Glory and Gore go Hand in Hand – Stating the Obvious

Bait & SwitchLorde, from the “Pure Heroine” album, sings the song “Glory and Gore.”  From which both this title and the principle for this article originated.  The obvious is stated many times a day, oftentimes in an ironic accident, and today was no exception.  The headlines on several stories help prove this point and highlight some serious problems facing America.

From The Daily Signal, we find our first instance of stating the obvious when Lindsey Burke announces that “Unions are doubling down on inserting critical race theory (CRT) into education.”  Of course, the labor unions of teacher associations would be doubling- and tripling- down on applying political pressure to advance America, destroying malarkey for K-12 Educators.  Show a single instance when a Marxist labor union has ever done anything to support America, and I will show you the inner workings of liars, thieves, and cheats who will tell a thousand truths to convince you a lie is a truth.

Exclamation MarkCRT is dangerous, it is a lie thought up by academics, and the only people who will benefit from CRT are liars, thieves, cheats, and politicians.  Tell me, of all the people in history who have been enslaved, forced into indentured servitude, harassed, belittled, and betrayed by a different society, why are American Black populations the only ones ever targeted for pampering and coddling?  When you answer this question, you will discover that this population is being treated this way by racist antagonists who know they can rely upon this population for agitation, anger, and terrorism without thought, concern, and care about the consequences.  Why; because they have been intentionally groomed and carefully taught to act in this manner for the political ambitions of the same people pushing CRT.

Ever notice how President Biden and Hillary Clinton only talk at the American Black Populations, and even then only address the leaders of groups dedicated to rousing the population’s emotions, and not the population themselves?  When was President Biden ever in Harlem for a political rally?  When was Hillary ever in Compton, Philly, or Chicago?  What about a visit to Atlanta for a political rally down by the riverside?  The politicians talk to the NAACP and the Black Caucus, who then speak to the religious leaders and social justice minions. They talk to the local neighborhoods, reflecting the cowardice and true colors of the politicians as race agitators and race hustlers, not interested in the population unless it is election time.  What is CRT; trouble!

Theres moreThe Daily Signal also carried a story authored by Hans von Spakovsky, who declared that a former Justice Department lawyer testified that lawyers abuse their power at the Department of Justice.  What a revelation; lawyers were acting unethically, immorally, and illegally for personal gain in government employment.  Color me shocked!  Ever wonder why lawyers and attorneys have the most jokes written about them of any other profession; I never have!  Worse, I cannot believe how many can get elected!

Under the heading of stating the obvious, and how you cannot color me shocked, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to blame inadequate training as the go-to excuse when the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) comes investigating.  In the almost two decades I have been chronicling poor behavior at the VA, VBA, VHA, and National Cemeteries, the number one most often cited excuse for failure is “poor or inadequate training.”  As a point of reference, this lack of training drove my desire to work in training at the VA to improve the training delivered.

Raymmond G. MurphyAs an adult educator with more than 20 years in distance learning and classroom training, I thought I would be a shoo-in for the positions.  Nope, I had not served in pay grades lower to “learn the VA.”  Even though I had more education and experience, was Schedule A, and more skilled than any other candidate, I was deemed not qualified, and internal people filled the open roles.  How do I know these facts, I asked those hired, and they were glad to relate their stories, experience, and time served in the VA to get into a plushy training position where they were grossly inadequate.  Only after leaving was the other reason revealed, the HR Director at the Albuquerque VAMC claimed too many veterans were in employment at the VA and refused to hire a single veteran while she directed the HR department.

Do the VA Leaders ever think that this is the problem? Only the worst of the worst can survive the mental depravity and mind-numbing bureaucracy at the VA to obtain promotion into higher leadership positions.  Worse, those who achieve these positions have agendas, lists of enemies to crush, and power empires to build, so they are never interested in doing the job!

GearsThe result, designed incompetence is bred, excuses that could not hold reality become the accepted verbiage to deflect responsibility and accountability, and if all else fails, make sure your union dues are paid, and the union will defend your pension, your job, and your benefits.  Then you can lie, cheat, steal, and terrorize without prejudice and escape without any problems.

If you ever think that something is too far-fetched to believe, the VA will prove you wrong.  The VA-OIG continues to inspect five VAMC’s for inadequate and improper processes, procedures, and leadership where financial controls and payments to third-party or affiliated non-profit corporations are concerned.  In 2021, two additional VAMC’s have failed sufficiently to make the eternally under investigation list, Albuquerque, NM and Palo Alto, CA.  The original five are Boise, ID., Boston, MA., Cincinnati, OH., Nashville, TN., and San Francisco, CA.

The Albuquerque and Palo Alto medical centers made about $17.9 million in improper payments to affiliated non-profit corporations. The reason for improper payments was the same for all seven VA medical centers reviewed. Specifically, procedures for approving invoices did not satisfy VA policy requirements because they did not require verification that the services were provided. The audit team also noted an absence of required periodic reviews by VA supervisors of approved invoices at all seven medical centers.”

Now, here’s the other side of the coin, the internal controls at both the VA and the non-profits did not identify that their problems were internal or even an issue.  When I have worked in finance, the rule is, “no evidence, no payment!”  When the non-profit I volunteered at failed an audit with 27-pages of audit inconsistencies, I was called in and charged with fixing the problems.  Of those 27-pages of audit findings, 26 pages were for payments where documentation was missing.  Four months later, a follow-up inspection cleared all 27-pages.  Yet, no evidence continues to be the single most glaring problem at seven separate VAMC’s, and nothing has changed since this issue first reared its head in FY 2017-2018.  The VA-OIG has collected reports beginning in Boston, MA VA_OIG report number 18-00711-211, published 02 December 2019, where more than 3700 payments totaling more than $23 Million were made without evidence proving services rendered.Apathy

From the VA-OIG Report:

Of the estimated $1.6 million overpayment, about $1.5 million paid to the Boston non-profit was included in the total $35.7 million improper payments due to lack of evidence that services were received. The entire $1.6 million overpayment was for unallowable or prohibited reimbursements to the non-profit.”

The OIG previously reported a total of about $35.7 million improper payments to five affiliated non-profit corporations as shown in this report.”

VA 3Is it too obvious to declare the leadership in charge at both the non-profits and the VA needs immediate removal, transparent audits conducted, and those leaders held accountable for the money that has been lost?  Recently an author claimed the VA is more of a crime syndicate than the mob.  After reading that two additional VAMC’s have failed gloriously to prove services rendered for payments made, I can agree with this sentiment!

Our final entry today originates, unsurprisingly, with the Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and a VA-OIG inspection where 88% of the claims processed involved lengthy delays in making decisions.  Tell me, if you had an 88% failure rate at your job, how long would you keep your job?  How long would it be before your bosses were shown the door, the company shuttered, and investigated for fraud?  Now, why are government employees treated differently than private-sector employees?  The inexcusable delays have led to more than $232 Million in questionable payments projected for the next two years, while the VBA is “encouraged” to fix the delay problems and “catch up.”

Knowledge Check!For the record, stating the obvious, the entire US Government is sick.  The legislative branch keeps abdicating responsibility to the judicial and executive branches. Bureaucrats and bureaucracy have overcome common sense. The whole process has been rigged to keep the dregs of society in power while the taxpayer suffers.  Let us, the owners of representative governments, remind those supposed to be in charge that they have cause to fear the electorate.  Politicians should fear the ballot box, and they should fear having the electorate hold them personally accountable for the mess they have perpetrated.

© 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.

Employee Practices – Or the Trouble Labor Unions Cause Part 1

Disclaimer:  For the record, this author is not anti-union.  I am anti-violence when used as the tool of ideological individuals to destroy private property, intimidate, threaten, and pressure as negotiating tactics.  I do not support individuals who intentionally work slow or damage machinery as a labor-negotiating ploy.  I do support accountability, responsibility, and reasoned negotiation by impassioned people to correct faults, improve safety, and raise the bar of excellence.  I fully support groups of people combining together to focus effort upon a problem and raise awareness in the public eye.  The moment this group of people become violent, raise their voices or fists in anger, and try to force someone else to do what they want or steal money or other resources for personal gain, the group of people have crossed the line and become a force not supported or worthy continued sustenance.  Thus, I am not anti-union; it is important to note this clearly in the beginning as many people have mistaken my stand on unions to be anti-union when this is inherently false.

To understand unions in the modern world of labor relations, solid historical perspective is required.  With the beginning of the industrial revolution, labor unions began forming.  The intent was to improve working conditions, standardize working hours, and reduce accidents.  With technology advances in the beginning of the industrial revolution, maiming, blindness, lung conditions, and many other machinery caused problems were horrific.  The use of children in labor camps, on-board ships, and in mills was a horrendous injustice, completely wrong, and desperately needed correction.

Some small local or geographically/industrially specific unions had organized prior to the 1880’s.  These unions were violent in nature, full of angry people, who felt justified in harming those running the large manufacturing plants where horrific injuries occurred with no chance for the common worker to improve working conditions.  While raising awareness, these violent unions also harmed their cause with violence thus defeating their purpose without changing anything.

Unions have been steeped in communism theology and continue this theology to this day.  The principles of labor for the worker come directly from the writings of Karl Marx and the ‘Communist Manifesto.’  The first large-scale attempt at unionizing workers to improve conditions on a national scale in America is found in the Knights of Labor.  .  The Knights of Labor rejected socialism, communism, and radicalism.  This attempt fails for a lot of reasons, mainly the lack of unified structure and political pressures.  Society was not ready to change in the 1880’s; so labor unions in the US changed tactics, leaders, and aims; many of the Knights of Labor who eschewed American ideals are found in and form the bulwark of the change in unionism tactics..

From this rebirth come the first recognized labor unions formed by Samuel Gompers.  Samuel Gompers is the titleholder for longest serving president in the American Federation of Labor (AFL) now known as the AFL-CIO.  Samuel Gompers is a radical socialist bent on forcing through an ideological agenda.  Between 1880 and 1940, several things occurred:  society shifts where child labor is concerned, violence in union strikes and boycotts catches national attention, and Gompers concludes a national organization of labor into small local bodies electing labor friendly politicians into the political landscape.  With the election of President Wilson, Gompers becomes a household name outside of union families, and WWI sees a growth in both union membership and union influence in all political forums throughout the US.

Another aspect to the emergence of labor unions and power was found in their cozy relationship with organized crime.  Prohibition brought to the US powerful families of criminals dedicated to smuggling alcohol and other illegal products.  These families brought organization, power, and violence.  The unions brought forced labor dues, manpower, and energy; and the meeting of money and organization fostered a relationship of blood, violence, and scare tactics that continue unabated today.  It is important to note that violence, strikes, boycotts, and the friendly relationship between labor unions and organized crime has only increased with time, not decreased.  FBI reports continue to document the connection between organized crime, mafia, and labor unions.  From Samuel Gompers to Richard Trumka, current president of the AFL-CIO, violently settling grudges, attacking innocent people to force union membership, and threatening business owners and destroying business property to force the adoption of a union or remain union continues.

Gompers set the standard for a two-pronged attack on business: (1) violently striking employees limiting production and breaking equipment and (2) employing the courts to harass, intimidate, and harangue business owners and individual employees.  The reason for the attack mattered not and someone else always paid the cost.  The attacks worked due to a mixture of empathy and sympathy combined with a desire for power and future election possibilities.  This pattern of attacking remains effective for the same reasons.  Politicians, hell bent on personal power with a desire to reign as an American king, cozy up to the union plate of money and political favors.

The IRS granted employers the ‘Right to Control.’  Labor unions stepped in and demanded the ‘Right to Control,’ and the employee was left in the lurch with no rights, no liberty, and no way out.  A simple process exists when employees desire union membership, while complicated in legal maneuvering; the process is fairly straightforward and simple. When labor union members wish to end their union membership, the process is through a court system of union-biased laws and union inflicted violence.  Federal Law becomes convoluted and myopic regarding union labor laws.  For example, “Closed Shops” might be against the law, but the practice remains strong.  In a “Closed Shop,” every job must be a union job and membership is prerequisite to employment.  If a union member should discontinue his membership in the union, the union member loses his job, “Closed Shop.”  Officially, this is a practice that has been stopped, but state and federal law is union-biased, so the practice simply shifts to under the table.  “Open Shops” come in two varieties, “Agency” and “Free Rider.”  These shops are anything but “Open.”

“Agency Shops” are businesses where a majority of the employees have elected for union membership and even non-union members are forced to pay union dues.  These non-union dues payers have no voice in the union, no rights in the union, but have forced union representation, supposedly, if trouble arises.  In theory this works; in action many non-union forced dues payers are second-class citizens in these “Open Shops,” and the union could care less provided the money continues to roll in from forced dues.  “Free Rider Shops,” are exactly the same thing, only, the labor union cannot force non-union members to pay dues for union coverage.  The union coercion of the decision makers and of other employees to entice them into a union in “Free Rider Shops” is well documented.  Tire slashing, late-night threatening phone calls, intimidation, and threats of physical harm are also well-documented problems in “Free Rider Shops.”

The problem inevitably is money.  According to the union, if the employee wants union protection, the employee will pay for it.  The average union labor dues is around $400 annually, this is before the forced payment of healthcare cost, retirement, etc.  This number does not include the cost of operation the employer must pay to support the union.  Training costs are not included in the operating cost nor reflected in the dues cost.  All these variables are not fixed and add to the overall cost of unions. Adding in the intimidation factor, loss due to theft and breakage, loss due to strikes, etc., the difficulties unions cause and the overall cost to society to support unions is well past the unsustainable point.  More on the general overall costs of unions can be found here.

The fees involved in discontinuing membership in a union are hidden deep in the miasmic swamp of mouse print, but since the union member is technically given this information, the fees are legal.  The process usually requires the employee to hire a lawyer who specializes in contracts.  The union, who will employ contract and litigation lawyers, does not cover their own legal fees and passes them on to the union member in an effort to keep the dues money coming in.  Many people with similar horror stories, who relate the process of discontinuing membership in a union, can be located through an easy Google Search.  Discontinuing a union membership can become more difficult than a space shuttle launch, and the costs are always borne by the individual wanting to leave the labor union.

This remains America, the land of the longest living constitution in recorded history, yet the freedom ending labor unions are allowed to thrive due to the power of money in politics, the power of organized crime, and the thrust and parry of politicians and judges too concerned with continuing power perks to right the wrong.

Fear keeps unions living, fear of being a victim and fear of becoming a victim.  Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear to risk, all these and more drive the union machine.  Yet, the birth of freedom in a worker’s heart makes courage overpower fear.  The ability to work in partnership with a company breeds new freedoms, powers, and strength.  Fear is destroyed courage, confidence, and freedom.

The problems with unions can be eradicated by freeing the worker, by placing the ‘Right to Control’ back into the hands of the individual worker.  The saying went abroad that Michigan would become a ‘Right to Work State’ only when the fires of the sun cooled.  Yet, the impossible has occurred and Michigan is now a ‘Right to Work State.’  The impossible does occur.  Free the worker.  Shift the employment paradigm.  Let this process to truly ‘Free the Worker’ begin by removing the chains of forced ‘employee’ by allowing these workers to be contractors, consultants, and controllers of their own individual destinies.

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved