George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:43 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XIX -- The Leveraged Buy-out Gang

During the entire decade of the 1980's, the policies of the Reagan Bush and Bush administrations encouraged one of the greatest paroxysms of speculation and usury that the world has ever seen. Starting especially in the summer of 1982, a malignant and cancerous mass of speculative paper spread through all the vital organs of the banking, credit, and financial system. Capital had long since ceased to be used for the creation of new productive plant and equipment, and new productive manufacturing jobs; investment in transportation, power systems, education, health services and other infrastructure declined well below the break even level. Wall Street investors came more and more to resemble vampires who ranged over a ghoulish landscape in search of living prey whose blood they could suck to perpetuate their own lively form of death.

Industrial employment was out, the service sector was in. The post-industrial society meant that the production of tangible, physical wealth, of hard commodities, within US borders was being terminated. The future would belong to parasitical legions of lawyers, financial services experts, accountants, and clerical support personnel, but the growth in the balance of payments deficit signaled that the game could not go on forever.

On the surface, wild speculation was the order of the day: there was the stock market boom, which underwent a crash in 1987, but then, thanks to James Brady's drugged futures and index options markets, kept rising until the Dow had passed 3,000, although by that time no one could remember why it was still called the industrial average. The stock market provided the right atmosphere for a much broader speculative boom, the one in commercial and residential real estate, which kept going until almost the end of the decade, but which then began to crash with a vengeance. When real estate began to implode, as in Texas at the middle of the 1980's or the northeast after 1988, savings banks and commercial banks by the scores became insolvent. Thus, by the third year of the Bush administration, a bankrupt savings and loan was being seized by federal regulators on almost every business day, and Congressman Dingell of Michigan had to announce that Citibank, still the largest bank in the USA, was indeed "technically" bankrupt. Depositors in Hong Kong started a run on the Citibank branch there; their US counterparts were slower to react, perhaps because deluded by the pathetic faith that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation could still cover their deposits.

Even more fundamental than speculation was the absolute primacy of debt. During the Reagan and Bush years, unprecedented federal deficits pushed the public debt of the United States into the ionosphere, with the total almost quadrupling over a little more than ten years to approach the fantastic total of $3.25 thousand billion. In 1989, it was estimated that total debt claims in the US economy had attained almost $25 thousand billion, and their total has increased exponentially ever since. The debt of state and local governments, corporate debt, consumer debt --all expanded into the wild blue yonder. In the meantime, the Great Lakes industrial region became the rust bowl, the Sun belt oil and computer booms collapsed, the great cities of the east were rotten to the core with slums, and farmers went bankrupt more rapidly than at any other time in the memory of man.

Living standards had been in a gradual but constant decline since the days of Nixon, and it began to dawn on more and more families who considered themselves members of the middle class that they could no longer afford their own home, nor hope to send their children to college, all because of the prohibitive costs. The Bureau of the Census made sure in 1990 not to count the number of those who had become homeless during the 1980's, since the real figure would be an acute political embarrassment to George Bush: were there 5 million, or 6, as many as the total population of Sweden, or of Belgium?

New jobs were created, but most of them were dead-ends for losers at or below the minimum wage that presupposed illiteracy on the part of the applicant: hamburger sales and pizza home delivery were the growth areas, although a smart kid might still aspire to become a croupier. Behind it all lurked the pervasive narcotics trade, with hundreds of billions of dollars a year in heroin, crack, marijuana.

For the vast majority of the US population (to say nothing of the brutal misery in the developing countries) it was an epoch of austerity, sacrifice, and decline, of the entropy of a society in which most people have no purpose and feel themselves becoming redundant, both on the job market and ontologically.

But for a paper thin stratum of plutocrats and parasites, the 1980's were a time of unlimited opportunity. These were the practitioners of the monstrous financial swindles that marked the decade, the protagonists of the hostile takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, greenmail and stock plays that occupied the admiration of Wall Street. These were corporate raiders like J. Hugh Liedkte, Blaine Kerr, T. Boone Pickens, and Frank Lorenzo, Wall Street financiers like Henry Kravis and Nicholas Brady. And these men, surely not by coincidence, belonged to the intimate circle of personal friends and close political supporters of George Herbert Walker Bush.

If the orgy of usury and speculation during the 1980's can be compared to a glittering and exclusive dinner party, and Liedtke, Kerr, Pickens, Lorenzo, Kravis, and Brady were the invited guests, then surely George Bush was the host and arbiter elegantiarum who presided, deciding according to his own whim who would receive an invitation and who would not, and setting the norms for acceptable conduct. By late 1991, the long-deferred bill for these lucullian entertainments was about to arrive. The exhausted working people and destitute unemployed must present the bill to the founder of the feast, the whining and greedy enfant gate' of American politics, George Bush, the man whose idea of privation would be a life without servants, and whose concept of a domestic agenda would be a plan to hire two maids and a butler.

One of the landmark corporate battles of the first Reagan Administration was the battle over control of Getty Oil, a battle fought between Texaco, at that time the third largest oil company in the United States and the fourth largest industrial corporation, and J. Hugh Liedkte's Pennzoil. George Bush's old partner and constant crony, J. Hugh Liedtke, was still obsessed with his dream of building Pennzoil into a major oil company, one that could become the seventh of the traditional Seven Sisters after Chevron and Gulf merged. But the sands of biological time were running out on "Chairman Mao" Liedkte, as the abrasive Pennzoil boss was known in the years after he became the first US oilman to drill in China, thanks to Bush. The only way that Chairman Mao Liedkte could realize his lifelong dream would be by acquiring a large oil company and using its reserves to build Pennzoil up to world-class status.

Liedtke was the chairman of the Pennzoil board, and the Pennzoil president was now Blaine Kerr, a former lawyer from Baker & Botts in Houston. Blaine Kerr was also an old friend of George Bush. Back in 1970, when George was running against Lloyd Bentsen, Kerr had advised Bush on a proposed business deal involving a loan request from Victor A. Flaherty, who needed money to buy Fidelity Printing Company. Blaine Kerr was a hard bargainer: he recommended that Bush make the loan, but that he also demand some stock in Fidelity Printing as part of the deal. Three years later, when Fidelity Printing was sold, Bush cashed in his stock for $499,600 in profit, a gain of 1,900% on his original investment. That was the kind of return that George Bush liked, the kind that honest activities can so rarely produce. [fn 1]

Chairman Mao Liedkte and his sidekick Blaine Kerr constantly scanned their radar screens for an oil company to acquire. They studied Superior Oil, which was in play, but Superior Oil did too much of its business in Canada, where there had been no equivalent of George Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, and where the oil companies were still subject to some restraints. Chairman Mao ruled that one out. Then there was Gulf Oil, where T. Boone Pickens was attempting a takeover, but Liedkte reluctantly decided that Gulf was beyond his means. Then, Chairman Mao began to hear reports of conflicts on the board of Getty Oil. Getty Oil, with 20,000 employees, was a $12 billion corporation, about six times larger than Pennzoil. But Chairman Mao had already managed to facilitate United Gas when that company was about six times larger than his own Pennzoil. Getty Oil had about a billion barrels of oil in the ground. Now Chairman Mao was very interested.

The trouble on the Getty Board was a conflict between Gordon Getty, the surviving son of the freebooting founder J. Paul Getty, and Sidney Petersen, the chairman of the Getty Board. Gordon Getty had musical-aesthetic ambitions; but he wanted to be consulted on all major policy decisions by Getty Oil. Gordon and his wife moved in the social circles of Graham Allison of Harvard's Kennedy School, Lawrence Tisch of Loewe's Corporation, and Warren Buffett, the owner of the Berkshire Hathaway investment house in Omaha. Gordon Getty now controlled the Sarah Getty Trust with 40% of the outstanding stock. About 12% of the stock was controlled by the Getty Museum. Chariman Mao Liedtke gathered his team to attempt to seize control of Getty Oil: James Glanville of Lazard Freres was his investment banker, Arthur Liman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison was his chief negotiator. Liedtke also had the services of the megafirm Baker & Botts of Houston.

In early 1984, Gordon Getty and his Sarah Getty Trust and the Getty Museum represented by the New York mergers and acquisitions lawyer Marty Lipton combined to oblige the board of Getty Oil to give preliminary acceptance to a tender offer for Getty Oil stock (a la Gammell once again) at a price of about $112.50 per share. Arthur Liman thought he had a deal that would enable Chairman Mao to seize control of Getty Oil and its billion barrel reserves, but no contract or any other document was ever signed, and key provisions of the transaction remained to be negotiated.

When the news of these negotiations began to leak out, major oil companies who also wanted Getty and its reserves began to move in: Chevron showed signs of making a move, but it was Texaco, represented by Bruce Wasserstein of First Boston and the notorious Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm, that got the attention of the Getty Museum and Gordon Getty with a bid (of $125) that was sweeter than the tight-fisted Chairman Mao Liedkte had been willing to put forward. Gordon Getty and the Getty Museum accordingly signed a contract with Texaco. This was the largest acquisition in human history up to that time, and the check received by Gordon Getty was for $4,071,051,264, the second largest check ever written in the history of the United States, second only to one that had been used to roll over a part of the postwar national debt.

Chairman Mao Liedkte thought he had been cheated. "They've made off with a million dollars of my oil!", he bellowed. "We're going to sue everybody in sight!"

But Chairman Mao Liedtke's attempts to stop the deal in court were fruitless; he then concentrated his attention on a civil suit for damages on a claim that Texaco had been guilty of "tortious interference" with Pennzoil's alleged oral contract with Getty Oil. The charge was that Texaco had known that there already had been a contract, and had set out deliberately to breach it. After extensive forum shopping, Chairman Mao concluded that Houston, Texas was the right venue for a suit of this type.

Liedtke and Pennzoil demanded $7 billion in actual damages and $7 billion in punitive damages for a total of at least $14 billion, a sum bigger than the entire public debt of the United States on December 7, 1941. Liedke hired Houston lawyer Joe "King of Torts" Jamail, and backed up Jamail with Baker & Botts.

Interestingly, the judge who presided over the trial until the final phase, when the die had already been cast, was none other than Anthony J.P. "Tough Tony" Farris, whom we have met two decades earlier as a Bushman of the old guard. Back in February, 1963, we recall, the newly elected Republican County Chairman for Harris County, George H.W. Bush, had named Tough Tony Farris as his first assistant county chairman. [fn 2] This was when Bush was in the midst of preparations for his failed 1964 senate bid. Farris had tried to get elected to Congress on the GOP ticket, but failed. During the Nixon Administration, Farris became the United States Attorney in Houston. Given what we know of the relations between Nixon and George Bush (to say nothing the relations between Nixon and Prescott Bush), we must conclude that a patronage appointment of this type could hardly have been made without George Bush's involvement. Tough Tony Farris was decidedly an asset of the Bush networks.

Now Tough Tony Farris was a State District Judge whose remaining ambition in life was an appointment to the federal bench. Farris did not recuse himself because his patron, George Bush, was a former business partner and constant crony of Chariman Mao Liedkte. Farris rather began issuing a string of rulings favorable to Pennzoil: he ruled that Pennzoil had a right to quick discovery, rocket-docket discovery from Texaco. Farris was an old friend of Pennzoil's lead trial lawyer Joe Jamail, and Jamail had just given Tough Tony Farris a $10,000 contribution for his next election campaign. Jamail, in fact, was a member of Tough Tony's campaign committee. Texaco attempted to recuse Farris, but they failed. Farris claimed that he would have recused himself if Texaco's lawyers had come to him privately, but that their public attempt to get him pitched out of the case made him decide to fight to stay on. Just at that point the district courts of Harris County changed their rules in such a way as to allow Bush's man Tough Tony Farris, who had presided over the pretrial hearings, to actually try the case.

And try the case he did, for fifteen weeks, during which the deck was stacked for Pennzoil's ultimate victory. With a few weeks left in the trial, Farris was diagnosed as suffering from a terminal cancer, and he was forced to request a replacement district judge. The last-minute substitute was Judge Solomon Casseb, who finished up the case along the lines already clearly established by Farris. In late November, 1985, the jury awarded Pennzoil damages of $10.53 billion, a figure that exceeded the total Gross National product of 116 countries around the world. Casseb not only upheld this monstrous result, but increased it to a total of $11,120,976,110.83.

Before the trial, back in January, 1985, Chairman Mao Liedkte had met with John K. McKinley, the chairman of Texaco, at the Hay-Adams Hotel across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington DC. Liedkte told McKinley that he thought what Texaco had done was highly illegal, but McKinley responded that his lawyers had assured him that his legal position was "very sound." McKinley offered suggestions for an out-of-court settlement, but these were rejected by Chairman Mao, who made his own counter-offer: he wanted three sevenths of Getty Oil, and was now willing to hike his price to $125 a share. According to one account of this meeting:

Liedtke seemed to go out of his way to mention his friendship with George Bush, according to Bill Weitzel of Texaco. "Mr. Liedkte was quite outspoken with regard to the influence that he felt he had--and would and could expect in Washington--in connection with antitrust matters and legislative matters," McKinley would say in deposition. "This idea that Pennzoil was not without political influence that could adversely affect the efforts of Texaco in completing its merger." [fn 3]

Liedkte denied all this: "The political-influence thing isn't true. I don't have any and McKinley knows it.!" Did Liedkte keep a straight face? Even during the talks between lawyers on the two sides to set up this meeting, the Pennzoil attorney had referred to the capacity of his client to deflect "antitrust lightning" in the case. Chairman Mao's relations with Nixon and Bush make his protestations about a total lack of political influence sound absurd. Blaine Kerr, Bush's investment advisor, also piously avers that the name of George Bush was never invoked.

In any case, the Reagan-Bush regime made no secret of its support for Pennzoil. In the spring of 1987, after prolonged litigation, the US Supreme Court required Texaco to post a bond of $11 billion. On April 13, 1987, the press announced that Texaco had filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection. The Justice Department created two committees to represent the interests of Texaco's unsecured creditors, and Pennzoil was made the chairman of one of these committees. Texaco operations were subjected to severe disruptions.

During the closing weeks of 1987, Texaco was haggling with Chairman Mao about the sum of money that the bankrupt firm would pay to Pennzoil. At this point Bushman Lawrence Gibbs was the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, one of the principal targeting agencies of the totalitarian police state. Gibbs was always looking for new and better ways to serve the Bush power cartel, and now he found one: he slammed bankrupt and wounded Texaco with a demand for $6.5 billion in back taxes. This move was in the works behind the scenes during the Texaco-Pennzoil talks, and it certainly made clear to Texaco which side the government was on. The implication was that Texaco had better settle with Chairman Mao in a hurry, or face the prospect of being broken up by the various Wall Street sharks - Holmes a Court, T. Boone Pickens, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Carl Icahn- who had begun to circle the wounded company. In case Texaco had not gotten the message, the Department of Energy also launched an attack on Texaco, alleging that the bankrupt firm had overcharged its customers by $1.25 billion during the time before 1981 when oil price controls had been in effect.

Chairman Mao Liedkte finally got his pound of flesh: he would eventually receive $3 billion from Texaco. Texaco in late 1987 announced an asset write-down of $4.9 billion as a result of staggering losses, and began to sell assets to try to avoid liquidation. Texaco's Canadian operations, its German operations were sold off, as were 600 oil properties in various locations. Later Texaco also sold off a 50% interest in its refining and marketing system to Saudi Arabia. A number of Texaco refineries were simply shut down. A total of $7 billion in assets were sold off during 1988-89 alone.

By early 1989, Texaco had been reduced to two-thirds of its former size, and from its former number three position had become the "runt of the litter" among the US majors. Texaco revenue fell from 47.9 billion in 1984 to $35.1 billion in 1988. Assets declined from $37.7 billion to $26.1 billion. In order to ward off the raiding attacks of Carl Icahn, Texaco was obliged to worsen its situation further by payment of $330 million in greenmail in the form a special $8 distribution to shareholders designed mainly to placate Icahn. [fn 4]

The entire affair represented a monstrous miscarriage of justice, a declaration that the entire US legal system was bankrupt. At the heart of the matter was the pervasive influence of the Bush networks, which gave Liedkte the support he needed to fight all the way to the final settlement. The real losers in this affair were the Texaco and Getty workers whose jobs were destroyed, and the families of those workers. Estimates of the numbers of these victims are hard to come by, but the count must reach into the tens of thousands. In addition, the entire economy suffered from a transaction that increased the debt claims on current production while reducing the physical scale of that production.

But even the enormities of Chairman Mao Liedkte were destined to be eclipsed in the political and regulatory climate of savage greed created with the help of the Reagan-Bush administration and George Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief. Even Liedkte's colossal grasping was about to be out-topped by a small Wall Street firm which, primarily during the second Reagan-Bush term (when Bush's influence and control were even greater) assembled a financier empire greater than that of J.P. Morgan at the height of Jupiter's power. This firm was Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR) which had been founded in 1976 by a partner and some former employees of the Bear Sterns brokerage of lower Manhattan, and which by late 1990 had bought a total of 36 companies using some $58 billion lent to KKR by insurance companies, commercial banks, state pension funds, and junk bond king Michael Milken. The dominant personality of KKR was Henry Kravis, the man who inspired actor Michael Douglas (Kravis's former prep school classmate at the Loomis School) when Douglas played the role of corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street." Henry Kravis was in particular the motor force behind the KKR leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, which, with a price tag of $25 billion, was the largest transaction of recorded history.

Henry Kravis's epic achievements in speculation and usury perhaps had something to do with the fact that he was a close family friend of George Bush.

As we have seen, when Prescott Bush was arranging a job for young George Herbert Walker Bush in 1948, he contacted Ray Kravis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose business included helping Brown Brothers, Harriman to evaluate the oil reserves of companies. Ray Kravis had quickly offered George a job, but George declined it, preferring to go to work for Dresser Industries, a much larger company. That was how George had ended up in Odessa and Midland, in the Permian basin of Texas. Ray Kravis over the years had kept in close touch with Senator Prescott Bush and George Bush, and young Henry Kravis had been introduced to George and had hob-nobbed with him at various Republican Party and other fund-raising events. Henry Kravis by the early 1980's was a member of the Republican Party's elite Inner Circle.

Bush and Henry Kravis became even more closely associated during the time that Bush, ever mindful of campaign financing, was preparing his bid for the presidency. Among political contributors, Henry Kravis was a very high roller. In 1987-88, Kravis gave over $80,000 to various senators, congressmen, Republican Political Action Committees, and the Republican National Committee. During 1988, Kravis gave $100,000 to the GOP Team 100, which meant a "soft money" contribution to the Bush campaign. Kravis's partner George Roberts also anted up $100,000 for the Republican Team 100. In 1989, the first year in which it was owned by KKR, RJR Nabisco also gave $100,000 to Team 100. During that year, Kravis and Roberts gave $25,000 each to the GOP.

During the 1988 primary season, Kravis was the co-chair of a lavish Bush fundraiser at the Vista Hotel in lower Manhattan at which Henry's fellow Wall Street dealmakers and financier fatcats coughed up a total of $550,000 for Bush. Part of Kravis's symbolic recompense was to be honored with the prestigious title of co-chairman of Bush's Inaugural Dinner in January, 1989. One year later, in January 1990, Kravis was the National Chairman of Bush's Inaugural Anniversary Dinner. This was a glittering gala held at the Kennedy Center in Washington for a thousand members of the Republican Eagles, most of whom qualify by giving the GOP $15,000 or more. The entertainment was organized as an "oldies night," with Chubby Checker, Tony Bennett, and B.B. King. When George Bush addressed the Eagles, he was prodigal in his praise for Henry Kravis as one of "those who did the heavy lifting on this." [fn 5 ]

According to Jonathan Bush, George Bush's brother and the finance chairman of the New York State Republican Party, Henry Kravis was "very helpful to President Bush in fundraisers." According to brother Jonathan, Kravis "admired the President. And also, significantly, on a personal level, his father, Ray, and [George Bush] were friends from way back. And that meant a lot to Henry. He wanted to be part of that."

Henry Kravis had married the former Janey Smith of Kirksville, Missouri, who now called herself Carolyne Roehm. Carolyne Roehm had been introduced into New York Nouvelle Society by Oscar de la Renta. She and Henry Kravis cultivated a frenetically sybaritic lifestyle in the company of a social circle that included Bush's patron Henry Kissinger, American Express Chairman Jim Robinson and his wife Linda, Donald and Ivana Trump, Anne Bass, corporate raider Saul Steinberg, cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder, and Bush's finance operative Robert Mosbacher and his wife Georgette. It was very much a Bushman crowd. Kravis and his "trophy wife" lived in a Park Avenue apartment large enough to be a Hollywood sound stage, and also had a 270 acre estate in Weatherstone, Connecticut. The palatial house there, which is listed in the National Historic Register, has nine fireplaces. Henry and Carolyne added a $7 million, six-building, 42,000 square foot "farm complex" for their seven horses. This was Henry Kravis, chief stoker of the bonfire of the vanities, celebrated by Vice President Dan Quayle as the New York Republican Party Man of the Year.

It was to such an apostle of usury that George Bush turned for advice on public policy in economics and finance. According to Kravis, Bush "writes me handwritten notes all the time and he calls me and stuff, and we talk." The talk concerned what the US government should do in areas of immediate interest to Kravis: "We talked on corporate debt--this was going back a few years--and what that meant to the private sector," said Kravis.

Henry Kravis certainly knows all about debt. The 1980's witnessed the triumph of debt over equity, with a tenfold increase in total corporate debt during the decade, while production, productive capacity, and unemployment stagnated and declined. One of the principal ways in which this debt was loaded onto a shrinking productive base was through the technique of the hostile, junk-bond assisted leveraged buyout, of which Henry Kravis and his firm were the leading practitioners.

The economist Franco Modigliani had written in the 1950's about the theoretical debt limits of corporations. Small scale leveraged buyouts were pioneered by Kohlberg during the late 1970's. In its final form, the technique looked something like this: Corporate raiders looked around for companies that would be worth more than their current stock price if they were broken up and sold off. Using money borrowed from a number of sources, the raider would make a tender offer (once again, a la Jimmy Gammell in the Liedkte United Gas buyout) or otherwise secure a majority of the shares. Often all outstanding shares in the company would be bought up, taking the company private, with ownership residing in a small group of financiers. The company would end up saddled with an immense amount of new debt, often in the form of high-yield, high-risk subordinated debt certificates called junk bonds. The risk on these was high since, if the company were to go bankrupt and be auctioned off, the holders of the junk bonds would be the last to get any compensation.

Often, the first move of the raider after seizing control of the company and forcing out its existing management would be to sell off the parts of the firm that produced the least cash-flow, since enhanced cash flow was imperative to start paying the new debt. Proceeds from these sales could also be used to pay down some of the initial debt, but this process inevitably meant jobs destroyed and production diminished.

These raiding operations were justified by a fascistoid-populist demagogy that accused the existing management of incompetence, indolence and greed. The LBO pirates professed to have the interests of the shareholders at heart, and made much of the fact that their operations increased the value of the stock and, in the case of tender offers, gave the stockholders a better price than they would have gotten otherwise. The litany of the corporate raider was built around his commitment to "maximize shareholder value;" workers, bondholders, the public, and management were all expendable. Ivan Boesky and others further embroidered this with a direct apology for greed as a motor force of progress in human affairs.

An important enticement to transform stocks and equity into bonded and other debt was provided by the insanity of the US tax code, which taxed profits distributed to shareholders, but not the debt paid on junk bonds. The ascendancy of the leveraged buyout therefore proceeded pari passu with the demolition of the US corporate tax base, contributing in no small way to the growth of federal deficits. Plutocrats are always adept in finding loopholes to avoid paying their taxes. Ultimately, the big profits were expected when the companies acquired, after having been downsized to "lean and mean" dimensions, had their stock sold back to the public. KKR reserved itself 20% of the profits on these final transactions. In the meantime Kravis and his associates collected investment banking fees, retainer fees, directors' fees, management fees, monitoring fees, and a plethora of other charges for their services.

The leverage was accomplished by the smaller amount of equity left outstanding in comparison with the vastly increased debt. This meant that if, after deducting the debt service, profits went up, the return to the investors could become very high. Naturally, if losses began to appear, reverse leverage would come into play, producing astronomical amounts of red ink. Most fundamental was that companies were being loaded with debt during the years of what the Reagan-Bush regime insisted on calling a boom. It was evident to any sober observer that in case of a recession or a new depression, many of the companies that had succumbed to leveraged buyouts and related forces of usury would very rapidly become insolvent. The Reagan-Bush regime was forced to argue that supply-side economics and Bush's deregulation had abrogated the business cycle, and that there never would be any more recessions. This is why the "recession" (in reality the exacerbation of the pre-existing depression) that George Bush was forced to acknowledge during late 1990 was so ominous in its implications. The leveraged buyouts of the 1980's were now doomed to collapse. The handwriting on the wall was clear by September-October of 1989, the first year of George Bush's presidency, when the $250 billion market for junk bonds collapsed just in advance of the mini-crash of the New York Stock Exchange.

All in all, during the years between 1982 and 1988, more than 10,000 merger and acquisition deals were completed within the borders of the USA, for a total capitalization of $1 trillion. There were in addition 3500 international mergers and acquisitions for another $500 billion. [fn 6 ] The enforcement of antitrust laws atrophied into nothing: as one observer said of the late 1980's, "such concentrations had not been allowed since the early days of antitrust at the beginning of the century."

George Bush's friend Henry Kravis raised money for his leveraged buyouts from a number of sources. Money came first of all from insurance companies such as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, which cultivated a close relation with KKR over a number of years. Met was joined by Prudential, Aetna, and Northwest Mutual. Then there were banks like Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Bankers Trust. All these institutions were attracted by astronomical rates of return on KKR investments, estimated at 32.2% in 1980, 41.8% in 1982, 28% in 1984, and 29.6% in 1986. By 1987, KKR prospectus boasted that they had carried out the first large LBO of a publicly held company, the first billion-dollar LBO, the first large LBO of a public company via tender offer, and the largest LBO in history, Beatrice Foods.

Then came the state pension funds, who were also anxious to share in these very large returns. The first to begin investing with KKR was Oregon, which shoveled money to KKR like there was no tomorrow. Other states that joined in were Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Montana. The decisions to commit funds were typically made by state boards. An example is Minnesota: here the State Board of Investment is made up of the Governor, the state Treasurer, the state auditor, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General, currently Skip Humphrey. Some of these funds are so heavily committed to KKR that if any of the highly-leveraged deals should go sour in the current "recession," pensions for many retired state workers in those states would soon cease to exist. In that eventuality, which for many working people has already occurred, the victims should remember George Bush, the political godfather of Henry Kravis and KKR.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:43 am

PART 2 OF 2

KKR had one other very important source of capital for its deals: this was the now-defunct Wall Strreet investment firm of Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, and its California-based junk bond king, Michael Milken. Drexel and Milken were the most important single customers KKR had. (Drexel had its own Harriman link: it had merged with Harriman Ripley & Co. of New York in 1966.) During the period of close working alliance between KKR and Drexel, Milken's junk-bond operation raised an estimated $20 billion of funds for KKR. Junk bonds were high-risk, high-yield, junior debt securities that Milken floated. He started off with junk bonds issued by fly-by-night insurance companies owned by financiers seeking to emerge from the penumbra of Meyer Lansky. These included Carl Lindner and his Great American; Saul Steinberg and his Reliance Insurance Co., Meshulam Riklis and his Rapid American group; Laurence Tisch and CNA; Nelson Peltz; Victor Posner; Carl Icahn; Thomas Spiegel and his Columbia Savings and Loan; and Fred Carr, a financial gunslinger of the 1960's and his First Executive Corp. insurance firm. Later, the circle of Milken's customers would expand to include commercial banks, savings and loans, mutual funds, upscale insurance companies and others who could not resist the high yields. These robbery barons of modern usury were dubbed "Milken's monsters" by one of their number, Meshulam Riklis.

All of these personages pranced at Milken's annual meetings in Beverley Hills, which were followed by evenings of sumptuous entertainment. These became known as "the predators' ball," and attracted such people as T. Boone Pickens, Icahn, Irwin Jacobs, Sir James Goldsmith, Oscar Wyatt, Saul Steinberg, Boesky, Lindner, the Canadian Belzberg family, Ron Perelman, and other such figures.

First Executive Corp. was the first great bankruptcy among the insurance companies in early 1991, giving the depression of the 1990's a dimension that the economic-financial conflagration of the 1930's did not possess. First Executive Life succumbed to losses on its junk bond portfolio, and it will be the first of many insurance companies to find bankrutpcy via this route. Shortly thereafter, Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of New Jersey was seized by state regulators. Mutual Benmefit was also the victim of combined real estate and junk bond losses, and more retirement plans were threatened with annihilation. Those whose pensions are lost must recall the junk bond united front that reached from Milken to Kravis to Bush.

Spiegel's Columbia S&L is a classic case of a thrift institution that went wild in its acquisition of Milken's high-yield junk. At one time this institution had about $10 billion of junk in its portfolio. Columbia S&L was seized by federal regulators during the early months of 1990. Although many savings and loan bankruptcies have been caused by real estate speculation, many must also be attributed to a failed quest for a junk bonanza.

Milken's silent partner was Ivan Boesky, the arbitrageur who went beyond program trading to become a silent partner in advancing Milken's stockjobbing: sometimes Milkenm would have Boesky begin to acquire the stock of a certain company so as to signal to the market that it was in play, setting off a stampede of buyers when this suited Milken's strategy.

The Beatrice LBO illustrates how necessary Milken's role was to the overall strategy of Bush backer Kravis. Beatrice was the biggest LBO up to the time it was completed in January-February 1986, with a price tag of $8.2 billion. As part of this deal, Kravis gave Milken warrants for five million shares of stock in the new Beatrice corporation. These warrants could be used in the future to buy Beatrice shares at a small fraction of the market price. One result of this would be a dilution of the equity of the other investors. Milken kept the warrants for his own account, rather than offer them to his junk bond buyers in order to get a better price for the Beatrice junk bonds. Later in the same year, KKR bought out Safeway grocery stores for $4.1 billion, of which a large part came from Milken.

After 1986, Kravis and Roberts were gripped by financial megalomania. Between 1987 and 1989, they acquired 8 additional companies with an aggregate price tag of $43.9 billion. These new victims included Owens-Illinois glass, Duracell, which may not keep on running as long as many think, Stop and Shop food markets, and, in the landmark transaction of the 1980's, RJR Nabisco. RJR Nabisco was the product of a number of earlier mergers: National Biscuit Company had merged with Standard Brands to form Nabisco Brands, and this in turn merged with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to create RJR Nabisco. It is important to recall that R.J. Reynolds was the concern traditionally controlled by the family of Bush's personal White House lawyer, C. Boyden "Boy" Gray.

The battle for control of RJR Nabisco was lost by RJR Nabisco chairman Ross Johnson, Peter Cohen of Sherason Lehman Hutton and the notorious John Gutfruend of Salomon Brothers. KKR opposed this group, and a third offer for RJR came from First Boston. The Johnson offer and the KKR were about the same, but a cover story in the Luce-Skull and Bones Time Magazine in early December, 1988 targeted Johnson as the greedy party. The attraction of RJR Nabisco, one of the twenty largest US corporations, was an immense cash flow supplied especially by its cigarette sales, where profit margins were enormous. The crucial phases of the fight corresponded with the presidential election of 1988: Bush won the White House, so it was no surprise that Kravis won RJR with a bid of about $109 per share compared to a stock price of about $55 per share before the company was put into play, giving the prebuyout shareholders a capital gain of more than $13.3 billion. How much of that went to Boy Gray of the Bush White House?

The RJR Nabisco swindle generated senior bank debt of about $15 billion. The came $5 billion of subordinate debt, with the largest offering of junk bonds ever made. Then came an echelon of even more junior debt with payment in securities and junk bonds that paid interest not in cash, but in other junk bonds. But even with all the wizardry of KKR, there could have been no deal without Milken and his junk bonds. The banks could not muster the cash required to complete the financing; KKR required bridge loans. Merrill Lynch and Drexel were in the running to provide an extra $5 billion of bridge financing. Drexel got Milken's monsters and many others to buy short-term junk notes with an interest rate that would increase the longer the owner refrained from cashing in the note. Drexel's "increasing rate notes" easily brought in the entire $5 billion required.

In November of 1986, Ivan Boesky pleaded guilty to one felony count of manipulating securities, and his testimony led to the indictment of Milken in March, 1989, some months after the RJR Nabisco deal had been sewn up. In order to protect more important financial players, Milken was allowed to plead guilty in April 1990 a five counts of insider trading, for which he agreed to pay a fine of $600 million. On February 13, 1990, Drexel Burnham Lambert had declared itself bankrupt and gone into liquidation, much to the distress of junk bond holders everywhere who saw the firm as a junk bond buyer of last resort.

By this time, many of the great LBOs had begun to collapse. Robert Campeau's retail sales empire of Allied and Federated stores blew up in the fall of 1989, bring down almosty $10 billion of LBO debt. Revco, Freuhauf, Southland (Seven-Eleven stores), Resorts International, and many other LBOs went into chapter eleven proceedings. As for KKR's deals, they also began to implode: SCI-TV, a spin-off of Storer Broadcasting, announced that it could not service its $1.3 billion of debt, and forced the holders of $500 million in junk bonds to settle for new stocks and bonds worth between 20 and 70 cents on the dollar. Hillsborogh Holdings, a subsidiary of Jim Walker, went bankrupt, and Seamans Furniture put through a forced restructuring of its debt.

It was clear at the time of the RJR Nabisco LBO that the totality of the company's large cash flow would be necessary to maintain payments of $25 billion of debt. That will take a lot of animal crackers and Winstons. If RJR Nabisco had been a foreign country, it would have ranked among the top 15 debtor nations, coming in between Peru and the Philippines. Within a short time after the LBO, RJR Nabisco proved unable to maintain payments. KKR was forced to inject several billion dollars of new equity, take out new bank loans, and dunning its clients for an extra $1.7 billion. RJR Nabisco by the early autumn of 1991 was a time bomb ticking away near the center of a ruined US economy. If citizens are bright enough to follow the line that leads back from Milken to Kravis to Bush, RJR and similar horror stories could politically demolish George Bush.

In September 1987, Senator William Proxmire submitted a bill which aimed at restricting takeovers. Two weeks later, Rep. Rostenkowski of Illinois offered a bill to limit the tax deductibility of the interest on takeover debt. The LBO gang in Wall Street was horrified, even though it was clear that the Reagan-Bush team would oppose such legislation using every trick in the book. Later, LBO ideologues blamed the Congress for causing the crash of October, 1987.

Kravis has always been adamant in opposing any restrictions on the kind of insanity we have briefly reviewed. "I'm very much of a free-market person," says Kravis. I don't want interference. My life...you've listened to my life story, I don't want interference! The best thing to happen to people and this country is a free market system, and I'm very concerned, if we don't keep the right people in office, that we're not going to have this free-market environment. And we should have it!" [fn 7]

This corresponds exactly to Bush's policy. During the 1988 campaign, Bush presented his views on hostile takeovers, using the forum provided by his old friend T. Boone Pickens' USA Advocate, a monthly newsletter published by the United Shareholders Association, which Pickens runs. In the October, 1988 issue of this publication, Bush made clear that he was not worried about leveraged buyouts. Rather, what concerned Bush was the need to prevent corporations from adopting defenses to deter such attempted hostile takeovers. Bush indicated he wanted to ban poison pill defenses, which often take the form of a new class of stock in a company that lets its holders buy stock in the successor company at rock-bottom prices after a buyout. Poison pills were invented by New York lawyer Marty Lipton, and did not deter raider Sir James Goldsmith from seizing control of Crown Zellerbach in the mid-1980's, although Goldsmith's costs were increased.

Bush also railed against "golden parachutes," which provide lucrative settlements for top executives who are ousted as the result of a takeover:

I am frankly a bit skeptical about claims that these so-called 'defensive' tactics are necessary to encourage long-term investment. Studies suggest that prices of stock reflect information that is publicly available. Sometimes it seems that managers use these tactics to save themselves from the competitive pressures of the market for corporate control, not to protect the interests of the shareholders.

Bush was clearly hostile to any federal restrictions on hostile takeovers. If anything, he was closer to those who demanded that the federal government stop the states from passing laws that interfere with LBO activity. For that notorious corporate raider and disciple of Chairman Mao Liedtke, T. Boone Pickens, the message was clear:

I know that Vice President Bush is a free enterpriser. I don't think there is any doubt if you look at what Vice President Bush has said and what Gov. Dukakis has said that Bush is pro-stockholder. I would say Dukakis is pro-management. *

The expectations of Pickens and his ilk were not disappointed by the Bush cabinet that took office in January, 1989. The new Secretary of the Treasury, Bush crony Nicholas Brady, was only a supporter of leveraged buyouts; he had been one of the leading practitioners of the mergers and acquisitions game during his days in Wall Street as a partner of the Harriman-allied investment firm of Dillon Read.

The family of Nicholas Brady has been allied for most of this century with the Bush-Walker clan. During his Wall Street career at Dillon, Read, Brady, like Bush, cultivated the self-image of the patrician banker, becoming a member of the New York Jockey Club and racing his own thoroughbred horses at the New York tracks once presided over by George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush. Brady, like Bush, is a member of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco and attended the Bohemian Grove every summer. Inside the Bohemian Grove oligarchic pantheon, Brady enjoys the special distinction of presiding over the prestigious Mandalay Camp (or cabin complex), the one habitually attended by Henry Kissinger, and sometimes frequented by Gerald Ford. When Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey was driven out of office by the FBI's "Abscam" entrapment operation, Brady was appointed to fill out the remainder of the term to which Williams had been elected. Brady is also reportedly a victim of dyslexia.

At the Regency in Lower Manhattan, Brady rubbed elbows each morning at breakfast with Joe Flom and the rest of the the Skadden Arps crowd, Arthur F. Long of D.F. King and Co., Marty Lipton, Arthur Liman, Felix Rohatyn, Boesky's friend Marty Siegel, and Joe Perella of First Boston.

Brady's LBO experience goes back to the 1985 battle for control of Unocal, the former Union Oil Company. T. Boone Pickens and Mesa Petroleum attempted a hostile takeover of Unocal through a complex "two-tiered" tender offer by which those shareholders willing to help Pickens to a majority stake in Unocal would receive cash payment for their stocks, but those forced to sell to Pickens after he had gone over the top would be compelled to accept junk securities. In order to defend against this two-tier, front-loaded hostile tender offer, Unocal management called in Brady's Dillon Read together with Goldman Sachs.

Working with Goldman Sachs, Brady helped to devise a new form of anti-takoever defense for Unocal: it was in effect a self-inflicted leveraged buyout, a self-tender for a large portion of Unocal's stock which the company offered to buy back at a higher price than the one stipulated in the Pickens tender offer, although Unocal would refuse to accept any of the shares held by Pickens. Pickens tried to overturn this selective self-tender in the courts of Delaware, but he was defeated.

The self-tender sponsored by Brady's investment bankers was actually a usurious chicken game: Unocal's tender offer to buy 80 million shares at an astronomical $72 per share in comparison with the $54 offered by Pickens. This meant $5.8 billion in new high-interest junk-bond debt for Unocal, in another triumph of debt over equity. The premise was that if Pickens insisted on going ahead, he might very well take over Unocal, but the new debt burden would mean that the company would soon go bankrupt and Pickens would lose all his money. In this case, the Unocal management advised by Nick Brady was more than willing to gamble with the existence of their entire company, and thus with the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their families, to ward off the advances of Pickens. In the end, this device would load Unocal with a crushing $3.6 billion of high-interest debt as a result of the plan advocated by Brady's firm.

Nick Brady got the job he presently occupies by heading up a study of the October, 1987 stock market crash, the results of which Brady announced on a cold Friday afternoon in January, 1988, just after the New York stock market had taken another 150 point dive.

The study of the October, 1988 "market break" was produced by a group of Wall Street and Treasury insiders billed as the "Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms." At the center of the report's attention was the relation between the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, and NASDAC over-the-counter stock trading, on the one hand, and the future, options, and index trading carried on at the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange, and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The Brady group examined the impact of program trading, index arbitrage and portfolio insurance strategies on the behavior of the markets that led to the crash. The Brady report recommended the centralization of all market oversight in a single federal agency, the unification of clearing systems, consistent margins, and the installation of circuit breaker mechanisms. That, at least, was the public content of the report.

The real purpose of the Brady report was to create a series of drugged and manipulated markets using funds from the Federal Reserve and other sources. The Brady group realized that if the Chicago futures price of a stock or stock index could be artificially inflated, this would be of great assistance in propping up the value of the underlying stock in New York. The Brady group focused on the Major Market Index of 20 stock futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade, which roughly corresponded to the principal stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. As long as the MMI was trading at a higher price than the DJIA, the program traders and index arbitrageurs would tend to sell the MMI and buy the underlying stock in New York in order to lock in their stockjobbing profits. The great advantage of this system was first of all that some tens of millions of dollars in Chicago could generate some hundreds of millions of dollars of demand in New York. In addition, the margin requirements for borrowing money for use to buy futures in Chicago were much less stringent than the requirements for margin buying of stocks in New York. Liquidity for this operation could be drawn from banks and other institutions loyal to the Bush-Baker-Brady power cartel, with full backup and assistance from the district banks of the Federal Reserve.

The Brady "drugged market" mechanisms, with the refinements they have acquired since 1988, are a key factor behind the Dow Jones Industrials' seeming defiance of the law of gravity in attainting a new all time high well above the 3000 mark during 1991.

Brady's exercise was nothing new: during the collapse of the Earl of Oxford's South Sea bubble in 1720, the South Sea Company attempted to support the astronomically inflated price of its shares by becoming a buyer of its own stock until its cash and credit reserves were exhausted. Such maneuvers can indeed delay the onset of the final collapse for some period of time, but they guarantee that when the panic, crash and bankruptcy finally become overwhelming, the aggregate damage to society will be far greater than if the crash had been allowed to occur according to its own spontaneous dynamic. For this reason, a large part of the fearful price that is being exacted from the American people as the depression unfolds in its full fury is a result of the Bush-Brady measures to postpone the inevitable reckoning beyond the 1988 election.

One important case study of the impact of Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief is the meat-packing industry. In February 1981, when Reagan gave Bush "line" authority for deregulation, he promulgated Executive Order 12291, which established the principle that federal regulations "be based upon adequate evidence that their potential benefits to society are greater than their potential costs to society." In practice, that meant that Bush threw health and safety standards out the window in order to ingratiate himself with entrepreneurs. In March 1981, Bush wrote to businessmen and invited them to enumerate the 10 areas they wanted to see deregulated, with specific recommendations on what they wanted done. By the end of the year Bush's office issued a self-congratulatory report boasting of a "significant reduction in the cost of federal regulation." In the meatpacking industry, this translated into production line speedup as jobs were eliminated, with a cavalier attitude towards safety precautions. At the same time the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sharply reduced inspections, often arriving only after disabling or lethal accidents had already occurred. In 1980 there were 280 OSHA inspections in meat packing plants, but in 1988 there were only 176. This, in an industry in which the rate of personal injury is 173 persons per working day, three times the average of all remaining US factories. [fn 8]

Bush used his Regulatory Relief Task Force as a way to curry favor with various business groups whose support he wanted for his future plans to assume the presidency in his own right. According to one study made midway through the Reagan years, Bush converted his own office "into a convenient back door for corporate lobbyists" and "a hidden court of last resort for special interest groups that have lost their arguments in Congress, in the federal courts, or in the regulatory process." "Case by case, the vice president's office got involved in some mean and petty issues that directly affect people's health and lives, from the dumping of toxic pollutants to government warnings concerning potentially harmful drugs." [fn 9]

There were also reports of serious abuses by Bush, especially in the area of conflicts of interest. In one case, Bush intervened in March, 1981 in favor of Eli Lilly & Co., a company of which he had been a director in 1977-79. Bush had owned $145,000 of stock in Eli Lilly until January, 1981, after which it was placed in a blind trust, meaning that Bush allegedly had no way of knowing whether his trust still owned shares in the firm or not. The Treasury Department had wanted to make the terms of a tax break for US pharmaceutical firms operating in Puerto Rico more stringent, but Vice President Bush had contacted the Treasury to urge that "technical" changes be made in the planned restriction of the tax break. By April 14 Bush was feeling some heat, and he wrote a second letter to Treasury Secretary Don Regan asking that his first request be withdrawn because Bush was now "uncomfortable about the appearance of my active personal involvement in the details of a tax matter directly affecting a company with which I once had a close association." [fn 10] Bush's continuing interest in Eli Lilly is underlined by the fact that the Pulliam family of Indiana, the family clan of Bush's later running mate Dan Quayle, owned a very large portion of the Eli Lilly shares. Bush's choice of Quayle was but a re-affirmation of a pre-existing financial and political alliance with the Pulliam interests, which also include a newspaper chain.

The long-term results of the deregulation campaign that Bush used to burnish his image are suggested by the September, 1991 fire in a chicken-processing plant operated by Imperial Food Products in Hamlet, North Carolina, in which 25 persons died. One obvious cause of this tragedy was an almost total lack of adequate state and federal inspection, which might have identified the fire hazards that had built up over a period of years. This fire led during October, 1991 to the bankruptcy of the Imperial Food Products Company, which could not obtain financing to roll over its short-term and long-term debt obligations. 225 workers at the Hamlet plant lost their jobs, as did 200 workers at the company's other plant in Cumming, Georgia.

Bush's idea of ideal labor-management practices and corporate leadership in general appears to have been embodied by Frank Lorenzo, the most celebrated and hated banquerotteur of US air transport. Before his downfall in early 1990, Lorenzo combined Texas Air, Continental Airlines, New York Air, People Express, and Eastern Airlines into one holding, and then presided over its bankruptcy. Now Eastern has been liquidated, and the other components are likely to follow suit. Along the way to this debacle, Lorenzo won the sympathy of the Reagan-Bush crowd through his union-busting tactics: he had thrown Continental Airlines into bankruptcy court and used the bankruptcy statutes to break all union contracts, and to break the unions themselves as well. Continental pilots had been stripped of seniority, benefits, and bargaining rights, and had been subjected to a massive pay cut under threat of being turned out into the street. In 1985, the average yearly wage of a pilot was $87,000 at TWA, but less than $30,000 at Continental. The hourly cost of a flight crew for a DC-10 at American Airlines was $703, while at Continental it was only $194. It is an interesting commentary on such wage gouging that Lorenzo nevertheless managed to bankrupt Continental by the end of the decade.

George Bush has been on record as a dedicated union-buster going back to 1963-64, and he has always been very friendly with Lorenzo. When Bush became president, this went beyond the personal sphere and became a revolving door between the Texas Air group and the Bush Administration. During 1989, the Airline Pilots' Association issued a list of some 30 cases in which Texas Air officials had transferred to jobs in the Bush regime and vice versa. By the end of 1989, Bush's top Congressional lobbyist was Frederick D. McClure, who had been a vice president and chief lobbyist for Texas Air. McClure had traded jobs with Rebecca Range, who had worked as a public liaison for Reagan until she moved over to the post of lead Congressional lobbyist for Texas Air. John Robson, Bush's deputy Secretary of the Treasury, was a former member of the Continental Airlines board of directors. Elliott Seiden, once a top antitrust lawyer for the Justice Department, switched to being an attorney for Texas Air. [fn 11]

When questioned by Jack Anderson, McClure and Robson claimed that they recused themselves from any matters involving Texas Air. But McClure signed a letter to Congress announcing Bush's opposition to any government investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Eastern Airlines strike in early 1989. Bush himself has always stonewalled in favor of Lorenzo. During the early months of the landmark Eastern Airlines strike, in which pilots, flight attendants, and machinists all walked out to block Lorenzo's plan to downsize the airline and bust the unions, the Congress attempted to set up a panel to investigate the dispute, but Bush was adamant in favor of Lorenzo and vetoed any government probes. [fn 12]

Lorenzo's activities were decisive in the wrecking of US airline transportation during the Reagan-Bush era. When Carl Icahn was in the process of taking over TWA, he was able to argue that the need to compete in many of the same markets in which Lorenzo's airlines were active made mandatory that the TWA work force accept similar sacrifices and wage cuts. The cost-cutting criteria pioneered with such ruthless aggressivity by Lorenzo have had the long-term of effect of reducing safety margins and increasing the risk the traveling public must confront in any decision to board an airliner operating under US jurisdiction. Eastern has disappeared, and Continental has been joined in bankruptcy by Midway, America West, while Pan American sold off a large part of its operations to Delta while teetering on the verge of liquidation. Icahn's TWA is bankrupt in every sense except the final technicalities. Northwest, having been taken through the wringer of an LBO by Albert Cecchi, is now busy lining up subsidies from the state of Minnesota and other sources as a way to stay afloat. It is widely believed that when the dust settles, only Delta, American, and perhaps United will remain among the large nationwide carriers. At that point hundreds of localities will be served by only one airline, and that airline will proceed to raise its fares without any fear of price competition or any other form of competition. With that, air travel will float beyond the reach of much of the American middle class, and the final fruits of airline deregulation will be manifest. In the meantime, it must be feared that the erosion of safety margins will exact a growing toll of human lives in airline accidents. If such tragedies occur, the bereaved relatives will perhaps recall George Bush's friend Frank Lorenzo.

And how, the reader may ask, was George Bush doing financially while surrounded by so many billions in junk bonds? Bush had always pontificated that he had led the fight for full public disclosure of personal financial interests by elected officials. He never tired of repeating that "in 1967, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I led the fight for full financial disclosure." But after he was elected to the vice presidency, Bush stopped disclosing his investments in detail. He stated his net worth, which had risen to $2.1 million by the time of the 1984 election, representing an increase of some $300,000 over the previous five years. Bush justified his refusal to disclose his investments in detail by saying that he didn't know himself just what securities he held, since his portfolio was now in the blind trust mentioned above. The blind trust was administered by W.S. Farish & Co. of Houston, owned by Bush's close crony William Stamps Farish III of Beeville, Texas, the descendant of the Standard Oil executive who had backed Heinrich Himmler and the Waffen SS. [fn 13]

_______________

Notes:

1. Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, "Doing Well With help From Family, Freinds," Washington Post, August 11, 1988.

2. Houston Chronicle, February 21, 1963. See clippings available in Texas Historical Society, Houston.

3. Thomas Petzinger, Oil and Honor (New York, 1987), pp. 244-245.

4. See Washington Post, February 5, 1989.

5. For the relation between George Bush and Henry Kravis, see Sarah Bartlett, The Money Machine: How KKR Manufactured Power & Profits (New York, 1991), pp. 258-259 and 267-270.

6. Roy C. Smith, The Money Wars (New York, 1990), p. 106.

7. Bartlett, pp. 269-270.

8. Washington Post, September 29, 1988.

9. Judy Mann, "Bush's Top Achievement," Washington Post, November 2, 1988.

10. William Greider, Rolling Stone, April 12, 1984.

11. "Bush Denies Influencing Drug Firm Tax Proposal," Washington Post, May 20, 1981.

12. Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "The Bush-Lorenzo Connections," Washington Post, December 21, 1989.

13. James Ridgway, The Tax Records of Reagan and Bush, Texas Observer, September 28, 1984.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:44 am

Chapter XX -- The Phony War on Drugs

Tout le monde me prend pour un homme de bien; Mais la verite pure est que je ne vaux rien.
-- Moliere, Le Tartuffe


An indispensable component of the mythical media profile which George Bush has built up over the years to buttress his electoral aspirations has been his role as an anti-drug fighter. His first formally scheduled prime time presidential television address to the nation in September, 1989 was devoted to announcing his plans for measures to combat the illegal narcotics that continued to inundate the streets of the United States. During his 1988 election campaign, Bush pointed with astounding complacency to his record as President Reagan's designated point man in the administration's war on drugs.

In his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention in 1988, Bush stated: "I want a drug-free America. Tonight, I challenge the young people of our country to shut down the drug dealers around the world....My Administration will be telling the dealers, "Whatever we have to do, we'll do, but your day is over. You're history.'"

Indeed, Bush has an impressive resume of bureaucratic titles to back up his claim to be America's top anti-drug fighter. On January 28, 1982, Reagan created the South Florida Task Force under Bush's high-profile leadership to coordinate the efforts of the various federal agencies to stem the tide of narcotics into Bush's old family bailiwick. On March 23, 1983, Bush was placed in charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System, which was supposed to staunch the drug flow over all US borders. In August, 1986 US officials presented to their Mexican counterparts a scheme called Operation Alliance, a new border enforcement initiative that was allegedly to do for the US-Mexican border area what the South Florida Task Force had allegedly already done for the southeastern states. George Bush was appointed chief of Operation Alliance, which involved 20 federal agencies, 500 additional federal officers, and a budget of $266 million.

To crown all these efforts, Bush sought to obtain a cameo role for a brief appearance on the television series Miami Vice. He was perhaps inspired by his mentor, Kissinger, who had walked through a cameo of his own on Dynasty. But Bush was unable to accomplish his dream.

The drug plague is an area in which the national interest requires results. Illegal narcotics are one of the most important causes of the dissolution of American society at the present time. To interdict the drug flows and to prosecute the drug money launderers at the top of the banking community would have represented a real public service. But Bush had no intention of seriously pursuing such goals. For him, the war on drugs was a cruel hoax, a cynical exercise in demagogic self-promotion, designed in large part to camouflage activities by himself and his networks that promoted drug trafficking. A further shocking episode that has come to light in this regard involves Bush's 14-year friendship with a member of Meyer Lansky's Miami circles who sold Bush his prized trophy, the Cigarette boat Fidelity.

Bush's war on drugs was a rhetorical and public relations success for a time. On February 16, 1982, in a speech on his own turf in Miami, Florida, Bush promised to use sophisticated military aircraft to track the airplanes used by smugglers. Several days later, Bush ordered the US Navy to send in its E2C surveillance aircraft for this purpose. If these were not available in sufficient numbers, said Bush, he was determined to bring in the larger and more sophisticated AWACS early warning aircraft to do the job. But Bush's skills as an interagency expediter left something to be desired: by May, two of the four E2C aircraft that originally had been in Florida were transferred out of the state. By June, airborne surveillance time was running a mere 40 hours per month, not the 360 hours promised by Bush, prompting Rep. Glenn English to call hearings on this topic. By October, 1982 the General Accounting Office issued an opinion in which it found "it is doubtful whether the [south Florida] task force can have any substantial long-term impact on drug availability." But the headlines were grabbed by Bush, who stated in 1984 that the efforts of his task force had eliminated the marijuana trade in south Florida. That was an absurd claim, but it sounded very good. When Francis Mullen. Jr., the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) criticized Bush for making this wildly inaccurate statement, he was soon ousted from his post at the DEA.

In 1988, Democratic Congressman Glenn English concluded that Bush's "war on drugs" had been fought with "little more than lip service and press releases." English wrote: "There has been very little substance behind the rhetoric, and some of the major interdiction problems have yet to be resolved. The President assigned...Bush to coordinate and direct federal antidrug-abuse programs among the various law enforcement agencies. However, eight years later it is apparent that the task has not been accomplished." [fn 1] No observer still stationed in reality could dispute this very pessimistic assessment.

But the whole truth is much uglier. We have documented in detail how the Iran-contra drug-running and gun-running operations run out of Bush's own office played their role in increasing the heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana brought into this country. We have reviewed Bush's relations with his close supporters in the Wall Street LBO gang, much of whose liquidity is derived from narcotics payments which the banking system is eager to recycle and launder. We recall Bush's 1990 meeting with Syrian President Hafez Assad, who is personally one of the most prolific drug pushers on the planet, and whom Bush embraced as an ally during the Gulf crisis.

Bush's "soft on drugs" profile went further. In the Pakistan-Afghanistan theatre, for example, it was apparent that certain pro-Khomeini formations among the Afghan guerillas were, like the contras, more interested in trafficking in drugs and guns than in fighting the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul and the Red Army forces that maintained it in power. There were reports that such activities on the part of such guerilla groups were seconded by parts of the Pakistani secret intelligence services, the Inter-Service Intelligence, and the National Logistics Cell. According to these reports, Bush's visit to Pakistan's President Gen. Zia ul-Haq in May, 1984 was conducted in full awareness of these phenomena. Nevertheless, Bush chose to praise the alleged successes of the Zia government's anti-narcotics program which, Bush intoned, was a matter of great "personal interest" to him. Among those present at the banquet where Bush made these remarks were, reportedly, several of the officials most responsible for the narcotics trafficking in Pakistan. [fn 2] But there is an even more flagrant aspect of Bush's conduct which can be said to demolish once and for all the myth of the "war on drugs" and replace it with a reality so sinister that it goes beyond the imagination of most citizens.


Those who follow Bush's frenetic sports activities on television are doubtless familiar with Bush's speedboat, in which he is accustomed to cavort in the waters off his estate at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. [fn 3] The craft in question is the Fidelity, a powerboat capable of operating on the high seas. Fidelity is a class of boat marketed under the brand name of "Cigarette," a high-priced speedboat dubbed "the Ferrari of the high seas." This detail should awaken our interest, since Bush's profile as an Anglo-Saxon aristocrat would normally include a genteel predilection for sailing, rather than a preference for a vulgar hatrod like Fidelity, which evokes the ethos of rum-runners and smugglers.

The Cigarette boat Fidelity was purchased by George Bush from a certain Don Aronow. Bush reportedly met Aronow at a boat show in 1974, and decided to buy one of the Cigarette boats Aronow manufactured. Aronow was one of the most celebrated and successful powerboat racers of the 1960's, and had then turned his hand to designing and building these boats. But according to at least one published account, there is compelling evidence to conclude that Aronow was a drug smuggler and suspected drug-money launderer linked to the Genovese Purple Gang of New York City within the more general framework of the Meyer Lansky organized crime syndicate. Aronow's role in marijuana smuggling was reportedly confirmed by Bill Norris, head of the Major Narcotics Unit at the Miami US Attorney's office and thus the top federal drug prosecution official in south Florida. [fn 4]

Aronow numbered among his friends and acquaintances not just Bush, but many international public figures and celebrities, many of whom had purchased the boats he built. Aronow's wife was said to be a former girlfriend of King Hussein of Jordan. Aronow was in touch with King Juan Carlos of Spain, Lord Lucan (Billy Shand-Kydd, a relative of Princess Diana's mother), Sir Max Aitken (the son of British press baron Lord Beaverbrook), Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Eastern Airlines chairman and former astronaut Frank Bormann, Kimberly-Clark heir Jim Kimberley, Alvin Malnik (one of the reputed heirs to Meyer Lansky) and Charles Keating, later the protagonist of the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal. Some of these exalted acquaintances are suggestive of strong intelligence connections as well.

In May of 1986, Aronmow received a letter from Nicolas Iliopoulos, the royal boat captain to King Hussein of Jordan expressing on behalf of the King the latter's satisfaction with a powerboat purchased from Aronow, and conveying the compliments of King Juan Carlos of Spain and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who had recently been the Jordanian sovereign's guests on board. Aronow sent a copy of this letter to Bush, from whom he received a reply dated June 6, 1986 in which Bush thanked him "with warm regards" for forwarding the royal note and added: "I can repeat that my old Cigarette, the "Fidelity" is running well too. I've had her out a couple of weekends and the engines have been humming. I hope our paths cross soon, my friend." [fn 5]

Aronow was reportedly a close friend of George Bush. In his book-length account of the life and death of Aronow which is the basis for the following analysis, Thomas Burdick quotes an unnamed Justice Department official relating the comments of one of his friends on the Bush-Aronow relation: "My friend said, 'I guarantee you I know what the connection was between him and Bush. It's the boats. The guy loves fucking boats." A Secret Service agent also referred to Bush as a "boat groupie." [fn 6] But does this exhaust the topic?

Over the years, Bush had apparently consulted with Aronow concerning the servicing and upkeep of his Cigarette boat. During 1983, Bush began to seek out Aronow's company for fishing trips. The original engines on Bush's Cigarette boat needed replacement, and this was the ostensible occasion for renewing contact with Aronow. Aronow told Bush of a new model of boat that he had designed, supposedly a high-performance catamaran. Bush planned to come to Florida during the New Year's holiday for a short vacation during which he would go bonefishing with his crony Nick Brady. During this time he would also arrange to deliver an antidrug pep-talk.

On January 4, 1984, George Bush rendezvoused with Don Aronow at Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Earlier in the day, Bush had delivered one of his "war on drugs" speeches at the Omni International Hotel in Miami. Bush and Brady then proceeded by motorcade to Islamorada, where Aronow was waiting with his catamaran. Accompanied by a flotilla of Secret Service and Customs agents in Cigarette boats that had been seized from drug smugglers, Bush, Brady, Aronow, and one of the latter's retainers, the catamaran proceeded through moderate swells to Miami, with White House photographers eternalizing the photo opportunity at every moment. Bush, who had donned designer racing goggles for the occasion, was allowed to take the wheel of the catamaran and seemed very thrilled and very happy. Nick Brady, sporting his own wrap-around shades, found the seas too rough for his taste.

After the trip was over, Bush personally typed the following letter to Don Aronow on his vice presidential staionery, which he sent accompanied by some photographs of Bush, Aronow, Brady and the others on board the catamaran:

January 14, 1984

Dear Don,

Here are some pretty good shots which I hope will bring back some pretty good memories. I included one signed shot in your packet for [Aronow's pilot] Randy [Riggs]. Also am enclosing a set of picture [sic] for Willie not having his address or knowing how he spells Myers? Will you please give them to him and thank him for his part in our wonderful outing. He is quite a guy and I learned a lot from him on the way up to Miami from the Keys.

Again Don this day was one of the greatest of my life. I love boats, always have. But ever since knowing you that private side of my life has become ever more exciting and fulfilling. Incidentally, I didn't get to tell you but my reliable 28 footer Cigarette that is, still doing just fine...no trouble at all and the new last year engines.

All the best to you and all your exciting ventures. May all your boats bee [sic] number one and may the horses [sic] be not far behind.


At the end of this message, before his signature, Bush wrote in by hand, "My typing stinks." [fn 7]

As a result of this outing, Bush is said to have used his influence to see to it that Aronow received a lucrative contract to build the Blue Thunder catamarans at $150,000 apiece for the US Customs Service. This contract was announced with great fanfare in Miami on February 4, 1985, and was celebrated a week later in a public ceremony in which Florida Senator Paula Hawkins and US Customs Commissioner William von Raab mugged for photographers together with Aronow. The government purchase was hyped as the first time that the Customs would receive boats especially designed and built to intercept drug runners on the high seas, a big step forward in the war on drugs.

This was the same George Bush who in March, 1988 had stated: "I will never bargain with drug dealers on US or foreign soil."

As one local resident recalled of that time, "everyone in Miami knew that if you needed a favor from Bush, you spoke to Aronow." [fn 8] It was proverbial among Florida pols and powerbrokers that Aronow had the vice president's ear.

The Customs soon found that the Blue Thunder catamarans were highly unseaworthy and highly unsuitable for the task of chasing down other speedboats, including above all Aronow's earlier model Cigarette boats, which were now produced by a company not controlled by Aronow. Blue Thunder was relatively slow class, capable of a top speed of only 56 miles per hour, despite the presence of twin 440-horsepower marine engines. The design of the catamaran hulls lacked any hydrodynamic advantages, and the boats were too heavy to attain sufficient lift. The stern drives were too weak for the powerful engines, leading to the problem of "grenading": when the drive shafts severed, which was often, the engines began to rev far beyond their red line, leading to the explosion or disintegration of the engines and the shrapnel-like scattering of red-hot steel fragments through the boat. This meant that the boats had to be kept well below their maximum speed. Most Blue Thunders spent more time undergoing repairs than chasing drug runners in the coastal waters of Florida. Blue Thunder was in boating parlance "wet," a complete lemon, useful only for photo opportunities and publicity shots.

Documents found by Burdick in the Dade County land records office show that USA Racing, the company operated by Aronow which built the Blue Thunder catamarans for the Customs service was not owned by Aronow, but rather by a one Jack J. Kramer in his capacity of president of Super Chief South Corporation. Jack Kramer had married a niece of Meyer Lansky. Jack Kramer's son Ben Kramer was thus the great nephew and one of the putative heirs of the top boss of the US crime syndicate, Meyer Lansky. Ben Kramer was also a notorious organized crime figure in his own right. On March 28, 1990 Jack Kramer and Ben Kramer were both found guilty of 23 and 28 counts (respectively) of federal money laundering charges. In the previous year, Ben Kramer had also been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for having imported half a million pounds of marijuana. Bush had thus given a prime contract in waging the war on drugs to one of the leading drug-smuggling and money-laundering crime families in the US.


Don Aronow was murdered by Mafia-style professional killers on February 3, 1987. During the last days of his life, Aronow is reported to have made numerous personal telephone calls to Bush. Aronow had been aware that his life was in danger, and he had left a list of instructions to tell his wife what to do if anything should happen to him. The first point on the list was "#1. CALL GEORGE BUSH." [fn 9] Lillian Aronow did call Bush, who reportedly responded by placing a personal call to the MetroDade Police Department homicide division to express his concern and to request an expeditious handling of the case. Bush did not attend Aronow's funeral, but a month later he sent a letter to Aronow's son Gavin in which he called the late Don Aronow "a hero."

When Lillian Aronow suspected that her telephone was being tapped, she called Bush, who urged her to be calm and promised to order an investigation of the matter. Shortly after that, the suspicious noises in Mrs. Aronow's telephone ceased. When Lilian Aronow received reports that her husband might have been murdered by rogue CIA operatives or other wayward federal agents and that she herself and her children were still in danger, she shared her fears in a telephone call to Bush. Bush reportedly later called Mrs. Aronow and, as she recalled, "He said to me, 'Lillian, you're fine.' He said that 'ex-CIA people are really off.' That's the truth." [fn 10] Later, Mrs. Aronow heard that Gen. Noriega of Panama was interested in buying some of her boats, and she began to prepare a trip to Panama in the hope of generating some orders. Before her departure, she says she called Bush who advised her against making the trip because of Noriega's involvement in "bad things." Mrs. Aronow cancelled her reservations for Panama City. But in the summer of 1987, Bush snubbed Mrs. Aronow by pointedly avoiding her at a Miami dinner party. But during this same period, Bush frequently went fishing with former Aronow employee Willie Meyers, whom he had mentioned in the letter cited above. According to Thomas Burdick's sources, Willie Meyers was also a friend of Secretary of State George Shultz, and often expressed concern about damaging publicity for Bush and Shultz that might derive from the Aronow case.

According to Thomas Burdick, Meyers says that Bush talked to him about how the vice president's staff was monitoring the Aronow investigation. Bush lamented that he did not have grounds to get federal agencies involved. "I just wish," said Bush to Meyers, "that there was some federal aspect to the murder. If the killers crossed state lines. Then I could get the FBI involved." [fn 11] The form of the argument is reminiscent of the views expressed by Bush and Tony Lapham during the Letelier case.

In May or June of 1987, several months after Aronow had been killed, Mike Brittain, who owned a company called Aluminum Marine Products, located on "Thunderboat Alley" in the northern part of Miami (the same street where Aronow had worked), was approached by two FBI special agents, Joseph Usher and John Donovan, both of the Miami FBI field office. They were accompanied by a third FBI man, whom they presented as a member of George Bush's staff at the National Drug Task Force in Washington DC. The third agent, reportedly named William Temple, had, according to the other two, come to Miami on a special mission ordered by the Vice President of the United States.

As Brittain told his story to Burdick, Special Agent Temple "didn't ask about the murder or anything like that. All he wanted to know about was the merger." [fn 12] The merger in question was the assumption of control over Aronow's company, USA Racing, by the Kramers' Super Chief South, which meant that a key contract in the Bush "war on drugs" had been awarded to a company controlled by persons who would later be convicted for marijuana smuggling and money laundering. Many of the FBI questions focused on this connection between Aronow and Kramer. Later, after Bush's victory in the 1988 presidential election, the FBI again questioned Brittain, and again the central issue was the Aronow-Kramer connection, plus additional questions of whether Brittain had divulged any of his knowledge of these matters to other persons. A possible conclusion was that a damage control operation in favor of Bush was in progress.

Tommy Teagle, an ex-convict interviewed by Burdick, said he feared that George Bush would have him killed because information in his possession would implicate Jeb Bush in cocaine smuggling. Teagle's story was that Aronow and Jeb Bush had been partners in cocaine trafficking and were $2.5 million in debt to their Columbian suppliers. Dr. Robert Magoon, a friend of Aronow, is quoted in the same location as having heard a similar report. But Teagle rapidly changed his story. [fn 3] Ultimately, an imprisoned convict was indicted for the murder of Aronow.

But the circumstances of the murder remain highly suspect. Starting in 1985, and with special intensity during 1987-88, more than two dozen persons involved in various aspects of the Iran-contra gun-running and drug-running operation met their deaths. At the same time, other persons knowledgeable about Iran-contra, but one or more steps removed from eyewitness knowledge of these operations, have been subjected to campaigns of discrediting and slander, often associated with indictments on a variety of charges, charges which often stemmed from the Iran-contra operations themselves. Above and beyond the details of each particular case, the overall pattern of these deaths strongly suggests that they are coherent with a damage control operation by the networks involved, a damage control operation that has concentrated on liquidating those individuals whose testimony might prove to be most damning to the leading personalities of these networks. The death of Don Aronow occurred within the time frame of this general process of amputation and cauterization of the Iran-contra and related networks. Many aspects of Aronow's life suggest that his assassination may have been a product of the same "damage control" logic.


_______________

Notes:

1. For Bush's "war on drugs", see Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "How Bush Commanded the War on Drugs," Washington Post, June 20, 1988; Lawrence Lifschultz, "Bush, Drugs and Pakistan: Inside the Kingdom of Heroin," The Nation, November 14, 1988; "Drug Czars We Have Known," The Nation, February 27, 1989; and Robert A. Pastor and Jorge Castaneda, Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico (New York, 1988), p. 271.

2. "Bush, Drugs, and Pakistan," The Nation, November 14, 1988.

3. See the cover of Newsweek, October 19, 1987 "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor,'" which portrays Bush at the controls of Fidelity. A similar photo appears facing p. 223 in George Bush and Vic Gold, Looking Forward (New York, 1987).

4. See Thomas Burdick and Charlene Mitchell, Blue Thunder (New York, 1990), p. 229. The following account of the relations between Bush and Aronow relies upon this remarkable study.

5. Blue Thunder, p. 182.

6. Blue Thunder, p. 235.

7. Blue Thunder, p. 18.

8. Blue Thunder, p. 34.

9. Blue Thunder, p. 71.

10. Blue Thunder, p. 95.

11. Blue Thunder, p. 103.

12. Blue Thunder, pp. 326-327.

13. Blue Thunder, pp. 351, 357.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:45 am

Chapter XXI -- Omaha

On the morning of June 29, 1989, pandemonium erupted in the corridors of power in the nation's capital. ``Homosexual Prostitution Probe Ensnares Official of Bush, Reagan,'' screamed the front-page headline of the Washington Times with the kicker ``Call Boys Took Midnight Tour of White House.''

The Times reported, ``A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen with close ties to Washington's political elite.''

The exposé centered on the role of one Craig Spence, a Republican powerbroker known for his lavish ``power cocktail'' parties. Spence was well connected. He celebrated Independence Day 1988 by conducting a midnight tour of the White House in the company of two teenage male prostitutes among others in his party.

Rumors circulated that a list existed of some 200 Washington prominents who had used the call boy service. The Number Two in charge of personnel affairs at the White House, who was responsible for filling all the top civil service posts in the federal bureaucracy, and Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole's chief of staff, were two individuals publicly identified as patrons of the call boy ring.

Two of the ring's call boys were allegedly KGB operatives, according to a retired general from the Defense Intelligence Agency interviewed by the press. But the evidence seemed to point to a CIA sexual blackmail operation, instead. Spence's entire mansion was covered with hidden microphones, two-way mirrors and video cameras, ever ready to capture the indiscretions of Washington's high, mighty and perverse. The political criteria for proper sexual comportment had long been established in Washington: Any kinkiness goes, so long as you don't get caught. The popular proverb was that the only way a politician could hurt his career was if he were ``caught with a dead woman or a live boy'' in his bed.

Months after the scandal had died down, and a few weeks before he allegedly committed suicide, Spence was asked who had given him the ``key'' to the White House. The Washington Times reported that ``Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by `top level' persons, including Donald Gregg, national security advisor to Vice President Bush'' [fn1] and later U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

We have already had occasion to examine Don Gregg's role in Iran-Contra, and have observed his curious performance when testifying under oath before congressional committees. Gregg indignantly denied any connection to Spence, yet it is public record that Spence had sponsored a dinner in Gregg's honor in the spring of 1989 at Washington's posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.

George Bush was less than pleased with the media coverage of the prostitution charges and kept abreast of the scandal as it mushroomed. The Washington Times reported in an article titled ``White House Mute on Call Boy Scandal,'' that ``White House sources confirmed that President Bush has followed the story of the late night visit and Mr. Spence's links to a homosexual prostitution ring under investigation by federal authorities since they were disclosed June 29 in the Washington Times. But top officials will not discuss the story's substance, reportedly even among themselves.

``Press officers have rebuffed repeated requests to obtain Mr. Bush's reaction and decline to discuss investigations or fall out from the disclosures.'' [fn2] By midsummer, the scandal had been buried. The President had managed to avoid giving a single press conference where he would surely have been asked to comment.

As the call boy ring affair dominated the cocktail gossip circuit in Washington, another scandal, halfway across the country in the state of Nebraska, peaked. Again this scandal knocked on the President's door.

A black Republican who had been a leader in organizing minority support for the President's 1988 campaign and who proudly displayed a photo of himself and the President, arm in arm, in his Omaha home, was at the center of a sex and money scandal that continues to rock the Cornhusker state.

The scandal originated with the collapse of the minority-oriented Franklin Community Credit Union in Omaha, directed by Lawrence E. King, Jr., a nationally influential black Republican who sang the national anthem at both the 1984 and 1988 Republican conventions. King became the subject of the Nebraska Senate's investigation conducted by the specially created ``Franklin Committee'' to probe charges of embezzlement. In November 1988, King's offices were raided by the FBI and $40 million was discovered missing. Within weeks, the Nebraska Senate, which initially opened the inquiry to find out where the money had gone, instead found itself questioning young adults and teenagers who said that they had been child prostitutes. Social workers and state child-care administrators accused King of running a child prostitution ring. The charges grew with the former police chief of Omaha, the publisher of the state's largest daily newspaper, and several other political associates of King, finding themselves accused of patronizing the child prostitution ring.

King is now serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for defrauding the Omaha-based credit union. But the magazines Avvenimenti of Italy and Pronto of Spain, among others, have charged that King's crimes were more serious: that he ran a national child prostitution ring that serviced the political and business elite of both Republican and Democratic parties. Child victims of King's operations charged him with participation in at least one satanic ritual murder of a child several years ago. The Washington Post, New York Times, Village Voice and National Law Journal covered the full range of accusations after the story broke in November of 1988. King's money machinations were also linked to the Iran-Contra affair, and some say that King provided the CIA with information garnered from his alleged activities as a ``pimp'' for the high and mighty.

Pronto, the Barcelona-based, largest circulation weekly in Spain with 4.5 million readers, reported that the Lawrence E. King child prostitution scandal ``appears to directly implicate politicos of the state of Nebraska and Washington, D.C. who are very close to the White House and George Bush himself.''

The weekly stated that Roy Stephens, a private investigator who has worked on the case and heads the Missing Youth Foundation, ``says there is reason to believe that the CIA is directly implicated,'' and that the ``FBI refuses to help in the investigation and has sabotaged any efforts'' to get to the bottom of the story. Stephens says that ``Paul Bonnacci directly accused President Bush of being implicated'' in the affair when he testified before the Franklin Committee. [fn3] Bonnacci, who had been one of the child prostitutes, is identified by leading child-abuse experts as a well-informed, credible witness.

Lawrence King was no stranger to President Bush. And Lawrence King was no stranger to Craig Spence. Several of the Omaha child prostitutes testified that they had traveled to Washington, D.C. with King in private planes to attend political events which were followed by sex parties. King and Spence had much in common. Not only were they both Republican Party activists but they had gone into business together procuring prostitutes for Washington's elite.

Bush's name had repeatedly surfaced in the Nebraska scandal. But his name was first put into print in July 1989, a little less than a month after the Washington call boy affair had first made headlines. Omaha's leading daily newspaper reported, ``One child, who has been under psychiatric care, is said to believe she saw George Bush at one of King's parties.'' [fn4]

A full three years after the scandal had first made headlines, Bush's name again appeared in print. Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) carried a lengthy article, viewed by many political observers in Nebraska as an attempt to refute the charges which would not die, despite the termination of all official inquiries. The GQ piece disputed the allegations as a conspiracy theory that went out of control and resonated because of some mystical sociological phenomena allegedly unique to Nebraskan rural folk who will believe anything and burn ``with the mistrust of city life that once inflamed the prairie with populist passion.'' Numerous polls over the last few years have recorded over 90% saying they believe there has been a ``cover up'' of the truth.

GQ reported that yes, there was theft, corruption and homosexuality in this story, ``but no children were ever involved in this case.'' In fact, ``the only child even mentioned was a 9-year-old boy, whom the least reliable of Caradori's witnesses claimed to have seen in the company of George Bush at one of Larry King's Washington parties.''

Gary Caradori was a retired state police investigator who had been hired by the Nebraska Senate to investigate the case, and who had died mysteriously during the course of his investigations. [fn5]

Sound crazy? Not to Steve Bowman, an Omaha businessman who is compiling a book about the Franklin money and sex scandal. ``We do have some credible witnesses who say that `Yes, George Bush does have a problem.'... Child abuse has become one of the epidemics of the 1990s,'' Bowman told GQ. Allegedly, one of Bowman's sources is a retired psychiatrist who worked for the CIA. He added that cocaine trafficking and political corruption were the other principal themes of his book. [fn6]

It didn't sound crazy to Peter Sawyer either. An Australian conservative activist who publishes a controversial newsletter, Inside News, with a circulation of 200,000, dedicated his November 1991 issue entirely to the Nebraska scandal, focusing on President Bush's links to the affair. In a section captioned, ``The Original Allegations: Bush First Named in 1985,'' Sawyer writes,

"Stories about child sex and pornography first became public knowledge in 1989, following the collapse of the Franklin Credit Union. That is not when the allegations started, however. Indeed, given the political flavor of the subsequent investigations, it would be easy to dismiss claims that George Bush had been involved. He was by then a very public figure...."
If the first allegations about a massive child exploitation ring, centered around Larry King and leading all the way to the White House, had been made in 1989, and had all come from the same source, some shenanigans and mischievous collusion could be suspected. However, the allegations arising out of the Franklin Credit Union collapse were not the first.

Way back in 1985, a young girl, Eulice (Lisa) Washington, was the center of an investigation by Andrea L. Carener, of the Nebraska Department of Social Services. The investigation was instigated because Lisa and her sister Tracey continually ran away from their foster parents, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Initially reluctant to disclose information for fear of being further punished, the two girls eventually recounted a remarkable story, later backed up by other children who had been fostered out to the Webb's [sic].

These debriefings were conducted by Mrs. Julie Walters, another welfare officer, who worked for Boys Town at the time, and who had been called in because of the constant reference by the Webb children and others, to that institution.

Lisa, supported by her sister, detailed a massive child sex, homosexual, and pornography industry, run in Nebraska by Larry King. She described how she was regularly taken to Washington by plane, with other youths, to attend parties hosted by King and involving many prominent people, including businessmen and politicians. Lisa specifically named George Bush as being in attendance on at least two separate occasions. ``Remember, this was in 1985,'' emphasized the Australian newsletter.

The newsletter reproduces several documents on Lisa's case, including a Nebraska State Police report, a State of Nebraska Foster Care Review Board letter to the Attorney General, an investigative report prepared for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska Senate, and a portion of the handwritten debriefing by Mrs. Julie Walters. Peter Sawyer says that he obtained the documents from sympathetic Australian law enforcement officers who had helped Australian Channel Ten produce an exposé of a national child prostitution ring Down Under. The Australian cops seem to have been in communication with American law enforcement officers who apparently agreed that there had been a coverup on the Nebraska scandal. Subsequent investigations by the authors established that all four documents were authentic.

Mrs. Julie Walters, now a housewife in the Midwest, confirmed that in 1986 she had interviewed the alleged child prostitute, Lisa, who told her about Mr. Bush. Lisa and her sister Tracey were temporarily living at the time in the home of Kathleen Sorenson, another foster parent. Mrs. Walters explained that at first she was very surprised. But Lisa, who came from a very underprivileged background with no knowledge of political affairs, gave minute details of her attendance at political meetings around the country.

From Julie Walters' 50-page handwritten report:

3/25/86. Met with Kathleen [Sorenson] and Lisa for about 2 hours in Blair [Neb.] questioning Lisa for more details about sexual abuse.... Lisa admitted to being used as a prostitute by Larry King when she was on trips with his family. She started going on trips when she was in 10th grade. Besides herself and Larry there was also Mrs. King, their son, Prince, and 2-3 other couples. They traveled in Larry's private plane, Lisa said that at these trip parties, which Larry hosted, she sat naked ``looking pretty and innocent'' and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted (but penetration was not allowed) with her.... Lisa said she first met V.P. George Bush at the Republican Convention (that Larry King sang the national anthem at) and saw him again at a Washington, D.C. party that Larry hosted. At that party, Lisa saw no women (``make-up was perfect--you had to check their legs to make sure they weren't a woman'').
The polygraph test which Lisa took only centered around sexual abuse committed by Jarrett Webb. At that time, she had said only general things about Larry's trips (i.e. where they went, etc.). She only began talking about her involvement in prostitution during those trips on 3/25/86....

Lisa also accompanied Mr. and Mrs. King and Prince on trips to Chicago, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. beginning when she was 15 years old. She missed twenty-two days of school almost totally due to these trips. Lisa was taken along on the pretense of being Prince's babysitter. Last year she met V.P. George Bush and saw him again at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, D.C. trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended)--older men and younger men in their early twenties. Lisa said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties....

At these parties, Lisa said every guest had a bodyguard and she saw some of the men wearing guns. All guests had to produce a card which was run through a machine to verify who the guest was, in fact, who they said they were. And then each guest was frisked down before entering the party. [fn7]

The details of the accusations against Mr. Bush are known to be in the hands of the FBI. A Franklin Committee report stated:

Apparently she [Lisa] was contacted on December 19 [1988] and voluntarily came to the FBI offices on December 30, 1988. She was interviewed by Brady, Tucker and Phillips.

She indicates that in September or October 1984, when [Lisa] Washington was fourteen or fifteen years of age, she went on a trip to Chicago with Larry King and fifteen to twenty boys from Omaha. She flew to Chicago on a private plane.

The plane was large and had rows of two seats apiece on either side of the interior middle aisle.

She indicates that King got the boys from Boys Town and the boys worked for him. She stated that Rod Evans and two other boys with the last name of Evans were on the plane. Could not recall the names of the other boys.

The boys who flew to Chicago with Washington and King were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. Most of the boys were black but some were white. She was shown a color photograph of a boy and identified that boy as being one of the boys on the plane. She could not recall his name.

She indicates that she was coerced to going on the trip by Barbara Webb.

She indicates that she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present.

She indicates that she set [sic] at a table at the party while wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated that George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money, and that Bush left the party with a nineteen year old black boy named Brent. Lisa said the party George Bush attended was in Chicago in September or October 1984. According to the Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1984, Bush was in Illinois campaigning for congressional candidates at the end of October.

Lisa added more details on the Chicago trip, and told why she was sure it was George Bush she had seen. According to a May 8, 1989 report by investigator Jerry Lowe, ``Eulice [Lisa] indicated that she recognized George Bush as coming to the party and that Bush had two large white males with him. Eulice indicated Bush came to the party approximately 45 minutes after it started and that he was greeted by Larry King. Eulice indicated that she knew George Bush due to the fact that he had been in political campaigns and also she had observed a picture of Bush with Larry King at Larry King's house in Omaha.''

There is no question that Lisa and Tracey Webb were abused in the way they claimed. But, in keeping with the alleged pattern of coverup, a Washington County, Nebraska judge in December 1990 dismissed all charges against their abusers, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. The judge ignored presented testimony of the 1986 report by Boys Town official Julie Walters. The report stated: ``Lisa was given four polygraph tests administered by a state trooper at the State Patrol office on Center Street in Omaha. The state trooper, after Lisa's testing was completed, told [another foster parent] he tried to `break Lisa down,' but he was convinced she was telling the truth.'' [fn8]

Furthermore, numbers of foster care officials and youth workers debriefed the sisters. All of them fully believed not only their general story of abuse, but specifically their account of Bush's involvement. The March 1986 report on Bush was incorporated into the Foster Care Review Board's official report presented to the Senate Franklin Committee and to law enforcement. As Kathleen Sorenson wrote in a report dated May 1, 1989, ``This was long before he [Bush] was president. It seems like there were more exciting people to `lie' about if that's what they were doing.'' [fn9]

The rumors about Mr. Bush were given new life when Dr. Ronald Roskens, the head of the Agency for International Development (AID), found himself the object of controversy. Executive Intelligence Review reported in the fall of 1991 that Dr. Roskens is the subject of a scandal in which he is being charged with violating federal laws and ethics codes, according to the Oct. 6 Washington Post. A report prepared by AID Inspector General Herbert Beckington, dated April 5 and leaked to the Post, charges Roskens with accepting thousands of dollars in payments from ``different organizations in compensation of his and his wife's travel expenses'' while Roskens was on official government travel. He also took money for a private trip from a company ``from which Roskens had agreed to divest himself as a condition of his presidential appointment.''

The inspector general concluded that the money accepted by Roskens was a clear conflict of interest and violated federal law against earning non-government income. But on Sept. 4, after reviewing the charges, the Department of Justice ... informed Beckington that it had decided not to prosecute--giving no explanation for its decision. The White House is reviewing the case.

Congressional investigators are already looking into the allegations. Should they scratch below the surface, they will find that this is not the first time Roskens has been touched by scandal. Although President Bush promised that he would not tolerate even the appearance of impropriety in his administration, Congress should not be surprised if the White House threatens to start ``breaking legs'' in Roskens's defense.

It is not just that Roskens is a personal friend of the President--although he is.... [A]n unimpeded investigation into Roskens could expose the link between Bush's little publicized birth control mania--much of which is carried out through the State Department's AID in the Third World--and the sexual depravity rampant in U.S. political and intelligence elites. Any such scandal could shatter the illusions of Bush's conservative base, many of whom still accept the President's claims to being ``pro-life,'' ``anti-drug,'' and an American patriot. It should also make anyone who thinks of the propaganda about Bush being the ``education President,'' deeply queasy.

Roskens left his home state of Nebraska for the nation's capital in early 1990 enmired in controversy. He had been fired suddenly as president of the University of Nebraska, in a secret meeting of the state Board of Regents in July 1989. No public explanation was given for his removal. Yet, within weeks, the White House offered Roskens the high-profile job in Washington. The administration knew about the controversy in Nebraska, but Roskens passed an FBI background check, and was confirmed to head AID.

The FBI appears to have overlooked a Feb. 19, 1990 investigative report by the late Gary Caradori [see footnote 5 below], an investigator for the ``Franklin Committee'' of the Nebraska Senate. He wrote, ``I was informed that Roskins [sic] was terminated by the state because of sexual activities reported to the Regents and verified by them. Mr. Roskins [sic] was reported to have had young men at his residence for sexual encounters. As part of the separation from the state, he had to move out of the state-owned house because of the liability to the state if some of his sexual behavior was `illegal.''' [fn10]

There has been no independent confirmation of the accusation. As of late December 1991, a congressional committee was looking into the charges.

_______________

Notes:

1. Washington Times, Aug. 9, 1989.

2. Washington Times, July 7, 1989.

3. Pronto (Barcelona, Spain), Aug. 3, 1991 and Aug. 10, 1991.

4. Omaha World-Herald, July 23, 1989.

5. On July 11, 1990, during the course of his investigations, Gary Caradori, 41, died in the crash of his small plane, together with his 8-year-old son, after a mid-air explosion whose cause has not yet been discovered. A skilled and cautious pilot, Caradori told friends repeatedly in the weeks before his death that he feared his plane would be sabotaged.

6. Gentleman's Quarterly, December 1991.

7. Report, written on March 25, 1986 by Julie Walters and authenticated by her in an interview in 1990.

8. Report, early 1989, compiled by Jerry Lowe, the first investigator for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska State Senate.

9. A book recently published on the Nebraska affair by a former Republican state senator and decorated Vietnam veteran, John W. De Camp, The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder in Nebraska (Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT, Inc., 1992) tells the whole story.

10. Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 18, 1991.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:47 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XXII -- Bush Takes The Presidency

Oderint dum metuant
(Let them hate me, provided that they fear me.)

-- Accius, "Atreus" (c. 125 BC), attributed by Suetonius to Caligula.


George Bush's quest for the summit of American political power was so sustained and so unrelenting that it is impossible to assign the beginning of his campaign for president to any specific date. It is more accurate to report that his entire tenure as vice president was consumed by the renovation and expansion of his personal and family network for the purpose of seizing the presidency at some point in the future. During this phase, Bush was far more concerned with organizational and machine-building matters than with ideology or public relations. For most of the 1980's, it was convenient for Bush to cultivate the public profile of a faithful and even obsequious deputy to Reagan, while using the office of the vice president to build a national-electoral and international-overt/covert power cartel.

This arrangement worked very well for Bush, since it gave the Bush camarilla considerable power in the inner councils of the second Reagan administration. But as the 1987-1988 period approached. it also became clear that Bush's public toadying to the Reagan mystique had been so exaggerated as to give rise to his notorious "wimp" problem. Bush could easily have refuted these charges by citing the long series of brutal and bloody covert and semi-covert interventions he had directed in his role as boss of the Special Situation Group, but he judged this impolitic.

Bush started with the knowledge that he was a weak candidate. Reagan had embodied the popular ideology in such a flawless way as to remind everyone of their favorite uncle; whatever the crimes of his administration, whatever the decline of their living standards, the masses could not hate him; this was why Reagan was such an ideal facade for regime that kept getting nastier. Reagan also had an ideological following of people who would support him almost without regard to what he did: Reagan was the beneficiary of the fully justified ideological backlash against the Democrats and Carter, against the Rockefeller-Ford liberal Republicans.

But Bush had none of this. He had no regional constituency in any of the half-dozen places he tried to call home; his favorite son appeal was diluted all over the map. He had no base among labor, blacks, or in the cities, like the Kennedy apparatus. Blueblood financiers gravitated instinctively to Bush, and his lifeline to the post-Meyer Lansky mob was robust indeed, and these were important factors, although not enough by themselves to win an election. Bush's networks could always tilt the media in his favor, but the Reagan experience had provided a painful lesson of how inadequate this could be against a clever populist rival. Otherwise, Bush's base was in the government, where eight years of patient work had packed the executive branch, the Congress and its staffs, and the judiciary with Bushmen. This would give Bush's effort undoubted power, but also an aroma of a modern Bonapartism of a special kind, of a regime in which the government asserts the imagined interests of government itself against the population, a vindictive and tyrannical government set above the people and in direct conflict with them. That would work well as long as the population were atomized and passive, but might backfire if they could find a point of coalescence against their tormentors.

Nor was it only that Bush lacked a loyal base of support. He also had very high negatives, meaning that there were a lot of people who disliked him intensely. Such animosity was especially strong among the ideological Reaganite conservatives, whom Bush had been purging from the Reagan Administration from early on. There would prove to be very little that Bush could do to lower his negative response rate, so the only answer would be to raise the negatives of all rival candidates on both sides of the partisan divide. This brutal imperative for the Bush machine has contributed significantly to the last half decade's increase in derogation and vilification in American life. Bush's discrediting campaigns would be subsumed within the "anything goes" approach advocated by the late Lee Atwater, the organizer of Reagan's 1984 campaign who had signed on with Bush well in advance of 1988.

Elements of Reagan's success posed a very real threat to Bush. There were for example the Reagan Democrats, many of them ethnic, Catholic, and blue collar workers in the mid-west and Great Lakes states who had turned their backs on the Democrats in disgust over the succession of McGovern, Carter, and Mondale and were now supporting Reagan. These voters were not likely to show up in the Republican primaries, but any that did so would hardly vote for Bush. In the general election, there was a real danger that they would be repelled by Bush and return to their traditional Democratic home, as squalid as that had become. Bush would need heavy camouflage to pass muster with these voters. The Bushmen recalled that before they had been Reagan Democrats, many of these intensely frustrated voters had flirted with Wallace in 1968 and 1972. The flag, the death penalty, and an appeal to racism might provide an ideological smokescreen for the patrician Bush.

Bush could not model his effort on Reagan's campaigns from 1968 on. For him, the closest model was that of Gerald Ford in 1976, a weak liberal Republican with powerful network and masonic support, but no issues, no charisma, and no popular appeal. Ford's defeat highlighted many of the pitfalls that Bush faced as he prepared for 1988. Ford and Carter had been locked in a virtual dead heat as the voters went to the polls. An honest count would have given Ford the election, but ballot-box stuffing by the Democratic machines in Ohio and New York City had given Carter the palm. Bush therefore had to pay attention to any marginal factors that might tilt a close race in his favor. Was it a coincidence that, during 1985 and 1986, the Democratic machines in Ohio and New York were decimated by scandals and indictments, much to the dismay of Ohio mob banker Marvin Warner, and Stanley Friedman and the late Donald Mannes, the corrupt borough presidents of the Bronx and of Queens? For Bush, these reckonings were simply the most elementary precautions, and a harbinger of what would befall rival candidates as the primaries drew nearer.

Bush also had to look back at his performance in the 1984 campaign, hardly an epic effort. Bush had gotten in some trouble because he had refused categorically to rule out a tax increase in terms as adamantine as Reagan's. Bush tried to wiggle out of press conferences where this came up: "No more nit-picking. Zippity doo-dah. Now it's off to the races," was his parting shot as he sought to exit one press conference where he was being grilled. Otherwise Bush was the ultra-orthodox Reagan cheerleader, judged "fawning" by Witcover and Germond: "he had the reputation of being a bootlicker, and his conduct in office did nothing to diminish it." [fn 1] Columnist Joseph Kraft wrote of Bush: "the patrician has tried to be a populist. He comes across, in consequence, as puerile." [fn 2]

Bush's big moment was his vice presidential debate with Geraldine Ferraro. During the debate, Bush remarked that the marines who had been killed in the bombing of their Beirut, Lebanon barracks in October, 1983 had "died in shame." On the morning after the debate, Bush went to Elisabeth, New Jersey for a rally with longshoremen. He said to a man in the crowd that "we tried to kick a little ass" in the debate with Ferraro. Then he saw that a microphone suspended from a boom was within earshot. "Whoops! Oh, God, he heard me! Turn that thing off," said the tough guy of the royal "we." Barbara Bush got in on the act with her quip that Ferraro was a "four million dollar --- I can't say it but it rhymes with rich." Britisher Teeley added that Ferraro was "too bitchy." [fn 3] In the most stupefied election of modern times, these slogans were the stuff of which great issues were made.

The Washington Post went after Bush as "the Cliff Barnes of American politics," a reference to a character in the soap opera Dallas whom the Post found "blustering, opportunistic, craven, and hopelessly ineffective all at once." Others, foreshadowing the thyroid revelations of 1991, talked about Bush's "hyperkinesis." Even the unsavory George Will commented that "the optimistic statement 'George Bush is not as silly as he frequently seems' now seems comparable to Mark Twain's statement that Wagner's music is better than it sounds." [fn 4]

There was thus very little hope that Bush could help himself by campaigning effectively. But did George have any new achievements in his resume that he could point to?

There were few that he would or could talk about. In the context of his "you die, we fly" role as Reagan's official surrogate at state funerals, he had met the new Soviet leader Yuri Andropov at Brezhnev's funeral for a "spook to spook" conversation, as Bush said. He had then met Michael Gorbachov at Andropov's funeral in the spring of 1985. But Bush would not want to play up his role in turning the "evil empire" Reagan of the first term into the summit-going "useful idiot of Soviet propaganda" of the second term, since this would stir up problems along Bush's right flank.

All Bush could talk about were his foreign trips. When Brezhnev died in November, 1982, Bush had been in Africa, whence he diverted to Moscow. This was a trip to seven black African states, including Nigeria and Kenya. When he got back to Washington he tried to capitalize on the African junket, which was undertaken in the spirit of the Reagan Administration's "constructive engagement", meaning in practice offering various rewards and inducements to the Pretoria regime while gently prodding them to withdraw from Namibia. In both Lagos and Nairobi, Bush was denounced for establishing a US-sponsored linkage between the departure of Cuban forces from Angola and the termination of the South African protectorate over Namibia. [fn 5]

In the summer of 1983, Bush went to Scandinavia, accompanied by scores of Secret Service agents and aides, bulletproof limousines, and White House communications equipment. Bush's staff were trying to plan photo opportunities and television perspectives in the tradition of Michael Deaver and Dr. Goebbels. During a visit to a memorial to the monument to Denmark's World War II resistance fighters, a US Navy officer on Bush's staff instructed the Danish protocol chief that Danish Prime Minister Schluter and other Danish officials had to be "herded" to one side as Bush strode toward the monument: a boorish insult, to say the least. (Bush's traveling entourage has gotten progressively uglier over the years, as we are reminded by the Bush party's clash with Swiss security officers at Geneva Airport during Bush's meeting with Hafez Assad in the fall of 1990. Hyperthyroid at the top infects the people further down the line.)

In Iceland, Bush gave a speech so generic that it was not clear if he had lost track of what country he was in. In Stockholm, he clashed heatedly with Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme over the US "contra" covert action programs in Central America. A few years later Palme was to be assassinated, and many attribute his death to his very detailed knowledge of the European dimension of Iran-contra. But for Bush the trip was a big success: he got to play tennis doubles with Bjorn Borg, and went fishing off Iceland. [fn ]

In May of 1984, Bush was off to India and Pakistan. Indira Gandhi was rightly suspicious of Bush, and had recently commented about bad US-Indian relations: "What can be done? The problem is the orientation of the [US] administration." [fn 7] The policy which Bush presented to Mrs. Gandhi included sharp cutbacks in residual US aid and US sabotage of loans to India by the international agencies. In November, 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated.

In March, 1985, Bush's handlers staged a globetrotting photo opportunity to begin building up their man for 1988. Bush flew to the Sudan, to Niger, and to Mali, where he was overtaken by word of the death of Konstantin Chernenko, the Soviet leader. Bush's "you die, we fly" operation took him at once to Moscow, where he met with Gorbachov, Nakasone of Japan, Helmut Kohl of Germany, Margaret Thatcher, Rajiv Gandhi, and Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan. Then it was on to post-invasion Grenada, followed by Bush's appearance at the inauguration of the new civilian government of Brazil. Here Bush dodged Danny Ortega, the leader of the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime, who wanted to confront Bush on US policy in the region. The ninth and last stop on Bush's junket was Honduras, where Bush visited with President Roberto Suazo Cordova, a key player in the world of contra policy. [fn 8]

Naturally, there was more to each one of these stops than met the eye. The insipid platitudes of Bush's public speeches were matched more often than not with vicious covert activity. Often the verbiage was at variance with the real policy, or soon would be. In 1981, Bush had been Reagan's envoy to an inauguration of President Marcos of the Philippines. Bush's toast to Marcos, "We love your adherence to democratic principle and to the democratic process" had been castigated by the liberal press (the New York Times called it "a real clanger"), but when the line changed and it was time for the US government to overthrow Marcos, it was the Bush apparatus that did it with the "people power" of the US-guided enrages of Manila.

One small window on the real dimensions of Bush's vice presidential travel agenda is provided by the visit to the Sudan just mentioned. During this trip, Bush was accompanied by televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell, two Elmer Gantries of the video ether, each with strong intelligence connections. Robertson made the trip with Bush, while Falwell was already in the country on a mission of his own in the framework of the ongoing famine in the Sahel region. Robertson brought a camera crew from his CBN network, which got a demagogic shot of Bush and Robertson slowly descending from Air Force Two in Khartoum while the band played "Hail to the Chief." Robertson was bringing relief supplies. On March 6, 1985, he told CBN that he was working with the genocidal US Agency for International Development on relief projects. Reliable Sudanese sources report that US AID policies are designed to exacerbate mortality in areas where they are applied.

Bush's urgent purpose was to arrange the overthrow of the President of the Sudan, Jaafar Nimiery, whom Wall Street wanted deposed. Bush seems to have some difficulty in planning and executing a swift and effective coup d'etat. His response to the Moscow putsch of August, 1991, "Coups can fail," reflected his own bitter experience, in Panama in October 1990 and in the case in point in the Sudan. The CIA was backing a group of junior officers who wanted to take power, but they dawdled too long. They waited until Nimiery left the country on a one-week visit to the United States. Then, instead of seizing the obvious nodal points, they spent a full week in orchestrating a typical CIA "people power" upsurge, with demonstrations in the streets of the capital and a strike by 10,000 doctors, teachers, bankers, and judges. Nimiery was by now flying back from the US. This inordinate delay allowed a group of senior officers who were not US puppets plenty of time to develop their own plan for a pre-emptive seizure of power. The senior group, led by General Abdul Rahman Swareddahab, acted decisively on April 6, 1985, catching Bush's junior officer clique flat-footed. [fn 9] The lustre was gone from Bush's reputation as a golpista, and it has never really returned.

Bush's trip to Khartoum was also designed to serve the Israeli Mossad. During his visit, Bush secured the consent of Nimiery to an Israeli airlift known as "Operation Moses," which transferred thousands of Ethiopian Jews from the Sudan to Israel. The Israeli presence was linked to the plan to topple Nimiery.

In July, 1985, Bush was President for a Day, when Reagan transferred his powers to the vice president before undergoing anesthesia in the course of an operation to remove an intestinal polyp. Bush had flown to Kennbunkport on July 12, the same day that Reagan was admitted to Bethesda naval hospital for an examination. When it was found that Reagan would require an operation the next day, Bush flew back from Kennbunkport to get his hands on the long-awaited levers of power. At 10:32 AM, Reagan signed letters to House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Senate President Pro Tempore StromThurmond passing the helm to Bush. Reagan's operation began slightly before noon, and Bush was acting president when he arrived at Andrews Air Force Base about half an hour later. Bush got to his home at the Naval Observatory and spent the rest of the day there. His staff said that nothing presidential happened before Reagan awoke from his anesthesia at 7:22 PM and signed a paper resuming his powers.

Had nothing presidential really happened? As Jack Anderson wrote some years later, it was really "nothing...unless you're talking to former president Gerald R. Ford, the king of pratfalls." It appears that Bush, doubtless overcome by the euphoria of power, had slipped while playing tennis and hit his head rather seriously. According to some high-level White House officials polled by the Jack Anderson column, the manic Bush had actually been "unconscious" for a time, but never "incapacitated." "It wasn't serious enough to be checked," according to a Bush aide, and Bush "slept it off." [fn 10] Not much here for a campaign speech celebrating Bush's experience, which now included a brief encounter with the dizzy apex of power itself.

For Reagan's State of the Union message in January, 1986, Bush's handlers worked hard to prevent him from "squirming, yawning, slumping, gazing into space and mostly looking...bored by his president." Bush was drilled into rapt attention for the Great Communicator's words by viewing embarrassing film clips of himself presiding over earlier joint sessions of the Congress. [fn 11] Otherwise, Bush had won some notoriety for changing his watchbands to match his suit. [fn 12]

More than anything, Bush wanted an early endorsement from Reagan in order to suppress or at least undercut challenges to his presumptive front-runner status from GOP rivals in the primaries; it was already clear that Senator Bob Dole might be the most formidable of these. Bush feared Dole's challenge, and desperately wanted to be anointed as Reagan's heir-apparent as soon as possible before 1988. But Reagan had apparently not gotten over the antipathy to Bush he had conceived during the Nashua Telegraph debate of 1980. According to a high-level Reagan Administration source speaking in the summer of 1986, "more than once the president [told Bush], 'Obviously, I'm going to stay neutral until after the convention, and then I'm going to work for whichever candidate comes out on top." [fn 13] Despite Bush's "slavish devotion," Reagan wanted to keep the door open to his good friend, Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada, whom Reagan apparently thought was getting ready to run for president. One can imagine Bush's rage and chagrin.

As the months went by, it became clear that there was no love lost on Bush by Reagan. Bush was running much of the administration, but he was not running Reagan in certain matters, and this seemed to be one of them. In the late summer of 1987, Reagan granted a magazine interview in which he seemed to praise Bush: "I don't know that there has ever been a vice president who has been more completely involved in all that goes on than this vice president." In the middle of Iran-contra, that might not have been exactly what Bush wanted. The Reagan was asked to cite examples. "I can't answer in that context," replied Reagan. Bush had grown up in the liberal GOP paradise of the Eisenhower years, and he could not help remembering old Ike's disparaging answer to a similar question that had invited him to name some decisions Vice President Nixon had participated in. "If you give me a week, I might think of one," quipped Ike. [fn 14]

Reagan stubbornly refused to come out for Bush until the endorsement could no longer help him in the Republican primaries. Reagan chose to wait until Super Tuesday was over and the rest of the Republican field had been mathematically eliminated. Reagan actually waited until Bob Dole, the last of Bush's rivals, had dropped out. Then Reagan ignored the demands of Bush's media handlers and perception-mongers and gave his endorsement in the evening, too late for the main network news programs. The scene was a partisan event, a very large GOP Congressional fundraising dinner. Reagan waited to the end of the speech, explained that he was now breaking his silence on the presidential contest, and in a perfunctory way said he would support Bush. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to make Vice President George Bush the next president of the United States," said old Ron. There were no accolades for Bush's real or imagined achievements, no stirring kudos. Seasoned observers found Reagan's statement "halfhearted...almost grudging." [fn 15]

Some day we may know how much of the public denigration of Reagan in accounts both true and invented, including studies showing mental impairment that surfaced in late 1987 and early 1988, was due to the efforts of a Bush machine determined to create the impression that a president who refused enthusiastically to endorse Bush was a mental incompetent. Had the Discrediting Committee been unleashed against the President of the United States? It would not be the first time.

Reagan's endless reticence meant that Bush had to work especially hard to pander to the right wing, to those people which he despised but nevertheless needed to use. Here Bush stooped to boundless public degradation. In December, 1985 Bush went to Canossa by accepting an invitation to a dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire held in honor of the late William Loeb, the former publisher of the Manchester Union Leader. We have already documented that old man Loeb hated Bush and worked doggedly for his defeat in 1980. Still, Bush was the "soul of humility," and he was willing to do anything to be able to take power in his own name. Bush gave a speech full of what the Washington Post chose to call "self-deprecating humor," but what others might have seen as groveling. Bush regaled 500 Republicans and rightists with a fairy tale about having tried in 1980 to woo Loeb by offering rewards of colored watchbands, LaCoste shirts and Topsider shoes to anyone who could win over Bill Loeb. The items named were preppy paraphernalia which Loeb and many others found repugnant.

Bush quoted what Loeb had said about him: "hypocrite...double-standard morality, involved up to his neck in Watergate...unfit to be the Republican nominee...incompetent; liberal masquerading as a conservative; a hypocrite...a spoon-fed little rich kid who has been wet-nursed to success," and so on from the series of 1979-1980 editorials. Bush then praised the author of these words as a man of "passionate conviction and strong belief...In never mincing his words or pulling his punches, Bill Loeb was part of a great tradition of outspoken publishers." Some of the assembled right-wingers repeated the line from the Doonesbury comic strip according to which Bush "had placed his manhood in a blind trust." Loeb's widow Nackey Scripps Loeb was noncommittal. "We have decided on a candidate for 1988--whoever best fights for the Reagan agenda," she announced. "Whether that person is here tonight remains to be seen," she added. [fn 16]

Lawfully, Bush had earned only the contempt of these New Hampshire conservatives. In October, 1987, when the New Hampshire primary season was again at hand, Mrs. Loeb rewarded Bush for his groveling with a blistering attack that featured reprints of Bill Loeb's 1980 barbs: "a preppy wimp, part of the self-appointed elite," and so forth. Mrs. Loeb wrote, "George Bush has been Bush for 63 years. He has been Ronald Reagan's errand boy for just the last seven. Without Ronald Reagan he will surely revert to the original George Bush." Mrs. Loeb repeated her late husband's 1980 advice: "Republicans should flee the presidential candidacy of George Bush as if it were the black plague itself." [fn 17]

Displays of this type began to inspire a more general public contempt for Bush during 1987. Bush was coming across as "deferential almost to the point of obsequiousness," "too weak, too namby-pamby." George Will, anxious to pick a winner, began to ridicule Bush as a "lapdog." The "wimp factor" was beginning to torment Bush. Old Bill Loeb was still making Bush squirm. Two veteran observers pointed out: "Reagan's own physical presence and self-confidence made Bush in contrast seem even weaker, and Bush's penchant for the prissy remark at times cast him as the Little Lord Fauntleroy of the campaign trail.." Bush said he was running a negative campaign so as not to leave the Democrats a monopoly on "the naughty stuff." [fn 18]

All of this culminated in the devastating Newsweek cover story of October 19, 1987, "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor.'" The article was more analytical than hostile, but did describe the "crippling handicap" of begin seen as a "wimp." Bush had been a "vassal to Kissinger" at the United Nations and in Beijing, the article found, and now even Bush's second term chief of staff said of Bush, "He's emasculated by the office of vice president." To avoid appearing as a television wimp, Bush had "tried for the past 10 years to master the medium, studying it as if it were a foreign language. He has consulted voice and television coaches. He tried changing his glasses and even wearing contact lenses. [...] Bush's tight, twangy voice is a common problem. Under stress, experts explain, the vocal cords tighten and the voice is higher than normal and lacks power." According to Newsweek, 51% of Americans found that "wimp" was a "seriously problem" for Bush. The magazine offered various sophomoric psychological explanations of how Bush got that way, mainly concentrating on his family upbringing. Here Bush was allegedly taught to conceal his sociopathic drives beneath a veneer of propitiation and sharing, as in his childhood nickname of "Have Half" George.

The Newsweek "wimp" cover soon had Bush chewing the carpet at the Naval Observatory. Bush's knuckle-dragging son George W. Bush called the story "a cheap shot" and added menacingly: "...I'd like to take the guy who wrote that headline out on that boat," i.e., the Aronow-built Fidelity in which Bush was depicted on the Newsweek cover. Which sounded very much like a threat. George W. Bush also called Newsweek Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas to inform him that the Bush campaign had officially cut off all contact with Newsweek and its reporters. The decision to put Newsweek out of business was made by candidate Bush personally, and aborted a plan by Newsweek to publish a book on the 1988 campaign. The press got the message: portray Bush in a favorable light or face vindictive and discriminatory countermeasures.

Bush campaigns have always advanced on a cushion of money, and the 1988 effort was to push this characteristic to unheard-of extremes. In keeping with a tradition that had stretched over almost three decades, the Bush campaign finance chairman was Robert Mosbacher, whose Mosbacher Energy Corporation is one of the largest privately held independent oil companies in Texas. Mosbacher's net personal worth is estimated at $200 million. During the 1988 campaign, Mosbacher raised $60 million for the Bush campaign and $25 million for the Republican National Committee. It was Mosbacher who formed the Team 100 corps d'elite of 250 fat cats, among whom we have seen Henry Kravis. The trick was that many of these $100,000 contributors were promised ambassadorial posts and other prestigious appointments, a phenomenon that would reach scandalous proportions during 1989. In 1984, Mosbacher's son Rob Jr. ran a strong but losing race for the senate seat vacated by John Tower.

Mosbacher by the mid-1980's had become a director of the biggest bank in Houston, and a member of the most exclusive clubs in the city. He was a central figure of that cabal of financiers and oil men which in the postwar years was called "the Suite 8F crowd," and which has since evolved into new forms. Mosbacher, Baker, and Bush are now at the center of the business oligarchy that runs the state of Texas.

Mosbacher was also a celebrity. When he was between his second and third marriages during the early 1980's, he was billed as Houston's most eligible bachelor. His third wife Georgette, a cosmetics entrepreneur, was the star of the Bush inaugural as far as the photographers were concerned. The Mosbachers habitually flew around the country in their own private jet, and maintained homes in New York, Washington DC, and the expensive River Oaks section of Houston.

During the mid-1980's, Mosbacher reportedly lined his pockets to the tune of $40 to $50 million through a scam called the Houston Grand Parkway. Mosbacher's gains derived from the Texas Transportation Corporation Act, which provided for the de facto privatization of highway building in conformity with the ideological tenets and fast-buck mentality of the Reagan-Bush economic climate. Local landowners were empowered to set up "transportation corporations" which would solicit donations of the rights-of-way of new roads, and which would fund the engineering studies for the roads. If right-of-way and design plans were approved, the state would proceed to actually build the roads.

In practice this became a gigantic speculation at the center of which lay Mosbacher's Cinco Ranch, a property he had acquired for $5 million in 1970. One provision of the bill was that many small landowners in the general area of the proposed rods would be hit by special road assessment tax levies of up to eight times the value of their property. Mosbacher cashed in by selling off his Cinco Ranch for $84 million, the highest price in Houston's history. The leap in the value of the land was made possible by the Grand Parkway passing right through the center of Mosbacher's ranch, a route that had been designed by a Mosbacher old boy network that reached into the Texas highway department. [fn 19]

Mosbacher's network for the Houston Grand Parkway caper included Harris County Commissioner Robert Y. "Big Bob" Eckels, whose personal friendship and close political ties with George Bush were well known. [fn 20] Eckels was a landowner who stood to benefit from the new road-building projects permitted under the new law. Eckels was also a dedicated GOP activist who made the Harris County government into a de facto arm of the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984. In 1985, Houston press reports showed that Big Bob Eckels had deployed county government employees, county government telephones, and county computer equipment to organize and service a group calling itself National Conference of Republican County Officials which, according to Roanoake County, Virginia Treasurer Fred Anderson, functioned as "a working arm for the White House and the national [Republican] party." [fn 21] Eckels later admitted that he had also spent at least $20,000 of his own funds for "a world" of mailings for the Reagan-Bush ticket and had not reported these expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Eckels was convicted on misdemeanor charges of accepting a gift from a county contractor in the form of a road on his Austin County tree farm. Eckels had been indicted six times while still in office, on various charges.

By June, 1989, Eckels was in semi-retirement on his tree farm, but was telling the press that he was working on his autobiography which he assured a reporter would not be just a "muck-raking deal." [fn 22] This book project was widely viewed in Houston as an attempt by Eckels to develop a retaliatory capability to ward off possible further attacks by his own former partners.

Big Bob Eckels may have been serving George Bush in other ways as well. In the spring of 1985, Houston attorney Douglas Caddy says he was told by Richard Brown of the International Intelligence Network Corporation that "a secret Reagan-Bush campaign fund" with "$1.5 million in it" had been uncovered following the 1984 presidential campaign. Caddy alleged that Brown told him the fund was "controlled by Harris County Commissioner Bob Eckels." According to Caddy, Brown further alleged that "IRS Criminal Intelligence knows about it." According to Caddy, Brown was a person with links to both the FBI and the IRS. Caddy also asserts that a report of the existence of the secret fund was also repeated to him by private investigator Clyde Wilson. [fn 23] During May 1988 and June 1989, Caddy wrote to the FBI and the FEC on the matter. The FEC declared the allegations Matter Under Review (MUR) 2925, but later decided in February 1991, despite "reason to believe" Caddy's charges, to take no action. [fn 24] During 1989, Caddy was hit by an Internal Revenue Service audit which led to an IRS assessment of hundreds of thousands of dollars of penalties against him, a lien on his property, and other measures. In Caddy's view, this audit was a retaliation against his having raised the issue of the $1.5 million Reagan-Bush campaign fund.

Further investigation of this potentially embarrassing complex of allegations was greatly hindered by the death of Robert Y. Eckels on December 24, 1989.

Bush's big money campaigning was especially dependent upon Texas oilmen, whose largesse he required to stoke his political machine. Bush was running a political action committee called the Fund for America's Future which raised $3.9 million in off-year 1985, a hefty sum. Of that take, about a fifth was raised from 505 Texas donors, with Texans giving more than the residents of any other state. $135,095 of Bush's money harvest came from persons who could be clearly identified as oil industry figures, and the rakeoff here was probably much greater. When the price of a barrel of oil fell during this period from $39 to $12, Bush had a big problem. His donors began to squawk.

Overall, the collapse of the oil price, itself a result of the world-wide industrial depression, was a boon to the bankrupt US dollar. The insolvent greenback was shored up by this new subsidy, which restored a little of the currency's ability to command some real commodities in the real world. But for Bush's immediate cronies and money-minded political base, it was a disaster. "You've got to figure George was getting banged around by all his oil friends, particularly the drillers, who have been hurt the most," a Congressional Bushman told the Washington Post. [fn 25] Sure enough, Bush's old pal Bill Liedtke, now the president of POGO Producing in Houston, a drilling company, confirmed that his man was highly attuned to the issue: "George understands very well that you're going to lose a certain percentage of production permanently if the price goes too low. Ever since I have known him, back to the Eisenhower era, he has been very sensitive to the connection between a strong [oil] industry and national security." [fn 26] Robert Mosbacher, Bush's moneybags, confirmed this view in spades: "I always find that when I talk to George about the oil and gas business, he's up to speed. He has two sons in the business, and he stays in touch through them."

The collapse of the oil price posed a real problem that should have been answered by introducing an oil tariff with a trigger price of $25 per barrel, so that the domestic price of oil would never fall below that figure, as was proposed at the time by Lyndon LaRouche and a few spokesmen for the oil patch. That would have been the equivalent of setting up a parity price for oil, and would have given domestic producers solid certainties for long-term development and planning. But the Reagan Administration in general was still wedded to the president's irrational fetishism of "the magic of the marketplace," and would violently oppose anything smacking of dirigism or re-regulation.

Bush was not interested in a parity price for oil. He rather took advantage of a scheduled trip to the Middle East, during which he was supposed to be discussing regional security matters, to talk up the price of oil with his long-time crony King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Bush expressed his concern about "the free fall" of oil prices and talked with Fahd about "how [the Saudis] feel there can be some stability to a market that certainly can't be very happy to them." He denied that he had come to Saudi Arabia on a "price-fixing mission," but invoked national security. Bush lectured Saudi Oil Minister Zaki Yamani about the saturation of the world oil market. The implication was clear: the Saudis were supposed to cut back their production. [fn 27] It was a few weeks later that the US bombed Libya.

Bush sanctimoniously claimed that his remarks had nothing to do with the quest for political advantage. His performance may have played well in the oil patch, but reviews elsewhere were not laudatory. A White House official said that "poor George" had committed "a gaffe" that was sure to hurt him in New Hampshire. Reagan was still very committed to free market forces setting the price of oil, was the word in this quarter. Up in the rust bowl, the Detroit News headlined: "Bush to Michigan: Drop Dead." A Dole spokesman gloated that "given Bush's background, the last thing he needs to be doing is carrying water for the oil industry and the international banks....It was as if his whole resume was talking."

Once again, as so frequently in his career, politics was proving unkind to the hopes of George Bush. By the spring of 1987, Bush was "catching the dickens" out on the hustings for his Iran-contra activities. On the Democratic side, Gary Hart, the former senator from Colorado who had run second to Mondale through the 1984 primaries, was emerging as a clear front-runner. With his own efforts foundering, Bush had every reason to fear succumbing in a long season of photo opportunities in competition with Hart. But if politics was fickle, there was always the bedrock of covert action.

Gary Hart talked about being the candidate with new ideas, but he had an immense vulnerability. He was a habitue of Turnberry Isle, a 234 acre earthly paradise located north of Miami. Part of the complex was a 29 story condominium. Turnberry was frequented by celebrities of the sports and entertainment world, by politicians and by Mafiosi like Joey Ippolito, a convicted marijuana kingpin. The developer and manager of Turnberry was Don Soffer, who was also the owner of a yacht named the Monkey Business. (After the February, 1987 murder of Don Aronow, Soffer received a telephone call, from a person who told him, "You're next." Soffer hired extra bodyguards and went for a one-week Atlantic cruise on the Monkey Business.) Soffer was a friend of Don Aronow. Ben Kramer was also a frequent visitor to Turnberry Isle. The establishment employed a staff of hostesses who were termed "Donnie's girls" or "the party girls". According to some, these hostesses doubled as luxury prostitutes for the Turnberry clientele of wealthy male patrons.

Among the employees of Turnberry was the sometime model Donna Rice. Another woman, Lynn Armandt, was in charge of the staff of party girls, and also had retail space for a bikini boutique in an upscale and remunerative Turnberry shopping complex. Lynn Armandt was the widow of a reputed Ben Kramer associate, a Miami drug dealer and underworld figure who had disappeared and never been found. The car of Armandt's husband was eventually found, riddled with machine-gun slugs and stained with blood. In the glove compartment, investigators found the telephone number of Ben Kramer.

When federal agents raided Ben Kramer's Fort Apache Marina on August 28, 1987, they examined the contents of Kramer's safe and found the original manuscripts of early primary stump speeches by Gary Hart. [fn 28]

At 8:30 PM on the evening of Monday, April 27, 1987, journalist Tom Fiedler, who had just written a story on the rumors of sexual promiscuity that had begun to surface around the Gary Hart campaign, received a telephone call at his office. It was just after Gary Hart had told E.J. Dionne of the New York Times, "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me. go ahead. They'd be very bored." An extensive and well-organized network in the media was hyping the story that Hart was promiscuous. The telephone call received that day by Fiedler was from a woman who told him, "Gary Hart is having an affair with a friend of mine. We don't need another president who lies like that." The next morning at 10:30 AM the same woman called back with the report that her female friend was likely to accept an invitation to spend the weekend with Gary Hart at his Washington townhouse, and that the friend was likely to make the trip by air Friday evening. Published sources and unnamed aides in the Gary Hart campaign have identified Lynn Armandt as the woman who made this call to Tom Fiedler of the Miami Herald, although Fiedler denies this is true. [fn 29]

These telephone calls led to the stakeout of Hart's townhouse by Fiedler and other reporters of the Miami Herald who came upon Hart together with Donna Rice, detonating the scandal which destroyed Hart's candidacy.

The woman caller described herself as a liberal Democrat but a foe of mendacity. She told Fiedler that she and her girlfriend had spent time on a yacht with Hart and an older man named Bill who was supposedly Hart's lawyer. This turned out to be a cruise by Hart, Donna Rice, Lynn Armandt and Hart's lawyer William Broadhurst plus a crew of five on board the Soffer-owned "chartered yacht" Monkey Business to Bimini and back in the springtime. Donna Rice later confirmed she had met Hart at Turnberry.

William Broadhurst or "Billy B." was a Washington lawyer and Hart backer who served the candidate as an operative on the campaign trail. Broadhurst had a Capitol Hill townhouse near Hart's. Broadhurst later explained that Lynn Armandt had come to Washington to consider his offer to be a social director for his lobbying and entertaining activities in Washington. Broadhurst said that Donna Rice had come along with her friend Lynn Armandt, and that both women had stayed overnight at his house, not at Hart's. Lynn Armandt soon left Washington after the story had broken, and the Hart campaign people said they never heard from her again.

There is no need to recount the ostracism and revelations that followed, leading to the destruction of Gary Hart as a political figure. Nor is it our intention here to defend the lost cause of the decidedly unsavory former Senator Hart. But given the situation of the Bush campaign in April-May, 1987, we are reminded by Seneca's "Cui prodest" proposition that the Bushmen as prime beneficiaries would necessarily qualify as prime suspects if any "naughty stuff" were to overtake Hart, as it did. Our suspicions can only be heightened by the obvious degree to which Bush, Aronow, Kramer, Soffer, Armandt, and Rice must be seen virtually as one interrelated social amalgam in the setting of Miami, Thunderboat Alley, Turnberry Isle, and the Monkey Business. Perhaps an old score was being settled here as well, dating back to December, 1975, hearings in which Gary Hart had taunted Bush about the Liedkte money laundering apparatus referenced in Richard M. Nixon's "smoking gun" tape.

James Baker was the titular head of the Bush campaign, but the person responsible for the overall concepts and specific tactics of the Bush campaign was Lee Atwater, a political protege of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Thurmond had been a Democrat, then a Dixiecrat in 1948, then a Democrat again, and finally a Republican. The exigencies of getting elected in South Carolina on the GOP ticket had taught Thurmond to reach deeply into that demagogue's bag of tricks called the wedge issues. Under Thurmond's tutelage, Atwater had become well versed in the essentials of the Southern Strategy, the key to that emergent Republican majority in presidential elections which Kevin Phillips had written about in 1968. Atwater had also imbibed political doctrine from the first practitioner of the Southern Strategy, the dark-jowled Richard M. Nixon himself. In January 1983, for example, Lee Atwater, at that time deputy director of the White House office of political affairs (and a creature of the Bush-Baker connection), met with Nixon for three and a half hours in Columbia, South Carolina. Nixon held forth on three points: the decisive political importance of the Sun Belt, the numerical relations within the Electoral College, and the vast benefits of having no primary competition when seeking re-election. Atwater found that Nixon knew the Electoral College like the back of his hand, and knew that the electoral votes of the southern states were the key to the ball game as presently constituted. Nixon had railed against two Congressmen, Pete McCloskey of California and John Ashbrook of Ohio, who had challenged him from the left and right when he sought re-election in 1972. "Those guys were two gnats on my ass," complained Nixon. [fn 30] Bush has obviously attributed great importance to Nixon's advice that all primary competition be banned during the quest for a second term. Nixon's advice underlines the real problems posed for Bush by a candidacy like that of television commentator Pat Buchanan.

In 1988 as well, Nixon was brought in to be the spiritus rector of the Bush campaign. During March of 1988, when it was clear that Bush was going to win the nomination, Nixon "slipped into town" to join George Bush, Bar, and Lee Atwater for dinner at the Naval Observatory. This time it was Bush who received a one hour lecture from Tricky Dick on the need to cater to the Republican right wing, the imperative of a tough line on crime in the streets and the Soviets (again to propitiate the rightists), to construct an independent identity only after the convention, and to urge Reagan to campaign actively. And of course, where Nixon shows up, Kissinger cannot be far away. [fn 31]

1988 saw another large-scale mobilization of the intelligence community in support of Bush's presidential ambitions. The late Miles Copeland, a high-level former CIA official who operated out of London during the 1980's, contributed a piece frankly titled "Old Spooks for Bush" to the March 18, 1988 issue of National Review. (Since the magazine's editor, William Buckley, was a notorious Skull and Bones cultist, the allusion to "spooks" assumed the character of an insider pun.) Copeland based his endorsement of Bush on the candidate's anti-Soviet firmness, a viewpoint that seems odd in retrospect. Copeland suggested that Bush would go back to the procedures of staff work that had been standard under Eisenhower: "Ronald Reagan is apparently oblivious of this simple 'Standard Operation procedure,' but we know from experience that Bush isn't. This is why my old friends and I are in George Bush's corner in the presidential race: we see him not only as one who has the wisdom, discretion, and ability to grasp the facts of our situation on the international gameboard, but as one who will appoint as his key advisors real experts in the relevant fields -- unlike the inexperienced men with whom President Reagan has surrounded himself. [...] It happens that we are in a state of national crisis, but, due to the Soviets' success at dezinformatzia and to our peculiar susceptibilities, it isn't recognizable. We see Bush as the candidate who, speaking with a voice of authority, can make it recognizable." This statement is doubly interesting because it is a clear precursor of the mood of bureaucratic triumphalism that marked the early weeks of the Bush Administration, when the new team launched what was billed as a "policy review" on Soviet relations to get back to hard bargaining after the departure of the slobbering sentimentalist Reagan.

Bush and Atwater feared all their competition. They feared former Gov. Pierre DuPont of Delaware because of his appeal to liberal and blueblood Republicans who might otherwise automatically gravitate to Bush. They feared New York Congressman Jack Kemp because of his appeal to the GOP right wing, to the blue-collar Reagan Democrats, and his disturbing habit of talking about the Strategic Defense Initiative and many other issues. They feared that Senator Bob Dole of Kansas with his "root canal economics," right-wing populism, and his solid backing from the international grain cartel might appear more credible to the Wall Street bankers than Bush as an enforcer of austerity and sacrifices. But at the same time, they knew that Bush had more money to spend and incomparably more state by state organization than any of his GOP rivals, to say nothing of the fabled Brown Brothers, Harriman media edge. Bush also ruled the Republican National Committee with Stalin-like ferocity, denying these assets to all of his rivals. This allowed Bush to wheel towards the right in 1986-87 to placate some of his critics there, and then move back towards the center by the time of the primaries. Indeed, Bush's many layers of money and political apparatchiki made it possible for him to absorb even stunning defeats like the outcome of the Iowa caucuses without folding. Victory, thought Bush, would belong to the big battalions.

But all the money and the organization could not mask the fact that Bush was fundamentally a weak candidate. This began to become obvious to Atwater and his team of perception mongers as the Iowa caucuses began to shape up. These were the caucuses that Bush had so niftily won in 1980, imparting to him the fickle charisma of the Big Mo. By 1988, Bush's Iowa effort had become complicated by reality, in the form of a farm crisis that was driving thousands of farmers into bankruptcy every week. Farm voters were now enraged against the avuncular thespian Ronald Reagan and were looking for a way to send a message to the pointy-headed set in Washington DC. Governor Branstad of Iowa complained as early as February, 1986: "I don't think his advisors are even keeping [Bush] informed on the extent of the farm crisis. We've got a crisis in agriculture and no one is in charge." Bush's Iowa campaign was dripping with lucre, but this now brought forth resentment among the grim and grey-faced rural voters.

In mid-October, 1987, five of the six declared Republican candidates attended a traditional Iowa GOP rally in Ames, just north of Des Moines, on the campus of Iowa State University. Televangelist Pat Robertson surprised all the others by mobilizing 1,300 enthusiastic supporters for the Saturday event. The culmination of this rally was a presidential straw poll, which Robertson won with 1,293 votes to 958 for Dole. Bush trailed badly with 864. This was the occasion for Bush's incredible explanation of what had happened: "A lot of people that support me, they were off at the air show, they were at their daughters' coming out parties, or teeing up at the golf course for that all-important last round." [fn 32] Many Iowans, including Republicans, had to ask what a debutante cotillion was, and began to meditate on the fact that they were not socially acceptable. But most concluded that George Bush was the imperial candidate from another planet, bereft of the foggiest notion of their lives and their everyday problems.

During the buildup to the Iowa caucus, Bush continued to dodge questions on Iran-contra. The famous "tension city" encounter with Dan Rather took place during this time. Lee Atwater considered that performance Bush's defining event for the campaign, a display which made him look like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Gary Cooper, especially in the south, where people like a pol who "can kick somebody's ass" and where that would make a big difference on Super Tuesday.

But Bush's handlers were nevertheless shocked when Dole won the Iowa caucuses with 37% of the vote, followed by Robertson with 25%. Bush managed only a poor show, with 19%, a massive collapse in comparison with 1980, when he had been far less known to the public.

Bush had known that defeat was looming in Iowa, and he had scuttled out of the state and gone to New Hampshire before the results were known. Bush was nevertheless stunned by his ignominious third-place finish, and he consulted with Nick Brady, Lee Atwater, chief of staff Craig Fuller and pollster Bob Teeter. Atwater had boasted that he had built a "fire wall" in the southern Super Tuesday states that would prevent any rival from seizing the nomination out of Bush's grasp, but the Bush image-mongers were well aware that a loss in New Hampshire might well prove a fatal blow to their entire effort, the advantages of money, networks, and organization notwithstanding. Atwater accordingly ordered a huge media buy of 1,800 gross rating points, enough to ensure that the theoretical New Hampshire television viewer would be exposed to a Bush attack ad 18 times over the final three days before the election. The ad singled out Bob Dole, judged by the Bushmen as their most daunting New Hampshire challenger, and savaged him for "straddling" the question of whether or not new taxes out to be imposed. The ad proclaimed that Bush "won't raise taxes," period. Bush was glorified as opposing an oil import tax, and for having supported Reagan's INF treaty on nuclear forces in Europe from the very beginning. It was during this desperate week in New Hampshire that Bush became indissolubly wedded to his lying and demagogic "no new taxes" pledge, which he repudiated with considerable fanfare during the spring of 1990.

The Bush campaign brought in former Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams, test pilot Chuck Yeager, and finally even old Barry Goldwater to help humanize George's appearance on the hustings. George worked a long day, putting in five or six radio interviews before 7:30 AM, proceeding to a staged telegenic campaign event for the local evening news and then campaigning intensively at locations suggested to him by New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, his principal supporter in the state.

When Bush had arrived in Manchester the night of the disastrous Iowa result, Sununu had promised a nine point victory for Bush in his state. Oddly enough, that turned out to be exactly right. The final result was 38% for Bush, 29% for Dole, 13% for Kemp, 10% for DuPont, and 9% for Robertson. Was Sununu a clairvoyant? Perhaps he was, but those familiar with the inner workings of the New Hampshire quadrennials are aware of a very formidable ballot-box stuffing potential assembled there by the blueblood political establishment. Lyndon LaRouche pointed to pervasive vote fraud in the 1988 New Hampshire primaries, and Pat Robertson, as we shall see, also raised this possibility. The Sununu machine delivered exactly as promised, securing the governor the post of White House chief of staff. Sununu soon became so self-importantly inebriated with the trappings of the imperial presidency as reflected in his travel habits that it was suggested that the state motto appearing on New Hampshire license plates be changed from "Live Free or Die" to "Fly Free or Die." In any case, for Bush the heartfelt "Thank You, New Hampshire" he intoned after his surprising victory signaled that his machine had weathered its worst crisis.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:47 am

PART 2 OF 2

Bush's real thank you to New Hampshire would come gradually, in the form of an accelerated economic depression. Soon after the 1988 vote, the bottom fell out of the state's real estate boom, banks began failing, and the unemployment rate spiked upward. During 1991, food stamp usage there went up 51%.--an object lesson of what happens to those who fail to resist George Bush.

In the South Carolina primary, the Bushmen were concerned about a possible threat from television evangelist Pat Robertson, who had mounted his major effort in the Palmetto state. Robertson was widely known through his appearances on his Christian Broadcasting Network. Shortly before the South Carolina vote, a scandal became public which involved another television evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart, a close friend of Robertson and an active supporter of Robertson's presidential campaign. Swaggart admitted to consorting with a prostitute, and this caused a severe crisis in his ministry. Jim Baker of the PTL television ministry had already been tainted by a sex scandal. Robertson accused the Bush campaign of orchestrating the Swaggart revelations at a time that would be especially advantageous to their man. Talking to reporters, Robertson pointed to "the evidence that two weeks before the primary...it suddenly comes to light." Robertson added that the Bush campaign was prone to "sleazy" tricks, and suggested that his own last-place finish in New Hampshire was "quite possibly" the result of "dirty tricks" by the Bush campaign. Bush responded by dismissing Robertson's charges as "crazy" and "absurd." Robertson had been linking Bush to the "international banking community" in his South Carolina campaigning. [fn 33]

True to his Southern Strategy, Atwater had "front-loaded" Bush's effort in the southern states with money, political operatives, and television, straining the legal limit of what could be spent during the primary season as whole. A few days before Super Tuesday came the South Carolina primary. Here Bush appeared before a group of two dozen evangelical fundamentalist ministers and declared with a straight face: "Jesus Christ is my personal savior." The state's governor, Carol Campbell, was a former customer of Lee Atwater's. Strom Thurmond was for Dole, but his endorsement proved to be valueless. Here Bush got all the state's 37 delegates by scoring 48% of the vote to 21% for Dole, 19% for Robertson, and 11% for Kemp.

On the way to Super Tuesday, Bush stopped off in Miami to address a constituency with which he had been closely associated for three decades: the Miami Cubans. Bush was joined by Barry Goldwater and Florida Governor Bob Martinez, later chosen as field marshal of Bush's phony war on drugs. There was a good turnout of Republican Cuban Americans, who lionized George and also his son Jeb Bush, the former Dade County GOP chair who was now the Florida Secretary of Commerce. Obviously with some help from the family network, Jeb had been lobbying the Immigration and Naturalization Service to procure work permits for the wave of Nicaraguan emigres flooding into south Florida, not a few of whom were part of the contra drug-running operations. The rally was held at Florida International University, and before his main speech Bush talked to a class in international relations, where he wore his old obsessions on his sleeve. Had there been any sign of a change in Fidel Castro, a student wanted to know. "No," said Bush, "and our policy will not change toward Fidel Castro."

Bush was shocked when Professor Mark Rosenberg of the FIU Latin American Caribbean Center introduced him to the rally in terms that were somewhat short of panegyric. Rosenberg noted that Bush had been part of "questionable political decision making" in the Iran-contra scandal and also referred to the "high sleaze factor" of the Reagan-Bush regime. "Does [Bush] have the will to clean up the Reagan economic mess?," asked Rosenberg. "Time will tell." Rosenberg was grabbed by the shoulders and hustled off the platform by FIU President and presumed Bushman Modesto Madique. Bush built his speech around a promise that no Cuban-Americans would be deported to Cuba under a Bush administration. "They are fleeing oppressive Marxism under Fidel Castro and they will not be treated as though they were coming in here for some other [economic] purpose," intoned Bush. There were shouts of "Ariba!" from a crowd that contained knots of marielitos, those who came during Castro's boat lift. It was a promise that Bush was to violate in any case, as some prison riots later on would remind the public. [fn 34]

Then, in the March 8 Super Tuesday polling, Bush scored an across-the board triumph, winning in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, and Maryland, plus Massachusetts and Rhode Island outside of the region. It was better than one of Napoleon Bonaparte's plebiscites. With this, Bush took 600 of 803 delegates at stake that day. 4.5 million Republicans had voted, the best turnout ever in southern GOP primaries. Most of the votes were votes for Reagan in the part of the country that felt least disillusioned by the Great Communicator, but they were all scored as votes for Bush. When Bush beat Dole by a three to two margin in Illinois, supposedly a part of Dole's base, it was all over. Bush prepared for the convention and the choice of a vice president.

The Bush campaign of 1988 had no issues, but only demagogic themes. These were basically all on the table by June, well before the Republican convention. The first was the pledge of no new taxes, later embroidered with the Clint Eastwood tough-guy overtones of "Read My Lips- No New Taxes." The other themes reflected Atwater's studies of how to drive up the negatives of Bush's Democratic opponent, who would be Massachusetts Governor Dukakis. Very early on, Bush began to harp on Dukakis's veto of a bill requiring teachers to lead their class each day in the pledge of allegiance. Speaking in Orange County, California on June 7, Bush said: "I'll never understand, when it came to his desk, why he vetoed a bill that called for the pledge of allegiance to be said in the schools of Massachusetts. I'll never understand it. We are one nation under God. Our kids should say the pledge of allegiance." [fn 35]

This theme lent itself very well to highly cathexized visual portrayal, with flags and bunting. Atwater was assisted in these matters by Roger Ailes, a television professional who had been the executive producer of the Mike Douglas Show by the time he was 27 years old. That was in 1967, when he was hired by Richard Nixon and Leonard Garment. Ailes had been one of the most cynical designers of the selling of the president in 1968, and he had remained in the political media game ever since. Between them, Atwater and Ailes would produce the modern American television equivalent of a 1930's Nuremburg party rally.

At about this time, the Bush network we have seen in operation at the Reader's Digest since the 1964 campaign conveniently printed an article about a certain Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer who was released from a Massachusetts jail on a furlough, and then absconded to Maryland, where he raped a white woman and stabbed her fiancee. The Massachusetts furlough program had been started by Republican Governor Frank Sargent, but this meant nothing. Bush was to use Willie Horton in the same way that Hitler and the Nazis exploited the grisly crimes of one Harmann, a serial killer in Germany of the early 1930's, in their calls for law and order. In Illinois in mid-June, Bush began to talk about how Dukakis let "murderers out on vacation to terrorize innocent people." "Democrats can't find it in their hearts to get tough on criminals," Bush ranted. "What did the governor of Massachusetts think he was doing when he let convicted first-degree murderers out on weekend passes, even after one of them criminally, brutally raped a woman and stabbed her fiancee? Why didn't he admit his mistake? Eight months later, he was still defending his program, and only when the Massachusetts legislature voted by an overwhelming majority to abolish this program did he finally give in. I think Governor Dukakis owes the American people an explanation of why he supports this outrageous program."

As packaged by Bush's handlers, it was thoroughly racist without being nominally so, like Nixon's "crime in the streets" shorthand for racist backlash during the 1968 campaign. Later, Bush would embroider this theme with his demand for the death penalty, his own Final Solution to the problem of criminals like Willie Horton. These themes fit very well into the standard Bush campaign event, which was very often Bush appearing before a local police department to receive their endorsement. Bush's ability to organize these events in places like Boston, to the great embarrassment of Dukakis, doubtless reflected strong support from the CIA Office of Security, which was the bureau that kept in contact with police departments all over the country and, inevitably, infiltrated them.

All of Bush's themes corresponded to wedge issues, the divisive Pavlovian ploys the southern Republicans had become expert in during their decades of battering and dismantling the classic Franklin D. Roosevelt coalition of labor, the cities, blacks, farmers, and intellectuals. They were designed to propitiate the vilest prejudices of a majority, while offending a minority, and studiously avoiding any real politics or economics that might be detrimental to the imperatives of Wall Street or the Washington bureaucracy.

To crown this demagogy, George H.W. Bush of Skull and Bones portrayed Dukakis as an elitist insider: "Governor Dukakis, his foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard's boutique, would cut the muscle of our defense." Bush's frequent litany of "liberal Massachusetts governor" was shameless in its main purpose of suggesting that Bush himself was NOT a liberal. Later, in 1990, Barbara Bush would confess that both she and George "cared about people" and were thus both liberals.

When Bush arrived in New Orleans for the Republican National Convention, he displayed signs of being unusually race-conscious. The image-mongers had set up a Reagan-Bush meeting on the airbase taxiway; Reagan was departing the convention after a long nostalgic-platitudinous farewell the day before. Now he would pass the mantle to George, with the appropriate camera angles. After a few seconds of small talk with Reagan, Bush and Bar called over three of their grandchildren, all from the family of their son Jeb, the Miami GOP party boss, and his Ibero-American wife Columba. "That's Jebbie's kids from Florida," Bush said, in a voice that was picked up by the airport public address system. "The little brown ones. Jebbie's the big one in the yellow shirt saying the pledge of allegiance tonight." "Oh, really," observed Nancy Reagan. Skin color has always meant a lot to Bush, but he really had been born with a silver foot in his mouth. [fn 36]

Bush now repaired to the admiral's house at the Belle Chase Naval Air Station where this scene had played. Bush was accompanied by Baker, Teeter, Fuller, Atwater, Ailes, and Baker's girl Friday, Margaret Tutwiler. Up to this point Bush's staff had expected him to generate a little suspense around the convention by withholding the name of his vice presidential choice until the morning of the last day of the convention, when Bush could share his momentous secret with the Texas caucus and then tell it to the world.

Bush's vetting of vice presidents was carried out between Bush and Robert Kimmitt, the Washington lawyer and Baker crony who later joined Baker's ruling clique at the State Department before being put up for Ambassador to Germany when Vernon Walters quit in the spring of 1991. United Germany can now boast a US Ambassador whose greatest achievement was to guide Bush towards the choice of J. Danforth Quayle. Bush and Kimmitt reviewed the obvious choices: Kemp was out because he lectured Bush on the SDI and was too concerned about issues. Dole was out because he kept sniping at Bush with his patented sardonic zingers. Elizabeth Dole was a choice to be deemed imprudent. John Danforth, Pete Domenici, Al Simpson and some others were eliminated. Many were the possible choices who had to be ruled out not because of lack of stature, but because they might seem to have more stature than Bush himself. Quayle had shown up on lists prepared by Fuller and Ailes. Ed Rollins, attuned to the Reagan Democrats, could not believe that Quayle was being seriously considered. But now, at Belle Chase Naval Air Station north of New Orleans, Bush told his staffs that he had chosen Dan Quayle. Not only was it Quayle, but Bush's thyroid was now in overdrive: he wanted to announce his selection within hours. Quayle was contacted by telephone and instructed to meet Bush at the dock in New Orleans when the paddle-wheel steamer Natchez brought Bush down the Mississippi to that city's Spanish Plaza.

Quayle turned up at the dock in a state of inebriated euphoria, grabbing Bush's arm, prancing and capering around Bush. Bush was momentarily taken aback: had he engaged a dervish? As soon as the dossiers on Quayle came out, a few questions were posed. Had his senate office been a staging point for contra resupply efforts? One of the Iran-contra figures, Rob Owen, had indeed worked for Quayle, but Quayle denied everything. Had Quayle, now a hawk, been in Vietnam? Tom Brokaw asked Quayle if he had gotten help in joining the National Guard as a way of ducking the draft? Quayle stammered that it had been twenty years earlier, but maybe "phone calls were made." Then Dan Rather asked Quayle what his worst fear was. "Paula Parkinson," was the reply. This was the woman lobbyist and Playboy nude model who had been present with Quayle at a wild weekend at a Florida country club back in 1980. The Bush image-mongers hurriedly convened damage control sessions, and Quayle was given two professional handlers, Stuart Spencer and Joe Canzeri. Spencer was an experienced GOP operative who had done public relations and consulting work worth $350,000 for Gen. Noriega of Panama during the mid-1980's. [fn 37] After a couple of Bush-Quayle joint appearances before groups of war veterans to attempt to dissipate Quayle's National Guard issue, Quayle was then shunted into the secondary media markets under the iron control of his new handlers.

Although Bush's impulsive proclamation of his choice of Quayle does indeed raise the question of the hyperthyroid snap decision, the choice of Quayle was not impulsive, but rather perfectly coherent with Bush's profile and pedigree. Bush told Baker that Quayle had been "my first and only choice." [fn 38] Bush's selection of political appointees is very often the product of Bush-Walker family alliances over more than a generation, as in the case of Baker, Brady, Boy Gray, and Henry Kravis, or at least of a long and often lucrative business collaboration, as in the case of Mosbacher. The choice of Quayle lies somewhere in between, and was strengthened by a deep ideological affinity in the question of racism.

J. Danforth Quayle's grandfather was Eugene C. Pulliam, who built an important press empire starting with his purchase of the Atchison (Kansas) Champion in 1912. The bulk of these papers were in Indiana, the home state of the Pulliam clan, and in Arizona. "Gene" Pulliam had died in 1975, but his newspaper chain was worth an estimated $1.4 by the time Dan Quayle became a household word. Pulliam was a self-proclaimed ideologue: "If I wanted to make money, I'd go into the bond business. I've never been interested in the money I make but the influence we have." [fn 39] Gene Pulliam was one of the first power brokers to encourage the political career of young Barry Goldwater in 1949 through the support of the Pulliam Arizona Republic and Gazette of Phoenix. When Gene Pulliam died, his last word was not "Rosebud" but "Goldwater," scratched onto a pad just before he expired.

Old Gene was a firm opponent of racial integration. When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, Gene Pulliam sent a note to the editors of his papers in Indianapolis, Indiana ordering them not to give the King tragedy "much exposure" because he considered the civil rights leader a "rabble rouser." He instructed that the news of King's death be summarized in as few words as possible and relegated to the bottom of the front page.

The Bush-Quayle alliance thus reposed first of all on a shared premise of racism.

Old man Pulliam also had a vendetta against the Kennedy family. During the 1968 primaries, he sent a memo to his editors instructing them: "Give Sen. [Eugene] McCarthy full coverage, but this does not apply to a man named Kennedy." Pulliam was supporting Tricky Dick. Bobby Kennedy also held the Pulliam chain in contempt. Once when he came to Indianapolis he found that he was being refused a permit to hold a rally downtown. When when of his supporters urged him to go ahead and have the rally without the permit, Kennedy retorted that he couldn't think of a worse fate than having to spend the night in the Marion County Jail and having nothing to read but the Indianapolis Star, the Pulliam paper.

Dan Quayle had been a mediocre student at DePauw University, where he managed to graduate with a 2.4 grade point average. He was a party boy, and received numerous Ds in his political science major. Quayle lived at the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (the same fraternity of which Bush had been a member at Yale.) During the fall of 1968, the DKE house, according to one account, "unleashed a party without a house mother for the first time and sponsored a frat party known as 'The Trip.'" According to some, this actually was a party at which the hallucinogen LSD was dispensed. According to one published account, a photograph of J. Danforth Quayle that appears in the DePauw University yearbook has a caption which reads: "'The Trip' is a colorful psychedelic journey into the wild sights and sounds produced by LSD." [fn 40]

Quayle is known to the vast majority of the American public as a virtual cretin. Quayle is the first representative of the post-war Baby Boom to advance to national elective office. Unfortunately, he seems to exhibit some of the mental impairment that is known to overtake long-term, habitual marijuana users.

Quayle was admitted by the University of Indiana Law School in violation of that school's usual policy of rejecting all applicants with an academic average of less than 2.6. He wanted to be a lawyer because he had heard that "lawyers make lots of money and do little," as he told his fraternity brothers at De Pauw. As it turned out, the dean of admissions at the University of Indiana Law School was one G. Kent Frandsen, who was a Republican city judge in Lebanon, Indiana, a town where the Pulliam family controls the local newspaper. He had always been endorsed by the Pulliam interests. Two years later, Frandsen would officiate at the marriage of J. Danforth Quayle to Marilyn Tucker. Still later Frandsen would serve as Quayle's campaign manager in Boone County during the 1986 senate race. It was thus no surprise that Frandsen was willing to admit Dan Quayle to law school as part of a program for disadvantaged students, primarily those from the black community.

After all this, it may appear as a miracle that Dan Quayle was ever able to obtain a law degree. J. Danforth's receipt of that degree appears to have been mightily facilitated by the plutocratic Quayle family, who made large donations to the law school each year during Dan's time as a law student.

What were Quayle's pastimes during his law school years? According to one account, they included recreational drugs. During the summer of 1988, a Mr. Brett Kimberlin told Dennis Bernstein and a radio audience of WBAI in New York that he had first met J. Danforth during this period at a fraternity party at which marijuana was indeed being consumed. "He found out that I had marijuana available at the time," said Kimberlin. "It was good quality, and he asked if I had any for sale....I thought it was kind of strange. He looked kind of straight. I thought he might be a narc [DEA agent] at first. But we talked and I felt a little more comfortable, and finally I gave him my phone number and said, 'Hey, well, give me a call.' He called me a couple weeks later, and said, 'Hey, this is DQ. Can we get together?' and I said 'Yes, meet me at the Burger Chef restaurant.' We struck up a relationship that lasted for 18 months. I sold him small quantities of marijuana for his personal use about once a month during that period. He was a good customer. He was a friend of mine. We had a pretty good relationship. He always paid cash. [...] When him and Marilyn got married in 1972, I gave him a wedding present of some Afghanistan hashish and some Acapulco gold." [fn 41]

Kimberlin repeated these charges in a pre-election interview on NBC News on November 4, 1988. Kimberlin was a federal prisoner serving time in Tennessee after conviction on charges of drug smuggling and explosives. Later that same day Kimberlin was scheduled to address a news conference by telephone conference call. But before Kimberlin could speak to the press, he was placed in solitary confinement, and was moved in and out of solitary confinement until well after the November 8 presidential election. A second attempted press conference by telephone hookup on the eve of the election did not take place because Kimberlin was still being held incommunicado. On August 6, 1991, US District Judge Harold H. Greene ruled that the allegations made by Kimberlin against US Bureau of Prisons Director J. Michael Quinlan were "tangible and detailed" enough to justify a trail. Kimberlin had accused Quinlan of ordering solitary confinement for him when it became clear that his ability to further inform the media about Quayle's drug use would damage the Bush-Quayle effort.

In March, 1977, Congressman Dan Quayle contributed an article to the Fort Wayne Indiana News-Sentinel in which he recommended that Congress take a "serious" look at marijuana decriminalization. In April, 1978, Quayle repeated this proposal, specifying he supported decriminalization for first-time users. [fn 42]

As for Quayle's military service, he had enlisted in the Indiana National Guard on May 19, 1969, in the midst of a freeze on further recruiting which had been ordered because the Indiana National Guard had exceeded its legally mandated full complement of manpower. Guard service was popular among those threatened by the draft, since it virtually guaranteed that service in Vietnam could be avoided. Dan Quayle had been declared 1-A on May 25, 1969, when he was about to graduate from DePauw University. Quayle-Pulliam family influence was instrumental in inducing National Guard Major General Wendell Phillippi to admit Quayle and assign him to a desk job. At this time Wendell Phillippi was also the managing editor of the Indianapolis News, a Pulliam family property. [fn 43] Dan Quayle spent about one year in the National Guard working as a reporter for the quarterly publication, Indiana National Guard, a sinecure.

In contrast with all this, Quayle campaigned as a "Vietnam-era veteran" and a warmonger of apocalyptic proportions. He once told a gathering of fundamentalist preachers that a nuclear war "would hurry Jesus's second coming" [fn 44] During the Gulf crisis and the Iraq war of 1990-91, Quayle was the principal voice in the Bush Administration threatening the use of nuclear weapons by the United States against Baghdad. This points to Quayle's important role in cementing Bush's own Armageddon connection to the apocalyptic-millenarian strata among the Protestant evangelical fundamentalists.

The power behind Dan Quayle is widely acknowledged to be his consort, Marilyn Tucker Quayle. Mrs. Quayle has been described as a "prototype of the new-age political spouse: an asset to her husband as a polished professional, not just a decorative surrogate." [fn 45] Mrs. Quayle comes from an evangelical family; her father, of Nineveh, Indiana, believes that Satan is trying to destroy the world and agrees with Ronald Reagan that the best president of his lifetime was "Silent Cal" Coolidge. Mrs. Quayle advocates the death penalty and says she grew up in a home environment in which daily Bible study was a duty for all. The Quayle family was Presbyterian at first, but later broke with this denomination to gravitate towards the teachings of Houston, Texas spiritual leader Colonel R.B. Thieme, whose taped messages were an institution in the Tucker household.

Marilyn's sister Nancy Tucker Northcott told a journalist that Thieme's taped sermons were a constant background refrain in the Tucker home. Mrs. Tucker "played them all day, every day." This sister also pointed out that Marilyn "uses some of [Thieme's] Sunday school things.. in her home as a supplement for their own church," which latter is a branch of the Prebyterian Church of America. Marilyn Quayle herself endorsed R.B. Thieme's devotional materials as "very good." But Quayle and his handlers have attempted to distance the family from Thieme.

Colonel R.B. Thieme is the pastor of the Berachah Church, an interdenominational-fundamentalist institution located in the Galleria neighborhood of Houston, Texas. Thieme is a preacher of decidedly military cast who sometimes wears his World War II US Army Air Force uniform during his appearances in the pulpit. The Bulletin and Prayer List for the Berachah Church stresses the military motif, with a quarter of its space being devoted to parishioners who are on active duty with the US military. Thieme sees the world approaching the end-time, and exhorts his congregation to "prepare for battle," while "preparing for the rapture." His ideal is one of "Christian knights, soldiers going to war for Jesus." The official hymnal of the Berachah Church contains "Christian Soldier," with ranting doggerel lyrics by Thieme set to the tune of "Men of Harlech," the traditional Welsh air: **INDENT Christian solider with Christ soaring Do not fear the devil's roaring, Wave on wave of Satan's demons Clash with groaning sound.

'Tis the thrust of Satan's dagger Sin and death to make men stagger With their unbelief in darkness, They shall die in hell.

Gospel of a new salvation, In Christ a new creation The Word of God now going forth Shall launch its bolts of thunder.

Christian soldiers you're victorious, Trusting Christ the strong and glorious, Faith with faith a mighty victory Conquers sin and death. **END

In politics, Thieme rails about the modern United States as a "mobocracy" threatened by "satanic propaganda" and "creeping socialism."

The liturgy for Thieme's lily-white congregation is built around a lecture in which Thieme dispenses a strange and eclectic mixture of Hebrew and Greek philology, Biblical nominalism, modern psychological jargon, and plain gibberish while his audience sit in what looks like a high school auditorium and busily take notes and underline passages in their Bibles. Sin nature control, we learn, can lead to dissociation and multiple personality disorder. There are eight stages of reversionism through which a psycho-believer may descend to implosion and self-fragmentation. It is a blasphemy to make promises to God. We should not be sorry for sins, but we should turn our minds away from sin. It is blasphemy to say that we invite Christ to come into our hearts; rather, Christ invites us. Spiritually brain dead believers do not understand that they can be saved by faith alone and by the spirit (pneumatikos). There are those among the born again who become murderers, and so forth in eclectic and vindictive brew.

R.B. Thieme has been described as "a cult figure" by James Dunn, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs in Washington. Controversial through he may be even among fundamentalists, Thieme is one of the Quayle family's contact points with the legions of Armageddon, who provided a decisive base of support for the Bush-Quayle administration during the Gulf war.

Bush himself has a very strong apocalyptic streak, which he has more often expressed in the doomsday language of the RAND Corporation than in the theological terminology of an R.B. Thimeme. But there is ample convergence, as shown in this interview with Robert Scheer on the campaign trail in early 1980. Scheer started by asking Bush, "How do you win in a nuclear exchange?" Bush's response:

Bush: You have a survivability of command in control, survivability of industrial potential, protection of a percentage of your citizens, and you have a capability that inflicts more damage on the opposition than it can inflict upon you. That's the way you can have a winner, and the Soviets' planning is based on the ugly concept of a winner in a nuclear exchange.
Scheer: Do you mean like five percent would survive? Two percent?

Bush: More than that-- if everybody fired everything he had, you'd have more than that survive. [fn 46]

Bush's presidential campaign offered nothing of value. In his acceptance speech to the Republican national Convention on August 18, 1988, Bush professed the Calvinistic creed of a man who sees life in terms of "missions"; the mission now, he thought, was to make sure that the crumbling "American Century" of Col. Stimson and his World War II cabal which "lit the world with our culture" were followed by "another American century." Bush promised to avoid war: "We have peace, and I am not going to let anyone take it away from us." Bush harped on his theme of voluntarism-boosterism-corporatism with his celebration of "the idea of community" and his notorious "thousand points of light" as a recipe to deal with the human wreckage being piled up by the unbridled free enterprise he had stood for all his life. The irreverent soon transformed that into "a thousand points of blight."

Remarkably, Bush still had a few promises on the economic front. He went on record once again with his "Read my lips: no new taxes." He boasted that the Reagan-Bush forces had created 17 million jobs over the previous five years of recovery. He pledged to create "30 in eight, 30 million jobs in the next eight years." (Non-farm payrolls were slightly over 107 million when Bush took office, and rose to slightly more than 110 million by the middle of 1990. Then, with layoffs averaging 2,000 a day, total unemployment sagged through the early autumn of 1991, with a net loss of about 1 1/2 million jobs. Bush is not on track to fulfill this promise, which nobody has heard him repeating since the election. There has been no "kinder, gentler nation."

The final stages of the campaign were played out amid great public indifference. Some interest was generated in the final weeks by a matter of prurient, rather than policy interest: rumors were flying of a Bush sex scandal. This talk, fed by the old Jennifer Fitzgerald story, had surfaced during 1987 in the wake of the successful covert operation against Gary Hart. The gossip became intense enough that George W. Bush asked his father if he had been guilty of philandering. The young Bush reported back to the press that "the answer to the Big A [adultery] question is N-O." Lee Atwater accused David Keene of the Dole campaign of helping to circulate the rumor, and Keene, speaking on a television talk show, responded that Atwater was "a liar." Shortly thereafter, a "sex summit" was convened between the Bush and Dole camps for the purpose of maintaining correct GOP decorum even amidst the acrimony of the campaign. [fn 47]

Evans and Novak opined that "Atwater and the rest of the Bush high command, convinced that the rumors would soon be published, reacted in a way that spelled panic to friend and foe alike." On June 17, 1987, Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times had written that "several major newspapers are sifting ...reported dalliances of Mr. Boring." [fn 48] But during that summer of 1988, the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones networks were powerful enough to suppress the story and spare Bush any embarrassment.

During the weeks before the election, the LA Weekly, an alternative paper in Los Angeles, devoted an entire issue to "the dark side of George Bush." British newspapers like the tabloid London Evening Standard repeated some details, but US news organizations were monolithic in refusing to report anything; the Bush networks were in total command. Then rumors began to fly that the Washington Post was preparing to publish an account of Bush's sex pecadillos. On Wednesday, October 19, the New York Stock Exchange was swept by reports that stories damaging to Bush were about to appear, and this was cited as a contributing factor in a 43 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today gingerly picked up the story, albeit in very vague terms. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the Washington Post was preparing a story that "Bush had carried on an extramarital affair," with a "report that he [Bush] has had a mistress for several years." One of the allegations was that Bush had had an extramarital affair during the mid-1970's with a woman who was no longer in his entourage.

Donna Brazile of the Dukakis campaign staff told reporters in New Haven, Connecticut: "I wasn't on the stock market yesterday but I understood they got a little concerned that George was going to the White House with somebody other than Barbara. I think George Bush owes it to the American people to 'fess up...." "The American people have every right to know if Barbara Bush will share that bed with him in the White House. I'm talking about Barbara Bush and someone with the initials J.F. or whatever the names are," said Ms. Brazile. Was this a reference to Jennifer Fitzgerald? A few hours later, Donna Brazile, a young black woman who had also accused the Bushmen of using "every code word and racial symbol to package their little racist campaign," was fired from the Dukakis campaign. Paul Brountas, one of Dukakis's close advisers, said that he would not accuse the Bush campaign of being racist. With the Willie Horton ads running full clip everywhere, many could not believe their ears. After an Associated Press wire sent out on Thursday, October 20 had offered another summary of the rumor, Bush's press aide Sheila Tate dismissed the entire story as "warmed over garbage." [fn 49] But in the end, the Washington Post published no story, and the entire issue was stifled by the brutal power of the Bush media networks.

In the end, the greatest trump card of Bush's 1988 campaign was Bush's opponent Michael Dukakis. There is every reason to believe that Dukakis was chosen by Bush Democrat power brokers and the Eastern Establishment bankers primarily because he was so manifestly unwilling and unable seriously to oppose Bush. Many are the indications that the Massachusetts governor had been selected to take a dive. The gravest suspicions are in order as to whether there ever was a Dukakis campaign at all. Well before Dukakis received the nomination, one of the authors of the present study authored a leaflet which called the attention of convention delegates to the indications of personal and mental instability in Dukakis's personal history, but the Democratic Convention in Atlanta chose to ignore these highly relevant issues.

As the leaflet pointed out, "there is strong evidence that Michael Dukakis suffers from a deep-seated mental instability that could paralyze him, and decapitate our government, in the event of a severe economic or strategic crisis. This is a tendency for psychological breakdown in a situation of adversity and perceived personal rejection." [fn 50] The best proof of the validity of this assessment is the pitiful election campaign that Dukakis then conducted. The NDPC leaflet had warned that the GOP would exploit this obvious issue, and Reagan soon made his celebrated quip, "I'm not going to pick on an invalid," focusing intense public attention on Dukakis's refusal to release his medical records.

The colored maps used by the television networks on the night of November 8 presented a Bush victory which, although less convincing than Reagan's two landslides, nevertheless seemed impressive. A closer examination of the actual vote totals reveals a much different lesson: even in competition with the bumbling and craven Dukakis campaign, Bush remained a pitifully weak candidate who, despite overwhelming advantages of incumbency, money, organization, years of enemies' list operations, a free ride from the controlled media, and a pathetic opponent, just managed to eke out a hairsbreadth margin.

Bush had won 53% of the popular vote, but if just 535,000 voters in eleven states (or 600,000 voters in 9 states) had switched to Dukakis, the latter would have been the winner. The GOP had ruled the terrain west of the Mississippi for many moons, but Bush had managed to lose three Pacific states, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. Bush won megastates like Illinois and Pennsylvania by paper-thin margins of 51%, and the all-important California vote, which went to Bush by just 52%, had been too close for George's comfort. Missouri had also been a 52% close call for George. In the farm states, the devastation of GOP free enterprise caused both Iowa and Wisconsin to join Minnesota in the Democratic column. Chronically depressed West Virginia was having none of George. In the oil patch, the Democrats posted percentage gains even though Bush carried these states: in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana the Democratic presidential vote was up between 7 and 11 percent compared to the Mondale disaster of 1984. In the Midwest, Dukakis managed to carry four dozen counties that had not gone for a Democratic presidential contender since 1964. All in all half of Bush's electoral votes came from states in which he got less than 55.5% of the two-party vote, showing that there was no runaway Bush landslide.

Exit polls showed that less than half of Bush's voters were strongly committed to him, underlining the fact that Bush has never succeeded in winning the loyalty of any identifiable groups in the population, except the spooks and the bluebloods. At the time of the election, the official statistics of the Reagan regime were alleging a yearly consumer inflation rate of 5.2% and an unemployment figure of 4.1%. Exit polls that 53% of all voters through that the economy was getting better. As the economic depression worsens into 1992, all of those figures will belong to the good old days. A comparison of Bush's victory in the Iowa caucuses of 1980 with his wretched third-place finish there in 1988 is a good indicator of how utterly support for Bush can collapse as a result of a dramatic deterioration in economic conditions, given once again that Bush has no loyal base of political support.

The voter turnout hit a new postwar low, with just 49.1% of eligible voters showing up at the polls, significantly worse than the Truman-Dewey matchup of 1948, when just 51% had deemed it worthwhile to vote. This means that Bush expected to govern the country with the votes of just 26.8% of the eligible voters in his pocket. Bush had won a number of southern states by lop-sided margins of about 20%, but this was correlated in many cases with very low overall voter turnout, which dipped below 40% in Georgia and South Carolina. A big plus factor for George was the very low black voter turnout in the south, where a significant black vote had helped the Democrats retake control of the Senate in 1986. With Dukakis capturing 90% of the black vote, a bigger black turnout would have created some serious problems for George. Bush knows that victory in 1992 will depend on keeping the black turnout low, and this is part of the rationale behind his "wedge issue" nomination of the black rightist Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, which successfully split national black organizations in such a way that Bush hopes he will be able to ignore them in 1992.

More generally, it would appear that Bush would be very happy to keep across the board voter turnout at such depressed levels, since a larger vote could only threaten his results. Dukakis was able to attract only about half of the Reagan Democrats back to their traditional party, despite the preppy-blueblood aura of the Bush campaign, which these voters would normally have found highly offensive. The Bush cause is therefore well served by public scandals and media campaigns that tend to elicit widespread disgust with politics and government, since these increase the probability that citizens will stay home on election day, leaving George to dominate the field. It is no surprise that precisely such scandals, from Congressional pay raises and the Keating five to the Thomas nomination hearings have proliferated during the years of the Bush regime.

Among those Republicans who had succeeded in winning the White House in two-way races (excluding years like 1948 or 1968, when the totals were impacted by Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats, or by George Wallace), Bush's result was the weakest since fellow Skull and Bones alumnus William Howard Taft in 1908. [fn 51] These patterns might also indicate that the dominant role of the electoral votes of the former Confederate States of America within the Electoral College under the post-1968 Southern Strategy of the national Republican Party may be subjected to erosion in 1992, especially under the impact of the Bush economic depression.

It is also to be hoped that 1988 will prove in retrospect to have represented the high-water mark of hired gun media and campaign consultants in presidential elections. Atwater at one time boasted that his staff contained at least 28 media experts and political operatives who had worked in at least three previous presidential elections, many of which were also winning efforts for the GOP. These men were drawn from New York's Madison Avenue and from Washington's Connecticut Avenue "Power Alley," where many of the best-connected political consulting firms have their offices. It is clear that men like Atwater, Ailes, Spencer, Deaver and others have performed a function in the consolidation of a modern American leviathan state that is exactly analogous to the vital services rendered to the Third Reich by Propaganda Minister Dr. Josef Goebbels between 1933 and 1945. There is a crime of menticide which consists in the deliberate destruction of the cognitive powers of another human being, and the campaigns organized by these consultants have represented menticide on a mass scale. Further: if the international economic policies inflicted on the world by the Reagan-Bush and Bush regimes have exacted a yearly global death toll of upwards of 50 million needless deaths, primarily in the developing sector, it has been the image mongers and public relations men who have organized the US domestic electoral consensus that has permitted those genocidal policies to go forward. For all of these reasons, the media and campaign consultants are fascists. They are virulent fascists typical of the American totalitarian state of the late twentieth century, and this is true even if these consultants lack the bombastic trappings of the central European fascists of more than a half century ago.

Lee Atwater celebrated the Bush inauguration by playing his electric guitar at a rhythm and blues concert in which his gyrations bordered on the outright obscene. Although Lee Atwater had masterminded the most racist presidential campaign in modern history, he still had the gall during the spring of 1989 to be a candidate for a post on the Board of Trustees of Howard University, the historically black institution of higher learning in Washington, DC. Atwater was forced to abandon this outrageous candidacy by a mass mobilization of the Howard students.

Some months later, Atwater was found to be suffering from a malignant brain cancer. It is rumored around Washington that Atwater in his final days became a convert to Roman Catholicism and expressed repentance for many of the deeds he performed during his political career. It appears certain that he personally apologized to some of the candidates whom he had vilified during the course of various political campaigns. When Atwater died in April, 1991 at the age of 40, it was widely rumored in Washington that he had expressed the deepest remorse for having contributed to the creation of the Bush administration.

_______________

Notes:

1. Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Wake Us When It's Over: The Presidential Politics of 1984 (New York, 1985), p. 489.

2. Joseph Kraft, "The Real George Bush," Washington Post, October 18, 1984.

3. Wake Us When It's Over, p. 522.

4. George Will column, January 30, 1986, in Will, The Morning After, p. 254.

5. Philip Geylin, "Makings of a Success in Africa," Washington Post, December 10, 1982.

6. "Bush Makes Few Waves at Home, Creates Big Splash in Sandinavia," Washington Post, July 12, 1983.

7. "Bush Ends Trip to Subcontinent With US Ties Largely Unaltered," Washington Post, May 19, 1984.

8. "Globe-Spanning Mission Strengthens Bush for '88," Washington Post, March 24, 1985.

9. See Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pp. 72 and 254.

10. Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "Bush's Day at the Helm," Washington Post, January 27, 1988.

11. "Bush is Counseled to Look Sharp Tuesday," Washington Post, January 26, 1986.

12. Maxine Cheshire,"VIP," Washington Post, April 25, 1981.

13. Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "Bush Waits and Hopes for Reagan Nod," Washington Post, August 18, 1986.

14. "Reagan Won't Cite Issues Bush Affected," Washington Post, September 12, 1987.

15. Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Whose Borad Stripes and Bright Stars: The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency, 1988 (New York, 1989), p. 156.

16. "Bush Proves Successful in Ticklish Appearance." Washington Post, December 12, 1985.

17. "New Hampshire Chill," Washington Post, October 11, 1987.

18. Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, pp. 71-72 and 366.

19. Joe Conason, "Robert Mosbacher's Grand Scheme," Texas Observer, April 28, 1989.

20. Ibid., p. 12.

21. "County resources utilized by Eckels to boost the GOP," Houston Post, February 8, 1985.

22. Houston Chronicle, June 2, 1989.

23. Douglas Caddy, letter to FBI Director William Sessions, May 2, 1988.

24. Federal Election Commission Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 2, February, 1991, p. 11.

25. Washington Post, April 9, 1986.

26. Washington Post, April 14, 1986.

27. Washington Post, April 7, 1986.

28. See Thomas Burdick and Charlene Mitchell, Blue Thunder (New York, 1990), pp. 73, 167, and 290-293.

29. Blue Thunder, p. 167; Germond and Witcover, Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, p. 185, quote unnamed Hart campaign aides who "said later they were convinced" that Lynn Armandt had called journalist Tom Fiedler of the Miami Herald with a tip-off that Donna Rice was going to Washington to be an overnight guest of Gary Hart. But Fiedler denies that Armandt was the caller.

30. Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Wake Us When It's Over (New York, 1985), pp. 326-327.

31. For Bush in the 1988 campaign, see Germond and Witcover, Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars.

32. Washington Post, October 16, 1987.

33. "Robertson Links Bush to Swaggart Scandal," Washington Post, February 24, 1988.

34. "The Contra Country Campaign," Washington Post, March 6, 1988.

35. Germond and Witcover, Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, p. 161.

36. Washington Post, August 17, 1988.

37. Frank McNeil, War and Peace in Central America, p. 277.

38. Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, p. 385.

39. Eleanor Randolph, "Ghost of Dan Quayle's grandfather laid to rest," Dallas Times-Herald, August 23, 1988.

40. Alexander Cockburn, "Beat the Devil: Dan Quayle, Acid Freak?" The Nation, September 26, 1988, p. 226.

41. Joel Bleifuss, "In Short," In These Times, 16-22 November, 1988, p. 5, cited by Arthur Frederick Ide, Bush-Quayle: The Reagan Legacy (Irving, Texas: Scholars Books, 1989), pp. 55-56.

42.

43. Ide, Bush-Quayle, p. 14.

44. Ide, Bush-Quayle, p. 5.

45. Elinor J. Brecher, "Marilyn Quayle called 'prototype of the new-age political spouse," Louisville Courier-Journal, September 25, 1988.

46. "Burning Bush," The Nation, March 8, 1980, p. 261.

47. Washington Post, July 1, 1987.

48. Washington Post, June 26, 1987.

49. Eleanor Randolph, "Bush Rumor Created Dilemma for Media," Washington Post, October 22, 1988.

50. See Webster G. Tarpley, "Is Dukakis the New Senator Eagleton?", in Dukakis's Mental Health: An Objective Assessment," Executive Intelligence Review Reprint, August 15, 1988, p. 8.

51. See Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor, (New York, 1990), p. 215; Facts on File,, November 11, 1988; and Paul R. Abramson, John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde, Change and Continuity in the 1988 Elections (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1991).
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:49 am

PART 1 OF 3

Chapter XXIII -- The End of History

Der Staat ist als die Wirklichkeit des substantiellen Willens, die er in dem zu seiner Allgemeinheit erhobenen besonderen Selbstbewusstseyn hat, das an und fuer sich Vernuenftige. Diese substantielle Einheit ist absoluter unbewegter Selbstzweck, in welchem die Freiheit zu ihrem hoechsten Recht kommt, so wie dieser Endzweck das hoechste Recht gegen die Einzelnen hat, deren hoechste Pflicht es ist, Mitglieder des Staats zu seyn.

-- G.W.F. Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts.


George Bush's inaugural address of January 21, 1989, was on the whole an eminently colorless and forgettable oration. The speech was for the most part a rehash of the tired demagogy of Bush's election campaign, with the ritual references to "a thousand points of light" and the hollow pledge that when it came to the drug inundation which Bush had supposedly been fighting for most of the decade, "This scourge will stop." Bush talked of "stewardship" being passed on from one generation to another. There was almost nothing about the state of the US economy. Bush was preoccupied with the "divisiveness" left over from the Vietnam era, and this he pledged to end in favor of a return to bipartisan consensus between the president and the Congress, since "the statute of limitations has been reached. This is a fact: The final lesson of Vietnam is that no great nation can long afford to be sundered by a memory." There is good reason to believe that Bush was already contemplating the new round of foreign military adventures which were not long in coming.

One thing is certain: Bush's inaugural address contained no promise to keep the peace of the sort that had figured in his New Orleans acceptance speech back in August.

The characteristic note of Bush's remarks came at the outset, in the passages in which he celebrated the triumph of the American variant of the bureaucratic-authoritarian police state, based on usury, which chooses to characterize itself as "freedom:"

We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on Earth- through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state.

For the first time in this century, for the first time perhaps in all history, man does not have to invent a system by which to live. We don't have to talk late into the night about which form of government is better. We don't have to wrest justice from the kings. We only have to summon it from within ourselves. We must act on what we know. [fn 1]

After the inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol were completed, George and Barbara Bush descended Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House in a triumphant progress, getting out of their limousine every block or two to walk among the crowds and savor the ovations. George Bush, imperial administrator and bureaucrat, had now reached the apex of his career, the last station of the cursus honorum: the chief magistracy. Bush now assumed leadership of a Washington bureaucracy that was increasingly focused on itself and its own aspirations, convinced of its own omnipotence and infallibility, of its own manifest destiny to dominate the world. It was a heady moment, full of the stuff of megalomaniac delusion.

Imperial Washington was now aware of the increasing symptoms of collapse in the Soviet Empire. The feared adversary of four decades of the cold war was collapsing. Germany and Japan were formidable economic powers, but they were led by a generation of politicians who had been well schooled in the necessity of following Anglo-Saxon orders. France had abandoned her traditional Gaullist policy of independence and sovereignty, and had returned to the suivisme of the old Fourth Republic under Bush's freemasonic confrere Francois Mitterrand. Opposition to Washington's imperial designs might still come from leading states of the developing sector, from India, Brazil, Iraq and Malasia, but the imperial administrators, puffed up with their xenophobic contempt for the former colonials, were confident that these states could be easily defeated, and that the third world would meekly succumb to the installation of Anglo-American puppet regimes in the way that the Philippines and so many Latin American countries had during the 1980's.

Bush could also survey the home front with self-congratulatory complacency. He had won a Congressional election in his designer district in Houston, but in 1964 and 1970 majorities at the polls had proven mockingly elusive. Now, for just the second time in his life, he had solved the problem of winning a contested election, and this time it had been the big one. Bush had at one stroke fulfilled his greatest ambition and solved his most persistent problem, that of getting himself elected to public office. He had dealt successfully with the thorny issue of governance in the domestic sphere, foiling the jinx that had dogged all sitting vice presidents seeking to move up after Martin Van Buren's success in 1836.

Bush assembled a team of his fellow Malthusian bureaucrats and administrators from among those officials who had staffed Republican administrations going back to 1969, the year that Nixon chose Kissinger for the National Security Council. Persons like Scowcroft, Baker, Carla Hills, and Bush himself had, with few exceptions, been in or around the federal government and especially the executive branch for most of two decades, with only the brief hiatus of Jimmy Carter to let them fill their pockets in private sector influence peddling. Bush's cabinet and staff was convinced it boasted the most powerful battery of resumes, the the most consummate experience, the most impeccable credentials, of any management team in the history of the world. All the great issues of policy had been solved under Nixon, Ford, and Reagan; the geopolitical situation was being brought under control; all that remained was to consolidate and perfect the total administration of the world according to the policies and procedures already established, while delivering mass consensus through the same methods that had just proven unbeatable in the presidential campaign. The Bush team was convinced of its own inherent superiority to the Mandarin Chinese, the Roman and Byzantine, the Ottoman, the Austrian, the Prussian, the Soviet, and to all other bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes that had ever existed on the planet. Only the British East India Company was even in the same league, thought the theorists of usury on the Bush team. (Pride goeth ever before a fall. By late 1991, this same team had acquired the deserved reputation of a gaggle of maladroit buffoons.)

These triumphant bureaucrats and above all George Bush himself were not kindly disposed to old Ronald Reagan, in whose shadow they had labored for so long. How many of them had been consumed with rage when plum posts had been given to Reagan's fast-buck California parvenu cronies! How they had cursed Reagan for a sentimental pushover when he made concessions to Gorbachov! The bureaucrats would not join Reagan in slobbering over Gorbachov, at least not right away; they were there to drive a hard bargain, to make sure the Soviet empire collapsed. They had accepted Reagan as a useful facade, a harmless vaudeville act to keep the great unwashed masses amused while the bureaucrats carried out their machinations. But the bureaucrats had a savage temper, and they never appreciated the bumbling antics of any favorite uncles. If scripted Reagan had seemed a necessary evil as long as he appeared indispensable to procure election victories and mass consensus, how intolerable he seemed now that he had been proven unnecessary, now that imperial functionary George Bush had won election in his own right, without Reagan's bobbing histrionics!

Reagan-bashing became one of the ruling passions of the new patrician regime. This was a matter of Realpolitik that went beyond mere words: it was the demolition of any remaining Reaganite political machinery, lest it provide a springboard for a political challenge to the plutocracy of little Lord Fauntleroy. The campaign was so intense that it elicited a letter from Richard Nixon to John Sununu complaining of a newspaper account of White House aides speaking on background to depict Reagan as a dunce, much inferior to his successor. Nixon urged that "whoever was the source of this story should be fired as an example to others who might be tempted to play the same kind of game." Nixon denounced "anonymous staffers who believe that the way to build him [Bush] up is to tear Reagan down." Sununu hurriedly telephoned Tricky Dick to reassure him that he was also found the denigration of Reagan "absolutely intolerable," but the trashing of the old Reagan machine only accelerated. One assistant to Bush boasted that the new president was "in the business of governing," while poor old Reagan had been a prop for photo opportunities. [fn 2]

Of course, the imperial functionaries of the Bush team had chosen to ignore certain gross facts, most importantly the demonstrable bankruptcy and insolvency of their own leading institutions of finance, credit, and government. Their ability to command production and otherwise to act upon the material world was in sharp decline. How long would the American population remain in its state of stupefied passivity in the face of deteriorating standards of living that were now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last twenty years? And now, the speculative orgy of the 1980's would have to be paid for. Even their advantage over the crumbling Soviet Empire was ultimately only a marginal, relative, and temporary one, due primarily to a faster rate of collapse on the Soviet side; but the day of reckoning for the Anglo-Americans was coming, too.

This was the triumphalism that pervaded the opening weeks of the Bush administration. Bush gave more press conferences during the transition period than Reagan had given during most of his second term; he reveled in the accoutrements of his new office, and gave the White House press corps all the photo opportunities and interviews they wanted to butter them up and get them in his pocket.

These fatuous delusions of grandeur were duly projected upon the plane of the philosophy of history by an official of the Bush Administration, Francis Fukuyama, the Deputy Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, the old haunt of Harrimanites like Paul Nitze and George Kennan. In the winter of 1989, during Bush's first hundred days in office, Fukuyama delivered a lecture to the Olin Foundation which was later published in The National Interest quarterly under the title of "The End of History?" Imperial administrator Fukuyama had studied under the reactionary elitist Allan Bloom, and was conversant with the French neo-enlightenment semiotic (or semi-idiotic) school of Derrida, Foucault, and Roland Barthes, whose zero degree of writing Fukuyama may have been striving to attain. Above all, Fukayama was a follower of Hegel in the interpretation of the French postwar neo-Hegelian Alexandre Kojeve.

Fukuyama qualifies as the official ideologue of the Bush regime. His starting point is the "unabashed victory of economic and social liberalism," meaning by that the economic and political system reaching its maturity under Bush-- what the State Department usually calls "democracy." "The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism," Fukuyama wrote. "The triumph of the Western political idea is complete. Its rivals have been routed....Political theory, at least the part concerned with defining the good polity, is finished," Fukuyama opined. "The Western idea of governance has prevailed." "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." According to Fukayama, communism as an alternative system had bee thoroughly discredited in the USSR, China, and the other communist countries. Since there are no other visible models contending for the right to shape the future, he concludes that the modern American state is the "final, rational form of society and state." There are of course large areas of the world where governments and forms of society prevail which diverge radically from Fukuyama's western model, but he answers this objection by explaining that backward, still historic parts of the world exist and will continue to exist for some time. It is just that they will never be able to present their forms of society as a credible model or alternative to "liberalism." Since Fukuyama presumably knew something of what was in the Bush administration pipeline, he carefully kept the door open for new wars and military conflicts, especially among historic states, or between historic and post-historic powers. Both Panama and Iraq would, according to Fukayama's typology, fall into the "historic" category.

Thus, in the view of the early Bush administration, the planet would come to be dominated more and more by the "universal homogenous state," a mixture of "liberal democracy in the political sphere combined with easy access to VCRs and stereos in the economic." The arid banality of that definition is matched by Fukuyama's dazzled tribute to "the spectacular abundance of advanced liberal economies and the infinitely diverse consumer culture." Fukuyama, it turns out, is a resident of the privileged enclave for imperial functionaries that is northeast Virginia, and so has little understanding of the scope of US domestic poverty and immiseration: "This is not to say that there are not rich people and poor people in the United States, or that the gap between them has not grown in recent years. But the root causes of economic inequality have less to do with the underlying legal and social structures of our society, which remain fundamentally egalitarian and moderately redistributionist, as with the cultural and social characteristics of the groups that make it up, which are in turn the historical legacy of pre-modern conditions. Thus black poverty in the United States, for example, is not the inherent product of liberalism, but is rather the 'legacy of slavery and racism' which persisted long after the formal abolition of slavery." For Fukuyama, writing at a moment when American class divisions were more pronounced that at any time in human memory, "the egalitarianism of modern America represents the essential achievement of the classless society envisioned by Marx." As a purveyor of official doctrine for the Bush regime, Fukuyama is bound to ignore twenty years of increasing poverty and declining standards of living for all Americans which has caused an even greater retrogression for the black population; there is no way that this can be chalked up to the heritage of slavery.

It is not far from the End of History to Bush's later slogans of the New World Order and the imperial Pax Universalis. It is ironic but lawful that Bush should have chosen a neo-Hegelian as apologist for his regime. Hegel was the arch-obscurantist, philosophical dictator, and saboteur of the natural sciences; he was the ideologue of Metternich's Holy Alliance system of police states in the post-1815 oligarchic restoration in Europe imposed by the Congress of Vienna. When we mention Metternich we have at once brought Bush's old patron Kissinger into play, since Metternich is well known as his ego ideal. Hegel deified the bureaucratic-authoritarian state machinery of which he was a part as the final embodiment of rationality in human affairs, beyond which it was impossible to go. Hegel told intellectuals to be reconciled with the world they found around them, and pronounced philosophy incapable of producing ideas for the reform of the world. As Hegel put it in the famous preface to the Philosophy of Right: "Wenn die Philosophie ihr Grau in Grau mahlt, dann ist eine Gestalt des Lebens alt geworden, und mit Grau in Grau laesst sie sich nicht verjuengen, sondern nur erkennen; die Eule der Minerva beginnt erst mit der einbrechenden Daemmerung ihren Flug." References to Hegel's owl of Minerva have been a staple of Washington cocktail-party chatter during the Bush years. As Fukuyama put it: "The end of history will be a very sad time....There will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history....Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started over again." [fn 3]

The Bush regime thus took shape as a bureaucratic-authoritarian stewardship of the financial interests of Wall Street and the City of London. Many saw in the Bush team the patrician financiers of the Rockefeller Administration that never was. The groups in society were to be served were so narrowly restricted that the Bush administration often looked like a government that had totally separated itself from the underlying society and had constituted itself to govern in the interests of the bureaucracy itself. Since Bush was irrevocably committed to carrying forward the policies that had been consolidated and institutionalized during the previous eight years, the regime became more and more rigid and inflexible. Active opposition, or even the dislocations occasioned by administration policies were therefore dealt with by the repressive means of the police state. The Bush regime could not govern, but it could indict, and the Discrediting Committee was always ready to vilify. Some observers spoke of a new form of bonapartism sui generis, but the most accurate description for the Bush combination was the "administrative fascism" coined by political prisoner Lyndon LaRouche, who was thrown in jail just seven days after the Bush inauguration.

Bush's cabinet reflected several sets of optimizing criteria.

The best way to attain a top cabinet post was to belong to a family that had been allied with the Bush-Walker clan over a period of at least half a century, and to have served as a functionary or fund-raiser for the Bush campaign. This applied to Secretary of State James Baker III, Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady, Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, and Bush's White House counsel and top political adviser, C. Boyden Gray.

A second royal road to high office was to have been an officer of Kissinger Associates, the international consulting firm set up by Bush's lifelong patron, Henry Kissinger. In this category we find Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the former chief of the Kiss Ass Washington office, and Lawrence Eagleburger, the dissipated wreck who was named to the number two post in the State Department, Undersecretary of State. Eagleburger had been the president of Kissinger Associates. The ambassadorial (or proconsul) list was also rife with Kissingerian pedigrees: a prominent one was John Negroponte, Bush's ambassador to Mexico.

Overlapping with this last group were the veterans of the 1974-77 Ford Administration, one of the most freemasonic in recent US history. National Security Council Director Brent Scowcroft, for example, was simply returning to the job that he had held under Ford as Kissinger's alter ego inside the White House. Dick Cheney, who eventually became Secretary of Defense, had been Ford's White House chief of staff. Cheney had been Executive Assistant to the Director of Nixon's Office of Economic Opportunity way back in 1969. In 1971 he had joined Nixon's White House staff as Don Rumsfeld's deputy. From 1971 to 1973, Cheney was at the Cost of Living Council, working as an enforcer for the infamous Phase II wage freeze in Nixon's "Economic Stabilization Program." The charming Carla Hills, who became Bush's Trade Representative, had been Ford's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. William Seidman and James Baker (and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, a Reagan holdover who was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers) had also been in the picture under Jerry Ford.

Bush also extended largesse to those who had assisted him in the election campaign just concluded. At the top of this list was Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire, who would have qualified as the modern Nostradamus for his exact prediction of Bush's 9% margin of victory over Dole in the New Hampshire primary --unless he had helped to arrange it with vote fraud.

Another way to carry off a top plum in the Bush regime was to have participated in the coverup of the Iran-contra scandal. The leading role in that coverup had been assumed by Reagan's own blue ribbon commission of notables, the Tower Board, which carried out the White House's own in-house review of what had allegedly gone wrong, and had scapegoated Don Regan for a series of misdeeds that actually belonged at the doorstep of George Bush. The members of that board were former GOP Senator John Tower of Texas, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and former Sen. Edmund Muskie, who had been Secretary of State for Carter after the resignation of Cyrus Vance. Scowcroft, who shows up under many headings, was ensconced at the NSC. Bush's original candidate for Secretary of Defense was John Tower, who had been the point man of the 1986-87 coverup of Iran-contra during the months before the Congressional investigating committees formally got into the act. Tower's nomination was rejected by the Senate after he was accused of being drunken and promiscuous by Paul Weyrich, a Buckleyite activist, and others. Some observers thought that the Tower nomination had been deliberately torpedoed by Bush's own discrediting committee so as to avoid the presence of a top cabinet officer with the ability to blackmail Bush by threatening to bring him down at any time. Perhaps Tower had overplayed his hand. In any case, Dick Cheney, a Wyoming Congressman with strong intelligence community connections, was speedily nominated and confirmed after Tower had been shot down, prompting speculation that Cheney was the one Bush had really wanted all the time.

Another Iran-contra veteran in line to get a reward was Bush's former national security adviser, Don Gregg, who had served Bush since at least the time of the 1976 Koreagate scandal. Gregg, as we have seen, was more than willing to commit the most maladroit and blatant perjury in order to save his boss from the wolves. The pathetic drama of Gregg's senate confirmation hearings, which marked a true degradation for that body, has already been recounted. Later, when William Webster retired as Director of the CIA, there were persistent rumors that the hyperthyroid Bush had originally demanded that Don Gregg be nominated to take his place. According to these reports, it required all the energy of Bush's handlers to convince the president that Gregg was too dirty to pass confirmation; Bush relented, but then announced to his dismayed and exhausted staff that his second and non-negotiable choice for Langley was Robert Gates, the former CIA deputy director who had been working as Scowcroft's number two at the National Security Council. The problem was that Gates, who had already dropped out of an earlier confirmation battle for the CIA director's post, was about as thoroughly compromised as Don Gregg. But at that point, Bush's could not be budged a second time, so the name of Gates was sent to the senate, bringing the entire Iran-contra complex into full public view once again. As it turned out, the Bush Democrats in the Senate proved more than willing to approve Gates.

Still on the Iran-contra list was Gen. Colin Powell, whom Bush appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After Vice Admiral John Poindexter and Oliver North had departed from the Old Executive Office Building in November, 1986, Reagan had appointed Frank Carlucci to lead the NSC. Carlucci had brought along Gen. Powell. With Colin Powell as his deputy, Carlucci cleaned up the stables of Augeias of the OEOB-NSC complex in such a way as to minimize damage to Bush. Powell was otherwise a protege of the very Anglophile Caspar Weinberger, and of Carlucci, a man with strong links to Operation Democracy and to the Sears, Roebuck interests.

The State Department, too, had its Iran-contra coverup brigade. First came Thomas R. Pickering, chosen by Bush to take over his old post as US Ambassador to the United Nations, a job with cabinet rank. When Pickering was US Ambassador to El Salvador during the 1984-85 period, he helped arrange shipment of more than $1 million of military equipment to the contras, all during a time when this was forbidden by US law, according to his own testimony before the Congressional Iran-contra investigating committees. Pickering did not report any of his doings to the State Department, but instead kept in close touch with Don Gregg, Felix Rodriguez, and Oliver North of Bush's retinue. Pickering, when he was ambassador to Israel in 1985-86, was also in on Israeli third-country arms shipments to Iran that were supposed to secure the release of certain hostages held in nearby Lebanon. [fn 4] This vulgar, gun-running filibusterer is now the arrogant spokesman for Bush's New World Order among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, where he dispenses imperial threats and platitudes.

Still on the Iran-contra coverup honors list we find Reginald Bartholomew, Bush's choice as Undersecretary of State for security affairs, science, and technology. Bartholomew was US Ambassador in Beirut in September-November 1985, when an Israeli shipment of 508 US-made TOW antitank missiles was followed by the release of Rev. Benjamin Weir, an American hostage held by the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad. According to the testimony of then Secretary of State George Shultz to the Tower Board, Bartholomew was working closely with Oliver North on a scheme to use Delta Force commandoes to free any hostages not spontaneously released by Islamic Jihad. According to Shultz, Bartholomew told him on September 4, 1985 that "North was handling an operation that would lead to the release of all seven hostages." [fn 5]

Other choice appointments went to long-time members of the Bush network. These included Manuel Lujan, who was tapped for the Department of the Interior, and former Rep. Ed Derwinski, who was given the Veterans' Administration, shortly to be upgraded to a cabinet post. A prominent figure of Bush's first year in office was William Reilly, tapped to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the green police of the regime. Reilly had been closely associated with the oligarchical financier Russell Train at the US branch of Prince Phillip's World Wildlife Fund and the Conservation Foundation.

So many top cabinet posts were thus assigned on the basis of direct personal services rendered to George Bush that the collegial principle of any oligarchic system would appear to have been neglected. There were relatively few key posts left over for distribution to political-financial factions who might reasonably expect to be brought on board by being given a seat at the cabinet table. Richard Thornburgh, a creature of the Mellon interests who had been given his job under Reagan, was allowed to stay on, but this led to a constant guerilla war between Thornburgh and Baker with the obvious issue being the 1996 succession to Bush. Clayton Yeutter went to the Department of Agriculture because that was what the international grain cartel wanted. The choice of Jack Kemp, a 1988 presidential candidate with a loyal conservative-populist base, for Housing and Urban Development appeared inspired more by Bush's desire to prevent a challenge from emerging on his right in the GOP primaries of 1992 than by the need to cater to an identifiable financier faction. The tapping of Reagan's Secretary of Education, William Bennett, a leading right wing ideologue and possible presidential prospect, to be Drug Czar, is a further example of the same thinking. The selection of Elizabeth Hanford Dole to be Secretary of Labor was dictated by similar intra-GOP considerations, namely the need to placate the angry Republican Minority Leader, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, a darling of Dwayne Andreas of Archer-Daniels-Midland and the rest of the grain cartel.

Later reshuffling of the Bush cabinet has conformed to the needs of getting an intrinsically weak candidate re-elected, especially by accentuating the southern strategy: when Lauro Cavazo left the Department of Education, he was replaced by former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. When Bennett had to be replaced as drug czar, the nod went to another Republican former southern governor, Bob Martinez of Florida. All of this was to build the southern base for 1992. When Thornburgh quit as Attorney General to run for the senate in Pennsylvania in the vain hope of positioning himself for 1996, Bush tapped Thornburgh's former number two at Justice, William P. Barr, who had been a CIA officer when Bush was CIA director in 1976, for this key police-state post.

But all in all, this cabinet was very much an immediate reflection of the personal network and interests of George Bush, and not representative of the principal financier factions who control the United States. We see here once more the very strong sense of national government as personal property for private exploitation which was evident in Bush's oil price ploy of 1986, and which will soon characterize his choreography of the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. This approach to cabinet appointments could give rise to a surprising weakness on the part of the Bush regime, should the principal financier factions become disaffected in the wake of the banking and currency panic towards which Bush's policies are steering the country.

Bush's shameless exploitation of political appointments and plum jobs for blatant personal advantage became a national scandal when he began to assign certain ambassadorial posts. It became clear that these jobs of representing the United States abroad had been virtually sold at auction, with the most flagrant disregard for qualifications and ability, in return for cash contributions to the Bush campaign and the coffers of the Republican Party. These appointments were carried out with Bush's approval by a transition team of GOP pollster Bob Teeter, Bush's campaign aide Craig Fuller, who had lost out on his bid to be White House chief of staff, campaign press secretary Sheila Tate, and long-time Bush staffer Chase Untermeyer. Calvin Howard Wilkins Jr., who had given over $178,000 to the GOP over a number of years, including $92,000 to the Kansas Republican National State Election Committee on September 6, 1988, became the new ambassador to the Netherlands. Penne Percy Korth was Bush's selection for ambassador to Mauritius; Ms. Korth was a crack GOP fundraiser. Della M. Newman, tapped for New Zealand, had been Bush's campaign chairman in Washington state. Joy Silverman, Bush's choice for Barbados, had contributed $180,000. Joseph B. Gilderhorn, destined for Switzerland, had coughed up $200,000. Fred Bush, allegedly not a relative but certainly a former aide and leading fundraiser, was the new president's original pick for Luxemburg. Joseph Zappala, who gave $100,000, was put up for the Madrid embassy. Melvin Sembler, another member of Team 100, was tapped for Australia. Fred Zeder, a Bush crony who had already been the ambassador to Micronesia, was nominated for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, despite a congressional probe of alleged corruption [fn 6]

As with any group of rapacious oligarchs, the Bush cabinet was prone to outbreaks of intestine factional warfare among various contending cliques. During the first days of the new administration, Bush's White House counsel Boy Gray was hit by reports that, despite his high government positions over the recent years, he had retained a lucrative post as chairman of the board of his family's communications company, raising the clear problems of conflicts of interest. Gray thereupon quit his chairman's post and, following Bush's own example, put his stock into a blind trust. Gray then lashed out against Baker by leaking the fact that Baker, during all his years as White House chief of staff and Secretary of the Treasury, had kept extensive holdings of Chemical Banking Corp., a lending institution that had a direct interest in Baker's handling of debt negotiations with third world debtor countries within the framework of the infamous and failed "Baker Plan" for international debt-service maintenance. Boy Gray also retaliated against Baker by questioning the constitutionality of a deal negotiated by Baker with the Congress for aid to the Nicaraguan contras, a deal which Newsweek classified as "Bush's only foreign-policy success" during his first two months in office. [fn 7] Bush had attempted to burnish his image by promising that his new regime would break with the sleazy Reagan years by promoting new high standards of ethical behavior in which even the perception of corruption and conflict of interest would be avoided. These hollow pledges were promptly deflated by the reality of more graft and more hypocrisy than under Reagan.

Bush's first hundred days in office fulfilled Fukuyama's prophecy that the End of History would be "a very sad time." If '"post-history" meant that very little was accomplished, Bush filled the bill. Three weeks after his inauguration, Bush addressed a joint session of the Congress on certain changes that he had proposed in Reagan's last budget. The litany was hollow and predictable: Bush wanted to be the Education President, but was willing to spend less than a billion dollars of new money in order to do it. He froze the US military budget, and announced a review of the previous policy towards the Soviet Union. This last point meant that Bush wanted to wait to see how fast the Soviets would in fact collapse before he would even discuss trade normalization, which had been the perspective held out to Moscow by Reagan and others. Bush said he wanted to join with Drug Czar Bennett in "leading the charge" in the war on drugs.

Bush also wanted to be the Environmental President. This was a far more serious aspiration. Shortly after the election, Bush had attended the gala centennial awards dinner of the very oligarchical National Geographic Society, for many years a personal fiefdom of the feudal-minded Grosvenor family. Bush promised the audience that night that there was "one issue my administration is going to address, and I'm talking about the environment." Bush confided that he had been coordinating his plans with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and that he had agreed with her on the necessity for "international cooperation" on green issues. "We will support you," intoned Gilbert Grosvenor, a fellow Yale alumnus "...Planet Earth is at risk." Among those present during that gala evening was Sir Edmund Hillary, who had planted the Union Jack at the summit of Mount Everest. [fn 8]

In order to be the Environmental President, Bush was willing to propose a disastrous Clean Air Act that would drain the economy of hundreds of billions of dollars over time in the name of fighting acid rain. Bush's first hundred days coincided with the notable phenomenon of the "greening" of Margaret Thatcher, who had previously denounced environmentalists as "the enemy within," and fellow travelers of the British Labor Party and the loonie left. Thatcher's resident ideologue, Nicholas Ridley, had referred to the green movement in Britian as "pseudo-Marxists." But in the early months of 1989, allegedly under the guidance of Sir Crispin Tickell, the British Ambassador to the United Nations, Thatcher embraced the orthodoxy that the erosion of the ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, and acid rain --every one of them a pseudo-scientific hoax--were indeed at the top of the list of the urgent problems of the human species. Thatcher's acceptance of the green orthodoxy permitted the swift establishment of a total environmentalist-Malthusian consensus in the European Community, the Group of 7, and other key international forums.

Characteristically, Bush followed Thatcher's lead, as he would on so many other issues. During the hundred days, Bush called for the elimination of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century, thus accepting the position assumed by the European Community as a result of Mrs. Thatcher's turning green. Bush told the National Academy of Sciences that new "scientific advancements" had permitted the identification of a serious threat to the ozone layer; Bush stressed the need to "reduce CFCs that deplete our precious upper atmospheric resources." A treaty had been signed in Montreal in 1987 that called for cutting the production of CFCs by one half within a ten-year period. "But recent studies indicate that this 50 percent reduction may not be enough," Bush now opined. Senator Al Gore of Tennessee was calling for complete elimination of CFCs within five years. Here a pattern emerged that was to be repeated frequently during the Bush years: Bush would make sweeping concessions to the environmentalist Luddites, but would then be denounced by them for measures that were insufficiently radical. This would be the case when Bush's Clean Air Bill was going through the Congress during the summer of 1990.

After Bush's appearance before the Congress with his revised budget, the new regime exploited the honeymoon to seal a sweetheart contract with the rubber-stamp Congressional Democrats, who under no circumstances could be confused with an opposition. The de facto one party state was alive and well, personified by milquetoast Senator George Mitchell of Maine, the Democrats' Majority Leader. The collusion between Bush and the Democratic leadership involved new sleight of hand in order to meet the deficit targets stipulated by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law. This involved mobilizing more than $100 billion from surpluses in the Social Security, highway, and other special trust funds which had not previously been counted. The Democrats also went along with a $28 billion package of asset sales, financing tricks, and unspecified new revenues. They also bought Bush's rosy economic forecast of higher economic growth and lower interest rates. Senate Majority Leader Mitchell, accepting his pathetic rubber-stamp role, commented only that "much sterner measures will be required in the future." Since the Democrats were incapable of proposing an economic recovery program in order to deal with the depression, they were condemned to give Bush what he wanted. This particular swindle would come back to haunt all concerned, but not before the spectacular budget debacle of October, 1990.

In the spring of 1990, according to an estimate by Sid Taylor of the National Taxpayers' Union, the total potential liabilities of the US Federal government exceeded $14 thousand billion. At that point the national debt totaled $2.8 billion, but this estimate included the commitments of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and other agencies.

Bush's inability to pull his regime together for a serious round of domestic austerity was not appreciated by the crowd at the Bank for International Settlements in Geneva. Evelyn Rothschild's London Economist summed up the international banking view of George's temporizing on this score with its headline, "Bush Bumbles."

A few weeks into the new administration, it was the collapse of the FSLIC, studiously ignored by the waning Reagan Administration, that reached critical mass. On February 6, 1989, Bush announced measures that his image-mongers billed as the most sweeping and significant piece of financial legislation since the creation of the Federal Reserve Board on the eve of World War I. This was the savings and loan bailout, a new orgy in the monetization of debt and a giant step towards the consolidation of a neo-fascist corporate state.

At the heart of Bush's policy was his refusal to acknowledge the existence of an economic crisis of colossal proportions which had among its symptoms the gathering collapse of the real estate market after the stock market crash of October, 1987. The sequence of a stock market panic followed by a real estate and banking crisis closely followed the sequence of the Great Depression of the 1930's. But Bush violently rejected the existence of such a crisis, and was grimly determined to push on with more of the same. This meant that federal government would simply take control of the savings banks, the overwhelming majority of which were bankrupt or imminently bankrupt. The savings banks would then be sold off. The depositors might get their money, but the result would be the total debasement of the currency and a deepening depression all around. In the process, the US federal government would become one of the main owners of real estate, buildings, and the worthless junk bonds that had been spewed out by Bush's friend Henry Kravis and his partner Michael Millken during the heady days of the boom.

The federal government would create a new world of bonded debt to pay for the savings banks that would be seized. When Bush announced his bailout that February, he stated that $40 billion had already been poured into the S&L sinkhole, and that he proposed to issue an additional $50 billion in new bonds through a financing corporation, a subsidiary of the new Resolution Trust Corporation. By August, 1989, when Bush's legislation had been passed, the estimated cost of the S&L bailout had increased to $164 billion over a period of ten years, with $20 billion of that scheduled to be spent by the end of September, 1989.

Within a few months, Bush was forced to increase his estimates once again. "It's a whale of a mess, and we'll see where we go," Bush told a group of newspaper editorial writers at the White House in mid-December. "We've had this one refinancing. I am told that that might not be enough." By this time, academic experts were suggesting that the bailout might exceed the administration's $164 billion by as much as $100 billion more. Every new estimate was swiftly overtaken by the ghastly spectacle of a real estate market in free fall, with no bottom in sight. The growing public awareness of this situation, compounded by the ongoing bankruptcy of the commercial banking system as well, would lead in July, 1990 to a very ugly public relations crisis for the Bush regime around the role of the president's son (and Scott Hinckley's old friend) Neil Bush in the insolvency of the Silverado Savings and Loan of Denver, Colorado. As we will see, one of the obvious reasons for Bush's enthusiastic choice of war in the Persian Gulf was the need to get Neil Bush off the front page. But even the Gulf war bought no respite in the collapse of the real estate markets and the chain-reaction bankruptcies of the savings banks: by the summer of 1991, federal regulators were seizing S&Ls at the rate of just under one every business day, and the estimates of the total price tag of the bailout had skyrocketed to over $500 billion, with every certainty that this figure would also be surpassed. [fn 9]

The carnage among the S&Ls did not prevent Bush from seeking an increase in the US contribution to the International Monetary Fund, the main agency of a world austerity that claims upwards of 50 million human lives each year as the needless victims of its Malthusian conditionalities. The members of the IMF had been debating an increase in the funds each member must pay into the IMF (which has been bankrupt for years as a matter of reality), with Managing Director Michel Camdessus proposing a 100% increase, and Britain and Saudi Arabia arguing for a much smaller 25% hike. Bush attempted to mediate and resolve the dispute with a proposal for a 35% increase, equal to an $8 billion additional payment by the US. This sum was equal to more than three times the yearly expenditure for the highly successful, but tragically underfunded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program of the US Department of Agriculture, which attempted to provide a high-protein and balanced food supplement to mothers and their offspring. WIC underwent savage cuts during the first year of the Bush regime, causing many needy women who sought its benefits to be turned away and denied even such modest quantities of surplus cheese, powdered milk, and orange juice as the program provides. [fn 10]

As the depression deepened, Bush had only one idea: to reduce the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 15%. This was a proposal for a direct public subsidy to the vulture legions of Kravis, Liedtke, Pickens, Milken, Brady, Mosbacher, and the rest of Bush's apostles of greed. The Bushmen estimated that a capital gains tax reduction in this magnitude would cost the Treasury some $25 billion in lost receipts over 6 years, a crass underestimate. These funds, argued the Bushmen, would then be invested high-tech plant and equipment, creating new jobs and new production. In reality, the funds would have flowed into bigger and better leveraged buyouts, which were still being attempted after the crash of the junk bond market with the failure of the United Airlines buyout in October, 1989. But Bush had no serious interest in, or even awareness of, commodity production. His policies had now brought the country to a brink of a financial panic in which 75% of the current prices of all stocks, bonds, debentures, mortgages, and other financial paper would be wiped out.

Not quite halfway through his dismal first hundred days, Bush was moved to defend himself against charges that he was presiding over a debacle. On day 45 of the new regime, Bush told reporters that he had talked on the phone to a certain Robert W. Blake, an oilman of Lubbock, Texas, the city which Neil Bush and John Hinckley had called home for a while in the late 1970's. Blake had allegedly told Bush that "all the people in Lubbock think things are going great." Armed with this testimonial, Bush defended his handling of the presidency: "It's not adrift and there isn't malaise," he said, answering columnists who had suggested that the country had fallen through a time warp back to the days of Jimmy Carter. "So I would simply resist the clamor that nothing seems to be bubbling around, that nothing is happening. A lot is happening. Not all of it good, but a lot is happening." Bush described his oilman friend Blake as "a very objective spokesman," and stated this his personal rule was "never get all too uptight about stuff that hasn't reached Lubbock yet." [fn 11]

If there was a constant note in Bush's first year in office, it was a callously flaunted contempt for the misery of the American people. During the spring of 1989, the Congress passed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage in interstate commerce from $3.55 per hour to $4.55 per hour by a series of increments over three years. This legislation would even have permitted a sub-minimum wage that could be paid to certain newly hired workers over a 60-day training period. Bush vetoed this measure because the $4.55 minimum wage was 30 cents an hour higher than he wanted, and because he demanded a sub-minimum wage for all new employees for the first six months on the job, regardless of their previous experience or training. On June 14, 1989, the House of Representatives failed to override this veto, by a margin of 37 votes. (Later, Bush signed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $4.25 per hour over two years, with a sub-minimum training wage applicable only to teenagers and only during the first 90 days of the teenagers' employment, with the possibility of a second 90-day training wage stint if they moved on to a different employer.) [fn 12]

This was the same George Bush who had proposed $164 billion for bankrupt S&Ls, and $8 billion for the International Monetary Fund, all without batting an eye.

Before Christmas, 1988, and during other holiday periods, Bush customarily joined his billionaire crony William Stamps Farrish III at his Lazy F Ranch near Beeville, Texas, for the two men's traditional holiday quail hunt. This was the same William Stamps Farrish III whose grandfather, the president of Standard Oil of New Jersey, had financed Heinrich Himmler. William Stamps Farrish III's investment bank in Houston, W.S. Farrish & Co. had at one time managed the personal blind trust into which Bush had placed his personal investment portfolio. Farrish was rich enough to vaunt five addresses: Beeville, Texas; Lane's End Farm in the Versailles, Kentucky bluegrass; Florida, and two others. Farrish's hobby for the past several decades had been the creation of his own top-flight farm for the raising of thoroughbred horses. This was the 3,000 acre Lazy F Ranch, with its ten horse barns, four sumptuous residences, 100 employees, and other improvements. Over the years, Farrish has saddled winners in the 1972 Preakness and the 1987 Belmont Stakes, and bred 80 stakes winners over the past decade. Farrish, who is married to Sarah Sharp, the daughter of a Du Pont heiress, had worked with Bush as an aide during the 1964 senate campaign.

Farrish was rich enough to extend his largesse even to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, probably the richest individual in the world. The Queen has visited Farrish's horse farm at least four times over the past few years, traveling by Royal Air Force jetliner to the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, accompanied by mares which Her Majesty wishes to breed with Farrish's million-dollar prize stallions. Farrish magnanimously waives the usual stud fees for the Queen, resulting in an estimated savings to Her Majesty of some $800,000. Farrish's social circle is rounded out by such plutocrats as Clarence Scharbauer, a fellow member of the horsey set who also happens to own the bank, the hotel, the radio station, oil wells, and an estimated one half of the city of Midland, Texas, the old Bush bastion in the Permian Basin.

Farrish has been described as the Bush regime's counterpart to Bebe Rebozo, Richard Nixon's sleazy crony. According to Bush, when he is watching movies, hunting, and playing tennis with his old friend Farrish, "we talk about issues. He's very up on things, but it's a comfortable thing, not probing beyond what I want to say." Michael York of the Washington Post wrote that "Farish says he'll always be one of Bush's biggest boosters, and he's ready at a moment's notice to make the resume argument in favor of Bush's being the best-prepared man ever to become president. It's also clear that Bush regularly asks Farish's advice on the budget, domestic policy, and politics." With a cabal of friends and advisers like William Stamps Farish III and Henry Kravis, we begin to comprehend the wellsprings of Bush's policies of parasitical looting of infrastructure and the work force. [fn 13]

For George Bush, the exercise of power has always been inseparable from the use of smear, scandal, and the final sanctions of police-state methods against political rivals and other branches of government. A classic example was the Koreagate scandal of 1976, unleashed with the help of Bush's long-time retainer, Don Gregg. It will be recalled that Koreagate included the toppling of Democratic Speaker of the House Carl Albert of Oklahoma, who quietly retired from the House at the end of 1976. That was in the year when Bush had returned from Beijing to Langley. Was it merely coincidence that in the first year of Bush's tenure in the White House not just the Democratic Speaker of the House, but also the House Majority Whip, were driven from office?

The campaign against Speaker of the House Jim Wright was spearheaded by Georgia Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich, a typical "wedge issue" ideologue of the GOP's Southern Strategy. During 1987-88, Gingrich had been bad-mouthing Wright as the "Mussolini of the House." Gingrich's campaign against Wright could never have succeeded without systematic support from the news media, who regularly trumpeted his charges and lent him a wholly undeserved importance. Gingrich's pretext was a story about the financing of a small book in which Wright had collected some of his old speeches, which Gingrich claimed had been sold to lobbyists in such a way as to constitute an unreported gift in violation of the House rules. One of Gingrich's first steps when he launched the assault on Wright during 1988 was to send letters to Bush and to Assistant Attorney General William Weld, whose family investment bank, White Weld, had purchased Uncle Herbie Walker's G.H. Walker & Co. brokerage when Bush's favorite uncle was ready to retire. Gingrich wrote: "May I suggest, the next time the news media asks about corruption in the White House, you ask them about corruption in the Speaker's office." A similar letter went out from the "Conservative Campaign Fund" to all GOP House candidates with the message: "We write to encourage you to make...House Speaker Jim Wright a major issue in your campaign." Bush placed himself in the vanguard of this campaign.

When Bush, in the midst of his presidential campaign, was asked by reporters about the investigation of Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese (no friend of Bush) concerning his dealings with the Wedtech Corporation, he replied: "You talk about Ed Meese. How about talking about what Common Cause raised against the Speaker the other day? Are they going to go for an independent counsel so the nation will have this full investigation? Why don't people call out for that? I will right now. I think they ought to." [fn 14] Reagan followed Bush's lead in calling for Wright to be investigated.

According to published accounts, Wright was deeply offended by Bush's role in the assault that was being organized against him, since the two shared the background of being Texas Congressmen and had often had dealings together. At a dinner held by Italian Ambassador Rinaldo Petrignani, Wright went out of his way to avoid meeting Bush, and had his wife feign illness as an excuse to leave very early. Bush in those days frequented the House gymnasium to play racketball with his old crony, Mississippi Democrat Sonny Montgomery. Bush attended the annual dinner of the House gymnasium and here crossed paths with Wright.

Wright told Bush: "George, I'm not feeling kindly toward you. You took a cheap shot at me. And I had just been defending you." Bush flew into a rage: "When did you defend me? You damn well didn't defend me at your convention." "Well, George, you don't have any complaint about what I said," was Wright's rejoinder. "You don't find me attacking your integrity or your honor." "You and I just see it differently," said Bush as he stalked off in a rage. [fn 15]

Later, Wright turned to Sonny Montgomery to use his good offices to resolve the dispute with Bush. Wright called Bush and offered the olive branch. "George, if you're President and I'm Speaker, we've got to work together." "Jim, I'm very glad you called. I did not mean to be personally offensive." By this point the reader knows the real Bush well enough to give that assurance its proper weight. Bush attenuated his public attacks on Wright in the campaign, but the witch-hunt against Wright went on. After Bush had won the election, Bush is reported to have promised Wright a truce. "I want you to know I respect you and the House as an institution. I won't have any part in anything at all that impinges on your honor or integrity," Bush is said to have reassured the Speaker. Before Bush took office, Wright was busy working on his favorite populist themes: the concentration of financial power, housing, education, health care, and taxes.

In January-February, 1989, the House took under consideration a pay increase for members. Both Reagan and Bush had endorsed such a pay increase, but Lee Atwater, now installed at the Republican National Committee, launched a series of mailings and public statements to make the pay increase into a new wedge issue. It was a brilliant success, with the help of a few old Prescott Bush strings pulled on key talk show hosts across the country. Bush accomplished the coup of thoroughly destabilizing the Congress at the outset of his tenure. Wright was hounded out of office and into retirement a few months later, followed by Tony Coelho, the Democratic whip. What remained was the meek Tom Foley, a pliable rubber stamp, and Richard Gebhardt, who briefly got in trouble with Bush during 1989, but who found his way to a deal with Bush that allowed him to rubber-stamp Bush's "fast track" formula for the free trade zone with Mexico, which effectively killed any hope of resistance to that measure. The fall of Wright was a decisive step in the domestication of the Congress by the Bush regime.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:49 am

PART 2 OF 3

Bush was also able to rely on an extensive swamp of "Bush Democrats" who would support his proposals under virtually all circumstances. The basis of this phenomenon was the obvious fact that the national leadership of the Democratic Party had long been a gang of Harrimanites. The Brown, Brothers, Harriman grip on the Democratic Party had been represented by W. Averell Harriman until his death, and after that was carried on by his widow, Pamela Churchill Harriman, the former wife of Sir Winston Churchill's alcoholic son, Randolph. The very extensive Meyer Lansky/Anti-Defamation League networks among the Democrats were oriented towards cooperation with Bush, sometimes directly, and sometimes through the orchestration of gang vs. countergang charades for the manipulation of public opinion. A special source of Bush strength among southern Democrats is the cooperation between Skull and Bones and southern jurisdiction freemasons in the tradition of the infamous Albert Pike. These southern jurisdiction freemasonic networks have been most obviously decisive in the senate, where a group of southern Democratic senators have routinely joined with Bush to block overrides of Bush's many vetoes, or to provide a pro-Bush majority on key votes like the Gulf war resolution.

Bush's style in the Oval Office was described during this period as "extremely secretive." Many members of Bush's staff felt that the president had his own long-term plans, but refused to discuss them with his own top White House personnel. During Bush's first year, the White House was described as "a tomb," without the usual dense barrage of leaks, counter-leaks, trial balloons, and signals which government insiders customarily employ to influence public debate on policy matters. Bush is said to employ a "need to know" approach even with his closest White House collaborators, keeping each one of them in the dark about what the others are doing. Aides have complained of their inability to keep up with Bush's phone calls when he goes into his famous "speed-dialing mode," in which he can contact dozens of politicians, bankers or world leaders within a couple of hours. Unauthorized passages of information from one office to another inside the White House constitute leaks in Bush's opinion, and he has been at pains to suppress them. When information was given to the press about a planned meeting with Gorbachov, Bush threatened his top-level advisers: "If we cannot maintain proper secrecy with this group, we will cut the circle down."

Bush routinely humiliates and mortifies his subordinates. This recalls his style in dealing with the numerous hapless servants and domestics who populated his patrician youth; it may also have been re-enforced by the characteristic style of Henry Kissinger. If advisers or staff dare to manifest disagreement, the typical Bush retort is a whining "If you're so damned smart, why are you doing what you're doing and I'm the president of the United States?" [fn 16]

In one sense, Bush's style reflects his desire to seem "absolute and autocratic" in the tradition of the Romanov tsars and other Byzantine rulers. He refuses to be advised or dissuaded on many issues, relying on his enraged, hyperthyroid intuitions. More profoundly, Bush's "absolute and autocratic" act was a cover for the fact that many of his initiatives, ideas, and policies came from outside of the United States government, since they originated in the rarified ether of those international finance circles where names like Harriman, Kravis and Gammell were the coin of the realm. Indeed, many of Bush's policies came from outside of the United States altogether, and derived from the oligarchical financial circles of the City of London. The classic case will the the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. When the documents on the Bush Administration are finally thrown open to the public, it is s safe bet that some top British financiers and Foreign Office types will be found to have combined remarkable access and power with a non-existent public profile.

One of the defining moments in the first year of the Bush's presidency was his reaction to the Tien An Men massacre of June 4, 1989. No one can forget the magnificent movement of the anti-totalitarian Chinese students who used the occasion of the funeral of Hu Yaobang in the spring of 1989 to launch a movement of protest and reform against the monstrous dictatorship of Deng Xiao-ping, Yang Shankun, and Prime Minister Li Peng. As the portrait of the old butcher Mao Tse-tung looked down from the former imperial palace, the students erected a statue of liberty and filled the square with the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. By the end of May it was clear that the Deng regime was attempting to pull itself together to attempt a convulsive massacre of its political opposition. At this point, it is likely that a pointed and unequivocal public warning from the United States government might have avoided the looming bloody crackdown against the students. Even a warning through secret diplomatic channels might have sufficed. Bush undertook neither, and he must bear responsibility for this blatant omission.

The non-violent protest of the students was then crushed by the martial law troops of the hated and discredited communist regime. Untold thousands of students were killed outright, and thousands more died in the merciless death hunt against political dissidents which followed. Mankind was horrified. For Bush, however, the main considerations were that Deng Xiao-ping was part of his own personal network, with whom Bush had maintained close contact since at least 1975. Bush's devotion to the immoral British doctrine of "geopolitics" further dictated that unless and until the USSS had totally collapsed as a military power, the US alliance with China as the second strongest land power must be maintained at all costs. Additionally, Bush was acutely sensible to the views on China policy held by his mentor, Henry Kissinger, whose paw-prints were still to be found all over US relations with Deng. In the wake of Tien An Men, Kissinger (who had lucrative consulting contracts with the Beijing regime) was exceptionally vocal in condemning any proposed US countermeasures against Deng. These were the decisive factors in Bush's reactions to Tien An Men.

In the pre-1911 imperial court of China, the etiquette of the Forbidden City required that a person approaching the throne of the son of heaven must prostrate himself before that living deity, touching both hands and the forehead to the floor three times. This is the celebrated "kow-tow." And it was "kow-tow" which sprang to the lips and pens of commentators all over the world as they observed Bush's elaborate propitiation of the Deng regime. Even cynics were astounded that Bush could be so deferential to a regime that was obviously so hated by its own population that it had to be considered as being on its last legs; the best estimate was that when octogenarian Deng finally died, the communist regime would pass from the scene with him.

In a press conference held on June 9, in the immediate wake of the massacre, Bush astounded even the meretricious White House press corps by his mild and obsequious tone towards Deng and his cohorts. Bush limited his retaliation to a momentary cutoff of some military sales. That would be all: "I'm one who lived in China; I understand the importance of the relationship with the Chinese people and with the government. It is in the interest of the United States to have good relations..." [fn 17] Would Bush consider further measures, such as the minor step of temporarily recalling the US Ambassador, Bush's CIA crony and fellow patrician James Lilly?

Well, some have suggested, for example, to show our forcefulness, that I bring the American ambassador back. I disagree with that 180 degrees, and we've seen in the last few days a very good reason to have him there. [...]

What I do want to do is take whatever steps are most likely to demonstrate the concern that America feels. And I think I've done that. I'll be looking for other ways to do it if we possibly can.

This was the wimp with a vengeance, groveling and scraping like Chamberlain before the dictators, but there was more to come. As part of his meek and pathetic response, Bush had pledged to terminate all "high-level exchanges" with the Deng crowd. With this public promise, Bush had cynically lied to the American people. Shortly before Bush's invasion of Panama in December, it became known that Bush had dispatched the two most prominent Kissinger clones in his retinue, NSC chairman Brent Scowcroft and Undersecretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, on a secret mission to Beijing over the July 4 weekend, less than a month after the massacre in Tien An Men. Bush regarded this mission as so sensitive that he reportedly kept it a secret even from White House chief of staff Sununu, who only learned of the trip when two of his aides stumbled across the paper trail of the planning. The story about Scowcroft and Eagleburger, both veterans of Kissinger Associates, spending the glorious Fourth toasting the butchers of Beijing was itself leaked in the wake of a high-profile public mission to China involving the same Kissingerian duo that started December 7, 1989. Bush's cover story for the second trip was that he wanted to get a briefing to Deng on the results of the Bush-Gorbachov Malta summit, which had just concluded. The second trip was supposed to lead to the quick release of Chinese physicist and dissident Fang Lizhi, who had taken refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing during the massacre; this did not occur until some time later.

During a press conference primarily devoted to the ongoing Panama invasion, Bush provided an unambiguous signal that the inspiration for his China policy, and indeed for his entire foreign policy, was Kissinger:

There's a lot of going on that, in the conduct of the foreign policy or a debate within the US government, has to be sorted out without the spotlight of the news. There has to be that way. The whole opening to China would never have happened...if Kissinger hadn't undertaken that mission. It would have fallen apart. So you have to use your own judgment. [fn 18]

The news of Bush's secret diplomacy in favor of Deng caused a widespread wave of sincere and healthy public disgust with Bush, but this was shortly overwhelmed by the jingoist hysteria that accompanied Bush's invasion of Panama.

Bush's handling of the issue of the immigration status of the Chinese students who had enrolled at US universities also illuminated Bush's character in the wake of Tien An Men. In Bush's pronouncements in the immediate wake of the massacre, he absurdly asserted that there were no Chinese students who wanted political asylum here, but also promised that the visas of these students would be extended so that they would not be forced to return to political persecution and possible death in mainland China. It later turned out that Bush had neglected to promulgate the executive orders that would have been necessary. In response to Bush's prevarication with the lives and well-being of the Chinese students, the Congress subsequently passed legislation that would have waived the requirement that holders of J-visas, the type commonly obtained by Chinese students, be required to return to their home country for two years before being able to apply for permanent residence in the US. Bush, in an act of loathsome cynicism, vetoed this bill. The House voted to override by a majority of 390 to 25, but Bush Democrats in the senate allowed Bush's veto to be sustained by a vote of 62 to 37. Bush, squirming under the broad public obloquy brought on by his despicable behavior, finally issued regulations that would temporarily waive the requirement of returning home for most of the students.

Bush came back from his summer in Kennbunkport with a series of "policy initiatives" that turned out to be no more than demagogic photo opportunities. In early September, Bush made his first scheduled evening television address to the nation on the subject of his alleged war on drugs. The highlight of this speech was the moment when Bush produced a bag of crack which had been sold in a transaction in Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House. The transaction had been staged with the help of the Drug Enforcement Administration. This was George Bush, the friend of Felix Rodriguez, Hafez Assad, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Don Aronow. The funds and the targets set for Bush's program were minimal. A real war on drugs remained a vital necessity, but it was clear that there would be none under the Bush administration.

Later the same month, on September 27-28, Bush met with the governors from all 50 states in Charlottesville, Virginia for what was billed as an "education summit." This was truly a glorified photo opportunity, since all discussions were kept rigorously off the record, and everything was carefully choreographed by White House image-mongers. The conference issued a communique that called for "clear national performance goals," and the substantive direction of Bush's "education presidency" appeared to resolve itself into a nationwide testing program that could be used to justify the scaling down of college education and the exclusion from it of those whom Bush might define as "mental defectives." Would the testing program be used to finger and list the "feeble minded," perhaps over a generation or two? Was there a veiled intent of "culling" the hereditary defectives? With Bush's track record on the subject, nothing could be excluded.

One of the themes of the "education summit" was that material resources had absolutely nothing to do with the performance of an educational system. This was coming from preppie George Bush, who had enjoyed a physical plant, library, sports facilities, low average class size and other benefits at his posh Greenwich Country Day School and exclusive Phillips Academy in Andover which most schoolteachers could only dream of. When, during the summer of 1991, it was found that national average scores for the Scholastic Aptitude Test had continued to fall, Bush was still adamant that increased resources and the overall economic condition of society had nothing to do with the answer. At that time it also turned out that Bush's reshuffled Secretary of Education, former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, was sending his children to an elite day school associated with Georgetown University, where the tuition exceeded the yearly income of many poor families.

Many governors joined James Blanchard of Michigan in complaining that under Reaganomics, the federal government had unloaded whole sectors of infrastructural expenditure, including education, on the states. "We do not come to [Charlottesville] to rattle a tin cup," said Blanchard. "But we cannot afford to have our education revenues 'bled' by the federal government. Over the past decade, the federal commitment to education has declined from 2.5% of the federal budget to less than 1.8%. If education is to become a national priority, you and the Congress should reverse that decline." [fn 19]

Ironically, the best perspective on Bush's "education summit" eyewash came from within his own regime. Obviously piqued at the bad reviews his previous performance as Reagan's Secretary of Education was getting, Bush Drug Czar William Bennett told reporters that the proceedings in Charlottesville were "standard Democratic and Republican pap --and something that rhymes with pap. Much of the discussion proceeded in a total absence of knowledge about what takes place in schools."

By the autumn of 1989, Bush was facing a crisis of confidence in his regime. His domination of Congress on all substantive matters was complete; at the same time he had nothing to propose except vast public subsidies to bankrupt financial and speculative interests. Except for exertions to shovel hundreds of billion of dollars into Wall Street, the entire government appeared as paralyzed and adrift. This was soon accentuated by colossal upheavals in China, eastern Europe, and the USSR. On Friday, October 13, timed approximately with the second anniversary of the great stock market crash of 1987, there was a fall in the Dow Jones Industrial average of 190.58 points during the last hour of trading. This was triggered by the failure of a labor-management group to procure sufficient financing to carry out the leveraged buyout of United Airlines. The stage for this failure had been set during the preceding weeks by the crisis of the highly-leveraged Campeau retail empire, which made many junk bonds wholly illiquid for a time. The autumn was full of symptoms of a deflationary contraction of overall production and employment. For a time Bush appeared to be approaching that delicate moment in which a president is faced with the loss of his mandate to rule.

October has been one of the cruelest months for the Bush presidency: each time the leaves fall, each time the critical third-quarter economic statistics are published, a crisis in public confidence in the patrician regime has ensued. In two out of three years so far, the reaction of the Bushmen has been to lash out with international violence and mass murder.

October, 1989 was full of anxiety and apprehension about the economic future, and worry about where Bush was leading the country. Included in the many mood pieces was an evident desire of the Eastern Liberal Establishment circles to spur Bush on to more decisive and aggressive action in imposing austerity at home, and in increasing the rate of primitive accumulation in favor of the dollar abroad. A typical sample of these October elucubrations was a widely-read essay by Kevin Phillips (the traditional Republican theoretician of ethnic splitting and the Southern Strategy) entitled "George Bush and Congress--Brain-Dead Politics of '89." Phillips faulted Bush for his apparent decision "to imitate the low-key, centrist operating mode of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. But imitating Ike in the 1990s makes as little sense as trying to imitate Queen Victoria in the 1930's." [fn 20] Phillips pointed to the way in which Bush was restrained by his evident commitment to continue all of the essential policies of the Reagan years, while denying the existence of any crisis: Bush did "not seek to identify national problems because in doing so, [he] would largely be identifying [his] party's own failings." "The Republicans at least know they have a problem on the 'vision thing,'" Phillips noted, while the Democratic opposition "can't even spell the word." All of this added up to the "cerebral atrophy of government." Phillips catalogued the absurd complacency of the Bushmen, with Brady saying of the US economy that "it couldn't get much better than it is" and Baker responding to Democratic criticisms of Bush foreign policy with the retort: "When the President is rocking along with a 70 per cent approval rating on his handling of foreign policy, if I were the leader of the opposition, I might have something similar to say." Phillips's basic thesis was that Bush and his ostensible opposition had joined hands simply to ignore the existence of the leading problems threatening US national life, while hiding behind an "irrelevant consensus" forged ten to twenty years in the past, and reminiscent overall of the pre-1860 tacit understanding of Democrats and Whigs to sweep sectionalism and slavery under the rug. One result of this conspiracy of the incumbents to ignore the real world was the "unhappy duality that the United States and Russia are both weakening empires in haphazard retreat from their post-1945 bipolar dominance." Phillips's conclusion was that while reality might begin to force a change in the "political agenda" by 1990, it was more likely that a shift would occur in 1992 when an aroused electorate, smarting from decades of decline in standards of living and economic aspirations, might "hand out surprising political rewards." "Honesty's day is coming," summed up Phillips, with the clear implication that George Bush would not be a beneficiary of the new day.

Similar themes were developed in the Bonesmen's own Time Magazine towards the end of the month in coverage entitled "Is Government Dead?," which featured a cover picture of George Washington shedding a big tear and a blurb warning that "Unwilling to lead, politicians are letting America slip into paralysis." [fn 21] Inside, the Washington regime was stigmatized as "the can't do government," with an analysis concluding that "abroad and at home, more and more problems and opportunities are going unmet. Under the shadow of a massive federal deficit that neither political party is willing to confront, a kind of neurosis of accepted limits has taken hold from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other." Time discovered that Bush and the Congress were "conspiring to hide" $96 billion of a $206 billion deficit through various strategems, while the bill for the S&L bailout had levitated upwards to $300 billion. Time held up to ridicule the "paltry $115 million" Bush had offered as economic aide to Poland during his visit there during the summer. Grave responsibility for the growing malaise was assigned by Time to Bush: "Leadership is generally left to the President. Yet George Bush seems to have as much trouble as ever with the 'vision thing.' Handcuffed by his simplistic 'read my lips' campaign rhetoric against a tax increase as well as by his cautious personality, Bush too often appears self-satisfied and reactive." Time went on to indict Bush for malfeasance or nonfeasance in several areas: "His long-term goals, beyond hoping for a 'kinder, gentler' nation, have been lost in a miasma of public relations stunts. The President's recent 'education summit' with the nation's Governors produced some interesting ideas about national standards but little about how to pay the costs of helping public schools meet them. His much trumpeted war on drugs was more an underfinanced skirmish. Bush told voters last year that he is an environmentalist, but the most significant clean-air proposals put forth this year--stringent new standards on automobile emissions-- were adapted from California's strict limits for the 1990's."

"Abroad, Bush tends to turn Teddy Roosevelt's famous dictum on its head by speaking loudly and carrying a small stick, " was Time's unkindest cut of all for a president who had placed the racist Rough Rider's portrait in the Oval Office, replacing the likeness of "Silent Cal" Coolidge that had adorned the premises during the Reagan years. It was a barb to make George wince when he read it.

Bush, Baker, and Brady were thus confronted with some clear signals of an ugly mood of discontent on the part of key establishment financier circles inside their own traditional base. These groups were demanding more austerity, more primitive accumulation against the US population than George had been able to deliver. A further ingredient in the dangerous dissatisfaction in Wall Street and environs was that Bush had botched and bungled a US-sponsored coup d'etat against the Panamanian government loyal to Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. Noriega's survival and continued defiance of Washington seemed to certify, in the eyes of the ruling financiers, that Bush was indeed a wimp incapable of conducting their international or domestic business. By November, 1989, the ten-month old Bush regime was drifting towards the Niagara of serious trouble. It was under these circumstances that the Bush networks responded with their invasion of Panama.

On October 3, 1989, several officers of the Panamanian Defense Forces under the leadership of Major Moises Giroldi attempted to oust General Noriega and seize power. The pro-golpe forces appear to have had Noriega in their physical control for a certain period of time, and they were in contact with the US Southern Command in Panama City through various channels. But they neither executed Noriega nor turned him over to the US forces, and Noriega used the delay to rally the support of loyal troops in other parts of Panama. The US forces mobilized, and blocked two roads leading towards the PDF headquarters, just as they golpe leaders had requested. But the golpistas also wanted US combat air support and would have required US ground forces to provide active assistance. Bush stalled on these requests, and the golpe collapsed before Bush could make up his mind what to do.

Bush's crisis management style was portrayed as an autocratic one-man show, with Bush refusing to convoke the usual "excomm"-style crisis committee with representatives from State, Defense, NSA, CIA, and other interested bureaucratic parties. Instead, Bush reportedly insisted on being furnished with three parallel streams of reports from State, Defense, and CIA. While he was puzzling over the conflicting evaluations, his coup team was being rounded up and liquidated. It was worse than his blundering management of the Sudan coup in 1985.
There are signs that the wide criticism of his botched handling of the coup, including from such close allies as Skull and Bones Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, was an excruciating personal humiliation for Bush. As the feared former boss of Langley, he was supposedly a past master in subversion, putsches, and the toppling of governments disobedient to Washington. His foreign policy credentials, touted as the strong suit in his resume, were now fatally tarnished. According to some alleged insider accounts, US forces had not rushed to the aid of the rebels because of reluctance and mistrust on the part of US officers, starting with Gen. Thurman, the US commander in Panama.

Congressman Dave McCurdy of Oklahoma criticized Bush: "Yesterday makes Jimmy Carter look like a man of resolve. There's a resurgence of the wimp factor." George Will wrote a column entitled "An Unserious Presidency."

Bush hid from the press for 11 days after the golpe was crushed, but then had to face a barrage of hostile questions anyway. Since he had urged the overthrow of Noriega, he was asked, was it consistent not to back the rebels with US armed forces? Bush replied:

Yes, absolutely consistent. I want to see him [Noriega] out of there and I want to see him brought to justice. And that should not imply that that automatically means, no matter what the plan is, or no matter what the coup attempt is, diplomatically and anything else, that we give carte blanche support to that.

I think this rather sophisticated argument that if you say you'd like to see Noriega out, that implies a blanket, open carte blanche on the use of American military force...to me that's a stupid argument that some very erudite people make.

Bush was very sarcastic about "instant hawks appearing from where there used to be feathers of a dove." There had been reports of severe temper tantrums by Bush as critical accounts of his crisis leadership had been leaked from inside his own administration. But Bush denied that he had been chewing the carpet: "I never felt, you know, anger or blowing up. It's absurd," Bush stated disingenuously. "I didn't get angry. I didn't get angry. What I did say is, I don't want to see any blame coming out of the Oval Office or attributed to the Oval Office in the face of criticism. I'm not in the blame business. Blame, if there's some to be assigned, it comes in there. And that's where it belongs." Bush stressed that he was ready to use force to oust Noriega: "I wouldn't mind using force now if it could be done in a prudent manner. We want to see Mr. Noriega out." The mortified former CIA director also defended the quality of his intelligence: "There has not been an intelligence gap that would make me act in a different way." "I don't see any serious disconnects at all." [fn 22] Bush's chief of staff, Sununu, had stated that one of the difficulties faced by the White House in reacting to the coup had been the difficulty of determining the identity of the coup leaders. While that was probably disinformation, Bush's disarray was most poignant. It was while squirming and whining under of the opprobrium of his first failure in Panama that Bush matured the idea of a large-scale military invasion to capture Noriega and occupy Panama around Christmas, 1989.

George Bush's involvement with Panama goes back to operations conducted in Central American and the Caribbean conducted by Senator Prescott Bush's Jupiter Island Harrimanite cabal. We recall Bush's pugnacious assertions of US sovereignty over the Panama Canal during his 1964 electoral contest with Senator Yarborough. For the Bush clan, the cathexis of Panama is very deep, since it is bound up with the exploits of Theodore Roosevelt, the founder of the twentieth-century US imperialism which the Bush family is determined to defend to the farthest corners of the planet. For it was Theodore Roosevelt who had used the USS Nashville and other US naval forces to prevent the Colombian military from repressing the US-fomented revolt of Panamanian soldiers in November, 1903, thus setting the stage for the creation of an independent Panama and for the signing of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty which created a Panama Canal Zone under US control. Roosevelt's "cowboy diplomacy" had been excoriated in the US press of those days as "piracy;" the Springfield Republican had found the episode "the most discreditable in our history," but the Bush view was always pro-imperialist. It was the comparison with Theodore Roosevelt's bucaneering audacity that made poor George look bad.

Theodore Roosevelt had in December, 1904 expounded his so-called "Roosevelt Corrollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, in reality a complete repudiation and perversion of the anti-colonial essence of John Quincy Adams's original warning to the British and other imperialists. The self-righteous Teddy Roosevelt had stated that:

Chronic wrongdoing...may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power. [fn 23]
The old imperialist idea of Theodore Roosevelt was quickly revived by the Bush Administration during 1989. Through a series of actions by Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, the US Supreme Court, and CIA Director William Webster, the Bush regime arrogated to itself a sweeping carte blanche for extraterritorial interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, all in open defiance of the norms of international law. These illegal innovations can be summarized under the heading of the "Thornburgh Doctrine." The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrogated to itself the "right" to search premises outside of US territory and to arrest and kidnap foreign citizens outside of US jurisdiction, all without the concurrence of the judicial process of the other countries whose territory was thus subject to violation. US armed forces were endowed with the "right" to take police measures against civilians. The CIA demanded that an Executive Order prohibiting the participation of US government officials and military personnel in the assassination of foreign political leaders, which had been issued by President Ford in October, 1976, be rescinded. There is every indication that this presidential ban on assassinations of foreign officials and politicians, which had been promulgated in response to the Church and Pike Committee investigations of CIA abuses, has indeed been abrogated. To round out this lawless package, an opinion of the US Supreme Court issued on February 28, 1990 permitted US officials abroad to arrest (or kidnap) and search foreign citizens without regard to the laws or policy of the foreign nation subject to this interference. Through these actions, the Bush regime effectively staked its claim to universal extraterritorial jurisdiction, the classic posture of an empire seeking to assert universal police power. The Bush regime aspired to the status of a world power legibus solutus, a superpower exempted from all legal restrictions. [fn 24]

Back in January, 1972, at the extraordinary session of the United Nations Security Council in Addis Ababa, the Panamanian delegate, Aquilino Boyd, had delivered a scathing condemnation of the American "occupation" of the Canal Zone, which most Panamanians found increasingly intolerable. At that time Ambassador Bush had wormed his way out of a tough situation by pleading that Boyd was out of order, since Panama had not been placed on the agenda for the meeting. Boyd was relentless in pressing for a special session of the Security Council in Panama City at which he could bring up the issue of sovereignty over the Canal Zone and the canal. Later, in March, 1973, Bush's successor at the UN post, John Scali, was forced to resort to a veto in order to kill a resolution calling for the "full respect for Panama's effective sovereignty over all its territory." This veto had been a big political embarrassment, since it was cast in the face of vociferous condemnation from the visitors' gallery, which was full of Panamanian patriots. To make matters worse, the US had been totally isolated, with 13 countries supporting the resolution and one abstention. [fn 25]

As we have seen, direct personal dealings between Bush and Noriega went back at least as far as Bush's 1976 CIA tenure. At that time Noriega, who had been trained by the US at Fort Gulick, Fort Bragg, and other locations, was the chief of intelligence for the Panamanian nationalist leader, Gen. Omar Torrijos, with whom Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaty, the ratification of which by the US Senate meant that the canal would revert to Panama by the year 2000. During the treaty negotiations between Torrijos and the Carter Administration, the US National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency are alleged to have conducted electronic eavesdropping against Panamanian officials involved in the negotiations. This bugging had reportedly been discovered by Noriega, who had allegedly proceeded to bribe members of the US Army's 470th Military Intelligence Group, who furnished him with tapes of all the bugged conversations, which Noriega then submitted to Torrijos. According to published accounts, the US Army had investigated this situation under a probe code-named Operation Canton Song, and identified a group of "singing sergeants" on Noriega's payroll. Lew Allen, Jr., the head of the NSA, supposedly wanted a public indictment of the sergeants for treason and espionage, but Bush is alleged to have demurred, saying that the matter had to be left to the Army, which had decided to cover up the matter. A plausible political cover story for Bush's refusal to prosecute was his desire to avoid scandals in the intelligence community that could hurt Gerald Ford in the 1976 election. [fn 26] Whatever the truth of all these allegations, there seems to be no doubt that Bush met personally with Noriega during his 1976 CIA tenure. According to one account, that Bush-Noriega meeting was a luncheon held in December, 1976 at the residence of the Panamanian Ambassador to Washington. As Ferderick Kempe notes, "Years later in 1988, after Noriega was indicted on drug charges in Florida, Bush would at first deny having ever met Noriega. He thereafter recalled the meeting, but none of its details. His three lunch guests have better memories and one of them insisted this was the third meeting between the two men." [fn 27]

During the preparation of his 1991 trial in Miami, Florida, Noriega's defense attorneys submitted a document to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in which they specified matters they intended to use in Noriega's defense which might involve information considered classified by the US government. Before being released to the public, this document was heavily censored. No part of this filing is more heavily censored, however, than the section entitled "General Noriega's Relationship with George Bush," which has been whited out on approximately 6 of 15 pages, allegedly to protect US national security, but in reality to hide material that is explosively compromising to the political reputation of Bush. Noriega's proffer confirms a Bush-Noriega meeting on December 8, 1976 at the Panamanian Embassy in Washington. "During this meeting there were discussions concerning the unrest in the canal zone. But at no time did Mr. Bush suggest that the Panamanian government was in any way responsible for the bombing" that had occurred in the Canal Zone when Ford, worried about attacks from Reagan demanding that the canal remain in US hands, had cut off the talks on the future of the canal. Noriega's proffer adds that "when Bush left office he sent a letter to Noriega thanking Noriega for his assistance. Bush said that he was going to inform his successor of Noriega's cooperation." [fn 28]

During this period, the CIA was allegedly paying Noriega a retainer of $110,000 per year, supposedly in exchange for Noriega's intelligence on Cuban and other activities of interest to the US. Admiral Stansfield Turner claims that when he took over the CIA, he terminated the payments to Noriega, and refused to meet with him. Turner confirms several details of the Bush-Noriega relationship of those years: "We all know that Bush met with Noriega, even though he was there only 11 months. And I will affirm that Bush had him on the payroll," said Turner in October, 1988. "I was there four years, and I never saw fit to see him [Noriega] or have him on the payroll," said Turner. [fn 29] Turner went on to say that after the fall of Carter Bush re-instated Noriega as a US asset, asserting that Bush "met with Noriega and put him back on the payroll" as a purveyor of intelligence. Turner would not specify his proof, but was nevertheless categorical: "I can tell you I am very confident of that."

During 1991, reports surfaced of a joint project of the CIA and the Mossad in central America which included large-scale smuggling of illegal drugs from Colombia through Panama to the United States. This was code-named "Operation Watchtower." According to an affidavit signed by the late Colonel Edward P. Cutolo, a US Army Special Forces Commander who was in charge of operations in Colombia subsumed under this project, "the purpose of Operation Watch Tower was to establish a series of three electronic beacon towers beginning outside of Bogota, Colombia and running northeast to the border of Panama. Once the Watch Tower teams were in place, the beacon was activated to emit a signal that aircraft could fix on and fly undetected from Bogota to Panama, then land at Albrook Air Station." [fn 30] According to Cutolo, the flights were often met at Albrook Air Station by Noriega, other PDF officers, CIA agents, and an Israeli national believed to be David Kimche of the Mossad. Another Israeli involved in the flights was Mossad agent Michael Harari, who maintained a close relation to Noriega until the time of the US invasion of December 20, 1989. According to Cutolo's affidavit, "I was told from Pentagon contacts, off the record, that CIA Director Stansfield Turner and former CIA Director George Bush are among the VIPs that shield Harari from public scrutiny." According to Cutolo, "the cargo flown from Colombia to Panama was cocaine," which ultimately ended up in the United States. The profits were allegedly laundered through a series of banks, including banks in Panama. According to published reports, Cutolo and a long list of other US military personnel who knew about Operation Watchtower died under suspicious circumstances during the 1980's, one of them after having vainly attempted to interest the CBS News "60 Minutes " staff in this matter. Mike Harari of the Mossad is reportedly a prime suspect in the death of one of these US officers, Army Col. James Rowe, who was killed in the Philippines on April 21, 1989. Was Operation Watchtower on the agenda of the Bush-Noriega meeting of 1976?

According to Noriega's CIPA proffer, "another contact between Noriega and George Bush was after George Bush became Vice-President. At this time Noriega sent Bush a letter of congratulations and Bush sent back a response. In this letter, dated December 23, 1980, Bush says 'thanks for the great congratulatory message.' He also says, 'I do recall your visit in 1976 and I hope our paths will cross again.'" [fn 31]

There can be no doubt that Noriega's dealings with the Reagan-Bush administration were very intense. According to Panamanian turncoat Jose Blandon, Noriega frequently traveled to Washington for secret private meetings with CIA Director William Casey during 1982-83 and the year following. Noriega also met somewhat later with Bush's Iran-contra point man, Oliver North. [fn 32] According to Noriega's CIPA submission, Noriega was introduced to North on a cruise down the Potomac by US General Schweitzer, the director of the Inter-American joint military group. According to Noriega's CIPA submission, North had been drinking heavily and talked in an animated fashion about the problems encountered by the contras. "North was particularly concerned with allegations that had surfaced connecting the contras with narcotics trafficking." One US public figure who had called attention to the contras as drug pushers was Lyndon LaRouche. "North urged Noriega to do whatever he could for the contras. During this meeting North claimed that he was in charge of all operations in central America having to do with the contras and that he was working directly for Reagan and Bush. Although North asked for help he did not say exactly what he wanted. North did tell Noriega that if at any time he needed to talk to North that Noriega could just call him at the White House." [fn 33]

According to Noriega's CIPA proffer submitted in preparation for his trial in Miami, "from around August of 1985 through September of 86 Noriega repeatedly received emissaries from Oliver North. One was Humberto Quinones. Quinones attempted to ingratiate himself with Noriega and repeatedly used Reagan's and Bush's names. Quinones said that the contras are not fighting very well and requested that Panama come to the aid of the contras."

Later, at the end of the summer of 1985, Noriega met with North and Secord in London. North demanded that Noriega use Panamanian commandos to conduct operations against the Sandinista regime. "Noriega just listened" and did not agree to cooperate. [fn 34]

This was all denied by the Bush campaign through spokesman Steve Hart, but a photo exists of Bush meeting with Noriega in Panama City in December, 1983. Don Gregg was also on the scene. This meeting was also attended by Everett Briggs, then the US Ambassador to Panama. During the previous months, Noriega had repudiated the policy of supporting the Nicaraguan contra rebels which the Bushmen had successfully sold to Reagan as his leading obsession. Noriega had done this by declaring his support of the Contadora group, which thus emerged as an alignment of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama, and which advocated a plan for pacification and the restoration of national sovereignty in Central America as a whole through the interdiction of gun-running, plus the removal of foreign advisers and bases. According to Briggs, Bush may have sought Noriega's diplomatic support for the US position in the region. But Briggs denies that Bush was also looking for Panamanian military support against the Sandinistas. According to the Bushmen, Bush's pourparler in Panama was devoted to a "privileged" talk with the President of Panama, Ricardo de la Espriella, who was also present at the meeting. [fn 35] But Noriega was clearly the dominant figure on the Panamanian political scene.

Later, Bush henchman Don Gregg was obliged to testify under oath about Bush's relations with Noriega in the context of the civil lawsuit brought by the Christic Institute of Washington, DC against members of the Bush-Shackley-Clines Enterprise. Gregg specified that Ambassador Briggs was himself a friend of Bush. Gregg said that at the December, 1983 meeting, Panamanian President Ricardo de la Espriella had denied US press reports alleging Panamanian government complicity in drug trafficking.

But while Noriega kept close relations with the United States, he also dealt with Cuba and other countries in the region. Noriega was increasingly motivated by Panamanian nationalism, and a desire to preserve a margin of independence for his country. The hostility of the US government against Noriega was occasioned first of all by Noriega's refusal to be subservient to the US policy of waging war against the Sandinista regime. This was explained by Noriega in an interview with CBS journalist Mike Wallace on February 4, 1988, in which Noriega described the US campaign against him as a "political conspiracy of the Department of Justice." Noriega described a visit to Panama on December 17, 1985 by Admiral John Poindexter, then the chief of the US National Security Council, who demanded that Noriega join in acts of war against Nicaragua, and then threatened Panama with economic warfare and political destabilization when Noriega refused to go along with Poindexter's plans:

Noriega: Poindexter said he came in the name of President Reagan. He said that Panama and Mexico were acting against US policy in Central America because we were saying that the Nicaragua conflict must be settled peacefully. And that wasn't good enough for the plans of the Reagan administration. The single thing that will protect us from being economically and politically attacked by the United States is that we allow the contras to be trained in Panama for the fight against Nicaragua.
Wallace: He told you that you would be economically attacked if you didn't do that?

Noriega: It was stated, Panama must expect economic consequences. Your interest was that we should aid the contras, and we said 'no' to that.

Poindexter outlined plans for a US invasion of Nicaragua that would require the fig-leaf of participation of troops from other countries in the region:

Noriega: Yes, they wanted to attack Nicaragua and the only reason it hadn't already happened was that Panama was in the way, and all they wanted was that Panama would open the way and make it possible for them to continue their plans.

According to Noriega's advisor, Panamanian Defense Forces Captain Cortiso, "[the US] wanted that Panamanian forces attack first. Then we would receive support from US troops." [fn 36]

It was in this same December, 1985 period that Bush and Don Gregg met with Ambassador Briggs to discuss the Noriega's refusal to follow dictation from Washington. According to Gregg in his deposition in the Christic Institute lawsuit, "I think we [i.e., Bush and Gregg] came away from the meeting with Ambassador Brggs with the sense that Noriega was a growing problem, politically, militarily, and possibly in the drug area." When pressed to comment about Noriega's alleged relations to drug trafficking, Gregg could only add: "It would have been part of the general picture of Noriega as a political problem, corruption, and a general policy problem. Yes." [fn 37] "I don't recall any specific discussion of Noriega's involvement in drugs," Gregg testified. In this case it is quite possible that Don Gregg is for once providing accurate testimony: the US government decision to begin interference in Panama's internal affairs for the overthrow of Noriega had nothing to do with questions of drug trafficking. It was predicated on Noriega's rejection of Poindexter's ultimatum demanding support for the Nicargauan contras, themselves a notorious gang of drug pushers enjoying the full support of Bush and the US government. Colonel Samuel J. Watson III, deputy national security adviser to Bush during those years, invoked executive privilege during the course of his Christic Institute deposition on the advice of his lawyer in order to avoid answering questions about Bush's 1985 meeting with Briggs. [fn 38]

In addition to the question of contra aid, another rationale for official US rage against Noriega had emerged during 1985. President Nicky Barletta, a darling of the State Department and a former vice president of the genocidal World Bank, attempted to impose a package of conditionalities and economic adjustment measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund. This was a package of brutal austerity, and riots soon erupted in protest against Barletta. Noriega refused to comply with Barletta's request to use the Panamanian military forces to put down these anti-austerity riots, and the IMF austerity package was thus compromised. Barletta was shortly forced out as president.

During 1986-1987, Noriega cooperated with US law enforcement officials in a number of highly effective anti-drug operations. This successful joint effort was documented by letters of commendation sent to Noriega by John C. Lawn, at that time head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. On February 13, 1987, Lawn wrote to Noriega: "Your longstanding support of the Drug Enforcement Administration is greatly appreciated. International police cooperation and vigorous pursuit of drug traffickers are our common goal." Later in the same year, Lawn wrote to Noriega to commend the latter's contributions to Operation Pisces, a joint US-Panamanian effort against drug smuggling and drug money laundering. Panamanian participation was facilitated by a tough new law, called Law 23, which contained tough new provisions against drug money laundering. Lawn 's letter to Noriega of May 27, 1987 includes the following: *As you know, the recently concluded Operation Pisces was enormously successful: many millions of dollars and many thousands of pounds of drugs have been taken from the drug traffickers and international money launderers....

Again, the DEA and officials of Panama have together dealt an effective blow against drug dealers and international money launderers. Your personal commitment to Operation Pisces and the competent, professional, and tireless efforts of other officials in the Republic of Panama were essential to the final positive outcome of this investigation. Drugs dealers throughout the world now know that the profits of their illegal operations are not welcome in Panama. The operation of May 6 led to the freezing of millions of dollars in the bank accounts of drug dealers. Simultaneously, bank papers were confiscated that gave officials important insights into the drug trade and the laundering operations of the drug trade. The DEA has always valued close cooperation, and we are prepared to proceed together against international drug dealers whenever the opportunity presents itself. [fn 39]

By a striking coincidence, it was in June, 1987, just one month after this glowing tribute had been written, that the US government declared war against Panama, initiating a campaign to destabilize Noriega on the pretexts of lack of democracy and corruption. On June 30, 1987, the US State Department demanded the ouster of General Noriega. Elliott Abrams, the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, later indicted for perjury in 1991 for his role in the Iran-contra scandal and coverup, made the announcement. Abrams took note of a resolution passed on June 23 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanding the creation of a "democratic government" in Panama, and officially concurred, thus making the toppling of Noriega the official US policy. Abrams also demanded that the Panamanian military be freed of "political corruption."

These were precisely the destabilization measures which Poindexter had threatened 18 months earlier. The actual timing of the US demand for the ouster of Noriega appears to have been dictated by resentment in the US financial community over Noriega's apparent violation of certain taboos in his measures against drug money laundering. As the New York Times commented in on August 10, 1987: "The political crisis follows closely what bankers here saw as a serious breach of bank secrecy regulations. Earlier this year, as part of an American campaign against the laundering of drug money, the Panamanian government froze a few suspect accounts here in a manner that bankers and lawyers regarded as arbitrary." These were precisely the actions lauded by Lawn. Had Noriega shut down operations sanctioned by the US intelligence community, or confiscated assets of the New York banks?

In November, 1987, Noriega was visited by Bush's former vice presidential chief of staff, Admiral Daniel J. Murphy. Murphy had left Bush's office in 1985 to go into the international consulting business. Murphy was accompanied on his trip by Tongsun Park, a protagonist of the 1976 Koreagate scandal which had served Bush so well. Murphy claimed that Park was part of a group of international businessmen who had sent him to Panama to determine if Murphy could help in "restoring stability in Panama" as a representative of the businessmen or of the Panamanian government, a singular cover story. "I was really there trying to find out whether there was negotiating room between him and the opposition," Murphy said in early 1988. There were reports that Murphy, who had conferred with NSC chief Colin Powell, Don Gregg and Elliott Abrams of the State Department before he went to Panama, had told Noriega that he could stay in office through early 1989 if he allowed political reforms, free elections, and a free press, but Murphy denied having done this. It is still not known with precision what mission Murphy was sent to Panama to perform for Bush. [fn 40]
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 3 OF 3

On August 12, 1987, Noriega responded to the opposition campaigns fomented by the US inside Panama by declaring that the aim of Washington and its Panamanian minions was "to smash Panama as a free and independent nation. It is a repetition of what Teddy Roosevelt did when he militarily attacked following the separation of Panama from Colombia." On August 13, 1987, the Los Angeles Times reported that US Assistant Attorney General Stephen Trott, who had headed up the Department of Justice "Get Noriega" Task Force for more than a year, had sent out orders to "pull together everything that we have on him [Noriega] in order to see if he is prosecutable." This classic "enemies' list" operation was clearly aimed at fabricating drug charges against Noriega, since that was the political spin which the US regime wished to impart to its attack on Panama. In February, 1988, Noriega was indicted on US drugs charges, despite a lack of evidence and an even more compelling lack of jurisdiction. This indictment was quickly followed by economic sanctions, an embargo on trade, and other economic warfare measures that were invoked by Washington on March 2, 1988. All of these measures were timed to coincide with the "Super Tuesday" presidential preference primaries in the southern states, where Bush was able to benefit from the racist appeal of the assault on Noriega, who is of mestizo background and has a swarthy complexion.

During the spring of 1988, the Reagan Administration conducted a negotiation with Noriega with the declared aim of convincing him to relinquish power in exchange for having the drug charges against him dropped. In May, Michael G. Kozak, the deputy assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs had been sent to Panama to meet with Noriega. Bush had come under attack from other presidential candidates, especially Dukakis, for being soft on Noriega and seeking a plea bargain with the Panamanian leader. Bush first took the floor during the course of an administration policymaking meeting to advocate an end of the bargaining with Noriega. According to press reports, this proposal was "hotly contested." Then, in a speech in Los Angeles, Bush made one of his exceedingly rare departures from the Reagan line by announcing with a straight face that a Bush Administration would not "bargain with drug dealers" at home or abroad. [fn 41]

Bush's interest in Noriega continued after he had assumed the presidency. On April 6, 1989, Bush formally declared that the government of Panama represented an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security and foreign policy. He invoked the National Emergencies Act and the International Emergency Act to declare a state of "national emergency" in this country to meet the menace allegedly posed by the nationalists of little Panama. The May 1, 1989 issue of US News and World Report revealed that Bush had authorized the expenditure of $10 million in CIA funds for operations against the Panamanian government. These funds were obviously to be employed to influence the Panamanian elections, which were scheduled for early May. The money was delivered to Panama by CIA bagman Carlos Eleta Almaran, who had just been arrested in Georgia in April, 1989 on charges of drug trafficking. On May 2, with one eye on those elections, Bush attempted to refurbish his wimp image with a blustering tirade delivered to the Rockefeller-controlled Council of the Americas in which he stated: "Let me say one thing clearly. The USA will not accept the results of fraudulent elections that serve to keep the supreme commander of the Panamanian armed forces in power." This made clear that Bush intended to declare the elections undemocratic if the pro-Noriega candidates were not defeated.

In the elections of May 7, the CIA's $10 million and other monies were used to finance an extensive covert operation which aimed at stealing the elections. The US-supported Civic Democratic Alliance, whose candidate was Guillermo Endara, purchased votes, bribed the election officials, and finally physically absconded with the official vote tallies. Because of the massive pattern of fraud and irregularities, the Panamanian government annulled the election. Somewhere along the line the usual US-staged "people power" upsurge had failed to materialize. The inability of Bush to force through a victory by the anti-Noriega opposition was a first moment of humiliation for the would-be Rough Rider.

This was the occasion for a new outburst of hypocritical breast-beating from Bush, whose vote fraud operation had not worked so well in Panama as it had in New Hampshire. Speaking at the commencement ceremonies of Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, Bush issued a formal call to the citizens and soldiers of Panama to overthrow Noriega, asserting that "they ought to do everything they can to get Mr. Noriega out of there." Asked whether this was a call for a military coup against Noriega, Bush replied: "I would love to see them get him out of there. Not just the PDF-- the will of the people of Panama." Bush elaborated that his was a call for "a revolution--the people rose up and spoke for-- in a democratic election with a substantial - a tremendous- turnout, said what they wanted. The will of the people should not be thwarted by this man and a handful of these Doberman thugs." "I think the election made so clear that the people want democracy and made so clear that democracy is being thwarted by one man that that in itself would be the catalyst for removing Noriega," Bush added, making his characteristic equation of "democracy" with a regime subservient to US whim. Bush prevaricated on his own commitment to disbanding the Panamanian Defense Forces, saying that he wanted to "make clear... that there's no vendetta against the Panamanian Defense Forces as an institution;" the US was concerned only with Noriega's "thuggery" and "pariah" status. Bush seemed also to invite the assassination of Noriega by blurting out, "No, I would add no words of caution" on how to do any of this. He slyly kept an escape hatch open in case a coup leader called on the US for support, as in fact later happened: "If the PDF asks for support to get rid of Noriega, they wouldn't need support from the United States in order to get rid of Noriega. He's one man, and they have a well-trained force." Bush also seemed to encourage Noriega to flee to a country from which he could not be extradited back to the US, which sounded like a recipe for avoiding legal proceedings that could prove highly embarrassing to Bush personally and to the whole US government.

During this period, Admiral William Crowe, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, attempted to convince the US commander in Panama, Gen. Frederick F. Woerner, to accept a brigade-sized reinforcement of 3,000 troops in addition to the 12,000 men already stationed in Panama. Woerner declined the additional men, which the Pentagon had intended to dispatch with great fanfare in an attempt to intimidate Noriega and his triumphant supporters. At this point the Pentagon activated preparations for Operation Blue Spoon, which included a contingency plan to kidnap Noriega with the help of a Delta force unit. There were discussions about whether an attempt could be made to abduct Noriega with any likelihood of success; it was concluded that Noriega was very wily and exceedingly difficult to track. It was in the course of these deliberations that Defense Secretary Cheney is reported to have told Crowe, "'You know, the President has got a long history of vindictive political actions.'' Cross Bush and you pay,' he said, supplying the names of a few victims and adding: Bush remembers and you have to be careful." [fn 42] Thus intimidated by Bush, the military commanders concurred in Bush's announcement of a brigade-sized reinforcement for Woerner, plus the secret dispatch of Delta forces and Navy Seals. On July 17, Bush approved a plan to "assert US treaty rights" by undertaking demonstrative military provocations in violation of the treaty. Woerner was soon replaced by General Maxwell Reid "Mad Max" Thurman, who would bring no qualms to his assignment of aggression. Thurman took over at the Southern Command on September 30.

In the wake of this tirade, the US forces in Panama began a systematic campaign of military provocations which continued all the way to the December 20 invasion. In July the US forces began practicing how to seize control of important Panamanian military installations and civilian objectives, all in flagrant violation of the Panama Canal Treaty. On July 1, for example, the town of Gamboa was seized and held for 24 hours by US troops, tanks, and helicopters. The mayor of the town and 30 other persons were illegally detained during this "maneuver." In Chilibre, the US forces occupied the key water purification plant serving Panama City and Colon. On August 15, Bush escalated the rhetoric still further by proclaiming that he had the obligation "to kidnap Noriega". Then, during the first days of October, there came the abortive US-sponsored coup attempt, followed by the public humiliation of George Bush, who had failed to measure up to the standards of efficacy set by Theodore Roosevelt.

All during October and November and into December, the Bush Administration worked to prepare the plans for a large-scale invasion of Panama, Operation Blue Spoon. By mid-December, there were a total of 24,000 US troops in Panama, arrayed against the 16,000 of the PDF, of whom only about 3,500 were organized and equipped for military combat.

The US was now committed to a military attack. Beginning on January 1, 1990, according to the US-Panama treaty, the head of the canal administration would have to be a Panamanian citizen, proposed by Panama and approved by the US government. This was a transaction which Bush wished to conduct with a puppet state, and not with an independent government. In the light of transparent US preparations for a short-term invasion or other armed incursion, the National Assembly of Panama passed a resolution of December 15 to take note of the state of affairs that had now been forced upon Panama by Bush. The statement was designed to permit the assumption of emergency powers by the Panamanian government to meet the crisis, and was in no way equivalent to a declaration of war under international law, no more than Bush's April 6, 1989 declaration of a US state of emergency over the Panamanian situation had been. "The Republic of Panama," the statement read, "has for the last two years suffered a cruel and constant harassment by the US government, whose president has made use of the powers of war...to try to subject the will of Panamanians....The Republic of Panama is living under a genuine state of war, under the permanent hounding of the US government, whose soldiers not only daily violate the integrity of the Torrijos-Carter treaties... but trample our sovereign rights in open, arrogant, and shameless violation of the pacts and norms of international law....Therefore be it resolved that the Republic of Panama be declared in a state of war, for as long as the aggression unleashed against the Panamanian people by the US government continues." [fn 43] The first comment from White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater was to minimize this declaration: "I don't think anybody here considers it important enough in terms of impact," Fitzwater told the White House press corps. It was only after Bush had given the final order to attack that it was discovered that this statement had been another casus belli.

At this point, the US provocation activity was stepped up, with special attention given to the approaches to Noriega's headquarters, the Commandancia. Here, at the Avenue A PDF checkpoint, on the evening of Saturday, December 16, Navy Lieutenant Adam J. Curtis and his wife Bonnie had been detained as they chose to take an evening stroll in this very tense and highly sensitive neighborhood. Their presence could in no way have been interpreted as purely casual. Then, while Lieutenant and Mrs. Curtis were having their identity checked by the PDF, a car occupied by four other "off-duty" American officers in civilian clothes drove up. These officers would later say that they had taken a wrong turn towards Noriega's Commandancia, where the cat and mouse game of would-be kidnappers and their prey was known to go on at all hours. These US officers alleged that the PDF guards had ordered them to get out of their car at gunpoint. But the US officers also admitted that they attempted to depart from the area of the PDF checkpoint at high speed, and it is not clear in which direction they were headed. The US officers' car did succeed in departing the scene. At this point, according to the US account, the PDF guards opened fire and wounded Marine Lieutenant Robert Paz, who is later reported to have died of his wounds at the US Gorgas Military Hospital. Another US officer in the car was reportedly slightly wounded in the leg.

When Lieutenant and Mrs. Curtis were released by the PDF some four hours later, they alleged that Lieutenant Curtis had been beaten, and Mrs. Curtis fondled and sexually threatened by the PDF. These details, which may have been purely invented, were obsessively seized upon by Bush in his public justifications of the US invasion. Published accounts indicate that the public affairs officer of the US Southern Command suggested that Lieut. Curtis be interviewed on television to recount his story, but that this idea had been quickly vetoed by Defense Secretary Cheney, suggesting that the US command authority had its doubts about Curtis's ability to tell a tale useful for the Bush regime's propaganda mill. [fn 44]

With the incidents at Avenue A, the imposing "mind war" and "mind control" apparatus of the US regime went into action. Here Bush was taking a leaf from the book of his father's protege, Adolf Hitler. When Hitler had wished to invade Poland, he first completed his military preparations and then staged the infamous provocation code-named Operation Canned Meat at the Gleiwitz radio station on the German side of the border with Poland. The Nazis took some German convicts from a jail, murdered them, and then dressed them in Polish uniforms. These bodies were then presented to the press as the result of a murderous Polish raid across the border. Within hours, Hitler had issued an early-morning declaration of war. Bush showed that his pedigree had been acquired in the same school.

Bush gave the final order for the attack on Sunday, December 17. He made a series of raving statements about the alleged sexual molestation of Mrs. Curtis, and it was evident that racist hysteria was being actively elicited. In his speech delivered at 7:20 AM on December 21, 1989 announcing the US invasion, Bush said: *

Many attempts have been made to resolve this crisis through diplomacy and negotiations. All were rejected by the dictator of Panama, General Manuel Noriega, an indicted drug trafficker.

Last Friday, Noriega declared his military dictatorship to be in a state of war with the United States and publicly threatened the lives of Americans in Panama. The very next day forces under his command shot and killed an unarmed American serviceman, wounded another, arrested and brutally beat a third American serviceman and then brutally interrogated his wife, threatening her with sexual abuse. That was enough. [fn 45]

On December 22, Bush was asked what had made him decide to launch the attack now. He replied:

I think what changed my mind was the events that I cited in briefing the American people on this yesterday: the death of the Marine, the brutalizing, really obscene torture of the Navy lieutenant, and the threat of sexual abuse and the terror inflicted on that Navy lieutenant's wife.... [fn 46]

Later in the same press conference Bush obsessively returned to the same topic, this time answering a question about the Soviet reaction to the US move:

And I also need to let him [Gorbachov] know-- look, if an American marine is killed, if they kill an American Marine-- that's real bad. And if they threaten and brutalize the wife of an American citizen, sexually threatening the lieutenant's wife while kicking him in the groin over and over again, then, Mr. Gorbachov, please understand, this president is going to do something about it."

Blacks and mestizos make up the vast majority of the population of Panama. The principal enemy image was constructed around the figure of Noriega, who was ridiculed as "the pineapple" in the US media loyal to Bush. Noriega was not however the only target: Francisco Rodriguez, the pro-Noriega President of Panama, was, like Noriega, a mestizo, while the minister of government and justice, the minister of the treasury, and the minister of labor were all black. The foreign minister was of Chinese background, as was the head of the small air force. A number of Noriega's leading PDF colleagues were black. By contrast, Guillermo Endara, the new US puppet president who was now administered his oath of office by US military officers on a US military base, was white, and lily-white was his retinue, including first vice president Ricardo Arias Calderon and second vice president Guillermo "Billy" Ford. There would be only one non-white in the new Endara cabinet, a black woman who was minister of education. The rest of the US assets belonged to the lily-white oligarchy of Panama, the rabiblancos or "cottontails," who had ruled the country with supreme incompetence and maximum corruption until the advent of the nationalist revolution of Gen. Omar Torrijos, Noriega's patron, in 1968. Endara's base was among the "BMW revolutionaries" who had attended anti-Noriega rallies only in the comfort of their air-conditioned limousines. These were Bush's kind of people. One of Bush's soldatesca in Panama, General Marc Cisneros, boasted that the Panamanians "need to have a little infusion of Anglo values."

The US military operations, which got under way just after midnight on Tuesday, were conducted with unusual ferocity. The officers were obsessed with avoiding a repetition of the fiasco of Desert One on 1980, or the fratricidal casualties of Grenada. Mad Max Thurman sent in the new Stealth and A-7 fighter-bombers, and AC-13 gunships. The neighborhood around Noriega's Commandancia, called El Chorillo, was bombarded with a vengeance and virtually razed, as was the working-class district of San Miguelito, and large parts of the city of Colon. US commanders had been instructed that Bush wished to avoid US casualties at all costs, and that any hostile fire was to be answered by overwhelming US firepower, without regard to the number of civilian casualties that this might produce among the Panamanians. Many of the Panamanian civilian dead were secretly buried in unmarked mass graves during the dead of night by the US forces; many other bodies were consumed in the holocaust of fires that leveled El Chorillo. The Institute of Seismology counted 417 bomb bursts in Panama City alone during the first 14 hours of the US invasion. For many days there were no US estimates of the civilian dead (or "collateral damage"), and eventually the Bush regime set the death toll for Panamanian non-combatants at slightly over 200. In reality, as Executive Intelligence Review and former US Attorney General Ramsay Clark pointed out, there had been approximately 5,000 innocent civilian victims, including large numbers of women and children.

US forces rounded up 10,000 suspected political opponents of "democracy" and incarcerated them in concentration camps, calling many of them prisoners of war. Many political prisoners were held for months after the invasion without being charged with any specific offense, a clear violation of the norms of habeas corpus. The combined economic devastation caused by 30 months of US sanctions and economic warfare, plus the results of bombardments, firefights, and torchings, had taken an estimated $7 billion out of the Panamanian economy, in which severe poverty was the lot of most of the population apart from the rabiblanco bankers that were the main support for Bush's intervention. The bombing left 15,000 homeless. The Endara government purged several thousand government officials and civil servants under the pretext that they had been tainted by their association with Noriega. Ironically, the new US puppet regime could only be described as a congeries of drug pushers and drug money launderers. The most succinct summary was provided by the International Herald Tribune on February 7, 1990, which reported: "The nation's new President Guillermo Endara has for years been a director of one of the Panamanian banks used by Colombia's drug traffickers. Guillermo Ford, the second vice president and chairman of the banking commission, is a part owner of the Dadeland Bank of Florida, which was named in a court case two years ago as a central financial institution for one of the biggest Medellin money-launderers, Gonzalo Mora. Rogelio Cruz, the new Attorney General, has been a director of the First Interamericas Bank, owned by Rodrguez Orejuela, one of the bosses of the Cali Cartel gang in Colombia." The portly Endara was also the business partner and corporate attorney of Carlos Eleta Almaran, the CIA bagman already mentioned. Eleta Almaran, the owner of the Panamanian branch of Philip Morris tobacco was arraigned in Bibb County, Georgia by DEA officials who accused him of conspiracy to import 600 kilos of cocaine per month into the US, and to set up dummy corporations to launder the estimated $300 million in profits this project was expected to produce. Eleta was first freed on $8 million bail; after the "successful" US invasion of Panama, all charges against him were ordered dropped by Bush and Thornburgh. Bush's heart had gone out in his December 21 war speech especially to drug pusher Billy Ford: "You remember those horrible pictures of newly elected Vice President Ford covered head to toe with blood, beaten mercilessly by so-called 'dignity battalions.'" Bush, it would appear, has never wanted to beat up a drug pusher.

As for Endara's first vice president, Ricardo Arias Calderon, his brother, Jaime Arias Calderon, was president of the First Interamericas bank when that bank was controlled by the Cali cartel. Jaime Arias Calderon was also the co-owner of the Banco Continental, which laundered $40 million in drug money, part of which was used to finance the activities of the anti-Noriega opposition. Thus, all of Bush's most important newly-installed puppets were implicated in drug dealing.

The invasion presented some very difficult moments for Bush. From the beginning of the operation late on December 20, until Christmas eve, the imposing US martial apparatus had proven incapable of locating and capturing Noriega. The US Southern Command was terrorized when a few Noriega loyalists launched a surprise attack on US headquarters with mortars, scattering the media personnel who had been grinding out their propaganda.

There was great fear through the US command that Noriega had successfully implemented a plan for the PDF to melt away to arms cashes and secret bases in the Panamanian jungle for a prolonged guerilla warfare effort. As it turned out, Noriega had failed to give the order to disperse. The reason for this is most instructive: Noriega had expected a US move, but refused to credit the overwhelming evidence that the US was launching a full-scale invasion for the purpose of completely dismantling the PDF and occupying the totality of Panamanian territory. Noriega remained convinced until very late in the day that US aggression would be limited to a commando raid devoted primarily to the kidnapping or assassination of Noriega and a few top lieutenants. In this, Noriega joins the company of the Shah of Iran, President Marcos of the Philippines, and Saddam Hussein of Iraq, all of whom were unable to fathom the true extent of the US commitment to topple their regimes (or, in the case of Iraq, lay waste to much of the country). This is the principal reason why the PDF failed to execute its plan to disperse and regroup in the jungle.

As Christmas eve approached, and Noriega still had not been eliminated, a whining hysteria increasingly colored Bush's public pronouncements. In his press conference of December 22, Bush was tremendously agitated, and opened the proceedings by complaining: "I have a brief press statement, to be followed by a brief press conference because I have a pain in the neck. Seriously." Bush refused to discuss the details of this pain. Was it a symptom of the thyroid condition that was diagnosed in early May of 1991? That is difficult to determine, but there was no mistaking Bush's hyperthyroid mood. His response to the inevitable first question about tracking down the demonized Noriega:

I've been frustrated that he's been in power this long-- extraordinarily frustrated. The good news: he's out of power. The bad news: he has not yet been brought to justice. So I'd have to say, there is a certain level of frustration on this account. The good news, though. is that the government's beginning to function, and the man controls no forces, and he's out. But, yes, I won't be satisfied until we see him come to justice.
Noriega was irrelevant, Bush tried to suggest, since his government and army had both ceased to exist, but Bush lacked conviction. He feared a long Christmas day spent by at home by 80 million families, with no news except the football scores and the mortified consternation of the US regime Noriega had managed to elude. Then, on the evening of December 24, it was reported that Noriega, armed with an Uzi machine gun, had made his way unchallenged and undetected to the Papal Nunciatura in Panama City where he had asked for and obtained political asylum. There are no reports of how far George Bush gnawed into the White House Bigelows upon hearing that news, but it is clear that there was important damage to the deep pile in the Oval Office.

The standoff that then developed encapsulated the hereditary war of the Bush family with the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church. For eight days, US troops surrounded the Nunciatura, which they proceeded to bombard with deafening decibels of explicitly satanic heavy metal and other hard rock music, which according to some reports had been personally chosen by mad Max Thurman in order to "unnerve Noriega and the Nuncio," Monsignor LaBoa. Noriega was reputed to be an opera lover.

At the same time, Bush ordered the State Department to carry out real acts of thuggery in making threatening representations to the Holy See. It became clear that Roman Catholic priests, nuns, monks and prelates would soon be in danger in many countries of Ibero-America. Nevertheless, the Vatican declined to expel Noriega from the Nunciatura in accordance with US demands. Bush's forces in Panama had shown they were ready to play fast and loose with diplomatic immunity. A number of foreign embassies were broken into by US troops while they were frantically searching for Noriega, and the Cuban and Nicaraguan Embassies were ringed with tanks and troops in a ham-handed gesture of intimidation. It is clear that in this context, Bush contemplated the storming of the Nunciatura by US forces. Perhaps he was deterred by the worldwide political consequences he would have faced. When the German Wehrmacht occupied Rome during the war years of 1943-44, Hitler had never dared to order an incursion into the sovereign territory of the Vatican. Could Bush face the opprobrium of having ordered what Hitler himself had ruled out? At this point, Bush's criminal energy failed him, and he had to look for other options.

These were difficult days for Bush. On December 27, he gave another press conference during which he was asked:

Q: Do you fear that Mr. Noriega might disclose any CIA information that could embarrass you or the government?

Bush: No.

Q: Nothing whatsoever?

Bush: I don't think so. I think that's history and I think that the main thing is that he should be tried and brought to justice and we are pursuing that course with no fear of that. You know, we may get into some release of certain confidential documents, that he may try to blind side the whole justice process, but the system works, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Q: Would you open up any documents that he might request so that there'd be no question as there has been in other cases?

Bush: There would be enough to see that he's given a totally fair trial.

New Year's Day was excruciating for Bush, since this was another holiday spent at home with football scores yielding only to speculation on how long Noriega would elude Bush's legions. The manifest refusal of the Vatican to expel Noriega seemed to deprive Bush's aggression of its entire moral justification: if Noriega was what Bush claimed, why did the Pope John Paul II decline to honor the imperative US demand for custody? While Bush squirmed in agony waiting for the Rose Bowl to end, he began to think once again of People Power.

In Panama City, the Endara-Ford-Arias Calderon forces mobilized their BMW base and hired hundreds of those who had nothing to eat for militant demonstrations outside of the Nunciatura. These were liberally seeded with US special forces and other commandos in civilian clothes. As the demonstrations grew more menacing, and the US troops and tanks made no move to restrain them, it was clear that the US forces were preparing to stage a violent but "spontaneous" assault by the masses on the Nunciatura that would include the assassination of Noriega and the small group of his co-workers who had accompanied him into that building. At about this time Msgr. Laboa warned Noriega, "you could be lynched like Mussolini." Noriega appears to have concluded that remaining in the Nunciatura meant certain death for himself and his subordinates at the hands of the US commandos operating under the cover of the mob. LaBoa and the other religious on the staff of the Nunciatura would also be in grave danger. On January 3, 1990, after thanking LaBoa and giving him a letter to the Pope, Noriega, dressed in his general's uniform, left the Nunciatura and surrendered to Gen. Cisneros.

In Bush's speech of December 20 he had offered the following justification for his act of war, Operation Just Cause:

The goals of the United States have been to safeguard the lives of Americans, to defend democracy in Panama, to combat drug trafficking, and to protect the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty.

If these were the goals, then Bush's invasion of Panama must be counted not only a crime, but also a failure.

On April 5, 1991, newspapers all over Latin American carried details of a new report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration confirming that the US-installed puppet president of Panama, Guillermo Endara, had been an officer of at least six companies which had been demonstrably implicated in laundering drug money. These were the Banco General, the Banco de Colombia, the Union Bank of Switzerland, the Banco Aleman, the Primer Banco de Ahorros, Sudameris, Banaico, and the Banco del Istmo. The money laundered came from a drug smuggling ring headed up by Augusto Falcon and Sahvador Magluta of Colombia, who are reported to have smuggled an average of one ton of cocaine per month into Florida during the decade 1977-87, including many of the years during which Bush's much-touted South Florida Task Force and related operations were in operation.

With the puppet president so heavily implicated in the activity of the international drug mafia, it can be no surprise that the plague of illegal drugs has markedly worsened in the wake of Bush's invasion. According to the London Independent of March 5, 1991, "statistics now indicate that since General Noriega's departure, cocaine trafficking has, in fact, prospered" in the country. On March 1, the State Department had conceded that the turnover of drug money laundered in Panama had at least regained the levels attained before the 1989 invasion. According to the Los Angeles Times of April 28, 1991, current levels of drug trafficking in Panama "in some cases exceed" what existed before the December 20 invasion, and US officials "say the trend is sharply upward and includes serious movements by the Colombian cartels into areas largely ignored under Noriega." This was all real drug activity, and not the cornmeal tamales wrapped in banana leaves that Bush's mind war experts found in one of Noriega's residences and labeled as "cocaine" during the invasion.

Bush's invasion of Panama has done nothing to fight the scourge of illegal narcotics. Rather, the fact that so many of Bush's hand-picked puppets can be shown to be top figures in the drug mafia suggests that drug trafficking through Panama towards the United States has increased after the ouster of Noriega. If drug shipments to the United States have increased, this exposes Bush's pledge to "protect the lives of Americans" as a lie.

As far as the promise of democracy is concerned, it must be stressed that Panama has remained under direct US military dictatorship and virtual martial law until this writing in the late autumn of 1991, two years after Bush's adventure was launched. The congressional and local elections that were conducted during early 1991 were thoroughly orchestrated by the US occupation forces. Army intelligence units interrogated potential voters, and medical battalions handed out vaccines and medicines to urban and rural populations to encourage them to vote. Every important official in the Panamanian government from Endara on down has US military "liaison officers" assigned on a permanent basis. These officers are from the Defense Department's Civic Action-Country Area Team (or CA-CAT), a counterinsurgency and "nation building" apparatus that parallels the "civic action" teams unleashed during the Vietnam war. CA-CAT officers supervise all government ministries and even supervise police precincts in Panama City. The Panamanian Defense Forces have been dissolved, and the CA-CAT officers are busily creating a new constabulary, the Fuerza Publica. During December 1990 and January 1991, as the US-led coalition was about to launch its attacks into Iraq, large-scale military demonstrations were staged by the US forces in the provinces of Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro, Panama, and Colon for the purpose of intimidating the large Arab populations of these areas, which the US suspected of sympathizing with Iraq. Radio stations and newspapers which spoke out against the US invasion or criticized the puppet regime were jailed or intimidated, as in the case of the publisher Escolastico Calvo, who was held in concentration camps and jails for some months after the invasion without an arrest warrant and without specific charges. Trade union rights are non-existent: after a demonstration by 100,000 persons in December, 1990 had protested growing unemployment and Endara's plans to "privatize" the state sector by selling it off for a song to the rabiblanco bankers, all of the labor leaders who had organized the march were fired from their jobs, and arrest warrants were issued against 100 union officials by the government. But even the pervasive military presence has not been sufficient to re-establish stability in Panama: on December 5, 1990, heavily armed US forces were sent into the streets of Panama City to deter a coup d'etat that was allegedly being prepared by Eduardo Herrera, the former chief of police. As the popularity of "Porky" Endara wanes, there are signs that the Bush State Department is grooming a possible successor in Gabriel Lewis Galindo, the owner of the Banco del Istmo, one of the banks involved in drug money laundering.

In the wake of Bush's invasion, the economy of Panama has not been rebuilt, but has rather collapsed further into immiseration. The Bush administration has set as the first imperative for the puppet regime the maintenance of debt service on Panama's $6 billion in international debt. Debt service payments take precedence over spending on public works, public health, and all other categories. Bush had promised Panama $2 billion for post-invasion reconstruction, but he later reduced this to $1 billion. What was finally forthcoming was just $460 million, most of which was simply transferred to the Wall Street banks in order to defray the debt service owed by Panama. The figure of $460 scarcely exceeds the $400 in Panamanian holdings that were supposedly frozen by the US during the period of economic warfare against Noriega, but which were then given to the New York banks, also for debt service payments.

As far as the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty signed by Torrijos and Carter, and ratified by the US Senate is concerned, a resolution co-sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas and GOP Congressman Phil Crane of Illinois is currently before the Congress which calls on Bush to renegotiate the treaty so as to allow US military forces to remain in Panama beyond the current deadline of December 31, 1999. Since no Panamanian government could re-open negotiations on the treaty and survive, this strategy, which appears to enjoy the support of the Bush White House, implies a US military occupation of not just the old Canal Zone, but of all of Panama, for the entire foreseeable future.

Thus, on every point enumerated by Bush as basic to his policy-- the lives of Americans, Panamanian democracy, anti-drug operations, and the integrity of the treaty-- Bush has obtained a fiasco. Bush's invasion of Panama will stand as a chapter of shame and infamy in the recent history of the United States.

As this book goes to press, the prosecution is presenting its case in the trial of Gen. Noriega in Miami, Florida. These proceedings have been a shocking demonstration of the politically-motivated, police-state frameups that are now the rule in US courts. Noriega was brought into the United States through a violent exercise in international kidnapping. In any case, Noriega's undeniable status as a prisoner of war means that under the Geneva Convention he cannot be held criminally responsible in a United States court for actions that antedate the opening of hostilities between the United States and Panama. These overarching considerations set the stage for a series of scandalous abuses within the framework of the trial itself. As a result of the Bush regime's "mind war" conducted in cooperation with the controlled news media, it is clear that Noriega cannot receive a fair trial anywhere in the United States, because of the impossibility of finding an impartial jury. During the time that Noriega was preparing his defense, the US Department of Justice and the FBI violated the rights of the defendant under the Sixth Amendment by tapping and taping his conversations with his defense lawyers. Attorney Raymond Takiff had been retained by Noriega as a lawyer at the same time that he was working for the US Department of Justice as a secret informant in undercover sting operations. In his outrageously political pre-trial opinions, US District Judge William Hoeveler barred all references to Noriega's dealings with CIA Director and Vice President George Bush, ruling that the Noriega-Bush relation was irrelevant to the US government's charge that Noriega was part of drug smuggling into the United States. Hoeveler's pre-trial ruling amounts to a ban on discussion of wrongdoing by the US government. This guts Noriega's defense, which is that US agencies, and not Noriega, were responsible for the importation of illegal narcotics into the United States as an integral part of the US government's policy of supporting the Nicaraguan contras, and that the US government fabricated the February, 1988 indictments against Noriega as part of a political strategy to overthrow him because he refused to join the US in supporting the contras.

The parade of government witnesses against Noriega includes the usual rogue's gallery of professional perjurers from the Federal Witness Protection Program. Those testifying against Noriega are, almost without exception, felons at the mercy of the US government, many of whom have concluded plea bargains with federal prosecutors in which they have been treated more leniently in exchange for their willingness to testify against Noriega. These professional witnesses constitute a phalanx of CIA stringers and other mercenaries of the perjury wars who have received total payments of US taxpayers' money estimated anywhere between $1.5 million and $6 million. The upkeep of this stable of witnesses and other exorbitant court costs are not being defrayed by the Bush presidential campaign nor by Bush personally, despite the fact that the main purpose of the proceedings is to retroactively validate Bush's atrocity of December, 1989, and to contribute to his efforts at self-glorification for re-election in 1992. Judge Hoeveler has abrogated the usual rules of evidence, admitting hearsay reports on Noriega's activities from celebrity felons like Carlos Lehder who have never met nor spoken with Noriega. Despite this unprecedented mobilization of the police state apparatus, news media like US News and World Report of September 23, 1991 have conceded that the Justice Department case against Noriega is "shockingly weak," and legal experts not friendly to Noriega have asserted that the first month of the prosecution case had utterly failed to provide convincing evidence of any violations of US law by Noriega.

Bush's performance during the Panama crisis was especially ominous because of the president's clearly emerging mental imbalance. Several outbursts during the Noriega press conferences had resembled genuine public fits. Racist and sexual obsessions were reaching critical mass in Bush's subconscious. These gross phenomena did not receive the attention they would have merited from journalists, television commentators, and pundits, who rather preferred studiously to ignore them. One public figure who called attention to Bush's psychopathology was political prisoner Lyndon LaRouche, who made the following courageous observations from a jail cell in a federal prison in Minnesota after viewing several of Bush's press briefings during the last days of December:

George is a very shallow-minded person, very impulsive. He's a person of rage-driven obsession, and impulses flowing from rage-driven obsessions. Very shallow-minded. He's sort of a jock of one kind or another, in his mentality. He talks like it, he acts like it, his body language is that of it. He can't present a concept. The man is incapable of carrying a concept in his head. He's a poor little fellow who's so rage-driven that very little intellectual activity can occur in his head; that's his conceptual style. He's a man characterized by sudden fits of jock-style rage, of obsessions which flow from seizure by that rage, and of impulses which flow from those obsessions.

If you were a psychiatrist and you had such a fellow on your couch, what's your prognosis of the way he's going to react to this situation? He'll react only when he becomes sly. And he becomes sly in the face of great pressure. He'll duck, he'll be sneaky, when he faces something he knows he can't cope with. And he'll duck and hope to come back to hit another day.

But now he's in a manic fit. He's the President. He said so at his press conference. "I'm the President. I'm Queen of the May." So you've got a rage-driven man, with rage-driven obsession with impulses flowing from that, in a man who thinks he's the Queen of the May. In other words, in Aeschylean language, A LAW UNTO HIMSELF. What's your prognosis? [fn 47]

It was during these waning days of 1989 that Bush's mental disintegration became unmistakable, foreshadowing the greater furors yet to come.

_______________

Notes:

1. Washington Post, January 21, 1991.

2. Evans and Novak, "A Note From Saddle River," Washington Post, April 10, 1989.

3. For Fukuyama's "End of History," see The National Interest, Summer, 1989, and Henry Allen, "The End. Or Is It?", Washington Post, September 27, 1989.

4. Washington Post, December 8, 1988

5. Washington Post, April 17, 1989

6. See Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, "Another Test of Loyalty and Standards," Washington Post, April 26, 1989 and "Overseas Spoils for GOP Loyalists," Washington Post, September 22, 1989; and Ann Devroy, "Bush Ambassadorial Nomination in Limbo," Washington Post, September 12, 1989.

7. "Off on the Wrong Foot: Gray takes on Baker," Newsweek, April 10, 1989.

8. "Bush's Earthly Pursuits," Washington Post, November 18, 1988.

9. See the transcript of Bush's statement and news conference, Washington Post, February 7, 1989; "With Signs and Ceremony, S&L Bailout Begins," Washington Post, August 10, 1989; and "Bush: S&Ls May Need More Help," Washington Post, December 12, 1989.

10. "Bush Backs Increase in IMF Funds," Washington Post, November 23, 1989.

11. "President Defends Pace of Administration," Washington Post, March 8, 1989.

12. See House Democratic Study Group, Special Report No. 101-45, "Legislation Vetoed by the President," p. 83.

13. Washington Post, April 29, 1990, p. F1.

14. John M. Barry, The Ambition and the Power, (New York: Viking Press, 1989), pp. 621-622.

15. Barry, The Ambition and the Power, p. 642.

16. "Bush: The Secret Presidency," Newsweek, January 1, 1990.

17. "Transcript of President Bush's Press Conference," Washington Post, June 9, 1989.

18. Bush press conference, Washington Post, December 22, 1989.

19. "Manuevering Marks Eve of 'Education Summit'", Washington Post, September 27, 1989.

20. Kevin Phillips, "George Bush and Congress-- Brain-Dead Politics of '89," Washington Post, October 1, 1989.

21. Time, October 23, 1989.

22. "Bush Attacks Critics of Response to Coup," Washington Post, October 14, 1989.

23. Congressional Record, 58th Congress, 3d session, p. 19.

24. See "Police State and Global Gendarme: The United States under the Thornburgh Doctrine," American Leviathan, pp. 61-102.

25. Kenneth J. Jones, The Enemy Within, (Cali, Colombia: Carvajal, 1990), p. 22.

26. Frederick Kempe, "The Noriega Files," Newsweek, January 15, 1990.

27. Kempe, "The Noriega Files," p. 19.

28. Frank A. Rubino Esq. and Jon A. May, Esq., Classified Information Procedures Act Submission in United States of America vs. General manuel A. Noriega, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Case No. 89-79-CR-HOEVELER, March 18, 1991, hereafter cited as Noriega CIPA proffer.

29. "Bush Returned Noriega to Payroll, Turner Says," Washington Post, October 1, 1988.

30. Mike Blair, "Mossad Silent Partner," The Spotlight, May 13, 1991.

31. Noriega CIPA proffer, p. 82.

32. Kempe, "The Noriega Files," p. 23.

33. Noriega CIPA proffer, p. 52.

34. Noriega CIPA proffer, p. 54-55.

35. "The Bush-Noriega Relationship," Newsweek, January 15, 1990, pp. 16-17, including the photo of the Bush-Noriega meeting.

36. "Panama: Atrocities of the 'Big Stick,'" in American Leviathan: Administrative Fascism under the Bush Regime, (Wiesbaden: EIR News Service, 1990), pp. 39-40.

37. For Gregg's testimony on Bush-Noriega relations, see "Testimony on Bush Meeting With Panama Ambassador," New York Times, May 21, 1988.

38. ""Bush Aide Invokes Executive Privilege," Washington Post, May 20, 1988.

39. American Leviathan, pp. 41-42.

40. "Ex-Bush Aide Is Said to Have Advised Noriega," Washington Post, January 22, 1989.

41. "Bush Presses to Cut Off Talks with Noriega," Washington Post, May 20, 1988.

42. Bob Woodward, The Commanders, (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1991), p. 89.

43. See "Fact Sheet on the US Invasion of Panama," American Leviathan, p. 46.

44. The Commanders, p. 161.

45. Text of President Bush's Address, Washington Post, December 21, 1989.

46. Text of Bush press conference, Washington Post, December 22, 1989.

47. What Does Candidate LaRouche Think of Bush's Mental Health? (Washington: Democrats for Economic Recovery-LaRouche in '92), p. 7.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:52 am

PART 1 OF 5

Chapter XXIV -- The New World Order

Roma caput mundi regit orbis frena rotundi
(Rome, the chief of the world, hold the reins of this round orb.)

-- Inscription on the imperial crown of Diocletian.


During late 1989 and 1990, George Bush traversed a decisive watershed in his political career and in his own personal mental life. Up until this transition, Bush had attempted to secure advancement through an attitude of deference and propitiation, currying favor with a series of politicians and power brokers whom he despised as his social inferiors, and whom he never hesitated to stab in the back once he got the chance to do so. This was the old duplicitous "have half" persona of his early childhood. During the long years of Bush's quest for the vice presidency, and during the eight long years of his tenure in that office, the public face of Bush was that of dog-like fidelity and Reaganite orthodoxy. During these years Bush exhibited the same relative cognitive impairment which he had exhibited since his Andover days. On the surface, he was a top-level bureaucratic functionary of the US police state, sharing the moral insanity of the policy commitments of the government apparatus which he represented.

Severe and debilitating mental strains had been evident in Bush's personality from his earliest years. Such tensions were an inevitable result of the inhuman self-discipline demanded by his mother, Dorothy Walker Bush, whose regimen combined the most ruthless pursuit of personal affirmation for its own sake, with the imperative that all this single-minded striving be dissembled behind the elaborate pose of fairness and concern for the rights of others. During 1989 and 1990, the tensions converging on Bush's personal psychological structures were greatly magnified not just by the Panama adventure and the Gulf war, but also by the crisis of the Anglo-American financial interests, by the threat posed to Anglo-American plans by German reunification, by the thorny problems of preparing his own re-election, and by the foundering of his condominium partners in the Kremlin. As a result of this surfeit of tensions, Bush's personality entered into a process of disintegration. The whining accents of the wimp, so familiar to Bush-watchers of years past, were now increasingly supplanted by the hiss of frenetic spleen.

The successor personality which emerged from this upheaval differed in several important respects from the George Bush who had sought and occupied the vice-presidency. The George Bush who emerged in late 1990 after the dust had settled was far less restrained than the man who had languished in Reagan's shadow. The hyperthyroid "presidential" persona of Bush was equipped with little self-control, and rather featured a series of compulsive, quasi-psychotic episodes exhibited in the public glare of the television lights. These were typically rage-induced outbursts of verbal abuse and threats made in the context of international crises, first against Noriega and later against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Some might argue that the public rage fits that became increasingly frequent during 1989-90 were calculated and scripted performances, calibrated and staged according to the methods of mind war for the express purpose of intimidating foreign adversaries and, not least of all, the American population itself. Bush's apprenticeship with Kissinger would have taught him the techniques we have seen Kissinger employ in his secret communications with Moscow during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1970: Kissinger makes clear that an integral part of his crisis management style is the studied attempt to convince his adversary that the latter is dealing with a madman who will not shun any expedient, no matter how irrational, in order to prevail. But with the Bush of 1990 we are far beyond such calculating histrionics. There were still traces of method in George Bush's madness, but the central factor was now the madness itself.

The thesis of this chapter is that while it is clear that the Gulf war was a deliberate and calculated provocation by the Anglo-American oligarchical and financier elite, the mental instability and psychological disintegration of George Bush was an indispensable ingredient in implementing the actions which the oligarchs and bankers desired. Without a George Bush who was increasingly non compos mentis, the imperialist grand design for the destruction of the leading Arab state and the intimidation of the third world might have remained on the shelf. Especially since the Bay of Pigs and the Vietnam debacle, American presidents have seen excellent reasons to mistrust their advisers when the latter came bearing plans for military adventures overseas. The destruction of the once powerful Lyndon B. Johnson, in particular, has stood as an eloquent warning to his successors that a president who wants to have a political future must be very reticent before he attempts to write a new page in the martial exploits of imperialism. Eisenhower's repudiation of the Anglo-French Suez invasion of 1956 can serve to remind us that even a relatively weak US president may find reasons not to leap into the vanguard of the latest hare-brained scheme to come out of the London clubs. The difficulty of orchestrating a "splendid little war" is all the more evident when the various bureaucratic, military, and financier factions of the US establishment are not at all convinced that the project is a winner or even worthwhile, as the pro-sanctions, wait and see stance of many Democratic members of the House and Senate indicates. The subjectivity of George Bush is therefore a vital link in the chain of any explanation of why the war happened, and that subjectivity centers an increasingly desperate, aggravated, infantile id, tormented by the fires of a raging thyroid storm.

Bush's new desire to strut and posture as a madman on the world stage, as contrasted with his earlier devotion to secret, behind-the-scenes iniquity has certain parallels in Suetonius's portrait of the Emperor Nero. Before Nero had fully consolidated his hold on power, he cultivated outward and public displays of filial piety, and strove to manifest "good intentions." These were the veneer for monstrous crimes that were at first carried out covertly: "...at first his acts of wantonness, lust, extravagance, avarice, and cruelty were gradual and secret...." But once Nero had firmly established his own regime, the monster became more and more overt: "little by little, however, as his vices grew stronger, he dropped jesting and secrecy and with no attempt at disguise openly broke out into worse crime." [fn 1] Something similar can be observed in the case of Caligula, who had a wimp problem of sorts during the time that he lived on the island of Capri in the shadow of the aging emperor Tiberius, in somewhat the same way that Bush had lived in the shadow of Reagan, as least as far as the public was concerned. In the case of Caligula, "although at Capri every kind of wile was resorted to by those who tried to lure him or force him to utter complaints, he never gave them any satisfaction...." Caligula was "...so obsequious towards his grandfather [Tiberius] and his household, that it was well said of him that no one had ever been a better slave or a worse master." [fn 2] Later, when Caligula came into his own, he exacted a terrible price from the world for his earlier humiliations.

The process of mental and moral degeneration, the loss of previous self-control observable in Bush during this period is not merely an individual matter. The geek act in the White House was typical of the collective mental and political behavior of the faction to which Bush belongs by birth and pedigree, the Anglo-American financiers. During 1989 and 1990, outbursts of megalomania, racism, and manic flight forward were common enough, not just in Washington, but in Wall Street, Whitehall, and the City of London as well. These moods provided the psychic raw material for the strategic construct which Bush would proclaim during the late summer of 1990 as "The New World Order."

By the autumn of 1989, it was evident that the Soviet Empire, the cold-war antagonist and then the uneasy partner of the Anglo-Americans over more than four decades, was falling apart. During the middle 1980's, the Anglo-Americans and their counterparts in the Kremlin had arrived at the conclusion that, since they could no longer dominate the planet through their rivalry (the cold war), they must now attempt to dominate it through their collusion. The new detente of Reagan's second term, in which Bush had played a decisive role, was a worldwide condominium of the Soviets and Anglo-Saxons, the two increasingly feeble and gutted empires who now leaned on each other like two drunks, each one propping the other up. That had been the condominium, incarnated in the figure of Gorbachov.

Both empires were collapsing at an exceedingly rapid pace, but during the second half of the 1980's the rate of Soviet decay outstripped that of the Anglo-Americans. That took some doing, since between 1985 and 1990, the global edifice of Anglo-American speculation and usury had been shaken by the panic of 1987, and by the deflationary contraction of 1989, both symptoms of a lethal disorder. But the Anglo-Americans, unlike the Soviets, were insulated within their North Atlantic metropolis by the possession of a global, as distinct from a merely continental, base of economic rapine, so the economic and political manifestations of the Soviet collapse were more spectacular.

The day of reckoning for the Anglo-Americans was not far off, but in the meantime the breathtaking collapse of the Soviets opened up megalomaniac vistas to the custodians of the Imperial idea in London drawing rooms and English country houses. The practitioners of the Great Game of geopolitics were now enticed by the perspective of the Single Empire, a worldwide Imperium that would be a purely Anglo-Saxon show, with the Russians and Chinese forced to knuckle under. Like the contemporaries of the Duke of Wellington in 1815, the imbecilic Anglo-American think-tankers and financiers contemplated the chimera of a new century of world domination, not unlike the British world supremacy that had extended from the Congress of Vienna until the First World War. The old Skull and Bones slogan of Henry Luce's "American Century" of 1945, which had been robbed of its splendid luster by the Russians and the Cold War, could now ride again.

True, there were still some obstacles. The Great Russian rout meant that German reunification could not be avoided, which brought with it the danger of a Wirtschaftswunder reaching from the Atlantic to the Urals. That, and the continued economic dynamism of the Japanese-oriented sphere in the Far East, would be combated, by economic conflicts and trade wars that would take advantage of the Anglo-American control of raw materials and above all oil, with the Anglo-American lease on the Persian Gulf to be vigorously reaffirmed. Even so, the end of the partition of Germany was a real trauma for the Anglo-Saxons, and would elicit a wave of true hysteria on the part of Mrs. Thatcher, Nicholas Ridley, and the rest of their circle, and a parallel public episode of consternation and chagrin on the part of Bush. The Anglo-Americans were moved to sweeping countermeasures. A little further down the line, a war in the Balkans could bring chaos to the German economic Hinterland. From the standpoint of British and Kissingerian geopolitics, the countermeasures were necessary to restore the balance of power, which now risked shifting in favor of the new Germany. German ascendancy would mean that London would occupy the place to which Thatcher's economics had entitled that wretched nation- a niche of impotence, impoverishment, isolation, and irrelevance. But the British were determined to be important, and war was a way to attain that goal.

There were also governments in the developing sector whose obedience to the Anglo-Saxon supermen was in doubt. The 250,000,000 Arabs, who were in turn the vanguard of a billion Moslems, would always be intractable. The out-of-area deployments doctrine of the Atlantic Alliance would now be the framework for the ritual immolation of the leading Arab state, which happened to be Iraq. Later, there would be time to crush and dismember India, Malaysia, Brazil, Indonesia and some others.

Then there was the inherent demographic weakness of the Anglo-Saxons, especially the falling birth rate, now exacerbated by Hollywood, television, and heavy metal. How could such a small master race prevail against the black, brown, yellow, Mediterranean and Slavic masses? The answer to that could only be genocide on a collossal scale, with economic breakdown, famine, epidemics and pestilence completing the job that war had begun. If the birth rate of Nigeria seemed destined to catapult that country into second place among the world demographic powers, the AIDS epidemic in central Africa was the remedy. General Death was the main ally of the Anglo-Saxons.

Despite these problems, Bush and his co-thinkers were confident that they could subjugate the planet for a full century. But they had to hurry. Unless the Soviets, Chinese, Germans, Japanese, and third world powers could be rapidly dealt with, the Anglo-Americans might be overtaken by their own accelerating economic collapse, and they might soon find themselves too weak to extend their yoke over the world. The military machine that attacked Iraq was in the process of shrinking by more than 25% because of growing American economic weakness, so it was important to act fast.

The Anglo-American system depended on squeezing enough wealth out of the world economy to feed the insatiable demands of the debt and capital structures in London and New York. During the 1980's, those capital structures had swelled like malignant tumors, while the depleted world economy was bled white. Now, crazed after their October 1987 and October 1989 brushes with bottomless financial and currency panic, the masters of usury in London and New York demanded that the rate of primitive accumulation be stepped up all over the world. The old Soviet sphere would pass from the frying pan of the Comecon to the fires of the IMF. By the spring of 1991 Bush would issue his calls for a free trade zone from the north pole to Tierra del Fuego, and then for world wide free trade. Bush's handling of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Zone soon convinced the Europe '92 crowd in Brussels that the Anglo-Americans were hell-bent on global trade war.

These were the impulses and perspectives which impinged on Bush from what he later called "the Mother Country," and which were vigorously imparted to him in his frequent consultations with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who now loomed very large in the configuration of Bush's personal network.

Bush had met Gorbachov in March, 1985, when his "you die, we fly" services were required for the funeral of old Konstantin Chernenko, the octogenarian symbol of the impasse of the post-Andropov Kremlin who had ruled the USSR for just 390 days. Gorbachov had come highly recommended by Margaret Thatcher, with whom he had become acquainted the previous year. Thatcher had judged the new-look Gorbachov a man with whom she could do business. Bush came to Moscow bearing an invitation from Reagan for a parley at the summit; this would later become the choreographed pirouette of Geneva that November. Bush gave Gorbachov a garbled and oblique endorsement: "If ever there was a time that we can move forward with progress in the last few years, then I would say this is a good time for that," stammered Bush. [fn 3] After Geneva there would follow summits in Iceland in 1986, Washington in 1987 to sign the INF treaty, and then Reagan's swan song in Moscow in the summer of 1988, a valuable auxiliary to George's own electioneering. But, as we have seen, the Bush team was contemptuous of slobbering sentimental old Reagan, a soft touch who let the Russians take him to the cleaners, especially in arms control negotiations. Bush wanted to drive a hard bargain, and that meant stalling until the Soviets became truly desperate for any deal. In addition, when Reagan and Bush had met Gorbachov on Governor's Island in New York harbor in the midst of the transition, Gorbachov had been guilty of lese majeste towards the heir apparent and had piqued Bush's ire.

According to one account of the Governor's Island meeting of December 7, 1988, after some small talk by Uncle Ron, Bush wanted to know from Gorbachov, "What assurance can you give me that I can pass to American businessmen who want to invest in the Soviet Union that perestroika and glasnost will succeed?" Was this the official business of the United States, or investment counselling for Kravis, Liedkte, Mossbacher, and Pickens? Gorbachov's reply is recalled by participants as brusque to the point of rudeness: "Not even Jesus Christ knows the answer to that question," said he, amidst the gasps of Bush's staff. A minute later, Gorbachov turned to Bush with a lecture: "Let me take this opportunity to tell you something. Your staff may have told you that what I'm doing is all a trick. It's not. I'm playing real politics. I have a revolution going that I announced in 1986. Now, in 1988, the Soviet people don't like it. Don't misread me, Mr. Vice President, I have to play real politics." [fn 4] After that, the telegenic Gorbachov could look for his photo opportunities somewhere else during most of 1989. There would ne no early Most Favored Nation trade status for Moscow. In addition, the signals from London were to go slow. The result was Bush's "prudent review" of US-Soviet relations.

Gorbachov was always hungry for summitry, and during an April visit to Thatcher, the Soviet leader chided Bush for the US "hesitation" on new arms control deals. Bush dismissed this remark with a huff: "We're making a prudent review, and I will be ready to discuss that with the Soviets when we are ready. We'll be ready to react when we feel like reacting." [fn 5] Ministerial meeting between Baker and Shevardnadze were proceeding. In May, the voice of Reagan was heard from his California retirement, telling his friends that he was "increasingly concerned at what he considers an excessively cautious approach to nuclear arms reductions with the Soviets." Reagan thought that Bush was indeed too hesitant, and that Gorbachov was seizing the initiative with western Europe as a result. In the view attributed to Reagan by these unnamed friends, "Bush opted for the delaying tactic of a policy review, behaving the way new presidents do when replacing someone from the opposing party with different views." According to journalist Lou Cannon, "both in Bonn and in Beverly Hills they are wondering if Bush's only strategy is to react to events as they unfold." [fn 6] There was the wimp again.

In September, Bush was in Helena, Montana, sounding the same prudent note while defending himself from Senate Majority Leader Mitchell, who had been making some debater's points about Bush's "timidity" and "status-quo" thinking. Bush repeated that he was in "no rush" for a summit with Gorbachov. "I don't think there's any chance of a disconnect" in Moscow's comprehension that "we want to see their perestroika succeed," said Bush. [fn 7]

What changed Bush's mind was the collapse of the East German communist regime, which had been gathering speed during the summer of 1989 with the thousands of East Germans demanding admittance to West German embassies, first in Hungary, and then in Czechoslovakia. Then, in one of the most dramatic developments in recent decades of European history, the Berlin Wall and the East German "shoot to kill" order along the line of demarcation in the middle of Germany were tossed into the dustbin of history. This was one of the most positive events that the generations born after 1945 had ever witnessed. But for Bush and the Anglo-Americans, it was the occasion for public tantrums.

For Bush individually, the breaching of the Berlin Wall of 1961 was the detonator of one of his most severe episodes thus far of public emotional disturbance. Bush had repeated Reagan's sure-fire formula of "Mr. Gorbachov, tear this wall down," during a visit to Helmut Kohl in Mainz in late May. "Let Berlin be next," Bush had said then. The wall "must come down." But in the midst of Bush's throw away lines like "Let Europe be whole and free," there was no mention whatsoever of German reunification, which was nevertheless in the air.

Thus, when the wall came down, Bush could not avoid a group of reporters in the Oval Office, where he sat in a swivel chair in the company of James Baker. Bush told the reporters that he was "elated" by the news, but his mood was at once funereal and testy. If he was so elated, why was he so unhappy? Why the long face? "I'm just not an emotional kind of guy." The main chord was one of caution. "It's way too early" to speculate about German reunification, although Bush was forced to concede, through clenched teeth, that the Berlin Wall "will have very little relevance" from now on. Everything Bush said tended to mute the drama of what had happened: "I don't think any single event is the end of what you might call the Iron Curtain. But clearly, this is a long way from the harsh days of the --the harshest Iron Curtain days-- a long way from that." "We are not trying to give anybody a hard time," Bush went on. "We're saluting those who can move forward to democracy. We are encouraging the concept of a Europe whole and free. And so we just welcome it." The East German "aspirations for freedom seem to be a little further down the road now." But Bush was not going to "dance on the wall," that much was clear. [fn 8]

After this enraged and tongue-tied monologue with the reporters, Bush privately asked his staff: "How about if I give them one of these?" Then he jumped in the air, waved his hands, and yelled "Whoooopppeee!" at the top of his lungs. [fn 9] Bush's spin doctors went into action, explaining that the president had been "restrained" because of his desire to avoid gloating or otherwise offending Gorbachov and the Kremlin.

Bush's gagged emotional clutch attracted a great deal of attention in the press and media. "Why did the leader of the western world look as though he had lost his last friend the day they brought him the news of the fall of the Berlin Wall?", asked Mary McGrory. "George Bush's stricken expression and lame words about an event that had the rest of mankind quickly singing hosannas were an awful letdown at a high moment in history." [fn 10]

In reality, Bush's suppressed rage was another real epiphany of his character, the sort of footage which a serious rival presidential campaign would put on television over and over to show voters that George has no use for human freedom. Bush's family tradition was to support totalitarian rule in Germany, starting with daddy Prescott's role in the Hitler project, and continuing with Averell Harriman's machinations of 1945, which helped to solidify a communist dictatorship for forty years in the eastern zone after the Nazis had fallen. But Bush's reaction was also illustrative of the Anglo-American perception that the resurgence of German industrialism in central Europe was a deadly threat.

Over in London, Thatcher's brain truster Nicholas Ridley was forced to quit the cabinet after he foamed at the mouth in observations about German unity, which he equated with a Nazi resurgence seeking to enslave Britain within the coils of the EEC. Conor Cruise O'Brien, Peregrine Worthshorne and various Tory propagandists coined the phrase of an emergent "Fourth Reich" which would now threaten Europe and the world. The Anglo-Saxon oligarchs were truly dismayed, and it is in this hysteria that we must seek the roots of the Gulf crisis and the war against Iraq.

But in the meantime, the collapse of the old Pankow regime in East Berlin meant that Bush had urgent issues to discuss with Gorbachov. The two agreed to meet on ships in Malta during the first week of December.

Bush talked about his summit plans in a special televised address before Thanksgiving, 1989. He tried to claim credit for the terminal crisis of communism, citing his own inaugural address: "The day of the dictator is over." But mainly he sought to reassure Gorbachov: "...we will give him our assurance that America welcomes this reform not as an adversary seeking advantage but as a people offering support." "...I will assure him that there is no greater advocate of perestroika than the president of the United States." Bush also had to protect his flank from criticism from Europeans and domestic critics like Lyndon LaRouche who had warned that the Malta meeting contained the threat of an attempted new Yalta of the superpowers at the expense of Europe. "We are not meeting to determine the future of Europe," Bush promised. [fn 11]

It is reported that, here again, Bush was so secretive about this summit until it was announced that he did not consult with his staffs. If he had, the nature of Mediterranean winter storms might have influenced a decision to meet elsewhere. The result was the famous sea-sick summit, during which Bush, whose self-image as a bold sea dog in the tradition of Sir Francis Drake required that he spend the night on a heaving US warship, required treatment for acute mal de mer. Bush's vomiting syndrome, which was to become so dramatic in Japan, was beginning. He had perhaps not been so tempest-tossed since his nautical outing with Don Aronow back in 1983.

At the Malta-Yalta table, Bush and Gorbachov haggled over the "architecture" of the new Europe. Gorbachov wanted NATO to be dissolved as the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, but this was something Bush and the British refused to grant. Bush explained that Germany was best bound within NATO in order to avoid the potential for independent initiatives that neither Moscow nor Washington wanted. A free hand for each empire within its respective sphere was reaffirmed, as suggested by the symmetry of Bush's assault on Panama during the Romanian crisis that liquidated Ceausescu, but left a neo-communist government of old Comintern types like Iliescu and Roman in power. Bush would also support the Kremlin against both Armenia and Azerbaijan when hostilities and massacres broke out between these regions during the following month. Bush's reciprocal services to Gorbachov included a monstrous diplomatic first: just as the communist regime in East Germany was in its death agony, Bush dispatched James Baker to Potsdam to meet with the East German "reform communist" leader, Modrow. No US Secretary of State had ever set foot in the DDR during its entire history after 1949, but now, in the last days of the Pankow communist regime, Baker would go there. His visit was an insult to those East Germans who had marched for freedom, always having to reckon with the danger that Honecker's tanks would open fire. Baker's visit was designed to delay, sabotage and stall German reunification in whatever ways were still possible, while shoring up the communist regime. Baker gave it his best shot, but his sleazy dealmaking skills were of no use in the face of an aroused populace. Nevertheless, after Tien An Men and Potsdam, Bush was rapidly emerging as one of the few world leaders who could be counted on to support world communism.

During the early months of 1990, certain forces in Moscow, Bonn, and other capitals gravitated towards a new Rapallo arrangement in a positive key: there was the potential that the inmates of the prison-house of nations might attain freedom and self-determination, while German capital investments in infrastructure and economic modernization could guarantee that the emerging states would be economically viable, a process from which the entire world could benefit.

A rational policy for the United States under these circumstances would have entailed a large-scale commitment to taking part in rebuilding the infrastructure of the former Soviet sphere in transportation, communications, energy, education, and health services, combined with capital investments in industrial modernization. Such investment might also have served as a means to re-start the depressed US economy. The pre-condition for economic cooperation would have been a recognition by the Soviet authorities that the aspirations of their subject nationalities for self-determination had to be honored, including through the independence of the former Soviet republics in the Baltic, the Trans-caucasus, central Asia, the Ukraine, and elsewhere. As long as long as the Soviet military potential remained formidable, adequate military preparedness in the west was indispensable, and should have featured a significant commitment to the "new physical principles" anti-missile defenses that had inspired the original Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1983. Obviously, none of these measures would have been possible without a decisive break with the economic policy of the Reagan-Bush years, in favor of an economic recovery program focused on fostering high-technology growth in capital-intensive industrial employment producing tangible, physical commodities. The single US political figure who had proposed such a program for war-avoidance and stability was Lyndon LaRouche, who had put forward such a package during a press conference in West Berlin in October, 1988, in the context of a prophetic forecast that German re-unification was very much on the agenda for the immediate future.

Bush was responsible for the jailing of LaRouche, and his policy in these matters was diametrically opposite to this approach. Bush never made a serious proposal for the economic reconstruction of the areas included within the old USSR, and was niggardly even in loans to let the Russians buy agricultural commodities. In November, 1990, Gorbachov addressed a desperate plea to world governments to alleviate the USSR food shortage, and sent Foreign Minister Shevardnadze to Washington in the following month in hopes of obtaining a significant infusion of outright cash grants for food purchases from US stocks. After photo opportunities with Baker in Texas and with Bush at the White House, all Shevardnadze had to take back to Moscow was a paltry $1 billion and change. Within a week of Shevardnadze's return, he resigned his post under fire from critics, referring to sinister plans for a coup against Gorbachov. The coup, of course, came the following August. It should have been obvious that Bush's policy was maximizing the probability of ugly surprises further down the road.

Bush did not demand self-determination for the subject nationalities, but sided with the Kremlin against the republics again and again, ignoring the January, 1991 bloodbath in Lithuania, or winning himself the title of "chicken Kiev" during a July, 1991 trip to the Ukraine in which he told that republic's Supreme Soviet to avoid the pitfalls of "suicidal" nationalism. Even though the Soviet missile park was largely intact, Bush was compelled by his budget penury to take down significant areas of US military capacities. And finally, his stubborn refusal to throw the bankrupt policies of the Reagan-Bush years overboard guaranteed further US economic collapse.

But Bush was mindful neither of war avoidance nor economic recovery. In the months after Panama, he basked in the afterglow of a dramatic increase in his popularity, as reflected by the public opinion polls. A full-scale state visit by Gorbachov was scheduled for late May. Rumblings were being heard in the Middle East. But, in early April, Bush's mind was focused on other matters. It was now that he made his famous remarks on the subject of broccoli. The issue surfaced when the White House decreed that henceforth, by order of the president himself, broccoli would no longer be served to Bush. Reporters determined to use the next available photo opportunity to ask what this was all about.

Bush's infantile anti-broccoli outburst came in the context of a White House State Dinner held in honor of the visiting Polish Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Although Bush was obsessed with broccoli, he did make some attempt to relate his new obsession to the social context in which he found himself:

Just as Poland had a rebellion against totalitarianism, I am rebelling against broccoli, and I refuse to give ground. I do not like broccoli, and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.

Out in California, where broccoli is big business as a cash crop, producers were aroused sufficiently to dispatch 10 tons of broccoli, equivalent to about 80,000 servings, to the White House. Bush was still adamant:

Barbara loves broccoli. She's tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan. [fn 12]

These statements were an illumination in themselves, since the internal evidence pointed conclusively to a choleric infantile tantrum being experienced by the president. But what could have occasioned an outburst on broccoli, of all things? Slightly more than a year later, when it became known that Bush was suffering from Basedow's disease, some observers recalled the broccoli outburst. For it turns out that broccoli, along with cabbage and some other vegetables, belongs to a category of foods called goitrogens. Some schools of medicine recommend frequent servings of broccoli in order to help cool off an overactive thyroid. [fn 13] There was much speculation that Bush's hyperthyroid syndrome had been diagnosed by March-April, or perhaps earlier, and that broccoli had been appearing more often on the White House menu as part of a therapy to return Bush's thyroid and metabolism to more normal functioning. Was the celebrated thyroid outburst a case of an irascible president, in the grip of psychopathological symptoms his physicians were attempting to treat, rebelling against his doctors' orders?

At their spring summit, Bush and Gorbachov continued to disagree about whether united Germany would be a member of NATO. Much time was spent on strategic arms, the Vienna conventional arms reduction talks, and the other aspects of the emerging European architecture, where their mutual counter-revolutionary commitments went very deep. Both stressed that they had taken their Malta consultations as their point of departure. Bush's hostility to the cause of Lithuania and the other Baltic republics, now subject to crippling economic blockade by Moscow, was writ large. The central exchanges of this summit were doubtless those which occurred in the bucolic isolation of Camp David among a small shirtsleeve group that comprehended Bush, Gorbachov, Shevardnadze, Baker, and Scowcroft. Bush was unusually closed-mouthed, but the very loquacious Gorbachov volunteered that they had come to talk about the "planet and its flash-points" and the "regional issues." There was the distinct impression that these talks were sweeping and futurological in their scope. In his press conference the next day, Gorbachov had glowing praise for these restricted secret talks: "I would like, in particular, to emphasize the importance of our dialogue at Camp David, where we talked during the day yesterday. And this is a new phase in strengthening mutual understanding and trust between us. We really discussed all world problems. We compared our political perspectives, and we did that in an atmosphere of frankness, constructive atmosphere, an atmosphere of growing trust. We discussed specifically such urgent international issues as the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan, southern Africa, Cambodia, central America. That is just some of what we discussed. I would not want to go into detail right now. I think you will probably seek to get clarification on this, but anyway I think the Camp David dialogue was very important." [fn 14]

Gorbachov also had lengthy answers about the discontent in the Arab world over the Soviet policy of mass emigrations of Russian Jews who were obliged to settle in Israel. For the Middle East was indeed approaching crisis. In the words of one observer, "Bush and Gorbachov stirred the boiling pot of Middle East tensions with their press conference remarks, forgetting the damage that seemingly remote forces can do to the grandest of East-West designs." [fn 15] Did Bush and Gorbachov use their Camp David afternoon to coordinate their respective roles in the Gulf crisis, which the Anglo-Americans were now about to provoke? It is very likely that they did.

Bush's political stock was declining during the summer of 1990. One indication was provided by the astoundingly frank remarks of Justice Thurgood Marshall of the US Supreme Court in an interview with Sam Donaldson on the ABC News television program "Prime Time Live." Justice Marshall, the sole black justice on the Supreme Court, was asked for his reaction to Bush's nomination of the "stealth candidate" David Souter to fill the place of the retiring Justice William Brennan, a friend of Marshall's. Souter was a man without qualities who appeared to have no documentable opinions on any subject, although he had a sinister look. "I just don't understand what he's doing. I just don't understand it. I mean this last appointment is... the epitome of what he's been doing." said Marshall of Bush. Marshall didn't have "the slightest idea" of Bush's motives in the Souter nomination. Would Marshall comment on Bush's civil rights record, asked correspondent Sam Donaldson. "Let me put it this way. It's said that if you can't say something good about a dead person, don't say it. Well, I consider him dead." Who was dead, asked Donaldson. "Bush!" was Marshall's reply. "He's dead from the neck up."

Marshall added that he regarded Bush's chief of staff, John Sununu of New Hampshire, the state Souter was from, as the one "calling the shots." "If he came up for election," said Marshall of Bush, "I'd vote against him. No question about it. I don't think he's ever stopped" running for re-election since he took office. Marshall and Donaldson had the following exchange about Souter:

Donaldson: Do you know Judge David Souter?

Marshall: No, never heard of him.

Donaldson: He may be the man to replace Brennan.

Marshall: I still never heard of him. When his name came down I listened to television. And the first thing, I called my wife. Have I ever heard of this man? She said, "No, I haven't either. So I promptly called Brennan, because it's his circuit [the First Circuit in Boston]. And his wife answered the phone, and I told her. She said: "He's never heard of him either."

Marshall and Brennan had often been at odds with the Bush's administration's promotion of the death penalty. In this connection, Marshall commented: "My argument is that if you make a mistake in a trial and it's corrected later on --you find out it was an error-- you correct it. But if you kill a man, what do you say? "Oops?" "I'm sorry?" "Wait a minute?" That's the trouble with death. Death is so lasting."

On this occasion, Marshall renewed his pledge that he would never resign, but would die in office: "I said before, and I repeat that, I'm serving out my life term. I have a deal with my wife that when I begin to show signs of senility, she'll tell me. And she will." [fn 16] Yet, less than one year later, Marshall announced his retirement from the bench, giving Bush the chance to split the organizations of black America with the Clarence Thomas appointment. Those who saw Marshall's farewell press conference would have to agree that he still possessed one of the most lucid and trenchant minds anywhere in the government. Had Bush's vindictiveness expressed itself once again through its inevitable instruments of secret blackmail and threats?

During June and July, domestic economic issues edged their way back to center stage of US politics. As always, that was bad news for Bush.

Bush's biggest problem during 1990 was the collision between his favorite bit of campaign demagogy, his "read my lips, no new taxes" mantra of 1990, and the looming national bankruptcy of the United States. Bush had sent his budget to the Hill on January 29 where the Democrats, despite the afterglow of Panama, had promptly pronounced it Dead on Arrival. During March and April, there were rounds of haggling between the Congress and Bush's budget pointman, Richard Darman of OMB. Then, on the sunny spring Sunday afternoon of May 6, Bush used the occasion of a White House lecture on his ego ideal, Theodore Roosevelt, to hold a discreet meeting with Democratic Congressional leaders for the purpose of quietly deep-sixing the no new taxes litany. Bush was extremely surreptitious in the jettisoning of his favorite throw-away line, but the word leaked out in Monday's newspapers that the White House, in the person of hatchet-man Sununu, was willing to go to a budget summit with "no preconditions." Responding to questions on Monday, Bush's publicity man Fitzwater explained that Bush wanted budget negotiations "unfettered with conclusions about positions taken in the past." That sounded like new taxes.

Bush had been compelled to act by a rising chorus of panicked screaming from the City of London and Wall Street, who had been demanding a serious austerity campaign ever since Bush had arrived at the White House. After the failure of the $13 billion Bank of New England in January, Wall Street corporatist financier Felix Rohaytn had commented: "I have never been so uneasy about the outlook in 40 years. Everywhere you look, you see red lights blinking. I see something beyond recession, but short of depression." [fn 17] At the point that Bush became a tax apostate, estimates were that the budget deficit for fiscal 1990 would top $200 billion and after that disappear into the wild blue yonder. The IMF-BIS bankers wanted Bush to extract more of that wealth from the blood and bones of the American people, and George would now go through the motions of compliance.

The political blowback was severe. Ed Rollins, the co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was a Reagan Democrat who had decided to stick with the GOP, and he had developed a plan, which turned out to be a chimera, about how the Republicans could gain some ground in the Congress. As a professional political operative, Rollins was acutely sensitive to the fact that Bush's betrayal of his "no new taxes pledge" would remove the one thing that George and his party supposedly stood for. "The biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats in the public perception is that Republicans don't want to raise taxes," complained Rollins. "Obviously, this makes that go right out the door. Politically, I think it's a disaster." [fn 18] With that, Rollins was locked in a feud with Bush that would play out all the way to the end of the year.

But Democrats were also unhappy, since "no preconditions" was an evasive euphemism, and they wanted Bush to take the full opprobrium of calling for "new taxes." The White House remained duplicitous and evasive. In mid-May, pourparlers were held in the White House on a comprehensive deficit-reduction agreement. The Democrats demanded that Bush go on national television to motivate drastic, merciless austerity all along the line, with tax increases to be combined with the gouging of domestic and social programs. Bush demurred. All during June, the haggling about who would take the public rap went forward. On June 26, during a White House breakfast meeting with Bush, Sununu, Darman, and Congressional leaders, Congressman Foley threatened to walk out of the talks unless Bush went public with a call for tax hikes. For a moment, the dollar, the Treasury bill market, and the entire insane house of cards of Anglo-American finance hung suspended by a thread. If the talks blew up, a worldwide financial panic might ensue, and the voters would hold George responsible for the consequences. Bush's Byzantine response was to issue a low-profile White House press statement.

It is clear to me that both the size of the deficit problem and the need for a package that can be enacted require all of the following: entitlement and mandatory program reform; tax revenue increases; growth incentives; discretionary spending reductions; orderly reductions in defense expenditures; and budget process reform.

"Tax revenue increases" was the big one. June 26 is remembered by the GOP right wing as a Day of Infamy; Bush cannot forget it either, since it was on that day that his poll ratings began to fall, and kept falling until late November, when war hysteria bailed him out. Many Congressional Republicans who for years had had no other talking point than taxes were on a collision course with the nominal head of their party; a back-benchers' revolt was in full swing. Fitzwater and a few others still argued that "tax revenue increases" did not mean "new taxes", but this sophistry was received with scorn. Fitzwater argued in doublethink:

We feel [Bush] said the right thing then and he's saying the right thing now.....Everything we said was true then and it's true now. No regrets, no backing off.

Nixon's spokesman Ron Nessen had been more candid when he once announced, "All previous statements are inoperative." When Fitzwater was asked if he would agree that Bush had now formally broken his no tax pledge, Fitzwater replied: "No. Are you crazy?" On July 11, Congressional Democrats blocked Bush's favorite economic panacea, the reduction of the capital gains tax rate, by demanding that any such cut be combined with an overall increase of income tax rates on the wealthy. This yielded a deadlock which lasted until the last days of September.

Bush hid out in the White House for a few days, but then he had to face the press. There would be only one topic: his tax pledge. Bush affected a breezy and cavalier manner that could not disguise his seething internal rage at the thought of being nailed as a liar. The internal turmoil was expressed in the frequent incoherence of verbal expression. Bush started off with an evasive and rambling introduction in which he portrayed himself as fighting to prevent the suffering that an automatic sequester under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law would entail. The first question: "I'd like to ask you about your reversal on 'no new taxes.'" occasioned more evasive verbiage. Other questions were all on the same point. Bush attempted to pull himself together:

I'll say I take a look at a new situation. I see an enormous deficit. I see a savings and loan problem out there that has to be resolved. And like Abraham Lincoln said, "I'll think anew." I'm not -- but I'm not violating or getting away from my fundamental conviction on taxes or anything of that nature. Not in the least. But what I have said is on the table, and let's see where we go. But we've got a different-- we've got a very important national problem, and I think the president owes the people his --his judgment at the moment he has to address the problem. And that's exactly what I'm trying to do.
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