Category Archives: Bush Family

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Interview with Greg Palast

Thom Hartmann is joined by investigative journalist Greg Palast to discuss his new documentary The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the real election rigging happening in states all across America. (Thom Hartmann Show)

FLASHBACK: Florida ‘Recounts’ Make Gore Winner

Martin Kettle reported for The Guardian on 29th January 2001:

Image result for gore bush 2000Al Gore, not George Bush, should be sitting in the White House today as the newly elected president of the United States, two new independent probes of the disputed Florida election contest have confirmed.

The first survey, conducted on behalf of the Washington Post, shows that Mr Gore had a nearly three-to-one majority among 56,000 Florida voters whose November 7 ballot papers were discounted because they contained more than one punched hole.

The second and separate survey, conducted on behalf of the Palm Beach Post, shows that Mr Gore had a majority of 682 votes among the discounted “dimpled” ballots in Palm Beach county.

In each case, if the newly examined votes had been allowed to count in the November election, Mr Gore would have won Florida’s 21 electoral college votes by a narrow majority and he, not Mr Bush, would be the president. Instead, Mr Bush officially carried Florida by 537 votes after recounts were stopped.

In spite of the findings, no legal challenge to the Florida result is possible in the light of the US supreme court’s 5-4 ruling in December to hand the state to Mr Bush. But the revelations will continue to cast a cloud, to put it mildly, over the democratic legitimacy of Mr Bush’s election.

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Chilcot Report: Tony Blair Told George W. Bush, ‘If We Win Quickly, Everyone Will Be Our Friend.’

Jon Schwarz reports for The Intercept:

The Chilcot report the U.K.’s official inquiry into its participation in the Iraq War, has finally been released after seven years of investigation.

Its executive summary certainly makes former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the British push for war, look terrible. According to the report, Blair made statements about Iraq’s nonexistent chemical, biological, and nuclear programs based on “what Mr. Blair believed” rather than the intelligence he had been given. The U.K. went to war despite the fact that “diplomatic options had not been exhausted.” Blair was warned by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

On the other hand, the inquiry explicitly says that it is not “questioning Mr. Blair’s belief” in the case for war — i.e., it is not accusing him of conscious misrepresentations. Blair is already spinning this as an exoneration, saying the report “should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies, or deceit.”

But consider that for as long as the Chilcot commission has existed, the U.K. and U.S. intelligence communities have probably fought over the language of the executive summary.

So the place to look for the less adulterated truth about Blair and the U.K. government is in the rest of the report’s 2.6 million words, including footnotes and newly declassified documents.

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George W. Bush Defends Iraq Invasion Following Chilcot Report

Daniel White reports for TIME:

George W. BushFormer President George W. Bush says the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power following the release of a lengthy inquiry into the Iraq war.

A spokesperson for Bush released a statement Wednesday afternoon after the release of the Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the war, according to the Guardian.

“Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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George W. Bush White House’s ‘Skull and Bones’ Files Set For Release This Summer

Josh Gerstein reports for Politico:

Hundreds of Skull and Bones Secret Society Docs Set to be ReleasedOne of America’s most prestigious and storied secret societies, Yale University’s Skull and Bones, may be a little less secret if archivists at President George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas get their way.

More than 1,000 pages of letters, memos, a draft speech and other materials relating to Skull and Bones are set for release in July, unless Bush or President Barack Obama move to block the disclosure, according to the National Archives.

[…] The secretive group of well-connected Yale seniors meets in a foreboding campus building called “the tomb” and is rumored to conduct macabre rituals (one persistent rumor holds that the Bones tomb contains the skull of Geronimo, among other occult objects). Over the years, the society has been the subject of several books as well as a “60 Minutes” segment.

The group drew particular attention in the early 1990s, when William F. Buckley and others went to court in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to keep the society from going co-ed, and in the 2004 election when Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry were both drawn from its ranks.

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Who Will Own the White House? The Military Industrial Complex, Wall Street and Big Oil Are Vying to Buy the Presidency

Nafeez Ahmed writes for INSURGE INTELLIGENCE:

[…] While Democrat contender Hillary Clinton is hardly a peacenik, election data shows that the US military-industrial complex wants Team Gaffney to win — but is hedging its bets between Democrats and Republicans.

The top twenty 2016 campaign contributions from defence contractors or their PACs, employees or owners, have all overwhelmingly favoured Republican candidates. The biggest pro-Republican contributions came via Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon and General Dynamics — the very same contractors on Gaffney’s CSP donor list in 2013.

The same firms donated to the Democrats, but by dramatically smaller margins.

Of course, between Cruz, Trump, Clinton and Sanders, Hillary Clintonreceived the most campaign contributions from the US defence sector.

But the presidential hopeful who overall received the most donations from the US military-industrial complex, far more than Clinton, was Jeb Bush — who, of course, is no longer in the race. Clinton came a close second after Bush, followed by Republicans, in this order: Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, then Ben Carson.

So overall, the US military-industrial complex appears to have hedged most of its bets in the Republican camp, with a whopping 73% of all campaign donations from the defence sector going to Republican presidential candidates, and just 27% going to the Democrats — most of which went to Clinton, a fraction going to Sanders.

Clinton, though, is almost certainly most favoured by Wall Street, receiving $9,867,881 in campaign donations from the ‘finance/insurance/real estate’ sectors. That’s three times as much as what Cruz has received at $3,281,912.

Trump, in comparison, received very little of these direct donations, but it’s clear that his national security committee remains indirectly coopted by Frank Gaffney, who still appears to be in the pocket of the most neoconservative wings of the defence industry.

It’s also clear that Trump’s personal financial affairs and investments tie him indelibly to both Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, however leery they might be of his inconsistent public pronouncements.

Where does the ultimate wild card, Bernie Sanders, fit into all this? Of all the candidates, he appears genuinely to be the least compromised from a funding perspective. Industry-wise, his biggest pool of donations has come from that nefarious class of evildoers known as ‘old people’ (classified as retired), followed by groups and individuals in education, law, health and business.

His biggest direct donors are from people at some of the largest technology firms, Alphabet, Inc. (which owns Google), Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com, IBM Corp, Intel Corp, Facebook Inc, and several major universities — but the quantities are, relative to the sums other donor-dependent candidates are getting, tiny. His largest donation, via Alphabet Inc., is $132,228.

In contrast, the biggest spenders on Sanders campaign did not donate to him directly, but advocated for him themselves. By far his single biggest backer in this respect, investing $1,967,609 in his cause to date, has been National Nurses United.

The American elections, therefore, represent a struggle not just between people and power, but within power.

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Two Former U.S. Presidents Simultaneously Advocate for a Close Family Member as the Next U.S. President

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Americans love to mock the British for choosing – in the 21st Century – to live under a monarchy and honor the hereditary succession of a royal family. I enthusiastically participate in that derision. Few concepts are as antithetical to reason and democratic liberty as anointing families which are vested with an entitlement to wield power through dynasty and lineage.

The U.S. officially has no formal royal families, but clearly loves dynastic political power. As the U.S. becomes increasingly oligarchical – all of its institutions, including its political ones, dominated by a tiny number of extremely rich families – it is natural that all forms of hereditary power will flourish. There are still examples of people from backgrounds devoid of family wealth or influence attaining political power – Barack Obama certainly qualifies – but it’s virtually impossible for them to succeed without the overwhelming support of those oligarchical circles.

Dynastic power is not a new phenomenon in the U.S., but this past week featured a particularly vivid illustration of how potent it is. The two U.S. Presidents prior to President Obama – Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – made appearances on the campaign trail to urge Americans to elect their favorite candidate, which, in both cases, happens to be a close family member.

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40 Years After “All the President’s Men” Robert Redford Plays Another Journalist Challenging Power in “Truth”

Forty years ago, the legendary actor Robert Redford starred in one of the most celebrated journalism films of all time: “All The President’s Men.” Redford and Dustin Hoffman portrayed Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigating the Watergate scandal that eventually brought down President Nixon. In his most recent film “Truth,” Robert Redford portrays another journalist—this time CBS reporter Dan Rather. The film is based on CBS producer Mary Mapes’ 2005 memoir about how she was fired and Rather was forced to resign after they reported that George W. Bush received special treatment in the U.S. Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Redford joins us in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival, which he founded in 1978. (Democracy Now!)

Behind North Korea’s Nukes: George W. Bush’s “Khan Job”

Greg Palast writes:

How did North Korea get The Bomb in the first place?  As I disclosed on BBC Television Newsnight, the ugly answer is that George W. Bush turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s secret sale of the technology to the North Korean regime.

Read the original story from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:

On November 7, 2001, BBC Television’s Newsnight reported that the Bush administration thwarted investigations of Dr. A.Q. Khan, known as the “father” of Pakistan’s atomic bomb. This week, Khan confessed to selling atomic secrets to Libya, North Korea, and Iran.

The Bush Administration has expressed shock at disclosures that Pakistan, our ally in the war on terror, has been running a nuclear secrets bazaar. In fact, according to the British news teams’ sources within US intelligence agencies, shortly after President Bush’s inauguration, his National Security Agency (NSA) effectively stymied the probe of Khan Research Laboratories, the Pakistani agency in charge of the bomb project. CIA and other agents told BBC they could not investigate the spread of ‘Islamic Bombs’ through Pakistan because funding appeared to originate in Saudi Arabia.

Greg Palast and David Pallister received a California State University Project Censored Award for this expose based on the story broadcast by Palast on BBC television’s top current affairs program.

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George H.W. Bush criticises ‘iron-ass’ Cheney and ‘arrogant’ Rumsfeld in new book

Bush, ‘Brownie’, FEMA and Katrina: Interview with Russ Baker

Thom Hartmann interviews Russ Baker, editor of WhoWhatWhy and the author of Family of Secrets, on his five part investigative series on the corruption that led to FEMA’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans ten years ago. (The Big Picture)

Donald Rumsfeld: George W. Bush was wrong about Iraq

Amanda Sakuma reports for MSNBC:

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaks during an event on Feb. 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)President George W. Bush was wrong to try to build democracy in Iraq, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a recent interview, marking a striking admission from a key player behind the 2003 U.S. invasion.

In an interview with British newspaper The Times, Rumsfeld said that efforts to oust Saddam Hussein and replace his tyrannical regime with democracy were unworkable, and that he had concerns about the plan from the beginning.

“I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories,” Rumsfeld told The Times. “The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.”’

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George W. Bush Approval Rating Higher Than Obama

Forget What We Know Now: We Knew Then the Iraq War Was a Joke

Editor’s Note: Matt Taibbi was recently interviewed about the role of the media in the lead up to the Iraq War on Democracy Now!

Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone:

Jeb Bush[…] The media quickly piled on. “Jeb Bush’s Iraq Stumble” was the title of the Wall Street Journal’s “Journal Editorial Report” on Fox. “On Iraq Question, Jeb Bush Stumbles and GOP Hopefuls Pounce,” countered the Washington Post.

“Jeb Bush’s Revisionist History of the Iraq War,” wrote New York Times Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal. “Yeah, Jeb Bush’s argument that the Iraq War was right even in retrospect is insane,” tweeted current New York and erstwhile New Republic writer Jonathan Chait early in the story cycle, when Jeb was still defending the war.

A few writers, like Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune, criticized Jeb for not disavowing the “reckless adventurism” of the Bush II era that led to the war in the first place. In other words, Chapman blasted Jeb for being wrong then and now.

But the substance of most of the media mockery in the last week was to whale on Jeb for not admitting quickly enough that the war, in hindsight, given “what we know now,” was a huge mistake.

We can call this the “None of us pundits would have been wrong about Iraq if it wasn’t for Judith Miller” line of questioning. This rhetoric goes something like this: since we invaded, the war has gone epically FUBAR, so it’s obvious now that it was a mistake, and so we can mock you for not admitting as much.’

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The US government told me Bin Laden read my book. But what is it not telling us?

Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, writes for The Guardian:

Osama bin Laden‘[…] I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others – and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.

And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at Newsnight, a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked “SECRET,” “eyes only” and “1-99I WF”, which is code for “national security document”. The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before 11 September 2001. Calls to the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI insiders authenticated this bombshell of a devastating intelligence failure.

No, the evidence did not show that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attack in advance. But here was something still quite damning: we learned that the Bush family connection to the Bin Laden family business might have been a shield against government probes. Did Bin Laden, reading that, make a note to himself to thank the Bushes for their unintended protection? I assumed the FBI would deny the authenticity of the document. Instead of denying that the Bin Laden investigation had been spiked, the FBI spokesman told Newsnight these chilling words: “There are a lot of things the intelligence community knows and other people ought not to know.”’

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Jeb Bush’s Entourage Filled with Neocons: Interview with Larry Wilkerson

Larry Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. He discusses how Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently stated how he would have authorized the US invasion in 2003 of Iraq, which shows little regard for the fact that neoconservative policy created more chaos in the region. (The Real News)

Jeb Bush praises Obama over NSA spying

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA SurveillanceOne of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (fromAmerica’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

To illustrate how true this all is, consider the comments today of leading GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk radio program, and was asked by the host what his favorite part of the Obama administration has been. His answer? As McClatchy’s Lesley Clark noted on Twitter, Bush hailed “Obama’s enhancement of NSA.”’

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Did The Bush Family Help Hitler Into Power?

George W. Bush Honored By CIA Foundation

‘The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation has awarded former President George W. Bush with the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award, named after the Cold War-era CIA director. The honor appears somewhat odd as the president and the CIA, along with the National Security Agency, had a rather troubled relationship during the president’s administration.’ (RT America)

How Jeb Bush’s foreign policy team overlaps with his brother’s and father’s teams

No freshness in our 2016 presidential contest

Dana Milbank writes for The Washington Post:

[…] This will be the seventh presidential campaign I’ve covered in some form, starting with a bit role in 1992. If the field develops the way it appears to be going, this will be my fourth Clinton campaign, fourth Bush campaign, third Romney campaign, third Paul campaign, second Huckabee campaign and second Santorum campaign. This isn’t an election — it’s a rerun.

The likely slate of candidates will include the son of a governor and presidential candidate, the son of a congressman and presidential candidate, the wife of a president and the brother of a president, son of a president and grandson of a senator. Nearly 2½ centuries after rebelling against the monarchy, our presidential contest has all the freshness of the House of Lords. Even the British royals have done a better job at bringing in new blood: Kate, the future queen, was a commoner.

The hereditary nature of the presidential race isn’t the disease but a symptom of our empty politics. In the absence of ideas and popular passion — the sort of spirit that briefly captured the nation’s imagination in 2008 — winning becomes about name recognition and celebrity. Known brands rate highly in early polls, which brings in money, which leads to victory.’

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Jeb Bush v. Hillary Clinton: the Perfectly Illustrative Election

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘Jeb Bush yesterday strongly suggested he was running for President in 2016. If he wins the GOP nomination, it is highly likely that his opponent for the presidency would be Hillary Clinton.

Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility. That one of those two families exploited its vast wealth to obtain political power, while the other exploited its political power to obtain vast wealth, makes it more illustrative still: of the virtually complete merger between political and economic power, of the fundamentally oligarchical framework that drives American political life.

Then there are their similar constituencies: what Politico termed “money men” instantly celebrated Jeb Bush’s likely candidacy, while the same publication noted just last month how Wall Street has long been unable to contain its collective glee over a likely Hillary Clinton presidency. The two ruling families have, unsurprisingly, developed a movingly warm relationship befitting their position: the matriarch of the Bush family (former First Lady Barbara) has described the Clinton patriarch (former President Bill) as a virtual family member, noting that her son, George W., affectionately calls his predecessor “my brother by another mother.”

If this happens, the 2016 election would vividly underscore how the American political class functions: by dynasty, plutocracy, fundamental alignment of interests masquerading as deep ideological divisions, and political power translating into vast private wealth and back again. The educative value would be undeniable: somewhat like how the torture report did, it would rub everyone’s noses in exactly those truths they are most eager to avoid acknowledging.

READ MORE FROM THE INTERCEPT…

ACLU Head Calls For Obama To Pardon Bush And Those Who Tortured

Bush: Meet Bill, my brother from another mother

Toby Harnden reports for The Sunday Times:

George Bush says he and fellow grandfather Bill Clinton are friendsGeorge W. Bush has described Bill Clinton, his fellow former American president, as a “brother from another mother” and has given details of his unlikely friendship with the man who in 1992 had denied Bush’s father a second term in the White House.

The two men, both 68, have bonded over becoming grandfathers. Bush’s twin daughter Jenna gave birth to a daughter, Mila, in April last yearand Clinton’s only child, Chelsea, had a girl, Charlotte,in September.

In an interview with The Sunday Times in his high-rise office in Texas, Bush said that he and his father, President George H.W. Bush, 90, had telephoned Clinton to congratulate him.’

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Media Worships Bush Family on Veterans Day

Abby discusses the mainstream media’s coverage of President George W. Bush’s new book about his father and how it distracts from the case of several Libyans that were allegedly tortured by the CIA at black sites in Afghanistan.’ (Breaking the Set)

George W. Bush says he “earned” everything, family dynasty didn’t help

Texas votes for George Bush again

UPDATE: George P. Bush Elected Texas Land Commissioner

All signs point to Jeb Bush prepping for 2016 presidential run

Ben White reports for CNBC:

As Mike Allen reports in Tuesday’s Politico Playbook, Bush plans a heavy travel schedule for GOP candidates this fall including hot Senate races in North Carolina and Kansas. Bush has also done heavy fundraising for GOP candidates and the party over the summer. He also will host an event Tuesday night at his home in Tampa, Florida, for GOP senate candidates Tom Cotton of Arkansas; Joni Ernst of Iowa; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Dan Sullivan of Alaska; and Monica Wehby of Oregon.

All of the fundraising activity makes it seems very much like Bush is putting together a network of support for a bid in 2016 that could see him square off in a general election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Such a Bush-Clinton race would harken back to the 1992 campaign between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, a fact some reject as tired dynasty politics and others see as a possibly edifying campaign of ideas between party heavyweights.’

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From Public Service to Lobbyist: The Revolving Door Is on Auto Pilot

David Dayden writes for The Fiscal Times:

‘Political debate between the two parties often boils down to whether citizens benefit from government actions. But one group of people always make out handsomely. In his book The Payoff, former lobbyist and Senate chief of staff Jeff Connaughton called them “The Blob,” the army of hangers-on and glad-handers who rotate between government and industry, getting rich off their past associations and trading on their influence and relationships, sometimes in particularly corrupt fashion.

This shadow sector of government has grown more bloated than ever, and if ever an issue existed where Democrats and Republicans could come together to eliminate administrative waste, this is it. Just take a look at some examples from the past couple weeks.’

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How presidential museums become propaganda palaces

Thomas Frank writes for Salon:

The animatronic presidency: How presidential museums become propaganda palaces, whitewashing Bush's disasters and Clinton's failings ‘Barack Obama has formally entered that phase of the presidential life cycle that is all about defining his legacy, building a presidential library, and courting the judgment of historians. I suppose it is a good thing for politicians to consider the scrutiny of future generations. In fact, I wish they worried about it more; I wish they constantly asked themselves and their advisers what the nation’s scholars will make of their decisions. It would be a healthful check on an otherwise too-powerful office, where the decision to drop a bomb or render a suspect is attended by few other consequences.

Unfortunately, presidential libraries and historical scrutiny are not the same thing. They aren’t even in the same category, really. I visited three of the most recently built presidential museums a few weeks ago—the Bill Clinton Presidential Center plus two museums commemorating the administrations of men named George Bush—and found them to be, by and large, institutions of bald propaganda, buildings on which hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to cast, literally, in stone, a given individual’s personal war with reality.’

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