The news about Gerald Ford’s passing eclipsed a far more important figure in U.S. history, and that of course is James Brown, who slipped away the day before the man whose greatest legacy was to pardon the arch criminal Richard M. Nixon.

James Brown created a new musical form, one performed with verve and inexhaustible energy as he drove fans to the brink of ecstasy. Gerald Ford sang karaoke versions of Nixon’s greatest hits and rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful with the same guiltless pleasure as a man under the influence of a tab of ecstasy.

James Brown had guts, stamina, felt a debt of gratitude to his fans and never forgot where he came from. Gerald Ford was a putz, a living example of the Peter Principle. His greatest achievement was to withdraw U.S. troops from a horrific war of aggression that he supported in Vietnam.

James Brown served time in the joint for drug and alcohol abuse despite his generous contributions to poor neighborhoods and an endless commitment to community service. Gerald Ford’s wife, Betty, was lauded as a shining example of honesty when she required treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Betty Ford later used her social and political connections to develop an upscale clinic for individuals who, if not for their class privilege, would have done time for THEIR addictions and indiscretions.

We have James Brown to thank for introducing us to funk — not to mention an incredible string of tremendous hits such as “Prisoner of Love,” “Think,” and “Mother Popcorn.” We have Gerald Ford to thank for introducing us to the world of bunk, hit-men such as Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and the secret prisons they established, not to mention THEIR tour de force, “The Mother of All Wars.”

Now the people must endure the depraved spectacle of politicians and their masters mourning a man touted as “the leader who gently led the United States out of the tumultuous Watergate era.” In truth Ford set the stage for another generation of politicians who could get away with crimes that would send any poor or working person to prison or the gallows.

Fox News and other State Department journalists praise Ford for being the “same man” after leaving the presidency that he was when he took that office after Nixon’s shameful resignation. He was indeed the same man, having perfected cover-ups and miscarriages of justice during his tenure on the Warren Commission — the official “investigative board” that claimed only one man assassinated John F. Kennedy despite video proof to the contrary.

That heinous betrayal of justice provided reassurance for Johnson, Nixon, Ronald the Terrible, King George I, William the Fornicator, and King George II. In fact it was Ford’s “courage” to pardon Nixon that assured Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and other drug dealers they could traffic cocaine in their efforts to fund the Contras in Nicaragua and even when caught “red handed” not pay a price for their crimes. Ultimately Ford’s pardon of Nixon give George II the sense that no crime, no matter how grave, would be prosecuted by the U.S. Congress.

Let us all mourn the passing of James Brown, a great American hero, Soul Brother Number One, and dismiss all the hullabaloo about Gerald Ford, Nixon’s lap dog and the Grandfather of Blow.