probability scenarios that have the appearance of malfeasance; as a kid, I learned, where there is smoke, there is fire!  Thus, my desire for open discussion on the topics contained herein.

© 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 2

Bird of PreyAs American state, city, and county governments, begin to become greedy little children over the $350 Billion the Federal Government is “handing out for COVID relief” to “spur a national recovery from the economic toll of COVID-19.”  I wanted to take a minute and speak some reality to the situation.  Let us logically review what has happened since November 2019 in the light of a non-partisan, apolitical review.  I urge you to take what is said, conduct your own research, and come to your own conclusions.  As Dumbledore said, “I could be as wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who believed  the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron.”

    1. COVID-19 started in Wuhan Province, China. It was delivered around the world by the Chinese Government’s intentional decision to allow travel while infectious.  The virus was further enhanced by the political nature of Government, the intrusion of Government, and the mass hysteria whipped up by the global media.  Power-hungry people looked upon a virus with a 99.02% survivability rate and saw a golden opportunity to seize power from those who elected them to office.Apathy

These are basic COVID-19 facts that have never been refuted, and the adults in the room have recognized the power-mad politicians and the media usurpers from the beginning of the “pandemic.”  While politics continues to play an over-sized role in COVID, while people are still suffering, and while some “normality” is breaking out, the money spent to date will eventually need to be repaid, and no one is discussing this problem.  Worse, more money is being printed and pumped into the economies of the world to “spur growth,” and this is never good fiscal policy!

    1. Printing money causes inflation. Too much money, not enough goods, raises prices beyond sustainable limits to rebalance the economy; hence inflationary prices will continue until excess money is absorbed.  This is a fundamental economic fact everyone should know.  Money is created through several processes, but printing it to throw at a problem, does not resolve the issue; it only prolongs the misery of the original problem.   The original problem was not COVID-19 but a runaway government from the Obama reign, where the economy stalled, the money pumped in did nothing, and a recession dragged on artificially due to the political hands in the economy.  The same problem from Obama’s reign will lead to the same economic issues under the fraudulent president.Plato 3
    2. Fiscal insanity is not fixed by Federal impropriety and investment. Too many states, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maine, and so many others, are in dire financial straits.  However, their fiscal health was already failing before COVID-19.  Investment by the Federal Government will not change the underlying issues and make a fiscally insane state fiscally sane.  In fact, the opposite will occur; the funds being handed to the states under the auspices of “spurring growth” will exacerbate fiscal problems.  More to the point, the excess money in the markets will mean more financial problems for the rest of the United States, which will bleed into the global economy!Plato 2

You cannot buy your way out of fiscal problems!  The only answer to spur growth is to reduce Government!  Reduce regulations!  Reduce the intrusion of Government!  Eliminate taxes!  Instead, the same tired act is being performed, print money, give it to the states, complain about inflationary prices, blame the rich, and increase taxes!  The only thing the Trump Presidency proved, without a shadow of a doubt, if America can get the millstone of Government off her neck, her economy BOOMS!  Yet, what has Washington and too many state capitals done, doubled down on policies that do not work and try to call this “progress.”

Knowledge Check!Agree or disagree, your choice and your consequences.  I have made my case; the money being pumped into the states will lead to inflationary prices, above and beyond a sustainable level.  The states all have sticky fingers and wet lips looking for these funds.  Sure, there are many promises regarding how these funds will be spent. Still, I guarantee most of the promises are empty. The politicians will have their special interests fed first—leaving the citizens to pay exorbitant fees for food, clothing, housing, services, and products until the extra money is consumed, which might occur sometime in the next 5-years at a minimum.  Who benefits, nobody!  Who loses, everyone!

© 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 IRS – The Pernicious and Detestable Federal Agency

Angry Wet ChickenNow that tax season is, for the most part, completed and behind us for another year.  It occurred to me that many people do not know the power and reach of the IRS in their daily lives.  Plato is quoted as saying, “The price of apathy towards  public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  No truer words can describe the situation with the IRS, and I think it is time every American knows just how destructive the policies of the IRS have been and continue to be.

Employee

UseLegal.com (2012) provides the actual definition of an employee, “An “employee” is defined as “a preference eligible in the excepted service who has completed one year of current continuous service in the same or similar positions” or “an individual in the excepted service (other than a preference eligible)… who is not serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment pending conversion to the competitive service.” Ramos v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 24378 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 6, 2009)”  Essentially, a person can be hired by an employer, but does not attain employee status and protection until that person has been hired for a continual year by the same employer, is not under a ‘probationary period,’ and or appointment.Apathy

An employee agrees to be controlled by an employer; that person’s production is only one of the controls granted to an employer.  Employee conduct both on and off the job can be controlled, and the means and manner of producing the work specified.  The right to control is the primary determining factor in this relationship.  The right to control is also the deciding line between freelance workers and employees.  Upon this single imperative hang tax law, the responsibility of parties, risk, and every item in employee/employer relationships, hierarchical structures, and will ultimately decide who or which party is in charge, and is entirely governed by the IRS in America!

The Right to Control

The IRS breaks into three categories the essential components where the ‘Right to Control’ hinges, namely, Behavioral Control, Financial Control, and Type of Relationship.

Behavioral Control:  Relates to the questions, what, where, and how work is completed.  Employees have set schedules, tight restrictions about how to think, where to sit, etc., dictated by the employer.

Financial Control:  Relates to all things money.  The employee is forced to accept all terms of the employer without negotiation, from business expenses to taxes.  Where Financial Control is, risk shortly follows; where risk is, the threat of litigation follows.  Therefore, when the employer has financial Control, risk follows the employer, not the employee.  Profit and loss, tools of the trade, and the freedom to offer services to other organizations are all part of the financial controls relinquished by the employee to the employer.  Under Financial Control falls the following, the Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990 (ADA).

    • The ADA’s seminal beginning originate in 1973 Section 504, which made it illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities if the organization receives Federal Government subsidies.
          • “No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States… shall, solely because of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”(ED.gov, 1995).
          • Classified disabilities by disease; includes “Hidden Disease[s],” is changed constantly to update diseases covered, and dictates the only requirement for the condition is that the disorder “have a material effect on one’s ability to perform a major life activity” (Ed.gov, 1995).
          • Business costs mainly occur in ‘soft’ costs, i.e., changing procedures, reasonable accommodations, etc., something to keep in mind, though, “… noncompliance can cost an employer.  For example, in the fiscal year 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 15,045 disability discrimination charges.  It recovered $48.8 million in monetary benefits for workers who did not receive accommodations to which they are entitled under the ADA” (Woog, 2008).  Thus, monetarily speaking, noncompliance costs more than compliance.

Type of Relationship:  Relates to all things in the interaction of the two independent parties, including written contracts dictating the interaction, risks, penalties, etc.  The extent of the relationship is a significant point and colludes with permanency and benefits to form the marriage between two independent entities.  The employee forfeits Control in this arena to the employer who automatically sets the terms, demands compliance, and exerts totalitarian Control.quote-mans-inhumanity

Employee Surveillance

IRS.gov (2018) sets the standard upon which the premise for employee surveillance rests; the business organization holds the right to control, monitor, insist, and legally demand employee behaviors. Goshray (2013) quoted Cashmore (2009) and is correct; employee privacy is dead, and the origination is social media.  Thus, with the IRS granting legal ability to monitor and control employees, there are no other legal or ethical issues, privacy concerns, or anything else wrong with employee surveillance.  If the employee chooses to take issue with the monitoring, that employee is free to end their relationship with the company; in fact, Lyon (2017) substantiated that with newer employees, who have grown up with the acceptance of digital citizenship, surveillance is expected and no privacy concerns exist in the workplace.Patriotism

Holt, Lang, and Sutton (2017) further inform that employee surveillance does not affect potential employees’ rating of the organization’s ethics, nor the organizational views when monitoring, e.g., employee surveillance is higher than another business in the same industry. Holt et al., (2017) further added that employee surveillance has been, and continues to be, radically changed by the technology available (Waxman & Barile, 2016).  Returning to the organizational “right,” as provided by the government through both edict and legislation, employees have no individual control and relinquish privacy rights upon hire to the employer (IRS.gov, 2018).

Vargas (2017) reviewed a business and found that the employer considers each employee a criminal and that through working for the company, investigated criminalization of employee behaviors is enacted and reproduced.  Essentially, making each employee an automatic suspect anytime a crime occurs, suspecting every transaction, and disciplining for minor changes in expected corporate behaviors. While admittedly, this behavior by the business might be considered extreme, it is not beyond the legal “rights” of the employer.  An argument could be made to treat employees better to reduce churn; in this particular industry (retail), high churn means you pay less in wages because good employees leave quickly and bad employees are fired fast.  Thus, criminalizing the employee is not wrong; employee surveillance is not unethical and should have no consequences for honest employees.The Duty of Americans

However, labor unions vociferously continue to advocate privacy in the workplace and attempt to place limits upon employee surveillance by a company, completely disregarding the fact that the employer has the legal right and ability to demand and enforce all types of direct and indirect employee surveillance programs (Goshray, 2013; Holt, Lang, and Sutton, 2017; IRS.gov, 2018; Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, 2017; Lyon, 2017; Waxman & Barile, 2016; Vargas, 2017).  While Leclercq-Vandelannoitte (2017) attempts to place ethical constraints, prior knowledge, policies, and procedures around employee surveillance, nothing in the IRS.gov (2018) mandates declare an employer has to mention or warn employees that their every keystroke, every conversation, and every action are directly and indirectly monitored as the “right” of the business.

Knowledge Check!Is the pernicious role of the IRS now more understood?  Your Employer/Employee relationship is not governed by the NLRB, but by the IRS, and this was by design to protect tax money!  Every action made in an employment situation is governed by the IRS, and the IRS has given great latitude to the employer, making you the property of the IRS, with control granted to your employer.  The IRS remains a danger to every American, and the globe.  Why is the United States the only industrialized nation to not allow options to the employee/employer relationship, squashing innovation, curtailing small businesses opportunities, and unequally tipping the scales for large organizations, look to the IRS!  Want to point fingers, thank President Woodrow Wilson (D) and his complicit Congress and his executive orders!

References

Effelsberg, D., Solga, M., & Gurt, J. (2013). Getting followers to transcend their self-interest for the benefit of their company: Testing a core assumption of transformational leadership theory. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(1), 131-143. doi:10.1007/s10869-013-9305-x

Ghoshray, S. (2013). Employer surveillance versus employee privacy: The new reality of social media and the workplace. Northern Kentucky Law Review, 40(3), 593-626. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lgs&AN=90242325&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Holt, M., Lang, B., & Sutton, S. G. (2017). Potential employees’ ethical perceptions of active monitoring: The dark side of data analytics.Journal of Information Systems, 31(2), 107-124. doi:10.2308/isys-51580

Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, A. (2017). An ethical perspective on emerging forms of ubiquitous IT-based Control.Journal of Business Ethics, 142(1), 139-154. doi: http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1007/s10551-015-2708-z

Lyon, D. (2017). Digital Citizenship and Surveillance| Surveillance Culture: Engagement, Exposure, and Ethics in Digital Modernity. International Journal of Communication, 11, 19.

Waxman, S. S., & Barile, F. G. (2016). “Eye in the sky:” Employee surveillance in the public sector. Albany Law Review, 79(1), 131.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov) (2018). Independent contractor vs. employee. Available from http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,id=99921,00.html

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov). (2018). The Agency, its Mission, and Statutory Authority. Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=98141,00.html

Vargas, T. L. (2017). Employees or Suspects? Surveillance and Scrutinization of Low-Wage Service Workers in U.S. Dollar Stores, 20(2), 207–230. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoh&AN=EP123822581&site=ehost-live&scope=site

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