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Bones of contention: infamous for reportedly bizarre initiation rituals, Yale's secret society Skull and Bones serves as a recruiting ground for entrants into the covert international Power Elite. (Conspiracy).

How did George W. Bush become president? This question is not meant to address his election, but rather his means of ascent as a viable candidate for the office. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Bush's character, abilities, and policies, there are many others who could be better presidents. And even his most ardent supporters would have to admit that his rise to the presidency was not propelled exclusively by his personal merits.

In his autobiography, George W. Bush coyly alluded to an influential underground network that has covertly aided his political career. Referring to his undergraduate days at Yale, Bush recalled: "My senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can't say anything more." That society is the focus of the new book, Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League Ivy League

Group of eight universities in the northeastern U.S., high in academic and social prestige, that are members of an athletic conference for intercollegiate gridiron football dating to the 1870s.
, and the Hidden Paths of Power, by Yale graduate Alexandra Robbins. The author describes the Order of Skull and Bones as a key part of a network "which is powerful but intangible and available only to those who seek it out."

In fact, it is the Order that does the seeking, selecting (or "tapping") 15 promising Yale students to spend their senior years communing as "knights" of the society in the "Tomb" the society's Gothic sandstone headquarters. "There is reason to everything Skull and Bones does; its headquarters, program, and rituals have all been carefully calibrated cal·i·brate  
tr.v. cal·i·brat·ed, cal·i·brat·ing, cal·i·brates
1. To check, adjust, or determine by comparison with a standard (the graduations of a quantitative measuring instrument):
 to cultivate its power by essentially training its members," writes Robbins. "Eventually a member's self-perception is so intertwined with his secret-society identity ... that if he were to betray or leave Skull and Bones, he would lose what has become a major part of the way that he identifies himself."

Skull and Bones has also become a major spawning ground for our nation's political, diplomatic, financial, and media elite. "The list of prominent members of Skull and Bones is staggering, particularly given that, with only fifteen new members initiated each year, there are approximately eight hundred living members at any one time," Robbins points out. "It would seem to be no small coincidence that a tiny college club has somehow managed to spawn three presidents of the United States Presidents of the United States
President Political Party Dates in Office Vice President(s)
George Washington   1789–97 John Adams
John Adams Federalist 1797–1801 Thomas Jefferson
" -- William Howard Taft and the two George Bushes. The 2004 presidential race might involve two "Bonesmen" -- President Bush and Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. .

"The biggest benefit to Skull and Bones is the networking," one Bonesman told Robbins. "In the rest of the world you get to know people through accident or through choice. In Bones you meet people whom you otherwise wouldn't get to meet. It's a forced setup among a group of high achievers...." That network can also help less gifted individuals gain access to it as "legacies," initiates who are sons of distinguished members of the Order.

Such is the case with George W. Bush, who "clearly was not one of the top students at Andover, [but] ... was the descendant of two of Skull and Bones' favorite sons" -- his father, George H.W. Bush Noun 1. George H.W. Bush - vice president under Reagan and 41st President of the United States (born in 1924)
George Herbert Walker Bush, President Bush, George Bush, Bush
, and his grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush Prescott Sheldon Bush (May 15, 1895 – October 8, 1972) was a United States Senator from Connecticut and a Wall Street executive banker with Brown Brothers Harriman. He was the father of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and the grandfather of current President George W. . In 1968, as a shallow youth given to drunkenness and indifferent to his studies, George W. was accepted into Skull and Bones and given the secret name "Temporary." Bush's Skull and Bones connection proved useful when, as a Yale graduate, his application to the University of Texas Law School was rejected: Fellow Bonesman Robert Walker Robert Walker may refer to:
  • Robert Walker (painter) (1599-1658), English painter associated with 57 portraits
  • Robert J. Walker (1801-1869), was a US Secretary of the Treasury under President Polk.
 hired Bush as a management trainee at Stratford of Texas, a Houston-based agricultural firm.

When Bush formed Arbusto Energy Arbusto Energy (sometimes referred to as Arbusto Oil)[1] was a petroleum and energy company formed in Midland, Texas, in 1977, by future President of the United States George W.  Inc. in 1977, "he once again sought the help of Skull and Bones," writes Robbins. A Bonesman uncle, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 investment banker Investment Banker

A person representing a financial institution that is in the business of raising capital for corporations and municipalities.

An investment banker may not accept deposits or make commercial loans.
 Jonathan Bush Jonathan James Bush (born May 6,1931), an American banker, a brother of President George H. W. Bush, and an uncle of President George W. Bush. Education
Bush graduated from the Hotchkiss School and Yale University.
, arranged $565,000 in financing for the oil firm; $172,550 came from California investor William H. Draper, another Bonesman. These investments were water poured into sand, since Arbusto went bust by 1984. When Bush was negotiating to purchase the Texas Rangers Texas Rangers, mounted fighting force organized (1835) during the Texas Revolution. During the republic they became established as the guardians of the Texas frontier, particularly against Native Americans.  baseball team in 1989, one of the four major co-investors was Dudley S. Taft. President of Taft Broadcasting The Taft Broadcasting Company, also known as Taft Television and Radio Company, Incorporated, was a media conglomerate based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

It has its roots in the family of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, whose nephew, Hulbert
 and grandnephew grand·neph·ew  
A son of one's nephew or niece.


same as great-nephew

Noun 1.
 of Bonesman President William Howard Taft, Dudley was "a member of the one family with more Bones members than the Bushes," Robbins points out.

As would be expected, Skull and Bones members This article or section has multiple issues:
* Its factual accuracy is disputed.
* It needs additional references or sources for verification.

Please help [ improve the article] or discuss these issues on the talk page.
 figure prominently in the donor lists from George W. Bush's political campaigns. Fifty-eight Bonesmen donated a total of $57,972 (the legal limit) to the 2000 Bush presidential campaign, and several others offered contributions in their wives' names. Bonesmen helped lay the foundation for George W. Bush's formidable 2000 war chest.

Thirty-three years after the boozy, underachieving son of a Bonesman was "tapped" to fill one of the "legacy" slots in the society, the newly inaugurated President George W. Bush hosted a reunion of fellow "Bonesmen" in the White House.

Means of Ascent

George W. Bush's career could be summarized by a line from the 1970 television film The Brotherhood of the Bell, which portrayed an occultic campus society modeled after Skull and Bones. In the film, Professor Andy Patterson (Glenn Ford Gwyllyn Samuel Newton "Glenn" Ford (May 1, 1916 – August 30, 2006) was an acclaimed Canadian-born actor from Hollywood's Golden Era with a career that spanned seven decades. Ford is best known for playing either cowboys or ordinary men in unusual circumstances. ) is given an assignment from "The Bell" to blackmail a refugee scholar into withdrawing his candidacy for a prestigious academic post. The Bell, Patterson is told, intended that post for one of them. After the despairing refugee commits suicide, Patterson tells his "senior," financier Chad Halmon (Dean Jagger jag 1  
1. A sharp projection; a barb.

a. A hanging flap along the edge of a garment.

b. A slash or slit in a garment exposing material of a different color.

), that he wants to resign from the secret society.

"You had your option 22 years ago," Halmon tells Patterson. "You have received every [advantage], every fellowship, every post you've ever wanted. You have never competed for anything in the last 22 years, since you took that oath at sunrise." Indeed, as Patterson himself had told a young student undergoing his own initiation into The Bell, accepting the society's discipline meant having "anything that one can get with money, power, and the best connections."

The real-life connections of the Skull and Bones were first forged in 1832 by Yale Student William H. Russell, scion sci·on  
1. A descendant or heir.

2. also ci·on A detached shoot or twig containing buds from a woody plant, used in grafting.
 of an immensely wealthy family that ran a world opium empire. While living in Germany, "Russell befriended the leader of an insidious German secret society that hailed the death's head as its logo," Robbins recounts. "Russell soon became caught up in this group, itself a sinister outgrowth of the notorious eighteenth-century society, the Illuminati Illuminati (ĭl'mĭnā`tī, –nä`tē) [Lat.,=enlightened], rationalistic society founded in Germany soon after 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, a professor at Ingolstadt, ."

This is more than a little ironic, given that a few decades earlier the president of Yale College
For the college with the same name in Wales see: Yale College Wrexham.
For other uses of Yale, see Yale (disambiguation).

Yale College was the official name of Yale University from 1718 to 1887.
 had warned of the sinister influence of revolutionary secret societies, especially the Illuminati, which he identified as the engine driving European social and political upheavals, particularly the French Revolution. In his Independence Day address in 1798, President Timothy Dwight warned that the doctrines and activities of the Illuminati "strike at the root of all human happiness and virtue ... [seeking] the overthrow of religion, government, and human society civil and domestic." The Illuminists consider their objectives "to be so good, that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable, if necessary for these great purposes."

By the time Russell returned to New Haven for his senior year, an anti-Masonic movement had taken root across the nation. Prompted in part by the backlash against Freemasonry Freemasonry, teachings and practices of the secret fraternal order officially known as the Free and Accepted Masons, or Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Organizational Structure
, Yale authorities had divested all of the campus fraternities -- including Phi Beta Kappa Phi Beta Kappa: see fraternity.
Phi Beta Kappa

Leading academic honour society in the U.S., which draws its membership from college and university students. The oldest Greek-letter society in the U.S.
 -- of their secrecy. Undaunted, Russell (who would go on to be Yale's 1833 valedictorian) assembled a group of the most promising Yale students and created the Order of Skull and Bones as an American chapter of the German secret society to which he had been introduced.

Since the time of its founding, the Order's origins, rituals, and purposes have been the subject of speculation. According to some accounts, each initiate into Skull and Bones is required to lie naked in a coffin, describe in detail his sexual history, and wrestle naked in a mudpile with fellow initiates. Some exposes insist that "The Tomb" is adorned with "Nazi memorabilia" as well as "dozens of skulls ... coffins, skeletons, and innards," writes Robbins. Others have claimed that initiates receive a $15,000 graduation gift, and engage in extravagant parties at the group's Deer Island retreat, complete with the purchased attentions of beautiful women. This aspect of the Skull and Bones legend is depicted -- with an almost comical lack of subtlety -- in the 2000 film The Skulls.

World Domination?

Regarding the rumors of macabre initiation rites and lucrative perks, Robbins writes: "I learned through my interviews ... that the majority of those rumors were carefully planted by the Bonesmen themselves." Assuming this is true, this would be a cunning piece of spin control because it would focus public attention on what members of the Order do for recreation, as opposed to what they do as part of their vocation. According to what Robbins calls "the Legend of Skull and Bones," those tapped for Skull and Bones are inducted into "an underground conspiracy to dominate the world."

While Robbins admits that Skull and Bones is an important element of the Establishment, she belittles those who take the Order's "legend" seriously. Skull and Bones, insisted Robbins in a USA Today op-ed column, "does not run a secret world government, collaborate with Nazis or require initiates to lie naked in a coffin." Sober analysts of the partially submerged international Power Elite do not believe that Skull and Bones is running that hidden network. Yet there is very good evidence -- some of which Robbins mentions -- that Skull and Bones serves as a primary recruiting ground for that covert elite.

Robbins notes that "a relatively large number of Bonesmen have achieved influential positions that control foreign policy; several members have served on the Council on Foreign Relations The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an influential and independent, nonpartisan foreign policy membership organization founded in 1921 and based at 58 East 68th Street (corner Park Avenue) in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. , including Winston Lord, its president from 1977 to 1985." The Order's role as a farm league for the CFR CFR

See: Cost and Freight
 was confirmed by an October 7, 1996 New York magazine profile of the organization by Eric Konigsberg, which noted that the council's recruiters find "fertile ground in the Porcellian Club [at Harvard] and Skull and Bones."

In America's Secret Establishment, a 1986 Skull and Bones expose cited by Robbins, scholar Antony C. Sutton describes how Bonesmen and their covert colleagues have abetted conflicts -- including world wars -- as part of a "dialectical" process of consolidating global power. In that process a clash of opposites brings about a synthesis," Sutton explains. "There is no question that the so-called establishment in the U.S. uses 'managed conflict' [and that] decisions of war and peace are made by a few in the elite and not by many in the voting process...." In that book, and in previous studies of aid to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Sutton documented the actions of Western elitists in creating and sustaining foreign "threats" as part of that grand dialectic.

Robbins makes a valuable contribution (one she does not seem to appreciate fully) to our understanding of Bonesmen's role in this insidious process. In 1989, the Export-Import Bank Export-import Bank (Ex-IM Bank)

The U.S. federal government agency that extends trade credits to U.S. companies to facilitate the financing of U.S. exports.
 balked balk  
v. balked, balk·ing, balks

1. To stop short and refuse to go on: The horse balked at the jump.

 at extending credit to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime. Then-President George H.W. Bush "was determined to push through credits," notes Robbins. In September of that year, the Senate approved a foreign aid bill that supposedly prohibited aid to Iraq. But that bill contained an amendment sponsored by Republican Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania -- who, like Bush, was a Bonesman -- permitting Bush to allow aid to Saddam if he regarded it "in the national interest." Bush exercised that waiver on January 17, 1990 -- almost exactly one year before American fighting men were sent into battle against an Iraqi war machine built with U.S. aid.
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Author:Grigg, William Norman
Publication:The New American
Date:Nov 4, 2002
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