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August, 2006


Bush, Bombs And Back-Rubs
By Larry Kelley

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider God-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side." --Aristotle
A long-time photographer friend of mine had the unfortunate habit of asking every female he met if she would like a back-rub. For many years I watched with some embarrassment for him as he was turned down over and over. Finally, after many years of this, he stopped asking. Instead he would just start giving a shoulder rub to ladies he was hanging with or had just met. He was not well-received.
I was reminded vividly of my friend when I saw the photos of George W. trying to give an impromptu, un-requested back-rub to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G-8 talks. I was so mesmerized I took out a magnifier to see what George was up to.

Ryan, of the web site Mind Populations describes the scene captured by a Russian TV camera: "Keep your eyes on his face. It shows absolutely no emotion, neither playfulness nor malice, just an empty void, like a rapist in the night."

I studied the four photos on the front page of the Chronicle. Our Casanova approaches the Chancellor from behind while she is seated and addressing the other world leaders. Staring intently at her back, George earnestly applies both hands to the Chancellor's shoulders. She seems to stop talking in picture two while George goes to work but by picture three she throws her arms up to ward him off and has a look on her face that seems to scream, "What the hell are you doing?"

George pulls his hands back and looks away poker-faced as if to say, "I didn't do anything." In the fourth photo he is walking away, still stone-faced, as if nothing happened without saying a word to the Chancellor.

Dialogue International, a Web site specializing in German-American politics, gave this assessment: "When he is away from his script and his handlers, his true lack of intelligence and emotional maturity surfaces for all to see. The dangerous situation in Lebanon requires true leadership. Don't look for it from the world's uberpower."

Blogger Christy Hardin Smith wrote, "This isn't a Sigma Chi kegger, it's a G-8 Summit." MSNBC showed off its investigative skills by correcting her with this journalistic bombshell: "Bush was actually in Delta Kappa Epsilon."

There really was only one excuse to use, the one that gets trotted out for all tight situations-Clinton did it.

"There are those who say the president should be more Clintonesque," said Bill Whalen, former advisor to former GOP Governor Pete Wilson, "Maybe he misunderstood what they meant."

But Fox News analyst Karen Hanretty said the outraged reaction to the back-rub of the only female at the table shows that poor George "just can't win." And what did Laura think?

* * *
In an attempt to look neutral, Secretary of State Condelezza Rice stopped off in Lebanon on her way to Israel to assure the devastated Muslims that the US would be sending humanitarian aid after two weeks of brutal bombing. However, the Bush Administration refused to call for a cease-fire, despite 275 mostly-civilian men, women and children killed in Lebanon and another 800,000 displaced, according to the UN, while thirty-five Israelis have been killed. CNN reports that the US failed to call for the cease-fire because "Israel has not yet achieved its aim of crippling Hezbollah."

Meanwhile, Bush announced the US. is speeding up deliveries of bombs and jet fuel to Israel. The Red Cross warned that a "humanitarian crises is looming" in Lebanon, which has a population of 4 million.

UN Relief Coordinator Jan Egelund told CNN that it is so bad in southern Lebanon and Beirut that "animals are eating the dead bodies," and Amer Daoudi of the World Food Program said Lebanon's infrastructure "has been totally destroyed. It's horrendous."

* * *
A National Geographic survey shows that 60 percent of Americans between 18 and 24 cannot find Iraq on a map. Thirty percent couldn't find Louisiana or New Orleans, giving them something in common with the president who had the same problem after Katrina.

Proving he fits right into the Bush Administration, new press secretary Tony Snow, when asked about the significance of 2500-plus American soldiers killed in Iraq, said "That's just a number."

Saddam and three co-defendants began a hunger strike July 7 but on July 24, Snow (job) said the ex-Iraqi leader "consented to a feeding tube." Not real food? What's wrong with this picture?

* * *
How do you lose money by making money? The Wall Street Journal reports that it now costs more for the government to make pennies and nickels than those coins are actually worth.

And finally Bill Gates tells us, "There is zero good that comes from being the world's richest man." Can't wait to tell my son.

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