[ Due to documented, uncontested conflicts of interests shared with self- professed & convicted enemies of state, foreign & domestic both mercantile & criminal, when will President GWBush resign?
Law, logic and national legacy demand he do so.
    Bush budget seeks to acquire Ballistic Missile Defense system
    2.28.01   Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr. Washington File State Dept Intl Info Pgms
Bush said acquiring a ballistic missile defense system is "America's most pressing national security challenge. Outmoded arms control treaties must not compromise America's security." Threats of Cold War decades have been replaced "by a world in which threats come from rogue states bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction & terrorism, threats as unconventional as they are unpredictable," Bush said in his budget plan.
The real bipartisanship about this election is this: the defense industry won. As we have pointed out, there has been a covert bipartisan agreement to dramatically increase the defense budget. That's a big reason Cheney and Lieberman were put on their respective tickets. Bush is not letting the industry down. Not only is Cheney a former member of the TRW board, his wife is on a "leave of absence" from Lockheed Martin, another major Star Wars contractor.

first TX governor ever elected to consecutive 4-yr terms
1988 presidential campaign slogan: Compassionate Conservative
on the South Lawn, 2nd 100 days. Event came to him, not vice versa. 
How many were staffers' kids as ringers? Also, the new national security deputy, Stephen Hadley, works for a law firm that represents Lockheed Martin. Now this: new transportation secretary Norman Mineta has been Lockheed Martin IMS sr vp & managing dir. The Washington Times is right in noting Bush "has now assembled a Cabinet that looks more like America in its diversity than any of President Clinton's cabinets. In appointing two black men, one Asian-American man, 4 women (including a hispanic), hispanic man and a Lebanese-American man, Mr. Bush has assembled a Cabinet that will have just 5 non-Hispanic white men, assuming all his nominees are approved by the Senate." What the Times doesn't say, however, is that when you include Star Warrior Donald Rumsfeld, Lockheed Martin & its industry kin will be better represented in the cabinet room than blacks, Asians or latinos. Now that's affirmative action.
[ Even the Clintons, venal & licentious as the best of them with reputation compromised to the hilt, had some sense of feigned shame & decorum. GWBush, steeped in privilege to the point of having no experience outside ironclad isolation from his own responsibility, daily admits conflict of interest in most news from his administration. It is a waste of time to hold him accountable when he can't grasp the concept. He must be replaced. ]
"Which is why GW Bush said he doesn't mind being 'misunderestimated'. Because by 'misunderestimated', Bush means underestimated for the wrong reason. The media thought he was kind of stupid. He isn't. He's just shamelessly dishonest."
Lies & the lying liars who tell them Al Franken 9.03
'Chorus of Dissent' greets Bush at St. Pat's Parade
3.16.02   Chris Geovanis CIMC

Pres. GWBush was greeted with catcalls, protest signs and 'carols of dissent' during his appearance at Chicago's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Sat., sparking glares from political officials on parade reviewing stand and outrage among GOP loyalists gathered to greet him. Actions incl caroling by a group of activists assembled under the moniker 'Chorus of Dissent', as well as a contingent of anti-war cyclists & pockets of protesters waving anti- administration & anti-war signs & banners along the Columbus Drive parade route. "We're here to protest the illegitimacy of this presidency and the awful policies of this administration," said one 'Chorus' member. "Bush's war on terrorism is really a war to protect corporate power at the expense of free speech & human rights," said another protester. Protesters came with banners & signs that denounced Bush's ties to the Enron debacle, called on the Bush regime to free hundreds of mostly Arab & East Asian detainees, condemned the administration's 'war on terrorism', and, in nod to St. Patrick's Day holiday spirit, derided the Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft 'Axis o' Evil'.
One particularly visible sign drawn to mimic the 'These Colors Don't Run' logo said 'These colors don't bleed, the innocent do.' Chorus of Dissent participants spent more than an hour at the main reviewing stand singing tunes incl 'We Should Impeach the Bogus King' (sung to tune 'I'd like to teach the world to sing'), 'Georgy, Georgy is a Fascist (sung to tune 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah'), and 'The Shady Bunch' (sung to tune 'The Brady Bunch'). GOP loyalists at the reviewing stand tried to drown out protesters by shouting them down, telling them to go back to Afghanistan, jeering the invocation of free speech rights, and chanting 'USA ! USA !' as Bush disembarked from his limousine. Bush opponents were undeterred, and continued to sing & chant relatively unmolested after Bush & entourage hastily left the area.

Protesters passed out literature that documented legislation, policies and funding cuts the Bush administration rammed through since assuming power that they argue hurts the environment, displaced workers, working poor and others. Those policies incl cutting $39 million in federal funding to libraries; cutting $35 million for doctors' pediatric training; revoking rules to reduce arsenic in drinking water; cutting 50% from research into renewable energy; Bush's abandonment of a campaign pledge to invest $100 million for rain forest conservation; cutting 86% from a program that funds care for people without insurance; cutting $200 million in work-force training for displaced workers; cutting $700 million in capital funds for public housing repairs; Bush's closing of White House Office for Women's Health Initiatives & Outreach; Bush's gutting of White House AIDS Office; and Bush refusal to fund continued clean-up of a uranium-slag heap in Utah. …

    War, recession transform Bush presidency, president himself
    1.21.01   AP
WASH.DC   Friends notice more gray in his hair and more confidence in his voice. Few people call him an isolationist anymore. Fewer still question whether he's up to the job. War & recession transformed the Bush presidency and, some say, GWBush himself, since he swore the oath of office 1.20.01 On that cold, raw day, Bush quoted Thomas Jefferson to assure a divided nation that an American president, even one whose election was disputed, has help from above in troubled times. "We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong," Bush said in his inaugural address. "Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?" Soon after, storms struck his own presidency. The political landscape forever changed by war and recession, Bush's plans for health care, energy policy and other agenda items were scuttled or delayed, but his tax cuts gained currency. Budget surpluses became deficits. Bipartisanship made a brief comeback. The war alone forced him to improve relations with Russia & European allies and it dramatically changed the public's perception of the new president.

"He went from an accidental president who was a 'Saturday Night Live' joke to the commander in chief," said Democratic political consultant Bill Carrick in Los Angeles. The recession began in March, but Bush's entire first year was marked by rising unemployment rates. The economy became his greatest political worry. The war began 9.11.01 … "The war helped him get beyond the controversy of a disputed election and let people accept him emotionally as president," said the Democrat Carrick. "It changed everything about this presidency."
"Determining who lives & dies, putting soldiers at risk, has an impact," said California fund-raiser & Bush pal Brad Freeman. "He looks a little older. I don't know what it is, his hair a little grayer or what." Picking at a salad in her West Wing office, Bush adviser Karen Hughes said it's been a tough 12 months at the White House. "One for the history books," she said. "I'm ready to turn the last page on it." First lady Laura Bush says her jokester husband has become more serious since 9.11.01. Yet with each new gray hair, Bush seemed to grow more self confident. Friends & associates say the president's Texas-sized swagger belied some initial anxiety about the demands of the job. He was particularly concerned about his ability to communicate with voters. "He's growing in confidence every day," Freeman said. "You can tell in the way he responds to questions. He's not afraid about what he's going to say next or, 'Oh, my God, don't make a gaffe."'

On domestic policy, Bush tried to take advantage of events. His 10-year tax-cut plans, proposed in 1999 while the economy was still booming, passed Congress after Bush portrayed them as a prescription for the ailing economy.

St. Patrick's Day 2002 Chicago He pushed for more tax cuts after the attacks, saying the economy needed another boost, but Democrats shelved the proposal and plan to make the economy an election-year issue. Bush's trade bill passed the House after aides portrayed the vote as a measure of patriotism. It would let Bush negotiate global trade agreements and submit them to Congress for a yes-or-no vote, no amendments allowed. But the attacks forced him to table a series of proposals urging Americans to become more involved in their communities. The initiatives will be part of his State of the Union address later this month as he tries to tap America's patriotic spirit.
Energy policy, tort reform and HMO reform also were tabled as the attacks dominated center stage. An education bill, the biggest overhaul in nearly 4 decades, passed Congress late in the year but only after several delays. War & recession eliminated govt surpluses, leaving no money to tackle Social Security & Medicare reform. While the crises forced Bush to alter his legislative & political strategies, he has not changed his agenda. The Bush presidency is as conservative as ever. "The crisis, and the increased political authority given to the president, have been used as leverage to further his original agenda," said Yale political science prof. Stephen Skowroneck.

6.17.01 "He is totally an asshole" per Japanese foreign minister at her PA high school reunion.


On foreign affairs, Bush's first months in office rankled allies who accused him of defying world opinion on global warming, missile defense, a germ warfare treaty and other international accords. Some analysts say Bush's fragile anti-war coalition is proof that he has learned to work closer with allies. Others say Bush's success has served only to reinforce his belief that American is powerful enough to go it alone. "The war reinforces his 'might-makes-right' beliefs," said President Clinton sr foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken. Helen Ventrillo doesn't care whether America leads the world. A bakery owner in Woodbridge, NJ, she doesn't want the war to overshadow the nation's other needs. "With all that's happened, Bush really hasn't done much this year other than fight the war, has he?" said Ventrillo, who was interviewed frequently by AP during the 2000 campaign as she wavered between supporting Bush & Gore. She finally backed Bush, and now says: "He done a good job on the war, but one year doesn't make a president."
[ Shrub is so impotent he has to declare martial law to wage proxy war against criminals pretending to be an army. The only power lever he has is overkill because he has no mandate. ] Pres.GWBush's … first National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-1 … preserves NSC Principals Committee & NSC Deputies Committee, top-level interagency forums for deliberation on national security policy. But it abolishes Pres.Clinton's system of Interagency Working Groups. To replace them, the Directive establishes 11 Policy Coordination Committees (PCCs) on topics incl Proliferation, Counterproliferation & Homeland Defense; Intelligence & Counterintelligence; Counter-Terrorism & National Preparedness; and Records Access & Information Security. … As a consequence of the new Directive, much of the Clinton Administration's prodigious security policy apparatus will be swept away, though portions of it will be reconstituted within the new Policy Coordination Committee framework. Thus, the functions of the Security Policy Board will be distributed among the new PCCs. The new series of National Security Presidential Directives will replace both presidential decision directives & presidential review directives of past Administrations. Although NSPD-1 is unclassified, the Bush Administration has declined to release it. But a copy of the seven page directive obtained from a public-spirited source is posted here. The highest-ranking retired CIA operative in La Jolla has been spurned by the Bush administration, reports the Wash.Times. Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, founder of CIA's counterterrorism center and ex-chief of agency's Arab Operations div., had been in line to become chief deputy to Wayne A. Downing, Pres. GWBush 's newly named national security advisor for combating terrorism. Retired Army general Downing, who once ran fabled Delta Force special-ops team, is also a member of the board of Science Applications International Corp., the big La Jolla-based defense & security contractor with intimate ties to the nation's clandestine services. The paper said Clarridge, - originally expected to be a shoo-in for the deputy post, was spiked by sr presidential advisor Karen Hughes when she discovered that Clarridge had been indicted for lying in his testimony to a congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. Clarridge pled not guilty and was pardoned on Christmas Eve 1992, before his trial began, by the first President Bush, thus ensuring that the lame-duck Bush would not have to testify in the case. Clarridge told the Times that he was disappointed by the White House move, pointing to another indicted and pardoned Reagan administration official who still holds a high security post. "I had no great desire to commute between here and Washington, but I felt it was my duty to go and do it," he told the paper. In August, SD Union- Tribune society writer Burl Stiff reported that an intimate dinner at La Jolla's Top O' the Cove restaurant with Clarridge and his old comrade-in-arms Colonel Oliver North was auctioned off at a benefit for the Makua Auxiliary to the Children's Home Society.
regent's eye

WASHINGTON   Pres. GWBush ended 116th annual Gridiron Club dinner with D.C. top journalists Sat. by joking he's trying to clone VP Cheney so he could take the next four years off, also telling he feared his staff was picking up on jokes about his lack of intelligence. Every morning, he quipped, the first item on his schedule was an "intelligence briefing.'' & that Dem. power broker Robt Strauss gave valuable advice on that score, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.'' But Bush insisted he's no dummy and said he had, in fact, just completed mapping the human genome. "My goal is to clone another Dick Cheney, that way I won't have to do anything,'' & acknowledged tendency to mangle English language in speeches, saying, "You know that foot and mouth disease rampant in Europe? I've got it.''
Dinner menu in butterfly shape a unsubtle reference to contested Florida butterfly ballots. Cheney & other top Bush officials also attended incl AttyGenl John Ashcroft, EPA Admin Christine Todd Whitman, & Fed.Reserve chair Alan Greenspan whom Bush said he called, ``El Taco Grande.'' Bush ribbed Ashcroft for reserved demeanor, contrasting to Bush's own wild college days. Ashcroft also got laughs rejecting perception Bush is sloughing off, insisting Bush White House was committed to working, "24/7, 24 hours a week, 7 months a year.'' He also mentioned a new directive from the White House instructing cabinet secretaries to plan to visit all 54 U.S. states. (There are only 50 U.S. states.)
[ Not to mention Puerto Rico, Guam, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, Israel, England, Turkey & Colombia. ]
Drawn-out 2000 presidential election prompted numerous jokes, Bush telling candidate Ralph Nader the recent media-sponsored recounts of presidential ballots in Florida had clearly identified Nader as the winner. Ashcroft said election results sent strong message "People were clearly tired of peace and prosperity''.
[ Precisely: those people whose sphere of influence matters enough to determine policy. Munitions, like any other industry, have no windfall profits if not in speculative growth phases. In D.C., it is safe to admit only oligarchs have power & voices. Bush & Ashcroft prove their lack of judgement by failing to discern boorish public affronts from self deprecation. After all, they're only expected to read the cue cards. ]
    Bush style gives White House corporate feel
    3.11.01   Richard L. Berke NYTimes
WASHINGTON   In the 7 weeks of his presidency, Geo.W. Bush has transformed how the White House and elements of the sprawling govt operate in ways that contrast sharply with those of Bill Clinton and other presidents. It is no accident that a bust of Dwight D. Eisenhower is perched to the right of Bush's desk in the Oval Office. Not since the general's days in the White House, some veterans of past administrations say, has a president so reorganized a govt to function with the crisp efficiency of a blue-chip corporation. The trappings are unchanged. As with Clinton, the American flag still looms over the president's right shoulder in photographs; at Cabinet sessions, Bush still sits in the chair with the highest back. But those common threads do not reveal the fundamental ways, besides ideology, that Bush differs from Clinton and many other modern presidents.
These include the time he devotes to his job : far less than Clinton; the authority given to his vice president : Dick Cheney acts as chief operating officer; the interplay among staff members : they must follow a dress code and rules on cordiality; and the use of pollsters : they have been kept out of the Oval Office. For Americans whose notions of White House life stem from the chaotic, freewheeling Clinton era, or even from "The West Wing," the popular television program, Bush seems determined to render a different image. "This is the only bureaucracy in Washington that can change to fit the personality of the president," Andrew Card, Bush's chief of staff, who served in the White House under President Reagan and the first President Bush, said in an interview. "This president is the first ever to have an MBA."

Recent release of Bush's budget blueprint underscores a telling difference between Bush & Clinton. By Card's estimation, Bush devoted "in the neighborhood of 5 hours" to meetings to discuss his budget proposal. By contrast, Gene Sperling, for years a top economic adviser to Clinton, said the former president spent at least 25 hours in official meetings assembling the budget in his first weeks in office, and 50 hours more in more casual settings. Bush left it to Cheney to preside over a small group of aides to actually draft the proposal. "There has been a sea change," said Reagan chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein . "This is the first time in American history we've had a president & a prime minister."

  [ Where Wm Casey was the corpse's hand of WWII on R.Reagan, Cheney is Vietnam haunting GWBush. ]

The contrast also reflects altered economic realities from 8 years ago. "You have to remember how dramatically different it was to be in a time of deficits," Sperling said. "It wasn't like you sat around and just decided this is the best way to cut up the huge surplus you've inherited. We literally had to present Clinton with scores of potential cuts which could even cost members of Congress or the president himself an election." Another reason Bush can afford to spend less time doing his job is that he has a far more focused, Democrats say less ambitious, agenda than Clinton. The former president at this point was promoting a raft of initiatives to expand govt; Bush is sticking to his signature plan to cut taxes. Bush imposes a discipline so tight that Card halts senior staff meetings at precisely 7:58 each morning, even if people are in midsentence, so he can arrive exactly on time for Bush's intelligence briefing at 8. Clinton was so undisciplined about meetings that his aides once consulted an efficiency expert.

Lawrence Lindsey, Bush's chief economic adviser, arrived on time Monday for Bush to videotape a message to a banking convention, only to find the taping had begun ahead of schedule. Afterward, Bush gently upbraided his aide, saying, "Lawrence, we're the on-time administration." Bush usually arrives at the Oval Office by 7 a.m. and is out the door by 6:30 p.m., often for dinner at the residence. Most weeks, he leaves late Friday afternoon for Camp David or for his Texas ranch. Card says he hears from Bush after hours maybe once every week or week and a half. "He's called me as late as 10:30 at night," Card said. "Maybe even one night later than that." Clinton often did not get to work until later in the morning but had a far longer workday, took off less time on weekends and was famous for making rounds of calls to aides well past midnight.

Another stark difference is how this administration handles politics. Though polling has been commissioned by the White House, Bush's pollsters joke that he has banned them from the Oval Office; they have yet to meet with him. Stanley Greenberg, Clinton's first pollster, said that in the early days

Pres. GWBush speaks at
commencement ¹ ²
  5.21.01   Yale Univ. Office of Public Affairs
sacrificing meaning " … to the C students I say, you, too, can be President of the United States. A Yale degree is worth a lot, as I often remind Dick Cheney who studied here, but left a little early. So now we know; if you graduate from Yale, you become President. If you drop out, you get to be Vice President. … causes that earn our sacrifice. I hope that each of you will know these rewards. … Public service is one way, an honorable way, to mark life with meaning. …

  Defection costs Republicans control of Senate
    5.25.01   Barry Grey

Sen. Jas. Jeffords VT announced Thu. he quits GOP, aligning with Democrats. Declaring himself an independent, his defection hands Senate, prev. split 50-50, to Democrats for first time since 1994. Sen. Trent Lott MS replaced majority leader by Sen. Tom Daschle SD; Democrats will assume the chairmanship of all Senate committees. Bush's Chief of Staff Andrew Card said he did not learn of Jeffords' likely defection until Tue. morning; not until Wed. Wh.House made concerted effort to dissuade Jeffords in separate meetings with VP Cheney & Pres. GWBush. At home state press conference following morning, Jeffords made pointed attack on Bush admin right-wing agenda, declaring he was at odds "on very fundamental issues: choice, judiciary, tax & spending, missile defense, energy and environment, … "

He placed particular emphasis on the issue of education; Jeffords chaired Senate education committee. He denounced Bush for refusing to allocate increased funding and abandoning campaign pledge to improve the schools. … Jeffords came under attack from both Wh.House & GOP leadership in Senate last month when he refused to support Bush's original plan for $1.6 trillion in tax cuts. His opposition in the evenly divided body forced Bush to trim his tax windfall for the wealthy. Vitriolic GOP reaction, incl public campaign in Wall St Journal demanding Bush punish Jeffords by stripping his committee chair and making him an object lesson to would-be dissidents.
Bush retaliated against Jeffords by excluding him from Wh.House ceremony where Bush presented teacher of the year award to teacher from Jeffords' home state. Wh.House then threatened to oppose federal pgm considered vital to VT dairy farmers. When Jeffords sought more money for special ed pgms, his request was summarily rejected by Lott & GOP leadership, apparently never imagining their tactics could boomerang. …

Sen. John McCain AZ "The lesson to K St lobbyists & Republican apparatchiks is, 'Don't threaten people.'" In a written statement issued Thu. he declared, "Tolerance of dissent is the hallmark of a mature party, and it is well past time for the Republican Party to grow up." …

of the Clinton administration he met with the president weekly in the Oval Office to review the latest surveys, and often spent several days a week in the White House in the early months.
P.Oliphant 5.07.01

Pollsters and a dedicated orientation toward the hourly news cycle may be gone, but many people inside and outside the Bush White House say it is just as political as it was under Clinton, although in different ways. A close friend and adviser of Bush's said that Karl Rove, Bush's senior adviser, had spoken to him in specific terms about how the White House was reacting to the energy crisis in California, and how that might affect the president's re-election prospects there.

"It's just as political, but it's not in-your-face political," the adviser said. "It's more of a big-picture perspective. It's not, 'How can we score points for the moment?' " Bush's friends say he learned from his father that he cannot tune out the political implications of his job, and he learned from Clinton to seize opportunities to sell his programs. A prime example is how Bush traveled to swing states this week to sell his budget. "Clinton was so intimately involved in every detail," said Sen. John B. Breaux, D-La. "With Bush, it comes from the bottom and works its way up the channels. But it's not any less political. The trips around the country are a classic political operation. That's playing tough, hard politics."
An important reason for what has been widely regarded as a smooth takeover of the government is that Bush has surrounded himself with veterans such as Cheney and Card. Staff members are also, by and large, older than those of past administrations, which is another reason for the more subdued White House. Several longtime govt observers said they expected members of the Cabinet to have far more latitude than those under Clinton. That is because of Bush's penchant to delegate and because he picked seasoned, independent people. "It's going back to a Cabinet govt," said former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-NY "What's interesting to me is how many of the people here are people who have been here before and have a sense of this place. They are steady and not new to their work, and they're not wondering how it will all come out."

Still, it also appears the White House is in firm control of the Cabinet. When Christie Whitman, the EPA administrator, announced recently that she was letting stand a flurry of regulations imposed by Clinton, Card said she first had cleared it with his staff. "It is normal for major rules or major policy pronouncements to be coordinated with the White House," Card said. "The president is the leader of the executive branch of govt." Many officials in the Bush White House said they were struck by how there seemed to be far less back stabbing than there had been even in Bush's father's White House.
Even Democrats on the outside have noticed that. "I am impressed by how much this White House seems to be geared toward the president and his interests rather than self-promotion," said Douglas Sosnik, who was a top aide to Clinton for six years. "If there's a mistake, staffers take the blame and insulate Bush from it. I'm not sure I could always say that about the Clinton White House."

Saddam appears on TV chairing mtg
3.30.03 Reuters

Baghdad   Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was shown on Iraqi state TV Saturday chairing a meeting of ministers & sr aides. The TV announcer said the footage was shot on Saturday but there was no way to verify that independently. Saddam has appeared several times on TV, twice to address the nation, since U.S. tried to kill him in a cruise missile strike on Baghdad on 3.20.03 at the start of their war to disarm Iraq.

BBC apologises for showing Bush being styled before speech   3.22.03   AP

London   British Broadcasting Corp. apologised for mistakenly broadcasting images of US President GWBush having his hair styled and his makeup applied just before he went on tv to tell Americans war in Iraq was underway. BBC World, which broadcasts around the world, and the network's channels in Britain showed up to a minute of the footage before cutting away, a spokesman said yesterday on condition of anonymity.
Wash.Post said the video also showed the president squirming in his chair and practicing reading from a TelePrompTer. CBS was transmitting a video feed to other broadcasters from the White House ahead of Wednesday's sombre address, but it was not supposed to air until the president was ready.

BBC spokesman said technicians put the video, which was silent, on air accidentally but had trouble switching away from it quickly. They did so as soon as they could, then went back to the White House when Bush began to speak, he added. "We are very sorry, we have apologized and we will not be using that footage again," said the spokesman.

    George's little antics
    3.20.03   Expatica
If you stayed up late enough to watch the announcement of the 3.19.03 start of the war in Iraq, you might have caught a glimpse of something very unsettling. In an apparent error, the BBC aired coverage of pre-speech preparations, live from the satellite feed coming from the Oval Office. The fact that the BBC has "profusely and repeatedly apologised" to the White House and that the administration has removed control of feeds from the networks and put it in their own hands as a result of the blunder, should indicate the seriousness of what you were not supposed to see. Ditto absolute absence of any media coverage of the incident.

The footage of him being prepped for his TV declaration of war was disturbing. It was not the combing of his hair, only aspect of the coverage reported by any American media outlet (Wash.Post), which was cause for embarrassment; everyone expects that. Rather, it was the demeanour, antics, of the president himself.
Bush, so-called leader of the free world, was sitting behind his desk going over his speech, as we would expect.

But then it got weird. Like some class clown trying to get attention from the back of the room, he started mugging for his handlers. His eyes darted back and forth impishly as he cracked faces at others around him. He pumped a fist and self-consciously muttered, "feel good," sanitised into the more mature & assertive, "I'm feeling good" by Wash.Post. …
    Bush to visit Camp David often
    3.3.01   Sonya Ross AP
Wash.D.C.   It's the weekend, and thousands of tourists are at the White House, snapping photos from outside the gates. But President Bush is not inside. He is at Camp David, the only place where he can still drive, run with his two dogs and relax in privacy, the scenic hills of Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. Unlike President Clinton, who typically went to the 143-acre camp only on holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Bush said he plans to be there every weekend unless he's giving a speech somewhere or is at his ranch in Texas. "I intend, every chance I get, to go up," Bush said. "It's a good place to relax. It's also a good place to catch up on my work. I'm a little bit behind in my mail right now."
Camp David was the site of much Bush-family bonding during the presidency of Bush's father. The second Bush was keeping that tradition this weekend, spending it with his brother Marvin & sister Dorothy Bush Koch, who was married in 1992 at Camp David's chapel. So before the sun could disappear into evening yesterday, the president & first lady Laura Bush, both still in navy blue business suits, strode hand-in-hand past applauding staffers and guests, stepped into their helicopter and were whisked off to the retreat, just over 55 miles from the capital. They also took along a few aides, including his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the Bushes' springer spaniel, Spot.

… Aides say Bush finds freedom at Camp David, as also the privacy he cherishes but gets now only in small doses. The place is heavily guarded by Marines, gates and surveillance cameras. The security allows Bush to do normal-guy stuff like watching movies and taking a morning jog in the clean mountain air. "Here at the White House, he runs on a treadmill," said spokesman Ari Fleischer. "When he travels on the road, he'll often run on a treadmill at his hotel room. So it's an opportunity for him to run outdoors, which he appreciates."
Yesterday's trip was Bush's fourth to Camp David since he took office Jan. 20. He met there last week with PM Blair of Britain. At one point, Bush took the wheel of a golf cart to take Blair and both their wives for a short drive. After the Blairs left, the Bushes lingered an extra day and attended church at the chapel. Much of the weekend was spent working on the address Bush delivered Tuesday to a joint session of Congress.

Behind GWBush rumors lurks Wash. gossip culture   5.14.99   Ellen J. Pollock WSJ

At a dinner party in San Francisco several weeks ago that atty E. Bob Wallach picked up the rumor about Texas GWBush. A woman asked her fellow guests if they had heard about the governor & drugs. Another guest piped up that the drug in question was cocaine. "Everyone at the table had quote 'heard,' " says Mr. Wallach. But nobody, he says, offered a shred of proof. Neither, so far, has anyone else. Yet the rumors persist. They have bounced from the Washington, D.C., party circuit to the fledgling primary campaign in New Hampshire, ricocheted all the way to Mr. Wallach's nonpolitical gathering on the West Coast. … Clay Johnson, college friend of governor & appts dir., says he, too, spent time with Mr. Bush at the inauguration, "so I know firsthand that's not true."

Rumors as well Mr. Bush used cocaine as young man. … pals from Yale College & Harvard Business School and his pilot chums from stint in the Texas Air National Guard say they never saw him touch the stuff. Oil business adssociates, baseball and politics also say they saw no signs of drug use. … Dozens of people who know Mr. Bush well were interviewed for this article, as were many other people who have told the drug stories at parties, workplaces and political gatherings. None provided evidence that Mr. Bush ever used drugs ; many expressed strong belief the rumors are false. … At least 37 newspapers and magazines have run articles & editorials gingerly raising the drug issue, mostly by noting that Mr. Bush declines to answer questions about drug use or other youthful misdeeds.…

… Suzanne Garment, author Scandal: Culture of Mistrust in American Politics & longtime Washington observer, says the cocaine rumor is so pervasive that she doesn't even remember where she first heard it, except that it was "political people, none of whom claim firsthand knowledge. They just sort of mutter 'cocaine.' … It is impossible to pinpoint where the Bush gossip started.

[ Wrong. The story began ¹ ² with what Barry Seal told Terry Reed, auth. Compromised, not long before Seal was killed following final removal from protective custody.
The issue, on those grounds, was raised by a reporter in a prominent Dallas news conference early in presidential campaign. The accusations had nothing to do with youth or indiscretion of GWBush. They do involve his brother Jeb. They did not start at a dinner party in San Francisco or Wash.D.C.

    Bush's blunders
    5.30.01   Michael Kelly Wash.Post pA19
The decision of Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont to abandon the Republican Party for independent status, voting with the Democratic caucus, calls seriously into question the vaunted reputation of the Bush White House for competence (vaunted here, among other places). It suggests an increasing likelihood that the long struggle between the parties for post-New Deal primacy will end in the Democrats' favor.
This is the second time in a month that the Bush White House has failed to see that it was rushing toward a spectacular disaster until the moment of the crash. The first instance occurred on May 3, when the United Nations Economic and Social Council voted to deny seats to the United States on the world body's Human Rights Commission and the International Narcotics Control Board. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a touching display of childlike candor, acknowledged that he had been blind-sided by the betrayal by American allies that resulted in the vote.

By deploying the traditional frank-admission approach, Powell was of course playing for press absolution, and he won it. Some eyebrow-raising would have been in order. When you stop to think about it, didn't Powell's admitted myopia say something worth stopping to think about? For this was more than a blindness of the moment: There had been many warning signals that the European allies were itching to smite the Bush administration so that it die.
In a campaign spurred and amplified by liberal media coverage, the liberal governments in Paris, London and Berlin had for months been denouncing the new administration in Washington with a fury not seen since the great wailing and gnashing of continental teeth that greeted Ronald Reagan's presidency. The reason was the same then as it is now: the natural hostility of the European elite toward an American administration determined to pursue a conservative course in foreign policy and dismissive of European elite sensibilities, which are chronically and structurally left-leaning.

But Reagan could afford such nose-thumbing. He was a Cold War president. As long as the Soviet Union stood, and as long as the American dollar, the American will and the American-led NATO stood against the Soviet Union, our European friends could not afford to well and truly snub us.
It did not seem to have occurred to Powell and the other cogitators of the Bush administration that this reality no longer obtained; indeed, it does not seem to have occurred to them yet. That doesn't speak of a momentary taking of the eye off the ball; it speaks of an inability to understand what is what on the most basic level.

So too with the Jeffords defection. To put it mildly, Bush won election as narrowly as anyone possibly could. He took office with a Senate divided precisely in half. Only the vice president's constitutional role as the tie-breaker in a 50-50 Senate vote allowed the Republicans to stay in the majority.
Moreover, the trend toward geographic polarization evident in the stark red-and-blue map of Election Day meant that Northeast Republican moderates -- besides Jeffords, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine -- were increasingly vulnerable to electoral challenge if they stayed in a Republican Party led by conservative southerners. Defection was not unthinkable for any of the four; all it would take to shift the balance of power was one.

Facing this reality, the Democratic leadership acted secretly and cunningly to woo Jeffords, a career-long misfit in the Republican Party. Facing the same reality, Bush and his lieutenants -- chief to blame the gormless Trent Lott -- acted publicly and stupidly to push Jeffords over the edge. As with the U.N. revolt, the blindness was not merely of the moment; again, there was a perverse purposefulness to it; again it signified an inability to grasp large and basic realities.
Add to these the failure of the Bush campaign to foresee the extreme closeness of the race in a state governed by the candidate's brother, and the post-1994 congressional Republicans' chronic misreading as to what the public wanted out of government (not, as it turned out, the end of government, not the defunding of Big Bird), and you begin to suspect there might be a systemic problem here. Call it the competence gap.

Parties gain and lose power because of shifts in the public's beliefs. Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980 because the public had become more conservative. But parties also gain and lose because of competence. Reagan won also because the Carter White House lacked competence. Right now the country is split down the middle ideologically and probably moving slightly in the Democrats' direction. That means competence will decide who will emerge as the majority party.

currency of the realm
"Gossip is the currency of the political culture in Washington. It doesn't have to be true," says Ms. Matalin. "Everybody is a gossip. … Clark Randt, Shearman & Sterling law firm partner, once social chairman of fraternity that Mr. Bush led. happily confesses downing beers with the governor during their 1960s Yale days. But when it comes to Mr. Bush's doing drugs, he says, "heavens no. We lived for Saturday night," recalls Mr. Randt, who is no longer close to Mr. Bush. "Saturday night was party night and it was rock 'n' roll, rhythm & blues, dance music and drinking beer. People think there must have been drugs; in 4 years at Yale, there must have been some. I never saw any. We drank a lot of beer but nothing more." Harvard Business School: "Chewing tobacco. That was disgusting enough," says classmate Tom Riley about Mr. Bush. Mr. Riley, a Silicon Valley executive who is raising money for the Bush campaign, … governor drank he would occasionally become a little boisterous, "just like anyone else would. You do get a little out or a little happier." Drugs? "None of our group did any drugs."
[ As with his father, the accusations are of participating in an official govt capacity in the very large scale smuggling of cocaine, not ingesting it personally. ]

A Quisling press corps ¹ ª
5.7.01   Robt. Parry ConsortiumNews

After years of denial, The Washington Post has acknowledged the existence of the Right-Wing Machine. Post national political correspondent John Harris came to this epiphany grudgingly, never using those exact words. But in a Sunday article in the Outlook section, Harris recognized that U.S. conservatives have built a powerful and well- financed apparatus that can dictate the tone of the political discourse in Washington. The article observed that there is no countervailing apparatus on the liberal side of national politics.
In his article, Harris concedes that he'd still like to deny this. Harris writes that his initial reaction to Democratic complaints about the fawning press coverage of George W. Bush was to dismiss the griping as "self-pity," characteristic of President Clinton and his allies. Nevertheless, Harris does ask the question: "Are the national news media soft on Bush?" "The instinctive response of any reporter is to deny it," Harris writes, unintentionally revealing how widespread this press corps' defensiveness is. "But my rebuttals lately have been wobbly. The truth is, this new president has done things with relative impunity that would have been huge uproars if they had occurred under Clinton." …

Jimmy Carter on GWBush: disappointed
Former president had hoped for moderate administration
7.25.01   R.Hyatt & S.I.Bhuiyan
Ledger- Enquirer Columbus GA

Columbus GA   Former President Jimmy Carter is disappointed in GWBush's performance in the Oval Office and said the first-term Republican has ignored moderates of both parties, incl Sec.State Colin Powell. Interviewed last week at his ranch-style home in Plains, GA, Carter criticized Bush for not pressuring Israelis to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, for threatening to abandon the ballistic missile defense treaty, for not supporting human rights and for "strictly conforming" to the views of conservative Republicans. "I have been disappointed in almost everything he has done," Carter said.
The former president said he volunteered to be one of the few Democrats at Bush's inauguration last January because of the high hopes he held for Bush's presidency. "I hoped that coming out of an uncertain election he would reach out to people of diverse views, not just Democrats and Republicans but others who had different points of view," said Carter, former Georgia governor elected president in 1976 and defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980. "I thought he would be a moderate leader, but he has been very strictly conforming to some of the more conservative members of his administration, his vice president and his secretary of defense in particular. More moderate people like Colin Powell have been frozen out of the basic decision-making in dealing with international affairs."

Continuing conflicts between the Palestinians & Israelis make the administration's efforts in the Middle East fruitless, Carter said. He said Bush ought to follow his father's stance and demand removal of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. "Geo. Sr. took a strong position on that issue, and so did I," said Carter, who offered to mediate the conflict, an offer declined by both sides. At the same time, Carter cautioned the current administration not to ignore other parts of the world. "I noticed when President Clinton was in office, his Secretary of State made 26 visits to the Middle East before going to any country in Africa. I think the devastation of the wars in Africa is much more serious than the conflicts in the Middle East," he said.
A presidential scholar said Monday that it is unusual for former presidents to criticize their successors. Erwin Hargrove, professor emeritus at Vanderbilt Univ., said Carter has always been kind to Geo. Bush Sr. "I think this is just Jimmy calling it like he sees it," Hargrove said. "He must feel remote enough from the office to do this. He must be genuinely disappointed." In the wide-ranging interview, Carter also said the U.S. should respect the Kyoto Protocol, intl agreement designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and he questioned the Bush administration's reluctance to ratify the so-called "rights of the child" treaty. He called the proposed shield against incoming missiles "technologically ridiculous." Carter said it goes against the 1972 treaty with the Soviet Union and is a setback for the "prestige & respect due our country." "I think it will re-escalate the nuclear arms race," he added.

Votes of poor more likely uncounted ¹ Thomas Dorr
7.9.01   AP

WASHINGTON   The votes of people living in poor and minority communities were much more likely to go uncounted in the 2000 presidential election than were the ballots of the more affluent, a congressional study found. The report was prompted in part by Vice President Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush and was prepared for Democrats on the House Governmental Reform Committee. It found that voting problems like those encountered in Florida, where the election was decided, were not unique. "This problem is an urgent national priority,'' said Rep. Henry Waxman of California, ranking Democrat on the committee. "The technology is available to make certain that everyone's vote counts. It is intolerable to allow the disenfranchisement of poor and minority voters to continue.''
The study, released Monday, analyzed 40 congressional districts in 20 states: AL, AZ, CA, CT, FL, FA, IL, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, PA, SC, TX, TN, VA   According to some estimates as many as 1.9%of all the votes cast in the last presidential contest went uncounted, the report concluded. That equals about 2 million votes, a number that could have made a difference in such a close election. Some ballots, the study said, were not counted because voters did not vote for a presidential candidate or voted for more than one.

The study found, however, that more often "the ballots were discarded because the voting machine failed to accurately record the intention of the voter.'' Voters in low-income, high-minority districts, for instance, had significantly higher rates of discarded ballots on older technologies like punch-card and lever machines than they did on newer technologies like electronic voting systems, the study found. Waxman called the disparities an outrage and said they were the result of older and less dependable voting machines being used in poorer neighborhoods.
He said the report shows the problem is a national issue that should be addressed by the federal government. "I think a lot of people thought the problem was a Florida problem and not a problem all around the country,'' he said. Several measures have been introduced in Congress to address the election issue. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, which oversees election reform, has said he hopes to have legislation drafted this year.
Bush lost the popular vote but narrowly won the electoral vote after the Supreme Court halted a recount in Florida and he was awarded the state's 25 Electoral College votes. The ballots of hundreds of Florida voters were in dispute because of aging punch-card voting machines, the design of the ballots and other problems.

 [ read article to see why headline is false ]
Bush still had votes to win in a recount, study finds   exhaustive ballot review indicates more people tried to vote for Gore; he might have won had pending reforms been in effect
11.12.01   D.McManus, B.Drogin, R.O'reilly, Lisa Getter LATimes

WASHINGTON   If the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed Florida's courts to finish their abortive recount of last year's deadlocked presidential election, President Bush probably still would have won by several hundred votes, a comprehensive study of the uncounted ballots has found.
But if the recount had been held under new vote-counting rules that Florida and other states now are adopting, rules aimed at recording the intentions of as many voters as possible, Democratic candidate Al Gore probably would have won, although by an even thinner margin, the study found. The study provides evidence that more Florida voters attempted to vote for Gore than for Bush, but so many Gore voters marked their ballots improperly that Bush received more valid votes. As a result, under rules devised by the Florida Supreme Court and accepted by the Gore campaign at the time, Bush probably would have won a recount, the study found.
Since the study was launched, the nation's debate over the Florida recount has cooled and Bush, whose legitimacy as president already was accepted by a large majority in January, has won massive public approval for his leadership of the war against terrorism. The study, a painstaking inspection of 175,010 Florida ballots that were not included in the state's certified tally, found as many as 23,799 additional, potentially valid votes for Gore or Bush. The significance of these ballots depends on what standards are used to weigh their validity. Under some recount rules, Bush wins. Under others, Gore wins. But in almost every case, the outcome still is a virtual dead heat, with the two candidates separated by no more than a few hundred votes out of nearly 6 million cast in the state. A little more than a year ago, after one of the most tumultuous election nights in the nation's history, Americans awoke to discover that the presidential race was, improbably, deadlocked. Florida, with 25 electoral votes, was too close to call. And without Florida, neither Bush nor Gore had a majority of electoral votes. The official results, which the state certified over Democratic protests, were: Bush 2,912,790, Gore 2,912,253. The margin of 537 votes, less than 0.01% of the total votes cast, triggered an automatic recount.

For 36 days, politicians & lawyers argued over whether and how to recount the state's votes. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount to begin; the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the recount to stop. On Dec. 13, Gore conceded. On Jan. 20, Bush took office as president. But thousands of potentially valid votes remained uncounted. And, as a result, the Florida election's outcome remained a matter of debate. In January, 8 major news organizations commissioned a definitive examination of the uncounted ballots in an effort to answer some of the outstanding questions and see if lessons could be learned for future elections.The review found that:

  • Precincts with large numbers of black voters were measurably more likely to produce spoiled ballots than precincts with few black voters. The data cannot explain why. However, the study debunked the belief that older voters are error-prone. Across the state, precincts with younger voters had higher error rates.
  • Bush probably would have won any recount of "undervotes," ballots that were rejected because they registered no clear vote for any presidential candidate. By contrast, Gore would have won most recount scenarios that included "overvotes," ballots that showed votes for more than one candidate. However, Gore's lawyers never pressed for overvotes to be recounted.
  • Ballot design was a key factor. Although the Florida fiasco initially focused on the "butterfly ballot" for punch cards in Palm Beach County, the voters' error rate was even higher in some counties that used more modern optical scanning systems but had equally confusing ballots. Most of the errors occurred in 18 counties where ballots spread the presidential candidates across two pages or two columns.
  • Hand recounts can be reliable, but only if the rules are clear. The researchers who examined the ballots agreed on the marks they saw more than 97% of the time. The disagreements came mostly when they were asked to judge whether a voter who failed to punch a clear hole in a ballot had left a "dimple," an indentation on the card.
  • Some Florida counties handled their ballots so carelessly after election night that county officials could not say with any certainty which ballots had been counted and which had not.
White House spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish, speaking on behalf of Bush, said: "The American people moved on a long time ago. This latest media recount was an expensive undertaking that turned up additional inconclusive data. The election was settled last year." Even before the results were made public, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said his boss considers the issue ancient history. "It's over," Fleischer said. In a written statement, Gore said: "We are a nation of laws, and the presidential election of 2000 is over. And, of course, right now our country faces a great challenge as we seek to successfully combat terrorism. I fully support President Bush's efforts to achieve that goal."

Some Ammunition for Democrats
Democrats long have contended that a plurality of Florida voters intended to cast their ballots for Gore but that thousands spoiled their votes because of confusing instructions, badly designed ballots or other obstacles. The study adds evidence to bolster that case. In Duval County, which includes Jacksonville in the northeast corner of the state, a remarkable 21,855 ballots were invalidated because voters chose more than one presidential candidate. The county's official sample ballot erroneously instructed voters to "vote all pages." With 10 presidential candidates spread across two pages, following that instruction produced an overvote. Of those voters who made the mistake of voting once on each page, the study found that 7,794 voted for Gore (plus another candidate), while 4,705 voted for Bush (plus another). That's a potential net for Gore of 3,089 votes, enough to carry the entire state. Voters in Palm Beach County, where the butterfly ballots listed presidential candidates on facing pages, cast 19,218 overvotes. More appear to have come from Gore voters than from Bush voters. The study found that 11,140 voters in the heavily Democratic county punched a hole for Gore and one other candidate; only 2,298 punched a hole for Bush and another candidate.

The same phenomenon appeared in smaller counties that used more modern optical scanner systems. On Florida's west coast, 991 voters in Charlotte County chose Gore, then added a vote for a second candidate; 787 voters chose Bush & another candidate. On most overvote ballots, it's impossible to know which candidate a voter intended to choose. On punch card ballots, for example, there's no way to tell which of several perforated rectangles, called chads, the person intended to punch out to register a vote. But in counties that use ballots counted by optical scanners, a manual recount often can determine which mark shows the voter's intent, because many voters explain their intentions on the ballot form. Some circle the name of the candidate they meant to vote for; others write the candidate's name on the ballot; others attempt to erase a mark they made in error. The study found that Florida's uncounted optical scan ballots included as many as 3,527 such potentially valid votes. If those votes had been counted, Gore would have gained 2,206 votes and Bush 1,321, a swing of 885 votes for Gore.

4 examples:

  • If Florida's ballots had been recounted using a restrictive standard that some Bush lawyers said they could accept, the study found that Gore would have won the state by 105 votes, as long as optical scanner overvotes showing clear intent were included. But if overvotes were left out of the count, the study found that Bush would have won by 908 votes.
  • If the statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had not been interrupted by the U.S. Supreme Court, Bush would have won by 493 votes. The reason: 9 counties were including overvotes, but 58 were not. (The Times' analysis of this scenario recorded each ballot according to the standard each county said it was using or planned to use at the time.)
  • If the recounts Gore initially requested had been completed in four heavily Democratic counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Volusia), Bush still would have won by 225 votes. Those recounts focused only on undervotes, not overvotes, and the uncounted undervotes were not enough to swing the election to Gore.
  • If a recount had been performed under the standards of a 1996 Texas election law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush, Gore might have won by 42 votes. The Texas law provides that a vote should be counted if it reflects "a clearly ascertainable intent of the voter," including dimpled chads & overvotes on optically scanned ballots.
Most states that have revised their election laws in recent years consider those "clear intent" overvotes to be valid. In Florida, for example, aides to Secretary of State Katherine Harris proposed new recount rules in September that consider an improperly marked optical scan ballot valid as long as officials can see "a clear indication of voters' intent." When Gore asked for recounts in four Democratic counties last November, his aides didn't realize at first that a potentially critical trove of overvotes lay elsewhere in counties that used optical scanner ballots. "We had a lingering suspicion that we would find more votes in the overvotes," said Ronald A. Klain, who ran Gore's recount operation. "But we were having trouble even getting those four counties recounted." Eventually, Gore did ask for a statewide recount, but his lawyers never pressed for overvotes to be included. When the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount in December, based on Gore's petition, it too focused only on undervotes, drawing a dissent from Chief Justice Charles T. Wells. "How about the overvotes?" he asked. When the U.S. Supreme Court took Bush's appeal of the case, Justice John Paul Stevens asked the same question of Gore's lawyer, David Boies. "Nobody asked for a contest of the overvotes," Boies explained. "Once you get two votes, that ballot doesn't get counted for the presidency." Ironically, Bush's lawyers, in their brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, said one of their objections to the Florida recount was that it didn't consider potentially valid overvotes. The Supreme Court majority agreed that the absence of the overvotes was a flaw in the Florida court's ruling. If the high court had, instead, ordered Florida authorities to design a comprehensive recount, one that included the overvotes, the outcome might well have been a victory for Gore.

Close Race Triggered Automatic Recount
The study found another wrinkle that might have aided Gore. Florida's vote was so close on election night that state law required an automatic retabulation. But officials in 16 counties using optical scanning systems never recounted their ballots; instead, they merely rechecked the electronic records of their election night machine count. Over five weeks of recounts & court battles, Bush's unofficial lead rose & fell almost by the day, at one point dropping to just 286 votes. If the 16 counties had recounted their ballots and included overvotes in their tallies, Gore would have taken the lead, at least briefly, by 48 votes, the study shows. The study answers another question that has lingered since December: Could Gore have won if he had asked for recounts of the undervotes in counties other than the four he picked? Some of Gore's advisors worried that they should have sought a manual recount in Duval County, for example, which registered 5,090 undervote ballots (in addition to its 21,855 overvote ballots). But Gore would have lost ground had they done so. The study found that Bush would have gained as many as 834 additional votes in a Duval County recount, mostly from undervotes. This study was commissioned by Tribune Co., owner of The Times; Associated Press; Cable News Network; the NYTimes; the Palm Beach Post; the St. Petersburg Times; the Wall St Journal; and the Wash. Post.

The review was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization affiliated with the Univ. of Chicago. Researchers trained & directed by NORC inspected 175,010 ballots and recorded their characteristics in a series of computer databases. Each media organization independently analyzed the data collected by NORC. The full NORC database will be released to the public today on the NORC web site to enable readers to examine & analyze the data themselves. NORC prepared separate computer studies to assess the reliability of the data. Those studies indicated that the researchers agreed more than 97% of the time when inspecting the ballots, "a high degree of accuracy," according to NORC sr vp Kirk Wolter, director of the project. However, Wolter warned that the outcomes are so close that they cannot conclusively show who got the most votes. "It's too close to call," he said. "One could never know from this study alone who won the election." Unlike a public opinion poll, the media-commissioned study has no "margin of error" because researchers inspected every available uncounted ballot, not a representative sample. But the study still is not entirely precise because Florida's counties could not locate every uncounted ballot.

  NAACP chairman criticizes Bush
  7.8.01   AP   response Cong. J.C. Watts

NEW ORLEANS   NAACP board chairman Julian Bond had harsh words on Sunday for President Bush's record in his first months in office, criticizing some of Bush's Cabinet choices and denouncing his faith- based initiative. Bush is the 18th president the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has seen in its more than 90-year history. "We've applauded them when they're right and condemned them when they're wrong,'' Bond said in an interview a day before his speech at the group's 92nd annual convention.
In remarks prepared for delivery Sunday, Bond especially assailed the civil rights records of Interior Secretary Gale Norton, a former Colorado attorney general, and Attorney General John Ashcroft. "The president who promised to unite, not divide, chose as a secretary of the interior a woman who opposed racially equitable scholarships ... she refused to defend her state's support of a business fairness program,'' Bond said in his prepared text. And for the nation's top law enforcement officer, Bond said Bush chose "a man who doesn't believe in many of the civil rights laws he has sworn to enforce - affirmative action, racial profiling, hate crimes, voting rights . An administration representative defended the president's choices. "The president's Cabinet and staff are made up of accomplished and diverse individuals'' including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Education Secretary Rod Paige, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, said Bush spokesman Jimmy Orr. The administration's tax cut and its faith-based initiative, which would allow government funds to flow to churches, mosques and synagogues that seek to ease social woes, were also targets of criticism.
Bush has asserted that church-based groups receiving government funds should be able to refuse employment to people outside their religion, but critics, including Bond, contend that this could amount to government-funded discrimination. Orr responded that Bush's "commitment to equal opportunity and equal justice is demonstrated with sweeping public school reform that fights to leave no child behind, proven help for the nation's poor with the faith- based and community initiative and his call for an end to racial profiling.''

Bush was invited to address the gathering, which runs through Thursday, but he was unable to attend because of a scheduling conflict, NAACP officials said. Instead, he sent a videotaped greeting that will be played sometime during the convention. In his remarks, Bond also referred to a five-year strategic plan that will be presented to delegates on Wednesday. The plan calls for building the NAACP by boosting membership, increasing training, expanding the NAACP's legal staff and increasing advocacy.
The plan also seeks to sharpen the group's focus on civil rights enforcement and discrimination in the criminal justice system, increase economic opportunity, guarantee educational equity, register voters and take on a spectrum of health issues. "We need to be much more aggressive,'' Bond said. "It's going to make us more efficient, which will make us quicker to respond.''

Bush culls campaign theme from conservative thinkers
Gov.GWBush said his political views shaped by work of Manhattan Inst.'s Myron Magnet 6.12.00   NYTimes
His name is Myron Magnet. 8 years ago he published a book called "The Dream and the Nightmare," which GWBush has called the most influential book, aside from the Bible, that he's ever read. The new president's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, has declared "The Dream and the Nightmare" a "road map" to Bush's attitudes on the role of govt. Magnet, 56, has also written columns defining compassionate conservatism for the Wall St Journal and for City Journal, the provocative urban policy magazine he edits for the neoconservative Manhattan Institute...Giuliani, who says he often has drawn on Magnet's "searching" writings, goes further: A "tyranny of political correctness rules intellectual life" in New York, he says. "It's like the Spanish Inquisition."

Manhattan Institute has nudged NY rightward
5.12.97   NYTImes
"...the institute was founded as a free-market education & research organization by Wm Casey, who then went off to head Reagan admin CIA."

"The journal that saved the city" book review
  Summer 2000   MI website

The City Journal (MI quarterly) is important not only because it has played a key role in the urban renaissance of recent years. It is important, too, for the lessons it provides other think-tanks. These institutions, some of them based in Washington and focused on one aspect or another of national domestic and foreign policy, others concentrating on regional affairs or, as with the Manhattan Institute, on policy at the state & local level, are rapidly replacing our universities as homes for scholars who seek to escape the stultifying politically correct atmosphere of campus life. In the case of the Manhattan Institute, we have it to thank not only for the City Journal but for supporting the research of such leading scholars as Charles Murray, whose Losing Ground has gone from a shockingly radical prescription for welfare reform to mainstream public policy in a few short years... why the City Journal has become the bible of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose annual "State of the City Speeches" so closely follow City Journal articles that Magnet could easily win a plagiarism suit. "

      M.I. people & ideas in Bush admin
      per Manhattan Institute website
"John DiIulio   Dir. newly created
  White House Off. of Faith-based & Community Initiatives.
Stephen Goldsmith   Special Advisor to President for
  Faith-based & Community Initiatives
  Corp. for National Services board.
David Frum
  Special Asst to President for Economic Speechwriting
Abigail Thernstrom, sr fellow since 1993
  appt to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Walter Olson, MI sr fellow since 1986   appt
  U.S. Justice Dept Transition Advisory Committee
Lawrence Lindsey, Bush chief economic adviser, auth.
  The Growth Experiment: How new tax policy
  is transforming the U. S. economy (Basic Books, 1990).
    Uncle Shrub's cabin   ¹
    8.8.00   Village Voice
"Absent in the sticky Philadelphia heat was the drumbeat of the fire-breathing, nay-saying Christian Right. In its place, singing the praises of the Jesus-influenced candidate and following a script laid out by the Manhattan Institute, were Reverend Herbert H. Lusk II, the former "Praying Tailback" for the Philadelphia Eagles, whose Greater Exodus Baptist Church had been transformed into a Republican revivalist stomping ground, and Stephen Goldsmith, ex-mayor of Indianapolis, Dubya's main domestic-policy adviser.
In June, Rev. Lusk told a GOP platform-drafting committee in Billings, MT, that private, faith-based groups, such as his People for People, are better purveyors of social-welfare services than govt welfare agencies. "The fact is, we are there we do it better, and we do it cheaper," Rev.Lusk said. In the background on Sunday, thundering the gospel of the black church, was a mass choir. After an inspiring musical opening, the social scientists from the Manhattan Institute rolled out their charts and reported that kids who go to church in poor neighborhoods do fewer drugs and thus, churches, mosques, and synagogues "should be supported as uniquely qualified agencies of social control that matter a great deal in the lives of adolescents in America's most disorganized & impoverished communities."
"There is only one reason I am in the Oval Office and not in a bar. I found faith. I found God. I'm here because of the power of prayer."
Pres. GWBush

    The ideological impostor
    Run left, govern right
    6.3.02   Robert Kuttner American Prospect
In the 2000 election, voters could have been forgiven for sizing up GWBush as a cross between moderate Republican and DLC Democrat. Some things he said while campaigning:

In a stirring passage in his convention speech, Bush invoked

    single moms struggling to feed their kids and pay the rent. Immigrants starting a hard life in a new world. Children without fathers in neighborhoods where gangs seem like friendship. … We are their country, too. … When these problems aren't confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth & technology, education & ambition. On the other side of the wall are poverty & prison, addiction & despair. And, my fellow Americans, we must tear down that wall.
Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson or even Al Gore on a good day (might speak) just those words
. "To seniors in this country," Bush earnestly declared, "you earned your benefits, you made your plans, and President George W. Bush will keep the promise of Social Security, no changes, no reductions, no way."
"Medicare," he added, "does more than meet the needs of our elderly; it reflects the values of our society. We will set it on firm financial ground, and make prescription drugs available & affordable for every senior who needs them."

In the third presidential debate, Bush told Gore, "You know I support a national patients' bill of rights, Mr. Vice President. And I want all people covered." He called for grants to the states "so that seniors, poor seniors, don't have to choose between food & medicine."

He pledged to change the tone in Washington, to govern as a bipartisan the way he had done as Texas governor. "I know it's going to require a different kind of leader to go to Washington and say to both Republicans & Democrats, 'Let's come together,'" he said.
Bush repeatedly promised to balance the budget and insisted that the nation could afford a tax cut without slipping into deficit. He even criticized a House Republican plan to achieve budget savings by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit: "I don't think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor," he said.

Turning to the environment, Bush regularly suggested that he would be unusually green for a Republican. "To enhance America's long-term energy security," he said, "we must continue developing renewable energy."
On education, he famously promised to "leave no child behind," borrowing not only liberal ideas about universal inclusion but literally plagiarizing the 3 decades old slogan of the Children's Defense Fund (the fund now prints its slogan with a trademark sign).

All of these declarations were, of course, lies. While all recent presidents have periodically gone back on promises and some have told explicit untruths, what's interesting about this president is that his multiple lies are something very rare in politics: They are ideological lies. Worse still, according to Wash.Post's David Broder, Bush seems determined to make compassionate conservatism the centerpiece of the 2002 campaign, the actual substance of his presidency notwithstanding. Hypocrisy, as La Rochefoucauld observed, is the homage that vice pays to virtue. In the case of Bush, campaign lies are the homage that Republican sloganeering paid to the popularity of Democratic ideology.
Imagine instead that Bush had hit the campaign trail promoting a Social Security shift that increased the system's deficits, requiring cuts in benefits and an increase in the retirement age; that he'd promised a tax cut that cost more than twice Social Security's long-term shortfall. Imagine that his patients' rights bill was advertised as authored by the HMO industry, and as prohibiting patients denied care from suing their insurer; that he'd touted a Medicare plan that would keep ratcheting down payments to hospitals & doctors; that his environmental policy would scrap one protection after another and let industry rewrite the rules; that he'd pledged to demonize Democrats who resisted his policies; that his No Child Left Behind program pledged to freeze funding for Head Start and money for child care, and to go back on a bipartisan deal to increase federal funds for poor public schools in exchange for high-stakes testing.

Campaigning on that set of views, Bush would have been the minority candidate of a minority party. There would have been no cliffhanger in Florida and no narrow Supreme Court resolution of Bush v. Gore. Yet that set of views has been his actual program.
More interesting still, Bush has mostly gotten away with it. While a careful reader of the quality press might connect the dots and conclude that Bush's presidency is a double fraud, not only wasn't he really elected, he isn't remotely governing on the program he offered voters, there's been no widespread outrage.

One simply cannot conjure up a systematic presidential deception of comparable cynicism & scale. Bill Clinton, to be sure, lied about his sexual escapades. He often enraged allies both left & center: The DLC & the labor movement agree on just about nothing but they share Monica Lewinsky's assessment that Clinton is a faithless lover. Clinton tacked right on values issues in the 1992 campaign only to embrace gay rights. He assiduously courted the gay community only to back a lame halfway policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Conversely, he initially postured liberal on economic issues only to abandon both universal health insurance and economic stimulus by public investment. Many blacks were so comfortable with Clinton that they considered him the first African-American president. But for all his marquee appointments of black officials, Clinton could embrace a cruel version of welfare reform and abandon old friends such as Lani Guinier.

Yet there was about Clinton a broad ideological consistency. Though he could infuriate his friends on the particulars, these were tactical reversals within a relatively narrow, consistent ideological whole. Clinton was at heart a centrist, a moderate with some liberal leanings who governed as a wily pragmatist and who often fought his conservative adversaries to a draw or better. Jimmy Carter was similar. Bush Sr was essentially a moderate Republican who tried to court his party's right wing, but his heart wasn't really in it. Ronald Reagan was a genuine conservative who never pretended to be anything but.
To find a deception of comparable scale to GWBush's, you have to go all the way back to Lyndon Johnson, who ran in 1964 as the candidate who would keep us from a wider war in Vietnam and then escalated the conflict. On domestic policy, Johnson gave the country the progressive program he promised and more.
Robert Caro's latest installment makes clear, if anyone should feel betrayed by LBJ, it was the Senate's southern bourbons with whom he'd allied himself to become majority leader in the 1950s.

As ideological fraud, then, GWBush remains in a class by himself. It's understandable why he does it: Democrats' domestic positions are basically popular. But why does he get away with it? He pulls it off, I think, for several reasons, of which 9.11.01 is fairly far down the list.

First, in his own goofy way he's a political natural, a nice guy. His political style has a chumminess & warm physicality that's disarming. It's easy to detest his policies but not so easy to hate the man. The first time I watched him at close range, he was working a room of Democratic senators (he'd boldly solicited an invitation to a Democratic Caucus retreat and I was an invited speaker). That's when I realized how much his critics had underestimated the man as a politician. Bush was off script and off the record, and he did just fine at the banter. The wisecracks were spontaneous & smart. Indeed, if Clinton alienated because he was too clever by half, Bush endears when it turns out he's not as dumb as you thought. You're waiting for him to stumble and you're charmed when he doesn't.

Second, Bush has absolutely superb handlers & tacticians. His speechwriter Michael Gerson is so gifted that he could make a trained monkey sound like Thomas Jefferson. , His political grand strategist Karl Rove has perfected a game of leaving the Democrats with no popular issues on the table. If Democrats are for Social Security, so is Bush. If they back patients' rights & prescription drugs, so does he. If they embrace kids, he does them one better. Bush then takes away in the fine print everything that he offers in the headlines. Politically, this is mere detail, so much policy wonkery. The betrayal enrages experts & advocates but can be dealt with by creative obfuscation when it comes to the voters. But what does that say about the voters?

Here we have the third and most alarming factor. This is an era in which voters are unusually quiescent. For 2 decades, expectations about what govt can do have been so lowered, and here many Democrats are just as culpable as Republicans, that the broad public doesn't get terribly indignant about betrayals, much less of the ideological kind. The public has come to expect govt to jerk people around. When Bush breaches a promise, it only confirms the general suspicion that govt can't be trusted anyway. A Democratic Party that doesn't have a clear opposition ideology makes Bush's task that much easier.
  [ Both parties are unequivocably paid agents of corporate welfare. Any opposition of one another is strictly pretense. ]

9.11.01 certainly allowed Bush to change the subject. At the same time, however, voters remain closer to core Democratic views on a broad range of domestic issues. Polls consistently show that voters don't translate Bush's popularity on national-security issues into support for Republican positions on patients' rights, Social Security, and the rest ². But politics itself is so debased & devalued that all Bush need do is genuflect to those broad Democratic themes. After all, the guy really does seem to care about poor people, seniors, and kids.
In fairness, voters were well aware that Bush was no liberal, on some issues, at least. He straightforwardly called for a tax cut, and for vouchers as a remedy to "failing schools." He said he wanted to reduce the incidence of abortion, though he was careful not to support overturning Roe v. Wade. He embraced private retirement accounts as a complement to Social Security for younger workers, but not at the cost of weakening Social Security itself. And he advocated greater use of religious institutions to carry out social services. But he carefully balanced these views with a sweeping embrace of liberal rhetoric & programs on a host of other issues.

Moreover, a lot of Bush's hard-right program has flown beneath the radar. On the issue of reproductive rights, for example, where Bush has always stopped just short of calling for an end to a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, he's done just about everything else to hobble abortion, family planning, and even the therapeutic use of discarded fertilized embryos. An administration plan to eliminate contraception coverage from federal employees' insurance plans was reversed by Congress.
Or consider No Child Left Behind. Bush's grand scheme for children in low-performing schools had 3 elements: relentlessly test kids, let some parents opt out of such schools with vouchers, and increase public-school funding. But Bush has repeatedly welshed on the funding. Under newly enacted education law, children as young as 8 will be subjected to standardized testing. In inner-city schools, as many as half will fail. These kids will be "left back" as they used to say, but without adequate resources for good remedial education. What then? Will they just keep repeating fourth grade?

Schools carry the burden of society's other deficits. If Bush were serious about leaving no child behind, he would not just throw tests at kids and vouchers at their parents. He would offer kids decent day care while their mothers worked, fully fund Head Start, and get children of low-income families prepared for school with high-quality pre- kindergarten. Decent wages wouldn't hurt, either. He's of course done none of this, and millions of children will be left behind. But with a few eloquent Gerson speeches informed by careful focus groups and some nice photos of himself with poor kids, Bush has seized the rhetorical high ground.
Holding GWBush accountable for these deceptions requires more than partisan or journalistic truth squads. Detail is hidden in plain view, courtesy of the Web … The larger challenge is to re-energize not just liberal politics, but politics as such. Today's characteristic politics lends itself perfectly to slogan, symbol, deception, even systematic prevarication.

Political scientists since Maurice Duverger pointed out that disengaged politics is necessarily a conservative politics. Without counterweight of mobilized citizenry motivated to pay attention and institutions aggregating & expressing those concerns, a system defaults to its other source of residual power: concentrated wealth. Institutions like the labor movement, which give ordinary people the mechanisms to effect political change and the motivation to take politics seriously, are diminished. It's no accident that labor did so much of the heavy lifting for Gore, and that it wasn't quite enough. Another political scientist, Kay Lehman Schlozman, observed that most people of modest means no longer participate vigorously in politics, not only because they don't believe politics make a difference, but also because the institutions that invite their participation are dwindling.

Media are also culpable: Short-attention-span TV & Internet gossip sites function as though politics were not about how a great democracy makes weighty choices; it's just another form of commerce or entertainment. The media loves the gotcha game, but whopping discrepancies in the Medicare budget or global-warming policy are not good gotcha. These trends, all of which debase politics, have been building for a long time; their full fruit is GWBush. Now the Bush charade is due for a revival in this year's campaign. As long as the citizenry is anesthetized, however, even systematic presidential lying is of little consequence. A polity in which leaders lie and the public shrugs falls short of a democracy.

      [ Nonsense. U.S. citizenry is neither apathetic nor exhausted; it is vastly overwhelmed by the corruption of the juggernaut of the legal fiction labeled corporations, whose unconstitutionally sheltered resources cannot practically be countered by any size of aggregated voters, given existing law. This device, far more than any other, is the tool of global plutocrats for thoroughly & lastingly subjugating democratic govt. ]
Hard to gauge exact number of bad ballots
Florida's state govt doesn't record how many ballots were invalidated on election day, and county records are incomplete in some cases. The best estimate is that about 176,400 ballots were rejected as undervotes or overvotes. The NORC study thus included more than 99% of the total. In some cases, county officials could not be certain which ballots had been counted because every time a punch card ballot is run through a tabulating machine, one or more of its paper "chads" can be dislodged. One county, Volusia, posed a particularly complex problem. Volusia completed a hand recount after election night, and the results are part of the state's certified tally. County officials subsequently could not determine which ballots had been included in their manual recount and which had not. Accordingly, Volusia's certified totals were used in the study rather than any new data from those ballots. Computers in the electoral process started in 1964, the year Goldwater opposed Johnson for the presidency. Back then, though, when states bought computers to read punch-card votes, the states owned & operated the computers; the electorate could thus examine their processes & results. Even Barry Goldwater, ever suspicious of the creeping power of government, approved: the process was relatively transparent.

In the past 2 years, … computer controlled, modem connected voting machines hastily rushed into many states in the wake of 2000, are property of and operated by private corporations. Some of those corporations say We, The People have no right to inspect their machines' innards, no freedom to audit their processes, and no ability to determine why their results are so dramatically at variance with exit polls that in 2002 our polling companies had to sit down, shut up, and scratch their heads in bewilderment.
Talion.com & Vote Watch document this corporate takeover of the voting process

Conflict probe launched in state's voting machine buys
  10.26.02 AP

[California] Sec. of State Bill Jones said he will investigate whether the employee in charge of evaluating voting machines in California improperly took a job with a voting machine manufacturer … Louis Dedier, the state's director of voting systems the last 2 years, left this month for a job with Omaha, NE based Election Systems & Software …

His voice rises   Sen. Robt Byrd, unapologetic, confronts Bush in a new book.   7.21.04   Johanna Neuman L.A. Times

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the 87-year-old Democrat from West Virginia, has been called the conscience of the Senate. He's also been called the Senate scold, its unofficial historian and the guardian of the Senate's constitutionally mandated powers of the purse.
Now, author of a new book lambasting President Bush for the war in Iraq, Byrd wants to be known as the Paul Revere of his time. "Paul Revere woke up Concord," Byrd said in an interview last week in his high-ceilinged office on the first floor of the Capitol. "I hope I can wake up some people in this country and that I would lend strength to those in the Congress today and in the future who may have to make a similar decision to go to war."

Byrd is an unlikely hero of the antiwar movement. Raised in the hardscrabble poverty of coal mine country in West Virginia during the Depression, he could not afford to go to college. A gas station attendant and a welder, he joined the Ku Klux Klan during his first run for the state Legislature because he thought it would earn him votes. He quickly renounced his membership and spent 10 years getting his law degree at night while serving as a U.S. senator. He speaks in the oratory of a self-made man — flowery phrases, references to Thucydides and Cicero, hardly the stuff of modern TV sound bites.
But he is also passionate about the war in Iraq and knowledgeable about the Senate psyche. So when he rose on 2.12.03, to speak against the Bush administration's request for congressional authorization, his words ricocheted around the world. He chided his colleagues for standing "passively mute … paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events." He attacked the idea of preemptive war, calling Iraq "the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time … in contravention of international law."

His speech struck a chord, or maybe it filled a need. Whatever the cause, Byrd's clarion call against the war was reprinted in several languages, showcased on many news websites. Suddenly, this lion in winter who confessed that he had been wrong to support the Vietnam War, this man of rage who accused the Bush administration of arrogant disregard for the public will, this senior senator who carried a worn copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket at all times, was a favorite of young war protesters. And now, as the presidential campaign heats up, he has written a book he hopes will topple a "power-grabbing administration, a bunch of super hawks who took GW Bush prisoner."

"Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency" is being published next Monday to coincide with the start of the Democratic National Convention. Norton Books has booked Byrd on NBC's "Meet the Press," NPR's "Fresh Air" and CNN's "Larry King Live." There are planned speeches to promote the book in New York, where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will introduce him, and in Boston, where Sen. Edward M. Kennedy D-MA will do the honors.
Asked if he hopes to equal the 1.2-million-book sales posted so far by former President Clinton, Byrd demurs. "I don't have any such thoughts as that but I'm doing my little part," he said. His "little part" is mostly to rail against the administration for taking the country "into a war that should never have been fought," and for ramming through "gargantuan tax cuts that are back loaded and will come due between 2007 and 2011 when Mr. Bush will be back on his ranch in Crawford, Texas, off the political stage."

He apologizes for "letting my voice rise." Then he launches into another tirade. "My blood boils," he said. "If this doesn't make your hair stand on end, I don't know what will." Reading a passage from Bob Woodward's recent book, Byrd quotes Bush as saying, " 'I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.' "
Byrd bristles. "Such hubris," he said. "Unmitigated arrogance. He's talking about the people here. That one little paragraph explains better than I could ever explain the contempt this man shows for the sovereignty of the people of this country."
Byrd said he has "no apologies to make" for his efforts to stop what he calls "Bush's War." "I was right then, and I'm right now," he said. "This country was hoodwinked, lied to, by an administration that for years had nursed the idea of taking on Saddam Hussein. The American people were hoodwinked. There'll be no president at Dover to salute the flag-draped coffins. They don't want people to see."

He arrived on Capitol Hill when President Truman was still in office. He has seen his share of history and plenty of presidents. "I have never seen an administration so discourteous, so arrogant toward the legislative branch as this one is," he said. "I've been here 51 years, so why shouldn't I speak out?" Age confers advantages. He is not afraid that the White House might attack him.
"West Virginia believes in God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, Carter's Little Liver Pills and Robert C. Byrd," is his oft- repeated phrase, which he trotted out on his most recent election, in 2000, when he won every county in the state and all but seven of the state's 1,970 precincts. And well it might. As first chairman and now ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Byrd has steered more than $1 billion in highway funds and federal agency funding to his state.

"I think I'm doing the country a favor by speaking out," he said. "For too long the people have been silent. For too long the members of Congress have been silent. They're timid, they're afraid of being called unpatriotic. I am not afraid." He insists that his growling enmity toward the Bush administration is not entirely partisan. He said he got on "swimmingly" with President Nixon and other Republicans. In fact, he said, he was "the last man out of Vietnam, as it were. I supported Johnson, I supported Nixon. But we were misled, as the Senate was misled in this case."
This raging bull of an aging Byrd has surfaced before. In 2002, he berated then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill for his wealth, prompting O'Neill to protest that he had been born in a house without electricity or running water, to which Byrd replied that his conditions as a child were equally impoverished. Critics assailed Byrd for sanctimony. Asked about the exchange, Byrd said, "I don't look back. There's no reason to look back." Accusing Bush of worsening the partisan divide in Washington, Byrd is asked whether he too is guilty of contributing to the polarization and noise that has come to characterize U.S. politics. "I am doing what I want to do," he said. "I've made 69 speeches to date on Iraq. I did everything I could do. If I could do more I would do more."

Carlyle Group   Network of big business interests now waiting to reap rewards from an administration that may stand for little but revenge & greed
12.3.00   Ed Vulliamy The Observer Intl News UK Wash.D.C.   The ominous joke in Washington is that George W. Bush is learning how to pronounce the word 'inaugural'. The city that has for 8 years filled its cappuccino bars with the staff of a reforming presidency is bracing itself for change: an influx of Texan Stetsons and Cuban heels, and a politics stamped with a familiar brand name, the Bush family.
'It will be,' says one sr White House aide, 'the restoration of the aristocracy, motivated by revenge & greed.' The Bush Transition Office has just opened across the River Potomac from the leafy, liberal streets of Georgetown in McClean VA, where heavy-hitting lobbies of the conservative Right fill the phone directory. From here, where workers are rewiring to make way for more phone lines, Bush's presidency-in-waiting will take shape, even though the election result remains contested.

The question the capital is asking is the one posed by White House communications director Sidney Blumenthal on Friday: 'If Bush wins, who is the President?' That is a question more and more Americans are raising as Bush's grip on the White House strengthens by the day. Just what does 'Dubya' stand for? The answer seems to be: not much. The more you look at Bush the less you see. For every clue as to what kind of President he would make, there is a question; for every pattern, a glitch.
The clues are among the entourage, either packing for Washington or else already here, planning the next four years while Bush bides his time, relaxing apparently, - at his ranch. If there was ever a President defined by his donors and patrons, it is Bush. Like a player in a baroque allegorical drama, he is not really a person, more a personification of interests.

They come from three overlapping spheres of influence: his father's ancien régime , the clique of political operatives with which 'Dubya' has governed the nation's second biggest state, and - most formidably - business interests behind the Republican Party that have waited eight long Clinton years for this moment. For all of them, another Bush administration is payback time. A network controlled by George Bush SR first opened the floodgates for the funds that bought 'W' the election. The old man's network,' says Bush's cousin, John Ellis, 'is probably 50,000 people, and I think they were looking for some kind of vindication. I don't think you can possibly overrate the hatred of Bill Clinton in the Republican Party'.

The old guard falls into two categories. The privy council of the last Bush administration is led by Dick Cheney, getting down to the unfinished business of 1992 while 'Dubya' is out of town. It includes General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State James Baker, Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz and National Security aide Condoleeza Rice. From his father's domestic team, Bush has former Federal Reserve appointee Lawrence Summers, and faithful soldier Andrew Card to be his Chief of Staff - of whom one aide said: 'At least he's not a Texan.'
Then there is the overlapping circle of investors and corporate barons made rich by Bush's father, collected into the Carlyle Group, a cabalistic, Washington-based merchant bank chaired by Ronald Reagan's former Pentagon chief, Frank Carlucci. Carlyle is a financial club for Bush SR's intimate circle and can expect to enjoy political clout in the White House. Bush SR is one of the bank's paid emissaries. Among the partners are his economic adviser Richard Darman and Dubya's front man in Florida, James Baker (Bush JR has his own connections with Carlyle).

From this ancien régime comes talk of bipartisanship, conciliatory gestures to a riven nation and Congress, and even recruitment of pro-Bush Democrats into the Cabinet. But behind the figureheads are other faces, the hardline Texan managers of the most disciplined and lavishly funded political campaign in recent history. And behind them are the real power brokers, hands to guide the White House from within the world of business and industry with whom Bush has worked for years, who wield awesome power in American society and owe no debt to compromise. In the capital, the point man works both on stage and behind the scenes. When the Supreme Court convened on Friday, Bush was represented by Theodore Olson, a high-profile attorney and former partner of Kenneth Starr.
But, backstage, Olson is the Washingtonian who has kept the right-wing candle burning on the capital's dining circuit during the Clinton years, along with his socialite wife, Barbara. It is intriguing that Bush should have appointed the man who accepted some $2.4 million from the ultra-conservative donor Mellon Scaife for what became known as the Arkansas Project - the conspiracy to launch the Paula Jones lawsuit, to detonate the fruitless Whitewater 'scandal' through paid operatives in Little Rock, and ultimately to force the impeachment of President Clinton. Now Olson has become ambassador inside the Beltway for the state of Texas.

To most Washingtonians, Texas, with its 1.4 million children without health insurance, squandered surplus, appalling pollution record, exaggerated school standards, housing crisis and execution factory, is not an alluring model for America. But Bush has, from the beginning, pointed to Texas as the validation of his presidential collateral. And the Bush power base, of his own generation, at least - lies in his fiefdom, in whose image he would forge the nation. Most obviously, Bush will continue to lean on the so-called 'Iron Triangle' of his closest aides throughout his political career. The most visible of these is spokeswoman Karen Hughes, whom CNN's Charles Zewe says 'treats the media like a covey of quail that can be rounded up'.
'Bush,' says a Texan Democrat consultant, 'is the boy in the bubble of infotainment.' Hughes, an army brat born in Paris (France, not Texas), with size-12 shoes and Texan-sized voice, will be the woman to make sure the bubble does not burst, like the boil on Bush's cheek the week after he first thought he was elected. The second point of the triangle is the buzz-cut Oklahoman Joe Allbaugh, quiet enforcer of the governor's will. He would be the White House 'thought police', with a further role to mediate friction that exists, hidden, between Hughes and the apex of the Iron Triangle, Karl Rove.

Rove goes back nearly 30 years in Republican politics, 25 of them with the Bush family. He moved to Texas to work for the then Congressman Bush in 1973. Talking to him is like meeting a robot; it is hard to detect any sign of feeling other than devotion to and control over his current master, for whom he has fought every political campaign. Even Tom Paulen, former chairman of the Texas Republican Party, calls Rove 'a control freak'. Rove was Bush SR's emissary to his own son. He had the idea 'Dubya' should run 'some time during the 1995 session', he told The Observer - and in this he is more than a political strategist. Rove does not only form part of the Iron Triangle; he welds it to other scaffolding in the Bush political edifice. He is the centre of a nexus that connects not only the gubernatorial machine to Bush SR, but to the business and party interests that sought out George W. Bush (rather than the other way round) to win back the White House at, literally, any cost.

'I never dreamed about being President,' says Bush, 'All of a sudden, people started talking to me about the presidency'. Karl Rove organised the meetings in 1998 that began the Republicans' courting of this real-life Forrest Gump for a reason.

Clinton was regarded as an illegitimate President because he gave certain quarters of American power a hard time, characterised by a new term in the Wall Street lexicon during the aftermath of the election: 'Bush stocks'. 'There's been a sigh of relief,' said Larry Smith, an analyst with Sutro in New York. Bush's proclaimed victory was greeted by a sudden leap in the share value of big pharmaceutical companies, big insurers of health care, and the big oil and tobacco companies.
While Rove was masterminding Bush's gubernatorial victory of 1994 in Texas, he himself had another job with one of these companies: a paid political intelligence operative for the Philip Morris cigarette company, reporting to another Bush aide, Jack Dillard, ubiquitous tobacco lobbyist. Unlike that of Clinton, Bush's record on tobacco does not displease the industry; he decreed it impossible for the civil lawsuit against tobacco companies to proceed in Texas. 'The prospect of Bill Clinton gone and a Bush presidency makes the tobacco industry almost giddy,' says Martin Feldman, an analyst of the industry for the consultants Salomon Smith and Barney.

Corporate delight at the prospect of a Bush team heading for Washington stems from the core political philosophy Bush brings from Texas to Washington, which is also Rove's principal achievement. In Texas legalese it was called 'tort reform'; in Washington it translates as grand-scale deregulation of business, services and industry. Even if a full-blooded Bush agenda is partly clipped by the pall of illegitimacy and the narrowness of his official victory, this is the Texas manifesto the newcomers to Washington will be determined - and likely - to accomplish. It was described to The Observer this last week by a senior White House aide as 'bringing the business special interests into politics so they can take over the regulatory bodies of government and regulate themselves'.
For example: the Environmental Protection Agency, the fair trade agencies, the health, safety and 'human resources' executives, the regulation of industry, education, guns, medicine and land use. And so, behind the political 'Iron Triangle' is the real 'Iron Triangle' also lying in wait with Bush, the businessmen. Foremost among these is Don Evans, the rainmaker. Evans, an oil executive from Bush's home town of Midland, Texas, goes back 3 decades with the governor, who was his childhood friend and confidant. Evans became his presidential campaign chairman, filling the biggest political war chest of all time.

He is now tipped by one Republican insider for 'any job he wants' in the White House. Whatever that is, he will be among the most influential politicians in America. The word among Republicans is that Evans may have his eye on the chairmanship of the party's National Committee. Evans represents the industry in which Bush himself began his career, which propels the economy of Texas and as crucial to both his and his father's victories, oil. No industry has a higher stake in 'tort reform' than the drillers of black gold, and few look forward to a deregulating Bush administration more than the executives of the oil industry, which has already been promised almost unfettered exploration and drilling rights.
But there are other interests too, and two of them, urban development and health care - combine with oil in another mighty figure in the background of a Bush administration. If he must thank his father for his name, Bush must thank Richard Rainwater for his money. Last year, as he prepared to run for President, Bush liquidated a blind trust he created to hold his assets, many of them in oil, real estate, health care and other companies owned by Rainwater, a contributor to Bush's campaigns and with whose money Bush aquired his windfall stake in the Texas Rangers baseball team. Rainwater is a billionaire buying into beleaguered companies at discount prices and reselling when everyone wants in. But he is also involved in companies, including oil firms, that are heavily regulated with hundreds of millions in government contracts.
One, a hospital chain called Columbia/HCA, is the subject of a federal investigation into Medicare fraud. Another, Charter Behavioural Health Systems (in which Bush held investments), is subject to regulatory scrutiny, while another, Crescent Real Estate, which operates mental hospitals, has its multi-million-dollar government input under federal investigation. Rainwater is not himself accused of any misdemeanour, but in each case, the prospect of Bush's promise to privatise and deregulate the health system is a tempting one.

Rainwater is most famous for investing the oil wealth of the third point of Bush's business Iron Triangle - the Bass Brothers, builders of the metropolis Fort Worth. He turned the $50 million they invested with him in 1970 to $5 billion in 1986, mainly through timely investing in Texaco oil and Disney. This is how the wheels go round in Texas: in 1997, Governor Bush supported a tax reform Bill aimed to cut, among other things, school property taxes. The reform saved Rainwater's Crescent Real Estate $2.5m. In 1999, Bush rushed through an emergency tax relief package to help independent oil producers as prices slumped. According to state records, the biggest beneficiary was the Pioneer Natural Resources oil company, with a $1m tax break. Filings with the Security Exchange Commission show Rainwater to own 55m shares in Pioneer.

The scale model for this entwinement of political and commercial interests was the inclusion of the oil companies in drawing up Texas's clean air regulations last year. The rules were devised by Bush's office in collaboration with Marathon Oil and Exxon, and left companies to set their own standards voluntarily. But while the governor was waiting to sign the new 'self-regulatory' Bill into law, the town of Odessa, Texas, was overed by a pall of black smoke so thick that drivers had to switch on their lights during daylight. Odessa, said Dr David Karman of the Texas Natural Resources Commission, 'was like having an open incinerator in your backyard. Only this incinerator is burning a very large soup of toxic chemicals'.
In bringing the politics of Texan non-government into national government, Bush is in perfect harmony with two of his most powerful lieutenants in Congress: Dick Armey, leader of the House, and Tom Delay, the Republicans' feared chief whip. Delay, who led the impeachment of President Clinton and whose office mobilised the baying crowds bussed around Florida last month, is seen as the coming man and leader of the extreme Right, with which Bush must deal. Delay has called the Environmental Protection Agency the 'Gestapo' of government. Armey has likewise attacked what he calls 'government shackles on enterprise'; both men have sworn absolute loyalty to Bush. And as it happens, both men, like George W. Bush, come from Texas. Another Iron Triangle.

    Bush's 6-Toed Kitty Runs Away
    4.6.01   John Berman ABCNEWS.com
A cat Pres.GWBush rescued from Austin TX streets has run away from the home of one of the president's friends in L.A. Ernie the Cat, the six-toed stray … has not been seen for weeks."They're very concerned," said Noelia Rodriguez, Laura Bush press secretary. Several years ago, then-Gov. Bush found the young orange & white cat up a tree in the yard of the governor's mansion in downtown Austin. … The Bush family decided to name the cat "Ernie" after the author Ernest Hemingway who famously kept a six-toed cat. When the governor became the president-elect, the decision was made that the street-wise cat might not be right for the White House. "Ernie is more of a free spirit," said press aide Gordon Johndroe said in December. Ernie had a tendency to claw things, incl Mr. Bush at times, and the Bush family was worried that Ernie might ruin precious White House furniture.
jibe a la AmEx ad campaign
Fixing the election   $122million
Doing coke & keeping it secret
bottle of vodka in Dallas

Knowing GOP voters will vote for
you in 33 states even though
you're legally retarded

For everything else there is Daddy
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The Bushes decided to give the cat to their close friend & prolific fund raiser, Brad Freeman, founder of Freeman Spogli L.A. investment banking firm. Soon after Freeman took Ernie to Brentwood home, the cat clawed furniture. Instead of having the cat de-clawed, Freeman took Ernie to a veterinarian who placed plastic caps on Ernie's claws, incl the superfluous ones. Ernie apparently did not take well to the restraints, and broke out of the Freeman compound about 2 weeks ago. There has been no sign of Ernie since, though Freeman says that he & others have been looking. … Though the First Family is concerned, aides say they are taking a somewhat lighter view of the situation. "They realize that he is a free spirit, and hope he is having fun on the beaches of Malibu," said Rodriguez. When he was running for president, Bush would talk about Ernie as an example of perseverance: "Sometimes you may find yourself up in a tree, wet and cold. But if you just hang in there and never give up, things will get better for you, just like they did for Ernie."
  [ Like the rest of us, the cat would rather be a free stray than an oligarch's slave. Charitable tyranny is not liberty. ]
    Missing Bush cat found  
    President's 6 toed tabby turns up on Avenue of Stars
    4.10.01   John Berman ABCNEWS.com
WASHINGTON   … Ernie turned up early this morning unharmed, strolling along the Avenue of the Stars in Century City, more than 2 miles from the Freeman house. "Mrs. Bush is delighted that Ernie is back in the good hands of Brad Freeman," said Noelia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the first lady. And even though Ernie has wandered off from Freeman's home once already, she added, "We're pretty confident that Ernie is going to be safe this time." …
West Nile Virus found in dead bird from WH lawn
7.29.02   Kelly Wallace CNN

Wash.D.C.   A dead crow, found on the White House south lawn, has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, local health officials said Monday. The Secret Service reported 2 dead crows to Wash.D.C. Health Dept Sunday, July 21, the dept said. Health Dept sent one crow to the Maryland State Laboratory, which determined it tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The other was too decomposed to be tested, a D.C. heath official said. A Secret Service spokesman said it is not the first time a dead bird found at or near the White House has tested positive for the West Nile Virus. "There have been a couple of previous instances," Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin told CNN, recalling at least one previous case where a bird infected with the virus was found dead inside the White House grounds.
Asked if the Secret Service had any reason to believe anyone intentionally sent a bird infected with the virus to the White House grounds as a terrorist act, the spokesman said, "There is no indication (this) is anything more than the birds dying ... and dying on the White House grounds." Mackin said the agency was treating this as a public safety issue as opposed to anything directed at the White House.

So far this year, 46 birds in the District of Columbia have tested positive for the virus, the dept said. "Certainly it is of concern," Peggy Keller, D.C. Health Dept chief of animal disease prevention, told CNN. "It is a virus that can be transmitted to people. But the concern is very minimal. The important thing is that people prevent any chances they get West Nile Virus." The West Nile Virus is spread only by mosquitos, and shows up first in dead birds. Keller said that if a mosquito from a mosquito pool that tests positive for the virus bites a human, there is only a 1 in a 1000 chance the mosquito would actually be positive for the virus. If that mosquito then bites a human, there is a 1 in 300 chance the human would get the virus, Keller added.
In response to the discovery at the White House, the D.C. Health Dept has "larvacided" places near the White House, which means it has added chemicals to water sources near where the crows were found.

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The Health Dept has also identified sites near the locations where the crows were found to collect & test mosquitos and has offered any additional assistance to the White House. A White House spokeswoman was checking to see what extra steps, if any, were being taken after learning that a crow found on the grounds tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The Secret Service spokesman said no extra steps to his knowledge were being taken, except asking people to take preventative measures such as wearing gloves and repellent at dusk.

There has never been a case of a human in the District of Columbia testing positive for the virus, Keller said. The West Nile Virus has killed 16 people in U.S. since 1999, according to Keller, who added that most of those individuals' immune systems were already compromised by other diseases such as cancer. Last year, 360 birds and 3 mosquito pools tested positive for the virus in Washington. Keller said the best prevention is to identify & eliminate any breeding mosquito site, noting that open water can breed several species of mosquitos. The D.C. animal control chief said people should survey their backyards and look for places that might hold water. Prevention tips include disposing of cans, bottles and open plastic containers properly, removing discarded tires and turning over plastic wading pools when they are not in use. Also residents are advised to wear long sleeves & repellent at dusk. Residents, who find dead crows, blue jays, hawks and eagles that have been killed by a moving vehicle or attacks from other birds, are asked to contact the D.C. Health Dept.

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