Friday, December 07, 2007

You're Responsible for Your Own Violent Words


Oddly enough, I can no longer post soapbox commentaries on Congress.org under President Bush. Despite being a loyal multi-year purchaser of space under his name, I've been cut off. I can still post commentaries under my Congressional representatives, but access to George W.'s space has been rescinded. Darn, I wanted to add another post about The Carlyle Group's purchase of ManorCare. I'll have to post on the New York Time's Dealbook and Forbes instead.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scotty Suggest?


Ex White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan dropped something yesterday, a tidbit from his new book holding key figures in the Executive branch accountable for his admitted bald faced lie on the CIA name leak. Today his publisher scrambled to clarify Scotty's position between lining up book orders from retailers. Mr. McClellan does not believe President Bush lied to him.

That leaves the public to conduct its own torturous process of elimination to ascertain the "guilty party". What if each suspect says he doesn't think another one lied? What if they each assert their peer's credibility in round robin fashion such that all are covered? That leaves the public shaking their head. Something bad happened, but there's no one to blame in this circle of smart fools.

Yesterday's morsel and today's clarification are simply loose words that can be spun virtually anyway one wants. How about getting the six under testimony and sort this thing out? Mr. Bush, McClellan, Cheney, Rove, Card and Libby "please, raise your right hand and try to avoid your ample proboscis."

New FEC Rules Mean More Inflammatory Ads


The Federal Elections Commission just released new rules allowing corporations and unions to pay for television commercials during the upcoming presidential and congressional campaigns, so long as the ads avoid expressly advocating for or against a candidate. These "issue ads" are expected to lower the level of the already lilting deck of America's electoral "Swift Boat."

One law professor already placed hypothetical "calls for action" on his blog. Rick Hasen said the new FEC language will provide a safe haven for groups that want to use "sham issue ads" to promote their candidate. Rest assured the ads will be plentiful and ugly. In a country where the ends justify the means, we just lowered our standards yet again. Should the FEC change its name to the Flatulatory Electoral Carnival? With all those noxious fumes, don't anybody light a match!

I've already cancelled cable and the newspaper. My guess is the internet isn't far behind...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Georgepetto Furious at Wooden White House Boy


Pinocchio's nose grew when he told a lie. Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told enough fibs during his time serving President Bush to make those rocking chairs the two planned to eventually use to talk about the good 'ole days. Only Scotty's invite just got rescinded. George doesn't forgive when a nobody calls him a liar, much less a minion who was supposed to cover for his hyper competitive, ethically challenged boss. The question remains as to how many lying turkeys need pardoning?

As for the Bush excuse ""The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," I believe that's true. Georgepetto would tell his people to lie, he wouldn't be polite enough to ask. As for falsehoods, look no further than the fictional $83,000 income level for children's health insurance. Bush is a snake in the grass and Scotty will find out soon how venomous it is.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Alfie's Prediction Comes True


Some fourteen years ago I heard noted speaker Alfie Kohn make a prediction regarding Book It, the Pizza Hut reading program which rewards children with free pizza for reading books. He said:

"We'll have a bunch of fat kids who don't like to read."

Alfie Kohn is an author of 11 books on education and parenting, including Punished By Rewards, which questions the value of incentive programs. "The more kids see books as a way to get pizza or some other prize, the less interest they'll have in reading itself," Kohn, a former teacher, said. "They tend to choose easier books to get through faster."

So what are the results of the reading program started in 1985? A study revealed 9 year old kids read like crazy but by the time they are 17, interest in reading plummets to where almost 20% "never or hardly ever" read for pleasure.

Among the findings:
-In 2002, only 52 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24, the college years, read a book voluntarily, down from 59 percent in 1992.

-Money spent on books, adjusted for inflation, dropped 14 percent from 1985 to 2005 and has fallen dramatically since the mid-1990s.

-The number of adults with bachelor's degrees and "proficient in reading prose" dropped from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003.

The decline in reading over the time period is apparent. Obviously, one program isn't responsible for the whole drop. But anything that teaches kids they need a reward to do something as naturally enjoyable as reading, certainly didn't help.

What about the obesity end of Alfie's sage foresight? Five years ago the government said it was a growing problem. The Mayo Clinic said "In just two decades, the prevalence of overweight doubled for U.S. children ages 6 to 11 — and tripled for American teenagers."

"Fat kids who don't like to read" has been generally supported by wider societal data. However, Alfie is too good a social scientist to let this pass as positive proof. My intent with this piece is to get people thinking about what "works" and how do they know? The teaser comes from using theory. With it, you too can make profound predictions like Mr. Kohn's. So explore No Contest and Punished by Rewards. They are both eye opening works. Also, Dr. W. Edwards Deming has a few works chock full of useful theory in our leadership challenged world.

Fran's Next Stop?


White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend submitted her resignation letter this month. This morning President Bush acknowledged her service to the Executive Branch in his official statement. So what will Fran do next?

She hopes to work in global risk management for a large bank or financial services company. What firms qualify? There's investment banking, large Wall Street financial houses, and private equity firms, the burgeoning investment vehicle for those who hate the spotlight.

Fran proved her ability to keep one private equity underwriter (PEU) out of the limelight after Hurricane Katrina. Mrs. Townsend made not one mention of The Carlyle Group's LifeCare Hospitals in her Lessons Learned report. This happened despite LifeCare's twenty four patient deaths, the largest number in any one hospital post Katrina.

What if Fran ends up working for that same Carlyle Group? Now that would be some coincidence! The odds have to be as small as the chance that both the hospital with the largest death toll and the trade group that coordinated critically ill patient evacuations would be left out of the White House Report. What are the odds of both of those key facts failing to appear?

After omissions by design, could a strategic hiring decision be far behind? Carlyle is stacked with political heavy hitters from both sides of the aisle, mostly Republican but a few Democrats are sprinkled around. Time will show where Fran lands, but expect Carlyle to keep deepening their bench, whether profane Frances ends up with that particular PEU or another huge financial firm.

Foul Mouthed Fran Tenders Resignation


White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend is hanging up her boots as a member of the Bush spin machine. The author of the Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report omitted any mention of the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths post landfall. LifeCare happened to be owned by The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm which happens to also have a Pennsylvania Avenue address.

The timing of Fran's resignation is most interesting as Congress held hearings last week on Carlyle's purchase of huge nursing home provider, ManorCare. If the politically connected private equity underwriter (PEU) can fail patients in one of twenty one long term acute care hospitals, what can they do with 550 mostly nursing homes? Did any members of Congress threaten to call Carlyle's Karen Bechtel or Fran to explore their combined failures?

This history has a direct bearing on Carlyle's purchase of the huge health care provider and needs to be explored. Yet so far, the world is quiet. Did profane Fran resign to keep it that way? In his acknowledgment of her service President Bush spoke of Fran's intellect. How could she put out such a sorry investigative report, one that omitted both LifeCare's twenty four patient deaths and the trade group that coordinated hospital evacuations while Mike Brown adjusted his tie for press conferences? If Mrs. Townsend is that smart, then she did so intentionally, which opens another can of worms. Who was she covering for and why?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That Ever Promising Bush Administration


It's easy to cite past Bush promises that crashed to the floor like Humpty Dumpty, broken to the point that all of King George's horses and all his men can't put his verbal commitments back together again. From his 2001 promise to run an honest and ethical administration came the most secretive in history.

Walking past the broken egg of promising to "fire any leakers", there lies a huge pile of yolk colored e-mails. A federal judge just ordered the White House to retain all e-mail correspondence, something the Bush administration hasn't done for four years despite being required to do so under federal law. Their defense on the status of 2003 e-mails? "They're looking into it and if there is a problem, the necessary steps will be taken to address it."

Next, one passes the fetid White House Lessons Learned report after Hurricane Katrina where no actual investigation was accomplished, at least in regard to hospital patient evacuations and deaths during their interminable wait for rescue in dead facilities. Just keep walking.

Thinking it's safe to breathe again, a deep inhale produces formaldehyde, a toxic gas. After two years of living in government provided trailers, people might expect the formaldehyde issue to be clear by now. FEMA ordered its staff not to enter unoccupied trailers for safety reasons, so how are the occupants doing? Not well, according to private tests.

Results show "95 percent of the temporary housing units provided by FEMA measured at least twice the CDC’s maximum recommended level for long-term exposure to the toxic gas. In some extreme cases, the levels were 70 times the long-term standard." What do other tests show? The federal government promised to test inhabited travel trailers and mobile homes but has not yet followed through.

So how can anyone believe the White House will come through on the e-mail issue when they've failed the health of citizens in the years after Hurricane Katrina, not just during the week of landfall? It's hard to see the citizen centered, results oriented government characterized by quality of service that George Bush promised way back when.

The President may not know it, but a fork sticks out of his back as the public wishes his term were done. While many want to wash their hands of the bad egg, what damage can a wounded unitary executive do with his remaining time in office? Hidden e-mails and toxic trailers indicate he's still capable of harm.

Monday, November 12, 2007

U.S. Needs More Reluctant, Team Oriented Heroes


In our world of cowboy chief executives, many people yearn for heroes of yesteryear. The Greatest Generation produced a slew of them and research sheds light on their characteristics. A study asked veterans what makes a leader and the insights shouldn't be surprising, except to the self appointed, hyper-competitive, and ego starved Machiavellians. Many pose as leaders in today's government and business sectors.

Veterans noted selflessness as a key trait of reluctant heroes. That means they didn't save their friend for incentive compensation. They didn't jump on the hand grenade for a plaque or a medal. They did it out of loyalty to their friends and fellow soldiers. It was their role as member of the team and they came to it of their own volition.

Another characteristic is humility. None would identify themselves as heroes. They each had a deep sense of duty. Once again, reluctant heroes of The Leadership Quarterly show us what is missing in American leadership today.

Stories like this keep me hopeful that the world will rediscover another contributor from the Greatest Generation, Dr. W. Edwards Deming. The fifty year petri dish of the post WWII Japanese economy has much to show our present day world, much as these reluctant heroes have to show our elected and boardroom leaders.

"The problem is that most courses teach what is wrong."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Voting Shows People Are Angry at Leaders


Given San Angelo's sleepy twenty nine city council amendments, election officials expected a light turnout. To their surpise people in central Tom Green County voted well above the state rate. They passed all but three of the measures, using mostly paper ballots.

But their "no vote" on the three proposed changes speaks volumes, especially when viewed in light of Rep. Mike Conaway's August open house. The Congressman left with his jaw hanging from a rather unfriendly West Texas reception. He even pleaded with the crowd to lighten up so his staffers wouldn't think poorly of us citizens.

What did San Angelo voters turn down? First, they stayed with a requirement that City Council leaders be paid up on their property taxes. While unconstitutional, the citizen's didn't feel like lowering this standard. Second, they stuck with an elected police chief for the 11th time as 53.6% of voters don't trust City Council to do the job right. Third, they refused a raise and increased benefits for the Mayor and members of the council.

It may speak directly to the citizen's confidence in local politicians, but my guess is it extends beyond the confines of our city limits. Leaders need to measure up, do their part, even pay taxes. They need to act on behalf of all citizens, not just their political club. When they can't come together to do the people's business, people don't want to give them more work to do or more pay for what they're not getting done. Our high turnout for a non-event election speaks loudly. The overwhelming selection of paper ballots says another. We may just get our democracy back if this keeps up. Time will tell...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bush Sits on His Hands on Health Care


President Bush noted the Democrats desire to cover more people today as businesses continue to renege on their traditional health insurance benefit commitment and the government refuses to take up the slack. George spoke derisively of the second S-CHIP bill to pass Congress. He called it a "trick" on Americans by moving the country closer to a federalized health system.

"Halloween's an appropriate day to talk about it because there's a bill moving through Congress that's disguised as a bill to help children, but I think it's really a trick on the American people."-G.W. Bush

I think Americans are tired of the seven year trick George and Company have played on citizens. We went from 40 to 47 million uninsureds on his watch, even as he lauded health savings accounts and tax credits in smoke and mirror fashion. As the political will grew to address the problem, Karl Rove tried to frame it as "an illegal immigrant problem". Biased studies by the Rand Corporation and the Center for Immigration Studies hit the shelves the fall of 2005. However, the stain didn't stick as most Americans had suffered from over a decade of increased employer cost sharing and declining coverage via higher co-pays and deductibles.

Clueless George tried to say people having "gold plated coverage" was the problem. Only his CEO friends backdating their stock options have such rich insurance benefits nowadays, but what do Al Hubbard or Mike Leavitt know? They're the ones advising the President on S-CHIP. Here's what they and George want for you, the opportunity to fund your own health insurance and pay your own health care bills.

If employers continue their 8 year trend of covering less of the American population and government won't step up in any substantive way, who does that leave to foot the bills? Look in George's smoky mirror for the answer. It's you. I hope you hate socialized medicine enough to pay those free market bills.

Cheney's NY Hunt Club Helping Endangered Species?


Yesterday, I incorrectly interpreted the finding of a Confederate flag at Vice President Cheney's New York hunt club as a sign of global warming. I assumed its hanging indicated a northward shift in the Mason-Dixon line to incorporate New York.

After considerable research, I must revise my theory. I now believe evolution has given our country a magnificent new species, the Rebel butterfly. Due to its endangered natural habit of Southern capital cities, the stars and bars butterfly must fly farther and farther north for appropriate camouflage.

The Clove Gun and Rod Club was simply doing its part to provide natural habitat for this rare and endangered species. So hail to the Vice President for visiting a patriotic site working to keep alive the most recent evidence of evolution.

Oooopppss! Run butterfly run! Shooter's coming. Blam, blam, blam....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

SOD Offers to Help Mukasey


As an active water boarder, State of the Division freely offers to give Justice Department nominee Judge Michael Mukasey lessons in the challenging sport. Call me Mike? West Texas has plenty of wind this time of year. But it could be chilly, as opposed to the hot air regularly emanating from the White House and Capital.

A huge plume of smoke arose from the White House as President Bush called Congress on the carpet for inaction, for incompetence. The problem is the President's personal effluent lies in the corner in the form of his Lessons Learned report after Hurricane Katrina. While he castigates others on healthcare, George left out the hospital with the largest patient death toll, LifeCare. What kind of investigative report omits 24 patient deaths? Some might say a nearly two year old incomplete report has no bearing today, but alas, it still reeks. The private equity firm in charge of LifeCare during Katrina plans to buy 550 facility Manor Care. If they can fail patients in one of 21 LTAC's, what can they do with 550 mostly nursing home sites when a disaster strikes? It's directly pertinent, but as usual no one's talking. That might mess up The Carlyle Group's good name.

But back to the issue of water boarding. When the Judge shows up for his lesson, I'll ask him what it's like after a particularly long dunking. Getting a foot caught between the mast and board can cause one's head to remain underwater for quite some time. Without a wet suit, one's skin might turn blue as the mast grinds against their ankle and shin. How ya' feeling Judge? Nearly everyone says their first day waterboarding is torture. Afterward, I'll ask him to put a small lie detector on President Bush, preferably one that makes a farting noise when George W. lies. I can't wait for him to say $83,000 again when giving his double S-CHIP veto. Ffffrrrrrppppppp!

(For those questioning my patriotism, I refer you to my Elephant hat and red, white and blue tie. All good Repugnicants have such items in their closet! Damnocrats are already out of the closet...)

Global Warming Shifts Mason-Dixon Line Well North

Vice President Dick Cheney's hunt at a private club revealed something the administration has long tried to hide (other than the V.P. is a bad shot). An enterprising photographer from the New York Daily News captured the above picture at a hunt club hours outside New York City, which happens to be the same place that manufactures salsa lingering on grocery store shelves in the desert Southwest.

The good news is expanding global warmth allowed the Vice President a magnificent hunt on the 2,500 acre estate, known as the Clove Valley Hunt and Rod Club. Always the intrepid games man, Dick had to figure out a way to bag farm bred pheasants released on the property just the day before. Each had the facial outline of Harry Whittington painted on their side to aid Mr. Cheney's aim.

The photo is clear scientific evidence of global warming. It indicates the northward movement of the Mason-Dixon line, previously located on the northern border of Maryland. As the Arctic loses Connecticut sized ice fields, the "Constitution is a Goddam Piece of Paper" State stands next door to the new line of demarcation between the chilly cold, liberal, gay loving north and the friendly, warm, redneck family values south. Connecticut is also known as the Nutmeg State, but if Vice President Cheney has anything to do with it, the Clove Valley Gun and Rod Club will soon incorporate the spice state to its east. Everything should be privatized!

Fortunately, the flag remained hidden from our country's most secretive elected official. A Cheney staffer noted ""The VP did not see the flag and neither did anyone on staff." They were too busy lining up their sights. Ready, fire, aim! Another day in the Bush administration, where the open season on peasants never ends...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

John Edwards and Left Behind Games



Two groups recently took actions to have news stories and opinion commentaries pulled from the public airwaves. Lawyer Gordon D. Katz sent letters to numerous bloggers asking they remove false and misleading statements about Left Behind Games video game, Eternal Forces. I received one.

The John Edwards political campaign asked a Univesity of North Carolina professor to pull a student report on the location of his campaign headquarters. It seems candidates and corporations want to control the news. Add the Pentagon's Blogger Roundtable and the fake FEMA newsconference and who knows what news is real vs. propaganda?

When government and corporations control citizens, fascism is here. Let's not let that happen.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thomas Axelson Leaves Left Behind Games Board of Directors


The ex-CFO of Left Behind Games officially ended his relationship with the company when he resigned from the Board of Directors. His resignation letter indicated his commitments with the Campus Crusade for Christ as the reason for leaving. Mr. Axelson serves as their Foundations Relations Manager. Earlier he converted his deferred compensation into stock options. SEC filings state:

Mr. Axelson converted $126,043 of deferred compensation into 938,534 shares of our common stock

Thomas' total holdings amount to just over 1.1 million shares. I wonder if he'll get any grant funding to purchase Left Behind Games software for various Campus Crusade for Christ ministries? CEO Troy Linden is projecting banner sales in the near future and young college kids with gaming skills certainly looks like an attractive market segment.

Bush Reveals his $83,000 Lie


Funny how Congress acted explicitly on President Bush's major stated concern and he still plans to veto a bill providing insurance coverage to more children without coverage. They called him on his own lie and George has the gall to blame the House of Representatives. That's one pathological perspective. But in America it takes two to tango and the donkeys bring their own dysfunction to the beltway. If Democrats felt gored by George why would they pass his judicial nominee, Leslie Southwick? Why not filibuster?

There's a funny game of political theater going on. Each side has its few issues to parade in front of the blue curtain for the voters entertainment and outragement. Meanwhile behind the scenes, top Repugnicant and Damnocrats orchestrate the contracting out of America to the government industrial monstrosity. We're left with funding our own retirement and health care. Ain't democracy a grand illusion?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bush Keeps His ENT Busy


All those rhinoplasties have to hurt. Otherwise how would President Bush keep his relatively normal nose length after telling so many lies? These came from yesterday's press conference.

"And finally, the eligibility has been increased up to $83,000."

"And finally, to increase eligibility up to $83,000, in my judgment, is an attempt by some in Congress to expand the reach of the federal government in medicine."

The S-CHIP bill does not increase eligibility up to $83,000 as stated by Senators Orin Hatch and Chuck Grassley. The bill gives states financial incentives to cover families with incomes up to three times the federal poverty level - $61,950 for a family of four. How is a country to feel when their Chief Executive repeatedly tells untruths and our vaunted fourth estate does nothing to challenge it?

I for one, am incensed at George W. Bush, Senator John Cornyn and Representative Mike Conaway for telling falsehoods. Just have the balls to say you don't care about covering kids! It already shows for those paying attention. There are more uninsured children today than in 1992. This is despite SCHIP. Not only do Bush, Cornyn and Conaway not care about uninsured kids, they couldn't give a flip about their parents. Who just got falsely demonized as making $83,000 a year?

Those screaming against covering more kids, beware. Between government and employers, plans are for the individual to pay their health insurance premiums. This is in addition to those ever rising deductibles and co-pays. At least, so says Mike Leavitt, HHS Chief. "It's now time for us to get to the hard work of finding a solution and get SCHIP reauthorized. We also have a larger task, to provide every American with the means of having an insurance policy." Contrast this with China's promise to cover all 1.5 billion of its citizens by 2020. Let's hope leaders everywhere don't lie...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Frosted over Frost


Something is terribly wrong when people can't talk about children's health without lying or demonizing innocents. Unfortunately, it is the state of our division. This blogger found himself deep in the abyss, so far down that no light can be seen, no children's voices could be heard. Therefore, it's time to leave the chasm and pursue the light. That means staying away from American politics and the Government Industrial Monstrosity feuled by both political parties! Peace, joy and love to all in your search for a purpose...

Liars Three: Bush, Conaway, & Cornyn


Why do elected officials tell straight out lies regarding provisions in a bill? The current myth on children's health insurance is the income levels of families who'd have access to coverage. Consider the three monkeys who can't see, hear or speak the actual provisions of the bill passed in conference.

Senator John Cornyn in his e-mail update:

The majority bill balloons SCHIP by more than 140 percent to potentially include families of four with $83,000 of annual income.

Representative Mike Conaway from his Conaway Chronicle:

In some cases, this would allow S-CHIP to cover families with an annual income of $83,000.

President George W. Bush during a Wall Street Journal interview:

Or, under the current version -- the version of the bill -- within the bill I vetoed, it says, you can make up to $83,000, which will move people from private insurance to government health care.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a loyal supporter of the Bush White House, responded angrily to the president during a Capitol Hill news conference.

"Are families of four making $83,000 going to get benefit(s) under this? Not unless the administration agrees to it. This bill does not call for that high level of expenditure."

The president is also expected to continue making his case. Yes, by lying and getting his Texas cronies to lie with him. Who's keeping track of their moral failings on behalf of the children, much less the toll on truth telling?

Bridging the Divide


A good friend, Len Z. Nichols wrote the first chapter in a compilation that could help heal the multitude of division's that crisscross our planet like huge chasms. A Search for Purpose is part of the best selling series Wake Up... Live the Life You Love. The book can be ordered online and Len's story and teachings alone are worth the price. Don't they say friendship is priceless? Let the bridge building begin in earnest, one heart at a time...

Larry Craig is a Constitutional Liar


Who gets wrongfully charged with a petty crime and refuses to tell their family? After the cop pulls you over for speeding when someone just blew by you at 80 miles and hour, do you keep that quiet? Do you hide it from the people you love, the ones who support you, especially when you were cited in error?

Sen. Craig told Matt Lauer on NBC it was a "tough call" not to tell anyone about the incident. "I didn't want to embarrass my wife, my kids, Idaho and my friends," Craig said. "And I wrestled with it a long while. ... I should have told my wife. I should have told my kids. And most importantly, I should have told counsel."

No offense Mr. Senator, but since when is counsel more important than family? Isn't Larry a member of the "family values" party? Wouldn't honesty with his wife and kids rate higher than telling some attorney?

Does Mr. Craig think people aren't watching. We saw his buckets full of moral indignation, spilled after the story was released to the media. "I am not gay. I have a wide stance. I reached down to pick up paper off the floor." Yet despite his best denials, pressure from members of his own party caused him to issue a premature resignation.

Larry Craig subsequently withdrew his commitment to leave the Senate. He continues trying to withdraw his guilty plea for a disorderly conduct charge. It involved soliciting gay sex in an airport men's room.

"It is my right to do what I'm doing," said Craig. "I've already provided for Idaho certainty that Idaho needed - I'm not running for re-election. I'm no longer in the way. I am pursuing my constitutional rights."

The first judge denied Larry's request to withdraw, so the Senator is appealing. Maybe another man in black robes will take Mr. Craig's offer more seriously. There's always next time in Washington's world of offers and requests. But rest assured the Idaho Senator is only pursuing his constitutional rights. So what if he lied to his family and country in the process. He'd better hurry up as the Constitution is just a "@#% %*)(^%" piece of paper, at least that's what our Chief Executive said...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quiz on Condi's Worries


Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has much on her mind. So much, worries weigh her down. What's got Condi in a funk?

"In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development." Was she referring to:

a. Russia
b. United States

"I think there is too much concentration of power in the _______". Did she say:

a. The Kremlin
b. The White House

"Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary." Is she speaking of:

a. John Robert's Supreme Court
b. National Supreme Court of Russia

"There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media." Does she mean:

a. The Wall Street Journal and Fox News
b. CNN, also known as the Communist News Network
c. NTV Novosti

"There are, I think, questions about the strength of the _____."

a. the Dollar
b. the Duma

The answers are anything un-American is well, un-American. Condi sees the stick in other's eyes while ignoring the log in her own...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Crusty Jack Does What WSJ Won't


While a world reknowned business journal lobbed softballs at President Bush, George struck out. He couldn't bring the bat around on backdated stock options, resulting in a third strike. I wondered why he gave such a sorry answer, then I remembered his Uncle Bucky benefited from executives in ESSI carrying out the cheating scheme.

Not all reporters cower in front of the President and not all truthseekers work for Rupert Murdoch. It was refreshing to read this segment last night, although I wonder why this is buried in transcript and not a full feature piece on the CNN homepage?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the Bush administration is in danger of breaking its arm from patting itself on the back. They announced that the federal budge deficit declined for a third straight year to $163 billion. They also said the number came in under an earlier estimate of $205 billion.

Well, don't get too excited, because they're lying. "Fortune" magazine's Allan Sloan warned us about this very thing in a great piece entitled "Fuzzy Bush Math". It came out a month ago. In the piece, he said Washington would report another decline in the deficit. They did. He pegged the number at $158 billion, which is pretty close for an article that came out a month ago. He only miss it $5 billion.

Sloan explains the federal government operates under its own unique budget accounting system, regardless of which party is in power. Here's how it works. Social Security, for example, will take in $78 billion more in payroll and income taxes than it shells out this year. That's a surplus. But the government takes that money and spends it, and gives the Social Security trust fund an IOU. There is no money in the Social Security trust fund, only government IOUs.

The Treasury will pay $108 billion of interest on the trust fund's $2.2 trillion of treasuries, but that, too, will be paid with IOUs. The money will be spent.Right there, add those two together, $186 billion, which would more than double the stated budget deficit. And there are other financial shenanigans that go on that make the number even higher. We don't have time to go into them all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rarely Read Independent Blogger Gets Attorney Letter


StateoftheDivision joined the growing list of blog authors receiving a certified letter from the Law Offices of Gordon D. Katz, representing Left Behind Games, Inc. The letter stated "there are many statements on your website which appear to be false and misleading". For the unaware, I have no desire to have such statements on my website.

Out of 1,477 posts, I found one on Eternal Forces, the video game based on the Left Behind series. I contacted an attorney who recommended I inquire as to the specifics of the alleged "false and misleading statements." That letter will go out Monday via certified mail.

My initial post cited information from the company's SEC filings. I decided to check out the firm's current financial footing, months after their big product launch. Revenues fared poorly this past quarter, amounting to only $56,815. Most of their current assets are tied up in accounts receivable and inventories.

The valuable stock holdings I noted a year ago, are virtually worthless given the stock price fall from nearly 8 dollars to eleven cents. In August and September 2007 the CEO of the company had to sell 47,070 and 214,068 shares of stock for the following reason:

"As a result of the company's recent market price change, the provisions of an agreement between the shareholder and pledgee from a loan resulted in a default, providing for the pledgee to sell these shares"

As a writer, I know the disappointment when a creative work fails to find a market. I have some compassion for the people involved in this video game, despite the letter I just received.

However, I wonder if CNET's Gamespot got the same letter? The site rates video games based on evaluations from official critics and gamers themselves. Eternal Forces got a 4.5 out of 10 from the critic and a 3.5 user score. These are not even marginal customer satisfaction ratings. The review stated:

Another good thing about the Rapture is that it will take you away from disastrous, buggy games like Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

The Good-Interesting concept that strays from the kill-'em-all RTS norm.

The Bad-Mission design and pathfinding issues, storyline veers from religious devotion to self-parody, ugly visuals and too many identical unit models, very unstable
.

It seems customer feedback contributes more to the game's lack of sales than comments by independent bloggers. I'm pretty sure no gamers read this site. However, it seems the company's financial picture is improving as CEO Troy Linden projects positive cash flow in the fourth quarter. Their sequel game Left Behind: Tribulation Forces will also be released in the next 30-45 days. Maybe by then, I'll have heard back from Mr. Katz the exact nature of my errors from the company's perspective.

Bliar in Chief


Why does President Bush perpetuate the falsehood that the S-CHIP bill would provide insurance to people making up to $83,000? The version I viewed limited benefits to 300% of federal poverty level (that is before Thomas.law.gov relocated it) This drops the income cut off by some $20,000 from George's reported wider stance.

Senators Orin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa repeatedly called this characterization false, yet George continues. He even shared the fake number with the Wall Street Journal today in an exclusive interview. One might expect the world's finest business journal to call the President on his error, but the Journal is now in Rupert Murdoch's hands.

WSJ Calls this Business Reporting?


Picture the President of the United States having an intellectual discussion on supply and demand with a leading business reporter from the foremost financial journal in the world. Would it go something like this?

And I repeat to you, one of the interesting benefits of free trade is that our consumers have more choices. I believe consumers benefit when they have additional choices to make. I believe that one of the reasons why we've had lower inflation is because consumers have had more choices. If you eliminate consumers' choice, it's more likely to cause there to be inflationary pressures. If supply outstrips demand, it's -- there's a -- that helps ease inflationary pressure.

Can you see the reporter querying the President on elastic vs. inelastic supply and demand curves? What if he threw in monopolies or oligarchies? Would George throw up his dukes? What if the reporter lived in West Texas and shared his recent experience with additional choices in the energy market. Despite over two dozen companies to choose from, electricity is well above the national average. Regulated parts of the state haven't seen the same price inflation as those under Texas Electric Choice. This reality calls into question the "benefit of free trade" mentioned in the interview. One failure of a theory requires its revision, Mr. President.

What did the reporter do when George Bush offered himself up for the economic guillotine? He moved on the Doha Round of trade talks. I bet the President was relieved to not have to back up his economic theory, supplied by Al Hubbard. The Journal also won't tell you about Al's $1 million sale of huge health insurer, WellPoint's stock after his appointment.

People understand the new American economics. High dollar donors and rich companies buy influence, which the government then uses to enact policies and purchases favorable to aforementioned firms or individuals. That Bush could easily explain, if he were truly transparent. We already know he's not fair...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

McCain Shuffles Up to Altar of Competition to Drive Down Health Care Costs


Presidential hopeful John McCain unveiled his health care plan, "Smile if You Get Sick because There's Joy in Competition". The Senator said "We expect there to be dramatic reductions in costs." He said economic models including choice-in-competition always show savings.

I have a real world beef with his last statement, choice in competition always shows savings. Texas deregulated energy a few years back. My costs went through the roof in a "choice in competition" area. An recently released report on winter heating costs said electricity would rise to 10.3 cents/kilowatt hour. We passed that long ago. Even the short term teaser rates in West Texas are above the national average.

John plans to pay for his proposals by ending a provision in the tax code that lets employers deduct the cost of health care from their taxable earnings. If employers lose their tax advantage, whoa Nelly! This means they can finally shed that pesky health insurance benefit, sloughing it off on individual workers.

I can assure you the shift from employer sponsored health insurance to individually financed coverage will drive up hospital costs. People will choose plans with high deductibles and copays, if they can afford insurance at all. This means more patient responsibility for bills and increased self pay accounts. Rising bad debts, like rising interest costs are part of doing business, even for hospitals.

Texas requires people to have auto liability insurance and 10-15% of driver's don't carry it. While Senator McCain doesn't propose mandatory coverage, other candidates do. Why would health insurance be any different?

The good Senator from Arizona paid his pennace at the altar of competition that solves all ills. Just beware the real world results, should his plans be enacted.

Alberto Remembers to Hire Lawyer


Just when I thought Alberto Gonzales might need evaluation for admission to an Alzheimer's unit, the former Attorney General comes through with an insightful move. Apparently, Alberto has enough brainpower left to know he needs legal help for his floundering testimony before Congress. Is there such a thing as a sharp tool with hazy memories? I believe that describes partisan Al, otherwise known as Fredo...

No Honor Amongst Theiving Politicians


Hang your head America, as elected leaders join corporate CEO's in driving our country down to the lowest common denominator. Business executives cut pay and health insurance benefits, while political leaders just behave badly. Consider the most recent events:

On the Republican side of the aisle:

President George Bush and Rep. Mike Conaway used a false number in their rationale for denying children's health insurance. They cite a $83,000 ceiling, a 33% overstatement from the real number. Go figure.

Speaking of children, the party of "family values" Swift Boated a 12 year old child who spoke on the impact insurance had in his recovery from an auto accident.

Senator Larry Craig promised to step down, after stepping over the stall line. He then withdrew his offer.

On the Democratic side:

After much theater, Democrats failed to make millionaire private equity managers pay the same taxes on their job related earnings as regular folks. Those populist New York Senators, Schumer and Clinton, accept high dollars from Wall Street investment firms. If they're leading the way, don't expect change anytime soon. It makes you wonder if "populist", like "torture" has been redefined.

Leading Democrats like Senator Ron Wyden want to give employers a break from that pesky health insurance benefit and unions are more than happy to pick up the slack. When was the last time America saw politicians and unions working together to jettison an invaluable employee benefit?

What's sad, even torture, is watching our red, white and blue leaders sell themselves out to high dollar donors and their interests. The prostitutes engage their followers to play vitriolic games of revenge and personal destruction. When political parties race to win these games, more than children are left behind...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bull Tossing Mike Conaway


The Conaway Chronicle just arrived in my inbox with Rep. Mike's false rationale for voting against Children's Health Insurance. Does he not read the bills after they go through conference? Mr. Conaway stated income levels in his newsletter that don't exist in the bill. In West Texas, that's known as lying.

This morning Brian Lamm from CSPAN spoke at Angelo State University. He seemed quite concerned about the lack of transparency in government, especially around earmarks. At Mike's recent San Angelo Open House, he "could not recall" all his requested earmarks. That seemed odd at the time, but given his nose growing words on CHIP, I now have a context to put them in. Below are Mr. Conaway's words from his newsletter with the falsehood in bold.

S-CHIP Vetoed
Last week, President Bush vetoed the Democrats' proposed S-CHIP Reauthorization. I support the President's veto. Along with a bi-partisan majority in the House, I fully support reauthorizing an efficient and responsible State Children's Health Insurance Program. Unfortunately, the proposed reauthorization is riddled with superfluous spending and will increase the bias against private health insurance while paving the road to federalized healthcare. When S-CHIP was created in 1997, the intent was to ensure low-income children access to affordable healthcare. Originally, S-CHIP was to cover children from families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. The current proposal not only abandons this principle and increases eligibility to 300 percent, but it also allows the states to establish their own eligibility standards. In some cases, this would allow S-CHIP to cover families with an annual income of $83,000.

In 1992 there were 8.4 million uninsured children according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

For 2006 the Census Bureau reported 8.7 million uninsured children.

Despite the implementation of S-CHIP, there are 300,000 more kids uninsured today than in 1992. The country knows there are seismic shifts in health insurance coverage. We're the ones paying higher deductibles and co-pays while George Bush decries "first dollar coverage" and "gold plated health plans". Sorry Mr. President, most of us haven't seen those plans for at least a decade. The ones that have such excellent coverage, generally fall into an income group W. doesn't like to tax.

The forces are in place to leave more people uncovered every year. Now Mike and George W. have turned their backs on children. The problem is growing for both adults and kids. If our elected leaders can't come together on behalf of 8.7 million children, what can they collaborate on? As for Mike, next time you see him, don't be surprised if his nose is longer...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Freedom, American Style


Children are free to go without health insurance. Likewise, the homeless are free to go without food. But stepping up to address either situation gets a smack down. President Bush vetoed a bill expanding children's health insurance. And the city of Orlando, Florida outlawed feeding the homeless via its ban on mass feedings in one area.

Having the wrong t-shirt message or bumper sticker on your car at a Bush event, can get you a night in the poky. So much for our vaunted free speech. Travelling by air while in active mental health crisis, frequently gets the person killed. Only the mentally stable have the freedom to fly our unfriendly skies.

I wonder what Jesus would say about all this. It seems distinctly unChristian to not give children access to healing while denying the homeless food opportunities. The folks in Orlando might want to emulate West Texas cattle ranchers. To ensure every cow gets their shot at the food pellets, someone sits on the tailgate with an open bag of feed, dropping the nuggets as the driver keeps moving. That would be difficult to do with soup, unless the Sermon on the Mount fulfilling folks in Orlando borrow a tanker and build a trough ...

George W. Bush's Hall of Shame



President Bush favors "private" health insurance. The employer sponsored version is going the way of the buggy whip. With government also dragging its knuckles, that leaves you to pick up the cost. Unions want to be the large group purchasers of coverage, giving them relevancy in the 21st century. But guess who's stuck in the middle, like the little girl above? The average citizen.

Don't look to our elected officials for help. One only need look at the Board of Directors of WellPoint, a huge health insurer, for insight. One chair is occupied by William H.T. Bush, also known as Uncle Bucky by our current veto-er in chief. Next to Bucky sits Susan Bayh, wife of the Democratic Senator from Indiana, Evan. Their family income received numerous boosts the last few years from Susan's flipping her stock options for nearly $1.5 million in profits. The cooling chair next to her, used to be occupied by President Bush's number one economic advisor, Al Hubbard. Al's SCHIP advice has been widely panned as inaccurate by a number of conservative Republicans, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas.

Mr. Hubbard exercised his stock options after his appointment. WellPoint gave his finances a nearly $1 million boost. Might Al want to get back on the board after his term in public service? The sooner, the better. That way George might get some real world advice, not platitudes from cushy board room seats.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Idaho Hall of Fame Announces Minnesota Annex


Who knew Senator Larry Craig would be infamous months ago when the Idaho Hall of Fame selected him for induction in the august body? A July sting turned his gay sex proposition site into an international hall of fame. People make pilgrimages to the site of Larry's wide stance. Fortunately, the GOP convention will be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul. This will afford the Republican faithful the opportunity to see the site that flushed their exclusive position on moral values.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Failure of Theory Requires Revision



When a theory fails in a real world test, it must be revised to be useful, to have predictive ability. "Money buys happiness" took it on the chin from a 35 million pound British lottery winner. The Daily Mail had the following headline:

Ruined by her £35m jackpot

Someone needs to revise the theory, as a woman richer than the two princes and a star footballer (soccer) is miserable. The top picture came when she won the EuroMillions triple rollover draw. The bottom is the same woman, two months later. For those who think this is an isolated case, she is not alone.

Chevron Fails to Acknowledge Suffering Caused by Their Funding


Chevron finally weighed in on the situation in Myanmar. The company press release stated its support of a peaceful resolution that respects human rights. It then promoted all the positive aspects of its association with the production facility.

One might expect businessmen with deep knowledge of cost/benefit analysis, to not leave out one half of the formula. Chevron's press release details the benefits of their association with the Myanmar government, but not the costs to citizens. How many millions of dollars went to the oppressive junta the last seven years, courtesy of Total SA and Chevron? How was that money used to crack down on the spontaneous human energy rallying for democracy?

The company is being disingenuous by highlighting only the positive impact of their relationship in Myanmar. And the United States government won't paint the broader picture. Bush never met an oil man he didn't like and Condi Rice used to occupy a Chevron board chair. It's funny, but the white flag waving French may have more courage than America in holding businesses accountable for doing business in Burma. Vive le oil!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bush & Burma Interrogations


Only George W. Bush could have this dark comedic sense of timing. On the same day he defended U.S. interrogation methods, British sources revealed the Burmese military junta rounded up some 10,000 citizens for that same word, interrogation.

The UN Envoy warned the government crackdown could have serious international consequences. Not if America's chief diplomats have anything to do with it. U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice is an ex-Chevron board member, while the current American President is the son of the Bush that governed when the Myanmar production sharing agreement was reached in 1992. George W. anointed himself in oil a long time ago.

The U.S. did send a low level person to meet with the junta, but the meeting was not productive. Here's a hint as to how to get their attention: Take all of Chevron's proceeds from Burma and put it in a U.S. based account. Don't allow the junta a penny of it, until they make progress on freedom beyond allowing Western oil companies into their country.

Be sure to ask the 2,100 Burmese prisoners released if they experience head slapping, freezing temperatures or simulated drowning. We know at least one got the full blown version. I can picture both leaders saying, we're doing what's right to keep our country safe? I think they're both mistaken...

Fox in the CHIP House


One need not look far to find the fox in the chicken house on Bush's veto of the children's health insurance bill. Al Hubbard, the President's Senior Economic Advisor and the President's Uncle Bucky shared the board table for giant health insurer WellPoint. Right after his appointment to the White House, Al exercised his WellPoint stock options for a roughly $1 million payday.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley noted the poor advice George W. had gotten from his advisors. He challenged the White House's characterization of the CHIP bill and what it would do. In his press release, Senator Grassley stated "A lot of misinformation has been spread about this bill. But in Iowa, you can’t call a cow a chicken and have it be true."

Unfortunately Senator, there's is a bigger problem. The fox is in the henhouse and a cocky banty rooster is in cohoots...

Bush's War on Whistleblowers Continues



The most secretive administration in forty years took umbrage over the leaking of classified documents. Justice Chief Alberto Gonzales stretched America's flexibility to use harsh interrogation techniques, illegal in World War II. The greatest generation rose above torturing people, but the current group of exclusivites will stop at nothing to get their way. What's a little simulated drowning amongst friends? It's no different than Yale college high jinks, except legacies (like the armchair Commander in Chief above) are permanently on the giving end of abuse.

Just as members of secret societies don't break the code by spilling the beans, government whistle blowers need to pay for opening double secret files to the media. This prompted the latest threat from Junior's minions:

Another White House spokesman, meanwhile, criticized the leak of such information to the news media and questioned the motivations of those who do so. "It's troubling," Tony Fratto said Friday. "I've had the awful responsibility to have to work with The New York Times and other news organizations on stories that involve the release of classified information. And I can tell you that every time I've dealt with any of these stories, I have felt that we have chipped away at the safety and security of America with the publication of this kind of information."

Did you catch the implied threat to the nation caused by the unknown accuser? Not only are they liars (according to George W. and Dana), they just armed the trigger on a suitcase nuke, God knows where, with their devious act. Honesty and transparency are long gone. The countdown to an executive-corporate state has commenced. T-minus four years and counting, regardless of which party is in power. The government industrial monstrosity has landed. It alone will have freedom...

Bush Uses His Personal Definition of Torture (which is classified)


President Bush once again said the hollow, vacuous words "the government does not torture people." So that's why we have so many private mercenaries, to do what the government can't!

The reality is America performs acts on detainees that the world judged war crimes after World War II. German soldiers were convicted for conducting "simulated drownings" on U.S. prisoners.

In Bush's world of moral certainty, torture appears relativistic. So much so, his administration went through numerous iterations of how to redefine torture vs. tough interrogation methods. The post 9-11 version went up to "organ failure or death". The James Comey definition supposedly ratcheted that back, but "fuzzy memories" Alberto Gonzales cranked it up again, apparently in one of his more lucid moments.

The world watches, George. What do they see? Renditions to countries that also "don't torture", secret CIA prisons, no legal recourse for people taken mistakenly and held for long periods while tortured (their definition, not yours Mr. President). Then there are the captives who accidentally die while sitting in sleeping bag with an interrogator on their chest in 100 degree heat.

The Burma junta looks for 4 Buddhist monks who led peaceful protests. Can they claim they're using harsh interrogation methods, like you? And the Chinese just cracked farmer's heads for trying to sell their cotton on the free market for 82 cents a pound, instead of the government mandated 55 cents. For wanting the right to select their leaders or sell their merchandise, people in Southeast Asia are arrested, beaten and killed.

Yet, President George can't even order Chevron and other multinationals to stop the flow of money to the oppressive Burmese regime. As for China, according to David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, it's the new land of opportunity, the new America. Yes, there are a lot of small Chinese farms to take over, after poor pricing is used to drive them out of business.

Keep studying nation of China, you too can be like us. Dangerous farmers require harsh interrogation methods. "Who's your black market seed supplier?" "How do you fence your cotton on the black market?" It's only a simulated drowning with water that could be used to grow food or quench a real thirst for freedom.

Senator Craig's Lip Smacking Order


Senator Craig was recently ordered not to withdraw. Was it related to:

1. His guilty plea for indecent behavior in an airport men's room
2. His promised resignation from the Senate Sept. 30th
3. From the court room re-enactment of what Larry hoped to do with the undercover cop in that Minneapolis public restroom

And how do you react to this scandal? Does it make you want to withdraw from:

1. Following politics as most elected officials are dirty from shady money, infidelity or addiction
2. Voting as candidates from both parties generally are pathologically competitive and willing to lie, cheat or steal their way into office
3. From the media barrage and just go outside to breath what hasn't yet been destroyed
4. Reality and join the 30% who believe President Bush hung the moon. George W. pull your pants up!

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Therefore Senator Larry Craig will finish out his term. That's the State of the Division...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dana's Ignorance is Torture


White House Press Secretary Dana Perino remains blissfully ignorant. The saves her from the dreaded nose growing displayed by Scott McClellan. The puppet so wanted to be a real boy. Then came polished conservative journalist, Tony Snow. He cleverly said what he wanted to, then bristled when accused of not answering the question. But Dana, she has both polish and ignorance as evidenced by her recent comments defending the White House on "torture".

“This country does not torture. It is a policy of the United States that we do not torture and we do not.”

Let's see Dana, are you using the WWII definition of the word? That would be the same one we used in convicting German soldiers of mistreating our boys. Don't give me that vacuous look. Is it the post 9-11 version but the pre-Alberto Gonzales definition? Oh, you weren't in charge of the Press office back then. Do you keep up with developments? Do you read?

Yes, President Bush had a policy of rescuing people after a hurricane. He's even heard on tape asking FEMA chief Mike Brown about hospital and nursing home patients post Katrina. We all know how that policy failed in execution. Ooopps, bad term to use in a torture discussion. Don't worry, reading the White House Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned Report truly was torture. Especially for those expecting a real investigation, not a wooden defense and whitewash.

To finish out your term, Dana, stay ignorant! Your boss wears it well. You might do likewise. And please don't buy the new Webster's Dictionary on Torture. With all the redefinitions, it warranted its own volume!

OJ's Attorneys Help Larry Craig


Imaging what OJ's star legal team could do for Larry Craig. Actual trial footage follows:

OJ's: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit"

The Senator pulls down his drawers as the the undercover policeman bends over.

Sen. Craig's: A judge denied Larry Craigs request to withdraw...

Guilty! Well, what happens now? It's in the hands of Republican leadership. Better wear gloves!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

DailyKos Runs Chevron Ad



Imagine my surprise when I clicked on DailyKos, only to find an an ad for Chevron under their Human Energy banner. After posting numerous times the last few days on Chevron's stake in a Myanmar oil field, it took all I had to click through the ad.

Nowhere did it mention the company's 28% holdings in the project. Nowhere did they say how many millions went to the brutal regime that cracked down on peaceful Buddhist monks.

I hope it was worth the ad revenue, Daily Kosians. We all sell our souls a little at a time. When is the cut off point, Chevron? Where do you draw the line, liberal blogosphere? Congratulations on your ad sale. Just how much of each dollar came from Myanmar? I don't expect to read about it on DailyKos...

Hint to the IRS: Follow Cheney



If the Internal Revenue Service needs to find out how to reach the Council for National Policy, they need only follow Vice President Dick Cheney. He recently visited Salt Lake City to deliver a talk at the super secretive, heavy hitter, conservative gathering. Their fall meeting had the Vice President and Czech Republic leader Vaclav Klaus as official speakers. Mitt Romney happened to be in the area as well and when pressed, confirmed his talk to the group of a few hundred powerful conservative activists.

The nonprofit group does not allow the press access to meetings or their agendas. The public is also not invited. So how does this group keep its nonprofit status? Community hospitals have to prepare an annual report on benefits accrued to the wider public from their tax free status. The Council for National Policy operates in secret to the benefit of what wider public? They lost their tax exempt status before and deserve to again. In their recent meeting they threatened to support a third party should the wrong candidate receive the Republican nomination. The CNP should be taxed long before your local nonprofit community hospital.

As for openness and transparency, we know where the Bush administration stands. The Vice President's visit, as well as his own personal super-secret stamp, confirms their mendacity. Some citizens are paying attention.