|Progressive Calendar 12.05.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 07:25:43 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.05.06 1. LatAm revs/SPNN 12.05 5pm 2. Critical pedagogy 12.05 6pm 3. Get media notice 12.05 6:30pm 4. Salon/holidays 12.05 6:30pm 5. Uhcan-mn potluck 12.05 7pm 6. Criticize Israel? 12.05 8pm 7. AfricanWomenAssn 12.06 8am 8. Election wrap-up 12.06 12noon 9. MNA/health reform 12.06 2pm 10. Ex-offender hire 12.06 3:30pm 11. CCHT/housing 12.06 4:30pm 12. Outta Iraq vigil 12.06 4:30pm 13. MetroIBA 12.05 8pm 14. Pentel/Gov/bills 15. Philip Greenspan - A complex education for misery 16. Stephen Lendman - The withering of the Bush dynasty [1 of 2] --------1 of 16-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: LatAm revs/SPNN 12.05 5pm Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10 am each Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15. Below are the scheduled shows through the end of 2006. 12/5 and 12/6 "Revolutions Sweeping Latin America" Interview with John Peterson of Hands off Venezuela. Hosted by Karen Redleaf. 12/12 and 12/13 "Robert Jensen" Author and professor at U of TX in Austin. Talk given 10/18 at the U of M. 12/19 and 12/20 'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 1). Host of Democracy Now! Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church. 12/26 and 12/27 'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 2). Host of Democracy Now! Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church. "Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists. The show is mostly local and not corporately influenced! For information about future programming of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to eric-angell [at] riseup.net. (PS It might be better than PBS.) --------2 of 16-------- From: "Sobtzak, Stephanie M. by way of \"Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)\" <web [at] mppeace.org>" <SMSOBTZAK [at] stthomas.edu> Subject: Critical pedagogy 12.05 6pm University of St. Thomas School of Education to host information session about doctoral program in critical pedagogy The University of St. Thomas School of Education will host an information session 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Room 202, Opus Hall about its doctoral program in critical pedagogy. Faculty will introduce the program, and students and alumni will discuss their experiences. Critical pedagogy is an interdisciplinary field committed to social justice, equality and freedom. It aims to understand education through the critical examination of power dynamics in society, and offers alternatives to the status quo. Find out more online at: http://www.stthomas.edu/education/ci <http://www.stthomas.edu/education/ci> . If you would like to attend, R.S.V.P. online or contact Allissa Koenen, aakoenen [at] stthomas.edu <mailto:aakoenen [at] stthomas.edu> , (651) 962-4983. --------3 of 16-------- From: Tim Erickson <tim [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: Get media notice 12.05 6:30pm Looking for clues on how to get your point across in the local media or the best way to contact local officials. Tomorrow evening, St. Paul E-Democracy is offering a workshop on this topic at the Rondo Community Outreach Library. The workshop is being facilitated by Mike Fratto with a special guest appearance by school board member Anne Carroll. Please, feel free to stop by and ask questions or even offer your own ideas. December 5, 2007 6:30 PM FREE WORKSHOP: How to Access Local Officials and Local Media in St. Paul Workshop Facilitators: Mike Fratto (guest = Anne Carroll) Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 North Dale Street, Saint Paul, MN 55103 Electronic Classroom Free indoor parking is available in the RAMP below the library. ALSO - The St. Paul E-Democracy PODCASTING Team will be at the library from 3:00 - 5:00 PM and from 6:30 - 8:30 PM recording the next edition of the SPIF REPORT (our Podcast) and answering your questions about PODCASTING. Please, stop by the library to be a part of our PODCAST or to find out how to make your own audio podcast (maybe about local issues?). PODCASTING = A home made "radio program" (audio) distributed over the internet. Its a great tool for community organizers, stop by and learn more...... This is the final workshop of our FALL OUTREACH SCHEDULE. Please, consider stopping by the library to thank our volunteers for their hard work and to visit the NEW RONDO library (its really cool)! FINALLY - If you have any questions about how to use the SPIF site, update your profile, change your password, or anything else - please stop by the library tomorrow (Tuesday 3:00 - 5:00 or 6:30 - 8:30) for assistance. Tim Erickson Chair SPED Executive Committee Hamline Midway http://e-democracy.org/blog/ --------4 of 16-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon/holidays 12.05 6:30pm Tuesday, December 5 the topic of the salon will be for people to share how the things that they do for the holidays are not all just spending and consuming, trying to set some other examples to our families that there are other ways out there to celebrate without buy, buy and buy. Let's see now----- To start off the eve on Tues, we will watch the DVD called Becoming a Blessing: Living as if your life makes a difference featuring Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. This will be a good beginning to our talk Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------5 of 16-------- From: joel albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Uhcan-mn potluck 12.05 7pm Dear Health Care Activists, 3rd Annual MN UHCAN Holiday Potluck, meeting Tuesday, December 5, 7PM-9PM Walker Church Lower Level Lounge, 3104 16th ave s. (near lake street and bloomington ave in Mpls) Items: 1. Welcome new people, intros, background 2. Reportbacks Briefing: California state legislature passes Single-Payer; Gov vetos. Politically feasible, Political will. 3. Forming our own HC Coop Pool: for uninsured, small businesses, self-employed, artists, Coops etc. 4.other items, ideas ? Come on down, bring a friend, food, drink, relax Joel Albers Minnesota Universal Health Care Action Network 612-384-0973 joel [at] uhcan-mn.org www.uhcan-mn.org Health Care Economics Researcher, Clinical Pharmacist --------6 of 16-------- From: altera vista <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Criticize Israel? 12.05 8pm Tues. Nov. 28: Showing on Altera Vista at 8 pm, Minneapolis cable channel 16: "Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic? An Evening with Norman Finkelstein. Part 1." (Part 2 will air the following week.) Taped November 5, 2006, at St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis. Dr. Finkelstein teaches political theory at DePaul University, Chicago. He is author of five books, including "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History" and "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering." Finkelstein is known for his writings about the policies of the state of Israel especially with regard to Palestinians. --------7 of 16-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: AfricanWomenAssn 12.06 8am December 6: Minnesota African Women's Association (MAWA) Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Summit: Creating Our Future Together A Community Action Conference with networking, mentoring, technical assistance for emerging women leaders of African Heritage and their nonprofits. 8 AM-4:30 PM. Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul. $50 registration feel. Scholarships and continuing education credits available. All net proceeds will be donated to the Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Fund to support scholarships and community work for women of African heritage. Contact Keo at 612/625-5093 for more info. --------8 of 16-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Election wrap-up 12.06 12noon December 6: Minnesota Women's Consortium. Brown Bag Issues Discussion features Elections Wrap-Up. Noon-1 PM. MN Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. 651/228-0338. --------9 of 16-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: MNA/health reform 12.06 2pm December 6: Minnesota Nurses Association Dialogue on Health Care Reform and Building a Labor Coalition sponsored by MNA Health Care Reform Steering Committee. 2-4:30 PM. Heritage Gallery, McNamera Alumni Center, UofM, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 35, Minneapolis. Free but your response is requested for food and handout purposes. Please RSVP by November 21 to Samantha at 651/646-4807 or samantha [at] mnnurses.org --------10 of 16-------- From: Jesse Mortenson <teknoj [at] gmail.com> Subject: Ex-offender hire 12.06 3:30pm Anyone with time during the day this week is encouraged to attend a public hearing in front of the St. Paul city council this Wednesday on a resolution for fair hiring practices for ex-offenders with the City. The Council on Crime and Justice has been working on this issue. The hearing is this Wednesday at 3:30 down at City Hall. Guy from the Council has this to say: "Amongst those testifying will be; Judge Cohen, Tom Johnson, Lester Collins (Council on Black Minnesotans) and perhaps one other person (labor or faith-based leader). Such resolutions or ordinances have been passed in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Newark, LA, Indianapolis, and Boston during the course of the past 12 months. We have been working with the National HIRE Network of New York's Legal Action Center and Oakland's National Employment Law Project on this Initiative. To date, 33 organizations have signed on to our Coalition. It looks like, At this point, we will have the votes needed - but we would like a big turnout from The Community to push for passage." Contact Guy Gambill if you have questions: gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org --------11 of 16-------- From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org> Subject: CCHT/housing 12.06 4:30pm Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. St. Paul Session: Dec 6 at 4:30p We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237 Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org --------12 of 16-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Outta Iraq vigil 12.06 4:30pm Vigil to End the Occupation of Iraq: December is Critical! Wednesday, December 6, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. (this is an ongoing vigil) Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge, spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Come to Marshall Avenue (St. Paul) side of the bridge so that we can greet you. President Bush says he is determined to win this "war." Senator McCain wants to send more troops. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley believes that far more American "training" teams should be sent to Iraq. And, the Democrats in the Iraq Study Group, which will report to President Bush next week, don't call for a withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades until the end of next year. Bush has his own study group, and there looms a possibility of a large U.S military thrust before this Congress ends the year. All of these scenarios are disastrous for Iraqis who are being maimed, killed and displaced every day and who are suffering extreme duress from lack of basic needs in a nation whose infrastructure has been destroyed. In the process, more U.S. soldiers in Iraq will be wounded or die. Short gathering in a circle east of the bridge after the vigil to hear about more peace and justice events and issues. December is a critical month. Everyone receiving this e-mail is invited to come one Wednesday this December-of course, if you can come more often, that would be wonderful. (Also: every member of WAMM is asked to commit to one Wednesday during the month of December, if they possibly can.) Let's us Minnesotans show our current representatives in Washington and the incoming congress that we want an end to the war and occupation of Iraq not later after even more death and destruction, but NOW! FFI: Call WAMM 612-827-5364. ---------13 of 16-------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> Subject: MetroIBA 12.06 8pm Wednesday night (December 6) from 8-9pm we're having our last Government Relations Committee meeting of the year at Amore Coffee (Grand and Victoria in St. Paul). On the ageanda: 1. Recommending a final draft of the local policy platform to the board 2. Recommending a position in favor of the St. Paul living wage ordinance (with possible addendums) 3. Recommending MetroIBA join the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition Andy Hamerlinck Co-chair, Government Relations Committee --------14 of 16-------- From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Pentel/Gov/bills Dear Friends and supporters of the Ken Pentel for Governor campaign, It's been almost a month and time seems a bit slower and campaign lingers. The issues we care about are now ready to be taken-up for the next election cycle. I recommend you consider being a candidate in your local elections. Please call me anytime to if you want to talk about running. Donations are still needed. We are carrying about $2000 in postage and travel expenses. Your help is needed. If you have not used your $50 refund in 2006 please apply that to whatever you can donate. (http://www.kenpentel.org/donate.php) I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. -Ken Pentel --------15 of 16-------- A Complex Education For Misery by Philip Greenspan (Swans - December 4, 2006) "All Governments Lie" was a profound statement of the enlightened and prescient iconoclast journalist I.F. Stone. Well, why do governments lie? Because they have nefarious agendas they cannot disclose. Usually they must enlist the citizenry to assist them in their schemes. If their agendas were discovered and their motives surmised, not only would they not get assistance but they would quite likely be thrown out of office. And who amongst the citizenry provides the most essential assistance? The rank and file of the country's armed forces! Farming, mining, engineering, law, medicine, manufacturing, entertainment, communications -- name any vocation or business, all provide beneficial, useful or pleasurable products and services. All except the military, whose products and services are death, disability, and destruction. Why would any decent human being enter such a sadistic vocation or business? To glamorize the disgusting, governments in dire need of the military extol their fighting forces and provide ample inducements and enticements to likely enlistees. The process starts by socializing young children who are imbued with patriotism for the fatherland or the mother country. Books, films, and songs glorify the country's wars, honor the generals who fought those wars, and sanctify historic battles. Enlisting in the military, the reserves, or the National Guard is deemed an honorable public service. The horrible by-products of war are concealed, sugar coated, and/or falsified. Comfy words and phrases substitute for reality. Death, injury, destruction become collateral damage; the War Department becomes the Defense Department. The munitions makers, properly identified as "Merchants of Death" after the wholesale slaughter of World War I, were resurrected by the jingoism of World War II to become -- get this inspiring phrase -- "The Arsenal of Democracy." Medicine, law, education, the ministry and other noble callings have been designated professions. That term has been appropriated by the officer corps in the military as well. The US government maintains colleges that teach military science -- another comfy phrase for WAR -- at West Point (US Military Academy), Annapolis (US Naval Academy), and Colorado Springs (Air Force Academy). Successful applicants receive an all expense paid college education including room and board in exchange for service as an officer in the military. Graduates who make the military their career will, if they do not rock the boat, never suffer the problems of unemployment, lack of health care, homelessness, retirement, etc. The military is unique in that career officers enjoy the security of a socialist organization. The industrial segment of the well-known military-industrial complex also enjoys special treatment and is amply rewarded as well. Other businesses in a capitalist environment must produce a superior quality product at a competitive price and must continually design new and improved products to survive and prosper. But the armament vendors play on a different and more congenial playing field. Good, well-oiled political connections augmented with lots of moolah are the key. Superior quality and competitive prices? Not necessary! Poor quality not in conformity with specifications and cost overruns of already inflated prices will be forgiven and will not deter future orders. Industries producing for the civilian market, like the food and clothing industries, can also grab some of that easy money -- GIs eat and wear clothes, i.e., uniforms -- by following the requisite corrupt practices, waving the flag, and persisting as hawks. The military-industrial complex attempts to mirror other professions and businesses that continually employ tests and studies to expand and update existing knowledge in their fields. Medical journals regularly report results of such tests and studies to uncover new and effective treatments. The military improves on past performances and accomplishes new assignments by updating their knowledge and tactics as well. By modifying training they were able to increase the percentages of American soldiers who fired their weapons to kill an enemy. Only 15-20 percent fired to kill in US wars through WWII; in later wars it evolved to 90-95 percent. The Vietnam defeat, stigmatized as the "Vietnam syndrome," so traumatized the establishment, the military, and the politicians that to prevent a reoccurrence, policy guidelines, dubbed the Powell or Weinberger Doctrines, were set for subsequent conflicts. The doctrines as well as other factors shaped Pentagon thinking so that thereafter campaigns would be limited to those of short duration utilizing overwhelming force fought by an all-volunteer military force backed by strong public support and a strictly controlled media. By following the guidelines, most later actions worked as expected until Bush and his cocky neocon gang overrode them. Gobs of money thrown at manufacturers and universities for research and development concoct ever new and improved products to kill, maim, and destroy. What a waste of money and intellectual resources. It is extremely sad that a complex (military-industrial that is) PR indoctrination enterprise can brainwash the human mind to subdue a strong humanitarian instinct. But for money, advancement, prestige, etc., individuals will condone needless killing, maiming, injuring, and subjecting victims and their loved ones to lifetimes of misery and suffering. Many on the inside -- veterans of the military, the FBI, the CIA, and various branches of government -- after realizing what they have done and experienced, reveal the truth as only an insider can do. They encourage others to blow the whistle and warn the public to be wary of perfidies by their government. A few well-known names on that honor roll are Smedley Butler, Dwight Eisenhower, Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, and Stan Goff. Their message, although it is stifled by the media, is getting out and is having an effect. The inability of military recruiters using every trick and device to ensnare sufficient numbers of dupes to the ranks from that vast pool of eligible low-income potential enlistees is a hopeful sign. [Amen. And behind the military is the ruling class, killing killing killing (not *personally* of course), calling for the death of anyone seriouly in their pillaging way, but always insisting on respect and pacifism - with regard to themselves, whom we are never supposed to even think of holding to account, or calling in question. -ed] --------16 of 16-------- The Price of Imperial Overreach The Withering of the Bush Dynasty [1 of 2] By STEPHEN LENDMAN CounterPunch December 4, 2006 The Bush family has been characterized in various ways including the Bush dynasty, crime family or syndicate. George Bush is just the latest in a line of unsavory characters but clearly the bad or worst seed and, in the eyes of most honest observers, the least worthy of an unworthy lot. He was supposed to be the latest in the Bush family line chosen to lay another golden egg for the dynasty but turned out instead to be an ugly duckling who's just been an embarrassment and much worse because of the course he chose and his rigid ideological obstinacy to change even in the face of failure. The Bush family considers itself among the special chosen ones if based only on its royal heritage. The family is connected by blood to every European monarch on and off the throne including every member of the British House of Windsor. That relationship is more than familial and extends to the president's father having close business dealings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip who themselves are connected to the notorious Carlyle Group that also employs GHW Bush as a "senior consultant" and master-rainmaker/fixer-arranger at a very high price for his services. George W. Bush, of course, is in the bloodline and is a distant cousin of the Queen and Prince Charles. This American "royal" family traces its heritage back to 15th century Britain at the time of Henry VIII or earlier, but its royal connection is not unique to Washington politicos as both Al Gore and John Kerry also have familial ties to the British crown, and ironically Gore is a distant cousin of his former presidential rival from having been a direct descendant of Charlemagne when he was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Truth is indeed stranger or at least more ironic than fiction. The modern-era Bush family dynasty goes back four generations and was connected to the military-industrial complex of its day during and after WW I much like the most recent two Bush generations are to the present one. It began with George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott acting as duel founding fathers of what turned out to be a criminal enterprise run under the family name much like it is under a local Godfather except for much bigger stakes and with the government of the United States acting as protector, benefactor and enforcer. Walker was a St. Louis financier who later went to work for Averell Harriman as president of WA Harriman & Company, a banking business that invested in railroads, shipping, aviation and commodities like oil. Samuel Prescott Bush, the current president's other great grandfather, was a major Ohio industrialist and ran the Buckeye Steel Castings Co. that produced armaments. He later went to Washington to run the small arms, ammunition and ordnance section of the War Industries Board and became a close advisor to Herbert Hoover. The president's grandfather Prescott Bush, Sam's son, had a varied career as a US Senator, Wall Street investment banker with Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH and same Harriman) and as a director of various companies involved in war production including Dresser Industries where his son, the president's father, later worked for a time. A hundred years ago, the Bush family was also connected to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil and later with a number of Wall Street firms as well as with the US intelligence community since WWI. Above all, this is a family that formed strong ties to the institutions of power that began in industry and Wall Street and was parlayed to become a powerful political dynasty that included a US senator, two governors, a congressman, vice-president, CIA director and two presidents (the current president's father, of course, having been a congressman, CIA director and vice-president before being elected president in 1988). Prescott, the president's grandfather, had a particularly unsavory connection as recently declassified documents show. He was a director of New York based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that was a holding company for the Nazis and represented the German steel industrialist Fritz Thyssen who was intimately involved with the Nazi regime. He was also a director and shareholder of various other companies involved with Thyssen. UBC bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, oil, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany that helped build and support the Nazi war machine. Prescott was also with Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) when the firm did business with the Nazis during the 1930s that continued during the early years of WW II until the company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. What BBH did and paid a price for, many other US corporations did as well, prospered from and were never held to account for their lawlessness. Charles Higham documented much of it in his 1983 book called Trading with the Enemy in which he showed evidence of how major companies in America like the Rockefellers' Chase Bank and Standard Oil, Ford, General Motors and other corporate giants had no political or ideological problem doing business routinely with Nazi Germany during the war. It was just business with another good customer, no matter what the customer's business was. Particularly heinous was the role of IBM Headquarters System Engineering, Design Automation and Management (not covered in the Highman book) when it was run by Thomas Watson. The company used IBM tabulation equipment to set up a system for the Nazis to locate all the Jews of Europe and then sort, file and categorize them for extermination in the death camps using the company's equipment and whose camp personnel IBM employees trained. All the while this went on, IBM managed to fend off US War Department probes into its illicit activities so it could continue to profit handsomely from the Nazi genocide the company knew was taking place and was facilitating - all for the big "blood money" profits involved. Current shareholders of the company's stock might wish to take note of this and reconsider their investment choice. BBH had no problem cashing in either, and by the late 1930s claimed to be the world's largest investment banking firm in business like all others to make money, and like most others, as willing to do it with regimes like the Nazis as with any other customer. George Herbert Walker and Averell Harriman, who later became a prominent politician and diplomat serving under four US presidents, have been characterized by some as two evil geniuses who saw no difference in dealing with the Bolsheviks in Russia as with Hitler and the Nazis. For them, business was business just the way it is today and in the 1980s when GHW Bush as vice-president and president was willing and eager to be part of the scheme to arm Saddam Hussein who then became public enemy number one to be demonized for using the weapons supplied him by US and other western corporations when he was an ally. Before his son succeeded him in the Oval Office (8 years removed), GHW Bush was involved in a long laundry list of criminal activities he never could have gotten away with under a system of law and order with those violating it held to account. He never was. As CIA chief in 1976 under Gerald Ford, the elder Bush was in charge of covering up the Agency's involvement in coup d'etats and assassinations of foreign leaders including its connection to an earlier September 11 - the one in 1973 ousting and murdering democratically elected President Salvador Allende in Chile that established the 17 year fascist dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet who, despite his despotism, became a close US ally. The president's father was also deeply involved in the secret, illegal negotiations with Iran in the 1980s, when he was vice-president, that led to the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal that broke in 1986. With the help of friends in the Congress, including Dick Cheney who served then in the House and the corporate media that always looks the other way, he was able to escape investigation and scrutiny. They helped him get away with a strategy of lies and aggressive cover-ups to stay untarnished. It freed him to pursue and secure the Republican presidential nomination in 1988 and the highest office in the land he always wanted to hold, maybe because he felt his royal blood entitled him to it. In 1992, Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh (who took his job seriously unlike his successors) uncovered evidence linking the president to the illegal operation and lying to the public about it, but "trickier-than-Nixon" Bush pardoned six indicted Iran-Contra figures shortly before he left office to bury the evidence against himself and slither away unscathed again. He's now seen as an esteemed elder statesman, his past buried, forgotten and above rebuke. No matter the truth is quite another matter that went down "the memory hole" and is no longer part of the "official" historical record. That judgmental error paved the way for a member of the next Bush generation to ascend to the nation's highest office, a move not turning out as planned. A Dynastic Success Story Now on Shaky Footing A Bush family tradition of lying with impunity, operating freely outside the law and getting away with it was no obstacle for the next family member in line, George W. Bush, to be chosen by his party to enter the presidential race in 2000. He got the nomination after serving six years as Texas governor distinguished only by a record of indifference to the public and a total dedication to the business interests in the state. It meant giant corporations were salivating at the thought of having a man like this in the White House serving them in that capacity the same way he did it for the business community in Texas. Thanks to a fraud-laden election, he got the job the old-fashioned way - his influential friends and family stole it for him as arranged by family consigliere and master-fixer Jim Baker securing the necessary 25 Florida electoral votes helped along by the complicity of five friendly Supreme Court justices who had to be in on the scheme. The corporate interests got their main man in Washington, and for a short time seemed to be in "good hands" with him. But lying and getting away with it only works when the schemes lied about go according to plan. Bumps aside, the rise of the Bush dynasty to prominence and power, went well through the ascendency and tenure of George Herbert Walker Bush, the president's father, which included the election and reelection George W. Bush's younger brother Jeb as governor of Florida after an initial failed bid for the office in 1994 and George W's time as Texas governor. Nothing lasts forever though, and as best laid as the plans were, they went awry with the misguided selection of the younger George to carry the family banner as the rightful successor to assume the position of supreme leader of the free world and lord and master of the universe. He wasn't the family's first choice and only got bumped up to that spot in line after brother Jeb's initial gubernatorial defeat - one the family must now look back on as a major turning point in the family's political fortunes that going forward may be irreversible. It should have been an omen of things to come when if it hadn't been for the intervention of Jim Baker and those five arrogant High Court justices, in an election Al Gore clearly won, George Bush would have had to have found another line of work. The justices chose to rewrite the law giving themselves the power to annul the vote of the electorate to install their preferred candidate in the office they gifted to him the same way he's gotten everything else in his privileged life he never deserved and never had to work for. It's the way it's always been for a man of questionable ability and dubious character going back to his days as a youth when at best his behavior could only be charitably described as mischievous and without significant achievement. This is a man who rose to the top the way former Texas governor Ann Richards described it - as "someone born on third base (thinking) he hit a triple." Six disastrous years later, this man now must not only choose a new career path in two more years, he must also employ a good legal defense team at the ready for the inevitable law suits sure to be filed against him once he leaves office in January, 2009 - a time that can't come soon enough for most and that many wanting him impeached and ousted aren't willing to wait for and may press their demands he go a lot sooner and face the music for his high crimes of war, against humanity and against the people of the United States. As the current holder of the nation's highest office, George Bush is not unique. As Noam Chomsky rightfully observes: "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-(WW II) American president would have to be hanged (like the worst of the Nazi war criminals found guilty)." Other than the Vietnam era (that family influence let him bypass in a comfortable Texas National Guard slot he rarely showed up for), and arguably the Korean war one as well, the only difference about George Bush as president is the immensity of his crimes and his hard line arrogance and indifference about them and toward the people he's harmed at home and abroad. He's undeterred and committed to press on with what he sees as a messianic mission, or even royal prerogative, and that makes him stand out as a special rogue who's already surpassed all others before him holding the nation's highest office. Plans to Save the Bush Administration and Its Disastrous Misadventure in Iraq With a lot of help from the Congress and complicit corporate media that continues to shield him, George Bush not only took the nation to war against two countries that never threatened us based on lies, deceit and cover-up, he's determined to push on to a victory that can't be won and is listening to sinister advice from the wrong people telling him to do it. Proposals of what happens going forward are showing up in a number of reports (related to the work of the Iraq Study Group - ISG) including one on November 16 in the London Guardian and a later one on November 30 discussed below. They follow a meeting George Bush, the vice-president and key administration officials had with the ISG, or Baker Commission, that was formed in March to draft a new course in Iraq because the current one isn't working, and it's led many high level business and political figures to believe it's leading the country to an inevitable disastrous train wreck unless redirected. It's also trying to rescue the family's reputation and presidency of the current incumbent, but it will be hard-pressed to do either. The Guardian reported that the president told his senior advisors (or more likely Dick Cheney and other hard liners told him) the US military (with any help it can get) must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and instead of beginning a drawdown in force strength, he may send an additional 20,000 more soldiers into this cauldron even against the advice of his Central Command (CENTCOM) commander-in-chief on the ground General John Abizaid who testified before Congress the same day the president was ignoring his advice that now may be changing after hearing what his boss had to say. Whatever is said publicly or is released in the ISG report, all that matters is what, in fact, will happen going forward and that may be a clear example of a clinical definition of insanity - continuing to do the same things (more or less) that have failed, expecting a different result. It may also be more evidence that was first reported in Capitol Hill Blue on September 5 that Bush has gone over the edge and that Republican and Bush family insiders, including the president's father, are worried George Bush may be heading for a "full-fledged mental breakdown" judging by his bizarre or irrational behavior. Jeffrey Steinberg writing in Executive Intelligence Review said GHW Bush fears his son is obsessed with his messianic mission and is "unreachable" even by some of his closest advisors like Secretary Rice. That view was also stated by prominent psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank, who wrote Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. He said: "With every passing week, President Bush marches deeper and deeper into a world of his own making. Central to Bush's world is an iron will which demands that external reality be changed to conform to his personal view of how things are." Dr. Frank added that George Bush needs psychiatric help. The US military and the public along with all Iraqis better hope it comes soon before he inflames the entire Middle East and a lot more with it. That's what the Baker Commission and president's father are determined to avoid even though the plan they draft, or what we're told about it, will likely have no better solution in the end than the one Bush and his hard liners are now pursuing. According to the Guardian report, the ISG is circulating its recommendations in a four-point "victory strategy" developed with help from Pentagon officials advising them. It's also getting lots of advice from a number of influential conservative think tanks whose members are part of "working groups" dealing with issues of the military and security, the economy and reconstruction, the political structure, and fine-tuning geostrategy that includes no change in the country's imperial agenda meaning the US military is in Iraq to stay whatever the final ISG report says. Point One - calls for an initial increase in force size that may be the 20,000 George Bush is calling for to "secure Baghdad" where along with most all of al-Anbar province is where most of the country's violence is. Point Two - stresses the importance of regional cooperation that will have to include Iran and Syria along with Iraq's other immediate neighbors. It could involve convening an international conference requesting diplomatic, political and financial help - the latter mostly from the Saudis and Kuwaitis. Jim Baker knows without Iranian and Syrian cooperation, any hope for conflict resolution in Iraq is impossible, and even with it it's doubtful at best. Unspoken in the report and commentary is the one player with all the trump cards that's left out of the high-level consultations - the Iraqi resistance and great majority of Iraqi people who'll settle for nothing less than what the Baker Commission will never propose and George Bush and the neocons will never agree to - a full and unconditional withdrawal, no strings attached with reparations for the damage done that's almost incalculable. That reality is what all the high-level thinkers and planners are up against. Jim Baker surely knows this whatever his final proposal is. In another article on the ISG, this writer characterized Baker's efforts as a job for Superman and then some, and any hope for success is even more than the redoubtable Jim Baker and his high-level insider team are likely to achieve. Making it even harder will be the influence of the powerful Israeli Lobby that wants the US to press on at least with an attack against Iran and surely not engage the Iranians or Syrians in constructive dialogue about Iraq or anything else. Point Three - focuses on an effort toward reconciliation among the sectarian ethnic and religious groups to win over consensus among them. The report cited the belief that doing this is crucial to convincing neighboring countries that Iraq can again become a fully functioning state, but conflicting reports about this idea are now surfacing days ahead of the ISG report's release. If these ideas end up being adopted, they'll violate everything the Bush administration did since March, 2003 when the strategy was, and still is, to destroy all the institutions of a modern secular society in the country along with its historical treasures to transform this once modern and prosperous nation into an impotent desert kingdom populated by easily controlled serfs. It will take more than just a major effort, if one is even intended, to put that "Humpty Dumpty" back together again. Oddly, or maybe in just a momentary case of bad judgment, the Guardian writer said neocon ideas about "imposing" western-style democracy will have to be set aside. It's hard to imagine the writer doesn't understand that's the one thing US imperial strategy never tolerates and was never part of the plan for "the new Iraq." A nation of serfs is not one of democracy, and predatory capitalism and democracy go no better together than fire and water. The report goes on to say that partitioning Iraq into a tripartite loose federation won't be recommended as it would only lead to a large-scale humanitarian crisis. It's hard to imagine anything worse than the US-created one now on the ground that's out-of-control by any measure. Point Four - calls for increased resources to be allocated for additional troop deployments and to train and equip an expanded Iraqi army and police. It will also call for efforts to stem corruption that reportedly has involved the theft of billions, most of which has been pilfered by US contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel Corporation (closely tied to the White House) that either did shoddy work they were assigned (other than for US installations) or little or none at all but still pocketed many billions of US taxpayer dollars with nary a wink or nod of disapproval from the Bush administration that effectively gave them and others a license to steal. This point also will call for improving local government and curtailing the power of religious courts and mentions that Bush may be mesmerized by the "Svengali" or "Rasputin" advice of fellow war-criminal Henry Kissinger who believes winning in Iraq is just a matter of "political will" - just the way it worked for Henry in Vietnam. Bush echoed that advice ironically while visiting the capital of the country's last "Waterloo." When arriving in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, he was asked about comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam and said: "We'll succeed unless we quit. We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while." It's taking quite a long while as the US has now been at war in Iraq against a guerrilla resistance longer than it took the country to defeat the Nazis and Japanese in WW II, and those countries had a lot more going for them than car and roadside bombs to fight us. That reality and Bush's remarks show how in denial this man is just like the country's leadership was in the 1960s and 70s believing (in their public statements at least) staying the course would achieve the victory beyond their reach. But hold on - Bush's "Svengali" seems to be advising him one way and commenting another in a BBC November 19 interview where away from the US media spotlight he said he now believes military victory in Iraq is no longer possible, the administration's policy failed and is headed for "disastrous consequences (to haunt the world) for many years....we have to redefine the course ("stay" is now "redefine")....I don't think the alternative is between military victory....or total withdrawal," and there should be a regional conference of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iraq's regional neighbors including Iran to work out a way forward - meaning the Bush administration got us into this mess so will Iraq's regional neighbors and other world powers please help get us out of it. Now which way is it Henry - will the real Henry Kissinger please stand up and show us who the real one is. He may or may not be helped by a November 30 report in the New York Times, Washington Post, online in Capitol Hill Blue and elsewhere. It cites a well-placed source saying the ISG decided to recommend a major withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in a process of transitioning from a combat to a support role over the next year or so but with no specific timetable recommended. It all depends "on a series of conditions and qualifications" governing the drawdown in language suggesting as much smoke and mirrors backside-covering fudging as any real substantive change of policy. That's apparently the message from national security advisor Stephen Hadley in a November memo to George Bush saying (the ISG report) "is neither 'cut and run' nor 'stay the course.' " It's also what an unnamed senior Pentagon military officer involved in crafting Iraq policy likely meant when he said: "The question is whether it doesn't look like a timeline to Bush, and does to (Iraq prime minister) al-Maliki." It's another example of what the New York Times calls "a classic Washington compromise" - meaning "now you see a change of policy, and now you don't." In harsher terms, it's what Newsweek magazine writer Michael Hirsh calls "A Bust in Bakerville" in his November 29 article subtitled "Iraq can no longer be won or lost. Why the study group won't solve anything." But Hirsh spoils his article toward its end by suggesting Iraq is "manageable" and what's needed, instead of consensus, is a "no-nonsense negotiator who can grapple with the reality of the American failure....and seek the most honorable way out (like a) Richard Holbrooke or Henry Kissinger....(or) the best hope for....an adult solution (from Defense Secretary-designate) Robert Gates." It all seems surreal at this point, but what it comes down to is an attempt to pacify the US public and critics of the war. It's to buy more time for a failed Bush presidency looking more all the time like a house of cards nearing collapse, hoping to save it along with the family's name and reputation. By couching recommendations in terms of possibilities to be decided later depending on conditions in the country, the ISG report apparently will be "much ado about nothing" signaling no real change at all and a faint hope at best to rescue George Bush from the fate he deserves. There's no hiding from the fact that conditions in Iraq are deplorable and out-of-the-control of the US military looking pathetic against an opponent it can't even see and impossible to subdue. It's not likely to fare much better going forward than it has up to now in the face of a determined resistance and mass Iraqi opposition to an occupation they want to end and will keep fighting against it until it does whether the US military stays in the streets or is hunkered down in its self-contained permanent super-bases. Still, with a brave face, the report apparently will recommend that US forces redeploy to its key bases inside the country and elsewhere in the region and turn over more responsibility to Iraqi security forces for frontline operations when and if they can handle them. So far they can't and aren't likely to do much better ahead as many recruited into them are from the very resistance forces the US military is fighting and most others joined up for a paycheck with no ideological commitment to the occupying power offered in return for it - not the best set of circumstances for building an effective satrap security force. The report will also call for convening a regional conference of Iraq's neighbors that will have to include Iran and Syria which the Israeli Lobby is fighting to prevent and so far the Bush administration has preconditions for unacceptable at least to the Iranians. Further, the report mentions recommendations being considered by the Pentagon Joint Chiefs who seem to be leaning toward a brief increase in force size followed by a partial drawdown and a shift, like the ISG plan, from a combat role to one involving training, advising and backup. The Pentagon option is called "go long" and apparently calls for a large US military presence in Iraq for five to ten years which sounds very much like cover saying there will be no exit strategy just the way it turned out in South Korea still occupied by about 30,000 US forces a half century after the war there ended, and there are no hostilities or threats unless the US provokes one. The Times and Post said the ISG report (said to be about 100 pages) will be released on December 6, at least whatever portion of it the public gets to see. One other supposedly "classified memorandum" on the war showed up on pages of the New York Times on December 3. It's from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent to the White House on November 6, two days before he was sacked from the job he showed he couldn't handle long ago. On the one hand, it's a rather surprising admission of personal failure and need for a change of course, but on the other it may more of a thinly-veiled, late-in-the-game attempt to burnish an image too tarnished for any public relations makeover at this stage. But you can't blame the guy for trying, and he'll probably get some media-directed help ahead for what little good it may do. In language trying to convey an image of elder statesman but dripping with mea culpas, Rumsfeld acknowledges "In my view it is time for a major adjustment....Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough." Of course, they're doing what he ordered them to do, and he, more than anyone else, bears the most responsibility for all that's happened in Iraq since the war began - but you won't hear that in the media-directed attempted makeover. The former secretary then lays out the policy changes he recommends in a set of attractive "Above the Line Illustrative Options" and less attractive "Below the Line" ones. Some of it sounds much like what the ISG will propose and the "new" direction the Pentagon seems to be leaning to in its planning. But Rumsfeld can't resist suggesting a lot of the blame goes to the Iraqi puppet government that must "pull up (its) socks" and change its "bad behavior." This kind of talk is now coming out of the White House and echoed in the corporate media - a shameless attempt to shift blame for what US forces have done and bear full responsibility for to an installed Iraqi government with no authority and no power to do anything more in the country than clear away the daily carnage on the streets caused by the US presence there. Mr. Rumsfeld and his administration allies planned, directed and lied their way into this mess, and now he and they are trying to lie their way out of it by shifting the blame to the Iraqis that had nothing to do with it with a lot of help from their corporate media allies. It's a classic example of Washington-spin dutifully picked up and echoed in the mainstream hoping to make the victim look like the responsible party. [end part 1 of 2] Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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