Progressive Calendar 12.05.06
From: David Shove (
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]>
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]  (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]>" <SMSOBTZAK [at]>
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:
<> .

If you would like to attend, R.S.V.P. online or contact Allissa Koenen,
aakoenen [at] <mailto:aakoenen [at]> , (651) 962-4983.

--------3 of 16--------

From: Tim Erickson <tim [at]>
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

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

--------4 of 16--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
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

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 ( )
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]>
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)


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] Health Care Economics Researcher,
Clinical Pharmacist

--------6 of 16--------

From: altera vista <alteravista [at]>
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]
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]
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]
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]

--------10 of 16--------

From: Jesse Mortenson <teknoj [at]>
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]

--------11 of 16--------

From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at]>
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: or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237

Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 341-3148

--------12 of 16--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
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

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]>
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]>
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.

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

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]
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

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

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

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 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

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

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]

Also visit his blog site at


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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