Gasoline Taxes – The Epitome of Forced Taxation and Government’s Broken Promises

Exclamation MarkI do not care that Alaska has not increased its gasoline taxes in 50-years.  Frankly, the fact that the Federal Government has gone 27.4 years without increasing the Federal Fuel Taxes is not a problem.  Nor that the Federal Government has to either get the current taxes renewed, or the Federal Gas Tax goes to $0.042 a gallon is not a tragedy, but a good thing.  Gas taxes are not the problem; the problem is that the fuel taxes, excise taxes, surcharges, and fees built into a gallon of gas that equals more than $1.00 per gallon, are never prioritized to the infrastructure projects the tax was collected initially to pay for!

IronyI find the following ironic; the Federal Gasoline Excise Tax is actually two taxes combined.  $0.01 per gallon is paid as the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) fee.  Why is this ironic; because the government LUSTs after all types of money to misappropriate.  Before creating acronyms, one would think that the government would consider how much of a joke those acronyms will make.  One of the seven deadly sins that are constantly causing scandals for politicians, LUST!  Yes, I find this tax acronym very ironic and applicable to the discussion on why the roads and other infrastructure is rated as a C- and falling.  I find LUST very appropriate to the discussion on the misappropriation of funds and how the government wants to increase taxes to pay for something already well funded but where the money is consistently diverted.

QuestionPlease note that each state will have additional taxes, fees, surcharges, and tax projects built into the cost of a gallon of gas or diesel, aviation, or propane.  Fuel taxes are a tax scheme that seems to always pay for anything but roads, bridges, and infrastructure.  Some basic facts regarding gas taxes:

      1. The average state gas tax is $0.3006 per gallon of gas.
      2. The Federal Government gets $0.184 per gallon of gas.
      3. States have added other fees to a gallon of gas, including:
          • Environmental
          • Underground storage (payable even if the tanks are above ground)
          • Inspection fees
          • Certification and other weights and measurement fees
      4. If your state taxes Ethanol, your gas taxes include the Ethanol tax, as well as a fuel tax.
      5. All fuels are hit with taxes, and some of those taxes are disproportionately assigned to heavier vehicles. For example, diesel has a different formula for taxes due to the trucking industry using roads and bridges more; at least, this is the excuse used to tax diesel differently.

Gas Tax Revenue – Poor Roads and Infrastructure

Since I was a kid in Maine, who closely observed the gas tax debate, I have wondered the same question.  “Why are the roads so poor if the government is collecting all these taxes on gasoline?”  Now, keep in mind the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “Taxes are the price of civilization.”  Meaning that to “enjoy” the pleasure of a free society, the government will levy taxes.  But, the money collected does not have to go for what the tax was intended to pay.  Hence the broken promises of gasoline taxes.

Plato 2Fuel taxes are used for a myriad of uses, and the priority is all confused about how to spend fuel taxes:

        1. Schools
        2. Pay down the National Debt
        3. Mass Transit
        4. Cleaning up underground fuel leaks
        5. Law Enforcement
        6. Environmental Protection
        7. Pension Shortfalls
        8. State Debts
        9. Federal Highway Trust Fund Deficits of all types
        10. Enforcement Costs, including weights and measurement certification
        11. Roads
        12. Bridges

Now, do not forget the other obstacle in fixing roads and bridges, the labor costs, especially if the workers are unionized.  The government bidding processes for projects, especially in all forms of construction, are obscenely complicated, which increases costs long before a shovel hits the dirt.  If unions are involved, the time for the project and expenses will, at a minimum, double before the project completes, creating deficit spending.  I am not cynical here; I have witnessed this occur too often not to admit the truth.

Working DollarChris LeDoux sings a song, “Working Man’s Dollar,” which tells the story and details the difference between a working man’s dollar and the dollar in other places.  The fuel tax was first adopted in Oregon, and the proceeds were earmarked only for fixing, maintaining, and building roads, bridges, and other travel infrastructures, like tunnels.  Except, the money never is prioritized to the failing roads, bridges, and infrastructure costs.  The working man’s dollar, collected through forced taxation, is not respected by the government authorized through the ballot box to allocate spending.

I was in Maricopa County when a stadium was pitched to the residents to be located in Scottsdale.  A gas tax hike was proposed as part of an overall tax plan to pay for the stadium.  I asked, “If the stadium was worth the investment, why not just sell bonds?”  I never got an answer.  Not every citizen was interested in the stadium, not all citizens were going to benefit from the stadium, but every citizen was being asked to help pay for a stadium.  The stadium in that election failed, but the ideas did not die; a new location was proposed, and the voters there accepted the stadium’s tax hikes.  Want a surprising non-surprise, the stadium is built, but the taxes have never gone away, including property, sales, and fuel taxes!  Where is that money going?

Bait & SwitchNow, the Federal Government has a bunch of fuel taxes and surcharges (taxes called a fee) about to expire.  The question every voter in America needs to ask themselves is this, “Did the government properly use the funds dedicated to infrastructure?”  If so, then the fuel taxes should continue at the Federal level.  If not, then the fuel taxes should cease, for the government refuses to spend money according to the purpose it was collected.  Every single state in the union should be asking the same question and answering accordingly.

I lived in Albuquerque, NM., for several years.  To get potholes fixed, you had to ruin your car in an accident involving the street, then sue the city, county, state, whatever for the insurance costs.  Only then was that particular patch of road deemed important enough to repair.  There are bone-jarring, teeth-rattling, car-destroying potholes all over Albuquerque.  These never get fixed because the city has been too busy dumping tax money into a rapid transit project that is barely used, overly expensive, and desperately not desired by the taxpaying citizens.  They had “ART” (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) crammed down their throats by a judge.  ART has been a disgrace from Day 1.  Yet, money keeps pouring into ART instead of the many roads, bridges, overpasses, and other infrastructure that desperately needs repair.  A friend of mine hit a pothole, doing 35mph, dented his rim almost 2”, ruined his front alignment, and cost him a considerable sum.  That pothole is still there, still causing dents, still eating tires, and the city cannot fix it, the state will not fix it, the county was supposed to fix it, the Indian reservation owns it, and the federal government makes the pothole worse every day by traffic of federal employees going to work.

Tax BurdenHence the reason why fuel taxes are considered a tax scheme!  If you pass the buck enough, nothing gets done, and the money collected can be used in other projects while responsibility is determined.  Except, there is no money to fix the problem when the responsibility is determined, and the wheel just keeps spinning around.  Are you sick and tired of the games politicians play, yet?  Now, imagine your electric bill going up to pay for the fuel taxes not paid for by electric car owners, and tell me about proper government action and accountability.  My friend could not sue because responsibility cannot be determined; his insurance would not pay for the damages because the road damaged his vehicle; guess who was out almost $10,000.

Tax Scheme 2Some states are changing how the gasoline and other fuel taxes, including electricity due to the rise in electric vehicles on the road, are being priced and collected.  However, the problem is not the tax; it’s the fact that the tax never pays for what it was intended to when collected.  Some states got an increase in fuel taxes through their state legislatures this year.  Other states and the Federal Government are taking fuel taxes up in the coming months or the next legislating session.  But, not a single politician, anywhere in America, has stepped up to state the obvious, the current taxes collected are sufficient to pay for roads and bridges; we have to allocate more of the current money collected to roads and bridges.

Broken Promises – Broken Roads and Bridges

Question 3Is the problem apparent?  How many of your state taxes, lotteries, and other fees are supposed to pay for education?  Yet, education always seems never to have enough money.  How many taxes and fees go into the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation, all of which are supposed to pay for infrastructure, e.g., roads, tunnels, bridges, overpasses, highways, etc.?  How much is the pension crisis costing your state, driving taxes and fees upwards, but the money never is delivered to pay down and lessen the pension crisis?

I repeat, only for emphasis, “America does NOT have a cash collection problem; it has a spending problem.”  At all levels of government, the elected officials are acting worse than drunken sailors on a seven-day binge, and this behavior needs to cease!  We cannot spend our way out of the hole dug through deficit spending!  The answer is not allowing the government to steal more money from our pockets, but to demand the money taken is used for the purposes intended!

Tax SchemeWe must tie political decisions to misappropriate funds to the legislators and executives making the decisions.  Thus, holding accountable the people who are being poor managers of the people’s money.  More importantly, when re-election decisions are made, the media, the influencers, and the political parties need to report this information.  Being able to hide funding shenanigans and criminal activities should never occur; businesses cannot do this, the government should not be able to do this.  Audits, investigations, and transparency are critical to putting the right people out of office and into prison, and keeping the honest and faithful stewards in office and working.

Knowledge Check!The size of government must shrink to an affordable level, from the city to the Federal; every government body in America, including those non-Government agencies acting like government agencies (USPS), need to be forced onto a diet of less money!  There is no excuse for the government to be the size it has become.  There is no excuse why we, the owners of the government, cannot demand government shrink, become efficient, and keep the promises made regarding money collected, used appropriately, and ended at the time promised.

Angry Wet ChickenAs sure as carts to horses and ducks to water, a Federal tax, fee, or surcharge, will be found shortly on your electric bill to cover the costs of electric vehicles on the roads.  When the Federal government does this, the state, county, and city will jump in with both feet, claiming “fairness” and “equality” so everyone is “paying their fair share” of the costs for infrastructure.  It doesn’t matter that you do not own an electric vehicle; the government will help you finance one through increased taxes and misappropriated fees collected.  Just like the “Obama Phone” scheme being abused by many people and paid for by a small minority.  Broken promises indeed!

© 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: Multi-Drug Intoxication and George Floyd – Speedballing

WebMD.com details specifically what multi-drug intoxication is, and a portion of the definition is quoted below:

Combined drug intoxication (CDI) occurs when two or more substances are taken simultaneously and can result in serious life-threatening conditions, including death.  While some medications can be safely taken together, combined drug intoxication happens when the toxicity of two or more substances negatively affects the body.”

Knowledge Check!Multiple drug intoxication can occur accidentally and purposefully to counteract the adverse effects of one drug by including another drug, for example, extending a Heroin high through adding Cocaine.  First responders, including police, paramedics, and others, stand on the front-line of a chemistry experiment gone wrong and never know until blood toxicology reports are returned what they are walking into.  Not excusing unprofessional behavior from those responding; but, I am placing blame upon those choosing to inject, smoke, snort, or pop the pills.  The professionals on the front-line deserve the benefit of the doubt, especially when multi-drug intoxication is suspected.

Thin Blue LineDirect from the trial records, covered by the New York Post reporters, we find the following in a second search of the vehicles involved in the George Floyd legal trial.

“Forensics investigators found two pills in the center console of the Benz that proved to be methamphetamine and Fentanyl, Anderson said.  Also found in the vehicle was a pipe with traces of THC and packets of Suboxone, a drug used by patients addicted to opioids.”

For those uneducated in street drug terms, speedballing is covered in a publicly available PowerPoint put together by the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, the Florida Department of Children and Families, and JBS International.  I encourage you to review this PowerPoint, as it explicitly details what happens to the human body when multiple drugs are consumed, including meth and Fentanyl.  Knowing truly is half the battle as G. I. Joe proclaimed all through the 1980s.Millstone of Designed Incompetence

I make no accusations, but I find that Politifact.com used other media sources to debunk a Facebook claim instead of actual documents, revealing and embarrassing to all media outlets.  Long have I searched for and wanted to read the toxicology report from the George Floyd Autopsy.  Again, I am not a medical professional nor a chemist, and I use publicly available tools to investigate.  The George Floyd Toxicology report clearly states the following were present in George Floyd’s body on his day of death:

      • Caffeine – Positive
      • Cotinine – Positive
      • 4-ANPP – 0.65ng/ml
      • 11-Hydroxy Delta-99 THC – 1.2ng/ml
      • Delta-9 Carboxy THC – 42ng/ml
      • Delta-9 THC – 2.9ng/ml
      • Methamphetamine – 19ng/ml
      • Fentanyl – 11ng/ml
      • NorFentanyl – 5.6ng/ml
      • Cannabinoids – Presumed Positive
      • Fentanyl/Metabolite – Presumed Positive
      • Morphine – Free – 86ng/ml

Detective 4The “Reference Comments” at the bottom of the toxicology report is very revealing.  When he chose to attack police and resist arrest, George Floyd was a walking timebomb of chemicals.  We have nicotine from tobacco use, NoDoz, THC from smoking marijuana, plus the strong suspicion of a speedball containing meth and Fentanyl, among other chemical substances.  Consider this for a moment; the Florida PowerPoint states that Fentanyl and Meth would act as a “push/pull” on the brain and body.

Abusing two or more drugs simultaneously increases adverse side effects and increases health risks.  Negative side effects could include all or some of the following:

      • Anxiety
      • High Blood Pressure
      • Strong or Irregular Heartbeat
      • Suppressed Breathing Abilities
      • General Confusion
      • Incoherence
      • Blurred Vision
      • Stupor, Drowsiness
      • Paranoia
      • Mental Impairment
      • Uncoordinated Motor Skills
      • Death from Stroke
      • Death from Heart Attack
      • Death from Aneurysm
      • Death from Respiratory Failure
      • Death from a rapid change in Heartbeat pace from Depressed to Overspeed
      • Death from Cardiac Arrhythmias

Knowledge Check!Important to consider, when depressants and stimulants are mixed, the combination of lethality is challenging to judge, and fatal overdoses occur from misjudging the amounts of drugs being consumed.  Because no one is reporting how long George Floyd was speedballing, or if he was speedballing, we could not judge the severity of cognitive, physical, and psychological effects from these drugs being used/abused.  Unless it was never reported, George Floyd’s family has never been asked about his behavior when sober or on this multi-drug cocktail; I have found zero records investigating George Floyd.  These records could still be in the defense lawyer’s hands due to the coming defense of Derek Chauvin in appeals court.

Question 2Regardless, America has two problems represented in the George Floyd case.  Neither problem involves how police do their jobs, and everything to do with the media and Hollywood representing drug use as popular and risk-free, and the continued drug problems America has been facing since the 1960s explosion of illicit drugs.  Illegal and illicit drug use is fueled by social acceptance, which Hollywood and the media empower.  The statistics from 2020 and the COVID-Farrago are still being calculated and gathered.  However, the preliminary numbers show increased alcohol and drug use up significantly during the lockdowns, reflecting the second method that increases illegal drug use and abuse, government intrusion, and restrictions.

When the press goes above and beyond to punish the police and honor and glorify a criminal, criminal activity increases due to media protection and the desired payday through the judicial process.  How much money has the family of George Floyd been able to gather? Just from the city, we find a payday of $27Million!  Those are tax dollars being paid for political purposes, and the taxpayers in Minneapolis, especially after all the terrorism, should be just as mad as the rest of the country.  Why was the payday made, the media!  Why the rush to pay off the family, the press!

Wasting TimeThe media fact-checked using their echo chambers, quoted each other instead of asking real questions and obtaining real answers, and the politicians caved like a cheap suit!  Take a minute and read the different stories from the George Floyd incident or any other major media circus.  You will find the echo chambers, the faux emotional investing, the pandering to audience emotional investment, and the media trying to be judge, jury, and executioner long before all the facts of an incident are known.  I have heard others describe the media circus as “stage-managed” with copied talking points, locked-in themes, and punishment for everyone who doesn’t toe the line the media is managing.

I will never say someone has to be perfect all the time.  Mistakes happen!  How those mistakes are handled defines the professionalism of the parties involved.  The media make things worse, and while I will not see the press muzzled, I consider their unethical, immoral, and borderline illegal behavior to be reprehensible and worthy of judicial punishment until behavior improves!  The media is a part of the problem, Hollywood is part of the problem, and both parties feed off each other to the detriment of American society.Never Give Up!

Yet, let’s discuss the 800# Gorilla in the room openly.  Drug use is climbing; when drug use climbs, drug abuse follows like moonlight to sunlight.  Worse, when drug use increases, social problems increase dynamically, families are destroyed, and the drugs usually make friendly people into beasts capable of eating another person’s face.  Lest you think the 2012 and 2013 incidents were singular, “… a stun gun and K-9 dog were initially unable to stop [the suspect] from continuing to attempt to eat the victim. Four deputies eventually pried [the suspect] off and arrested him. … [the suspect], a former high school football defensive lineman and wrestler, may have been on hallucinogenic drugs when he attacked.”  “A former teammate told The Palm Beach Post that coaches were frustrated with [the suspects] aggression, even at 6-feet tall and 200 pounds. “The coaches would always try to get him mad and play angry, and he never had it in him. I didn’t think he would hurt a fly.”

Knowledge Check!America, we need solutions to the drug problems in our country.  We need to find and develop new solutions to this age-old problem.  Worse, we need the politicians to stop throwing money at problems and start looking for solutions that will work.  Let us begin to look at drug addiction, use, and abuse, which includes all drugs and alcohol, where those addicted can receive support in breaking the habit but are still held accountable for the problems their drug use/abuse caused.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts on fixing the drug use/abuse problems; I know I do not have all the answers.

© 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: LIC – Low-Intensity Conflict – Explained and Expounded

Dont Tread On MeBetween 2012 and 2014, I wrote the first article on Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC).  Somehow this article has been lost in my changing blogs and computers.  Hence, what follows is an in-depth look at LIC.  Please note, several authors have significantly contributed to my understanding of LIC, but none so much as Lt. Colonel Alan J. Tinder, who wrote a paper for the Air War College in 1990, titled: “Low-Intensity Conflict.”  From the Colonel, I have learned much and benchmarked this principle to more thoroughly understand LIC, how to recognize LIC, and how to detail LIC for others.  The other compelling source is L. C. Green’s paper on “Low-Intensity Conflict and the Law.”  My aim here is to synthesize this information into a manageable topic and aid understanding.LIC 2

Too often in America, we do not recognize LIC.  When the Verizon Labor Unions had to be legally restrained from committing LIC against Verizon, the judge seemed to want to call the acts of violence nothing but poor decisions by some people.   Yet, the labor union had begun a tactic of pressuring Verizon by destroying property, scare tactics for third-party contractors, and causing mayhem to obtain their demands.  Hence, the labor union committed LIC and got away with it, no punishment, no accountability, no responsibility.  Never forget, “Barely three percent of violent crimes committed by union members lead to an arrest or conviction. … Most victims of union violence are unemployed workers looking for a job [to] feed their families. “Scabs,” they call them. Subhuman scum. Untouchables. People who, in the minds of unionists and their enablers, are worthy of the same kind of vile abuse that Klu Klux Klansman used to dish out to African Americans that didn’t know their place.”LIC

What is LIC?

Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) is the official name for what happens when individuals or governments hire intermediaries to conduct violent operations from a position of security.  LIC is a misnomer; those who have become victims of the barbaric cruelty of those practicing LIC find nothing “Low” about the experience.  The conflict is intense, the actions brutal, and the practitioners remain cunning adversaries using and employing willing dupes to hide the true depths of moral decay inherent in the societal destructions and deprivations the practitioners are enacting.  Many confuse LIC in describing the actions of unbridled violence committed by ideologues under the banner of terrorism.  The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff define LIC as:

A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives. It is often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency. Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder 1990) [emphasis mine].”

Green (1997) adds a key ingredient to the description of LIC from Tinder (1990).

… Non-international conflict itself is a refined term for what [was] formerly known as revolutions or civil wars, particularly when these have developed into major operations with the likelihood or reality of atrocities being committed against non-combatants.  Whether civilians or those [rendered] hors de combat, a fact that is often more common in non-international … conflicts, especially when ideological, ethnic, or religious differences are in issue.  It is for this reason that it must be borne in mind that the term low-intensity [conflict] has no relation to the severity or violence of the conflict” [emphasis mine].

Some will proclaim loudly, primarily due to affiliation with or money donated from deep-pocketed entities, that LIC is only limited to those more commonly perceived as terrorists, i.e., car bombers, hijackers, etc.; however, paid rioters, looters, and those termed by the media as “violent protesters,” are practicing LIC.  Worse, labor unions have been getting away with LIC since 1892 and the Homestead Strike.  As a point of fact, K-12 educators will only teach the labor union’s side of the story during the Industrial Revolution, leaving out the capitalists providing jobs, businesses that did not need, or want, government intrusion, and the continued depravity the labor unions continually inflict upon America.  Just for the record, in 1991 alone, 4400 acts of violence were committed by labor unions.Apathy

Consider this for a moment, Americans generally despise violence for economic gains; but, due to LIC in K-12 education, the labor unions get special treatment before the law on committing violence.  Imagine for a moment how ugly the media would scream if the KKK dropped nails, broke glass, destroyed property without regard to a minority-owned business.  Oh, wait a minute; we know what the media would do, nothing!  See, when politically correct rage occurs, even when it is a minority on minority, the press closes their mouths or pitches in!  The world saw this in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta, Florida, and so many other riots, politely termed “peaceful protests” by the media!

LIC and the Law

I am not a lawyer, and the following is not legal advice.  LIC being punishable under a military court is founded in the Civil War, and President Lincoln desired to regulate the behavior of Union troops and show proper deferment to enemy troops.  While this legal precedent goes further back, the legal precedent begins with President Lincoln in the US.  Controlling troops’ behavior led to the Genocide Convention of 1948, where genocide was created.  A legal standard was set for controlling and describing proper behavior during a conflict and enforceable by third parties.  Hence the reason why, and for, international courts to bring charges against countries and leaders of countries who commit genocide.  Unfortunately, even with the United Nations “maintaining neutrality,” enforcement of genocide continues to be problematic.The Duty of Americans

However, the point is clear, commit acts of LIC, and you do not face a civilian court and judge; you face a military tribunal.  The legal precedent for handling LIC by military tribunal further clarifies that those violent protesters and labor union members using LIC to commit acts of violence are deserving of the label, domestic terrorist.  As a terrorist, those using LIC, including those paying for LIC, lose their US Constitutional Rights, face a military tribunal, and held without Habeas Corpus.  Terrorists do not deserve and have rejected their US Constitutional Rights upon paying for or committing violent LIC actions.  According to the legal dictionary, Habeas Corpusis a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.”  If US Troops must follow the Geneva Convention during peace and war, then those paying for or committing LIC are also bound, especially by Article 3:

“… Each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum … [to] persons taking no part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause [certain minimum rights to ensure that they] shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

Since those involved in LIC are terrorists and like criminals, they do not adhere to the law.  The international community should be exerting pressure to capture, hold, and try the individuals involved in LIC anywhere in the world.  For example, Cuba is currently holding a leader of BLM, an internal terrorist organization with roots in Marxism-Leninism.  Other people have found safe haven in the international community and need to answer for their criminal and terrorist activities.  However, since the American government refuses to label paid agitators as the internal terrorists they are, the criminal justice system will continue to be violated.  Those guilty of LIC are allowed to continue their licentious ways to the detriment of America.Patriotism

Labor unions hide behind the lawyers and the criminal justice system to game and play LIC against everyone they consider an enemy.  ANTIFA, BLM, and every other paid agitator group in America burning, looting, rioting, and “protesting” need to be labeled what they are, terrorists.  Their actions need to be classified correctly as acts of terrorism.  A military tribunal called to investigate funding sources and hold accountable those paying and those committing terrorist violence in America.  There is no difference between a  terrorist in the IRA, a terrorist in Afghanistan, and a “protestor” terrorist in Portland, Oregon.  America, we need to understand LIC, and then we need to apply legal precedence to fix the situation America currently finds herself in!

© 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: Let’s Talk About Root Cause Analysis

Flying BuffaloSome of you are thinking, “I will skip this article because the title does not sound interesting.”  I beg your forbearance, just please keep reading.  I laughed today, long and loud, over the incompetence of the current elected leaders in America, fully supporting public mocking, public shaming, and public humiliation over the following piece of news.

You cannot make headlines like this up:

Kamala Harris Emphasizes “Root Causes’” of Border Surge, Says the Problem is “Complex” while blaming climate change for the border crisis.

Let that sink in for a minute; the person who cannot hold a press conference, cannot even get VP added to her title, and cannot do root cause analysis!  I have been working since I was twelve; I was taught root cause analysis as a shade-tree mechanic; you have to be able to diagnose the correct problem to fix the engine.  This article looks like VP Harris is fixing the tires on a car without an engine, claiming this will get the vehicle running real good.  Here is VP Harris’ actual quote:

We are looking at extensive storm damage because of extreme climate, we’re looking at drought in an area in a region where agriculture is one of the most traditionally important basis for their economy, we’re looking at what’s happening in terms of food scarcity as a result of that and in fact, incredible food insecurity, which we used to call hunger food insecurity.”

Detective 4Let me see if I understand this statement correctly.  Political instability, Venezuela’s continuing meltdown politically, and the invitation from many politicians with (D) after their names have nothing to do with the “border surge.”  Just like a stricter stance on illegal immigration by President Trump (R) didn’t slow down illegal immigration on the southern border; do I have that correct?  Let’s talk about incentives, mainly welfare, housing, education, and a political base that refuses to enforce immigration law, do these not influence a southern border crisis, and buffalo wings come from flying buffalo.

What is Root Cause Analysis?Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a process of logically working through a problem as a solution is developed.  I know some of you have other definitions for RCA, and that’s okay.  I am just trying to be real simple here, for if VP Harris sees this article, I do not want her confused with big words.  There are three goals to simple RCA, discover the root of the problem, understand how to fix the problem, apply what is learned to prevent future issues.  VP Harris’s comment above has already failed the goals of RCA; hence we can conclude that RCA was not accomplished!Fishbone Diagram

Effective RCA processes possess core principles that are apolitical and easily understood:

      • Focus on fixing the problems, not band-aid solutions
      • Symptoms relief is a short-term answer to buy time for long-term solutions.
      • Multiple root causes are possible; however, each root cause requires factual justification and logical discussion.
      • Who is never part of RCA, just HOW and WHY.
      • Methodical cause and effect evidence is required for each root cause.
      • Future prevention requires increasing learning and understanding.
      • Corrective action requires information and ACTION.

I am not here to hurt VP Harris’s feelings, but her comment about the southern border crisis being climate-related still does not pass the smell test on the core principles of RCA.  Let alone any logical test for veracity.  Thus, again, we can conclude that RCA was never followed to justify her commentary!

The easiest and simplest RCA is the 5-Whys Approach.  Here is the 5-Whys Approach in a simple analogy:

      1. Why? – The car battery is dead. (First why)
      2. Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
      3. Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
      4. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced in a timely manner to save the battery. (Fourth why)
      5. Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

Using the 5-Whys Approach, one can also work backward from a completed RCA to double-check integrity in the process.

5 – I am holding the maintenance records showing timely maintenance was conducted.
4 – The alternator belt is broken, but so are the other belts in the engine. Are we sure the root cause is the alternator?
3 – The alternator is missing.
2 – The battery is missing.
1 – The car is not working; why?

Using VP Harris’s comment above, we can back check the climate-change excuse to the erroneous assumption using the same technique.

5 – How many illegals at the southern border are only from the three countries being blamed for illegal immigration?
4 – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, suffered from El Niño and El Niña in 2017 and 2018, but there was no increased immigration during those tumultuous years of extreme weather.
3 – Since 2015, food security has been an ongoing problem in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Again, we do not find a surge in citizens from these countries immigrating illegally to the US Southern Border.
2 – According to the World Bank, regardless of the weather issues and the global financial crisis, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are still being favorably looked upon as places to invest in for good returns on investment.
1 – What is causing a southern border crisis immediately after a presidential election year?

Please note, I only researched to 2015 for the weather, economy, and food security issues, as obviously President Trump (R) never had a positive influence on the Southern Border Crisis.  President Biden just inherited President Obama’s mess.  Does the RCA backward and forwards process make sense?  I ask solely because we have had migration issues on the southern border before today.  The politicians in America never seem to find the root causes and act to protect America’s defensible borders!  Blaming the weather, which has been changing in cycles since recorded history, for recent events, is akin to blaming the position of the planet Mars for burning one’s hand on a hot stove.

ApathyYet, let’s give VP Harris the benefit of the doubt; maybe her staff did complete an RCA process to reach this conclusion, while she has been sequestered and unavailable since the election.  If so, it would be easier than stepping off a curb to produce the RCA in detail and allow us, the electorate, to see how and why she is blaming the weather for a migration crisis.  This is a reasonable request, produce the proof an RCA was completed, where climate change is the only root cause in a “complex problem.”  Want to raise the stakes a little; if you cannot produce the RCA and accompanying evidence, along with the plans of action, you leave American politics forever.  If you produce the evidence and RCA, I will issue a sizeable public apology and never write about politics again.  I am waiting!

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

 

NO MORE BS: The Role of Police in America – Chapter 2

ScalesAlmost a year ago, in June 2020, during the height of the George Floyd madness, terrorism, and policing issues in 2020, I wrote about the police’s role in America.  05 March 2021, another auto-email clogged my email inbox, from Rep. Deb Haaland (D) crowing about H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.  Rep. Haaland not only co-sponsored the legislation, but she also voted in favor of it passing.  True to form, the legislation is 100% unconstitutional as police operations are State and Local Government jobs, and bribery is a crime!

Never forget, Charles Reich (1964), a lawyer and brilliant legal mind, wrote an article about “New Property,” where he discussed how that from WWII the government has been considering its citizens as property, how the bureaucrat picks winners and losers, and how this process has affected law.  The premise that the government owns you is here to protect you and coddle you from the cradle-to-the-grave is the onerous millstone about America’s neck currently.  After WWII, the government’s size exploded and has done nothing but grow ever since, all because the bigger the government, the more the bureaucrat has disproportionate power to inflict harm and enact a reign of terror in the government’s name.

Scared Eyes!Bringing us to House Resolution (H.R.) 1280, “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021,” and while much of the act is aimed at the Federal Policing operations, the Federal Government wants to continue to exert uncommon and unconstitutional pressure over local police operations, which is unconstitutional.  The power of money is how the Federal Government can control police operations unconstitutionally, mentioned in the bill, but outlaws selling military-grade equipment to police stations.  Unknown in the legislative language, how is “military-grade equipment” defined?

Someone help me understand the naming of this legislation.  George Floyd passed counterfeit money to a clerk, he was COVID positive, but that’s not listed as a cause of death.  Floyd, according to the coroner, Floyd had fentanyl, cannabinoids, and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, although the drugs are not listed as the cause.  A coroner stated that the level of fentanyl in Floyd’s body was 11ng/mL, and a lethal dose is 3ng/mL.  Yet, the coroner refuses to consider this was an overdose situation before the police ever touched Floyd.

LookMore to the point, prosecutors, in charging documents filed with the court, “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”  More specifically, the coroner’s report claims Floyd had heart disease where an artery was blocked 75%, hypertension, and a sickle cell trait.  Sickle cell is a mostly asymptomatic form of the more severe sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that primarily affects African Americans.  Why is police reform legislation being called after a person of dubious character who was actively breaking the law with his system full of drugs that make him crazy?

Honest question, we have a dubious character, walking around with a chemistry lab inside his body, with pre-existing health conditions, committing crimes, and the police are charged with his death.  Yet, a piece of legislation is now named in his honor.  How does this all add up?  Why?

Theres moreThe liberal-leftists continue to claim rifles are military equipment, shotguns, body armor, vehicles with supercharged engines, and specific construction to protect a number of personnel riding; all these and more are considered “military-grade equipment.”  Why is “military-grade equipment” under fire, again?  When machine guns are available for criminals, why can the police not protect themselves?  Louisiana recently had an ex-military member, in protective clothing, ambushing police; if the police are not similarly dressed and protected, are we not going to lose more police officer lives?

In the U.S. Army, I took a class on self-defense and one on security.  The security class taught me how to hold onto another person using different restraining holds until the Military Police or another authority could arrive to take an offender into custody.  We learned carotid holds, choke-holds, and other restraining holds to protect ourselves and keep us safe while patrolling for guard-duty.  Now, with these holds being banned, what will replace them, more tasering? More shootings? Non-lethal weapons like sandbag guns and rubber bullets?  When you have a criminal actively fighting and resisting arrest, what will an officer be allowed to do for their safety and the safety of the person in custody?

DetectiveLet’s discuss bribery for a moment.  H.R. 1280 “Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras [emphasis mine].”  Bribery is the act of bribing, and bribing is the inducement of behavior through monetary benefits.  Why is legislation being used to control local and state law enforcement behavior using the taxpayer’s money?  How many times do we see the Federal Government hellbent on bribing the State’s and local governments through the use of taxpayer money to behave as the Federal Government demands?  Too bloody often!

One of the final aspects being cheered in H.R. 1280 is “the reform of qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.”  I understand that qualified immunity allows for some abuses, but on the whole, the law protects more than it harms.  Already America has people actively baiting the police to win outrageous sums of money, thinking that the court is a gold mine just waiting to bestow gifts and riches.  How much more will litigation costs grow if qualified immunity is “reformed,” using a piece of legislation that is 100% unconstitutional?

Detective 4I understand police make mistakes.  But, as pointed out in the first article, police are tools of policy.  When errors occur, the police officer is not to blame, but the mayors and city councils who are directing the police officers’ actions in the name of “Law Enforcement.”  Laws are generated by the same legislative and executive branches that control what police operators are allowed to do in the name of “Law Enforcement.”  Blaming the police is useless, fruitless, and the height of shameful behavior.

Justice for police operations mistakes should not include the officers unless there is clear evidence they operated outside the allowed policies and dictated procedures of their elected policy setters.  Breonna Taylor’s case is a perfect example of how the elected representatives’ behavior created a problem that opened police operations to scrutiny.  Floyd’s case is not a good example of anything other than the politics found in the coroner’s office, a topic beyond this article’s scope.

For the record, I support the police!  I may not like how the VA Police have injured and harassed me; but as tools of hospital administration policy, the blame lies with the hospital administration, not the individual officers.  However, I consider several officers’ operations abusive, which is another issue to be addressed by the hospital administration that allows poor behavior and unprofessionalism in the police officer’s enforcing hospital policy at the VA Hospital in Phoenix.

Thin Blue LineIf your elected officials are “too soft” or “too hard” on crime, the blame lies with the politician enacting behavior-changing policy.  If the criminal justice system is not to your liking, you as a free individual have two choices, use the ballot box to change the elected leadership or move to an area with the same ideals you support.  Take informed action; leave the emotional tantrums to children!

© 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 Role of Police in Current American Society – Knowing IS Half the Battle!

Behavior-ChangeThe recent acts of domestic terror in America have caused the need to teach, instruct, and edify on the basic roles of law enforcement officers, e.g. peacekeepers, sheriffs, police officers, agents, etc. in society.  American Society has two different peacekeepers tasked with the job of keeping peace in America, the military, and the police.  In this first of two articles, the role of the police officer is discussed, with foundational logic provided.  Imperative to understanding the role of police, we must first consider the role of government in America, as the police officer is but a tool of government policy.

Charles Reich (1964) wrote an article about “New Property,” where he discussed how that from WWII the government has been considering their citizens as property, how the bureaucrat picks winners and losers based upon a personal and often hidden agenda, and how this process has affected the law in America.  The premise that the government owns you, is here to protect you, and coddle you from the cradle to the grave, is the onerous millstone about America’s neck currently.  The size of government after WWII exploded and has done nothing but grow ever since; all because the bigger the government, the more the bureaucrat claims disproportionate power to inflict harm and enact a reign of terror, in the government’s name.

PolicyVisit a Department of Motor Vehicles and ask questions, ask “why” questions, and politely insist upon answers.  Visit a local zoning office, and refuse to accept their petty mandates regarding your personal property, try, and “fight city hall;” and you will face a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat on their own turf, who will make up rules to inconvenience you, simply because they can.  Everything that irritates a person about dealing with the government stems from the petty authoritarian actions of a bureaucrat, acting precisely as described by Charles Reich (1964).  Why has President Trump had so many problems with leading the Federal Government; the bureaucrats will not relinquish power “ill-gottenly gained,” and unconstitutionally acquired.  Why was President Obama able to lead the government so smoothly, the bureaucrats recognized in him the ability to seize power and took full advantage.  Resulting in the IRS being weaponized and illegally used against those deemed inferior to, or unworthy of, government largesse by a bureaucrat.  Why did President Reagan have so many problems with the Federal Government in his first term, and President Clinton not have any problems with the entrenched Federal Government; again the bureaucrats.  Those people that work in government, using government to get ahead, and have always privately dreamed of being Lord Tyrannus executing their will on others; in short, bureaucrats.

Michael Howlett, Chapter Two, from the book “Designing Government: From Instruments to Governance” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005), stated the following, “Policy instruments are techniques of governance that, one way or another, involve the utilization of state authority or its conscious limitation[s]. …[S]ince they often affect the behavior of individuals in society… possess economic costs paid by the governed… are controlled by policymakers… and are designed to implement governance strategies.”  The police are but one such tool or policy instrument to affect the behavior of a society.  Each criminal class in the criminal justice system has a society with specific rules, obligations, and controllers of policy.  For example, the common thief looks down upon a child molester but is in turn looked down upon by a murderer.  As one of the most visible tools of government policy, the police officer as a law enforcement agent (including FBI Agent, Sheriff, etc.) remains a target of opportunity by those resisting police enforcement, as well as the political masters who make a mistake and blame the police officers for failing to grasp what is desired by the political master.  Please note, the law enforcement officer has one role, to serve and protect society.  Under that role, there are millions of ideas about how to “serve” and what “to protect,” how “to protect,” and where “to protect.”  Each politician as the creator of policy and user of government tools, dictates to the police their job, how they perform their job, what merits proper performance of their job, and much more.  Hence, the need to understand the lines of congruity between proper policing and government policies.

Government Largess 2Consider the hammer, in the hands of a master craftsman art, is created by using the hammer.  In the hands of a child, generally, destruction occurs by using the hammer.  The hammer is not to blame for the destruction, nor praised for the beauty of the art, it is simply a tool to be wielded.  From this analogy, we find the reason, and often the start of, violent protestors, riots, lootings, etc. when the politician does not appropriately use the tool law enforcement official e.g. the police.

ProblemsLet us review the Eric Garner incident in New York City.  The police officer performed his duty, using the allowed tools provided by the politicians in making an arrest, which included a neck hold that was deemed safe.  Unfortunately, Eric Garner’s health problems, environmental concerns (weather, physical exertion, etc.), and other factors played a role, and Eric Garner died at the hands of a police officer.  A highly regrettable incident.  But, did the politicians pay a price for their decisions to allow the neck hold; no!  How many politicians lost their elected positions over the poor decisions of their tool, to make this arrest; none!  But, the police officer involved became a household name, the media went crazy, and cities across America burned because of how the tool of governance (Law Enforcement Officials), effected their job (use of an allowed neck hold), in correcting the behavior of society (making an arrest).

The crime Eric Garner was accused of was selling unlicensed cigarettes; essentially, the government was complaining they were not receiving sufficient taxes for the sales of the cigarettes.  This is behavior the city, county, state, or federal, collectively called “the state” has deemed unlawful.  The police, as tools of government policy, were called to correct the behavior and recoup the taxes through fines and imprisonment, after a trial by Eric Garner’s peers.  That through Eric Garner’s untimely death, the government was denied retribution is another discussion regarding the role of the criminal justice system.

ElectionAs tools of government policy, “use of force by law enforcement” remains a hotly contested topic, all because each politician will decide what is the “proper use of force by law enforcement officials,” to execute behavioral changes in the city/county/state/country.  The police officer, as a law enforcement official, is left in the middle between the cries of the governed, and the government using that official to enact policy.  Thus, the core and central issue in the lives of law enforcement officials everywhere, and why the treatment of criminals is always a political debate topic for those seeking election to offices of governance and judgeship.

Hollywood to the contrary, the police officer as a law enforcement official is not a military position.  The law enforcement official cannot go “rogue,” as this places their authority as a law enforcement official in jeopardy.  The law enforcement official can only apply that force allowed them by the politicians as tools of government policy.  Hence, when mass social unrest begins, it is not the police who need to be called, but the military.  However, the same politician controlling the proper use of law enforcement is also deciding what constitutes “civil unrest,” requiring military intervention; thus, opening the divide between law enforcement, “to serve and protect,” and the military which will insist upon the obedience of the governed, to the government.

The point remains, the law enforcement official, police officer, sheriff, etc. is a visible tool of the government to adjust the behavior of the governed, at the expense of the governed.  Hence, one cannot separate the responsibility of how the tool is used, from the tool holder.  Like the hammer in the hands of a child when destruction occurs, you do not punish the hammer, you swat the bottom of the child.  As adults in American society, we hold the ultimate responsibility for how your law enforcement officials act, through the ballot box electing those who create government policy.  If you do not like how the police are acting, it is your job to elect someone different.  Thus, it is your responsibility, and as an adult to choose how your law enforcement works.  You have no right to be looting, rioting, and causing acts of violence, especially when the police act in a manner that you do not prefer.

GI JoeAs G.I. Joe said when I was a kid, “Knowing IS half the battle” [emphasis mine].  The other half, never mentioned, was taking informed action.  If your elected officials are “too soft” or “too hard” on crime, the blame lies with the politician enacting the behavior-changing policy.  If the criminal justice system is not to your liking, you as a free individual have two choices, use the ballot box to change the elected leadership, or move to an area that possesses the same ideals you support.  Take informed action; leave the emotional tantrums to children!

Thin Blue Line

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

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

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