Are the dittoheads taking over The Straight Dope too? Cecil makes a factual error

In the column Was Bush’s great grandfather a Nazi? , Cecil not only sounds like a mindless dittohead but gets his facts wrong.

The questioner was right, and Cecil was wrong: The crimes concerned Bush’s great grandfather, George Herbert, and grandfather Prescott Bush, not “misdeeds by George W.'s father, George H.W., and his grandfather, Prescott Bush”. Cecil is a George off.

Cecil dismisses the rather serious crime of Trading With The Enemy while we were at war with Nazi Germany by evading with “Some of the most distinguished names in American business had investments or subsidiaries in prewar Germany” (empahsis mine) which in no way excuses the Bushes unpatriotic dealings.

Cecil apologizes for them, saying that Prescott only had one share of stock of one of the subsidiaries (without a cite) while sliding over the fact that he was a director of the corporation and was called “Hitler’s Angel” by the press at the time. An account here: . And here: . And for good measure, here: .

Further, the Harriman connection is unexplored, but Prescott’s connection to the eugenics movement can be found here , and Harriman’s founding of the Eugenics Records Office in London in 1910 can be found here .

One of the ways you can tell a dittohead (or worse, a freeper) is that every comment about the Bushes starts off with a dig at Clinton. In fact, the attempt to uncover the Bushes involvement with the Nazis and the bin Ladens isn’t even remotely like the massively financed hatemongering lies about Bill Clinton. The whole first paragraph should have been edited out. But that’s another column; lets stick to the facts about the Bush family.

I used to respect Cecil, but instead of aging into the grand master of truth seekers, he’s sunk to the level of spin control and rumormongering of Drudge and Rush. Sad.

Can I comment on the irony that the OP considers Cecil a “dittohead (or worse, a freeper)” when one of his own sites (the geocities one) alleges that Prescott Bush was a Nazi for his 1950 involvement with Planned Parenthood?

For we all know that Planned Parenthood is anathema to any good liberal cause.

Not so fast. You’ve taken that quote out of context. What Cecil actually said was:

Now, I’m unfamiliar with that particular book but the sample pages of the 1997 paperback edition at do include the index. From that, it would appear that Loftus and Aarons make numerous references to George H. W. Bush and that they mention Prescott Bush on three pages. George H. Bush doesn’t appear at all. I therefore suspect that any ‘misdeeds’ discussed by them do indeed involve George W.'s father and grandfather. It is just that George H. W. Bush’s ‘crimes’ didn’t involve Nazi Germany.

If you read Charles Higham’s book, Trading with the Enemy, you will find out that it was not illegal to trade with the enemy, you just had to get a permit from the treasury department. Amazing, eh? In this book you can find out more amazing facts about how Ford and GM refused to help the American war effort and instead built trucks for Hitler. Andrew Mellon of Alcoa sold his aluminum to the Nazis, so we had to recycle toothpaste tubes! Standard Oil had oil tankers sail from Venezuela (so it technically was not illegal) to the Canary Islands to refuel Nazi U-Boats.

But the one story that is NOT in Higham’s book is the story about Prescott Bush’s business dealings with Hitler. Thus I questioned the veracity of this story and am glad that Cecil, who is usually a right-wing apologist, vetted the story. Interestingly, Trading with the Enemy was published in 1983, when George Bush Sr. was president (technically he ws VP, but after he tried to assassinate Reagan, the old gipper (I am not president, but I play one on TV!) wasn’t really in charge anymore.

So I wonder, did Bush Sr. censor the story somehow? Incidentally, Higham came across his info while researching the Nazi loyalties of Errol Flynn. It seems like everybody who was anybody back then was pro-Nazi, including Joe Kennedy, Sr.

I’m sad to see that nobody has mentioned IBM’s role with the Holocaust. IBM invented a census punchcard system that the Nazi’s used to determine who got exterminated, put to work, etc.


IBM was sued by holocaust survivors for this, but IBM won the case. General Motors was also sued by holocaust survivors for being used as slave labor in GM’s Nazi factories. GM denied the claims but settled out of court for $3.3 BILLION. Wow! That’s a lot of money for being innocent!

What would the amount have been if they had been found gulty?

Everything in life is merely relative.

Got a cite for that?

As opposed to, say, december, who is merely giving you the Straight Dope?

(Sorry, december). You were just a convenient boogeyman. At least december doesn’t say things “quite” this rediculous. Most of the time.

Hello samclem,
You are obviously a right-wing apologist too (and don’t spell very well). GM was obviously guilty of using slave labor, after all, it is a historical fact. They settled for the paltry sum of $3.3 billion to avoid more bad publicity. As for the cite for Prescott Bush being called Hitler’s Angel, don’t be so lazy, do your own google search. Here is one cite:

There are dozens more.

Now, do you have anything intelligent to contribute?
I didn’t think so.

If I may be so naive as to ask, what’s a freeper? I know what a dittohead is.

Welcome to the SMDB mystic2311. Since you’re new, a word of advice: in these parts, it’s utterly the norm for someone to ask for a cite to a claim someone else is making. It’s not laziness, it’s curiosity.

That said, a Google search wouldn’t have helped much in this case. Using “Bush” and “Hitler’s Angel” does indeed throw up dozens of pages, but virtually all of these are recycling the same piece of text and others are clearly garbling the story. The first page is the one you chose to cite. In it, the relevant passage is:

Now all this appears plausible and from a beliveable source - indeed it’s the Boston Globe story from 2001 that Cecil himself refers to in his article. And it’s certainly discrediting to Prescott Bush. It’s just not obvious that this implies that the New York Herald Tribune was calling Bush “Hitler’s Angel”. After all, I don’t suppose it was much of a headline to imply that a US businessman, and a director of the bank at that, had 3 million in a US bank. Turning to one of the others pages Google threw up, we find

So in this version it’s Thyssen who the Tribune was calling “Hitler’s Angel”.
Now one would have to see the original article (it doesn’t appear to be online) to be sure, but the headline does make far more sense as a reference to Thyssen.

I reiterate, none of this lets Prescott Bush off the hook. But you’ll find it far easier to make a case on the SMDB if you get your facts straight.

John Corrado:

While I’m glad you take the time to read the cites (perhaps you could help samclem; see below), I find it ironic that you completely slide by the evidence of the Bushes helping the Nazis while we were at war to comment on a later charge of Prescott Bush being called a Nazi. To have a leading Republican aiding and abetting a dangerous potential enemy of the US back in the 30s and 40s would be as bad as having the current Vice President illegally doing business with Iraq in the 90s and lying about it under oath… there’s irony for you, eh?

APB: The question was about Herbert Walker, and Cecil doesn’t dig that far, only going back to Poppy Bush and Prescott. There’s certainly enough evidence about George Herbert – some official court records, some commentary at the time (see the cites I made) – that’s not mentioned. It’s a common rhetorical trick to answer a serious charge by pooh-poohing a lesser charge. Cecil’s reply was lazy at best and disengenous at least.

mystic/akrako: While doing business with Hitler in the 30s may be morally unjustified, Germany was a sovereign nation and it was not illegal to deal with them until we were at war. Then the Bushes were not merely morally repugnant but engaging in criminal acts, for which they were punished.

samclem: Thanks to mystic and bonzer for further elaboration, but if you’d bothered check out the cites I made, you’d have found references to Prescott Bush as Hitler’s Angel, possibly more than once as you follow links. Please don’t demand cites until you’ve checked out the ones already there.

AskNott: A “freeper” is someone who posts regularly to (no, I’m not going to check to see if the url is valid; I just took a shower and don’t want to get slime all over me). The slimy, hatemongering, barely literate great unwashed but web-enabled right wingers stroke their egos by tightening their collectived sphincters. Dittoheads are at a KKK rally; freepers are writing the graffiti in the porta-potties of a KKK rally…

DRomm writes:

Please. Our current president’s great-grandfather was George Herbert Walker, not George Herbert. Walker does figure in the Loftus book, but much more attention is given to the alleged misdeeds of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president. I concluded that the letter-writer had his generations mixed up and meant father and grandfather - easy to do given the similarity of names. In retrospect this conclusion was unwarranted. Thank you for calling attention to this confusing aspect of the column - I’ll have Little Ed amend it.

Prescott Bush was not accused of a “rather serious crime.” The Trading with the Enemy Act provided for the seizure of enemy-owned or -controlled assets in the United States, of which the UBC was one. The vesting order may be viewed in its entirety at UBC had been established long before the war (according to Loftus, it “began trading in 1924”), when trade with Germany was legal. The Trading with the Enemy Act permitted continued operation of the assets under the supervision of the Alien Property Custodian. After the war control of UBC was returned to its owners and the company was liquidated in 1951. Seizure of an asset was not tantamount to a charge of treason, contrary to what some people think today.

Prescott’s ownership of one share of UBC stock is stated in the Federal Register as cited above. Others on this thread have already pointed out that “Hitler’s Angel” was Fritz Thyssen, not Prescott Bush.

Huh? The target of my “dig” wasn’t Clinton, it was the “rabid EOBs (Enemies of Bill)” who spread scurrilous stories about him and his family. You ought to be more careful about this kind of thing if you’re going to accuse others of misstating the facts.

Good answer, Cece!

Your apparent set of references for the “Hitler’s Angel” label were:

I’ve read through these and can see no reference to anybody being called “Hitler’s Angel” in any of them. Searching the files for the word “Angel” in them throws up nothing either. None of these pages have any obvious links to any further references.

Without seeing the original news articles, it is impossible to know who was originally referred to as Hitler’s angel, and the waters certainly have been muddied since then by writers referring to both Thyssen and Prescott Bush as “Hitler’s angel.” For example, this article independently dubs Prescott Bush “Hitler’s angel” without referring to any other source:

I admit that the original cite I gave from the Metareligion website is ambiguous at best as to who the original Hitler’s angel was.

We can only conclude, then, that they were both Hitler’s angels. After all, a false god surely can have more than one angle in his celestial sphere.

Let’s put this to rest. Here are the first three paragraphs of Michael Kranish’s story in the April 23, 2001 Boston Globe:

“Hitler’s financier” was Fritz Thyssen, whose book I Paid Hitler had appeared the previous year. It was Thyssen who put the “3 Million” in UBC and was given the nickname “Hitler’s Angel,” not Prescott Bush. I don’t have the Herald Tribune article, which might make this clearer. John Loftus says a researcher he paid to look through the H-T back copies couldn’t find the story, and my e-mail to Michael Kranish went unanswered. I don’t think there’s any big mystery here, though, just a mistake in the dates.

It seems to me that going after Bush by going after something his grandpappy did is a remarkably roundabout technique of political smearing, especially considering that we have serious allegations, and some evidence that Resident Bush:

  1. Stole a U.S. Presidential election
  2. Is a former cocaine abuser
  3. Is (and may still be) an alcohol abuser
  4. Was involved in fraudlent financial dealings (Harken)
  5. Was AWOL for a prolonged period during wartime
  6. Has close ties to the Enron criminals

It seems to me that a much more productive avenue for anyone interested in bringing Bush down would be a thorough examination of these charges, rather than a dubious guilt by association charge. Maybe Granpappy Bush crossed the line in his dealings with the Nazis, maybe he didn’t. Any amount of debate on this topic will probably not change a lot of opinions about the current President, because Dubya undoubtedly had precious little ability to control Granpa’s business dealings as a child.

Who cares about his granddad, the man himself is a nazi from what I can tell