Saturday Matinee 22 – Bush Family Fortunes

I’m sure that like me, you still occasionally wonder how someone like Bush managed to fail upwards for his entire life.

Well, one of the reasons is simply money. This BBC Three documentary from a few years back throws some light on how that family got to be so rich…

The other films in this series are here.

Pronouncing Armageddon

This is not the most important story going on in the world today obviously, but a little thing that has been written about before and I’ve noticed happening with increasing irregularity, is the change in the pronunciation of the word “nuclear”.

Now, the pronunciation of wBHl8CUrCIAAy4uk.jpg largeords changes often, and this comes about over time through usage. Spelling can change to reflect new pronunciations, and the reverse is also true.

With the nuclear example though, something different seems to have been going on.

Bush famously couldn’t seem to pronounce the word New-Cleer and always pronounced it as Nuke-U-Lar, and was of course pilloried for doing so. There was even a Simpsons joke about it. Then, for one or both of a couple of possible reasons that I am about to outline, people started using the Bush pronunciation.

But which people? I noticed it pronounced that way with increasing regularity on Fox News by presenters and by other Republican apparatchiks who, surely, must have known better.

Thinking it through, the possible reasons for this could be…

  1. They heard it on TV/Radio and repeated the pronunciation they heard. Monkey hear, Monkey repeat.
  2. An attempt to cover up the fact that the former president was an ignoramus by rallying round him and using the same pronunciation so that it didn’t seem so bad.

I can’t really think of another reason. Either way, it isn’t very flattering toward people who should know better.

It’s an interesting little case study in how at times reality must be shifted in order to impose a Leader’s view of the world, or at least not make them look silly, and then everyone else must be brought to heel. With the modern echo chamber, it seems that in terms of pronunciation, this can be done faster than ever before.

Letter To Bush

In case you haven’t already come across this letter (originally published on Truthdig) from a dying veteran to George Bush,I thought I’d reproduce it here. It makes emotional reading.

The BBC managed to publish a story about it without mentioning at all that the UK were involved from the start in this disaster.  When you read it, I’d also remind you that Blair and co went along with it all and this could just as easily be addressed to them…

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Tomas Young

The Crucifixion of Tomas Young (TruthDig)


Back in April
I suggested that we should do a little pre-emptive strike and come up with the title for Bush’s memoirs.

Now that it is out with the title Decision Points we can look back at some of the best ones that were posted here, on opednews and on Twitter.

Looking back is what Bush is doing and apparently his low point was when Kanye West called him a racist. That means his low point was not when all those people in New Orleans died unnecessarily on his watch or the possible million people that were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nope, those things don’t count. Someone calling him a name was much worse apparently.

Anyway, here we go and let’s not forget that the most honest title would be War Criminal …

Detonation Point – Tom K

How I Won a War Without Knowing Shi’ite from Shinola or Mein Humpf – Jay Farrington

I, George Bush, Symbol of America – Daniel Geery

A President’s Race to the Historical Bottom – Charles Klaer

The next few I forgot or lost who. Most of them were myself and friends….

Far From the Maddened Crowd

Diary of A. Hole, Mental Age 5 and a half

Bleats, Shoots and Leaves

War Criminal

Dick Cheney and The Half-Dumb Dunce

Minority Report –  The Curmudgeon

Vendetta: A Son’s tale


New words appear all the time which is why we get that annual story about what new words have made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. New things happen and new words are required to describe them.

Similarly, older words constantly change in pronunciation and meaning too. Why else do you think when (if) you read old poetry that the words don’t seem to rhyme exactly even though they almost do and are meant to? In many cases, they did in fact used to rhyme but the pronunciations have changed. Linguistics is very interesting in this way.

I have noticed a little trend lately about the pronunciation of “Nuclear” which seems to be changing in an unusual way.

Bush famously couldn’t pronounce the word correctly and always said “Niuk-u-lar”. Since then I have heard it pronounced that way many times on Fox (Faux) News. It seems to have caught on and become used by a lot of people.

So the reason for a change in the pronunciation of this word instead of normal factors like time and distance could simply be that a foaming-at-the-mouth rightwing news network wanted to cover the linguistic deficincies of a former President.

I can’t think of an instance where something like that has happened before.


(Article also at opednews.com)

I have written a couple of times about this before but it appears the moment is finally arriving.

Yes, Bush is bringing out his memoirs.

If you wondered where he has been for the last few months then his publishers apparently have the answer…

“Since leaving the Oval Office, President Bush has given virtually no interviews or public speeches about his presidency,” the statement said.

“Instead, he has spent almost every day writing Decision Points, a strikingly personal and candid account revealing how and why he made the defining decisions in his consequential presidency and personal life.”

This may well be true given that it does take a while to learn how to read and write.

As you may have noticed from the quote, the book is to be called “Decision Points”. I wonder if it is a reference to this brilliant piece of analysis…

“I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense.” –Washington, D.C. April 18, 2006

However, the book could be full of serious and weighty political comment like…

“I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake.” –on his best moment in office, interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, May 7, 2006

Anyway, my older posts were about what would be an honest title for the book. My suggestion was Making The World Safe for Oligarchy but someone in my family brilliantly came up with Better the Monkey than the Organ Grinder (I really suggest you look at that organ grinder link…it is very funny indeed).

So I would like to ask you what do you think the honest title for the memoirs should be?

Suggestions in comments please.



Email suggestions coming in too.

Diary of A. Hole, Mental Age 5 and a half (Phil G)

Vendetta; A Son’s Tale (Ryan Z)

How to Make Friends, Invade and Alienate People – A President’s Tale (Steve G)

THE Weapon of Mass Destruction (Dave H)


Nicely and succinctly put by Ralph Nader…and it is pretty much exactly the same process as in most allegedly democratic countries…

“You have a tug of war with one side pulling. The corporate interests pull on the Democratic Party the way they pull on the Republican Party. If you are a ‘least-worst’ voter you don’t want to disturb John Kerry on the war, so you call off the anti-war demonstrations in 2004. You don’t want to disturb Obama because McCain is worse. And every four years both parties get worse. There is no pull. That is the dilemma of The Nation and The Progressive and other similar publications. There is no breaking point. What is the breaking point? The criminal war of aggression in Iraq? The escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Forty-five thousand people dying a year because they can’t afford health insurance? The hollowing out of communities and sending the jobs to fascist and communist regimes overseas that know how to put the workers in their place? There is no breaking point. And when there is no breaking point you do not have a moral compass.”