Jussie Smollett, Ghislaine Maxwell, Omicron – Some Random Thoughts for Consideration!

Non Sequitur - Carpe DiemTwo significant trials started in the last couple of days, both of which the media has been trying very hard to keep quiet while at the same time trying to, in the case of Epstein’s pimp, also make money on.  The sheer audacity of the media, as well as their complicity in the crimes, remains astounding to me.  The whole time Epstein was powerful and wealthy, the media fawned and twisted themselves into contortions fit to shame a pretzel.  Then when his crimes could no longer be covered up, they still tried to protect him while simultaneously trying to report on a story that should have been written decades earlier.

Jussie Smollett is a little person who arranged to be attacked, jilted the attackers from their money, lied, and is now on trial.  Where this wasted excrement is concerned, may he enjoy his consequences to the utmost!  I hate liars; lying about being attacked as a hate crime is the sickest method of trying to garner attention, and I look forward to justice being served, hard and cold!  The evidence in the Smollett case reflects the incompetence and depravity of the person committing crimes!

Someone help me understand.  When cooking, if I try to move a hot pan and get burned for my troubles, the first time is my opportunity to learn.  The second time I get burned is an attention-getter.  The third time I get burned on the same pan, it just proves I am not learning!  Any additional burns reinforce that I am careless, not understanding, and the consequences are mine, no sympathy, nothing but scorn and ridicule.  COVID Omicron, and the media hysteria, the vaccine insanity, and the endless cycles of governments exerting authoritarian and tyrannical controls, continue to represent that pan and burn analogy.Vaccine

COVID-19 is burning out.  Standard viral science is being witnessed globally, and the science of viral longevity is known and has been studied in-depth.  I am not a viral scientist, but even at my uneducated levels, I can understand that viruses have shelf-lives; the virus’s lethality weans with every generation; as the virus survives as it mutates, it weakens.  Yet, the hysterical media continue to push COVID and its mutations as if these viruses are killing millions wantonly, daily, and must be feared, when the exact opposite is true.  Unfortunately, the media have the government doing knee-jerk reactions to every hyperbolic, hysterical fantasy the media can dream up and push.

Tell me, if the vaccines have not worked, and “booster shots” are the only answer, are we not fulfilling the definition of insanity as described by Einstein, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”  Now, consider the following peer-reviewed research from a reputable source, presenting well-documented science.  The scientific community, whose views are as political as a politician, particularly Fauci, are already trying to destroy the research, discredit the researcher, and throw up sufficient smoke to invalidate the study.  However, the truth is evident to those who have followed the vaccine and the guinea pig testing of communities across the globe who were mandated, coerced, and threatened into getting vaccinated; the vaccines are dangerous to the heart!

Lemmings 1Yet, what is the automatic response of government; more lockdowns, more masking mandates, more authoritarian government overreach, and less common sense!  The lack of common sense in the COVID “pandemic” remains a crucial point of contention.  The flip-flopping dead fish government cannot make up their collective minds, except to claim they want to inconvenience their citizens more.  Every citizen should be sardonic and hold their elected officials in contempt for their COVID-SILLINESS.  More to the point, the citizens of representative government need to send the only message to the government that can awake and arouse, “You’re FIRED!”  Yet, I guarantee some politicians and bureaucrats consider themselves safe from the repercussions and citizen anger; I fully support correcting this misconception, pink slip the lot of them!

Will Durant, author, philosopher, and all-around good egg, once lectured about the “Shameless Worship of Heroes.”  The lecture is well worth experiencing to light the mind with the efforts of humans to gather knowledge and advance the reason of all.  However, I like the lecture less for something missing from it, the discussion of the traitorous hero.  Every tin-pot dictator, authoritarian thug, and miserable little person who has risen to power has a position in history.  Every good person acting selflessly and risking all have a place in history.  But, think about the Benedict Arnold’s and Judas Iscariot’s in history; what has happened to them?  These are people who have set themselves up to be hero-worshipped, and when the crowds discovered they were duped, they culled this person from society so thoroughly the only actions remembered are the infamy.

Knowledge Check!Consider Fauci, he of COVID NIH infamy.  The media has worked tirelessly to edit his life story to avoid the multiple instances of medical misfeasance.  Fauci has been hero-worshiped across America, and his thumbprints are on the virus and pandemic to the Nth degree.  His funding is central to how much the world has suffered, and when his 15-minutes of fame expire, the whiplash will be legendary.  As more of his actions and role as central to the creation and lethality increase of COVID are made known, I expect his “hero-worship” will turn to the screams of mobs demanding retribution.  Do you think Fauci is aware of what happens when society stops hero-worshiping blindly?

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

Circling Back to Compassion – Important Additional Information

MumbleAfter discussing compassion as a tool for the leader’s toolbox, it was pointed out that compassion has been plasticized in modern society, and further discussion on the topic is required.  The intent here is to help provide practical steps for building a compassionate team, making compassionate people, and soliciting compassion as the prime response in customer relations.  There are some truths requiring stress to ensure a clear understanding is provided.

Compassion

The dictionary declares that compassion means “to suffer together.”  Intimating that compassionate people feel motivated to relieve suffering for they have felt the pain of suffering in another.  But, compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism.  Empathy is all about taking the perspective of and feeling another person’s emotions.  The taking is dangerous, the feeling is dangerous, and combined empathy becomes all about the person’s selfishness taking and feeling, not the sufferer. Compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help, taking nothing, onboarding no selfish emotional entanglements for personal gain, simply a desire to help relieve suffering. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.

The focus of compassionate people is to help without personally benefiting a person or animal in pain.  Be that pain physical, emotional, mental, etc.; the focus is always on the other and on helping as able.  Interestingly, compassion is rooted deep in the brain, whereas empathy, sympathy, and altruism are not.  Compassion changes a person fundamentally for the better, whereas research supports that sympathy, empathy, and even altruistic actions do not.  Hence compassion can be a tool in a leader’s toolbox, whereas sympathy and empathy, more often than not, are useless in building people and teams.  It is clear that compassion is intentionality, a cognizant decision to act, and the purpose is always to help.  Sympathy, empathy, and altruism are unconscious emotional desires; unless the person showing these emotions is there for personal gain, deception is intentional and conscious.

  • Truth 1. It cannot be stated enough, or more strongly, emotions are a cognizant choice based upon social cues, learned social rules, and judgments to obtain a reward.  Several good references on this topic exist, but the best and easiest originates with Robert Solomon, “Not Passions Slave: Emotions and Choice.”
  • Truth 2. Emotions are active responses, not passive, and emotions do not happen to an individual sporadically or spontaneously.  Again, several good references on this topic exist, but the best and easiest originates with Robert Solomon, “Not Passions Slave: Emotions and Choice.”

Where compassion is concerned, especially the conscious use of compassion as a leadership tool, the leader must become aware of emotions’ role and social influence and be better prepared to improve people and build cohesion in teams.  Because of compassions intentionality to render help to others, understanding how emotions are a choice and why is like putting glasses on to clarify what is happening, why, and how to duplicate or eradicate the emotional influence.  Thus, the need to emphasize these two truths, even though they are similar, are distinct and need complete understanding to best position the leader in building people.Knowledge Check!

Plastic Words – Tyranny in Language!

  • Truth 3. Uwe Poerksen, “Plastic Words: The Tyranny of Modular Language,” remains an excellent source and cautionary tale on what we are experiencing in modern society where words are captured, bent, disconnected from common definitions, and then plasticized to stretch into what that word is not intended to be used for.  There are a host of plastic words, phrases, and entire twisted languages dedicated to exerting tyranny through communication using plastic words.

Consider the following, culled from APA’s junior website, “Psychology Today.”  Please note, the article linked is the author’s personal opinion; however, for understanding the plasticity in compassion found in modern language, a better example is difficult to find.  The author insists that compassion requires using both sympathy and empathy to be compassionate.  As discussed above, sympathy and empathy should not describe or define compassion. While the words are similar, the conscious intentionality of compassion means sympathy and empathy are not, and should not, be included with compassion.

Yet, the author still provides clear guidance on compassion, insisting that compassion be ruled with logic and wisdom.  Please note, showing compassion does not mean the compassionate person needs to go into debt, sacrifice themselves, or invest to the point of exhaustion in another person.  Logic and wisdom dictate that you are not less compassionate when you govern compassion with temperance, but the reverse.  A critical point of knowledge stumbled upon while trying to plasticize compassion as sympathy or empathy; compassion requires logic and wisdom, temperance, and judgment, all conscious, active, and involved decisions to be the most effective in building people.

Finally, compassion is a two-directional mode of building people.  Both parties in a compassionate relationship are choosing consciously to engage in compassion.  Hence, both will share in the consequences; sympathy and empathy are all one-directional from the giver to the receiver, with no reciprocation.  Thus, stretching compassion to include sympathy and empathy, or even altruism, disconnects the fundamental ties of compassion from logic, and chaos ensues; where chaos exists, tyranny occurs!

Using Compassion – Focusing Upon Potential

Opportunity is potential; potential is triumph waiting for an effort to be applied.” – Dave Salisbury

The above sentiment is one of my favorite truths because of what Mumble’s Dad Memphis said in Happy Feet, “The word triumph begins with try and it ends with a great big UMPH!”  What does the informed leader do to build people?  They recognize potential, both strengths and weaknesses, as a means to grow in themselves and others.  Compassion enters when an event occurs as the emotion of connecting and building relationships.  An analogy, compassion, could be compared to the mortar used in laying bricks.  Each person and event are bricks, and by using compassion, the bricks are organized into a wall of strength.  What is the potential of a single brick in a pile; hard to say.  Organize them with compassion, and the potential becomes visible to all.

Practical Activities for Building Compassion

The following are helpful suggestions for building compassion in yourself and others.

    1. Show genuine emotion; if you’re happy, smile! If you’re struggling, let people know.  Our society has been built upon hiding what has been going on for too long.  People begin a conversation with, “How are you doing?”  The expected answer is “fine,” good,” “okay,” etc. yet, when you know how you’re doing, these answers just spread lies.  Are you building an environment where people can be honest about how they are doing?
    2. Compliments are a big part of showing compassion. Yet, too often, we cannot compliment each other without problems of sexual harassment.  The giving and accepting of compliments build trust and comfort between people.  Open the environment for giving and receiving compliments.
    3. Praise and expressions of gratitude cannot be understated as needed tools for building people. Research supports that honest, sincere, and frequent praise is better than cash for brain health and motivation.  Again, open the environment for issuing praise and gratitude.
    4. Employ reflective listening; reflective listening is listening to understand the speaker and build a two-directional solution. Active listening is easily faked; the other listening methods do not include listening, hence the need for reflective listening.
    5. Curiosity reflects a genuine interest in someone else. Ask the other person’s interests, find common ground, and build from there.  Do not forget to share.  For example, what books have you read recently?  Got a hobby, share new skills.
    6. Invest time! You cannot build compassion without investing time in yourself and with your team!  Take the time, invest the time, and employ patience.

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

Jacob and Esau – The Perils of Government; An Analogy

Bobblehead DollSeveral books of scripture, in multiple religions, record the story of Jacob and Esau.  Jacob and Esau are twins male children of Isaac and Rebekah.  The boys were competitors for their entire lives.  Esau acts outside his parent’s wishes in marriage, sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage (stew or beans; something cooked in a pot), and late in life is reconciled to Jacob even though his people continue to have animosity towards Jacob’s people to this day.  While the story of these twin brothers remains useful to those in religion and teaches several morals of importance, Jacob and Esau represent a classic tale of why government should be limited in size and scope.

Genesis 27, Old Testament, contains the story of how Jacob obtains the birthright blessing, which had been sold to him by Esau for the aforementioned bowl of pottage.  Consider with me what would have happened if the same bloated government we have right now had meddled in the affairs of Isaac, Jacob, and Esau.  The cost of meddling in the internal family affairs, the government would have taken 40% inheritance tax.  Esau would have always had the government as a millstone and ready excuse for not reconciling with Jacob, and lawyers and government officials would have further sundered the family.

Remember this, for it has importance in the following discussion, the government does not grant freedom, EVER!  As described and stated in the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, freedom comes from a power higher than government, and government was only, ever, instituted for the benefit of man.  Ask yourself, is your government benefitting you?Plato 2

I guarantee the answer is no; regardless of the political spectrum, you prefer.  Why, because the government should not be exerting powers in areas that control or curtail the freedoms of the people.  Esau never valued his birthright, so selling it was easy, and a bowl of pottage was a rich reward for something he did not value.

How expensive is government-funded medical treatment?  Some will claim, but those receiving treatment never see a bill; really?  Costs are more than merely a statement representing the need to pay money.  What about the loss of privacy?  What about the loss of freedom to choose what treatments and providers are best for you?  What about the loss of innovation to the thumb of oppression from the government?  What about the loss of self-reliance and the health benefits of independence?  What about the destruction of your community and the connections people felt with and pride for community hospitals?  What was lost when the medical community forced, through the abuse of government intervention, the knowledge of herbs for the sterility of Big Pharmaceutical drugs?

For the hope of a prosperous retirement, what was sold; freedom and money in the now.  Yet, one should ask, where does the government get the power to take money, then give it back at some future point?  Except, how many of those government retirement Ponzi Schemes are fully funded, even with all the money flowing in?  The answer is as empty as Esau’s bowl.  Still, the government continues to steal money through forced taxation and purchase the hopes and liberties of citizens for that hoped-for bowl of pottage, prosperity in retirement.Plato 3

For the hope of reducing poverty, the government purchased a class of people whom they could abuse and ignite for political gain anytime they want or desire.  To create this aggrieved class of people, the government took over welfare programs, bought people with bread and circuses, asked them to stay in government houses, live on government food, enjoy government-provided entertainment, etc.  What was sold for this bowl of pottage; liberty, potential, freedom, upward mobility financially, safety and security, and hope.  What has been the consequences of this purchase; a permanently aggrieved class of people who look longingly at another’s possessions and desire them through theft because hard work is racist, demoralizing, and stops the government handouts.  Worse, the government had to grow in power and size to “manage” this class of people, creating those with six-digit salaries to rub the purchased people’s faces in the irony of what was lost in the purchase.

The United States has been waging a “War on Drugs,” almost since its founding.  The government considers one drug “good,” mainly due to the ease of controlling it for taxation purposes, and another drug “bad.”  Yet, how successful has it been in this “war?”  Not at all, and its failures are increasing year-over-year, even while new methods of taxation are being invented to manage “legal drugs.”

Alcohol in the United States has had a history of acceptance, tolerance, legal banning, and returned to tolerance and acceptance, all through human desires, abuse of government powers, and the need for tax revenue.  Sin taxes, the class of tax used to allow a citizen government approval to get drunk, stoned, or inject poison into their bodies, are among the highest taxes in America.  Yet, the more the taxes increase, the more people want these products, and the more the government wants people to use these products, for we see the purchase of something transitory using something highly precious to barter.  What is more precious than time and physical health, and what is purchased but something that can only temporarily ease pain or provide relief at best.Apathy

Tobacco has been a favorite drug of the government for its population to enjoy, pushing the popularity of the drug even while condemning and restricting how, when, where the drug can be enjoyed.  Tobacco farmers have played vital roles in American history, and the product has been a significant cash crop for government revenue.  Have you ever wondered where the money and research facilities originate to improve cigarette addiction?  Have you ever considered where the marketing materials originated to pitch the health benefits of smoking?  Do you realize that government is the biggest provider of money for research and marketing purposes?  Never forget the government has become flush with cash, pushing tobacco, regulating tobacco, and licensing tobacco.  Now ask yourself, why would the government give on the one hand and take on the other, because it is making money with both hands as people sell something precious for something valueless and transitory.

Do people get injured and need assistance; yes, but the government is never the answer to provide help.  Are there those who are trying to thrive and escape poverty; yes, but the government is never the answer to providing help.  A truth from time immemorial, governments do not produce anything; thus, the government must first take through legalized theft, taxation, and legal abuse to give to someone else.  Every representative government must walk a balancing act between what a government is and what responsibilities a government must shoulder.  Except, how many continue to make Esau’s mistake and sell something incredibly precious for something transitory and essentially valueless?

Worse, evaluate the consequences of allowing the purchase to occur.  First, the seller experiences buyer’s remorse, anger, jealousy, regret, and the government making the purchase laughs, making the bitterness of the sell more poignant.  Second, the seller needs an outlet for this buyer’s remorse.  In an effort to continue to purchase while appeasing, the government allows the seller to go destroy the property and goods of another less politically connected person and calls this social justice.  Third, the abused class of people who are not politically affiliated or are political rivals, whose property is being destroyed, looks on, and envy, malice, and contempt are bred, which furthers the goals and desires of the government.The Duty of Americans

Esau took a long time to be reconciled to Jacob, but it first required admitting that he had sold his birthright (something of great value) for something transitory and valueless (food).  Jacob and Esau’s story remains of great importance and a cautionary tale, especially for understanding why government needs to be smaller, less involved, and less able to abuse the citizenry.  For too long, the governments worldwide have either abused their powers to purchase or been established as a tyrannical and oppressive government.  Either way, the government is the problem, and the answer continues to be the same, curb the government!

Knowledge Check!If COVID has taught the populations of the earth anything, let us learn this valuable lesson, the government is the problem, not the solution!  The size of government is oppression, the cost of government is theft, and the loss of precious freedom and liberty for transitory and valueless gifts or benefits which come at too high a price in treasure and other precious resources.  We, the owners and the abused of government, must change how we think and feel about the role of government before all is lost to the ever-hungry maw of government and self-interests!

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

Rights, Liberties, Freedoms, Responsibilities, Privileges: A Definitive Declaration!

Knowledge Check!In a previous post, I wrote about the principle of self-control and liberty in law; I did not realize the turmoil caused by not understanding the difference between a right, liberty, freedom, where responsibility enters, and how these principles work together.  My apologies; I learned these differences as a child and never considered that others might not be able to detail, define, describe, and delineate between these fundamental principles.  My plan originally with this article was not to provide a definitive declaration; then, I researched some of the claptrap online being passed off as learned scholarly discussion and was disgusted!  Thus, my aims and intents changed; I would see this article be referenced and used to aid in clearing up the confusion generated by word plasticity and modular language tyranny.

Along the way, I will include both links and resources for further study for your ability to grow and feel confident in defending rights, liberties, freedoms with responsibility and dedication.  Only through learning can we, the owners of representative governments, begin to change government direction and regain our liberties and freedoms!

RightsApathy

The founding fathers of America understood rights and called them inalienable.  There is a reason for this; rights cannot be taken away.  An individual can give rights away, but because a right is inalienable, it means a power greater than the government has distributed these rights, and all are equal in their possession of these rights.  Inalienable specifically refers to rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from a person.

How does a person give away an inalienable right; they refuse to accept that a right is inalienable.  Consider the US Bill of Rights, a document full of those inalienable rights or rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred, or removed permanently from an individual.  Consider one of the first inalienable rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights, religion.  What you believe is your choice; nobody can, or should, have the power to tell you what you believe.  Belief transcends thought into a unique place inside your brain; some would call it a soul.  Depending upon your flavor of religion, a soul could or could not exist.  I am not writing a definitive declaration about religion, I am writing about rights, and your personal belief where religion is concerned is fundamental to you expressing yourself.

Plato 2Is the distinction clear?  A right cannot be stripped from you by anyone, ever unless you choose to deny your inalienable rights to that particular right.  For example, the US Bill of Rights declares your ability to defend yourself is an inalienable right.  You choose how to protect yourself, e.g., guns, fists, sticks, knives, alarms, police, etc.  How you choose to defend yourself is your inalienable right, and you deserve to be protected in your rights to self-defense.  If a person attacks you, you have the inalienable right to self-protection.  This is established through case laws.  How many women have been physically, sexually, and mentally abused by a spouse or partner, who then took action to defend themselves and were acquitted at trial; too many to mention in a declaration on rights.  Just know, you have a right to self-defense, and this right can never be stripped from you by anyone but you.

Liberties

Liberties are a little more complicated to define and detail.  Some applications of the word liberty include freedom from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.  Whereas liberty is also a power to act as one chooses, even if that action breaks a society’s accepted standards, i.e., laws.  Liberties can also include unwarranted risks, deviations from facts (lies), departing from compliance to the accepted and proper methods of prudence.

The Duty of AmericansIn most societies, you can purchase and legally become the owner of an item due to the purchase.  Thus, liberty allows you to become free to use that purchase however you desire.  Until the use of that purchase interferes with someone else’s inalienable rights.  For example purchase of a baseball bat is legal, mostly around the world.  Use that baseball bat for its intended purposes, i.e., to play baseball or softball, and the government does not infringe upon your liberties.  Use that baseball bat outside its intended purposes, to break windows, cause injuries or property damage, and you can lose your liberty and your property.

Imperative to understanding, liberty can be taken by force through the law, government action, and or improper use of liberty.  Perform an imprudent act, and someone is going to take your liberty away.  For example, in Hong Kong, China has ruled that freedom of speech has been curtailed.  While freedom of speech is an inalienable right, China refuses to honor free speech as an inalienable right, and Hong Kong peoples suffer.  The people of China and Hong Kong can still speak their minds exercising their inalienable rights, but taking these liberties to exercise their rights, has been strictly and violently enforced by a government refusing to believe people have inalienable rights.

PatriotismThus the confusion and complication in defining and detailing liberties.  Liberties can be taken and refused; liberties can be eliminated by government force and social changes.  Liberties are not inalienable rights or even a right.  You do not have a right to liberty.  You may pursue happiness, but achieving happiness is not a right, freedom, or liberty.

Consider the purpose of government as detailed in the US Constitution’s preamble:

“… In order to form a more perfect Union (Government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Consider also the purpose for the US Bill of Rights, as the first amendments to a brand new constitution:

“… Prevent misconstruction or abuse of its (US Government) powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

The government creates liberties, calls these rights, and then attempts to confuse the problem.  For example, welfare benefits as currently understood (2021) are significantly different from welfare benefits understood in (1920) America.  Today, people on welfare benefits consider their government-provided support a right when in actuality, it is barely a liberty.  Most importantly, those welfare benefits can be restricted, removed, curtailed, curbed, and denied based upon the whims of government.  This is why welfare is not a right and barely a liberty.  Welfare benefits are barely a liberty because someone else has to pay for the privilege of supporting another person through forced taxation (legalized theft).Life Valued

Freedoms

Freedoms are even more complicated, and freedoms have been made more challenging to understand purposefully by political design as a means to steal liberties and rights from individuals, under a myriad of different names, i.e., social justice, equality, freedom, and civil liberty, etc.  Let’s start with civil liberties, which are neither a right or a liberty, regardless of the politician pushing the name.

LookCivil liberties are freedoms you pay the government to enjoy.  For example, driving a car requires a license.  By issuing licenses, the government can control the population, even though driving is considered a privilege, a right, and is often confused with “freedom of the open road,” which is two lies for the price one.  Another example is marriageMarriage throughout human history has been a tug-of-war between religion and government.  As a point of reference, marriage ceremonies are unique in the human condition anthropologically speaking.  But, as a civil liberty, the government can restrict you from marrying your pets, marrying objects and can grant and deny marriage privileges as it deems appropriate to the political situation.

The state does not recognize some religious ceremonies for marriage, which means that marriage is null and void under the state’s control. Yet, under that religious belief, that marriage is binding.  Consider China again; China refuses to honor Christian marriage ceremonies as valid under the law and several other religions and religious traditions.  Thus, civil liberties are at best an approved and licensed government action, not freedoms, liberties, and rights.  As the saying goes, “The government giveth and the government taketh.”

quote-mans-inhumanityFreedoms are often defined as political independence, which is fine insofar as civil liberties are concerned.  Freedoms entail several other qualities that the government cannot give, take, invent, or delete.  True freedoms do not need legal support from case law to be enjoyed.  True freedoms include living without restraints, acting without control or interference, and not being bound by conventions, rules, and authorities.  It cannot be stressed enough, even though liberties and freedoms share some components, they are merely similar, not identical.  In trying to push liberty and freedom as equivalent, the tyranny of language is discovered to sunshine disinfectant.  A right, especially those inalienable rights, are not freedoms or liberties to be granted and removed at the power of authority, and the distinction should be clear.

Privilegesquote-mans-inhumanity-2

Privileges are easy to understand; privileges are permission granted at the request of an authority to grant limited power, responsibility, or situational control over something.  What is a driver’s license, the privilege to drive, which can be revoked at the whims of the government issuing the privilege (license).  Civil liberties are a privilege granted by an authority; ownership is not conveyed, legal responsibility extends only for the controlled use under strict supervision by the authority.  For example, while a state employee, I was granted the privilege of operating a state-owned vehicle, provided I followed all the rules set forth by the state issuing that privilege.  Ending state employment ended the privilege of operating that government vehicle.  Easy enough to understand, a privilege is not a liberty, freedom, right, or inalienable right.

A privilege also contains immunity from commonly imposed laws, standards, and social constraints.  Think of the police officer who makes a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic.  To conduct their job and fulfill their duties, police officers sometimes have to break laws to enforce a greater law or protect the safety of others and are immune from breaking those traffic laws that the rest of us must follow.  However, even in this instance, a privilege is not freedom, a right, or liberty, simply authority granted immunity when on the job to act in a manner that supports public safety and enforces the state’s authority over driving privileges.

The Role of ResponsibilityPresident Adams

Responsibility is a word that gets thrown around too often where the definition is muddied, and the intent is to harm and control someone else.  Responsibility is nothing more or less than the condition of being required to account for one’s actions, behaviors, and the consequences of the same.  For example, a defendant in a courtroom can be required to account for and make restitution for behaviors, actions, and consequences that were out of compliance with societal norms; we call this type of responsibility justice.

On a less extreme example, a child is out throwing rocks, the rock thrown breaks a window, who is responsible, the child or the parent?  The child should be held responsible and taught accountability; however, society is moving more and more towards holding that parent responsible.  Except, does this hurt or help the child stop throwing rocks?  Now, I have heard parents proclaim that throwing rocks is a right of passage for children, and the child should not be responsible for the consequences.  Therein lay the problem with freedoms, liberties, privileges, and rights, the role of responsibility.

Exclamation MarkIt has been said that my freedom of speech ends where your nose begins.  Thus, I cannot exercise my freedom of speech through physical violence, or I lose my right to speak and, more likely, some freedom and property as well.  Thus, the role of responsibility begins with knowing the extent of and limitations formed around rights, freedoms, liberties, and privileges, for ignorance of the law is not an excuse.  Our responsibility of living in society is to know the rules that form the laws and the social constraints of that society.

For example, the people of Germany have worked hard to make their country beautiful, and the principle of living in a Germanic society is In Ordnung.  If something is out of order, for example, litter, the person creating that situation outside of order is publicly shamed.  In America, the societal norms have been beaten and hindered, so that a person coming into America illegally has the rights, as granted by the government, not to learn the language, learn the culture, or even assimilate.  Whereas those coming legally into America are required to learn, adapt, and assimilate into America.  Thus, the role of responsibility can be used selectively to provide civil liberties to one group while withholding those same rights from others based upon political conditions.

Conclusion

Image - Eagle & FlagRights, especially inalienable rights, are yours as provided by a higher power than the government.  Liberties are the power to act without constraint, provided your exercise of liberty does not infringe upon the inalienable rights of another.  Freedoms rest upon political independence, something feared by every bureaucrat and power-mad politician in history.  Privileges are permissions granted by a higher authority to conduct business or fulfill a purpose.  Civil liberties are not liberties, but privileges can be taken away by authorities and social changes.  Regardless, the role of responsibility is inseparably connected to rights, liberties, freedoms, and privileges. One day, accountability will be demanded for the responsibilities connected to how a person used their liberties, freedoms, rights, and privileges.

References

Leadbeater, C. W. (1913). The hidden side of things. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.

Lieberman, M. D. (2013). Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. NY: Oxford University Press, USA.

Poerksen, U. (2010). Plastic words: The tyranny of a modular language. NY: Penn State Press.

Paine, T. (2008). Rights of man, common sense, and other political writings. NY: Oxford University Press.

Tucker, W. (2014). Marriage and civilization: How monogamy made us human. NY: Simon & Schuster.

© 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: “Constructive Criticism” – Killing The Lie!

Bird of PreyPoerksen (2010) provided sage counsel regarding how language plasticity leads to tyranny. Unfortunately, when discussing criticism, the tyranny of “constructive criticism” is displayed, and it is time for this lie to end, permanently!  Let me state, for the record and unequivocally, criticism never constructs positive behaviors!  Criticism doesn’t change simply because an adjective attempts to make criticism less harmful.

Criticism

Criticism defined, provides key insight from the common definition, “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.”  Disapproving based upon perception and expressed through words, looks, actions, and behaviors; this is criticism, and the best people in the world to criticize are the British.  IIf I call the British extremely critical and claim that is a compliment to the residents of the British Isles, those in Scotland and Ireland will understand, and no adjective in the world can make this criticism “constructive.”  As a point of reference, I draw this conclusion about the British from history, but knowing that does not make the criticism less accurate or less painful. On the contrary, I think the British have come a long way in changing their critical behaviors, actions, and manners and applauding them for their growth.

NO FearThe remaining definitions in the term criticism expand nicely upon the point that criticism and being critical can never be “constructive.”  “The analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of work.”  “A person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.”  The etymology of critic, which is the root of criticism, comes to us from Latin criticus, from Greek Kritikos, from kritēs ‘a judge’, from krinein ‘judge, decide.’  Never forget criticism, or the act of being critical originates from personal perception, a choice to be judgmental and critical.  The intent is to pass judgment upon something, someone, or someplace with the intent to cause personal harm or sway the opinions of others.

Constructive

Being constructive is “serving a useful purpose, or tending to build up.”  As noted above, criticism cannot be constructive because the adjective “constructive” is the polar opposite of criticism, which tends to tear down, demean, and depress.  Yet, when business leaders begin to write annual reviews, they are told to constructively criticize their employees, to sandwich criticism between praise to make the criticism less painful, and to construct comments in a manner that showcases strengths while not dwelling on the criticism.  Why; because this is the “scientifically approved” method for leadership, provide “constructive criticism.”  Except, criticism is a personal opinion and can never construct anything!

Why are we discussing criticism?Why

09 June 2021, in my company email box, I received an email, considered a “Thought of the Day,” from no less an auspicious source as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department (DEI).  If anyone knew the damage of tyrannical language, I would think those in DEI would have a clue.  Yet, by their email, it is clear that DEI continues to drink the Kool-Aid and act the tyrant where language is concerned.  The email attempts to define destructive criticism and constructive criticism and then provides steps for distinguishing between the two forms of criticism.  Completely forgetting that criticism can never be constructive and will always be destructive.  From the email, we find these two fallacious concepts:

      • Destructive criticism: is undermining and can cause harm. There is no upside or way to positively spin what is said/written because the critic does not have your best interest at heart. It is destructive criticism that gives people fear of criticism in general.
      • Constructive criticism: is designed to be helpful and is based on valid facts/observations. It’s meant to help you grow and become stronger. It’s not always positive, but it can help you to see things in a new light. The critic almost always gives it based on their experience and genuinely wants to help out.Anton Ego 4

Using the definitions provided, can you see the tyranny?  Are the problems with plasticizing criticism behind the adjective “constructive” evident?  Do you understand the term plastic language and how plasticizing a word can destroy a person? Finally, ask yourself, does the professional critic write to “help the subject” of the criticism out, or do they criticize for another purpose entirely?

undefined1960, Doris Day’s movie, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” has a character who moves from being a professor of acting at a college to being a theater critic.  The movie is a comedy and delightfully shows the problems with criticism.  Better, the film underscores how criticizing never leads to constructing a person, a reputation, or an industry.  A more recent example of the problems with criticism can be found in the Disney/Pixar animated movie “Ratatouille.”  Anton Ego is the critic of restaurants, and his name strikes fear and dread into the hearts of the cooks and chefs in a restaurant.  Anton Ego is a tyrant who employs criticism as a tool for his own ends.  The final criticism of Chef Gusteau’s Restaurant near the end of the movie is a stunning example of how criticism can never be constructive!

Bait & SwitchFrom the DEI email, we find something very interesting in the Constructive vs. Destructive questions; the lack of the term “criticism” in the constructive criticism questions. Instead, criticism has been subtly changed to “feedback” in every place the term criticism should reside. So, for example, the first item under constructive is stated, “Feedback and advice from others are essential for growth and success.  Look at criticism as a learning opportunity.”  Better still, the third item in the constructive list states, “Detach yourself from criticism.”

Your ability to understand and refuse to play word games promotes operational trust in an organization, brings stability to teams, and establishes you as a person willing to learn.  Learning thwarts tyranny, and the tyrant has to give ground.  Never lose the moral high ground!

Knowledge Check!Fighting tyrannical modular language, or the plastic word games people play to control an audience, I suggest the following:

        1. Question terms used—demand logical answers.
        2. Know words and definitions; if unsure, ask SIRI, look the terms up in multiple dictionaries, but don’t rely upon one source for an explanation.
        3. When in doubt, practice #2, then #1 until you are less confused. I have found those working to plasticize words cannot stand scrutiny.
        4. Sunshine disinfectant works when tyranny is found; put the tyrant in the sunshine and watch them emulate a vampire in the sunshine!

Freedom requires a willing mind and a courageous heart; you are never alone when you take a stand against tyranny. So stand and watch the tyranny begin to fall like a rock slide.  Be the tiny rock that starts something big!

Reference

Poerksen, U. (2010). Plastic words: The tyranny of a modular language. Penn State Press.

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

NO MORE BS: Have You Heard?

DutyThe following is a recap of several stories that should have been big news, but since the corporate media is practicing “Biden Behind Covering” (BBC), I doubt this news was heard anywhere.  However, this information is critical, and I have included the links if you want more than my paltry summation of the story.  I encourage you to always hit the links included in the articles I publish, so you know where I get my source materials.

Judge for yourself the importance of the following, but I encourage you to judge wisely, for America is in deep trouble!

Inflation Definition: Formula & How to CalculateFrom the NCSL regarding the future of finance, we find a curious article, “Do State and Local Governments Need to Worry About Inflation?”  The simple answer is absolutely, as the continuing pension crisis will be multiplied as inflations grows.  How much is inflation up, a year ago inflation was 4.2% less than it is today.  But that is a statistic that doesn’t carry the real weight of the problem.  If you owed $100 last year, without interest calculations, you now owe $4.20 more.  That $10.00 steak is now $10.42, before taxes.  That tank of fuel, before all the taxes, is $0.42 more expensive than a year ago, and inflation was already hurting America.  The way inflation works is comparable to running on a freshly waxed floor in your socks, you have to exert more effort to maintain your same spot, forget slowing down, or stopping for that will include falling.  Let me reintroduce you to a term used in the early 1970s, stagflation.  Stagflation occurs when the inflation rate is so out of control, no new jobs are created, employers are looking to cut employees left and right to maintain shareholder profits, and the entire economy grinds to a messy halt.

Inflation may erode PTI's political capital - Newspaper - DAWN.COMRisk managers across the financial system are looking at the government on the Federal, State, and Local levels and are not liking what they see as inflation continues to grow beyond the Federally approved 2% annual allowed rate.  As taxes adjust for increased inflation, it will require more money to pay taxes to maintain current levels, as inflation depletes the value of dollars saved.  Thus, every government is looking at their “Rainy Day” funds, and are watching it depreciate as inflation increases, and this is happening before a penny is even spent.

VaccineFrom SHRM, we find the next astounding piece of news, the “EEOC Gives the Greenlight for Limited Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccinations.”  Mandatory vaccinations are illegal in the United States, currently.  However, incentivizing vaccinations by an employer has now been made acceptable.  Do you see a problem with this EEOC ruling?  Did you notice how slippery the slope is between employers incentivizing vaccinations and mandatory vaccinations?  During periods of higher inflation, how much value is $500, from an employer to vaccinate?  Other employers are allowing employees to sticker their badges showing they vaccinated and can stop wearing a mask in public.  No sticker, you have to keep your mask on.  Slippery slope?  Colleges, K-12 Schools, and other organizations all have a hodgepodge of rules for mingling in a post-COVID government mandated lockdown, as the “New” normal.

Do you see the problems with employers picking winners and losers based upon vaccination status?  How long before those who cannot, or will not, be a guinea pig for a useless vaccine, that is shrouded in mystery, and which has zero long-term studies completed, for a viral disease with a 99.02% chance of survival, are shown the door because of risk averse insurance policies?  I have some concerns with this decision and remain convinced that the EEOC has been bought and paid for by parties unknown.  Their last several decisions have left me seriously concerned.  Watch the bureaucrats, they are sneaky!Plato 2

Virginia Allen, writing for The Daily Signal, provides the next piece of news that should be wall-to-wall with parents marching.  “California Public School Gives Third Graders Assignment About ‘Place on Gender Spectrum.’  Let that sink in for a moment.  9-year-old students are being asked to choose where they place themselves on the “gender spectrum.”  What the heck is a “Gender Spectrum?”  At 9-years old, I was more interested in getting better at little league than I was about anything else, except my paper route.  A quote from the article sums the problem nicely:

The school board is completely indoctrinated. Many teachers are completely indoctrinated. … You cannot change their mind. The only thing you can do is vote them off [the school board] and let them know there are consequences to teaching children inappropriate things for their ages.”

When your politicians are no longer afraid of the citizens they afflict, tyranny has begun to reign!  California is a perfect example of what happens when the populace checks out, the politicians stop fearing the ballot box, and power concentrates under a single party.  Now, ask yourself, is this the America you want for your kids and grandchildren?  I know my answer!Apathy

Cal Thomas also writing for The Daily Signal, presents the scariest topic of all, “Ministry of Truth 2.0.”  Consider for a moment, you make a comment in a grocery store, an off-hand comment to another person, the next day a person from Homeland Security is knocking on your door to discuss your passing of disinformation, who possesses the legal authority to place you under arrest, no evidence needed, and you are guilty until reluctantly allowed to be innocent.  From the article:

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is reportedly considering the development of tools that would help America’s children discern truth from lies and know when they are being fed “disinformation.”

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceIf you have not read, or listened to, George Orwell’s book 1984, you might not recognize “the Ministry of Truth,” which is the propaganda arm of the government who rewrites history to what the government says it is, and not what actually happened.  Would someone please explain to me who appointed the Homeland Security Secretary the harbinger and decider of truth and lies?  When the media cannot even get the truth right, how will a government, senate appointed, person who serves at the pleasure of the current sitting US President know, recognize, or even understand truth?  When the media allow truth to be “subjective to circumstances, environments, and cultures,” how will bureaucrats be able to discern truth?

Tell me, how will the tools be protected from the bias of the tool designers?  One of the biggest issues in modern research is researcher bias; yet somehow the secretary of Homeland Security can magically control bias to protect the tools from the opinions, knowledge, experiences, and politics of the designers.  Exactly how will this occur?  Do you recognize how slippery this slope is, and how dangerous?Why

As a homeowner in a town that is within 50-miles of the southwest border, the continued blind-eye being turned to the southern border infuriates me.  Please, follow this link, and then consider what is being said.  Do not look at the politics of the situation, do not listen to the political leaders and political commenters.  Listen to your heart, your gut, your conscience, and tell me, if the 9-year old girl was your sister, cousin, daughter, what would be your response?  From the article we also find the following:

The cartels are making an ungodly amount of money on a daily basis, somewhere to the tune of $15 to $25 million a day in just the trafficking and smuggling of human beings. That doesn’t include the narcotics. We’re seeing, for example, fentanyl, 5,000% increase in fentanyl coming across the border.”

America Is Crying Digital Art by Deborah VicinoWant to hear the truth about the problem on the southern border, let’s talk about “got-aways.”

Got-aways” are individuals that are crossing the border illegally that don’t want to get caught. They don’t want to go through processing because they are either a gang member, someone on the terrorist watch list, a convicted sex offender, [or] a violent offender. These are people who know that once they are caught, they will get turned right back around because of their record, because they have a record in the United States.”

From January to June, the Border Patrol, through all their efforts, have lost around 200,000 “got-aways.”  These are people seen on cameras, who have eluded apprehension, and are now roaming American streets.  A convicted sex offender was given a small baby to help him cross the border.  Where the parents of this child are, no one knows.  So, even when they get caught, we still have problems getting rid of the vermin mixed into this humanitarian crisis.  How many terrorists from non-South and Central American countries have slipped through as “got-aways?”

Knowledge Check!America is being taken for a ride by the Cartels who run the Southern border!  This is the truth, and anyone trying to tell you something else is selling snake oil and trying to make a buck off the tragedy that is the US Southern Border.  Like all evil and conspiring people through history, the innocent are the shields covering the criminal actions, these children deserve better, but they will never have a future until America becomes a land of laws again, where the Rule of Law is honored.

Child Abuse - New Day Advocacy CenterCan you hear the Statue of Liberty weep at how are laws are being manipulated by the drug cartels, for the glorification of single-party rule and fiscal return on investment?

© 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: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 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: Clearing up the confusion! – Understanding the Government of America

Bird of PreyRepresentative Deb Haaland (D) sent out an email while a US House of Representatives member claimed America is a “Constitutional Democracy.”  I will endeavor to correct this confusion using simple terms; for Representative Haaland’s benefit, please allow me to elaborate.  Along the way, let us explore a few connected topics, including the plasticization of words and how that breeds tyranny.

A Republic finds its history lodged in the writings of Plato, who called a republic “possessing the structure and composition of the ideal state.”  James Madison provides America with the only definition needed for America to be a republic, “We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behaviour [Emphasis added].”  A republic is a government system where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.  Finally, a republic is recognized by the head of the government, not being a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

America has a Constitution that leaves all the power of the government in the hands of its legal citizens.  Legal citizens are not impostor aliens or terrorists captured on a battlefield; thus, US Constitutional Rights do not apply or cover these entities.  A Republic is formed around the principle that through property ownership, freedom is generated.  A Republic requires time, majorities that clearly surpass a simple majority, and when personal property is threatened or removed from individual citizens, that Republic slips into a democracy.  A Democracy cannot climb into being a Republic, but the Republic can be reduced to a democracy.Look

Democracy is associated with the “rule by the people,” or a simple majority wins.  The associations of democracy have become more twisted since the mid-1930s.  Therein lies the problem, democracies have existed under the feudal system of government, the communists have tried to instill democratic changes, and dictators like Maduro in Venezuela have employed democracy for personal enrichment and citizen enslavement.  Democracy, other than being dangerous, is the belief that simple majority rules for everyone.  Winston Churchill is correct, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  The reason democracy is dangerous is the belief that people control the rule when they have nothing to do with the ruling.  The “Rule of Law does not bind rulers of a democracy”; they are only restricted by statistics reported in opinion polls, which Mark Twain aptly called “Damned lies.”Finest Hour

Consider the United Kingdom, which is a “Democratic Polyarchy” as they have a hereditary monarch ruler, and a democratic parliament; when the people demanded an exit from the European Union, the supposedly democratic parliament stymied and thwarted the people’s will to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.  Venezuela is a democracy where the constitution was destroyed for personal power.  The country was bankrupted for the enrichment of the few, and the people are now left starving, wondering where their country went.

America’s founders were interested in creating a representative democracy under a republican form of government to protect the property rights of individuals that generate the most freedom for the most people.  Under a republican form of government, everyone is first bound by the rule of law; in America’s case, the code we are all united under is the US Constitution.  Even the government must answer to the lowest of citizens.  Important to note, a Republican form of government does not mean that the Political Party “Republicans” are the party to rule exclusively.  The plasticization of words and terms continues to create confusion where politics is concerned.Patriotism

America was never expected to be a direct democracy, where Representative Haaland (D) is basing her erroneous statement regarding America being a “Constitutional Democracy.”  Here is where the fallacy resides, a constitutional democracy would only require a simple majority to enact new clauses in the constitution.  America’s Constitution requires ¾’s of the individual US States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment after the Constitutional Amendment has won supermajorities in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.  Thus, any fourth-grade student who has passed American history can tell how and why America is NOT a “Constitutional Democracy,” as stated by Representative Haaland.  “Constitutional Democracy” is fallacious, deceiving, and meant to create confusion in the populace.  Since Representative Haaland (D) and Senator Udall (D) continue to disregard their constituents, I expect more but have come to realize they will not adhere to providing a higher level of respect for the offices they individually hold, representing their constituents across the political spectrum.The Duty of Americans

Property – It’s Not What you Think!

Since we discuss the rule of law, republics, and other related topics, let us dig a little into an item that is killing America and her freedom, the loss of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar as well as an author who was a Professor at Yale Law School, writes a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over, this paper is referenced below, and the link is active.

Detective 4Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, and sycophants in the Senate and House.  Establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess; picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allow to feed the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.Image - Quote Poltics is Dirty

A perfect example is found in K-12 Schools.  When a school insists they need more money from the taxpayer, they blame poverty and race as to why their students cannot learn unless more money is poured into a failing school to purchase a “magic bullet,” e.g., an expensive new toy, technology, or program—providing three lies in one, and excusing designed incompetence for the failure of students who the teachers have abused.  Race governing ability is the first lie.  Poverty dictating intellect forms the second lie.  More money needed in K-12 Education is the third lie.  The designed incompetence that allows or encourages a teacher to pass a student that does not meet the standards of learning is an abuse of students, not a problem of funding, and not a problem of the teacher, but a lack of parental involvement and student engagement.Government Largess

Here is government largess in action; if the school board does not adhere to the lies of race and poverty affecting intellectual ability, that school does not get more money.  Repeatedly, we see these lies vociferously declared in the media that poverty and race are holding a school/student back, and the government needs to spend more money.  In reality, leadership in the school, reinstating the teacher’s authority, and respect is required for those schools, not more government largess.  Indeed not another program or technology that no one can afford will fail to achieve the sales pitch.

ApathyThus, America needs to demand change through the ballot box, insist that freedom and private property are returned to the people. Those representatives who have no moral center, or cannot serve their constituents from both parties equally, are removed from politics; indefinitely!  Since America is a Republic and not a democracy (yet!), the problems in representation can be solved.

Plastic Language is Tyranny!

Stretched WordsShakespeare (2016) used Hamlet to relate a line that frequently applies, especially when communicating online, “… thou doth protest too much, methinks.”  Too often, those intent on misusing words are protesting too much about something.  On social media, every communication, every interaction, and every person is a threat to the intellect of the one protesting and must be lorded over, trolled, and publicly shamed.  A recent example of this the world witnessed during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, where the judge’s children were physically and verbally assaulted—using a warping of legal rights, guaranteed justification for the assault.  A careful review of any newspaper, news broadcast, and many politicians speaking will evidence the plasticization of words to justify actions, e.g., President Clinton, “Depends on what your definition of “is” is.”  Words to couch a threat while seeming to be helpful and friendly, or worst of all hide abuses of others through twisted logic.  Every time words become disconnected from standard meanings, society crumbles, language becomes useless, and the consequences are multi-generational, which is precisely what transpired in recovering Germany after Hitler’s demise.

Andragogy - LEARNI had the great personal pleasure of speaking to a senior citizen from Germany who lived through Hitler’s oppression and the recovery of Germany post-WWII, and the person I spoke with affirmed the most challenging social problem was relearning words and definitions to communicate without the taint of Hitler’s Germanic Language.  Hence, we can draw several lessons from this experience; language is trained.  It can be retrained; relearning language is a social problem fixed through social interactions and personal knowledge, and personal responsibility and accountability remain pre-eminent in communicating correctly.  Another lesson from my experience, history repeats itself, and those with dastardly designs will always corrupt language to gain the advantage before showing their true colors as tyrants.  Every single despot in recorded history has employed plastic language to lull the population into acquiescence before demanding loyalty and destroying that civilization, society, or culture.

Word Plasticity is LIC!LIC 2

I cannot stress this point enough; LIC (Low-Intensity Conflict) is a type and style of warfare hosted by a wealthy or politically protected party for the demise of a population through “diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures.”  Language is a social construct.  As discussed above, where Germany had to rid itself of twisted words and phrases from the Nazis, the social construct of language is generally the first step in advancing psychological warfare against a population.  Recognizing the plasticization of language is the first problem in fighting LIC.  How was Maduro able to lull the entire population of Venezuela into false security while he destroyed their constitution?  He employed psychological warfare through the plasticization of language.  Cuba, China, USSR, and every other tin-pot dictatorship employ the same strategy, twist the language, and conquer the people.

Knowledge Check!Representative Haaland (D), now Interior Secretary, was employing plastic words to hide her tyrannical ambitions, calling America a “Constitutional Democracy.”  The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  If America is to survive as a Republic; the citizens need to understand where plastic language is employed, understand their government form, and insist that the democratically elected representatives will realize the same.  Recognizing LIC is the first step, and the depth of LIC being enacted against America has been allowed to grow until America is in dire straits and dangerous waters!  The American Republic must re-embrace private property and refuse what has been done since the 1900s by presidential fiat and complicit Congresses under the heading of “progressivism.”

Reference

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 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: Extreme Plasticity of Words – Media Tyranny

BiasConsider the following article title from the BBC, “Tragic Optimism’: The Antidote to Toxic Positivity.”  The article discusses coping during COVID, which is trying in the extreme with a pandemic issued for a viral infection with a survivability rate of 98.8%.  With governments across the globe stretching their powers to an almighty height with no logic, the BBC just had to plasticize and spread a little more tyranny.

To the BBC, toxic positivity is a recurring theme,  as one of the “Best of 2019” was “How Positive Thinking is Harming Your Happiness.”  If the BBC is your news source, I must ask, do you feel the BBC is trying to keep you depressed?  The BBC’s Allie Volpe, who authored Tragic Optimism as an antidote for toxic positivity, really stretched to tie these plastic terms to Victor Frankl.  Frankly, I am unsure how the BBC can put up with such foolishness unless they practice modular language tyranny by insisting that being positive and optimistic is toxic and tragic.

DetectiveWhen fighting modular language tyranny, we must have a full and complete understanding of the definitions of the terms plasticized.  Positivity is mainly defined as a practice of being, or an innate tendency, to be positive or optimistic in attitude.  Optimism, understood as a general term, is understood as practicing hopefulness and confidence about the future or a successful outcome.  The dictionary has no entries for “tragic optimism” or “toxic positivity.”  Hence, the only conclusion is to consider the BBC as practicing tyranny through modular language, or stretching words to meet a political agenda, purposefully causing chaos, and attempting to control people through the misunderstanding of words and language!

Theres moreIn searching less reputable sources online for toxic positivity, I find myself shaking my head and laughing hysterically at the mindset of those who would support thinking positively is toxic.  Would one of the modular language tyrants please explain how a person who chooses to look on the positive side of life can be toxic?  Would one of the modular language tyrants please explain how optimism can be “tragic?”

Previously I have recommended Uwe Poerksen’s book, “Plastic Words: The Tyranny of Modular Language.”  I keep hoping this book will soon be available on digital devices, for I promise the book is worth the time to read.  I bought my copy before the hardback version went to $150+ US Dollars.  Still, if you can find a copy of this book, it is highly recommended for it shows precisely how those who consider themselves influencers of culture have adopted language tyranny to control populations.  I was not facetious when I asked if the BBC’s audience is expected to be depressed, someone must ask the BBC why they think they can control optimism and positivity in their audience.

Detective 4One of the most challenging parts of my doctoral degree has been the proliferation of “operational definitions” researchers adopt, which is nothing more than the plasticization of words to fit the researchers’ bias.  The BBC’s articles quote researchers, who have drunk their own Kool-Aid, and gotten high off the power of authoritarian thought and the policing of the emotions of an audience.  Repeatedly, I have gone to research documents from peer-reviewed resources and found the language used so deplorable that I cannot consider that source reputable, usable, or even worthy of my time.  Yet, too often, I have been forced to use materials academically that I would never consider using professionally.  The problem always arises from how a researcher plasticizes (operationally defines) a term to fit the researcher’s intentions just as the BBC has done to try and make optimism and positivity wrong and demean people who choose to be optimistic or positive their emotional choices.

Fighting tyrannical modular language, or the plastic word games people play to control an audience, I suggest the following:

  1. Question terms used that make no sense—demand logical answers.
  2. Know words and definitions; if unsure, ask SIRI, look the terms up in multiple dictionaries, but don’t rely upon one source for a definition.
  3. When in doubt, practice #2, then #1 until you are less confused. I have found those working to plasticize words cannot stand scrutiny.
  4. Sunshine disinfectant works when tyranny is found; put the tyrant in the sunshine and watch them become a vampire!

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” will not allow words to become plastic to the ruination of all!Never Give Up!

© 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: More Dane-Geld

Steve Hilton, writing for the Daily Mail, published a story on the 30th of January 2021, called, “The very divisive president: Joe Biden has unleashed a wave of wokery in his first ten days that will enrage millions – as his supporters in Silicon Valley shut down dissent, writes David Cameron’s former policy adviser Steve Hilton.”  The article is worth reading for the insights Mr. Hilton brings to the forefront on measuring the newest American President.  In reading this article, I found clearer cut cases of Dane-Geld being paid, which is my focus.  America, we must push back on the tyranny of Executive Order rulemaking end-runs around the US Constitutional processes, procedures, and the co-equal branches of US Government.  More still, check your local government and look for pork-barrel spending that is purchasing support, and call that purchase what it is, “Dane-Geld!”

Detective 3Consider the last three American Presidents; President Trump issues 1 Executive order in his first 10-days in office.  President Obama issued 2.  President Biden has issued more than 30!  Look at these Executive Diktats, and remember, the coalition that elected the fraudulent President is very shaky.  Hence, the Executive Orders issued are all to pay off some part of President Biden’s electoral coalition or target President Trump while plagiarizing from President Trump’s successes.  Mr. Hilton clarifies that President Biden is using President Trump’s plans, calling them President Biden’s programs, and getting away with the sham because the US Media refuses to call out the President for plagiarism!

For example, killing the “Keystone Pipeline” through Executive Order was red meat to President Biden’s militant Environmental Dane’s.  Just like killing coal was a direct payment to President Obama’s Environmental Dane’s.  Purchasing support through government action or with taxpayer funds is illegal; yet, this President wants to do more than all his predecessors combined, as witnessed by the Executive Orders’ speed the orders are issuing forth.  Hence, not only is Dane-Geld an issue, but so is the rate of issue.  Why the rush?

Mr.  Hilton mentions the obvious mental issues the current President is suffering.  Is the speed of paying off the Dane’s, President Biden’s obligation to his VP Kamala Harris for her to have a ready scapegoat?  What backroom deals are powering the payoffs to the Dane’s who have spent the last four-years using every trick in the book to weaponize government?  Who paid for the demonstrations this previous spring, summer, and fall?  Who is paying for the ongoing terrorism in Portland?

Theres moreDane-Geld payments destroyed several nations, where the intent was to make the terrorist Danes go-away.  Why is the government issuing more Dane-Geld, and who is expected to “Go Away?”  President Trump issued 10-Vetoes in his four-year term of office.  His veto was always for specific reasons, which often included pork-barrel spending or egregious power grabs by the Federal Government.  For example, “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” was full of issues not related to American’s struggling with the government made mess of COVID-19.  The embedded link takes you to the entire 5593 pages of insanity that were not read before voting, was not passed to benefit American’s, and was not passed to protect America.  Leaving one question, “Who benefited?”

Speaking of Dane-Geld, does the following leave feeling warm and comfortable that the legislative branch is doing their elected duties of writing concise laws and scrutinizing government?

“SEC. 7. ADJUSTMENTS TO COMPENSATION.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no adjustment shall be made under section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 4501) (relating to cost of living adjustments for Members of Congress) during fiscal year 2021 [sic].”

Detective 4In a bill to fund the government without a budget, spend money not available, and purchase support through pork-barrel spending, the first order of business is to protect the elected representatives’ cost of living allowance.  Why?  Will Speaker Pelosi and then-Speaker Mitch McConnell please step to the microphone and explain why the hardships being suffered to pay taxes is not first shared by the elected representatives?  Speaking of questions and Dane-Geld, why is the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) not providing forecast reports on this legislation’s effects before being passed by the legislators?  If the legislation’s overall impact will be negative, putting the OMB Report off until after the bill is made into law remains a blatant abuse of power granted through the election process.  Who benefited and why?  Finally, today is the 31st of January 2021; where is the OMB report, and what does it say?

The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” declares the following, “… necessary for the practical and efficient work of the Department.”  I have a Missouri mentality, “Show Me.”  Show me where the funds provided are being appropriately used for the “practical” or “efficient” work of the various departments of the Federal Government!  The Senators and Representatives have two jobs, write laws and scrutinize government.  Since previous appropriations acts contain the same language, let’s use some actual examples needing scrutinization.

  1. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted an administrative investigation in response to a referral from VA officials about the potential for a conflict of interest involving VA employees’ establishment of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between VA and a private company in 2016. – How often are similar events occurring in the VA or another Federal Agency and not being reported and investigated?  Two VA Employees intentionally lied, obstructed, failed to disclose, and the VA-OIG declined to prosecute.  What did happen to the employees involved?  Better still, what are the elected officials doing to protect the “practical and efficient work of the government?”Survived the VA
  2. , 57, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, was charged with defrauding the United States and other health care providers in a $1.8 million scheme related to acquiring and hoarding personal protective equipment, and price gouging health care providers, including numerous VA hospitals. – While Mr. Ritchey remains innocent until proven guilty by a trial jury of his peers, this example remains particularly egregious. What are the elected officials doing to protect the “practical and efficient work of the government?”
  3. The VA Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted an inspection to assess allegations related to delayed medication delivery from the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic (clinic) pharmacy in Pasay City, Philippines, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The OIG determined that none of these delays resulted in adverse clinical outcomes and made two recommendations related to pharmacy stock shortages and processing delays. – Delays in prescription refills are of particular interest, as my prescription refills in VISN 22 at the Phoenix VAHCS remain anywhere from 10-25 days later than pre-COVID.  What has to occur to get the VA leadership off their hind-quarters to fix the VA processes and people?  Since the VA has been broken since Rep. Nancy Pelosi was first elected to the US House of Representatives, it remains fair to ask, and demand an answer, to the following question. What are the elected officials doing to protect the “practical and efficient work of the government?”The Duty of Americans
  4. Does a 75% failure rate indicate the “practical and efficient work of the government?” The Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is running a 75% failure rate on properly handling veterans cases where the veteran is being paid a stipend but has become incompetent and institutionalized.  Where are the elected representatives that were hired to scrutinize and hold accountable the Federal Employees of the Executive Branch for the “practical and efficient work of the government?”
  5. Jonathan Yates, 52, of Bluefield, Virginia, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for sexually abusing veterans. While employed as a doctor of osteopathic medicine at the VA Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, Yates rubbed the genitals of two veterans and digitally penetrated a third veteran’s rectum under the guise of legitimate medicine. – What are the elected officials doing to protect the “practical and efficient work of the government,” or are veterans to expect being sexually abused at Federal Employees’ hands? The question is valid because this is not the only incident, merely the only incident caught and punished publicly!Patriotism
  6. Robert Morris Levy, 54, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and ordered to pay approximately $497,000 in restitution for one count each of involuntary manslaughter and mail fraud. Levy served as the chief of pathology and laboratory medical services at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville from 2005 until his termination in 2018. Levy was suspended in 2016 for being intoxicated on duty. Following a three-month treatment program, he returned to work under the condition he maintains sobriety and submits to random alcohol and drug screening. To avoid testing positive, however, Levy illegally used an undetectable chemical substance that causes prolonged intoxication. While employed by the VA, Levy incorrectly diagnosed diseases and falsified medical records, including the misdiagnosis of lung cancer in a veteran who would later die without treatment. The prosecutor hoped the sentence would “send a strong message.” – Why should the sentence send any message when Mr. Levy maintained his position after being drunk on duty?  Did Mr. Levy lose his retirement benefits and other employment goodies?  He killed a veteran through inaction; again, this is not the first incident, nor the most egregious incident of veterans being killed by providers at the VA.  What are the elected officials doing to protect the “practical and efficient work of the government,” or should veterans expect to be murdered at Federal Employees’ hands?
  7. A former case manager at a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating veteran homelessness and a property agent has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal approximately $124,000 in federal funds intended to help homeless veterans. Between approximately October 2013 and November 2015, Camelia Revels was employed at HOPE Atlanta, where she was responsible for confirming a veteran’s eligibility to participate in the program, assisting veterans in finding suitable housing, and preparing the vouchers to secure issuance of funds to vendors. Among the vendors Revels provided to her supervisor for approval were companies that were owned and operated by Katrise Jones. Jones was supposed to act as a property agent and assist the veterans with finding suitable housing. In December 2014, HOPE Atlanta learned that Jones was not making rental payments on behalf of veterans and directed Revels to no longer work with her. Revels ignored this directive and continued her scheme with Jones, which included opening a joint bank account where stolen funds were deposited. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2021. – By careful count, this is the fifth incident of theft uncovered and prosecuted since November 2020; I could be wrong, large sums of money were stolen, and the thieves were aided and abetted by VA Employees. Where are the elected representatives that were hired to scrutinize and hold accountable the Federal Employees of the Executive Branch for the “practical and efficient work of the government?”

Dane-GeldDane-Geld is not just monetary payments to Danes.  Dane-Geld is paid by allowing Federal Employees to act like hooligans on a three-day pass from Dante’s First Ring, with impunity and zero accountability.  Dane-Geld is paid through favorable contracts, which is unethical and illegal.  Still, Speaker Pelosi could subvert these contracting regulations to put up useless plastic barriers so COVID positive representatives could vote her for speaker.

Dane-Geld is killing America, and Dane-Geld’s power is evident in all government levels, from the school board and the animal control officers to the office of the Fraudulent President.  I repeat, only for emphasis, that the solution to curbing runaway government is to look locally first!  Curb those Dane-Geld payers and hold them accountable for the disasters caused by their poor decisions.  For example, why aren’t the mayors and city councils of Portland, Seattle, Detroit, New York, Ferguson, Minneapolis – St. Paul, etc., being held accountable for the loss of private property, the damage of public and private property, all based upon paying Dane-Geld to terrorists? Indeed, there must be a hungry lawyer out there who could make the cases stick.

quote-mans-inhumanity-2Dane-Geld is dangerous, and those politicians paying need to be held responsible.

© 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.