George W. Bush on Technology

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Covert program to undermine Iran nukes with cyber attack

At the end of his second term, President George W. Bush authorized a covert program to "undermine the electrical and computer systems" at Natanz, Iran's uranium enrichment facility. What came out of that initiative was the creation of the world's most advanced cyber-weapon ever, With technical support from Israel, as well as technology from other allies, the Stuxnet cyber worm was unleashed against Iran's nuclear centrifuges and made them spin so fast they destroyed themselves. The operation was very successful and destroyed roughly 1/5 of Iran's centrifuges. No one knows for sure how many months or years we put back on Iran's nuclear clock. Some analysts say 6 months, others 1 or 2 years, But that's the point: the clock is still ticking.
Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 98 , Dec 5, 2011

2000: Internet has not redefined business cycle

In 2000, by all measures, the economy was booming. America's GDP had increased by more than $2.5 trillion since the recession that had cost Dad the election but ended before he left office. Fueled by new Internet stocks, the NASDAQ index had shot up from under 500 to over 4,000. Some economists argued that the Internet era had redefined the business cycle.

I wasn't so sure. "Sometimes economists are wrong," I said in a speech outlining my economic policy in December 1999. "I can remember recoveries that were supposed to end, but didn't, and recessions that weren't supposed to happen, but did. I hope for continued growth--but it is not guaranteed. A president must work for the best case, and prepare for the worst."

The centerpiece of my plan was an across-the-board tax cut. I believed government was taking too much of the people's money.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.441-442 , Nov 9, 2010

Vetoed "Fairness Doctrine" requiring balance in talk radio

Liberals plotting to undermine Fox News are itching to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" to destroy talk radio and invoke campaign finance laws to restrict speech on the Internet.

Consider that the first small breach in the liberal media behemoth came about only because Ronald Reagan's FCC repealed the "Fairness Doctrine" in 1987. The Rush Limbaugh show premiered on August 1, 1988.

By mandating that any political views disseminated over the radio be counterbalanced by the opposing view, the "Fairness Doctrine" not only requires radio stations to give boring crackpots airtime, it also creates a conceptual and administrative nightmare. Reimplementation of the "Fairness Doctrine" spells the end of talk radio.

So naturally Democrats are itching to bring it back! Democrats have already passed two bills reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine" since its merciful repeal--both vetoed, by Republican presidents Reagan and George W. Bush.

Source: Guilty, by Ann Coulter, p. 18-19 , Nov 10, 2009

Oath of office authorizes use of surveillance technology

The 1978 FISA legislation was static, but the new surveillance technology was dynamic. The president argued that the oath of office in which he swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" was an acceptance of the responsibility to provide for the common defense. That was the only authority needed to deploy technology allowing for more sophisticated intrusions, making use of satellites and supercomputers that might lead investigators to a target.

In time, it became clear that the President had authorized the NSA to exercise its authority without applying for the requisite warrants. The administration had argued that the FISA law could reasonably be interpreted to allow for these expanded powers because the nature of the threat ha changed, and there was a need to respond much more quickly than ordinary court procedures allowed. In carrying out its own legal interpretation and keeping it a secret, the long-term effect presented an appearance of employing unauthorized power.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.110-111 , Sep 1, 2009

Manned mission to the Moon and Mars

Today we set a new course for America’s space program. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the Moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.
Source: Speech to the Nation on the Exploration of Space , Jan 15, 2004

No “virtual people” in census; use raw numbers

At issue [with the census] is whether redistricting should be based on raw numbers from the census or figures that have been adjusted to compensate for people who were missed-disproportionately minorities, immigrants and the poor. President Bush has said he prefers raw numbers to adjusted figures, which Republicans say would add “virtual people” for Democratic gain. Democrats, civil rights groups and many city officials, though, say adjustment would guarantee equal political representation.
Source: D’Vera Cohn, Washington Post, Page A12 on 2002 election , Feb 17, 2001

Privacy is a fundamental right; ensure it on the Internet

Q: On Internet Privacy: Should the federal government step in to safeguard people’s online privacy or can that be done through self-regulation and users’ education?

A: “I believe privacy is a fundamental right, and that every American should have absolute control over his or her personal information. Now, with the advent of the Internet, personal privacy is increasingly at risk. I am committed to protecting personal privacy for every American and I believe the marketplace

Source: Associated Press on 2000 Presidential race , Oct 6, 2000

Ban identity theft & safeguard genetic information

In Texas, I banned identity theft, safeguarded genetic information, protected driver’s license information and provided for a new Internet Bureau Task Force to combat emerging cyber crimes. As president, I will prohibit genetic discrimination, criminalize identity theft, and guarantee the privacy of medical and sensitive financial records. I will also make it a criminal offense to sell a person’s Social Security number without his or her express consent.
Source: Associated Press on 2000 Presidential race , Oct 6, 2000

Fewer strings to obtain technology for schools

Bush proposed $400 million in new spending over the next five years for the Education Department to research ways that technology can be used to boost student achievement. Bush said that as president he would consolidate the Federal Communications Commission’s School and Libraries program with eight Education Department programs and free schools from the tangle of paperwork that makes it difficult to apply for federal dollars. He also said he would loosen restrictions in the FCC’s so-called E-Rate program, which seeks to wire schools and libraries. Under Bush’s plan, schools also would be able to spend the money to purchase computer hardware and software, and pay for teacher training. Bush said the top concern in his administration would not be how many schools “are wired, but what are children learning.
Source: Terry M. Neal, Washington Post page A06 on 2000 election , Jun 20, 2000

Internet a tool, not a crutch

Bush’s $400 million plan would prod schools into using the Internet as a learning tool, not a substitute for real education. “Behind every wire & machine must be a teacher and a student who know how to use that technology to help develop a child’s mind, skills and character,” Bush said Monday. While Bush agrees that Internet access can help close the “achievement gap,” he says merely providing funding and Internet access runs the risk of allowing teachers to use cyberspace as an educational crutch.
Source: AP story in NY Times on 2000 election , Jun 19, 2000

Tax ban keeps Internet growing & affordable

I applaud the House of Representatives for extending the moratorium on Internet taxation for five years. This is a reasonable approach that I have consistently supported. This legislation will provide time to analyze the full impact of e-commerce and ensure that the rapid growth of the Internet is not slowed by new taxes. I also support a permanent ban on all Internet access taxes & hope that the House will ban these taxes so that the Internet is more affordable and more accessible for all Americans.
Source: Press Release , May 10, 2000

$20B increase in R&D spending; permanent R&D tax credit

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ , Apr 2, 2000

Technology programs are obsolete before they start

Q: Should we spend government funds to address the “digital divide?”
A: Our technology is changing so quickly that government programs are often obsolete as the marketplace changes. And I think about my rural Texas, where we’re going to have two-way satellite technologies, broad-width technologies that will enable us to beam information from big cities to rural Texas and I worry about government funding and government programs that are haphazard and will be obsolete before they’re even funded.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Internet may or may not help mom & pop - wait & see

Q: Do you support taxing Internet commerce? A: I support the moratorium on Internet taxation. And I’ll support it for another three to five years, until we know. We’ve had people on this stage say that e-commerce is going to help mom and pop business on the town squares all across America. They may be right. I don’t know and neither do you and so therefore I think it makes sense to extend the moratorium.
Source: Republican debate in West Columbia, South Carolina , Jan 7, 2000

Extend Internet sales tax ban; but wary of Main St. losses

Bush and his fellow governors fear that a mass migration of retail commerce to cyberspace could decimate Main Street - and drain state treasuries of sales tax revenue. At first the governor said his next move would depend on the recommendations by the [bipartisan commission which is studying what to do about Internet sales taxes, due in April 2000]. Now he says he wants to extend the ban for “several” years.
Source: Newsweek, p. 31 , Dec 20, 1999

V-chip OK, but cultural changes are better

On questions relating to the influence of popular culture, Bush said he had no problem with Clinton’s initiative to require a V-chip in televisions that parents could use to block objectionable material. He also said the kind of ‘tools’ for parents Clinton has proposed (such as the V-chip and a television rating system) are less important than cultural changes. “The fundamental question is going to be, can America rededicate itself to parenting as the No. 1 priority for all of us?” he argued.
Source: L.A. Times , May 1, 1999

Voted NO on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-406 on Nov 8, 2007

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Other past presidents on Technology: George W. Bush on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022