Jeb Bush as president would put the toe tag on America for its final trip to the morgue. He'd skip the autopsy because in his world, no post-mortem is necessary. The Iraq and Afghanistan operations were a success even though millions of patients died.
To make the preview of his candidacy even more macabre,(as if that were even possible) the "moderate Bush" formally introduced his team of foreign policy experts at the same time he bragged that he was "his own man." It's more like the man is owned -- by nearly two dozen unindicted neocon war-profiteering co-conspirators, including Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremmer -- and who Maureen Dowd in her latest column calls the "estimable" James Baker.
In his foreign policy speech in Chicago on Wednesday, Jeb was dismissive toward those who want to know where he stands in relation to his father and brother. “In fact,” he said, mockingly, “this is a great, fascinating thing in the political world for some reason.”
For some reason?
My published New York Times response:Like the Clintons, the Bushes drag the country through national traumas that spring from their convoluted family dynamic and then disingenuously wonder why we concern ourselves with their family dynamic.
The list of Jeb's policy advisers is enough to make you run straight into the arms of the grifting grandma to beg for mercy. She'll at least pause before starting a war. The neocons start wars because they are unabashed psychopaths, killing and plundering for the pure sport of it, and then bragging about it, secure in the knowledge that they will never, ever be prosecuted for their crimes.
Dick Cheney, though not on the official Jeb List for obvious reasons, is no doubt also lurking in the background, pulling Jeb's strings as deftly as he pulled George's. Ditto for Karl Rove and Roger Ailes. Triple-ditto for billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the de facto head of the Republican Party.
And how about that "estimable" James Baker? (I guess anybody would look vaguely human next to Wolfowitz and his tattered socks.)
Baker's law firm is currently defending the Saudis in a lawsuit brought by the 9/11 families on grounds that the royal family funded the terrorists. Then there's the shady Iraq war debt investment deal worth billions that he brokered between Kuwait and the Carlyle Group, at the same time he was an unpaid "special presidential envoy." Baker had also been lead attorney for the 2000 Bush/Cheney Florida election campaign.
Once the Supremes crowned George king, it was only a matter of time before the corruption became complete. Citizens United was the coup de grace to our democracy.
Let's get the 28 secret pages of the 9/11 Commission Report made public, pronto.You know you're in trouble when Grifting Grandma starts smelling like a rose compared to the extended Bush Crime Family. As I said, Hillary would at least use the feeble "responsibility to protect" excuse for invading and occupying countries. And taking a tip from the Teflon Don (Gotti) and his block parties, she and her clan do share some of the proceeds from their slush fund with some carefully vetted indigent population groups.
That's not to say that Hillary Land is not also deeply, deeply corrupt. There's something decidedly sleazy about an imminent presidential candidate accepting cash from foreign governments and big bank fraudsters. The New York Times editorial board has duly advised her to cease and desist from accepting cash from such donors as.... Saudi Arabia! (Those sheikhs know how to hedge their political bets as well as Wall Street. They're all part of the same plutonomy after all.)
Donations from foreign governments and nationals, for example, were found to make up more than half of the category of $5-million-plus contributions (to the Clinton charity), according to The Washington Post. A third of donations in the $1-million-plus bracket came from foreign governments and other overseas entities.
Substantial overlap was found between foundation contributors and familiar Clinton campaign donors and money bundlers. Considering the Clintons’ popularity and influence in their party, this is no surprise. But it does make it important that Mrs. Clinton, in defending the family’s efforts on behalf of the world’s needy, reassure the public that the foundation will not become a vehicle for insiders’ favoritism, should she run for and win the White House.
So would returning all that cash, but the Times won't go that far, nor will it threaten to withhold its endorsement of Clinton should she fail to comply with their friendly advice.Restoring the restrictions on foreign donors would be a good way to make this point as Mrs. Clinton’s widely expected campaign moves forward.
But centrist-leaning Times columnist Frank Bruni, to his credit, is again taking on the corruption of politics by big money and the enabling role that the mainstream media play in their sycophantic coverage of the New Abnormal:
An astonishing bounty of the comments and developments that make headlines emanate from the arena of fund-raising. We learned that Mitt Romney might enter the 2016 race because he was telling donors as much, and we learned that he had decided otherwise because he was letting donors know. In neither instance did we take sufficient note of that.
We articulate misgivings about how much of Clinton’s or Bush’s thinking may be rooted in the past. But the bigger issue, given the scope of not just their own political histories but also their relatives’, is how heavy a duffel of i.o.u.s each of them would carry into office.
My published response:Their prominence is commensurate with their debts. And only so many of those can be forgotten.
The one positive thing about a Bush-Clinton neoliberal death match is that it would prove to the gullible, once and for all. that we no longer have a functioning democracy. Duelling wads of cash might as well replace human beings in what pass for free elections. Money, after all, has been declared to be speech by the supreme court.
Recent separate analyses of Congressional voting patterns and presidential initiatives (see Michael Barber and Brian Schaffner) have scientifically established that politicians act more in the interest of their wealthy donors than their poorer constituents. The GOP is much worse, blatantly serving millionaires and billionaires to the detriment of everyone else. Even Democrats pass legislation that mainly favors the upper middle class, defined as those earning between $100,000 and $300,000.
Without a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United and all other means of legalized graft, the corruption will only get worse. As it is, the creeping privatization of what used to be government services and functions amounts to borderline fascism. Relentless propaganda has replaced journalism in the public interest. Personality cult politics, excessive secrecy, a state of endless war, increasing xenophobia and racist rhetoric, failure to prosecute egregious Wall Street fraud, blanket surveillance of citizens -- these are among the symptoms of what Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism.
People over profits: ban the money, now.Oh, I did promise some hilarity to temper the depression, didn't I? Besides his "owned man" bon mot, here are some funny outtakes from The Smart Bush's Chicago speech. He takes the mundane Bushisms of The Stupid Brother to new intellecutal (sic) heights that I'll call Jebbisms. They're guaranteed to give you the hebbie jebbies. A comedic sampling (this is absolutely verbatim, from the raw C-Span transcript):
Have a hundred people come. It is a little intimidating with all the friends of the press. But I'm delighted to be here. Thank you for the invite.
We have lost the trust and confidence of our friends. We definitely no longer inspired fear and our enemies. The problem is perhaps best and mistreated by this administration's approach to Iraq. We have had 35 years of experience with -- excuse me, Iran.
America has opposes efforts. But the Obama administration has launched where the goal has shifted. The ministration seeks to merely to regulate nuclear enrichment.
People have lost confidence in the administration's efforts in relations to Iran. Congress to pass bills to sanctions and require approval in agreement if someone the breach -- if one should be rich. My hope is that the administration would rise and eat this defining foreign-policy issue of our time.
I come to these issues with a great deal of thought and experience. One of my most formative experiences was when my wife and I at the age of 24 accepted the responsibility of opening up at -- in office in Caracas, Venezuela. We had an 18-month-old and we went down there and Caracas was this booming place. We lived overseas and live outside of our beloved country. We learned how to use something that our parents used -- diapers.
I have been fortunate to have a father and brother who helped shape America's foreign-policy from the oval office. My views will be held in comparison to theirs. This is a fascinating thing in the political world for some reason. For the record, I love my brother, I love my dad, I love my mother as well, hope that's ok. [laughter] and i admire their service to the nation. But I am my own man. Each president learns from those who came before.
Jeb forgot to thank one person. Her name Sarah Palin. I wonder if he can see her from his extraordinary vantage point the same way that she sees Putin from her back porch, rearing his head over Alaska freedom. If Jeb thinks that is true, then he really should give her credit for her extraordinary word salad recipe.
You must fix our entitlement -- we must fix our entitlement problems. You must focus on trade. Congress should give the president trade authority. The good news is, we are probably the only country that can make this assertion, if we're serious about it, to become young and dynamic again.
As people lose confidence around the world in capitalism and democracy that underpins capitalism, they move in different directions very if they see America at its best, growing with a tremendous austerity, they will emulate that system as that will bring about a more peaceful world.
Socialism are the ones who have problems. It is a reminder of the obvious. Free market capitalism provides opportunities for people. The US has pulled back from the region. (Latin America) The boys are being filled by new actors, -- the voids are being filled by new actors, notably China. Our withdrawal from the region is not appropriate. I think the focus ultimately needs to get back to a free trade agreement of the Americas.
The first up for the US is to recommit to rebuilding our own military and making a commitment that we are committed to doing this. We want to rebuild NATO. It is hard for us to go electric Europe about their declining commitment -- to go lecture Europe about their declining commitment when we are doing the same. Need to give the Europeans the sense that you are not disengaging -- we are not disengaging.
In an extraordinary vantage point in your life. Among your father and his close circle of advisers, your brother and his close circle of advisers, and the quality of service that so many of those people are few to have contributed to those years. There is a perception that the same quality, even if you sort of have a point of comparison, no longer exists. Do think that is true? Or do we look at the rearview mirror with rose tinted glasses? We see things and always view it negatively. I can like, I should be the marine psychologist in the Geico ad. He throws the kleenex at the guy. Get over it. We should not be as pessimistic as we are. We are on the verge of the greatest time to be alive.