Category Archives: Bush Library

The Bush Library: Control of History to Save a Sorry Image

George W Bush, as I have argued many times, has been a spectacularly successful president – if your definition of “successful” includes turning the govt into a sort of combination National Chamber of Commerce and corporate wish-list enforcer. He has virtually gotten everything he’s asked for, usually on his own terms. He had a rubber-stamp Republican Congress for 6 of his 8 years and even when the Democrats won it back in ’06 largely due to the way his ultraconservative, pro-corporate policies devastated the country, they continued to give him pretty much everything he wanted, including FISA, telecom immunity, more troops in Iraq (anybody remember “the surge”?) and worker- and environment-unfriendly trade deals.

But once he’s gone, history is not going to look kindly on him. He hasn’t left yet and already they aren’t. The reasons are simple: his success has been a disaster for the nation in every important area one can think of. Surprisingly, that’s not how he sees it. For example, he’s currently running around insisting that the odious, destructive NCLB has been a major success and even had the gall to warn Obama not to mess with it.

Bush argued that No Child Left Behind has “forever changed America’s school systems” for the better, forcing accountability on failing public schools and leading to measurable improvements among poor and minority students. [There’s no evidence whatever it has done any such thing, but since when would a lack of proof stop Bush?]

“I firmly believe that, thanks to this law, students are learning, an achievement gap is closing,” Bush told the audience at General Philip Kearny School.

He also suggested that Obama, who has vowed to overhaul the program, should tread carefully before following through on promises of reform. “There is a growing consensus across the country that now is not the time to water down standards or to roll back accountability,” Bush said.

No, there isn’t. There’s a growing consensus that NCLB has been an utter failure and needs to be re-vamped. Personally, I think it’s so bad there’s no saving it. We ought to throw it out and start over.

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The Bush Library Unpacked

This came in via email from Thomas Nephew and is apparently being passed around. It may or may not be an actual rundown of Bush Library features, but if it isn’t it ought to be.

Please Support the Bush Library

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages.  Please consider a contribution to our President’s new library, which will be located in Crawford, Texas, and also in a satellite facility in the Green Zone in Baghdad.  The Library will include:

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won’t be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you won’t even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don’t let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don’t let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one will be able to find.

The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The ‘Tax Cut’ Room with entry only to the wealthy.

The ‘Economy Room’, which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, you will get to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

The Alaska Wildlife Room, which is currently closed for oil exploration.

The No Child Left Behind Room, where you and your children are pre-tested, then tested, and afterward post-tested in an endless cycle.

Adjacent to that the Mission to Mars Room, where — as you would expect — no child is left behind.

The Compassionate Conservatism Room, which charges a separate admission fee and is actually a chute leading down to the Guantanamo Bay room.

The Water Boarding Demonstration Room, which doesn’t meet the definition of torture.

The Supreme Court Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.

The museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate the President’s accomplishments.

Admission: Republicans – free; Democrats — $1000 or 3 Euros

PS: Your User ID is now listed with Homeland Security. Feel better?

Bush Lobbyist Caught Selling Access to VP Cheney in Return for Donations to Bush Library/Propaganda Center (Updated)

Well, I’m not surprised.

The Sunday London Times is reporting that big-time Bush lobbyist Stephen Payne is busy these days selling access to Dick Cheney in return for (sizable) donations to the Bush Library and Propaganda Center.

The images on the tiny screen of Stephen Payne’s personal organiser told a clear story: this was a man with connections at the highest level.

One showed Payne uprooting dead trees side by side with George W Bush on the US president’s Texas ranch. Another depicted him skeet shooting next to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, and a third grinning for the camera alongside Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state.

The man on the other side of the table from Payne at the Lanesborough hotel in central London last week appeared impressed by the contents of the BlackBerry. He was a familiar figure, a Kazakh politician Payne knew as Eric Dos.

 Dos, whose full name is Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov, told Payne that he was representing another foreign political figure who was looking to meet the top people in the US government.

 Dos had good reason for believing that Payne could make it happen. Payne has accompanied Bush and Cheney on foreign trips to the Middle East and Asia, and he sits on the influential advisory council to the Department of Homeland Security. Payne is also president of a lobbying company, Worldwide Strategic Partners (WSP), which specialises in connecting business and political interests with the US government.

Dos told Payne that the politician needing help was Askar Akayev, the former president of the central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.

Akayev, who is in exile in Moscow after being ousted from power three years ago in a people’s revolt, was seeking an endorsement from senior US figures in order to help rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the world, Dos told Payne.

“Who does he want to meet with in Washington?” asked the American. Dos replied: “Well of course, maybe the president of the United States, vice-president Cheney, to speak maybe directly to explain the situation in central Asia . . . To give his side of the story. These kind of things.”

“I think that some things could be done,” said Payne, adding that seeing Bush himself might be more difficult. With barely a pause, he continued:

“I think that the family, children, whatever [of Akayev], should probably look at making a contribution to the Bush library.

“It would be like, maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars, or something like that, not a huge amount but enough to show that they’re serious.”

(emphasis added) 

Whew! That’s a relief. For a minute there I thought we were talking about real money. $200K for a visit with L’il Dick so a deposed dictator could have a sympathetic audience listen to “his side of the story”? Cheap at twice the price. And who knows? L’il Dick can understand the pain of autocrats slung out of their country for torture, theft (isn’t Akayev the one who boiled his political opponents in oil?). He might be looking at something similar himself one of these days. Maybe he’ll invade Kyrgyzstan and give the guy back his country if he promises to join the worldwide WOT and turn Kyrgyzstan’s oil fields over to Halliburton and Chevron for management/sale.

Hey, it’s doable. Disgusting but doable.

I wish I could say this means the Bushies have struck rock bottom but selling access for $$$ is what they do. what they’ve been doing for years. 

The scandal isn’t that a BushBaby is breaking the law. This is minor for these guys. The scandal is that I have to read about it in the foreign press. The reporter was undercover – a concept the US press abandoned after the Food Lion fiasco because it wasn’t fair to corporate pirates and their willingness to poison us for a buck or two – and he recorded the conversation (legal, despite conservative howling to the contrary). Who these days in the US could imagine such a thing happening? Not me.

Dos said that in the autumn of 2005 he had been asked by the Kazakh government, via Kulibayev, to arrange a visit by Cheney. The intention was to improve the country’s international standing.

Dos had spent several days negotiating with Payne. A deal was eventually agreed, he said, and he understood that a payment of $2m was passed, via a Kazakh oil and gas company, to Payne’s firm.

The following May, Cheney made a brief trip to Kazakhstan. His visit was remarked upon in the media at the time, both for the lavish praise which he publicly heaped on Nazarbayev and for the stark contrast between this and a speech he had made just a day earlier at a conference in Lithuania in which he had lambasted Russia for being insufficiently democratic. Now he was lauding Nazarbayev, who has effectively made himself president for life and in whose country it is an offence to criticise him.

“Why did Cheney castigate Russia’s imperfect democracy while saying not a word about Kazakhstan’s shameless travesty of the democratic system?” said one newspaper following the visit. “Cheney’s flattery of the Kazakh regime was sickening,” said another.

Hey! Cheney is an honorable man. If he takes money to fluff a country, bigod, he fluffs that country! No matter what kind of hellish conditions he has to ignore. He lives up to his contracts.

Some of them…

I don’t imagine this is serious enough to get much attention as a scandal. It’s pretty small potatoes for the Bushies. So maybe SMU doesn’t really have to worry very much about the soiling of its reputation that bribery on behalf of the school will inevitably bring about. Maybe they don’t think it’s any big deal considering they’re willing to look past torture. Maybe they think John Wesley would take a laissez-faire approach to White House corruption, spying, theft, and contempt for the law. Maybe that’s all OK with Methodists now.

Apparently it must be, because the Bishops have been perfectly willing to bow to Bush pressure and overlook all of it. What’s one more crime more or less? Bribery? Fagh. Who cares?

Clearly the Methodist bishops don’t.

UPDATE: (7/15/08) Lindsay Beyerstein has dug up a lot more at Majikthese.

The Bush Library (8): Opponents Fight Back

Last we heard from the Bush Library fight, the Methodist General Conference had just rejected the Bush plan for a library and propaganda center at Southern Methodist University, and the Bishops, kowtowing to pressure from the White House, had agreed to ignore that vote. The fight goes on, however. Rev Andrew Weaver & friends have just started a new website called What Would John Wesley Do? that is assembling the arguments and evidence for rejecting the Library/Propaganda Center as well as making the case for the legal necesssity of accepting the GC’s decision. One of its first additions is a scathing letter from Tex Semple, an SJC Delegate for 20 years.

On March 14, 2007, Southern Methodist University asked the Mission Council, a meeting of SCJ representatives, for permission to lease campus property to the Bush Foundation as the site for the President George W. Bush library, museum, and policy institute. 

In January 2008, following the Mission Council meeting, the SCJ College of Bishops interpreted the action of the Mission Council and gave the assurance, requested by the Bush Foundation, that the Mission Council had authority to approve the lease of the jurisdictional property on the SMU campus.

But the College of Bishops does not have this authority according to Paragraph 56, Article II.4 of the constitution of The United Methodist Church (p. 38).  In the 2004 Book of Discipline, it specifically states: “The Judicial Council shall have authority to hear and determine the legality of any action taken therein by any jurisdictional conference board or body, upon appeal by one-third of the members thereof in a Jurisdictional Conference.” 

By giving their interpretation, the SCJ College of Bishops not only preempted the authority of the Judicial Council but also set the stage for the lease signing and for closing the door to a Jurisdictional Conference vote.

(emphasis in the original)

Which was, of course, the whole point. The Bush forces would probably lose the SJC vote the same way they lost the GC vote, which went overwhelmingly against them, 844-20. Their solution is the usual Bush Solution: go around the will of the majority and use raw power to bring leaders more sympathetic to your position in line. The Bishops, like everybody else who comes in contact with the Bushes, knuckled under, violating their own laws and procedures. Mr Semple suggests they couldn’t have picked a worse subject to support.

The greater problem is the partisan multi-million dollar Bush Institute, which will be totally under the control of the Bush Presidential Foundation, not SMU.  While any viewpoints expressed by Institute Fellows will accordingly be identified with the Foundation, it nevertheless makes SMU the location and signifying marker of this partisan think tank.  Furthermore, the purpose of this Institute is to promote the politically partisan and ethically questionable ideas and policies of George W. Bush. 

The influence of neo-conservative and supply-side economic thought and policy has been dominant in the United States now for more than 35 years, and the Bush Administration the most disastrous example of it.  These politics and economics have contributed to a sharply growing inequality in income and wealth, a tax system that serves the rich, an increasing insecurity for middle class families, the flattening of wages for workers while their productivity increases, growing concentrations of power in corporate America and in the media, and the loss of regulation of corporate activity resulting in devastating disruptions of our national life, such as Enron and the sub-prime loan housing crisis.  This list names only a few of the problems with neoconservative politics and supply-side economics. 

Furthermore, commitment to a so-called “free market” without regard to the common good is a violation of Christian teaching.  Not to mention that commitment to a “free market” oblivious to concentrations of economic power is delusional fantasy when it is not a self-serving worldview committed to the interests of the few at the expense of the many.  What we have in neoconservative politics and supply side economics is what someone has called “feeding the horses so the birds can eat.”

(emphasis added)

 Mr Semple’s point isn’t that he doesn’t like trickle-down and thinks it doesn’t work. His point is that the very idea goes against Methodist teaching, a point I wish the hell somebody had brought up 30 years ago when Reagan sold it to a country not paying much attention to what he was saying. He goes on to quote the Methodist Book of Social Principles to show how Bush has been systematically ignoring them.

Even worse, Bush’s pre-emptive war against Iraq, the complicity of his administration in torture, and the serious disregard for human rights in the Bush administration campaign against terrorism raise even more sharply the question of why we would permit this institute on the SMU campus. The Social Principles state: “We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ…” (165, C).  Is this not even more so when the war is pre-emptive?  The Social Principles further declare: “the mistreatment or torture of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching” (164, A).  The complicity of the Bush administration in torture stands clearly in opposition to this teaching.  

Further, the Social Principles assert that “We strongly reject domestic surveillance” (164, A), yet this has become policy in the Bush administration.  I have not mentioned at least five other violations of The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles by the Bush Administration: environmental abuses (Par. 160), the health of children (162, C), the death penalty (164, G), social services and poverty (163, E), and freedom of information (164, D).

All in all, it is one of the most cohesive indictments of the Bush Administration’s disastrous policies that I’ve read in months, and the only one I think I’ve ever read that identifies his actions as anathema to specific religious teachings, something else I wish someone had done a long time ago because Mr Semple is quite right: the Bush/Cheney Administration has done so many things forbidden by any number of religions that they’re beyond the pale. Had anyone else done what they’ve done, Bill Clinton for instance, they would have been excommunicated.

Not Bush. Bush buys off the Bishops – or scares them, or manipulates them – and gets his Rove-run propaganda center on the campus of a college that used to pride itself on teaching Methodist principles. If the bishops have their way – by breaking their own Methodist law – they won’t be able to say that much longer.

Rove Takes Over The SMU Library/Propaganda Center

Andrew Weaver writes at Media Transparency that Karl Rove is sitting in the middle of the Bush Library-Institute at SMU (Southern Methodist University) like a spider sitting in the middle of a web.

Bush’s trickster, Karl Rove, “is planning to take charge…of the design, fundraising, and planning” of the Bush presidential complex at SMU. Benjamin Johnson, a history professor at SMU, attended the 2007 annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians. Several colleagues there reported that Karl Rove had been traveling around the country examining research facilities and discussing how to select Bush institute fellows (Johnson, 2007a). One prominent library director said, “Rove seems to know exactly what the square footage is of the building that will be at SMU and where it will be located on campus” (Johnson, 2007a).

Mark Langdale, president of the Bush library foundation recently confirmed that Rove is advising the organization, stating that he is “a critical resource about what happened in the administration, and he has a lot of good ideas about programming and positioning” (Meyers, 2008). This hands-on involvement by Rove demonstrates the importance of the proposed think tank at SMU to Bush insiders.

Unless the UMC takes a stand, neither SMU nor the UMC will have any say over the actions, agenda, or direction of an autonomous $500 million partisan-driven complex at one of its major universities. Karl Rove, who has a long history of hard-ball partisanship, will be in charge and he will roll out a giant Trojan horse and push it right through the front gate. The 99 year lease for a single dollar with a 249 year option (that the Bush foundation has required) means that after July, 2008 the next chance for the church to address the issue is the year 2357 (Peck, 2008).

Which means, of course, that this is the last effective time the Methodist Church will have a chance to challenge the erection of a propaganda center on their campus that will have as its goal the propagation of the Bush Agenda – torture, Constitution-trashing, monarchical presidential power, preemptive war, falsified intelligence, corporate toadying, etc – ruled over by the conscienceless man who made it happen with trickery, deceit, lies, and thievery. It will, as Andrew writes, “recruit, train, support, organize and deploy the next generation of right-wing political operatives.”

And all of it under Rove’s command.

If that doesn’t scare you, read the rest of the article.

The Bush Library (7): The Legal Battle

With Bishop Jones fronting for the Bush family and scorning the wishes and feelings of his own church membership, the effort to stop the Bush Propaganda Center is moving toward the courtroom. Bush’s insistence on siting the Propaganda Center at SMU despite the vote of the UMC’s GC rejecting it has created a legal problem for the Methodist Church. Andrew Weaver explains (from an email).

Our legal team tells us that we need to go to court to give us the best chance to protect the property rights and voting rights of the 290 Jurisdictional Conference delegates who are the elected representatives of the property owners, i.e., the 1.83 million UMC members of the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ).

Unfortunately, the legal effort needs a member of the SCJ to come forward and act as the plaintiff. That hasn’t happened. Why?

Many fear the consequences to their future ministry if they appear to challenge their bishop, while others fear being countersued by the Bush Foundation.

With the Mafia-like scare tactics and intimidation typical of the Bush family’s dealings since Grandaddy Prentiss played kissy-kiss with the Nazis, George W and Karl Rove have effectively squashed the threat that for once they might have to obey an inconvenient law. With a tame bishop in their pockets and an on-retainer legal team, each ready to punish any Methodist who dares listen to his/her conscience instead of George W Bush, it seems that the Bush family will get away with flouting the law – this time church law – yet again.

Jim Hightower reported last month that Bush has ex-campaign shyster and all-round political hardman Karl Rove setting up the Library/Propaganda Center.

The Bushites have cut a deal with SMU executives to locate his presidential library on this private campus in one of Dallas’s wealthiest neighborhoods. They’ve targeted some Arab oil kingdoms, corporate chieftains, and wealthy heiresses to be the “megadonors” they need to raise half-a-billion bucks to establish George’s ex-presidential palace.

This one is to be markedly different than the usual complex of library, museum, and policy institute that other presidents have built. First (and unsurprisingly), rather than placing the full archive of the administration’s papers in the SMU complex so historians and others have access, Bush is to have a heavily-censored, anti-academic library. None other that Karl Rove will help with the censoring, making sure that historians only peruse documents that cast the Bush-Cheney regime in a glowing light.

(emphasis added)

Rev Weaver notes:

The majority of the delegates feel they can live with the library, even with its current limitation — censorship by the president and his heirs in perpetuity through his Executive Order 13233, signed soon after 9/11.  What many delegates are disturbed by and will vote against is the partisan think-tank to honor George Bush, which is being organized by Karl Rove.  Neither SMU nor the United Methodist Church will have any control over the direction of the partisan institute, and that deeply troubles many. 

So Karl Rove, as we reported some time ago, is going to be the connecting link between the so-called “library” and the Propaganda Center, making sure, in effect, that the library ignores scholarship for Bush worship and the “institute/think tank” ignores thinking for mindlessly pimping W’s policies and ideology. Which includes, Weaver reminds us, his ceaseless support for torture. Weaver makes the argument, as guest blogger at Wallwritings, that “Torture Is Not a Methodist Family Value“. After a short history of Bush’s advocacy of torture and Methodist founder John Wesley’s condemnation of it, Weaver writes:

President Bush refers to himself a “proud Methodist”, but he has shown little sign of contrition, regret or repentance for his personal behavior which violates Methodist standards set long ago by John Wesley. Instead, Bush attempts to justify himself and place a shield of protection around government officials who use torture. 

W may identify himself as a “proud Methodist”, but as investigative reporter Joe Esterhaz proved in his book American Rhapsody and others have confirmed, George W Bush doesn’t attend a Methodist Church and hasn’t since he became born-again under the tutelage of theatrical fundie Arthur Blessit.

Whenever Bush got into trouble, it wasn’t Billy Graham or Methodist preachers he ran to for solace and counsel, it was Pat Robertson and Bob Jones. I began to suspect that Bush’s Methodism was part of Karl Rove’s For Campaign Purposes Only “compassionate conservative” illusion and that he was really a fundamentalist in disguise, a far-right-winger playing to the center. Then, when Graham himself debunked Bush’s account after the publication of W’s campaign biography, ghost-written by a sports writer named Mickey Herskowitz, I knew it.

The idea that the Bush family itself is Methodist in any legitimate sense must of necessity be questioned when we consider, say, Poppy’s unusually close relationship with whacko fundie Rev Moon. A relationship so close that he hosted Moon at his presidential library in (where else?) Texas after Moonie “interests” donated $$1M$$ to said library.

The fiction that any member of the Bush family is actually and in reality Methodist has persisted right to the present day even though there isn’t an iota of evidence to support the proposition from any quarter. Poppy and Barb are Moonies, and W is a born-again fundie evangelist whose chief spiritual advisor is the guy who thinks hurricanes are caused by homosexuality.

Given that his Methodism is now a busted myth, why all the determination to make sure the library gets sited at a Methodist university? The answer is simple, especially if you’ve ever studied the way Bush and Rove do things: it’s cover.

Rove helped Bush to run the most secretive presidency in US history because he knew bloody well that if the public caught on to the real Bush agenda, we’d throw them out on their asses. So it was common for Rove to provide cover to distract or hide their real policies: Orwellian names (“Healthy Forest” for a bill opening public lands to commercial logging), foxes in charge of henhouses (a corporate lawyer who specialized in breaking unions appointed to head the Labor Dept), and the standard Bush bait-and-switch (promising to increase funding for Pell Grants days before he cut them out of his budget). This is simply another cover.

Rove and Bush both know that if the Methodists knew what was actually going to go on at the Propaganda Center, they’d revolt. But Bush needs the reputation of the Methodists as centrists and mainstream religious bi-partisans in order to provide his radically ideological “institute” with a patina of legitimacy. “We can’t be cranks, we’re part of a Methodist university.”

IOW, the Methodist Church is being used by the Bushes. It is to be the sheep’s-clothing under which the wolf hides so unsuspecting prey will think they’re safe and wander close enough to be eaten. Is that the role the UMC wants to play? Clearly not, but Bush is in an apparent position to force them to be his “beard” whether they like it or not.

Not that the opposition is giving up. They have an alternate plan.

Over the past several months we have systematically analyzed the 290 delegates of the SCJ with the help of delegates or clergy from each annual conference.  I have personally spoken with over 40 delegates.  We identified about 130 progressives, 100 conservatives and 60 moderates in the 11 annual conferences.   We need 146 votes to win.  If we can educate the delegates about the dangers of the Bush partisan think thank to the academic integrity of SMU and the good name of our church, we can win the vote.  Most United Methodists, including most bishops, are people who seek to do what is right and good.

I wish them luck.

The Bush Library: A Done Deal According to…Rev Moon

One post at Talk to Action raises two interesting questions.

The first is: Is the Library/Propaganda Institute a done deal or not? John Gorenfeld seems to think so. He reports that the Rev Sung Myung Moon was recently feted at “the Bush presidential library in College Station, TX.” Um, that’s SMU, where, as we reported 3 days ago, the General Council of the United Methodist Church decisively rejected the siting of the library.

So the Bushes are going right ahead as if the siting is a done deal despite the UMC GC’s action? Apparently. And so is UMC Bishop Scott Jones, according to a press release from leader of the opposition Rev Andrew Weaver.

“The General Conference of the United Methodist Church did receive a petition asking it to block SMU’s decision to lease land for the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Center.  Its decision was only to refer it to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference.  In no way did it reject the decision already made by the South Central Jurisdiction’s Mission Council.  The action was merely procedural because the General Conference said the decision belonged at the Jurisdictional level.  The overwhelming nature of the vote was due to the fact that it, along with 11 other petitions, was on a consent calendar….” (1).  Scott J. Jones, Bishop, Kansas Area of the United Methodist Church. (Press Statement, May 3, 2008)


United Methodist Bishop Scott J. Jones of Kansas has been an outspoken advocate for locating the Bush library and partisan institute at Southern Methodist University (SMU) (2-3). He has also told the press that the right of the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) delegates to vote on the use of their church property at SMU will not be honored, although it is clearly stated in church law that a vote is mandated (4-5).

This appears to continue to be Jones’ position even after an 844-20 vote on a petition calling for the rejection of the Bush project was referred to the SCJ by the highest authority in the UMC – its General Conference. 


Bishop Jones, taking a leaf apparently from the Bush Arrogance Book, has decided that he doesn’t need to obey the UMC GC’s decision and that in his position as an SMU Trustee, backing the Bushes is more important than following the laws of his church.

Bishop Jones told the Dallas Morning News in 2007 that the thousands of fellow United Methodists and SMU alumni who signed a petition ( objecting to Bush partisan think tank “would have no influence” on him as an SMU trustee.  Moreover, he declared that SMU “trustees — not the United Methodist Church — have the final say on decisions that SMU makes about the library” (6).  Bishop Jones made this statement despite the fact that the UMC founded and owns SMU, and the trustees are appointed under the authority of the church.

One would call the Bishop’s attitude “astounding” if one hadn’t become inured over the past 7 years to all kinds people jettisoning all kinds of laws for the Bushes that they’d never in a million years disregard for anybody else. It has become almost routine for everyone around these would-be aristocrats to act as if the laws, traditions, and values of our nation don’t apply to the Georges.

If Bishop Jones is allowed to thumb his nose at his own church, its by-laws, and its legally-constituted bodies in order to ram the Bush Propaganda Institute down the throats of a religious group wholly opposed to an alliance with and on behalf of the man who began an illegal war, trashed the Constitution to spy on his own citizens, and vigorously supports torturing prisoners, if Bishop Jones is allowed to do all that without any consequences whatever, then before so much as a brick has been laid for this unconscionable library, the Methodist Church will have given up any and all chance for respect.

Clearly Bishop Jones is doing the Bidding of the Bushes. Having tried to stop the vote from taking place, now that Bush has lost it he has ordered his tame bishop to ignore the vote. The Bishop should be removed immediately. He has put the wishes of a powerful constituent over the wishes of his own legal church body. That is simply NOT acceptable anywhere else.

Worse, perhaps, is that George HW Bush – Poppy – decided to celebrate the UMC GC’s decision to reject the library by having a “do” for the Rev Moon on property they labeled as “the presidential library” for gullible members of the press. Gorenfeld is a smart guy, but even he didn’t seem to realize he was being had: the Library doesn’t yet exist. So where was this “event”?

And what’s with inviting Moon to be the first guest so honored? I quote Gorenfeld:

Moon is on record as opposing constitutional government; according to his church, he told the folks at the Bush library that he envisioned a world [emphasis mine]

where some of the weaknesses of democracy, and in particular the wasted efforts of extreme partisanship, can be relieved by the involvement of elder statesmen as senior advisors.



According to a reliable source within the Moon organization who provided me with password-guarded HTML files, the Reverend elaborated on his fantasies last year in a sermon so shocking, it was not released to the public (unlike thousands of others available online.)

All the irrelevant books in the world should be burned away. I cannot tolerate books that belong under the leftist ideology. Do you understand?

And that is, of course, the very tippity-tip of the Moonie iceberg.

So let’s recap:

The president’s Poppy invited well-known religious fruitcake/fanatic Rev Moon to the very first event publicized as taking place at the new George W Bush Library, which doesn’t yet exist and which has been rejected by the legal church body controlling the site whom the local Bishop (a Bush Buddy and a member of SMU’s Board of Trustees) claims has no jurisdiction over either the site or his decision to support it, defying the legal decision of the UMC as a whole.

Is this a Bush Production or what?

Bush Library Rejected by Methodist Church

Via email from the Rev Andrew Weaver comes the interesting news that against all odds the opponents of the Bush Library and Propaganda Farm have won a major victory.

At the United Methodist General Conference Meeting in Fort Worth, TX, an overwhelming majority of the membership (844-20) rejected the idea of siting the Bush Library on the grounds of a Methodist university (SMU).

In other words, just to be clear about this: the President of the United States was just told in no uncertain terms by the legal body of his own supposed church that he can’t put his library where he wants to put it.

I can only speculate as to what arguments pushed the members to this decision but it’s a not-unreasonable guess that the meritorius objections of its opponents, the standard Bush/Cheney heavy-handed bullying, and the standard Bush corruption scenario probably combined to give the membership a sour taste of what the future could hold if their church becomes permanently associated with the Bush Propaganda Institute.

Amswering his email, I asked Rev Weaver what this meant and what the next step was. He replied that it forces a vote in July at Dallas by the United Methodist Church (UMC) Regional board that owns SMU.

smu has been claiming they signed a lease with gwb foundation and that was the end of it–this vote says a vote is required and the 11.5 million umc folk are not happy with the association

Guess not. This rolls the project back further than Square One. The Bushies, by trying to use their political clout in Texas to sidestep the national UMC membership in effect and if for no other reason, pissed them off. The General Conference has the power to reject the project, and they just have.

You know what? The Good Guys just won a Big One. Stay tuned for further developments.

Stop the Bush Library – Anywhere

The Bush/Cheney Administration is the worst in American history by any measure you can think of. The idea that $$$millions$$$ will be spent on a Library/Institute (read: Propaganda Center) to continue and even advocate for that appalling, horrendous agenda should be anathema to any institution of higher learning in the country, or to the country as a whole. It’s an abomination of the highest caliber, as if the citizens of Chile, freed from his dictatorship, would have to be continually wounded by an institution glorifying Augustus Pinochet’s rule of mass murder and social upheaval in perpetuity.

That the Bushes have tagged a well-respected Methodist university to be the site of a public relations nightmare glorifying the president who vociferously and unilaterally violated nearly every Methodist belief is bad enough. That he is to be allowed to do it at all – anywhere – is a travesty all its own. It means we will not be spared the arrogance and moronic elitist worldview of the Bushes ever. Their minions and flacks will be guaranteed a forum from which to shout their advocacy of torture, intolerance, authoritarianism, and the destruction of any feeling of community in the name of selfishness and greed that will make the depredations, tricks, and lies of the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute look like harmless pranks.

When Caligula finally died, ending his reign of terror, was his family allowed to found a school in his name justifying and even glorifying his ruinous imperium? Of course not. Yet we are going to allow George W Bush, the man who killed thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis by starting a pointless war with lies and then kept it going with years of more lies, to build a monument to himself and his treachery on our soil – once democratic, American soil.

George W Bush didn’t just violate Methodist values during his presidency, he violated American values. Our values. Wholesale. He dumped on them as eagerly as a cheerleader dumps on the values of the opposing team. He thought – and thinks – no more of violating the laws passed by Congress than he would think of stepping on a passing worm. They mean as little to him as gnats on a summer evening – annoying little pests to be crushed between his fingers when they can’t simply be ignored.

Signing statements, refusals to provide information about anything, refusals to acknowledge let alone obey subpoenas, blanket statements that no Congressional committee has the power to stop anything he wants to do – the list is near endless. Outright lawbreaking followed by bland, categorical rejections of the 230-yr-old American belief that we are a country where not even the chief executive is above the law.

George W Bush is the opposite of everything we’ve ever believed we represented, and we’re going to let him build an institute to spread that gospel from sea-to-sea?

Stop the Library, and not just at MSU. For all our sakes, stop it period, now and forever, from being built anywhere on American soil.

How about Turkmenistan?

Bush Demands Methodist Bishops Overturn Church Law

Rev Andrew Weaver, one of the Methodist leaders of the movement to prevent the Bush Library and Propaganda Training Center from being placed at Southern Methodist University, writes that the latest sleezy move from the Bush forces is an attempt to by-pass a vote on the siting. From the emailed press release (ignored by the media, as far as I can tell):

In a conference call held on January 9, 2008, the eleven active United Methodist bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction were asked to issue an interpretation of United Methodist church law that would circumvent a vote by lay and clergy delegates and permit the immediate establishment of a partisan Bush institute at Southern Methodist University (SMU) along with the planned Bush presidential library. The request to the bishops came from the George W. Bush Foundation.

The controversial institute, dedicated to promoting the domestic and international views of George W. Bush, would not be under the supervision of SMU and would hire without regard to university policy. No other university with a presidential library has permitted such an institute on its campus.

Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks of Little Rock, Arkansas, said, “My reason, conscience, and experience tell me that the bishops do not have authority to circumvent the right of the 290 delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference to vote on a 99-year proposal for land use of this nature. I encourage my fellow bishops to honor the voting rights of the Jurisdictional delegates.”

It’s nothing new for George W Bush to demand that exceptions be made to any rule he finds inconvenient. He has pioneered the use of unilateral signing statements to ignore any laws passed by Congress that he doesn’t care for and has willfully, deliberately and repeatedly broken laws expressly forbidding certain acts (torture, wiretapping) that he endorses, telling both Congress and the Supreme Court that he is, in effect, above and beyond any law he doesn’t like and there’s nothing they can do about it. (Read John Dean’s Worse than Watergate for specifics of just how arrogant a lawbreaker Bush is.)

So the news that he is demanding that Methodist church law be “interpreted” contrary to that law’s clear and unambiguous meaning is no particular surprise. In fact, it’s pretty much par for the Bush course. It’s What He Does. In this case, what he wants is to avoid allowing the almost 300 delegates to vote – as Methodist Church Law says they have the right to do – at the next Jurisdictional Conference.

In the conference call, the eleven active bishops were asked to interpret church law to declare that the decision of the Mission Council, a 21-member interim body which approved the use of SMU land for the institute after heavy lobbying in March, 2007, is final. This would permit the Bush Foundation to avoid submitting the matter to the 290 Jurisdictional Conference delegates meeting in Dallas in July, 2008, where the outcome of such a vote is in doubt.

“In doubt.” Bush doesn’t want to chance losing his choice of a site just because a few hundred delegates are appalled that a torturer and imperialist authoritarian wants to use the imprimatur of the Methodist Church for the “institute” that will defend torture and advocate perpetual war, the abandonment of social responsibilities to the poor, and an anti-democratic state – all of which are contrary to Methodist thinking and beliefs.

Reverend David Severe, Director of Mission and Administration for the South Central Jurisdiction, wrote to an SMU professor on October 6, 2007, that “All actions taken by the Mission Council interim the Jurisdictional Conference must be ratified by the next Jurisdictional Conference session.”


“To not protect their right to vote on the use of land by the George W. Bush Foundation is a violation of the democratic and open processes of our church,” said Bishop Hicks. “I am worried that the disenfranchisement of Jurisdictional Conference delegates will undermine our ministry together as a church.”

It should worry those Methodist delegates that the president who will be represented by this institute at a university that used to pride itself on its law school, has so little respect for Church Law that he wants it overturned for something as minor as his convenience.

“I can understand why the George W. Bush Foundation does not want the Jurisdictional Conference to vote on this issue,” said Andrew Weaver, a United Methodist pastor and graduate of SMU. “In recent months, colleagues and I have spoken to dozens of delegates who are increasingly questioning the wisdom of placing a partisan think tank on the grounds of a United Methodist institution. The George W. Bush Foundation wants to prevent the vote because it fears the outcome. It appears that the Bush Foundation has no respect for the laws and procedures of the president’s own denomination.”

Well, it has no respect for laws passed by Congress or for the Constitution. Why would Methodist Church Law be treated any differently? The law to George W Bush is an irritating nuisance to be ignored whenever it gets in his way.

It would be nice if, just this once, he learned that wasn’t true.

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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Cheney Claims VP’s Office Not in Executive Branch (2 Updates)

You read right. Where dies he think it is, Constitutionally speaking? He doesn’t say.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s office refused to cooperate with an agency that oversees classified documents, then tried to abolish the office when it challenged the actions, House oversight committee Chairman Henry Waxman said.

The National Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office is charged by presidential order with ensuring that classified information and documents are properly handled by executive branch agencies.

According to a letter from William Leonard, director of the oversight office, Cheney’s office argued it did not meet the definition of an executive branch agency and therefore was exempt.

When Leonard unsurprisingly refused to accept this absurd interpretation, Cheney threatened to abolish the ISOO altogether, claiming there’s a “presidential order under consideration” right now that would do just that.

It’s all about making sure nobody can see – ever – Bush Administration documents that Cheney wants only loyal Bushies who can be trusted to a) keep their mouths shut, or b) twist whatever they find in the presidential papers to reflect the party line. In the background is the Bush Library to be built at SMU.

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The Bush Library 5: An Open Letter to the United Methodist Church

Dear UMC:

I didn’t realize it until recently but you control Southern Methodist University, which I thought had become independent years ago. Rev Andrew Weaver explained to me that I was wrong and that it is still your responsibility.

That’s why I’m directing this to you: I’m pleading with you to stop this project. Not for my sake – the Bush Library is going to be built somewhere and as far as I’m concerned SMU is as good a place as any. No, I’m asking you to stop it for the sake of SMU itself but more importantly, perhaps crucially, for the sake of Methodist values and beliefs.

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The Bush Library 4: Looking to the Next War

Southern Methodist University (SMU) just took another step closer to becoming the home of the new George W Bush Library and Neoconservative Theme Park when University Park, the aptly-named suburb that contains SMU, voted overwhelmingly to sell a public park – Potomac Park – to the university for the complex.

The prospect of the George W. Bush Presidential Library’s being built on the campus of Southern Methodist University received a lift over the weekend when voters in this Dallas suburb passed a proposition that paves the way for the city to sell a piece of parkland to the university.

The ballot proposal — passed on a vote of 1,782 to 420 on Saturday — will allow this city of some 23,000 residents to sell Potomac Park, an undeveloped strip that could prove important to plans for the presidential library. The pioneering Caruth family donated the eight-tenths-of-an-acre parcel in the 1950s to University Park, five miles north of downtown Dallas.

“S.M.U. and University Park have grown and flourished together, and this outcome represents our shared dedication to enhancing the quality of both town and gown,” the university’s president, R. Gerald Turner, said on the city’s Web site.

R Gerald, who is a Bush Booster and unlikely ever to admit it no matter how obvious it becomes, couldn’t be more wrong. One day in the not-nearly-distant-enough future, R Gerald is going to become infamous as the man who single-handedly ruined SMU’s reputation as great university by turning it into a Bush Shrine where only the appropriately worshipful are allowed admittance, a neocon propaganda unit where history will be re-written to absolve and anoint W, and a training ground for would-be theocrats.

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The Bush Library 3: Rove in Charge, SMU Flushing Its Rep?

Via Benjamin Johnson at the Bush Library Blog comes the news that intellectual and ethically-challenged democracy bete-noir Karl Rove has been spending a bunch of his precious time dealing not with Gonzo or the DoJ Scandal or the Emperor’s abysmal poll numbers or the Republicans’ self-immolation or the Iraq mess but with the much-ballyhooed Bush Library.

Last weekend while at the ever-scintillating meeting of the Organization of American Historians I ran into a few friends in administrative positions at research libraries. The Bush people, they told me, have been scoping out research facilities, taking a look at how institutions try to set themselves up to house both archival records open to a wide range of researchers and provide a productive working environment for fellows. The person leading this effort was nobody other than Karl Rove, the President’s chief political strategist, and — whether you like him or not — undeniably one of the great political geniuses of American history. Rove is personally going around to these libraries, meeting with their directors and checking out their facilities. According to one colleague, he seems to know exactly what the square footage of the building will be and where it will be located on campus.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The picture conjured up of one of the nastiest, most unscrupulous political dirtbags since Lee Atwater running what is supposed to be a public institution for historical research is enough to make you either gag or dissolve into giggles.

I mean, Karl Rove? In charge of a presidential library? Good grief. Continue reading