“That’s Crazy!!!” – More Chronicles from the VA – Chapter 2

I-CareAs bad as the last several months have been, I hate adding more bad news; but the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) keeps reporting, and I keep summating.  Due to the absolute overabundance of incredible bureaucratic insanity, today’s article format will necessarily shift to report more and comment less.  Don’t worry, I will still comment on the more egregious examples, for some of these VA-OIG reports are scarier than Joe Biden dressed as a mall Santa at a Fourth of July celebration feeling up little children!

  • 2020 Pre-award reviews of contracts totaled $81 million; guess what:
      • 24 of the 31 contracts awarded contained conflicts of interest.
      • 25 of the 31 contracts had problems with overcharges for hourly rates of services rendered.
      • 6 of the 31 price gouged Medicare.
      • 25 of the 31 contracts, if they had adequately followed the contract process, would have saved taxpayers $16 Million. – Would it shock anyone to hear this is just the “tip of the VA-OIG” report iceberg?

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  • Financial Efficiency Review of the Southeast Louisiana VAHCS in New Orleans; guess what:
      • The VAHCS in New Orleans scored 75% out of 90%. The VA does not try to get a 100% because they regularly fail financial audits as a fact.
      • Actual costs are difficult to relate in dollars and cents because the leaders intentionally hid costs from the VA-OIG, then blamed the new medical center director.
      • Avoidance costs, Purchase card abuse, prime vendor program abuse, and more were employed to avoid proper fiscal practices.
      • Audit, FAILED! No accountability, no person held responsible, and the taxpayer is left holding the bill!

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  • Followup to VAHCS Ozarks Pathology Failures From Dr. Levy Scandal; guess what:
        • Levy Scandal for those who do not remember. – Intentional misdiagnosing, VA coverup, refusal to discuss with patients affected. The report is ghastly!
        • 5% of the patients have now been contacted, and the VA-OIG considers this a “success.” I sure hope you are not part of the 24.5% patient population.
        • Here’s the rub in the 76.5% notification, “an absence of a clearly defined process for clinical providers to alert the Clinical Review Team if later changes in a patient’s health required reconsideration of institutional disclosure.” Does the VA-OIG still want to cheer about that notification rate?
        • Less than 5% of the severely sick patients have been notified of the scandal and the problems created by Dr. Levy. Is this how the VA admits culpability, waiting for the patient to pass?
        • Now, here’s the real kick to the balls; “The VA-OIG determined facility processes related to disclosure of the pathology errors and amending patients electronic health records generally met Veterans Health Administration policy requirements, but opportunities for improvement existed.” – Are you KIDDING ME?

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  • Speaking of fiscal inefficiency and audit failures. The VA continues to overspend and under-deliver on prosthetic devices, especially for shoe inserts.
        • In the fiscal year 2019, such items—artificial limbs, shoes, shoe inserts, and compression garments—accounted for about $318.8 million, or about 9 percent of prosthetic spending.
        • Oversight of prosthetic spending was ineffective, resulting in medical facilities sometimes reimbursing vendors at unreasonable rates.
        • Medical facilities spent about $10 million more than reasonable rates in the six months from October 2019 through March 2020.
        • Rates and data in databases remain unreliable, no oversight, and those in charge of oversight are missing in action. Yet, the VA continues to spend pell-mell.  Does this sound like fiscal responsibility to you?

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  • VA-OIG double-speak lives, and is blatantly observable in the following report, the “Contracting Officer Warranting Program.”
        • For those unfamiliar, a simple explanation: “A warrant gives federal contracting officers the authority to obligate taxpayer dollars. VA’s contracting officers help serve our nation’s veterans by procuring the goods and services required for their care and support.”
        • Never forget – There have been long-standing concerns (Never Resolved) with VA’s contracting officer warrant program. Since 2015, the VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has issued multiple reports [describing how] warranted contracting officers exceeded their authority and made decisions that put veterans and VA facilities, resources, and information systems at risk.
        • Never forget – The VA-OIG has documented multiple times, and the VA has never resolved, that the VA’s acquisition management has been included on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO’s) high-risk list for fiscal impropriety and poor contractual adherence.

BUT…

        • The VA-OIG found that while VA’s contracting officer warrant program complied with Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements, opportunities exist to strengthen the program and that the VA lacked assurance that all contracting officer warrants were justified and necessary. – Essentially, this is bureaucrat double-speak for, continue to lie, cheat, steal. We like our job and want to continue, and since Congress doesn’t care, neither do we!

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  • The VHA continues to suffer from employee shortages. I have written about this shortage until I am blue in the face and my fingers ache.  I am fed up telling the VHA how to fix this problem.  If they want answers, call me!

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  • Nurse Bethann Kierczak of Southgate, Michigan, was charged with theft of government property and theft or embezzlement related to a healthcare benefit program. She allegedly stole authentic COVID-19 vaccination record cards from a VA hospital—along with vaccine lot numbers necessary to make the cards appear legitimate—and then resold those cards and information to individuals within the metro Detroit community. – Frankly, with the way the Federal Government is acting, this theft is almost understandable and acceptable.
          • No! I am not condoning an illegal action!  I am simply stating that Pelosi and her ilk do 10-times worse hourly by Congressional standards and get away with those crimes!

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  • Donald Peter Auzine of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Bonnie Jean Lawless Diaz of Slidell, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to misprision (or knowing concealment) of the commission of a felony. From March 2014 through October 2016, Auzine, the marketing manager at Prime Pharmacy Solutions, defrauded TRICARE and other benefit programs. Diaz concealed the fraud by knowingly submitting compounded medications for which there was no medical necessity. Both will be sentenced on January 4, 2022.

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  • Amanda Dawn Rains of Fayetteville, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and healthcare fraud, obtaining federal employees’ compensation fraudulently, and paying kickbacks. Rains, a former executive with a Rogers medical supply and billing company, participated in 2013 to 2017, defrauding the US government and private insurance companies.

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  • Robert Seifert of Utica, New York, was sentenced to two years in prison for making telephonic threats to Albany Stratton VA Medical Center employees. He admitted that on January 14, 2021, he made successive calls to three separate employees and left each of them threatening voicemails in which he used demeaning and offensive language. Seifert’s threats caused the employees to fear for their safety and property. He will also serve one year of post-imprisonment supervised release.

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  • Patsy Truglia of Parkland, Florida, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of making a false statement in a matter involving a healthcare benefit program. From January 2018 through April 2019, Truglia and other conspirators generated medically unnecessary physicians’ orders via their telemarketing operation for orthotic devices like knee, back, and wrist braces. Truglia, co-defendant Ruth Bianca Fernandez, and other conspirators caused approximately $25 million in fraudulent durable medical equipment claims to be submitted to Medicare, resulting in approximately $12 million in payments.

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  • Larry Ray Bon, 62, was sentenced to over 16 years in prison for shooting a firearm inside the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Florida. Bon brought the firearm to the emergency room, and after becoming frustrated with medical staff, he retrieved it from his wheelchair and fired several shots. In March 2020, he pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding federal employees and one count of possession of a firearm in a federal facility with the intent to commit a crime. At that time, Bon was committed to the custody of the US Attorney General for 25 years of mental health care and treatment at a suitable medical facility. However, Bon was determined to no longer need psychiatric hospitalization and was recently sentenced accordingly.

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Finally, if you want a really good reading, you can visit the VA-OIG page and see the lowlights of the VA-OIG’s reports for yourself by visiting the page here.  Excluded from this list are the usual reports of malfeasance and misfeasance captured in the comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp) reports, where we find the exact carbon-copied hits from report to report.  We find moral distress, problems in staffing, continued refusals by leadership to train staff, and the ever-present refusal to attend disruptive committee meetings.  Also omitted from this summation were the inspection of veteran centers and the myriad of failures, bureaucratic ineptitudes, and abysmal behaviors.  Frankly, I could not stand being depressed more by writing and analyzing another moment’s detestable and criminal behavior.Angry Grizzly Bear

What curdles the food in my stomach, this is just the VA.  What about all the other official and unofficial government agencies in the alphabet of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of what we collectively call “the government.”  To all the freedom-loving people in America, please awake and arise; we need you!

© 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.

 

Do We Understand – Important Truths From President James Madison

Exclamation MarkSometimes revisiting a topic is required to help promote urgency in learning.  Other times revisiting a subject helps to broaden the mind to more of the problem.  My intent in reviewing the topic of understanding is for both of these reasons.  President Madison provides counsel that every American should be adhering to, regardless of political flavor, as the first policy in being a responsible citizen.

We begin with an absolute from President Madison, stated two different ways, with the same meaning:

      • The trust is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”
      • All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.”

To those who would like to be female apologists and excuse women just because President Madison used the term “men” here, the President spoke of “men” as in all humankind.  As in, when power is invested in any person, they should be mistrusted.  They should be carefully watched, monitored, and scrutinized.  Not blindly trusted to act and never called out for their actions.  Hence the role of the media, the role of laws, the role of three co-equal branches of government.  Yet, what do we find today?

Honestly, take a look around, and take off the political glasses of partisan politics for a moment.  Can you honestly claim that the media is representing fairly both sides of the partisan political spectrum?  Can you honestly trust the co-equal branches of government not to be intimidated, cajoled, browbeaten, or unduly influenced by another branch?  Is the military following their civilian leaders without political influence and acting in the best interest of all Americans?  Is each of the co-equal branches of the government pulling their weight and acting in accordance with the law?

Now, look closer to home.  How about the school board, the mayor, the governor, the state legislature, the county board, the city council, the town council, and every other bureaucrat vested with public trust.  Are they obeying the duties and honoring the roles of their office and deserving of the public trust?  What about the teachers in classrooms who the school board officials directly supervise? Are your children taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, or are they being taught wokeism, sexism, and being groomed for sexual perverts?

“Public office is a public trust, the authority and opportunities of which must be used as absolutely as the public moneys for the public benefit, and not for the purposes of any individual or party.” ~ Dorman Bridgeman Eaton

Public trust remains the single most important and least discussed aspect of American culture and American politics, mainly because public trust is the most misunderstood concept.  Public trust has been intentionally misunderstood (plasticized), so it can be perverted and challenging to understand.  Yet, public trust comes down to one thing and is revealed through an easy test in its most simple form.  Would you leave your home and children alone, under the supervision of any person holding public office?  If the answer is yes, they hold your public trust.  If the answer is no, why are they in office?

Using President Madison’s quotes above, no one in a position of public trust should be “trusted” without verification, scrutinization, and they should be held accountable for their decisions made while in office.  Missouri is the “Show-Me State!”  I possess a “Missouri Mindset,” show me you have done the job correctly.  Show me; you are transparent in doing the job you were elected to perform.  Show me you can be trusted.  I am willing to give anyone a chance at leadership, but they had better show me they can do the job!Daniel S. Lamont Quote: "Public office is a public trust." (9 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

Under the heading of trust and show me comes an important principle, and President Madison elaborates this principle simply, eloquently, and precisely.

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

Find me that article of the US Constitution.  If you cannot find that, then the Federal, State, and City governments need to get out of taking money through taxes and giving money to people who have not earned it.  Welfare belongs to charity groups and religions, not governments!  Pork barrel spending is anathema to good order and discipline and should be shunned and shamed.  Consider with me the plethora of laws that have been invented to control society just because of the government welfare programs.Soulful Musings: Don't Tell Me, "Show Me"

Food controls, including price controls, control what, when, and how much a farmer can grow, how a farmer can grow, and much more.  These controls include legalized theft of a farmer’s goods which the supreme court has upheld.

Dairy, farm, and rancher controls for grain, meat, and milk.  Then when the government has too much in store, they force price-controls, forcing dairy and ranchers out of business in support of large commercial production facilities at the expense of smaller and medium-sized operations.  Labeling laws that unfairly punish smaller and medium-sized establishments.

Larger governments manage programs through bureaucrats and bureaucratic inertia that are abused at every potential opportunity and are not scrutinized adequately for waste, fraud, and abuse.  Where systems and operations are regularly gamed to keep the benefits rolling in at the expense of society, taxpayers, and those needing assistance cannot receive assistance due to the gamesmanship and fraud of others.Show Don't Tell - Working Writers

I am all for helping people learn how to help themselves, using charity programs and religious outreach.  But, taxpayer dollars should NEVER be spent in helping one person at the cost of another person!

The following has caused many a discussion in my home.  I hope it will cause many a conversation in your homes.  May those discussions be heated, be full of lovely disagreement, and be full of fiery opinions.  For in the spirited debates come ideas and solutions that work.  Invite people who disagree with you to dinner, and may the food and conversation be a delightful experience and a gustatory wonder!

In framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

What is the discussion in my home centered upon, “How does a citizen ‘oblige a government to control itself?’”  I will offer a couple of suggestions here.  Feel free to refute my recommendations with your own in the comments below.  Better still, suggest more ideas for topics of discussion.  I am not the only person with ideas, and we need every person to help “oblige” the government to control itself!

      1. Be an informed electorate! – The one thing a politician fears or should fear more than a ballot box is an informed electorate. Do you know why the politicians preferred Dewey’s system of functionally illiterate stooges to the informed electorate of the early 1900s?  They could get away with robbing the citizens blind!  When the citizenry is not informed, they become property, bought and sold as chattel (cows, goats, sheep).  Doesn’t this make you angry that your elected leaders and the unelected Hollywood elite think of you this way?Andragogy - LEARN
      2. Scrutinize government and demand transparency! – It is your government. Tell me something, if your neighbor went across town and graffitied buildings, broke windows, burned property, and defecated on private property, then told the authorities that you had paid him to do these acts, would you be a little concerned?  If your neighbor did these things and used your hard-earned money to pay for these crimes, would you want revenge and a criminal charge levied against your neighbor?  These are the actions of your government; why does the government get a pass?  Your name is on the check, right beside mine, claiming full financial responsibility for the actions of our intermediaries, the government.Quotes On Government Control. QuotesGram
      3. Gather with like-minded people, teach each other, learn from each other, and teach your children WHY! – Every tin-pot dictator in history has captured children, taken them from hearth and home, and “educated” them away from parents to influence the next generation. Today, we call this “education,” “state-run schools,” using “laws,” and obligations as “good parents” to shame and force parents to send their children into re-education camps.  Want to freak out the government; change the next generation!Patriotism

Finally, President Madison provides two pieces of advice for living in the American Society worthy of knowing and on-boarding.

      • Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.”
      • The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.”

Consider a parable.  Give a person a fish, and he eats for a day.  Teach a person to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.  Teach a person to fish and sell his wares, and his children build a prosperous society.  Knowledge will always govern ignorance, but knowledge and confidence build nations!  I do not want to build small communities; I want to rebuild the American Nation, a free nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.  I cannot do this alone; our forefathers did not undertake this task alone.  It took every member of the 13-original colonies to shake off tyranny and oppression and then build America.

Knowledge Check!It will take every single American citizen, and every single person desiring to be an American citizen to rebuild America, after all the damage intentionally done to her by the political leaders, secret societies, and bitter haters who have abused American generosity and then wanted to protect their pile by destroying America.  America has been abused by countries foreign, and enemies domestic, corporations foreign and domestic, and individuals who have paid large sums to watch America burn.  Do you understand better now?  Is the mission clearer in your mind?  Is the task ahead more urgent and more desirable?  What are your next steps?

© 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.

“All Power is … Derived From The People.” – The Consent of the Governed

cropped-2012-08-13-07-37-28-1.jpgIf you are browsing a second-hand bookstore and come across the book “We, The People: Great Documents of the American Nation” by Jerome B. Agel, I recommend picking the book up and adding it to your library.  I have not found a better book discussing the founding documents of this great American Republic.  It is historically accurate, provides insights, and is a treasure of wisdom and knowledge.

A phrase in the Declaration of Independence has always captured my imagination and held fast to my mental processes.  “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  It has always been understood that men invented governments for the ruling of other men.  Rome was a perfect example of this principle, and in writing down the laws, the first attempt at a moral government responsible to the people was attempted.  However, it is the second part of that phrase that we are discussing, “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Consider this principle for a moment. First, governments have just and unjust powers, and second, the powers originate with the consent of the populations agreeing to be governed by the government.  Czarist Russia is an excellent example from history where the people had enough and began looking around for a new government.  That the people were hoodwinked and communism was imposed upon them remains one of the great tragedies of the last century.  In less than 100-years, Russia went through two incredible government upheavals is mentally incredible to consider.Plato 2

Unjust powers of government are those powers governments assume where the people have not granted them consent of the governed.  When governments take enough of these powers upon themselves, the population’s revolution, anger, and frustration are the only outcomes possible.  Worse, the governments are breaking their laws and the trust of those who elected them, proving that the most dangerous person is an honest person betrayed.

Bobblehead DollAll of which is mentioned as we discuss the origin of the philosophy of the consent of the governed in American jurisprudence.  Virginia, 1776, The 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!

      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.”
      2. “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.”
      3. “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.”
      4. “No man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community.”
      5. The state’s legislative and executive powers are separate from the judiciary, and the operatives return to being citizens after their respective terms in office, in accordance with the laws of the land. [Edited for brevity]
      6. Contains three principles of import:
          • Elections should be free and open to all.
          • Property cannot be taxed or deprived for public use without consent.
          • Those elected are bound to the same laws as the citizens.
      7. “All power suspending laws or the execution of laws by any authority without consent of the representatives of the people is injurious to their rights and ought not to be exercised.”
      8. Deals with a criminal trial, due process, speedy trials, a jury trial, and a unanimous jury.
      9. Deals with fines, bail, and cruel or unusual punishments.
      10. Deals with search and seizure requiring evidence of a crime and the need for a warrant to be based upon evidence or not to be granted.
      11. Holds sacred the rights to a jury trial, including for disputes between two people over non-criminal issues.
      12. Holds sacred the power of the press as a bulwark of liberty, and restraining the press is an action of despotic governments.
      13. Details that standing armies in peacetime should be avoided and a well-regulated militia is proper and natural for the defense of the state. Important to note, “the military should at all times be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
      14. Demands uniform government that applies to all people.
      15. Declares that “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.”
      16. Declares that “Religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Let’s Discuss

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

In opening the discussion, one of the most egregious and despicable actions witnessed every year is the failure to follow the strictures of a peaceful society as required in the 16th statement, to practice the “mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”  Having been a student of religion, I have found no religious stricture, in any organized religious teaching, to living in harmony with others by practicing forbearance (tolerance, patience, and kindness), love (respect, kindness, gentleness, meekness, all unfeigned), and charity (service) to those in our society.  Atheists, this includes you; it is time to live in harmony with others and stop the lawfare.  If someone is not violently demanding you adhere to their religion and religious tenets, then leave them alone!

I Find the following extremely important to the news developed, especially over the last two weeks.  “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].  Let’s break this down:

      • 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!These are fundamental principles of liberty and the foundation upon which government is built and sustained.  How often do you hear politicians discussing these terms, returning to these principles as terms to write laws worthy of printing for society or as standards for scrutinizing the government agencies?  What did we observe in government this week that adhered to any of these fundamental principles to America or any other government succeeding in the past week?  Does anyone argue that Gov. Cuomo’s actions in New York were virtuous?  Were the CDC Director’s edicts frugal, temperate, moderate, or just?  How about the reaction by Congress to the mandates by the CDC?  Did they perform their jobs to scrutinize the legislative branch using these principles?

Now, some will decry that this is a document solely for the Commonwealth of Virginia and does not apply to the entire United States.  Yet, I would counter that the principles and language of this document are interwoven into the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, and every other founding document and US State Constitution.  Thus, why could we not use The Virginia Declaration of Rights as a template to benchmark and measure the performance of politicians and bureaucrats?Image - Eagle & Flag

Fundamental principles do not age, expire, or possess a shelf-life.  Hence, knowledge of the fundamentals empowers action by the electorate to change, correct, and demand government adherence, for we are the owners of our representative government.  We, the electorate, need to teach these fundamental lessons to the politicians, then demand they adhere and hold accountable the bureaucrats to the fundamental principles of liberty, or we all lose this precious government of the people, by the people, and for the people, where the consent of the governed is respected.

© 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: What can I Do?

ToolsThe most commonly asked question comes with the most straightforward answers.  This article focuses on providing practical actions anyone can do to help move any democratic society into more freedom, smaller government, and increased liberty for all.  It cannot be stressed enough, act!  Take purposeful action, repeat, and then do it all over again.

  1. The most powerful action you can personally take, get informed! The news is biased; the news has always been biased and will continue to be biased.  Corporate news exists to sell advertising, not report the news!  Hence, getting informed means more than simply reading a newspaper, watching the news, listening to talking heads, the radio, etc.  Getting informed requires asking questions and demanding answers!  Getting informed is not passive but active and requires your full attention.Beauty of Literature
  2. Read! Pick up a book.  Use the library, eBooks, Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc. but read.  Heck, you can even get books on tape, CD, and an application on a smartphone.  The idea is to increase your literacy levels.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
      • Herman Wouk – Winds of War, and War and Remembrance – Excellent reads both books, discussing WWII, families, and provides a solid historical setting for the story. As a point of fact, I recommend Herman Wouk as an incredible author, and all of his books have been electrifying and inspiring.
      • Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America – Incredible book, well worth investigating to understand the underpinnings between democracy and a Republic.
      • Albert Camus – The Plague – You will not like this book about a pandemic. Still, it is an essential read and discusses issues regarding government in society, leadership, stress, and much more—a great read, but not a pleasant trip through roses and lollipops.
      • The US Constitution and US Bill of Rights – Both are easily read, easily understood, and should be read by everyone.
      • Edward Gibson – History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Feeling like a powerful reader, want to know more about the only other long-lasting Republic in the world, desiring to understand why Rome died, this is the book you need. You might not like all of the book, but it is a pattern that we can observe occurring right now in front of our eyes in America and every democratic society across the globe.
      • Henry Ketcham – The Life of Abraham Lincoln. I love this book!
      • Thomas Paine – Common Sense – Want to know why America is in such dangerous waters? This book has a lot of answers.  Common sense is what is needed now.
      • Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – The Federalist Papers – Writings on America’s founding. Excellent source for how the people should control the government.

Freedom's LightThese suggestions, many were free or very low cost, when I went exploring looking for books for my first iPad (Gen 1).  The principal point, read!  Discover literature!  Write about what you discover, and then discuss what you discover.  The world needs literate citizens voting smarter.

  1. Vote! Yes, I want you to vote!  I do not care who is running, like/dislike, political party, criminal records, etc. if you have the legal ability to vote, use that power, even if all you do is look at the candidates and leave the ballot empty, you showed up, you exercised your rights, and you were part of the process.  VOTE!Boris & Natasha
      • My wife hates it when I vote for Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, Bullwinkle, Rocky J. Squirrel, or even myself as a write-in candidate. She thinks I have wasted my vote.  We have this discussion every single time a chance to vote occurs.  I do not mind!
      • I refuse to leave a ballot blank, for I know not what hooligan will mark the ballot. Hence, I vote.  Many times not for the candidates running for I have weighed them, measured them, and found them wanting!
      • When Romney ran against Obama, I am proud to say I wrote myself in and voted for me! Neither candidate had won my vote.  Winning my vote and winning your vote should be hard work, not purchased with government goodies, not tied to a political lie regarding reduced healthcare costs, and certainly not tied to illegal actions like DREAMERS.
  2. Look locally. Who is your mayor?  What is the state of your city/town budget?  How well is your community prepared for a natural disaster?  Who is on the city/town council?  Who is on the County Board of directors?  How well prepared for a disaster is your county?  Does your county budget the tax money they collect?  Who runs the election office?  How well are they doing their jobs?  What about unfunded liabilities at the city/town and county levels?
  3. School board! While looking locally, do not forget the school board!  These politicians skate too often and take zero responsibility for their failures, blaming teachers in the classroom for policies set at the school board level.  Who is on your school board?  How well do they budget?  How many unfunded liabilities do they have?
  4. State government. Know it, learn it, and fix it!

The Duty of AmericansA quick government hierarchy lesson.  The city/town government is supposed to protect you from the government overreach of the county.  The county government is expected to protect you and your rights from the government overreach of the state.  The state has expectations, rights, and powers specific to protect you, the individual citizen, from the Federal Government’s abuses.  The problem is, local politicians have been negligent in their duties, taking the example of the Federal Government, and made your life a living disaster!

In this, the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America, you, me, the individual citizens of this Republic hold all the rights and privileges not expressly set apart for the use of government.  What can you do to help change this paradigm; everything!  Simply realize you are in charge and deny your consent to those abusing your rights, liberties, and freedoms.  That is what the “consent of the governed” is all about.  The government abuses you; stop consenting to the powers of the government.  There are processes and laws that support you and your right to refuse your consent.

LinkedIn ImageI am not talking about sedition, treason, or lawlessness.  I am talking about standing up and telling the government they do not have your consent to govern!  Your responsibility is to learn and then act.  You have been intentionally led to believe a falsehood and purposefully programmed by K-12 Education to be an illiterate drone, good for nothing but taking orders and doing what you are told.  You have been abused; I have been abused by the government and its functionaries, the media, and the other groups working in conjunction to oppress Americans’ heart and soul!

Seize a “Liberty First” mentality, and let’s rebuild the government in fear of “We the People!”

© 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.