Thursday, February 14, 2019

Knowing v. Believing


Knowing v. Believing
By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

Frauds, con artists, grifters, cults, and charlatans operate on the power of suggestion and make believe.  And, depending on your particular vulnerability at any given moment, you too can be a victim.  This is often as a result of multiple factors including exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, uncertainty, loneliness, despair, frustration, or as a result of being a victim of circumstance.  There are many people who understand who is primed for exploitation in such a manner that deceive in order take advantage of those so primed.  To understand the threat or risk along with the media's involvement in promoting or exposing such threats, see http://www.heal-online.org/breathless.htm.

If you are sentient enough to understand this article, you might be able to hone your critical thinking skills or have already done so to the point you keep your "thinking cap" on and can avoid the pitfalls of falling for a scam or being recruited by a cult.  But, even the most well educated and sentient among the human race can become vulnerable as a result of environmental factors, life stresses, and similar circumstances or issues.  And, that is why I'm writing this article and hope if you are on the verge of doing something foolish like joining a cult or falling for a scam, it will help remind you how to tell the difference between knowing and believing when those who seek to defraud you prefer you to believe there is no "knowing" only "believing".

I know I am a human being.  I know English is my primary language.  I know I speak and understand a little Spanish, French, and Italian too.  And, I even know a little Japanese.  I know I attended Springbrook Elementary School in Kent, WA and graduated from the University of Washington in 2005.  I know I read and write.  I know I can do math too.  I know I am a woman.  And, I know all of my empirical senses are in good working condition.  I have faith that I have soul and intuitive capability.  But, even with confirmation of that at times or seeming confirmation, I can't prove to know that even if I feel I do know it.  I predicted Trump would win in 2016 when everyone said it wouldn't happen.  But, he won.  If intuited as so, does his winning prove to you I have a functional sixth sense?  What if I showed you e-mails to friends where I predicted it before the election?  Would you then feel you know I intuit the future accurately and ponder what other prognostications I might offer?  Would you pay me to try to prognosticate for you even if I could show where repeatedly I've intuited or through logic given a well-reasoned guess through calculation and research where those predictions were often confirmed to be the outcome?  I'd never ask you to and if we're friends, you know I volunteer information as well as my own point of view free of charge.

Regardless of whether you are of a particular religion of good faith or reject religion as having no empirical basis for support therefore at best believe it is possible, but, remain skeptical about philosophies that lack empirical evidence supporting the truth of any claims made, you likely have empirical evidence showing you and other human beings prefer when everyone is more virtuous than vicious.  If you are uncertain regarding such evidence, please consider the following questions for self-examination to reveal experiential empirical data that proves the previous sentence is true:

1.  Do I prefer when people are greedy or generous?  If you prefer generous to greedy based on experience where a gift made you happy and a theft made you unhappy, then you know experientially that generosity is preferred to greed.  If you are not a hypocrite then you understand treating others the way you like to be treated is preferable and if you are sadistic or masochistic, that is anomalous to the overall consensus, likely involves some form of deception where violation of laws are involved, and therefore ill-advised unless all participants are of legal age and have given informed consent understanding all risks and benefits involved.

2.  Do I prefer when people are arrogant and exhibiting hubris or humble and open to honest discussion even where points of view may vary?  If you prefer humble and honest conversation over one-sided self-righteous diatribes demanding absolute adherence without question or diverging perspectives, then you prefer virtue to vice in this example as well.

3.  Do I prefer when people are honest or dishonest?  If you prefer dishonesty then you likely are a fraud and expect everyone else is too since you are so myopic, vicious, and narcissistic you assume everyone is like you or wish they were so they'd understand why you choose dishonesty as a lifestyle.  If you prefer honesty understanding that without the facts you can't make an informed decision which makes you vulnerable to many harms, including crimes such as fraud, then you must accept at some point that dishonest fraudsters exist and the US doesn't have a pre-crime unit stopping crimes before they occur so you have to exercise due diligence to investigate claims made by such frauds to avoid being taken advantage of and while HEAL exists to help with that, the onus is on the individual considering a product or service to look into it to protect themselves and any loved ones from scam artists and cults.

4.  Do I prefer when people are patient or wrathful?  If you prefer when you've made an error that people be patient with you and reason with you rather than judge and scold you angrily or even worse harm you physically as a result of the error, then you prefer virtue to vice in regards to how others treat you and should lead by example to avoid hypocrisy.

So, that should get you started in considering the benefits of practicing virtue over vice and why even without religious dogma promoting that, empirical evidence and life experience shows that to be true.  I can reasonably know to be true or be quite certain that virtue is better than vice based on empirical evidence.  And, I know I exist too whether anyone chooses to believe that or not.

I believe the soul is real and continues on in some way even after our corporeal/temporal finite material bodies cease to function.  Fred Alan Wolf, PhD, is a physicist who has been a professor of Quantum Physics and postulated theories with some scientific evidence suggesting the existence of the soul.[1]  But, I understand the science isn't definitive at this point with enough empirical data to satisfy everyone who may remain skeptical on that point without more evidence.  And, while I appreciate such philosophical inquiries, I personally believe virtuous people understand the difference between an emergency where human trafficking is a global crisis needing immediate eradication where everyone who can possibly help stop it should to avoid being a victim themselves if philanthropic reasons don't suffice, and, pondering philosophically or even making up complete bullshit to sell to others while exploiting their trust, ignorance, and/or vulnerability.  See, deceiving people for greed makes everything worse and is part of the ugly spectrum of vicious conduct that includes human trafficking and modern slavery.

Now, when someone wants you to "forget everything you know" and "listen up" while charging you and unduly influencing you with what they claim to believe or want you to believe as part of their scam/cult, then that's when you know it's time to question more for your own safety and the public good.  That's true even if the "listening" part is just about silence, with guided "meditation", or soothing music planned to act as triggers along with phrases used to result in resetting you back to being vulnerable in the event you've participated so long that works on you where you didn't question before becoming a victim.

So, while some narcissistic people, scam artists, and cults promote you should believe whatever you want to believe and then that belief is true for you regardless of whether it has any basis in fact (meaning something confirmed by abundant evidence/empirical data), that's simply not the case.  You can believe something that isn't true and regardless of your own perspective or belief, it doesn't change whether or not the belief is true just because you believe it.  The idea that what you as an individual believe, whether true or not, results in the belief being true for you, is narcissistic and delusional.  Warren Jeffs may have believed raping children kept them humble and therefore was an act of God to promote virtue.  But, that's not true because raping children or anyone often results in resentment which turns into impatience and even wrath when victims find strength to fight back.  So, raping children results in wrathful responses or begets more vice rather than virtuous results.  Exercising honest reason with a foundation in basic morality or ethics regardless of faith, would alert one to that fact.  In addition, the fact that raping children is a crime should also alert one to the fact that it isn't acceptable conduct regardless of underlying motives. 

Now, law enforcement has difficulty with scams and cults because of their deception and the fact that victims often believe the bullshit.  So, even when HEAL finds all the elements of the crime of fraud and reports it, unless victims lose their delusions and come forward, law enforcement isn't investing resources to investigate a crime where the victims are unduly influenced, possibly suffering Stockholm Syndrome, or otherwise being misled or intimidated into denying their victim status. 

We've had calls and e-mails from victims in cults or segregated congregate care reporting abuse and other violations that we've shared with law enforcement.  A case in Arizona, the mother of the victim and a HEAL volunteer went to the compound to save the adult son of the mother.  He had said he wanted to leave.  The cult removed him to another room and denied the visit between mother and son.  The cult called the police and accused the mother of trespassing while holding her son incommunicado in another room.  The police said they talked to him in the other room with other members present and that he said he wanted to stay so the mother would have to leave.  She and the HEAL volunteer came back later that night and saw the son walking towards the road or entrance alone.  They got him in the car, found he had been drugged, and took him to a hospital where they said due to dehydration and an overdose had they not done so he would have died.  That cult has been closed down and was operating as a faith-based "drug rehab".  But, they claimed to offer drug treatment and wellness in the brochures which were so lovely. 

So, while HEAL understands frauds know how to sell bullshit and use the power of suggestion with other marketing techniques to defraud people or recruit them to their cults, we hope you will be more diligent for the sake of yourself, your loved ones, and the public and avoid such scams/cults or report them to the proper authorities if you've become a victim.  You can do so here: http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm.

Narcissism is like a fever where ignorance/willful blindness is the cold.  You should starve a narcissist (they tend to fast anyway in this respect so just #WalkAway) and share brain-food (factual empirical data) with the ignorant which will hopefully cure any blindness they may be experiencing willfully or as a result of undue influence.  Should someone catch such a fever or be around such fevered narcissists that it becomes normalized and they believe such illness is actually a sign of wellness, depending on how much you care or how great a risk their fever poses to you, you may want to offer them the informative cure as described while taking precautions to protect yourself if unable to effectively dispel their delusion. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Encouraging Virtue and Self-Examination

Encouraging Virtue and Self-Examination
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

If you are in a position of responsibility to provide guidance and/or leadership to others, you may wish to consider how your own actions inspire or may be emulated by those who see you as a role model, whether in life or in business.  If you find those to whom you owe a responsibility as a role model to be failing to meet your expectations, then ask yourself a few questions regarding how you might improve your guidance in order to help others improve their conduct.

In the event you are a parent who is displeased with the dishonesty of one of your children in a particular situation, ask and honestly answer the following questions (the same questions and responses may be useful in other guide/guided relationships):

1.  Have I ever lied in front of my child and asked them to lie about the same situation when talking about it to a third party?  If you have done so, you will want to first state to the child that you have been a hypocrite and that you plan to be honest from now on and expect them to make a similar commitment.  If you have not done so, then you can ask where they learned or got the idea to be dishonest since that is not the example you have set and have reason for concern they've learned to lie from someone else.

2.  Have I ever been impatient, unwilling to listen, interrupted, or otherwise unreasonable when discussing a controversial issue with my child?  If you have done so, you again will want to admit you have been a hypocrite and that you will be patient and listen without interruption to your child's position or side of things without prejudice and ask they commit to doing the same going forward. 

3.  Have I ever broken the law in front of my child and demanded his/her silence when questioned by police or victim?  If you have taken money from another family member's wallet/purse without permission, shop-lifted, committed any traffic violation, hit someone else, or even hit a parked car, curb, or other object in front of your child and told them not to report or speak to police, you have made them an accomplice or accessory as a result of your request for their silence.  In addition, you have arguably created a situation where your child won't know when it is appropriate to report a crime and if they are hurt by someone else (i.e. raped/molested) who also tells them to keep quiet, they may assume adults just commit crimes all the time and expect everyone else to be quiet.  So, this type of conduct puts children in harm's way and may result in their not reporting crimes to law enforcement when appropriate.  If you have not done so, then again you are in a position to ask where they got the idea criminal activity was okay and something all adults do and cover up. 

Those three questions should be enough to get you started and thinking about how your own actions of a vicious nature involving deception, dishonesty, impatience, hostility, unreasonableness, and crime may have set up your child to fail your hypocritical expectations regarding their own life choices.  But, if you are truly virtuous and lead by example, you likely have the commitment to truth, honesty, patience, thoughtfulness, and understanding to not need to have read this article or make any changes.  Or, if you are #TaoFu and try to be virtuous while sometimes tempted to vice (including deception), then you should certainly be able to be patient with someone less experienced than you when they falter similarly.  And, if you are not a total hypocritical narcissist deluding yourself about your own perfection while placing unreasonable expectations on others, then you might forgive even somewhat serious lapses in judgment of those you guide in life understanding that you've done the same or worse at some point.  And, if no one turned you in or locked you up, or even if they did and you found it unfair, then, you shouldn't do that to your own loved one(s) unless you are the victim of their crime and you reported it properly to law enforcement to lead by example.

See, parents who privately put their children in segregated congregate care such as boarding schools, treatment centers, and the like without a court order are violating either the Americans with Disabilities Act, Due Process, or both.  And, that's illegal.  So, if your child has done something they learned from you or for which you might be responsible in failing to encourage virtue while punishing failures in that regard, then starting by acknowledging your own responsibility and committing to improving your guidance while humbly asking your child make a similar commitment is the place to start.  Narcissistic vicious morons tend to delude themselves, ignore their own responsibility, and use the child as a scapegoat while placing them illegally in a private prison of sorts to avoid any further embarrassment while claiming their child is off at "boarding school" and "doing well" to anyone who may ask.

Now, some parents are pretty virtuous but still have some issues with patience and an unwillingness to listen as a result of possible authoritarian leadership in their own lives.  But, if the parents think about it, they might realize when their own bosses at work ignore their suggestions or needs and just order them to do as told that they feel disrespected and unheard by that and sometimes they might sabotage things at work or steal office supplies to make up for that feeling of being disrespected.  And, so, might realize that they want to be patient, respectful, and listen to their children as they'd like their children and others to be with them.  Failing to show others the same virtues you'd like them to show you in return, is the definition of hypocrisy.  So, it is best to lead by example and if you want everyone to commit to virtue, you have to do that too.  If not, you end up like the Catholic Church with people losing faith in you because you viciously hurt children illegally and criminally and cover it up with excuses and lies. 

So, instead of setting the example that might makes right and acting as if brutal force and threats to cover up ongoing criminal conduct of your own is acceptable (i.e. conspiracy to commit kidnapping/unlawful imprisonment when placing a minor involuntarily in segregated congregate care without a court order), perhaps start setting the example of being virtuous, patient enough to listen, humble enough to listen without prejudice, and reasonable enough to discuss the risks and benefits of vicious and/or virtuous conduct, whether criminal or not.  And, if anyone is engaged in criminal activity for whom you are responsible, warn them that you may never turn them in, but, they've assumed the risk of jail and you may not be able to afford a defense team should that happen.  Provide examples from the news or court reporting of others who did the same or similar crime and what their sentence was even with a defense attorney.  That should help with explaining why any criminal conduct is advised against should your child be unaware that the United States is a nation of laws or under the mistaken impression based on what you get away with that the laws don't apply to you or you are not legally responsible to exercise due diligence, respect the social contract, Constitution, or laws of the United States.  If your child hasn't done anything illegal, practice patience more and listen without prejudice, don't send them to a private prison because you can't exercise self-discipline and lead by example in that regard.  That's unjust and could result in your being sued or prosecuted because the laws apply to you too.  And, children have constitutional rights and parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See: http://www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm  for more information.  I also recommend you read the blog article available here if considering any boarding school or private academic service: http://heal-online.blogspot.com/2019/01/avoiding-scams-what-you-need-to-know.html

In addition, encourage virtue and recognize when your child or others are virtuous by complimenting them on their virtue. It is better to encourage what is right than to constantly criticize.  This was also covered previously here: http://heal-online.blogspot.com/2017/05/fix-your-family-help-your-teen.html

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know


Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

There are many types of scams one can fall for and there are general ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.  This particular article will be devoted to exploring how to check whether or not an academic service provider offering diplomas, certification, or degrees of any sort is accredited, licensed, and any credits earned are legitimately transferable.  In general, you should verify claims made about any product or service before making any purchases.  And, if you have particular health conditions such as allergies, know what you are allergic to and read labels before using any product regardless of claims of being hypoallergenic.  Now, with academic services, including, but not limited to, boarding schools, private schools, private certification programs, and more, you should do the following:

1.  See if the school, university, program, or academic service is accredited by a legitimate accreditation body.  They may claim any accreditation is valid.  But, one way to check is to contact a legitimate university such as the University of Alabama and ask if credits earned will be accepted for enrollment at the university.  If not, then the service or school you are considering is likely a diploma mill and scam.  For more on this see: http://www.heal-online.org/blessboys.htm 

 

2.  If higher education is not your plan, but, serving in the military is, you will want to look out for fake military academies as well or those promising military preparation.  A young man was denied entry into the Marines as a result of falling for such a scam.  His parents paid for it.  It made the papers.  Learn more: http://www.heal-online.org/mtcarmel.htm

 

3.  If you are looking into post-secondary academic or training services for education or specialization for your field, check to make sure it is an accredited school or service to avoid being taken advantage of by frauds.  You can verify here: https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/  And, you should check with your state as well regarding any private education service.  If in California, for example, you can check with: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.shtml  It allows you to search all private post-secondary schools or academic services approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs. 

 

4.  If you are looking into primary or secondary education services, you will want to check with the state where it is operating to see if it is approved to issue diplomas.  You can do this by checking with the equivalent of the Department of Education where the school or program operates to see if it is approved to issue diplomas.  Another option is to return to number 1 above and see if the accreditation is recognized by a legitimate university and any credits will be transferable or accepted.  Most of the facilities on HEAL's watch-list claim to offer educational services and we have found many do not hold any legitimate accreditation nor offer transferable academic credits.  So, regardless of other issues, if you care about someone's education, including your own, you should really exercise due diligence to avoid being scammed and ruining yours or a loved one's life for the foreseeable future.

 

5.  You may also wish to ask any school or academy what universities, military branches, or schools have accepted credits from their school, program, academy, or service.  And, check those academic institutions for accreditation as well since many scams recommend each other.  So, if dealing with a primary or secondary school or program, get a list of post-secondary academic services that accept their credits and then check to see if those services are accredited here: https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/.  If not, that should be a serious red flag because if the secondary or primary school is recommending or sending kids off to enroll in unaccredited programs, then they likely aren't smart enough to educate anyone themselves.  And, if the post-secondary schools listed are accredited, contact those schools to verify they accept credits from the primary or secondary school you are considering. 

You may also wish to check for licensure for any services claimed including those related to wellness, healthcare, behavioral and/or mental health.  And, you should check with the Department of Health, professional licensing boards, and law enforcement for complaint records or proof of licensure before signing any contracts or paying for any services.

Failing to do the above is often considered failing to exercise due diligence in the eyes of the law.  And, when that happens and fraud is involved, you may or may not be able to recover your expenses.  This becomes a serious setback for individuals who invest their money for college or other expenses in unaccredited academic services.  It is important that you know for sure you are getting something of value out of your time and expense.  And, because it is a free country and we don't live in a pre-crime world where law enforcement psychically knows everyone who commits crime and everywhere a crime is happening before it even initiates, it is up to us as citizens to be pro-active in exercising due diligence and reporting scams, cults, or other frauds that endanger the public to the proper authorities.

For more information on diploma mills and academic scams, visit: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/avoid-fake-degree-burns-researching-academic-credentials

Addendum: You may also wish to verify any certification, diploma, or degree issued will be recognized by the professional licensing board for your field in the state where you wish to practice if license is required.  For example, if your course claims you will be certified to provide healthcare of any sort, such as respiratory therapy, you will want to check with the respiratory licensing board in your state to see if that certification is worth the paper it is written on.  In California, you would check here for that information: https://www.rcb.ca.gov/