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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

January, 2007

 

Connecting The Dots
Shut Up And Shop
By Larry Kelley

"I'm not going to make predictions about what 2007 will look like in Iraq except that it's going to require difficult choices and additional sacrifices because the enemy is merciless and violent."
President George W. Bush
* * *
In this wonderful season of giving and forgiving, it is truly warming to see just how generous our leaders can be. In the spirit of Christmas and Chanukah, our president issued 16 pardons and even commuted the sentence of another man. It really doesn't matter that seven of the lucky 16 had received no jail time when they were sentenced or that President Bush has issued the fewest pardons of any president since World War II.
In six years, Bush has issued 113 pardons, compared to Jimmy Carter's 563 in four years, Bill Clinton's 457 in eight years and the Champ. Harry S. Truman. 2,031 in almost eight years, reports AP. The presidents father was only slightly more generous than W, issuing 77 pardons in four years.

The president was more generous in other ways. Buried inside a catch-all bundle of tax and trade bills rushed to the Republican Congress, which approved it just before adjourning in December, is a provision to open up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling. Jingle Bells indeed.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is clamoring for its holiday booty in the form of $100 billion more to keep losing the war in Iraq, which would boost the overall cost for that war alone to $350 billion. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, the cost to the American taxpayer has exceeded $500 billion when the war in Afghanistan and anti-terrorism operations are added.

Of the $99.7 billion requested by the Pentagon, only $9.8 billion is earmarked for training and equipping the security forces of Iraq and Afghanistan. So much for letting them take over their own country.

* * *

As the American death toll passes 3,000 with at least that many wounded, our commander-in-chief can't seem to make up his mind about whether we're winning or losing in Iraq. In December, he declared, "Absolutely we're winning...we're winning and we will win." But the day before, he told the Washington Post, "We're not winning and we're not losing." Huh?

Later, at his year-end press conference, the tough-talking cowpoke tried to clarify. "I believe that we're going to win... they can't run us out of the Middle East." He described the enemy as "merciless and violent." How dare they be violent in a war.

And finally, some thoughtful advise for the American people, who give our "war president" a 25% approval rating: "I encourage you all to go shopping more," he told America.

* * *

The Pentagon's gift to Iraq seems to be a new weapons system which shoots microwave rays at offenders, causing "immediate and immense pain" in the form of an intense burning sensation, according to the Daily Tech web site. Human volunteers reported feeling as though they were "on fire" and had a pain threshold of three seconds.

The alleged non-lethal Active Denial System, certified by the US Air Force for ground use against insurgents, causes burning to the skin with a 3mm wavelength ray, but "will not impose long-lasting damage in most cases," according to the Pentagon. The average household microwave has a 12 cm wavelength. Some version of the system, which took 10 years and $40 million to develop, is already in use in Iraq.

* * *
Former president George "Poppy" Bush broke down in tears recently while describing his son as an example of real "leadership." Was he talking about our beloved "war president" George W? Hardly. Examples of leadership do not come easily to mind, if at all, when contemplating the president. No, "Poppy" was getting all choked up over son Jeb, governor of Florida and his first choice to run for president back in 2000.

Sobbing and stammering, the former president addressed top administrators, lawmakers and state workers at the governor's leadership forum in Tallahassee last month. While speaking of the governor's character, Bush verbally stumbled, put a handkerchief to his face and cried openly while Jeb ran to his rescue with a hug and some water.

* * *

After a 25-year legal battle, historian John Wiener received a Christmas present from the FBI when the bureau last month released the final 10 pages of its surveillance documents on John Lennon, concluding that there was "no certain proof" the peace-loving ex-Beatle had ever provided money "for subversive purposes."

"Today we can see that the national security claims the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning," Wiener told the L.A. Times.

Yoko Ono appealed to the world last month to mark the 26th anniversary of Lennon's assassination on December 8 with "peace" and "forgiveness for all," but admitted she still cannot forgive Mark David Chapman for the murder.

"As the widow of one who was killed by an act of violence, I don't know if I am ready yet to forgive the one who pulled the trigger," she said. "Let's wish strongly that one day we will be able to say that...by healing ourselves, we healed the world." She called for making December 8 a day of forgiveness.

* * *

Say it isn't so. Target has pulled from its shelves a CD carrying case bearing the image of Che Guevara after an "outcry by critics" who called the revolutionary hero a "murderer."

In an editorial last month, Investor's Business Daily asked, "What next, Hitler backpacks? Pol Pot cookware? Pinochet pantyhose?" How about Bush Booze or Cheney Changeholders or Rice Skin Color Erasers? Gonzalez Garbage Cans perhaps?

* * *
I guess I received my present from Time Magazine which named me as their 2006 "Person of the Year." Actually, the term they used was "You" but I know that meant me because they said the award went to "anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web." This is the second time I've won the award, same as W, who won in 2000 and 2004 for successfully stealing the presidency. In 1966, I won when Time named everyone "25 and Under" as its "Person of the Year." In 1938, Hitler was the winner. Is it 2008 yet?















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