Monday, December 10, 2018

France yellow vest protests: Macron promises wage rise

France's President Emmanuel Macron has promised a minimum wage rise and tax concessions in response to weeks of violent protests.

France has seen four weekends of violent protests against fuel tax rises, living costs and other issues.

Speaking in a televised address, Mr Macron condemned the violence but said the protesters' anger was "deep, and in many ways legitimate".

The minimum wage would increase by €100 per month from 2019, he said.

A planned tax increase for low-income pensioners would be cancelled, overtime pay would no longer be taxed, and employers would be encouraged to pay a tax-free end of year bonus to employees, he added.

However, he refused to reinstate a tax on the wealthy, saying "this would weaken us, we need to create jobs".

The minimum wage will be increased by 7% - and the cost of this increase will be met by the government rather than employers.

Analysis by the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris
They wanted more than just a politician's promises. They wanted measures, banknotes in their pockets, a tangible change in their impoverished daily lives.

President Macron got the message. In fact he had no choice. To have blethered about future challenges and the need for nation-building would have driven the yellow vests to distraction.

So here - at the core of the address - were four simple changes: a rise in the minimum wage; the removal of tax and social charges on overtime; encouragement to employers to give workers a tax-free bonus; and an end to a surcharge on most pensions.- Read More

France yellow vest protests: Macron promises wage rise - BBC News

Trump administration presses for peace deal in Afghanistan by April, but prospects appear dim - latimes

The Trump administration is pressing to open formal peace talks with insurgents in Afghanistan by April, a timetable driven by the president’s mounting impatience with the stalemated 17-year-old war.

The short-term goal, current and former officials say, is a cease-fire agreement to at least temporarily curtail an alarming rise in attacks by Taliban insurgents that have caused hundreds of Afghan civilian and military casualties a month.

But prospects for a far-reaching political settlement still appear dim, and President Trump faces the risk of a political backlash if he pulls out and the country again becomes a failed state where terrorists could find refuge, as Osama Bin Laden once did.

Without signs of progress in coming months, Trump could face the same dilemma as his predecessors: withdraw all or most of 14,000 U.S. troops and risk a Taliban takeover, or leave them there indefinitely, even though he and his advisors consider the war unwinnable.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan whom Trump appointed in September to handle the peace initiative, is seeking to jump-start the talks. He has warned Afghan government officials who are reluctant to embrace the U.S. peace initiative that they cannot count on U.S. military support forever.

“We need the violence to stop,” said a senior U.S. official familiar with the internal deliberations. “This is a rare opportunity for every player in this.”

Trump has privately said he regretted the decision, as the military situation has shown no signs of improving, officials said.

Without continued U.S. military backing, American commanders say, the Afghan military would quickly collapse. The dependence has left the government in Kabul with few good options if Trump threatens to pull out U.S. forces to pressure it into a deal with the Taliban.

“If we left precipitously right now, I do not believe they would be able to successfully defend their country,” Marine Lt. Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Trump’s nominee to head U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. 

“If the American officials and generals are of the belief that their occupying forces will remain in Afghanistan and that they will be left alone, then they should reassess their talks,” the statement said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has laid out his own peace plan, which he said would take five years to implement.

Khalilzad is on a much faster track. He is urging the Taliban and Ghani’s government to at least prepare a blueprint for continuing negotiations on ending the war before presidential elections scheduled for April.

Khalilzad said in tweet Thursday that he was in Kabul to discuss “preparations for peace negotiations” with Ghani.

Ghani must deal with deep reluctance to deal with the Taliban, especially among ethnic Tajiks, who have spent decades fighting the primarily Pashtun Taliban.

“Ghani is not in a good position because there’s no consensus about talking to [the] Taliban, and some people in his government and close to his government are adamantly opposed to it,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent think tank with an office in Kabul.

"We're near a political settlement,” said Col. Dave Butler, Miller’s spokesman. “If the Taliban want to keep fighting, we will fight and ensure that they feel the pressure.”

Even if the talks do not lead to a deal, many who follow America’s longest war fear that Trump could pull U.S. troops out anyway, probably plunging Afghanistan into years of more fighting and bloodshed.

“There is not much time,” Ruttig said. “Everyone is afraid of one morning waking up and seeing a tweet from the president saying, ‘We’re leaving.’” More

Trump administration presses for peace deal in Afghanistan by April, but prospects appear dim

America's War in Afghanistan Is Now About Only One Thing: Pride - The National Interest

In an interview with the Washington Post on November 27, President Trump reiterated his personal skepticism of the continuing American military presence in Afghanistan. He said the only reason for this status quo policy was because “virtually every expert” told him the United States needed to keep fighting there, otherwise they will be fighting here.

This deference to the Pentagon and military experts didn’t begin with Trump, as presidential candidates since 9/11 have always defended their foreign policy prescriptions by insisting they would listen to the counsel of the military brass. Trump alarmed many Washington insiders during his campaign for his seeming willingness to reject the advice of experts on most topics, but the foreign policy establishment has been successful thus far in containing his more unconventional instincts.

Trump’s statement on the Afghanistan expert consensus, though, highlights the fatal conceit of American foreign policy and the habitual interventionist mindset of those who represent establishment thinking. America does not need to be fighting in Afghanistan, and exiting that conflict would not bring it home to the United States.

The irony of Trump supposedly deferring to “virtually every expert” on Afghanistan is that no expert consensus actually exists on maintaining the U.S. presence there. In fact, as the Cato Institute’s John Glaser tweeted, “for Afghanistan, you’d be safer saying the expert consensus goes in the other direction.” Three successive administrations have insisted Afghanistan is about protecting against terrorism, despite very little evidence that leaving would necessarily lead to more terrorism.

Moreover, terrorism is a fact of life, and no amount of military adventurism abroad is going to eliminate it entirely. As MIT’s Barry Posen, an expert of some renown himself, has written: “It is plain that we have no actual strategic policy in Afghanistan—no plausible purpose other protect U.S. leaders against the possibility of future blame. America’s longest war should stop.” Furthermore, monitoring and preventing terrorist threats do not require an indefinite occupation.

Despite the abject failure of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan—building a barely functioning central state with weak security forces that has consistently lost control of territory in the last several years—the D.C. establishment insists, as Trump’s words show, that the United States needs to see this fight through to the end. But Afghanistan must be able to provide for its own security.

Yet, more than seventeen years in corruption and violence are rampant. In addition, Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians are suffering record casualties, while also wondering if the U.S. intentionally sowed chaos to establish a never-ending conflict.

Intervention begets more intervention. Washington cannot rely on the very people who gave America the war in the first place to provide an honest appraisal of their own efforts. Foreign policy is an expert-dominated field and for a good reason. The world is incredibly complex.

But expertise can often lead to hubris. Washington’s obstinance on Afghanistan (as well as other conflicts, such as Syria) demonstrates that American foreign policy has too much of the latter. - Read More

America's War in Afghanistan Is Now About Only One Thing: Pride ...

A U.S. Ambassador Reflects on Afghanistan - Ronald Neumann

There is no short way out. Any success will be very slow in coming.

The total incidents of violence seem to have been roughly similar to the last election when over 100,000 foreign troops were helping with security. And the Afghan people voted. The turnout was in the neighborhood of 40 percent. All figures in Afghanistan are subject to dispute but if the number of votes is inflated one must also consider that many who turned out to vote went home without casting ballots due to the mismanagement of polling places. In short, the turnout was about the same as the last parliamentary election eight years ago. What is noteworthy is that this was far larger than expected. Afghan journalists, a cynical crowd, were uniform in telling me that the turnout was far larger than they expected. Several people also felt there was less fraud than previously although this impression may change as the votes are counted.

The most repeated comment I heard from a variety of opposition leaders was that the one thing they all agreed on was that President Ghani should not have a second term. Ethnic divisions have seriously deepened during Ghani’s tenure with many seeing him as an eastern Pashtun nationalist who is freezing out other ethnic groups. This perception may be exaggerated, as Ghani and his supporters maintain, but it exists. One young Hazara, a group long on the bottom of the social pecking order and many of whom voted for Ghani, told me he felt betrayed. He had seen Ghani’s call to bring in more Afghan youth as a step into the future and now believes it was a trick simply to clear the way for the appointment to Pashtun youth. Other young supporters of the president dispute this.

Despite all this, it would be a mistake to count Ghani out. We have no real idea of his national popularity among people, rather than leaders. Our perceptions are far too dependent on contacts in Kabul since fears of risk (largely driven from Washington) have bottled up Embassy personnel even where they could circulate with deployed U.S. military. One former Ghani supporter who has turned against him noted how his guards and their families in the provinces all support Ghani because they think he is trying to help them. Many of those who may run against Ghani have dubious reputations. None of the electoral blocks that are trying to form are yet solid. Actual candidates and their tickets will only be known in December when candidates register formally for the election. Many of those who now appear to be running will settle for positions on someone else’s ticket if they can get it. Former national security advisor Hanif Atmar is widely reckoned as a leading contender, but there is enormous jockeying for position among various leaders. The promises of today are weak guarantees for the performance of tomorrow. - Read More

A U.S. Ambassador Reflects on Afghanistan | The National Interest

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Fall of the Monarchy and Afghanistan -- Carlo Jose Vicente Caro

The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction recently wrote that the Taliban now controlled more territory than any time since 2001. This hard assessment is evidence that a military solution to this matter is futile. While a foreign solution might have been possible back in 2002, the time for this died with the King on July 23rd, 2007.

On the 11th of June, 2002, a Loya Jirga was held to transfer power to the Afghan Transitional Authority. While King Mohammed Zahir Shah had considerable support from the delegates, the United States decided to back Hamid Karzai instead.

Had the Bush administration not sidelined the King, these last 15 years might have been much different for Afghanistan. Indeed, the fall of the Monarchy in Afghanistan marked the downfall of the country.

Back in the coup of July 17, 1973, Afghan republicans and communists had put an end to a system, which despite its defects, had achieved a certain degree of stability and democratic progress not known before in the history of their country.

Indeed, between the early 1950s and 1973, Afghanistan with its beautiful landscapes, saw an increasing number of schools, doctors, teachers, and tourists in the country. And even though by the early 1970s, King Mohammed Zahir Shah had lost much of his political significance, the monarchy had been the only institution that had enjoyed the recognition and acceptance of political authority from a population divided along tribal, ethnic, and religious lines.

Afghan Kings had always been the main champions of the modernization processes of the country and had been supported by both tribal and religious leaders, as long as their power was not significantly threatened.

In the rush to achieve national unity, Mohammed Zahir Shah and his predecessors were always conscious of the need to integrate the country’s different ethnicities and to avoid the exclusive domain of power by the Pashtuns. The monarchy also enjoyed the advantage of being Pashtun, which at least in theory guaranteed the support of the main ethnicity.

If we exclude the period of King Amanullah Khan, the monarchy was always careful to avoid a confrontation with traditional norms or religious values, and this had paved the way for the Southern tribes to recognize their legitimacy.

The different Pashtun revolts that Mohammed Zahir Shah had to deal with had always been of a local nature or had been restricted to internal tribal interests. Indeed, these revolts were never supported by the great tribal leaders of the time.

But the Afghan Kings still viewed the tribes as a threat to their own authority and sought to force them to participate in the central government.

The monarchy also defended the rest of the ethnicities from discrimination. It promoted the integration of the Tajiks and other non-Pashtun peoples to important positions of the government. This gave the monarchy a great deal of respect from minorities, which viewed it as a break to Pashtun hegemony.

It is complicated to control the religious establishment in Afghanistan because Sunni Islam does not have a hierarchy and it is rather decentralized. This situation is made even worse because of topography.

But the monarchs still maneuvered around such complications. King Mohammed Nadir Shah tried to control and organize the body of the ulema, thinking that if it had some sort of structure then it would be easier to control.

He gave the ulema positions of power like in the sphere of justice, but never weakened the authority of the State. Since these reforms were implemented gradually the ulema accepted them and did not perceive the actions of the King as threatening Islam.

Then from the 1930s, his son, Mohammed Zahir Shah, advocated secular education and began the creation of a network of state madrassas to control the formation of the ulema.

He sought to construct a religious body that was more progressive and open to reforms. Of course, given the complexity, the successes of these policies were relative.

State madrassas were in urban centers, while traditional ones were all over the country. The ulema in traditional centers were therefore always the majority and the historical weakness of the Afghan state made it difficult to extend itself to rural areas.

In 1964, a 455 member Loya Jirga approved a new constitution. But Mohammed Zahir Shah’s desire to transform Afghanistan into a modern parliamentary monarchy was presenting to be much more difficult than expected.

The causes of the failure include the absence of a clear political ideology to orient the democratic process, political tensions triggered by Islamists and Communists, and the inability of traditional society to adapt to a modern political system.

The religious establishment passively accepted the secular nature of the new 1964 constitution because of the existence of state madrassas, the presence of Islamic experts and the King’s influence.

From 1964, the law guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of thought as well as equality before the law. While these liberties were more theoretical than real, they were nevertheless an important advancement in the history of Afghanistan. - Read More

America's war in Afghanistan is now Trump's increasingly bloody problem. Is it time to declare defeat? - NBC News

By David A. Andelman, visiting scholar at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School

Donald Trump has no shortage of battles to fight, both on the home front and around the world. But perhaps the single most intransigent one is also literally America’s longest.

In the last several weeks, the lethal nature of the war in Afghanistan — a war that drags on in a far-off, ill-understood land — suddenly became tragically and vividly alive.

In November, the body of Utah mayor and U.S. Army Major Brent Taylor, killed in Afghanistan, was brought home in a moving ceremony that highlighted the serious challenges American forces and interests are facing. Three other soldiers were killed by a Taliban-planted roadside bomb in late November, the most lethal such incident this year in a conflict that may never achieve a satisfactory conclusion.

Thus far three U.S. presidents, six secretaries of defense and five chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have presided over a war in which no one has been able to define victory, let alone remotely succeed in winning. The Soviets tried the same decades ago, with equally catastrophic results.

Trump has said he wants to get out of Afghanistan, a stance that has received substantial pushback. He has also signed off on troop increases. So which stance is correct — and will either of them actually end the conflict?

History may provide some insight. The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted more than nine years (between December 1979 and February 1989). It cost the Soviets 15,000 dead soldiers and 35,000 wounded. The large numbers of young men coming home in body bags alsoplayed an important role in ending communist rule and the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Our 17 years of engagement, meanwhile, is more often compared to the nine years of full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. That quagmire did end, though, and American forces finally went home, more or less defeated, having lost 47,000 dead on the battlefield. - Read More

America's war in Afghanistan is now Trump's increasingly ... - NBC News

Trump to nominate William Barr for attorney general, Heather Nauert for U.N. ambassador

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to nominate William Barr for attorney general, and confirmed that former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert is his pick to replace Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador.

"He was my first choice from Day 1," Trump said of Barr, calling him a "highly respected lawyer" and "one of the most respected jurists in the country."

If confirmed by the Senate, it would be Barr's second stint as head of the Justice Department. He served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush.

"Hopefully that process will go very quickly," Trump said of Senate confirmation. "I think he will serve with great distinction."

Barr may face tough questions in the Senate. Multiple Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have already cited concerns about Barr, stemming from his previous statements on topics such as the Hillary Clinton email investigation and James Comey's firing as FBI director. 

Trump's choice of Nauert to replace Haley, which he also confirmed Friday at the White House, had been previously reported by NBC News.

"She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all," Trump said of Nauert. 

The former “Fox & Friends” anchor has been spokeswoman for the State Department since April 2017. - Read More

Trump to nominate William Barr for attorney general, Heather Nauert ...

Family, friends recall the ‘profound legacy’ of George H.W. Bush - PBS

The final funeral for George H.W. Bush was held today at his family church in Houston. Some 1,200 mourners gathered to honor the late president. Following the service, Bush’s casket was transported to College Station, and he was laid to rest next to his wife of 73 years, Barbara, and daughter Robin on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University

James Baker:
I have always been proud that George Bush used to describe our relationship as one of big brother and little brother.

He would look at me and he'd say: "Baker, if you're so smart, why am I president and you're not?"

George P. Bush:
Today, I stand before you as the oldest grandson of the man I simply knew as Gampy. George Herbert Walker Bush was the most gracious, most decent, most humble man that I will ever know. - Read More
 Family, friends recall the 'profound legacy' of George H.W. Bush | PBS

Despite Afghan deaths, slow peace efforts, NATO vows to stay

BRUSSELS (AP) — Fifteen years after NATO took the lead on international security efforts in Afghanistan, the military alliance’s foreign ministers on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to stay the course despite mounting Afghan casualties and the slow pace of peace efforts.

At talks in Brussels, the ministers underlined their “steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability,” reaffirming that NATO’s mission in the insurgency-wracked country will last as long as conditions demand it.

NATO took the lead of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003. It wound down combat operations in 2014 and began training and advising Afghan security forces so they could handle the country’s security needs. The work is carried out in a combat environment and remains dangerous.

U.S. forces, which entered Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, now number around 15,000 and provide close support to Afghan forces and carry out counterterrorism operations.

The renewed NATO commitment came in a week when the Marine officer nominated to command U.S. forces in the Middle East warned that the fight there is at a stalemate and the number of Afghan troop deaths in the war is not sustainable. Four U.S. soldiers were also killed by a roadside bomb, the deadliest attack against U.S. forces this year.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the increase in violence could be a sign that things are about to change.

“Sometimes there is an uptick, an increase in violence because different parties try to gain the best possible position at the negotiating table. So it may actually become worse before it becomes better,” he told reporters.

NATO’s top civilian representative in the country, Cornelius Zimmermann, agreed that warlords and factions could be fighting for turf.

“We are hopefully at a pre-negotiation stage, and there are some elements trying to improve their bargaining position by trying to make military progress,” he said.

NATO and European leaders for years have expressed optimism about Afghanistan’s future while pouring billions of dollars into the security forces, development support and political and other assistance, yet the military alliance appears little closer to leaving the country than when it arrived. - Read More

Despite Afghan deaths, slow peace efforts, NATO vows to stay

Thursday, December 06, 2018

WATCH: Full memorial services for George H.W. Bush in Texas - PBS

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was memorialized on Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where the Bush family has long attended. Family members and friend James Baker paid tribute to the former commander in chief, and Reba McEntire and the Oak Ridge Boys perfomed. - Read More

WATCH: Memorial services for George H.W. Bush in Texas | PBS ...

WATCH: In eulogy, James Baker brags about a humble George H.W. Bush - PBS

Former Secretary of State James Baker remembered his longtime friend George H.W. Bush as having “had the courage of a warrior but the greater courage of a peacemaker” during an emotional eulogy at Bush’s funeral in Houston.

Baker began the eulogy Thursday with an apology. Using the nickname “Jefe,” which is Spanish for “boss,” Baker said he was going to brag about Bush, even though the former president hated boasting.

He called Bush the “best one-term president” in the nation’s history. He also praised Bush’s grace after the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying that Bush understood that humility toward a fallen adversary “is the very best path.”

Bush will be buried during a private ceremony later Thursday at his presidential library in College Station. - Read More

WATCH: In eulogy, James Baker brags about a humble George H.W. ...

WATCH: Presidential biographer Jon Meacham delivers eulogy at George H.W. Bush funeral - PBS

Presidential biographer Jon Meacham delivered a eulogy at George H.W. Bush funeral Wednesday, telling stories about the 41st U.S. president's service during wartime and humanitarian efforts. Bush was a "loving man with a big, vibrant, all-enveloping heart," - Read More

WATCH: Presidential biographer Jon Meacham delivers eulogy at ...

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

President Trump And Former U.S. Presidents Gather For George H.W. Bush's Funeral | TIME

President Trump and Former U.S. Presidents gather for George H.W. Bush's funeral.- Read More

President Trump And Former U.S. Presidents Gather For George H.W. ...

Jon Meacham's Eulogy for George H.W. Bush: Read What the President's Biographer Had to Say

Meacham tied Bush's life of public service to his near-death experience in WWII.
While working on his biography of the 41st presidentDestiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Jon Meacham gained not only a comprehensive knowledge of the political figure's life, but close friendships with Bush and his family. This made Meacham a natural choice to eulogize George H.W. Bush at this Wednesday's state funeral.

The writer delivered a moving speech, which began and ended with the late president's close shave with death in WWII. According to a tweet from New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser, Meacham's words were well-received.


The story was almost over even before it had fully begun. Shortly after dawn on Saturday, September 2, 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade George Herbert Walker Bush, joined by two crew mates, took off from the USS San Jacinto to attack a radio tower on Chichijima. As they approached the target, the air was heavy with flack. The plane was hit. Smoke filled the cockpit; flames raced across the wings. "My god," Lieutenant Bush thought, "this thing's gonna go down." Yet he kept the plane in its 35-degree dive, dropped his bombs, and then roared off out to sea, telling his crew mates to hit the silk. Following protocol, Lieutenant Bush turned the plane so they could bail out.

Only then did Bush parachute from the cockpit. The wind propelled him backward, and he gashed his head on the tail of the plane as he flew through the sky. He plunged deep into the ocean, bobbed to the surface, and flopped onto a tiny raft. His head bleeding, his eyes burning, his mouth and throat raw from salt water, the future 41st President of the United States was alone. Sensing that his men had not made it, he was overcome. He felt the weight of responsibility as a nearly physical burden. And he wept. Then, at four minutes shy of noon, a submarine emerged to rescue the downed pilot. George Herbert Walker Bush was safe. The story, his story and ours, would go on by God's grace.

Through the ensuing decades, President Bush would frequently ask, nearly daily, he'd ask himself, "why me? Why was I spared?" And in a sense, the rest of his life was a perennial effort to prove himself worthy of his salvation on that distant morning. To him, his life was no longer his own. There were always more missions to undertake, more lives to touch, and more love to give. And what a headlong race he made of it all. He never slowed down.

On the primary campaign trail in New Hampshire once, he grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin, asking for votes. When he realized his mistake, he said, "Never know. Gotta ask." You can hear the voice, can't you? As Dana Carvey said, the key to a Bush 41 impersonation is Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne.

George Herbert Walker Bush was America's last great soldier-statesman, a 20th century founding father. He governed with virtues that most closely resemble those of Washington and of Adams, of TR and of FDR, of Truman and of Eisenhower, of men who believed in causes larger than themselves. Six-foot-two, handsome, dominant in person, President Bush spoke with those big strong hands, making fists to underscore points.

A master of what Franklin Roosevelt called the science of human relationships, he believed that to whom much was given, much is expected. And because life gave him so much, he gave back again and again and again. He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism. He stood in the breach in Washington against unthinking partisanship. He stood in the breach against tyranny and discrimination. And on his watch, a wall fell in Berlin, a dictator's aggression did not stand, and doors across America opened to those with disabilities.

And in his personal life, he stood in the breach against heartbreak and hurt, always offering an outstretched hand, a warm word, a sympathetic tear. If you were down, he would rush to lift you up. And if you were soaring, he would rush to savor your success. Strong and gracious, comforting and charming, loving and loyal, he was our shield in danger's hour.

Now, of course, there was ambition, too. Loads of that. To serve, he had to succeed. To preside, he had to prevail. Politics, he once admitted, isn't a pure undertaking; not if you want to win, it's not. An imperfect man, he left us a more perfect union. - Read More

George H.W. Bush got to hear his own eulogy before he died. His reaction was priceless.

In George H.W. Bush’s final days, Jon Meacham — the Bush biographer, presidential historian and one of four people chosen to eulogize the 41st president — decided to share the words of his speech with its subject.

And the ailing Bush responded in characteristically self-deprecating fashion:  - Read More

Former President George H.W. Bush Honored As 'Great And Noble Man' In State Funeral

Former President George H.W. Bush was remembered as "a great and noble man" by his eldest son, former President George W. Bush, at a solemn but joyous state funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

The cathedral bells tolled as the casket containing the 41st president was carried by a military honor guard down the center aisle on Wednesday morning.

Seated together on one side of the aisle were President Trump and former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with their wives.

On the other side was the Bush family, including the 43rd president, who as he greeted his fellow former chief executives appeared to slip a piece of candy to Michelle Obama. Bush gave the former first lady a candy during Sen. John McCain's service in September, and the Internet noticed.

George W. Bush said his peripatetic father "was born with just two settings: full throttle, then sleep."

He called him "the best father a son or daughter can have," adding he "showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity." - Read More

Former President George H.W. Bush Honored As 'Great And Noble Man' In State Funeral