Another Dead Oligarch

This inaugurates a category for this blog, titled, “another dead oligarch.” Hopefully it will see a certain amount of activity, since oligarchs tend (by their nature!) to be old. Unless you’re born with the magic god-mode code, you’ve got to spend a few years using daddy’s money to climb over the mounded corpses of your inferiors.

So, they’re holding a national day of mourning for GHWB. A man who wouldn’t have given most of us the time of day. Now that the mainstream media are dutifully rending their garments over the swiftly cooled corpse, there have been a few journalists who have taken the time to think instead of copy-pasting from some press release about what a great guy he was.

It’s hard to start with “what I hate the most about GHWB is…” because there are too many items to prioritize, so let’s just go with: he was part of an American hereditary aristocracy which came to power because of inherited wealth and privilege, whose scions remained largely untouched by merit. If he served our country, it was mostly as a warning.

GHWB was a spook, and as spooks do, he held himself above and below the law, simultaneously. Perhaps his signal accomplishments were The Highway of Death and the 1980s Cocaine Boom that devastated inner cities around the country and brought Columbian and Niceraguan narco-capitalists into the US to build pipelines for their products. At the time, I recall some of the dissidents and anarchists I hung out with claiming “the CIA is importing drugs into the inner cities to suppress black people!” and I thought they had left their tinfoil hats at home – but it turns out they were right.

Today, I would like to wish a small wish; one I know won’t be fulfilled. And that’s that every federal employee who has been given time off to mourn would, instead, print out a few articles about what a shitbag GHWB was, and sit around reading them aloud to their friends and co-workers.

Here are two. Make your own suggestions in the comment area:

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The Bush family were part of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Bush, the industrial cartel that allegedly tried to recruit Smedley Butler to overthrow the government in a coup on their behalf. It wasn’t until Bush V Gore that the Bush family finally got to count their coup.


  1. Curt Sampson says

    As spooks do, he held himself above and below the law, simultaneously.

    Nice turn of phrase. I like it.

    Maybe even better than my fave description of any U.S. president:

    [He] was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning.

    (But I’m going to go with Nix as the worst ever, and if you want a second place dude, I’ll get disqualified for putting up Henry Kissinger.)

  2. says

    Curt Sampson@#2:
    Nice turn of phrase. I like it.

    Thank you!

    [He] was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning.

    Excellent. Kissinger was more a nihilist than anything else, I would say. I’ve been doing a lot of chin-scratching about nihilism, lately, and I’m not sure I can use the word any more. What was Kissinger? An abyss-gazer, for sure.

    Then there was Hitchens’ description of Jacques Chirac as “a man so corrupt he would have paid for the pleasure of selling himself.” [wsj] Few could play in Hitchens’ league before he metamorphosed into a slug. (per George Galloway)

  3. Marissa van Eck says

    I’m glad he’s dead. He had better be very glad there is no Hell as his religion understands the term, because if there were, he’d be joining papa Prescott and all his Nazi buddies in eternal flaming torture. And his idiot chimpanzee son can’t follow along soon enough.

    And what really burns my little blue-sailor-skirted ass with a three-foot high, purple dark-energy flame, is that people from all walks of journalistic and pundit life are falling over themselves to talk about how “decent” he was. Fuck. No. He was not “decent” in any sense except the most shallow and superficial, and all these supposedly good Christians ought to know a “whited sepulchre” when they see one.

    I can’t wait for the entire Bush AND Clinton dynasty to just. Die. Out. Dynastic politics has caused incalculable damage to this country.

  4. bmiller says


    I am not so sure. Yahweh seems to be an utter monster. I think the oligarchs would actually fit right in the sycophantic horror that is “heaven”.

  5. Marissa van Eck says

    Yeah, that’s another thing Christians don’t seem to get: their “heaven” is an Orwellian nightmare, a 24/7 church service, where everyone who kissed Yahweh’s ass gets to spend all of eternity kissing Yahweh’s ass some more. And it never seems to occur to them that their spot in heaven is not guaranteed.

    Basically, law of large numbers states that anything that is not logically impossible will happen at least once at some point as time T asymptotically approaches infinity…or, as they like to call it, eternity. There is nothing logically preventing Yahweh from throwing any of them into Hell for any reason, or no reason at all, because he is omniscient. Even if they try and claim he made them a promise, he is by definition good and the font of all morality, so nothing he does it bad (and no one could call him to task for breaking him promise *anyway*), so they’d have no recourse.

    In other words, according to their belief system, it is an *inevitability* that they will end up in Hell. Yet none of them ever think about this. I don’t think it ever even occurs to any of them.

  6. springa73 says

    I don’t have as much hostility toward political leaders in general, and George H.W. Bush in particular, as other people here, but even I find the veneration given to Bush 41 and other former presidents when they die to be rather excessive. Part of it might be the fact that the president is head of state as well as head of government, and so is held by many people to represent the entire country while in reality representing only the people who supported them, and often a narrower set of interests.

  7. Dago Red says

    I agree with #7, and I have given up on political hostility too. For me, hostility — along with most other emotions — in politics is what makes demagoguery possible. But I digress….

    But its most important to judge people like GHWB, not in comparison to ourselves and our fellow typical “non-empowered” citizens, but to those who have filled, and do fill, comparable roles in our society. Otherwise we are making the classical mistake of comparing apples to oranges, so to speak. It just might be true, from the POV of anyone not part of the power-elite, that the POTUS job sometimes is to commit to, and even execute, a human atrocity as part of a classic “no win” scenario…and the only choice they can hope for is to choose to enact the “least” atrocious scenario.

    This is why (as pessimistic as it may sound) I tend to think of the atrocities of GHWB as “fairly typical” of most tenures of those who sat in the Big Chair on Pennsylvania Ave. I think the job often requires making atrocious decisions (like the ones highlighted here) and the decisions made by GHWB, as horrific as they were, were unfortunately, fairly typical in my view of that office in recent decades. I detest the hagiography as much as the next person, and, rather, I do appreciate the retelling of stories from the dark side of the GHWB regime, but I think its important to remember the landscape around him – to me, he is very “middle of the road: when it comes to the heinous acts committed under his watch.

    Its the rare cases — such as the tenure of Obama — that I found unusually spartan in regards to the usual plethora of atrocities common to this office. Perhaps investigative probing has yet to reveal them. Perhaps Obama was unusually bright at finding an unseen solution to the “no win” scenarios. Perhaps he is just the benefactor of a particular period in history with a lack of such scenarios, or perhaps the unusual global economic crisis of his time sufficiently distracted most world leaders from creating these no-win atrocity-scenarios from occurring in the first place. Again, digressing…

    I hate the fact that international (and even large-scale national) politics is so often an amoral stew of bad and worse ingredients, and that large groups of innocent people, as a result, often are sacrificed like so many vegetables to be chopped and boiled — but that, in my view, is an accurate analogy of the world we live in (and will continue to live in for many decades to come), and we are better off to judge our leaders by the amoral lawless nature of this international political kitchen within which they worked, rather than in the light of the more controllable,and thus humane, standards by which we choose to define for our local communities and generally live out our lives ensconced within (often entirely isolated from the true horrors commonplace to international politics).

  8. jrkrideau says

    the tenure of Obama — that I found unusually spartan in regards to the usual plethora of atrocities common to this office.
    Check the figures on drone attacks. He is just anther US president war criminal.