“That’s Crazy!!!” – More Chronicles from the VA Chapter 7

Oh, how I wish and long for, and am working for, the day when the VA is cleaned up, cleaned out, and corrected completely!  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has been busy reporting more on the failures of the VA to act.  Yet, where is Congressional action in scrutinizing the executive branch’s actions?  Honest question, repeated only for emphasis; we elected you to do two jobs, write fair and equal legislation for all citizens, and scrutinize the executive branch; when are you going to do your jobs?

Let’s begin with some softball issues repeated from previous VA-OIG comprehensive healthcare inspections (CHIPs), specifically how employees report feeling morally distressed while working at the VA.  Moral distress is a leadership failure and is widespread enough to reflect the problem is not limited to a single VAMC/VAHCS.  From Virginia to California, Maine to Florida, and Montana to Arizona, too many VA facilities are poorly led, poorly administered, and poorly executed.  The VA is actively abusing the veterans for political gain; some have asked why I consider the VA is actively abusing veterans; let me see if additional disclosure can explain the problem.

VHA Directive 1004.08.  VHA defines an institutional disclosure as “a formal process by which VA medical facility leader(s), together with clinicians and others as appropriate, inform the patient or personal representative that an adverse event has occurred during the patient’s care that resulted in, or is reasonably expected to result in, death or serious injury, and provide specific information about the patient’s rights and recourse.”

The above quote is from the regulations governing VA care.  The VA-OIG quotes this directive, which has been published and is openly available, yet repeatedly the VA-OIG finds directors.  Hospital administrators who are informed and able to repeat this directive.  Who repeatedly refuse to follow this directive or train their staff to follow this directive.  When sentinel events occur (death, permanent injury, non-permanent injury, disability, etc.), the families report having no idea what to do because the disclosures were never provided to the veteran or designated caregiver.  Is this not abuse of the patient?  Is this abuse not driven by ideologues who gain from the harm they cause others?  Should this abuse not be scrutinized until it is eliminated?  Please feel free to read some of these comprehensive healthcare inspection reports from the VA-OIG, see the resulting injuries and problems caused by the failures of government medical providers, and then tell me whether these atrocious actions need more or less scrutiny and qualify for the title abuse.

North Carolinian veterans, VISN 6 is all yours, and would you be shocked to learn that even with newer leadership, moral distress remains a persistent problem in the VA employees throughout VISN 6, which just happens to include Durham, Asheville, Fayetteville, Hampton, Richmond, Salem, and Salisbury North Carolina?  Probably this is not unfamiliar as the patient experience survey scores remain persistently below VA averages, reflecting that new leadership is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.  Interestingly, medical staff credentialing remains a significant concern in North Carolina.

Western New York veterans, especially those receiving patient services in the Buffalo VAHCS, do you agree with the VA-OIG report?  The Buffalo VAHCS includes Buffalo, Batavia, Jamestown, Dunkirk, Niagra Falls, Lockport, West Seneca, and Olean, and the comprehensive report is mystifying to me.  For example, the VA-OIG reports that “Patients generally appeared satisfied with their care.”   At the same time, “Employee survey data revealed opportunities for leaders to improve workplace satisfaction and reduce feelings of moral distress.”  This is a combination not generally found in these CHIP inspection reports.  Something is definitely off, and I would love to know what, especially since the leadership needs significant improvement in identifying and reporting sentinel events.  Do you agree with the VA-OIG findings?  Please let me know your firsthand experiences, for the double-talk in this CHIP report is above what I usually observe.

With almost identical findings and recommendations in the Syracuse NY VAMC’s comprehensive healthcare inspection, covering communities of Syracuse, Auburn, Freeville, Potsdam, Rome, Binghampton, Watertown, and Oswego, NY., I am concerned that the veterans in New York are in as bad or worse shape than Phoenix’s veteran community.  Hence, I have to ask the VA-OIG, has something changed in your measurement and analysis tools to report such disparate findings as “Employee survey data revealed opportunities for leaders to improve servant leadership and decrease employees’ feelings of moral distress.  Patients generally appeared satisfied with the care provided?”  The double-talk level is higher in these CHIPs from NY, which is rarely observed outside of Phoenix and VISN 22.  Two final thoughts on the CHIPs, staff training, continues to be a high-risk finding, and this continues to be a leadership failure for every VAMC/VAHCS/VISN in the VA; why has progress not occurred?  Training is a system, and leadership and organizational risk, system redesign, and improvement is a quality, safety, and value problem of the highest importance; why is action never taken by leadership or the congressional representatives who are expected to scrutinize the executive branch?

28 March 2022, the VA-OIG released their long-awaited annual “Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection Summary Report: Evaluation of Medical Staff Privileging in Veterans Health Administration Facilities, Fiscal Year 2020.”  I have been interested to see what, if anything, the VA had accomplished in improving their medical staff privileging.  If I were a congressional representative, knowing that medical staff continues to harm and kill veterans, I would have been anxiously awaiting to see if the repeated hits from past years had finally been rectified.  Unfortunately, the VA continues to live down to expectations (digging the hole ever deeper), suffers from failed leadership, and the veterans continue to die or suffer abuse.

What did the VA-OIG discover?  Understand, “The OIG conducted detailed inspections at 36 VHA medical facilities to ensure leaders implemented medical staff privileging processes in compliance with requirements.  The OIG subsequently issued six recommendations for improvement to the Under Secretary for Health, in conjunction with Veterans Integrated Service Network directors and facility senior leaders.  The intent is for VHA leaders to use these recommendations to help guide improvements in operations and clinical care at the facility level.  The recommendations address findings that may eventually interfere with the delivery of quality health care.”  The OIG identified deficiencies with focused and ongoing professional practice evaluation, provider exit review, and state licensing board reporting processes.  Specifically:

    • use of minimum criteria for selected specialty licensed independent practitioners’ focused professional practice evaluations
    • inclusion of service-specific criteria in ongoing professional practice evaluations
    • completion of ongoing professional practice evaluations by other providers with similar training and privileges
    • recommendation by executive committees to continue licensed independent practitioners’ privileges based on professional practice evaluation results
    • completion of provider exit review forms within seven business days of licensed independent practitioners’ departure from a medical facility
    • the signing of exit review forms by service chiefs, chiefs of staff, and medical facility directors if licensed healthcare professionals failed to meet generally accepted standards of care
    • initiation of state licensing board reporting within seven business days of supervisors’ signatures on exit review forms to indicate licensed healthcare professionals failed to meet generally accepted standards of care.

The OIG found ongoing issues from the fiscal year 2019 CHIP summary report that warranted repeat recommendations for improvement.  The OIG issued three repeat recommendations related to the following:

    • inclusion of minimum specialty criteria for focused professional practice
      evaluations
    • inclusion of service-specific criteria in ongoing professional practice evaluations
    • recommendation by executive committees of the medical staff in continuing licensed independent practitioners’ privileges based on professional practice evaluation results.

Boiling the findings of the VA-OIG down, essentially, the administrators and leadership are not weeding out poor and horrible practitioners, reporting these underperforming practitioners, and not acting in the best interests of the veterans seeking care at VAMCs and VAHCSs across the country.  I repeat, only for emphasis: Is this not abuse of the patient?  Is this abuse not driven by ideologues who gain from the harm they cause others?  Should this abuse not be scrutinized until it is eliminated?  Please feel free to read some of these comprehensive healthcare inspection reports from the VA-OIG, see the resulting injuries and problems caused by the failures of government medical providers, and then tell me whether these atrocious actions need more or less scrutiny and qualify for the title abuse.  The link to the full report is available; please feel free to make your conclusions and post your thoughts in the comments section.

On a final note for today, consider with me the problems of the Atlanta VAHCS with pallets of unopened mail containing patient health information, community care provider claims needing payment, and a plethora of other unopened mail.  Understand that when community care providers cannot obtain compensation from the VA, they go to the veterans, who then send in correspondence, which is unopened, thus causing more problems, concerns, and issues for an already abused veteran community!  Want your head to explode?  Look at the pictures the VA-OIG helpfully sent along with this VA-OIG report, and ask yourself if any other business or organization could get away with this type of abuse of the customer.

What did the VA-OIG find?  Well, prepare for your head to explode, again:

    • VA Leadership should have established a formal agreement explicitly detailing each office’s responsibilities.
    • VA HCS leaders did not include responsible managers in decision-making discussions and lacked a clear understanding of the volume of mail processing work they were accepting.
    • Atlanta VA HCS did not ensure mailroom staff was adequately prepared or trained to handle or sort the influx of mail. POM (Payment Operations Management) officials were later reluctant to help, citing the verbal agreement.

Buried in the report is this tidbit, “POM is implementing similar transitions at sites across the country; POM and medical facilities need to ensure adequate staff with sufficient training to handle the mail processing workload.  VA concurred with the OIG’s five recommendations.”  Meaning that in a VAMC/VAHCS near you, unopened mail due to verbal agreements will soon add more distress and disgust to the veteran experience.

I have documented in these articles how verbal agreements, verbal standards of work performance, and verbal processes and procedures are the problem and way of life in too many CHIPs and observed practices at the VA.  Yet, these verbal shenanigans are more apparent than in the dilemma Atlanta faces due to unopened mail.  Payment operations to community care providers are on a controlled and fixed timeline.  Failure to process these payments according to the required timeline leaves providers unpaid, which diminishes the community care provider pool of providers.  Talk to a community care provider, and they will discuss the risks of doing business with the VA and the real possibility of not being paid timely enough or being caught in sufficient red tape never to receive payment.

I know of a provider who called me three years after receiving care and was still trying to appeal and correct the paperwork to receive payment.  A provider recently contacted me who wanted to ruin my credit for failing to pay the balance due from care received, and they are charging interest.  Correcting this problem cost me 48 business hours, 20 calls, and frustrations galore.  By the way, the problem still has not been rectified, an appeal is in process, and we have to wait for the VA to make a decision; this incident was caused by the VA changing the process and the paperwork.  The provider told me they are not accepting any more veterans seeking care, the risk is too significant, the timeline to receive payment is too long, and the VA never pays what is charged.  For example, I recently received a declaration declaring payment to a community care provider.  The VA sent me to this provider, which means they knew the prices beforehand and agreed to the fees.  The declaration declared the VA was charged $2,000 and paid $120, not actual amounts, but close enough to communicate the problem.  With inflation, or without inflation, if you were paid less than 1/10th of what you billed (invoiced), would you continue to conduct business with that company or organization?  Now add the unopened mail problem to the mix.  Would you continue to conduct business with this entity?

America, the Department of Veterans Affairs is sick.  All of the other alphabet agencies in the Federal Government are sick.  We continue to elect people who actively refuse to care enough to act according to their mandated duties.  We cannot afford the government we currently have, which is part and parcel of the problem with inflation in America right now!  Debt is entered into to pay for this bloated feckbeast called government; from the city to the federal government, the bloat is too great to be sustained!  Why is the VA able to skirt responsibility, accountability, and improvement?  They can hide behind the size of their convoluted and twisted organizational shield.  Why can the Post Office and the IRS get away with deplorable, at best, customer service?  They are protected by the congress refusing to scrutinize and hold people accountable.  When your head is done exploding, please remember and act in the ballot box to hire better representatives!

© 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.

#FreedomConvoys and the Authoritarians

Theres moreLong have I hoped that the government of Justin Trudeau in Canada would have listened and heeded the voices of the truckers, farmers, and citizens of Canada long before writing on this topic.  Unfortunately, Trudeau chooses to be tone-deaf to all voices but the ones in his head and those pouring money into his political coffers.  Trudeau’s craven, cowardly, and corrupted government remains a disgusting and deleterious mark against the history of freedom.  The history books will mark him the “Low-Water Mark” in Canada’s history, as I believe the people of Canada are fed up!  Time will tell.

Unfortunately, Canada’s closest neighbor to the south is in just as poor hands and is acting just as incorrigibly!  Yes, little Joey Biden, I am talking about you!  Using the Department of Homeland Security to quash the American version of the Canadian #FreedomConvoy is so detestable as to rank with Kristallnacht in Fascist Germany!  I do not make this comparison lightly.  Using the government to silence the speech of others is WRONG!

Angry Wet Chicken 2Trudeau, are you listening?  Using the tools (Police Officers) to steal fuel from truckers is the definition of theft and is illegal!  Encouraging those in government, who have always longed to be a Storm Trooper to act in a manner that removes liberty and freedom while threatening the lives and livelihoods of others, is NOT how to govern in any representative government.  Trudeau, Biden, pay close attention; you are authoritarians and have broken the social contract inherent in your ability to govern.  Lacking the authority to govern means your only way to escape is to leave power!

Israel regularly arrests old people who are not wearing masks in the name of “curbing the spread of COVID.”  Australia is still rounding up people and putting them in camps for “public safety during COVID.”  Taxing the unvaccinated, as proposed in Canada, and the vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions in every country is 100% anathema to good order and discipline.  While also being questionable legally and inherently immoral and unethical.  Yet, those in power want to cling to COVID as a “health emergency” to clutch impotently to government powers gotten through coercion and theft.

COVID is only the latest excuse for grabbing power that rightly belongs to the people, but the government lusts after.  While some laws can be drafted to steal that power, other powers must be given to the government to abscond with zeal and self-righteousness.  Consider the following, certainly not an all-inclusive list:

  • Taxes – These are legislated government demands forcing citizens to pay for the privilege of living in a society governed by that government.
  • Private Property – At least in a Constitutional Republic, personal property must be given away.
  • Individual Health Choices – If you live in a representative government with socialized medicine, the government CAN dictate what goes into your body, as you do not have the right to control your health.
  • Individual Health Choices – If you live in one of the few countries remaining without socialized medicine, you retain the right to decide. These governments are working overtime to steal this right from you, using incentives and legislation to remove your choice of governing your health.

Exclamation MarkLet’s say you do not like the vaccine mandates; in a socialized medicine country, the government says, “Tough!  Take the jab!”  Then use the power of Storm Trooper bureaucrats to ensure you do what they demand.  In a non-socialized medicine country, the government is as powerful and refuses to be idle.  As has been witnessed in America, the government continues to employ whatever means necessary to confuse, blind, and sow chaos to win the power to demand you get the jab.  Lusting after power that rightly belongs to the electorate has become a game for the government, and insufficient numbers of people understand what is happening and the long-term effects.  Worse, the enemies of freedom and liberty already know the long-term consequences and are salivating at the thought of controlling others for personal gain!

Pope Gregory I, around 600AD, provided the capital sins, cardinal sins, also known as the 7-Deadly Sins.  Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride are the specific cardinal sins, whose curative opposites or virtues are: Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude.  Why do I believe people are fed up and ready to take action?  All 7-Deadly Sins are in such power in the representative governments that no excuse can justify their continued existence.  While simultaneously, anyone living by the 7-Virtues is castigated, derided, and excluded from power, being demonized and made into the enemy.Tax Burden

History has proved, multiple times, that when governments throw off all virtue and embrace the 7-Deadly Sins, that government is ripe for a hostile takeover.  NO!  In making this observation, I am NOT advocating violence for political purposes.  Let’s be clear; change occurs without violence, sometimes.  I hope for a violent free shift in direction in the global elected representative government crop.  Still, the realist in me has long understood that weak people execute violence to protect what they deem as theirs.  Trudeau and his ilk have already begun beating the drum calling for violence against the truckers assembled in Ottawa, and I hope and pray for a peaceful resolution.  Australia and Israel have executed violence to protect the political pandemic and keep powers stolen.  America is ordering violence against all who stand in opposition as the US Constitution is dismantled for private gain.

How does one know when authoritarians have forsaken all virtue?

Observing the 7-Deadly Sins is easy; observing virtue is a lot harder, but at the same time is easy, and a simple test exists to help further the observation.  Look at their fruits; look at the results of the decisions, and judge for yourself the consequences.  When was the last time a political leader admitted they were wrong, apologized, and then worked tirelessly to reverse course publicly?  Did it take a judicial decision to initiate the process of repentance, or was the repentance process begun through self-realization?  If a judge ordered repentance and an adjusting of course, did the person act immediately or slow walk, or worse, refuse to honor the judicial decision?

I Don't Want to Hear Another Non-Apology | Foluke's African SkiesIn my youth, I watched the Monica Lewinsky debacle with abhorrence!  Watching President Bill Clinton use an apology, which wasn’t an apology, for political course correction and stave off impeachment proceedings sickened me!  How many times has the same non-apology tactic worked?  Let’s ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Governors Newsome, Grisham, and Whitmer, as well as countless others who have made non-apologies.  Are the fruits of the 7-Deadly Sins and 7-Virtues apparent; maybe not; let’s use another example.

Currently, the United States is suffering under inflation not experienced in 40-years.  While I fully believe Biden and his executive branch despots are to blame, not all of the blame rests upon Biden and his team of despots.  The US Senate and especially the US House of Representatives are just as responsible and deserve to suffer from the fruits of their poor decisions.  Under the US Constitution, the President is not in charge of the budget; the US House of Representatives controls the American Government’s checkbook.  Speaker Pelosi is more responsible for the inflationary disaster in America, which is having a trickle-down effect globally, and thinks she can continue to skate because, in her opinion, “Americans are ignorant.”  Look at the fruits of the government, and you will find all 7-Deadly Sins, but little to none of the 7-Virtues.

Let’s take a moment to revisit the 7-Virtues, which stand in stark and absolute opposition to the 7-Deadly Sins.

    • Faith – is defined as an action that inspires firm belief based upon confidence in authority and veracity (truth) of another, rather than upon one’s knowledge, reason, or judgment.
    • Hope – is defined as possessing confidence (trust) that the action taken is possible and there is an expectation of succeeding, eventually.
    • Charity – is all about actions that help others in need without caring for a reward.
    • Justice – is a concept that encapsulates moral rightness (decency), conforming to a moral code from a desire, not from a third-party executing authority. Governing self is the first step in putting more justice into the world.
    • Prudence – Acting without regard for self-interest, seeking knowledge from others, exercising caution and wisdom in practical matters, executing common sense in planning for the future, and being reserved in exercising authority.
    • Temperance – is all about how one conducts their business in moderation, with self-restraint and care.
    • Fortitude – is centered around strength of mind allowing a person to endure pain, adversity, and chastisement with courage and conviction.

Chivalric Virtues - renarts-designThose who uphold and honor the 7-Virtues in their lives do not plasticize words.  For example calling peaceful citizens gathered to importune the government for redress, terrorists, racists, and fascists.  Leaders who desire to be honored and kept in office do not spend the public’s money like drunken sailors on a 3-day port visit.  Elected representatives embody the 7-Virtues reflecting their commitment to living as an honor of the trust the public has invested in them.  These leaders do not take bribes, sell access, and do not execute a lavish lifestyle paid for by big donors to the detriment of the electorate electing them to office.

Look carefully at the leaders elected and ask yourself, are they embodying the 7-Virtues or the 7-Deadly Sins?  If they honor, through living the 7-Virtues, you are better off economically, and your children are not saddled by debt.  However, the opposite is true if those political leaders embody the 7-Deadly Sins, which means there is nothing but trouble, pain, chaos, and the division imposed by the leaders to pit neighbor against neighbor, all leading to destruction.

Knowledge Check!How do we change the government?  First, we, the citizens, embody the 7-Virtues, living better, learning, and choosing a different path.  Second, we change how and who we elect to office.  Third, we change the laws to protect our society from the vagrants, tyrants, and societal abusers to keep them from elected office: we, the citizens, control and own the government.  We must remember this fact and then teach the elected representatives to respect us!

© 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.

Authoritarian Audacity – Consider This…

Bobblehead DollEliadis, Hill, and Howlett (2005) edited a book, “Designing Government,” used in many different academic institutions to teach courses on government in the United States.  The book and the authors are well known in academic circles, so when I discuss the findings in the book, I am not pulling information from an unknown, hardly read, obscure source.  I wanted this made clear from the beginning, for recently, several media sources have tried to declare that the cost of government is inconsequential and does not hinder a country’s economic forecasts significantly.  As I continuously state, draw your own conclusions.

From pages 60 and 61 for “Designing Government,” we find the following statistics; the authors put them in chart and graph form, I have placed them in bullet form; this is the only change to the statistics made.  Reported for Canada’s government in Canadian Dollars (1995).

      • 1973/74 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $58 Billion
      • 1987 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $78.7 Billion
      • 1993/94 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $85.7 Billion
      • 1995/96 – Economy-Wide cost of compliance costs $83.4 Billion
      • From 1988 40% to a forecast of 47.2% in 1998, Regulatory costs of compliance increased.

According to the Canadian Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 1973-1974 as presented by Minister of Finance John Turner in the House of Commons on 19 February, 1973 Total Revenue was $22.997 Billion, Total Expenditures $25.208 Billion. With a deficit of $2.211 Billion.  If the cost of compliance for federal regulation was $58 Billion, the entire Canadian Budget could have been funded twice without deficit spending, with funds left over.  Tell me, what exactly is the number of “significant” for the cost of government??u=http2.bp.blogspot.com-BKwWSo412lIUngTRkmSYwIAAAAAAAARd8GqxDhvovmRgs1600salestaxcartoon.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

Now, wait a minute, you say, this is just a single year.  I could be gerrymandering and cherry-picking my data to make a point.  I haven’t listed a point yet.  But you’re correct.  Let’s run another year just to see what else is out there.

According to the Canadian Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 1987-1988 as presented by Minister of Finance Michael Wilson in the House of Commons on 18 February, 1987 Total Revenue was $97.215 Billion, Total Expenditures $126.232 Billion. With a deficit of $29.017 Billion, the cost of regulation in that year alone was $78.7 Billion.  Firstly, that is a lot of deficit spending in a little over a decade.  Secondly, that is a lot of growth in government regulation costs in the same period.  Thirdly, one is left to ask using historical records why both the cost of government and the deficit spending went up so significantly during the same period.Working Dollar

According to the academics, the answer is a little dry, “extreme forms of rhetorical hyperbole.”  A simpler version of the answer is this, the politicians in power are staying in control by scaring the hell out of the electorate using extreme cases, fear-mongering, and the media to hype fear!  But, don’t believe me, do not take my word for this at all.  Watch the news, go backward using YouTube, watch the news, and look for the latest “Boogeyman.”  In the 1980s, the boogeyman was the USSR.  In the 1990s, the boogeyman changed, morphed, and all but disappeared, becoming local crime issues.  2000 began, and we had corporations become the boogeyman.  Then 9/11 hit, and terrorism became the watchword.  Then we had the southern border and wars, and then we had big tech, big pharma; fast forward to 2020, and we have COVID, the unvaccinated, and the list goes on.  Rhetorical hyperbole in the extreme, drumming fear as the only constant 24/7/365 as the only reporting done by the “media.”

All the while, what is happening in government?  What is the current cost of government regulation?  Canada conveniently, like many other governments post-2000, hides their costs of regulation in hundred of pages of marketing materials and calls this  a “plan,” a “budget,” and a “roadmap.”  Finding simple facts like how much federal regulation costs my family and me into an arduous task.  However, if you can decipher all the lines and arrive at an answer, feel free to leave it in the comments below.Apathy

The point is, the information is not accessible, transparent, or quickly locatable, even though you pay for the government to report this information to you.  A perfect example of authoritarian audacity, and it is rampant in every single government across the globe.  Hey United Kingdom, they say the Internal Revenue Service in the United States is bad at reporting financial data to taxpayers; you have the US beat!  However, France and Italy have you beat!  But China and Cuba have you guys beat except for Venezuela and Brazil.  Canada and Australia are dark horses somewhere in this race; Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and many more are on the list somewhere.  The only easy place to find data is Switzerland and Iceland, and even there you still have to swim upstream against marketing and government bureaucratese!

Knowledge Check!Taxpayers, the point is simple, you are paying to be hoodwinked.  You are paying to be lied to, manipulated, robbed, cheated, and left holding a bag full of blank checks and IOUs by the government officers elected, born into office, and who stole their way into power in your countries.  The bills do not go away when governments fall; ask Russia how they are doing with the USSR’s bills and problems.  Ask Venezuela how they are coping with the loss of their country and the accounts from their failed government.

Deficit spending countries, Canada, US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Greece, etc., you might want to pay a little attention here, cause when your economy finally fails, the bills come due, and who pays then?  Not the politicians who wrote the blank checks.  Not the special interests who benefited from the governments they sucked the money from.  Certainly not the Hollywood stars and media elites who consider themselves above everyone else.  The citizens pay, and they pay in blood, they pay in sweat equity, and they pay in treasury long after the principal and interest have compounded, and the debt creators have turned into worm fodder.Lemmings 1

Regulatory costs are always significant and exorbitant in time and treasure long after the wage earner is paid for being the putz that hinders and represents the government your taxpaying dollars support.  Regulatory costs are never free!  Regulatory costs are always triple, if not more, in dollars and cents than what a legislator thinks they will be.  For example, when Obamacare was priced as costing $10 Trillion, the smart taxpayer tripled the cost before considering anything else about the legislation.  The same is true for every other piece of legislation from the school board and the mayor’s office through the governor’s office to the federal level.  Every price tag should be tripled before consideration simply because the various accounting offices always downplay the numbers as a human failing.

But you have got to be joking.  Government cannot possibly cost that much money.  Let’s test that theory, using the United States, 1996 dollars, and Social Regulation for FY 1997 as reported by the OMB under Executive Order 12291 and 12866 from the following link.

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1Total social regulation costs for 1997 were $198 billion.  Please note that this total does not include costs of regulations that totaled less than $100 million or regulations from independent agencies. There is a possibility that some agencies might have underestimated the costs of their rules.  Thus, the $198 Billion is a guess, and the end total is probably much higher.  Moreover, the estimate of $198 Billion is based upon educated guesswork performed and accepted by academics, legislation, and other banking regulations.  Not included in the costs of regulation are the simple transfer costs of money inside the banking system itself, as these are not considered as costs of regulation.

Did you catch that; certain costs are not considered because Congress allows them to be not considered.  Thus, Congress can lie about regulation costs, fees, taxes, and other monetary adjustments.  The only person who ever is accountable is the taxpayer left holding the statement for deficit spending.  Then the agencies have the audacity to need specially trained personnel to fill out paperwork to meet obscure fraud and deception laws and charge these costs back to the taxpayer as costs other than costs for regulation.  Best of all, tax paperwork is not considered a cost to regulation; paying taxes is not a regulatory cost.  Why not; taxes cost businesses to operate and cannot be changed into different categories?

Tax BurdenThe point is elementary; those who think they have power, bureaucrats in government employ, consider themselves authoritarians.  These authoritarians have presumed to possess the audacity to control how they spend your money because their bosses have allowed them leniency through laziness and disinterest.  Through a lack of scrutiny, the bureaucrat has become fat on power and must be placed upon a diet if a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is to survive.  Are you more aware of the problem?  What will you do today and tomorrow to help fix the problem?

© 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.

New Jersey, New York, California, Oregon, and Washington – Just Sell Them for Parts!

cropped-laughing-owlWith a nod to Bill Engvall, let’s honestly discuss three complete holes in America where suicide by legislative fiat and executive stupidity has produced catastrophic failure.  Let me be perfectly honest, if either of these states were a business, they would have been forced into receivership, broken up, sold for parts, and their leaders jailed for incompetency and felonious charges of malfeasance long ago!  The charades have ended, the rose-tinted glasses are off, and frankly, the party is over, all the taxpayers are fleeing, and the businesses are closing shop and fleeing for healthier climates.

California this week passed another job-killing piece of legislation.  The bill is targeted at Amazon and is built on hogwash, acrimony, lies, and allegations so thin you could read Apple’s User Agreement through them.  Not the first time California’s legislative body has targeted a specific business for job-killing legislation, not the first time the legislation is built on sand, and the forecast is for torrential rain, not the last time this idiocy is going to happen.  The fact that California keeps killing itself is depressing!Bird of Prey

New Jersey and California hold an interesting title, and 32 other states are 100% insolvent in their Unemployment Compensation Trust Funds.  Business owners, this fact alone should scare the living daylights out of you and every one of your workers right now!  Now, some of you get it; some are scratching your heads and going; why is this important.  For those who got it, feel free to skip the following explanation.

The unemployment trust fund is akin to the social security trust fund managed by, raided, and depleted by the Federal Government.  No money means that the debts in those trust funds cannot be paid, and all the funds being collected right now are not being used for future calamities.  For all you economists out there, yes, this is a very simplified explanation.  Insurance trust funds are expected to be the funds of last resort to ensure payments to investors; those paying premiums for coverage can receive protection.  Not having these trust funds means the state unemployment insurance fund is in deep trouble, and there is only one direction to point the blame, the legislators and executives in government.

Bobblehead DollNow, some are claiming these funds were only depleted due to the COVID pandemic.  Do not believe the hype.  These funds were in trouble long before COVID hit, and the fact that there are funds to replenish these trust funds and government leaders are refusing to invest money in the trust funds should be major red flags for everyone in the state!  State and local governments are spending money like it’s Christmas, and the New Year will never come with the bills from the holidays.  Think drunken-sailor on 7-day liberty here if you prefer that analogy.  Either way, financial troubles are brewing above and beyond the current inflation woes, and the media is deftly NOT reporting this crisis.  Does anyone want to venture why this topic is not being discussed?

The Article from the Tax Foundation lays out the data nicely, and you are left to draw your own conclusions from the data.  But tell me, what happens when you call GEICO, Farmers, All-State, etc., with a claim and the claim is denied because the insurance company has no money?  Now multiply that by every wage-earner and business in your state and tell me if maybe, just maybe, the unemployment insurance trust fund being insolvent should be a more significant issue of discussion.Tax Burden

If your state is insolvent, and your next paycheck is a LOT lighter, remember this tidbit about unemployment tax insurance trust funds.

Unemployment insurance tax rates on businesses rise automatically when trust fund balances are low.”

Do you see the trouble now?  First, the government maliciously raids and spends the funds, then a hidden tax kicks in, depleting your paycheck, and the government does not have to tell you why your paycheck is lighter.  Especially since those in legislative bodies traditionally exempt themselves from having to pay these taxes.  Now add in the other hidden taxes; inflation goes up because when taxes climb, inflation climbs, prices go up to cover the hidden taxes of higher costs to operating a business, and wages stagnate, which crimps your budget even further.Government Largess

The states mentioned are not the states that did not need Federal Intervention, and they are not counted among the states spending money wisely, as discussed by Governing.com.  Please tell me that nobody is surprised by this revelation.  I find it alarming that Governing.com, in their analysis, was able to conclude the following:

Despite predictions that COVID-19 would crush state tax revenues, most of them didn’t need mega-billions in pandemic aid to balance their budgets. But for the most part, they seem to be spending the money wisely.”

Leading me to ask, why did the Federal Government invest our tax dollars, venture into such incredible debts, and shut down a booming economy?  COVID has proven NOT to be worthy of the title “Pandemic.”  Yet, COVID remains an excuse for emergency measures, emergency spending, and emergency police actions.  Will any media representative ask a politician why?  I didn’t like the book, but I read Albert Camus’ book “The Plague” for light reading.  That is a book about a public health crisis, a pandemic worthy of the title pandemic, and several times in world history, the title pandemic has been warranted when survivors are burning corpses in the street.  COVID fits none of the definitions or situations for a Pandemic, except for the politically connected to laugh at the politically abused populations.Angry Wet Chicken

Look at Washington, New York, New Jersey, California, and Oregon across the COVID-19 political mania.  Tell me why COVID is not an exercise in malicious government and politics gone horribly wrong.  Sure, we can add New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, and a couple of other states into the mix for fun.  These core states are where politicians made vast sums of money on COVID-Hysteria, and I would like to keep the focus small for the current article.

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee is reporting 32 states are intentionally withholding money from rural governments as a political move.  When you take the top 20 receivers of COVID-Relief money and the 32 states withholding COVID-Relief money, you find some lines of congruence with states with the harshest COVID restrictions, ridiculous COVID mandates, and no correlating data to infection risk avoidance.  Now, why isn’t COVID reported as a political and social experiment gone horribly wrong?  Worse, why was the money borrowed by the Federal Government at extortionate rates and given pell-mell to the states when the majority of those states do not need the money and the states that did need the money have sufficient if their politicians reigned in spending?Angry Grizzly Bear

The five states mentioned are not poor states by any stretch.  They have resources, both human and natural; they have riches galore, they have potential, they used to have favorable business climates, they are committing suicide.  Why should the rest of America bail them out?  Why not break them up into parts, sell assets to cover debts, place them into receivership, and force them on a diet of sanity and logic until the bills are paid?

I close with a word of warning.  Texas, you’re headed to California status faster than you would like to admit!  Your COVID restrictions are particularly heinous and represent the infection found in Austin spreading like fast-moving cancer to steal your state and liberty.  Arizona, Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa, you are all on a similar track, the speed might not be as noticeable right now, but the infection is there and growing.  Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, both Dakotas, you are all at various places in being terminally sick with the same cancer.  If soft words and political expediency can conquer the Western US, the entire United States is lost.  New Mexico has been lost since it was given statehood in a political move that robbed Arizona and Texas of land!

Image - Eagle & FlagThe time to awake and arise is now!  The fight for liberty and freedom will be fought and won or lost in the American West.  Sure, the coasts of America are well and truly infected.  But, the fight for independence is not on the shores; it is right outside your doors.  The media and politicians like to hyperventilate about the coasts, but the rural communities in the “Fly-Over” states are more important to liberty and freedom surviving than any other local in America.  Awake and Arise!

© 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.

Seriously – Let’s Have the Conversation!

Hillary Clinton is infamous for an explosive remark made in a Congressional Bird of Preyhearing, “At this point, what difference does it make.”  While I genuinely detest quoting this particular person, she has a point where the 2020 Elections are concerned, not a good point, but a point.  At this point, what difference does it make in discussing the 15 Million votes from 2020 that were improperly counted, improperly handled, erroneously scrapped, and treated scandalously?  Will these votes change the fate of Afghanistan; no.  Will these votes remove the fraudulent president; no.  Will these votes correct an abuse of the voter in 2020 and place the real winner of the election into the presidency; no.

What difference “… at this point does it make?”  It changes how we move forward in voting.  It places the onerous upon current sitting politicians to safeguard voting systems, processes, and procedures to ensure this madness never occurs again!  Riddle me this, was COVID hyped and mass-fear spread to allow for voting to be abused to push a useless and senile president into office?  I digress.

Exclamation MarkHence, I would like to open the conversation into improving voting in America.  It is long past time for common sense voting safeguards to be installed and mandated at the local levels of government.  Here are my suggestions, let us use logic and discern the best path forward for America.

      1. Refuse the Federal Government legislation being pushed in the US House right now, the “For the People” Acts to demand a “Federal Government Mandate” for voting. Let’s be frank; the Federal Government could not handle collecting Social Security taxes from payroll and keeping that funded.  Do you really think they could handle something simpler, like voting?
      2. Eliminate the computers! I am done being some byte that a programmer can manipulate.  End the charade, open the transparency, and stop using vote computers.  A paper ballot is perfect!
      3. The paper ballot should carry a digital signature containing my picture in digital form and my digital signature, as verified by my government-issued ID. Don’t drive; that’s okay; you still need a government-issued ID to purchase alcohol, tobacco, firearms, take a plane trip, and a hundred and one other things.  The DMV can issue you an ID.  One ballot, one ID, one signature, one person, not hard to count, not hard to track, and no problems with security.  The technology has been around for 20 years to take and print a digital fingerprint; it is past time to combine a bio-metric tag, a digital tag, and a wet-signature with a ballot to end the nightmare of who completed the ballot.
      4. More transparency, more accountability, and more importantly, less mail-in balloting will mean sending teams to registered voters in hospice, long-term care settings, and hospitals and securing completed ballots using evidentiary procedures that can stand up in a court of law. Plus, it will mean penalties for breaking the law.  What happened in Maricopa County was a farce!  What happened in Atlanta and Philadelphia was a farrago. Too often, the primaries are just as fraud-riddled as the general elections speak volumes for the problems in local governments where laws are in place.  Still, the election officials always escape with their pensions intact into retirement.The Duty of Americans

Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Utah, Washington (especially Seattle Metro Area), Wyoming, Ohio, I wouldn’t think you have escaped scrutiny because the media left you alone in the 2020 election cycle.  I have personally witnessed the problems in your states, and I know how bad your elections are!  Worse, in New Mexico, primarily in Bernalillo County, I know the bad apples and remember them from being interviewed for a job.

Angry Grizzly BearOn the topic of local governments and Election Officials, apolitical should be the word of the day.  When a person walks into the election offices, they should not be bombarded with political messages.  Case in point, Bernalillo County, walk into the majority of the County offices, not just the election official’s offices, and look at the political affiliations on display.  Take a walk through the parking lot, look at bumper stickers, enter the offices, and find the same political messages on display in the people working inside.  You work for the government; apolitical is the least a person can expect from government employees; this is often referred to as professionalism!

Does being apolitical at work mean you lose your first amendment rights; yes!  Private-sector employees lose their rights; why should government employees keep their Constitutional Rights when private-sector employees lose their rights?  How fast will employment law change when government employees are treated like private-sector employees?  Yes, let’s have these conversations.  Let’s discuss these topics openly, in the public forums, on social media, in the town squares, and come to workable solutions.

© 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: Affirmative Action – A Discussion for Eradication!

VirtueI wonder if maybe affirmative action is not just dead but ready for the waste pits of history.  Cohen (1996) acknowledged that federal hiring has a set of laws, with exceptions for every rule, to justify not hiring individuals.  I have personally witnessed this in Albuquerque, NM., for the better part of three years.  At the V.A. Hospital and Social Security Offices, the hiring managers refuse to hire veterans, and multiple other hiring paths to keep “undesired people” from being hired.”

As a dual-service (U.S. Army & U.S. Navy) disabled veteran with a handicap that is visible (neurological shaking, twitching, and muscle spasms, which include trouble speaking) too often, I am the best candidate until the interview.  Walking into an interview with a cane, spasm, or twitch a couple of times, and the faces of those interviewing reflect their discomfort, and I will not be hired.  Government, private sector, for-profit, not-for-profit, none of these matters, people are uncomfortable around those of us with visible disabilities.  Affirmative action has never helped, and as an experiment in social behavior, should be scraped from the law as soon as legislation can be written to effect this change!Patriotism

Undesired people” includes people with handicaps (though Schedule A hiring has top priority in government hiring), veterans, spouses, and dependents with specific federal benefits, minorities (including men, people of color of all shades, American Indians, etc.) also have priority in hiring.  All the best jobs, positions, and perks are awarded through nepotism and the court of public opinion.  The system is structured in such a way as to remain in legal compliance to affirmative action; thus, affirmative action is a shield protecting lousy behavior instead of as a tool to improve workforce hiring.  My assertion of the uselessness of affirmative action is not just based upon my experiences.  I have witnessed people get into car accidents, get a disability, and go from productive worker to shunned worker almost overnight, all due to the disability sustained.The Duty of Americans

Harasztosi and Lindner (2015) discussed how the minimum wage costs jobs and excluded the neediest citizens from employment.  I contend that affirmative action has negatively impacted minorities, men and women, disabled people, etc., most significantly using the principles and logic of Harasztosi and Lindner (2015).  Rules demanding social behavior always will substantially and negatively impact those designed in the law to enjoy the most benefit.  I believe in the Missouri State Motto; “Show ME!”  Show me a single piece of legislation that has helped those it was written for.  Legislation cannot dictate behavior or morals in society; hence the following from John Adams applies, the U.S. Constitution “… was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Hence, the path forward is not more laws to avoid, but less.  The way forward is the societal education in morals as governed through a religious society.Editorial - Educational Truth

Historically, there are no legal, moral, or ethical reasons for affirmative action.  Affirmative action, and the diversity policies feeding the modern workplace adopted after affirmative action was legislated, barely have a legal foothold, let alone a justifiable reason for existence (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001).  Human Resources is the capitalization of human capital to meet organizational needs.  When capitalization of human abilities is appropriately affected, the effort becomes work, leading to finished products or services for sale to consumers.  When not adequately modified, capitalization of human skills turns into waste, loss, confusion, and the organization will eventually “fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle” (Bloom, & Kamm, 2014; Typographical Journal, 1892).Apathy

Sykes (1995) defined affirmative action as “… [T]he set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  As promising as this sounds, affirmative action remains the biggest farce crammed down the business community’s throats since the Federal Income Tax.  By focusing, as this definition states, on “eliminating discrimination past and present,” the entire country forgets the wise words from Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that is why it is called the present.”  By focusing on the past, we project the same problems of the past, ruining both the present and the future.  While providing fodder for ill-advised politicians and media hacks to accuse everyone of racism, sexism, and a host of other “-ism” claims that are erroneous.  I repeat, only for emphasis, you cannot legislate human behavior and morals, and hiring an employee is the epitome of human behavior and morals.President Adams

Affirmative action is not necessary, needed, or applicable; affirmative action, and the diversity programs replacing affirmative action, were never required, helpful, or valuable enough to create from whole cloth the legal precedent to justify implementation (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). No, the short answer remains clear, Affirmative Action was not needed in 1964 and is still not needed today. Before 1964 when the Civil Rights Legislation was passed, the educational and experience gap between those working and not working caused pay problems, yet new professional opportunities naturally occurred as educational opportunities increased.  Affirmative action was not needed.  Let’s be clear, the executive orders and complicit Congress during President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure are the reasons the 1960s were so tumultuous, and the Civil Rights movement became needed.  But the reliance upon a government fix for personal behavior and morals was the wrong answer in the 1960s and remains a horrible answer today!

Dont Tread On MeNow that Affirmative Action has pampered more than two generations, we have more women and minorities in the workplace with the same skills as white males, and the same problem exists in deferential hiring, differential treatment based upon race, gender, and other politically acceptable groups. People who want to work, start early, work hard, and prepare for better jobs through education, experience, and single-minded determinedness. Those who do not wish to work create excuses, live off the government dole, and remain entrenched in ignorance, causing poverty, loss of self-esteem, ruined families, and a host of social problems that those who are working have to deal with and pay taxes to the government, who started the problem in the first place. These same workers have to fight affirmative action and diversity policies for new jobs, promotions, pay increases, etc., including all the issues associated with a minimum wage and associated costs (Harasztosi, & Lindner, 2015; Hawkins & Sowell, 2011).

References

Bloom, R., & Kamm, J. (2014). Human resources: Assets that should be capitalized. Compensation & Benefits Review, 46(4), 219-222. doi:10.1177/0886368714555453

Brazelton, S. (2016). A hollow hope? Social change, the U.S. supreme court, and affirmative action. The Journal of Race & Policy, 12(2), 84-95. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/docview/1940981339?accountid=134061

Cohen, C. (1996). Should federal affirmative action policies be continued? Congressional Digest, 75, 181-181.

Harasztosi, P. & Lindner, A. (2015). Who pays for the minimum wage?UC Berkeley.Hawkins, J., & Sowell, T. (2011). Right-wing news: An interview with Thomas Sowell. Retrieved from http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/sowell.php

Master, Oogway (Character). (2008). Kung Fu Panda [DVD].

Oppenheimer, D. B. (2016). The disappearance of voluntary affirmative action from the U.S. workplace. The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(1), 37-50. doi: http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1332/175982716X14538098991133

Pierce, J. L. (2013). White Racism, Social Class, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action. Sociology Compass, 7(11), 914–926. https://doi-org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1111/soc4.12082

Sykes, M. (1995, August). The origins of affirmative action. Retrieved from http://www.now.org/nnt/08-95/affirmhs.html

Typographical Journal. (1892). Typographical Journal, Volume 4 [Google Play]. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=FydFAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA10-PA4&lpg=RA10-PA4&dq=%E2%80%9Cfall+an+unpitied+sacrifice+in+a+contemptible+struggle%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=DW3MDox1Xu&sig=vd-U9cqe7PVSqLbA27FIX5DgJOs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4zp3I-ZTeAhXqwlQKHZfZC6QQ6AEwA3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cfall%20an%20unpitied%20sacrifice%20in%20a%20contemptible%20struggle%E2%80%9D&f=false

Young, I. M. (2001). Equality of Whom? Social Groups and Judgments of Injustice. Journal of Political Philosophy, 9(1). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4335602&site=ehost-live&scope=site

© 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: Information Security Report – VA Administration is STILL Failing!

VA 3Since the first time the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) lost my identity, e.g., the unencrypted hard drive incident, I have monitored the VA’s data security practices.  Let’s say I have a vested interest in data security, having lost thousands of dollars to identity thieves and having been bankrupted twice!  Thus, imagine my surprise when today, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) released the annual audit results of the VA’s information security practices as required by the “Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA)” and saw the VA remains out of compliance!  Not just a little out of compliance, but so far out of compliance that they have aged issues that are almost old enough to drink.

ApathyThe annual audit is conducted by a third-party, “CliftonLarsonAllen LLP,” who audited 48 major applications and general support systems hosted at 24 VA sites that support the VBA, VHA, and National Cemetery administrations.  The VA-OIG reports the following:

The firm concluded that VA continues to face significant challenges meeting FISMA requirements and made 26 recommendations for improving VA’s information security program. Specifically, VA should address security-related issues that contributed to the information technology material weakness reported in the FY 2020 audit of VA’s consolidated financial statements, improve deployment of security patches, system upgrades, and system configurations that will mitigate significant security vulnerabilities and enforce a consistent process across all field offices. The firm also recommended VA improve performance monitoring to ensure controls are operating as intended at all facilities and communicate identified security deficiencies so the appropriate personnel can mitigate significant risks” [emphasis mine].

Is the connection between application and administration clear?  The security deficiencies cannot even get assigned to the right people because organizational communication is ineffective, unclear, and atrociously designed to create designed incompetence or a ready-made excuse for failure!  Material weaknesses have been carried forward from one fiscal year (FY) to another since the first breach of data security, e.g., the unencrypted hard drive episode.  The administration has a second built-in designed incompetence issue, material deficiencies, even though since 1995, the VA has been “upgrading its IT infrastructure to meet the needs of today’s veterans!”  The VA has bragged about how technically up to date they are, but the audit continues to find material weaknesses leading to data insecurity!

Police and Government Lines of CongruenceWhile the VA deserves congratulations on closing two antique audit items, they were expected to close ALL aged items during the 2020 FY.  Yet, the administrators were still able to skate responsibility, skirt accountability, and act like Sonja Henie at Oslo.  Tell me, if your boss expected you to complete a bunch of items, gave you a full year to complete these items, would you be fired for only completing two items?  I know I would!  As a project manager, if I didn’t have a plan in writing, showing completion dates, inter-relationships, and explicit action items set up within 30-days of being assigned the tasks, I would have been fired!  Yet, somehow these VA Administrators, hired to perform these functions by the Government, cannot even communicate, let alone accomplish tasks assigned!  Who were the project managers, contract officers, and program managers, and their respective administration officials, line them up and fire them!

Detective 4The VA-OIG reports, “Despite VA’s commitment that the recommendations would be closed, some of them have been repeated for multiple years [emphasis mine].”  Is the connection between the administration officials, their assigned workers, and the failures and designed incompetence clearly observed?  I ask because the VA-OIG closed this report with the most useless conclusion I have seen in years of reading these reports!  “The VA-OIG remains concerned that continuing delays in effectively addressing the recommendations could contribute to reporting a material weakness in VA’s information technology security controls during the FY 2021 audit of the department’s consolidated financial statements [emphasis mine].”

Of course, the continued foot-dragging, skating, and designed incompetence will lead to problems in information security, cost veterans their identities and thousands of dollars individually, and continue to make the veterans victims of identity theft!  How could you think this would not happen?  “Hello!!!  McFly, is anyone home?”

Angry Grizzly BearThat the VA administrators continue to hinder improvement at the VA should be grounds for immediate dismissal!  Yet, these administrators are allowed to retire with full benefits, cushy benefits packages, and the veteran is left with nothing!  Where is Congress in enacting legislation that enables the Government to reduce, remove, or refuse a retirement package for administration employees who cannot or will not act in a manner that reflects competence and ability in following congressional demands and meeting operational standards?  Where is Congress working with the VA Secretary on productivity problems caused by administrators who actively hinder improvements at the VA?  Why is designed incompetence even allowed as an excuse for failure?

© 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: Climate Change is GOVERNMENT CONTROL!

Angry Grizzly BearTo some of you, I am preaching to the choir; but sometimes the choir sings better when they have more knowledge.  Please help sing louder.  To others, what I am about to say is so far out of your current understanding that your brains might hurt; I am sorry.  You will never understand snowflakes and trolls, but I am willing to take that chance!

According to the Wall Street Journal, the fraudulent president, President Biden, is taking the same plan President Obama used to restrict America to a Climate Change job-killing pogrom!

Mr. Biden is essentially doing an end-run around the Constitution, which requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate for the President to enter a treaty. The emissions reductions that foreign leaders pledged on Thursday aren’t legally binding, but Mr. Biden intends to use regulation to bind Americans.”

This single statement should scare every American, whether you believe in Climate Change Hype or not.  President Obama and now President Biden refuse to act within the law where climate change is concerned.  This means there are nefarious problems, greedy hands, and legal issues the sitting president is trying to keep hidden from American citizens.  Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the Climate Change Pogrom Plans that have been made public.Problems

What is a Pogrom?

A pogrom is a violent massacre or destruction by a government entity against its own citizens.  Nazi Germany changed the law, then massacred legally their Jewish, Catholics, Handicaps, mentally handicapped, and other aspects of undesirable citizens.  Stalin and Mao have used pogroms to murder, execute, and destroy their own people, neighbors, and many others.

Why is Climate Change a Pogrom?

From the Wall Street Journal, “Businesses will be conscripted as foot soldiers in the progressive war on fossil fuels.  America’s founders believed that the Constitution’s separation of powers would safeguard individual liberty, but this assumes Congress guards its power” [emphasis mine].  The separation of powers was supposed to stop this madness.  As President Obama demonstrated, there are loads of chicaneries the legislative branch can get away with, and Congress and the Judicial Branch refuse to exert their powers.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceNow, let’s talk about the 10-year plan, a $2.3 Trillion plan that is a “more-than-infrastructure proposal” but is nothing but the Green New Deal in disguise.  So far, the best record for the details that have been released comes from DailyMail.com.  We need to be clear, not all the details have been released, but those released details should scare every person in America into action against this power seizure!

  1. Biden vowed that America would be “on a path of a zero-emissions economy by no later than 2050.”
      • Where is the US Congress in agreeing to this plan?
      • Where is the complete plan laid out for the American People to review and approve?
      • America is a Republic (if we can keep it), and I do not see anything that reveals this information, neither does DailyMail.com.
  2. From experts, to reach a zero-emissions economy, the following will have to occur within the next 10-years:
      • All meat consumption, especially red meat, will have to drop to less than 4 pounds a month per American, or roughly 90% of today’s consumption rates for red meat and a 50% cut in all animal consumption. Essentially, America would be on a 0.18 ounce of meat per day for protein.
      • Every single American will have to buy an electric car, currently a $55K investment.
      • Electric heat, solar panels, windmills, and more would have to be drastically increased, increasing the cost of electricity to roughly $5700 a month for heating and cooling your home.
      • The costs of the plan, to start, begin at $2.3 Trillion. If ObamaCare is any indicator at how fast cost estimates by the government are surpassed, a closer cost estimate is around $500 Trillion!  Don’t forget the farrago that was the ObamaCare Website!  Including:
          • $85 Billion for infrastructure modernizing public transit.
          • $174 Billion replacing lead pipes and modernizing drinking water and sewer systems.
          • $100 Billion to protect nature-based infrastructure.
          • $40 Billion for housing infrastructure.
              • What does this mean?
          • $100 Billion for upgrades to the electrical grid.
          • $100 Billion for new public schools.
              • Why?
              • Isn’t this a state issue?
              • Aren’t I, and every other American, already paying for school modernization?
          • $10 Billion for upgrading federal buildings.
              • Why isn’t this already occurring?
          • $35 Billion for investing in climate science.
          • $10 Billion for an enforcement arm, called the Civilian Climate Corps.
  1. How many dairy farms, ranches, and other animal husbandry jobs will be lost to reduce protein intake to 0.18 ounces daily?
  2. How many restaurant jobs will be wiped out due to the costs that will disproportionately fall upon the reduced middle-class and lower class of people?
  3. How many American jobs in Natural Gas and Oil fields will be lost to other countries that do not have to follow the same plan to reduce emissions?
  4. How much of the economy will be sacrificed for science projects and liberal pipe dreams?
      • Public transit systems are a colossal waste of tax dollars just for inner-city transit; how about intra-city transit?
      • AMTRAK hasn’t been able to turn a profit on carrying people between cities ever; how does modernizing public transit improves the loss of taxpayer dollars down this well of liberal insanity?

Andragogy - LEARNRemember, our pattern for this insanity is from President Obama, who had a comfortable first two years due to a friendly House and Senate. They could not do these enviro-legislation issues due to US Constitutional problems, so President Obama used executive orders.  Again and again, climate science has proven to be a money-sucking black hole for taxpayers while the limited few buy new jets, new luxury yachts and force restrictions upon everyone else.

ApathyHow many people will die from the cold or the heat due to the cost of electricity, electricity failure, and not having a backup or tertiary source for heat or cooling?  Every year America sees people die from the cold and excessive heat.  Want a pattern for how higher electricity costs and liberal-brain dead solutions work; let’s look at California.  Last year, loss of power killed people on medical equipment, where electrical lines were not properly maintained, sparked fires, and rolling brownouts are common.  Now that you see the middle and lower class sacrifices, ask yourself, did Speaker Pelosi (D) or any of here Hollywood and political buddies suffer any inconveniences from brownouts and loss of electrical power?

LookHey Speaker Pelosi, how big are your freezers and refrigerators again?  How many do you have in your walled mansion?  How much electricity do you consume?  Climate scare is a method for an unconstitutional power grab, plain and simple, and every single American needs to be actively engaged in fighting these restrictions!  The fight for liberty is cloaked in “Climate Science,” and every nation on earth has been infected with this power-grabbing sickness where politicians win and the citizens lose!

© 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: Executive Orders vs. Legislation

Image - Eagle & FlagA republic is messy!  I have made this claim before on this blog, and I will continue to affirm and support the messiness that occurs in a republic, especially this our constitutional republic!  A republic requires politicians from both extremes on an issue spectrum to come together somewhere between the two extreme points for a compromise.  Please remember, a good compromise leaves everybody unhappy, but a good compromise is fair and the best way to govern.  The messiness of governing takes time and the mess and time protect the interests of the population!

The problem is that executive orders have become the tool of tyranny to make an end-run around the Constitution, stripping the legislative branch of its authority.  Just like when a legislator’s support is purchased with pork-barrel spending, passing legislation with purchased support or pork also does an end-run around the Constitution and robs the taxpayer to enrich the politician.  Both Executive Orders and Pork Barrel Legislation are immoral and unethical but have become accepted practice based upon historic legal precedence and the distorted minds of those in political power.

What is an Executive Order?

An executive order is a means of issuing federal directives in the United States, used by the United States President who manages the federal government’s operations. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources; however, the executive order is limited to the executive branch of government and the executive branch’s governmental operations.

Where executive orders are concerned, until revoked or superseded, the order remains in effect.  For example, Executive Order 9006 – Certifying the Territory of Hawaii as a Distressed Emergency Area.  The executive order was signed within 30-days of Pearl Harbor being bombed, stripped American Citizens of their rights, their property, their freedoms, and punished them.  Fred Korematsu argued before the Supreme Court that his rights and those of other Americans of Japanese descent had been violated by Executive Order 9006.  The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the government, saying that military necessity overruled those civil rights.  Here is the rub; there is no Congressional Legislation supporting this illegal seizure, the forfeiting of ownership, or Congressional Authority tied to the Executive Order; worse, there was no military reason to justify issuing the Executive Order.

LookNow, I get it, the Empire of Japan had just bombed America, and a day of infamy had descended.  The legal rights of Americans, regardless of their birth heritage, were stripped from them, not by Congressional Action signed into law by the President, but through an Executive Order.  Worse, this order has never been rescinded, and who knows what skullduggery continues to occur under this Executive Order.  As a historical sidenote, there was no justification for Executive Order 9006 – Certifying the Territory of Hawaii as a Distressed Emergency Area.  No military rationale, no social justification, and yet, this Executive Order caused tremendous illegal and unconstitutional actions in the island of Hawaii, which spread to all of America and saw many Japanese heritage Americans stuffed into internment camps.  Losing property, lives, livelihoods, and never receiving any compensation.

Do you need more proof that Executive Orders are in effect long after they should have been rescinded?  Look no further than Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote in his majority opinion in the 2018 case of Trump v. Hawaii that the Korematsu decision was explicitly repudiated.  In non-legal speak, Chief Justice Roberts refuses to be associated with Executive Order 9006 and the earlier court case, Korematsu v. Roosevelt decision, but did not rescind the order, make null the order, or demand the order be superseded.  The cravenness of Chief Justice Roberts to right a historical wrong is beyond contemptible!

What is legislation?

From Webster, we learn that legislation is the action of legislating “specifically: the exercise of the power and function of making rules (such as laws) that have the force of authority by their promulgation by an official organ of a state or other organization.”  The executive branch must sign these legislative actions before they become of full legal force.

Are Executive Orders Legal?

Executive orders have been made legal, as the judicial branch of government has essentially told the legislative and executive branches to argue the problem out amongst themselves.  Now, legal scholars will nit-pick the heck out of what I am about to say, but since I am not a legal scholar, decide for yourself; here is my opinion and understanding.  Yes; executive orders are legal.  Insofar as they guide the executive branch in directing the executive branch’s affairs, and is not intended to control the citizenry or be the “law” under which citizens lose their rights and privileges.  But, as for application to the US Population as a whole, no!  No, executive orders are not legal because the executive order acts outside the executive branch’s domain and attempts to supplant legislation.

DutyImportant to note, broad powers were granted to the US President under Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the US Constitution. “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Sections 2 and 3 describe the various powers and duties of the President, including that “[the President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  The judicial branch has granted significant leeway to the President to act.  When added to the powers Congress has consented to the President to run the executive branch of government, executive orders’ legality v. illegality remains a legal gray area.  Sometimes the President has been smacked down with their Executive Orders due to a stricter reading of the US Constitution. Other times a more lenient reading of the US Constitution and Congressional powers has allowed Executive Orders to stand.

The key to limiting Executive Orders is if the Congress considers an issue necessary enough to legislate.  However, do not be fooled; tremendous power is being wielded when a president sets their pen to paper and drafts an Executive Order.  Interesting to note, the lists of presidents with the most Executive Orders are as follows:

Are Executive Orders the same as legislation?

Executive Orders state mandatory requirements for the Executive Branch and have the effect of law. Historically executive orders were issued with a law passed by Congress or based on powers granted to the President in the Constitution and consistent with those authorities.  However, since Pres. Clinton America has witnessed the exponential rise of executive orders to bypass the legislative branch and control law through executive fiat and not legislation.

For example, President Obama, where the Paris Environmental Accord was concerned, ran around Sen. Harry Reid and the Senate, issued an executive order. America was then obligated to the Paris Environmental Accord.  Under the US Constitution, the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur” (Article II, section 2). … The Senate does not ratify treaties—the Senate approves or rejects a resolution of ratification [Emphasis Mine].  The Senate never ratified the Paris Environmental Accord, so President Trump was in his power to issue a countermanding executive order and remove America.  21 Jan 2021, Biden then issued another countermanding order and recommitted America to the Paris Environmental Accord.  Still making an end-run around the Senate and refusing the American people the opportunity to have a voice in the affairs of government, especially where costly environmental laws and obligations are concerned.

LinkedIn ImageIs it clear that executive orders’ abuse is strangling America and creating chaos across the entire globe!  All because the politician currently in power refuses to engage in the correct and legal processes of conducting the people’s business, and all political parties are guilty!  The precedent for issuing Executive Orders controlling business outside the executive branch started with Pres. Abraham Lincoln when he made an end-run around a contentious Congress and issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Not that the Emancipation Proclamation was not needed, not that it did right, not that it was not the exact tool at the precise time, simply that Congress refused, and the President acted through Executive Powers rather than Congressional Legislation.  Setting the legal precedence for the current abuses of Executive Orders in the last five presidents.  Six if you count the current sitting president who issued 15 Executive Orders on his first partial day in office as a “show of strength.”

Legal, yes; legal, no, is a gray area!  Not what the founding fathers intended when drafting the US Constitution.  Want to drop down a rabbit hole of incredible size and shape, look up old Executive Orders, read them carefully for the powers claiming their legality, and then look at recent legal decisions quoting those old Executive Orders.  Lawyers have a saying, “Bad cases make bad case laws.”  That saying is especially true where Executive Orders are considered.

In rule by Executive Order, there is a great caution.  Rule by executive decree is tyranny!  Making end-runs around the co-equal branches of government is a slippery slope that becomes easier and easier once begun upon.  A recent example of this is found in the Obama Presidency.  President Obama is on record claiming he could not issue executive orders to fulfill the wishes, hopes, and desires of the liberal few.  Then, a few short months later, after issuing a slew of Executive Orders, President Obama issued Executive Orders, flip-flopping like a boneless chicken breast, and granting the liberal few their hopes and wishes by executive diktat.

3-direectional-balanceWhat I am going to put forward is not fearmongering but a need to awaken the American People to the dangers of rule by Executive Order.  The Emancipation Proclamation is an Executive Order.  If a President can remand or supersede any previous Executive Order, what is to stop a President from rescinding the Emancipation Proclamation?  Nothing!  The chaos caused by Executive Order rule in a Constitutional Republic is a danger that all people, of every political flavor, need to recognize and communicate to those in power to cease this abuse forthwith!

Those in power can only abuse the controls and restrictions placed upon the government through other governing tools.  Therein lay the protection for the American People and the risks to the American People.  Hence, the need to know, understand, and act to protect the government from overreach and freedom theft.

© 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.
All rights reserved. For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Symptoms Not Cause – Shifting the Paradigm at the Department of Veterans Affairs

I-CareFor Memorial Day (2020), the National Cemetery, through the directive of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), restricted the placing of flags at several national cemeteries, upsetting the plans of Boy Scouts, and angering countless veterans, survivors, dependents, and extended families.  However, the intransigence of the VA on this matter is but a symptom of a larger problem.

ProblemsThe Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) recently released two additional reports on behavior unbecoming at the VA.  The first report concerns the delays in diagnosis and treatment in dialysis patients, as well as patient transport at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in North Carolina.  The second is another death of a patient, as well as deficiencies in domiciliary safety and security at the Northeast Ohio Healthcare System in Cleveland.

The VA report from North Carolina includes significant patient issues, especially since two veterans died while in the care of the VA.  Significant issues are generally code words for incredibly lax processes, and procedures that are easily avoided, provided people care enough to do their jobs correctly, succinctly, and thoroughly.  Where patients are concerned a dead patient is pretty significant.  Two dead patients are beyond the comprehension of a reasonable person to not ask, “Who lost their jobs over these incidents?”

Patient A, has leukemia, and from the VA-OIG’s report we find the following responsible parties:

“… A primary care provider failed to act on Patient A’s abnormal laboratory results and pathologists’ recommendations for follow-up testing and hematology consultation. Community Care staff did not process a consult and schedule Patient A’s appointment.

Patient A died from a gastrointestinal bleed while waiting for transport to a hospital from a (VA Contracted) [long-term] care facility.  Patient A’s delays in care led to death in hospital, and the failure of a hospitalist to initiate emergency procedures contributed to the veteran’s passing.  Patient A’s death is a tragical farce of bureaucratic inaction, compounded by the same symptoms as that allowed for Memorial Day (2020) to come and go without the honored dead of America being remembered.  Symptoms not cause.

Patient B, was also in a (VA Contracted) [long-term] care facility, in need of transport back to the hospital, and the administrative staff’s delays had Patient B arrive at the hospital in cardiac failure, where the patient subsequently died.  In the case of both patient’s facility leaders did not initiate comprehensive analyses of events surrounding the patients’ deaths or related processes. But, this is excusable behavior at the VA due to frequent executive leadership changes impeding the resolution of systemic issues.  I have been covering the VA-OIG reports for the better part of a decade and this excuse is always an acceptable excuse for bureaucratic inaction.  Hence, the first question in this madness is to the VA-OIG and it needs to answer, “Why is this an allowable excuse?”  Don’t the people remaining know their positions sufficiently to carry on when the executive team is in flux?  Again, symptoms not cause.

The patient death in Northeast Ohio, started with the domiciliary, on a VA Contract care facility.  Essentially, the patient died because of methadone being provided without first gaining an electrocardiogram.  Oversight of the contracted domiciliary did not include accuracy checks on paperwork, but the VA-OIG found that for the most part, the contracted domiciliary was following VA Contracting guidelines.  From the report, no gross negligence led to the veterans passing, and for the most part risk analysis and other post mortem analysis were conducted properly.  Why is this case mentioned; symptoms not cause.

When I worked at the New Mexico VA Medical Center (NMVAMC) I diagnosed a problem and was told, repeatedly, to not mention the problem as the director would be furious.  The problem is bureaucratic inertia.  Bureaucratic inertia is commonly defined as, “the supposed inevitable tendency of bureaucratic organizations to perpetuate the established procedures and modes, even if they are counterproductive and/or diametrically opposed to established organizational goals.”  Except, the bureaucratic inertia I witnessed daily was not “supposedly inevitable,” it was a real and cogent variable in every single action from most of the employees.

I spent 12 months without proper access to systems, but the process to gain access was convoluted, unknown, ever-changing, and so twisted that unraveling the proper methods to complete the process and gain access was never corrected, and this was a major issue for patient care in an Emergency Department.  Why was the process so bad; bureaucratic inertia.  Obtaining information about the problem took two different assistant directors, two different directors, a senior leader, and the problem was identified that licensing requirements were the sticking point in the problem.

InertiaBureaucratic inertia is the cause of too many issues, problems, and dead veterans, at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The symptoms include delays in administrative tasks that lead to patients dying for lack of transport to a hospital.  The symptoms include cost overrun on every construction project the VA commences.  The symptoms include abuse of employees, creating a revolving door in human resources where good people come in with enthusiasm, and leave with anger and contempt, generally at the insistence of a leader who refuses to change.  The symptoms include a bureaucrat making a decision that has no logical sense, costs too much and is never held accountable for the harm because the decision-maker can prove they met the byzantine labyrinth of rules, regulations, and policies of the VA.

Veterans are dying at the VA regularly because of bureaucratic inertia.  Hence, as bureaucratic inertia is the problem, and the symptoms are prevalent, it must needs be that a solution is found to eradicate bureaucratic inertia.  While not a full solution, the following will help curb most of the problem, and begin the process for the eradication of bureaucratic inertia.

  1. Give the VA-OIG power to enact change when cause and effect analysis shows a person is “the” problem in that chain of events. Right now, the office of inspector general has the power to make recommendations, that are generally, sometimes, potentially, considered, and possible remediations adopted, provided a different course of action is discovered.
  2. Give the executive committee, of which the head is Secretary Wilkie, legislative power to fire and hold people accountable for not doing the jobs they were hired, and vetted at $110,000+ per employee, to perform. Background checks on new employees cost the taxpayer $110,000+, and the revolving door in human resources is unacceptable.  But worse is when the leaders refuse to perform their jobs and remain employed.
  3. Implement ISO as a quality control system where processes, procedures, and policies are written down. The ability for management to change the rules on a whim costs money, time, patient confidence, trust in leadership and organization, and is a nuisance that permeates the VA absolutely.  The lack of written policies and procedures is the second most common excuse for bureaucratic inertia.  The first being, the ability to blame changing leadership for dead patients!
  4. Eliminate labor union protection. Government employees have negotiated plentiful benefits, conditions, and pay without union representation and the ability for the union to get criminal complaints dropped, and worthless people their jobs back is an ultimate disgrace upon the Magna Charta of the United States of America generally, and upon the seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically.

Leadership CartoonSecretary Wilkie, until you can overcome the bureaucratic inertia prevalent in the ranks of the leadership between the front-line veteran facing employee and your office, lasting change remains improbable.  Real people are dying from bureaucratic inertia.  Real veterans are spending their entire lives in the appeal process for benefits and dying without proper treatment.  Real families are being torn asunder from the stress of untreated veterans because the bureaucratic inertia cannot be overcome from the outside.  I know you need legislative assistance to enact real change and improve the VA.  By way of petition, I write this missive to the American citizen asking for your help in providing Sec. Wilkie the tools he needs to fix the VA.

The VA can be fixed, but the solution will require fundamental change.

Change is possible with proper legislative support!

© 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.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/