Daily Archives: July 9, 2007

The Bush Library 6: Corruption at SMU

Last month, the Rev Andrew Weaver, one of the leaders of the opposition to the Bush propaganda center masquerading as a presidential “library” that’s proposed for the campus of Southern Methodist University, sent me a link to an article he’d written for Media Transparency. It’s an astounding piece detailing conflicts of interest on the part of the SMU Board so serious that they approach corruption. Rev Weaver begins by noting that the campaign to site the library at SMU has been years in the making.

To convince the United Methodist Church (UMC) to stain its good name and a major university to give away its academic respectability by linking itself with a president that much of the world views as an authoritarian bully (Public Diplomacy, 2005; World Public Opinion, 2007) who has authorized and advocated for torture and international kidnapping is one nifty trick (Miles, 2006; Grey, 2006). Such an endeavor required skilled operators and years of stealth planning (Schutze, 2006), which according to SMU President R. Gerald Turner began in 2001, shortly after Bush became president. It required that the SMU administration hide its intentions from its faculty and from church leaders who would understand that a partisan institute lacking standard academic controls, whose mission undoubtedly will include justifying crimes against humanity, would be a bad idea (Weaver and Crawford, 2007). To achieve these goals Bush needs powerful friends in high places and he has them in the SMU Trustees.

He sure does. The Board is packed with family friends.

At least 25 of the 41 trustees (61 percent) have personal, financial, and/or political relationships with Bush, and many have been major fundraisers and contributors to his political campaigns. Furthermore, one of the three United Methodist bishops who serve as SMU trustees, Scott Jones, publicly endorsed the Bush project months before a formal proposal was even presented to the Board (Tooley, 2007).

Twenty-two of the trustees have donated to one or more of the Bush political campaigns and/or the Republican National Committee in support of Bush….

Whoosh. So a comfortable majority of the Board are Bush Babies and the vast majority of them are actual Bush donors. “Conflict of interest” is putting it mildly.

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Cindy Sheehan Threatens Run Against Pelosi

Cindy Sheehan, gawd bless her, didn’t retire for long. The Libby pardon commutation and the Democrats’ refusal to play hardball to shut down the Iraq war have between them goaded her into rejoining the fray, and at a higher level than before: she’s threatening to run against Nancy Pelosi if Pelosi continues to keep impeachment off the Congressional table.

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unless Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan’s deadline, July 23, is the same day she and her supporters are to arrive in Washington after a 13-day caravan and walking tour departing from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

Sheehan said she lives in a suburb of Sacramento but declined to disclose the city, citing safety reasons. She added that she would run against Pelosi in 2008 as an independent and “would give her a run for her money.”

“Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,” Sheehan said. “We hired them to bring an end to the war.”

As times get on, it becomes increasingly harder to find rational excuses for the Democrats’ lack of spine here, especially as the on-going desertion of Republican rodents from the capsizing ocean liner of Iraq and Lamar Alexander’s recent proposal threaten to seize the initiative on our war strategy right out from under the Dems’ chicken beaks. Sheehan, who lost a son to the neocons’ fantasies of quick oil profits, has had enough and one can certainly understand her position.

Pelosi, who came into power like a lion, seems in the eight months since the election to have morphed into a timid lamb with a big mouth for bleating but not too much in the way of political courage. She talks a good game but does…nothing.

Maybe she’s too busy having secret White House meetings to sell out the environment and workers in a new Trade Deal that hands the Bush Administration the power to write it all by themselves on behalf of K Street and a slew of global corporations without interference from the rank-and-file of Congressional Democrats.

Or maybe her hands were full killing the bill to control lobbyist activities and the ability of Congressional players to join K Street the day after they lose an election.

From a certain standpoint, Cindy couldn’t possibly be any worse.