Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Little Jebhillarity To Beat the Winter Blues

So, did you catch Jeb Bush's foreign policy speech in Chicago the other day? You didn't? Then you missed a rare tragicomic treat, a slapstick spinoff of Six Feet Under starring the dysfunctional Bush clan as the funeral home ghouls, and all the rest of us as their hapless clients.

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?
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.
My published New York Times response:
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.
Restoring the restrictions on foreign donors would be a good way to make this point as Mrs. Clinton’s widely expected campaign moves forward.
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.

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.
Their prominence is commensurate with their debts. And only so many of those can be forgotten.
My published response:
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. 

  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.
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.


Pearl said...

Karen: a wonderful response to Maureen's great article about Jeb, and you are again top of the readers' response numbers which gives us a little hope these forlorn days.
Also forgotten, are the years as Governor of Florida which he left in financial tatters after making questionable investments with state funds.

The only bright light is a wonderful e-mail I just got from Bernie Sanders about his hopes for better leadership and necessary changes that have to be made. I hope he runs as an independent and louses up the plans of the Bush and Clinton empires. One can only dream.

H. M. Stuart said...


I'd like to invite you to join us as an author in Alexandria, either as an occasional guest author or as a fully privileged Resident Author.

www aleksandreia com

Alexandria might also be the perfect place in which to write about issues and interests which may not yet be an ideal fit for your current blog.

If you think you might be interested in becoming a Resident Author, let me know and I'll forward our formal invitations for you to look over and return, if you decide to proceed.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Garcia said...

I figured we might as well have fun with Jebbie while he lasts as a presidential candidate. All the money in the world will not endear this jerk to anybody with a soul.

Would love for Bernie Sanders to start running right now, since Hillary is obviously waiting till the last minute to close up her slush fund. I understand he will not be accepting any corporate donations. Time will tell if the msm continues covering him as anything more than a passing novelty.

HM Stuart,

Thanks for your kind invitation. I think I will devote my time to this blog and occasional Times-commenting for now.

Pearl said...

I have just been happily surprised to learn that "Citizen Four" won the Oscar for best documentary with a powerful speech by a woman involved (I will check out her name shortly). This news resulted in a very enthusiastic response from the audience after the usual emptiness of Oscar night. A light in the darkness.

Peark said...

Yes, it was Laura Poitras.

``As a journalist,(and filmmaker) Laura Poitras was the quiet mastermind behind the publication of Edward Snowden's unprecedented NSA leak.``

She has and is making other documentaries on equally compelling subjects.

Meredith NYC said...

Could Jeb's strange verbal mistakes be transcript the subtitles on TV shows often have bloopers? or gaps. Does the actual speech match the trnscpt I wonder? Or do we have another Palin verbal blooper comedy act here?

Denis Neville said...

The oligarchy’s game is the “inevitable” choices being Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Effing unbelievable!!! Jebhillarity and Hillbillary will be rammed down our throats.

Organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy. Are there any political dynasties with more greed and ambition than the Clintons and the Bushes?

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” - Euripides, Orestes

Passivity is the easy course. It's apathy so absolute.

“A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.” - George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

“To be robbed and betrayed by a fiendish underground conspiracy, or by the earthly agents of Satan, is at least a romantic sort of plight - it suggests at least a grand Hollywood-ready confrontation between good and evil - but to be coldly ripped off over and over again by a bunch of bloodless, second-rate schmoes, schmoes you chose, you elected, is not something anyone will take much pleasure in bragging about.” - Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” - Abraham Lincoln

We can't remain neutral on a moving train.

Zee said...


As noted on the C-Span site, the "raw transcript" provided by Karen

"was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning" (My bold emphasis.)

If you listen to the actual video segment--and, I confess, I didn't listen to anywhere near all of it--Bush seems to sound rather more coherent.

Which should not be construed as meaning that I want to see Jebbie elected president any more than I want to see HillBillary sitting in the oval office.

Enough of Duopoly Dynasties, already!

Karen Garcia said...

Meredith and Zee,

I think it's partially transcript snafu, partially the real Jeb. I am not prone to give him the benefit of any doubt though. There were plenty of verbal stumbles, and his arrogant tone and awkward pauses didn't do him any favors. He really did get Iraq and Iran mixed up. He really did brag about learning to use cloth diapers. He really did say he was his own man before he proved the exact opposite with the same old reanimated string-pullers.

Let the mangled transcript stand, because it's a perfect metaphor for the twisted, fact-free neocon agenda.

Karen Garcia said...


The one reason I stayed up to watch the Oscars was the prospect of seeing Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald "go Hollywood." How surreal does it get? The rest of the show ranged from banal to vomitrocious. I did enjoy Lady Gaga's Sound of Music medley, though....also delightfully surreal.

And what's with that best supporting actress getting all the gushing publicity from establishment Dems because she called for pay parity for millionaire women stars, and how since "they" worked for black civil rights, now it's their turn for that whole equality thing? Ugh, ugh, triple ugh. (as the ignored Joan Rivers would have said)

Denis Neville said...


Since you enjoyed Lady Gaga's Sound of Music medley, did you see last fall’s PBS special, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live?

An odd coupling?

Lady Gaga, one of pop's most flamboyant and outrageous stars, can really sing classic jazz! As if Tony Bennett would spend his time making an album with someone he didn't think was a talented jazz singer.

All the great songs of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and Irving Berlin…imagine Gaga’s young followers, who probably never heard of their music, enjoying her foray into jazz and discovering an entirely new genre of music. How great would that be? Jazz isn’t just music for grown-ups.

Karen Garcia said...

Hi Denis,
Yes I've seen Lady Gaga perform with Tony Bennett. I noticed she removed her elbow-length rubber pathologist's gloves before her Oscars performance, but happy to see the tattoo was on full display. The hills were alive with the sound of irony.

I've always liked Gaga, both despite and because of her outrageous personas. She is a versatile and talented lady.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Gaga Shmaga. I’m so not scandalized. We hard core jazz lovers, he said possessively throwing his arms around all of jazz as if he owned that universe, have our very, very bad girls too. There was Anita O’Day, Billy Holiday, and quite a few others right up to today's Diana Krall. Unless you’re well over 21, you shouldn’t go near the lyrics of her “Popsical Toes.”

voice-in-wilderness said...

How does Wolfowitz keep bobbing up? Is it because he is a controllable doofus and always available as a fall guy if one should be needed?