Sunday, May 19, 2019

We All Need to Listen WITHOUT Prejudice

We All Need to Listen WITHOUT Prejudice
By Angela Smith HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

By some reports, Abbie Hoffman was insane, Martin Luther King Jr. was a criminal who served time in Birmingham jail, and everyone knows Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.  Sometimes being a controversial public figure, even if limited to a specific cause or issue, results in your being made a target for criminal harassment by your opposition.  Those who deny that that's reasonable, and many facts currently and historically show it to be true, are either incompetent, delusional, dishonest, or some combination of all three. 

Abbie Hoffman was an activist who worked for civil rights, helped register people to vote, and opposed the Vietnam War.  He was actively investigated and had his phone tapped by law enforcement.  In addition, white supremacist organizations didn't appreciate his commitment to civil rights or social equality.  And, likely many patriotic military families didn't appreciate his efforts either, especially if from their perspective China was trying to take over the world starting in South East Asia which was evidenced by the way China has treated Tibet for one.  So, given many individuals and organizations, both government and NGO, didn't like Abbie Hoffman's activism that made him a target for their opposition.  Now, since Hoffman wasn't breaking any laws and was from a more affluent background, it was impossible or impracticable to frame him like was done to Angela Davis.  So, instead, his opposition followed, harassed, tapped his phones, and made his life miserable.  When the stress was too much as a result of the harassment, and his knowing or believing law enforcement was part of that so he didn't trust to report it, people recommended he get mental health services.  He was put on lithium and became reportedly a "brain dead zombie".  But, perhaps open and honest discussion where we all work together for peace, justice, and understanding would result in less injustice where well-meaning activists working for just causes aren't maliciously targeted and silenced by criminals who use law enforcement as weapons against their victims seeking redress.

Now, Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't a criminal in my opinion and I would hope all reading this feel the same way.  But, he spent time in jail anyway for seeking redress of grievances related to social injustice.  And, he was assassinated, harassed, and by many of the same people that targeted and harassed Abbie Hoffman even though they had come from diverse backgrounds economically.  All of this is well documented and if you haven't read about it check out: https://www.freedomarchives.org/Documents/Finder/Black%20Liberation%20Disk/Black%20Power!/SugahData/Government/COINTELPRO.S.pdf
 
And, the entire Confederacy was displeased with Abraham Lincoln for various reasons.  After the war, the Confederacy was arguably broken up.  Did John Wilkes Booth act alone or was he part of a group that nominated him to assassinate President Lincoln?  Was he a "lone wolf"?  Or, was it part of a conspiracy to take out Lincoln?  See, we all know reasonably that there are people in the world who disagree with us and would rather we not exercise our constitutional right to free speech.  And, Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL) covers many controversial areas.  So, we experience higher volumes of criminal harassment than those who remain more neutral or don't involve themselves in any controversies.  And, because of modern technology, remote harassment like "Cyberstalking" (See: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.61.260 ) can be difficult to prove or even pinpoint when there are multiple suspects which is why law enforcement finds it impracticable in many cases.  However, if an individual or organization experiencing that patiently and diligently gathers evidence over a year showing the harassment while identifying two prime suspects effectively, then law enforcement should investigate and prosecute.  And, failing to do that suggests we need to do a better job of honoring Abbie Hoffman, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln.  I'd hate to think that justice is still inaccessible and oppressors are using law enforcement to oppress victims of crime rather than enforce the law so we have justice for all.  So, this is why I'm giving the system time to consider my complaint while also recognizing that if I am denied justice that reinforces the position of everyone who resorts to vigilantism and for me that's too close to "The Purge" scenario to be considered civil or reasonable.  But, if there's no other option for redress, the Confederacy it is then.

The main point is if you are reasonable and capable of reasonable discourse where everyone is treated respectfully with their points fully considered, then please know HEAL is too.  But, if you are not reasonable and not capable of reasonable discourse where all points are fully considered for the sake of honestly arriving nearest to the whole truth for the sake of justice, then you are likely a narcissist and/or criminal who as a result of your own hypocrisy in not listening to others deserves not to be heard yourself.  And, if you compare me or anyone at HEAL to Hoffman, King, or Lincoln, it better be in the form of compliment or we'll take it as a threat and reasonably so.  And, if you are evidently dishonest in most or all regards, expect we'll need more than your word to take you seriously.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cyber Crimes, Harassment, and More

Cyber Crimes, Harassment, and More
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

One of the difficulties in modern times is that the internet is a mixed blessing, but, certainly from most perspectives does more good than harm with the potential for great good.  Certainly if you are reading this article you agree that the internet is a valuable tool while accepting the risks of being hacked or a victim of cyber crimes.

Personally, I don't mind if "White Hats" come and go unnoticed.  I'm aware that even government agencies get hacked.  Even NSA's "White Hat" hackers were themselves hacked.[1]  So, if the National Security Administration can't prevent hackers from violating their computer space, then it is highly unreasonable to expect and unlikely to avoid being a potential victim.  This is particularly true if you are in a field that poses any controversy at all such as activism, advocacy, banking, media, or apparently even national security.

For the last year, I and my activist network Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL) have been experiencing ongoing cyber attacks.  These include telephone calls from unassigned/disconnected phone numbers, spoofed e-mails, hacking (documented and reported by our Internet Service Provider), social media interferences/harassment (attributed mostly to trolls, but, some fairly sinister), threatening e-mails, and more.  I decided instead of removing myself from any access to the outside world using modern technology that I would report it.

I spoke briefly with two separate law enforcement representatives off the record about what was happening and both said there were too many suspects for it to be feasible for them to investigate.  Another issue that has arisen is that many of the IP addresses that have hacked my system are from Sweden, China, and/or untraceable.  This means reporting it to local or even federal law enforcement without narrowing down a prime suspect myself would make investigation unfeasible. 

So, I spent a year looking at all the evidence and sharing it via e-mail with another alleged victim of the same perpetrators.  Once I had definitive proof that an identified perpetrator was e-mailing me harassing messages while HEAL HQ's system was being simultaneously hacked, I turned that over to law enforcement who is currently investigating.  There were many harassing messages from many e-mail addresses where the perpetrators were not effectively identified so those were not helpful leads. 

Now, whether or not the nature of the internet itself and the fact that people can mask their IPs, spoof other people's accounts, and manipulate records through hacking and destroying evidence may prevent many, most, if not all from getting justice when violated in this manner is hard to say.  But, it may depend on the facts in any given case and whether the nature of the internet itself results in reasonable doubt on any criminal charge related to hacking. 

But, if you are online and don't stay in touch with friends or associates because they've been hacked, that's not cool.  Being a victim of crime shouldn't result in your being socially isolated like a leper.  And, when someone is experiencing a lot of harassment they need support not isolation.  But, many people react to fear with the flight response.  The internet seems "magical" because most people aren't quite sure how it all works and don't have time nor patience to learn all about it.   This magic of the internet results in modern superstitious conduct such as knowing a friend's been hacked and no longer e-mailing them because they shared that with you so you could let them know if you've received any strange messages or are experiencing anything similar so it can be reported or addressed in some manner.  But, some people hear or read "hack" and then just retreat away from the victim as if that would stop hackers or resolve the issue effectively. 

I'm a fight response to fear.  I have often been told I should be a nurse because I can handle triage scenarios without fainting or puking.  So, when I'm threatened or attacked, that goes for HEAL too, I stay relatively calm, focused, diligent, and patient.  And, if being targeted choose to do a mental exercise and see myself as bait in a sting operation to expose the real criminals (such as human traffickers) who do like to be a bother at times.  But, many don't take the time to do a thorough background check on people they target and harass.  I've lived through so much and keep fighting even where other angels fear to tread.  I do everything legally and have no idea how to hack.  In fact, my friends in IT think I'm a bit of an idiot when it comes to computers.  But, most everyone else thinks I know a lot about computers.  So, when it comes to perspective, we all have our various strengths and areas where we could learn more if we so desire.  I am 45 and love the 80s.  I still think PacMan is a cool game, Mortal Kombat too. 

Anyway, for an example of harassment e-mails received by HEAL, visit http://www.heal-online.org/breathless.htm.  It's a very informative page.  And, please know I love "White Hats" and appreciate that security isn't perfect, but, that we all do our best.  But, the human traffickers, cults, scammers, and criminals who try to stop me from my advocating for victims really disgust me and I'm not surprised that they commit crime.  And, I suppose working to expose criminals that exploit, defraud, enslave, traffick, and torture people would result in those criminals trying to shut HEAL down and discredit our work.  But, the facts speak for themselves and when all facts are considered, the whole truth will be known. 

 In the event we don't get criminal justice in the current situation as reported to law enforcement, we will seek civil remedies.  The evidence is overwhelming and certainly meets the preponderance of evidence civil standard.  Either way, it is important to support law enforcement and demand equal protection by the law for everyone.  For those living in low income areas where property taxes don't cover effective law enforcement services, it seems that issue results in those in such neighborhoods feeling like the law never protects them and only oppresses them.  When I was on a trip in San Francisco, I had an SVU situation happening in the room next to mine at the hotel.  Guns, rape, screaming, and a body carried out.  I called "911" when it started.  I was terrified.  I was on hold for over an hour.  The crime had initiated, been noisily done, and they left without any response from law enforcement.  I changed hotels.  But, honestly I think some woman was murdered and I witnessed it and no one did anything to help.  So, I'd like this article to also act as a suggestion that all crimes reported be investigated and prosecuted regardless of victim's circumstances and suggest that failure to do that has resulted and will likely continue to result in vigilantism by those who feel justice isn't accessible.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

#TaoFu: The Legend Continues...Hopefully Helpful

#TaoFu: The Legend Continues...Hopefully Helpful
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

#TaoFu is a mental martial art form I imagined by putting together abstractly the principles of Taoism, Christianity, Judo, Aikido, and Tai Chi.  The Tao part is about balance in understanding that all of us are tempted by vice, some of us more by wrath than any of the others which tend to tempt the wrath making wrath itself #TaoFu, and that we all are born of Absolute Good therefore capable of all the virtues and born with a starter kit that includes honesty and love.  So, that's my personal theory and what I call it when I engage virtue to combat vice.  I call it #TaoFu.

A #TaoFu move would be when some narcissistic delusional criminal harasses me for merely pointing out the truth and sharing it.  Now, sometimes when that happens it tempts me to wrath and in that moment I focus on patience and due diligence for the sake of justice to avoid self-incrimination (by doing something illegally wrathful).  And, one such example of due diligence, patience in research and investigation, and reporting findings to the proper authorities where criminality is suspected is available at http://www.heal-online.org/breathless.htm. 

Now, this may be a new or ancient art form or a hybrid of some sort.  But, it's something I made up to help manage my trauma triggers and I find it very helpful.  If I feel particularly lustful, I self-satisfy to avoid being tempted to sleep with anyone other than my husband (whom I've yet to meet in person, but dream about often with possible stand ins).  I've been otherwise celibate since 1998 or 1999.  I am particularly generous so I don't have an issue with greed.  I'm generous with everyone regardless of class distinctions.  Gluttony has never been an issue for me unless giving gifts to others without using any credit and paying cash or debit counts.  But, it's hard to say whether shopping helps create jobs or is bad for the environment, both, or what's the most virtuous thing to do given all the issues facing humanity and the planet.  I feel wrath has been covered and it is #TaoFu.  I'm not slothful but appearances may suggest otherwise depending on where you look and when.  This may be true of many who are mislabeled.  I do exercise due diligence and the web-page linked above shows this to be true.  Diligence is the virtue that deflects sloth.  See where Christianity comes in?  Of course, I'm honest and sometimes make honest mistakes which I'm willing to be corrected if proven to be in error.  But, I'm never intentionally dishonest, though at times creative and artful.  Vanity isn't an issue for me.  Clearly, if you've been paying attention, I make a fool of myself at times and you've likely witnessed if paying attention.  I'm sure if everyone paid attention to you we'd have moments to laugh also.  And, with envy you deflect that with kindness.  So, an example would be if you were on a date, gender only matters to you, you were at a club and saw another person hitting on your date then you would say "Thank you for the compliment, but, he/she is with me" rather than letting envy morph into vicious wrath and striking someone for having similar tastes in companionship.

So, hopefully this explains #TaoFu and helps everyone be more virtuous so we can all get along as Rodney King once mercifully suggested.  Now, if someone is actually a criminal who means harm to the public, then, report them to law enforcement and hold anyone who violates the law regardless of position, public or private, fully accountable.  HEAL does our civic duty the best we can and appreciate open and honest communication that is based on reliably sourced information to resolve any differences or reach greater understanding.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Understanding How Narcissism Factors into Cults and Behavioral Programming

Understanding How Narcissism Factors into Cults and Behavioral Programming
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

I'm an empathetic person and am committed to truth and virtue.  I've spent decades trying to understand why aversive and confrontational behavioral therapies are utilized because I've found such do more harm than good.  I've spent the same amount of time trying to understand how and why some people are vicious and commit often considered unspeakable crimes.  But, if it is a crime and the law recognizes it as such, speak up and report it to the proper authorities.  There is no such thing as an unspeakable crime only people too horrified to revisit the facts while forfeiting justice as a result.

Because I want to make an appeal to those offering behavioral health services as part of this article, I need to address a few matters.  The first is the issue with narcissism and presumptions of guilt or viciousness as a result of someone's circumstances.  There is a difference between being vicious and virtuous and regardless of circumstances, each individual should be evaluated based on the objective facts of their life along with their reasonable subjective perspective in relation to those facts.  It appears to me based on years of study and experience that behavioral health providers of segregated congregate care presume all of those placed present narcissistic anti-social disorders whether they've been diagnosed or not.  And, as a result whether the placements were done through the juvenile justice system, through foster care, or private placement the service providers believe the placement alone suggests those placed are anti-social and have criminal minds that manipulate and deceive.  But, that presumption is unjust and based on circumstance rather than legitimate evaluation of individuals.  And, reviewing available facts in an individual's life along with calmly and honestly discussing that individual's perspectives regarding those facts to determine if the individual has an honest and reasonable understanding of their own experiences and actions is how to determine whether or not the individual is a victim of circumstance or criminally inclined.  If a victim of circumstance who is honest and reasonable, then they shouldn't be treated like lying, manipulative, anti-social, criminal narcissists.  And, assuming that's what someone is without doing the work to actually know is unAmerican because in the USA everyone is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  So, where there's been no discovery, study, and legitimate evaluation to determine between victim and criminal, it is unjust to treat any individual like a criminal regardless of any allegations made by those paying for the service. 

HEAL has met many parents who are narcissists who have very unjust reasons for institutionalizing their children which are certainly victims of circumstance.  Parents have found their children inconvenient and don't want to do the job anymore so abandon them to state care/foster care or privately place them in orphanages or other settings where there is an opening.  Parents have found Howard Dean leaflets in their child's school binders and have decided that because they are a conservative household that such is contraband and the child deserves to be segregated as a result.  One parent actually called HEAL saying that's why they enrolled their child in a segregated reformatory.  I asked, "Was it for a school project?"  The parent said, "It doesn't matter.  That is not allowed in our house and he violated house rules."  I find that unreasonable and believe most treatment providers would also find it unreasonable.  But, if they don't bother to find out the reason for the enrollment then they end up treating good kids, who maybe were just trying to meet school requirements with which their parents disagree and are shipped off to segregated facilities as a result, like criminals which is a total mindf*ck for the honest and virtuous resulting in deep feelings of injustice and wondering if this is still America. 

And, there are many cults and fraudulent treatment providers that are run by deceptive narcissists who end up reinforcing narcissism in the anti-social while further victimizing victims of circumstance which further aggravates the feelings of injustice in those victims and at some point we all wonder why or how this could happen in America!?  But, the answer is that everyone is presumed innocent and the government can't legally investigate without having enough evidence and a report of crime because pre-crime units are unconstitutional.  So, it is just a matter of recognizing what is a crime, reporting crimes that have occurred to the proper authorities, and pursuing justice in a timely fashion for victims who seek justice in the USA.  And, the presumption of innocence is translated to the presumption all businesses are acting in good faith and honest in what they claim on licensing or other documents.  But, even industry regulators have a set of rules or standards they arguably enforce and they can only enforce those rules or standards if a violation of the rules and standards they enforce is reported.  So, even with regulation, you still need to know what constitutes a violation and report it to the proper authority.

Now, criminals can be dishonest vicious narcissists or honest criminals.  An honest criminal is someone who blows up an abortion clinic and proudly admits it out of feelings of self-righteousness or righteousness.  The bomber is still a criminal, but, honest so likely misguided or had succumb to wrath instead of exercising diligence and patience to address the issue through legal avenues.  But, the honesty and motive should inform all reasonable people that such a criminal is not a dishonest vicious narcissist.  Now, a criminal who has no legitimate skills, is envious of the prestige of others, and devises a plan where they claim to have a special skill, knowledge, or cure in order to sucker or defraud people who trust the criminal is acting in good faith and honest about their offerings, is a dishonest vicious narcissist.  This is especially true if they force, coerce, or manipulate others to acknowledge their superiority or exceptionalism based on total fraud and false claims.  One example of such a cult is Sacred Breath Academy.  You can learn more about that here: http://www.heal-online.org/breathless.htm.  Our watch-list at http://www.heal-online.org/thelist.htm is full of such frauds and charlatans.

So, I ask any arguably legitimate mental health or behavioral health professionals to understand that HEAL's experience with your profession has been a mixed bag with mostly bad fraudulent narcissists which has resulted in our distrust and we understand it is up to victims to report it to the regulators, licensing boards, and law enforcement where violations and crime has occurred.  We also understand it is unreasonable in light of everything for anyone to suggest you create private pre-crime units even though arguably segregated congregate care where victims of circumstance are placed with criminals feels like such a unit to those mistreated in such settings and feels particularly unjust to those who are merely victims of circumstance.  Being victims of circumstance with often trauma from adverse life experiences and then treated like criminals while that is called "therapy" results in such victims not trusting therapeutic providers at all and exacerbates the harm.  So, that can result in hyper-vigilance among such victims, me included, and while I do my best to manage my trauma I understand other victims are still reeling from the unjust mindf*ck of it all and can't bring themselves to trust anyone who claims to offer therapy.  This is one reason we respect Dr. Peter Breggin because he is an outspoken critic of harmful and fraudulent providers of services and we'd like to see more peer-to-peer public criticism of the industry especially where fraud, incompetence, or any other crime or issue effecting quality of care is present.  HEAL also acknowledges that the media, government oversight bodies, and other agencies often make the information available to the public and report when there are prosecutions which should act as a reminder that criminals exist and will be prosecuted if reported in a timely fashion.

It's a weird situation where from every perspective you can kind of see most everyone is actually trying to do something good even though at times misguided or uncertain of how to solve crime.  And, that even the survivors of institutionalized abuse respond with demanding violating the liberty interests of private businesses and individuals by setting up sweeping surveillance and oversight to the extent it infringes on the rights of everyone in order to hopefully prevent some other form of abuse where such infringement on civil liberties is also abuse and one many survivors dislike the most since being locked up without a court order is a due process violation which is why it is legally actionable.  But, did the industry or the bad players in it learn to respect America and to presume innocence while treating everyone like individuals instead of making generalized assumptions about those placed in their programs as a result of the survivors demanding the programs be treated the same way the programs treat their captives?  See, people have to seek justice through the justice system and not congress and some people are criminally inclined and we have to turn them in effectively as private citizens because the constitution protects all of us from the government unless deemed incompetent as a matter of minority or infirmity and then often injustice occurs.  But, we should all do better and be more considerate before treating everyone like criminals, right?  And, HEAL is dedicated to research, study, and facts so if you honestly provide basis for our editing anything, we'll honestly respond and take care of any issue if we're mistaken.  And you?

No one, including the government, can solve all your problems or all problems in society without your participating in solving your problems nor without society's participation in solving society's problems.  There are a lot of frauds who claim to offer solutions for cash that have no legitimate solutions and lie to get your cash and that of the government's at times too.  But, fraud, labor trafficking, human trafficking, rape, assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and homicide are all illegal and if reported in a timely fashion by victims (and sometimes witnesses) fully prosecutable.  So, we all have to do our part.  We at HEAL do our best.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Game of Monopoly

The Game of Monopoly
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder
 

The Game of "Monopoly"[1] is an excellent educational tool that presents philosophical, ethical, practical and critical thinking challenges to all players.  Regardless of economic system, the game itself, originally published by Parker Brothers and now published by Hasbro, provides great food for thought while encouraging responsibility and acknowledging that it is often a matter of both luck and skill in regards to who "wins" if it doesn't result in a draw.

If you've played "Monopoly" you have likely played games where someone won quickly and bankrupted everyone else and games that eliminated players while remaining players could continue forever or accept the game ended in a draw.  And, whether dealing out the properties among friends to play with or allowing the dice to decide who lands where first and can buy the property from the bank with cash everyone starts out with at the beginning on an even basis as a given without any debt attached (so not a loan to be paid back to the bank after you begin taking money from other loan recipients who didn't get as lucky in regards to property distribution and therefore are losing money rather than making money throughout the duration), everyone starts out equal understanding both luck and skill will play a role.

The philosophical and ethical components involve whether it is ethical to take advantage of those who are less familiar with the game when you've played it before.  And, whether it is fair enough if everyone starts with the same amount of money and property when the game begins and as a show of good sportsmanship recognizing the luck and skill of all players, win or lose.  But, when we play and know it is a game, don't we choose free parking for tax collection and then kind of give all the tax money to the lucky "lottery" winner?  Or, do you refrain from adding that risk of chance of benefiting a friendly opponent rather than yourself if you don't land there first?  If you or your friendly opponents don't get it, it disappears and the bank gets it.  So, it takes money out of the game where with free parking jackpots you can keep the money in the game and depending on property distribution may see it soon enough anyway. 

Now, the issue with the game is that it is a game and therefore encourages severe competition involving access to basic resources everyone requires for survival.  We might all be cool with starting out with the same exact money and opportunity while understanding luck and skill play a role.  But, if we get elated at bankrupting everyone else, it is likely to be a while before anyone wants to play with us and they may switch to playing "Risk" which was first published in the US by Parker Brothers and now Hasbro.[2]  So, without a balance of cooperation with friendly competition, we see imperialism in both economic and government/social response which often morphs into relatively short-lived and quite ugly totalitarian authoritarianism.

And, when adults turn governing and civilization into a "winner takes all" scenario exploiting every possible loophole and at times literally getting away with murder, we end up with a macrocosm of some idiot who laughs at all the losers he or she bankrupted often by cheating or exploitation (which should be considered a form of cheating), and everyone bankrupted hating the game and thinking it is time to retire it completely.

It's also interesting that "Monopoly" includes jail, right?  So, if caught breaking the law as a result of a "Chance" card or your bad luck for rolling multiple doubles (which for the intelligent is a hint at anyone who would rig the game by using loaded dice or manipulating the dice to get so many doubles in a row, especially with property still available on the board and might amount to probable cause for a warrant), you understand there are laws and if broken you can be held accountable, sometimes even when the evidence is circumstantial like rolling multiple doubles.  And, the game allows that same player to roll doubles to get out without paying a fine.  But, if they do, the other players know something's up with the dice or continue to suspect it.  The US government constitutionally must believe everyone is acting in good faith and legally is not supposed to assume otherwise as we are all presumed innocent as a matter of law.  So, the only way the government can investigate alleged violations of the law is if someone presents enough evidence that provides probable cause for a warrant and investigation.  And, the standards required for that are generally the standards you'd want required if the allegations were about you.  So, "Monopoly" suggests cynically that there is corruption and we all know it and as a game in the private sector has the right to suggest it.  But, the government must assume the opposite as a matter of law for the sake of justice and individual liberty interests. 

Now, the critical thinking part involves good strategy, negotiating skills, and money management.  The game of "Monopoly" also supports democracy on what rule variations and style of play everyone agrees to at the beginning of the game while showing luck is involved by having people roll for highest number to go first.  And, in the US, you can actively participate in working to get existing rules amended, but, have to remember all the other citizens/players get to do that as well.  Even the most skilled strategist can lose as a result of bad luck or a rigged game.  And, generally you need good negotiating skills, but, not if you are particularly lucky and choose to be vicious and exploit disadvantaged opponents.  You know, like when someone keeps landing on tax at the beginning of the game and doesn't have money to buy property or build.  And, they keep getting "Chance" and "Community Chest" and not the ones where they get something, but, the ones they have to pay.  And, that's without even any other player benefiting in most cases.  Those players often ask another player if they can borrow when they have nothing to mortgage just so they can stay in the game longer.  And, sometimes a good friend just gives the money to the disadvantaged and says "good luck", praying that helps.  But, often since it is a game, people get particularly competitive and lose their good sportsmanship at times and decide cooperation is for losers only. 

We've all played with someone who got particularly lucky and vicious, right?  And, we found it despicable, especially if someone innocent was hurt who was just learning and particularly taken advantage of by the vicious.  And, in that moment we either start teaching the innocent how to play or leave them out of the game entirely so irritated at the poor sportsmanship alone we now feel compelled to take out the vicious player even if it means we become vicious ourselves when we play them.  And, a few generations of that and everyone is vicious because that's the example being set for how best to live when a more objective perspective might suggest we simply amend the rules reasonably and make sure everyone starts with the same advantages and opportunities regardless of when they enter the game.  And, that means not rationalizing practical equality by not including or requiring a universal basic income and/or basic property distribution for all citizens/players.  Because, if we're playing, we all deserve the same head start.  And, if we're not playing, people's lives are really on the line and the viciousness of both "Monopoly" and "Risk" at times is really unacceptable and results in destabilization of civilization which leads to collapse.  If you are viciously competitive, play others that can handle your poor sportsmanship if you are that type.  But, don't carry that over into all areas of life unless you like the idea of ending up dead, insane, or in jail.  There are less vicious ways to play "Monopoly", but, it requires cooperation by all the players where we all agree the bank is our bitch and not the other way around.



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_(game)
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Non-Exploitative Capitalist Solutions To Modern Problems


Non-Exploitative Capitalist Solutions To Modern Problems
By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

For this article, three modern problems will be given non-exploitative capitalist solutions that can be implemented immediately by those with the resources to handle the job.  These solutions will benefit capitalists and everyone else too.

Modern Problem #1: Homelessness

This issue can be addressed by establishing tax-deductible non-profit housing with food bank accessibility or delivery to those currently unable to afford housing.  Rent could be charged on a sliding-scale with local businesses who benefit from more foot traffic downtown, as a result of reduced perceived threat or eyesore of homeless persons, donating to help cover costs which donations would be tax-deductible.  Those receiving housing for free or at a discount will then be able to look for honest work having an address or residency that will make them more appealing to employers who have concerns about hiring those who lack residency as such suggests unreliability according to many employers. 

So, the above would act as a tax-deduction benefit to local businesses or any donors, provide housing to those in need, and help create stability needed for those without housing to find honest employment while cleaning up the streets and encouraging more support for main street and small business.  Those running the non-profit could also earn a salary for running it in which they could and likely would use some of that to shop downtown.  The government wouldn't need to address it at all if the private sector stepped up.

Modern Problem #2: Factory Farming

This issue can be addressed by establishing a tax-deductible non-profit that provides volunteer veterinary, construction, and animal care services to animals currently suffering in factory farming conditions.  This could be done through a partnership with the agricultural businesses, set up by those businesses to address animal care in a manner that doesn't effect the cost of food or food production in which donations are received by the non-profit side to address all animal welfare concerns, or by starting independent humane farms that effectively compete and drive out of business the factory farms.

The above would effectively address all animal welfare concerns and arguably even environmental concerns related to factory farming.  And, whether or not volunteers receive pay on the non-profit side may be determined by donations received and whether those donations are better spent on animal welfare or paying volunteers.

Modern Problem #3: Deceptive Marketing and Fraud

This issue can best be addressed through due diligence of consumers and reporting fraud, deceptive marketing, and false advertising to the proper authorities.  For an example of consumer advocacy exposing fraud, see: http://www.heal-online.org/breathless.htm.  And, if you are a victim of fraud, don't be ashamed to report it to the proper authorities.  The place to start is with your home state's Attorney General and you can file a complaint about false advertising, deceptive marketing, fraud, both online and off.  If you've been a victim of fraud online, report to the FBI's IC3 division.  You can find the links to file easy online complaints with your home state's Attorney General and the FBI on the HEAL site at http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm.  You may also wish to watch "American Greed" on CNBC and begin to understand that being a victim of fraud isn't entirely your fault as deception is part of the reason it is fraud and some liars are really convincing at times and use undue influence or high pressure sales tactics on victims.  But, to avoid being a victim, a little due diligence goes a long way and with the internet, researching complaints, public records, and consumer advocacy sites like HEAL will assist you in avoiding becoming a victim too.

There is rampant fraud in the marketplace right now and people aren't exercising due diligence so it is becoming more and more normalized which will likely lead to a serious economic collapse if not nipped in the bud.  And, the media is both part of the problem and part of the solution.  We see ads for new pharmaceuticals and ads for lawsuits against ones found to have caused harm.  The same is true of any industry.  And, often the media isn't exercising due diligence and simply acts as a marketing service for those seeking airtime who either pay for it or are somehow connected to someone at the station.  But, the media also runs stories exposing fraud and abuse as seen on "American Greed" on CNBC.  So, it isn't that the information isn't out there, it's more that people aren't exercising due diligence when making financial decisions that may effect more than their financial health while putting their lives or mental stability at risk.  So, it is important to exercise due diligence for yourself when considering any investment of time or money and to report any fraud you are a victim of so you can have a chance at justice and restitution for yourself while exercising your civic duty to help prevent others from falling victim to the same crime. 

As citizens, we are part of both the private and public sector.  It is up to us to solve the problems whether through private enterprise or public participation.  And, nothing gets solved when we all just demand someone else handle it and roll our eyes at the fact no one else has handled it, then shake our fists at the government rather than going through proper channels to get the issue handled like reporting consumer complaints to your home state's Attorney General in the event of fraud or addressing the issues in the private sector as suggested.

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/