Speaking Power to Truth
READ MY LIPS
Got your attention, fellow Billionaires? Good- have the assistant to your assistant tell your people to start putting in overtime! The salaried suckers, anyway. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that fully one-third of G.W.'s tax-cuts in the past three-years have gone to the wealthiest 1%. That's us! The more we make, the more we save!
In contrast, Mr. Kerry wants to roll back our Billionaires' tax cuts to fund such superfluous middle-class programming as national healthcare. A kept man should really watch his priorities! The catsup queen may be running for homecoming court, but we all know at the end of the day it's better to be rich than popular!
The Joy of (Book)Cooking
True artists have always gone unappreciated in their time. Like an Emily Dickinson, a Vincent Van Gogh, or a Tammy Faye Bakker, there exists today a creative genius the world cannot yet appreciate... a visionary entity that, like its predecessors, sees an alternate reality and dares to live it.
I speak, of course, of Halliburton.
The Pentagon announced early on Tuesday that its auditors discovered $1.8 billion dollars worth of work in Iraq and Kuwait that Hallie unit Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) could not account for, despite billing it to the US government. The amount represents 43% of the $4.18 billion that KBR has charged the Defense Dept. for military support services like food and shelter for troops, in numbers both real and imagined, stationed in the Persian Gulf. This ingenious brand of ledger-sauteeing has proved a wildly successful business model, having managed to keep the company up, running, and trading over $29 despite such filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year over a few pesky asbestos lawsuits.
According to a 60-page audit report dated August 4th, though still unavailable to the public, KBR's "internal control policies" are "inadequate for providing verifiable, supportable, and documented cost estimates that are acceptable for negotiating a fair and reasonable price." Inadequate like a fox! Yes, our Texas titans have convinced federal regulators that 'inadequacy' is to blame, and not the deft, Houdini-esque touch of Accounts Receivable. Brilliant!
Unfortunately, the government has no interest in magic: it could withhold as much as $600 million in payment to KBR as a result of the findings, and future contracts with a potential yield of over $8 billion could be affected. The announcement comes shortly after a class-action lawsuit leveled charges of intentional, "serial accounting fraud" against top Hallie execs during the period of 1998 to 2001, including when it was helmed by none other than businessman's hero Vice President Cheney.
Lawsuits... inquiries... audit reports... These are the typical responses of Philistines unaware of the beauty they behold. We Billionaires know better. Anyone who has ever claimed their poodle as a dependent, their butler as a business expense, or braved enterprise corruption charges on account of a few measly Renoirs on the company dime (hang in there, Dennis K!), can attest to the creative talent needed to pull off ANY Pro-Business Bookkeeping with both credibility and panache.
Halliburton has both in spades. Cool as a corporate cucumber, the co. has flatly denied the report's veracity and admitted no wrongdoing. One unnamed company representative was quoted as saying, "This is the same system that the company has used for more than 10 years." Ten years! Why, my husband couldn't sustain falsifying his own income tax reports for more than three before Mr. Audit caught him. But then, my household was never run by Cheney, the Frostiest Cucumber of all. Oh, what might have been...
At any rate, here's to the unsung accountant-chefs, the Wolfgang Pucks of the military supply sector: Bravi, and encore. History will prove your worth.
Canadian Drugs Will Kill You
Take heed, America: New word from the FDA suggests that terrorists might be planning to attack the nation's drug supply, especially drugs imported illegally from countries like Canada. (Emphasis mine.)
Now, far be it from me to blame the potential victim, but Americans are doubtlessly aware that importing drugs from Canada also cuts into the massive profits of our nation's fine pharmaceutical companies. Drug companies have been among America's biggest moneymakers in the past few years, thanks to their knack for creative profiteering and using Americans' dollars to subsidize sales in disadvantaged nations, like Canada, France, and Switzerland. Yet some Americans insist on paying Canadian prices, and will even flout the law to do it. Next thing you know, they'll be demanding actual health care!
Thank goodness our friend W. has stood by our drug makers' rights to bigger profits and opposed the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada and elsewhere. We really shouldn't have to remind working Americans to toe the line. They should know that every time they import Granny's heart medicine illegally to save a few dollars, those dollars come directly out of the pocket of a hard-working CEO who might not know where his next Jaguar is coming from.
But thanks to the new warning, we can now send a simpler message: Import prescription drugs, and you will die.
American Beachgoers Waste Less Time on Free Swimming
Here's something to brighten up our summer, friends: The National Resources Defense Council's latest report found that 2003 was the biggest year on record for pollution-related beach closings and advisories. According to the report, 51 percent more ocean and Great Lakes beaches were closed in 2003 than in the previous year. While some of the increase is due to better reporting mandated by the onerous Clinton administration, it's still a remarkable achievement for a year that W. declared the "year of clean water!" (You sure scared us for a while, there, George!)
The jump in beach closings is good news on two fronts. First, it confirms that despite his cheeky media gestures, our friend W. has successfully relaxed clean water laws that cut into our corporate profits. And second, it's a bonanza for our friends in the tourism industry. All those people getting kicked out of the ocean or the lake will inevitably spend more time in America's gift shops, restaurants, and casinos!
It's about time somebody stood up for the rights of seaside merchants against that Socialist purveyor of free recreation, Mother Nature. Keep up the good work, George! Before long, beach bums from Santa Cruz to Cape Cod will have to shell out pricey memberships for country-club swimming pools!
National Sales Tax: The Wing Takes Dream
He said it!
He finally said it!
Speaking to supporters in Florida, President Bush has just publicly said that replacing the income tax system with a national sales tax would be "worth considering."
Fellow Billionaires, we stand on the brink of a great new era. An era where we will be officially guaranteed to pay no more taxes than those less fortunate than us. Far less, even. With no income tax, our personal and corporate profits will flood in unchecked. After the income tax falls, it's only a matter of time before the capital gains tax and the estate tax fall with it. Then we'll pay taxes only on groceries, clothes, and the occasional solid-gold high-definition home IMAX theater like the common people. And if we need to get a really big-ticket item, like a third yacht, we can always skirt the sales tax by buying it in the Cayman Islands!
Let our silent prayers whisper in W.'s ear: Keep dreaming big, George. The wealthiest 1 percent are depending on you.
We Won't Move On This Mountain
There he goes again. John Kerry has lambasted the Bush administration's support for creating a national nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Yucca Mountain, as our friends in the nuclear power industry are well aware, is an ideal place for us to toss our toxic cookies. Reason #1: It's in Nevada. Reason #2: It already has an unpleasant-sounding name (why not just call it "Yucky Mountain" and be done with it)? Our 110 commercial-grade plants across the nation (most of them east of the Mississippi) are poised and ready to ship 77,000 tons of radioactive sludge out there on the government's dime.
So what if the state of Nevada and 11 of its major government and civic associations oppose the plan? As usual, they're prattling on about "cancer" and "genetic defects." But as I've noted before, cancer and birth defects from toxic waste are merely diseases of people who can't afford to move. These pesky Nevadans seem to forget the first rule of Not In My Backyard: Whoever has the nicer backyard wins.
Thank goodness W. wasn't too literal when he promised to respect states' rights shortly before he took office. We all know that he really respects the greatest States in the land: the States of Wealth, Privilege, and Unaccountability!
EPA would leave US in dark...
Environmental Persecution Alert: The Environmental Protection Agency may file suit on 22 of the nation's largest utilities.
The EPA bases the alleged violations on the New Source Review regulations established twenty-five years ago under the pesky Carter Administration. This apparently partisan movement against energy was, for lack of a better word, re-energized by the Clinton Administration, which originally filed some of the cases. President Bush, a fan of all lucrative forms of energy (especially the turbines that keep his pretzel warmer warm), along with other critics of the New Source Review, maintains that these onerous regulations "have been misused to target routine maintenance activities."
We Billionaires concur with our esteemed leader. What emissions are not worth the glow of big cities and casinos, or of the hum of giant presses printing crisp new bills? Let's be honest: we are a nation of comfort cravers. We could, potentially, outsource some of our emissions, by building our plants and reactors in other lands. Of course, then we'd hear cries over job loss. Face it, consumers are happy to believe that when you flip a switch, magic happens. This meshes nicely with Bush's preference for a market-based approach to energy regulation. Let's see the same kind of marketing magic that brought you Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny defeat the Big Brotheresque EPA. Power to the Powerful!