Tag Archives: Jeb Bush

Ten Ways Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Are Basically the Same Presidential Candidate

By Jake Anderson
June 20, 2015
The Anti-Media, June 17, 2015

 

Now that Jeb Bush has officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, the most corporate-funded presidential election in history is set to begin, headed by two prospective frontrunners with eerily familiar names. It’s Bush versus Clinton—again! With third party candidates certain to be relegated to back alleys, we see, yet again, two of the prized families of the great American oligarchy being trotted out as namesake party spokesmen and women. Their purpose: to create manufactured consent for a failed two-party system while furthering a pre-scripted, nationalist, and corporatist narrative.

Are there some differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Absolutely. Women’s rights are up there on the list, as Jeb Bush has an appalling history in that realm. While we are sensitive to the reality of Supreme Court nominees and the politics of personal identity, there can be no delusion that the most toxic dangers to our country are large sweeping economic and geopolitical doctrines that consolidate wealth into the hands of the rich elite, who promulgate wars abroad. Even on issues like the environment, while Clinton has a better record than Jeb, her support of corporations and trade agreements that derail environmental progress completely cancels out her hollow sound bytes about renewable energy.

The two candidates are almost identical on the major issues poisoning our republic.

1. They both have blatantly corrupt corporate ties

Like virtually all mainstream politicians in Congress, both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are beholden to corporations. This goes beyond simply receiving campaign funds from super PACs. We’re talking the marriage of corporate interests with the government’s foreign and domestic policies, from the military industrial complex to Big Pharma and “too big to fail” financial institutions. As we work our way down the list, corrupt corporate ties will resurface, but for now, let’s simply list these two politicians’ major corporate ties.

Jeb Bush has actually consulted 15 companies, seven of them for-profits: InnoVida Holdings, for which Bush was a board member and consultant, paid him $15,000 a month before collapsing into fraud and bankruptcy (the company’s CEO, Claudio Osorio, is serving 12½ years in prison); five of the companies for which Bush served on the board (or as adviser) have faced class action lawsuits. Some of these cases are ongoing and involve fraud or environmental damage.

Hillary Clinton’s corporate ties include her six-year stint as director of Wal-Mart, during which time the company aggressively fought to destroy union activity. In more recent times, Hillary showed her colors most spectacularly by hiring a former Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She is also exceedingly cozy with some of the more corrupt Wall Street entities, which we’ll get into later. For now, suffice it to note that the Clinton Foundation has received donations of anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.

2. They are both major war hawks

In today’s America, anyone elected president who doesn’t want to go the way of John F. Kennedy has to serve the interests of the military-industrial complex. Even ostensibly non-hawkish presidents like Barack Obama (who won a Nobel Peace Prize shortly before authorizing military drone strikes that have killed almost 2,500 people) must keep the war machine going.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t even try to disguise her support for on-going war. Her complete embrace of what The Nation calls “destructive nationalist myths” has earned her the label of a “war hawk”. The moniker is well-deserved. She was a vocal supporter of the second Iraq War in 2003, despite the lack of clear evidence that military action was necessary (and, of course, we now know that the entire justification was a completely manufactured web of lies bent on taking advantage of the fear people felt after  9/11). She also supported military strikes on Afghanistan. These two wars took the lives of 174,000 civilians.

Despite finally admitting her vote for war was a mistake, Hillary has not lessened her push for war. As Secretary of State, she was instrumental in facilitating the use of U.S. airpower to decimate Libya. She then did virtually the same thing in Syria. “The results have been anarchy, sectarian conflict and opportunities for Islamist extremists that have destabilized the entire region,”  The Nation observed.

Jeb Bush, of course, supported all of the aforementioned wars and military actions with extreme bravado, then had the extra audacity to claim everything had gone decently in Iraq until Obama ebbed the surge. Hisrevisionism and whitewashing over the decimation of Arab nations post-9/11 is nothing short of pathological.

3. They both support the Patriot Act and NSA mass surveillance

Both Clinton and Bush supported the Patriot Act from the day it was secretly drafted, only days after 9/11. They both voted for its reauthorization in 2006.

This unconstitutional bill granted the government unprecedented powers of civilian detainment, as well as access to private data. When the FISA laws were updated by the Patriot Act, programs like PRISM enabled the NSA to collect millions of phone records from Americans with no suspected ties to terrorism.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over privacy issues, but when she has had the chance to take a real stand on  them, she has consistently avoided doing so. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush applauded President Obama’s expansion of NSA surveillance, proclaiming: “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced.”

Fret no more, cynics of the American political system. When it comes to the erosion of civil liberties, bipartisanship is still possible.

4. They both support fracking

This one may strike some as surprising considering  Hillary Clinton has a fairly good record (maybe a C+) on environmental issues. Unfortunately, the fact is that both candidates support hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a practice used by oil and energy companies to extract gas and oil from shale rock by directing a high pressure stream of water, sand, and chemicals underground. The practice wastes incredible amounts of water and may contaminate groundwater with carcinogenic chemicals. Recent studies have also shown that fracking causes earthquakes in normally stable regions.

During a keynote speech at the National Clean Energy Summit, Clinton made it clear she wanted strong regulations on fracking, but as Secretary of State, she was responsible for promoting the practice in countries like Bulgaria, which are unlikely to enforce regulations. As it is, fracking is barely regulated in the United States.

5. They both support the Drug War

Hillary Clinton has been very vague—even evasive—about her stance on the Drug War. She supports the use of medical marijuana in some cases but has consistently spoken out against the decriminalization of marijuana, particularly in the lead-up to the 2008 election. She also made a mind-numbingly strange remark in regard to the black market trade, saying drugs couldn’t be legalized because “there’s too much money in it.

Jeb Bush has virtually the same history and position: support for marijuana use in extreme medical cases but absolutely no support for decriminalization. When push came to shove on an actual ballot initiative, Bush lent his support to opponents of a legalization bill.

Meanwhile, $3.6 billion is spent each year busting and prosecuting people for pot possession, ruining lives and families over a natural herb that has never caused a death. With black people four times as likely to be arrested over marijuana, the issue is a socio-political travesty.

6. They both aggressively support big banks and bailing them out

Unfortunately, despite the fact that their reckless derivatives trading nearly caused a complete global economic collapse, big banks and financial institutions have the complete support of both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Interestingly, if you remember Bill Clinton’s presidency, you may consider that it was his move to dismantle the Glass-Steagall Act, undoing the regulation of derivatives. His henchman on the repeal was former Goldman Sachs CEO Robert Rubin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly signaled she will not change course on financial regulation. In fact, in 2013, Goldman Sachs paid her $400,000 for a speech in which she said that progressives and their anti-Wall Street rhetoric are “foolish.”

Meanwhile, the Bush family has a long and sickening history of colluding with big banks, starting with George H.W. Bush running a deregulation task force with a former Merrill Lynch CEO. The lax policy of bailing out banks has continued unabated. Jeb Bush is on record as a huge supporter of bailouts for the Big Six banks that collectively rig our economic system.

Any disagreement between Hillary and Jeb over this issue during the debates will be for show only—they are both puppets on strings when it comes to the banks.

7. They both support Monsanto and GMOs

This one is fairly obvious, seeing as Clinton hired a Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She’s also a supporter of GMOs, which some evidence shows could be harmful to humans yet are found in the vast majority of the American food supply. Jeb Bush is also a GMO supporter and even opposes GMO labeling. Clinton has been unclear on her position on labeling but supports the idea of selling the whole idea to the public in a different context. During a speech, she openly brainstormed ways to use different kinds of propagandistic rhetoric—such as “drought-resistant” instead of “genetically modified.”

The support both candidates lend to Monsanto is deeply troubling as the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation has monopolized the seed and food supply across the world withherbicidal and pesticidal toxins. They also use heavy-handed legal tactics and litigation to force local farmers to comply, even to the detriment to their communities.

8. They will both spend billions on the upcoming election

Hillary Clinton has openly stated her goal of raising $2.5 billion for her upcoming presidential campaign. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Obama and Romney combined spent over $2 billion, which is bad enough.

Jeb Bush and the GOP will, of course, match or surpass this number, which means the 2016 presidential election could cost $5 billion dollars. Meanwhile, most Americans are in debt and 14.5% of the nation—45.3 million people—live in poverty.

With super PACs and Citizens United allowing for a virtually unrestricted flow of corporate money into our elections, we are now seeing the full effects of a corporatocracy running our “representative democracy.”

9. They both support the secretive and dangerous TPP agreement

Though initially voicing her support for the ominous trade deal at least 45 times while Secretary of State, Hillary has backed off of her support for the TPP now that it’s become politically advantageous. Basically, she is still politically flip-flopping and will likely continue to do so a through the election.

Given that Clinton was a gung-ho supporter of NAFTA (an agreement that is almost universally agreed upon as being responsible for millions of jobs lost and higher income inequality), it is highly unlikely she will take a stand against TPP. If passed, it would essentially allow corporations to decide trade laws in private tribunals and strip down both worker’s rights and environmental protections. To her credit, Hillary has voiced concerns—and if she reverses course, I will be the first to gladly eat my own words.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush openly supports the agreement, which, one shouldn’t forget, is so pernicious it was kept secret for years. We only know about it because of a WikiLeaks cable. Bush once said, “We must push privatization [of government] in every area where privatization is possible.” TPP would accomplish that with extreme measures.

10. They both support the death penalty

This one may be surprising as well. Not for Jeb Bush, as he is a proud executioner. This was especially true in his earlier days, before he leaned back to the center of political posturing. He once clearly stated his plans on the death penalty: “I want to accelerate, not slow down, the enforcement of the death penalty in Florida.

In her earlier years as a constitutional lawyer, Clinton fought against the death penalty and the corrupt criminal justice system. In more recent years, she has lent it her “unenthusiastic support.” We will see if she hedges on this in the primaries, where she will face staunch death penalty opponent, Bernie Sanders.

Corporate Media Doublethink and the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq Connection

By Prof. James F. Tracy
May 25, 2015
Global Research

 

Bush-Cheney-Wolfowitz“Doublethink,” George Orwell famously remarked, “means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

The corporate news media similarly tend toward selective recall when approaching and interpreting crucial facts of national and world history. A recent example involves John Ellis “Jeb” Bush’s tentative May 10 admission that he would not have embarked on the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq had he possessed the information that his brother’s presidential administration willfully kept from the American public.

In fact, such information is but one small facet in an edifice of high crimes and subterfuge, including the George W. Bush regime’s complicity in the false flag terror attacks of September 11, 2001, or what one might otherwise term the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection.

pnac.org

In the midst of controversy surrounding Jeb Bush’s acknowledgement, major news media almost uniformly chose to toss the elder Bush brother’s involvement in the neoconservative Project for a New American Century as a signatory to its “Statement of Principles” down the memory hole.

As many will recall, PNAC’s 2000 document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” issued one year before the September 11 events, proclaimed how “the process of [foreign policy] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

“A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure ‘regime change’ even before he took power in January 2001,” Neil Mackay observed in the Scottish Sunday Herald on the first anniversary of 9/11.

The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.

This “American grand strategy” must be advanced for “as far into the future as possible”, the report says. It also calls for the US to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars” as a “core mission”.

The historical amnesia is evident in a LexisNexis search for “Project for a New American Century” and “Jeb Bush” that yields almost no mention in print news media of the eerily prophetic, even incriminating document in the overall coverage of Bush’s admittance.

Cable news channel MSNBC was the only news outlet to (unintentionally) link PNAC to Bush’s disclosure. The reference was made by Salon.com‘s Joan Walsh on the May 14 segment of Chris Matthew’s Hardball program. The exchange is prefaced by Matthews’ remark concerning Bush’s difficulty distinguishing “himself from the ideology that took us into Iraq.”

During an exchange between Matthews, Walsh, Buzzfeed‘s McKay Coppins, and The Nation‘s Ben Goldberger concerning Bush’s present slew of “neocon” foreign policy advisors, Matthews curiously feigns ignorance of Bush’s PNAC involvement.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We were all supposed to answer hypothetical questions. Knowing what we know now, what would you have done? I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I would not have gone into Iraq. It took [Bush] a while to say that … McKay, tell me why he`s had this hard time to separate himself from the ideology that took us into Iraq.

COPPINS: Well, it`s — I have a story coming out tonight where I talk to a half dozen former George W. Bush officials, neocon hawks, very pro- Iraq war at the time and still are. And they breathe two issues. One — I mean, it`s obvious that there`s still a lot of pressure from neoconservatives and Iraq hawks who don`t want him to, you know, wholly disown the Iraq [sic].

The other issue is that they — and they were all asking this question, when he was asked, you know, to put out a list of his foreign policy advisers, he came out this lengthy, kind of unwieldy list of 24 policy advisers — [sic]

MATTHEWS: But it had a few hard rights in it.

COPPINS: It had a lot of neoconservatives. And actually, I`m told that he had to scramble at the last minute to add people from the new generation. Initially, it was all –

MATTHEWS: So, what do you think he is? Do you think he`s his brother or his dad?

COPPINS: I think he`s probably, in his heart, angling more toward his dad, but I think there`s still many political pleasures within his party and, frankly, familiar pressures to not disown him.

MATTHEWS: The weird about [sic] this is the father/son thing?

WALSH: Yes, to both of them.

MATTHEWS: He railed against his father. We all know W. was the rebel, in a way that may have sort of led us into the war. We don`t know this psychological stuff.

WALSH: Right. We can`t get inside his brain.

But I mean, I think you`re making a great point. This may well be what he thinks. We don`t know what he thinks. But he was an early signatory to the project for a new American century document.

MATTHEWS: “W” was?

WALSH: No. Jeb was. Jeb was.

There are a lot of people in his orbit. Dick Cheney never said he made a mistake. They would do it all over again. They knew that WMD was a pretext in the first place.

MATTHEWS: Whose sales speech, Ben? It`s going to be an issue in the campaign. It`s the reason that Barack Obama is president over Hillary Clinton. We all know that central fight that he had, she wasn`t willing to push away the war issue. He was. He was clean [Emphasis added].

The almost complete erasure of the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection in the broader public discourse surrounding Bush’s admission may seem like yet another short-lived episode in US politics. Yet the omission demonstrates a type of censorship that is now at least as ideological as it is deliberate, particularly among professional journalists who tacitly recognize their roles in the political censorial process. “To know and not to know,” Orwell noted,

to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies … to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Upon over a half century of unexplained political assassinations and phony wars on communism, drugs, and now “terror,” Western political leaders today appear scarcely interested in even explaining their policies, frequently because of the willful historical shorthand practiced by the journalistic institutions dependent on upholding the same political and ideational bulwark.

Overlooking the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection requires an informational system akin to that of 1984; one committed to a relentless forgetting of the inner party’s profound criminality.

Jeb Bush’s “gaffe”: A revealing comment on the Iraq war

By Patrick Martin
May 16, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, in an interview with Fox News May 11, blurted out a politically inconvenient truth: that any of the Republican candidates in 2016, as well as their likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Asked by interviewer Megyn Kelly about the decision by his brother, President George W. Bush, to go to war against Iraq in March 2003, Bush replied, “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

Bush spent the rest of the week seeking to remedy his “gaffe,” which was failing to tell the now politically mandatory lie, that “if we had only known that the intelligence was wrong” connecting Saddam Hussein to weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda terrorism, the war would never have happened.

On Tuesday, Bush phoned into the Sean Hannity program on Fox to begin the process of retraction and correction, claiming that he had “interpreted the question wrong, I guess.” He added, “I was talking about, given what people knew then.” When Hannity repeated Kelly’s question about the 2003 invasion, Bush stalled, saying, “That’s a hypothetical.”

On Wednesday Bush was pressed for further responses to his “gaffe,” as five rivals for the Republican nomination—senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, and governors Chris Christie and John Kasich—all proclaimed that they would never have ordered the invasion of Iraq if they knew that Baghdad had no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al Qaeda.

At a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, Bush was publicly questioned by a liberal college student about the US war being the root cause of the emergence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “Your brother created ISIS,” she said, pointing to the US dissolution of the Iraqi Army in 2003, which created a pool of jobless soldiers and officers who later joined insurgent groups, including Al Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of ISIS.

Bush again refused to answer the question of whether he would, in retrospect, still back an invasion of Iraq, calling it hypothetical, and suggesting that the very posing of the question was disrespectful of the soldiers who died in the war. “It’s very hard for me to say that their lives were lost in vain,” he said. “Their sacrifice was worth honoring, not depreciating.”

This is a typical cover-up for presidential war crimes, used by George W. Bush and Barack Obama alike. Any criticism of the “commander-in-chief” is smeared as an attack on the soldiers they have ordered to wage wars in violation of international law, using methods that trample on the Geneva conventions and US laws prohibiting torture and assassination.

The younger Bush finally settled on an outright reversal of his position, telling an audience Thursday, in Tempe, Arizona, “Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would have not engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.” While verbally disavowing the Iraq war of 2003, however, he enthusiastically endorsed the Iraq war of 2015, saying that the US should increase its military presence to fight the “barbaric Islamic threat,” adding, “I think we need to reengage and do it in a more forceful way.”

Aside from the remarkably broad language—“Islamic threat” could apply to the entire Muslim population of the world, some 1.6 billion people—Bush’s final declaration only confirms the actual unanimity within the US ruling elite on a program of global military aggression, whatever the claimed differences during the period of electoral competition between the Democrats and the Republicans.

The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial criticizing both Bush’s initial response and his subsequent backtracking, took the candidate to task for failing to defend the legitimacy of the two major military decisions of his brother’s administration: to invade and conquer Iraq in 2003 and to “surge” additional US troops into Iraq in 2007 after the outbreak of open civil war between Shiite and Sunni militias.

The editorial repeated the lie that has now become standard in apologias for the war in Iraq: “George W. Bush took the country to war in the sincere belief that Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction was a ‘slam dunk’ case, as then-CIA Director George Tenet believed.”

The truth is very different. Bush and Cheney took office in January 2001 at the head of an administration that was determined from the beginning to overthrow Saddam Hussein and replace him with an American puppet. The only question was to find the necessary pretext for overriding popular opposition to such a war. This was provided by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, although Iraq had nothing to do with them.

Within days of 9/11, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and other neo-conservative warmongers had begun the drumbeat for war with Iraq, suggesting connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Other administration spokesmen, including national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and secretary of state Colin Powell, were deployed to raise the supposed threat of “weapons of mass destruction.”

The atmosphere in the leading circles of the Bush administration was described by a British official close to them, who told Newsweek magazine in August 2002, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” In other words, the only difference was whether conquering Iraq should be followed up by war with Iran, a country of 75 million people.

The CIA merely supplied its political masters in the White House and Pentagon what they were demanding: supposed “proof” of Iraqi WMD and Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda, to provide the casus belli. This manufactured case was used to push a war resolution through Congress—with the support, as Jeb Bush noted, of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and other leading Democrats.

Those responsible for planning, orchestrating and promoting the criminal war against Iraq have never been brought to justice. On the contrary, many of them are now among the principal foreign policy advisers of the Jeb Bush campaign, including Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley and Michael Chertoff, who were among the architects of the war in Iraq. As for the Obama administration, it has merely continued and expanded the crimes of its predecessor.

A Frightful Prospect: Hillary vs. Jeb

How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation

By Andrew Levine
March 21, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Bush ClintonAround the world, elections happen; they are scheduled or called and then they are over and done with – all in short order. America is “exceptional.” Even before 2015’s April showers, 2016’s November election is taking shape.

The good news is that the first six months are usually low key. There is no reason to expect that this year will be different.

There is therefore plenty of time to stock up on anti-emetics. If, as seems likely, Hillary and Jeb become the candidates, the need for them will be acute.

There is time too to pray to a merciful God that we will not have to endure that nightmarish scenario, and that neither of those miscreants will ever see the inside of the Oval Office again.

The age of miracles is past, but what the hell. How about this:

“O Lord: in the marketing campaign about to be launched. please make the Democrats’ hucksters promote someone, anyone, less noxious than Hillary Clinton. And, for comic relief, let there be a bevy of certifiable whack jobs on the Republican side, like there was in 2012.”

But where can you find a merciful God?

Indeed, unless God is even more sadistic than past evidence suggests, there is only one conclusion to draw: that the Devil is running the show. For what besides deviltry could account for the fact that guilt by association has lost its sting – even for Bill Clinton’s wife and, more amazing still, for a scion of the House of Bush?

That is the bad news that balances the good news that we still have time. — more time than money, though. In American elections, money is not the main factor; it is the only factor.

And so, the Devil is having His way. In Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, Democratic and Republican operatives are already hard at work preparing for next year’s caucuses and primaries.

Through their efforts and the corporate media’s, we will likely find ourselves saddled with a general election that pits Hillary against Jeb.

In a saner possible world, this would be unthinkable. In the actual world, it is shaping up to be our fate.

Therefore, stock up on those anti-emetics before the stores run out.

* * *

Once upon a time, liberals made Hillary out to be the Eleanor Roosevelt of the Clinton presidency. That fantasy lasted for years.

Unlike the bizarre notion, a decade later, that Barack Obama would superintend a Second Coming of the New Deal, the idea that Hillary was the good one had legs.

Illusions about the Obama presidency barely survived Inauguration Day. But it wasn’t until the Clintons were getting ready to move out of the White House that it finally dawned on the average liberal that, of the two Clintons, Hillary was the one more wedded to neoliberal nostrums, to Wall Street, to the military-industrial complex, and to America’s masters of war.

By then, it had become clear too that she was easily as opportunistic as her better half, as secretive, and as disingenuous.

It was also obvious that she is not very good at what she does.

Of course, the evidence had been there all along. The most obvious example: that, as First Lady, she set the cause of health care reform back a generation.

Instead of making health care a right, she contrived to make it a cash cow for her family’s corporate backers. But she couldn’t pull even that off.

Had she not floundered so badly, Obama would not have been able, twenty years later, to pick up the ball she dropped and run with it – into the arms of the insurance companies and the for-profit health care industry.

The Clintons were dead set on undoing as many New Deal-Great Society advances as they could. They even had Social Security in their crosshairs. Hillary failed at that too – thanks in large part to her hubby’s philandering. In Bill’s last years as President, there was only one woman close to him who served America well: her name was Monica Lewinsky.

By the time the nineties were over, those of us who looked forward to seeing the Clintons fade into obscurity would have been hard pressed to say which one we wanted most to see less of. It hardly mattered, though. The Clintons never went away.

Bill promoted himself and his interests assiduously, while Hillary parachuted into New York State and got herself elected Senator – on the strength of her celebrity, her Washington experience, and, not incidentally, a whole lot of corporate money.

Her Senate career was, as they say, undistinguished.

She was still at it, though, when, having bested her in the 2008 caucuses and primaries, Barack Obama found it expedient to make her his Secretary of State. At the time, liberal pundits explained that the reincarnation of FDR would govern through “a team of rivals,” just as pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin claimed that Abraham Lincoln had.

The Obama foreign policy team did such a poor job overall that it is hard to know whom to blame for what.   But when real historians finally sort it all out, expect that Hillary will get a lot of the blame for making befuddlement the guiding principle of American foreign policy.

Who, then, would want to see her take on even graver responsibilities?

Remarkably, there are people who do. Maybe some of them are inveterate Obama-boosters who want to see their man look good in comparison. Others are unreconstructed Clintonites left over from the nineties, or Hillary diehards left over from her 2008 campaign in the Democratic primaries.

And don’t forget second-wave feminists worried that, if Hillary somehow fails to gain the nomination again, they will not live long enough to see a woman elected President of the United States.

This will happen too, unless fortune smiles on these United States between now and the Democratic Party’s 2016 convention. From that point on, the way the system works, only a Republican could defeat her and, with Jeb Bush their best shot, they won’t even come close.

* * *

If any of the spawn of the Silver Fox and George the Father seemed destined for the Oval Office, it was Jeb, not George W. George was what is known in polite society as a “fuck up.”

In time, though, he did what many like him had done before – he exchanged chronic dipsomania for faith in the Lord. Meanwhile, Bush family fixers had gotten him out of more than a few jams and set him up on Easy Street.

He gathered his own posse too; its star, Karl Rove, famously became his “brain.” Before long, the wayward son found himself installed as Governor of Texas.

Around the same time, also with a little help from his family and his family’s friends, Jeb became Governor of Florida.

The conventional wisdom, back then was that Jeb was the more capable of the two and the more rightwing. Their careers as governors bore this out.

Indeed, it was not until after 9/11 that George shed his bumbling, “compassionate conservative” image. Under the tutelage of Dick Cheney, the most villainous Vice President in American history, he morphed into a full-fledged (though still dimwitted), blustering, red meat neoconservative.

He then went on to make a mess of everything he did. While this was going on, Jeb, the smarter one, largely stayed out of public view.

This changed when Obama became President. On several occasions, Jeb surreptitiously tested the political waters. Seeing the results, he wisely remained more outside the fray than in – until now.

Because he has been out of public life for so long, evidence of where he now stands is weak. However, most informed observers agree that Jeb remains a shade or two to his brother’s right.

The grandees of the Grand Old Party, the GOP, are OK with this; he is one of them, after all, so they trust him to look after their interests. And while he may be a tad too reactionary for some of them, they do need a candidate who will keep their base on board.

It is far from clear, though, that the base they must appease will find George H.W.’s second son retrograde enough.

Very likely, they won’t; and very likely too, he will be the nominee anyway. Money talks.

Another Mitt Romney situation is therefore shaping up. If events play out this way, Bush will lose, just as surely as Romney did.

Then the good news will be that Hillary will slide through that “glass ceiling” that, for want of anything more positive to say, she and her supporters talk so much about.

That will be the bad news as well.

* * *

In the race to the bottom that our politics has become, the GOP’s smarty-pants du jour, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, author of the infamous open letter to Iranian legislators that forty-seven Republican Senators signed, wants to overturn the Constitution’s prohibition of Bills of Attainder through which, under Common Law, British monarchs could not only punish perceived enemies without trial, but also – by the doctrine of “corruption of blood” – their spouses, their children, their siblings, and even their grandparents and grandchildren.

Cotton’s intuitions are medieval, but not entirely inappropriate where the Bush family is concerned – at least not from the standpoint of universal justice.

They don’t pertain to the Clintons, however.

Even before she became a Senator and a Secretary of State, Hillary was more than Bill’s spouse; she was, by her own account, a fellow perpetrator – with much to answer for in her own right.

Not only did she help end “welfare as we know it”; she joined her husband in waging a protracted struggle against the entire liberal settlement that coalesced in the Roosevelt to Johnson era and that began to unravel in the waning days of the Carter presidency.

It was during Ronald Reagan’s presidency that the cause the Clintons advanced fully entered fully into public consciousness. Since then, in America at least, “neoliberalism” and “Reaganism” have been synonymous.

The Clintons were never ideologically committed Reaganites. They were opportunists: knowing then, and knowing now, where their bread is buttered.

And indeed there have always been beneficiaries of the Reaganite turn eager to butter their bread. They realize that the Clintons have a knack for bringing the opposition along. All Democrats do, but the Clintons are better at it than most.

Thus Bill was a more effective Reaganite president than any Republican, including Reagan himself; more effective too than Obama has so far been.   Perhaps Hillary will outdo him.

Jeb, on the other hand, has, so far, done little, if anything, to put the United States on a perpetual war footing or to increase the supply of enemies it can fight against. And neither has he done much outside Florida to help banksters and other corporate criminals wreak havoc with the impunity to which they have become accustomed.

Brother George did all that and more. His Poppy began the destruction of Iraq, and the Clinton administration continued, with sanctions, what the first President Bush began with force of arms. But George W. upped the ante many fold.

Whether by design or because he was in over his head, he took aim at the entire Middle East, laying the groundwork for the even broader assault on the Muslim world that the Nobel laureate Obama would later oversee.

He also helped steer the United States into the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression; and, as much or more than his successor, he shredded Constitutional protections of basic rights and liberties whenever it suited his administration’s purposes.

Now, less than eight years later, his brother wants to take up where he left off.

How could such an idea even be floated, much less taken seriously by one of our two semi-established political parties? One can only be amazed.

And, though it means conceding that Tom Cotton’s thinking is not entirely off the wall, the very thought of Jeb running for President makes it hard not to acknowledge what jurists took for granted in the days before progress in the arts and sciences made the idea seem appalling: that Bills of Attainder have a certain appeal.

* * *

However that may be, we have an electoral season ahead in which we can count on major party candidates, distinguished only for their noxiousness, saying little, if anything, of genuine importance on any of the real issues of the day.

This means that our perpetual war regime will again get a free pass, and that it will continue to metastasize.

Forsaking a “peace dividend,” the first Bush set this “new world order” in motion. The Clintons then accelerated the pace of its development. They made the endless wars that would follow inevitable — once a suitable pretext was found.

And so, with the assistance of the Saudi-backed Islamists who drove hijacked airplanes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, George Bush and Dick Cheney unleashed what they called a Global War on Terror.

This was a godsend for the military-industrial-national security state apparatus; for the neocons who rose to power under Cheney’s aegis, it was a dream come true.

Obama dropped the name and, to his credit, ended some of the more egregious forms of torture that Bush and Cheney had allowed. He made a few minor cosmetic changes as well. He also made the new dispensation truly global.

As for what Hillary will do, we can only speculate – and worry.

An even greater cause for concern is the Clinton family penchant for going after Russia, its nuclear weapons notwithstanding. The Clintons were triumphalists, and they made sure the Russians knew it.

Bill’s provocations occurred when Russia was too weak to offer much resistance; when its empire was lost and its economy was wrecked – less by the version of socialism it used to have than by the version of capitalism it was acquiring.

Now Clintonites in the Obama administration, many of them Hillary’s people, are at it again. The difference is that these days Russia is no longer weak.

It is natural to think of Cold War mongering and nuclear brinksmanship as a neocon thing, something Republicans do. It is an Obama-Clinton thing too. The so-called “humanitarian interventionists” they empowered are neocons under the skin.   They sport a kinder-gentler patina, but they are every bit as dangerous.

* * *

The total surveillance state that goes along with a perpetual war regime will escape serious criticism in the coming election too.

Having means, motive and opportunity after 9/11, Bush and then Obama set their sights on hard won and longstanding privacy and due process rights. Everyone says that they regret that it has comes to this, but no one will lift a finger to do anything that might turn the situation around – no one, that is, in the political mainstream.

Brother Jeb is obviously fine with total surveillance. Don’t expect Hillary to challenge any of it either.

Also, don’t expect her presidency to be more transparent than Obama’s or Bush’s — not if her piqued reaction to the Wikileaks and Edward Snowden revelations is any indication.

Those revelations embarrassed her, and the State Department she ran, but that doesn’t entirely explain her irritation. As the scandal around her emails underscores, she believes that it is her prerogative to rule secretively, when doing so suits her purpose. Keeping the public in the dark is a Clinton family tradition.

The irony is that thanks to the explosion of internet-enabled samizdat journalism, self-serving government lies and prevarications no longer automatically control public opinion.

That the American empire is the problem, not the solution, is, by now, widely understood; also government opacity has come to be widely despised. Infringements of privacy and due process rights in the name of national security fool no one either – except, of course, the willfully misled.

A large and growing segment of the public is therefore more than ready for a profound change of course. It is those who govern that lag behind.

These and other pressing issues are not discussed in the coming election. But that is hardly the worst of it. Presidential elections suck up all the air in the room. At best, they put constructive political efforts on hold — more often, they set them back; more often still they defeat them altogether.

Thus the 2012 electoral season helped do Occupy Wall Street in; this is more the norm than the exception.

* * *

Expect also that nothing constructive for holding back global warming will come from a Hillary versus Jeb election – or, for that matter, from a contest between any Democrat with any chance at all of securing the nomination, running against any Republican.

However, the situation with global warming is not quite the same as it is with war and peace and basic rights and liberties.

With the exception of a few “climate change deniers,” the bipartisan consensus is on the right side of the global warming issue – if anything, the political class is a little ahead of the general population, thanks to corporate media’s diligent dumbing down efforts.

But no leading political figure – certainly not Hillary or Jeb – is prepared to do much about it – not while there are powerful corporate interests opposed, and not so long as it remains easy to kick the proverbial can down the road.

Global warming is like the weather; everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. This used to be because there wasn’t anything anybody could do. With global warming, there is. Nevertheless, Democrats and Republicans won’t.

Certainly, Hillary won’t. Even less can be expected from Jeb Bush.

Fortunately, though, Jeb will never be President – not for “corruption of blood” reasons, compelling as they are, but, incredible as it seems, because too many Republicans think that his views, including his views on global warming, are too far out in left field.

Meanwhile, temperatures rise and the predictable consequences unfold.

It will be this way until some catastrophic event, or series of events, awakens a level of public concern that even Democrats and Republicans can no longer ignore — or unless enlightened statesmanship somehow supersedes politics as usual.

I’d bet on the catastrophes.

* * *

Both parties are also on the same page on rising inequality; they’re all against it.

To be sure, the idea that the love of money is the root of all evil is foreign to Democrats and Republicans alike. Both parties are out for all the “campaign contributions” they can get, notwithstanding the offense to democracy or the plain fact that a great many evils do follow from the corruption that ensues.

At the same time, though, they all pay lip service to the idea that increasing economic inequality is the root of many of the distinctive evils of our time.

High on the list is the sheer injustice of it. On this point, most fair-minded people agree. But not quite all.

Within the Republican fold, there are libertarians who do not object to grossly unequal distributions of income and wealth on grounds of justice.   Quite the contrary; they are wedded to views that suggest that everyone has a right to all they can acquire, provided only that their holdings are acquired through market transactions and inheritance (or other forms of gifting); not from plunder, force or fraud.

But even such doctrinaire free marketeers as these have come to realize that there are good reasons to resist rising inequality, irrespective of their views about what justice requires.

For one, inequalities of the kind and extent that are on the rise lately are bad for business – because a system that enriches only the very few, at the expense of the many, cannot sustain a level of demand conducive to economic growth.

Moreover, thanks to rising inequality, the great fear of centuries past – that too much inequality leads to political instability – is again making itself felt.

Syriza in Greece – and perhaps, before long too, Podemos in Spain, and like-minded political formations in Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere – frighten the ruling classes.   They are still a long way from modifying, much less ending, the neoliberal policies that have made these challenges to their power inevitable, but they are inching forward to that realization.

Unlike global warming, the evils of inequality are a problem now — for nearly everybody, ninety-nine percent of us, or more. It is therefore unsurprising that there is nothing similar to climate change denial where inequality is concerned, nothing nearly as politically debilitating.

But, as with global warming, the solutions the major political parties put forward are, at best, woefully inadequate palliatives.

On the Republican side, there is wrongheaded and frequently incoherent prattle about the virtues of “free markets” and about how even the vestiges of past government policies intended to raise people up actually make them worse off.

The underlying rationale, as best one can be made out, is that these programs somehow thwart equal opportunity, which then somehow leads to unequal outcomes.

It is not worth trying to puzzle through the purported connections; clear thinking is not the Republicans’ strong suit.

Democrats propose what amounts to a modest restoration of the social policies liberal Democrats introduced decades ago, plus modest spending on public works. Wanting to seem “strong on defense,” they don’t dare suggest cutting back on military spending or on any of the other wasteful expenditures that make it fiscally impossible for the state to do anyone much good.

Neither do they have much to say about why inequality is on the rise.

Their silence is puzzling, inasmuch as they know full well how capitalist societies typically counter the inequalities capitalism generates. Like their social democratic counterparts in Europe and elsewhere, they used to do a lot of that themselves — through redistributive taxation and welfare state measures of various kinds. They know too that strong labor movements can also be helpful too.

The consensus view, though, is that the days when these and other left alternatives within capitalism were feasible are over. There is even more agreement that alternatives to capitalism itself are out of the question.

No one in the political mainstream even bothers to say why. Hardly anyone on the fringes does either.

Evidently, it has lately become so widely assumed that, as Margaret Thatcher might say, “there is no alternative,” that it is simply taken for granted that capitalism must always be with us, and that the kind of capitalism we now have is the only kind there now can be.

And so, for all practical purposes, a century and a half of socialist and anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice, and many decades of academic research, might as well never have happened.

But, of course, it did happen, and there is much to be learned from all of it.

Just don’t expect any of it to be brought up by Democrats or Republicans during the coming election season.   At least Mrs. Thatcher thought it worth her while to drive the “there is no alternative” idea home. Democrats and Republicans can’t be bothered.

Therefore, instead of a serious discussion of ways of addressing a problem that everyone acknowledges, there will be a whole lot of sound and fury that can be counted on to signify nothing.

* * *

If only the problems facing us were less urgent, the eighteen months ahead would be an excellent time to put politics on hold; to let the electoral spectacle unfold as it must, while, as Nietzsche would say, averting one’s gaze, as best one can.

Why nauseate oneself?

The short answer is because too much is at stake.

Presidential elections are sales campaigns; and the one that will soon be upon us is likely to be sillier, more enervating, and more disgusting than most – especially with Hillary and the Bush family involved.

But, with cunning and skill, even an election about nothing in which worse-than-nothing candidates compete can be put to advantage.

A Hillary versus Jeb election is a frightful prospect indeed. But because presidential elections, even ones as dismal as the one that lies ahead, focus peoples’ minds, the occasion can be used to work towards getting the public to focus on the real and urgent issues of our time – on war and peace, rights and liberties, global warming, and the increasing inequality that is feeding injustice and stifling what little democracy we have left.

Above all, it presents an opportunity for talking about the urgency of making left alternatives within capitalism and alternatives to capitalism itself, socialist alternatives, part of political discourse again.

There is no reason why such a discussion cannot now take place, and every reason why it should.

Impending catastrophes stare us in the face. Unless there is a change of course soon, the dangers will intensify.

But nothing will get better until the underlying causes of the perils we face are exposed and subjected to scrutiny. This cannot happen as long as the lessons gained in the pre-neoliberal age are off the agenda entirely, and as long as socialism is never even mentioned, much less discussed.

Ironically, the sheer inanity of the election we are facing makes the discussion of these and other pertinent issues more, not less feasible; it makes real politics possible. Full speed ahead, therefore; there truly is no alternative.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

 

Three Bushes and We’re Out

By James Hoover
February 24, 2015
Dissident Voice

 

Only in America could memories be so short that we quickly forget one presidential dynasty’s lack of dedication to nurturing our people and our country. Realistically, the underlying fault lies not with the family. It’s more in the realm of plutocratic exploitation. The lessons of history have shown us that power and control is driven by one basic concept, “The end justifies the means.” In other words, oligarchic forces have always achieved their goals of power over governable civilizations by using any means for that goal, or that end.

In 2015, the Bush family may be that dynastic means. Jeb Bush wants to raise one-hundred million dollars by the end of March to become president. It’s a so called “shock and awe” drive to quickly force out the many other candidates. After one short week of announced intentions to run, Mitt Romney was the first.

It seems to be a repeat of George W. Bush (GWB) in 1999. The huge cash flow for him literally drove away other candidates. Even with that kind of money, GWB lost the popular vote in 2000, but was awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court.

So we have a third Bush dialing for dollars in a campaign climate where dollars flow like manna, and since the Republicans have established themselves champions of big business, representatives of Jeb’s party are awarded the larger jackpot of funds.

As Barack Obama did in 2007, Jeb Bush recently appeared before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to establish his foreign policy credentials. According to most sources, he came off as an over-challenged and confused former governor of Florida.

In a very embarrassing stumble about Putin, he apologetically admitted, somewhat flummoxed, “I’m just a gladiator, so I don’t follow every detail.” He then went on to say, one surmises, regarding US increased oil and gas production vs. Russian dependency on selling oil and gas to Europe, “As we grow our presence by growing our ability to produce oil and gas, we also make it possible to lessen the dependency that Russia now has on top of Europe.” Believe it or not, that is a literal quote.

Youtube accounts of his foreign policy speeches range from a cherry-picked 2 minutes and 23 seconds by the Washington Examiner all the way to 1 hour and 12 minutes by the Council on Global Affairs, the latter, probably only for strategists, news pundits or masochists.

Now, I do follow and write about domestic and foreign affairs out of interest in how our world is turning, not to run for president, of course. Perhaps under media fire, I might feel uncomfortable in that position, but Jeb Bush has been preparing to run for president since 2013, certainly prepped by his dad years before. In New York City in November of 2013, his speech before elites – many Wall Street types – quietly signaled his intention to run for president and his expectations of financial support by Wall Street.

In that period of time one would expect him to follow foreign affairs to avoid the type of apologetic stumble we witnessed in his foreign policy debut before the Council on Global Affairs. Certainly Bush has been stellar in raising money during that period of time. He has been averaging about $4 million per dinner, sometimes requiring $100,000 per person in fundraisers. Close to a $100 million in funds, his laser focus on money rather than his education is quite apparent.

Meanwhile, the memory of GWB’s debacle as president begins to fade. Perhaps the recent growth splurge and the greatly reduced unemployment rate dims our memory of the deep economic chasm GWB left us in. Of course, he had help from Republicans and some Democrats, Bill Clinton and Congress stripping Wall Street regulations in 1999 helped.

But beyond GWB’s mishandling of the economy, the growing deficits, and fiscal irresponsibility, there has been an affliction of “no accountability” fever attached to Republican presidents with the Bushes posing as innocent bystanders. A Rachel Maddow report last week pointed out this affliction.

Not only did other politicians look the other way, the latest, President Obama, regarding the Bush administration’s torture and lying us into the disastrous Iraqi War, but also the Bush family has a history of deflecting blame for mistakes.

In 1986 George HW Bush, in a strangely worded statement said about Reagan’s selling arms to Iran for release of hostages, “The president is absolutely convinced he didn’t swap arms for hostages.” Bush then went on to say, “Clearly mistakes were made.” One assumes not active mistakes but passive mistakes. Over a decade later, his son, GWB, regarding the disaster in Iraq, said, “In a democracy everything is not perfect. Mistakes were made.” Again it’s in the passive voice, like those mistakes belonged to someone else.

It’s not that we haven’t had relative dynasties in our government, but those dynasties should sport the best candidates to lead us: the most principled, the most able and the most dedicated to our people and our country. We don’t need a dynastic succession of incurious bunglers who owe their focus and support to the moneyed interests, eschewing all knowledge, even integrity, that help them to serve our country and our people.  Mismanage and “shoot from the hip” were GWB’s mantra.  Jeb’s recent performance seems to present the same incoherence and confusion. George HW Bush, perhaps, was more knowledgeable but still had that commitment to politics, money and the rich elite.

Now we aren’t saying that others aren’t crass politicians. But we are saying that we can do much better with candidates who feel some allegiance to the people and who have more mental acuity in pursuing that goal.

James Hoover is a recently retired systems engineer. He has advanced degrees in Economics and English. Prior to his aerospace career, he taught high school, and he has also taught college courses. He recently published a science fiction novel called Extraordinary Visitors and writes political columns on several websites. Read other articles by James.

Not Very Funny

By David Swanson
February 22, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Jeb.BushRemarks prepared for event with comedian Lee Camp, Charlottesville, Va., February 21, 2015, event postponed by snow storm. When it’s rescheduled I’ll say something completely unrelated.

This is the serious part of tonight’s event, except that Lee often deals with very serious topics. So what I mean is: this is the unfunny part of tonight’s event, except that I’m going to talk about the United States government. One of my favorite things that Mark Twain didn’t really say but definitely should have said was “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” He left out the possibility of imbeciles who are putting us on.

On Thursday Comcast internet was not working at my house, just as Comcast’s hired Congress members were introducing a bill to create a closed internet with fast lanes for the corporate crap we didn’t need the internet for. And a good internet media outlet called TheRealNews.com wanted to do a video interview with me, which I didn’t want to do in Java Java because I try not to be quite that rude. So I sat out on the Downtown Mall and did the interview. It was about 12 degrees out, and I think you can see me shaking. And what did they want to talk about? War? Peace? The climate?

They wanted to talk about Jeb Bush. Clearly he is an imbecile who is putting us on. He’d been talking on foreign policy, and of course he agreed with Obama on most everything but claimed not to. On NSA spying, for example, he disagreed basically with the fact that there has been public criticism of Obama’s abuses. How he would eliminate criticism he didn’t say. He didn’t bring up Ukraine or Afghanistan or drone wars, because what would he disagree with? He did bring up the Korean War in order to claim it was a success and not the stupid pointless draw that everyone called it for decades, but of course the innovator in popularizing that ridiculous claim was … President Obama.

Mostly Jeb focused on Iran, pushing the false claim that Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map and is threatening nuclear attack. Obama pushes all the same lines but then nonsensically and uniquely in this case arrives at the antiwar view that diplomacy is preferable to bombing. Jeb approves of Netanyahu stepping in on March 3rd to give Congress its war orders on the one war Obama doesn’t want. I recommend going to SkipTheSpeech.organd urging Congress Members to skip it, as many have committed to doing — even with Sheldon Adelson promising to pay for the unelection of each of them.

More broadly, Jeb pushed the idea that the Middle East is a disaster because it hasn’t been bombed enough, and that the U.S. is disliked because it hasn’t attacked enough countries. There are two problems with this. One, it’s a disgusting and ridiculous lie that has been getting people killed for many years. A Gallup poll early last year of 65 countries found the U.S. to be considered far and away the biggest threat to peace in the world. The nations in the worst shape are the ones the U.S. has bombed. U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers has actually argued that we should stop paying attention to what bombing Libya did to Libya in order to be sufficiently willing to bomb Iraq and Syria. ISIS actually produced a 60-minute movie begging the United States to go to war against it because recruitment would soar. The U.S. obliged. Recruitment soared. This is how disliked the United States has made itself: organizations are willing to be bombed if it will show them to be the leading opponents of the United States — a country that, by the way, puts over a trillion dollars a year into war when tens of billions could address world hunger, clean water, and other basic needs. For a fraction of war spending, the U.S. could address climate chaos, agriculture, education, etc., and become the most loved government on earth. But would that feel as good as screaming threats at ISIS?

ISIS, after all, kills people, cuts their throats like Saudi Arabia but on a smaller scale so it’s more evil, and burns people to death, like U.S. drone strikes, but on a smaller scale so it must be stopped by using the larger scale killing to stop it.

It’s amazing how Americans manage to think about violence. Why, we ask ourselves, don’t cops need guns in London? Well, because the criminals don’t have guns, but over here they do. So we have to fight guns with guns, and just to be safe spread some more guns around. But why, we ask ourselves, is the Middle East so violent? Well, that’s easy: it’s the result of millennia-old ethnic and religious hatreds that lie dormant for millennia and then burst into the open when we mistakenly provide freedom they’re not ready for in the form of incendiary bombs and depleted uranium. And of course they have guns over there, it’s part of their religion. Really? Because the U.S. State Department says that 79% of the weapons shipped to the Middle East are from the United States. That doesn’t count the U.S. weapons, the weapons the CIA gives the moderate neck slitters, or the weapons the Iraqi Army abandons. In other words, the same geniuses who are selling drones to the world now have long been arming the global hotspots where they periodically seek to create peace by escalating war. I have a new theory: they are imbeciles who are putting themselves on.

The second problem with Jeb’s prescription of more militarism is that President Obama has just proposed the biggest military budget ever and asked Congress for a free pass to launch new wars — as he’s doing anyway and says he’ll do regardless — and the American people are convinced that it’s their duty to form opinions about Jeb and his brother and his father and Hillary Clinton and various other imbeciles or putter-oners or both. We’re supposed to think that caring about such jack asses makes us good citizens. This is a disastrous distraction. It is actually our duty to engage in policy-driven activism, including activism aimed at fixing a broken election system, and to stop imagining that we’re going to vote our way out of apocalypse by cheerleading the candidate for militarized corporate capitalism over the other candidate for militarized corporate capitalism.

Oh, but it’s so much more fun to mock Jeb, isn’t it? If we criticize Obama we have something in common with icky racists. Seriously? Which is more childish, the racism or the moronic notion that one must obey authority without question or become a racist? You don’t have to “Approve” or “Disapprove” of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster’s questions. You can encourage Obama’s diplomacy on Iran and resist his warmaking in Iraq and Afghanistan. Promote the good, resist the bad. And avoid the desire to make it personal.

Jeb did try to find one other place to disagree with Obama, namely Cuba. As it happens, I just got back from Cuba last week and have a different perspective. The Republican line parroted by Jeb is that Obama did something for Cuba with nothing in return. Well, Obama is considering taking Cuba off the absurd terrorist list, since Cuba doesn’t fund terrorism. But Cuba hasn’t put the United States on a terrorist list to take it off of. There has been talk of ending the economic blockade, but Cuba has no blockade against the U.S. to lift. What is it Jeb wants of Cuba? Well, he wants it to stop supporting the popularly elected government of Venezuela and allow its overthrow. See, to get to Obama’s right you have to go to overthrowing governments — and then you’ll discover that Obama pretty much agrees with you.

The U.S. is actually proposing to allow importing from Cuba limited items produced by private enterprise. This is an effort to privatize Cuba, to radically change or overthrow its government. By “opening” to Cuba, Obama has given himself new tools. The mission is unchanged. A few of us met with the staff of the soon-to-be U.S. embassy down there, and asked about the $20 million the U.S. spends propagandizing Cubans each year. I asked how they’d feel if Cuba funded activists in the United States. One of them told me there was no need, because the United States has freedom of speech and Cuba doesn’t. OK, I said, but the United States has troops in 175 countries and more wars than it can keep track of, and Cuba doesn’t. What if Cuba funded a movement against militarism in the United States? The U.S. diplomats said they’d have no problem with that at all. But of course the U.S. government would — in fact working with Cuba on anything would constitute aiding “terrorists.”

I suppose it’s not very funny but it should be that if Cuba ever actually attacked the United States we would hear about it 24/7, but the United States and its terrorists living openly in Florida have for over 50 years blown up buildings and planes in Cuba, murdered in Cuba, and introduced human and animal diseases to Cuba, and the Cubans have museums full of the gear they’ve seized from the hapless CIA, but the Cuban people are delighted to meet Americans and don’t blame us one bit for our government just as they’d no doubt like not to be blamed for their own.

Their government and many observers have a theory about why the U.S. government hates Cuba so much: it doesn’t want us to see that even a poor country can provide universal healthcare, education, and a guaranteed income.

I’m thrilled with the victory of Jeff Fogel and others in the ruling this week that found a ban on panhandling unconstitutional here. But what if a nation with the resources of the U.S. were to start dreaming bigger? What if we were to do away with the need for panhandling? What if everyone had a full stomach, a good education, no debt, and some free time to pay attention to things?

I sat in a trial a few weeks ago in Alexandria of Jeffrey Sterling who had gone to Congress with the news that the CIA was giving plans for a nuclear bomb to Iran — plans in which they’d introduced some obvious mistakes on the theory that the dumb Iranians would never notice and build their bomb wrong. Their Russian operative who took the plans to the Iranians was also not supposed to notice the flaws, but he did, immediately. The display of recklessness, stupidity, and imbecility putting itself on in this courtroom was beyond belief, and nobody was there, and the young all white jury found Sterling guilty.

One of the pieces of evidence in the trial discussed the next country the CIA was, in 2000, working on giving flawed nuclear bomb plans to after Iran. They blanked out the name of the country but showed how many letters had been blanked out. They also left it clear that the country’s name began with a vowel. Only Iraq fit. These clowns were planning to give nuclear bomb plans to Iraq just before publicly making the case for invading Iraq before it nuked us.

But what else were they supposed to do? You can’t do nothing, right? We must either love ISIS and do nothing or drop more bombs and create even more enemies. It’s a tough counterproductive path to Armageddon but somebody’s got to follow it. And somebody else has got to invent a bunch of lies to make it more palatable. When General Sherman raged through the South burning stuff he told himself that from here on out the South would know war so well that it would never want another one. And 150 years later, I dare you to just hint at taking down the statues of Southern war losers in Charlottesville. The South is the leading supporter of U.S. wars. Without the politics of the South, the U.S. might find its way clear all the way to respecting the rights of some other country. During World War II, the main newspaper in Atlanta, where Sherman had begun his march, editorialized in favor of burning every house in Japan. So, when Jeb-Obama-Hillary-McCain tell you that bombing Iraq will turn Iraqis against war, you can believe them or your own lying eyes. Have the past decades made Iraq more peaceful? Might ending slavery the way most nations did — that is to say, without a war — have produced something less than 150 years of resentment and displaced blowback?

If you’d like to get involved in advancing alternatives to war, please check out http://WorldBeyondWar.org

And please join in the planning for a bigger, better peace movement with the series of events planned for Washington, D.C., on March 18-21. See http://SpringRising.org

Jeb Bush Exposed Part 2 – He Thinks Unconstitutional NSA Spying is “Hugely Important”

By Michael Krieger
February 21, 2015
Liberty Blitzkrieg

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.49.11 PMIn some ways I’m actually looking forward to the imperial spectacle that will be the Jeb Bush vs. Hilary Clinton Presidential contest in 2016. Just like an alcoholic or drug addict is often unable to shake the cycle of addiction until hitting rock bottom, so too it seems the American peasantry must hit political rock bottom before becoming fed up enough to do something about it; and I can’t imagine a more odious, absurd scenario than being forced to chose between another Bush and another Clinton.

I’ve given Hilary a lot of grief here at Liberty Blitzkrieg, primarily because she’s an oligarch coddling embarrassment (links at the end). Jeb Bush hasn’t received the same treatment as of yet, but I’m going to do my best to make up for lost time.

Just yesterday, I highlighted his unsurprising neocon foreign policy chops in the piece, Jeb Bush Exposed Part 1 – His Top Advisors Will Be the Architects of His Brother’s Iraq War. Specifically, we learned that:

According to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

Imperial war monger: Check. What about his view on let’s say the 4th Amendment of the Constitution? He doesn’t seem to want to be bothered with such trivialities. The Wall Street Journal reports that:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it.

At an event on foreign policy hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mr. Bush, a Republican, said, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the metadata program.

The program’s many supporters say it helps the U.S. government prevent terrorist attacks. But its critics believe it exists with little oversight and few boundaries and could allow the government to spy on U.S. citizens.

Interesting, how did the Wall Street Journal fail to mention that former NSA chief Keith Alexander admitted that the spying hasn’t achieved much of anything. In the 2013 article, NSA Chief Admits “Only One or Perhaps Two” Terror Plots Stopped by Spy Program, we learned that:

The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.

Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

As we know, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Back to the WSJ.

Mr. Bush’s comments are significant, as the legal authority that allows the program to exist is set to expire in June. Congress is weighing whether to rework the program in a way that would strip the NSA of some of its powers.

Mr. Bush’s support for the metadata program puts him in sharp contrast with another likely GOP White House candidate, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Mr. Bush – as he made evident during his comments in Chicago – supports more government spending on the military and a broader military influence.

Reason accurately covered Jeb’s absurd position in its piece:, Jeb Bush: “I don’t understand the debate” Over the NSA’s Bulk Phone Records Collection Program. Here are some excerpts:

Does Jeb Bush truly not understand that some people—indeed, quite a lot of people—might find a vast, secret, program to spy on millions of citizens to be a little bit creepy? That many in the public might understandably find this to be a potential government overreach, or an abuse of federal power? 

Perhaps he really doesn’t. If so, that should disqualify him from the GOP’s presidential nomination before his run even officially starts. But I doubt that he is truly as flummoxed by concerns about the program as his dismissive remark suggests.

Instead, I suspect he knows all too well what the program entails, what its critics argue, and why it has remained a topic of controversy for so long. But Jeb Bush does not want to defend the particulars of the initiative so much as he wants to publicly stand by his brother’s administration and then settle the issue by declaring that it is not one. Despite his declaration yesterday that he is his “own man,” and not his brother or father, he would not even broach the possibility that his brother’s program might be deserving of any critique. 

Put another way: Jeb Bush claims he doesn’t understand the debate because he doesn’t want there to be a debate. But there is one, and if he is to run for president, he will have to take part in it.

BINGO. It’s like a Jedi mind trick. “These are not the drones you’re looking for…there is no debate, what debate, move along peasants…”

For related articles, see:

First, this would be really funny if it was an Onion article as opposed to real life: Jeb Bush to Present the “Liberty Medal” to Hillary Clinton

Jeb Bush Exposed Part 1 – His Top Advisors Will Be the Architects of His Brother’s Iraq War

This is Why Rand Paul is Hilary Clinton’s Worst Nightmare

Glenn Greenwald on Hilary Clinton: “Soulless, Principle-Free, Power Hungry…”

A Tale from Post-Constitutional America – This is What Happens if You Turn Your Back on Hilary Clinton

Welcome to the Oligarchy suckers:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.47.53 PM

Oligarch Rules: Jeb Bush Surrounds Himself With Architects Of His Brother’s Iraq War

By Michael Krieger
February 20, 2015
Liberty BliztKrieg

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.29.56 PMAccording to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

— From the Think Progress article: The Same People Who Lied To You About Iraq Are Now In Charge Of Jeb Bush’s Foreign Policy

It may be hard to believe, but either one of the two status quo choices for U.S. President currently being force-fed down the American public’s throat will be almost unquestionably more imperial and warlike than Barack Obama. The reason is simple. Any society that apathetically stands by as one President after the other tramples on the Constitution will be subject to a litany of increasingly tyrannical, and even insane, leaders. This is why the oligarchy isn’t even pretending that we live in a Republic or a Democracy anymore. They are shoving our pathetic servitude right in our face by putting up these two preposterous and dangerous candidates.

If you still had any doubt, today we learn that Jeb Bush is actively surrounding himself with the exact same people who under the George W. Bush administration, masterminded the terrible tragedy known as the Iraq war.

Think Progress covered this predictable, yet terrifying, reality earlier today. Brace yourself:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will deliver a speech on Wednesday that seeks to distance his foreign policy views from the previous two Bush presidents, saying, according to early excerpts, that while he admires his presidential family members, “I am my own man.”

“[M]y views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences,” Bush will say as he lays out a vision that calls for increased military spending in order to project strength and encourage peace worldwide.

“Having a military that is equal to any threat is not only essential for the commander in chief … it also makes it less likely that we will need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way,” he will say. “Because I believe, fundamentally, that weakness invites war … and strength encourages peace.”

Yes, like all the peace the U.S. has unleashed upon the world since 9/11. Such as the creation of ISIS from the smoldering crater your brother left in Iraq.

The remarks come just days after Bush brushed aside questions about his view of President George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and as the Florida governor and presumptive GOP frontrunner works to define himself in the early days of the 2016 campaign.

According to Reuters’ Steve Holland, Bush has tapped a “diverse” roster of former George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush officials to advise his burgeoning campaign on foreign policy, including key architects of the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

The list of advisers provided to Reuters by a campaign aid includes Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, as well as former George W. Bush Homeland Security Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Bush adviser Meghan O’Sullivan.

Let’s take some of these characters one at a time…

Paul Wolfowitz – Wolfowitz, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, began advocating an attack on Iraq shortly after the Sep. 11 attacks, established “what amounted to a separate government” to push for war and invited journalists to secret meetings in order to lay out the foundation for his plans. Wolfowitz established the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon that ignored the conclusions of the intelligence community and fed policy makers and the media discredited claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Stephen Hadley – Then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley famously disregarded warnings from the CIA and then-FBI director George Tenet and included references to Iraq’s pursuit of uranium in Bush’s speeches, a claim that proved to be false. Hadley later apologized for leaving the now-infamous phrase in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address and was promoted to become the president’s National Security Adviser.

Meghan O’Sullivan – Meghan O’Sullivan was as a top adviser to L. Paul Bremer — the U.S. viceroy in charge of the Coalition Provisional Authority that is blamed for mismanaging the occupation of Iraq immediately following the American invasion — and is credited with developing the security agreements and early transfer of sovereignty negotiations between the United States and Iraq. She also served as special assistant to George W. Bush from 2004 to 2007.

In 2003, for instance, Jeb Bush explained to Florida reporters that “in his heart, I know [George W. Bush] is doing what he thinks is right, and I concur with him.” Ten years later, he told an NBC reporter that “history will be kind to my brother [on Iraq] the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what’s going on now.” And in a joint CNN interview with George in 2010, Jeb said, “I have never disagreed with [George W. Bush]… ‘til death do us part.”

History is being written as we speak, and we can now see that the war in Iraq led directly to the creation of ISIS. Kind indeed.

This is all I have to say about that…

For related articles, see:

America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq

Paralyzed Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Has Died – Here’s His Final Letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Ex-CIA Officer Claims that Open Source Revolution is About to Overthrow Global Oligarchy

When Asked if the U.S. is a Capitalist Democracy or Oligarchy, Janet Yellen Can’t Answer…

New Report from Princeton and Northwestern Proves It: The U.S. is an Oligarchy

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