Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bush: Do as I say, not as I do

The ethics briefings he's ordering White House staffers to attend, as reported by the Washington Post, are being led by none other than Harriet Miers, the same person who helped cleanse George W. Bush's dirty National Guard record (hat tip oyster). Sadly, it's a story that should never have to be retold, but Americans have such a short attention span, and the press has been so nilly willy with George W. Bush, I will restate the story here.

The story goes that George Bush, Sr., a member of the United States Congress in the early 1970's, asked Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes to move his son to the top of the list for an assignment as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. Thousands of other young soldiers were waiting to get on that list, and many of those who couldn't get the sweet assignment protecting the Texas border from the Mexican air force undoubtedly were instead sent to Vietnam.

It turns out that years later, George W. Bush was in a position, as Governor of Texas, to return the favor - and Harriet Miers facilitated the deal.

In the 1990's, Ben Barnes was the lobbyist for GTech, a company that managed the Texas Lottery. Because of corruption allegations and overcharging for its services, GTech was very unpopular with Texas voters, who were demanding that the lottery contract be rebid.

In 1994, George W. Bush, as a key plank in his campaign against Ann Richards, supported rebidding the lottery contract. Ben Barnes, no doubt, felt he had some leverage with the candidate for governor, since he could blow up George W. Bush's candidacy precisely at a time when questions were being raised about whether Bush, Sr. used his influence to get Bush, Jr. the sweet Texas Air National Guard spot.

Stage right, enter Harriet Miers, who was appointed in 1995 as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission by Governor Bush, and tasked with the job of "cleaning up" the corrupt lottery commission.

Greg Palast reported the following anonymous whistleblower letter to the Justice Department:

Several months ago many of us felt that the Lottery Commission should rebid the GTech contract when it came up for renewal. Leaders of the Republican Party strongly supported rebidding and I believe the Chair of the Commission also wanted to rebid. It is now time to disclose at least one reason why it was not rebid. Governor Bush thru Reggie Bashur made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the 94 campaign.

Bashur was sent to talk to Barnes who agreed never to confirm the story and the Governor talked to the Chair of the Lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.

Bush reversed the stance he took during his campaign, and ended up renewing the GTech contract in 1996. Barnes later received a $23 million payment, in 1997, after he left GTech in a New Jersey lottery scandal.

In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 40 percent of Americans said they viewed George W. Bush as honest and trustworthy, and only Nixon has suffered worse approval ratings among modern presidents (hat tip realitique). A Zogby poll finds that 51 percent of Americans believe Bush should be impeached if he lied to start a war Iraq.

Better late than never!

One of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill:
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.


At 11/05/2005 04:09:00 PM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

Although I am not yet an American, you can add me to the list of people who believe that Bush should be impeached if he lied to start a war in Iraq.

By the way, it's nice to see you back to your old tricks. I hope that means that some semblance of normalcy has returned to your life.

At 11/06/2005 06:59:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Normalcy, no. But some things require a response, especially concerning the miserable failure of leadership from George W. Bush, which imperils the future of this nation. Hurricane Katrina exposed the lie of Bush as a leader.

To take back our country, to put it back on a sound footing, to fix the problems created by George W. Bush,
Americans have to realized that Bush himself *IS* the problem. He has to go.

I find it interesting that when the truth is exposed, rather than respond to the facts, you claim instead it must be "old tricks."


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