Thursday, May 31, 2007

Romney Suggests Old European Leaders are Pussies

In a fit of condescension Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney assailed European leaders for their welfare states and for remembering the lessons of World War II fought on their soil. He even went so far as to say "Hillary Clinton couldn't get elected in Freedom" (formerly known as France). While Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney issued an executive order not only changing "french fries" to "freedom fries", but changing the name of the European country all together.

As for Old Europe which hosted the last world war, their leaders have taken a distinctfully peaceful turn, as opposed to Mitt who wants the make the whole world his Guantanamo. The Global Peace Index had roughly half of its top 30 peaceful nations from across the pond. Treaty busting, modern replacement nuclear warhead choosing, space claiming, preemptive war implementing America ended up 96th.

I'm afraid Mr. Romney the United States has much to learn from countries who've worked to serve their citizens vs. private equity firms, from a continent that hosted much of the last great war. Instead Mitt wants to remove himself even further from the people by dissing his Presidential paycheck. I want someone in office who thinks about the common citizen's needs. Mitt ain't it...

Clinton Plane Scandal Flies for Five Days

The media lift for the infoUSA Clinton plane scandal is impressive. Rising hot air continues to propel the story higher. It even reached the Jackosphere as Mr. Cafferty of CNN has it as his 4 pm question. Of course I had to weigh in.

Q: Does Senator Hillary Clinton's use of a corporate private jet undermine her stance on corporate greed and executive pay?

A: Of course it does. It reeks of the Clinton Lincoln Bedroom scandal eclipsed only by the recent Bush Dover Sole White Tie dinner with the Queen affair attended by 37 high dollar Republican donors and their relations. Of course this didn't make the news. Neither did it mention Donald Netter, hedge fund party to the plane lawsuit served on the Damon Corp board with Mitt Romney for three years. It's a club and we can't afford the dues! But they can afford the legal fees...

Watch Out as Unpeaceful Leaders Plan to Meet

Leaders faring poorly in the 121 nation Global Peace Index declared their intention to meet. U.S. President Bush (#96) will meet with Russian President Putin (#118) in Maine. What will the two men leading nations failing at peace do in their time together?

But first #96 will host Israeli Prime Minister Olmert (#119) at the White House. Will they meet in the War Room? Will they talk about Iraq which came in last at #121? President Bush met with 121's President Talabani just today.

That averages out to 114 with rounding or the equivalent of four Lebanons. Didn't #119 steamroll that country last summer for 30 days, punctuated with millions of carpet bomblets? Watch where you walk world bleeders!

Get Peaceful Countries to Broker Peace

A few days ago I stood ready to propose Switzerland broker peace in the Middle East as the current parties have failed for nearly 60 years. But this morning I found 13 other countries beat the neutral European nation in a Global Peace Index.

The peace rankings confirmed my suspicions about America not being a fair and honest broker for such efforts as the U.S. stood 96th out of 121 countries. Guess where the other Middle Eastern democracies landed? Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq all fared worse than their Western role model. They all failed with scores of 114, 119, and 121. The three shining democracies ended up in the bottom seven, with Iraq last.

Ironically the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia ranked 78th. If Islamic jihadists are so numerous why did most Muslim countries beat the U.S.? Iran was the only non democratic loser to America. Their consolation could be they only lost by one...

Chuck, Here's a Nonprofit Worth Taxing

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa wants to remove the tax exemption of nonprofit community hospitals but won't touch the suspect Council for National Policy, a "nonprofit educational group". The Gold List of conservatives is also known as a "confidential network of highly influential business leaders". Tim LaHaye founded the group in the early 1980's. He's the co-author of the Left Behind book series and teacher at the Falwell founded Liberty University.

The CNP just tested Fred Thompson's presidential timber. The text and some coverage of Fred's speech made the net. The New York Times reported on the group's efforts to find a true conservative in a February story. Apparently Fred could be that candidate.

The series of articles revealed information about this nonprofit educational group.

The council’s bylaws forbid members from publicly disclosing its membership or activities, and participants agreed to discuss the meeting only on the condition of anonymity.

The Council for National Policy was founded 25 years ago by the Rev. Tim LaHaye as a forum for conservative Christians to strategize about turning the country to the right. Its secrecy was intended to insulate the group from what its members considered the liberal bias of the news media.

A spokesman for Mr. Brownback said he would not comment on the senator’s presentation to the council, citing its rules about strict confidentiality.

The group’s meetings, held about three times yearly, are highly secretive. Not only is the press barred from attending, but the bylaws also ban members from discussing the meetings beforehand or afterward.

So while Chuck tries to tax your local nonprofit community hospital providing care for the legions of uninsureds in America, this secretive "educational" group gets a free ride on its 501(c)3 status. At least one can apply for higher education at a university. Only the invited can join the CNP.

It appears to be just another high dollar lobbying group with a strange vision for America. That Presidential candidates need the stamp of approval of this group is even more concerning.

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.-Mohandas Gandhi

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Clinton Plane Scandal & Snoozing Media

The head of Dolphin Limited Partnership, a hedge fund suing infoUSA for giving the Clinton's plane rides in the corporate jet, served on the board of Damon Corp with Mitt Romney from 1990 until 1993, when the company was sold. Damon fraudulently billed Medicare for unnecessary lab tests and paid over $100 million in fines. Both Donald T. Netter and Mitt Romney knew of the improper billing as board members and never approached Medicare authorities. Yet, none of this makes the news?

Even Media Matters won't touch it. Why? Are huge corporate donors like the black ops for each party? Do they not want their tight industry connections splashed across the wires?

This independent voted turned the loose topsoil to find this tidbit. One might expect the media to de more, yet they fail. Meanswhile the Clinton Plane Scandal stays atop the news wires...

Bush Restricts Meat Packer's Product Safety Efforts

The Bush administration abandoned its free market diatribe in its efforts to stop a meat packer from testing all its cows for Mad Cow Disease. While the Japanese understand 100% inspection is not a way to ensure quality, it does prevent some bad products from getting out the door. The best method is to design in quality in the production process and continually improve it.

While company management may be at different levels of the quality spectrum, the country in which they operate has a rich history of product differentiation and advertising. The Bush team's holding back several meat packers from marketing their beef as "Mad Cow free" or "100% tested" seems at odd with his stated free market ideals of voluntary compliance.

A recent court judgment gave the company the right to conduct the testing but the government may appeal. Stay tuned for life down the Bush rabbit hole!

Bush Cabal Breaks Promise Yet Again

In 2001 President Bush promised to return integrity to our federal government. The memo he circulated on January 20th begins with:

Everyone who enters into public service for the United States has a duty to the American people to maintain the highest standards of integrity in Government. I ask you to ensure that all personnel within your departments and agencies are familiar with, and faithfully observe, applicable ethics laws and regulations.

Six and a half years later the public learns Bush's words are empty, vacuous, hollow. After turning over visitor records indicating Jack Abramoff's numerous visits to the White House, the President and Secret Service signed an agreement as to the future handling of such records. The end result is the public no longer has a right to know who darkens the door of key Bush officials.

Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda.

Without the visitor records how is the American public to know if any high level corruption by senior government officials is occurring? The shining light of open and transparent democracy just dimmed further courtesy of Bush's manipulations...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bush Nominates another P-Nocker for World Bank

With Paul Wolfowitz gone from the top position at the World Bank (and blaming everyone but himself), President Bush returned to the Project for the New American Century fold for his replacement, Robert Zoellick.

As this is the second person Bush appointed from the exclusive PNAC club, being a heavy handed American ideologue must be a qualification for the job of lending money throughout the world to improve lives and economies.

"Greed Has Taken Over"

Who said the following quote?

"Greed has taken over. Nobody fears failure."

a. Rep. William Jefferson and the rest of America's elected Legislative Representatives who sell their votes and souls for a round of gorging at the campaign money trough. Watch out here comes Congrezzilla at an obese 100 million pounds!

b. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney who offered to work for free, donating all of his $400,000 in Chief Executive salary cause it "ain't piss in a bucket for someone as rich as me. I've served on numerous corporate boards, been the chief of a private equity firm. Plus, I don't need to be beholden to the American people if elected President! If I don't do their will, what can they do, fire me? Not a chance if the current boob in the office still has his job!"

c. Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein on the shoddy practices of private equity firms racing to take companies private. Apparently the free market isn't perfect after all, but wait, GREED is the free market!

d. President Bush before thanking greed for taking over from stupidity, flat footedness and incompetence. Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Bush strummed while New Orleans drowned. Now he moves the real life RISK pieces around the Middle East, only the dice aren't falling his way.

e. As usual President Bush strayed from his prepared remarks. He said he thought greed had taken over, but needed to conduct an internal investigation to find out if that were really true. He was pretty sure he'd never met "a nobody" so he didn't know if they feared failure or not. President Bush said he only meets with important people who donate huge sums of money to his political party. While still pontificating he decided greed had taken over. "Did you see the guest list for the White Tie with the Queen?" Those rich sons of bitches and their bitches got to eat fish with royalty. Who pays millions for a dinner at Long John Silver's? My friends who raid the U.S. Treasury...

The correct answer is "C", the rest is only partially true!

Bush's "Public Support" in Wonderland

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

President Bush ordered the Treasury to cut a large check for the word "public support". He used it so frequently over the Memorial Day weekend, it deserves compensation. Bush mangled and twisted the poor concept so much it could be recovering in an intensive care unit at this moment. Let's hope it had health insurance.

Of course the Treasury requires documentation of work performed before spending the "taxpayer's money".

"A lot of Americans want to know, you know, when?" he said at a Rose Garden news conference Thursday. "When are you going to win?"

Also in that session, Bush said: "I recognize there are a handful there, or some, who just say, `Get out, you know, it's just not worth it. Let's just leave.' I strongly disagree with that attitude. Most Americans do as well."

Polls actually show the opposite with most Americans not concerned about winning but about bringing the troops home.

In one released Friday by CBS and the New York Times, 63 percent supported a troop withdrawal timetable of sometime next year. Another earlier this month from USA Today and Gallup found 59 percent backing a withdrawal deadline that the U.S. should stick to no matter what's happening in Iraq.

For "public support's" hard work over Memorial Day weekend, it will earn a large check courtesy of the Bush White House. After all that work it deserves a reward...

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Need to Make Peace

Can the Iraqi Parliament, the U.S. Congress, the Executive Branch, and the soon to be held Iran/U.S. face to face open each session with the following poem/prayer?


We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

September 12, 2001© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek

Romney Stooge Attacks Clinton Shill: Media Drops Ball!

While the media fell over itself to report the Clinton infoUSA plane scandal (an escalation of the sordid Clinton Lincoln Bedroom affair), it completely missed the Republican connection to the lawsuit.

This occurs right after the media dined with the Queen right next to Bush's high rollers. The story of high dollar influence buying sat across the finely appointed table from David Gregory of NBC and Robin Roberts of ABC and they missed it! (No wonder Elizabeth Hasselback couldn't say anything in defense of Rosie O'Donnell, she was still star struck from the light of Queen Elizabeth.)

Why are the Clinton plane trips huge news? It's a result of an "investor" lawsuit brought by a hedge fund upset about the use of company resources. The news completely omits the link between the hedge fund owner and Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. It goes like this:

InfoUSA is being sued by Dolphin Limited Partnership for the use of its corporate jet to fly high profile political persons around the world. While the suit doesn't name the Clintons, this fact got leaked to the news media.

The Clinton's followed FEC rules and reimbursed the company for the use of the plane (at a level far below actual expenses). This rule applies to Republicans and Democrats

Dolphin Limited Partnership just lost an attempt to put Directors on the infoUSA board. In that proxy fight information came out about the head of Dolphin, Donald T. Netter.

Mr. Netter served in executive positions and on the Board of Directors of Damon Corp from 1989 to 1993. He served as Treasurer of the Board when the Department of Justice fined the company $119 million for Medicare fraud. The federal prosecutor called the case "corporate greed run amok". The company had conducted an internal investigation identifying Medicare billing irregularities but did not disclose this information to shareholders or investigators.

While searching the blogs I came across this:

Mitt Romney was a director and part owner of Damon Clinical Laboratories, a Needham-based medical testing company that in 1996 incurred what was then the biggest criminal penalty for health care fraud in US history. The company pleaded guilty to billing Medicare for more than $25 million worth of patient lab tests that were not medically necessary. When Romney sold his interest in Damon, he personally made $473,000; his company made a $7.4 million profit. But what specifically did he know about the fraud, when did he know it, and what did he and the board do to stop it? Mitt served next to Donald Netter on the Damon Board from 1990 to 1993.

A proxy statement from another company listed newspaper articles on this topic:

Source: "Needham Lab Fined $119m for Fraud," The Boston Globe, October 10, 1996.

Source: "Romney Says Board Didn't Alert Probers, Declares Firm Took Corrective Action," The Boston Globe, October 11, 2002; "Romney Confirms Findings Not Turned Over to the Feds," The Salt Lake Tribune, October 11, 2002.

One is still available on line and leads back to an earlier Clinton Romney tussle. Just as the media glossed over Bush's high dollar donors taking their corporate jets to D.C. for Dover Sole with the Queen at a White Tie affair, they miss the political connections driving this lawsuit.

Romney and Clinton aren't even nominated yet and their "associates" compete on their behalf...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lincoln Bedroom vs. Dover Sole with the Queen?

Right after 37 of the President Bush's high dollar donors shared fish with the Queen, the press was remarkably silent. Contrast this with news of the Clinton's riding corporate jets but doing so in compliance with FEC rules:

A longtime Clinton benefactor used corporate jets to fly the former president and Hillary Rodham Clinton on business, personal and campaign trips that a lawsuit brands as wasteful company spending.

Vinod Gupta has been a major donor to Democrats over the years and especially prominent as a Clinton fundraiser. He was rewarded with a night in the White House's Lincoln bedroom during Clinton's presidency. He also donated at least $1 million to Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock., Ark.

According to FEC records, Gupta-controlled entities provided jets for Hillary Clinton at least seven times since 2002. Clinton's campaigns or other political committees paid the equivalent of first-class air fare for those trips, a fee required by law but a significant discount compared with the actual cost of charter jet service.

How many of Bush's Pioneering stock rode their big buck corporate jets to a White Tie dinner with royalty? And how many lawsuits will result? Why does the news love the Clinton Lincoln Bedroom and ignore Bush's clearly stated benefits for high dollar donors?

The Democrats are the Coca Cola secretary sentenced to eight years for stealing corporate secrets while Republicans are stock option backdating CEO's who might pay a fine for stealing millions from shareholders. Both screw the American public, yet their media trials couldn't be any different. It appears we have both the best justice and press treatment money can buy!

Next year's flu shot needs to innoculate the U.S. population from the pox cast by the media and America's political parties. It's time to wake up to their infectious diseases...

A Few More Why’s?

Did you ever wonder why:

1. The Catholic Church asks the faithful to bail leaders out of sexual abuse settlements that very leadership allowed to be inflicted on their followers? Can one layer financial atop physical abuse?

2. Why the return to Latin Mass which only dates back to the 16th century? Why not go back further? And is it really the Latin mass if doesn’t disparage non-Catholics or Jews? Without those references isn’t it really just a watered down version?

3. If the priest asks for contributions in Latin, does that make it easier for people to fork over funds for their religious leaders’ sexual impropriety?

4. Why is Roller Derby becoming popular again?

5. Why are China and Osama bin Laden “kind of threats” to the U.S. today? The Red Economic Storm is a rising peril but still not dangerous enough to take over Taiwan while the al Qaeda leader is a falling star but requires the U.S. to spend nearly $400 billion a year to keep him from getting a toehold in Iraq. Are both being waved about to drive business to the military-industrial-Congressional complex?

6. Why are hearings on the as yet unexplained firings of at least eight attorney generals “political theater”? Does this mean Chief lawyer Alberto Gonzales’ hazy memory and inability to answer a question are considered “political substance”?

7. Given the sorry state of both political parties, why are more people not asking why?

Lantern's Andy Rooney

Did you ever wonder why:

1. It's getting harder to vote but easier to pay taxes?

2. More Americans vote for American Idol than their elected representatives?

3. You can vote from home by phone or text message for your favorite singer but not against the bum you want thrown out of office for sucking up to his major donors?

4. Election Day isn't a holiday, many states now require picture ID's and our justice department officials purge voter rolls? Will you find your name on the voter list if you show up?

5. It's seemingly more difficult and expensive to exercise our right to vote yet we can submit and sign our taxes electronically?

What's up with all that?

Why IRS Can't Find CNP

In a stunning show of domestic incompetence, the Internal Revenue Service only looks for charities with "Middle Eastern sounding names" to find nonprofit groups funding terrorists. What happens if shadowy nonprofits employ the Congressional tool of naming something its exact opposite? They get a free pass from the IRS.

Another secretive nonprofit education group rides a twenty year free pass from feds despite never complying with 501(c)3 requirements. The Council for National Policy continues to benefit from Uncle Sam's generosity without providing any returns to the public at large. A number of their members successfully fended off the IRS in the past. Do their skills extend to the group as a whole?

But with over 1.6 million tax exempt organizations (excluding churches), the IRS can't keep their eye on all of them. But they can watch your local nonprofit community hospital like a chickenhawk as they struggle under the weight of Bush's legions of uninsured.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bush to Investigate Another "Wrongdoing"?

Considering his failing grade on his last two investigations, how might the President fare on his examination of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' behavior in the firing of eight state AG's? History would suggest poorly.

After the CIA agent name leak, the President promised an internal investigation which was never conducted. Bush never completed the promised task. His other failed investigation was the White House Lessons Learned Report after Hurricane Katrina. It left out critical information about hospital patients. Completely absent from his post mortem included:

1. The hospital with the highest death toll. (LifeCare Hospitals purchased by the Carlyle Group just weeks before landfall)
2. The trade group that coordinated the evacuations from dead facilities. (the Lousiana Hospital Association)
3. The flipping of evacuation triage priorities. (which resulted in the stranding of two patients, left to die in sweltering cesspool surrounded facilities)

So why would Bush do better this time with the hazy memoried Al Gonzales. Will his memory improve enabling the zoned out AG to actually answer a question? But most of all, why is the Attorney General's failure to answer questions about his managerial decisions not considered wrongdoing? After all,

"It's management's job to know!"-Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Might the investigation be dragged out by Alberto's shaky memory more so than political theater? It's a sad day when a leader cannot state the specific performance reasons for firing someone...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bush's Iraq?

Is anyone else confused after President Bush's press conference? He said we needed to stay in Iraq to battle al Qaeda and outlined the threat should America leave.

As to al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda is going to fight us wherever we are....And so we're fighting them in Iraq, we're fighting them in Afghanistan, we've helped the Philippines -- Philippine government fight them. We're fighting them.

Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al Qaeda will be emboldened. They will say, yes, once again, we've driven the great soft America out of a part of the region. It will cause them to be able to recruit more. It will give them safe haven. They are a direct threat to the United States.

It's better to fight them there than here. And this concept about, well, maybe let's just kind of just leave them alone and maybe they'll be all right is naive. These people attacked us before we were in Iraq. They viciously attacked us before we were in Iraq, and they've been attacking ever since.

Leaving aside the questions of accuracy of the above statements, the following comment by George Bush confused me.

And my point was, was that Osama bin Laden was establishing an external cell there, or trying to, and he's been unable to do it. Precisely my point. That's why we've got to stay engaged. Had he been able to establish an internal cell that had safe haven, we would be a lot more in danger today than we are. His organization is a risk. We will continue to pursue as hard as we possibly can. We will do everything we can to bring him and others to justice.

So the U.S. remains in Iraq to fight al Qaeda which never really got established? Didn't Osama attack us twice? Doesn't he want to attack us again? So which al Qaeda are we fighting in Iraq? Don't they need money and expertise to follow us home? Without a link to bin Laden, who is providing the needed resources? Don't tell me the Saudis are bankrolling their black sheep once again...

Repugnicants = Damnocrats

In an amazing week America's two political parties looked in the mirror and saw each other. Damnocrat John Murtha did his best Repugnicant imitation of heavy handed Tom Delay and got off scott free. Then in a transatlantic jaunt similar to Tom Delay's Scotland golf outing (albeit without lobbyists), Damnocrat Barney Frank ran up a $160,000 plane tab borne by the American taxpayer.

What did the reporter who broke the story get? Dead silence from the three Damnocrats cited in his story. I can relate as our Repugnicant President never got back to me as to why the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths was omitted from his Hurricane Katrian Lessons Learned report.

Apparently the public does not have a right to know...

"Rejecting the People's Choice" Awards

A somber ceremony honored world governments ignoring the will of the people. In a rare tie, the United States and Israel shared the top prize for their shunning of elected Palestinian leaders. Over a year ago, Palestinians voted against corruption and for a party that delivered on social programs. To America's surprise Hamas gained the majority in government. For 18 months the U.S. and Israel have handcuffed the fledgling Middle East democracy.

41 Palestinian legislators are now being held in Israeli jails

America stood alone in second place for ignoring its 75% of the population that disapprove of Bush's handling the war in Iraq. The other fledgling Middle East democracy was to share the prize as over 70% of Iraqis want U.S. troops out. However, no government leaders attended as all were "on vacation", a euphemism to not deliver what Bush and Company want so badly, the new Iraqi oil law.

In third place stood Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. He earned his prize by abandoning the basic tenets of democracy in remaking his country into a socialist state. Other democracies have actually utilized their legislature to reform their economic systems, but not Chavi Boy. He's remaking it as a monarch. Ironically he's setting up next years winner with his nationalizing key industries.

Bookies in the crowd took bets on when the bronze winner would fall and by what method? Those getting the most action included food tainted by Chinese melamine, polonium spray, Chinese toothpaste laced with antifreeze, and a mentally ill American with numerous assault weapons vacationing in Venezuela. Most think the U.S. will occupy the top spot again next year with the offing of King Hugo. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Federal Whistleblower Treatment

Despite Senator Chuck Grassley's public plea for the federal bureaucracy not to circle the wagons to protect against internal whistleblowers, two days later President Bush did just that. The President's Executive Order makes it harder for Chuck to get information and insight from whistleblowers.

Besides being shunned internally, ethical employees will now be at greater risk financially. Those with the courage to step forward are often fired or demoted. Remember Bunatine Greenhouse? Their hope for a financial lifeline is years away and frequently based on the government's recovery. George W. Bush added to this financial insecurity with his order capping fees/awards for expert witness testimony.

If at the end of President Bush's term, should he hold that Rose Garden ceremony recognizing whistleblowers as envisioned by Senator Grassley, the event may have fewer people to celebrate. How many fell at the hands of the circled wagons per George's order?

ABC News Reports of U.S. Tampering In Iran Redux

ABC News reported of U.S. efforts to overthrow the government of Iran in a huge deja vu of Eisenhower's 1953 overthrow of democratically elected Prime Minister Mosaddeq. While President Bush says it's important to remember our sordid history in the region, his memory must have lapsed or he studied the Cliff's notes that left out an important detail.

The CIA and British Intelligence actively worked to overthrow a democratic leader in Iran, not a communist leader as implied by Bush's White House fiction. For killing a democracy in its youth we pay the price. How will any current tampering impact our relations with Iran in the future? Time will tell, but history would predict not positively.

Grassley's Concern for Tax Avoiding Hospitals Doesn't Extend to CNP

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley continues to push the IRS toward making your nonprofit community hospital pay taxes. He fails to note that 80-90% of such institutions are already struggling financially providing care for America's legions of uninsureds.

Meanwhile, the Council for National Policy skates along with their 501(c)3 status unchallenged, despite its suspension in 1992. After making virtually no changes to comply with existing law, CNP negotiated its return to tax free status. It's been a 15 year skate since then for the exclusive, secretive group of conservative Christians. The CNP frequently has Bush administration officials speak at their confabs, yet only an accidental posting of a speech indicates their participation.

Code words for a CNP gathering with political leaders include "a confidential network of several hundred highly influential conservative business leaders", "elite Gold Circle Club", and "private Gold Circle dinner".

While any new dollars into the federal coffers may pale compared to taxing nonprofit community hospitals, tax exempt CNP appears to not fulfill a greater public benefit, other than provide a tax free dodge for already rich people to join together to influence public policy. It's clear which group is meeting a greater public need. So why is Chuck giving them heck? Senator Grassley's supporters want much more of America's healthcare system to be for profit.

Stay tuned for Chuck Grassley's report on CNP's community benefit...

CEO vs. Secretarial Justice

Earlier this year I posed the question, who will get a stiffer sentence, the Coca Cola secretary accused of pilfering company secrets or the legions of CEO's stealing from shareholders via illegal stock option backdating? The answer is in, hot off the presses.

The trade stealing secretary received an 8 year sentence. The SEC settled with Ryan Brant of Take Two Interactive. His crimes involved stealing millions from the company and its shareholders via illegal stock option granting and financial fraud. Yet the settlement provided no, as in zero jail time. For three major financial crimes against thousands of people, Mr. Brant simply paid fines.

Just as there are two levels of health care in America, we have the best justice money can buy. Apparently secretaries can't afford the jail free version.

Democrats Support Jeer-marks

In a party line vote in the House, Democrats succeeded in squashing the Tom Delay like behavior of one of its members. Rep. John Murtha D-Pennsylvania played Hammer to Mike Rogers R-Michigan over an earmark for Murtha's district. When challenged most of the adolescents in Congress went to their corner and voted along party lines.

This supports Al Gore's statement that elected representatives are mostly good people in a bad system. The problem is none of them have the courage to change the system. For that the American people suffer...

Idol's Surprise Move, Picture ID Cards

American Idol took its lead from political leaders concerned about voter fraud. The producers of the show were mortified to find out illegal immigrants swung the vote in past elections. Did Kelly win from illegal alien Texas voter support? Did Carrie Underwood's country songs of misery resonate with Oklahoma illegals hiding in the shadows, trying to get by?

Wanting to keep the "American" brand pure, the show is moving to picture identification cards for Idol voters. They will still allow voting by phone and text messaging but a new layer of security will ensure only U.S. citizens vote. A tamper proof National Idol ID card will house the citizen's unique identification number. This number must be entered and validated before the vote can be cast. Whether this impacts the total number of votes remains to be seen. To date many more people vote for their favorite singer than their elected officials.

Meanwhile political figures seem intent on driving down voter participation via the picture ID requirement which can cost anywhere from $13 to $290 depending on the documentation. How is that Uncle Sam can take my taxes via a unique signature feature but I can't vote online? I can fulfill my obligations via the web, but not exercise my rights. Does that seem odd to you? Welcome to the strange world of leaders designing systems to perpetuate their term in office.

P.S. American Idol is not considering adding a picture ID requirement. This juxtaposition is intended only for thought provoking purposes.

William Hung's Opening Song for Iran U.S. Dialogue on Iraq

The U.S. State Department decided to mix entertainment with diplomacy by hiring William Hung of American Idol fame to sing the opening song at the Iran U.S. talks over security in Iraq. The talks come May 28th, just 5 days after America launched a huge round of surprise military exercises on Iran's doorstep with 17,000 Marines in landing ships and 20,000 military personnel already in the region's waters.

The editorial in my local newspaper talked about a new axis of evil, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Belarus. Why is it the list never shortens? It used to be Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Iran. And how did communists with their failed economic models get promoted to the axis? Ooops! I forgot about China's choking our American economic engine with addictive cheap products. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce dropped its domestic jobs multiplier effect for a dollar extender model to support the exporting of jobs to the economic Red Storm.

But back to Iran being the lead axis of evil member at the moment. How might our leaders feel if Iran just conducted major military exercises off our East Coast, called us "evil" incessantly, and blamed us for our porous border with Mexico? Would we show up in a mood to negotiate? Hell, no. And they won't either.

Add a restrictive agenda that keeps the real issues off limits and what can we expect? It could be a Kruschev like moment. Thus William Hung will open the session with a slight variation of his most popular song, "Shoe Bangs!" Will William's song escalate the meeting into an international incident?

P.S. The United Nations' deadline for Iran to stop nuclear enrichment is May 24th, just 4 days before the joint U.S. Iran meeting. A meeting to discuss further sanctions could happen within days

P.P.S . A U.S. military commander said "very credible intelligence now confirms" that Iranian intelligence agents are funding Sunni extremist elements in Iraq. This means Iran is assisting both sides, thus fomenting division.

Step by step, brick by brick, President Bush lays the foundation for greater conflict (as if hearing William Hung sing isn't tormenting enough). Shoe Bangs! Shoe Bangs!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bush & Bin Laden 2005

The Bush Administration released a previously classified report indicating Osama bin Laden's efforts to organize attacks on the U.S. through his associates in Iraq.

President Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq - and that the United States should be the top target.

The information mirrored a classified bulletin from the Homeland Security Department in March 2005, reporting that bin Laden had enlisted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to plan potential strikes in the U.S. The warning was described at the time as credible but not specific and did not prompt the administration to raise its national terror alert level.

What else did President Bush do in 2005? He shut down the CIA task force hunting for bin Laden, rolling staff into its Counter-Terrorist Center. One retired CIA official with many years heading the specialized unit stated the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was. He disagreed with such an assessment, still considering Osama a potent threat.

Why would the President raise the specter of an uncaptured Osama bin Laden?

The declassification of the 2005 intelligence came a day before Bush was scheduled to speak about terrorism at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

I bet Bush drives home the extinguishing of al-Zarqawi but glosses over his failure to find the perpetrator of his favorite mantra.

Bush Doesn't Care about Competence

As President Bush continues to prop up his ragdoll Attorney General, he might wish to consider the advice of management guru, Dr. W. Edwards Deming:

"It is management's job to know."

China U.S. Trade a Recipe for Disaster

Expect a new round of dangerous products from the Economic Red Storm. Poisonous animal food morphed into toxic toothpaste courtesy of Chinese manufacturers. So what are both sides doing about it? Not much.

Neither side of the China U.S. trade situation plans to step up efforts to ensure safe products reach shelves in North America. The Bush administration's gutting of the Food and Drug Administration is compounded by his preference for voluntary measures. How did China respond to Treasury Chief Hank Paulson's concerns? They assured us "they would fully investigate any problems uncovered." If they're only examining problems post production, the consumer is in trouble.

As Dr. W. Edwards Deming stated "You cannot inspect in quality." Neither side has any clue as how to achieve quality or as the guru called for by the end of his career, transformation of management.

But apparently Communists understand the profit motive quite well. Just as American corporate chiefs cut costs and jobs to maximize returns, the Chinese substituted toxic ingredients to cut costs and boost margins. Pet food, toothpaste, what's next? The FDA will find out when American consumers tell them. Unfortunately neither side plans to do anything other than shut the barn door after the cows get out...

Idaho Shootings Raise Same Issues as VA Tech

A mentally disturbed man in Moscow, Idaho killed 4 people, starting with his wife, and wounded three others, one an armed civilian responding to the scene. Similarities to the Virginia Tech shooter include, a past history of mental illness and the use of assault weapons. A mental health worker heard the patient say if he killed himself, he'd take others with him.

So how did Jason Hamilton come across two automatic rifles? An AK-47 was found next to the body. It likely didn't belong to the church sexton.

The answer offered by gun enthusiasts is armed citizens answering the distress call. In this case the student responding to the sound of gunshots ended up a victim, shot 3 times. During his Courthouse rampage Jason fired at least 125 rounds.

Both mentally ill shooters' violent affair involved killings in multiple locations spanned over a number of hours. Once again, I ask where did Jason get his assault rifles? This is the third time a mentally ill person got access to weapons before shooting innocent victims, Ed Lui in a Walmart Parking lot in Arizona, Cho Seng-Hui at Virginia Tech, and Jason Hamilton in Moscow Idaho.

San Angelo had a recent case of a young man walking near our university and an elementary school brandishing a shotgun in broad daylight. Fortunately our community has a Mental Health Deputy program and the subject was detained without incident.

Keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of mentally ill people is a homeland security issue. That and providing them treatment and access to needed medications.

Bush Becomes Monarch in Event of "Catastrophic Emergency"

Did you know the President of the United States is responsible for ensuring the continuity of all government functions in the case of a "catastrophic emergency"? One might assume the President in charge of ensuring Executive Branch functions continue, while the leaders of each House of Congress would ensure the Legislative Branch's ongoing operation. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would work on the judiciary's continuation. Those assumptions would be in error according to the latest Presidential Directive on this topic.

What is a catastrophic emergency? It is any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.

What happens in such a case? In effect a subset of necessary government operations will be coordinated by the President with emphasis on (a partial list):

b. Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people

President Bush's 30% approval rating means he's already lost the trust and confidence of the American people.

f. Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident.

Recall Hurricane Katrina? Besides letting hospital patients swelter in dead facilities for as long as 5 days, the President's Lessons Learned Report failed to mention the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths post landfall. Their owner, The Carlyle Group shares a Pennsylvania Avenue address with the President. Video shows "the Decider" asking FEMA Chief Michael Brown about hospital patients the day Katrina sideswiped New Orleans. And how's the Gulf Coast recovery coming nearly two years after the widespread destruction?

(6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.

How do you feel about "the Decider" temporarily being the monarch in a catastrophic emergency? Who decides what is a catastrophic emergency and how long is temporary?

While our State Department cites backtracking from democracy in places like Russia and Venezuela, it misses our own backpedaling.

What Will Rowan Williams Learn from Israeli's?

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will not invite Bishop Gene Robinson to next year's gathering of global prelates. It turns out Bishop Robinson has been designated a terrorist by the Church of King Henry VIII's genitalia. Just like the U.S. and Israel refuse to recognize democratically elected Palestinian leaders, the Anglican/Episcopal church spits on the people of New Hampshire for their choice of bishop.

What will the Archbishop do if he follows Israel's lead? Options include:

1. Fence in the state of New Hampshire
2. Withhold funds for churches in Bishop Robinson's jurisdiction (starve them out)
3. Bomb nearby power plants
4. Send in an occupying force
5. Fire a missile into Bishop Robinson's home
6. Fund the opposition and together remove the threat
7. Merge with the Catholic Church where they know how to deal with gays (by promoting them)

If he chooses #7, could we someday see Pope Robinson? The times they are a stranging! But in the meantime we can count on Rowan to protect his Canterbury Tail.

Monday, May 21, 2007

McCain's Campaign Enters the Ridiculous

Senator John McCain's call for Republicans to return ethics and competence to government is laughable, especially given his prescription of holding cabinet level people accountable. This assumes political appointees serving as titular heads of departments are 100% responsible for all the systems they "supervise".

True they can mess things up terribly as proven by the current Bush administration on top of 12 years of Congressional leadership. Apparently the Justice Department has a system for evaluating performance but no one can remember it, much less explain it to others. The Veteran's Administration puts people on the panel deciding their own bonus. Those odds are better than Vegas for hitting the jackpot.

It will take a long time to repair the destruction done by President Bush's foot and knuckle dragging management style. One would need to appoint leaders who understand more than barking an expletive deleted laced list of demand, something for which numerous appointees are well known.

John's prescription involves holding Cabinet chiefs accountable for ensuring the integrity of their agencies and withholding money from government programs that don't meet performance expectations. Let's explore what Dr. W. Edwards Deming had to say about these practices:

"Hold everyone accountable? Ridiculous"

"Forces of destruction: grades in school, merit system, incentive pay (withholding money), business plans, quotas"

It looks like Senator McCain needs some remedial leadership training. The good news is The Deming Institute has a program right up his alley, "How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business". It actually teaches the opposite of George Bush and Republican bleedership strategies. I hope Senator McCain's not campaigning in July. Maybe he can work in a few days in Sunny Southern California to bone up on Bush's sorry leadership and learn what to do differently.

Lack of Knowledge Squared

After more than of a month of the U.S. Attorney General's inability to recall performance reasons for dismissing at least eight state attorney generals, President Bush came roaring to Alberto Gonzales' defense.

"He has done nothing wrong," Bush said in an impassioned defense of his longtime friend and adviser during a news conference at his Texas ranch.

Does anyone else find it odd that Alberto initially claimed "good reasons" for giving the eight attorneys their walking papers, then lost those sound justifications in a cloud of hazy memories. What do they smoke in the White House? Apparently George Bush likes leaders who make arbitrary decisions before forgetting them under the light of sunshine. To quote him "nothing's wrong".

A leadership guru who helped rebuild Japan after World War II might say otherwise. The namesake of Japan's Deming prize said:

'Lack of knowledge...that is the problem"-W. Edwards Deming

It appears the Bush/Gonzales team squares the problem. If we added Cheney would it be cubed?

U.S. China Trade Poisons, PEU

Fresh off sending poisonous animal food and toothpaste into international markets, China invested $3 billion in a U.S. private equity underwriter, Blackstone Group LP. PEU's buy undervalued or strategically placed companies, many of them publicly owned with the hopes of selling them off later for huge profits. America's hyper growth investment vehicle stays in the shadows away from the light of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Recent court cases allege CEO's negotiate deals better for their long term compensation than for the shareholders by selling the company to the PEU on the cheap. While no decisions have been offered, a clear history of corporate executive malfeasance can be seen by widespread stock option cheating as nearly 30% or 2,000 companies backdated this form of executive incentive compensation. This came at the expense of shareholders. Why wouldn't that same third do likewise in negotiating with a PEU?

In the U.S. private equity firms are intertwined with political leaders of both parties. Almost any big name member of either party sits on a PEU board or is paid as an advisor, Bush, Snow, Carlucci, Baker, Rossotti, Scully, Daschle, Clinton, and Perry. Others buy influence as Bush Pioneers/Rangers or Clinton Bundlers.

As China reduces its purchases of U.S. debt, it aims to buy influence via private investments.

"They will use their money to gain influence, and this is a good example of this," said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. "Blackstone isn't just a fund, it's a very influential group in the United States. Basically, it's the Chinese government making a significant stake in a highly influencial Wall Street firm. And, in turn, that firm has an influence on U.S. policy."

What happens to interest rates at China lightens up on its U.S. debt purchases? We aren't the most popular country in the world at the moment. Might rates have to go up? And who pays interest on the debt? That would the American taxpayer. Recall Bush's capital gains tax cut from 20% to 15%? Well the PEU's want that lowered to 8%, the same as my local sales tax. Only I pay tax on the whole purchase price, they only pay on their gain.

Yes, something stinks and it smells like American political influence buying and corporate chief self aggrandizement. After they party hard ingesting the finest society has to offer, the average citizen will get to clean up their droppings. Recall the Bush inspired Savings & Loan disaster? There's a new round inspired by that same family name, the Bush PEU debacle. As Dr. Deming said "Will they ever learn?"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Palestinian People's "Humiliation" Continues

President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke earlier this week of the humiliation of the Palestinian people having to live under the threat of rockets coming through their roof. That threat escalated this week, adding to their long suffering. It seems like just yesterday, President Bush spoke of all the things he would do to help the Palestinians. It turned out to be a big case of Texas Buckeye.

Israel just fired a rocket in the home of an elected Palestinian official, killing at least 8 and wounding 13 people. What will the U.S. position be, since earlier in the week the State Department cited the "great restraint" employed by the Israelis in their bombing of Gaza.

Palestinian President Abbas called for the international community to pressure Israel to stop the attacks. We saw how that worked last summer as Israel bombed its neighbor to the north back 25 years. The whole word can be crying foul and Israel will ignore it as long as it knows it has President Bush's support. That fact was made clear once again by Presidential Advisor, Elliott Abrams who called Bush Israel's "emergency brake". He also called Condi's peace efforts in the Middle East "just process", essentially for show.

With no serious peace efforts, that can only mean one thing, war. It's going on in spades in the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Battle of Irrelevant Presidents!

Ladies and Gentleman, let's get ready to rumble! Welcome to the "Rumble of the Fumblers"! The President who botched the Iranian hostage rescue will battle the current Commander in Chief known for bumbling almost everything in his White House tenure. In the white trunks, weighing 220 pounds is the "Southern Sunday School teacher", Jimmy Carter. Wearing black, weighing a lean and mean 210 pounds is the "Texas Super Ranger", George Bush. Let's consider their records:

Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. That same year President Bush canceled the anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia paving the way for U.S. development of space weapons. In 2007 President Bush selected the design winner for the new nuclear warhead. Given their records, age, and health differences, George Bush is the prohibitive favorite to win in a technical knockout.

The fight went as predicted with Carter going down in the third round after a Bush haymaker. Bush's cornerman, Tony Fratto cheered wildly until he heard Michael Buffer's closing.

"The champion of irrelevant Presidents, ladies and gentlemen a big round of applause for George W. Bush!"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

America's New Lying, Cheating Role Models

It appears college age kids suffered greatly from their learning of Bill Clinton's episode of oral sex in the Oval Office while impressionable young children. Nevermind that CEO's cheated on their stock options on a widespread basis for over the past decade, the Enron implosion, and the Bush team lying if they choose to actually answer questions posed to them. Young adults poisoned by Bill Clinton's sordid sexual escapade soared past the epidemic stage according to a college cheating expert.

A study published last fall by Donald McCabe, a Rutgers professor who has studied cheating for decades, and two co-authors found 56 percent of MBA students admitted cheating, along with 54 percent of graduate students in engineering, 48 percent in education, and 45 percent in law.

McCabe emphasizes the difficulties of measuring trends in cheating, but the undergraduate numbers at the same 32 universities he studied appear even worse: 74 percent of business students, and 68 percent in nonbusiness fields admitted to some form of cheating

It appears the current President has a ripe group of potential recruits as he tries to finish his drooling, knuckle dragging last year and a half in office. Maybe a replacement for Paul Wolfowitz will be found in the ethical cesspool. Should Alberto quit covering for his low brow boss and leave the InJustice Department? Another cheating lawyer can't be far away (as 45% admitted cheating).

In a case of Presidential limbo, Bush continues lowering the bar on ethical behavior to beat "Sinful Bill". Meanwhile American youth follows along blindly. Of course no one will note the long standing proven relationship between extrinsic reward systems and widespread cheating. As the Bush team has another round coming in education and health care, how high can he drive unethical behavior? My guess is through the roof...

Republican's Two Year Old Energy Strategy Already Outdated

At least that's the message from a Texas Senator in today's Standard Times. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s column should have been titled “U.S. Needs Newer New Energy Strategy” given the Republican passed July 2005 Energy Bill. Kay voted yea on the measure yet she could only recall the nuclear energy component in her missive. Her “yea” helped give $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies while rolling back regulatory restrictions. It included $9 billion in coal subsidies, $12 billion toward nuclear energy, and nearly $2 billion for electricity producers.

Two years after setting this new energy policy the Senator wants to accomplish the same goals, an increase in domestic production of oil, gas, coal and alternative resources. Has the policy not worked? Did all those billions amount to nothing? Did the token benefits for individual citizens not change behavior?

She mentioned America’s energy policy as stuck in the era of bell bottom pants and platform shoes. Were they in style two years ago? She says Congress must act, the question is on what? President Bush said he favored eliminating the $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies but I’ve seen no action on this front. The Senator closed her column with the need “to provide affordable energy for our families and businesses”. It sounded a familiar refrain given the title of the energy industry giveaway in 2005: “A bill to ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and reliable energy.”

We all know from our personal pocketbooks, what happened between Kay’s yea vote and today. Oil companies reaped record profits quarter after quarter while citizens pay record high gas prices. As for Alaska, British Petroleum indicated their drive to maximize profits caused them to decrease maintenance on their Prudhoe Bay pipeline. This belies Kay’s assertion of clean operations.

She failed to mention her lifetime top twenty donor record which includes Enron, Exxon Mobile, TXU, Valero Energy, Shell Oil, El Paso Corp. A law firm came in 20th, Bracewell and Guiliani (previously Patterson), recently cited by the New York Times as representing major oil, gas and electricity companies. A number of her other top twenty donors recently shared Dover Sole with Queen Elizabeth at a Presidential White Tie dinner. It makes me wonder, “Whose side is Kay really on?”

Why is Diaz on Trial and Bush Not?

In another Friday evening news release, military lawyer Matthew Diaz was convicted at his court martial of communicating secret information about Guantanamo Bay detainees that could be used to injure the United States and three other charges of leaking information to an unauthorized person.

While the conviction came on Thursday, the story ran on CNN at 8:47 pm Friday, giving it almost the whole weekend to be buried by other stories. While this is a typical Bush media strategy, why would they want this story to suffer under the darkness of a typical weekend news cycle?

It turns out Matthew had much to say as a military lawyer about the Bush administration's use of torture and commission of war crimes.

Diaz, 41, of Topeka, Kansas, did not testify at his court-martial. But in an hourlong interview after the opening day of his trial Monday, Diaz said he believes the Bush administration's prosecution of the war on terror is illegal. He accused officials of violating international law, such as the Geneva Conventions on the humane treatment of war prisoners, and the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of due process.

"I made a stupid decision, I know, but I felt it was the right decision, the moral decision, the decision that was required by international law," Diaz told the Dallas newspaper. "No matter how the conflict was identified, we were to treat them in accordance with Geneva, and it just wasn't being done."

While he admits his error in leaking the names to a civil rights lawyer, it came from his frustration over the Bush team's use of delay tactics in complying with a Supreme Court ruling.

The Center for Constitutional Rights earlier had won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that terrorism suspects had the right to challenge their detention. But the Pentagon was refusing to identify the men, hampering the group's effort to represent them.

"I had observed the stonewalling, the obstacles we continued to place in the way of the attorneys," Diaz said. "I knew my time was limited. ... I had to do something."

Mr. Diaz also believes the Bush administration lies based on his experience at Guantanamo.

Bush administration officials have characterized the Guantanamo population overall as "the worst of the worst." Diaz said that is one of two incorrect or false statements.

"The other statement was 'We do not torture,' " said Diaz, whose jobs included tracking and investigating abuse allegations.

"I think a good case could be made for allegations of war crimes, policies that were war crimes," he said. "There was a way to do this properly, and we're not doing it properly."

Of course the Defense department vehemently denies such allegations. Funny how the President just signed an Executive Order making it more difficult for internal whistleblowers to endure the lengthy process of investigation. This compounds the problem of the Bush team being most inept in conducting basic investigations.

Why is Matthe Diaz on trial and President Bush not?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Condi Now Irrelevant Internally?

It's sad watching the world ignore U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, but hearing Bush flunkies bust her chops must really be discouraging for the freedom spreader. Elliott Abrams spoke to Jewish groups in early May suggesting Condi's peace efforts in the Middle East are:

"just process", steps needed in order to keep the Europeans and moderate Arab countries “on the team” and to make sure they feel that the United States is promoting peace in the Middle East.

So does that mean President Bush pushes the opposite of peace in the Middle East? Is he pushing violent conflict in those fledgling democracies of Lebanon, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories with aims to expand it to Iran and Syria? The James Dobson White House invite to discuss the looming danger of Iran's "nuclear and biological weapons" begins to look most ominous. It appears the Bush foot and knuckle dragging on Middle East peace will soon change to ass kickin and haymaker swinging.

Of course the Bush team insists they're all aligned on the pursuit of "peace" in the region. Does this sound familiar to Alberto Gonzales testimony that there were no disagreements on the warrantless spying program? We now know Attorney General Ashcroft bounced him out of his hospital room when Al slithered up to his sickbed for John's signature of approval. Bush gets his way, legal or not.

My question is does Bush or Abrams think the Saudi or Jordanian leaders don't read the Jerusalem Post?

Bush, Blair's Uncivil War of the Worlds Back on Track

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair spoke of the suffering Palestinian people who are poorer than a church mouse, can't move freely, and fear rockets coming through their roofs. Yet in 2004 the same pair spoke of the promise of democracy, yet to be delivered.

We'll mobilise the international community to help revive the Palestinian economy, to build up the Palestinian security institutions to fight terror, to help the Palestinian government fight corruption, and to reform the Palestinian political system and build democratic institutions. We'll also work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to complete the disengagement plan from Gaza and part of the West Bank. George W. Bush November 12, 2004

After speaking those words the Palestinian people voted for change, for an end to corruption. They punched the ticket for the group that delivered on health clinics and public infrastructure improvements. They voted against the party that promised much but repeatedly failed to deliver. The Bush team was surprised by the Hamas election win and promptly cut off funds for the long suffering Palestinian people.

The United States did its best over the next few years to create the conditions for civil war in the Palestinian Territories. Just months ago the President bragged of $65 million in security aid for President Abbas. Then a regional group intervened to broker Palestinian peace, something Sec. Rice and Pres. Bush wouldn't do. Saudi leaders brokered a unity government in Palestine that the U.S. summarily rejected. Israel withdrew its promise of releasing tax funds and turned a cold shoulder to rapidly warming peace talks.

Despite the Saudi's best intervention, the Palestinian Territories are again aflame with internal strife. Only this time Israel is fighting Hamas at the same time as Palestinian Fatah. The unity government brokered by King Faisal appears to have disintegrated.

Add the deteriorating situation in Lebanon and the looming move from War of the Words with Iran to the real deal, and the world appears to be rather uncivil. Of course the cursing, buttered roll chewing Bush has nothing to do with it. We aren't to worry that the President mobilized a dozen or so conservative religious leaders to talk about the dire threat of Iran with its modern day "Hitler". Nevermind the factual inaccuracies of the "threat" highlighted by Dr. James Dobson who attended the meeting. Fear must be generated for the dogs of war to be unleashed. The modern day Hitler must be stopped!

But for a different analogy, who's tanks are rolling in lands not their own? And who is oppressing who?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dobsonstein Has Busy Week

James Dobsonstein tried to remake Rudy Guiliani into conservative Presidential material but the parts couldn't combine to his liking. As a result James will not endorse Rudy should he receive the Republican nomination. However, the mad psychologist continues to meet with the current occupant of the Oval Office.

According to Monday's radio program, James pow wowed with President Bush and a dozen or so conservative religious leaders on the looming danger of Iran. The long and short of his conclusions, be very afraid. Iran with nuclear or biological weapons intent on attacking America? Haven't we heard this line before?

On his program James took it one step further. One city written off by a WMD attack could become 10, 10 could become 100. He castigated the media for not highlighting the looming threat. Yet that very media runs his radio show to some 220 million listeners across the U.S.? No, this is a set up. That and the May 28th Iran-U.S. meeting. Expect some Kruschev like shoe banging.

Then Katy bar the door because another round of Bush ass kickin is fixin to start. The problem is we still have figured out which way the ass kickin has gone in Iraq.

Congress Looks into PEU’s

The House Committee on Financial Services took testimony yesterday from a union leader on private equity underwriters. The head of the Private Equity Council is also scheduled to testify. These private investment firms pool huge funds to buy attractively valued companies in key industries. Their aim is to quickly grow the business before “realizing” their investment via a sale or independent public offering. One concern is these firms have limited reporting requirements.

Private equity has grown like crazy in Bush’s time in office. One well known firm, The Carlyle Group managed $5.8 billion in assets in 2001. Six years later their website states Carlyle has more than $56 billion under management. Their 862% growth rate during the Bush administration is most impressive. They made huge money selling companies that serviced that same administration, including United Defense Industries, Horizon Lines, QinetiQ, and now USIS. Another concern is big investors have exclusively been getting the huge gains.

Carlyle announced last week their intent to let the public get in on the action by offering shares from a $1 billion IPO on Euronext, an Amsterdam exchange. Offering the smaller investor a chance to own a crumb of a tiny slice of their huge pie should forestall Congressional pressure.

Even Democrats are in the pockets of these hugely powerful firms. Carlyle is the number 3 lifetime contributor to Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, proffering $53,500. Evan’s number 1 is Goldman Sachs at $76,500. Half of Senator Max Baucus top lifetime donors are in the money management arena, investment firms, banks or insurance companies. One quarter of Senator Kent Conrad’s lifetime donations came from similar firms with CitiGroup number one at $61,000.

The situation has deformed such that there are Republican and Democratic private equity firms. My guess is this hearing is but a shot across the bow of some major PEU's to spread the money around a bit more equitably. That's the state of bipartisanship today...

Carlyle Flips Another Government Services Company for Big $

The Carlyle Group announced the sale of U.S. Investigations Service Inc. to another private equity group for $1.5 billion. Providence Equity Partners is acquiring the leading provider of pre-employment screening solutions, the largest provider of security investigations for the federal government, and a global supplier of cleared personnel supporting critical federal programs. Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe also owns a big chunk of USIS and will benefit mightily from the sale.

Did you know USIS used to be a government agency, the office of Federal Investigations? In a similar move to student loan vendor Sallie Mae, privatization turned it into a corporation in the 1996.

So how much did the boys from WCAS and Carlyle make on the deal? In January 2003 WCAS paid $545 million for the company, already partly owned by Carlyle since 1999. Carlyle reinvested $172 million in the transaction. The deal turned many ex-government employees into millionaires.

In four years USIS at least doubled, possibly nearly tripling in value to $1.5 billion. For conservativism I'll call the 2003 buyout at $717 million, the total investment of both WCAS and Carlyle. The private equity underwriters, PEU's made $787 million on their four year investment, nearly $200 million a year. In a move reminiscent of the Gipper, USIS gave 110% return to its investors.

How much will the sellers save in capital gains taxes as their assets were held for more than one year? WCAS and Carlyle save nearly $40 million from this transaction alone. Next time you hear Republicans or Democrats talk about the magic of privatization recall USIS and Sallie Mae.

Individuals, especially rich board members with significant stock holdings make out like bandits from what used to be a government services organization. Then after making millions, they don't share with their original benefactor! Sallie Mae's board members will save nearly $50 million with the Bush tax giveaway.

How much will the President's friend Tom Scully (ex-Medicare chief) make off this deal as a General Partner for Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe? Will he voluntarily pay extra taxes as Tom is intimately aware of Republican efforts to throw people off Medicaid via increased cost sharing and proof of citizenship requirements? I'm not holding my breath.

Next time you hear your Congress person cite the need to throw people off Medicaid, nutrition assistance, or housing help, remember who can more than afford healthcare, a decent meal and fine accomodations. Then vote them out of office.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Drilling the High Seas Portends What?

President Bush's just issued plea to the Senate to approve the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea paves the way for oil drilling in America's exclusive economic zone (within 200 nautical miles) and international waters.

An Admiral and a University of Virginia Law Professor say the United States already complies with all other aspects of the Law of the Sea Treaty, the only outstanding issue is mineral rights. The treaty the President endorses ensures private companies will participate in mining international waters.

Unfortunately for George Bush, a Congressional report just cited British Petroleum, one of those private companies for failure to maintain its oil pipelines in the pursuit of greater profits. How did this company behave according to its internal documents?

Severe company budget cuts at a time when BP PLC was making huge profits put pressure on managers to ignore corrosion protection at the oil company's North Slope pipelines that sprung leaks last year.

What might get ignored in deep water drilling or maintenance to boost private company profits? The other change from prior proposals is the United States has veto power over the International Seabed Authority's spending. This ensures America can block funds generated from international minerals to what it considers rogue goverments.

No wonder he wants the Senate to act as quickly as possible. The question is what happens when a rogue government's zone overlaps with America's 200 mile exclusive economic zone? Recent reports suggested oil offshore of Cuba, our southern Communist neighbor. Might enforcement of America's right to oil be step #2 after approval of the treaty? Time will tell...

Bush Takes Another Stab at Whistleblowers

A White House Executive Order shows President Bush against people participating financially based on the outcome of a matter. Is it corporate executive stock options with the outcome price per share? Is it oil field production sharing agreements where both parties benefit based on the amount of oil produced? Nope, these situations are endorsed by the current occupant of the White House.

President Bush's order prevents the government from entering into contingency fee arrangements, where a person due to their testimony gets a percent of the award. This order is aimed squarely at internal whistleblowers who take great personal and occupation risk to expose malfeasance. Does anyone else find it odd, Bush's order comes just days after lengthy Congressional testimony on corporate waste and corruption in Iraq?

Bolton Wants U.S. to Attack Saudi Arabia?

John Bolton, fresh of United Nations ambassadorship fame, suggested America take out nuclear capabilities of Middle Eastern countries that support Hamas. Was he referring to Iran or Saudi Arabia as both pursue peaceful nuclear programs and fund the Palestinian political arm of Hamas? Mr. Bolton expressly referred only to Iran in his comments.

He suggested bombing Iran back to the "Nukular Stone Age" only after other methods have been tried. These include heavy handed economic sanctions and internal unrest, revolution, or overthrow. What happened to those supremely successful economic sanctions President Bush bragged about around Christmas time?

As for overthrowing elected governments in Iran, America has a long history of such a thing. The Iranian people don't have fond memories of past U.S. tampering in their country. Didn't George Bush cite this as contributing to today's civil strife in the region? Why would John Bolton suggest another round if George (the history lover) really rues such action?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bush Stakes Seas

While Paris Hilton struggles in a sea of jailhouse depression, President Bush has visions of drilling the high seas. Today, he issued a statement urging the Senate to act favorably on U.S. accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. In his press release President Bush stated:

"It will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain."

He didn't mention the specific areas, but Bush has been known to invade other countries in search of resources, military or natural. We've seen America's grab in the modern day "Commons" of space. Is this another earthly stake driven to hold U.S. control of the commons of the seas? Highly likely, as later the President mentions the Great Barrier Reef and Galapagos Archipelago. I'll let you know what I find out...

Loss of the Faithful

What does one say when a religious leader dies, especially when the deceased worked to push their exclusive form of religion via political means? How should one feel about the dead knowing they trained tens of thousands to carry out their religious war? Should their earthly crimes and acts of taking ill begotten money be held against them? Is their death a glorious homecoming or God's act of vengance on their tortured soul?

Who died? Is it the latest al Qaeda leader or one of America's fundamentalist Christian faithful? Some days it's hard to know the difference, but rest assured another will rise in his place...

Vasoline to Hire Gonzales as Spokesman

Impressed with the Attorney General's long acting slipperyness, Vasoline announced today it would hire Alberto Gonzales as its spokesman once he retires from government service.

"The Vasoline brand would love to be associated with Alberto. I mean the guy can slip out of questions, transfer blame to subordinates with sleaze while greasing the skids for blatant political interference in American jurisprudence."

Just today, the Attorney General delegated blame to his resigning number 2.

"You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names, and he would know better than anyone else, anyone in this room, anyone _ again, the deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names."

Gonzales also called McNulty's pending departure "a loss. ... I'm really going to miss him." Given all the times Alberto testified on this topic, how often has he blamed his number 2? Just like Alberto said nearly 100 times before the Senate on the firings a month ago, "I don't know or my memory is hazy". I don't recall the Attorney General mentioning the key role his Deputy played before.

However, I have some advice for Alberto. This issue has traction because of the fear the average employee has of being canned for political reasons. Such slippery actions violate our sense of fair play. Why can't Alberto represent the basic "performance reasons" his valuable number 2 applied in this instance? Do Mr. Gonzales and his deputy not meet to discuss such issues?

After testifying before Congress 3 times, it still remains a mystery. Either the AG doesn't know how to do his homework or he looks like the coniving, sniveling yes man who executes his boss's arbitrary personnel decisions. Most of us fear people like him every day in the workplace...

P.S. Vasoline's hiring Alberto Gonzales is fiction, at least for now!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bush Delivers Can of Freedom without Sacrifice

While extolling the virtues of "huge sacrifice" driven freedom at historic Jamestown, President Bush extended his middle finger to that same sense of shared pain to address the present day pollutants contributing to global warming. Apparently once a democracy gets mature enough, the need to sacrifice is outweighed by other factors such as popular opinion, available technology and economic costs. The President spoke of America's role while touring the historic Jamestown fort.

"It is a chance to renew our commitment to help others around the world realize the great blessings of liberty which includes voter identification requirements costing anywhere from $10 to $97 to $210. Welcome to the modern day poll tax!"

"The advance of freedom is the great story of our time and new chapters are being written every day."

I guess there won't be a chapter finished on controlling carbon dioxide until the final days of President Bush's second slacker term. Despite orders from the Supreme Court, President Bush continues his knuckle dragging. Apparently no one can make this President do anything (which includes conducting competent investigations).

P.S. President Bush only said the words in italics. Everything else is offered by the author.

Cerebus Buys Chrysler on the Cheap

Private equity firm Cerebus Corp submitted the winning bid for Chrysler Group. For $7.4 billion Cerebus gets 80% of the automaker. This compares to $36 billion Daimler spent in 1998 for the company. Chrysler lost $1.5 billion in 2006.

So what does Cerebus expect given its investment of $5 billion into the manufacturing arm and over $1 billion into its financing division? Chairman John Snow, ex Bush Secretary of the Treasury, said:

"Cerberus believes in the inherent strength of U.S. manufacturing and of the U.S. auto industry. Most importantly, we believe in Chrysler."

"We are aware that Chrysler faces significant challenges, but we are confident that they can and will be overcome."

At a press conference, Snow said the management team of Chrysler will benefit from not being in the public glare of quarterly reporting. "Our capital is patience," he said.

Actually their capital also involves high level political connections. Ex. Vice President Dan Quayle serves as an advisor to Cerebus.

Here's my guess as to the future. As a smaller self contained company, Chrysler will lobby Congress for the same preferential pension status as airlines and defense contractors. They will work to shed responsibility for health care costs by passing them onto the employee or the United Auto Workers union.

Several industry experts expressed surprise for UAW support for the deal with a private equity firm. They apparently are unaware of the Democrats setting up unions as the group purchaser for employee health insurance once employers jettison responsibility for the deal.

With pension and health care benefits slashed, Chrysler could quickly become profitable, Cerebus could sell their stake and make what all private equity firms envy, bundles of billions. I'm not sure an asset has been sold this cheap since John Snow sold CSX Lines to the Carlyle Group in 2003. Let the money changing commence...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Stilted Age

Are we entering a new age? With the richest 1% of Americans bringing home 20% of the income in 2005 are we seeing the rise of the Robber Baron class? Big money and influence peddling mix in the reflecting pools of Washington, D.C.

With the exporting of "high cost" production to India and China, are American workers suffering? With the importing of tainted and fake products, some life threatening, does the consumer re-enter the blighted landscape of "buyer beware"?

Conservatives wanted a return to the good 'ole days. Did they turn the clock back a bit too far, say the 1880's? It appears we've entered the Stilted Age...

News Loves Bar Drinking & Whoring: Paris or Dusty?

Paris Hilton's bar drinking and sexual escapabes splash the "news" almost daily. Yet the ex. number 3 in the CIA has a long history of similar behavior and escapes with very little attention, other than his damage control resignation.

Paris gets charged with violating parole and ends up in the slammer. Dusty Foggo had new charges added to his influence peddling schemes this past week. Yet, Paris is everywhere while another high level Bush administration soul seller remains under the media radar. Some things never change...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cafferty Jackpot!

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes! Jack Cafferty of CNN picked my submission for his website!

Q: Who should ultimately decide how long U.S. troops stay in Iraq?

A: It's obviously not the people of either democratic country as 60-70% of Americans and Iraqis desire U.S. troops return home. That leaves the wildly unpopular decision makers in both countries in charge. When's the next election? -Lantern, San Angelo, Texas

Those Pesky VA Bonuses

America's appetite for distorting extrinsic motivators remains as healthy as our morbidly obese children. One makes the individual unhealthy, the other attacks organizations. The Veterans Administration utilizes "performance bonuses" to motivate and reward its top dogs. These are currently under fire from our quick gun Congress. However the VA Chief quickly rode to the rescue, staunchly defending the bonuses.

"We recognize our shortcomings, they could be making tremendous money on the outside. But they're staying."

Did he just contradict himself by saying his people could make more money but stay as they're motivated by other factors, i.e. not money? If that's the case, why would bonuses help? Also, if the salary isn't competitive, why not raise it vs. instituting bonuses that cause people to focus on their pay vs. what's good for the organization or its customers? The news reported some concerns about the performance rewarded.

The bonuses, which ranged up to $33,000, were given to several top officials who devised a budget that investigators later found to be misleading and put veterans care at risk.

Since when are people rewarded on a budget, which is simply an operational and financial plan? Aren't people expected to execute the plan competently? Note the words "misleading" and "putting the customer at risk". This is not a rare happening when people optimize their pay schemes at the expense of the people served. Lying and cheating are all too common in our "pay for performance" world. Corporate CEO's cheated by the bucketload on the most pure form of incentive pay, stock options.

Congress showed their leadership ignorance as well. Rep. Bob Filner, the Democratic Committee Chair, said:

"I think people want bolder action. They don't want this process stuff."

I hate to tell you Bob, but the only way to improve the outcome, boldly or otherwise, is through process change. The Bush team may use the words but have no clue about process improvement. They repeatedly prove their inability to manage their way out of a wet paper bag.

So what's America's prognosis given the ignorance displayed above? According to the late Dr. Deming, "More heavy losses!"