“All Power is … Derived From The People.” – The Consent of the Governed

cropped-2012-08-13-07-37-28-1.jpgIf you are browsing a second-hand bookstore and come across the book “We, The People: Great Documents of the American Nation” by Jerome B. Agel, I recommend picking the book up and adding it to your library.  I have not found a better book discussing the founding documents of this great American Republic.  It is historically accurate, provides insights, and is a treasure of wisdom and knowledge.

A phrase in the Declaration of Independence has always captured my imagination and held fast to my mental processes.  “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  It has always been understood that men invented governments for the ruling of other men.  Rome was a perfect example of this principle, and in writing down the laws, the first attempt at a moral government responsible to the people was attempted.  However, it is the second part of that phrase that we are discussing, “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Consider this principle for a moment. First, governments have just and unjust powers, and second, the powers originate with the consent of the populations agreeing to be governed by the government.  Czarist Russia is an excellent example from history where the people had enough and began looking around for a new government.  That the people were hoodwinked and communism was imposed upon them remains one of the great tragedies of the last century.  In less than 100-years, Russia went through two incredible government upheavals is mentally incredible to consider.Plato 2

Unjust powers of government are those powers governments assume where the people have not granted them consent of the governed.  When governments take enough of these powers upon themselves, the population’s revolution, anger, and frustration are the only outcomes possible.  Worse, the governments are breaking their laws and the trust of those who elected them, proving that the most dangerous person is an honest person betrayed.

Bobblehead DollAll of which is mentioned as we discuss the origin of the philosophy of the consent of the governed in American jurisprudence.  Virginia, 1776, The Virginia Declaration of Rights prefixed the Virginia Colony’s constitution and was written by a reluctant statesman and largest landowner, George Mason.  In sixteen statements on government and the rights of man, we find the consent of the governed and the need for controls on government pertinent to our day and time!

      1. “All men are by nature equally free and independent, have certain inherent rights, … namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
      2. “All power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.”
      3. “Government is or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people. … A majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.”
      4. “No man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community.”
      5. The state’s legislative and executive powers are separate from the judiciary, and the operatives return to being citizens after their respective terms in office, in accordance with the laws of the land. [Edited for brevity]
      6. Contains three principles of import:
          • Elections should be free and open to all.
          • Property cannot be taxed or deprived for public use without consent.
          • Those elected are bound to the same laws as the citizens.
      7. “All power suspending laws or the execution of laws by any authority without consent of the representatives of the people is injurious to their rights and ought not to be exercised.”
      8. Deals with a criminal trial, due process, speedy trials, a jury trial, and a unanimous jury.
      9. Deals with fines, bail, and cruel or unusual punishments.
      10. Deals with search and seizure requiring evidence of a crime and the need for a warrant to be based upon evidence or not to be granted.
      11. Holds sacred the rights to a jury trial, including for disputes between two people over non-criminal issues.
      12. Holds sacred the power of the press as a bulwark of liberty, and restraining the press is an action of despotic governments.
      13. Details that standing armies in peacetime should be avoided and a well-regulated militia is proper and natural for the defense of the state. Important to note, “the military should at all times be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
      14. Demands uniform government that applies to all people.
      15. Declares that “No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
      16. Declares that “Religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Let’s Discuss

Are we in trouble? We didn't do it!!!
Are we in trouble? We didn’t do it!!!

In opening the discussion, one of the most egregious and despicable actions witnessed every year is the failure to follow the strictures of a peaceful society as required in the 16th statement, to practice the “mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”  Having been a student of religion, I have found no religious stricture, in any organized religious teaching, to living in harmony with others by practicing forbearance (tolerance, patience, and kindness), love (respect, kindness, gentleness, meekness, all unfeigned), and charity (service) to those in our society.  Atheists, this includes you; it is time to live in harmony with others and stop the lawfare.  If someone is not violently demanding you adhere to their religion and religious tenets, then leave them alone!

I Find the following extremely important to the news developed, especially over the last two weeks.  “No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles” [emphasis mine].  Let’s break this down:

      • Justice: Decency to all as a behavior of equality and commitment to moral rightness.
      • Moderation: This is all about not going to extremes, being restrained, knowing the boundaries and staying within limits, and being reasonable and approachable.
      • Temperance: While primarily used in drinking alcohol, this also applies to any behaviors where self-restraint, moderation, and expressions or observance of temperate behaviors are required.
      • Frugality: Besides being a good steward of other people’s resources, being frugal requires being sparing, prudent, economical, thrifty, and reserved.
      • Virtue: Requires moral excellence, modesty, personal dignity, goodness, and conformity to a standard of righteousness.

Knowledge Check!These are fundamental principles of liberty and the foundation upon which government is built and sustained.  How often do you hear politicians discussing these terms, returning to these principles as terms to write laws worthy of printing for society or as standards for scrutinizing the government agencies?  What did we observe in government this week that adhered to any of these fundamental principles to America or any other government succeeding in the past week?  Does anyone argue that Gov. Cuomo’s actions in New York were virtuous?  Were the CDC Director’s edicts frugal, temperate, moderate, or just?  How about the reaction by Congress to the mandates by the CDC?  Did they perform their jobs to scrutinize the legislative branch using these principles?

Now, some will decry that this is a document solely for the Commonwealth of Virginia and does not apply to the entire United States.  Yet, I would counter that the principles and language of this document are interwoven into the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, and every other founding document and US State Constitution.  Thus, why could we not use The Virginia Declaration of Rights as a template to benchmark and measure the performance of politicians and bureaucrats?Image - Eagle & Flag

Fundamental principles do not age, expire, or possess a shelf-life.  Hence, knowledge of the fundamentals empowers action by the electorate to change, correct, and demand government adherence, for we are the owners of our representative government.  We, the electorate, need to teach these fundamental lessons to the politicians, then demand they adhere and hold accountable the bureaucrats to the fundamental principles of liberty, or we all lose this precious government of the people, by the people, and for the people, where the consent of the governed is respected.

© 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.

Paul Harvey – Detestable VA Chronicles for Week Ending 07 Aug 2021

Bobblehead DollPaul Harvey is a hero of mine.  I miss his voice on the radio.  He exuded a calm demeanor, regardless of the terror, the trials, and the terribleness of the news reported and discussed.  I do not have Paul Harvey’s sense of calm.  When I heard about the beheading of a woman in America, in broad daylight, by an illegal immigrant who has been on a one-man crime spree from El Paso to Minneapolis since 2007, my cherub-like demeanor took a tremendous hit.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports on a couple from Kansas who are flat out despicable, faking blindness to increase disability payments from the VA and Social Security.  Frankly, I hate liars and thieves and agree to the restitution ordered, but I do not agree that the couple deserved probation.  Stealing benefits should come with more than simple probation and restitution.  Where is the community service in distinctive clothing and sandwich boards declaring they are thieves?VA 3

However, this couple represents a symptom, not the disease of the VA and Social Security specifically, and the Federal Government generally.  When leaders act reprehensibly, criminals will test the system to find weaknesses and attempt to benefit from leadership failures.  The disease of poor leadership has far-reaching consequences, and criminal activity is not unexpected.  Who is addressing the disease?  When will the citizens of America receive justice to see the healing of the illness that has captured the government?

Military Sexual Trauma

I-CareImperative to understanding, Military sexual trauma (MST) experienced while serving in the military affects both women and men with potentially severe and long-term consequences. Psychological trauma, such as MST, also increases the risk of physical health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.  The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) requires that each facility has a designated MST Coordinator with at least 20 percent of their time dedicated to protected administrative time.  For the record, “protected administrative time” is the time required to be spent on administrative duties, writing clinical notes, ordering supplies, scheduling appointments, administrative responsibilities, and so forth.

In 2018, the VA-OIG discovered just how detestable and deplorable the VBA’s processes and procedures were for military sexual trauma (MST).  Having been a victim of MST, this issue is of particular interest to me, and I continue to follow this issue closely.  I wish I had some encouraging news on this issue, but the VA-OIG found:

“… Processors did not always follow the updated policies and procedures. VBA leaders did not effectively implement the VA-OIG’s recommendations and did not ensure adequate governance over military sexual trauma claims processing. The VA-OIG concluded that VBA was not properly implementing the recommended changes.”VA 3

In 2016, when claims were being improperly and prematurely denied, the problems were considered a lack of training, a lack of policy, a lack of procedures, and comprehensive guidance was needed.  In 2018, additional training and guidance were needed, time, and leadership were recommended, even though claims were still improperly and prematurely denied.  In 2021, it is now blatantly obvious we have a systemic failure of leadership at the VBA to process claims in a manner that is conducive to good order and discipline!

On the same day, this investigation was released, the VHA investigation results for MST coordinators were released to the public.  I bet you can guess what was found, but let’s allow the VA-OIG the opportunity to detail the failures:

The VA-OIG conducted a national survey and interviews to evaluate MST Coordinators’ duties and perceived challenges.

            • 80% of the respondents reported having been assigned at least 20 percent or more of protected time.
            • 39% reported inadequate resources to fulfill MST Coordinator administrative responsibilities.
            • The VA-OIG found that insufficient protected administrative time, role demands, insufficient support staff, and inadequate funding and outreach materials challenged MST Coordinators’ ability to fulfill role responsibilities.
            • The VA-OIG found that MST Coordinators who reported more dedicated time than other MST Coordinators did not necessarily serve at facilities with higher numbers of patients in MST related care.”VA 3

Did you catch that final point?  Resources are not being adequately provided based upon patient load to locations where veterans need care.  Another symptom of leadership failure, being designed into the organization as a policy and working procedure, meaning this is designed incompetence!

Knowledge Check!Here’s the biggest rub, a veteran can be receiving care from the VA for MST at the VHA and still be denied MST on a VBA claim.  I have not heard it working in reverse where a claim is being paid, but the VHA refuses care, but given the failures of the VA as an organization, I would not be surprised to learn this was occurring.  How do I know that care can be provided for MST and not be allowed on a claim?  I am among a number of MST victims, all-male, who have been regularly denied VBA claims but are receiving care for the psychological harm.  Veterans talk to each other.  I have heard the stories of fellow veterans being attacked, assaulted, molested, drugged, raped by male and female attackers, and heard how the VBA had revictimized them.

What’s worse, MST leads to PTSD, and people are suffering PTSD from a number of traumatic events not receiving care or benefits because the VA refuses to acknowledge these problems.  Admitting a problem is the first step in addiction programs; well, it is also the first step in healing leadership failure, and the VA is suffering from dynamic leadership failure at every level!  Know a veteran whose story needs to be told, refer them to me; let’s get this information out.  I am sick to death of the VA getting away with murder.

Programs and Inspections

VA SealThis week, the final three emails from the VA-OIG reflected a VISN wide comprehensive healthcare inspection (CHIp) conducted virtually, a VAMC/VAHCS CHIp conducted in Spokane, Washington, and a program report on the failures in the Veteran-Directed Care Program.  The most interesting finding in the CHIps was how short the leadership teams had worked together, a month, and how many open positions for leaders there were, more than half.  Talk about glaring symptoms of leadership failure, were the leadership teams broken up from employee turnover?  If so, did the employees retire, or were they retired to avoid criminal convictions?  With all the investigations for fraud, as discussed on these pages frequently, I can only guess how leaders churn in a VAMC/VAHCS/VISN.

Believe it or not, the Veteran-Directed Care Program is full of faults, problems and is suffering from a lack of leadership as the program balloons.  Color me shocked!  Surely, somewhere in the VA, if only to screw with the gods of perversity and Murphy their prophet, there must be a functioning and well-led program, department, office, etc.Angry Wet Chicken

It is so absurdly depressing to catalog these failures of leadership week after week and never see any improvement.  We see increasing failures, we observe heightened criminal activity, there is undoubtedly raised awareness of needs and moral distress in abusing veterans, but where is the improvement towards achieving excellence?  Where is Congress in scrutinizing the legislative branches, officers, and leaders?

If a congressional representative can order the VA-OIG to investigate the MST Coordinators, which they did, where is Congressional action on the results?  Surely this is not too difficult a question to ask.  Better still, where is Congress?  I have now reached out to all the elected Federal officials in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.  Texas, because that is where I have been forced to receive care from.  New Mexico because I now live here.  Arizona because I was physically injured by VA employees there.  The amount of interest received has been less than zero!Angry Grizzly Bear

How can interest be less than zero, you ask.  Well, while I have not received any response to my original complaints, I have received a TON of marketing materials about how those congressional representatives “Care about veterans, the community, pets, animals, and America.”  Maybe, not always in that order, but absolutely with less sentiment than I have for the weeds growing on my sidewalk!  Thus, I ask again, with all sincerity, where is Congress in scrutinizing the government?  I demand to know the “Rest of the Story!”

© 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.

Weep America! – The VA Leadership is Becoming Worse! – Part 3

I-CareIn the less than 10-days since I last wrote on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has dumped more than ten inspection results over the last three days into my inbox.  Not a record, but the recorded actions are certainly hitting record lows.  Worse, the culture of the VA remains unchanged, even through all the recorded crimes and indignities the veterans suffer under.  Recording and summating the crimes of the VA is so depressing, mainly because of the failure to reform.  But, a little depression will not slow or halt the reporting of these detestable actions of the VA!

The first VA-OIG investigation is more of a report on criminal proceedings concluding with sentencing.  A total of five people, including one VA Employee, have been stung in this investigation.  How thrilling to see accountability and justice served cold!

Francis Engles of Bowie, Maryland, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution for defrauding a VA program dedicated to rehabilitating military veterans with disabilities. As the owner of Engles Security Training School, Engles falsely represented to the VA that his company was providing veterans with months-long courses when, in fact, the school offered veterans far less.”

February 2019, four other individuals were sentenced in related cases following their guilty pleas. First, James King, a former VA employee, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for committing bribery, defrauding the VA, and obstructing justice. Second, Albert Poawui, the owner of Atius Technology Institute, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for committing bribery. Third, Sombo Kanneh, Poawui’s employee, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bribery. Finally, Michelle Stevens, the owner of Eelon Training School, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for committing bribery.”VA 3

Apparently, bilking the GI Bill is a regular fraud opportunity, and the VA employees need to be held more accountable for the loss of these funds!  The GI Bill is a precious commodity and sometimes the only lifeline for a soldier for retraining while awaiting the VBA’s decisions. Therefore, stealing these funds should come with more substantial sentences, more accountability for the employees in the know of fraud, and scrutiny from elected officials!

For the next story, we have several crimes co-occurring; the most egregious is reporting to have been a veteran, fraudulently obtaining benefits, and then trying to use veteran status for preferential contract awarding.  The VA-OIG reports:

Robert S. Stewart, the former owner of Federal Government Experts LLC in Arlington, Virginia, was sentenced to 21 months in prison with three years of supervised release for making false statements to multiple federal agencies in order to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar government contracts, COVID-19 emergency relief loans, and undeserved military service benefits.”VA 3

I know the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has declared that lying about military service is a freedom of speech issue and not a crime.  However, stolen valor continues to make me sick, and the liars should lose all US Constitutional Rights, as well as be sentenced to punishment most vile!  Having served twice (US Army and US Navy), having been deployed to S. Korea (US Army) and the Persian Gulf (US Navy Multiple Times), stealing valor infuriates me into a raging juggernaut!  I hate liars and thieves, but to steal valor from those deserving goes above and beyond being just a liar and thief, and the conduct deserves punishment most vile!  No, I am not apologetic in taking this stance either!  Burn the American Flag; I disagree with SCOTUS again and becoming a raging juggernaut!  There are lines you do not cross with impunity, and if you cannot scream fire in a crowded theater as “Free Speech,” then acts of stealing valor or burning the American Flag are reasonable restrictions!

I do agree with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ statement:

The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”Angry Grizzly Bear

But stealing valor and burning the American Flag is not “free trade in ideas,” and I support social shaming as part of the punishment most vile for these lepers of society!  Before you burn the Flag or steal valor, serve in uniform, watch a military funeral as a dependent, and then let’s talk about reasonable and valid restrictions upon “free speech!”

Another case, another criminal act, only this time, I am left asking, “How long has this individual been doing business with the VA?”  Regardless, as this is an ongoing case, the following firstly applies: “The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”  From the VA-OIG report:

Muhammad Z. Aabdin of Bronx, New York, was indicted for offering bribes to a VA contracting officer in exchange for the award of VA contracts for personal protective equipment.”VA 3

It will be interesting to watch this case and future (potential) investigations occur.  However, I have several questions needing to be answered, and the report does nothing to aid in answering the questions raised in the defendant’s arrest and the grand jury indictment.  More to come as the VA-OIG and the US Attorney produce information.  May the US Attorney NOT allow a plea deal!

The VA-OIG has often investigated improper fiscal practices at several VA sites for the VBA, the VHA, and the National Cemeteries.  I could almost quote the following investigation results, only differing on how much money is involved.

The VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted a review to examine whether VA’s Maryland Health Care System appropriately managed purchases and payments for medical equipment and supplies. Fiscal oversight of purchase cards and internal controls governing the use of overtime were also reviewed. The VA-OIG found ineffective processes, internal control weaknesses, and inadequate oversight in five areas: 1. The healthcare system and the Enterprise Equipment Request (EER) portal need improved controls for approving equipment purchases. 2. Healthcare system staff and the prime vendor should prepare timely and accurate planning information to ensure adequate supplies are on hand to fill orders. 3. Even though no inaccurate inventory payments were identified, VA’s inventory system needs controls to ensure correct recording of supply units and costs. 4. The healthcare system purchase card program requires closer monitoring to ensure purchases are authorized and supported by documentation. 5. The healthcare system should strengthen its overtime payment controls to ensure supervisors verify overtime hours were completed before approving timecards for payment.  The VA-OIG team also identified more than $5 million in questioned costs related to identified issues such as undocumented or unapproved purchases” [emphasis mine].VA 3

I have heard the term “Criminal Stupidity” and often wonder when “Criminally Designed Incompetence” will become adopted into common vernacular.  I am so fed up with the excuses, the missing money, and the abuse of taxpayer forbearance by bureaucrats; I could rip my hair out and scream until my voice gives out! But, unfortunately, both actions do absolutely nothing to correct the problem and would make me miserable.  The VA has problems with criminals without and stupidity masked as “designed incompetence” within, and the solution continues to be leadership!

Gravy Train 2What adds fire to my mental processes on criminally designed incompetence, the VA-OIG has two other investigations in my inbox on the need to strengthen fiscal controls, , and more correctly track accounting practices.  Under current legislation, if a private business accounted for their money like the VA, they would be shuttered, and criminal charges levied!  Yet, somehow, the elected representatives cannot apply the same accounting behavior standard to a government agency, as they mandate for private companies!  Anyone else thinks we need stronger demands for scrutiny of government agencies?

Plato 2Adding more fuel to the fire for the IT/IS Departments of the VA, the VA-OIG discovered that the VA still cannot regularly and appropriately log records into its own electronic health record systems!  Are you surprised; as a patient, I know I am not surprised at all.  Worse, the lack of medical records being properly handled influences (negatively, of course) how the VBA makes decisions on claims!

The Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) evaluated whether VA’s community care staff accurately uploaded records for non-VA medical care to veterans’ electronic health records. Veterans receive non-VA care based on certain criteria, such as the distance from the veteran to the nearest VA facility or the wait time for a VA facility appointment. Records for non-VA care enable Veterans Health Administration (VHA) providers continuity of care and inform treatment decisions. The audit team found that staff at six of the seven VA medical facilities reviewed did not always index, or categorize, these records accurately. Inaccurate indexing of medical records poses a risk to veteran care. It increases the burden on the VHA staff who locate and correct the errors, reducing their time for other tasks. The team reviewed 209 veterans’ mental health medical records that VHA community care staff indexed between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2019, and found 108 indexing errors for 92 veterans. (Some veterans’ records had more than one error.) Errors included using ambiguous or incorrect document titles, indexing records for non-VA care to the wrong referral or veteran, and entering duplicate records. These errors occurred, in part, due to inadequate procedures, training, quality checks, and quality assurance monitoring and a lack of local facility-level policies.”VA 3

Of course, training and local policies were blamed for the failure to log records properly!  These are automatic designed incompetence excuses that appear every single time the VHA fails, the VBA fails, or they both make significant life-altering decisions for veterans, and the VA-OIG investigates!  The VBA claims it is my duty to ensure outside providers send records to the VA in a timely manner.  The VHA claims they have the documents the VBA wants, and they should read the file.  Who is inconvenienced, not the VHA and the VBA, the veteran?  The person who cannot even look at his digital file without a “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) request and 30-45 days of waiting, and even then, the document is heavily redacted for privacy!  Whose privacy, I wonder, the providers, the employees, or the veterans?  Because I guarantee the VA is conducting serious CYA on the records produced!  Let alone IT’s continued failure to protect the veteran from identity theft or IS to protect the files from being accessed without reason by employees.Apathy

May 2021 was a tumultuous month for the VA and the VA-OIG.  If you would like to review how tumultuous or think you might have missed an article or two reporting the VA’s designed incompetence, feel free to review using the following link.  Frankly, I want to see action taken based upon the investigations to clean house, more fully scrutinize the VA, and improve the veteran experience at the VA.  But, I do not tell you how to think or feel about an issue. Instead, I report and summate and leave the rest to you!VA 3

As always, I report and summate upon the good and bad.  If you are a citizen of Indiana or receive your care from either Fort Wayne, Marion, or through the Northern Indiana Health Care System, please count yourself lucky, and pass on the praise to the VAHCS employees.  The VA-OIG conducted a comprehensive Healthcare Inspection and found, “The VA-OIG’s review of the system’s accreditation findings, sentinel events, and disclosures did not identify any substantial organizational risk factors” [emphasis mine].  While improvements can still be made, this is HUGE news, and the Northern Indiana VAHCS leadership team needs to be back-slapping and congratulating their employees.

Knowledge Check!Thus, my sincerest congratulations go to the Northern Indiana VAHCS, and heaps of shame and scorn remain served cold to the ineffective leadership and useless employees of the VA in general!  America, we should weep, for the VA is not alone in the government agencies in providing world-class detestable service, abuse of the customer (taxpayer), and skirting accountability and responsibility through designed incompetence!  But, when we are done weeping, it is time for action!  Changing the elected representatives, demanding higher scrutinization with actual penalties for failure, and insisting upon fiscal restraint equivalent to the private sector!

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

NO MORE BS: Have You Heard? Chapter 2

QuestionThe first week of June is often a period of recovery.  I have no idea why, but the first week of June is usually a recovery time.  Maybe it was all those years in school; I honestly do not know.  However, the world does not stop, and while the media goes 24/7 over the Memorial Day Gun Violence, stories are evolving that need your attention more.  I do not say this lightly, as I understand those wounded and killed in gun violence are tragedies and cause for grief, but the corporate media has always used these “major stories” to allow other things to slip past.

WhyHave you heard Dr. Fauci’s emails from while he was a name in President Trump’s councils reflect a different story than the lies he peddled for political purposes?  “The emails from the first half of 2020 reveal Fauci’s skepticism early on about masks to ward off COVID-19, his dismissal of the notion that the new coronavirus escaped a lab in China, and his vague reference to researching how to make the virus deadlier.”  Why is this spineless invertebrate still a media mouthpiece, a paragon of dirty virtues and political connections?  Fauci’s research from 1990 through 2020 was in Coronaviruses, and he still hyped, pushed, and peddled lies to obtain a political payoff.  Knowing masks were useless, he pushed lies.  Knowing the survival rate, he still pushed draconian government takeovers of liberty, freedom, and common sense.  Knowing he could orchestrate a catastrophe, he pushed lies to initiate a public health emergency and stood back to reap the windfall in the chaos created.  Of all the government officials with hands in the pot stirring the government mandates, I blame Fauci more than others!

Nuclear FamilyHave you heard the Federal Government remains hell bound and down on destroying the family but is explicitly targeting black families?  Would a minority please help explain why under a Republican President, the Federal Government’s actions are racist, but under a Democratic President, the same actions are “beneficial, needful, helpful, and not in any way demeaning?”  Frankly, I do not care about the race factor; the fact that the US Government, from the Mayor and School Board to the President, seems bound and determined to destroy the foundation of society, the nuclear family, remains highly suspect and needs to be investigated!  Ever since the US Government stole State’s Rights where Welfare Programs were concerned, the family has been directly targeted.  Look at any race, and you will see the same hit in the data, where families went from working to be self-sufficient to the government dole.  Unfortunately, black families have suffered some of the worst impacts.  Now we are three generations into the destruction of the family as a government program, and I want answers!

Have you heard, the data is inescapable, the conclusions self-fulfilling, and the results are incredible.  When you want more economic freedoms, which lead to more overall liberties, it is best to start by ending corruption in government.  Who would ever believe that economic freedoms lead to individual liberty, and the best place to start is reducing government?  I am absolutely… nonplussed!  The founding fathers of The United States of America, a Free Republic (if we can keep it), understood these connections intimately and established the US Constitution to provide future generations the best chance of keeping the American Republic.  So, who would like to start firing and cutting government?  I am first in line; join me!Plato 3

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) released a report on 02 June 2021, detailing crimes so horrific and obscene, I can find no appropriate adjectives to describe this negligence and criminality of all administration leaders involved.  January 2021, Dr. Robert Levy, who was a pathologist, who over his 12-year tenure at the VA Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas, made over 3000 diagnostic errors, manipulated the quality control process, and caused severe injury to 34 patients, received 20-years in what can only be called a “plea deal” that should never have been allowed!  The good doctor admitted to long-term alcohol use.  Now, will someone please hold the leadership teams accountable for this doctor’s behavior?  This story makes me especially sick!  Where are the politicians who were elected (hired) to scrutinize the government?  Where are the “Blue-Ribbon Congressional Committees” to hold those accountable and responsible for 34 veterans severely injured over the actions of a VA provider?  Who will speak for the victims and demand, then oversee and insist upon corrective actions by an executive branch of the government through the work of the legislative and judicial branches of government?VA 3

I was an operations manager, the safety of my workers was my paramount responsibility, and I could be held legally accountable for what happened on my manufacturing floor.  I had two people go for lunch, lifting 40oz curls, and returned to work for the afternoon soused!  I had to shut down my manufacturing facility, I had to keep these two from driving away, I had to call in the temporary employment agency to collect these gentlemen, and they could not have their keys back, for as soon as they returned to work in an alcoholic stupor, I was responsible under the bartender law.  This incident still brings some emotional baggage and resentment at these two morons.  How in the world was the good doctor able to be alcoholically impaired on the job, and nobody was aware?  Impossible!  Where is the accountability of the leaders in this situation?  I could have been jailed for allowing employees to operate their vehicle under the influence; when will the administration be held responsible for allowing a drunk employee to operate a vehicle?  Read the VA-OIG report; it is a criminal list of what not to do from day one of this doctor’s employment!Plato 2

Have you heard, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) killed a veteran in the emergency department of the Malcom Randall VAMC in Gainesville, Florida.  Worse, the veteran should never have died, and the reason they did was due to inefficiency, inadequate care, and processes and procedures in the emergency department triage of patients.  The patient had experienced hemicolectomy surgery, and between days 10 and 15 post-op recovery, he went to two outside ER’s and the VAMC ER, where he passed.  Drunk employees for 12-years are abysmal, fail to recognize patient distress, delay care, and cling desperately to outdated and inefficient processes in patient care in an emergency room, are execrable, horrific, and so vile to have exceeded repugnant!VA 3

Again, one must ask, where are the elected officials in pushing changes to the VA Administration; Oh, I know where they are; they are trying to kill history and remove President Lincoln’s mission statement for the Department for Veterans Affairs.  We need to understand priorities: Is a veteran’s life more important than being woke and having a small group of citizens begging for less sexism, who are always going to choose to be aggrieved, be satisfied for a small amount of time?  I know what my priority is, and it has nothing to do with the permanently dissatisfied and everything with saving lives and honoring patients who deserve the honor!

Knowledge Check!I implore you to please join your voice to mine, and let’s remember Memorial Day 2022 as the day marking how in 2021 we changed the VA, we limited the government, and seized our liberties and freedoms, as the founding fathers intended!  We can make a difference in the government, provided we band together without the petty names and distinctions currently being used to separate and divide.  We, the American Citizens, deserve better from the government we pay for, even if we must use every legal tool in our arsenal to cull the politicians and take the freedoms they have stolen.

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

 

NO MORE BS: Highlights (?) of the first 100-Days

Theres moreOn this momentous day, marking 100-days of the fraudulent president, I thought it fitting to mark the occasion by reminding everyone of freedom grabbing runaway government promoted by President Biden.  As CNN so clearly stated, “To date, 10 of President Biden’s actions on immigration have been reversals of President Trump’s policies.”  Begging the question, do you feel safer in your home now, or this time four years ago?  I know my answer, and I am looking forward to your thoughts.

To date, President Biden has made 50-end runs around the US Constitutional process through executive orders.  For the record, you could take President Trump (38) or Obama (34), add them with President Bush II (13), and still not max out President Biden’s lead.  I have written about executive orders and why I detest this singular action made in a free Republic (if we can keep it) by any leading elected official, Mayor, Governor, or President.  The US Constitution does not need more beatings coming from leading executives, but less.  Much, much, less executive actions, executive orders, and singular people acting “for the good of all” without Congressional representation.  Why use CNN; because as the biggest cheerleaders for the fraudulent president, they have the clearest cheering squad.

Detective 2Examining closer the 50-executive orders issued by President Biden, we find the most egregious of these orders, raising the minimum wage of Federal Contract Workers from $10.95 to $15.00 by 2022 and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2024.  I am thoroughly unfamiliar with any federally contracted jobs that fall under the tipped minimum wage.  Thus, I can only presume the president is now arbitrarily setting the minimum wage for the country without congressional approval—leaving serious questions behind about the legality of this executive order.  Where is Congress in exerting its power and rights to set minimum wage?

A minimum wage is a serious issue; any time the wage goes up, jobs are lost.  A competent first-year economics major can trace that cause and effect line easily!  There are direct causal relationships between high school kids needing employment and not finding it due to the minimum wage laws.  This group of uneducated workers extends to many low-income families, minorities, and many others trying to find work as laborers and cannot find jobs.  Yet, as a political stunt, the president signs an executive order, betrays the US Constitution, upsets the separate but equal branches of government balance, and somehow this is a “nothing burger.”  I beg to differ, vociferously!

Detective 4Another interesting aspect of the president’s first 100-days is immigration.  The current president’s Trump Derangement Syndrome has him reversing 10 of President Trumps Executive Orders and writing two additional immigration-related orders.  The plasticization of modular language reveals the tyranny of ruling by executive order!  The terms “fair,” “equitable,” “just,” “proper,” etc., all point to the president’s desire to see America devalued by illegal immigrants.  Look at the rhetoric used by the president to “explain” why he has reversed, revoked, and wrecked the legal immigration process, and you will find that through Congressional inaction.  With Congresses’ refusal to exert its rights, the president can do anything he wants on immigration, and Congress’s leadership just cheers!

To the US House and US Senate, I must ask, where are you?  Did you take a taxpayer-paid vacation and stopped caring that you are a co-equal branch of the government?  Do you think the judicial branch will stop the president’s runaway government by executive fiat?  Do you believe that the American people stopped caring that the president is giving away America, one illegal alien at a time, and we would not notice?  Why are you not scrutinizing the executive branch and exerting your rights, standing up for your voice, and making sure you are playing a role in the governance of America?

PatriotismI have been insulted, denigrated, derided, and many other things for my stand that every president should have a contentious Congress!  I firmly believe that when a president has a contentious Congress, the will of America’s people is better respected, observed, and through the process of working together, real compromise occurs.  But, what do we see in the US House of Representatives; we see a Speaker who is also the majority leader and the minority leader abdicating their duties to their caucuses and the US House of Representatives.  We see members of the US House race-baiting, employing every card in the deck of identity politics deck and refusing even to acknowledge the other party.  But, the US Senate, if anything is worse, and the US Senate’s problems can be traced directly to the executive actions of Speaker Harry Reid (D) during President Obama’s tenure.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceAmerica, we learned a lot about the “families” presenting themselves at the US Southern Border for entry into America.  We learned about child prostitution, children being “attached” to two strange adults and calling it a “family.”  We learned about a lot of schemes to feed the growing human trafficking problem in the United States.  Yet, the media continues to call the separation of “families” unfair, and the president has proved he learned nothing but smoke and mirrors.  At the same time, these children are raped, abused, disappeared, and destroyed, all through executive order instead of legislated demand!  Legitimate families should be kept together, but until documentation can be obtained, separating the families for the safety of the children should be paramount!  Sorting through the MS-13 plants is not uncaring; it protects America’s main streets from terrorists!  But, these immigration policies, designed by President Trump, are hated by the media; so, these policies have to go.  Thus, I ask again, do you feel safer in your home or not?

The Duty of AmericansI was never a President Trump (R) supporter; but, I did, and do, support anyone willing to try new ideas to make America safer.  I am not a supporter of holding children indefinitely in nice hotels when veterans are homeless and fully support an America FIRST agenda.  But, I also firmly believe that the churches and non-profit groups of America can organize to help in a humane way better than runaway government supported by executive fiat!

ApathyAmerica, we need legislation on immigration, NOT executive orders that change as frequently as the president!  I have maintained this stance, publicly, since President Reagan signed the first orders providing paths to citizenship for illegals.  The illegal immigration policies in America can be directly traced to President Roosevelt and WWII executive orders allowing foreign workers access to America’s jobs in agriculture.

Feel free to look this historical tidbit up, and ask yourself, are you safer in your homes and places of business with executive orders or legislation?  Are you feeling more secure in your finances with runaway executive actions or through the “Rule of Law?”  Do you prosper more under one “Rule of Law” or under identity politics where every single identity can request special treatment, special laws, and special rights?

Image - Eagle & FlagIf the fraudulent president has proved anything in his first 100-days, he has proved America is in trouble, DEEP Trouble, due to the executive orders, runs around the constitutional process, and the abdication of Congressional rule (legislative branch) at all levels of government.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this president has proved that bigger government is a millstone dragging this Republic down.  Finally, this president has proven you cannot “trust” the government and must watch it like a toddler running with a knife!  So, CNN, and all the other corporate media outlets, you cheer the fraudulent president; but don’t you dare try to claim this is a good thing for America!

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

NO MORE BS: Putting Shame in the Right Place at the VA – Administration

Angry Grizzly BearI have found great and good providers at the VA, as well as some truly awful and detestable providers.  The Doctors, Nurses, Medical Support Assistant (MSA), and the patient are supposed to form a PACT team to improve the health and welfare of the patient in the VA Health Care System (VAHCS).  The PACT Team is a VA organizational program to assist in improving care and stands for Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), as an extension of patient care services.  The PACT Team also includes the Patient Advocate and several others, as detailed in the image below.PACT_model

I mention all this because I have heard from a veteran, we are going to call him “Boats,” a chief Boatswain mate for over 20-years in the US Navy, honorably discharged, and a disabled veteran of the Vietnam Era.  Boats’ doctor changed clinics, thus shaking the PACT team to its core.  Since the doctor was reassigned to a different clinic, the nurse has been changed but not explicitly assigned, so the coverage nurse cannot be reached by phone, and secure message falls on deaf ears and plastic lips.  Hence, reaching his PACT team has become a burden, his health has suffered greatly, and the mask mandate makes his safety in the VA Clinic doubtful at best, as the mask aggravates his ability to breathe.

PACT 1Because his clinic has no doctor, other doctors have been sharing their time in the clinic.  This means that if treatment requires time and interactions over multiple visits, the patient loses any type of continuing care and is left frustrated, with continuity of care hindered.  Here’s the rub, this has been an ongoing situation for a long time, and the continuity of care has become a root cause in the failing health of this veteran.  Unfortunately, this is not a new or rare problem for the VA, and as shortages in providers continue to increase, it will only worsen.

PACT 3Boats is in the same situation as many other veterans.  While misery loves company, this type of misery costs lives, and that is an administrative problem Congress legally bound the VA to fix, and they refuse to address.  Like the mask policy that does not include a face shield option or include the verbiage for approved medical conditions, the administration of the VA continues to market lofty and grand standards and fails even to meet minimum legal requirements.  I have witnessed the administrative officers, known by their online pictures, refuse to help veterans, pawn off veterans, and even go so far as to hide from veterans to avoid providing customer service.

The hospital administrators have been schooled in the VA; many have “come up through the ranks.”  These administrators have been taught how to avoid accountability, responsibility, and work the VA Bureaucracy to keep their jobs, even when veterans are dying from the administrative problems they created.  While an employee, I heard the tales of how my Hospital Administration Services Director got her job; draw your own conclusions, all I do know is someone was promoted to an exceedingly great height above her maximum level of incompetence!

Detective 4Consider the hospital director moved, at taxpayer expense, from Seattle to Phoenix.  She had been killing veterans in Seattle and took over an award-winning hospital, which very shortly became a national joke for where veterans go to die!  Her lessons are still being taught, veterans are still dying, and the administration is still the problem!  The mask mandate that has stopped my prescription from being refilled, my abusive PACT Team led by a doctor who invited me to find a new provider, refused to contact me for two months about needed blood work to refill diabetes medication.  After two weeks without diabetes medication, magically, diabetes medication arrives. No blood work ever occurred because I cannot access the VA due to my approved medical condition that makes wearing a mask impossible.

The administration of VA Hospitals is a crime!  I had an assistant director, while an employee, who said, “If a non-VA Hospital did anything like the VA does things, they would be shut down for malpractice.”  The assistant director is now a clinic director for the VA; her resume included 20-years in non-VA hospital administration.  She joined the VA to help veterans.  Where is the VA-Office of Inspector General in rooting out these administrative landmines of ineptitude that makes hiring more difficult and retaining talent near impossible?  Where is Congress in scrutinizing the VA and helping those working to change the VA to succeed instead of actively contending with them?

LinkedIn VA ImageBoats has serious problems.  The legacy of the VA is to kill him instead of fixing their administrative problems.  But, the VA’s mission statement is still, “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.
“Our department remains fully committed to fulfilling the sacred obligation that we have to those who serve in uniform.” ~VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

VA SealWhere is the VA acting in accordance with the mission statement and fulfilling its “sacred obligation?”  The answer, with the current leadership in administration, nowhere!  The VA has been purposefully designed to kill veterans and can be fixed.  The fix must include Congress, and we all know how Speaker Pelosi (D) feels about veterans; when she called them terrorists, it was clear her scrutinizing the government where the VA is concerned will not happen.

I-CareVA Secretary Denis McDonough signed onto the “I-Care” principles as core values in care for veterans in the VAHCS.  Well, when can we, the veterans, see that these core principles have been on-boarded and are correcting behavior?

“VA Core Values describe how VA will accomplish its mission and inform every interaction with our customers. These Core Values are: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence — better known as “I CARE.” VA’s Core Values will continue to serve as the right guide for all our interactions and remind us and others that “I CARE.”

  • I care about those who have served.
  • I care about my fellow VA employees.
  • I care about choosing “the harder right instead of, the easier wrong.”
  • I care about performing my duties to the very best of my abilities.

DutyMr. Secretary…  The veterans are dying now!  We are waiting!

Like my enlistment oath, I signed onto the I-Care principles and even though I am no longer employed by the VA, I live I-Care!  Where is the VA in proving “I-Care?”

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

NO MORE BS: Excuses or Designed Incompetence

ApathyConsider the following situation, you receive a letter dated 26 February 2021, postmarked 11 March 2021, and received on 16 March 2021.  The letter demands you respond within 14-days of the date of the letter, or you will be held accountable for failing to respond in a timely manner.  When you call to complain about the delay in receiving the letter, you are told, the US Post Office (USPS) is to blame, and all complaints should be directed to the USPS.

What is an excuse?

An excuse is a method to reduce blame attached to an action, defend or justify one’s actions, an attempt to release one from accountability or a poor or inadequate example of something.  As children, we are taught excuses are like noses; everyone has one, and picking it in public is disgusting.  Yet, when something happens, two types of people emerge, those who make excuses and those who take responsibility and work to fix the problem.

Calvin & Hobbes - TypicalWhat is designed incompetence?

Designed incompetence is a ready-made excuse for inadequacies created in business operations, a method to avoid responsibility and accountability. Due to the cost of designed incompetence, it is generally only found in government operations.  Designed incompetence can also be intentional actions designed into business operations, so the expected functions are designed to fail purposefully.  Designed incompetence is always harmful and destructive in nature, generally will make no logical sense, and will always be the preplanned leadership fallback position.

Example of an excuse:

The USPS is running slow, so the delivery of mail is taking longer to deliver than usual.

COVID has a lot of employees out sick, so operations are slower.

The person who wrote the order requesting the work to be completed did not do their jobs properly, and the original order must be rewritten.

Examples of designed incompetence:

Detective 4How mail is handled is that one person prints the letter and stuffs it into an envelope.  Another employee picks up the mail for delivery to the mailroom.  A third employee operates the postage machine.  Once posted, a fourth employee takes all the mail to the postal dropoff/pickup point.

The “system” is designed so that the person writing the orders is the only one who can designate where the work can be completed.

The regular employee handling this process is out, and nobody else knows that position sufficiently to perform the employee’s functions with COVID.  So everything had to stop while we waited for the original employee to return.

We “forgot” to reset the postage paid from $0.46 to $0.51, which caused delays in mail being correctly posted and sent out.  Since four of the six-letter received on 16 March had a second $.10 postage on the back, I can presume safely there was a delay.

What do you think?

Today, I spent four different calls to the same government agency, and received more than 12 different excuses, and identified 6 processes designed incompetently with the sole purpose of providing a method to shift blame, remove accountability, deny responsibility.  I was talking to the Department Heads of three different sections of the same organization.  People in charge of fixing the problems to eliminate excuses and redesign operations to remove designed incompetence are not doing their jobs.  Maybe, my analysis is a little hasty; however, after 17 years of dealing with this organization, I feel confident in my conclusions.

Duty 3I know my response; I am very disgusted with the organization and these designed incompetent operations and lackadaisical managers posing as leaders.  As a professional who works with companies and organizations, I work tirelessly to remove excuses and eliminate designed incompetence.  Yet, I do not understand how the government can continue to escape responsibility, accountability, and behavior correction.  I am not confused but very disheartened that Congress refuses to scrutinize the government to correct and improve behavior and performance.

What would you suggest for corrective behavior for the government?  I am genuinely interested in your thoughts and comments, for, from the disparity of the comments, we can design improvements and demand those improvements are accepted.  Feel free to dream big in the comments, and let’s design our government to improve for all.

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

NO MORE BS: The Speaker, The Majority, and The Minority Leadership

The Duty of AmericansIn the legislative branch, the legislators have two jobs, write laws and scrutinize the government.  The laws written should do the most good, for the most people, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, which makes sense.  These laws are not to be interpreted by the judicial because the legislators were too lazy to read the laws they are passing.  Nor should the judicial and the executive branches of government be forced to put up with “pork-filled, bloated bills.”  If the law is too difficult to read in chambers and committees, that piece of legislation needs culled and cut until it is easy to understand.

Thus, bringing up the three leadership roles of the speakers of the House.  Important to note, the Speaker of the House does not have to be an elected legislator.  The House’s Speaker can be, and maybe should be, elected from an independent, neutral party.  Regardless, the House Speaker and majority and minority leaders are elected on the first day of a new Congressional session.

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has the following duties:

      • Responsible for administering the oath of office to the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives
      • Permits Members to speak on the House floor
      • Chooses Members to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore
      • Counting and declaring all votes
      • Appointing Members to committees, sending bills to committees, and signing bills and resolutions that pass in the House.
      • The Speaker is third in line, behind the Vice President, to become President should the President be unable to fulfill their duties.

The Majority Leader has the following duties:

      • The majority leader is second-in-command to the Speaker of the House.
      • The majority leader schedules legislation to be considered on the House floor
      • Organizes daily, weekly, and yearly legislative plans
      • Consults with Members to understand how party members feel about issues
      • Works to advance the goals of the party.

The Minority Leader has the following duties:

      • The minority leader serves as the floor leader of the “loyal opposition” and the minority counterpart to the Speaker of the House.
      • The minority leader is responsible for leading the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives.
      • Include speaking for the party and its policies
      • Protecting the minority’s rights
      • Nominating minority party Members to committees

Andragogy - The PuzzleThe majority and minority leaders continue to represent his or her district in the U.S. House of Representatives.  However, the majority and minority leaders usually do not serve on committees and do not lead floor debate on major issues.  Important to consider, much of the “duties and roles” of the majority and minority leaders are not written in the U.S. Constitution but are only traditional activities that previous speakers, majority, and minority leaders have engaged upon, usually to the detriment of the American Citizen.

Nowhere in this list of job duties does it declare the ability to write foreign governments, visit foreign governments, engage upon duties held by the executive or judicial branch, or grandstand extremist issues to force changes upon the American body culturally, socially, or religiously.  Nowhere in this list of duties is the Speaker, the majority or minority leader responsible for weaponizing government against the American people.  Nowhere in this list of job duties and roles allows the Speaker of the House to act like a monarch over a medieval fiefdom.

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has been eroding the executive branch’s powers for several presidencies now.  Since the media is not calling upon the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to restrict themselves solely to the duties outlined in the U.S. Constitution, we, the people, must remind and scrutinize!  Knowledge is power; and right now, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is cashing in on Americans’ ignorance and, in conjunction with a conniving media, to protect the American People’s abuse, the waste of taxpayer dollars, and the support of a medieval fiefdom.

DutyI encourage all to observe, understand, and scrutinize the politicians’ actions in leadership positions, including the U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker, the majority and minority leaders.  When you catch them acting outside their assigned roles, duties, and responsibilities, be the loyal opposition and call them out for the neglect of their duties!

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

NO MORE BS: Legislative Branch, The Role of Elected Officials – US House of Representatives

DutyIn democratic society’s, there is a representative form of government, knowing and understanding the duties the elected officials are expected to perform will aid in measuring those currently holding office, and those seeking office more precisely.  While this article is steered more towards the Republic of the United States, the principles are still the same for every democratic society across the globe.

The Role of the Elected Representative – US House of Representatives

Important note, the United States House of Representatives, by US Constitutional direction, is “The People’s House.”  This representative body is the general body where specific duties are demanded.  Article I, section 5 of the Constitution provides the House with the authority to determine whether Members-elect are qualified to be seated.

      1. A congressional representative is elected to a two-year term serving the people of a specific congressional district.
      2. Elected congressional representatives have two duties: making laws and scrutinizing the work of the Government.
      3. To be elected, a representative must be at least 25 years old, a United States citizen for at least seven years, and an inhabitant of the state he or she represents.
      4. Congressional representatives conduct a broad scope of work to best represent a set number of constituents.

Those are the four duties of an elected representative to the US House of Representatives.  Do you, personally, feel “represented” by your elected representative?  Personally, I do not!

Theres moreWhy; the constitutional qualifications for office originate in British law, where members of the House of Commons had to live in the shires or boroughs they represented.  Although that was rarely done in practice; see a pattern?  The founders used that example to motivate the requirement that Members of the House live in the state they represent, which would increase the likelihood that they would be familiar with the people’s interests there.  But there was no mention during the debates about living in the same district. The district system appeared later as states dealt with how to fairly organize their congressional delegations.  If location, and time of living in that area, proves residence, can a person trust their representatives when they live in DC, work in DC, but claim to represent your local area?

Even during a nation-wide pandemic, it has been most unusual to observe any congressional representative living in their home state, let alone their own congressional district.  Hence, it appears that congressional representation is following the example of the British House of Commons, rather than the US Constitution.  Before technology, I might have bought the need to be in Washington to conduct committee business, but with technology, I do not buy the excuses!  Leaving the question wide open, do you feel represented by your elected officials in the US House of Representatives?

Duty 2The entire job of an elected congressional representative is to represent their district.  That is the Summum Bonum of their elected duties.  Yet, can you even get a straight answer from your elected representatives in a timely manner?  Case in point, Rep. Debra Haaland (D), could not be bothered to help people in her district, but she sure blew her own trumpet declaring her work for her district.  I have written letters to several representatives of the house over the years, and each year the response takes longer, the response is less useful, and the platitudes and emails proclaiming their work become more loquacious, braggadocio, and plastic.  Where the words mean one thing, but the actions conducted are not in line with the words.  I was once a member of Paul Ryan’s district.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R), was considered to be a fiscal hawk, but he refused to perform his job of protecting America’s checkbook.  Yet, in all the emails I received before his retirement, he was always talking about his skills and work in cutting the Federal Deficit.  Despite his past fiscal conservative rhetoric, Speaker Ryan’s tenure as Speaker of the House—most of which coincided with periods of unified Republican control of the Federal Government—saw significant increases in Federal Government deficit spending.  Hence, the question asked, do you feel represented by those elected to represent you?

InertiaWhile Speaker Ryan (R) was spending our children’s, children’s, children’s, money, his district saw massive job losses from the automotive industry, manufacturing tanked, and lob losses mounted, during which much of the rest of the country enjoyed a booming economy!  When I asked Speaker Ryan why the disparity between his district financially failing, and the rest of the country booming, I received a letter discussing his fiscal genius and government cost cutting measures.  My response was not worth the paper it was printed on, I left his letter in an outhouse, on a closed job site!

Using your powers of observation, can you trust your elected congressional representative to, “make laws” and “scrutinize the work of the Federal Government?”  I know I can’t!  When was the last time an elected representative made a law that passed the smell test?  Created legislation that did not contain enough Pork to choke a Chinese Buffet?  Scrutinized the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs to cease killing veterans?  Scrutinized the IRS to ensure that those charged with collecting taxes, actually paid their taxes?  Scrutinized the Department of Defense so that $23 Trillion Dollars just does not disappear?  I remember watching on TV (mid-1980s), the House Speaker had business to conduct and finish, so the elected officials stopped the clock so they had time to finish their work.

Government LargessOn the subject of scrutinizing the Federal Government, and handling with legislation the duties needed to clean the Federal Government workers from posts where they weaponize government for personal gain, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) just reported some incredible examples of elected officials not scrutinizing properly!

The VA-OIG used an outside consultant, to examine 24 patient cases of concern, and the outside consultant found 16 of the 24 cases had quality of care concerns.  Yet, the VA-OIG did not substantiate that the quality of care fell below standards accepted by the VA.  Tell me, why hire an outside consultant to review the cases?  Why are the standards lower for quality of care in VA Hospitals than in community-based hospitals?  Long have I asked these and many other questions, of elected representatives, and crickets have been my answer!

Detective 2The VA-OIG investigated a urologist in Des Moines, Iowa who did not have the proper authority to issue controlled substances in an operating room environment (DEA Registration).  A Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Hospital Administration (VHA) memo had been received but never acted upon, the doctors were not notified in a timely manner that they needed the new authority to issue controlled substances, and the doctor is blamed for failure to obtain the proper authorities.  Yet, how many administrators failed to perform their jobs and were never censured, held accountable, or required to suffer punishment for not timely notifying the practitioners of new requirements; none!  If the doctor is censured, why not the administrative staff?  The need to scrutinize the efforts of the employees of the Federal Government has never been more apparent, but the elected officials whose sworn duty it is to scrutinize, is being neglected en masse!

The VA-OIG has reported a VA Employee, Respiratory Therapist, was also a thief who stole government property and sold that property on eBay for personal profit.  How many times will this story repeat before the VA is scrutinized by the elected officials, who have a sworn duty, obligation, and job requirement?  Where was this employee’s supervisor, director, and hospital administrator while this theft was going on?  One of the biggest problems the VA has is with beating and destroying whistle-blowers and coddling and supporting criminals.  Where are the elected representatives?

LookHow many other Federal Government Agencies and NGO’s, need scrutinized and are not being scrutinized because of the refusal to properly represent their districts by elected officials?  Elected representatives to the US House of Representatives, is the template upon which every state house of representatives is formed; thus, the state legislature has only two duties, scrutinize the federal government and state government, and make laws representing their state districts.  In Arizona and New Mexico, both state legislatures are failing miserably in scrutinizing, because of the example set by the Federal Government’s elected representatives.

Under the US Constitution, States have the right to censure the Federal Government for failure to act.  Anyone remember this happening since 1900?  The way the government works, the highest holder of control is the individual, not the Federal Government.  The order of control over government and the holder of the most freedoms is:

      • Individuals
      • Cities/Towns
      • Counties
      • States
      • Federal

Scared Eyes!Yet, for my entire lifetime, I have seen the exact opposite occur, and fail miserably!  The Federal Government needs elected representatives who will censure, scrutinize, and demand the bureaucrat’s obedience; but the elected representatives are not performing their job.  Thus, the state legislature’s need to censure their Federal brethren and demand change.  But that is not happening either.  The mayors of America refuse to act to protect their citizens, and the citizen just keeps being abused by those who are legally bound to help the citizen!  Thus, the question, based upon the performance of your elected officials to perform two jobs, make laws, and scrutinize government, do you feel represented?

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
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