Worm Turning: The True Base of the Bush Dynasty

*Note: I wrote this piece shortly after the 2004 election. It still seems highly relevant to our predicament today.*

There has been much throwing about of brains on the subject of George W. Bush's further lurch to the Right since he limped over the election finish line with his tiny, 1 percent, fraud-marred m
ajority. And to be sure, the wholesale purges he has instituted throughout his regime -- replacing a slew of merely cringing sycophants with cringing, drooling, groveling sycophants -- will indeed hasten the United States' degeneration into corpo-religious authoritarianism along the lines of Franco's Spain.

But all the earnest disquisitions about Bush's "ideology" entirely miss the
point -- and increase the fog that the Regime deliberately spreads over its true interests. For the heart of this slouching beast is neither left-wing nor right-wing; it's strictly Bush-wing. Anyone even slightly acquainted with the history of the Bush dynasty knows what makes these preppy puppies run -- and it has nothing to do with conservative principles or moral values or national security or world freedom. It's not ideology, but investments -- the gobbling up of unearned, risk-free lucre on the grandest scale imaginable.

Naturally, the pursuit of this kind of piratical wealth leads to certain kinds of policies that can at times be mistaken for a political philosophy. For example, the Bush Regime's devotion to Big Oil, the military, tax cuts, corporate deregulation and unbridled executive power could be seen as the expression of a coherent, if repellent, worldview: Social Darwinism -- survival of the fittest, might makes right, winner takes all. Likewise, the Regime's embrace of religious and cultural fundamentalism resembles an ideological stance of unbending zeal and moral certitude, encompassing the whole of reality.

Taken together, these traits present a formidable picture of a thoroughgoing ideological juggernaut, well-plated with philosophical, academic, legal and theological armor. But underneath all this bristling array there is nothing but a tiny white maggot of greed, wriggling and gorging on scraps of rotting meat. No deep beliefs or high ideals inform the Bushist ethos, which can be boiled down to one sentence: Grab your pile and screw anybody who gets in the way. War, energy and corporate finance just happen to be where the money is at. And raw, secretive political power -- unfettered by courts, laws, legislators or public scrutiny -- is the most effective way to safeguard and augment these investments.

That is not to say that the Bushist credo lacks all nuance. There is in fact a very important refinement to their wormy greed: Loot should always be obtained without the slightest risk to your own financial position. The "free market" must be shunned at all costs -- and manipulated by string-pulling, deceit and intimidation when competition is unavoidable. Thus the Bush model is to cozy up to governments -- preferably strongman regimes free to ladle out public money to their favorites with no questions asked.

That's why Bush patriarch Prescott, pa and grandpa to presidents, invested heavily in Nazi war industries throughout the 1930s -- and kept on investing even after the German war machine was grinding through Europe. That's why George I made his mogul bones by pumping oil with repressive royals in Kuwait. Later, when he had a government of his own to play with, George sent U.S. troops to bail out his Kuwaiti partners after another of his business clients, Saddam Hussein, got too frisky in a border dispute. George I would end his career as a corporate bagman, roaming the Earth in search of insider deals and choice "privatizations" from Saudi princes, Asian dictators, African tyrants, South American sleaze merchants and Europork peddlers.

George II's murky road to fortune was likewise paved with insider trading, no-risk loans and mysterious infusions of foreign cash, including a bailout from a firm embedded in the octopus of BCCI -- the renegade banking cartel that the U.S. Senate called the "largest criminal organization in world history," which cloaked drug deals, gun-running, nuke trafficking and "black ops" by the CIA and other intelligence services behind a protective wall of bribes that reached into nearly every government on Earth.

Of course, the best of all possible worlds is controlling the government yourself -- and Dubya has certainly raised crony capitalism to dizzy heights, tearing down whole countries just so his investor pals (and his family) can reap the profits of "reconstruction." But again, it is the maggoty hankering for easy money that truly drives Bushist militarism, not any kind of ideological or religious vision. For such crude minds, the surest way to guarantee that floods of public boodle keep pouring into your private pocket is to scare the hell out of people and keep them scared with war and rumors of war.

The decidedly un-butch Bushes are not really bloodthirsty. They don't sit in dark corners and cackle over the idea of children being chewed to pieces by American bombs. Nor do their nostrils flare with righteous rage at the thought of homosexuality or abortion or nipples on national television. It's just that war profiteering, corporate rapine and cynical pandering to the public's worst instincts are the easiest way to get the unearned riches they crave -- and the perks and power they feel are their birthright as an ancient branch of the American aristocracy.

Perhaps if they could obtain these same privileges as easily by other, less horrific means, they would. As it is, they take the world as they find it, and go about their business without fretting over the consequences -- the dead, the ruined, the spreading hate, the poisoned planet. Why should they care? As the maggot cannot see beyond the meat, so too these men of greed-stunted understanding can see nothing of worth outside their own bottomless appetites.

*Original version published in the Nov. 26, 2004 edition of The Moscow Times. Extensive annotations, from the original, can be found after the jump.*

The Carlyle Group
The Center for Public Integrity

New Army Chief is Carlyle Man
San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 19, 2004

Bush's Ancestor's Bank Seized by Government
Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2003

Bush-Nazi Link Confirmed
New Hampshire Gazette, Oct. 10, 2003

Bush-Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951: Federal Documents
New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003

Heir to the Holocaust: Prescott Bush, $1.5 Million and Auschwitz
Clamor Magazine, May/June 2002

The BCCI Affair
Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Dec. 1992

Why the Gulf War was not in the National Interest
The Atlantic Monthly, July 1991,

Bush's Night of the Long Knives
The Guardian/Salon.com, Nov. 17, 2004

The Hidden History of America's War on Iraq
Synthesis/Regeneration, Winter 2003

The Barreling Bushes
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 11, 2004

The Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
Kevin Phillips interview, Buzzflash.com, Jan. 4, 2004

Bush's Brother Has Contract to Help Chinese Chip Maker
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 27, 2003

Consultant On Iraq Contracts Employed President's Brother
Financial Times, Nov. 27, 2003

All in the Profiteering First Family
Prince George's Journal, Feb. 23, 2004

The Family That Preys Together
Covert Action Quarterly, Summer 1992

Father and Grandfather Bush
The Art of Deception, 2004

Bush's Texas: Dark Heart of the American Dream
The Observer, June 16, 2002

The Bush Family Saga
The Oregon Coast News-Signal, Nov. 6, 2002

Bush, Inc.
Salon.com, Aug. 21, 2003

Bush Family Values
Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 1992

Bush Secret Effort Helped Iraq Build Its War Machine
Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1992

Iraqgate: Confession and Coverup
Consortiumnews.com, May/June 1995

Carlyle's Way
Red Herring, Dec. 11, 2001

[Carlyle Group] Gets Fat on War
The Guardian, March 23, 2003

Crony Capitalism Goes Global
The Nation, April 1, 2002

Gitmo Trials Continue Despite Court Ruling
The New Standard, Nov. 18, 2004

The Bush Dynasty's Dark Magic
Salon.com, Jan. 27, 2004

Bin Laden Money Flow Leads to Midland, Texas
In These Times, October 2001

Spies Hide as Bank of England Faces BCCI Charges
Observer, Jan. 19, 2003

Funding Terror: The Role of Saudi Banks
In These Times, Dec. 20, 2002

Ex-U.S. Official Says CIA Aided Baathists
Reuters, April 20, 2003

Rumsfeld's $9 Billion Slush Fund
Slate.com, Oct. 10, 2003

The CIA Goes Corporate
Slate.com, Nov. 4, 2003

The BCCI Affair: Matters for Further Investigation
Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Dec. 1992

Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in Time of War Despite Use of Gas
New York Times, Aug. 18, 2002

Iraqgate: Confession and Coverup
Consortiumnews.com, May/June 1995

Firewall: Inside the Iran-Contra Coverup
Consortiumnews.com, 1997

Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the Bush Oil Team
Centre for Research on Globalisation, March 23, 2002

Sun Myung Moon, North Korea and the Bushes
Consortiumnews.com, Oct. 11, 2000

Rev. Moon, the Bushes and Donald Rumsfeld
Consortiumnews.com, Jan. 3, 2001

The Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Hooking George Bush
Consortiumnews.com, 1997 archives

The Bush Family Oligarchy
Consortiumnews.com, Aug. 14, 2000

George H.W. Bush, the CIA and a Case of State Terrorism
Consortiumnews.com, Sept. 23, 2000

The Bush Dynasty and the Cuban Criminals
The Guaridan, Dec. 2, 2002