Friday, February 24, 2006

The Bush dynasty at work against "Secret Squirrel liberals" in the UAE and California

Remember Neil Bush? He's the current President's younger brother, best known for shady business dealings, a messy divorce and being the father of fashion model Lauren Bush.

Joe Conason talks about Neil and his dealings in the United Arab Emirates, currently in the news over the infamous ports deal: Business as Usual Salon 02/24/06.

He writes:

The ports controversy could cause similar problems for Neil Mallon Bush, the president's most troublesome brother, who has become a familiar face in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Neil Bush seems to be in constant pursuit of investors and government contracts in the Emirates, and is treated there with a respect and deference that have always eluded him in his own country. For reasons that must be painfully obvious, UAE royals have been quite eager to engage the former Silverado Savings and Loan director ever since his eldest brother entered the Oval Office. That embrace only intensified after 9/11.

Yes, those Presidential dynastic connections are worth a lot in dealing with Arab oil sheikhs, Muslim fundamentalist or otherwise.

Conason continues:

In October 2001, only a month after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Neil Bush showed up in Dubai to attend a technology trade fair -- and to meet with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While peddling the products of Ignite!, his educational software company, Bush was feted as the guest of honor at a gala dinner for a charitable foundation, also hosted by the crown prince. (Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore, who had been scheduled to travel to the Emirates around the same time, both canceled their attendance at those events.) According to the UAE's official news agency, Bush's discussions with Sheikh Mohammed and with Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan focused on "the world economy in light of recent events." During that visit Bush also met with the UAE's finance industry minister.

Exactly how much money Neil Bush raised in the Emirates as CEO of Ignite! isn't clear, but he managed to acquire a local partner, known as Trans-Data Systems, which is required for doing business there. He returned to Dubai in January 2002 to deliver a lecture on educational reform to a "select" audience of 200 government and education officials from the seven emirates that comprise the UAE. The signs of state patronage could not have been more plain. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry sponsored his seminar, and the official news agency made sure to note that "the younger brother of U.S. President George W. Bush ... agrees with the vision of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defense Minister, about adopting new ideas into the existing education system."

Meanwhile, Brother Jeb is pandering to the hard right Republicans in California by promoting redistricting in California (skipping over for a moment the question whether "hard right" distinguishes one group of Republicans from another these days): Bush Favors Redistricting Changes - Just Not Here [in Florida] by Michael Fechter Tampa Tribune 02/24/06. Fechter writes:

Gov. Jeb Bush helped raise money to make elections more competitive in California, but derided as "Secret Squirrel liberals" those who are pushing the same goal in Florida.

Asked this week to explain what makes California different, a Bush spokesman replied, "They have had general elections where not one single incumbent has been defeated."

Yet that's also the state of affairs in Florida, where no officeholder was turned out during the last state and congressional elections, in 2004.

What the [Cheney] is a "Secret Squirrel liberal", you may ask? So did the Tampa Tribune reporter:

Gov. Jeb Bush used the term "Secret Squirrel liberals" in criticizing backers of a campaign to change how political boundaries are drawn in Florida. So who is Secret Squirrel? A Saturday morning cartoon that ran when Bush was 12. His office would not say whether he watched it.

Get your own Secret Squirrel bobblehead doll here. A Barbara Bush bobblehead doll is also available.

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"It is the logic of our times
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