The Bush Crime Family Is Never Going Away

Barring a moral awakening or some other improbable event, it looks like we’re gonna be forced to witness the Bush clan attempting to shoehorn yet another family member into the White House. Per CNN:

… The Des Moines Register reports Tuesday that GOP Iowans recently received mailers from the former Floridian governor that sounded more like a campaign pitch than a donation plea for his social fundraising group, Excellence in Education National…

In recent days speculation about a potential bid has increased following several comments made by his family members. On Sunday, both of Bush’s sons hinted that their father is seriously considering running. In an interview with the New York Times, Jeb Bush Jr. said that people and donors are “getting fired up” about the idea of his father running for president.

“I think it’s more than likely that…he’ll run. The family will be behind him 100 percent if he decides to do it,” George P. Bush, the governor’s youngest son, told Jon Karl on ABC’s “This Week.”

Jeb also, per the AP, criticized President Obama’s crisis management as “incompetent” and called his Middle East strategy “an unmitigated disaster”, because his target GOP voters have had six whole years to forget everything about the Dubya/Cheney administration.

So I’m happy to see that Mother Jones has published an early primer of “23 Reasons Why Jeb Bush Should Think Twice About Running for President“, including helpful links to some of the many shady characters in Jeb’s business background:

The fraudster: In 1986, Camilo Padreda, who had been a counterintelligence officer for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s, hired Bush to find tenants for office buildings financed with US Department of Housing and Urban Development-backed loans. Bush took the gig, despite the fact that four years earlier Padreda had been indicted for embezzling $500,000 from a Texas savings and loan. Those charges were dropped, but in 1989 Padreda pleaded guilty to defrauding HUD of millions…

The international fugitive: In 1986, Miguel Recarey, who’d done 30 days in jail for income tax evasion in the 1970s, paid Bush $75,000 to help him find a new headquarters for his health care company. The company never moved, but while Bush’s father was serving as vice president, Bush lobbied the US Department of Health and Human Services to help Recarey access millions in Medicare funds…

The fortunate son: Cuban American real estate developer Armando Codina was the Florida chair of George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 bid for the GOP presidential nomination. He loved the Bush family so much that when Jeb first moved to Miami in the early 1980s, he made Bush a partner in his real estate company and gave him 40 percent of the profits—even though Jeb had no real estate experience or money to invest. In 1985, Bush and Codina bought an office building partially financed by a savings and loan that later failed. The $4.56 million loan went into default, but federal regulators gave Bush and his partner a pass. Instead of foreclosing, they merely asked them to repay $500,000 of the loan. Taxpayers picked up the rest. In 1991, Bush and Codina sold the building for $8 million.

The shady company: In 2007, Bush joined the board of InnoVida, a building materials-manufacturing startup founded by a businessman whose previous company had gone bankrupt under suspicious circumstances. Bush and his fellow board members subsequently failed to notice that InnoVida officials had used forged documents to fake solvency, hidden the company’s financial problems, and misappropriated $40 million. The company’s Maserati-driving founder eventually went to jail for money laundering, and investors lost their shirts when the company went bankrupt in 2011. Last year, Bush agreed to repay the $270,000 he was paid by the company as a consultant to reimburse defrauded investors….



Republicans Are Bad For Your Health

This is just a drive-by sidelight on Richard’s brief — but its worth taking a look at this explainer from the Upshot.

The good news:  Obamacare is doing what it set out to do.  Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz write that

The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.

Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns. Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas.

Women are the one modest exception. They have benefited more from Obamacare than men, and they have received larger raises in recent years. But of course women still make considerably less money than men, so an economic benefit for women still pushes against inequality in many ways. [all links in the original]

Rembrandt_Christ_Healing_the_Sick

The bad news:  it sucks to be ruled by the Republican cabal.  Or rather, it’s great if your state government actually managed to get used to the idea of Free Money! (h/t the indispensable Charles Pierce):

Despite many Republican voters’ disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians. Of course, the fact that Republican areas showed disproportionate insurance gains does not mean that only Republicans signed up; there are many Democrats living in even the most strongly Republican regions of the country.

But for the rest…

There are still a lot of uninsured people remaining, many in the places that had high uninsured rates last year.

Where would those folk live?  Check out the last map in the piece.  No one here will be surprised.

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (Christ Healing the Sick — the hundred guilder print), 1646-50.



Fables of the Restoration

As Election Day nears, the battle for King Shit of Turd Mountain, i.e., the contest between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott for governor of Florida, has produced a shit-storm of negative advertising. Commercial after commercial projects images of the combatants in sinister poses and evil lighting, accompanied by strained voiceover accounts of their misdeeds in office.

Obviously, the Crist Photoshop team has the cushier job: I don’t think there’s a photo in existence of Rick Scott where he doesn’t look like an alien creature from a reptile off-world come to foreclose an orphanage and grind the inhabitants into feed-paste.

scott_negative_ad

But yesterday, there was an ad I hadn’t seen before featuring former Governor Jeb Bush excoriating former ally Charlie Crist as a career politician only interested in personal aggrandizement. The stones. The fucking stones on those Bushes.

Bush 2016: The Restoration is apparently a thing. Here’s a puke-inducing paragraph from a NYT article published yesterday about the alleged upswing in Jeb Bush’s political prospects:

Just six years ago, at the end of the last tumultuous Bush presidency, this would have been all but unthinkable. But President Obama’s troubles, the internal divisions of the Republican Party, a newfound nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and a modest softening of views about the second have changed the dynamics enough to make plausible another Bush candidacy. And while Jeb Bush wants to run as his own man, invariably this is a family with something to prove.

Unpacking that paragraph is like opening a rancid diaper pail, but let’s brace ourselves and give it a go: “President Obama’s troubles?” Yes, he has them, mostly traceable to Stately Bush Manor and exacerbated by the Bush-aligned vandals in Congress.

“Internal divisions of the Republican Party?” Oh, you mean that GOP rebranding campaign gone awry in which the Republican Party nominated scads of pekoe-huffing troglodytes who lost winnable races and turned the GOP presidential primary into a crackpot bake-off?

“Newfound nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and a modest softening of views about the second?” Bush I is a doddering old fart who occasionally weeps with shame in public over his fuck-up namesake. He will be forever overshadowed by the half-wit he served as VP, and his son empowered a cabal of sociopaths to complete the cycle of destruction Poppy’s boss set into motion.

And now we’re seriously being asked to countenance another Bush run at 1600 Pennsylvania? Just shoot me now. (You can get away with it here in Florida — thanks to Jeb’s partnership with the NRA.) I can’t be objective because I utterly despise them all. But is there really a Bush restoration movement afoot outside of the Bushies, their minions and political columnists? Y’all help me out here: I haven’t seen any evidence of it.

God, that article. “This is a family with something to prove?” Fuck them. “The Bushes, Led by W., Rally to Make Jeb ’45’?” From the current generation until the sun goes supernova and vaporizes this planet, fuck the Bushes, and fuck the putrid media hacks who enable them by framing the ambitions of that clan of psychotic leeches as if writing a human interest piece on a sports dynasty.

When the Obama administration decided not to pursue its vile predecessors for their ghastly war crimes and corruption, I understood the rationale, even if I didn’t agree with it entirely. It would have paralyzed the government in the midst of a cascading global crisis.

But the question of justice denied aside, this spectacle of the Bush family rehab alone is evidence that the dirty fucking hippies were right: We should have driven a stake through the fat black heart of that bunch when we had the chance.



Souls to the Polls in Georgia

souls to the poles morin

(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)

Stacy Abrams, a hero for our times, as reported by Marin Cogan in NYMag:

Last month, the woman behind a massive effort to transform Georgia from a GOP stronghold to a potential swing state this year got news she wasn’t expecting — her wildly successful voter-registration effort was being investigated for fraud. Now, two weeks before the election, she’s locked in a fight with the state’s election officials to make sure the people she registered are able to turn out on Election Day. Whether they’re able to cast ballots could have major implications for the election. Both Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Senate candidate, and Jason Carter, the candidate for governor, are in extremely close races. The voter registration effort sought out mostly minority voters, and those voters tend to pick Democrats. In a close contest, their participation could determine whether the Democrats win.

Stacey Abrams, the engineer of the effort, is a star in Georgia politics: In 2006, at the age of 32, she ran for Georgia’s House of Representatives; four years later, she became the chamber’s Minority Leader, making her the first African-American to lead the House and the first woman to lead a party in either chamber…

Georgia’s legislature is part-time; one of Abrams’s many other hats is running a nonprofit that acts as a consulting firm for small, charitable organizations. That work positioned her to see the massive change in demographics taking place in Georgia — the population of the state has increased by 18 percent over the last decade, and many of those new residents are young people and minorities. At the same time, Georgia had a huge number of people — 700,000 to 800,000 African American, Hispanic, and Asian residents — who weren’t even registered to vote. Abrams decided to start the New Georgia Project, an offshoot of her nonprofit, which aimed to work with other voter-registration groups and sign up 100,000 new voters before the October 6 registration deadline…

Abrams knew before she began that the stakes would be high, and that if they were successful, opponents of the effort would likely try to complain about the registration forms, so she says she called the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in June to tell him about their effort, and Kemp assigned them an investigator. Abrams said they worked with the secretary of state’s office to make sure their processes were compliant. “I had a very good working relationship with the secretary of state. As the minority leader, I’ve worked very close with him at the capital and always had [a] very cordial relationship with him.” In September, a few weeks before the registration deadline, Kemp’s office announced it was subpoenaing the New Georgia Project for an investigation into suspected voter-registration fraud. The investigation was based on 25 voter-registration forms that were suspected to be fraudulent…

But that isn’t New Georgia Project’s only concern: They’re also raising flags about 50,000 voter-registration forms they say haven’t been processed. On Friday, the national legal group Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights announced it would sue the secretary of state and five counties because the voters they registered had not turned up on the voter rolls or the list of pending voters who needed to verify their information with the state…

Kemp’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the missing forms, but in a fact sheet released about both the investigation and the missing forms, said, “At no time in history has it been easier to register to vote in Georgia than it is right now,” and claimed that both complaints about fraudulent forms and responsibility for processing registration applications fell to the county level. “Any backlog would need to be addressed by county election officials,” the fact sheet says.

But Kemp was also recorded earlier this year saying, “Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.” …



Long Read: “Rand Paul’s 2020 Vision”

Some of us were wondering, over the weekend, exactly what audience Rand Paul had in mind. Adele M. Stan, in The American Prospect, has her own theory:

… If a Rand Paul presidential nomination by the Republican Party seems preposterous, says historian and former Republican Party official Tanya Melich, think back to 1964. At that time, Melich was a recent college graduate and former member of the Young Republicans, a group rooted on college campuses and ultimately taken over by supporters of Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who improbably grabbed the Republican nomination out from under the feet of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, largely through the grassroots organizing of young conservatives. At the time, Melich said, she was covering the movement for ABC News, and “it became very clear that these Young Republican Goldwater people were really sharp,” she said in a telephone interview from her New York City home. “They knew how to organize.”

For the past two presidential election cycles, and ever since, the Paul organization has focused on campus organizing, building lists of young people excited by both father and son’s talk of liberty, and promise of freedom from foreign entanglements.

For liberals, Goldwater often fills the role of punch line, given his landslide loss to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Sure, Goldwater was routed, but his campaign brought together the minds and builders of a movement that became known as the New Right, a movement that went on to create the religious right, elect Ronald Reagan president, and set the nation on a rightward course for decades. It all began with a longshot candidacy, a quirky candidate, and a horde of highly motivated young people. Surely Rand Paul has read that script.

Win or lose, Rand Paul’s aim is to re-create the GOP in his own image, infused with the vigor of his young followers and committed to a radical dismantling of the federal government as well as an even more radical devolution to the states’ rights philosophy of the old Confederacy—not to mention disengagement from the world. This movement, if successful, could alter the party for years to come. And the old, neoconservative Republican Party establishment may never see it coming… Read more