Friday, June 17, 2011


Her name was Charlotte Beck, she was trained at Oberlin as a pianist, she came to Zen practice in her forties, and after she was authorized to teach she set out in her own, uniquely American direction. Mainly, she eschewed most formalities and titles (she stopped shaving her head and wore plain skirts and tops rather than robes, though she kept her Dharma name, “Joko”) and emphasized not “enlightenment experiences” but coming to grips with daily life and its problems. If a student told her about an ‘experience,’ she would say, “Yeah, that’s O.K. Don’t hold onto it. And how are you getting along with your mother?”

I started to study with her in the 80s and sat several “sesshins” with her, one at her zendo in San Diego, most in Oakland. Though she eschewed formality (her second book is titled Nothing Special), she was nevertheless a formidable figure: big-boned, plainspoken, imposing, authoritative. Too, she urged one to be “meticulous” in everything concerned with practice: meticulous attention to one’s thoughts and emotions (she grouped them together as “emotion/thoughts”), meticulous attention to the physical care of one’s sitting space, to whatever job one was given. She never sugar-coated what we were doing or what life was about, often saying without ornament that it was hopeless, or simply, a mess. Once she compared our condition to someone falling from a tall building: ‘Are you going to focus on what the scenery is like or what your real situation is?’ In a recent interview, she said that the important thing in Zen practice is “Learning how to deal with one’s personal, egotistic self. That’s the work. Very, very difficult.” In Nothing Special she wrote, “Practice has to be a process of endless disappointment. We have to see that everything we demand (and even get) eventually disappoints us. This discovery is our teacher. (47)” She also told me once, after a betrayal, that there is no one we can truly trust (in this she was following Huang-Po, one of the great Zen masters, who told his students, “There is nothing on which you can rely.”)

She knew this first hand. Her own life included disappointments and betrayals, not least her discovery that her own teacher, Maezumi Roshi of Los Angeles, could not control his drinking or his sexual attraction to her daughter. Her break with the traditional style of zen teaching came partly as a result of this. She determined that her style of zen would not sweep such ‘mundane’ concerns under the rug, but would place them at the center of practice. What resulted was one of the most influential modes of teaching and expression (her genius for making Buddhism accessible and comprehensible to westerners was uparalleled) in American Zen. For Joko, Zen was not some mystical, baffling presentation of esoteric stories or doctrines aimed at transcendence. It focused on the problems of everyday life—but as meditated upon in the very particular, silent environment of zen training—and with the guidance of an experienced teacher.

Of the many brilliant phrases I heard her utter, one sticks in my mind. I’m not sure what her subject was—perhaps something about being judgmental, or our penchant for putting ourselves above others—but at some point she said this:
“Everyone is trying their best.”

It’s as simple yet profound a sentence as one can imagine, the insight that, in essence, we are all always trying to do the best we can. This includes those who shine in a task, as well as those who fail miserably. It includes those who have endless talent as well as those who are hopelessly inept. It includes those who work hard and honestly as well as those who slough off and cheat; those who sacrifice themselves on behalf of others, and those who scheme to secure their own advantage; those who push through to victory and those who give up too early. It does not leave out the lame, the halt, the criminal, the saintly, the deluded and the visionary, the luminary and the suicide. It is, really, the ultimate expression of compassion and, typical of Joko Beck, without a shred of fake optimism or sugary solace in a divine plan. It is simply a profound insight into the fact that everyone is different, everyone is differently endowed, and that everyone is conditioned by whatever set of circumstances prevail at a given moment. In such a world view, the outcome of any situation is simply what conditions make it, with no grounds for anyone taking credit over anyone else. Taking credit, or assigning blame are the functions of that “personal, egotistic self” one has to study and know, and see for the self-coddling illusions they are. By contrast, comprehending that everyone, without exception, is trying their best is to see with the eye of compassion upon which Buddhism, or any spiritual tradition is founded. It is, I would suggest, the arrow pointing towards true wisdom.

Lest anyone think that because she spoke such words, Joko Beck was proof against the frailties of the egotistic self, it should also be noted that her retirement led to a public conflict with those she left in charge of her Zen Center, and a formal break with them. The letter she wrote on that occasion is living proof that she was not exempt from the mess of “emotion/thought.” But of course, she never claimed to be. She was “nothing special,” a frail and courageous human being who was, like all the rest of us, simply “trying her best.”

Joke Beck died, at age 94, on June 15. Though she would have scorned any notion of the ‘special’ place she occupied in American Zen, the truth is, she did. She will be missed.

Lawrence DiStasi

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wieners, State Murder, and Morality

It’s hard to ignore these days: sex scandals by the powerful (Congressman Anthony Wiener, Presidential candidate John Edwards, French Director of the IMF Dominque Strauss-Kahn, ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, ex-NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, and dozens of lesser lights) provide us with one amusing spectacle of self-immolation after another (isn’t it always amusing to see the fall of a narcissist?) Less amusing and more ominous are the increasing episodes of powerful leaders turning their military might on their own people: the government-directed thugs in Egypt’s Tahrir Square now seem like choirboys compared to the savagery unleashed on protestors by “leaders” in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and nearly everywhere else these days, where those in power seem quite willing to murder their own people to keep it. Indeed, it seems that the major use of the military these days is to exterminate internal dissent: it happens no less frequently in Israel (murderous attacks on the Palestinians whom Israel, as an occupying power, is by law bound to protect) than in Iran; with the related threat clear in every so-called “advanced democracy” to spy on and cripple any form of even consideration about dissent that may raise its head (“domestic terrorist” is the appellation given in the U.S.).

What this leads me to (aside from dreaming about actual revolution) is speculation about what drives apparently sane men (and sometimes women) to the kind of immorality, or amorality, that is so conspicuous these days: sexual misconduct suitable to teenagers, or the casual murder of the innocent. The two seem related, if only to the extent that, as the old saw goes, Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Indeed, a recent piece on the corruption inherent in sexual misadventures by politicians puts it this way: politics “selects for people with risk-taking behavior and a high degree of self-regard” (Katherine Zernike, NY Times, 6/12/11). So you get people in power who are narcissistic juveniles deluded into thinking they’re gods. Some might even call them psychopaths.

Is this the answer, then? That the people who, as leaders, commit stupid and terrible acts, are self-selected psychos?

Probably many would like to believe that; because what it implies is that we, the normal ones, the moral ones, aren’t prone to such behavior. We would never do such things. It was to test this thesis that Philip Zimbardo, in 1975, embarked on a now-famous study known as The Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo has written about this in a book called The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House: 2007). The conclusions are stunning and quite discomfiting. What the study (graduate students were told they were to engage in an experiment about prisons; some were chosen as “guards” while others were chosen as “prisoners”) found was that it was startlingly easy to elicit violent and aggressive behavior by the “guards,” even though they had been selected for stability and told they were engaged in an experiment with fellow students. Once they were put in the role of “guards,” that is, the students began to act like authoritarian and even sadistic controllers of those subject to their whims. The “prisoners,” by contrast, in the role of the controlled, began to break down with crying, depression and disorganized thinking, to the point that by the fifth day of the experiment all asked to be released from the game and the experiment had to be stopped ahead of time.

What this indicates is that even playing roles for which they had no previous experience led apparently decent people to become torturers and bullies. As one summary of the study put it:
The Zimbardo prison study, like the Milgram study, was valuable in showing how easily ordinary people could slip into a brutal and aggressive pattern of behavior, especially if it was approved by an authority. (from Psychology: An Introduction, by Russsell A. Dewey, PhD, ( (NB: the earlier Milgram study demonstrated that normal subjects could be easily persuaded to punish “learners” with what they thought were powerful electric shocks, if they were urged to by authorities).

This study (and previous studies, including Hannah Arendt’s examination of the Nazis who committed horrifying acts in the guise of “just doing my job,” which led her to coin the term, “the banality of evil”) thus means that, to a degree yet to be determined, most humans are quite capable of immoral or amoral behavior. More, it means that, to some extent, humans conform to the role they are given to play. The role itself—be it prison guard or U.S. Congressman or head of state—determines how those in that role behave. Those who manage to get themselves into a position of power, that is, often find that the immunity from punishment the position confers leads them to behaviors that they might otherwise contemplate with disgust or condemnation. We can see this on a smaller scale in our own lives: if we think we can get away with it, we might run a red light or cheat on our taxes. If we are authorized to exercise power over others, even over students (as teachers) or our own children (as parents), we might become authoritarian and punitive to a degree that shocks us in retrospect. Of course, this is always justified as being “for your own good.”

If we agree, then, that humans are capable of brutal or evil actions, the question becomes why? Are we as humans naturally inclined to behave badly and simply await the right opportunity? Or are we naturally inclined to be good and moral, and get drawn to brutal behavior by circumstances—either the role we are given, or the deprivation we are desperate to move out of? And more deeply, do we have a choice, i.e. are we equipped with free will to choose one or the other? Or are we driven like automatons by forces deeper than we know? Did Anthony Wiener, to get specific, have control over his computer finger in sending out his silly photograph? Or was he compelled to take that idiotic risk (what could possibly be the payoff for such a risk?) by internal or external forces beyond his conscious control? And what about the monsters like Syrian President Assad, who has killed thousands of his own people? Or the King of Bahrain who brought in Saudi forces to kill his own people for seeking a better life? Or any of a million others we could name?

Clearly, conservatives, especially religious ones in the Christian tradition, believe (or claim to believe) in strict personal responsibility. If you commit any act that “breaks the law,” you are guilty and deserve punishment. Behind this view lurks the doctrine of “original sin,” first promoted by St. Augustine, that humans are tainted at birth because of the original sin of Adam in disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. Hence, humans are born depraved and require strict laws and punishments to back up God-dispensed or government-created laws in order to be “good.” Jews, while rejecting this original-sin doctrine, subscribe to a somewhat related concept: that humans in this world are imperfect, and therefore prone to commit sins for which they must atone. The important point about both these views, and about most social/religious views in general, is that humans have free will and can choose either good or evil. Humans are inclined, by nature (or Satan), to sin, and it is through the appeal to Christ or God or the moral law (Torah, Ten Commandments, Koran etc.) that these inclinations can be controlled and turned to good.

By contrast, there are more recent traditions (starting with Jean Jacques Rosseau, who specifically rejected the doctrine of innate human depravity) which see humans as basically good, with the evils of society forcing them to behave badly. Most progressive or reformist political theories begin with this general idea, and therefore seek to compensate for societal inequality by instituting laws and programs that give the poor and oppressed a better chance at advancement. Social security, Medicare, unemployment compensation and progressive tax policies are all designed to this end. The root idea is that all people can thrive if the “unfair” advantages of birth are mitigated and all are given a level playing field on which to operate.

Aside from the rightness or wrongness of such policies, the issue here is whether or not the root ideas are sound. Do humans actually have control over their own destinies? Does free will actually exist? Because if not, if humans are in fact driven by forces beyond or beneath their conscious control (the “conscious self”), then the recent questioning of the very idea of free will and the social/legal system resulting from it (and morality itself), becomes a serious issue. Thomas Metzinger, in The Ego Tunnel (Basic Books: 2009), has framed this question quite clearly:
Free will does not exist in our minds alone—it is also a social institution. The assumption that something like free agency exists, and the fact that we treat one another as autonomous agents, are concepts fundamental to our legal system and the rules governing our societies—rules built on the notions of responsibility, accountability, and guilt…If one day we must tell an entirely different story about what human will is or is not, this will affect our societies in an unprecedented way. For instance, if accountability and responsibility do not really exist, it is meaningless to punish people (as opposed to rehabilitating them) for something they ultimately could not have avoided doing. (Metzinger, p. 127)

What Metzinger is referring to is a host of neuroscientific discoveries that have begun to cast serious doubt (as the Buddha did two millennia ago) on the reality of what we feel and call “the conscious self.” We feel ourselves, that is, as autonomous beings with control of our actions; we feel ourselves (and everyone else) to be the conscious agents of our own actions. But what neuroscience has increasingly found is that we feel this only because the subconscious or unconscious precursors to our actions in the brain are invisible to us. This is why we have the absolutely certain feeling that our minds initiate actions that our bodies carry out. Since we are blind, that is, to the model we have created of ourselves and our bodies, we are correspondingly blind to the workings of our own brains. This is proved in countless experiments which show that injuries to certain parts of the brain (often via stroke) impel people to do things which surprise their conscious selves, and importantly, cause that “self” to make up preposterous stories to account for those baffling actions or perceptions. It is also proved in research into what are called “canonical neurons,” which demonstrate that our perception is not objective in the sense that we simply see an apple or a cup; we actually perceive such objects as “what I could do with (them).” Perception and action are not separate, that is; perception automatically includes a program or inclination for a possible interaction with the object perceived: A desire or intention to grasp or eat it is already included in seeing an apple. Metzinger then concludes:
When modern neuroscience discovers the sufficient neural correlates for our willing, desiring, deliberating, and executing an action…it will become clear that the actual causes of our actions, desires and intentions often have very little to do with what the conscious self tells us. From a scientific, third person perspective, our inner experience of strong autonomy may look increasingly like what it has been all along: an appearance only…(p. 131)

What will we do then? Will we still condemn the Wieners in the same way? Will we continue to lock people up for their “willful” actions? Continue to declare opposing leaders monstrous aberrations of humanity? Continue to set ourselves off as separate and different (and, of course, superior) from such ‘sinners’? No doubt many will. For others, though, it will appear critical that the moral arbiters of society be shaken from their long hallucination that some supreme being has handed down fixed laws for all to follow, and that those laws equate with something called “justice.” We will all have to either accept the fact that life or evolution or whatever power we name is no respecter of human imaginings about its meaning, or the fact that our laws and strictures and goals are little more than vain desires for humans (especially other humans) to be far more, and far better than they apparently are. Either one of which might deliver more of what we pretend to want (justice, tolerance, compassion) than what we have now.

Lawrence DiStasi

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I was listening to an interview Caroline Casey (The Visionary Activist on KPfA) was doing with this “trickster” named Mike Bonnano. He and his group, The Yes Men, had created what I had been thinking for a while was so needed in our time: a new Jonathan Swift. I don’t mean the Swift of Gulliver, but rather the Swift of “A Modest Proposal,” generally considered the finest piece of satire in the English language. Bonnano and the Yes Men did something that doesn’t duplicate Swift, but reverberates with the same brilliant outrage.

They call their piece, Vivoleum, and it was actually presented at a conference of 300 oilmen at GO-EXPO, Canada’s largest oil conference, held this year at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta from June 7 through June 9. Posing as the “NPC rep” delivering the conclusions of a study commissioned by US Energy Secretary Bodman, ‘Shepard Wolff’ (allegedly an ex-Exxon exec, actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men) announced from the stage that despite the fact that current energy policies were increasing the chances of extensive global calamities, there was a perfect way to keep energy flowing: transform the billions of people who die into oil.

“We need something like whales,” he said, “but infinitely more abundant.”

That infinite abundance would be tapped by rendering newly-dead human flesh into a new Exxon oil product called Vivoleum. ‘Wolff’ then showed a 3-D animation of the process. (see it and the whole hilarious story on

“Vivoleum works in perfect synergy with the continual expansion of fossil fuel production,” noted “Exxon rep” ‘Florian Osenberg’ (Yes Man Mike Bonnano). “With more fossil fuels comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for Vivoleum. Fuel will continue to flow for those of us left.”

The “oilmen” then lit “commemorative candles” they said was made of Vivoleum obtained from the flesh of an “Exxon janitor” whose death resulted from his job cleaning up a toxic spill. The “reps” then showed a video tribute to the janitor selflessly announcing his desire to be transformed into candles after his death.

It was only at that point that Simon Mellor, Director for the company putting on the event, caught on to the hoax and forced the Yes Men from the stage. As he left, pursued by journalists, Bichlbaum, still in character as the NPC rep, said: “We’re not talking about killing anyone. We’re talking about using them after nature has done the hard work. After all, 150,000 people already die from climate-change related effects every year. That’s only going to go up—maybe way way up. Will it all go to waste? That would be cruel.”

I urge everyone to go to the Yes Men’s website. It carries descriptions of other brilliant satires, including one that actually pre-empted Chevron’s absolutely infuriating commercials, seen on PBS’s News Hour each night, in which sincere “teachers” and “engineers” urge us to “get serious” about finding renewable energy sources. Called their “We Agree” campaign, the commercials are supposed to “greenwash” the public into thinking that Chevron, one of the world’s great polluters, really cares about the environment and global warming when in fact they have been a major source of resistance to anything that would interfere with their obscene profits. What the Yes Men did was leak, just before Chevron’s campaign was launched, a press release from a spoof Chevron campaign. The Yes Men also created numerous posters mimicking the We Agree campaign, but carrying actual critiques of the company such as “Oil Companies Should End the Wars They Helped Start;” and “Oil Companies Should Kill Fewer People.” At the end of each is the mocking “WE AGREE” in red ink over the signatures of oil companyy CEOs. See the posters at The posters and many others are downloadable.

Thank god for the Yes Men. We need many more tricksters like them in several other arenas, including politics. Satire and ridicule may be our last, best hope of laughing the evil profiteers and charlatans who now control our world out of existence.

Lawrence DiStasi

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jefes of the Empire

I was listening to Amy Goodman’s interview of illegally-ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya yesterday, when Zelaya offered this stunner:
“The United States is an empire, and so Obama is the President of the United States, but he is not the chief (jefe) of the Empire.”

Whoa! I said, urging Goodman in my mind to ask the obvious follow-up question: ‘So who is the chief (capo di tutti capi) of the Empire?’ But she didn’t. She had asked the question that led to this answer, i.e. didn’t the coup take place under President Obama? which itself had been in response to Zelaya’s contention that it was the Bush-era ambassador, Charles Ford, who had set up the coup just before he left Honduras to join the Southern Command (one of ten U.S. commands, responsible for planning and operations in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Cuba, and for ensuring the militarization of the Panama Canal, located in Miami, FL). Ford’s parting gesture, that is, had been a profile of Zelaya that he left for Obama’s incoming ambassador, Hugo Lawrence. That profile, published by Wikileaks, had urged Amb. Lawrence to make plans to “detain” then-Pres. Zelaya because he was tied to “narco-trafficking, terrorism,” and many other nefarious things. This was consistent with Ford’s posture towards Zelaya from as soon as eight days after he, Zelaya, took office: forbidding him to join ALBA (Alianza Bolivaraiana para los Pubeblos de Nuestra America—the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America—first proposed by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, to integrate the social, political and economic aspects of several countries of Latin America such as Antigua, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent, and Venezuela, many of them now run by socialist leaders); saying he couldn’t have a friendship with Hugo Chavez; and urging Zelaya to give political asylum in Honduras to the convicted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. So Charles Ford, employed by the Southern Command at the time of the coup against Zelaya, was the one who had set in motion.

Earlier in the interview, Zelaya had implicated several others, many of them well-known right-wing zealots and Reagan/Bush I/Bush II appointees:
The conspiracy began when I started to join ALBA…Otto Reich (of Iran/Contra fame, former ambassador to Venezuela, and a board member of the notorious School of the Americas where most Latin American death squads get their training) started this, Roger Noriega (also involved in the Iran/Contra scandal, the U.S. backed coup in Venezuela in 2002, and the ouster of Pres. Aristide from Haiti in 2004), Roberto Carmona and the Arcadia Foundation created by the CIA (according to the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Venezuelan lawyer Roberto-Carmona Borjas helped to draft some of the infamous anti-constitutional "Carmona decrees" after Hugo Chávez was overthrown in the April 2002 military coup. After Chávez was returned to power, Carmona Borjas fled to the United States where he found his calling as a leading anti-Chávez figure and, more recently, as a fierce critic of the Zelaya regime in Honduras. see Nikolas Kozloff,, 7/14/09). They associated themselves with the right wing and formed a conspiracy. They said I was a communist, a friend of Fidel, a friend of Chavez.

Whether all this means that the “Jefe” of the American Empire is some combination of the Southern Command, Otto Reich, Roberto Carmona, Roger Noreiga, and the CIA is never made clear. But it seems that some combination of these notorious figures, most of them quite prominent during the Bush years and before, together with whatever economic interests still dominate what’s left of the U.S. empire in Latin America (United Fruit Co., Chevron & Big Oil, AT&T, and mining interests, not to mention the bankers who dominate—and sometimes bring down—the world’s finances) can be assumed to be involved.

Still, I wish Amy Goodman had asked the question. Because it’s one thing to make assumptions about a conspiracy; it’s another to have its “jefe” (or jefes) named and outed.

We need no conspiracy, however, to see that whoever is or is not the empire’s “jefe,” the agreed-upon strategies and tactics are getting always more ruthless. This is laid out in detail by Conn Hallinan’s piece, “The New Face of War,” posted on on May 28. There, Hallinan points out that with the openly-acknowledged assassination of Osama bin Laden, and the appointment of General David Petraeus as head of the CIA, the United States has in essence announced that the firewall that used to exist between intelligence gathering and military action, between suspicion and extra-judicial murder has now evaporated. If the empire decides that someone—based on shadowy evidence or no evidence at all—is considered a threat to “stability” or “order,” then the legitimate response is to simply kill that person. No trial necessary. No evidence necessary. No declaration of war necessary. If you show up on the anti-terrorist or anti-U.S. radar, you can be eliminated with further ado. In a sense, this constitutes the merger of the Rambo-type tactics we see in countless movies and TV dramas with real-world policy (apparently, many Bushies were great fans of rogue agent Jack Bauer, of the TV series, “24.”) Concern for the niceties of the law are routinely characterized as silly and counter-productive. The criminal can get away; he can “lawyer up;” he can get off on technicalities. Or simply disappear. “Justice” cannot be done. So the Rambo types dispense their own ‘rough’ justice. And though there is always a curtsy to the legal procedures that should have been followed, the satisfaction on the faces of all concerned and the relief on the faces of those who have lost their “loved ones” to the predatory criminals, provide justification enough to the viewer. Kill first and worry about the law later. That’s the mantra being chanted daily and nightly on countless shows. And it has now become the mantra of the government that increasingly infiltrates our lives and monitors our communications via the internet. All snooping is legal. And once that is legal, so are all the eliminative tactics that weapons manufacturers can dream up.

What an irony. After the failure, as Hallinan points out, of the Powell doctrine (total war power), the Rumsfeld Doctrine (lean, technical military), and the Petraeus Doctrine (counterinsurgency by establishing trust with the locals), we have now come to the Obama doctrine: targeted assassination. Nevermind capturing the “jefes” and bringing them to justice. Just kill them. It’s cheaper, more efficient, and the cause of far less complication, and, as a bonus, public approbation.

In a sense, then, perhaps Zelaya and Aristide and Chavez should count themselves among the lucky ones. If today’s policies had prevailed, all might have been simply assassinated. On the other hand, perhaps our “jefes” of Empire should start to watch their backs as well, for while the truism doesn’t always hold, with enough time it often does: what goes around comes around.

Lawrence DiStasi

addendum, June 3:
An interview Amy Goodman did today with investigative journalist Seymour Hersh adds some steam to the “jefe of the Empire” question raised by Manuel Zelaya. Hersh, in a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10th, described a Bush administration “executive assassination wing” that reported directly to Vice-President Dick Cheney. Hersh said that the wing, over which Congress has no oversight, has been going into countries, “not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.” Hersh referred to a statement confirming the existence of the wing made by John Hannah, deputy chief of staff for Cheney, who admitted to Wolfe Blitzer on CNN, in Hersh’s description of it, that “Yes, we go after people suspected of crimes against America. And I (this is Hersh speaking) have to tell you that there’s an executive order, signed by Jerry Ford, President Ford, in the ’70s, forbidding such action. It’s not only contrary—it’s illegal, it’s immoral, it’s counterproductive.” Hersh went on to say that the hit squads have gone into “at least a dozen countries” in the Middle East and Latin America, with, contrary to what John Hannah said, “no legal basis for it whatever.”

The upshot: another candidate for Jefe of Empire is none other than our old friend, Dick Cheney. In addition to his nefarious role as Vice President under George W. Bush, he has also been Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, White House Chief of Staff under Gerald Ford, and U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip prior to being chosen as Defense Secretary under Bush I. When one considers that this same George H.W. Bush was also head of the CIA in the late 70s before he became VP under Ronald Reagan, then President himself, then behind-the-scenes President under his son, (i.e. the central power broker from the 70s through the first decade of the 21st century), one can easily envision him and/or his family (his father Prescott Bush was a long-time senator from Connecticut and, along with father-in-law banker George Herbert Walker a powerful financial supporter of the Nazis—see “Nazis and Bush Family History,” online at as, if not the “jefes” of empire, then as the center around which other “jefes” would cluster. If they would support the Nazis and import several to the U.S. after WWII to serve as American "advisers," what would such distinguished patriots NOT do?