President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

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

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

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

What is diligence?

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

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

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

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

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

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

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

What is faithfulness?

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

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

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

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

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

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

What are prayers of faith?

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

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

I know my answers; how do you choose?

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

The Law and Ideas

Bird of PreySeveral days back, I came across some incredible quotes from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. that started me thinking on several topics.  I beg your attention as we discuss the fundamental truths of the following two quotes:

The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas [and] the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

QuestionI am not here to debate the law.  However, in discussing these two quotes, predominantly since they originate from a Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America, we will discuss aspects of the law.  The same goes for religion and philosophy; it is necessary to discuss aspects of both religion and philosophy to discuss the law.  However, I am not here to debate either religion or philosophy.

The Law and Social Morals

2015, in a decision that shocked the American Nation, the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges and same-sex marriage stopped being a state right’s issue and became a Federal issue, even though the Federal Government does not issue marriage licenses.  Using the two quotes above, we find the truth of both in the actions of the court.  The court decided that the Federal Government needed to “step into” a state’s right issue to prevent a kaleidoscope of legal decisions across the entire 50- and American Territories.Plato 2

What is wrong with 50-different states exerting their rights?  The SCOTUS decision states the following, “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”  Apparently, SCOTUS forgot to read and understand decisions from previous justices who faced a similar moral issue.

I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy – I don’t disparage envy, but I don’t accept it as legitimately my master.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Same-sex marriage was all about envy, not rights, not liberties, not freedoms, envy!  Envy couched in the language of “equality.”  Love, devotion, sacrifice, family, all of it was smoke-screens and mirrors to hide envy.  Those who engage in bedroom practices that were not in the mainstream wanted their relationship to be a “marriage.”  With all the state and civil granted benefits involved.  The simple solution to this moral dilemma was to remove the government’s self-appointed authority to regulate marriage.  The day the state and local governments decided to regulate marriage was when citizens lost fundamental rights to keep the government out of their business.  One of the most significant privacy abuses in the world occurs every time the government forces a couple to register (license) a marriage.

ApathyWorse, the government forces you to pay a tax to get married.  By paying a licensing fee, the government taxes marriages, invades your privacy, and in doing so, provides you the ability to pay for the privilege of inviting the government into your bedroom.  The moral development of the law to govern society hinges upon justices not legislating from the bench, judges who refuse judicial activism because the elected representatives of the government are moving too slow on an issue, and judges who remain dedicated to the limits of the law.  Yet, the exact opposite has been allowed to occur by the elected representatives who abdicate their roles to the judicial branch, who refuse their duties as a co-equal branch of the government, and people who use the law for selfish ends and means.

Question 2What is more precious to you, government benefits, granted by the courts and purchased from taxpayers in another area, or privacy, freedom, and liberty?  How you answer this question should be revealing to you and a reminder of your obligations as a legal citizen of these United States of America, a free Republic (if we can keep it).  Freedom has a cost; the cost involves being involved in elections, voting smarter, watching and scrutinizing those elected, and monitoring the actions of judges and lawyers.

Privacy and Freedom – The Law and Ideas

From the US Bill of Rights and US Constitution as amended, we find that America’s founding fathers wanted an individual’s privacy held sacrosanct in American Law.  Unfortunately, what do we see in the laws of America the exact opposite?

        • Amendment I
          (Privacy of Beliefs)
          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.
        • Amendment III
          (Privacy of the Home)
          No Soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
        • Amendment IV
          (Privacy of the Person and Possessions)
          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
        • Amendment IX
          (More General Protection for Privacy?)
          The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
        • Liberty Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
          No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Knowledge Check!One might ask, where is the marketplace for ideas.  The answer begins inside the walls of your own home.  Except, if you enter your thoughts on social media, the Department of Internal Revenue Service has empowered your employer to withhold employment to express your thoughts inside your own home or on your social media accounts.  Worse, the government calls this a privilege of employment and a cost of doing business in a technological age.  Hence the first two places where ideas are testing truth, and competing for market share, are social media and your home.

Where else would one expect to have the freedom to share ideas?  Employment and religion are two other places where the government regulates and restricts ideas.  How many churches faced IRS sanctions for allowing political speech inside their walls, every single one!  What about employers; they limit the sharing of ideas on a host of topics under the language of diversity, inclusion, and risk.  Due to fear from the potential of people to become violent, the insurance companies and IRS allow your liberties, privacy, and constitutional rights to be curtailed, culled, and clipped as an excuse to protect your safety at work.

As a final thought, consider the following:

For my part, I think it is a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Never Give Up!

Playing an ignoble part in the confiscation, curtail, and culling of rights, liberties, and freedoms, has been the improper role of government since President Wilson (D).  He was allowed to do what he did by a complicit Congress and the K-12 educations of the populace.  The reason functional illiteracy is so rampant, the government in the 1860s approved Dewey’s ideas to make students dumber, purposefully, to ensure the government could steal power unconstitutionally.  By the end of the 1940s, the coup was complete, and you became the property of government to be used and abused as the government desired.  Some Sunday thoughts to begin your next week with; unfortunately, the ideas must lead to action if America is to be saved!

© 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: Oh Say, “What is Truth?

moral-valuesJohn Jaques (1827-1900) wrote a poem that several Christian religions have turned into a hymn by this name, “Oh Say, What is Truth.”  The sentiments of the poem/hymn/song strike me as a worthy pursuit and a commitment for life.  Here are the words of the poem.

Oh, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire;
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies.
‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp
When with winds of stern justice, he copes,
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast,
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.

Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time, it steps o’er.
Though the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

What is truth?

Dont Tread On MeDefining truth may appear utterly elementary, but I beg your forbearance, dear reader, with all the plastic words thrown “hither and yon” across the earth, knowing the definitions and being able to discern truth are two different processes.  Truth is defined as a quality or state of being true and something true in accordance with fact or reality.  Thus, true is defined as accurate, exact, without variation, loyal or faithful, and honest.

Would it surprise anyone that one of the words most needed in language has a global decline in usage since 1850?  I find this disconcerting and will elaborate further later.  I want to spark a thought at this moment.  With all the need for truth in the world, why is the word in decline?

Discerning Truth

Detective 4An analogy might help to improve understanding.  Using statistics, injecting a certain bias, and a low confidence level (signifying that the statistics are verifiable), I can claim that the sky is purple!  But, you will run to your window and find different colors, blue being predominant.  However, I can still justify the sky is purple and not blue.  Proving two points clearly: statistics do not prove anything, and truth depends on more than just statistical inquiry.  Mark Twain is oft-quoted as claiming a significant truth about statistics, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”  Yet, data, especially statistical data, has replaced words and ideas in decision-making and been used to hide truth purposefully, even though statistics can be used to lie with confidence, as demonstrated by the analogy above.

During my undergraduate statistics course, the instructor was a math lover and held a Ph.D. in math.  Great instructor, amazing class.  We took a single data set of numeric, quantitative data during the eight-week course, proved our hypothesis right, wrong, and twisted the data until even we had trouble understanding our own data.  The lesson, do not solely trust numeric data.  I mention all of this as part of the discerning process in understanding truth, recognizing truth, and embracing truth, all of which is part of the discernment process to test a fact to reach a truth.

Detective 2Please note: one of the modern problems where truth has been plasticized is making truth a reality.  For example, my statistical data is my reality; thus, I exist in a state of truth.  Which is all well and good, except as we just proved, believing in your statistics is a great way to delude yourself into believing a lie.  Worse, elements of truth make lies more convincing and improve the successful liar to a deceiver.  Hence, the process of discerning truth must contain other elements to work correctly.

The following are elements of truth:

      1. Truth does not change over time. For example, an anchor will sink to the length of the chain or bottom of the water body, which does not change over time or between fresh and saltwater, and anchors have been a facet of ships and shipping since recorded history began noting humans setting sail.  Hence, we may safely conclude anchors are a needed tool onboard a vessel and vital to shipping.
      2. If it is true for one person, it will be true for all people. Consistency is a paramount virtue of truth.  For example, electricity is carried worldwide in copper cables, shielded, and designed to carry electricity safely.  Copper doesn’t only work for moving electricity in Russia, and the Greeks have to rely upon titanium, while the Arab nations use Gold, and America uses silver.  Even though these metals are good conductors of electricity, copper shielded lines remain the consistent standard around the world.
      3. Truth advances knowledge. For example, a dropping apple helped spur lessons in gravity.  Lessons in gravity have led to space flight, airplanes, and a lot of other physics-based discoveries.

A lie cannot stand the test of time, the test of application between cultures and people, nor can it advance knowledge.  Worse, a lie, even when it contains particulars of truth, cannot long survive scrutiny.  One of the most important lessons I have ever learned in improving decision-making has been to scrutinize information.  When lies are embedded in truth, the scrutiny makes the lie stand out like a bloodstain on a white veil.  For example, when President Obama was promising that under ObamaCare, you could keep your doctor, the adults in the room had doubts, and when the law was passed, we had our suspicions proved correct.

Image - Eagle & FlagThe same pattern is available to every person who chooses to dedicate themselves to finding the truth and living the truth.  If someone is offering you the “True Truth,” be suspicious, use the elements in discerning truth, and report your findings.  I have found that the more we share truth, the less lies can deter, confuse, and hinder progress and growth.  The first step in a truth-filled, truth-centric life is knowing that statistics cannot tell the truth, ever!  If we rely solely upon statistics, we live a lie that will eventually trip us up and, like the leaders of ENRON or Bernie Madoff, finds us in jail!

© 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: A Truth Revealed

Life ValuedIt is no secret that I left the US Navy disabled.  One of those disabilities is a low-lung volume, which has been increasing since I was injured in the service.  Until March 2020, this low-lung volume issue has been refused to be taken seriously by the VA.  As soon as I got arrested, the first time, for not wearing a mask, my low-lung volumes have been steadily receiving slightly more attention from the providers at the VA.  On Tuesday, I met with my primary care provider (PCP) in a virtual appointment.  My doctor let slip something very critical, “COVID is receiving an emotional response.”

The emotional responses to COVID include irrational “security” policies that saw COVID positive, symptomatic members of the US House of Representatives somehow traveling to Washington DC to share in the electing of Speaker Pelosi to the leadership of the US House of Representatives, and infecting other members of the house in the process.  Consider this issue for a moment, Pelosi has been cheering out of control governors in Michigan, New York, California, New Mexico, etc. as they have robbed their citizens of fundamental human rights, ruined their businesses, and enforced a police state, all in the name of public health.  Yet, for politickal purposes, members of her political party somehow were able to travel and vote for her as the speaker.  At last count, three party members have been tested for COVID after interacting with these infected and symptomatic people, and the number is growing.  An emotionally fueled response indeed!

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceThe government abusing you relies upon the media controlling yyour emotions, emotional reactions, and your addiction to strongly emoting.  Do you understand this connection?  The TV is the medium of choice to communicate strong emotional responses.  Social media has been researched and found to be influential and connected to strong emotional reactions.  Your emotions are being controlled by what media you watch and the social media platforms you use to connect to other people.  In recognizing this influence, I am not advocating for being unemotional, nor am I casting aspersions about emotions.  I am asking you to consider and choose carefully who controls your emotions and emotional responses!

While shopping today, more stickers have appeared, begging people to stop cleaning the point-of-sale machines, as this is destroying the machines.  On a trip to the US Post Office, I was recently confronted by a gentleman who derided me for not wearing a mask.  Today at Trader Joe’s, I experienced more mask discrimination.  Still, the VA Hospital in Phoenix refuses me entry and medical support because I cannot safely wear a mask.  Fear is an emotional response spurred during COVID by the Media and supported by the politicians.

CourageThe Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reported some interesting numbers on the emotional toll of COVID in America in August 2020.  These are the most recent numbers I can find, and I can only presume that these numbers grew with the holidays now past.  53%, up from 32 % reported in March, saw adults stressing and worrying about COVID and the pandemic results and resulting economic shrinking.  Alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing every month the pandemic continues to lock people in their homes.  Suicide is always heartbreaking, but when children as young as ten have committed suicide over the pandemic, heartbreaking has become obscene, and those responsible for generating this fear and loneliness need to be held accountable.

Dr. Sammarco, a psychologist, said, “while the number of people under 18 who have committed suicide has dropped over the past few years, that doesn’t show the full story. “I would say the more recent trend is down (for children committing suicide), but what does that mean overall?  For years, suicide among young people was relatively rare, but from 2007 to 2017, the number of 10-24-year-olds committing suicide increased from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people to 10.6.  Dr. Sammarco thinks one reason behind the suicide in these younger people may be technology-related.  “In some ways, it’s good that we have this information generation where they can get information.  But in some ways, it’s really bad because their young brains cannot handle some of the information they get and that they see, and sometimes it affects them very negatively. I mean, maybe they never would’ve thought of doing something had they not Googled something.”

The excerpt above is from the report of a suicide in Feb 2020, Ohio.  An 11-year old child committed suicide.  Frankly, I think Dr. Sammarco was wholly too detached from this episode.  How many more suicides will America suffer due to COVID?  When counting suicides, let’s include murder-suicides in that group.  Both are tragic and deserving more resources to avoid, suicides and murder-suicides are born of fear, and the media should be held culpable for constantly feeding the fear.

Finest HourKFF reports, “A broad body of research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental health…” Social isolation and loneliness are the emotional response hallmarks to COVID; where are the politicians being held accountable for their power-grabs, freedom-theft, and police state?  When will the media be turned off and shunned for constantly feeding emotions with more negativity?

I fully support an individual’s liberty, ability to choose and make informed decisions, and that person can enjoy the consequences.  I also fully support intervening when a personal choice is going to cause familial and societal chaos, hurt, and lifelong problems.  I understand the place a person considering suicide is coming from; I have been in that dark pit, and thank the people who helped me.  The following are suggestions for your consideration:

      1. Take off your mask, walk outside, and rejoice in good old sunshine disinfectant!
      2. Reach out. Country Singer Matt Kennon sang, “The Call.”  Be the hero that song expresses; make the call!
      3. Stop watching the news! I understand the need to remain informed, know the addiction to the news, and fully appreciate the loneliness that not having the TV on appears to fill.  Still, find alternatives!  Exercise your right not to be lied to.
      4. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask for help. Please, ask!  Please talk about what you are experiencing.  Please, be brave!
      5. The last suggestion might seem to be totally insane, but in refusing to be lied to, cease social media. If not totally, cut back to a level where your emotional health improves.  Social media comparison influences what we do, just for the glory of a picture and an instant of recognition.  I completely understand; many people have become addicted to the social media rush of attention from families, friends, and strangers.  Is your mental health worth the cost of remaining socially connected through media?

Kindness QuoteJohnny Cash sang, “Ragged Old Flag.”  Consider how strong America has been throughout history when neighbors helped, stood together, and reached out.  America’s strength has never been in the capitals across this land, but on the main streets, the local parks, the churches, and the work to be neighborly.  We can continue this trend, and turning off the TV and social media is not that high of a price.  Your emotions are your choice and should not be molested or controlled by anyone other than you!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Democracy vs. Republic – American Governance

Please note: A republican method of governance does not mean everyone belongs to and votes the “Republican Party” ticket.  Nor, does the democratic governance method mean everyone adhering belongs to the “Democratic Party” ticket.  The political party is not the style of governance, and this is the first distinction that must be realized.  No political party deserves your support, unless they espouse, and live, what you want them to espouse and live.  America has had good and poor elected officials from both major political parties.  America has even changed major political parties; and this is a good thing!

The Duty of AmericansToo often people are confusing democracy, democratic governance, and the American Republic.  Talking heads in the media get this wrong all the time.  Hollywood has never gotten the distinction correct, ever.  But, this ignorance might be by design as Hollywood has always been a breeding ground for disinformation, propaganda, and elitist posturing.  Regardless of the political party, or lack of political party, every American citizen should be able to recognize Democracy from Republican styles of governance.  The following uses real events to help distinguish the line.

A democracy, at its most basic level, can be described and defined by the control of an organization by the majority of its members.  A simple majority is all it takes to gain the high ground and punish the loser.  A simple majority is if 100 people gather in a room, they need 51 to agree to support a single idea.  Democracies are full of simple majorities who then try to proclaim a moral high ground, and then attempt to extrapolate the single simple majority into a system of keeping the simple majority.

A republic begins with the philosophy and doctrine that embraces equality between its members as the ideal in governance.  Recognizing that today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority, rules provide equality between people, and all titles are transitory.  A republic is messy; equality in treatment under the law allows for every person to have the same opportunity because their inalienable rights have provided them with eternal potential to become anything they desire.  This is especially true when a person desires through their actions, attitudes, and behaviors, which is not desired by the rest of the society, provided the individual does not break the law.  However, laws are not changed to outlaw behaviors, curb ideas, or infringe upon inalienable rights as laid out and codified in the Bill of Rights.

Lady JusticeFor example, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), recently sent a report regarding an investigation of Peter Shelby, the previous VA Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration (HR&A), who steered a $5 million contract for the benefit of individuals with whom he had a personal relationship.  This is a prime example of democracy in action.  The person in charge had to pay for the simple majority that kept him in power.  Consider the following direct consequences of Mr. Shelby’s actions.

“The contract … included talent assessment services for evaluating whether to hire or promote candidates. When the contract concluded in August 2019, it became evident that VA had purchased services far in excess of what it could use. VA used only 232 of the 17,000 one-year training licenses it purchased for $3.8 million and VA received no value whatsoever for the talent assessment services because required privacy and security certifications were not obtained.”

Mr. Shelby was allowed to resign when he discovered he was about to be fired from Government service.  Thus, he keeps all his retirement, all his Federal benefits, and the money gained from his ill-gotten ventures.  In many countries around the world, these actions are considered, “Realpolitik.”  Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises.  In America, Mr. Shelby’s actions are illegal and should have been punished accordingly.

Government Largess 3The American Public has witnessed the same political gamesmanship (realpolitik) in the US House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency, for a long time.  All because, the line between a Republic and a Democracy has been intentionally blurred by those in power, to stay in power.  Never does realpolitik benefit the rule of law, or provide equality as a basic and fundamental position of governance.  Bringing into the conversation the critical quality of genetic behavior and the exponential growth of behavior from one generation to the next.  If Mr. Shelby’s actions can be traced upwards through the behavior of elected officials; how many more unethical behaviors are hiding inside the government workforce waiting for their opportunity to practice realpolitik at the expense of the veterans, taxpayers, and citizenry of America?

Genetic behavioral growth is witnessed when a congressional member is allowed to bend an ethical rule in the name of politics so the simple majority can be sustained.  The next generations are the governors and state legislatures who then replicate and advance that unethical behavior to one that is blatantly illegal, but not “really bad.”  Extramarital affairs, drug use or abuse, alcohol abuse, spouse abuse, homosexuality, etc., are all not “really bad,” laws that are regularly shattered and overlooked to maintain the simple majority.  This then leads employees of governments to act in a looser and more illegal or unethical manner, stealing the public money, misusing government tools and supplies, or in the case of Peter Shelby, forming a relationship and then steering a $5 Million-dollar contract to the entity that most benefits him.

Behavior-ChangeIn a republic, those in power recognize the genetic nature of their behavior, understand that any lapses in good judgment are dangerous, and work to live in a manner that first allows for equality among all.  Even if they must tell another person no.  Consider how much corruption is in Washington, D.C., and every state capital in America, all because the simple majority has lured good people into acting against their principles, against the Republican form of American governance, and against the law established and maintained by the people, for the people, and of the people.  The simple majority will always, to maintain power, refuse to say no, set boundaries, and live by rules and laws.  The republican form of government lives by nothing else but the rules and the laws because equality only occurs under the rule of law.

Notice something important, the first rule of realpolitik is to disconnect the equality of everyone for the power of ruling.  Just as in the book “1984” we see some are more equal than others; which is an extension of democracy.  Then, realpolitik disconnects explicit notions of morality and ethics from actions and behaviors.  Thus, equality is the first casualty in the hostile takeover of democracy.

Consider labor unions for a moment.  Disney produced the movie, “Invincible,” or the story of Vince Papale and the NFL Eagles.  In the movie, there is a union striking, and one sign is made clear, “Striking is DEMOCRACY IN ACTION” [emphasis in original].  The truth in this lie is that strikes are selfish, and represents democracy perfectly.  But, the strike is not democracy in action, the labor union is democracy in action as a legal “pyramid scheme.”  The strike of a labor union, along with all the other work slowdowns, bureaucracies, and other silly games played to thwart republic governance are but tools of democratic leaders to exercise their power.

Religious ThoughtThe labor union spouts a lot of good democratic styled speeches; but acts like thugs, for the benefit of the elected few, at the cost of the dues-paying members.  Proving that democracy is the last thing a labor union wants as the labor union remains a Marxist method of governance.  Take any labor union, anywhere in the world, and you will find the elected officials living large on the backs, sweat, and labor of the dues-paying members.  The fewest of the few long-term dues-paying members will be provided benefits and a lifestyle to be desired, but never obtained, even though the dues have been paid, the labor performed, and the sacrifices made.  The Wall Street Journal has covered the loss of benefits paid for through dues payments, and while the Wall Street Journal does it’s best to keep the union out of the picture, it is not the company’s filing lawsuits, but the unions.

Always, the same principle determines the separation between democracy and republican governance, equality under the law.  The solution is not found in more government programs to “level the playing field,” which is a democratic principle that has never worked!  The solution is found in less government.  Equality under the law is not found in government force; but, in less government potential to exercise that force.  In the 1980s President Reagan was heralded for his nationalizing of the air traffic controllers; thus, ending a strike of the national air traffic controllers.  But, the air traffic controllers still have the same inequalities, same problems, and the same issues as experienced under the air traffic control unions.  Nothing changed fundamentally, and this overreach of government, “for public safety,” has kept the air traffic controller in bondage.  Sure, the cage is nicer, but the cage is still a cage; only now, there is no possible way of escaping the cage.  The same is true of railroad workers, teachers, and so many other employees kept under a labor union’s thumb, or government mandate.

In a democracy, it is perfectly acceptable to maintain the simple majority through nefarious means and ends.  Whereas in a republic, the equality that keeps everyone equally refuses the nefarious types every society produces from having a purchase hold to establish themselves.  Consider the violence that has rocked America since May 2020.  Consider also, all the violence that has shocked and dismayed America since the Watts Riots in 1965.  The Watts Riots are a perfect template reflecting the problems of democracy.

The media, and many people in government including most of the judicial branch, allowed personal anger over issues to become a violent outpouring, where the victim was the community and not the actual target of the violence.  People acted in a selfish manner, with a total lack of self-control, and the community of Watts burned to the ground.  The land is barren, dreams destroyed and lives ruined.  Since the Watts Riots, the community has reached out for more democratic solutions, as if this was not the reason the Watts Riots happened in the first place.  Fast forward from 1965, and every riot since has been glorified for their anger levels, because this helps feed the democratic solutions, keeping people unequal, refusing people their eternal potential, and denying inalienable rights to maintain power and authority.

America, we need to stop the lies that democracy is the “American Way.”  Superman was correct, “Truth and Justice” are the American Way, which is the Republican manner of governance.  America was established upon the fundamental principle that ALL are first equal under the law.  Sure, we have not always lived up to the ideal; but, we are human.  Our humanness is allowing us to falter, not fail.  We fail the great American Republic every time we allow a democratic solution that forces people onto unequal terms.  We stumble, we fall, when we forget that equality is precious and considering all to have the same equality means allowing people to suffer consequences of attitudes and behaviors.

President AdamsWhen one person can be supported in their immorality because of their money (Jackson, Kennedy, Epstein, Clinton, Weinstein, etc.) when others are punished for the same crimes (pedophiles, murderers, thieves, rapists, etc.) we have a democracy.  When all, regardless of money, titles, political power, etc. are held to the same laws and legal standards the great American Republic survives and gains strength.  To rebuild the American Republic, we must first cleanse the inward vessel, removing from public office all those who refuse the blessings and work of a republic for the ease and captivity of a democracy.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Moving Past Active Listening to Facilitate Communication: Shifting the Paradigm

GearsIn several previous professional positions, especially those in call centers, there has been considerable time spent training people to actively listen.  The problem; active listening can be faked, and fake active listening is as useful as a shower without soap or shampoo.  You might get wet, but you do not feel clean.

Listening has four distinct levels, these are:

  • Inactive listening – Hearing words, seeing written communication, zero impact mentally. Mostly because your internal voices drown out the possibility for communication.
  • Selective listening – Hearing only that which confirms your own voices, opinions, and biases. While others are speaking, you are already forming your response.
  • Active listening – Show the other person you are paying attention, engage with meaning in a reply. Focused upon removing barriers to get your point across.
  • Reflective listening – Paying attention to intent and content, reducing emotion, two-direction as both parties are engaged in achieving mutual understanding.

Tools for listening effectively, which for all intents and purposes, means listening reflectively, requires several tools, along with considerable experience in using these tools.  Customer service focus – not sales in disguise, not having a hidden agenda, and not covertly looking for opportunities to turn the conversation back to you.  The attitude of service – is all about what your intention is after listening.  Sales are all about attitude and winning over someone else; however, how many sales require first being able to reflectively listen; every single one.  Desire – desire determines your choices, your choices form decisions, and decisions determine destiny!

ElectionConsider the press conferences at the White House.  A room is full of people who would claim they are professional listeners, who then report what is being said.  Yet, how many times do you see questions asked with an agenda, personal opinions warping what is said into what they desired to hear, and then reporting what they erroneously heard to satisfy their desires politically; every single time.  Hence, the problems with active listening and how active listening can be faked.  Desire and attitude of service are not being applied to improve customer service focus.

Communication occurs in two different modalities, verbal and non-verbal.  Good communicators adapt their message to the audience.  Adapting the message requires first a choice, determining who the primary and secondary audience is, then focus the message onto the primary audience.  Next, adaptation requires prior planning, which includes mental preparation, practice, and channels for feedback.  Finally, adaptation requires listening to achieve mutual understanding, careful observation, asking questions designed to lead to mutual understanding, and clarifying what is being said to achieve mutual understanding.

Too often, those labeled as “good communicators” cannot listen reflectively.  They have never learned how to use the tools of desire and attitude of service, in a manner that builds customer service focus into reflectively listening.

Leadership CartoonConsider two people the media has proclaimed as great communicators, Presidents Reagan (R) and Obama (D).  President Reagan was listened reflectively, asked good questions, listened to the answers, asked more questions, and then listened some more.  In listening and asking questions, President Reagan built people (customer service focus) and was respected by enemies and friends for his ability to communicate (personal desire determined destiny).  President Obama has been labeled by the media as a good communicator; but by all accounts, he never listened, his questions showed he desired to be heard, and his focus was all on him as the smartest person in the room.  Desire builds an attitude of service, which then forms the customer service focus, which then reflects a desire to reflectively listen and achieve mutual understanding with those being communicated with.

One of the most despicable problems in customer service today is a theme established by Stephen Covey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  On a recent issue, a letter was sent to Senator Martha McSally (D) of Arizona, the response has formed the epitome for not listening in written communication as the response had nothing of the original issue even discussed.  The response was a form letter, on a different topic, and lacked any response that the sender had been heard; but, the letter advertised Sen. Martha McSally and her commitment to listening to her constituents.  But, you might say, a Senator is too busy to respond to every communication delivered, a few other examples of both verbal and non-verbal communication failures.

  • Two lieutenants, representing the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Police Service, stationed at the Phoenix VA Hospital. Engage a person not wearing a mask.  Body language clearly states they are the authority and will broker no resistance.  The officers spend 45-minutes haranguing the patient before cuffing and frog-marching the patient to a holding cell, where the patient who was seeking services in the emergency room, waits for an additional 60-minutes before being forced off Federal Property.  The patient informed the officers multiple times of their pre-existing condition and inability to physically wear a mask.  The hospital mask policy allowed for a face shield to be worn instead of a mask, and after the patient put the face shield on, the officers continued to verbally engage without listening, until the foregone conclusion of arresting the patient could be justified.  The patient was fined $360.00 (USD) for “disorderly conduct” by refusing to wear a mask.
  • Calling a major cellular phone provider (AT&T) with questions about the price plan. The representative answered every question but needed to make a sale, and their focus was on making that sale, not on assisting the customer.  Not the agent’s fault, the policy of the call center is to up-sale on every call.  If the agent does not up-sale, the call is automatically downgraded in quality assurance and the agent gets in trouble.  Hence policy dictates that the customer not be listened too reflectively as the sale must come before the customer.
  • Hotel check-in, online registration was made specifically for a particular sized bed, but due to late check-in, the customer is not provided what was asked for, and the attitude of the clerk is one of disgust at being bothered. Verbal and nonverbal cues are sending messages that the customer is the problem and is interrupting the life of the clerk.
  • A patient receives a call to make an urgent appointment with a VA medical provider in general surgery. The medical provider has demanded the patient be seen in the clinic, thus negating a phone or video styled appointment.  The patient’s record clearly states the patient has trouble complying with mandatory masking for patients seen in the clinic.  The provider arrives 20+ minutes late to the appointment, and because the patient is not wearing a mask immediately refuses to see the patient, wasting 90-minutes of the patient’s day.  The provider gets off in 10-minutes, and seeing the patient will make the provider late getting off.  Was the mask really the problem; not likely.

Social Justice Warrior 2Not listening is probably the largest social problem in the world today.  Everywhere fake active listening is observed, along with copious amounts of observable inactive, selective, and active refusals to listen.  Some of the problems in improving listening are policies and procedures that do not allow for individual adaptation or situational understanding.  However, too often, the individual choices to grab power, exercise authority, and pass along inconvenience are the real problems in not listening.  Harvey Mackay is reported to have said, “Easy listening is a style of music, not an attribute of communication.”  Proving again that listening is a choice, a personal choice, borne from desire, bred on attitude and reflected in verbal and non-verbal patterns of communication.

The following are some launch points for improving listening in society:

  1. Understand your desire.  Know that your desire choices are determining your destiny.  If your destiny is not one, you appreciate, return to the desire and make different choices.
  2. Practice mental preparation, based upon previous situations, to make different choices. Listening is a voyage of discovery to reach a mutual understanding, but mental preparation is key to safely reach the destination.  Prepare, use a mirror, practice until what currently feels alien becomes familiar.
  3. Reduce emotion. The principle of empathy and sympathy are destroying listening and only reflect the internal voices.  The volume of internal voices is silencing the ability to reflectively listen, necessitating the need to fake actively listening for employment’s sake.
  4. Listen as you would have others listen to you. This is an adaptation of the “Golden Rule” and remains applicable as a personal choice.  How you choose to listen will determine your destiny.
  5. Listening remains the number one tool you control and has application to written communication and verbal communication channels. Body language is a non-verbal communication channel that can be heard as well as seen.  How are you communicating non-verbally, which is interfering with your written and verbal communication attempts?

Listening is a choice.  Listening is hard.  Yet, many people have pointed out that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as often as we speak.  Choose to reflectively listen, choose to reach a mutual understanding, watch your destiny change.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Society Needs the Family – Knowing the Paradigms That Shape American Society

School of DarknessA colleague said I should read a book, “The School of Darkness,” by Bella V. Dodd.  As an immigrant in the early 1900s, the book is discussing coming to America, losing one’s belief structure with its tenets, traditions, and ties that bind, and discovering the emptiness of society, which tried desperately to replace the family and religion.  The author only discovers this emptiness and the need for family and religion after a lifetime of fighting against the influence.

The ideal family, found in many cultures, religions, and communities across the world is of one father, loving one mother, and raising children in what is called a nuclear family.  Early in the 1900s, the families with close ties as a family, who kept the traditions of religion, found in America plentiful opportunities and made strong the American Society.  Those nuclear families without strong ties to a belief structure weakened American Society, but not in ways or methods cognizant at the time, and only understood through historical observation and dissection.Nuclear Family

Consider, for a moment, James Hardy’s writings (2015) on divorce in America; in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, there was created a judicial tribunal that solely settled divorce matters in 1629. “This legislative body could grant divorces based on adultery, desertion, bigamy and in many cases impotence. In the North, the colonies adopted their own approaches that made divorce available, whereas the southern colonies did all they could to prevent the act even if they did have legislation in place.”  Notice the distinction between North and South that was apparent in pre-Revolutionary and Civil War society supporting both conclusions needed for a strong community, family, and a common religious belief structure.

Fast forward to 2020, and the current divorce rate is 2.9:1000 reporting from 45 states and the District of Columbia.  With the medium marriage lasting 11 years and falling, and around 30% of marriages suffering disruptions leading to divorce.  The future of the nuclear family in America remains grim, unless fundamental changes in, and desires of, people change; America is soon to disappear.  The American Civil War taught this lesson well, the need for strong families, based upon a core belief structure that lifts the human mind from pettiness, selfishness, and authoritarianism, remains the two keys an individual will control to keep the American Republic safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

Role of ReligionWhich religions lift the soul, I do not speculate; however, I can tell how you can tell.  The answer is the same from generation to generation, first know yourself.  Second, research the religion’s works.  Finally, seek religions that bring light to the world sickened mind.  I have known great and good people in all the different sects of religion in this world.  The key I have found comes in living the religion, not just professing that religion.  As one lives that religion the tenets of that religion will either inspire, uplift, edify, and grow the spirit and the soul, or it is time to find a new religious structure.  Regardless, before the traditions of religion, the traditions of the family must be understood and cemented together.

Religion QuoteThe Jewish religious tenets are deeply respected by this author for the blend of family and religion that is born from the belief structure.  Some Catholic tenets speak to the same family and religious mixture, several Christian religions also speak to this mixture of home-based family-centered religion.  The Muslim faith tends to support a community based around the mosque, and not as much on the individual family.  The religious foundations and actions of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints are very like the Jewish religious beliefs, the Amish, Quakers, Dutch Calvinists, and more who also carry a strong family first, religion second, approach to building strong communities through strong religious traditions, by first focusing upon the family and home-based religious practices, building into strong religious communities, and then to strong and morally upright citizens.  Yet, I have witnessed the same in Atheist communities, where the beliefs of non-belief led to strong families asking questions, seeking truth and developing the person through strong familial bonds.

Building a child, with strong familial bonds, which will then build a community, a state, and a country, is the work of two parents in a nuclear family.  But what supports the parents in the difficult job of rearing children, the local community and the extended family are helpful and needful, but most important traditions of belief.  Dodd in, her book, reflects this lesson as she taught freshmen in college, generally from tearing the student from improperly rooted belief structures and transplanting them into the heady and hedonistic thoughts of social families replacing nuclear families, shucking religious traditions in the process.

Religion Quote 2Why is Communism doomed; because it attempts to replace the family with the government.  Why is Socialism doomed; it expands the power of government until the government becomes Communist and tries to replace the family with the government.  Why has Capitalism been such a breath of fresh air to the world through the American Republic; because it leaves the family alone from the fingers of government intrusion.  Government intrusion, which chokes the agency of man for the mind control of the government.  Fascism was doomed to failure, for it worked hard to replace the family with social groups, social families, and corroded the human spirit until nothing but violence and rage remained.  Does this sound familiar; it should, for this is the same path being used in education in 2020, learned in the early 1900s, and dedicated to the eradication of America through slow corrosion.

Religious ThoughtAs an older child in a large family, with a large extended family, I once asked, “Why do we gather as an extended family with all the expense, the work, the travel, the hard feelings, etc.?”  The answer never made sense to me then, and makes less sense now; yet, there is a truth in the answer that is more felt than understood, “We do it for family.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye sings about “Tradition” and how familial and religious tradition extends into confidence and strength for the individual to understand who they are in society, and by extension in a country.

From the nuclear family comes confidence in knowing one’s self.  Does this mean that non-nuclear families are inferior; no!  It simply means there is a larger role for extended families and the community to render assistance.  Yet, the extended family and community cannot replace or render invalid the responsibilities of the parents.

Consider two families.  Family A loses their father as the oldest is just entering high school, the youngest daughter is just barely 18-months.  The mother is left to raise the family having married her high school sweetheart.  Family B is a product of divorce, the mother has custody of the children, and she and her new boyfriend work two jobs apiece, leaving the children to fend for themselves except when the grandparents can “take the kids.”  Family A the children continue to heal from their father’s abrupt passing and are strong in family and faith.  Family B the children have no roots, and they struggle with the religion of the parents and grandparents.  They struggle because their mother has no religious connections due to both employment and lifestyle choices.  The children are good kids, but they are confused, and the person who could settle their confusion, has abdicated the responsibility, and the grandparents can only do so much as partial parent replacements.  While the extended families and communities surrounding both families help and support as they can, the lack of parental responsibility and awareness of the mother in Family B, and the awareness and devotion in Family A, makes all the difference between these two families.

ReligionsHaving traveled across America for the last 25years, and ¾’s of the way around the world, I have a few observations that can strengthen the family.  I share the following as a warning, for if the family is not supported, the actions seen by the domestic terrorists in recent days, as evidenced by the riotings and lootings will only grow until America is lost forever.

  1. How much is enough? America is a capitalist and materialistic country; yet, for all that, there remains much good in America worth preserving.  Answering this simple question determines where standards, limits, and lines are drawn.  For example, how much sports watching is enough?  How much money is enough?
  2. We sacrifice for that which we love. It is a simple axiom, but the truth in a simple sentence.  Do we sacrifice that which is good for the better?  Do we sacrifice that which is better for the more desirable right now?  Do we sacrifice the best in us to fill an appetite?  Consider Family B, the mother chooses to never marry again and remains quite vocal about her decision; but, what is the cost for the sacrifice and the consequences of the decision?  Of her children, the first two are girls, who are confused.  Her young son struggles between the men of her mother’s life setting an example, and what he sees of his grandfather’s life and social circle.
  3. Social societies cannot replace the family. Social prominence cannot, and never will, fill the emptiness at the end of life.  My wife played for the funeral of a man who was politically well known, so much in fact, that the governor of AZ came to the man’s funeral, as well as many in the AZ State Legislature.  A couple of mayors of Phoenix were in attendance, some people with ambitions for federally elected posts were in attendance, and more.  Yet, I wonder today, 5years after his passing, if these same people remember the man.  My wife is still in touch with his wife, but I cannot help but wonder regarding this man’s children and grandchildren.
  4. Allow religious belief systems to change you personally, and your family collectively, through living a religious and moral centered life. President Adams, in discussing the US Constitution stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Look from the 1900s to 2020 and one inescapable fact emerges, the loss of the nuclear family has led to a degeneration of social values, morals, ethics, and people.  While the law has attempted to curb this dilemma, President Adams’ quote becomes ever more applicable.  America was founded upon a Judeo-Christian foundation of philosophies and the loss of religion is tearing America apart at its foundational core.

Martin Luther King in discussing individuals and society, morals, and religion, stated the following, “… you have got to change the heart and you cannot change the heart through legislation. You cannot legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion.”  While the rest of the quote goes onto try and validate the opposite, Rev. King has a point, the law can only go so far in dictating behavior, legislating morals, and decreeing standards.  Without a moral and religious society, America has nothing, is nothing, and falls a failed experiment in improving the human condition.

moral-valuesAmerica needs strong families, which possess a core of religious traditions, practiced in the home, and acted upon in society.  The days of allowing truancy due to race, the communist teachings in schools and the lies that society can replace the family must be fought and won by families informed.  America can survive the current attacks but needs every citizen fighting for the survival of this set of ideals embodied in the US Constitution.  We need morality and religion to return as the core that motivates people to action for America to survive.  It is possible to win against the forces arrayed against America domestically and foreign, but we need nuclear families, and those families need a religious core; there is no other way.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

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

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

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

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

The VA-OIG report begins with the following:

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

Pressure Injuries
Bedsores/Pressure Injury Progression

But concludes with the following:

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

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

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

Pressure Injuries - Example
Bedsore

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

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

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

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

Tuskegee-Patient
Syphilis wounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

 

Defining Customer Service: Some Examples – Shifting the Paradigms

Gitomer’s, “Customer Service is Worthless: Customer Loyalty is Priceless (1998),” customer service has changed in ways that motivate me to investigate, cheer when found, and when negatives are experienced I want to help fix the problems. Several books and research papers in my library confirm every point Gitomer makes; thus, the following four interactions are compared to Gitomer’s text to supply solutions that can be benchmarked as Gitomer is much easier to read. The intent of this article is to power enthusiasm for change in how customer service is found and improved to inspire customer loyalty.

The Chase bank app delivered an error that made no sense. I called the “Mobile Banking Line,” and then was transferred to another department with “tech-savvy people who could assist me further.” Those representatives were not only unable to aid, but they also could not understand the problem as described, and offered a “local branch.” Upon learning that I lived 264 miles to the nearest Chase bank branch in El Paso, Texas, the representative had no other solution, offered no additional explanation, and for being a senior, tech-savvy representative, was less useful than the first representative I spoke with. Thus, I drove the four hours to El Paso, to be at the Chase Bank branch by opening. Not only was the teller having difficulty performing the transaction, the Chase Bank “Customer Service Star” desktop guide posted where I could see and evaluate performance. I was correctly greeted, in the standard big bank demanded-greeting that means nothing and has no humanity, good-job. Everything after that went downhill. When the teller was told that the El Paso branch is the “local” branch for Albuquerque, NM., there was no response. Eventually, the transaction was finally completed, and I was offered a big corporate bank, no humanity farewell, good-job. For a transaction that I can normally complete on my phone, to take 25-minutes in the branch, after a four-hour drive, you would think the teller would have cared, responded, or simply had humanity.

Gitomer offers several suggestions that a customer needs; I offer the most critical customer need, “Response!” When the customer begins a conversation about having to drive from another state to your location, respond. Show an attitude of gratitude, express amazement, ask about the trip, but to ignore the customer and only focus on the transaction, I could have stayed in Albuquerque and gotten that response from the telephone line. Gitomer claims the best customer variable is loyalty. Washington Mutual was my bank; I was loyal from the first thing in the morning to the last thing at night, I told everyone to change to Washington Mutual. Chase acquired Washington Mutual during the banking crisis, and I have been provided a reason to be loyal to Chase to date. I have not been presented a reason to enjoy banking with Chase. Why; because every transaction is ruled by the corporate thinking and inflexibility of big banks who consider themselves “Too big to fail.” Well, lose some more customers, keep ignoring the customers you still have, and another merger to an even bigger corporate bank will be the future.

AT&T, there are several issues in the following story of recent customer service. Frequent readers of my articles will see a common trend, training. Here is another matter where training wins customers. February, I called AT&T looking for a solution; I got a larger price plan and thought all is well. March, I am introduced to the mouse print and discover that “Unlimited Data” has several limits; who knew, obviously not the AT&T telephone representative, or the online Chat representative, I had to visit a local store for an explanation. April more calls to the telephone line, more guesses to close the call. Another visit to the local store for help. Like the shampoo bottle’s instructions, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” May, June, July, and August will see me going into the local store again on Monday. I promise, my trips to the store are not because I am finding customer service, especially since I must keep dodging sales to get questions answered. AT&T, what is your company training philosophy, procedures, and strategical and tactical reasons for conducting employee training? The current results are not satisfactory, and that problem is not improving.

Gitomer discusses how converted employees become loyal employees. I was a converted and loyal customer to Cingular Wireless, which was bought by AT&T. I was a converted customer of Alltel, which was merged into Verizon and AT&T. I was converted to these companies for the service, clarity, and the lack of mouse-print conditions that the employees do not even know or can explain. Banking and Cellphones have something in common, the product is remarkably similar, and the service provided by employees is the only separating variable between your company and your competition. Chase, AT&T, where is the employee training on distinguishing service and building customer loyalty?

“#6 WOW! Variable: Truthful – Customers want the truth! The customer will find out eventually, so you may as well start with the truth – [especially] if [the truth] hurts” (Gitomer, 1998, p. 97; emphasis mine). AT&T, please heed! Chase, you might want to have the same conversation in your call center as well. When customers start with the telephone line looking for information and receive a lie, you are building a customer event that will cost your company customers! Lying loses customers; this equation should be the number one discussion with every employee. I have spent hours on the phone receiving one piece of information, only to walk into the AT&T store and get handed more mouse print. Thus, when training, emphasize the need for clear, concise, truth; served openly and with conviction.

Like many US Military Veterans, I am regularly stuck between two bureaucracies in dealing with the Veterans Administration. However, there is nothing more frustrating than getting the same issues in non-government health administrations. Corporate medicine began in the late 1980s in America, and since then community hospitals have become giant behemoths where bureaucracies reign.  These establishments have yet to understand they must pay attention to the customer/patient, not the insurance company, and indeed not the voices in their heads. Hospital directors, leaders, and providers, what do you do when a patient/customer walks in with cash and asks for service? I walked into the University of New Mexico, Orthopedics Department, plopped $2000.00 in cash down and asked for 60-minutes of time with any provider who was available for a letter I need. Records were available, x-rays, MRI’s, and a host of data. The letter would take less than 60-minutes, and I do not know anyone who would turn down cash and a payday of $2000.00 for an hour or less of work. Yet, not only was I turned away by the bureaucracy, I was informed I would have to travel an hour to another location instead of where I was, because I had been treated there two-years prior. But, I would still not be able to obtain the letter I needed as the other department is neurology. To receive treatment at the specialist demanded by the VA bureaucracy, I must first find a primary care provider who would refer me to a specific provider in orthopedics, before I could finally discuss the potential to fill my need.

Gitomer talks about this principle. The customer does not care about your processes, procedures, policies, and propaganda. The customer cares about what they need, what they offer, and how to obtain what they need. When I called AT&T this week, the third person I spoke with started every answer with “I apologize.” The UNM representative did the same thing in refusing my money and their services. The UNM representative also pulled the “Let me check” run out the office, reappear, helpless, act, to attempt actually to be helpful. The same act is done by telephone representatives who place a customer on hold to “check with a supervisor.” The customer knows what you are doing, and I, for one, am not impressed! Gitomer emphasizes on this point, and if the apology does not come with a solution that gets the customer to what they need, the apology is an excuse that is lame, weak, and useless.

03 August 2019 email messages were sent to three Federally elected representatives of New Mexico, Congresswoman Debra Haaland (D), Senator Tom Udall (D), Senator Martin Heinrich (D). I asked them if they were interested or cared about the veterans in their districts and what is occurring in the Albuquerque VA Medical Center. Their silence testifies to their disregard to their constituents. Unfortunately, this treatment or abuse of their constituents is not limited to the few representatives from New Mexico. Friday, I received a boilerplate email response from Senator Tom Udall’s staff, auto signed, with wording that clearly claims, I do not care about you or your issue, leave me alone, and stop bothering me. As the sole respondent in three elected officials, as the customer, voter, and citizen, I am not pleased!

Each of the above situations breeds a question; “Why should I remain a customer, patient, voter?”

The solutions are clear:

  1. Train employees. Encourage employees to walk customers through different solutions using the truth mentally. Apologize only when you have a solution and mean you are sorry. False apologies are as useful as a blunt needle, you might get the job done, but you are going to drive yourself and everyone else crazy doing the job. Show why training is occurring. State the strategy, so the tactical actions requested make sense to those being trained.
  2. Respond to the customer. Active listening is only half the communication effort, forming proper responses means building upon what the customer said with your response. Failure to respond appropriately, and the customer situation is worsened for the next person to communicate with this customer.
  3. Gitomer asks the following question, “What will it take to end measuring ‘[customer] satisfaction’ in your business” (Gitomer, 1998, p. 257)? I guarantee that the answer to this question is going to cause significant angst in why and how you communicate with customers. I am fairly certain, the answer to this question is going to disrupt every communication channel’s operations and daily tactical actions requiring a review of operational strategy. Business leaders, do you dare to ask the question? Are you prepared for the answer?
  4. Gitomer, Chapter 16 (p. 234-248) details change and how to make the change effective in your operations. The 10.5 points are useful, but what comes next is the best plan for moving forward successfully.

Leading to the final question:

“What will you do now?”

 

Reference

Gitomer, J. (1998). Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know. Atlanta, GA: Bard Press.

 

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain, this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.