Monday, April 17, 2006

The Oiligarch-In-Chief leaves for California this week for "low-key weekend of politicking and relaxation," say aides.

Bush's California trip will begin a whirlwind California weekend on Friday (4/21/06) filled with appearances and fundraisers from the Wine Country to Palm Springs. Bush 's first stop will be Silicon Valley where he will push his plan to dramatically increase federal research funding at computer giant Cisco Systems in San Jose.

The White House also may be keeping specific details under wraps for security reasons or to help prevent large demonstrations in the Bay Area, where the president is unpopular.

The visit will be Bush's fourth to Silicon Valley, but only his second to San Jose -- a Democratic stronghold -- since taking office. Thursday, the White House offered few details of the event, but San Jose appears to be the venue for the president's featured policy statement of the trip, according to his itinerary.

"The president will participate in a panel to discuss his American Competitiveness Initiative to encourage American innovation and strengthen our nation's ability to compete in the global economy," White House press officer Alex Conant told the Mercury News. Conant, however, declined to say where in San Jose the event would be held or if it would be open to the public.

Many of Silicon Valley's leading policy and technology groups contacted Thursday said they were unaware of the president's visit -- or any planned event on the multibillion-dollar initiative -- raising questions as to whether the event was already planned or if the administration had yet to organize it.

Bush will spend Friday night in St. Helena [at the Meadowood Resort], where he and his entourage will take over the entire resort Friday and Saturday, where rooms start at $450 a night and go up to almost $4,000 for a suite.

These luxury accommodations all provided at your (taxpayers') expense.

The next day (4/22/06, 2:35 p.m.), Bush will travel to West Sacramento to participate in a tour of the Fuel Cell Partnership and make remarks on advanced transportation technology. No further details were available today about this portion of his trip.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership in West Sacramento was created to promote the production of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The partnership is a collaborative of auto manufacturers, energy companies, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies working together to advance a new vehicle technology that’s better for the environment, but at the same time practical and affordable. The goal is to increase energy efficiency, and reduce or eliminate air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Bush will tour the facility's fleet of prototype cars, a hydrogen refueling station and vehicle maintenance areas.

The visit coincides with the 36th annual Earth Day.

Protests are being planned for every stop of Bush's California trip:
Talk about greenwashing,

On Earth Day (Saturday, 4/22) Bush is going to visit a fuel cell research station to pay more lip service to alternative energy: up at this location in West Sac on Saturday and let GW Bush know that the people of California are sick of smog and escalating oil wars. We demand action to make alternative energy available to everyone, not just more nonsense talking from the Petroleum Puppetmaster..

California Fuel Cell Partnership
3000 Industrial Blvd. Suite 1000
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 371-2870
(916) 375-2008 - fax

Later Saturday, Bush is off to a fund-raising reception for the Republican National Committee in Palm Springs, spending Saturday night in Rancho Mirage:
Bush plans to attend a Republican National Committee fundraiser at the Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells the evening (6:35 p.m.) of April 22. He will then spend two nights in Rancho Mirage (undisclosed location), leaving on April 24, as reported Friday on

Indian Wells Mayor Ed Monarch learned of the president's plans to visit the city through The Desert Sun's inquiry Friday.

"We're certainly glad to welcome President Bush to our city," he said.

Bush can expect a warm reception in Indian Wells, Monarch said.

On Sunday (4/23/06), after attending church service at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Bush will have lunch (12:20 p.m.) with Navy and Marine Corps families at the base, attend a Marine Corps training exercise in Twentynine Palms (2:10 p.m.), and spend a second night in Rancho Mirage. Monday, he may have more events.

Meeting the Marines:

Few Marines know yet about the president's upcoming visit, said Capt. Chad Walton, public affairs officer at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, who himself learned about the visit only Friday morning through the White House's release of Bush's upcoming itinerary. Many Marines have left the base for Easter weekend leave, he said.

"I think people will be looking forward to it once (news) gets around a little more," Walton said.

Bush's schedule calls for him to attend a morning church service at the base, to have lunch with Marine Corps and Navy families and then to attend a military training session.

"It's going to be a good opportunity for the base to show how important the Mojave Viper training we are doing is," Walton said.

Mojave Viper is the Marine Corps' name for the training exercises that are undertaken by Marines before deployment to Iraq, Walton said. It consists of urban terrain and a "small town" of multiple-story mock buildings, a pseudo-mosque and more than 250 role players "to make it as realistic as they can to represent Iraq," he said.

Training includes paint-pellet and some live-fire activity, Walton said.

"It trains Marines to recognize IEDs (improvised explosive devices), do security types of patrols and get assimilated as close to the real thing as you can without actually going to Iraq," he said.

"The importance of it is, every Marine unit that deploys to Iraq comes to Twentynine Palms to go through this."

Security at the Marine base will be heightened prior to and during the president's visit, Walton said. And Marines will work in the week ahead to spiff up the place, he said.

"I'm sure we're going to try to present our best face," he said. "Obviously, he's the commander in chief. It's an honor to have him come out and see all of the work we're doing out here."

What residents said about the visit:
“If he comes here to say he’s going to end the war, it’s a good thing. But if it’s just for a vacation, then I don’t want to know.”
Maria De Jesus
31, Cathedral City

“Other than more traffic (his visit will create), I’m not interested. I’m just waiting out (Bush’s time in office).”
Jeremy Gosselin
32, Palm Desert

“It’s cool, I guess. I’m like, OK. It doesn’t make much difference to me.”
Elizabeth Ogimachi
25, Palm Springs

“I wouldn’t go see him. I support some of his policies, but the biggest one I don’t support is the war in Iraq.”
Steve Campbell
43, Palm Springs

Californians are organizing to give Bush a great big 'Howdy!'

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