I poo on Godwin's Law, but this isn't GW's fault....
October 18, 2003 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Trading with the Enemy (Prescott Bush was a bad man) - The mainstream press decides to bring up the Bush/Nazi connection - Newly declassified documents shed new light on the shady beginnings of the Bush family's dynastic wealth: through GW Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush's work as a director of a US bank which was both controlled by the German industrialist Thyssen (who played a key role in bankrolling Hitler's rise to power) and which continued to launder Thyssen Group profits after the US declaration of war against Germany. But if you've been reading Metafilter closely, you would have known the facts almost a year ago. ( * executes clannish, self/Metafilter congratulatory victory jig * ). Will the mainstream press pick up the trail of the story, to the US government secret importation of Nazi scientists immediately after WW2? (don't hold yr. breath)
posted by troutfishing (60 comments total)
i can't recall the mefite who once suggested that the use of RICO against the bush dynasty was entirely appropriate as the family is little more than an ongoing criminal enterprise.
posted by quonsar at 6:15 PM on October 18, 2003

posted by trondant at 6:23 PM on October 18, 2003

someone should fark that link. CBS seems to pick their stories up occasionally.
posted by jmgorman at 6:24 PM on October 18, 2003

Meanwhile, Counterpunch reports that - bizzarely (or unsurprisingly) enough - both Karl Rove's and Arnold Schwarzenegger's grandfathers were also Nazis. Roves' Nazi grandpap was a fairly prominent one, too. I knew, of course, about Arnold....but not Rove.

Nazis! Everywhere!

I seem to recall a minor and quickly hushed scandal, during one of George H.W. Bush's presidential campaigns, involving former Nazis.

Meanwhile Phil Leggiere, of The "Thresher" will now commence eating his bilious words poo-pooing the Bush-Nazi link
posted by troutfishing at 6:35 PM on October 18, 2003


/language nazi.
posted by delmoi at 6:39 PM on October 18, 2003

delmoi - some of us limit our Nazi impulses to minor provinces such as language, while others.......oh, I won't go there.
posted by troutfishing at 7:01 PM on October 18, 2003

I don't particularly like Bush... But in all fairness, is it really the Shrub's fault that his grandpa was a Nazi? I mean, my grandfather's an asshole, but it's not my fault. Same with Karl Rove. These people may be assholes, but it's not their fault that their relatives were assholes.
posted by unreason at 7:04 PM on October 18, 2003

except that they were born into asshole money, which shaped their asshole worldviews.
posted by quonsar at 7:11 PM on October 18, 2003

Well, that sure explains that asshole JFK, eh quonsar?
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:17 PM on October 18, 2003

unreason - I guess you missed my post title. This is not GW's fault - of course - but it is certainly his patrilineage....

....And yet, roses ever spring from shit. Is GW your rose?
posted by troutfishing at 7:25 PM on October 18, 2003

Well, that sure explains that asshole JFK, eh quonsar?

you realize JFK was an asshole right?
posted by quonsar at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2003

The mainstream press decides to bring up the Bush/Nazi connection

There's more on the media's reluctance to investigate this until now in this article.
posted by homunculus at 7:40 PM on October 18, 2003

MrBaliHai - Come on now! You can give us a link, right?.......

Well, I'll have to do it then

To be fair - America spawned both Eugenics (as a movement) and the science of Advertising - both of which had a very deep influence on the Nazi movement. But Prescott Bush was dug in a little deeper than Joe Kennedy, I'd say. If you follow the thread of the story a little further, you will discover the close working relationship - going back all the way to the Union Bank days - between the Dulles and the Bush families. Allen Dulles was the prime mover, as far as we can tell, in the illegal importation of Nazi war criminals into the US. after WW2. George H.W. Bush could hardly have been unaware of this fact, and it is likely that he participated in this.
posted by troutfishing at 7:44 PM on October 18, 2003

And people looked at me strangely when I read these same stories during the first Bush admin.
posted by infowar at 7:46 PM on October 18, 2003

you realize JFK was an asshole right?


Come on now! You can give us a link, right?.......

posted by MrBaliHai at 8:35 PM on October 18, 2003

'natch - MrBaliHai, OK but off topic.
posted by troutfishing at 10:00 PM on October 18, 2003

It's astounding the lengths this entire family goes to amass and preserve it's ridiculous fortune.
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:07 PM on October 18, 2003

I'd be fully compelled to file this as just another example of MeFi's ongoing anti-Bush hysteria, until I realized I'd just gotten done reading Little Green Footballs. And I've gotta say you Bush apologizing twerps have run yourselves plum out of excuses. And if LGF is any indication as to how bad it really is for you, who heretofore smeared anyone who would dare mention and god help us, link to shrill "leftist" news sources in the Blue, let me say:

You wingers is crazy. You're hateful, simplistic, careless with other's lives and feelings, ignorant of human nature and its natural manifestations in society and just plain boringly, yawn inducing, soporifically 100% out-of-touch. And it's no wonder you'd stoop to such counter-intuitive indignities. You, like the amorphous Bush phenomenon, live in a reality that no one ever chooses to live in, but seeks actively to escape from.

I mean, are not the wingers justifications for the heinous Bush "doctrine" merely an example of their attempts to escape an uncomfortably illogical absurdity? It's like, if you can pile word upon word, statement upon statement that this guy Bush and all that word entails is not quite as it seems, that "you liberals are just out to get Bush because you don't like him", eventually you'll be able to live with the cognitive dissonance your intellcual immune system is currently rejecting because it cannot deal. So you pile word upon meaningless word in hopes the goddamned obvious truth about these crooks won't kill you in eventually having to admit to yourself that you are/were totally and completely wrong.

As for the rest of us, there is plenty of room to welcome all aboard. As together we can eject this anomaly. No need for excuses or explanations, we've all been taken to the cleaners together. No room for gloating. It's cult of personality that's propping this administration up now.
posted by crasspastor at 10:17 PM on October 18, 2003

but jfk's pop was only a bootlegging asshole, not a nazi asshole. I'll take rumrunning over funding death camps any day.
posted by amberglow at 10:17 PM on October 18, 2003


or something.
posted by kevspace at 10:19 PM on October 18, 2003

You know, there was once a group who would persecute you based on who your parents and grandparents were. They were called THE NAZIS.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:50 PM on October 18, 2003

Very good point, princevalium. This stuff also came up when the daddy was first running in 88.

I wonder if Thyssen is the Thyssen of Thyssen-Bornemisza, a great museum in Madrid?
posted by amberglow at 10:57 PM on October 18, 2003

So Bush's granddad owned 1 share of stock and sat on the board of an American bank owned by a Dutch bank owned in part by Fritz Thyssen, who was imprisoned by the Nazis for 4 years because of his criticism of their treatment of Jews and Catholics? Well I am shocked, SHOCKED! Old GW probably sleeps under beswastikled bedsheets too, no doubt.

Amberglow: Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza was Fritz Thyssen's brother and co-owner of their business and financial empire. Guess that means Spain's all Nazis too.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:32 AM on October 19, 2003

Guess that means Spain's all Nazis too

No, just President Jose Maria Aznar, his cohorts in the Partido Popular, and the 10% of Spain that actually supported Bush's illegal war in Iraq. The 90% antiwar part of the population, conservatives and liberals alike, are not Nazis.

Well, actually Francoist fascists.
posted by sic at 1:19 AM on October 19, 2003

Between Resolution 1441 and the October 11, 2002 Senate and House resolutions, how do you figure the war was illegal? Whose authority do you think the United States is under?
posted by techgnollogic at 2:05 AM on October 19, 2003

pfft, offtopic, anyway, this bush=nazi accusation is retarded.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:25 AM on October 19, 2003

this bush=nazi accusation is retarded

So let's explore the Bush=asshole theory.

I figured this thread was dead anyway...
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:07 AM on October 19, 2003

Let's just say that the Bush-Nazi connection is credible.

And let's say that we agree in principle that if the source of one's wealth has to do with the enslavery, exploitation. corruption or genocide of a certain group of people, that any one of us with a conscience would feel compelled to make at least some amends for the sins of our fathers.

One could then argue that Bush, by supporting Israel, is simply trying to right the wrongs perpetrated by his line.

I don't actually believe this... I'm just saying.
posted by taz at 4:26 AM on October 19, 2003

Between Resolution 1441 and the October 11, 2002 Senate and House resolutions, how do you figure the war was illegal? Whose authority do you think the United States is under?

UN resolution 1441

If you read it you will find that there is no mandate for the use of force, much less authorization for an invasion, in this resolution.

Which explains why the US tried to ram another resolution through, AFTER 1441, but failed despite their thuggish threats and intimidation tactics to force even the developing nations on the Security Council to back it and then attacked anyway because apparently they suddenly "remembered" that 1441 was all they needed anyway.

Therefore, with no UN mandate, under international law it was an illegal agression against a sovereign state. President Bush also presented misleading and false evidence to the US Congress -- a federal crime if he did so knowingly, retarded in the extreme if he did so unknowingly-- to achieve a yes vote on his war.

As far as whose authority the US is under, it is evident that it is under King George the peaceandprosperity slayer's thumb, definitely not under that antiquated piece of toilet paper once known as the US Constitution.
posted by sic at 5:13 AM on October 19, 2003

What crasspastor said, only not so elegantly phrased.
posted by emf at 5:59 AM on October 19, 2003

techgnollogic - maybe you need to delete that "g" from your mefi name? - no one here is saying that "Bush=Nazi" and so your straw man argument collapses.

If you actually want to read about this subject rather than making thinly informed comments, I've collected a number of links Here. (scroll down for the Bush family-Nazi links section)

"So Bush's granddad owned 1 share of stock and sat on the board of an American bank owned by a Dutch bank owned in part by Fritz Thyssen........"

Well there's quite a bit more than that :

1) The Bush Family-Nazi Connection began well before World War Two (see link above), when George W Bush's paternal grandfathers, Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker, sold millions of dollars in bonds for the German Thyssen industrial empire to the US public. Thyssen, in turn, helped financed the rise of the Nazi Party along with other US industrial interests - including the Ford Motor Co. and other US corps which played key roles in financing Hitler's rise to power.

Fritz Thyssen was certainly no Nazi although one could call him cynical, an opportunist, and a cunning strategist. But he had, obviously, some principles. One of which was the love of money. The Thyssen family lost a significant part of it's fortune, grabbed by the Kaiser's government, during WW1. Fritz Thyssen contrived elaborate schemes to prevent this from happening again - through the marriage of his brother into Dutch nobility and with the kind assistance of the Harrimans. Hitler, it is reported, never quite trusted Fritz Thyssen, and for good cause. The Thyssens were playing their own game, above and apart from nationalistic interests. The same could be said of the Harriman family, Henry Ford and his Ford Motor Co., GM, IBM, the Rockefellers, and - of course - the Bush clan (and I'm certainly omitting here countless other major players). All of the above parties trafficked in significant ways with "the enemy" and played self serving, opportunistic games of high finance and strategy - while millions fought and died during WW2.

2) the Thyssen group was the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany and accounted for something like 1/4 to 1/3 of Germany's heavy industrial output and was thus a key part of the Reich's war effort - and so, while the Thyssen profits which Prescott Bush's bank was laundering were not technically "Nazi" profits, I would call this hair splitting. The Thyssen group used a fair amount of slave labor - many big German manufacturing companies were doing this during the war.

3) Which brings me around to your second (misleading claim) - Prescott Bush's bank was seized by the feds for laundering Thyssen group money - trading with the enemy, that is, and Prescott was involved. He was one of Union Bank's directors and not merely a passive participant. Prescott owned a mere single share in Union Bank because - outside of his service to the Harriman family - he was far from wealthy. Prescott's marriage into the Walker family and his service to the Harrimans sealed, ultimately, the establishment of the Bush family fortune and ensured it's rise to prominence.

4) It was for his services to Union Bank - and the Thyssen group - that Prescott Bush received a rather large lump sum payment after the war ended - somewhere between 750,000 and 1.5 million (US $, worth more than 10 times that in today's dollars, I believe). Payoff? Quid Pro Quo? Just a random banking error which dumped a small fortune into Prescott's bank account?

5) So, it seems, the Bush family fortune was derived from Prescott Bush's wartime services for a key financier of, and industrialist to, the Third Reich.

Taz raises an interesting question with the comment "let's say that we agree in principle that if the source of one's wealth has to do with the enslavery, exploitation. corruption or genocide of a certain group of people, that any one of us with a conscience would feel compelled to make at least some amends for the sins of our fathers."....

George H.W. Bush's administration kept a certain distance from Israel, but GW Bush's administration is very, very close to the Israeli right and some commentators have suggested that - leaving aside the issue of whether or not GW actually feels guilt about his family's past Nazi ties - that GW inherited little of this cultural baggage.

The suggestion here would be that the Bush family anti-semitism of (probably) Prescott Bush and (possibly) George HW Bush was not passed on to GW.

But the benefits of Prescott's dubiously earned fortune certainly were. Does GW feel any guilt over this? One pat response - somewhat glib and legalistic, in my opinion - might be "why should he?" . Perhaps he does indeed - but, at the least - he is the product of a prominent political family and, as such, knows that it is almost always politically dumb to admit any responsibility (even if only familial) or guilt. It just doesn't pay.
posted by troutfishing at 7:10 AM on October 19, 2003

as a known commie leftie that hates all wealthy people and loves castro and stalin like brothers and would kiss them under the miseltoe, I don't really give a flip about bush's family ties from ages ago. around the time this was all going down, some of the folks on my dad's side of the family were in the KKK. and who did he vote for in the last election? Ralph Nader. my mom had two abortions and I'm pro-life. it don't matter!

I think the real point here that's being missed is that this is further proof that the Bush family's ratio of "honest work:ridiculous riches" is even more unbalanced than most people realize.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:13 AM on October 19, 2003

Joe Kennedy went to bat for Franco in the diplomacy sideshows surrounding the Spanish Civil War. I don't hold it against JFK.
posted by gimonca at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2003

You, like the amorphous Bush phenomenon, live in a reality that no one ever chooses to live in, but seeks actively to escape from.

No one...except for 50% of the U.S. population, that is.
posted by rushmc at 8:55 AM on October 19, 2003

mcsweetie - good point.

gimonca - Of course not. But here's a question - would it perhaps be appropriate for someone in the Bush family (it needn't be GW) to publicly acknowledge the shady origins of the Bush family wealth and offer a token acknowledgement of some sort, such as endowing an academic chair in Holocaust studies, say?

As I said, GW Bush isn't technically responsible for any of this. But don't we, ideally, want to hold our political figures to a higher standard than that which is minimally acceptable?
posted by troutfishing at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2003

More proof of how a father and son can differ: Bush Sr.'s 'message' to Bush Jr.
posted by homunculus at 10:53 AM on October 19, 2003

Couple of questions for you troutfishing, as you seem to have an excellent grasp on the facts-

Where does the idea that this is the origin of the Bush family wealth come from? I didn't see anything in the main article or in any of the google search articles about it. Wasn't Prescott a good Yale man from Greenwich who belonged to Skull and Bones? That seems to lead me to believe he has a little cash before this occurred. And wouldn't the closing of the bank he was part of hurt, rather then help his wallet?

You seem to imply that the mainstream press is hesitant about going after this story - "the mainstream press decides to bring up..." and "Will the mainstream press pick up the trail of the story...". I don't really see the hesitation you seem to imply. This story is new, as you yourself say. The google link even goes to a Fox news reprinting of an AP story. I see even mefites questioning the importance of the actions of someone's granddad as a news story. So, I can see other journalists hesitating because of it's newsworthiness. Also, maybe it's just me, but I thought that the Prescott Bush/Nazi connection was already well known. I certainly thought I had read about it before this from reputable sources. And nazi scientists/war criminals ( for the CIA + NASA especially ) being brought into the US after WWII? That's got to be common knowledge. Dr. Strangelove, yes?

Either way, in terms of apologizing for a little/a lot of his family's wealth came from, I think most Israeli's are content that his and his Dad's actions more than made up for this. It would be good of him to face up to this. He should, but politics is politics. If I thought that anti-Bush folks would give a damn about him acknowledging it, maybe I would think it more important to do. Instead, I think it would just make them rail against him even more.
posted by superchris at 10:55 AM on October 19, 2003

"As I said, GW Bush isn't technically responsible for any of this."

Actually, he isn't the tiniest bit responsible for any of this by any stretch of the imagination.

Simon Wiesenthal rejected the notion of collective guilt, and that's good enough for me.

This post is just sad. You're looking at the past saying, in effect, if you squint hard enough and pretend a little, you can see those Bushes being evil all the way back through time.

If Bush wins 49 states and the Repubs get 64 US Senators next year it won't be because the public was lied to, it will be because the people who were supposed to come up with a better way forward decided instead to try to dig down to the bottom of the looney bin faster than the LaRouch crowd is digging ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:56 AM on October 19, 2003

Jos Bleau - It was very predictable that this post would get about one half dozen of the same sort of retorts - that's why I gave it the title I did (hint - look up to the top of your browser). If you notice, I don't ascribe any blame to GW in my post.

As I said, GW Bush isn't technically responsible for any of this. It's a matter of individual conscience though, I would claim - does an individual who benefited from tainted money have any responsibility as to the acknowledgement of it's origins?

As for the "You're looking at the past saying, in effect, if you squint hard enough and pretend a little....." - I take this comment to mean that either you haven't read any of the relevant material or that you don't have any substantive criticisms as to it's authenticity or veracity.

Here's a start for you:

["John Loftus, is a former U.S. Department of Justice Nazi War Crimes prosecutor, the President of the Florida Holocaust Museum and the highly respected author of numerous books on the CIA-Nazi connection including The Belarus Secret and The Secret War Against the Jews, both of which have extensive material on the Bush-Rockefeller-Nazi connection."]

"...The Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions: Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in.
Moreover, the size of their compensation is commensurate with their risk as Nazi money launderers. In 1951, Prescott Bush and his father in law each received one share of Union Bank stock, worth $750,000 each. One and a half million dollars was a lot of money in 1951. But then, from the Thyssen point of view, buying the Bushes was the best bargain of the war.
The bottom line is harsh: It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920's, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush's bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen's coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family's complicity."

As to the claim that George H.W. Bush and GW Bush have aided Israel or Holocaust survivors - that's a rather debatable point (bearing in mind, also, that the administration policy of the two men towards Israel has been somewhat different) which some would dispute on the basis that a US approach which panders to the Israeli right - by refusing to bring real US pressure for a solution to bear on the miserable Palestinian/Israeli conflict - does no good for anyone and, in any case - even if I were to grant that point (which I would not) aid to Israel does not necessarily equate to Holocaust acknowledgement or reparations.

For more background, Nazis in the Attic, by Randy Davis, is quite good while Nasty Nazi Business - Corporate Deals with Nazi Germany tells the tale of wider US corporate involvement (during the war) with the Third Reich and Christian Dewar, over at the Democratic Underground does a nice cover of this story also in Making a killing

But Robert Lederman puts it, perhaps, most succinctly and eloquently in The Bush Gang:

"....According to former U.S. Justice Dept. Nazi War Crimes Prosecutor John Loftus — who is today the director of the Florida Holocaust Museum — "The Bush family fortune came from the Third Reich,"according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Along with the Rockefellers, DuPonts, General Motors and Henry Ford, banks and shipping companies operated by the Bush family were crucial players in setting up the industrial power behind the Third Reich. These companies poured hundreds of millions of dollars into IG Farben and provided it with technology for tactically essential synthetic materials — while withholding the same materials and patents from the U.S. government. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, IG Farben built and operated more than 40 concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe, including Auschwitz. At their slave labor/factory/death camps chemicals, weapons, drugs, synthetic fuels and other materials vital to the Nazi war effort were manufactured. In addition, eugenicists like Dr. Josef Mengele used the human subjects in the camps for experiments, the data from which are today the basis for many drugs marketed by the pharmaceutical industry. At the end of WWII the Allies split up IG Farben into companies that are now the top pharmaceutical concerns on earth, including Bayer, Hoechst, BASF, the Agfa-Gevaert Group and Cassella AG.

For those who scoff at the validity of comparing the Bush administration to the Nazis and IG Farben, please note that I’m not suggesting that Bush is a literal Nazi nor am I implying that everyone who is an oil or pharmaceutical company executive automatically deserves to be linked to IG Farben. That the Bush wealth and prominence in American politics is derived from Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker’s support of Hitler is a historical fact. If the connection ended in 1945 with the destruction of Nazi Germany that might have been the end of it; it didn’t end there however. Not only has the eugenics agenda continued but many of the top Nazis who were advancing it during WWII were brought to the U.S. after the war and installed in academia, the media, government research institutions and the CIA: by the same American officials who worked with the Bush family to build up Nazi Germany in the first place. Their ideas formed the basis for much of the agenda promoted by this nation’s most influential right-wing think tanks — the same think tanks that are the sponsors of George W. Bush and virtually every one of his appointees. Why is it significant that many of Bush’s staff and cabinet appointees are former pharmaceutical company executives as was former President George Bush? These corporations are voraciously patenting the earth’s life forms: its plants, bacteria, viruses, animals and even human genetic lineages."

posted by troutfishing at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2003

superchris - There is a wide gulf - between acknowledgement of a fact among historians, internet cognoscenti and conspiracy buffs - and the acknowledgement of that fact by mainstream media and society at large.

This story is not new at all! - The relevant details have been mostly known for at least decade - thanks to the painstaking work of various independent researchers. But it has been largely ignored by mainstream news outlets.

Nazi scientists and War Criminals smuggled into the US for dubious purposes and secret experiments? Extensive ties between one of the most powerfull political dynasties in US history and Hitler's Reich? - It sound so X-Files now, doesn't it. Except that it is true......up to a point, and one of the additional reasons, perhaps, that mainstream media shies away from this story is that credible research in the area tends to flow quite seamlessly, degree by degree, into the realm of alien conspiracy territory, Tesla death ray machines, and the like. This happens because of the shroud of secrecy, which has surrounded much of the workings of US government at least since WW2 (and actually since the initial large scale emergence of the ur-military industrial complex during WW1 - which Prescott Bush in fact played a small role in), creates a void into which people can project their imaginative, nightmarish fantasies.

The truth is bad enough though. [ I addressed your question about the founding of the Bush family fortune in my long comment above.]

Does history ever constitute a "story"? - when new material surfaces, I suppose. But if a significant story is "broken" by a fairly obscure newspaper and then neglected by the mainstream media, is it then illegitimate, somehow, for journalists to later pick up that story - as opposed to covering "real" breaking news such as Brittney Spears' latest boob job and the like?
posted by troutfishing at 12:26 PM on October 19, 2003

Bush hating.
posted by rushmc at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2003

Here is the original story that broke the latest Prescott Bush documents news: from the New Hampshire Gazette. I found a number of interesting new details there.
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:11 PM on October 19, 2003

troutfishing, I don't have much use for Dubya, so it irks me that this could arguably be construed as defending him:

As I said, GW Bush isn't technically responsible for any of this.

Through the clever expedient of, depending on the time, being unborn or a wee tot. So he "isn't technically repsonsible" for any of this in the same way that troutfishing isn't technically responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs, and that I am not technically responsible for the bombing of Hiroshima.

But don't we, ideally, want to hold our political figures to a higher standard than that which is minimally acceptable?

Higher standard of what? Parentage? How can you hold anyone to any standard of what their grandparent did?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:19 PM on October 19, 2003

ROU_Xenophobe - So your bank account is flush with profits which your grandfather derived from the bombing of Hiroshima? I underestimated you. As for myself, well I've got a cellar full of craftily preserved dinosaur jerky from way back when, when my distant ancestors (at that time the size of mice, I believe) engineered the demise of the great saurians and thus the end of an age.

But you're really changing the subject, trying to turn attention from the actual subject of this post - Prescott Bush, and the foundation of the Bush family fortune.

[ as for GW - I do think that it's appropriate to at least acknowledge the "sins of the father", or grandfather, when those sins translated into cash rewards, a fortune really, derived from exceptionally ugly business practice or, as Newsweek Poland reported march 5, 2003 - "the Bush family reaped rewards from the forced-labor prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp..." (see below) ]

But GW is not the subject of my post. You are at least the sixth or seventh person to propose that my post blamed GW Bush for something. Reread it - you won't find that in the text. It's in your head.

The actual subject matter of the post is highly relevant though, for the resonances between Prescott Bush's involvement - through the Harrimans, the Thyssen group, and so on - in the subversion of Democracy in Germany ( AKA "The Hitler Project" ) and the observations of contemporary political ethologists on Bush family behavior. And so - in light of Prescott Bush's ill gotten gains, GW Bush seems - viewed through the lens of the massive voter disenfranchisement in Florida in the 2000 and 2002 elections (admitted to in court by that State, if you didn't know) to be merely a continuation - on the part of Jeb and GW Bush - of a grand Bush family tradition - of the subversion of democracy, and the worship of power and profit above all other ideals.

I'm not blaming GW for Prescott Bush's founding of the Bush dynastic fortune upon slave labor and the suffering of Dr. Mengele's victims. No. Rather, I'm suggesting that GW is a chip off the 'ol block.....and a nasty block it is.

Zurishaddai dug up the link - to John Buchanan's October 10, 2003 Hampshire Gazette story, "Bush nazi Link Confirmed" which I should have provided. It's a good one (to say the least). So there it is again (thanks, Zurishaddai !~)

"....Newsweek Polska, the magazine's Polish edition, published a short piece on the "Bush Nazi past" in its March 5, 2003 edition. The item reported that "the Bush family reaped rewards from the forced-labor prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp," according to a copyrighted English-language translation from Scoop Media (www.scoop.co.nz). The story also reported the seizure of the various Bush-Harriman-Thyssen businesses........Major U.S. media outlets, including ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald, have repeatedly declined to investigate the story when information regarding discovery of the documents was presented to them beginning Friday, August 29."
posted by troutfishing at 2:15 PM on October 19, 2003

So your bank account is flush with profits which your grandfather derived from the bombing of Hiroshima? I underestimated you.

Well, my last name isn't Tibbetts, so I didn't get any of the mad wealth that came from his Air Force pension.

But you're really changing the subject, trying to turn attention from the actual subject of this post - Prescott Bush, and the foundation of the Bush family fortune.

I'm not trying to turn attention from anything. You made a word choice that was, to my eye, downright atrocious, and I was pointing it out.

To write that someone is ``not technically responsible'' for something means that they are in fact actually responsible for it, but are somehow getting off on a technicality.

What you meant to say is that of course Dubya could not be responsible for choices made before he was born, even if he possesses numerous other faults.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:15 PM on October 19, 2003

When this issue came up during Bush #1, I stopped the debate cold, NOT by challenging it, but by asking for support details. But this is the BIG one. If you can answer it, then this whole debate will *mean* something.

That is, okay, so his granddaddy did business with Nazis. That much is history. What should interest us today is the question "Does W. have any Nazi or Fascist inclinations?"

Now I qualify the question: "NOT the obvious Nazi or Fascist barbarities. Remember, the Nazis and Fascists had to run countries, and they had lots of policies, new and novel ideas, that were neither particularly barbaric or by themselves intolerable. For example Fascist economics and Fascist social programs."

Before the war, LOTS of Americans embraced Fascism for its social programs and economics. So the BIG question is: "Does W. (and his circle) STILL embrace Fascism?"
(Be careful not to confuse authoritarianism with Fascism, though there is an overlap.)

I can point out how the US had and still has Fascist ideas in its government from that period. Franklin Roosevelt's NRA borrowed heavily from them. For example, one of their most influential ideas was "government/private partnerships"--pure Fascism.

Have the Fascists ever gone away?
posted by kablam at 5:20 PM on October 19, 2003

kablam - no. they haven't (in my opinion)

ROU_Xenophobe - OK, you got me. "technically" was an atrocious choice of words. GW Bush is in no way at all responsible for the sins of his predecessors. But, meanwhile, do you consider it at all relevant that the Bush family fortune was founded in this way - almost literally upon heaps of human skulls? It's not GW's fault at all, I concede.

But is are his actions - as a politician - in accord with his family's traditions? Americans believe in eternal generational renewal, that new generation can make radical breaks with their family's cultural traditions - but how true is this belief?
posted by troutfishing at 5:43 PM on October 19, 2003

now now
the US is an enlightened country and does not hold the children accountable for the actions of their family or parents and ancestors

Furthermore if the media really cared they would have spilled this all over long ago

Also the United States imported Japanese data on their bio weapon results in the field and human experimentation in exchange for hush hush about these Japanese war crimes

Not a surprise at all

The question is,
what is to be done?
posted by firestorm at 7:28 PM on October 19, 2003

But, meanwhile, do you consider it at all relevant that the Bush family fortune was founded in this way - almost literally upon heaps of human skulls?

Not particularly. At least no more so than any of the Rockefeller politicians, which isn't very much. Or for any politicians descended from slaveholders, or from Indian-fighters, or any of that.

Dubya fails admirably enough as his own man (such as he is) that you don't need to bring his ancestors into it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 PM on October 19, 2003

ROU_Xenophobe - Well, I guess then that we agree to disagree. But, in addition to GW, there are other Bushes in the family hedge. It's not all GW.
posted by troutfishing at 8:40 PM on October 19, 2003

Trout - who was Averell Harrimen?

You know, of Brown Brothers-Harriman? He was Prescott's boss at that nasty heap-of skulls firm that funded Hitler's early rise to power. What'd he ever do?

And what was his last wife, Pamela, famous for doing with her share of Averell's heap-of-skulls money?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2003

I just thought of something...if saddam hussein's grandfather had any sort of nazi connection at all, tangible or not, we'd never hear the end of it.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:55 PM on October 19, 2003

Jos Bleau - There have been a number of prominent Harrimans. What's your point exactly? - If it is what I suspect, well then, I'm sure that I could dig up some more pleasant ( to my sensibilities, that is ) or more liberal Bushes. But what of it?

mcsweetie - I bet you're right.
posted by troutfishing at 2:12 AM on October 20, 2003

thanks, Zurishaddai, for the New Hampshire Gazette link.
posted by taz at 3:19 AM on October 20, 2003

Jos Bleau - I was just waking up when I wrote that: Averell Harriman's later career is quite irrelevant to the "Hitler Project/Trading with the Enemy" story. And - from what I could see from the writeup you linked too - his later actions were not really incongruent with those of his his Union Bank days.

If you are trying to hold up Harriman as some sort of "liberal" in order to somehow discredit my posted story, I'm not sure how that line of attack would work (in the first place), and Harriman's political were certainly mixed (for example his Vietnam-War boosterism) but beyond that I'd say that you are making a mistake in thinking of someone like Harriman as either liberal, conservative, proto-fascist, or whatever.

As seems to be the case with the Bushes, from what I can tell, I'd say that Harriman operated at least partly with the intent of advancing a personal agenda (having mostly to deal with increasing Harriman wealth) and that he was essentially playing a private version of the great power's "Great Game". That would make sense. The vastly wealthy have the money, connections and time to do this sort of thing:

That is - to subvert governments, start wars, and so on.

These unsavory machinations stem from, no doubt, the hyper-privileged background of the fantastically wealthy which teaches them from childhood that they are fundamentally different from other humans - better, and unconstrained by common orthodoxy and morality. Think of Michael Skakel, or Wiliam Zanzinger.

The Harrimans, the ascendant Bushes, and others in this pack apparently felt they - like cheaper versions of the Olympian Gods on high pulling strings in the classic Greek sagas - had every right to subvert German democracy. Communism was a threat, and dictatorship was perceived as a preferred alternative. What a shame that Hitler fellow got so out of hand. Oh well. Moving right along........

Will there ever come a time when such who covertly engineer events leading to terrible human suffering and loss of life are called to account for their crimes?
posted by troutfishing at 5:29 AM on October 20, 2003

Great post and a great job defending it troutfishing.

Dave Neiwert covered this issue from a slightly different angle recently at his Orcinus blog and you might be interested in reading it and/or adding it as a resource on this subject.
posted by nofundy at 7:27 AM on October 20, 2003

Thanks troutfishing. Although discussion of this has been around the traps for ages, stuff always sticks better for me when it's challenged and answered, as in this thread.

So : W is a sack of shit. His father was a sack of shit, too, I clearly recall. It is no great surprise, I suppose, to find that the family tendency towards shitsackery stretches back into the depths of the past.

Will there ever come a time when such who covertly engineer events leading to terrible human suffering and loss of life are called to account for their crimes?

I think it's fair to say probably not, as long as America continues to run the show and Britain remains its lapdog.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2003

Saddam's uncle and mentor was a member of a pro-Nazi group.
posted by Akuinnen at 8:46 AM on October 20, 2003

One element that seems to be missing, or under-emphasized, in all this: We're not talking about someone like Bill Clinton having a Nazi-lover grandfather. That would be pretty close to irrelevant because whatever you may think of his personality or his cynical manipulations, Bill Clinton generated his own career. He was helped by plenty of people, but he basically got to be president because of his own drive, cunning, hard work, whatever.

George W Bush, I think it's safe to say, would not even have come close to winning in 2000 if his name were not George W Bush. In other words, his entire presidency is based on his family connection - both in terms of name recognition and a family fortune parlayed into the modern plutocratic campaign system.

So let's give the "he's not responsible" trope a rest, OK? This story is extremely relevant to the current administration in many ways and deserves to be widely reported and heard.
posted by soyjoy at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2003

Saddam's uncle and mentor was a member of a pro-Nazi group.

! someone tell hannity. this could be the turning point in operation OOPS! I had an iraqcident.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:25 AM on October 21, 2003

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