By Carol Sterritt
In the following satire, facts about young women in the Bush family are fictionalized. However some of the facts relating to the nursing home situation, plus Enron, DynCorp, etc. are unfortunately the truth.
Marin County May 2005
Standing to one side of a hospital bed in a nursing home in Marin County California, the newly hired orderly, one George W. Bush, shakes his head. He is somewhat overcome by the irony.
Before him lies Donald Rumsfield, former Secretary of Defense.
George W. would ask the nurse in charge just what has brought Mr. Rumsfield here to this desperate state, but this being a California nursing home, there is of course no nurse in charge. This complicates matters a bit.
So much of the recent past is a wee bit fuzzy for our George. The past in all its glory stretches out like a pleasant dream, and the horrible present is still a violent shock for someone as sensitive as this former president. How is it that so much of his administration has come to this?
As he contemplates the bedpan in his hand, the door swings open. At first he thinks that it is the nursing facility's director, Ms. Moneypurse, and that idea has no appeal. The last time she checked on him, he was put on probation for being one of the least efficient of the new hires.
It has been explained to him by a few historians, what went wrong and when, and why. Many of his mistakes can be traced back to that fateful spring of 2002, with the release of a report made by the Senate's Special Committee on Aging. This major investigation into the state of nursing homes took exception to the horrid conditions that were found throughout the nation. Among the findings: Few if any accredited nurses at the facilities. One nursing aide or orderly for every fourteen patients. Patients who sat or lay in their own bodily excretions, who remained ungroomed and unfed, with the resulting bedsores and malnourishment, to say nothing of the hopelessness. A gulag of federally and state-permitted concentration camps for the elderly and disabled. Add to that the fact that such shabby facilities cost the user a small fortune, and it was a situation asking for a citizens' revolt.
And the President's response to all this? As reported in newspapers across the nation on February 24th, 2002, George W. smugly noted that "Surely market forces will in the end straighten everything out." As the press asked him questions about this response, he was about to get on the phone to ask his old buddy, Kenny (as in Kenneth Lay,) what Kenny would do in this situation, but it took a minute or so to realize that the former head of Enron was now a persona non grata. George W. was on his own.
So he merely repeated his assertion about market forces, and then realized that what he needed was a distraction. A day later, he released a major policy change. The major media gave his proposal of cutting drug usage in the United States by 25% the standard, first page full headline treatment.
This is where the proverbial effluvia hit the fan. To cut the nation's drug usage by such a significant factor required several things. First and foremost, you would have to do a tally of all the drugs that were currently being used. And then multiply that number by a factor of 25%. Subtract that figure out from the total usage number and Voila, you would arrive at figures for the proposed goal.
There was only one problem with all this. On a per capita basis, most of the nation had rather tiny numbers for units of drugs imbibed. If you excluded marijuana, (which you probably needed to do, because it was not popular among Americans to come down heavily on this staple,) there really was minimal drug usage. That is, until you looked carefully at certain subsets of the population. Among these subsets were members of George W.'s own family, mainly his heavily partying daughters and his niece. Those three young adults imbibed in total as much hard liquor and drugs as the state of Maine.
But what about another subset? Rumors were hot and heavy regarding a certain corporation called DynCorp, now contracting to the US government Department of Defense for its services in the nation of Colombia. Rumors stated that DynCorp's employees snorted as many hard drugs as the entire Midwest and Central Southern States combined. Colombian officials often had encounters with DynCorp employees over the lack of military discipline and respect for Colombian requirements that DynCorp employees, including pilots, lacked.
"They are very difficult people to deal with. They consume large amounts of drugs. They inject while flying," stated one such official, who choose to remain nameless. Also, the planes used by this mercenary corporation are free from the inspections for drugs that any other planes would incur. Rumors that such flights are often packed to the gills with illegal contraband can neither be affirmed, nor with any conviction, denied.
However, one former Enron official, who also preferred anonymity, said that conversations that he had held with Jeffrey Skilling shed some light on DynCorp's sinister dealings. At one point during the month before Enron's bankruptcy, various executives at Enron were considering renting a huge warehouse to stockpile significant "product" whose ultimate delivery to the American public, especially to young adult women in the Bush family, might ensure that Enron could avoid bankruptcy.
Only at the last moment, due to a flurry of press coverage on the issue of the Bush women's unfortunate drug dependence, did the deal fall apart. As the young adult Bush women were deprived by their Dad and their uncles of receiving any types of weekly allowance, and had all available credit cards privileges cut off, only then did the Enron executives realize that most of their stash would go unsold. Thus Enron abruptly broke off its DynCorp-Colombia connection. Without this source of funding, the firm quickly became history.
George W. shook his head sadly. If only this or that past happening had been slightly different. He felt his head spinning, and he looked at his watch. If the hour hand was correct, and if it was indeed the midday sun shining through the windows, then he had been on duty for at least 36 hours.
How was that possible? He had not stopped to sleep, and not for any bathroom breaks, nor had he had lunch or dinner, or any other meal.
Matilde, a nursing aide from the Honduras, was tapping him on the shoulder. "You've been here 39 hours, George. It's time for your bag break."
As she sashayed away from him, he remembered. The words "bag break" brought back the reality of his duty as an orderly. When you applied for work at Happy Acres Nursing Care Facility, you signed away many of your rights as a human being. George W. had resigned himself to the fact that their were no more motorcade tickertape parades, that "Hail to The Chief" was a thing of the past. Indeed his replacement, President Bill Gates, had cut back on much of the national patriotic trappings, including the traditional anthems, in favor of corporate jingles. When Bill Gates appeared at the podium at his inauguration, the jingle from the old kids' show "Barney" was trumpeted. "I Love Excell, You love Word, We are part of the Microsoft herd" left the audience attending the event in tears (especially those who were executives at Netscape or Sun.)
And the words, "bag break" meant that the former President's leg bag, filled with urine from the catheter that all employees had affixed to their urethras, would be drained. His colostomy bag also would be emptied.
"This is inhumane," he said as Ms. Moneypurse tugged at the plastic contraptions. "What are you complaining about, you turd?" she hissed. "Just what?"
In reply, he began to prattle. "This whole thing is in violation or something of my human rights."
"You say what?" replied his superior.
"My rights. And surely there is a statute, or an agency, or something that protects me."
"Oh, your rights. Now don't you go whining about your bad luck. When you were President, you were the one believing that market forces would take care of everything, that workers could always arrive at more efficient ways of taking care of their assigned patients. You even said so."
"But I am expected to care for over twenty-three people!" George W. was almost shouting. He couldn't believe that this was expected of him. Even given that there was no longer time in his schedule for lunch, or for the bathroom, even so, there was no real way that one person could manage more than eight or nine patients at the most. And when some of the patients were as comatose as poor Donald Rumsfield, who had little mobility, who could not be expected to dress or feed themselves.
"I am not upset about this for myself. But for my patients. Don't you realize how badly I feel, seeing my old friend Donald Rumsfield, lying there semi-comatose, occasionally muttering."
"Oh, that old man. All he ever says is, "What do they want? Do they want my blood?" The woman was shaking her head feverishly. "Rumsfield asks that one thing all the time. They say it can be traced back to the disbanding of his baby, the Office for Strategic Influence. Once it became clear that the public wanted the truth, and only the truth, he collapsed under the pressure. I doubt he'll ever regain his health. Now all he does is repeat those words, over and over again."
George W. shuddered as he considered all this. But Ms. Moneypurse shoved him out the door, back to his duties. He was determined to take his fate into his own hands. A Coffee Break! That was what he needed. Surely he'd feel better after he had a stiff brew or two.
He suspected that the old employee lounge was on the second floor. With no one except security cameras watching, he crept off to the section of the facility where it might be. He gave the door a sharp shove, and it spilled open. He found himself inside a room with chairs and tables, a few magazines, and a couple of vending machines. But of most interest to him (once he got over his disappointment at not getting a cup) was the pictured display of the facility's owner. The bright portrait was none other than Osama Bin Laden.
"Osama?" said the bewildered George. "Is it possible?" But he knew inside his heart of hearts that it was. Just as two of the World Trade Center hijackers had received their student visas almost six months to the day after their annihilation of the WTC, so could it be that Osama was now the head honcho of Happy Acres. This explained why the bearded terrorist had never been caught, not in the streets of Kabul, not in the northernmost Afghani mountains. Osama was merely taking terrorism to another degree above his usual. And profiting from it quite nicely, if the quarterly report lying on the first of the Formica tables could be believed (and of course, there were many reasons why this, as well as all other reports prepared by Arthur Andersen, might not be.)
This was all too much of our George. He leaned against the wall, burying his head into the very stucco of the wall's surface. He was about to cry WHEN...
He woke up. And of course, as luck would have it, he was still the President of the United States. He was still the Executive-in-Charge. Good thing too, because so many things needed his attention. Why, just yesterday, he had decided to sign the Nursing Home Staff to Patient Care Reduction Bill. This bill would guarantee that each nursing home employed at least one employee for each twelve patients. The funding would never be there to see that this actually took place, but God it looked good on paper! It just might give him the needed edge to keep Mr. Bill Gates from ever eclipsing him in the polls. Microsoft herd, indeed!
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