Etc. 

This just in from the Montana Republican Party listserve: The 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee is closing its offices, and its store (www.inauguralgiftshop.com ) is holding the first-ever Bush Inaugural Fire Sale. “With over 25,000 customers served, the shop has some collectibles left and will slash most prices by 50% or more. You can still enjoy a piece of the historic 2001 Presidential Inauguration of George W. Bush while supplies last. Products range from the Official Bronze Inaugural Medallion (reg. $48/now $20), the Presidential Inaugural Pen Set (reg. $95/ now $49.95), to the popular white Inaugural Tee (reg. $14.95/ now $5.00).” Now, considering which corporate sponsors ponied up at least $100,000 for the Grand Old Party’s Inaugural Kegger last January—BP Amoco, Chevron, Conoco, Exxon-Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, International Paper, Dow Chemical Co., to name but a few—one can only imagine what other historic American collectibles have had their prices slashed and are now hanging on the White House clearance rack.

To wit: On June 21 Rep. Denny Rehberg (R—Mont.)voted to allow new oil and gas leases in national monuments. Rehberg is a supporter of the recently introduced “Energy Security Act,” which would require the Department of the Interior to survey most national park land, national wildlife refuges and national forests for coal deposits, geothermal energy and potential wind power. The legislation has been lambasted by environmentalists, farmers and ranchers because they fear it goes too far in easing federal oversight of leases to drill and mine. Not to mention the sign posted at the checkout counter: All sales are final.

Jot this one down on the Rainbow Family gift list… Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D—Ohio) introduced legislation to create a cabinet-level federal agency dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to peace. “The time for peace is now,” Rep. Kucinich said. “At the dawn of a new millennium, there is no better time to review age-old challenges with new thinking that peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind. Our Founding Fathers recognized that peace was one of the highest duties of the newly organized free and independent states. But too often, we have overlooked the long-term solution of peace for instant gratification of war. This continued downward spiral of violence must stop to ensure that future generations will live in peace and harmony.”

According to Kucinich’s media folks, the Department of Peace would focus on nonmilitary peaceful conflict resolutions, preventing violence ,promoting justice, democratic principles and expanding human rights. A national Peace Academy would be created (similar to the five military service academies, minus the pushups, beet-faced drill sergeants and ego-shattering humiliation), with its tie-dyed graduates dispatched to hot spots around the globe to promote nonviolent dispute resolutions. But before anyone starts designing medals to be awarded for outstanding heroics in the field of peacemaking (the Rankin Cross, the Distinguished Hug) someone might point out to the current administration the folly of spending billions of dollars building life-sized video games in space.

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