Sermo Datur Cunctis; Animi Sapientia Paucis – Remind you of Anyone?

Exclamation MarkDistichia Moralia provides with keen wisdom the following, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  After the European trip of US President Joe Biden, intelligence is in short supply in the White House, the staff, and of course, the US Media!  Would someone please tell me how so many can say so much, yo-yo’ing from one point to another, and still make no sense?  Honest question, the other day someone told me the patients were running the asylum, and I countered no, the clowns took over the circus.  Both sentiments are accurate, but I detest clowns, and mental patients can occasionally do something brilliant.

Now, to be perfectly fair, little Joey Biden has a mental cognition problem that is more than likely some form of senility or Alzheimer’s disease.  I am not entirely blaming little Joey; his spouse and handlers bear the full brunt of the blame and deserve their punishment for not allowing this senile old man to retreat to his beloved basement and finish the rest of his days in solitude and grandchildren.  May little Joey sniff hair and massage shoulders in a creepy fashion after retirement to his heart’s content.  But his handlers, the complicit media, and his spouse need to be hauled in front of a judge for elder person abuse!

From Australia’s Sky News, the BBC, Daily Mail, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and Jerusalem News, essentially covering the entire globe, every media channel worth a small moment is complaining about Biden’s European performance.  Not all media channels are created equal, but to have them all complaining about Biden in Europe is pretty phenomenal.  To have Biden walk back his handlers’ “clarification” and then renounce his previous sentiments in the same speech is nothing short of a full-blown communication failure.

To clarify, I do not care what you embrace for your political party.  Any person with half a brain cell can observe what is happening and know instinctively that the elected leaders have no clue and even less intelligence.  Worse, their intellectual ability for self-preservation is running on fumes and day-old flatulence.  Truly, “speech is given to many, and intelligence to few.”  Unfortunately, this is not the tip of the iceberg humanity is headed towards at full speed!If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all ...

Satire is truth wrapped in comic wit and presented for discussion.  Never taken seriously as supported by how many “shock” comedians?  Yet, the Babylon Bee is removed from Twitter because some Twitter employees think they have a special mission from their god CEO Parag Agrawal to silence any voice they deem “hostile.”  More people prove that “speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  Would someone please tell me how Kathy Griffin can parody cutting off then President Trump’s head, and she can maintain a Twitter account, but the Babylon Bee has their account suspended.  Worse, Kathy Griffin, a fully non-humorous comedienne, got a Netflix special, but Dave Chapelle was hounded mercilessly for weeks because he told the truth and was actually funny.

Kathy Griffin, Dave Chapelle, Biden/Trump, Babylon Bee, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, and others are tied into a Gordian Knot over the topic of controlling speech unconstitutionally.  Whether as perpetrators, victims, or politics, every actor mentioned, especially those not mentioned, as this was NOT a definitive list, all share in the ongoing saga over the First Amendment.Abraham Joshua Heschel quote: Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out...

A reminder, the First Amendment states:

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.”

The perpetrators who are pulling the political strings to hinder and thwart the First Amendment hide, like evil thinking cowards, cower behind the shield, “Congress.” Claiming that since they are not Congress, they only prohibit speech on their private platforms conditional as part of the “User Agreement” or as private citizens or businesses.  Hence, limiting the speech of others is entirely legal, moral, and socially acceptable, intentionally muddying the lines between legal and illegal for entertainment or some other bloviated excuse.  Except, what these perpetrators are doing is stealing freedom from everyone for personal profit.TOP 6 QUOTES BY ZECHARIAH CHAFEE | A-Z Quotes

What is “Hate speech?”  Sure, the lawyers have concocted a definition for court, but in practice, “Hate Speech” is anything any person who thinks they possess a modicum of power deems it to be.  Any tool that limits speech will be used as a weapon to beat people out of their rights and freedoms and steal the same to enslave all.  The Supreme Court regularly hears cases on First Amendment issues, specifically speech.  Of the five freedoms protected and enshrined in the First Amendment (Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition the government), speech is the one most often attacked.  The Supreme Court has wisely used the rule of thumb, “Screaming ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater,” as the basis for whether to rule speech as governed under the First Amendment or not.

Why is this a wise rule of thumb?  Because creating panic in a population enclosed in a building should not be protected “free” speech as the consequences are dire indeed.  But does this mean anything else goes; absolutely!  A simple rule exists to explain why, “When you limit the freedoms of a single person in a society, the entire society loses ALL of their freedoms, rights, and liberties.”  Democracy is messy!  A constitutional republic is doubly chaotic!  We, the citizens of either a democracy or a constitutional republic, accept this as a necessity to protect our individual rights, freedoms, and liberties.The Legal Lens: Why Free Speech Matters To You

This means when Twitter declares something as broaching their “User Agreement” and limiting one person’s speech, as a citizen of the United States, every citizen of the United States loses!  When Facebook or LinkedIn practice censorship in the name of “socially acceptable speech,” they are thwarting the US Constitution and decrying they are the wisest of us all and intelligent enough to declare what is and is not “acceptable” speech in a public environment.  When YouTube ends people’s livelihood because they do not like the content in a video, everyone loses their right to produce content free from burdensome oppression.

Chris Rock was free to make a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith as a point of reference.  Will Smith was perfectly in his right to first laugh at the joke and then choose to become offended.  But, Will Smith’s rights ended when he took action and hit Chris Rock.  Speech is a responsibility, and exercising speech properly means sometimes being held accountable for the speech made.  Unfortunately, modern society has allowed people to make offensive and degrading remarks without accountability for too long, which is a problem.  However, the solution is not to control speech by a business, company, government, non-governmental board/organization, etc.  The solution is to remind people of the accountability inherent in exercising their rights to speech.

Speech is never “Free.”  Free speech means no consequences to what you say, but the reverse is true, and speech has a significant cost!  Ask any disabled veteran about the cost of speech, and let me know if they claim their injuries are free.  Worse, ask any person jailed who made a speech if their speech was free, and tell me if their sufferings, depravations, and sacrifices were without cost.  Chris Rock was entirely in his right to make an offensive joke.  I did not find it funny.  But could Chris Rock have been held accountable for his poor sense of humor without being slapped on international television; absolutely.  But, name me another group of people who abuse the rights, freedoms, and liberties of others without care and concern than Hollywood.  I know of no other industry!

Yet, Hollywood has taken it upon themselves to be the lords and masters over everyone else when they cannot control themselves.  Solidifying the permanence in the principle, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”  How many known victims of Harvey Weinstein?  How many unknown victims are living?  How many dead victims?  How long was Harvey Weinstein abusing his power to subjugate people to whet his appetites and passions?  How many others are currently copy-catting Harvey Weinstein’s example?Speech is power: speech is... | Inspirational Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The government has failed to police Hollywood, and Hollywood refuses to police itself, but how many in Hollywood are willing to insist that Hollywood needs a deep cleansing, an injection of values, morals, and law; not many, if any.  Name another industry so rampant and steeped in villainy, depravity, and disgust that it can escape basic law enforcement.  Hollywood spawned Bollywood and how many other incarnations in countries around the globe, all suffering from the same moral vacuum and creating the same social decay without consequence.  Spoilt children, parading as virtuous adults, demand their rights, liberties, and freedoms, all while denying others the same rights, liberties, and freedoms.  Demanding politicians, the same politicians fawning and feeding the Hollywood monster, to use the powers of government, and big business, to thwart laws for their own profit and gain.

Have you ever heard of a “Casting Couch?”  In business, the military, government, a “casting couch” is sexual harassment, a crime worthy of jail, heavy fines, and social scorn for the perpetrator.  In Hollywood, the “Casting Couch” is regular business for those desiring to be in Hollywood, and the victims, if they speak out, are scorned and unemployable.  The horror stories about the “Casting Couch” are depraved, disgusting, and the victims’ ages run the gamut, all with little to no consequences for those soliciting sexual favors in return for employment in Hollywood.  The case of Harvey Weinstein ripped the scab off the festering wound of Hollywood, but Big Business and Government have helped keep the wound alive and infected, to the shame and horror of the victims.

Knowledge Check!Will Smith, enjoy the spotlight your actions created, and may the consequences fit the crime.  Chris Rock, you’re still not funny.  Wanda Sykes, you lost your funny.  The Oscar’s is not worth my time and energy to scorn, let alone watch.  But, Hollywood, your industry is sick, and the greatest crime is that your infection is spreading faster than a case of Chlamydia in the Playboy Mansion.  Hollywood, you have lost any and all claims to tell anyone else how to live and until you clean up your mess, I will continue to refuse you my money.  You might start by remembering, “Speech is given to many; intelligence to few.”

© 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.

I Need the WHY!

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1By now, the entire world knows the who, as in the central characters in the farrago and cheap Kabuki Theater that has been our lives since 2020.  The list of nefarious and detestable characters leads only to politicization, chaos, and right now, the names of these characters need no further introduction.  I will not name these repugnant rapscallions any longer.

We are fully clear on the where, as in, we know the whereabouts of how this global Kabuki-Style charade originated.  Frankly, unless the consequences include the “Ryan Doctrine” and an entirely new government in China, additional discussion is moot at this point.  If you are unfamiliar with the “Ryan Doctrine;” it is a reference to John Patrick Ryan, the fictional character from Tom Clancy’s books, who claimed that if it is okay to send some 19-year-old kid to war, the political leaders are fair game, as much as that poor-kid ordered into battle.  Long have I supported this belief, having served in the US Army and the US Navy, listening to the political hosts banging the drums of war against Russia.  I am fully on board with the political leaders being in the same boat as the kids whose lives they are throwing away.

The what at this point is pretty simple; COVID-19 is a virus that was experimented into being through “gain of function” research.  As Senator Dr. Rand Paul has discussed ad nauseum ad infinitum with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the gain of function research scientists take a virus found in nature and make that virus more deadly and transmissible in a laboratory for human endangerment.  While the NIH continues to play “find the pea” games with the definition of gain of function, the simple version is stated and sufficient to my purposes.Knowledge Check!

The how is also pretty clear by now; the inability to close human interactions at the beginning of this virus debacle has led to the deaths of many people.  Human interactions are the number one problem in stopping the spread of any airborne, highly transmissible virus.  From the flu to pneumonia, and from SARS to MERS (two highly contagious and lethal upper respiratory viruses), and all the diseases in between, humans interacting is both the cure and the problem.  The problem, these viral diseases are spread through the air, and we share a lot of air between people.  The cure because sharing the virus, in its many variations, is how immunity in populations is increased.

Let me pause here for a moment.  Let’s talk about risk.  The risks you choose to onboard are how you build a life.  My risk tolerance is different from your risk tolerance, and while we might share some levels in our risk tolerances, we will be different, and in being different, we choose what to be exposed to, how, when, where, and why.  Humans have been making and exercising this freedom since the days of Adam and Eve and will continue to make this choice, without, and sometimes with, government boots on necks.

Where you set, your risk tolerances are choices, where you as an individual are exercising your moral agency.  These choices come with natural consequences.  For the government to interject and impose themselves into your risk tolerance decisions is immoral, unethical, and according to the US Constitution, illegal and illicit actions, and not only under the first amendment.  Please see my other articles on the topic for a more in-depth review of the US Constitution.

QuestionAs we have experienced these last two years, the when is pretty apparent, and restating more on when is wildly redundant.  However, since the Internet is forever, let me only stipulate the government has been running amok since 2000.  The gain in government over liberties, rights, and freedoms in the populations with representative government has only sharply increased since 2020.  It remains imperative that government from the city to the Presidential office needs serious reprimanding, shrinking, and curtailing!

Repeating only for emphasis, I need the WHY!  Why were all the pre-pandemic plans, government exercises, and 200-years of research in basic virology and virus management thrown away during this COVID-Kabuki?  Why have so many bureaucrats become rich, famous, and hailed as “the science” when basic science has been ignored, shunted to the side, and criticized?  Science is constantly debated, doubted, discussed, and repeatedly tested in a research laboratory and the real world.  Physics leaders debate gravity; medical researchers are always learning something new, reporting something new, and then testing the new to prove it has worth and value for study and learning.  Every field of science is learning through testing, re-testing, discovery, debate, and discussion of doubts.

Yet, for the last two years, all doubting of published, and heavily politicalized science, has been squashed by the thumb of government, and I need to know WHY!  Drugs helpful in treating the flu were refused for COVID, even though previous studies, done by the big names in the NIH, were politicalized, pushed out, and refused to people suffering; why?  Masks were mandated, even though every manufacturer is forced, by legislation, to admit these masks do no good in stopping viral particulate from entering the mask.  The body of research is growing discussing the efficacy of wearing masks during surgery and reflects that those wearing masks harm the patients’ undergoing procedures from doctors and nurses wearing the mask, increasing the potential for sepsis post-procedure.The Duty of Americans

Why are patients harmed; the mask was ONLY ever intended to help curb droplets of bacteria born from the mouth and nose of the medical personnel from dropping into the wounds and surgical area of the patient until new technology could be derived.  Follow the history of masks from cotton to paper and reusable to disposable, and you the truth is obvious.  Research is being conducted on the germ storm created on the front or outside of the mask that the doctor is then blowing onto the patient’s wounds.  Basic science can logically explain and expound upon this topic.  Unfortunately, as what occurred in 1846 to Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, those with political power and a modicum of medical training are treating those discussing, debating, and doubting established “science” wickedly and immorally, while pointedly refusing and trying to dispel everyone who disagrees.

By the way, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was the doctor who championed hand washing and cleaning instruments between patients with a chlorine solution.  Consider medical treatment today; how many of you want your doctor or nurse not to wash their hands between patients?  Wear gloves?  And have ready access to sterilized medical instruments?  Another hot topic in hospital safety is pharmaceutical-resistant bacteria, viruses, and easily transmissible diseases in hospitals.  Want a topic to scare the hell out of you; read any paper on the problems with controlling sepsis, an easily spread illness for any patient having a medical procedure, where droplets of bacteria drop into the wound, sometimes from the masks of those performing the procedure.

Frankly, I prefer to see medical personnel in face shields rather than masks.  It is easier to hear the medical professional, the face shield is easily cleaned with alcohol one-time use swabs/pads, and I can listen to the doctor/nurse.  Plus, the same droplet control is achieved without the danger of passing droplets of bacteria into an open wound by surgical and medical personnel.  Upon looking at the research on masks endangering patients, how many medical professionals will switch to face shields and away from masks voluntarily?  Well, Dr. Semmelweis’ history shows us the answer is less than zero!  Why does history repeat itself so often; many people refuse to learn history to avoid repeating history.  But the real reason is that people with power refuse to listen to those with ideas and no power.  Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis died of the same disease he fought in maternity wards, sepsis (previously known as childbed fever).

VaccineWant to really be freaked out, scared into mental distress; read what the CDC reports on hand hygiene in hospitals and doctor’s clinics.  Very few medical professionals adhere to hand hygiene protocols to the detriment of the patient!  Yet, since 1846, almost 200-years, hand hygiene has been known as the best course of action to prevent spreading diseases, except the number one reason doctors and nurses don’t wash their hands is their personal beliefs.  I want to know why medical professionals, who are supposed to be embedded in learning and discovery, refuse simple science when it stares them in the face, resist common sense and logic, and inflate their egos when questions are asked.  Ever ask a doctor or nurse when the last time they washed their hands?  I was threatened with being kicked out of an ER for asking this question, wounds untreated, pain issue not resolved, all for asking the ER doctor if he had washed his hands recently.

Why did the WHO, the CDC, and so many other repositories of international science refuse 16-years of dedicated science about mask-wearing in the community and agree with the governments to force mask mandates onto the populations?  What changed in science; nothing!  What powered mask mandates; politics!  Where did masking healthy people as young as two-years-old originate; the warped and twisted minds of someone making a ton of money on mask manufacturing!  How did the masking of healthy people work out; it killed them through suicide, fear of hospitals, and through a fake sense of protection!  Want to know a truth; all of this was known, recognized, and understood through multiple studies, government training exercises, and real-world research as early as 2000.

Exclamation MarkI have to know why!  As a life-long learner, as a student of human interactions, an observer of groups of people and individuals, the why is the driving force in the five questions of study (who, what, when, where, how, and WHY).  I have been told to “Follow the money,” guess what, the money and the origin are similar.  I have been told, “It is political;” well, if that was true, where did the opposing party go?  I have been instructed, pointedly, by Federal Police Officers as they were arresting me because I physically cannot wear a mask.  My questions are ill-timed, inappropriate, and a public nuisance.  The political pandemic is all but concluded; my questions are not ill-timed anymore.  I want answers!  If this was a political exercise with a global bio-weapon, as postulated in March/April 2020.  In that case, I want the opposition party to start asking bureaucrats questions and drill down to answers!  It’s called scrutiny; exercise your elected responsibility!

As instructed in the book authored by Simon Sinek, “Start with Why!”  Why did governments steal power, authority, and liberty to demand mask adherence?  Why did the government push vaccination of a new and unstudied vaccine technology?  Why were effective drugs canceled to fit a political narrative while people were dying?  Why was a virus politicalized in the first place?  Look at the timing, and ask why the virus was released when it was released?  It is abundantly clear that the Wuhan Laboratory is deeply involved, which means the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is deeply engaged, and people died.  Why can’t the world’s people hold the CCP liable for the virus release and resulting harm?  Why can’t Fauci be held responsible for investing taxpayer dollars, against the order of the sitting US President, in the gain of function research?

When asking who got richer, ask why they appeared to force non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s) when these people stood to gain financially from those mandates of government?  Why did congressional representatives in the United States gain in measures above and beyond average market gains, all while people they were expected to represent in government died?Gravy Train 3

Before another question is asked, the media needs to answer why are they the voice box and cheer-leading squad of politicians?  In all representative governments, the media is supposed to be the third party, a neutral source, and a voice of the masses.  Why did the media forsake their job?  Why is the media always the lapdog of the liberal and progressive (regressive) parties?  Why did the press sell its heritage for a bowl of pottage?

Since the media refuses their job, and big technology is tied hand and foot to the press and politicians, like a warped three-legged race, why are the taxpayer dollars being used to enrich big-tech companies?  Why is a publicly-traded entity, big tech companies (LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta, Twitter, etc.), allowed into government offices?  Isn’t this the very epitome of insider trading?  Why is big tech even allowed to influence the government?  I need the why!

Why did the government take lists of the unvaccinated?  The political left has no morals, no compunction, and biggering the government is their god.  The political left is known for using any means necessary to get what they want.  Worse, the political left, and right, have proven untrustworthy, immoral, and unethical.  What happens next should be the second question answered after why!Detective

Finally, why did the religious leaders walk in lockstep with the government?  Sweden’s results are from following sound science, and they are better off than everyone else in the world.  Religious leaders have always claimed the moral high ground, even while “rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”  Thus, we must know why the religious leaders did not protect their flocks and show authentic, inspired leadership?  Do you feel cheated by your religious and political leaders?  I have some concerns!

Please, don’t take my word for it.  Look it up.  My references are boldly stated to help you, not prove a point; research can only support a conclusion and proves NOTHING!  I have questions, and my research promotes more questions.  I would see you, dear reader, fully informed and able to ask your own questions.  In an ironic twist of inanity, the CDC reports the following, “glove use is NOT a substitute for cleaning your hands [emphasis inferred and mine].”  The research linked is a peer-reviewed document the CDC provides for doctors to promote more hand hygiene in medical situations.

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1The science is in; this is a true statement, but changing the hearts and minds of people takes an inordinate amount of time that government interference only worsens!  If you reach different conclusions after conducting your own research, please use the comments to discuss, and include your research.  I am the first person to declare that I know nothing!

References

Miller, Ian.  Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates.  Post Hill Press.  Kindle Edition.

Pittet, D., Simon, A., Hugonnet, S., Pessoa-Silva, C. L., Sauvan, V., & Perneger, T. V. (2004). Hand hygiene among physicians: performance, beliefs, and perceptions.  Annals of internal medicine, 141(1), 1-8.

Vincent M, Edwards P. Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4.  Art.  No.: CD002929.  DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD00292

© 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.

Reverence, Conflict, and Contention – Understanding Improves Capability

Several commenters have erroneously confused conflict and contention and harangued me for promoting conflict.  With this article, I intend to dispel the confusion and encourage understanding.  These three principles, reverence, conflict, and contention, are paradoxically connected, and a greater understanding is needed.

Reverence

Some of you think that reverence only belongs in church settings, and frankly, your lack of insight into this word is why we are discussing reverence.  Please, turn off the voices in your head for a minute.  M. Russell Ballard provided etymological understanding for the term reverences pertinent to this discussion.

Reverence may be defined as profound respect mingled with love and awe. … The root word revere also implies an element of fear.  Thus, reverence might be understood to mean an attitude of profound respect and love with a desire to honor and show gratitude with fear of breaking faith of offending.” – God’s Love for His Children

Webster also provides additional insight into reverence.  Reverence contains definitions, including an action to show respect; a feeling of mingled awe, respect, and admiration; veneration; esteem heightened by awe (wonder), as of a superior; especially, such a feeling toward deity.  Finally, we find more insight; reverence includes treating with profound awe (wonder) and respect, or veneration.

Many Christian religions sing a hymn that encapsulates reverence, “How Great Thou Art.”  The first stanza is my favorite:

O Lord my God!
When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works
Thy hands have made,
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
the power throughout
the universe displayed.”

Take anything you see out your window right now.  Flowers, trees, grass, snowfall, frost, cars, asphalt, window glass, etc., and consider the hands, science, and creation of that item with wonder.  With awe, consider the birds, bugs, animals, humans in all their variety.  Want to know a secret?  You just showed reverence.  More importantly, you made a choice to open your mind to see past the mundane and explore the higher plains of existence with your human eyes.  What are the consequences of awe and wonder, joy!  Reverence brings joy!  Want to know another secret; one of the most challenging problems all societies face is choosing to show reverence and look with wonder and awe upon the world around us.

I can build a house; well used to be able to build a house, now all I can do is teach my skills to someone else.  But, guess what, I am the first to declare I am no expert, and their remains much I can and want to learn.  Want to know another secret; learning shows reverence and brings joy.  I marvel in awe at craftsmen displaying their skills, be it building a house, fixing engines, creating delectable goodies, or simply watching small children explore the world, I choose to view in wonder the majesty around me, and this brings joy!

What is Joy?  Why pursue Joy?

Joy is defined loosely by Webster as “Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.”  But does not fully encapsulate what joy is; joy is mental peace, mingled with an uplifting spiritual feeling, leading to physical contentment and feelings of well-being.  Joy is a pursuit, not the object, not the destination, and is a drug you can become addicted to quickly.  However, pursuing joy for pleasure is a pathway to problems, for joy does not contain truth, only the recognition of accomplishment.  Joy is a by-product of choices leading to success in achievement.

The pursuit of joy includes failure, feelings of hopelessness, and even despair, physical and mental pain, and anguish.  Yet, joy is still sought and pursued, why; because at the end of the day, joy occurs when goals are accomplished, and in evaluating the goal, we find the struggle worthwhile!  When we, as individuals, choose to stop pursuing joy or achieving a goal, we die inside, leading to physical and mental disease.  This is why retirement is such a bad idea, why giving up is so physically, mentally, and spiritually destructive, the loss of joy can physically, mentally, and spiritually kill a person.

The lack of joy precedes a loss of hope, bringing with it soul-crushing despair, depression, and opening the door for that individual’s destruction.  Why pursue joy; to avoid the death inherent in hopelessness.

Contention

Let me be perfectly frank, contention and conflict are not the same.  While the terms are close, they are distinct and tell different sides of the same story.  First, contention is an act of striving or an assertion.  Contention is a violent effort to obtain or protect something vehemently!  There is effort, struggle, exertion in contention; there are violent efforts, and the core of contention is pride.  Pride breeds animosity, animosity breeds struggle, and struggle is contention, where pride is demanding that violence is acceptable as a means to achieve the desired end goal.  When contending, “The ends justify the means.”

Contention is animosity personified into action, effort, and desires become evident as contention unfolds.  We cannot forget these facts about contention.  Consider the following; I went to work in a hostile atmosphere; due to a contract signed, I could not quit and find a new job, and reassignment was not going to happen.  Jealousy and pride entered because I was very good at my job, and violence followed like the sun rising after a moonless night.  The result was that contention was born and festered, violence was perpetrated against me, and the violence was acceptable to the leaders as it gave them feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The violence was justified because I was “too good” at my job, made “decisions above my paygrade,” and “I needed to be taught humility.”  The result was four disastrous years of struggle, incredible stress levels, and mental torture, with physical acts of violence thrown in to spice up the environment.  Contention is pride expressed through violence and justified to fit the individual’s desires.

Conflict

I have written a lot about conflict, conflict’s benefits, how conflict is a tool, and the dark side of conflict.  At its most fundamental level, conflict is all about helping spur growth, development and bring about change.  However, I cannot stress this enough; conflict is NOT contention.  Conflict is not born of pride and a desire to feel better about yourself through violence.  Conflict can be observed in a disagreement or difference in opinion, but conflict does not include emotional hyperbole (pride).  Conflict should be about mental disturbances spurred by people seeking greater ideas and ideals, personal growth, or team development.  Does conflict lead to contention?  Yes, because pride enters into the disagreement, emotions are injected, and desires to be right at any cost dictate it is time for violence.

My wife and I have a conflict.  She does not like being mentioned, even obliquely, in these articles as she feels it is disrespectful.  I disagree because she has achieved much, and when she is mentioned, even obliquely, it is not to denigrate or deride, but as an example of what can be achieved and what I want to become.  She has gained a lot in self-mastery, and I long to learn how to achieve similarly; thus, it is not disrespect, but profound awe and wonder, mixed with desire, that I mention her.

Our marriage has been a long string of conflicts leading to personal growth, primarily for me.  I have learned that when I feel my emotions begin to boil, it is not her that is wrong in the conflict, but me.  Those emotions are pride screaming, “Oh, please let me be right!”  When the reality is, if I took some time to cool down, mentally focus, and look at my perceptions, I could see where and how I was wrong.  My parents possess a contentious relationship, and many times I have longed to see them divorce and go their separate ways.  I have observed them get into physical fights, watched them argue over BS while something else was the real problem, and I have witnessed several seasons of intense warfare between them.  Hence, I possess a motivating influence to be different, even if I have to unlearn and relearn.

Thus showcasing the significant difference between contention and conflict, growth never occurs in contention, EVER!  Contention only breeds more violence, not personal growth, not individual development, not team cohesion and goal attainment.  When the dust settles from contention, there are generally physical, mental, spiritual wounds and scorched earth between the opposing foes. In contrast, conflict breeds individual growth, personal strength, and goal success.

Leaders, followers, encourage conflict, teach how conflict can lead to contention, monitor conflict closely, and do not try to solve the conflict.  Settle contention, but do not deprive people of conflict.  Use wonder and awe as tools to breed an inquisitive nature and explore with a mind full of reverence.  Therein lay the path to joy; pursue the path!

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

Identity Problems – A Frank Discussion

Several weeks back, I made the declaration that the more labels a person adopts, the harder it becomes to be a person and know who you are.  Multiple labels saddle a person with mental struggles that become physically exhausting.  Each label comes with social responsibilities, cultures, and expectations that cannot be shirked as long as a person has adopted that label.

For example, I am a dual-service disabled veteran.  Thus, I carry the cultures, expectations, and responsibilities of sailors and soldiers.  Consider what the expectations of a soldier are, and that image is part of the identity and societal responsibilities for being a veteran soldier.  Being disabled carries societal expectations, both mental and physical burdens.  Consider the Marines, and every Marine is a Marine for life!  You graduate basic training and earn the title Marine, and you will ALWAYS be a Marine!  Again, that title and label hold societal expectations voluntarily onboarded, and never will a Marine lose the attitude and social expectations of Marines.

The same is true of every single label a person voluntarily chooses for themselves.  The label will attract specific people into your social circles, but only as long as you willingly live the life expectations of that label.  Each label selected will form identities and mental challenges to meet the social expectations, a heavy burden indeed!

In a recent Tik Tok video, a person proudly declares more than 50-labels, preferred adjectives and pronouns, and identities. The video lasted more than 3 minutes, and I felt sorry for the exertion this person will face every minute they have these identities onboarded.  Another person watching this video declared that the subject claiming their labels was mentally ill; I agree with that sentiment.  Why; because the subject will never know who they are because of the noise of the labels, which includes the social pressures, the responsibilities, and the expectations.  I do not know the name of the person in the video, I would not share that video due to the privacy respect I have for others.

Who are you?

Even though current society in 2021 declares confusion between who and what a person chooses to be, not what are you.  For example, I do not like, nor do I onboard, the identity of disabled.  I am NOT disabled, handicapped, injured, and working on healing, but NOT disabled.  Consider the power of words for a moment.

The transitive verb “dis” means to show disrespect, insult, or criticize.  As a prefix, “dis” is defined as the opposite of something, depriving someone of something, excluding someone, or expelling someone.  Thus, a disabled person is either being disrespected, insulted, or criticized, deprived, excluded, expelled, or is the opposite of able.  Frankly, when we are made aware of the etymology of words, we are then more aware of why people choose to adopt or not adopt certain words and labels.  Do we understand this problem of labels just from an etymological perspective?

Regardless of plasticization, words hold power over the mind.  Words become identities, thoughts become things, and research supports that labels hurt mental processes and can permanently scar.  Yet, who and what a person chooses as their identities are not considered a problem in current society or a mental illness.  People’s choices reflect their identities to attract those in socially accepted circles.

Thus, who are you?  Who do you choose to be?  Are those identities sufficient?  While not as important as who a person is, the last question ranks a close second.  How many identities can you physically onboard and live successfully?  As a fan of simplicity and a follower of the KISS rules, as detailed by Murphy, the god of perversity, I keep it supremely simple to protect my energy levels and allow my identity to shine through.  Having only a few identities enables me to select social commitments, restrict the mental noise and exertions, and hold myself accountable to a few identities to grow as a person.

Returning to the Tik Tok video subject and their 50+ labels, identities, and preferred pronouns, we must ask, what is sufficient?  A follow-on video by this person reflected the physical exertions from conforming to identities and social pressures.  Worse, this person had onboarded several more labels and identities. They reflected the mental illness and physical drain caused by trying to live up to all the label responsibilities.  An extreme example; unfortunately, no; the pressures to onboard labels and identities have grown exponentially, mental problems are too significant to quantify, and they are growing.

Not just in America, the confusion about who a person is, the identities, and their inherent loads, have become a global phenomenon.  What are the mental health professionals doing; causing harm by not discussing the physical and mental exertions of onboarding too many identities.  It is up to the individual and parents of minor children to understand and help learn and teach simplicity in labels allows growth as a person, not more identities, but less.  Fewer identities provide freedom for growth, identity exploration and empower mental health, leading to improved physical health.

Identities

As a pre-teen, I struggled with the concept of my identity.  Religion was a curse, my family was worse, and I did not know who I was, thus strangling what I could do or become.  I got jealous of how my sister could get away with breaking the rules and thought I should be a girl.  I struggled with wanting to be a girl for several years as I learned who I was and what I wanted to be.  If this problem occurred right now, professionals would counsel me to adapt and change my body through drugs and surgery, compounding my identity problems.  Yet, what helped, was getting to know me!

I had several people help me form an identity I could be comfortable living with as I explored my options, fought to understand my role and purpose, and embraced my potential.  It took time, lots of time.  It required patience with myself, a moral code I could live in, and a desire to learn—all of which I had to develop from scratch.  My identity is forged in the fires of adversity, for the consequences of my choices during this time played a role in how I went to school, what I chose to learn, and where I found employment and socially accepted company.  Some of those consequences hang around even all these many years later.  Some consequences I have been able to live long enough to survive.

Worse, as I have learned more about myself, my identity has changed, bringing with it consequences of change.  Music, movies, humor, education, and more are part of an identity that forms a life.  Choices bring consequences; how we value those consequences (e.g., good/bad, profitable/unprofitable, etc.) will determine our eventual destiny towards understanding who we are, so we can become what we desire to see in the mirror.  More lessons I had to learn, then and only then, could the value of religion be discovered, the value of family understood, and honor and pride and commitment to self appreciated as an identity to live.  Crucial to this growth and development, I know when to cut social ties, drop music and movies into the trash, and I am imperfect in changing, but I have some lessons I would see others learn to avoid pitfalls.

      1. Commit to learning using the question, “Who am I?” as a core principle to discovery.
      2. Allow yourself time to think, ponder, and consider before committing to an identity. I always wanted to be a soldier, but I loved the ocean.  I did not understand the value of these paradoxical options, and by rushing headlong, I had to learn an identity after living that identity.  Arduous path; know first, then adopt an identity.  Let me try and simplify that with my favorite axiom,  learned as an Emergency Medical Technician, “Never take your body where your mind has not traveled first!”
      3. Comfort is key. If you are not comfortable, your conscience tells you something is wrong.  An identity should require physical strain and mental confusion.  Yes, you can delude yourself for a time/  Ultimately, your conscience, spirit, intellect, whatever you call your inner voice, will break through and tell you your identity is not mentally acceptable.  If your identity choice is not comfortable, it will affect your physical health negatively.
      4. Never stop learning; learning leads to change, and change is good!
      5. When in doubt, turn to lesson two, give yourself more time before committing to an identity.

I love hard rock, big hair bands, and southern rock.  Steel guitars, banging drums, and headbanging to an excellent beat are an identity with power.  But headbanging gives me incredible headaches.  Too much rock and roll, and I cannot think clearly, and the ability to control my thinking is paramount to me.  Do I adopt the headbanging identity or not; sometimes, I am all in for a solid rock fest.  Mostly, I listen to the inner voices and moderate my music.  See, lesson two continues to hold power and lesson four keeps me thinking how much longer will I affect my identity with an uncomfortable identity with physical pain.

Choose carefully, evaluate often, and allow yourself the freedom to grow by not onboarding labels without due consideration.  Please, consider your gender and biological sex as integral to your ultimate destiny and comfort.  Before you are comfortable in your skin, you have to be comfortable in your mind!  If you want to explore identities, explore, but explore smartly and be cognizant of the social responsibilities, expectations, and cultures inherent with an identity.  Observe those with those identities closely for the consequences of thier identity.

I cannot betray a confidence, but I have witnessed how traumatic experiences can be the impetus for forcing an identity change.  A close associate went to a party, had a mickey slipped into their drink, and woke to a new reality.  The consequences of other people’s identities can negatively impact your identity, especially if you do not know who you are!

I have never been comfortable with the hard rock, headbanging social aspects of rock and roll identities.  The illicit drug use, the promiscuous sexual encounters, and the extremes in living frankly scare the hell out of me!  But, I love the music, and I love much of the wardrobes in this identity, even though I will NOT wear makeup and cannot play a musical instrument.

Life is a journey; travel safely using the axiom, “Never take your body, or anyone else, anywhere your mind has not already traveled.”  Think, ponder, consider, and then act confidently.

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

The Biggest Lie in America – The Mouthpiece of Liars

Bobblehead DollSome would say the biggest lie in America is, “I’m from the government, and I am here to help you.”  While this is definitely a contender as a massive lie, there is one more insidious, and they have played the victim card for too long while being a festering wound on America’s soul.  Yes, the biggest lie in America is, “I’m from Hollywood, and I am here to entertain you.”  Maybe, this wasn’t a lie originally, as all good lies must contain an element of truth to keep people believing the lie; the truth is a glimmer of hope, people cling to hope, even when they know that the hope originates in a lie.

For example, Santa Claus is a lie, originating in the exploited actions of an actual person from history, and some have claimed modeled upon Jesus Christ.  Thus, you have hope, dressed in the shades and colors of a lie and sold as a good story to entertain.  Is the pattern clear?

Another example, the government is supposed to protect society; that’s it.  Yet, people have been sold a lie, mainly by Hollywood, that government is benevolent, benign, and trusting in government is natural.  Yet, even the founders of America knew never to trust the government, even as they tried to establish rules to control the government they were founding.  Do you know why the phrase, “In GOD we Trust,” is on the United States of America’s money; to sell the lie that the paper in your hand has value because everyone is supposed to trust God.  But, God did not print the money or cause the inflation that is crushing America and the world; the government did.

The history of Hollywood is replete with anti-Americanism.  From communist sympathizers who have purchased politicians to sway rules and end investigations to the pedophiles and perverts who relentlessly attack children, Hollywood continues to hide behind facades, lies, and charlatans to keep the “entertainment” money flowing.  Consider how long Weinstein was able to abuse people, cheat, and commit crimes.  How many presidents have bellied up to Hollywood to get elected or remain in power after leaving office?

The Clinton’s the Obama’s, how many Senators, Congressmen, princes from foreign lands, you name it, those who swim in Hollywood tend to rise from the waters stained and filthy rich.  Yet, Hollywood acts the victim, punishes real victims, and then playing the victim, has the gall to ask, “Are you not entertained?”

Russell Crowe’s film “Gladiator” uses Maximus Decimus Meridius to ask this question of Rome and her citizens.  Like Rome, maybe we need to ask ourselves the same question.  What price do we pay to be “entertained” by Hollywood?  Here are some of the costs collected from recent Hollywood enterprises. Are they the fees America should pay, or has Hollywood reached the extreme and, like any other business, needs to face the cold hard reality of an upset public?  You decide; I know my choice!

  1. Hollywood refuses to portray America as a Constitutional Republic. Always America is painted and slandered as a democracy.  Like any lie, those telling a lie know the truth and refuse to believe or accept the truth because the lie provides them power and resources.  Consider how anti-American sentiment continues to be spread by Hollywood.  While academics refuse to name Hollywood personally, the truth is obvious to anyone who wants to see Hollywood’s pernicious and deadly hand and the knife being wielded that is cutting America to pieces.
  2. Did you see the Hollywood documentary “An Open Secret?” Are you aware of the volume of child molestation, abuse, and conniving in Hollywood?  How the victims are always revictimized after trying to come forward?  How the industry actively works to hide the secret while pampering the abusers and protecting their own?  What we pay for “entertainment” helps keep the industry afloat and the victims silenced; is this not too high a cost for the morals of American Society?
  3. Has anyone noticed, does anyone care, that Hollywood continues to attack the nuclear family, and each attack is hidden behind the excuse “we are simply imitating societal decline.” Remember, to sell a lie, there must be elements of truth.  Are there certain aspects of society that imitate Hollywood and Hollywood then imitate as “art and free expression; yes, but that is not the majority of American society.  Fringe groups exist, and provided they remain non-violent, let them believe and live as they choose.  But, Hollywood wants everyone to think that the majority of American society is anti-nuclear families, anti-family, and anti-strong families in general, and research on the family supports the opposite of what Hollywood is pushing.

Let me hit pause for a moment; consider Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, two successful Hollywood stars, marry, actually love each other, aren’t running around cheating every other day on the other, and Hollywood cannot stand these two people being successfully married.  While not the first, and unfortunately not the last, this couple reflects the poison that is Hollywood.  Every successful couple, who wants to remain employed in Hollywood, gets destroyed by Hollywood, and the media is there chortling right alongside the destruction of the family.  The papers are replete with examples, and the attacks stretch back to the “Golden Age” of Hollywood circa 1930.

Worse, the retaliation against those who buck the system remains the most detestable and disgusting thing.  What props up the destruction of good people in Hollywood?  Fear that the Hollywood machine is going to come for you next.  Snakes feasting upon their own flesh is less despicable than what Hollywood does to everyone who tries to peel back the scab and expose the wound to sunshine disinfectant.

  1. Strong female and male characters are detested, destroyed, and denigrated, also called sexism. Consider John Wayne and the Hollywood-inspired hate and contempt he had to suffer.  Consider the problems Clint Eastwood regularly has to fight to make movies due to the colossal animosity directed his way.  There are lots of other examples of strong men and women and their destruction by envious Hollywood types.  If a person is not the current flavor of the month depravity, Hollywood will treat pets they despise better than their own who are strong-willed and capable.

Newspapers used to survive selling advertisements with the slogan, “If it bleeds, it leads.”  Hollywood is bleeding morality, and this story is not leading in newspapers globally.  Why; because the mouthpiece of Hollywood is the corporate media, who climbed into bed during the HUAC Committee hearings, and they have never left that incestuous relationship.  Hollywood feeds the media, the media feed Hollywood, and the world is treated to daily pots of trash called “reporting and analysis.”  What happens when you feed a person junk food all day, every day, for almost 100-years?  The American body is sick from the trash. This is also considered “entertainment,” but only for those holding the knives cutting morales, religion, and everything good and decent out of the societies who embrace Hollywood.

Under the US Constitution, the press was granted certain rights, acting as a force neutral and helping protect America from run-away government.  Instead, the press cottoned onto Hollywood and learned how to feed the circular logic that protects Hollywood from criminal charges by destroying all who oppose Hollywood.  Are you entertained?  Is your hard-earned money well spent at the movies whose actors, directors, producers, and affiliated staff use those funds to hinder, destroy, and criminally act?Apathy

America, Hollywood stopped entertaining us a long time ago.  The media was never supposed to entertain but inform and be neutral in their reporting.  I propose we, the consumers who have been abused, refuse the trash shoveled and imitate a stomach that has been abused enough; the next thing coming down, we throw it all back!

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

Faith or Confidence, Faith and Confidence, Either or, Both – A Question

A recent question surfaced, “What does it mean to have faith but not confidence?”  Some atheist friends immediately will consider this a religious discussion is turn the entire question off.  Yet, faith and confidence are not solely the province of religion, and thus, fair game for a discussion, and America needs this discussion today!  For those well versed in the definitions and etymology of both words, feel free to skip ahead of the next couple of paragraphs, or stick around for the discussion and feel free to add to the discussion.  I welcome your thoughts!

Faith

A common definition for faith is “things hoped for, but not seen.”  For example, we hope that when we turn on a light switch, electricity, something we cannot see, will light a lightbulb.  Dictionaries hold an almost standard definition for faith as “derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, meaning confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.”  Faith can also include a system of beliefs codified into a religion, strong feelings that become personal beliefs, or absolute trust.  For example, consider the trust placed upon the government to act in a specific manner, e.g., for the benefit of the majority of society and for personal interest or the select of society who pay the most in donations.

Interestingly, most people would guess these definitions of faith and stop there with their guessing.  However, in stopping, they miss crucial aspects to the etymology and missions of the term faith.  Consider that faith also denotes allegiance and loyalty, or individual duty one owes to another, as well as the sincerity of intentions.  Finally, we reach a pinnacle or the crux of faith without question; actions are undertaken without question.

Consider for a moment in school; we studied French history, specifically Joan of Arc, nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans.”  She is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a saint, but only after being burned at the stake for her faith.  At nineteen, Joan of Arc went to her death, an action taken without question, in complete confidence, knowing the outcome, on faith, or rather the power of her conviction she was right.  While highly simplified, we see the power of faith, backed by confidence.

Confidence

The feeling of confidence has led many a person to leap off a ledge into a river, from a cliff into a raging sea, or, as stated above, to go calmly to one’s demise in the face of tyranny and oppression.  Confidence is defined as a feeling or belief that something can be achieved, success can be obtained, that ability can overcome obstacles, and good will come after a struggle.  Confidence includes certitude, trust, intimacy, reliance upon others, support from others, the ability to keep secrets, but most of all, confidence is a firm belief, or faith, that someone will act in a right or proper manner.  Interestingly, confidence is a double-edged sword for those who swindle, lie and cheat, use confidence to beat their victims for their money and precious resources.

The etymology of confidence holds the key to why confidence is crucial to the discussion on faith.  Confidence derives from Middle English confydence, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French confidence, borrowed from Latin confīdentia, from confīdent-, confīdens “trusting in oneself.”  Consider this for a moment, when man needed to trust something, the first thing he trusted was himself, and communicating that trust to others was paramount to building a society, an economy, and a government.

America’s failure of confidence is traceable to the partisan issues in a dual-political party system where both parties have proven themselves useless in protecting the citizen from the other party and the extremes inside their own party.  When discussing confidence, it cannot be stressed enough; we must discuss money, for we do not spend money.  We traffic in confidence in the government issuing paper labeled as currency.  Money is the tangible goods valued in trade for a product or service.  How tangible is that credit card in your wallet, and how much value does it have if you wanted to trade the card itself for a tank of gas?

Discussion

What does it mean to have faith but not confidence?  The questioner doubts his confidence, places faith in hope and desires to know that they know their confidence and faith has been placed in a sound source.  Now, a religionist, at this point, would point to a supreme being, and the discussion would shift in that direction.  There is nothing wrong with placing faith and confidence in a supreme being.  I advocate finding hope, placing faith, and building trust with a community of believers.  I am not here to point a person to a community of believers; that is your journey to take, and if interested, I can recommend a few in your area if you are further interested offline.

The intent here is to reflect does faith and confidence work together, separately, independently, cojoined, or in a different relationship altogether?  I firmly believe that when we understand the intimacy of the relationship between faith and confidence, we possess the power to know why and what we are placing our faith and confidence upon.  As a child, it intrigued me that confidence listed faith as a synonym in the thesaurus, but faith does not list confidence as a synonym in the thesaurus.  Why?

The answer lies in the etymology of the words: confidence is all about trusting in oneself, whereas faith requires exercising confidence in someone or something other than oneself.  Thus the relationship of trust opens, and in the opening, we find the need for duality in communication, a duality in action, and duality in intentions.  For when we put our faith in another, we expect reciprocation.  Confidence in oneself has no duality; faith possesses a need for duality, a partnership, and, if you will, a return on your investment.

Why are Americans so angry right now?  Some may ask, how do you know Americans are angry?  I cannot see signs of anger in America.  To these people, I say, look closer, get outside the cities, read the signs, and pay more attention to your neighbors.  How do I know people are angry; well, the popularity of “Let’s Go Brandon” is a good indicator.  The screams and shouts, the capturing of media attention at every opportunity to harangue the president, the subtle backlash the president faces everywhere he goes in America; yeah, these all indicate America is not pleased and very angry!

Returning to why is America angry?  Confidence was invested, faith was placed, and the return on investment is not forthcoming.  A lesson often quoted in these articles is a powerful lesson learned from reading classical literature.  However, the source escapes me even now, “The most dangerous person is an honest man betrayed.”  Where was confidence invested; the voting booth.  Where was faith placed; when the oath of office was taken and sworn before God to be upheld.  What is the return on investment; it is not “free stuff” from the government,” it is the fair and equal treatment of all before the law.

Failing to see faith upheld means people fall back to questioning faith being invested in the core of society, that which makes us Americans.  When this faith is lost, we are left with confidence, but confidence is selfish; confidence only looks after personal interests; confidence is all about me, myself, and mine.  What is the danger in confidence; confidence is what the charlatans in government dragged America into in the first place to get us to this dangerous edge.  Who is Jill Biden looking out for; it certainly is NOT Joey, but only Jill!  Who is Joey looking out for; it certainly is NOT the common citizen or the US Constitution he swore to protect and serve.

Is it any wonder that people would ask questions about faith and confidence?  How do we know that we know our faith and confidence have been invested properly when the return on our investment is so bitter, so terrible, and so detrimental?  We have not been taught the relationship between faith and confidence, so trust, belief, caring, and compassion are the victims, and America as a society suffers, bleeds, and dies a little more every day.  We do not support each other as Americans because the media harps incessantly about every line that is supposed to separate us first.

The political leaders accepted the job, took the pay, swore the oath, and are responsible before God for their actions, and are accountable before us, the citizens, for how they act in our name.  That is faith and confidence in action.  The relationship becomes tangible when we take the time to understand the relationship and then enforce the relationship as a dual tool in building the core of America.

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

President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Bobblehead DollPlease excuse me; I am branching out a little today.  However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed.  I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return.  We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted.  There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua.  The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.

All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).

Hence why I am branching out a little today.  On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation.  It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency.  President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.Religion Quote 2

What is diligence?

The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task.  Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind.  One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention.  Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.Apathy

I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:

What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction.  Diligence requires observation over time.  Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes.  The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break.  Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.Angry Grizzly Bear

I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news.  If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president.  Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations.  Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president.  Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments.  The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.

What is faithfulness?

Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs!  According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable.  Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Pink Monarch ButterflyLike tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong.  Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole.  Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals.  Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty.  Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers.  Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly.  There is power in being faithful!

Detective 4Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause.  Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress.  Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs.  Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement.  Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words.  By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes?  Why are they followed?

Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available.  More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically.  Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.Life Valued

What are prayers of faith?

A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power.  Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor.  Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come.  Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.

Knowledge Check!I am not here to tell you what to pray for.  I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America.  I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical.  However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us.  Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others?  If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?

I know my answers; how do you choose?

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

Do We Understand?

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.

Atheism: A Religion Ascending

Father Mulcahy 2The Daily Signal reported some news that tickled my irony bone this morning, and I had to share.  Harvard University, an Ivy League school begun by puritans, has hired Greg Epstein as Chief Chaplain.  From the Daily Signal report, we find the following reasoning for the new Chief Chaplain’s ascension:

A Harvard Crimson survey of the university’s 2019 class found that students were two times more likely to identify as agnostic or as an atheist than average 18-year-olds, The New York Times reported.  About 21.3% of the class said they were agnostic, and 16.6% said they were atheists.  About equal shares of the students said they were Protestant (17%) or Catholic (17.1%), 10.1% said they were Jewish, 2.5% said they were Muslim, 3% said they were Hindu, and 12% said they were “other.”

I make no broad-stroke generalizations based upon a report that has passed through The New York Times and The Daily Signal; however, it is interesting to note the data is a unique finding.  Now consider that atheists have begun holding meetings, singing hymns, hosting children’s meetings.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, atheists are flattering those they proclaim not to be.Father Mulcahy 5

President General George Washington made the following comment in his farewell address to the nation:

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Returning to the axiom of flattery being found in imitation, then the appointment of a US Military Chaplain who is also an atheist is both a possibility and shortly a reality— bringing up some interesting questions for those atheists who continue to proclaim that atheism is not a religion.  More to the point, a military chaplain is required to deliver services in a host of different religious services.  How will that work for both the chaplain and the parishioners?  What about spiritual counseling?  Marriage counseling?  Other life and death style counseling chaplains are required to perform?Father Mulcahy 4

Having been a US Military Chaplains Assistant, who has fought for religious freedom for soldiers and the soldiers’ rights to worship how, where, or what they may, I find this discussion intriguing and interesting.  When his command was telling a Christian-Jewish Soldier that he had to choose which holidays he would be allowed to celebrate, my job was to help provide a voice of reason and history to aid the command in supporting the soldier and discover a compromise.  When two Wiccans wanted to hold a wedding, guess who got behind the happy couple to handle the administrative affairs?  When a soldier needed a chaplain but was uncomfortable talking to his own, guess who called the soldier a chaplain who was more comfortable to be around.

Knowledge Check!Religion and social standards, laws, and morals all cross and intertwine.  In the mixing, society builds a value system and a method of thinking and acting.  Here is the opportunity, do we learn and grow or do we denounce and castigate?  I have met good people among those calling themselves non-religionists.  I have met some grand and noble people among those who would call themselves religionists.  The opposite is also true; I have met some genuinely deplorable characters among both religionists and non-religionists.  It has been fun and exciting to meet truth seekers among the religionists and non-religionists and watch the conversations unfold regarding science, math, logic, psychology, and every form of human study.

Religion QuoteWhere freedom of religion is concerned, I believe The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints says it best in their tenth Article of Faith:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, and what they may.”

From my earliest days as a child, I have espoused similar beliefs.  I do not care how, what, or where you worship, what you worship, or when.  Provided your rights to worship, do not refuse another person their liberties to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, enjoy your faith.  I will even come along and observe occasionally.  I find the shift interesting as a social movement by Harvard, and I want to think that the move to ascend an atheist chaplain to Chief Chaplain is not a move with hidden purposes and political leanings.Religious Thought

I offer my genuine and heartfelt congratulations to Chaplain Epstein as he takes his new promotion at Harvard and look to see what develops over the coming years that brings more harmony amongst religionists and improves religious freedoms across America and the globe.  I would caution Harvard if this is a trick, many an honest person will be angry when the truth reveals hidden agendas, and I hope the caution is not needed.  I do look forward to the day when Wiccans and other “non-traditional religions” obtain military chaplains.  Not because it would cause problems, but because it would reflect truth in religious freedoms we espouse in the US Constitution.  If a Muslim Chaplain can serve harmoniously with a Baptist Chaplain and a Jewish Chaplain in the US Military, I see no problems with Atheists and Wiccans joining their ranks.

© 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.

Revisiting No Neutrality – Today is a Day of Choosing, Tomorrow a Day of Action!

Why The Safe Path Is Dangerous - Tri-Peaks Life CoachingOn 01 July 2021, I first wrote an article regarding how there are no more safe paths, no more neutral zones, no more areas of peace to rest upon.  After the last 15-days, the world has witnessed this reality, and I revisit this topic to issue a plea.  Today, make a choice.  Tomorrow go to work implementing that choice.

In mentioning the following, I am not discussing religion but social history.  The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints holds sacred “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of JESUS CHRIST” as holy scripture.  The book contains a record of a civilization ruled by kings; then, the king proposes a society ruled by judges where their own conscience and written laws govern every person.  Both systems of government worked well.  The reign of the judges ends in chaos when the chief judge is murdered, and the people break up into separate tribes.  That is a couple of hundred years of history boiled into a few brief words; however, the pattern holds true for several other societies not recorded in books considered holy scripture.  I find the following fascinating as a template for the current time the world finds itself facing.

Why do societies fail?

Image - John Wayne QuoteMost societies fail because leaders have violated the core fundamental principles those societies were built upon. The people have lost the way to hold the leaders accountable to the fundamental principles that originally built the society.  In modern societies, these principles are codified laws from founding national documents, and holding the leaders accountable would involve lawyers and judges, as well as time and other leaders committed to holding together the system to ensure those who broke the system are held liable and accountable before the law, and not a mob.

Pick an empire, Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Nephite, etc., all of them suffer the same fate as they crested the height of their time and slid into failure and ruin.  The leaders failed the people.  The government decided they did not have to perform their only job, to look out for the safety and security of the people, and the people died, and the government fell into ruin.  What have we witnessed across the globe, governments not listening to their people, refusing their people, and denying rights and liberties to their people in the name of personal power, wealth, and highly temporary fame.Finest Hour

Australia and New Zealand, the COVID measures are so beyond the pale horrific, and totalitarian that the government is doing more harm than the disease the government proclaims to be fighting.  China has blatantly broken the treaty with Hong Kong.  Nobody outside of Hong Kong appears to care enough to issue strong demands, let alone support Hong Kong’s citizenry in reclaiming that which is their right by treaty.  North Korea continues to vacillate and sway to whatever music China plays in the hopes of catching scraps, as their people suffer and die from malnutrition, disease, and neglect.Patriotism

Head into the Middle East, and that powder keg is going to blow again real soon.  Terrorists in Afghanistan never stay in Afghanistan, and now with a pipeline to China, money, and weapons from America, and new ways and means to launder money, how soon before the Middle East becomes a free-fire zone, the European mainland becomes a terrorist free-for-all shootout to rival America’s Wild West, and Africa descends into more tyranny and villainy?The Duty of Americans

Where are the leaders of government?  Where are the government representatives?  Our globe has changed since 2000; the hoped-for peace from the end of the last century has turned into a blood bath of terror on a global scale fed by low-intensity conflict (LIC).  Just as major international conflicts dominated the previous century, this century is being dominated by small brushfire LIC conflicts.  Our modes of war must change, our governments must adapt, our societies must change, and we are 20+ years into the new century.  The government still thinks this is 1995, money is free, music is 1980s good, and the future is bright and happy!

The Decisions for Today

QuestionWhat do you want most?  What government is most important to you?  Is your government system sufficiently powerful enough a motivator to propel you to action to save it and pass it along to the next generation?  America has had leaders who have been quoted as saying something to the effect of, “The blood of current generations must renew the tree of liberty to remain free.”  What will you sacrifice for liberty today, for your children to experience freedom tomorrow?

LIC is here to stay.  LIC will be the “gentlemen’s war” of this century.  Where the wealthy pool resources and purchase mayhem and destruction for their pleasure.  If society does not change, all representative governments will be lost in the turmoil created by these “children having fun.”  Worse, those little fracases could become full-blown international conflicts with nuclear weapons very easily — all based on the WWI model of human ineptitude and our human weakness for killing ourselves.LIC 2

The decisions are yours, and yours alone to make.  Collectively, your choices will move you into one of two groups, those fighting for representative government and those opposed to representative government.  Truthfully, do not expect to experience peace; there are no safe paths, no routes through tulips and rainbows on gossamer wings of spun sugar plums.  The enemy is awake; the enemy has prepared a legion of useful idiots and ivory potentates to give orders.

But, the decisions must be made, and the sooner the decision is made and communicated, the easier life becomes, for then you know your purpose!

The Actions for Tomorrow

ToolsAct with haste, prepare with confidence, and move with speed.  Get loud!  Stand like a rock!  I was told standing is not an activity.  The person proclaiming that has never stood still and faced down an enemy, or they would know just how arduous standing can be!  Seek learning through study, discussion, questions, and faith.  Seeking learning through faith means that you will actively believe until you can prove otherwise, even if it means waiting patiently for a while to learn more.

I learned this principle in the US Army.  I fully did not expect to learn this lesson, but learn it I did.  I believed in the chain of command.  Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training did nothing to dissuade that the chain of command needed to be accepted, supported, and obeyed unquestioningly.  Then I got to my first duty station and began learning my role in the chain of command as an active participant.  First, I refused to believe, then I believed in faith, then I tested and learned, then I acted above and beyond my rank and got swatted down for breaking the chain of command.  Always the same counsel, you are a great soldier/sailor, but you make decisions above your paygrade, and this rubs higher ranking people wrong.  My response, how am I responsible for the choices and consequences of those higher in rank choosing to be offended?

Knowledge Check!Everyone is now in the same boat; the chains of command cannot be trusted.  We must each think and act for ourselves for the betterment and security of our country, families, homes, freedoms, and the next generation.  We must each choose to throw off the shackles of the past, learn the lessons of history not taught in school, and then act to save the best in our societies before the wolves of terrorism steal everything.  We each must become the sheepdogs of war!

© 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.