“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.

New Year – Same Ol’ Disaster at the VA! – Are You Disgusted yet?

Angry Wet ChickenWords fail to describe how much I detest seeing the same abuses week-after-week, month-after-month, and year-over-year.  To witness the disaster known colloquially as The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as told from the Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG).  Not merely witnessing but also being abused by the VA leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth.

Matthew C. McPherson of Olathe, Kansas, was sentenced to two years and four months in federal prison without parole for defrauding the government.  From September 2009 to March 2018, McPherson participated in a conspiracy to obtain contracts set aside by the federal government for award to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans, service-disabled veterans, and certified minorities.  McPherson, who is neither a certified minority nor a veteran, owned and operated construction companies that used the veteran or minority status of coconspirators to obtain federal contracts to which the companies would otherwise not be entitled.  The companies received approximately $346 million in federal contracts.  On June 3, 2019, McPherson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and major program fraud.  In addition to his prison sentence, McPherson has forfeited to the government more than $5.5 million, which represents his share of the fraud proceeds.”

Honest question, how is this fraud any different from an elected official using insider trading to profit off the stock market?  On another note, does this sound like a plea deal?  If so, what was the deal, and who is being targeted?  Plea deals used to be rare; now, they are cropping up anytime the government has a shaky case.  Could Mr. McPherson have beaten the entire crime by using a better lawyer or connecting with a more powerful politician; of course, and that is disgusting!

I have applied for these government contracts, and the paperwork burden is immense, the bureaucrats authoritative and disreputable.  When will the bureaucrats face criminal charges for abuse of power in allowing for the defrauding of government?  Simple question, yet one to which no elected official will address.VA 3

Speaking of fraud and the need for bureaucrats needing to be held accountable:

“Dr. David Bellamah, a vascular surgeon who operates vein and surgery centers in Missoula and Kalispell, Montana, has agreed to pay the federal government $3.7 million to settle alleged False Claims Act violations.  According to the civil complaint, from January 1, 2015, to March 31, 2017, Bellamah performed medically unnecessary surgeries based on improper techniques and submitted fraudulent bills for payment to four federal healthcare programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA.  The settlement agreement between Bellamah and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana, Department of Health and Human Services OIG, Defense Health Agency, VA, and a third party directs Bellamah to pay approximately $1.9 million in restitution and $1.8 million in additional damages.”

The article link is missing from the VA.gov website, reason unknown as of this writing.  I received an email about this story, which is why I know of it, but cannot link someone else to it.  Still, the questions remain, someone in the VA legion of bureaucrats had to have known and contributed to facilitating this fraud, and they are not being held accountable.  Why?

  • Patsy Truglia of Parkland, Florida, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his role in two consecutive conspiracies to commit healthcare fraud.  According to a multiagency investigation, from January 2018 to April 2019, Truglia and his coconspirators generated medically unnecessary physicians’ orders via a telemarketing operation for durable medical equipment (DME).”
  • Ramón Julbe-Rosa pleaded guilty to 12 counts including theft of government property and introducing unapproved new drugs into the United States.  His multiple fraud schemes included defrauding the Social Security Administration and Medicare by receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefit payments while working; fraudulently receiving unemployability benefits from VA; and falsely stating that his primary residence—purported to be in Morovis, Puerto Rico—was damaged by Hurricane Maria, leading to the fraudulent approval of a Small Business Administration Disaster loan.”
  • Wayne Bowen of Jacksonville, Florida, has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft for using his estranged identical twin brother’s name, Social Security card, and military discharge papers to apply for federally subsidized housing benefits.  Due to his fraudulent use of his twin’s identity.”
  • Matthew Smith of Palm Beach, Florida, has pleaded guilty to his role in a compounding pharmacy scheme that defrauded the Department of Defense’s Tricare and VA’s CHAMPVA benefit programs of approximately $88 million.  Smith admitted to his role in fraudulently billing the two insurance providers for expensive, medically unnecessary compound drugs.  To further the scheme, Smith and his coconspirators paid approximately $40 million in kickbacks to patients, patient recruiters, and doctors in exchange for them ordering expensive pain creams, scar creams, and vitamins without regard to the patients’ medical needs.”
  • Seven Texas doctors have agreed to pay more than $1.1 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations involving illegal remuneration in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law.  According to a multiagency investigation, from 2015 to 2018, the doctors allegedly received thousands of dollars in illegal remuneration from eight management service organizations (MSOs) in exchange for ordering laboratory tests from Rockdale Hospital doing business as Little River Healthcare, True Health Diagnostics LLC, and Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation.  Little River funded the illegal remuneration to the doctors in the form of volume-based commissions paid to independent contractor recruiters, who used the MSOs to pay numerous doctors for their referrals.”

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1Take a moment, read the full articles reporting these crimes, and ask yourself, have ALL the guilty parties been held accountable before the law, or are some parties noticeably missing?  If you reach different conclusions, please note this in the comments, and let’s discuss.  Show me your thinking, I want to learn!

Fraud, to succeed, requires willing people in positions of authority not to do their jobs properly.  Yet, for all the rules, mandates, political attention, and legislation, the fraud continues.  Why; because if you are the approving authority and have a plausible excuse, you are never held accountable!  The situation is untenable; the maze of red tape regulations preclude honest people from participating and opens the doors for nefarious actors to swindle, cheat, steal, and profit.  Simple question, when will those legally responsible for not allowing fraudulent activities be held accountable?VA 3

The VA-OIG conducted a Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection (CHIPs) of the Charles George VAMC in Asheville, North Carolina.  Want to understand more about the quagmire of the VA personally?  Read one of these CHIP reports.  Long have I wondered how leadership could be fully measured when the leader of the hospital leadership team has been in their position for two (2) days.  The VA-OIG couches this by claiming the associate director had been in the role for 18-years.  Do you see a problem?VA 3

Where and how are veterans being abused, staff training, and the “Disruptive behavior committee.”  Some might ask, how is staff training an abuse to veterans?  What do you consider “disruptive behavior?”  Did you know if you ask a doctor questions, that doctor can report you as presenting disruptive behavior to the Federal VA Police and get the veteran charged and fined?  If you request to speak to the administrators and they refuse, you can also be charged with presenting disruptive behavior, hindering hospital operations, disturbing patients, being arrested, and fined?  The bureaucrats have designed a self-fulfilling system in the VA that protects wrong-doing and punishes anyone who dares question the status quo, and this is trained into the employees.  Worse, this is about the only training they receive that is competently delivered!

A CHIP was completed at VISN 8, the Sunshine Healthcare Network in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Congratulations are for passing the CHIP with only two recommendations for improvement.  Honestly issued praise.  My concern is the low bar for success that was surpassed, but this is not the fault of VISN 8’s leadership, but the VA leadership in Washington, DC.VA 3

Long have these articles mentioned and decried the designed incompetence found in every single process, procedure, and action taken by the VA.  It is not surprising then that design incompetence is still seen and cost resources.  Nothing new, but you, the taxpayer, need to be aware of this, for the excuses have run so thin you can read contractual mouse print through the excuses!

The history:

“In October 2017, VA entered into an interagency agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to use its Electronic Catalog (ECAT) to order VA medical supplies and equipment not available through existing contracts.  VA created the ECAT Ordering Guide to describe VA policies and procedures for placing orders and outline the ordering officials’ responsibilities.  As of April 1, 2021, VA had spent approximately $592 million on purchases through ECAT.”

The findings:

“The VA-OIG found that the Procurement and Logistics Office (P&LO) did not govern the ECAT program adequately.

    • The ECAT Ordering Guide excludes the requirement for VA ordering officials to consider the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts for sales orders; purchasing through FSS could have saved VA up to $4.4 million.
    • The guide also incorrectly describes how to apply the Rule of Two, potentially excluding veteran-owned businesses from contracting opportunities.
    • Ordering officials did not follow documentation requirements in the ECAT Ordering Guide, and P&LO did not conduct required annual reviews of the interagency agreement.”

Do you see the designed incompetence?  The VA gets green-lighted to consolidate ordering to save time and money, then develops the processes and procedures to open the door for fraud, theft, and abuse, providing excuses for the VA-OIG to accept when responsibility and auditing occurs.  Hence, roadblocks are launched instead of saving money and reducing the government’s costs.  Instead of bringing order out of chaos, more logs of chaos are added to the fire.VA 3

Worst of all, the VA-OIG has to invest money to tell the VA common-sense solutions, couched as recommendations, to fix the problems the VA purposefully designed into the process.  That is your tax dollars at work, your neighbors losing opportunities, and your employers getting the shaft intentionally by the VA.  Again, only for emphasis, I ask, “When will the bureaucrats be held accountable for their malfeasance and culpability in abusing people, committing fraud and theft, and refusing to do their jobs properly?”

When discussing malfeasance and designed incompetence, the following inspection at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, Arizona, is applicable as an example.  The VA-OIG conducted an inspection to assess allegations concerning sterile processing services.  The list of findings reveals a lot of bureaucratic shenanigans, and with my knowledge of the leadership, I deduce the shenanigans were driven by leadership at the hospital.

  • The VA-OIG found Sterile Processing Services (SPS) staff failed to don personal protective equipment in decontamination areas.
  • The VA-OIG did not substantiate that SPS staff falsified Resi-Tests by documenting the same lot number for endoscopes.
  • The VA-OIG identified missing documentation of Resi-Test results from October through December 2020 but found that the policy was followed. Leading to a question about the effectiveness of the policies and the designed incompetence in those policies and procedures, which the VA-OIG never addressed as this would have been outside the investigatory scope; more designed incompetence?
  • The VA-OIG found no infection concerns associated with inadequate reprocessing of equipment.
  • The VA-OIG did not substantiate that SPS staff failed to follow validation testing requirements for biological indicators and Bowie-Dick tests for sterilizers.
  • The VA-OIG found that SPS staff followed reprocessing steps according to standard operating procedures and instructions for use.
  • The VA-OIG did not substantiate that SPS staff did not have adequate reprocessing supplies.
  • The VA-OIG found that floor-grade instruments received in decontamination areas were discarded and not reprocessed.
  • The VA-OIG found that SPS staff reviewed instructions for loaner trays upon receipt at the facility.
  • The VA-OIG did not substantiate that SPS staff failed to receive documentation for instruments sterilized at another VA facility.
  • The VA-OIG concluded that SPS leaders were knowledgeable of the practice standards.VA 3

Again, a mixed bag of findings.  After a tumultuous year of sterile scandals, it is refreshing (almost) to observe a sterile facility operating at standard.  Draw your own conclusions about the role of the leadership in this inspection.  To me, the most critical part of sterilization of reusable equipment is the proper use of personal protective equipment, but the VA-OIG did not appear to see this as crucial as I do.  From the inspections I have experienced, failing to use personal protective equipment properly is an automatic failing grade, but the VA-OIG only made a single recommendation for improvement.

quote-mans-inhumanity-2While the above are not all the reports from the VA-OIG launching 2022, they present the bulk of the criticisms and reflect the need for greater scrutiny and improved leadership at the VA.  More to the point, these represent the danger the American public is in from a runaway government that keeps biggering (with a nod to The Lorax and Dr. Seuss)!  The VA is abusing your veteran neighbors, and you are paying for it.  Doesn’t this stir in you feelings motivating to action?  If not, please ask yourself why.  Do veterans deserve to be abused relentlessly?  Do you like being complicit in a crime perpetrated by bureaucrats, cheered on by elected officials, and paid for by your tax dollars and the future of your children through forced taxation and out-of-control debt?  The choice is yours, I know my choice, and I WILL continue to resist the government atrocities every step of the way!

© 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.

Wants vs. Needs – Problems vs. Inconvenience

?u=http2.bp.blogspot.com-BKwWSo412lIUngTRkmSYwIAAAAAAAARd8GqxDhvovmRgs1600salestaxcartoon.jpg&f=1&nofb=1I recently encountered a highly emotionally driven individual who claimed to have a problem but could not identify whether they were experiencing a problem or inconvenience.  This person wanted but could not identify a need.  The heaped emotional hyperbole only added fuel to the fires of hostility.  From this encounter, this article is born.

Wants

Wants are things we wish for, desire strongly, and do almost anything to acquire.  First-world nations generally want material things, and in many parts of the world, food is wished-for in sufficient quantity to silence the hunger pains and provide a good night’s sleep.  Is coffee a want or a need?

Needs

Needs are items that are necessary, indispensable, and required for survival.  Many people claim they need coffee in the morning to “start their day,” but the need is the caffeine, not the coffee.  Coffee is a want as the preferred method for obtaining caffeine.  Lacking coffee, is this a problem or inconvenience?

Problems

Problems cause difficulties, presenting a puzzle requiring solving, people who are difficult to deal with, and personal matters requiring action, not merely words, represent problems.  For example, lacking coffee, the problem becomes how do I obtain sufficient caffeine to begin my day—a problem requiring solving to feel empowered to act.  A want, masquerading as a need, presenting as a problem, is merely an inconvenience in truth.

Inconvenience

Inconvenience is rooted in the word inconvenient, and something inconvenient is merely an annoyance or a disruption in the normal routine.  Walking to the coffee pot and not finding sufficient grounds to make a cup of coffee is an inconvenience as it disrupts a plan.

A simple analogy, but adequate to the purpose of helping to identify the differences between each item under investigation.  Wants are desires embodied; not getting those wants is inconvenient; plotting for a way to obtain that which is desired presents a problem or a puzzle for solving but cannot ever elevate a want to a need.  Needs are more critical problems requiring solving; not obtaining a need is not inconvenient; it is imperative, which if not resolved always leads to a negative consequence.

Exclamation MarkFor example, the Daily Signal is reporting, sourced from the Media Research Center, that the ratio for censoring by big tech is 53 to 1 Republicans to Democrats.  Does this present a problem or an inconvenience?  Is less censorship a want for Republicans or more censorship a need for Democrats?  Some people will erroneously claim, “It depends upon which side of the political aisle you reside.”

Why is this an erroneous claim; for the simple fact that censorship is a denial of liberty and freedom.  When one person is denied their rights and freedoms for political gain, everyone loses all their freedoms and liberties.  The Second Amendment cannot stand with the First Amendment.  Theft of the First Amendment for one person is a roadmap to stealing the First Amendment rights of all people.  The Third and Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution fall apart by removing the First and Second Amendments.  The legal framework of the Rule of Law is forever destroyed when the US Bill of Rights can be controlled by political operators for personal or political gain.  The importance of understanding the interconnectedness of the Rule of Law with morals, values, and the social contract cannot be understated.

What is the Social Contract?

The social contract is an agreement that all capable people living together in a society form with each other, declaring they will abide by a specific set of behaviors, ideals, and shared beliefs codified into law, which undergirds the “social fabric” of a society.  The social contract of the United States of America is found in the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights, the first amendments to the US Constitution.  By choosing to be labeled an American, we agree to honor the rights of all people to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, so long as their pursuit does not inhibit another person from pursuing the same.President Adams

We understand that the pursuits of life, liberty, and happiness are a path, a journey, not a destination, and not a guarantee.  We respect those who achieve and emulate them to reach the same potential destination.  We Americans possess hope, born of struggle, that we can achieve liberty and happiness fairly and realize the consequences are ours alone to enjoy or curse based upon our decisions individually.

Let me pause here; currently in K-12 education, witnessed in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, and many other locations, the public education system is intentionally abusing children.  Stealing their potential by refusing to teach them, and in so doing is raising generations of people who will struggle their entire lives in captivity and ignorance.  These actions by teachers, administrators, and elected political officials are intentional and stand in direct opposition to the social contract.  However, the children, and their parents, retain the ability to choose a different path, even if it means trying to learn how to read, write, and figure independent from the school abuse.  Individual agency to pursue life, liberty, and happiness is the first and quintessential aspect of being an American!

Here’s the rub…

Despite government intervention, the government arbitrarily picks for political gain and personal advancement (through cheating) those which achieve without effort, and Americans inherently despise this aspect of government.  Consider the vitriol thrown at Hunter Biden, who has achieved, lived beyond his means, and benefitted from his family’s political connections.  The Pelosi’s, Kennedy’s, Clinton’s, Obama’s, Romney’s, and so many others who have achieved, living off the backs of pioneers, but have not contributed, breaks the social contract.  Theft, lying, and breach of honor in America are crimes, but when the criminals escape justice, this breeds contempt, copy cats, and empowers others into chasing the same path to a modicum of success through devious and nefarious means—rendering the social contract impotent, sundering any hope of success without government intervention, and placing millions of Americans into captivity.quote-mans-inhumanity

Look at the disgust America has for Big Technology firms.  While these firms have achieved and pioneered success, they have turned monopolistic, oligarchical, and thwarted their competitors, all for personal gain.  How are these companies pursuing keeping their gains?  They are employing the government authority.  They are using mergers to acquire intellectual property to protect their revenues, abusing the power of law, all of which harms competition.  This also breaks the social contract, sundering the social fabric of America and destroying the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness of others.

The want of power is breeding a need for correction in America by the oppressed.  Look at the rising feelings of freedom as expressed in the #FreedomConvoy.  Other examples include the protests against the interminable government mandates, the continued spreading of information deemed by the government, and Big Tech as “misinformation.”  Presenting us with a question is this a problem or inconvenience; the answer is PROBLEM!  This means there is a solution to the problem and a path to fix the rips in the social fabric and mend the social contract in America.

What is the solution?

With a nod to The Lorax and Dr. Seuss:

“I, the Once-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
BUT…
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.

I meant no harm.  I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger.  So bigger I got.
I biggered my factory.  I biggered my roads.
I biggered my wagons.  I biggered the loads
of the Thneeds, I shipped out.  I was shipping them forth
to the South!  To the East!  To the West!  To the North!
I went right on biggering… selling more Thneeds.
And I biggered by money, which everyone needs.”

Return to the Rule of Law, smaller government, and stricter adherence to a moral code.  Some will claim, also erroneously, this is not the solution or is only a solution in a “perfect” “utopian” world.  However, I counter with the following, “What has brought America to this precipice?”  The 1880s saw the rise of bureaucrats restricting the ability to read, as a means of controlling the population, born of fear, and as racist an action as enslaving people!  Post-WWI, repeated more severely Post-WWII, the rise in government as a means of “recovering from war.”

Father Mulcahy 4Trace through history, and every time the government has undertaken a path to grow, the industrial complex has more closely tied itself to biggering government as a path to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  However, the growth of government has come at the expense of the electorate through increased laws and legislation, bureaucratic mandate, and larger standing police organizations.  All this while simultaneously reducing the quality of education, restricting the power to read, write, and figure, and calling the advances “progress.”  Restrictions on competition, merging to form larger military-industrial organizations, and increased costs have shut out citizens from politics, thus capturing the reigns of government to keep feeding the growing beast.

Recently Biden has begun pounding the war drums to escape the financial problems, social unrest, and other problems at home.  He is sending congressional representatives out to try and support protecting the national borders of Ukraine while removing and destroying the borders of the USA.  Why take this path of war and destruction; because it has always worked previously.  If Biden can get America focused on war, he can keep biggering the government without scrutiny and with the tacit approval of the electorate.

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1Look at history, especially recent history, and you will find that the most nefarious, liberty stealing regulations, legislation, and bureaucratic mandates have come while America was focused on 9/11, Afghanistan, Iran, ISIS, and the list goes on and on.  The hellaciously destructive and misnamed “Patriot Act” was born from 9/11, when had we merely focused on enforcing the laws already on the books, Americans inside America would not have lost all constitutional rights within their own country.  The Patriot Act is but one example of the problems created by confusing wants and needs, mistaking a problem for an inconvenience, and using the cudgel of government authority to force behavior changes in the citizenry.

The 9/11 commission found hundreds of places where the bureaucrats enforcing government failed, but were any of these people held accountable?  Were any bureaucrats forced from their cushy jobs and made to pay restitution?  Of course not, because this would have made the American government at fault as a co-conspirator and facilitator of 9/11’s terror attacks.  So, the solution was to avoid culpability, shirk responsibility, and appease the bureaucrats at the expense of all citizens.Gravy Train

COVID-19 is another example of runaway liberty theft, rights reduction, and smoke and mirror charades.  The government seized power from the people, biggered itself, and broke the laws for convenience while the electorate was focused elsewhere.  How’s that bigger government working for you?  Are you tired of being authoritatively ruled, restricted in your pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness?  Do you understand the problem?  If so, what do you need?

COVID-19 is a viral disease, humanity has survived a lot of viral diseases, yet COVID is somehow different, or so we have been told.  Since COVID kills less than .01%, the response has to be the complete and total destruction of the Rule of Law, the restriction of rights, liberties, and the destruction of all we have held dear.  But none of those mandating will answer why or how COVID is different from any other viral disease humanity has survived.

The government needs to bigger itself, or it dies.  In competition with a bigger government, the citizens need to be “… secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”  The party winning in this competition must be the citizen, and the citizen must staunchly defend all encroachment to their privacy, rights, freedoms, and liberties under the Rule of Law.  We, the American Citizens, deserve a smaller and less expensive government; this is not a problem or inconvenience; it is a necessity!

LinkedIn ImageIf you believe in the potential of all to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, join me!  If you prefer the thumb of government and the boot of oppression, find me when you tire of being abused, cheated, used as cannon fodder for illicit wars, and robbed from, so a select few government employees and elected representatives can live off your sweat and tears.  This is the stark reality we are living in right now!  We must choose a side and then stand.  As Father Mulchay said, “You can’t miss when you have good material.”  We, those who stand fast in our liberty, cannot miss, we have good material (the US Constitution), and we can win the day!

© 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.

The Kool-Aid Crowd and COVID

Bobblehead DollSince 2000, the US Federal Government has spent billions, if not hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to improve labels and then “educate” people into reading labels.  The laws passed have forced private businesses to spend hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars in changing labeling on packaging and products to comply.  Go to any mask package and you will find similar:Mask Packaging

Recently I sought service at a Xfinity retail store and was denied service because I cannot wear a mask.  During this outing, I received severely dirty and threatening looks and attitudes from shoppers in a Walmart, all because I cannot wear a mask.  People are becoming violent, just as the government has demanded, to anyone not toeing the government COVID line, and this behavior reminded me of the Jim Jones religious cult.

President Biden is expected to force more people to listen to him threaten and try to scare Americans into getting vaccinated.  The mayors of Boston, Chicago, and New York continue to double down on activities that have not worked since February 2020.  The governors of California, New Mexico, Michigan, and others, continue to use powers not available to them in the name of “public health emergency.”  More mask mandates, more vaccination orders, and more “green passes” to exist.  Here’s the rub, how many of these solutions have worked; honestly, look at the data from February 2020 to December 2021, and tell me how many people were saved wearing masks.

People saved from these government freedom theft mandates, I guarantee, the number is NOT statistically significant!  How do I know; Australia, essentially a large island, has the strictest policies, and Omicron was still able to get onto the island.  How do I know; COVID infected children (school age K-12) have the same risks as uninfected children.  Who is the resource for this information, The New York Times!

Real numbers, Israel has one of the highest vaccinations and boosted populations on the globe; guess what, they also have the highest spike in Omicron infections!  Europe, socialized medicine, high vaccination and boosted populations, where the Omicron and Delta variants spiked infection rates.  Think of this for a moment, populations forced by government to vaccinate, and they are still passing around COVID infections, which is precisely viral science in action!

Peer reviewed researchers in the virus infection community have shown this life cycle of viral infections repeatedly since scientists began writing down what they do.  Vaccinated people pass around strains of viral mutation, which then infect other vaccinated people, until the virus mutates itself to death.  Please, do not believe me, look up this science for yourself, and you will come to a similar conclusion.  At the end of the day the viral infection community of scientists are plotting the death of COVID as a viral infection, but government elected leaders, and the bureaucrats powering the echo chamber of political thinking, will not give up the power theft committed since Feb 2020.

Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid cult suicide has been mocked, used as case studies in group think, and represents a dark time in human psychology and the abuse of religious thinking and adherence.  Guess what, the insanity of COVID-19 is as silly, irresponsible, and dangerous as Jim Jones and his cyanide-laced grape-flavored Kool-Aid.  Senator Manchin nailed it, government is beating the “living crap” out of every citizen, the beatings are intensified by the state government, and the county and city governments.  Yet, little Joey is going to continue to threaten, cajole, beat, and denigrate people using COVID as the excuse.

Did you get the vaccination just to appease government and end the beatings?  Are you able to unmask and live your life without COVID mandates, just because you got vaccinated?  I have friends here in NM who have masked, vaccinated, and done everything the government has demanded of them to avoid the government beatings.  They caught COVID, the whole family was quarantined, and extended family still caught COVID from my friends, once the quarantine was lifted, they gathered, and the extended, vaccinated, masked family caught COVID.  The repetition of this story is exhausting and provides clear proof the government beatings, mandates, and exercised powers are NOT helping but hurting, and make the Jim Jones Kool-Aid episode even more appropriate.

The science from South Africa, where Omicron variant was identified, reports the COVID virus stays in the nose and mouth region.  Guess what, so does the common cold virus, and there has NEVER been an attempt to vaccinate against the ever changing common cold.  We, the citizens of representative government, are the owners of government and it is time we take the reigns and stop the Kool-Aid massacre.  Government should never hold the power over an individual citizen’s health, welfare, or ability to pursue happiness.  Yet, this is exactly what the government bureaucrats want you to give to the government to stop COVID.  Since February 2020, has this worked?  Answer this question as well; how much faster would herd immunity have been achieved had government done what it has done for every other Chinese virus, which is nothing?

Look at recent history, Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, Bird Flu A (H5N1), Swine Flu, SARS, etc. the government did nothing.  NO shutdowns, no mandates, no economic stimulus, no job losses for those not vaccinating, no Big Pharma money pump for vaccinations of dubious nature, and the world did not end.  Did some people die; yes.  Did some people get sick; yes.  But herd immunity was faster and more effective than any action the government could think would have worked.  Dear reader, to you I ask, “Are you better off for the government intervention on COVID-19?”  I know my answer, but to you I leave the question and the answer.

Now, flash forward 10-years in your mind.  The real death toll of government intervention is still being hidden, but the deaths from a dubious vaccine are scaring populations silly.  When do we ask ourselves if the forced government vaccinations are the cause for infertility, for economic destruction, and for the massacre of human dreams and lives?  Who do we blame after the money is spent and the vaccines have irretrievably destroyed wide swaths of populations?  When vaccinated children whose risk from COVID remains minimal are sick, twisted with pain, or are dying in droves with reduced life expectancies, but the government continues to defend “doing something in the face of COVID.”

If the Jim Jones religious cult comparison is not appropriate now, when will it be appropriate and concerning to every single citizen across the globe?  Do you know the phrase “Judas Goat?”  The Judas Goat is the goat that befriends sheep, and then leads them to their doom in a slaughterhouse.  Belief in the omni-powerful government is a myth and a Judas Goat, yet to not blindly follow the government mandates is to be refused employment (nurses, firefighters, doctors, police officers, etc.) to be denied service (anyone unable to wear a mask), to be refused legal protection, and be castigated as heretic.  Jim Jones’ believers did similarly to everyone not believing, and they are all dead!  Those who are skeptical of the Judas Goat, are also dead, but their fellow sheep herd went first.

I admit, from day one (October-November 2019) when I first began reading of a new viral infection killing people in China, I have been skeptical, concerned, and boring the daylights out of my wife with the reports, the history, the potential ramifications of this new viral infection.  But in my most fevered nightmares I never thought the government could assume and amass so much power without citizens becoming rebellious.  Flash forward two-years, three arrests for not being able to physically wear a mask, fines, and economical losses incalculable, and my horror is just starting, when I see the vaccinated kids, the shutdown schools, the lost opportunities and potential, and the “hits just keep coming” from government and the bureaucrats.

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1China is using biological warfare against the world; but the Chinese government is to blame, not the people of China.  I repeat, only for emphasis, do the research yourself.  Make your own decisions.  Unlike the government, Big Tech, and the bureaucrats hungry for power, I trust you to use your freedom and powers of critical thinking.  We might not reach the exact same conclusions, but we can still respect each other, and being better informed from reputable sources improves us both.  Political party be hanged, we are humans first and we need each other.  Please, do not go quietly into that dark night like the sheep entering a slaughterhouse, following the Judas Goat who has skipped aside to miss the consequences.

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

Jacob and Esau – The Perils of Government; An Analogy

Bobblehead DollSeveral books of scripture, in multiple religions, record the story of Jacob and Esau.  Jacob and Esau are twins male children of Isaac and Rebekah.  The boys were competitors for their entire lives.  Esau acts outside his parent’s wishes in marriage, sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage (stew or beans; something cooked in a pot), and late in life is reconciled to Jacob even though his people continue to have animosity towards Jacob’s people to this day.  While the story of these twin brothers remains useful to those in religion and teaches several morals of importance, Jacob and Esau represent a classic tale of why government should be limited in size and scope.

Genesis 27, Old Testament, contains the story of how Jacob obtains the birthright blessing, which had been sold to him by Esau for the aforementioned bowl of pottage.  Consider with me what would have happened if the same bloated government we have right now had meddled in the affairs of Isaac, Jacob, and Esau.  The cost of meddling in the internal family affairs, the government would have taken 40% inheritance tax.  Esau would have always had the government as a millstone and ready excuse for not reconciling with Jacob, and lawyers and government officials would have further sundered the family.

Remember this, for it has importance in the following discussion, the government does not grant freedom, EVER!  As described and stated in the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, freedom comes from a power higher than government, and government was only, ever, instituted for the benefit of man.  Ask yourself, is your government benefitting you?Plato 2

I guarantee the answer is no; regardless of the political spectrum, you prefer.  Why, because the government should not be exerting powers in areas that control or curtail the freedoms of the people.  Esau never valued his birthright, so selling it was easy, and a bowl of pottage was a rich reward for something he did not value.

How expensive is government-funded medical treatment?  Some will claim, but those receiving treatment never see a bill; really?  Costs are more than merely a statement representing the need to pay money.  What about the loss of privacy?  What about the loss of freedom to choose what treatments and providers are best for you?  What about the loss of innovation to the thumb of oppression from the government?  What about the loss of self-reliance and the health benefits of independence?  What about the destruction of your community and the connections people felt with and pride for community hospitals?  What was lost when the medical community forced, through the abuse of government intervention, the knowledge of herbs for the sterility of Big Pharmaceutical drugs?

For the hope of a prosperous retirement, what was sold; freedom and money in the now.  Yet, one should ask, where does the government get the power to take money, then give it back at some future point?  Except, how many of those government retirement Ponzi Schemes are fully funded, even with all the money flowing in?  The answer is as empty as Esau’s bowl.  Still, the government continues to steal money through forced taxation and purchase the hopes and liberties of citizens for that hoped-for bowl of pottage, prosperity in retirement.Plato 3

For the hope of reducing poverty, the government purchased a class of people whom they could abuse and ignite for political gain anytime they want or desire.  To create this aggrieved class of people, the government took over welfare programs, bought people with bread and circuses, asked them to stay in government houses, live on government food, enjoy government-provided entertainment, etc.  What was sold for this bowl of pottage; liberty, potential, freedom, upward mobility financially, safety and security, and hope.  What has been the consequences of this purchase; a permanently aggrieved class of people who look longingly at another’s possessions and desire them through theft because hard work is racist, demoralizing, and stops the government handouts.  Worse, the government had to grow in power and size to “manage” this class of people, creating those with six-digit salaries to rub the purchased people’s faces in the irony of what was lost in the purchase.

The United States has been waging a “War on Drugs,” almost since its founding.  The government considers one drug “good,” mainly due to the ease of controlling it for taxation purposes, and another drug “bad.”  Yet, how successful has it been in this “war?”  Not at all, and its failures are increasing year-over-year, even while new methods of taxation are being invented to manage “legal drugs.”

Alcohol in the United States has had a history of acceptance, tolerance, legal banning, and returned to tolerance and acceptance, all through human desires, abuse of government powers, and the need for tax revenue.  Sin taxes, the class of tax used to allow a citizen government approval to get drunk, stoned, or inject poison into their bodies, are among the highest taxes in America.  Yet, the more the taxes increase, the more people want these products, and the more the government wants people to use these products, for we see the purchase of something transitory using something highly precious to barter.  What is more precious than time and physical health, and what is purchased but something that can only temporarily ease pain or provide relief at best.Apathy

Tobacco has been a favorite drug of the government for its population to enjoy, pushing the popularity of the drug even while condemning and restricting how, when, where the drug can be enjoyed.  Tobacco farmers have played vital roles in American history, and the product has been a significant cash crop for government revenue.  Have you ever wondered where the money and research facilities originate to improve cigarette addiction?  Have you ever considered where the marketing materials originated to pitch the health benefits of smoking?  Do you realize that government is the biggest provider of money for research and marketing purposes?  Never forget the government has become flush with cash, pushing tobacco, regulating tobacco, and licensing tobacco.  Now ask yourself, why would the government give on the one hand and take on the other, because it is making money with both hands as people sell something precious for something valueless and transitory.

Do people get injured and need assistance; yes, but the government is never the answer to provide help.  Are there those who are trying to thrive and escape poverty; yes, but the government is never the answer to providing help.  A truth from time immemorial, governments do not produce anything; thus, the government must first take through legalized theft, taxation, and legal abuse to give to someone else.  Every representative government must walk a balancing act between what a government is and what responsibilities a government must shoulder.  Except, how many continue to make Esau’s mistake and sell something incredibly precious for something transitory and essentially valueless?

Worse, evaluate the consequences of allowing the purchase to occur.  First, the seller experiences buyer’s remorse, anger, jealousy, regret, and the government making the purchase laughs, making the bitterness of the sell more poignant.  Second, the seller needs an outlet for this buyer’s remorse.  In an effort to continue to purchase while appeasing, the government allows the seller to go destroy the property and goods of another less politically connected person and calls this social justice.  Third, the abused class of people who are not politically affiliated or are political rivals, whose property is being destroyed, looks on, and envy, malice, and contempt are bred, which furthers the goals and desires of the government.The Duty of Americans

Esau took a long time to be reconciled to Jacob, but it first required admitting that he had sold his birthright (something of great value) for something transitory and valueless (food).  Jacob and Esau’s story remains of great importance and a cautionary tale, especially for understanding why government needs to be smaller, less involved, and less able to abuse the citizenry.  For too long, the governments worldwide have either abused their powers to purchase or been established as a tyrannical and oppressive government.  Either way, the government is the problem, and the answer continues to be the same, curb the government!

Knowledge Check!If COVID has taught the populations of the earth anything, let us learn this valuable lesson, the government is the problem, not the solution!  The size of government is oppression, the cost of government is theft, and the loss of precious freedom and liberty for transitory and valueless gifts or benefits which come at too high a price in treasure and other precious resources.  We, the owners and the abused of government, must change how we think and feel about the role of government before all is lost to the ever-hungry maw of government and self-interests!

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

“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 Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 2

QuestionThe following is the second part of the series on the proper and improper role of government. First, imperative to the discussion is a quick recap on the purpose of a government, and then we will discuss the actual role of government.  Second, the following cannot be stressed enough, America was founded upon a Judeo-Christian understanding and philosophy.  Other representative governments have removed the influence of religion globally, but America, thankfully, continues to keep it around.  Third, nothing herein is to be misconstrued as supporting any single religion, including atheism and agnostics.  My religious beliefs are not your business, just as your religious beliefs are not my business; we are not here to debate theology, philosophy, or anything but the government’s proper and improper role.

What is the purpose of government?

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

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

The purpose of government is to “secure these rights… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  The rights the government is to secure are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  When talking about securing, we are not inferring that those rights come from the government, are tools of government, or can be dispersed by the government.  When discussing securing, we are talking about the government protecting against threats to, harm from, or the need to make safe from those who would do the collective body of citizens harm.  The government securing rights does not mean affixing those rights to an individual, as the individual already owns these rights.  The government’s purpose is to protect the body of citizens by making the body of citizens safe.quote-mans-inhumanity

The etymology of secure is vital to understanding the purpose and proper role of government. “Mid 16th century (in a sense ‘feeling no apprehension’): from Latin Securus, from Ee- ‘without’ + Cura ‘care.’”  Hence, without care for an individual, the government secures, protects, and defends the individual’s inalienable rights.  Not deciding what is good for the masses, not selecting winners and losers based upon the whims and wishes of a bureaucrat, but considering the entire mass of citizens without preference and defending their inalienable rights is the purpose of government.

What is the proper role of government?

Government LargessFrom many Judaic and Christian sources, one can find various systems of government in place throughout history.  From despots of the most vile to the judges of Israel, which brought liberty and freedom instead of kings, one can find just about any form of government represented in historical texts of ancient date.  More specifically, one can find the proper role of government, which is stated most simply in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, specifically Section 134:2.

We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

Is the proper role of government clearer? For example, suppose the government is only focused upon securing the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of [private] property, and the protection of life. In that case, that government is fulfilling its proper role.  Did you notice what is missing from the strict interpretation of the proper role of government?  Social services, arbitration, buying support through forced taxation, and much more.  Except, America was established as a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  Thus, does America’s government have a different interpretation of the proper role of government?

Ziggy - IRS AuditThe founding fathers, and several of the first presidents in America, were considered statesmen. However, statesmen are not merely politicians, and politicians are never statesmen!  A statesman is a person who is well versed in the principles or art of government, actively engaged in conducting the business of government or in shaping its policies.  The statesmen are respected for their skill, diplomacy, power to communicate ideas, and being principled.  Thus, the statesmen are morally upright and can be trusted to understand why they are morally principled and why the law should be morally centered.  It cannot be stressed enough. The true statesmen values principles over popularity and works to create popularity for political principles in government operations that are morally sound and bring the most freedom to the most people.

Consider the following from Albert E. Bowen:

Right and wrong as moral principles do not change.  They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complex.  There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires a solution.”

The Duty of AmericansNow, returning to the proper role of government, any form of government instituted by man, we find the following as guidance in measuring said governmental role.  From D&C 134;1-2, 5:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.”

From the US Constitution’s Preamble, a person will find why the government was instituted.  “… in order to form a more perfect Union (government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  Between the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the offered verses, we find similar language discussing the purpose and role of government.

Thus, the proper role of government remains simple and easy to understand.  The proper role of government is to secure man’s inalienable rights, protect private property, and ensure each citizen may pursue their path of happiness.  A citizen’s path of happiness cannot infringe upon another citizen’s pursuit of happiness, steal their property, damage their property, or destroy public property.  Hence, the government must balance the inalienable rights of a person to commit crimes against the acceptable restriction to hold people accountable to socially acceptable laws while never infringing upon an individual’s conscience.  Therein lay the seeds of the improper role of government.Apathy

What is the improper role of government?

Ziggy - NSAThe improper role of government begins with refusing to accept that government power is limited to only those powers the citizens grant the government.  Thankfully, there is a simple test for understanding what powers the government has or does not have.  The test: Can you order your neighbor to pay for welfare for another person?  If not, the government does not have this right or power.  Can your neighbor call you to pay subsidies to them for keeping their lawn and home maintained?  If not, the government does not have the right to spend taxpayer money to subsidize another person’s housing.  This simple test relates the power of government, the government’s improper role, and reasonable government restrictions.

The line between the proper and improper role of government is thin but very distinguishable using the simple test described above.  Claude-Frédéric Bastiat was a French economist, writer, and prominent member of the French Liberal School. A member of the French National Assembly, Bastiat developed the economic concept of opportunity cost and introduced the parable of the broken window.  We present Bastiat as providing the logic behind the simple test.  “Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.”  Hence, the simple test regarding a neighbor forcing you or forcing your neighbor is justified as the test for the proper or improper role of government.Patriotism

Forced taxation is a form of legal plunder, and since payment is the test for which powers are proper or improper for government, we must return to Bastiat for a delineation of legal plunder.

When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without [just] compensation, whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property was violated; that an act of plunder is committed. … How is legal plunder to be identified?  Quite simply.  See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

Government Largess 3Legal plunder is theft through the misuse of the power of government.  Consider the following example, your paycheck.  On that paycheck, the Federal and State governments demand money from you, not earned but forced through jurisprudence and legislative fiat, and those funds are given to another person.  As a private citizen, if I took your wallet and removed money from it, I would be guilty of theft and liable to the penalties of criminal and civil law, even if I did not keep your cash but donated it to a charitable organization.  Remember, the simple test that details the difference between the proper and improper role of government.

One additional piece of knowledge where the improper role of government is described and dictates that government cannot create wealth.  No government, at any time throughout history, has produced wealth.  The government takes from the citizens to survive, and the proper role of government would see every cent of forced taxation as a precious resource, needing to be accounted to the citizens forced to pay.  People create wealth, and if you desire a full explanation of how money is created, please see the following link.

Plato 2Why does it matter?

The government cannot exist without the consent of the governed.  Your inalienable rights should be the only concern of any government form, type, or methodology.  Yet, what do we find; legal plunder to buy other citizens’ support.  We find legalized plunder without transparency, without accountability, and without regard for those struggling to pay the forced taxation (legalized plunder).  We find Trillions in missing money in every government, where the representatives are not concerned, or even aware, of the money lost.  We see government spending above and beyond its intake, creating debt penalties for many future generations to pay for the benefits of the current generation, all because the government refuses to live on a budget.  We find bureaucrats treating citizens as property and abusing that property worse than any corporate polluter of the 1970s.

Knowledge Check!Look carefully, dear citizen; government only exists by the will of the governed.  Do you think it is time for a change in government?  Do you feel your government is fulfilling its purpose and proper role or is your government abusing its rights and powers as granted through the consent of the governed?  You must answer these questions and then decide where you stand.

© 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 Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 1

Several years ago, I tripped across a paperback book and felt to read the book.  It was written by Ezra Taft Benson, who was the 15th US Secretary of Agriculture, whom I respected for his keen mind; I felt compelled to read his book.  Mr. Benson, writing about the proper role of government, providing a running commentary about the founding of the United States of America, is worthy of study by every student as a part of social studies.  Before reading this book, I had not thought about the role of government, proper or improper. However, after reading this book, I came to understand why America is in such trouble and how the government is the perpetrator of the crimes against the citizen of America.

If they were missed, I have written articles about the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, the role of the “Rule of Law,” and other founding documents.  All these and more are essential or fundamental principles of understanding for discussing the government’s proper and improper role.  Please note, when talking about the proper and improper role of the government, I am not explicitly discussing The United States of America; but all non-Communist governments and many of the principles should be applied to communist governments to improve the situation for the citizens.

Private Property Produces Liberty and Freedom

Unfortunately, to fully appreciate all Mr. Benson is discussing, one must first understand the role of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar and an author while also a Professor at Yale Law School, wrote a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over.  With the US Government changing the definition of private property and selecting winners and losers for government investment, the US Government radically changed and fundamentally destroyed the basic fabric of American law!  “Property is not a natural right but a deliberate construction by society. Like the Bill of Rights, property represents general, long-range protection of individual and private interests, created by the majority for the ultimate good of all” (Reich, 1964, p. 771-772)

Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, including sycophants in the Senate and House, continuing a trend that began under President Woodrow Wilson (D).  Thus, establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess, picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule, America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allows feeding the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.

The United States of America and every representative government can only provide freedom to their citizens if that country allows ownership of private property.  From private property principles comes every freedom and liberty enjoyed, as even the government must bow to the will of the people owning private property. So how did the government hijack your personal liberties and freedoms; well, there are a couple of wrongheaded Supreme Court cases, several Federal Court Cases, a complicit Congress with supermajorities, and a couple of presidents who were forward-looking and planning on stealing for personal gain.  The judicial interpretations opened judicial activism, released judicial restraint, and Congress stepped into the vacuum to protect itself from the people’s will.

One of the scariest ways personal freedoms have been stolen has been through owning a home but not owning the property under that home.  Homeowner’s Associations and the United Nations Agenda 21 actions have stripped personal property and made the homeowner pay ever-increasing homeowners association fees for the privilege of losing liberty and freedom.  All these actions, and many more, originated in the government actions under President Woodrow Wilson and were compounded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Many will try and claim WWI and the Great Depression, and WWII triggered taking “bold action” through the legislative process.  What they mean was the Legislative Branch kowtowed to the Executive Branch, while the Judicial Branch twiddled their collective thumbs and began to legislate from the bench.  Never forget, the two presidents with the most executive orders are Wilson and Roosevelt, and this was even with a complicit media and friendly legislative branch.

Reich (1964, p. 773) implicitly details that the power to change the culture and definitions of private property and liberty started with judicial activism that led to government intrusion.  “During the first half of the twentieth century, the reformers enacted into law their conviction that private power was a chief enemy of society and individual liberty. Property was subjected to “reasonable [emphasis in original] limitations in the interests of society. The regulatory agencies, federal and state, were born of the reform. In sustaining these major inroads on private property, the Supreme Court rejected the older idea that property and liberty were one and wrote a series of classic opinions upholding the power of the people to regulate and limit private rights.”  Continuing, Reich (1964) detailed relevance and the conflict of having government contractors and bureaucrats inventing the rules to provide services or grant largess.  Concluding that “many agencies take action which is penal in all but name,” and how these penal actions are punishing the citizen through adjudication without a judge, jury, or trial.

To review, the US Government stole private property, abused the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, and fundamentally changed America.  Private property is the source of freedom and liberty in a representative government.  By choosing to limit private property, many have never been able to possess the most basic of human rights and liberties.  Worse, the deck has been stacked to keep the average citizen from owning private property.  When the US Government used statehood to strip constitutional authority from the states to own their own land, America started a decline where private property produced liberty and freedoms.  These are crucial steps in the journey to understanding the proper and delineating the improper role of government.

Finally, Reich brings us to the summum bonum of the problem where the government, Federal and State, have been leading the citizen, the “Welfare State” as a “Right.”  Consider, “It is time to recognize that “the public interest” [emphasis in original] is all too often a reassuring platitude that covers up sharp clashes of conflicting values and hides fundamental choices. It is time to see that the “privilege” or “gratuity” concept, as applied to wealth dispensed by government, is not much different from the absolute right of ownership that private capital once invoked to justify arbitrary power over employees and the public”  (Reich, 1964, p. 787).  Who is smart enough to “know” “the public interest?”  Honestly, which political party, politician, business leader, or influencer would you select, always to know the “public interest” and work for the “common good?”

Without private property, the citizen will not find a secure place to consider how to vote and who to vote for properly. This has been designed into government to facilitate single-party rule.  I agree with Reich (1964, p. 787), “Above all, the time has come for us to remember what the framers of the Constitution knew so well-that “a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” We cannot safely entrust our livelihoods and our rights to the discretion of authorities, examiners, boards of control, character committees, regents, or license commissioners. We cannot permit any official or agency to pretend to sole knowledge of the public good.”  Hence, before we can understand the government’s proper and improper roles, we must have liberty derived from private property!

References

Benson, E. T. (1995). The proper role of government: The Improper Role of Government. H. V. Andersen (Ed.). Heber City, UT: Archive Publishers.

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 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 5

Bait & SwitchIn Chapters 2 and 3 of this series, the discussion regarding money and the $350 Billion dollars COVID relief monies were discussed.  As this is a continuing discussion, I would encourage you to read those missives as well for a fuller understanding of the principles being discussed.  Regardless, several facts remain pertinent:

      1. The states accepting this money will be bound to spend it in a manner the Federal Government specifies.
      2. The money being given to the states as a “stimulus for COVID economic growth,” will not spur anything but inflation and poor fiscal policies.
      3. The strings attached to this money are a noose on individual state economic growth long after the deadline to spend the money (31 December 2026) comes and goes.

Doherty (2021) writing for the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) provides some clarity on the Treasury Department’s rules and regulations regarding this $350 Billion albatross being forced down the state’s throats.  The funds being discussed originate in the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act, and the Treasury Department has released operational guidance to the states and cities receiving the funds.  Never forget, while the Treasury Department claims there is an algorithm for sharing the money, politics and political connections will be the final determinant in who receives how much of the funds being doled out.

The Duty of AmericansPensions are the first point of discussion as to where these funds can go; never forget, pensions remain the largest single expense for states in the United States.  Those bloated governmental salaries, negotiated by unions, and put in place by legislative fiat, keep the taxpayer on the hook for poor financial planning long after the initial beneficiaries of the union retirement pyramid scheme and dead and buried.  Read carefully the pension data provided by USAToday for a full and detailed discussion on just how big the pension problem is for the states of the United States.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceJust as important, look at the total number of government workers as a share of the total workforce, and you will discover just how big your state and local governments have become.  For example, two states selected at random from the 50-state list, New Jersey, and New Mexico are displayed below, and sourced from the article:

New Jersey

  • Funded ratio: 38.4%
  • Total pension shortfall: $130.7 billion shortfall (3rd largest)
  • Gov’t workers as share of total workforce: 13.3% (20th lowest)
  • Avg. annual payout per public retiree: $32,148 (9th highest)

New Mexico

  • Funded ratio: 61%
  • Total pension shortfall: $18.2 billion shortfall (18th largest)
  • Gov’t workers as share of total workforce: 18.6% (4th highest)
  • Avg. annual payout per public retiree: $20,907 (15th lowest)

ApathyConsider New Jersey for a moment, if you met 100 new people in one day, more than 1/10th of those met will work for the state or local government in some capacity, and those 11 people are earning $32,148 taxpayer paid dollars a year for being retired.  Worse, New Jersey is kiting checks on your children’s future to the tune of $130.7 Billion dollars every year.  Raising taxes cannot help closing the funding gap in the pension.  Want more news, the majority of those retired are not living in New Jersey, so all those taxpayer monies are not being recouped in sales taxes, property taxes, and other taxes.

Yet, the Federal Government just borrowed $1.9 Trillion to give the states $350 Billion, and the monies provided will not even pay a years’ worth of pension payments in most cases.  Let alone pay for all the other accounts that have been stripped to pay for the pension gap.  For example, infrastructure (Roads, Bridges, Highways, Broadband Internet, the Electrical Grid, etc.), Teachers, Community Colleges, Unemployment Insurance, Water and Wastewater Treatment facilities, and Health and Human Services, just to name a few cash strapped state programs.

Plato 2A few days ago, I was discussing broadband Internet grids, and there susceptibility to failure with people who work for a major Internet Service Provider.  In Umatilla County, as an example, the Internet either currently, or previously, went down nightly for 5-6 hours at a time.  Read the outage reports and you will find regular large geographic areas of the country suffering with Internet latency and connectivity issues.  Yet, your state legislators must focus not upon the potholes damaging your car, not upon shaky bridges and overpasses prone to failure, but upon pensions for retirees.  All due to labor unions and promises that should never have been made in the first place!

Pensions are the number one reason I, personally, think that government workers should not be able to unionize, and that the government pensions should be as rigidly controlled as the private sectors pensions.  Yet, the inverse is true, unions growing in the public sector, shrinking in the private sector, and the taxpayer is left with the bill.  Since the government can continue to kite checks, our children’s great grandchildren are already up to their necks in debt that is unsustainable.

Plato 3Come, let us reason together for solutions that actually work.  I offer below the following suggestions, feel free to agree, disagree, add more, and discuss openly in the comments.  We, the owners of government, must re-take control of the government, and to do so, we must communicate and act.

      1. Reduce the size of government immediately to the size posted on 31 December 1999. This is an immediate and interim step.  To be followed by a position by position, value discussion, where technological solutions to replace workers is decided.  Eventually culling government size back to a Pre-1930’s level.
      2. Automate as many functions as possible. The processes of how government function are necessarily complicated to justify a jobs program.  This culture of complication must cease forthwith, the processes cleared of unnecessary complications, and streamlined to allow for automation of the processes.
      3. Take the pensions and eradicate the unions. Privatize pensions should be the letter of the law for all, public and private sector employees.  Thus, creating a new market and investment industry.
      4. Privatize public maintenance of roads, the fuel taxes are sufficient to pay for this and improve road maintenance immediately.
      5. Privatize wastewater and water generation and distribution.
      6. Privatize and deregulate all utilities, allowing for maximum competition, and ending the private geographic monopolies the tech companies and Internet providers have established.
      7. Privatize K-12 and Community Colleges changing the pay structures for teachers and reducing the “staff” positions. Get focused on delivering a product, the product is an educated student who can read, write, and do math, thinking logically, and critically.  This means ending the surplus of standardized tests and putting the teacher in charge of the classroom.

PatriotismNever Give Up!Not every child should be forced into college.  Not every job requires a college degree.  Opening the community colleges produces certified, trained, and non-debt laden students that are workforce ready.  Workforce ready means able, willing, and skilled in working, be that in academia for a degree, or in the workforce as a tradesman the requirement is the same and the distinction needs removed from the leaders of K-12 educational leadership.

The aim and the intent of all government programs is to get out of the way and let people act as they think best for themselves and their families.  Not pushing children to college for a degree and a life of debt payments.  Not forcing them into the military because you are too lazy to teach them how to read, write, think, and speak.  Not forcing them into poverty to support a government jobs program.  The government will not go “quietly into that dark night.”  But, with enough insistence the government we currently know can be cut, reduced, and forced to retreat.  We, the citizens, need to take back our government through the ballot box, through the judicial branch, and through demanding change in the legislative and executive branches at all levels of the government.

Knowledge Check!First step, believe it is possible; live like it has already occurred.  Second step, join others to raise the cry and demand the changes.  Third, support only candidates who already live fiscally proper, morally upright, and ethically dedicated.  Fourth, never give up!  Never lose focus, and never relinquish the moral high ground for a bowl of pottage or 30 pieces of silver.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
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