Sunday, April 30, 2006

Supply and Demand’s Impact on Gas Prices

Dear President Bush,

The talking heads on the Sunday morning news shows sounded a consistent theme about high gas prices, it comes down to supply and demand. Political pundits derided current political efforts to deal with the rapidly rising cost of gasoline. They suggested Congress and even the President are ineffective in their proposals to reduce prices in the short run.

Did you see where Saudi Arabia’s King is taking matters into his own hands to reduce prices at the Saudi pumps? King Abdullah issued a decree ordering gas prices lowered by approximately 25%. This means the King’s subjects will now pay just over 15 cents a gallon for gas. He wanted to reduce the “cost of living burden on Saudi citizens”.

Apparently a monarchy is able to effectively reduce prices. That the kingdom is boosted by profits from the state owned oil companies must gall our free and democratic government institutions, all seemingly powerless to impact the price of petrol in the short term.

I noted your supply and demand talk is very different for healthcare. There, despite imbalances, you suggest leveraging market forces to bring down its cost. Yet you propose no increases in the supply of physicians which you note is already constrained. Your signature strategy, high deductible health plans and health savings accounts, will add to the legions of under-insureds to the already scandalous nearly 50 million uninsureds in America.

Two government strategies even seem anti-Republican. Despite your refusal to price fix in the energy market, Medicare is implementing a back door price fix for cardiac implantable devices. And Congress is exploring the unfair advantages non profit hospitals have as they are tax exempt.

That anti-tax Republicans are even considering taxing safety net hospitals seems particularly cruel in light of their high burden in providing care for the uninsured. In my hometown the non profit system provides 80% of care for the uninsured vs. 20% for the Triad owned for profit hospital. Size differences alone do not account for the discrepancy.

To what do you attribute the difference in your energy vs. healthcare strategies as both are “market based”? Why does healthcare have the government price fixing and exploring new taxes while both are anathema in the energy market? Write me back, I want to know.

DoubleMint Commercial Ideas

Dear President Bush,

The marketing folks at DoubleMint loved your comedy routine at the National Press dinner yesterday evening. Paired with a Bush imitator, President Bush issued his remarks on such important issues as Laura’s hot looks and Vice President Cheney’s one beer primed hunting accident. Wrigley execs would like to use segments of the act in a series of domestic commercials.

However, they feel what works domestically may not work internationally. So they wish to create a different promo for worldwide consumption building on your and the Iranian Ayatollah’s preference for using the word double or its synonym. As both you and Ayatollah Khamenei are focused leaders, the commercial would have you engaging in a series of competitive events.

Since you love baseball, the first piece would have you pitching to the Ayatollah at Wrigley Field. The Iranians would have a man on first. It picks up with you throwing a strike and the Ayatollah whiffing for Strike 2. The next pitch the Iman raps a double up the middle. With batters on second and third you walk the next batter. The bases are loaded with one out, a double play will get you out of the inning safely.

The camera zooms in on the Ayatollah who is verbally berating you. You calmingly nod in acknowledgement before doubly flipping him off. Once you re-sheath your glove hand, you hurl heat at the next Iranian batter. Contact is made, an infield grounder. The shortstop makes the grab, flips it to the second baseman, who then turns the double play. The commercial closes with you and the Ayatollah giving each other double high fives and then jumping into each other, chest bouncing off of chest. It is good thing you both had fresh DoubleMint breath given that close physical contact.

Another ad uses a basketball theme. The Ayatollah could be lampooned here. He could be shown double dribbling. Of course he would ignore the referee blowing the whistle. Picture Kofi Annan, the U.N. Chief wearing a referee’s uniform. Kofi runs around chasing the Iranian leader, yelling double dribble between whistle bursts. Finally, the ref gets Khamenei’s attention, explains the rule and warns him that he could get a technical for further violations. The ball is in-bounded to you near the 3 point line. You launch a rainbow which swishes through the net. The crowd cheers for a 3 pointer, but Kofi fails to raise his arms as your foot was on the line. You get a 2 pointer.

The last commercial in the series would have a political theme. It would show your traditional Bush double speak while playing off the Iranian’s slipperyness in negotiations, their use of double talk. Your segment would show last fall's speech when you said “the days of low income seniors having to make painful sacrifices to pay for their prescription drugs are now coming to an end”. Then the camera pans to several poor elderly and disableds also known as "dual eligibles". It shows them panhandling on a street corner for funds to pay the additional co-pays and the cost of their non-formulary medicines previously covered under Medicaid. The Iranians would be shown refusing a proposal for any IAEA inspections, then weeks later bringing that same proposal back to the bargaining table calling it "eminently acceptable".

What do you think? Do you have any reactions to any one of the international commercials? Are you willing to help out the folks at DoubleMint? Once they get you signed they will share their grand finale ideas. It has both you and Khamenei doing your double speak, working with allies in double dealing, and crescendoing into a double cross. Then it will say “Two, two, two wars in one! You need fresh breath to fight so use DoubleMint!”

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Two, Two, Two Leaders in One

Dear President Bush,

It appears you and the Grand Ayatollah will soon be doing a DoubleMint commercial together. Will that reduce the tension between the U.S. and Iran if the two leaders can join together on freshening the world’s breath?

"The enemy is resorting to desperate acts of violence because they know the establishment of democracy in Iraq will be a double defeat for them," Bush said in his weekly radio address as he saluted the emergence of a permanent government.

"The Americans should know that if they invade us, their interests around the world would be harmed. Iran will respond twofold to any attack." Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

While you might suggest twofold does not equal double, thus there are marked differences between your two meanings, the DoubleMint executives don’t see it that way. They would love to have you and the Ayatollah bumping hips, slapping high fives, and comparing nuclear weapons in their commercial. They are even willing to change their tag line to “Two, two, two wars in one!” Any reactions?

Bush Unprepared to Share What Feds Learned re: Hospital and Nursing Home Patients

Dear President Bush,

As the 2006 hurricane season looms government officials are working to implement the myriad of suggestions, improvements, and proposals to improve disaster preparedness. Three groups issued reports on your Katrina response, the House, the Senate and your White House internal investigation. I have yet to see in any of them specific recommendations on the pre and post storm evacuation of hospital and nursing home patients.

You have a June 1 deadline for completing evacuation plans and Sec. Cheroff has said this will be accomplished. Your words on the topic are noteworthy:

"The lessons of Katrina are important," Bush said. "We've learned a lot here at the federal level. We're much more ready this time than we were the last time." "Let's, first of all, pray there's no hurricanes," Bush said. "That would be, like, step one."

While prayer is important, the Designer did create a planet that spawns hurricanes. As for the lessons of Katrina, I have seen no evidence of any learnings regarding hospital and nursing home patients. If you can’t even identify who was responsible and how they performed in Katrina, how can you improve the non-system for the coming season? Write me back and let me know.

P.S. Can you include an explanation why the Carlyle Affiliate, Lifecare’s 24 patient deaths were omitted from the Lessons Learned report? I haven’t received an explanation from any of the groups I contacted, not the Department of Homeland Security, the White House, the FBI, or the Justice Department.

What Happens When Achieving the Goal Means Axing Your $2.6 million Target Bonus?

Dear President Bush,

Incentive programs frequently distort the work needed to benefit the “incented” individual. The organization is sub-optimized so the compensation of a few can be optimized.

A system has an aim and is made up of interdependent parts. When one part acts to optimize itself, the whole suffers. The aim should be optimization of the larger organization.

Fannie Mae just set a target bonus of $2.61 million for its CEO and added a performance goal “to optimize the company’s business model…”.

Systems theory would suggest these two actions are mutually exclusive. For the CEO to optimize the company, he would need to eliminate all systems that foster internal competition, that create winners and losers. The first thing he would need to do is eliminate the target bonus system. Add an understanding of systems, knowledge, variation, psychology and their interactions, and the CEO would find himself in a better position to achieve his new performance goal of optimizing the company.

Your administration is spreading the poison of incentive compensation within government. As Dr. Deming said “if you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do!” Good jobs don’t require incentive pay. Alfie Kohn offered the following advice to leaders on their wage programs. Pay people as much as you can, then do everything you can to get them to focus on the work, not their compensation.

The Fannie Mae board failed in these respects, as do most American corporations. That the federal government is implementing suboptimal management practices is consistent with its regression in other leadership practices. By the time you leave office win/lose systems will be deeply ingrained in government operations. The deterioration of Congress is bad enough, that it has infected the Executive branch is most concerning.

What happens when “No Child Left Behind” actually encourages “Large Groups of Children to be Left Behind? That is the system you created.

It is also the system that abandons the average American worker in favor of the close knit group occupying corporate board rooms. They simply take turns padding each others pocketbook while ensuring dysfunctional systems. Have you looked at CEO turnover statistics lately? Even when top dogs don’t “perform”, most walk away financially secure. It seems they are blessed when they do, and blessed when they don’t. May the average worker be treated similarly.

White House Memo: Double Secret Chinese Bovine Insurrection Program

Dear Letters,

Warning: after you open and read this memo, it will self destruct. You have 15 minutes to read this under the watchful eyes of the National Security Agency.

I wanted to respond to your concerns about the United States not having enough cows to do the job envisoned by Rummy. The NSA "secret spying on Americans here at home" program is the model for the Chinese Bovine Insurrection program (CBIP). The NSA only looks at foreign calls from Al-Qaeda, otherwise known as mad terrorists. Likewise, CBIP only uses foreign British diseased cattle. As they speak English, it makes the training process easier. The only drawback is the cost to repair their teeth. Without a new set of porcelain veneers, the cattle could never pass as American!

The British Mad Cows are transported to the United States on rendition return flights. It is a more efficient use of secret tax monies. A person with an Arab sounding name is flown to one of our secret prisons in Europe or Asia, dropped off and tortured. On the way back the crew stops off at Heathrow to pick up an unspecified quantity of British Mad Cow(s). We attack the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist threat on the way over and the Chinese Red Economic Storm on the return flight.

The English cows learn insults particularly goading to a rural Chinese farmer, the kind of thing their higher income urban counterpart might say. “Hey bloke, can’t you afford a real pair of knickers? And where is your cell phone? What no plasma TV? Have I been Shanghai-ed? Take me back to Hong Kong!” (This builds on the rich history of Bristish verbal abuse begun in Hong Kong.) Pilot testing reveals it takes the average Chinese peasant farmer two weeks to crack, pick up his hoe and protest.

I know you are worried about numbers as my Ag Sec. suggests only 4 to 7 infected cows are in the U.S. domestic cattle supply. While the number of foreign mad cows is classified, you can do the math. If the CIA picks up two cows on every return rendition flight and over 1,500 such flights have occurred, how many BMC’s (British Mad Cows) are there? Pardon me! I phrased that incorrectly as I am the only BMC, Big Man in the Capital! If you can figure out that question about the number of mad cows for export to China write me back. Losing sleep counting cows is not any fun. I am up to the 300th flight, only 1,200 more to go! 2+2+2+2....

Just as the NSA does what the hell it wants, under my direct "decision maker" orders the Chinese Bovine Insurrection Program has carte blanche to pull down the Chinese social and economic fabric, revealing their seamy yellow underbellies.

The best news is who will be executing this strategy. Sec. Rumsfeld hired the Pennsylvania T-ball Coach and the Head Team builder from Alarm One to craft our China strategy, so we are in good hands or at least a few women’s butts are! If they can harm and intentionally humiliate their own team mates, think what they can do to the Chinese.

Bless this filet mignon I am about to eat from our domestic cattle supply, note I did not say foreign!


P.S. Almost nothing in this ficitional post is true! The only accurate statement is the estimate of 4 to 7 diseased cows.

Ag Department Chief Undermines Rumsfeld’s China Strategy

Dear President Bush,

Are you tired of refereeing your underlings? Just last week Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld proposed using U.S. Mad Cow’s to incite poor rural Chinese farmers to rebel. In return America would import Chinese chickens infected with bird flu. Rumsfeld noted measures could be taken to minimize the number of Chinese chickens that actually make it to the U.S. by routing them through Mexico.

The problem for Sec. Rumsfeld is the Ag chief estimates only 4 to 7 cows in all the U.S. have Mad Cow disease. I think he is counting on broader coverage in the Chinese countryside than can be provided by a handful of riot inciting Mad Cows.

Is this one of those cases where the public gets one part of the story, while key data is not shared or remains classified? If you can do it to Congress, it becomes a cakewalk to dupe the American people. Write me back, I want to know.

Competition May Not be All Good

Dear President Bush,

Your worship of free markets and competition remains unchecked. The White House’s recent actions on rapidly rising energy prices and record oil company profits reveal a hand’s off position. I believe your position is to let competition do its thing.

Another story showed the damaging impact of competition in the American workplace. It had the audacity to suggest win/lose compensation practices and public humiliation are “team building” exercises. That is as accurate as the federal government saying they are “conducting” continuous quality improvement.

What exercises did Alarm One use to “motivate” its employees?

Sales teams were encouraged to compete, and the losers were forced to eat baby food, wear diapers, or get spanked on the buttocks with an opposing company's metal-poled yard signs, according to court documents.

How did these competitive motivational games work? They didn’t. People quit with one even suing the Alarm One. The jury awarded the victim $1.7 million dollars.

The next time you speak of the unfettered benefits of competition pull out this letter. You may also wish to reference the T-ball coach who paid a child $20 to take his underperformer teammate out with a few swings of the bat. Both are examples of intentional win/lose where the physical and mental health of the loser don’t matter. You are most familiar with that game, living “here in Washington, DC”.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Highly Charged Streams Set to Cross

Dear President Bush,

It appears your, President Ahmadinejad’s, and Prime Minister Olmert’s pissing contest is escalating. Those highly charged streams are getting ready to cross. What will happen when they touch each other? Will contact cause an explosion, a lightning bolt, or just create a big splash?

You suggest that diplomacy is just beginning. This could not be further from the truth. European and Russian leaders met with Iranian representatives on this issue for two years before their proposal for uranium conversion to occur outside of Iran was rebuffed. The International Atomic Energy Agency report said the agency has been working for over three years to get clarification of the Iranian nuclear program.

Your stream says no nuclear refinement. The Iranian President’s stream says peaceful nuclear energy with uranium enrichment. Yours says “there will be consequences” while his says “I don’t give a damn about resolutions”. Meanwhile Prime Minister Olmert just started pissing himself. Adding a third urine sword to the mix could make things more volatile. Let me know what happens.

How Much Does a Congressional Hearing Cost?

Dear President Bush,

How much does it cost for Congress to hold a hearing on your pet issue? The Federation of American Hospitals has long been concerned about the tax burden of their member for-profit hospitals. They view non profit hospitals as having an unfair advantage as they are tax exempt. I have heard this point numerous times in my 25 year health care career. That you refer to tax money as “your money” likely adds to the FAH’s frustration.

After years of strategic donations to key leaders in both parties, last May both houses of Congress discussed this very topic, even to the extent of holding hearings. On May 25th Senate Finance Committee Chair Grassley issued a letter drilling in on the tax exempt status of 10 leading hospitals and health care systems. Senator Grassley asked them to provide detailed information on their provision of charity care, hospital costs and the methods they use to charge charity patients for care provided.

The very next day the House went into action. On May 26th House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas conducted a hearing on hospitals’ tax exempt status. In his opening remarks he questioned the difference between non profit and for profit hospitals. After the testimony the Chair indicated the hearings on the tax exempt sector would continue.

The Federation of American Hospitals’ Political Action Committee funnels donations to legislators of both parties on behalf of for profit hospitals. Over the last few election cycles about 1/3 of the donations went to Democrats and 2/3 to Republicans. The federation also lobbies legislators to pass bills favorable to their for profit hospital members. A past head of this organization went on to serve in a key role within your administration. Tom Scully led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid during the development of the new prescription drug benefit. I recall your liking Tom a lot.

How have their donations impacted the two groups seemingly pushing the FAH position, the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee? Only the members themselves can truly answer this question, however donation data can provide insights.

The for profit hospital PAC targeted its donations such that a majority of members of both influential committees received donations during one of the last two election cycles. With the current election cycle still open, the FAH has contributed near $400,000 in the 2004 and 2006 political campaigns.

Senate Finance Committee
2004 The Federation donated a total $38,381 to 10 of the 20 committee members.

2006 Donations to date have been made to 7 of the 20 members totaling $26,499

Combined 12 of the 20 representatives received contributions from FAH in the amount of $64,880

House Ways and Means Committee
2004 FAH gave donations to 17 of the 41 committee members that total $53,781

2006 Stepping up coverage FAH has given to 27 of the 41 committee members summing to $66,000.

Combined 31 of the 41 members received contributions totaling $119,781

Most donations were a minimum of $1,000 and ranged as high as $10,000 for selected members.

The Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee benefited from his relationship with the Federation over the years. Chairman Bill Thomas began speaking at the FAH Annual Meeting in 1999, when Tom Scully served that organization’s President. Bill spoke at 3 of the next 4 meetings between 2000 & 2003, missing only the 2002 gathering. Tom Scully left during this time as President Bush appointed him to head what would become the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in summer 2001.

Mr. Scully worked with Congress and the drug industry in developing the new prescription drug benefit, not without controversy. In one article Tom Scully made sure to give credit for Medicare Part D’s passage to Senator Max Baucus, the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. House Ways and Means Chair Bill Thomas even led one hearing involving accusations his buddy Tom’s suppressed the sharing of Mr. Foster’s cost estimates with members of Congress.

Mr. Scully did leave the federal government for a big money lobbying position in December of 2003. He joined Senator Bob Dole at Alston & Bird, a legal and lobbying firm on K Street. Their most recent big name recruit is ex Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

The two Tom’s have something else in common, serving as senior advisors for major investment houses. Tom Scully serves Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe while Tom Daschle recently joined the Apollo Investment Corp. Another investment house, the Carlyle Group has an A list of political insiders at the helm. They freely promote their insider access to the current administration in their press releases.

Should people be worried that government can be bought after the Jack Abramoff scandal? The answer is absolutely. Chairman Bill Thomas announced he would not run for re-election after the influence pedaling scandal broke. His donations from for-profit healthcare go much deeper than just the Federation’s PAC. Triad Healthcare, a for profit hospital company gave him $17,000 in the 2004 campaign. That same election cycle $450,000 in donations came from health related interests. Before stepping out of the 2006 race Kindred Healthcare, a long term acute care hospital company, donated $20,000 to his campaign.

This analysis is not suggesting that any legislators did anything illegal, but the author finds it odd that in our current health care crisis our elected leaders are taking aim at non profit hospitals. It made me wonder why and that search led me to here? Where our country goes next is our decision. I encourage anyone to speak up if you find anything amiss. What are your thoughts Mr. President? Do you find any dots unconnected?

P.S. Do you recall another long term acute care hospital company received preferential treatment in the White House Lessons Learned report? LifeCare Hospitals lost 24 patients in the post Katrina aftermath. Just weeks before the hurricane, the Carlyle Group closed its purchase of LifeCare. Is it odd that a nursing home with 6 or 7 deaths gets mentioned in your report but LifeCare’s 24 deaths are completely omitted? While money may not have changed hands, did undue influence keep out information that would help protect hospital and nursing home patients in future storms? Would a complete omission aid LifeCare defense attorneys in any upcoming wrongful death civil suits? Only you and your staff know for sure.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Republican Wimps Can’t Even Back “Free Markets”, Their Core Value

Dear President Bush,

The level of fear in Republican ranks is palpable. Senator Frist is proposing a “bold package” consisting of a $100 rebate. It doesn’t appear to qualify as “a rebate” as those come from the manufacturer. Why would the government give a rebate to the gas consumer on behalf of the companies making record profit quarter to quarter? It doesn’t add up, unless the rebate is really a bribe….

To me "the package" comes from the place where Republicans previously held their balls. Your party claims free markets act logically, thus are the best way for an economy to function. Why then is Congress tampering with this free market instead of rejoicing at its success in producing record revenues that dwarf the national economies of most countries?

It appears Republicans speak out of both sides of their mouth, but anyone paying attention already knew this. Might the rebate inform more of this propensity? Better warn Tony Snow of this risk and get him fitted for that codpiece!

Exxon Has 5th Highest Profit Quarter Ever with $55 a Barrel Oil, What Awaits 2nd Quarter?

Dear President Bush,

Your 2005 Energy plan is generating incredible profits for the oil industry and a severe burden for low income families. Exxon/Mobile made over $8.4 billion the first quarter of 2006 while oil averaged $55 a barrel. Now that it is closer to $75, how much higher will 2nd quarter profits be? Time will tell.

Rice’s Iran Advice Parrots Bush’s Past Counsel to U.N. on Iraq

Dear President Bush,

Did you give Sec. Rice her lines to deliver to the NATO foreign minister’s meeting? It sounded a lot like your advice to the United Nations on Iraq given almost four years ago.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday the credibility of the U.N. Security Council was as stake as it decides how to deal with Iran's likely rejection of a deadline to bring its nuclear program in line with international demands. "In order to be credible, the Security Council, of course, has to act," Rice told reporters at a NATO foreign ministers' meeting. The U.N. has given Iran until Friday to halt its uranium enrichment activities.

She said it was "pretty clear" that Iran would not meet the requirements set by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, regarding the enrichment of uranium - a process that can produce fuel for generators or fissile material for nuclear weapons. "The Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its will and its word simply ignored by a member state," Rice said.

The last time the United Nations imposed its will involved Iraq. It did so to cease from becoming irrelevant, a risk highlighted by President Bush. The irony is Bush made the U.N. irrelevant by attacking Saddam in a unilateral effort.

What will happen this time? Will you déjà vu goading cow the Security Council into acting? How long will Cowboy George wait before sending in the U.S. Cavalry alongside Blair’s Redcoats? Or will the renegade Israelis beat the Western Christians to the punch?

If any of the above act outside the U.N., are they attacking the credibility of the Security Council? If so, it seems Sec. Rice may not be as concerned about the United Nation's credibility as she is in getting her way. Actually, that would be your way!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Study Shows Rising Number of Uninsureds Are Middle Income

Dear President Bush,

How will Tony Snow spin the results of the latest health insurance study showing an almost 50% increase in the number of uninsureds in the moderate to middle income category? The shift happened entirely on your shift as our nation’s CEO.

I fully expect him to say something about high deductible health plans and health savings accounts, only this time you might want to arm him with some statistics on how your signature strategies are projected to stem the storm surge of increasing uninsureds while not adding legions of underinsureds.

With Josh Bolten trying to keep Wall Street happy, this could be as dicey as your razor edge immigration proposals. How will you keep the open door for employers to dump their health insurance benefits costs or at least cut them by 30-40% by switching to high deductible health plans?

The study show middle income citizens are feeling the pain of outstanding medical bills. Statistics show cost saving care is avoided by people without the means to pay. Yet, your plans continue to shift the responsibility for this care to the individual, or at least grease employers plans to do the same.

Did you see the challenges insiders have getting quality healthcare in the May 1 edition of Time magazine? If doctors with insurance coverage have such difficulty, what are the chances a worker covered under a high deductible plan with no health savings account will get high quality acute or emergency care?

It looks like health care is going the way of energy with "market forces" taking hold. At least the President’s Energy Plan of 2005 had incentives to grow supply. Despite your calls of 1,500 counties having their OB/GYN “driven out of business”, you propose no strategy to increase the supply of physicians. America’s Medical Colleges are projecting a shortage of 38,000 to 258,000 doctors by 2020.

So what do you recommend the average American spend their money on, rapidly rising gasoline or increasingly unavailable and unaffordable health care? Write me back, I want to know.

So All of You Are “Powerful”, Now Please Put Your Manhood Back in Your Pants

Dear President Bush,

Who said what in the recent rhetorical escalation between the U.S., Iran and Israel? For each statement place either an IR to indicate an Iranian leader, an A for an American official or an IS to signify an Israeli delegate. The blank lines afford you possible bonus points. For each correct write in a point will be awarded.

1. We are powerful and able to defend ourselves.
2. _______ reiterated his determination to establish a "new reality" in the region, either through negotiations or unilaterally.
3. The _________ nation and its officials are peace-seekers
4. We want to end this cycle of violence
5. We are in good hands with ____
6. "The __________ should know that if they (invade/attack) us, their interests around the world would be harmed. _____ will respond twofold to any attack."

Are you ready for the answers?

1. “We are powerful and able to defend ourselves”-IS, Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert
2. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert reiterated his determination to establish a “new reality” in the region, either through negotiations or unilaterally. IS is correct. (If you marked U or IR you get partial credit as Bush and Ahmadinejad’s actions clearly send this message)
3. The Iranian nation and its officials are peace-seekers. (Credit only will be given for Iran despite its similarity to Bush’s statement about democracies being peace loving.)
4. “We want to end this cycle of violence”. IS, spoken by Prime Minister Olmert as the Israeli military makes plans to re-enter portions of the Gaza Strip.
5. “We are in good hands with Bushstate”. IS, spoken by the Israeli PM in an apparent twist on the Allstate commercial. With scant progress since introducing the Road Map for Peace, Israel has had virtual carte blanche to deal with the Palestinians during most of the Bush presidency.
6. "The Americans should know that if they invade us, their interests around the world would be harmed. Iran will respond twofold to any attack." IR, spoken by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While this sounds similar to the rationale for invading Iraq, Bush is not the correct answer. Those who used terrorists and the U.S. also missed the boat.

So how did you do? With a possible 11 points how many did you get? I know you are a hyper-competitive guy and interested in measures, but the score doesn’t really matter. Did you notice the similarity in lingo by the 3 leaders in the mouth off? All talk tough as if it reveals their manhood. I say sheath your swords or whatever you are holding in your hand, waving about.

Questions about Tony Snow

Dear President Bush,

Will you conduct an investigation into who leaked the hiring of Tony Snow prematurely? White House staffers would only reveal the information anonymously aware of your disdain for “leakers”. Did you declassify the information first before ordering Dick Cheney to get the word out?

Given the repeated poor performance by your administration on a potpourri of issues will Tony Snow wear a codpiece to his first White House Press Briefing? If not, at least give his a cup and some body armor, assuming it’s still not on backorder.

The Press likely will be throwing high heat at Tony. Will one of the mainstream media stars ever ask about the White House Lessons Learned report and the omission of The Carlyle Group affiliate LifeCare’s 24 patient deaths in Katrina’s aftermath? Better give Tony a head’s up on that one, should it come forward. Let Tony know if your Dad is still doing work for Carlyle.

Do you think Tony will be more forthcoming with the American people or will he just parrot you like poor ole Scotty? I bet Scott is looking forward to leaving his wooden self behind. What will he do without his boss, Georgepetto? My guess is he will be happy to be a real person again. At least his nose won't grow anymore when he covers for you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bolten Rearranging Deck Chairs on Titanic

Dear President Bush,

Is Josh just joshing you that the White House shake up is anything other than rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship? His five point plan sounds like shifting the chaise lounges from the Promenade to the Lido Deck. Time magazine listed his priorities in the May 1 issue.

1. Display guns and badges
2. Make Wall Street happy
3. Brag more
4. Reclaim security credibility
5. Court the press

The challenge will be how to balance #1 and #2. How will you allow enough low wage immigrants to sneak into the country to feed American business’ addiction to paying poverty wages.

As for #3, you might have to do something worth bragging about. It noted Iraq’s weighted noose dragging down your approval ratings. Did you see the article a few pages later on kidnapping young Iraqi girls and selling them as sex slaves? That wasn’t supposed to be a benefit of democracy.

Under #4 there is the current standoff between you and the Iranian President over nuclear technology. In a twisted game of international poker both players keep raising the stakes. Who will finally call the other? Will one accuse the other of cheating inciting a round of fisticuffs?

Do you plan to execute #5 via continued news leaks? Yet another story slithered its way from the bowels of the White House indicating Tony Snow as the lead candidate for the sorriest job in the word, serving as your mouthpiece. Are you aware of Mr. Snow’s recent comments on your performance as President?

"His (Bush's) wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson," Snow wrote last November after Republicans failed to win the governor's race in Virginia. "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."

Yes, all our country needs is newly aggressive George Bush, just in time for the Iranian escalation. My hope is that Josh puts you to work hauling deck chairs as your administration continues to take on water. Someone needs to be repairing the ever widening hole below the waterline caused by ceaseless win/lose political gamesmanship. Josh’s 5 point plan will simply make the hole larger, sinking the ship faster.

You are aware of the movie being re-made and slated for a summer release, The Poseidon Adventure. What will be your wave this next season? Will it be another mismanaged hurricane aftermath, high gas prices, the Iranian escalation, an Iraqi implosion, another immigration stumble?

Better get Josh to keep his head up or give Tony Snow an office next to the bridge. The rest of your crew has shown their inability to monitor the horizon and act appropriately. They are too busy trying to ram the competition's boat.

If you are counting on this to re-invigorate your Presidency and lift your record low approval ratings out of the toilet, don’t hold your breath. We don’t want you turning blue while the rest of country turns beet red over your consistently poor performance as our nation’s CEO.

Bush Surprised by Exxon/Mobile Profit Trend: Blames Congress!

Dear President Bush,

Are you sweating it? Your revisionist history of last summer’s Energy Bill indicates you might be experiencing hellish conditions. Your energy plan was passed by Congress and signed into law just after Exxon/Mobile announced its highest 2nd quarter profit in the company’s history. Net income was up 41% for the first half of 2005. Since then, XOM has gone on the shatter every corporate profit record internally as well as internationally. Quarter after quarter things just keep on getting better, for big oil that is.

Projections for the 1st quarter of 2006 include another 19% increase in profitability and that was before $75 per barrel oil. Consultants say the answer lies in reducing consumption and increasing supply. They also suggest last years Energy Bill is short on both. As the architect of the plan I believe experts are indicting you and Congress. How do you plead? Ignorant as usual would be my guess…

Bush “Blip Blops” on Energy Policy

Dear President Bush,

What a difference a few months make! Now in an apparent blip blop (as the word flip flopper will not stick to you), you reverse course.

President Bush urged Congress to take back some of the billions of dollars in tax incentives it gave energy companies, saying that with record profits, they don't need the breaks.

Do you think the American people have no long term memory? I know Congress has a lower approval rating than you, but do you think people will really buy that “they did it”?

Signing the energy bill was one thing, and I want to thank the members of Congress for getting a comprehensive energy bill to my desk. Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that Congress has got to understand that these energy companies don't need unnecessary tax breaks like the write-offs of certain geological and geophysical expenditures, or the use of taxpayers' money to subsidize energy companies' research into deep water drilling. I'm looking forward to Congress to take about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year period of time. Cash flows are up. Taxpayers don't need to be paying for certain of these expenses on behalf of the energy companies.

Memory Check! Just before you signed the Energy Bill in early August of 2005 you issued an update on your accomplishments. The energy portion is below. It clearly calls the policy yours and Congress responsive to the policy you created.

President Bush Will Sign Into Law The First National Energy Plan In More Than A Decade.

President Bush entered office four years ago and proposed the first comprehensive energy plan in decades. Congress has now responded and passed an energy bill, which President Bush will sign into law. The President's national energy plan will increase America's energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, increase domestic production, modernize the electricity grid, encourage energy efficiency and conservation, and promote alternative and renewable energy sources.

As for your words on energy, you might want to know your healthcare strategies violate your strategies.

And so the fundamental question is, what are we going to do? What can the government do? One of the past responses by government, particularly from the party of which I am not a member, has been to have -- to propose price fixing, or increase the taxes. Those plans haven't worked in the past.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid just announced price fixing to control costs for implantable cardiac devices. Are you predicting your own strategy will not work "as such plans haven’t done so in the past"?

In August 2004 you spoke to a crowd at an “Ask Bush” event and remarked:

There were two senators -- there were 12 senators who voted against more funding for the troops, two of whom are my opponent and his running mate. (Applause.)


“I don't know if you heard the explanation. He said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Laughter.) That's not the way most folks speak in Ohio.

Did you sign the Energy Bill you proposed and Congress endorsed before "voting against" it? When you signed it big oil already was running record profits. That their prior records have been shattered with each succeeding quarter just continues a propitious capitalist trend or so one might believe …. A big round of Boo's for all!

Tea Leaves Favor For Profit Healthcare

Dear President Bush,

Your health care strategies rest on two key pillars. One is that market forces will bring down health care costs. The second is that the private sector, companies with a profit motive, are more efficient deliverers of service than government or non-profit providers.

The Republican Party is deep in bed with for-profit healthcare. Why would I suggest such a thing? Both Houses of Congress held hearings in 2005 on the unfair advantages non profit health care systems have over for profit systems as they do not pay taxes. That uncompensated care provided by all hospitals reached $26.9 billion in 2004 seemed not to be a large concern by our elected representatives. If San Angelo is reflective of the country then non-profit hospitals shouldered at least 80% of that uncompensated care.

Texas is revising its taxing system to comply with a federal court order for fair funding of education. Governor Perry’s plan exempts for-profit hospitals from most of the new taxes, even though they have been paying under the old system. Does this mean for-profit hospitals will now pick a larger portion of the uninsured or will those tax reductions just fall to the corporate bottom line? My guess is it will fall straight to increased net income. How many HCA’s hospitals are in Texas? And how many HCA shares does Senator Bill Frist still own? Having already seen Gov. Perry’s sweetheart deal with a Carlyle Group affiliate should I be surprised that he wants to give more of Texas taxpayers’ money to large politically connected corporations?

Incremental change moves programs and policy in the direction Republicans desire. Senator Kay Bailey Hutcheson recently bragged about a strategy by the Republican Task Force on Health Care Costs which portends such creep. They propose to take funding for community health centers and expand it to other non profit systems.

Of course over time this would be further expanded to for profit health care systems, as they are “more efficient”, thus a better use of taxpayer dollars. While a great sounding idea, it meant reduced funding for existing and planned community health centers. Funding previously dedicated to community health centers would now be available to "integrated health systems".

Senator Hutcheson is correct that more needs to be done to provide for the 46.9 million uninsured in America. Community health centers provide primary care for approximately 7 million uninsured while serving 14 million patients overall. It appears the supply of uninsured patients greatly exceeds the capacity of the system to deliver care to almost 47 million people. Yet nobody is rushing in to meet this market demand.

Leveraging the forces of supply and demand is your stated strategy. How will this work in a market where need outstrips supply currently and is projected to grow much worse? In healthcare it is the aging of the baby boomers or a flu pandemic that will create crushing demand. What will the market’s response be price-wise? A parallel exists in the energy market today as growing worldwide demand for fossil fuels wreaks havoc on prices. Ask people how happy they are with gasoline today as it might be the health care of tomorrow?

Just as the Exxon/Mobiles are pleased as punch today so might be the HCA’s, The Carlyle Group, and the other investment houses playing their health care cards. All signs point to a rosy for profit healthcare future. That you recently covered for a Carlyle Group affiliate in your White House Lessons Learned report is just another indicator.

Bush Probe into “Rational” Oil Market Pricing Might Reveal Irrationality

Dear President Bush,

As a longtime defender of free markets and their rationality, are you concerned about the seeming irrationality of rapidly rising gas and oil prices when you order Justice and Energy department investigations into possible cheating?

Will this investigation be any different that the litany of compromised White House analysis conducted in the past? You threw a big bone to The Carlyle Group by not mentioning 24 patient deaths in their LifeCare Hospital in New Orleans. What bones are you prepared to throw at the big oils?

Are you ready to be identified a cause of the problem, a la the poor Hurricane Katrina response? At their meeting yesterday OPEC ministers said the solution to high prices lies in a calmer international environment and boosting refining capacity. You have led the stirring of international waters, joined by the equally inflammatory President of Iran.

The cycle of demands and counter demands escalates as the deadline for Iran to stop nuclear enrichment sits just days away. Iran responds by exclaiming its intent to share nuclear technology with other countries as it is “a great success for the world of Islam”.

The United States and Israel raised Middle Eastern tension in their “dealings to” the new Palestinian elected government. The U.N. Envoy for the region cited recent dangerous deterioration in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I noted a press release from the Department of Energy yesterday on its plans to purchase more oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. They plan to go from the current 687.3 million barrels all the way up to 1 billion barrels of oil.

What impact might these purchases have on supply and prices? Do you have a target date by which the SPR should hit the billion barrel goal? Might you want the U.S. to have a little extra oil on hand should you attack Iran’s nuclear facilities? You realize, that wouldn’t lead to a calmer international environment. It could even lead to the first world war of the 21st century.

So what are you thinking at the moment? Is it “Peace is the Way” or “Lock and Load”? Only the rational oil market knows….

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush Memory Loss?

Dear President Bush,

I noted your strong stance on what to do about illegal immigration.

"Massive deportation of the people here is not going to work," Bush said as a Congress divided over immigration returned from a two-week recess. "It's just not going to work." (4-24-06)

Just six months ago you indicated otherwise.

"Our goal is to return every single illegal entrant, with no exceptions," Bush said. (10-22-05)

So what changed, besides you position 180 degrees? Did you forget your October 22, 2005 comment or just hope nobody recalled it as you stated your new position? Write me back, I want to know.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Letters, the Bio-Suit is Dudely Awesome!

April 22, 2006

Dear Letters,

I am so stoked! Mountain biking in the bio-suit was incredible. It is so aerodynamic I cut through the aero like Flash Gordon, except on a mountain bike. It kept me warm at the start of the ride with it being in the mountains of Northern California.

You are aware that I experienced no global warming this Earth Day. At high elevation the air is crisp and cool. When I mounted “Mountain Bike One” I knew it would be a great day. Riding with my merry men is always refreshing. They know who to let ride in front, in the poll position.

They thought I looked pretty funny in the bio-suit. I took the opportunity to jerk their chains telling them it is for impending radioactive fallout courtesy of Kim Jong-il. Then I made a loud ka-boom. The look in their eyes was priceless. How come I can’t get the Chinese or Iranian Presidents to quiver in my presence?

Anyway, the morning was cool and the suit a welcome insulator. However as the day went on I experienced some bio-suit warming and man made pollutants were a factor! That beef, bean, and jalapeno burrito I ate last night provided more than carbohydrates for pedaling, if you know what I mean.

You may read in the news how fast I tackled the course, how I did not fall while my merry men went down like bowling pins at the carnival in the mud and rocks. I have the bio-suit to thank for both. After breaking a most foul wind I rode like hell trying to leave it behind. Whoever set the controls had it on re-circulate, so suffer I did but it was one heck of an adrenaline shot. Have you ever had the rankest smell permanently stuck on your upper lip? That is what it felt like. I believe I have found a new way to make the terrorists talk.

You may be wondering why I didn’t fall and what that had to do with the bio-suit. Methane gas is denser than regular air thus it sinks (in addition to stinking). So the foulest odor resided below my waist. Had I taken a good spill, that unfresh bottom air would have shot right to the top of my suit. I couldn’t have that happen so balance became imperative.

At the end of the ride, my merry men were covered in mud, beat up and bruised. I finished first, as usual, invigorated by my ordeal. As we chatted afterwards, the merry men seemed impressed with the bio-suit. While they still ate my dust, they got a one day break from eating my emissions. Isn’t that what Earth Day is all about?


P.S Sorry I haven’t gotten around to your other two challenges. This upcoming hurricane season I will try out your 48 hour no food, no water, no shoes dare in a post landfall devastation zone. We will see how that "zero tolerance" holds up when I am dying of thirst and hunger!

P.P.S.S And I am working up the courage to “Do the Tube”, a la the hunger strike detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Maybe after the two day wander for food and water, I’ll be more open to that suggestion! Nobody wants to be force fed, even Congress! However as many of the legislators are getting older, even sporting dentures, they sometimes appreciate having their food pre-chewed!

Bush Slides Down Slippery Tax Analogy Slope

April 22, 2006

Dear President Bush,

In your effort to demean taxes you created a slippery slope for the business community. Equating increased gasoline prices to taxes may come back to haunt you.

The Bush Energy plan does not include any measures that would reduce gas prices in the short term, the White House acknowledges. But with Republicans worried that the increasing cost to drive could hurt them in the voting booth this year, Bush said he understands Americans are hurting.

"I know the folks here are suffering at the gas pump," Bush told an audience Friday in San Jose. "Rising gasoline prices is like taking a - is like a tax, particularly on the working people and the small business people."

But to address the immediate problem, Bush offered only a pledge that "if we find any price gouging it will be dealt with firmly."

Is your hand’s off approach consistent across your administration? The Bush healthcare plan aims to leverage market forces, yet this week Medicare announced large reimbursement cuts for implantable cardiac device procedures for hospitals. This equates to price fixing for the manufacturers of pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.

Your admiration for markets and the way they work is long standing. Rising prices are a result of demand exceeding supply, which happens to be the state of healthcare as far as the eye can see. In a perfect capitalistic economy, imbalances would correct themselves over time. Many business leaders support this notion. Why might they be upset over your phrasing rising gas prices as “a tax”?

For the business rising product prices are a plus, as it means more revenue should demand remain at least constant. You are speaking to the impact of rising prices on the household’s overall pocketbook. What else is taking a hit out of that family sized wallet? High deductible health plans and the need to cover that huge annual deductible either straight up or with tax free money placed into a health savings account. Are rising health care expenses like a tax?

For some employees, their wages are falling. Delta’s pilots are voting on a contract that cuts their pay 14%. Is that like a massive tax increase, Delta just levied on their pilots?

For those employees in frozen pension plans, their future retirement income has been capped. Is this like a monstrous lifetime tax increase?

Anything businesses do to raise product prices could be construed as a tax hike from your perspective. Likewise, anything they do to cut wage and benefit costs are long term tax hikes.

In your fervor to cut taxes, it appears you haven’t cut them at all. You have just joined with American corporations to impose a different burden on the average worker.

My guess is the average citizen is fed up with the toll of your taxing leadership. Only time and the next few election cycles will tell.

Bush Volunteers for Bio-Suit on Earth Day

April 22, 2006

Dear President Bush,

How exciting that you will be the latest politician to wear the research bio-suit, on Earth Day to boot! I read last summer of the cutting edge research being done on cow emissions using a bio-bubble. An enterprising research assistant was interested in studying politicians and must have perfected the technology as well as found funding.

It is exciting the United States’ rapid scientific progress enabled the development of a smaller study tool, the bio-suit. Equally invigorating is the suit’s readiness for testing on people with the most emissions, politicians and corporate CEO’s.

Did you use your political capital to get high on the list? Only Tom Delay and Exxon CEO Lee Raymond beat you to the punch. After swimming in their own emissions for several days, both men retired. While they have been unwilling to look in the mirror, they were able to smell the stench of their verbal and anal emissions. There may be some greater benefit to the bio-suit after all.

How will your day in the biosuit turn out? I hear you will undertake your regular activities.
Bush's bike ride Saturday was no Earth Day stunt. The president rides on most weekend mornings, but made the special detour to overnight in St. Helena just to get in a picturesque ride through wine country. He had no official events there.

"I can't wait," Bush told his San Jose audience. "I'll be plugged into an iPod inside the biosuit. Cool music and hot air make for one surreal combination."

What will the test results reveal? Write me back and let me know as I am most interested.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Secret Chinese U.S. Trade Deal Accomplished

April 21, 2006

Dear President Bush,

Congratulations on yet another leak from the White House, this one on a secret trade agreement penned by you and Chinese President Hu Jintao. In return for importing Chinese poultry potentially infected with bird flu, the Chinese have dropped their ban on American beef, imposed over concerns about Mad Cow disease.

A secret tape of internal White House proceedings revealed the President saying:

President George W. Bush: “This agreement is historic in the same sense as Richard Nixon’s opening up diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Dammit, who wrote this? I specifically said no more Nixon references!”

(The sound of rustling paper can be heard in the background…)

..”If I might start over. This agreement is historic in the same sense as Ronald Reagan’s deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill in America. Just as they were given their freedom to live life as homeless, street people, this trade deal will allow our Mad Cows the freedom to travel to China, even the freedom to live there. It will get those troublemaker cattle out of our back yard.”

“In return the United States has agreed to accept Chinese poultry that could have the bird flu. With our American medical system the tops in the world, and Scott Paper the maker of Puffs, we can provide those Chinese chickens a little treatment and comfort during their stay in our country. Think of it as a little “chicken soup” for the little chickens. We get the better end of the trade deal. What are a few sick chickens vs. a herd on crazy cows?”

(At this point Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld joins the group and passes a memo to the President.)

“Brilliant, Don. Who comes up with these ideas? This Mad Cow thing has a military component. In order to destabilize the countryside, the democracy loving American Mad Cows will be sent to rural, farming areas. Those folks are already upset about the greater income earned by urban workers.

The Department of Defense will train the Mad Cows to incite the poor Chinese farmers. They will act like they lived high on the hog in an urban household before being transferred to their rural dung heap. Ceaselessly the cows will verbally berate their rural owner. Over time, this will cause the Chinese peasant farmers to snap, join together and commit insurrection. Shouts of “Cows treated better than farmers” will ring through the countryside. “I want my Plasma T.V. If it is good enough for a cow it is good enough for me!”

(More rustling paper….)

“Dang it, Don! Do you always have to see the dark side? It is a report on the Chinese poultry. It appears intelligence has discovered the birds are susceptible to the flu because they have spent weeks training in a terrorist camp that produces fissionable material. The combination of stressful exercise in a highly radioactive environment weakens their immune system. The photos of the trailers used by these terrorist birds are damning proof of their evil intent. One can clearly see the beak sharpening equipment. Don, how do you recommend we proceed with this threat?

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “Well, Mr. President, the situation is tricky. Darn, another unintended Nixon reference. My apology sir! The situation is difficult, hard both to understand and to address in a comprehensive way. These birds are products of their environment. They have been fed propaganda from the time they were little chicks. How do you counteract that with information so limited, so constrained in Red China?

We propose a two pronged strategy. One we use Yahoo! to set up what looks like an official Chinese web site for chickens. Except this page will have a small kernel of corn in the upper right hand corner. When the chicken clucks on the kernel, it takes them into our secret National Security Agency database. There they will get more pieces of corn if they give us information on their terrorist network, details of their terrorist chicken plots. That way we will already know about the chickens before they get to American soil. A dossier will exist on each potential Chinese bird import.

The second prong is to import the chickens through Mexico, bringing them across our southern border. Mexico is known for two things, rich corrupt politicians/businessmen and legions of poor hungry people trying to get by. By routing this cargo through Mexico, we can guarantee most of it never makes it the U.S. The rich will skim off 1/3 of the product to fund their graft and influence buying. As the chicken trucks make their way through the Mexican countryside we expect half the load to disappear at traffic lights and fuel stops.

This means only 17% of the Chinese terrorist chickens will reach the southern border. Without proper identification, these chickens can be turned away. Those determined chickens will still try to enter U.S. soil to spread their radioactive bird flu. They will have to cross the Rio Grande, long stretches of dry desert, and avoid the hungry illegals doing the same. Our guess is that less than 1% of the Chinese terrorist chickens will actually reach the United States.

By the time they do so in enough numbers to be infectious, we believe our democracy loving Mad Cows will have worked their magic. China will be overwhelmed by internal strife, while we hand some Tamiflu and Puffs to a handful of sick chickens. Did I fail to mention once the birds are healed, they will gather in front of the White House to present you with roses?

President George W. Bush: “Greeting me with roses, how nice! Can we have a mission accomplished banner at that celebration?”

“I don’t see why not?” replied the Secretary.

P.S. This post is ficition, all except the U.S. importing Chinese poultry and the Chinese dropping their ban on American beef due to mad cow disease concerns

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scotty Forgets He is Still Pinnochio until His Last Work Day!

April 19, 2006

Dear President Bush,

I know Scott McClellan is excited about becoming a real boy, but he needs to contain it just a little bit. Earlier he said “I am ready to move on. I have been in this position a long time and my wife and I are excited about beginning the next chapter in our life together.”

Please warn him that until his last day Scott needs to tell the truth, otherwise his nose will keep growing. Reading his comments this morning, I can only ponder the length of his proboscis. How long did it grow when he said “You (Georgepetto) have accomplished a lot over the last several years with this team and I have been honored and grateful to be a small part of a terrific and talented team of really good people.”

Is that the real reason, you couldn’t fly in Marine One? Had Scotty’s nose grown so long it could no longer fit in the passenger cabin and could only be accommodated via a limo’s sunroof?

Nobody Wants the Loser-Education or Elections?

April 19, 2006

Dear President Bush,

The recent stories on education stuck in my craw. One revealed how millions of kids are not being counted in an effort to show “improvement”. Another showed how schools game the competitive win/lose system of No Child Left Behind. That wealthy high scoring school districts would discourage poor low scoring students from entering their schools seems a perverse by-product of your education program.

Then I saw another article and it made sense. The Republican Party is paying for ads promoting a Democratic candidate in an upcoming primary. Why would they do that? Because, they believe that candidate is far enough left to be easily beaten in the fall election. The best way to win is to make sure you have an easy opponent.

Applying that to education, might schools pay for high scoring kids to attend their schools? Might they pay for low scoring kids to stay away or attend another school? We already know they fudge the numbers, what else might they do? If the election process is any indication, how low can the bar go?

James Tobin: Convict with 2004 Bush Ranger Status

April 19, 2006

Dear President Bush,

Might campaign Pioneer Jack Abramoff soon be eclipsed? James Tobin has been convicted of telephone harassment charges while tampering with the 2002 New Hampshire election. As he awaits sentencing, lawyers wrestle with what information to make available.

An area of contention concerns the phone calls between Mr. Tobin and the White House. Was the phone jamming scheme discussed? Your defense indicated the calls would be no different than any regular election updates. How many of your election workers achieve elite status?

Mr. Tobin is listed as major fund raiser for the 2004 Bush re-election campaign, achieving Ranger status. Pioneers mobilize at least $100,000 for the Bush campaign trough, while Rangers go an extra step raising at least $200,000.

How many election workers have over $722,000 in legal bills paid by the Republican National Committee and still get convicted? This despite the Party’s stated “zero tolerance” for voter suppression tactics.

What do you have to hide in those Election Day phone calls the White House is refusing to release? If you are doing the work of the American people, as you frequently suggest, there should be nothing to hide. If you don’t share your reputation as the most opaquely transparent administration will stand.

Oil Prospecting Hurts Democratization

April 19, 2006

Dear President Bush,

I wrote to you two weeks ago pondering the role of oil in un-greasing the wheels of democracy in Iraq. May question to you was “what role is the squabbling over oil having on the snail’s pace movement towards fashioning a democratic government in Iraq?”

The answer appears to be a major role, according to the LA Times.

Leaders of Iraq's Kurdish north have unveiled a controversial plan to consolidate their hold on the region's future petroleum resources, raising concerns about how the ethnically divided nation will share its oil revenue.

The Kurdish parliament will be asked to vote on the creation of a Ministry of Natural Resources that would regulate potentially lucrative energy projects in newly discovered oil and natural gas fields within the three provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The new ministry, if established, would be another step in the Kurds' gradual retreat from the Baghdad government, as well as a potentially destabilizing development in a country already on the verge of fragmenting along ethnic and religious lines."They have the right to make a decision in their territory, but it is dangerous," said Mohammed Aboudi, a divisional director-general of the national Oil Ministry and a government advisor. "They are starting to search for oil without any consultation with the central government. What if Basra does the same, or any other province?"

Interim Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr Uloum, advised of the proposal, warned against unilateral decisions on oil."At the end of the day, it's important to have coordination and communication, especially with oil, because it's a very sensitive issue," Bahr Uloum told the Los Angeles Times.

Officials in Baghdad, including allies of the Kurds, said they were blindsided by news of the proposed ministry. "We know what the ambitions of the Kurds are," said Iyad Samarrai, a leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni Arab group. "But everybody agreed to make such moves within the [national] political process."

The Kurds are being advised by an ex-U.S. diplomat, Peter Galbraith. He said:

"Forming a new ministry is an arrangement that will help increase oil production. If oil production increases in Alaska, it may be that the Alaskans get a major part of the benefits, but Alaska is still part of the U.S."

Funny how Mr. Galbraith mentions Alaska as you passed on setting up an oil profits fund that would benefit all Iraqi citizens, just as the state of Alaska did decades ago. Had such a fund been established would oil be greasing the democratic process, instead of throwing monkey wrenches into its gears?

Scott “Pinnochio” McClellan’s Wish Comes True

April 19, 2006

Dear President Bush,

The wooden boy’s wish to become a real person is in sight. White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, just announced his resignation. He looks forward to being unrestrained by clipped phrases and offense-first defense strategies.

McClellan has this to say:

“I wished upon a star and along came Josh Bolten. Thank God he free me from Georgepetto. It was so cool when Josh said ‘little puppet made of pine, awake. The gift of life is thine”. And then I turned into a real human being. Funny thing, my mouth tasted like crap. Is that what they have been feeding me? And is that what I have been giving to the press and the American people? Well, no more!”

Georgepetto beamed as he noted Scotty’s newfound independence.

Bush said McClellan had "a challenging assignment." “I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity," the president said. "It's going to be hard to replace Scott, but nevertheless he made the decision and I accepted it. One of these days, he and I are going to be rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days."

Scotty noted his advancement to human came just in the nick of time, as Georgepetto was getting short on wood needed to make those rocking chairs.

Monday, April 17, 2006

2 Million Children Left Behind: Management by Arbitrary Numerical Goals

April 17, 2006

Dear President Bush,

Your “No Child Left Behind” education initiative is leaving millions of children worse than behind. They are left out altogether.

"States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress. With the federal government's permission, schools deliberately aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found. Minorities - who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing - make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising."

What would Dr. Deming say about your star program?

“The improvement of education and the management of education require application of the same principles that must be used for the improvement of any process, manufacturing or service.”

That means an understanding of systems, knowledge, variation and psychology and their interactions. Dr. Deming would be incensed that 2 million people in the system are virtual ghosts. What does that do to their self esteem? He would chide you for the internal competition built into No Child Left Behind. This causes people to focus on beating others vs. doing good work for the customers.

Dr. Deming would suggest that any idiot can set an arbitrary numerical goal, but leadership is necessary for real improvement to occur. Needed are a system focus, an understanding of measurement and variation, planned changes with follow up, and a focus on removing barriers to intrinsic motivation. Monetary incentives and internal competition are anathema to real improvement. However, they frequently produce sub-optimization via cheating or fudging on the numbers as seen in this study.

Your management practices are deeply flawed. Although your administration uses the word “continuous quality improvement” it bears no resemblance to Dr. Deming’s teachings and rich history of successful implementation. Does Josh Bolten know anything about this important management theory or is he just another hack? Write me back, I want to know.

Yet Another Doomed Democracy

April 17, 2006

Dear President Bush,

Last year Condi Rice lectured Middle Eastern leaders on a necessary ingredient for democracy, a growing middle class. Apparently she didn’t look at the U.S. trend during your tenure before emphasizing this requirement as our middle class is shrinking.

Condi’s prediction places the Zimbabwean government at serious risk.

Zimbabweans mark 26 years of independence Tuesday with little to celebrate amid deepening economic hardships, personal tragedies and a rapidly widening gap between the rich elite and the poor majority.

It seems everyone is following your lead of stooging the poor and investing limited resources in their militaries. Your administration has much in common with Chad and Zimbabwe as none view the priority shift as problematic. Only China is deeply concerned about their income growing gap and it is a mere 1/6 of the U.S.’s.

Next time you see Sec. Rice ask her when she predicts the big 3 will fall and in what order. Will Chad, Zimbabwe or the U.S. go first? Who will come in second? No one likes to come in last place!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My 1,000th Letter to You

April 12, 2006

Dear President Bush,

As you say “we live in historic times”. This letter may be a small part of that history but I wanted you to know it is my 1,000th letter to you.

I began by blogging to you under the name Letters to Nowhere, a play on the White House address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.(o) W.(here). On that site I posted 787 letters between June 2005 and January 2006. It disappeared when my blog host ceased operating their free service.

I intended to stop, but compelling news warranted continued commentary. Little did I know I would shift from commenting on the news to discovering uncovered tidbits in my research! Or should I say turdbits?

Who would have thought I would discover a possible conflict of interest in your White House Lessons Learned report? Omitting LifeCare from the document is malodorous at best, as 24 patients expired in that facility post Hurricane Katrina. That LifeCare had just been purchased by The Carlyle Group in August 2005 adds to the stench. Is your father still working for them?

I couldn’t imagine I would find a foul stream running through the health care arm of your administration. Yet, Tom Scully effectively served as the for profit health care shill, even inside the hallowed halls of government.

The whole letter writing campaign even took me down memory lane to the University of Virginia. Tom Scully and Katie Couric graduated a year ahead of me in 1979. Our alumni news highlighted both individuals. It called Tom a one time party boy who lived it up. Now that Katie is going over to CBS news and a role with 60 minutes, might our paths cross again? Now that would be a small world!

I wish you the best in your final term in office, actually I take that back. I wish the people the best. Please keep that in mind as you outsource the remnants of government functions to the private sector. Will efficiencies outweigh the layers of corporations each with their ever increasing profit motive? And who will get left behind as the impartial markets take their toll? We have already seen the new toll borne by the poor elderly and disabled under the new prescription drug program.

211 days have passed in our period of correspondence. Yes, your staff wrote me back 4 times. I know that some day soon, those 996 other replies will burst through my front door in a Harry Potter like scene.

I write my 1,000th letter with optimism that independence is dawning. Independence means people see something much greater than their alignment with one political party or the other. Speaking of a new dawn, I think I will just go outside to watch the sun rise. It is a better way of spending my time. My views should be crystal clear by now. Peace…..

Yet Another Late Evening News Release!

April 14, 2006

Dear President Bush,

I opened my morning newspaper to read Sec. Rice’s strong position that Iran must face consequences. Condi is quoted as saying “There is no doubt that Iran continues to defy the will of the international community despite the fact that the international community very clearly said stop.”

Of course there is some debate Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology and how that can be implemented with appropriate assurances that nuclear weapons grade processing does not occur. This concerns a potential weapon of mass destruction.

At 10:27 pm EST another news article spoke of the destruction of existing weapons of mass destruction. It appears Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld had some crow to eat on the United States failure to meet treaty obligations regarding destruction of our chemical weapons stockpile. The article stated:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has told congressional leaders that the U.S. will miss an extended deadline to dispose of the country's chemical weapons stockpiles. In a letter Monday to the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, Rumsfeld said he expects only two-thirds of the stockpile to be destroyed by April 2012. That date is a five-year extension from the previous deadline, set in a 1997 international treaty.

What if Saddam had said he needed another 5 years to destroy his chemical weapons stash? You might say that is not a fair analogy, as Mr. Hussein used such weapons on his own people. I would suggest the United States has a long track record of using WMD. It continues to do so today in Iraq by dropping the chemical variant of napalm and white phosphorous. Both are chemical burning agents.

We know the United Nations will take up the situation with Iran and start some escalatory disciplinary process within the month. Will it address the United States slippage on destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles per international treaty obligations?

My guess is they will pass on that, and in doing so discredit both the U.S. and the U.N. There is an elephant stomping around in the middle of the room, and we appear to be it.

Why won’t people talk about it? Is it because they didn’t read about it? A late night news release before a holiday weekend gives the story lots of time to be buried. Most will miss data pointing to the United States’ position of “do as I say, not as I do”.

Donation Leverage Gets What Nowadays?

April 12, 2006

Dear President Bush,

The Jack Abramoff scandal shows Americans have the best government money can buy. An Abramoff e-mail makes this clear:

“We're going to seriously reconsider our priorities in the current lists I'm drafting right now if our friends don't weigh in with some juice. If leadership isn't going to cash in a chit for (easily) our most important project, then they are out of luck from here on out,"

Jack states it pretty directly, put out “the juice” or the campaign money trough on which legislators gorge will dry up.

I recently found a strange thread woven through the health care side of government. It includes members your administration, Congress and lobbyists. Bear with me, as I summarize my findings.

In August 2005 Rep. Bill Thomas of California held hearings on tax exempt standards for hospitals. As the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Thomas has much influence over health care legislation.

Early in his career Rep. Thomas attended the American Hospital Association annual meeting, often speaking. In 1999 he also gave a talk at the Federation of American Hospitals, the trade group representing for profit hospitals. Here Bill met and worked with Tom Scully, who eventually became the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Since 2000 Rep. Thomas attended or spoke almost exclusively at for profit hospital meetings. His campaign contributions come mostly from health care, almost $500,000 of the $1.67 million raised in his 2004 campaign.

As I read of the hearing, I wondered why our elected officials did not frame the issue differently. The report on the hearing stated:

The Committee Chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), described the question as “(W)hat is the taxpayer getting in return for the tens of billions of dollars per year in tax subsidy?” Health-related entities account for almost 60% of the total revenues of Section 501(c)(3) organizations. Tax-exempt hospitals account for three quarters of the revenues of all health-related organizations.

Chairman Thomas noted the trend of the IRS to lessen the requirements for a hospital to obtain tax-exempt status. For federal tax exemption, a hospital is not required to provide charity care. In 1983, the IRS dropped the requirement to maintain an emergency room. Thus, the Committee is asking whether there really is a community service mission that differentiates tax- exempt hospitals (which seem to engage in increasingly commercial behavior) from for profit hospitals. Certainly the provision of health care is common to both types of organizations, but the charitable component has been eroded.

I thought shouldn’t they be looking into the ever increasing burden of charity care borne by non-profit hospitals? According to the AHA, uncompensated care in 2004 reached $26.7 billion and Rep. Thomas conducted a hearing on the unfair competitive advantage of non-profit hospitals?

Searching deeper into the donation record, I found possible contributing factors. In 2004 the for profit hospital trade association mentioned earlier donated $13,000. Also, Triad Healthcare, a for profit hospital company contributed $17,000. I wondered if $30,000 would buy a hearing that essentially spouts their position. Admittedly, it took a year for the hearing to happen.

The contributions being mentioned in the Abramoff case frequently are less than $10,000 and they purchased influence. Would $30,000 go even further? Of course, I have no e-mails to answer this question. But somebody might. Can you have the Justice Department look into it?

I mentioned the strange web that weaves through health care in your administration. Do you recall the flap Tom Scully had with a subordinate over the release of higher cost estimates for Medicare Part D than originally shared with the House Ways and Means Committee? Democrats asked for more figures, while Republicans and the White House remained selective about which numbers to release. Leadership shared Mr. Foster’s participation estimates, but not his cost numbers.

Guess who ran the hearing on that matter? Tom’s good friend, Rep. Bill Thomas called Mr. Foster to explore the allegations. As President of the Federation of American Hospitals, Mr. Scully developed his relationship with Chairman Thomas between 1999 and 2001. In May 2001 Tom joined the Bush administration as head of the department administering Medicare and Medicaid.

It appears Tom had a benefactor in Rep. Thomas. The powerful chairman provided cover for Mr. Scully in March of 2004 before holding his August 2005 hearing parroting the FAH position. Did Tom have more than one benefactor? One article reported that you hold Tom Scully in high regard. Is that true?

What happened to Tom post “e-mail” brouhaha? In December of 2003 Mr. Scully left his position with the federal government. His December 15th retirement announcement said he was leaving to spend more time with his children and find more lucrative work. It did not take long as the following Monday Alston & Bird issued a press release announcing their landing of the political heavyweight. It is amazing what can happen over a weekend!

PR Newswire had this to say on Dec. 18, 2003:

Tom Scully, the former Bush administration official who previously headed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has joined Alston & Bird in the law firm's Washington, D.C. office. Scully's initial focus will be on healthcare regulatory, strategic and public policy matters. The announcement comes on the heels of the firm's appointment of Colin Roskey, the Senate Finance Committee lead staffer on the Medicare bill that was signed into law by the President on December.

Other good things happened for Tom, post CMS. A health care investment house named Mr. Scully as senior advisor. Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe historically held a strong portfolio of health care companies.

WCAS and other investment houses see your health care strategies as ripe for profit making. Did you know The Carlyle Group, for which your father worked, announced last summer a major expansion in their health care holdings? They recently shared their intent to purchase Multiplan, the largest PPO in America. That is great timing as you continue to contract out Medicare and Medicaid to private insurers.

In June 2004 Tom spoke at America’s Health Insurance Plans meeting sponsored by a WCAS affiliate. The session was promoted this way:

Attendees will hear Mr. Scully address the various opportunities and threats posed by the legislation and new prescription drug benefits for private health insurers. Discussion will also center on regional competition for market position and the interaction between HMOs, PPOs and traditional Medicare.

In November of 2005 Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe made a $25 million investment in MemberHealth, one of ten national Medicare Prescription Drug plan sponsors. Tom Scully landed a position on their Board.

Now that Medicaid modernization has passed, what opportunities will open for private insurers in this area? Who else sailed through your administration only to land on the outside and benefit handsomely? What will Rep. Thomas do after his retirement? Will he pursue lobbying on behalf of his for profit healthcare benefactors?

The country recently saw one powerful Republican resign as the stain of political corruption flowed into his office. Rep. Tom Delay’s two former staffers admitted guilt in the Abramoff scandal. Many believe he too will be indicted. The Standard Times ran a column to that effect in today’s paper. This remains to be seen. What is inside of Rep. Delay’s or Rep. Thomas’ closet? Maybe nothing, but the view from here suggests something could be lurking inside.

Sorry to share such a long and convoluted story but I wanted to give you a picture of influence buying, or at least the appearance of it in our hallowed halls of government. My hunch is you are already aware.

Evidence that Dr. Jemison is Correct

April 12, 2006

Dear President Bush,

I wrote to you last September to inform you of the greatest threat to health facing the world today. Dr. Mae Jemison, physician and astronaut, shared the dirty secret at the National Association of Community Health Centers’ annual gathering in Miami Beach. Do you recall the threat?

No, it was not natural disasters, despite Hurricane Katrina’s recent strike and Hurricane Rita’s rapid strengthening as it approached South Florida.

No, it was not a flu pandemic despite world wide concern that the H5-N1 virus will evolve into a form easily passed between humans.

The answer is war, internal conflict and strife. The direct impacts from violence include death and disabilities. The indirect impacts kill far greater according the renowned physician. Access to safe water, sanitation, food, medicines, and specialized health care becomes limited, if available at all. The April 11th news from Reuters supports her assertions.

Many doctors in the area say that the local health situation has deteriorated markedly since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003. "The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 percent compared to the Saddam Hussein era," Dr Haydar Salah, a pediatrician at the Basra Children's Hospital, pointed out. "Children are dying daily, and no one is doing anything to help them."

As a result of water-borne diseases and a lack of medical supplies, infants born in the southern city of Basra are subject to abnormally high mortality rates, say officials of an international NGO devoted to child health issues.

"For weeks, there were no I.V. fluids available in the hospitals of Basra," said Marie Fernandez, spokeswoman for European aid agency Saving Children from War. "As a consequence, many children, mainly under five-years old, died after suffering from extreme cases of diarrhea."

Fernandez went on to cite a number of problems facing local hospitals in Basra, which is located some 550km south of the capital, Baghdad. "Hospitals have no ventilators to help prematurely-born babies breathe," Fernandez said. "And there are very few nurses available, so hospitals often must allow family members to care for patients."

Just the day before Reuters ran this piece.

Doctors in Anbar governorate, particularly those in the city of Ramadi some 100km west of the capital, are urging the government to tackle the issue of the lack of medicines and essential surgical materials available in local hospitals.

"Most of our patients are being sent to the capital because we don't have enough supplies to proceed with surgical operations," complained Dr Ala'a Rabia'a of the Ramadi General Hospital.

According to Rabia'a, hospitals in neighboring cities too, including Fallujah and al-Qaim, are suffering similar shortages. "We have enough staff to help patients, but this is useless since we don't have enough material," Rabia'a explained. "We need supplies urgently to meet the needs of all hospitals and clinics in the area."

The doctor went on to explain that Ramadi General Hospital was particularly in need of emergency materials such as syringes, pain killers, plasters, antibiotics and anesthetics. "Local NGOs sometimes send us supplies, but most of them aren't appropriate to our needs," Rabia'a stressed.

Last week, a convoy laden with medicines and surgical materials, sent to Ramadi by a local NGO, was ambushed en route from the capital. All medical supplies were reportedly stolen.

Incidents of theft like these, says Rabia'a, only serve to aggravate an already desperate situation. "People are sick, especially from the bad potable water in the area," he said. "Many have cases of diarrhea and there are no drugs for it. Urgent measures must be taken."

“We broke it, we fix it” said Colin Powell prior to the invasion. The Iraqi people live the predictable consequences of that breaking daily. What did you say the other day about killing innocent women and children? Does that include those responsible for a 30% increase in infant mortality? If so, look in the mirror.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Texas Gubernatorial Campaign Might Reveal Stench of Corporate Welfare

Dear President Bush,

The San Angelo Standard Times ran an editorial this morning on the sweetheart deals between the State of Texas and Vought Aircraft Industries. The editor focused on a $35 million incentive for jobs creation and the questionable performance by Vought in meeting their promised obligation. He noted their plans to cut 600 jobs, primarily in Dallas.

Mr. Meighan's story reveals only the tip of the iceberg. What remains below the surface?

1) Since the original deal, the State has entered into a $65 million land deal with Vought that reduces the companies cost for land as well as their state property tax bill. In November 2005, the City of Dallas agreed to a 10 year 75% tax abatement totaling $5.6 million for Vought's expansion

2) During the land negotiation period, Vought located its new, up to 600 employee assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Their CEO gave this reason for selecting South Carolina. Vought wants to locate the plant "where we think we can get assistance on the Hill for our military programs”. What can Senator Lindsey Graham deliver that Senators Cornyn and Hutcheson cannot? Is it an extra vote on the Senate Armed Services and Budget Committees?

3) The CEO understands the political game all too well as Vought is owned by The Carlyle Group, famous for it’s “A list” of insiders with strong connections to the Bush administration.

4) During the time Vought needed $100 million of state assistance, the Carlyle Group returned $2.1 billion to its investors due to the “stellar performance of its investments”. Does this sound like a group in need of corporate welfare?

5) The Carlyle Group also owns LifeCare Hospitals where 24 patients died post Hurricane Katrina. That your White House Lessons Learned report omits any mention of the company and the patient deaths is most puzzling as it mentions a nursing home where 6 or 7 patients expired. Does it benefit LifeCare and the Carlyle Group to have the federal government silent on their actions as cases enter civil court?

Those are the highlights of what might be included in future articles. Who knows how deep the iceberg goes? Do you have an idea of what lies beneath?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

“Hitleritis” Epidemic Returns to White House

April 8, 2006

Dear President Bush,

A press release from The New Yorker magazine indicates the Hitleritis epidemic that ravaged Capital Hill last summer is making a comeback.

“There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.” One former senior intelligence official tells Hersh that Bush and others in the White House have come to view Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a potential Adolf Hitler. “That’s the name they’re using,” he says. A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror says, “This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.”

Please inform Mike Leavitt of this new outbreak. He may wish to quarantine the White House to prevent spread of this dangerous disease. One symptom is leaders invading sovereign countries to show their military might. Another is disregarding whole classes of people as disposable because of their religious beliefs. The world has no need for the former and much too much of the later at the moment.

In case you forgot, I wrote to you about this very topic. A copy of my correspondence is below:

"Hitler-itis" Epidemic Consumes Capital Hill
by letterstonowhere on July 18, 2005 08:42AM (CDT)
July 18, 2005

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.(o) W.(here)

Dear President Bush,

I wanted to warn you about the spreading Hitleritis epidemic ravishing our nation’s Congress. As the White House is close by, I thought you should be warned. In case you are unaware of the condition, it begins with high emotions which overwhelm the nervous system. The disease then spreads to the mouth. The use of the word “Hitler” in any comparison indicates that person may be infected. People you may wish to keep your distance around include:

Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Republican, New Jersey
"Hitler, in his philosophy, was, you know, he hated Jews, he was murdering Jews, and there were some people he liked. But he never went to the level that these people are going to," LoBiondo said. Mr. LoBiondo was referencing Guantanamo detainees.

Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat, Illinois
“If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.”

Congressman Charlie Rangel, Democrat, New York
The Iraq war "is the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country. . . . This is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed," the 74-year-old Harlem Democrat insisted during a radio appearance. "The whole world knew and they were quiet about it because it wasn't their ox being gored." When the interviewer challenged Rangel's analogy, the congressman replied: "I am saying that people's silence when they know things terrible are happening is the same thing as the Holocaust."

Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat, West Virginia
Hitler's originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal. That is what the nuclear option seeks to do to rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate....

These gentlemen have been treated for the disease, as evidenced by their later apologies. They likely are no longer contagious. However, as this is a new disease, some live agents may remain in the body after treatment. The method of transmitting Hitleritis is currently unknown. It is possible that persons previously infected could be capable of passing the disease to others.

People who still have an active case of “Hitleritis” include:

Senator James Inhofe, Republican, Oklahoma
Stated the Kyote Climate Treaty "would deal a powerful blow to the whole of humanity, similar to the one humanity experienced when Nazism and Communism flourished."

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican, Alabama
In his opposition to stem cell research said "We certainly have seen the rejections of Nazi Germany's abuses of science."

Senator Rick Santorum, Republican, Pennsylvania
Responding to Democrats in the Senate who were protesting against a potential rule change that would have killed filibusters against judicial nominations, Santorum said, "The audacity of some members to stand up and say 'How dare you break this rule' -- it's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'"

Senator Santorum did issue a statement that he “meant no offense”, yet he was unable to issue an apology. Mr. Santorum likely is dealing with an active disease process.

A physician noted, “The problem with so many of our leaders contracting Hitleritis at the same time is people become numb to real Hitler comparisons. It is like the boy who cried “wolf”. He cried it so many times, when the real wolf came, the town did not believe him, and they suffered for it. The modern day cry of “wolf” could become “Hitler”, with this recent rash of Hitleritis.”

Those concerned about disturbing behaviors would be better served to name those behaviors than to make comparisons to Hitler. And why stop at Hitler, why not invoke Satan or Beelzebub? Better yet, call it the will of God like a recent KKK leader. Isn’t that what Hitler really did? Blessings,

Letters to Nowhere