Legal Disclaimer:

The following letter to Santa Claus in no way should imply that the People's Weekly Brief (PWB) believes in a mystical rotund man with a white beard who transports toys around the globe in one evening with the assistance of a team of flying reindeer.

Furthermore, the fact that I just referred to Santa as rotund should in no way imply that his weight is an issue. Everyone is unique and special, regardless of size. Santa could be thin for all I care. He’d seem a bit less jolly, but never mind.

In reading the first paragraph of the legal disclaimer, it occurs to me that the reference to a white beard should be highlighted as merely a historical characteristic and is not indicative of any tendency toward ageism or in fact any prejudice toward hair color or indeed one’s preference to grow hair on one’s face.

The toys mentioned in the aforementioned paragraph one above may or may not have been manufactured in China, and the PWB is not responsible for any stress, medical issues or replacement costs in the event Santa failed to properly test for lead content in said toys prior to transportation and delivery.

It is important to note that the team of flying reindeer reportedly used by Santa are not harmed during the course of the one-night toy delivery operation. None of the reindeer employed by Santa’s corporation (a single entity BVI registered vehicle) have been involved in animal testing, stunt work or Pentagon-sponsored research and development.

The fact that we referred to Santa as “a man” in paragraph one of the disclaimer in no way diminishes the role of Mrs. Claus in the overall enterprise. The PWB acknowledges the role of the woman in the development, maintenance and performance of Santa year in and year out. Should the two at some point decide to part ways, we wholeheartedly encourage her efforts to claim at least half of Santa’s property, assets and future income.

In addition, the following letter is not to be interpreted as an endorsement of Santa, nor as a commercial or marketing vehicle from which Santa, his spouse, employees, service providers, subcontractors or reindeer should in turn benefit financially. The PWB maintains no financial interest in the corporate entity reportedly owned entirely by Santa. It is noted that there is a lack of transparency in the ownership structure and we can not at this time confirm or deny the possibility of Russian shareholders.

It is not the PWB’s intention to suggest that Santa is or is not magical, mystical, other-worldly or bestowed with mojo, superpowers or capabilities that make him any more special than you, me or any other shlump. As a public service, the PWB reminds all readers that, according to life as we know it, everyone’s special. Nobody’s average and there are certainly no losers. Even when we lose, we’re still special winners. Repeat daily and induce vomiting.

Finally, the PWB’s reference to Santa in no way implies linkage to the holiday commonly referred to as Christmas. In the event a reader is offended by the reference to Christmas, Santa, Mrs. Claus, toy delivery, reindeer, fir trees, ornaments, yule logs, Yul Brenner, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, glad tidings or any other symbolic reference, the PWB takes no responsibility for said reader’s subsequent stress, anxiety or inability to function normally.

Likewise, there are no indications that God endorses Santa, nor in fact created Santa in man’s image. Although he looks a lot like Burl Ives. Santa, not God. I don’t know what God looks like.

Secondary Disclaimer:

The PWB wishes to explain that the previous paragraph is in no way an endorsement for any particular religious belief. In the event the reader is offended by the reference to God, please be assured the staff of the PWB will suffer. If not in this life, then certainly the next. However, that does not imply a belief in Heaven or Hell, although it would seem wise to play the odds and be good for goodness sake.

With no malice of forethought, expectations of financial reward (toy or otherwise) and without any preexisting notions of what does or does not constitute the holiday season, the following letter makes no claim on Santa’s future responsibilities nor obligations. The PWB exempts Santa from any future wishes and holds him, or possibly her, blameless in the event I don’t receive what I’d like this year.

Dear Santa,

How are you? It’s me again. I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this brief as usual. In the event that one or more of the following items are unavailable, please don’t hesitate to substitute whatever you feel to be appropriate. I trust your judgment. This Christmas, in no particular order, I would like the following:

1. An end to the current presidential campaign season here in the United States.

I know a lot of people clearly asked you for a new president during the past couple of years, but was it really necessary to start the process so soon before November 2008? How many more times do we have to watch the candidates debate in front of Mrs. Madigan’s 6th grade class from Tasty Meadows Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, while simulcast on CrapBlog and hosted by Simon Cowell? How about we save all the millions of dollars that the campaigns will happily flush down the toity and instead pay each voter come November 2008 five or ten bucks in an effort to get the national voter turnout above 40 percent? It’s not vote buying if you don’t tell them who to vote for.

2. A slow, painful death for Political Correctness.

But not too slow. Damn it Santa, I honestly don’t think this one’s all that difficult to understand. I’m all about civility, reasonable discourse and understanding … but can we get back to some sense of normalcy here? At some point when we weren’t paying enough attention the idiots took over the wheelhouse. Everybody’s super special, competition’s bad, don’t let excellence get in the way of attaining mediocrity for all, regulate and litigate common sense till it runs screaming out the door, cancel all unique celebrations and beliefs so as not to offend the one person who might see things differently … any of this getting through to you, Santa?

I suspect you’ve got something to do with the current state of affairs. I’ve asked the Justice Department to consider an investigation into just what Christmas wishes you’ve been granting, and to whom. We’ll likely be needing copies of all your previously granted lists, as well as all relevant e-mail and telephone records. No offense, but this one really ticks me off.

3. Energy Independence.

I’ve asked you for this before and what did I get? Hybrid vehicles. Are you serious? You expect us to believe that’s the best you, BP, ExxonMobil and Shell can come up with? Do I need to remind you that Time magazine just named Vladimir Putin its Person of the Year? Do you think he’d be gracing that cover if oil were hovering around 40 dollars a barrel? Negative. Would any of us have heard about Hugo Chavez or give a crap about Ahmadinejad if they weren’t all jacked up on petrodollars?

Time should’ve put a barrel of oil on the cover instead of Putin. If you had brought us an actual alternative fuel source back when I first started asking for it, do you think we’d be worried about Russia, Venezuela and Iran right about now? These are rhetorical questions, Santa.

4. Peace.

But I do have some conditions. I’m not talking the kind of peace that you get simply by hiding your head in the sand and not dealing with the world. If I wake up tomorrow morning, Santa, and you’ve turned us into Switzerland, I’m gonna be really cheesed off.

I’m talking about an earned peace. Peace that comes from a strong military, tough diplomacy, honest and consistent dealings with our allies and enemies alike … a peace that is a by-product of knowing when to step into the breach, and when not to. Sometimes you’ve got to let the diplomats do their work, sometimes you’ve got to get out the big stick.

5. Contentment and a happy life for anyone who puts on the uniform and serves our country.

This is a big order Santa. If possible, can you also give them the respect and gratitude they deserve from all the rest of us who sit on our ever widening backsides and whine about the little things in life? That would be a good start.

It would also be nice if you could throw in a little of that respect and gratitude to all the civilians who work in federal, state and local agencies and organizations that never see the light of day but work to keep the rest of us better protected. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

6. An exact replica of the Tudor electric football game you gave me in 1967.

Frankly, Santa, it was the finest gift you ever delivered. If it’s not too much trouble, I and my new son would really appreciate it.

'Til next year, Santa, stay safe. As always, if you have any questions about my list or need additional information regarding sizes or quantities, you can reach me via email at peoplesweeklybrief@hotmail.com.

Mike

Respond to the Writer.

Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector, including most recently Prescience LLC, a global intelligence and strategy firm. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on such issues. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks" as well as major motion pictures. In addition, Baker is a writer for a BBC drama to begin production in July 2007.