As the Presidential election moves into the final stretch, it is amusing to watch the Washington Post become a kind of unofficial member of the George W. Bush team. This was most evident during last year’s five-part series (7/25/99-7/29/99) on Gov. Bush’s life.
Since George Bush (Dubya) has been an idle rich boy for a very long time, the task was to build him up while acknowledging that he has never really done anything remarkable.
So as a social drinker, we are told that he was a “charismatic partier since his school days...He was the swashbuckling fraternity president, raw and fun, who people loved to be around (7/25/00).” (In contrast, the Post has not described Al Gore as “charismatic” when he was smoking lots of pot in Vietnam.)
Because Bush is not running for fraternity president again, the Post quickly shifts gears to tell us that his days of leading the toasts are long gone. Today, he’s found God and sworn off the booze.
While building Bush up as “charismatic,” the Post doesn’t feel much need to examine any of the noteworthy events in his life as they pertain to his leadership qualities. When we’re told the son is trying to emulate his father’s “greatest achievement” of becoming President, the Post won’t explain how the 1988 campaign featuring ACLU-baiting and the racially divisive “Willie Horton” ad campaign is a model to be proud of. Also, the discussion of what the elder Bush actually did while in office is evidently off-limits when considering the son’s chances. And, the Post gives only a cursory glance at the excellent business breaks given to the then-Vice-President’s son while young George’s track record in the oil business was abysmal. And, whether the son also violated SEC regulations in not reporting a major stock transaction is briefly mentioned and quickly forgotten.
All the Post seems to want their readers to know is the son is boldly campaigning for the White House to “restore dignity” to the position, lost apparently when Clinton sought comfort from his responsibilities by playing with an intern.
Let us examine Bush’s origins for traces of dignity. We’ll begin with Herbert “Bert” Walker and his son-in-law, Prescott Bush. (Prescott and Bert are the Governor’s late great-grandfather and grandfather, respectively.)
In 1942, the U.S. Government seized assets of the Union Banking Corporation, of which Prescott was director. The assets of the company were taken because Prescott and Bert were working on behalf of the Nazis. A holding company run by Bert and Prescott set up the Hamburg-Amerika shipping Line, a cover for I.G. Farben’s Nazi espionage unit in the U.S. This shipping line smuggled in German agents, propaganda and money for bribing American politicians to see things Hitler’s way. (sources: The Secret War Against the Jews, John Loftus and Mark Aarons, 1994, St. Martin’s Griffin; and Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin’s “George Bush: the Unauthorized Biography” at http://www.tarpley.net/bushb.htm).
Although the story of the Bush family’s Nazi past is older than the Governor himself, it is newsworthy in this campaign season. This is because it reveals that a key piece of the wealth that the Bush dynasty has relied upon to produce a Senator from Connecticut (Prescott), the 41st president (George H. W.) and the likely 43rd president (George W.) stems from major acts of treason.
Getting back to Bush’s easy life: he followed his father’s footsteps by attending the prep school Andover and then Yale, despite lackluster grades.
Following Yale, he pole-vaults over 500 earlier candidates to get into the Texas National Guard. He takes part in a pilot training class of 71, with everyone but him going to Vietnam. (Some in the class never returned.)
As the parody web site GWBush.com puts it, shortly upon graduation Bush defends the shoreline of Texas from alien invasion. However, even in the performance of this task he is unremarkable. According to Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe (5/23/00), there are no records of Bush participating in air drills during 1972-1973.
So not only was Bush kept out of Vietnam, he actually appears to have gone AWOL from the Texas Guard during the height of it. Taken by itself, it is not a bad thing; i.e., perhaps Bush was protesting the war in his own way.
However, the young pilot is now a full-fledged war-hawk who as president is very likely to bomb helpless populations at the drop of a hat.
Following his “service,” Bush starts an oil business (Arbusto Energy) and runs for Congress in 1977-78. Both the campaign and the oil company fail.
After Bush’s father becomes Vice President in 1980 the son renames Arbusto to Bush Exploration. The firm is still unlucky. By 1986 he is in dire straits. Friends of the Vice President at Harken Energy are needed to bail him out. Harken buys Bush Exploration (BE) despite the $400,000 loss BE had incurred in the six months prior to the sale. In the buy-out Bush gets:
Not bad for an unlucky oilman. (By the way, the Governor believes the government should not help poor people overcome their predicaments.)
- A seat on the board.
- $300,000 of Harken stock.
- Options to buy more stock (at 40% of the cost).
- A consulting contract that rises in value until, by 1989, it pays him $120,000 a year while he is working full time on his father’s presidential campaign.
A post-script to the Harken story is that on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s 8/90 invasion of Kuwait, when Harken, too, is about to report that they are losing money hand over fist, George dumps 66% of his Harken stock. It is an insider transaction. He doesn’t report it in a timely fashion to the Securities Exchange Commission--which apparently is a crime.
Later, when successfully running for Governor of Texas against incumbent Anne Richards, Bush produces a letter from the SEC indicating they were not going to prosecute him for violating their rules. (This is sufficient for the Washington Post. It is up to alternative pubs like Mother Jones to point out that he still may have committed a felony.)
Here another double standard is being set: While the Washington Post still believes the 1996 fundraiser that Al Gore attended in a Buddhist temple is worth repeating the legality of George’s big stock sale has been virtually unscrutinized.
This is just scratching the surface. The Bush family is as unscrupulous as they get. Yet, the sordid tales of Bush, his brother (and Florida Governor) Jeb, Neil and Marvin are rarely featured in the mainstream press. Neither is the family’s pro-Nazi past.
Mediawise readers should not be surprised that one of the nation’s two most prominent newspapers would rather apply adjectives connotating “charisma” to a life-long, privileged do-nothing than report on his family’s activities. We already know that something is very, very wrong with that picture.