Brevis Ipas Vita Est Sed Malis Fit Longior – Adversity

Father Mulcahy 3The title is Latin for “Life is short, but trouble makes it longer.”  Recently I was reminded of the power and blessing of adversity.  One of the comments that struck me was, “You will all experience your own Gethsemane’s.”  Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives and became famous in the New Testament for the place where Jesus went to pray and, according to the New Testament, completed the atonement.  Gethsemane remains a symbol of hope for people experiencing trouble, difficulty, or adversity.  However, the thought of us experiencing our own Gethsemane individually intrigues me as a concept.

One of the scriptures that holds a lot of hope for me comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 7-9:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands
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Nowhere is recorded how long Jesus spent in Gethsemane; one might presume the time was longer than an hour, but less than 8 hours.  Beyond that, I cannot guess and will not venture an opinion.  However, the thought that adversity will be but a small moment rings like an eternal truth in my mind.  Let me elaborate on this point, my wife and I spent 6-months homeless, living out of our car, showering at her mom’s apartment, and working as often as I could find work.  During this time, I was studying for a master’s in business administration and struggling with depression for feeling like an absolute failure for not being able to provide a home for my spouse.Adversity is an advantage to embrace, not an annoyance to avoid. | Art Coombs Art Coombs

Yet, as I look back on this homelessness period, it seems but a small moment.  While I know mentally that the timeframe was six excruciating months, the truth is that the adversity felt like a moment even during the adversity and the months following.  My friends found during this time were such an incredible solace; my wife’s family and even my studies became lifts to my spirit and a balm to my mental processes.  How grateful I am for the adversity that has shaped me since this event and the incredible people who supported my wife and me.

Interestingly, in M*A*S*H 4077, the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” the poignancy of Father Mulcahy’s predicament with losing his hearing has become more meaningful since this episode of homelessness.  Indeed life is lived forward and understood backward.  As Father Mulcahy said, “What good is a deaf priest?”  The value is found in learning and living, but the learning and living is the adversity shaping us physically, mentally, and spiritually.Grit - Defined

Long have I pondered what a piece of clay must think as it is placed on a potter’s wheel, and if it realizes that when the potter is done, the adversity on that wheel will make it something beautiful, useful, or both.  Whether you believe in god, God, or gods, what are the adversities in your life making out of you, and will you recognize yourself when the potter is done?  Will you care what the potter has made you?  Those two questions lay on my mind, not with weight, but nonetheless with power.  A final question struck me as Father Mulcahy was marrying Klinger and Sun Lee, will we respect the potter for the work invested in creating us through adversity?

30 Best Adversity Quotes To Regain The Courage | Brainy ReadersIt’s no secret to those who have known me that I did not like serving in the US Navy and the pressure cooker of the USS Barry (DDG 52) from 2000-2004.  I have often cursed and shook my fist at the sky over the experiences during the US Navy.  Yet, even now, the experiences in the US Navy are felt as a small moment, and time does help heal wounds.  Better still, time tends to soften the edges, and one of the other things I have found is that how we choose changes how we remember.  I loved being “haze grey and underway” in the navy.  Many things were better while sailing that worsened to the point of breaking while in port.  More to the point, being “haze grey and underway” was always an adventure, fun, and never dull, even while pulling five and dime watch standing, doing maintenance on a pitching deck, or even climbing the mast while underway to fix something broke.

Adversity QuotesMajor Winchester leaving M*A*S*H in a garbage truck reminds me of my time in the US Navy, very appropriate.  As soon as Major Winchester came to M*A*S*H 4077, I watched to see what pranks could be done to Major Charles Emerson Winchester the third.  I loved watching Charles become the butt of a joke.  Yet, even as I type, I cannot help but wonder, was a garbage truck appropriate; is it disrespectful of the potter to see another person struggle and heap more scorn upon them?  Charles’ life changed dramatically and horribly; his ways of thinking, the path of his life, and even his belief in his own self-worth were constantly challenged and scrutinized.  I can understand Charles’ experiences more now than at any time previously.

Having been homeless multiple times in my life, one of my greatest difficulties is seeing someone putting up their petition for help and not being able to help.  I know there are a lot of scams out there, but that has never mattered to me; not being able to help bothers me greatly.  The war in Ukraine, the orphans left after war and storms, the hunger and depravity in this world, those individual adversities we see all around us.  I always want to help.  Long have I thought if I could relieve an ounce, a dram, a smidge of suffering, I could sleep better at night or know I succeeded at something.  Life has taught me how to fight, then it taught me how to think, and then my body was injured, and I am left stuck somewhere in between—proving that adversity comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and types!Adversity Quotes

Please know, I am not maudlin or melancholy about my life.  I have some great stories, met some truly amazing people, and lived to tell those tales.  All I ever wanted out of life was to be “an interesting old person,” and if I can keep reading and thinking, and especially writing, I should be able to tell some of those stories.  If I died tomorrow, I could say I lived a rich, full life, with no regrets.  I have no complaints and look forward to learning a lot more.  Bringing up another exciting facet of adversity, the learning that comes through adversity.

For example, did you know you do not teach adults?  Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.  Teaching only happens to children, and if those kids are like me, barely even then.  For adults, you help them see their life experiences in a new light, applying existing knowledge to current situations to improve how they think.  You do not teach adults; they teach themselves; as an adult educator, my job is to help them learn how to think.15 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity Never to Forget

I know a kid, now an adult, who had been molested, beaten, and suffered greatly.  Growing into a scrappy adult, this child had experienced the horrible and survived.  Sure, you might teach this kid how to reach a formulaic solution, but the core knowledge of life, this kid held a doctorate.  Adversity had trained this kid how to think, how to act, how to understand, and how to fight back.  While other kids learned how to wield a bat and hit a ball, this kid was learning how to throw punches, duck, dodge, and handle pain.  While some kids learned how to cook, this kid already knew how to cook and could make meals out of practically anything.  Adversity taught this kid, and the student was worthy of the master’s teachings how I have longed to be as apt a pupil to adversity’s teachings as this kid.A Layman's Blog: Pasternak on adversity.............

When considering the potter, as we are placed upon the wheel, then into a kiln, are we clay, easily molded, or a rock choosing to be chased off the potter’s wheel for refusing to change and be moldable?  A young adult uttered the saddest commentary on life I have ever heard.  My father did it this way; his father did it this way; his father did it this way; going back as far as family memory can relate, I am doing it this way.  When I saw the stubbornness of this person, I felt like weeping for the potential lost to generations who choose not to change.  Adversity gets us asking questions; for me, those questions are always about how I improve—improving myself, a process, an environment, the situation, anything that can be changed to drive improvements.John Wooden Quote: "Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate ...

Another book referred to the “captivity of the fathers.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevia sings the song of “Tradition!”  Is adversity trying to tell us there is a better way, and tradition is trying to hold us back?  In previous articles, I discussed how a friend of mine related that he is the first generation of his family who could read, and his children and grandchildren are graduating college because as a child, he was forced onto a bus, driven to Oklahoma, and forced into school and off the Indian reservation.  He experienced traumatic adversity as a child of seven.  The blessing of that adversity has lived and made him every day since, but to make him, the traditions of his fathers had to be forced out of his mind by formal education hundreds of miles from his northern Arizona home.  I weep for that little boy but cheer for the man he became and cherish my friendship with a man who had to justify two worlds.  Beware the traditions of your fathers so they do not become captivity your children must suffer to escape.

Not for any other purpose than trying and making the adversarial moment something I do not have to repeat.  I have repeated too many adversarial moments; there must be a better way to live!  For example, I was forced into bankruptcy twice!  I hope to learn from my mistakes, and if anyone knows how to raise money, improve earnings, and live more fully within one’s means, I am all ears!  If you know how to monetize a website, I will trade for this knowledge and assistance.  Bringing up another powerful tool of adversity, placing us into situations where we can help and will choose to be helped.Adversity Opportunity Quotes. QuotesGram

One of the reasons why some adversarial incidents last as long as they do is because we are proud people, and giving help is easier than accepting help and multitudes of times easier than asking for help.  My first time homeless, I had to get off the streets as walking the streets all night was interfering with my ability to work a complete shift.  Plus, it was cold, and those nights in Auburn, Washington in October and November were miserable!  So, I asked for help from a church, and asking for help was one of the most challenging events in my life.  In fact, asking for help has never gotten easier with time or experience.  I would rather get beat with a brick stick than ask for help; is it any wonder that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?Adversity | Adversity, Lds quotes, Church quotes

To ask for help, I felt I needed to have a plan to repay the money.  I demanded that I stick with that repayment schedule, even after being told, very kindly, that I did not have to repay and that there was no debt to repay.  How often do we make the pains and problems of adversity worse because we struggle to ask for help or feel a need to repay debts when there are no debts?  The reality is that when adversity appears to drag on and on without end, being a relentless taskmaster, many times I am the problem making adversity worse.Adversity Quotes By Famous People. QuotesGram

Bring us back to that garden near the Mount of Olives and the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Leaving me with a final question, how do I know when enough is sufficient?  I do not know how to answer this question, nor am I sure I am asking the right question; I merely know that adversity is not occurring because the intelligence’s of the universe want to see me struggle, adversity is not happening because I committed a crime or deserved being punished.  Adversity is a tool that helps us gain strength and I am weak, and the only way to get my attention is to put me in situations where I can grow through the things I suffer.  But help is always available; this is another lesson adversity teaches.  Help, assistance, support, we are not left bereft of these in our times of need, and this is a comfort and a hope.

Knowledge Check!Let us choose to be more charitable, relieve suffering where we can, ask for help when we need, and choose to make today a little better than yesterday through our involvement in the world around us.  I am not asking anyone to go broke helping those putting up their petitions, and it does not matter where the money goes.  Be the hand reaching out, and you WILL always find a hand reaching out to you; this is the final lesson adversity teaches 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.

Flashes – The Power of, Reliability of, and Majesty in, the Law

Exclamation MarkFrank Crane begins our discussion with an absolute flash of brilliance from the Eternal Semaphore:

I am law.  I am Nature’s way.  By me comes order, unity.  In my hand, I hold three gifts: health, happiness, success.  I am more clever than the cleverest.  I am as old as God.  I am the secret of goodness; I am the horror of sin.  I am the eternal path, and besides me, there is none else.  Without me, men wander in the labyrinth of death.”

Do we understand what Frank Crane is trying to communicate?  Nature is ruled by law, God executes actions according to law, and justice and mercy can be served without compromising either.  Law is eternal, and nobody can escape the power and majesty of the law.  Consider another truth when understanding the majesty of law:

Give a man a chance, and you will often find him equal to the occasion.” – The Majesty of the Law (Short movie 1910).

What is the potential of a man; nobody but God knows for sure, but through obedience to the law, that man can become more than he ever thought possible.  I am listening to M*A*S*H 4077, episode 18, from season 9.  This is the episode where two buddies come in wounded, they enlisted together, they got injured, and the buddy discovers he has leukemia.  In the same episode, Father Mulcahey is expecting a visit from a Cardinal.  Two men were given a chance, faced with difficulty, who both rose to the magnitude of their stations.  What is Nature’s way; law.  R. W. Alger is quoted:

Laws are silent assessors of God.”

Father Mulcahy 2When the law is described, Leo J. Muir provides five words that are inseparably connected to describing what law is:

Eternal; Immortal; Immutable; Irrevocable; Inexorable!”

Looking back to Rome, how was Rome able to achieve greatness; they wrote their laws down and posted them above everyone’s head to symbolize that no one is above the law.  Writing down laws was nothing new, but holding everyone accountable to the law equally was unique in human history.  On this single principle, Rome rose in glory and failed ignominiously; everyone was accountable to the law equally.  Senator, pauper, soldier, general, no one could escape the equality under the law.  How did Rome lose their empire; Ceasar held themselves above the law.  At the second that law was to be applied unequally to the various classes of citizens in Rome, the fall of Rome was set in stone.

Flash forward a couple of thousand years, what do we find; the law is no longer the supreme entity governing civilized behavior.  For the cost of a lawyer, all laws become rubberized, twistable, and not applicable to those with enough money.  More than that, the tools of law, police officers, are not treated to the same laws they are enforcing, and the Monday morning quarterbacks strip them of their initiative, ability, and dignity.Gavel

The USA Today calls this Monday Morning Quarterbacking “transparency.”  As a point of fact, USA Today credits their actions to George Floyd’s death.  The officers involved in the George Floyd debacle followed standard and acceptable policing procedures.  George Floyd died from the drug combination in his system and his own stupidity.  Yet, the officers have been harassed into jail, their lives destroyed, their families ruined, all because the George Floyd inanity “looked bad” to the same media who hold themselves above the law.  The same laws that magically did not apply to Michael Jackson, politicians like Hillary Clinton, or even the Bidens and Romneys.  The media harps and complains when the rules are applied equally to them, and then harps and complain when the law equally applies to causes or people the media protects.  What destroyed Rome was the failure to equally apply the law to all citizens regardless of job, title, and friendliness with reporters.  H. W. Beecher sums the problem nicely:

Expedients are for the hour, principles for the ages.”

Laplace also pitches some additional power for consideration:

Truth and Justice are the immutable laws of social order.”

What is most often missing in modern society, any country globally; truth and justice are the laws of good social order.  Calling upon Frank Crane again, we find more consideration upholding the majesty of law:

Truth is the logic of the universe.  It is the reasoning of destiny; it is the mind of God.  And nothing that man can devise or discover can take its place.”The only constraints that you have on your income and advancement potential are those you place ...

What are the constraints upon a mans potential; look to the laws that man will obey.  Going back to Rome, Julius Caesar was but one of the more notable of Rome’s emperors; what moral laws did he obey; not many.  What social laws was he willing to follow; few to none.  Is it any wonder he was stabbed?  Modern society has the term “Arkancide,” it was invented to describe all the mysterious deaths, accidents, and happenstances that occur to people close to the Clinton political machine.  True, nothing has ever been proven, and neither President Clinton nor Hillary Clinton has ever faced justice, and I am not casting aspersions.  Merely noting there are a lot of incidents that need full and complete explanations, and transparency and accountability appear to be dodged by the Clintons at every turn.

Not that these two are the only politicians needing to face a judge and jury to explain and expound the whys and wherefores, merely noting they are definitely in the top ten of those needing to come clean about their actions while supposedly being “public servants.”  Hence the point of laws and the power in obeying the law.  When those who need to explain and expound come clean before the law, this concludes the speculation and truth and justice are meted to those needing it.

Image result for grace and truth came through jesus christ | Law quotes, Lovely quote, WordsThink of the great questions in modern society where truth and justice would solidly end speculation.  JFK’s murder, Epstein’s “suicide,” TWA Flight 800, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, etc.  Yet, for all the world, the truth remains missing, and questions rightly remain.  What is the power of law; the ability to publish the truth.  Consider the wise words of Rousseau:

Truth is the most precious of all blessings; it is the eye of reason.”

Radcliffe detailed the same semaphore a little differently:

There is no progress in fundamental truth.  We may grow in [the] knowledge of its meaning, and in the modes of its application, but its great principles will forever be the same.”

Both authors are semaphoring the same message and provide clarity of reason to denounce the falsehood that the US Constitution is a “living breathing document.”  This constitutional republic’s foundational principles of the American experiment are not living or breathing but are alive only through our continuing growth of knowledge in how we apply the principles.  Only those who would destroy the law talk of the principles as “living and breathing,” easily changed,” or “plasticized” into any shape to justify the application of law to let the guilty free and punish the innocent.Law Cartoon # 6402 - ANDERTOONS

Cast your mind upon the first amendment to the US Constitution, also the first of the rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why is this the first right in the US Bill of Rights; without this right being acknowledged by the government, the executors of government would have zero restraint before forcing people to believe what they choose them to believe.  Communism in China requires the CCP member to carry their “little red book” close to their hearts.  Mimicking and parroting the twisted ideals of Mao, who learned them from Marx.  Equally as important is the final phrase, the “right of the people to PEACEABLY assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances [emphasis mine].”  Tell me, how often have riots been “peaceful petitions for grievances to be redressed” in any of the recent years?  I repeat only for emphasis, when you block traffic, start fires, yell, scream, destroy property, etc., you are no longer “peaceably assembled” you are a terrorist group, and the total weight of the law should come down upon; you!Ravi Zacharias Quote: "Justice is the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is ...

Consider all the “criminal justice reform,” “bail reform,” and other legislated and judicial chicanery foisted upon the American citizenry.  Surely Colton and Joseph Parker are semaphoring an urgent message:

Truth, like light, travels only in straight lines.”

Falsehood is in a hurry; it may be at any moment detected and punished.  Truth is calm, serene; its judgments on high; its king cometh out of the chambers of eternity.”

Leo J. Muir asks a question worthy of deep consideration, “Why this rigorous inflexibility of law?”  The answer should be apparent, especially when considering Rome and comparing America’s growth and current deterioration, “The immutability of law is the assurance of progress and the guaranty of justice upon the Earth.”  The US Constitution cannot be an easily plasticized document and still be a foundational bedrock of this constitutional republic.  A stone cannot be like silly putty, a non-Newtonian fluid.  Solid one moment, flexible another, shatterable, and resilient.  Laws cannot be a law and be shapeable and moldable to a situation, for then it is no longer a law, but a good suggestion applicable only to specific situations and people.  Is the point clear?truth : alcoholism

William Ernest Henley, in his immortal poem, “Invictus,” declares this immutable truth poignantly in the final stanza:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

The entire poem Invictus is a declaration of the majesty of law, the power of law, and the reliability of law.  Obedience of law does produce fruit or consequences for choices made, and in that choice and consequence cycle comes the justice and mercy of the law.  Once, I was asked, when I step before the bar of God, for a final judgment, do I want a lawyer or an advocate?  I do not want a lawyer, for a lawyer only plays with the law.  I want an advocate who knows the law, is aware of my good and ill choices, and can plead my case as if my fate was worth the universe’s weight.  How would you answer, and why?  Do you understand the role of law better?  What will you do right now to honor the law, even if in honoring the law you must loyally oppose those who are twisting the law for personal gain?

Knowledge Check!Let me be perfectly clear; I abhor the suffering the Ukrainian people are experiencing in the strongest language.  I denounce the actions of Russia in creating violence.  But, Zelensky is using the excuse of a Russian invasion to destroy the laws of Ukraine and create a dictatorship.  These actions are as reprehensible to me as the invasion of Ukraine!  Yet, if the American citizenry does not awake and arise, using the laws currently written, we too will see ourselves in a similar position.  Where the laws of America are twisted out of shape and then used as a cudgel to beat the American spirit out of her people, and destroy the last bastion of freedom on Earth.  The saving grace for America is her laws, and her citizenry needs to demand that all are equal under the law, for the innocent to escape and the guilty to be punished.

Let us now understand the role of law and thank “Whatever gods may be” for the immutable power of law!

© 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.

Flashes – Conquering Self:  The Best and Last Victory

MumbleMarch 14th is National Pie Day!  I celebrate a lot of life with food.  We begin the second flash with Plato, “The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.”  In looking around, the worst things we see originate in failing to accept responsibility and refusing to conquer oneself.  Consider the alcoholic or the smoker; nobody had to pressure them into their vices, nobody poured drinks or cigarette smoke into their bodies, but psychologists declare alcoholism is a disease, and smoking is the fault of cigarette manufacturers.  Really, or are these addictions merely failure to conquer the enemy within.

I am not judging anyone; you are free to believe what you will.  I am making an observation, and the observation is founded upon both personal experiences and the sciences of addiction and addiction recovery.  The best addiction recovery programs teach one how to begin to conquer oneself.  No other changes to a person’s psychology occur, except becoming free from an addictive substance.  Take Da Vinci, who said, “You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself!”James Allen Quote: "Self-control is strength. Right ...

Suppose both Plato and Da Vinci are to be believed.  In that case, we can know for fact the truth behind addiction recovery and psychology and the lie behind addictions being a disease — the Hollywood myths being perpetrated against society, that conquering self is old-fashioned, unpopular, or trivial.  Consider your favorite movie or TV show, preferably one glamorizing drinking, smoking, or other behaviors anti-self-control.  Using an example, M*A*S*H 4077th often featured heavy drinking of what was supposed to be alcohol but was water.  One star from the show reported that had they drunk as much as the show reported them drinking, they would have died or been severely injured.

Moving from Hollywood, let us explore other areas where controlling oneself is necessary but is constantly refused.  James Thompson stated, “Real glory springs from the silent conquest of ourselves.”  Look at the capitals of your city, county, state, or nation; what do you find; little to no self-control and worse sarcasm when anyone who practices self-control is spotted.  Catch the latest rant from Biden?113 self control quotes to get you inspired (page 1 of 7)

Florida passed legislation asking teachers to restrain themselves where advanced topics of sex are concerned and teach the subjects they were hired to teach.  What did Governor DeSantis face; scorn, ridicule, and threats of violence.  Where did these bad behaviors originate; from those who practice the least amount of self-control in American society.  King Solomon states without equivocation, “Who then is freeThe wise man who can govern himself.”

Think about the most outrageous members of society, the pains they suffer mentally, physically, and emotionally for their lifestyle choices, which stems from their blatant refusal to practice self-control.  Never forget what Victor Hugo said, “People do not lack strength, they lack will.”  Mirabeau adds that “Nothing is impossible to the man who can will.”  Think of a two-year-old; why are the “Two’s” considered terrible; the child is beginning to exercise personality, and personality is 99% willpower.  The child has tons of will but not the intelligence to know what to do with that personality, thankfully, the child also lacks the size and strength to force their will, or the entire world would tremble.use your mind | Discipline quotes, Self control quotes, Control quotes

Napoleon reported, “A resolute determination is the truest wisdom.”  Olive Wendell Holmes Jr. is quoted as saying, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  In these two pieces of wisdom hangs the test for responsible people and the aspirations of a person willing to learn and try.  More to the point, they form a measuring stick for society, especially the American culture.  Are we resolute and determined?  Are we seeking new experiences, even if the experience is nothing more than mastering a habit that has beguiled us for too long?  More, are we expecting resolution and determination from those who aspire to be elected to office?

Over the weekend, America witnessed the lack of determination and spinless lack of resolution in Vice President Kamala Harris, and the world weeps!  That cackling fool must have worn her feather panties for all the laughing she did, and this is NOT the appropriate message to be sending out right now.  The world needs leadership, and we get a clown and a doddering old fool who cheated an election.  We need a Winston Churchill, a Ronald Reagan, an Abraham Lincoln, and we got Biden and his clowns.  Is the distinction clear about who to select for elected leaders?Self Control Quotes (40 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

Is America worth fighting for?  That question is too big to answer and contains a thousand variables.  Let’s ask a fundamental question, are you worth fighting for?  In America, you can change yourself, and in changing, you realize a totally different future than the one your parents suffered.  In fighting for you, you change society in America.  Are you worth fighting for?

In answering this question, you reveal both your hopes and your wishes.  I believe you are worth fighting for; do you believe you are worth fighting for?  What will you do today that makes today different from yesterday, that will make tomorrow different from today?  The second flash is the most personal, reflecting the power inherent in each person to choose.  The freedom of agency is a priceless commodity.  When enshrined in law, the US Constitution, self-control or the lack of self-control will be reflected in society and national discussionsInspirational Quotes On Self Control. QuotesGram.

I cannot emphasize the following enough, the soul sickness America is suffering right now is directly tied to a lack, an absence, and a dearth of self-control.  Open any news program, and the headlines scream problems with the law, war, oppression, all of these social ills find their roots in a lack of self-control.  A woman stabbed her date because of the American Drone strike policy; lacking self-control, her date almost died.  Another woman was hit punched more than 125 times because her attacker lacked the self-control to keep his hands to himself.  Crime waves are sweeping the nation, all from a lack of self-control.  America is sick, and the disease stems from individuals who refuse to exercise self-control.Self-control is strength... | Words quotes, Wisdom quotes ...

War represents a national lack of self-control.  Russia invading Ukraine is nothing but self-control writ large.  What is the media doing; they are cheering a lack of self-control, “If it bleeds, it leads,” has been the axiom controlling the media’s interest, which is part of the problem.  Self-control does not sell newspapers, but it sure does brag and cheer for the dregs of society to act like two-year-olds in the candy aisle of Walmart.  Ever notice how if the child throwing a tantrum does not get the attention, they stop; guess what happens when public shaming occurs, and no attention is paid to the dregs acting like spoiled children?

Self-control is one of those principles that many will never understand until they are forced to learn self-control.  Others will never believe the problem could be resolved simply as a person exercising self-control to fix this national sickness.  Yet, I promise you the answer is this simple and elegant, plus it is effective.  When more people understand and cast derision and aspersions for those lacking self-control, a massive shift in liberty, rights, freedom will blossom like new dawn over the globe.

Knowledge Check!Try this as a guiding principle in your life, and watch it turn your world upside down for the better.  As a foodie, I will celebrate more responsibly National Pie Day.  I have a hunger to eat an entire pie right now.  But I will practice what I preach and introduce some self-control, for I want, and need, tomorrow to be better than today.  If celebrating National Pie Day, please enjoy responsibly.  All pie recipes are gladly shared.

© 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.

Father John Patrick Mulcahy – M*A*S*H 4077 Chronicles

Father Mulcahy 2Of all the unforgettable characters from M*A*S*H 4077, one of the most important characters is Reverend Francis John Patrick Mulcahy, Chaplain, United States Army.  A most courageous and kind person, a character full of intestinal fortitude, with a deep desire to help the living, and a solid right hook when needed.  Father Mulcahy has always been a hero of mine, and I wanted to explain why, as a tribute to both the character and the actor William Christopher.

Father Mulcahy:
This isn’t one of my sermons.  I expect you to listen.”

Humility is not a weakness!

Of all the attributes of Father Mulcahy, his humility always shines through.  From his unfailing kindness to seeing the best potential anyone can have, to representing the best of what the Chaplains Corps means, William Christopher, as Father Mulcahy, produces flawlessly the sentiment that humility is a strength, a desirable, needed strength.  Consider the episode where Father Mulcahy belts the unruly and demanding lieutenant in the jaw, the episode where Father Mulcahy rides in a helicopter as a counterweight or the episode where Klinger and Major Burns get into it over a scarf, and Father Mulcahy talks Klinger into giving him a grenade.  Never do you see Father Mulcahy backing down, giving up, or losing sight of the potential goodness of a person.Father Mulcahy 4

Father Mulcahy struggles with the US Army’s ineptitude to promote him to Captain in a couple of episodes.  Even as he struggles, you see Father Mulcahy learn invaluable lessons, teach kindness, forthrightness, and compassion, and diligence, and reliance upon the strength that only comes through commitment to something greater than oneself.  Father Mulcahy’s strength is one of the glues that held M*A*S*H as a TV show together for as long as it ran.  Why; because Father Mulcahy was genuinely genuine!

Consider the episode where Father Mulcahy sits down with Colonel Potter shortly after Klinger takes over for Radar as company clerk.  Who else could have talked Colonel Potter down without talking down to Colonel Potter and allowed Colonel Potter the opportunity to act without disrespecting his rank and position?  Who else could counsel Major Houlihan, chastise Captains Pierce, Honeycutt, and Trapper John, hold Major Burns’ feet to the fires of accountability, and seamlessly interface between the enlisted and officers?  Nobody!  Better still, Father Mulcahy did all this while epitomizing the Rudyard Kipling poem, “If.”

If—
By Rudyard Kipling
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except for the Will, which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

From an interview with William Christopher, we find that Father Mulcahy was not just a character played but a person in reality.

How did you and Barbara survive the many disappointments caused by failed interventions when Ned was young? For example, the assessment of one doctor that he was “retarded,” and nothing could be done other than to “take him home and love him.”

We regarded this particular guy as a young psychologist who may not even have finished his studies. Maybe he was still in his early practice, a student who hadn’t earned his doctorate yet. In any case, we felt he was in the wrong field. We thought he couldn’t possibly know us and advise us to just accept a limited life for our son….  But we both believed that people make mistakes.

Humor is a Prerequisite Quality

Father Mulcahy always used humor to express himself.

Major Winchester was a blessing.  May the good LORD never bless me with him again!”

Some of the funniest lines in M*A*S*H belong to Father Mulcahy, and unless you are listening closely, they are often missed for the banter between the central characters.  Consider the episode where the company sings the M*A*S*H version of “Gee Ma; I wanna go home.”

A chaplain in the Army
Has a collar on his neck,
If you don’t listen to him
You’ll all wind up in heck
.”

Humor plays an incredible role in facing traumatic situations and coming through, not unscathed but mentally capable, confident, and more able to achieve.  Father Mulcahy teaches us this lesson in spades, with dignity, class, and a ripping sense of humor.

Father Francis Mulcahy:
Try to be compassionate. Remember, even one of our saints received a Dear John letter.”

Don’t be passive – Be Active – Work Hard

Father Mulcahy 5There is a story about how William Christopher got sick with Hepatitis, and the show’s producers wanted to remove Father Mulcahy’s role entirely.  Instead, Alan Alda went to bat for William Christopher, changed the scripts, and wrote Father Mulcahy’s sickness into the show to keep Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H.  Why would Alan Alda do something like this for a co-star?  There are several reasons; Alan Alda was a good person.  William Christopher was a good person.  But William Christopher was always working hard; he was not supposed to carry litters and all the other stuff he was always doing in the background.  William Christopher set a standard of behavior that modeled what a chaplain was supposed to do, and military chaplains copied his behaviors, mannerisms, behaviors, attitudes, and work philosophies.

Consider this for a moment; military chaplains learned how to be chaplains by watching a fictional character, imitating a US Army unit on a Hollywood set.  Reality has been changed to emulate fiction because fiction better reflects how people should act in reality.  I was not the only chaplains assistant who measured his chaplain by Father Mulcahy.  It is gratifying to know that many chaplains in the military have measured themselves against Father Mulcahy, found themselves wanting, and then worked to improve how they responded.Father Mulcahy 3

Name an episode where Father Mulcahy is not working, and I will show you an episode of M*A*S*H that was never made.  Father Mulcahy was always available, always cheerful, and constantly engaged in a good cause, as he himself said, “to be helpful to the living.”  Carrying towels, standing in for a nurse, providing an extra set of hands in surgery, comforting a patient, nurse, soldier, patient, always there, always caring.  One of the most poignant episodes is when the Bishop of the Catholic church is coming for a visit, but a soldier wants to give blood for his buddy, and he finds out he has leukemia, and Father Mulcahy spends all night, not on his sermon, but talking to this young wounded soldier.  Take a page from Father Mulcahy; working hard is not going to kill you.  Engage!

Father Francis Mulcahy:
[Wearing a dress] While I was showering, someone stole my robe and left me this… this… house frock!

Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger:
Better not take it off, Father, or you’ll be a defrocked priest!

Father Mulcahy:
How would you like to get last rites, [raises his fists] and a few lefts?

Standing for your Convictions is Mandatory

Father Mulcahy:
How dare you! You seek refuge in this house of the Lord when it serves your purpose. Then when it’s no longer convenient, you desecrate it by pointing a deadly weapon at another human being. Private, a faith of convenience is a hollow faith.”

Father MulcahyThe episode this quote comes from is where the mess tent is being used for services, fresh eggs had been donated, and a soldier comes in seeking ecclesiastical refuge and is AWOL from his unit.  This episode has always been a favorite of mine; it has come back in times of stress and trial when the harder right and the easier wrong conflict, and I have the choice to make about which to follow.  Father Mulcahy always chooses the moral high ground, the harder right, instead of the easier wrong, and the lessons he taught through living are not easily forgotten or pushed aside.  I might not be as practiced in the execution of living the harder right, but I cannot choose the easier wrong, and that makes all the difference.

Father Mulcahy:
Klinger, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, but you take the cake.”

© 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.

COVID-19 – Authoritarians, Storm Troopers, Liars, and Thieves

Angry Grizzly BearSince February 2020, the world has seen COVID-Authotirarians, Storm Troopers, Liars, and Thieves rise.  I think it is time to start naming names and being specific that we will no longer accept this detestable behavior from government, media, community, bureaucrats, and those who have constantly been aching for a chance to exert authority over someone else!  Too often, I have witnessed these ignorant savages trying to overcome common sense and legal boundaries in the name of a survivable viral disease because the atmosphere has allowed the rise of stupidity masquerading as “Health Policy!”

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Monday, 26 June 2021, the US Mail delivered to me a letter from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), Secretary Denis McDonough, and cosigned by Acting Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Richard A. Stone MD.  Two people who were selected by the fraudulent president Biden for their political adroitness and not for their brains, experience, intellect, or even manners, and the letter received is proof!  Imagine sending a letter to all US Veterans using an attitude of childishness and the faux superiority of the intellectual elite to compare getting the COVID-19 vaccine to serving in the US Military, “AGAIN!”

Angry Wet ChickenWhat was the desired intent of this despicable piece of self-righteous trash?  I have had three calls to date from two different VISN’s and VAMC’s requesting me to get vaccinated, neigh demanding me to get vaccinated.  Yet, the VA cannot even answer simple questions about my concerns for the vaccination, including future sterility, why vaccinated people are only catching the DELTA variant, how the vaccine interacts with medications already being taken, the neurological issues and heart issues from receiving the vaccine, and the list goes on and on!  But the VA wants to send me a letter talking down to me and my intelligence trying to promote the vaccine and claiming this is like serving in the US Military again!

Quoting Colonel Potter, M*A*S*H 4077, “Bull Feathers!”

Governors who do not understand the Separation of Powers or the Rule of Law!

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Phil Murphy, governors of New York and New Jersey respectably, and too many more who act like tyrants, think like spoiled children and run their state’s like the Federal Government is their personal piggy bank and all the citizens are private property.  We, the citizens, are sick to death of being held captive to your ignominious and deleterious policies, stupidity, and damnable insanity!  You have disgraced your offices, demeaned the rule of law, and distanced yourselves from any political redemption.Apathy

I look forward to the day when you are held legally culpable, accountable, and individually responsible before the bar of justice for your behaviors, actions, double-dealings, and waste of taxpayer funds!  You named, and those unnamed who are cohorts in crime, have been the cause of unemployment, businesses shuttering, economic disaster, all for personal gain and individual ego, and your reigns of terror are, hopefully, soon to end in Federal Court and an Orange Jumpsuit!  You have betrayed the honest citizens in your states, and when they awake and arise, blessed change will follow, for there is nothing more dangerous than an honest man betrayed!

US Senators, US House of Representatives, and Every Legislator Elected in the United States

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgEvery one of you should be ashamed!  Each one who has sat by and watched your governor or president be the flaccid media mouthpiece of cheap science, faux interest in public health, and have voted to create inflation, destroy businesses, livelihoods, and communities, while cheering the destruction of law and order, you also need to be held accountable for your culpability in this most disgusting and distressing event, COVID-19!  I absolutely require your retirement packages, repayment of all funds, and a dishonorable discharge from public service for every one of you!   Why have so few of you even asked the simple questions regarding COVID; for example:

      • Why is COVID different from every other viral disease in the world?
      • Why do we need to “fast track” a vaccine using untrusted, untried, and unknown technology?
      • Why is a Chinese Viral disease able to shut down economies, close businesses, close churches, and close everything but big box stores?
      • What is different about COVID, a viral disease less dangerous than any other viral disease shipped from China with a higher survivability rate, able to throw the entire world on its ear?
      • How did Fauci go from approving Hydroxychloroquine in research to being against Hydroxychloroquine for the same COVID viruses he wrote peer-reviewed research papers?
      • Why was common-sense medicine thrown away for personal suffering at home until those susceptible to COVID were dying?

You were elected to represent the best interests of ALL your electorate, not the special interests, Big-Tech, Big-Pharma, Big-Box retailers, but the common citizens, and you refused to perform your primary function!  Legislators have only two jobs, write common-sense laws that support the best for all citizens, honoring the US and State Constitutions, and scrutinizing the legislative branch!  That is your entire job, and too many of you have failed to even show up for work.

Yes; you who have sat around and done nothing to protect citizens from run-away government are guilty, culpable, responsible, and need to be held accountable in front of a judge for your lack of job performance!  Justice demands you to be held responsible.  You will be held liable and accountable.  I long to see you in distinctive clothing, carrying sandwich boards advertising your crimes, picking up trash, pulling weeds, feeding the hungry, and doing other public services until all the funds you have squandered, and the pain you have inflicted has been paid off!Plato 2

Neighbors and Bureaucrats

America has always come together in difficult times, relying upon our neighbors and communities for strength and support.  But those who have used COVID as a means to exercise dominion, creating rules and policies at a whim, demanding obeisance, and using fear of a public health emergency instead of logic and calm-headed reasoning should be utterly ashamed of yourselves!  I have watched neighbors, friends, families torn apart by COVID Storm Troopers who have used faux science, media talking heads, and the most abysmal behavior exercising control, and this behavior must cease immediately!  When government fails, bureaucrats lose their voice.  Well, the government has failed, the bureaucrats have lost, and it is time for a reckoning with the citizens who have been cheated, defrauded, and penalized!quote-mans-inhumanity-2

Neighbors and Citizens

Do you realize that you have had money stolen from your pockets through inflation, taxes, and a run-away government?  Do you understand that through media talking heads, faux science, and out-of-control legislative branches of government, your liberties, rights, and freedoms have been stolen and replaced with socialized government?  In fact, the socialization of the government began before COVID, and this was done to directly penalize you for crimes you have never committed and enlarge the pockets of career politicians!  Are you aware of how close the US Constitution has come to being irrelevant, overtaken by a socialized/communist government?  How concerned are you that your heritage, your legacy, and your family are about to be wiped out through government actions taken in capitals and applied on main streets, and the bureaucrats are laughing all the way to the bank!

VaccineCOVID is the virus with the highest survivability of ALL the Chinese viral diseases unleashed since the early 1990s; yet, COVID is the only virus to impact the world, as we have witnessed since Jan//Feb 2020.  Why is that?  Why is COVID powerful enough to change governments to demand green/health passports to enjoy food and drink in an outdoor café?  Businesses owners, why was COVID allowed to close your businesses?  None of the other Chinese Viral diseases were allowed to close you down; why was COVID allowed?  The Ebola outbreak in the last years of Pres. Obama was insufficient to close schools, businesses or demand health checks, and health passports; why was COVID given this honor?

What is Politics?

Knowledge Check!Politics is too often a word with so much baggage; people become confused and stop listening after hearing the word politics.  According to Webster:

As a Noun, “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

  • The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.”
  • The academic study of government and the state.”
  • Activities within an organization that is aimed at improving someone’s status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive.”
  • A particular set of political beliefs or principles.”
  • The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society.”

As a Verb, politic/s is derogatory and is defined as “engaging in political activities.”

From Old French Politique “political,” Latin from Greek Politikos, and Politẽs “citizen” and Polis “city.”  Thus, we have described the term politics in all its glory and inhumanity.  Is the term more understood?  Politics is a descriptive tool used to identify certain human activities where power is sought, and devious means and divisive gestures are employed to obtain that power.  Every action tied to securing power through devious means and divisive gestures is politics or political, meaning derogatory.  For those needing more, derogatory is “showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.”quote-mans-inhumanity

COVID has only EVER been about POLITICS!  Meaning that those exercising political leadership positions have a derogatory view of you; the common citizen, those of us who elected them to power.  The politicians are in the “political game” to demean, abuse, and destroy you.  Mad yet?  Feeling betrayed?  We, the citizens, need to restrict our consent to be governed, recalling all the politicians and demanding they be held accountable for creating the mess America is in!  I am not talking about being violent, I do not condone any violence, but I demand the Rule of Law be applied to those who have abused the law, usurped power, and exercised dominion!

© 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 Neutrality – There are No More Safe Paths

Exclamation MarkM*A*S*H 4077th was a TV show, and in my humble opinion, one of the best TV shows ever.  Running from 1972-1983, M*A*S*H featured the Korean War/Conflict, a mobile Army surgical hospital, and some of the funniest stories I have ever laughed at.  The central character was Hawkeye Pierce, who held a no-neutral zone policy where death was concerned.  Not that death did not arrive occasionally, but that as a surgeon on the front line between life and death, he refused to be mediocre, refused second place, and refused, utterly, to quit as long as there was any chance that his skills could save a life.

Inheritance Cycle(Series) · OverDrive: ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schoolsIn the Inheritance series of books, Christopher Paolini uses the line, “The world is round, and the sky is empty.  There are no more safe paths.”  Another character who accepted no compromise refused a neutral stand, even in the face of great personal injury and sacrifice, and refused to allow suffering if he could prevent it using his skills.  I know both are works of fiction, but the lesson and principle remain true: there are no neutral zones and no more safe paths.

The Korean War/Conflict/Police Action ended in a demilitarized zone (DMZ) and a treaty.  Neither side victorious, neither side a loser, and neither side were satisfied.  Worse, ending the conflict in a compact and a DMZ left future generations the problems that initially caused the war to begin; thus, allowing China to have a puppet state to engage in LICLIC is driven by ideological passion, is supported by a person, government, nation, business, etc., with monetary means from a place of security, and attacks innocent people mercilessly.  LIC is guerilla warfare like nothing practiced in the jungles of Vietnam.Watch M*A*S*H 1972 full movie on 123movies

No Neutrality

To be brutally honest, there was never any neutral zone anywhere in the world after the Korean conflict.  The DMZ has been regularly tunneled under, troops have crossed to cause terror, and the war still rages across the Korean Peninsula.  Worse, after Vietnam, the world saw the attempted domination by the United Nations, which has failed gloriously.  Then “superpowers” were selected, the G-7, was tried, NATO, and so many other globe-spanning attempts to bring a neutral zone into existence, where no neutrality is possible.  Governments have interests, these interests shift, and in the shifting, enemies are made, and allies are won.

- inspiration from nature - aesthetic, calming - vibrant reds and greens making the neutral ...In nature, there is no neutrality.  Never has been; never will be.  A flower cannot decide one day not to bloom or delay blooming, for then it dies.  The same is true of animals, show me a neutral animal, and I will show you the predator who hunts that animal.  Why the human race thinks there can be neutrals is beyond my kin.  For humans must also answer to the laws and rules of nature, there is no neutral zone.  Nowhere on the planet can you find a gray spot where darkness and light do not conflict.  The place is either light or dark, hot or cold, dry or wet, with no middle ground, safe spot, or protected zone.  Go to the Jungles of Vietnam and find a location where the air is not humid, the temperature is not hot, and the jungle is friendly, kind, and supportive of all creatures, without regard for predator and prey; and I will sell you a bridge to the moon, made by rainbows and unaffected by gravity.

Some have made the erroneous claim that America was a neutral party in WWI.  Except, before we joined the war, we sold supplies to both sides.  That is not neutral, that is not informed neutrality, and it is not ethical or moral.  Legal, but many times legal is not moral or ethical.  Worse, we made the same decision in WWII.  Even worse, we have compounded the idiocy of neutrality through our actions since 2000 in the United Nations.

There are no more safe paths.

United Nations - World Ocean CouncilThe United Nations was a failed idea from the beginning and remains a bad decision to this day!  Worse, the bullish ignorance of the rules of nature, coupled with the failure of the Rule of Law, has left many a representative government across the world wondering who their allies are.  If a nation wonders who its allies are, it absolutely knows who the enemy is, but too often, the line between enemy and ally is murky and distorted.  With trade, global banks, globe-spanning businesses, and government interests constantly shifting, charting a course through these environments for a country is not an easy job.  However, the problem is not so much outside one’s borders as inside one’s borders.

Sure, India and China, and Pakistan have an active border problem, egged on by China, and influenced by social media.  Sure, the world still has tin-pot dictators and religious fanatics willing to cause mayhem and trouble at the slightest opportunity.  But those claiming social justice, working for equality, and hiding behind laws while committing acts of violence, are more pressing problems.

Celebrating United Nations Day: 5 Interesting Facts You Should KnowTruth be told, even in Eragon and M*A*S*H, there were never any “safe paths.”  The main characters had to realize this truth before they could grow mentally sufficient to overcome their dilemmas.  The same principle holds for every person in the world; we must realize there is no such thing as neutral zones, safe spaces, and safe paths.  We must individually choose a side, know why we chose that side, and then defend our choice from continued attacks.  LIC is war, and this war will only worsen until bigger weapons and nations fight against nations and begin actively throwing ammunition at each other.

Which side do you choose?

I stand for the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.  For all her faults, and they are legion, this Constitutional Republic remains the world’s best answer to the problems we face collectively.  I swore the oath; I took the pay; I know what and who I stand for.  Do you?

Knowledge Check!Please note, I do not ask this question lightly.  In making that choice, I am automatically an enemy to every social justice envious person inside America’s borders.  Including at least three US Presidents, the current House and Senate Majority leaders, and legions of others who drink the Kool-Aid and worship at the church of American Hate.  Yet, I willingly and ably make that choice, support my choice, and can defend that choice easily.  I have learned a few things, and I will list them for your consideration, strengthen you in your choices, and hopefully help raise awareness of the dangerous times we live in right now.

      1. Educate yourself. I repeat myself only for emphasis, K-12 education has failed you, your children, and your parents from at least 1900.  This was done intentionally to rob you of your liberty, freedom, and ability to choose.  You must choose to begin educating yourself.  Read books, ask questions, use search engines to discover sources and materials.  After learning something new, teach it, that you may then learn it more perfectly.
      2. Evaluate your fortifications. Your home is your first line of defense, and the best defense is a solid offense.  What is coming into your home that is anathema to your choices and breaks your defenses?  Strengthening your defenses includes your family, and the axiom remains true, your family is only as strong as your weakest link!  Thus, build your family.  Build an environment where standards can be high, the conversation does not become violence, and the free exchange of ideas is the ultimate power.  Persuasion sometimes doesn’t need words, just actions repeated, exemplifying the principles you cherish and will defend, after building your family and home fortifications, aid in building your community, then state, then nation.
      3. Building fortifications is not enough! Once built, fortifications need to be maintained.  See step 1; we must continue to educate ourselves, ask questions, demand answers, and search out through the best resources new knowledge to discuss and use to build your home, community, state, and nation.
      4. Using your home, practice! Practice discussing ideas, having wonderful discussions, and using the tools available to explore and build ideas into standards and principles worthy of defense.  Invite people who will uphold the standards into your home, especially if they disagree with you.  I know of no better house guest than a person who will agree to disagree, who around a table of food will have an in-depth conversation and discussion.
      5. Boldness, not overbearance. I cannot stress this enough.  I am not perfect at being bold but not overbearing, but I keep learning.  Boldness is standing and defending your principles without resorting to raised voices, theatrical banging on tables and podiums, and without any type of force.  Never forget the following from Neal A. Maxwell, “discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage” [emphasis in original].

US Army Logo "This We'll Defend" 12" x 18" Aluminum Sign | BUDK.com - Knives & Swords At The ...Seek opportunities to practice standing for that which you know is right and will defend.  The US Army’s official motto is, “This we’ll defend!”  What will you defend?  Why will you defend it?  Who are you defending it against?  When you know these answers, then the US Army’s motto becomes your personal motto, your brand, and your courage to defend it will increase!

© 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.

Absurdity so Repugnant it Takes Your Breath Away – More VA Chronicles

Angry Grizzly BearThe Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG)-released six investigation reports in the last two days.  Each one is mentally breathtaking at the egregious behavior of bureaucrats!  Stupidity that is so repugnant it breaches the laws of morality and leaves the reader stupefied.  Every year, for the last decade-plus, the behavior of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has become more obscene, more outlandish, more detestable, and more openly hostile towards veterans; it sickens me to read the investigation reports, write, and catalog these abuses!

Beginning in Queen’s, New York, we find another dead veteran that should never have died the way they did.  Improper feeding by a registered nurse (RN) at the New York Harbor Health Care System’s Community Living Center (CLC) contributed to the death of a patient.  Let that sink in for a moment, for the rest of the report only goes downhill from this point.  My time in medical training was replete with the following aphorism, “If it is not written down, it NEVER happened.”  The nursing staff failed to document meals properly. The electronic health record (EHR) was inaccurate and flawed, hindering resuscitation, which was poorly documented, and institutional disclosure acted more like CYA than a medical file.  People should have been fired and up on trial for this type of scandalous behavior, especially since a veteran died from this abuse and neglect.  But the VA-OIG made their recommendations, the leadership accepted the recommendations, and nothing else will happen.  Nobody but the family cares the veteran died needlessly and at the hands of the medical professionals.VA 3

Adjectives elude me.  The behavior in Queen’s is appalling, even for the VA.  Unfortunately, the list of ineptitude only gets worse!

VA SealNext, we travel to Austin, Texas, and discover yet another office of information technology (OIT) failing to work, secure data correctly, and protect veterans’ information, as demanded by legislation!  The VA-OIG and the local OIT used the same tools, and the local OIT only identified 150 problems, whereas the VA-OIG OIT inspectors found 246.  Improper sanitization of media was a pronounced issue, where patient load is upward of 300,000 annually.  Inventory practices were noticeable and apparent.  Worse, patch and vulnerability programs were practically non-existent if I understand this report correctly.VA 3

If you have read any of these VA Chronicles, you will know that the VA has not passed a Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) audit, ever!  The head of IT was recently in front of Congress to testify why, and the explanations were milk toast adequate at best!  But, the elected officials bought the excuse, hook, line, and sinker, as always, and the president wants to spend more money on the VA.  What a cathartic example of why elections matter!

Next, we travel to Detroit, Michigan, where a “comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp)” was performed at the John D. Dingell VAMC.  Before I even read the report, I knew it would say; opportunities exist to improve employee and patient experience.  Knowing veterans who are “served” at this VAMC, this was an obvious guess!  Again, we find “moral distress” in the workforce, signifying that the employees feel pressured to do everything but what is ethical, legal, moral, and appropriate for the patient at this VAMC.  Yet, the leadership team was rated as stable and doing a good job!  Quoting Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H here, “HORSE HOCKEY!”VA 3

I will be explicitly clear if a single employee feels “moral distress,” there is a leadership problem, and the leadership is criminally negligent in their duties to oversee staff leaders, supervisors, team leads, and training personnel!  This is not the first time “moral distress” was a point of discussion in a CHIp; but, the fact that this problem remains widespread and apparent does mean the problems are originating at a level higher than the VISN, and all the VA and VHA leadership should be losing their jobs!  Enough is enough, and the elected officials need to be scrutinizing the government before they lose their next election!

Survived the VAHaving been an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, working in the Emergency Department of the Albuquerque, NM., VAMC, this next story is exceptionally aggravating and extremely distressing.  The VA-OIG determined that the entire Veterans Health Administration (VHA) needs to better monitor, record, and document the timeliness of care and patient flow in the emergency department.  Having waited for more than 14 hours in a VA Emergency Department while waiting for care, I know first hand the problems of the Emergency Departments, and I know a lot of the reasons why the documentation is fouled and the flow of patients is amateurish, at best!

Raymmond G. MurphyI worked the shift where a regular, homeless veteran, wheelchair-bound, had fallen and broken his leg.  He waited with his broken leg swelling, stuck at an odd angle, and in obvious distress for more than 6-hours because the head nurse that day had a personal grudge against the veteran!  I saw how the charts were “adjusted” for timeliness of care, and I reported the problems up the chain to no avail!  I had witnessed nurses harangue patients, gossip about them, chart surf in violation of HIPAA, and never was anything done by leadership when it was reported.  A patient sat in an expedited treatment room for four hours, listening to the nurse’s gossip and joke, awaiting stitches for a bleeding wound, and never was treated.  All because the day shift was getting off and didn’t want to be bothered to treat the patient.  The patient’s family reported this behavior to me as they were leaving for a better hospital.  I reported the whole incident, included the family’s description, added my observations.  The leadership shook the whole incident off as a disgruntled employee (blaming me) making a less than desirable situation worse.VA 3

Thus, when I read this particular VA-OIG report about the inadequacies of the VA Emergency Departments across the entire VHA, it infuriates me into a mindless stupor!  Want more data on the failures of the VA Emergency Department; read the rest of the VA Chronicles.  I describe my experiences in detail and have logged other veterans who have had the same or worse problems at the VA Emergency Department!  I have witnessed doctors treat patients in a dissimilar manner based upon the political clothing the veterans wore into the Emergency Department!  So, no, I am not surprised at the record inadequacies of the VHA; if anything, I expect the problem is a lot worse than the VA-OIG was willing to report!VA 3

The VA-OIG collected data on an issue of grave significance from 58 VHA outpatient clinics’ regarding emergency preparedness for the delivery of telemental health care as of November 1, 2019. The review focused on clinic-specific emergency procedures, emergency procedure roles and responsibilities, emergency contact information of staff, and patient safety reporting methods.  Not included in the scope of the review was the quality and quantity of telehealth appointments.  I mention this oversight as the technical problems in receiving telehealth appointments are sub-par, at best, which would have seriously skewed the data.

The VA-OIG sent out 333 questionnaires, receiving a total of 187 responses, from the 58 identified clinics, and identified the following:

      1. Missing telehealth emergency plans and procedures.
      2. Emergency procedures are not specific to telehealthcare or the patient-clinic location.
      3. Lack of a process for annual updates to telehealth emergency procedures.
      4. Undefined emergency procedure roles and responsibilities for telehealth staff
      5. Missing or insufficient emergency contact information.
      6. Lack of a process to verify and communicate emergency contact information
      7. Lack of a consistent process to designate the telehealth setting in patient safety reporting methods.VA 3

Consider for a moment; you are a family member of a veteran needing telehealth mental support.  Now, how do you feel to know there are no written processes or procedures to support the telehealth provider if your family member gets into a mental health emergency.  Time is critical in mental health emergencies; I know this from personal experience as both a provider and a patient, and for these plans, procedures, and processes to be missing is the height of malpractice!  Would someone please tell me why elected officials and the media are not screaming mad at this particular report?  Especially since the proposed budget from the president wants to double suicide prevention spending at the VA.  I read this report and see that the VA-OIG made five recommendations.  Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?

Finally, we go to Hawaii and confront the most detestable, outside of the dead veteran, issue possible, failure of the National Cemeteries Administration (NCA) to properly care for the remains of veterans, qualified spouses, and dependents.  The NCA awards grants to states to build cemeteries where a veteran, qualifying spouse, and dependents can be laid to rest outside a national cemetery.  From the VA-OIG report, we find the following, emphasis mine:

Grants may be used to establish, expand, or improve veterans cemeteries. The VA-OIG audited the program to assess NCA’s governance and oversight. The audit team also assessed whether critical non-compliance issues at two cemeteries in Hawaii were addressed. The VA-OIG found grants program staff did not rank and award some cemetery grants as regulations required. After grants were awarded, program staff generally ensured cemeteries used grants for their intended purpose. However, NCA did not ensure cemeteries with grants met all national shrine standards for installing permanent markers, maintenance, and safety. The audit team observed non-compliance issues at eight state cemeteries, including critical issues in Hawaii’s Hilo and Makawao cemeteries. As a result, NCA lacks assurance that veterans and family members buried in state veterans cemeteries have been appropriately honored with timely and accurate grave markings, burial locations, and maintenance.VA 3

NCA, you have one job, ensure the remains of veterans and qualifying spouses and dependents are adequately remembered, safely entombed, and marked appropriately.  Yet, you fail at even this simple and easy job; how utterly disgraceful, disgusting, and detestable!  How many cemeteries in the Philippines are being adequately cared for?  At the last report, none of them were adequately maintained and respected.  Even here in the US, you refuse to do your jobs with competency, dignity, and professional pride.

Knowledge Check!The VA is one sick organization, where the mission is being denied, the veterans abused before and after death, and none of the elected representatives can find enough time in their day to even offer a mild rebuke or maintain sufficient interest to scrutinize.  America, we have gotten better as a culture in remembering and honoring those who serve and have served, and I, for one, am very grateful for your change of heart.  We, the voting citizens of America, need to demand the same culture change from the politicians representing us!  As a country, we have come a long way since Vietnam in honoring the military.  But those same people who spat and urinated on our troops in Vietnam are now in the Halls of Congress, and their attitudes have not changed in the interim!

© 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: Know the Why – NO Fear!

NO FearAs I was coming into manhood, a clothing brand began and was almost instantly popular; the brand is easily recognizable and states two words, “No Fear!”  Launched in 1989 by twin brothers Mark and Brian Simo, No Fear quickly became one of the most popular sportswear companies globally—and the most popular sportswear company staunchly against being scared.  I will not claim I have “No Fear,” but I choose to live without fear.  When fears arise, my answer is to learn all I can, mentally prepare for times when those fears will rise again, and then move forward living like those fears will not repeat, for I am mentally prepared.

USS Barry (DDG-52) - WikipediaCase in point, I was on a destroyer in the US Navy.  I had been on the ship for more than two years; I was in charge of Repair 5, the Engine Room damage control locker, and in the middle of the 0000–0400-watch, the bells and alarms go off, “Major Fuel Oil Spill in Main 1.”  Because I had practiced, I had personally trained my fire team.  I was exceedingly knowledgeable about the space, the equipment, and the watchstanders; I proceeded into an actual casualty with confidence, not fear.  More, my team could trust the training I had given them, and they moved from sleep to firefighting with confidence.  While no fire erupted that night, the casualty was quickly contained by the watchstanders.  My fire team was prepared to assist; the experience looked upon is not one of embarrassment from fear but confidence and appreciation for preparation, drills, and knowledge.

Gas Chamber 4My first time going through the CS Gas Chamber happened with my National Guard unit.  I was scared, not fearful, just frightened.  I had no confidence in the equipment, I had not been to basic training yet, and here I was going into a gas chamber.  This experience provided me with confidence that my fellow soldiers in basic training did not have as we went into the gas chamber in basic training when I experienced the gas chamber in the US Army Basic Training, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  I had no fear, no trepidation, and no reason to doubt.

During Basic Training, I remember only one time being truly scared, not fearful, just scared!  I had failed to pass on the shooting ranges and was facing being kicked out of the US Army because I could not shoot what I was aiming at.  I had been shooting since I was 14, I knew how to handle rifles, but still, I could not qualify with the M-16.  The problem, I could not relax, and this inability to relax was jerking the trigger and making my rounds go astray.  Worse, I did not know why I could not relax.  Thus, arrives the point of this article, do you know the why in your emotions, decisions, and desires?

Bait & Switch 2You possess beliefs, and some might even be firmly held beliefs; this is great.  I am not writing to dissuade you from your beliefs, to decide differently, or even to emote in a manner foreign to you.  My intent is to aid you in introspection, a path of self-knowledge where you know why you know, why you believe, and why you act as you do.  Do you know why; in knowing why you begin to understand, and understanding brings knowledge and acceptance.

I have a friend who had an abusive childhood.  Her childhood was fraught with danger, all types of abuse, and this childhood prepared her to be in two abusive marriages and consider those abusive marriages as normal.  She is now remarried to a good guy, not abusive at all.  Except she has a lot of health problems, and she seeks out medical opinions for everything, seeking to find domineering in a relationship as a by-product of her childhood.  She refuses to believe that childhood events drive her doctor fixation and not health problems.  I will not attempt to dissuade her of this opinion.  I support the good she does, the good she and her husband do, and I will continue to choose to be her friend.  But fear and refusing to know why has all but crippled my friend, and this is painful to see!

Question 3Do you know why?  Are you willing to investigate to know why?  What will you choose to do when the why is revealed?  Knowing why requires mental preparation, mental preparation requires mental strength, agility, and flexibility, all skills that require practice, time, and development through experiences willingly sought.  Therein lay the most challenging part of building mental skills, being willing to seek out these opportunities, and remaining fixed upon learning, no matter the cost.

I have met some amazing people who refused to accept what the truth was going to cost them.  Learning comes with a price; that price is in the choice to apply or deny what has been taught.  The price is the consequence that follows the decision to accept or reject that which was learned.  My brother’s wife discovered he was cheating on her and had been cheating on her almost from the moment they married.  She stayed in the marriage for seven kids and nearly 20-years.  Hoping he would change.  I honor her willingness and sacrifice; I respect her devotion to my brother, I understand her position and her reasoning.  Still, I wonder, should she have left him immediately upon learning of his infidelity?  She knows the why now, but she refused to accept the why, and the consequences were painful in the extreme for many years.  She is better now, remarried, and the kids are recovering, but did they have to suffer?  Did she have to suffer?  Choice and consequence after learning is mentally difficult.

GearsAs stated and repeated only for emphasis, you may choose how you will, believe, feel, and act the way you think is best for you and yours.  My aim and intent are not to dissuade but to help you more fully appreciate the why and lose the fear.   As a teenager, a friend of mine, a shepherd, asked me to help him on the ranch.  My first day coincided with shearing day, and with 400-head of sheep to shear, this was not going to be an easy day.  Herding the sheep into the corral was not difficult and was accomplished without incident.  Getting the sheep into the run and into the trailer to be sheared was incredibly difficult, but getting the sheep out of the shearing van was easier than falling off the porch.  Why; because of fear.  The sheep wanted to be sheared, but the confinement of the run and the noise the shears produced increased fear so much that the animals could hardly think straight, and they became more fearful the closer they got to the van where the shearing stations were.  Animals confined in tight quarters in the run turned themselves about and tried to flee backward in the run.  Fear made them do incredible things I had never imagined an animal could do.

WhyAs I experienced life, surviving the US Army and the US Navy, I learned what fear does to humans; worse, the consequences of fear leave an indelible impression upon the minds of those who chose to succumb to fear.  The movies never show this side of fear; books and magazines never discuss the aspects of what fear does to harm the mind and body of the person involved.  Worse, society has come up with terms and names to soften the repercussions of a moment’s fear.  As a kid, I watched a lot of M*A*S*H 4077; in one of those shows, Sigmund, the psychiatrist, talks about how a moment’s fear on the battlefield becomes a lifetime of regret, shame, and the potential of an eternal soul is lost.  All because, for one moment, fear overcame, and the body responded, while the mind lost control.

QuestionDo you know why?  Are you willing to discover the why and teach others what you have learned?  The final step in introspection is not acceptance but being willing to teach.  Through teaching, you learn more perfectly; this is a pattern that I have seen replicated in too many classrooms to ignore.  I met an amazing woman in a long-term care facility in Geneva, Ohio.  She was my mothers-in-law’s roommate.  She was a teacher and began her career in a one-room schoolhouse at sixteen.  She retired just after the school’s consolidated.  She had been blind for a long time.  I never met a more grateful person, and I have not met a more learned person!  She said every day she taught, she learned something new, which taught her to be grateful, and in gratitude, she taught and learned for her entire career and every day thereafter.

Thus, I ask again, do you know the why?  Are you willing to learn the why?  How you choose does determine your destiny.  I close with a final thought, are you willing to ever choose the harder right instead of, the easier wrong?  I am not perfect, I struggle to choose the harder right, but I also know the invaluable worth of being prepared mentally and not fearing.  I know the power that comes with choosing to know the why and allowing that choice, with its inherent and natural consequences, to lead towards making better decisions and learning.  There is power in knowing why there is power in failure, there is hope in failure, and great peace in knowing the why.How to Make Any Question Essential with Three Easy Steps – Wabisabi Learning

Search out the why.  Choose to learn.  After learning, accept the price of consequences and see how those consequences can change you!

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