Do We Understand?

Bobblehead DollOne of my closely held beliefs is that we will be held accountable for the heritage left us by those who have fought and bled, and came before us.  When I see the farrago that has become Afghanistan, the ineptitude of Vietnamese legacy, the current condition of the White House, politics in America, and the politicians refusing their jobs. I am always left asking, “What will our forefathers say?”  With hundreds, possibly thousands of Americans abandoned in Afghanistan by the sitting US President, a complicit Congress, and the spineless Joint Chiefs of Staff, I cannot help but wonder what the President Generals of the United States will say to these people.

Before we hear from the US President’s, let us first clear our minds with the following from Mark Twain.

The statesmen will invent cheap lies, blaming the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

The fraudulent president, Joey, and his Joint Chiefs are in this position right now.  They are deceived, they deceived themselves, and if America is not careful, their self-deception will mean enemies on Main Street.  No hyperbole, no scaremongering, no warmongering; simply truth simply stated.  Joey and his Joint Chiefs are blaming America for being in Afghanistan for too long, and the chaos in leaving is America’s fault.  Their self-deception should not be our problem, our lie, or our “conscience-soothing falsity.”Angry Grizzly Bear

President (Colonel) Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt has the next word, and he declares and details our problem precisely:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.  From these great tasks, both of the old parties have turned aside.  Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes.  Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.  To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day” [emphasis mine].

Do we understand the problem?  Are we clear about the issues facing our nation?  Is the mission clear?  The current crop of politicians have purposefully turned from their roles, like dogs to their vomit, and refused the people who elected them for personal power and individual success.  Well, what do you do when you catch your dog rolling in its vomit?  What do you do when you find a toddler crayoning the walls after telling them no?  Will the adults in the room, please stand? You are needed!photo_slideshow_max

President (Lieutenant) John F. Kennedy provides a caution pertinent to this discussion, and a word of timely caution is worth gold and silver to those who heed and follow its counsel:

The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in ensuring our nation’s survival if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is a very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. …
For we are opposed worldwide by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, subversion instead of elections, intimidation instead of free choice, and on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system that has conscripted vast human and material resources into building a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations.  Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed” [emphasis mine].

There are lots of questions about who has been pulling Joey’s strings.  Who is president right now, as senile Joe is not in charge, Kamala is not in attendance, and Pelosi is silent and retiring shortly.  The Afghanistan farrago is humiliating, devastating, and despicable; yet, none of the politicians are willing to be publicly outspoken, convening investigations and using their powers to lead and rescue Americans.  Why?  Congress has the War Powers Act; they can act independently of the US President and demand that the US Military enter Afghanistan, rescue US Passport holders, and destroy American hardware, munitions, and other war materials.  Congress could depose the US President legally, through impeachment proceedings, and install a new president.  Yet, nothing is happening.  Why?Plato 2

President (General) George Washington provides guidance, counsel, and direction worthy of consideration in the following panacea of quotes:

    • “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled.” … “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East, or West. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in union. In one word, be a nation. Be Americans, and be true to yourselves.”
    • “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” … “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”

Herein is a call to action, from a general mustering both his troops and citizenry, calling all able-bodied people to learn two great truths.  First, we are the owners of government and hold the reigns of power.  Second, we cannot make the changes needed without the help of almighty God,  regardless of the name we call Him.  For too long, we have been divided on the first and not allowed to perform the second, and it is time to end the power that divides and separates.The Duty of Americans

While not a military president, his cunning mind is a powerhouse of wisdom that provides essential ideas and insight, and I am pleased to quote President John Adams.  Again we find a panacea of quotes:

    • Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” … It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them a habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.”
    • Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Are we allowing the suicide of the American Republic through the groveling in the infancy of our children’s minds?  Look at K-12 education and how ideas from the late 1800s and early 1900s continue to shape your child’s classroom experiences — producing functionally illiterate products at state-run schools, abusing your child of their God-given potential, and robbing them of a lifetime of learning through labels, invented science, and drugging them into submission.Angry Wet Chicken

Yet, President Adams is correct; the problem of K-12 education is an opportunity in disguise.  The opportunity to learn is an individual one; it is an opportunity for the community to step in and demand the politicians go away; it is an opportunity for citizens to awake and arise and refuse the cruel gruel of oppression and require the fruit of liberty be fed to their children.

There are two pieces of wisdom passed to us from President Thomas Jefferson also apt for this discussion:

    • Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
    • If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

Knowledge Check!With these thoughts, we come to the brief conclusion of this article, but not the conclusion of the need for learning, teaching, and action.  The destruction of America has progressed sufficiently that none of us now living have experienced the tempestuous sea of liberty due to the calm lakes of despotism that has overtaken our land.  Desire something you have never had, real liberty, and let’s be willing to do everything we need to possess this gift for ourselves and pass something better to our children!

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

NO MORE BS: LIC – Low-Intensity Conflict – Explained and Expounded

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

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

What is LIC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIC and the Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dane-Geld: A Warning to the Mayors and Governors of America

Dane-GeldDane-Geld is “a land tax levied in medieval England, originally to raise funds for protection against Danish invaders.”  The 11th Century saw many frightened landowners who wanted peace raised money to pay-off the warring tribes of the north, called Danes.  From across the land, the rulers gathered penny and pound to buy protection from these warring tribes.  When the Dane’s saw how easy it was to obtain gold, they moved in and took the lands, and whole civilizations dropped into barbarianism, and the only reason we know these stories today, were the warring tribes of the Dane’s met cold steel in a furious fist and were beaten back.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem on this topic, called coincidently enough, “Dane-Geld.”

“It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So, when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”

Who, pray tell, is the modern Dane’s?  We currently call them Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa, and other extremist factions in American Society.  We call them ISIS, we call them terrorists.  For terrorists they are, and terrorist history has called them from day one.  Requiring a fearful reputation for violence, these people come to disrupt society, damage business, destroy goods, and wreak untold havoc and destruction.

Gadsden FlagMayors, Governors, you have a choice, to pay the Dane his pound of gold, or to fight the terror in society and be remembered.  The Mayor in Philadelphia during the riots past gave up entire city blocks for the Dane’s of her city to destroy, the Dane’s were not appeased, they moved in, and now control larger sections of the city than ever before.  Seattle’s mayor recently paid the Dane’s and has become the laughingstock of America over CHAZ.  Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, and so many other cities across America have bent the knee, paid the gold, and will never be rid of the Dane.

You can try and appease a mob.  You can fight a mob.  These are your only two options.  There is not third selection possible, for the mob, you fear today will be your rulers in captivity tomorrow.  Ask the city of Philadelphia if they like their new rulers.  Ask the community of Watts in LA if they like their rulers post LA Riots.  You can break a mob into individuals and hold them accountable, and you can try to pay off a mob, but you cannot do both, and you will lose short-term or long when you act against the mob.  Better to lose short term and win, then appease and lose everything to the rule of a mob.

For those city councils crying to appease the mob with defunding the police, I would that you would take a hard look at the closing stanza from Kipling.

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”


If you replace the word “nation” with city and county, you will understand the stakes you are suffering under currently.  I cannot stress enough the need for you to rise up, put some backbone on, tie on your work boots, and go to war against the powers of oppression and tyranny.  Call in the National Guard, the State Militias, we the sheepdogs of war will respond.  Do not allow America to fall on your watch because you think paying Dane-Geld is easier and more respectable.  For I promise you, if you do not stand against the tyrants today, the rest of America will have to stand against a stronger and more violent tyrant tomorrow!

The mobs, the rioters, and the looters currently rampaging are domestic terrorists, and make no mistake their sole aim is to destroy your town, your city, your county, your state, and your country!  Quoting from President Roosevelt, “We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. We, and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than [to] live on our knees.

National GuardJoin us, ye politicians, who tremble!  Military Crests

 

© 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/

As the Department of Veterans Affairs Goes, So Does America – A Warning!

I-CareWould the honorable elected representatives please answer the following question: “Are the veterans of America’s armed services the next ‘Tuskegee Syphilis Study?’”

While we await this answer, here is why the question is raised.  The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) just posted their investigation results of the Critical Care Unit Staffing and Quality of Care Deficiencies at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, and the results remind me of the game musical chairs and the disaster caused by the Tuskegee Syphilis StudyTuskegee Syphilis StudyMusical chairs because the VA-OIG was unable to ascertain direct harm because of record screw-ups, gross mismanagement, and a detestable and despicable perception of the patient.  The Tuskegee Syphilis Study because real harm to real people was caused, and the leadership did not care enough to fix the problems without an official investigation.

More on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study – History can be viewed in the link.

The VA-OIG report begins with the following:

“Critical Care Unit Staffing and Quality of Care Deficiencies at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Augusta, Georgia discusses significant patient safety issues including events related to noncompliance with pressure injury policy, intensive care unit cardiac monitoring, and sitter availability for high-risk patients.”

Pressure Injuries
Bedsores/Pressure Injury Progression

But concludes with the following:

“Publication is warranted so that other facility leaders and healthcare practitioners can be made aware of OIG-identified problems applicable to their own facility.”

Leading me to ask, of the VA-OIG, is this warning to proactively fix, or retroactively hide the nefariousness of poor management and dead patients?

Pressure injuries are exceedingly painful, can become deadly very quickly, and leave scarring and pain.  Pressure injuries are the nice term for bed sores, which are caused by critically ill patients who are already unable to move and circulate blood properly to the skin.  Thus, the tissue dies, a sore develops, then the skin breaks, and by this time that patient who is already in trouble, is now in danger of death.

Pressure Injuries - Example
Bedsore

Bedsores, pressure injuries, are serious conditions; yet, the Charlie Norwood VAMC has record-keeping problems, staffing issues, and without outside impetus refrained from fixing the problems.  All reminiscent of the “Tuskegee Syphilis Study.”

Hence the articles originating question, “Are the US Military Veterans the next ‘Tuskegee Syphilis Study?’”

If so, I refuse, and those leaders who think this conduct is allowable need to be held personally responsible for the harm they are causing.  If the answer is no, why are so many VA-OIG reports of leadership and management’s nefarious deeds being allowed until the VA-OIG comes knocking?  Even after the VA-OIG investigates, is anything being done?  Are people being held accountable?  The leadership issues are repeated, and while those repeats might not be an exact match from VAMC to VAMC, the leadership problems are real, glaring, and real people are dying!

America was shocked and angry when the whistle and plug were finally pulled on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and rightfully so.

Tuskegee-Patient
Syphilis wounds

Yet, it appears that the VA learned nothing from the history of Tuskegee except to keep playing musical chairs on responsibility, paperwork, and hiding the evidence from accountability.

America, your medical system, which before President Obama was the best in the world, is now on the same train of failure the VA Medical System is on.  Are you paying attention to the harm caused to veterans?  Do you want the same?  I do not!

America, to correct the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and to reduce the costs to the taxpayers, as well as beginning to correct the damage done to your health care, the following is needed immediately.

  1. Legislation needs to be written and passed repealing ObamaCare.  Every single mandate, every single costly item, and sunder forever this socialism experiment.  The answers to the rising costs of medical care, including dental and vision, are not to be found in increasing the size of an already bloated government.
  2. Legislation needs urgent action to provide Secretary Wilkie the powers of any other CEO to clean the Department of Veterans Affairs. The leadership between the veteran facing employee and the Secretary’s office needs to be culled, and the only way to do this is through legislation.
  3. Demand accountability. The VA-OIG reports these issues constantly, the findings need to be on the news and be topics of conversation.  No longer should a bureaucrat be able to shift responsibility, harm patients, and keep their comfortable jobs and benefits.  Real harm to real people is being caused by the medical system paid for by your tax dollars, demand more!

Understand the following principle, know it well, and let us begin processing the reversal of this trend.  Charles Reich (1964) wrote a Yale Law Journal article describing “New Property.”  The new property Reich discusses is you and me, and how we are used by bureaucrats like property to be abused, harmed, and mistreated, all through the largess of the government we pay for.  Like a wheelbarrow or a hammer, we are the fodder upon which the bureaucrat steals money from one person to pay another person through government benefits, all to the enrichment and personal satisfaction of the bureaucrat.

Government Largess 2The actions of the nameless and faceless bureaucrat are unconstitutional, but allowed in the name of “government action.”  Every time you hear the government is acting on your behalf, it means that the power of the people has been stolen, and will be doled back to the taxpayer in infinitesimal amounts, while the bureaucrat keeps getting fatter.  Think Reich (1964) is wrong, here are some examples.

  • The government went to war against poverty, the poor have become poorer, poverty’s blight has spread, but the government offices “fighting” poverty are fat with people and taxpayer dollars.
  • The government went to war against drugs, the only winner so far has been the government.  The drug infestation has only gotten worse, and now states have begun selling harmful and illicit drugs for the tax money.
  • The government got into student loans, to “make the lending field fairer.” Students were harmed, colleges and universities tripled, or more, their tuitions, and students are saddled with increasing levels of debt.  But, the government officers in charge are living high on the debt and interest.
  • The government allowed labor unions to represent government workers, now the taxpayer is abused, treated like scum, taxes went up, but responsibility and accountability under the “Rule of law,” that all citizens are expected to live by, have all but disappeared for government workers.  Ever tried getting adjudication or remediation from a government worker?Government Largess 4
  • The government and some private citizens decided black health needed improvement. Planned Parenthood and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study are but two of the disasters that hit the black communities and have destroyed their community’s legacy, honor, and power, all for government largess, and the lining of private pockets.

Choose to stop being the property of the government; the US Constitution declares the government works for us, and we control them, not the other way around!

© 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/

 

Uncomfortable Truths – An Open Letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Congressional and Senatorial Representatives of the United States of America

I-Care

I write by way of greeting; I write by way of exhortation to action, as the current status quo is reprehensible and unacceptable.  Uncomfortable truths are those realities where bureaucracy has superseded logic and leadership, creating situations where the harm of the patient/customer is the first and only business.  There are good people at the Department of Veterans Affairs; but, these people are being crushed by the bureaucracy, the stifling mental inertia, and the lack of actionable leaders to propel change at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Cemetery.

An example of uncomfortable truths: I witnessed a veteran enter the emergency room of the VA Medical Center, and be actively, but passively, abused.  Because he was a regular, and sometimes came in and was obstinate, and because he was homeless, he had a history with this emergency room and staff.  The staff actively overlooked him, they talked bad about him, they cussed him out behind his back, and his service was suboptimal at best when he was finally treated.  As this veteran was not the only one being treated in this manner, this was brought to the attention of hospital leadership; the person reporting the abuse was terminated without cause.  This is a leadership issue, a process problem, and an excuse not to change.

Another example of uncomfortable truths: the VBA needs/wants “New and Material Evidence” to process/review/correct a claim.  The Primary Care Provider and all specialty clinics at the VA cannot provide “New and Material Evidence,” as they are not diagnosticians.  Thus, the veteran is left stuck between two bureaucracies that refuse to help, because the rules do not allow the providers to help; this a leadership problem and a process issue.  How can the veteran afford outside insurance to obtain the “New and material evidence?”

Earlier this month, the OIG sent out a report over death at the VA due to leadership inefficiencies and can be found here, VA-OIG report.  Over the last week, three more incident reports have been discharged from the VA-OIG.  Report 1: Has a veteran dying of suicide, because the decision-making process, a process designed specifically to improve communication to aid high-risk patients were not implemented, tracked, and reported properly.  The decision-making process is expected to employ a full patient-care team (PACT) in evaluating and making decisions that affect the patient’s care.  The process was not followed, and the veteran who is already at high-risk for suicide and known to the PACT was deactivated, leading to a veteran’s death.  The VA-OIG made a recommendation to improve the process, the same process that was disabled, leading to a dead veteran.  How does this make sense?

The uncomfortable truth is multi-faceted in this case.  Leadership does not do record audits to ensure the deactivation of high-risk patients does not become “lost” in the bureaucracy.  Leadership is not flagged when the PACT disagrees with the treatment of a patient.  Finally, the VA-OIG has no teeth to reprimand, insist, and improve compliance; they can only make recommendations after the fact.  Congressional representatives and Senators, you allowed the VA to have its own dedicated inspector general, why?  What will you do to enhance the leadership at the VA?  Do not tell me again; we will hold “Committee Meetings.”  These committee meetings have been, and continue to be a feckless waste of taxpayer time, money, and never addresses the core issues apparent.

Report 2: Covers a veteran needing an appendectomy and had to wait for three hours for the surgeon to become available to perform the surgery.  The VA-OIG confirmed the delay in care, but essentially settled for, “Well, the patient lived, so no problem here.”  If that statement seems overly simplified of the process, tell me why the patient had to wait.  Why pay records and timekeeping records were messed up for a single month (May 2018), and how pay and timekeeping records got messed up in the first place.  The VA uses a national system for reporting time worked, but not all employees use the same payment system.  If true, why aren’t all employees, to include residents, surgeons, and staff using the same pay system?  The wait is blamed on poor communication, communication in scheduling surgery, communication between resident and surgeons, and communication because the “appropriate documentation” was insufficiently maintained.

I know from sad experience that there are nurses and doctors who write things down in notebooks, on scrap paper, and on paper charts, when the computer on wheels (COWS) is readily available.  The excuse is always, “I am too busy to use that thing.”  I know the VA has spent an excessive amount of money to get digital records, installing digital records, getting digital records to work when needed, and delivering the digital record available to mobile stations to document what is happening with the patient.  I have some grave concerns for checkbox medicine; but, blaming a surgical delay on improperly maintained documentation remains a wholly inexcusable and unacceptable statement in an official investigation.  Why was this lame excuse allowed to stand?

Report 2, exemplifies a multi-faceted problem presenting a need for a multi-faceted approach to correction.  Leadership at the hospital must be actively engaged, ensuring processes and procedures are optimized to deliver the “I-CARE” customer promise.  Communication chains are a leadership tool, and when broken, correction demands accountability and responsibility to resolve correctly.  Reporting is a leadership function to ensure liability and corrective action as a normal operating procedure.  Did anyone ask why the documentation was not maintained?  Was this lack of documentation maintenance a design flaw to hide what happened during this incident as an extension of designed incompetence?

Report 2, demands answers on two distinct issues double-dipping, and the continued practice of collective design incompetence. Double-dipping by providers working for the VA at the same time they are working at other medical institutions, is this occurring?  Why?  I understand there is a provider shortage at the VA.  I know doctors need to make money, and doctors make money by seeing patients, surgeons make money performing surgery.  The VA-OIG report appears to gloss over the practice of double-dipping e.g., on-call from one hospital while working at another, or working at another hospital while the VA expects you to be at their hospital.  Senators and Congressional representatives, are you investigating the potential for double-dipping?  Will it take a dead veteran before you even care about double-dipping occurring?  I make no accusations; I am asking honest questions on this issue in an attempt to learn more.  Will you do the same?

One of the most egregious problems at the VA is designed incompetence to allow a malefactor the ability to hide behind bureaucracy to avoid accountability and responsibility.  Designed incompetence remains a significant problem and I do not see any of the mid-level managers, leaders, supervisors, trainers, etc. acting to eliminate designed incompetence to the improvement of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  During President Obama’s Administration, I watched a Congressional Committee meeting where whistle-blowers were invited and testified about the designed incompetence that allows for an individual to pass the buck, duck responsibility, and protect their jobs and power at the VA.  I keep discussing design incompetence, because the mid-level managers, directors, and supervisors at the VA refuse to address and correct this issue.  Senators and Congressional Representatives, why do you allow this practice to continue?  Did you know that this is the primary method for discriminating and harming whistle-blowers?  Of course, you did.  I have seen several committee meetings where this exact issue was discussed, and the bloviation from the committee does nothing.  You are the leaders in our Republican Society, when are you going to act, in concert with Secretary Wilkie (who’s doing an exceptional job), correcting and insist these practices cease?

Report 3: Involves 60,000+ veterans, is this number sufficient to warrant permanent action on the proper billing of insurance companies and veterans, or does this number need to exceed some other level before it warrants your attention.  If a different level is required, what is that magical number?  I guarantee that veterans from all states and territories are involved here, as their representatives, what will you do?

Directly from the VA Website, we find two different uses for funds collected:

  • “VA is required by Public Law 87–693; 42 USC. 2651, commonly known as the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act, to bill the health insurance carrier that provides health care coverage for Veterans to include policies held by their spouse. The money collected goes back to VA medical centers to support health care costs provided to all Veterans.
  • Funds that VA receives from third party health insurance carriers go directly back to VA Medical Center’s operational budget.”

You, the elected officials of the Republic of the United States of America, enacted these laws and improper billing of veterans and insurance companies, causes financial harm and distress; this is your problem!  Do you understand that even if money is returned to a veteran, the financial injury has been done?  Those veterans who have paid a bill, or the insurance company that paid a statement, they didn’t need to pay is an interest-free loan to the government, and this is wrong!

There are literally tons of money at stake here; I know my local VA Hospital said, “The funds collected when we bill insurance companies come directly to this hospital for construction projects, renovations, new equipment, and so forth.”  Report 3 is but one of how many VA-OIG reports where improper billing is occurring. Incorrect billing drives the cost of healthcare up.  Hence, Obamacare costs more because the VA is not accurately billing.  Medicare costs more because of improper billing.  You the elected officials are directly responsible for ensuring proper billing occurs as an aid in reducing the costs of healthcare.

Where are you? Will you act?

 

© 2019 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.

Thank you, for your service!

Thank you!(I claim no rights or own this picture.)

As a dual service (Army/Navy) veteran and guardsman, I have heard this statement and I appreciate the sentiment behind the words. As a former military dependent and as someone who has seen first hand the plight of military spouses, I want to raise some awareness. My wife served as a geographical bachelorette while I was sailing in the US Navy. She spent a significant amount of time fighting plumbing, home, budgeting, and health problems all while I was engaged in military duties. Now, as the spouse of a disabled veteran, she continues to serve. Since many times the service of military dependents and spouses goes unnoticed, from a grateful veteran, Thank You!

Often I have told military spouses that your service is the more difficult service. Your worries often leave premature grey, stretch thin resources for child rearing, and can include some of the most frustrating moments of your life. Your service should be called the “Silent Service” as too often the parade includes your spouse but not you. You get less recognition than you deserve, and your service does not end with a contract date. Your enlistment seems to take everything from you but dignity; and the grace found in the company of military spouses is very difficult to describe. Please know, even when we forget to say it often enough, your sacrifice and services are appreciated. Thank You!

To the kids who sacrifice time with their mothers and fathers, sacrificing special events, such as birthdays, holidays, and other important occasions, Thank You! Your service and sacrifice is also appreciated. Often times you get the blunt end of the stick when you want or need a parent and cannot find one because one parent is in the military and the other is working to make ends meet. Yet, when the military parents’ service is completed, you still serve. The emotional upheaval found in a returning military parent can often be frustrating, difficult, and sometimes you feel lonely while in the same room with your parent. Sometimes your sacrifice includes a disabled parent or worse the loss of a parent and the additional loss of friends as you move from military bases to a different home often far away. You sacrifice so much and many times it seems your sacrifice never ends or is not completely understood leaving frustration, anger, and resentment. Your service and sacrifices are appreciated; please know it is noticed.

To the extended family of military members who answer the 0300 call for help with frozen pipes, acting as sounding boards, holding the hands of military dependents as they get hard news about a loved one, Thank You! Many times as a deploying service member, knowing the extended family was still going to be active and engaged helped me leave those troubles behind and focus on the task of military service. Thank you for being there, for being willing, for reaching out, and for understanding and enduring the expected and unexpected of military life, commitment, and responsibility. It is very hard to be extended family of a military service member, and your sacrifices are appreciated. Too often, you have to learn another language just to have a conversation. Many times you experience concern about what now when the phone rings, and when family ties stretch to the far flung battle lines and your loved ones are away. The worries can be an added weight that many times feels like it can swamp you; yet, for all this you remain engaged, Thank You!

A volunteer military is very hard on communities, harder still on families, and yet even harder still on the military member. Yes, it takes a village to support a military member. To the friends of military members, who pitch in to move a family, answering emergency calls for help, and providing support, Thank You! You in the community do a lot; your words and kindness, your time, your discounts, and your understanding are appreciated. For those communities with a larger share of National Guard and Reserve military members, you spend a lot of additional time adjusting to changing labor pools, tax pools, and often these changes come last minute as a reservists or guardsman is called upon to fulfill a different duty and you are left with the responsibility and making the changes. Employers, who have to make an emergency reshuffle, then shuffle again when the reservists or guardsman returns; your sacrifice is also appreciated.

This article is not to reduce in anyway the sacrifices of the military member. I know how hard it is to leave loved ones for deployments and daily activities with prolonged hours to do the assigned military duties. I know the time, emotional, physical, and monetary sacrifices (amongst so many others) of the military members. As a community member who supports the reservists and guard members, as a fellow veteran, as a previous dependent, I have seen and experienced much, but the support group of extended family, communities, children, and spouses need recognition. The service of families, especially spouses and children, needs spoken to, honored, and gratitude provided. For even after we, the service members return physically, too often we continue to struggle and these members continue to sacrifice and serve.

From this veteran to fellow veterans, to those who have passed on ahead and those currently serving, to their wives and children, to extended families, to friends and communities, Thank you! You stand tall with the dignity of a country that is known for having the greatest military in the history of the world. Our military is great because of you. Your sacrifices, dedication, and service makes being a military member a little easier, Thank you! When your military loved one passes and I leave a Thank You, this signifies my gratitude not just for your sacrifice and your support for the military member, it recognizes that you shared and lost something precious, and I am grateful for both the service provided and the sacrifice rendered by your military member and you, Thank You.

© 2015 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved