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New Deal Coalition Retained III: A New World

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The P̢̨̰̺̥͍̜̫͔̂̄̍͂̆̕ͅr̘͖̱̤͍̰͕͗͒̽̇͋͟͠e̢͓̪̬͓̹̐̈̒̓͠s̵͍͉͓͔̲̞̳̲̑̋̏̿̈́́̕͞͡͞i̶͍̺̠̥̼͙̙̾̄̇̾̂̒̐̕ḍ̢̙̫̞̯̰̀́̐̄̓͢ͅͅę̷͍͖̻̱̈́́͐̓̏̕͢͢ǹ̴͖̥̞̗͔͌͆́̽́͆͞t̴̥̼̗̘̬͒̆̀̉̽́̓̅͌ is dead, long live the President.
 
Can someone please make a wikibox with The Assassination of President Ted Bundy?
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Now I wonder if Bundy's killer ways will ever be revealed, or if it will be an enigma for the ages ITTL

Meredith will likely go along with the "coup plotters" and their plan, and hold up a patsy in organized crime as the culprit. They'll keep the truth to themselves for as long as possible, because as soon as it comes out like I've said it'll make de-Stalization look tame by comparison. The GOP will be fatally wounded and will never be able to claim a national mandate again once their "law and order" stance is laid asunder by the fact they twice-elected a serial killer. Whoever comes into power after it goes public will be rushing to undo everything Bundy ever passed, from that nonsense English language board, eliminating the USDA, even the smallest bill will face pressure to be undone and leave him with no legacy. Even all the Article III Judges he appointed will face immense pressure to resign, and I can only speculate on what Washington State will have to do. Legal reparations to all his victims might have to be in order.
 
Meredith will likely go along with the "coup plotters" and their plan, and hold up a patsy in organized crime as the culprit. They'll keep the truth to themselves for as long as possible, because as soon as it comes out like I've said it'll make de-Stalization look tame by comparison. The GOP will be fatally wounded and will never be able to claim a national mandate again once their "law and order" stance is laid asunder by the fact they twice-elected a serial killer. Whoever comes into power after it goes public will be rushing to undo everything Bundy ever passed, from that nonsense English language board, eliminating the USDA, even the smallest bill will face pressure to be undone and leave him with no legacy. Even all the Article III Judges he appointed will face immense pressure to resign, and I can only speculate on what Washington State will have to do. Legal reparations to all his victims might have to be in order.

Not to even mention, how Bundy was known for taking "great interest" on the carnage of the Great Southern War, yet be strictly isolationist and overall doing nothing to try to end or even slow down the conflict at all. The aftermath of such revelations would destroy America's image domestically and abroad in its entirety
 
Mending Wounds or Salting Them?

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“As we mourn the death of our late president, we have reason to rejoice, because it is clear to us that with James Meredith in the white house, we have reached the culmination of our struggle for civil rights. Knowing that a civil rights advocate such as himself has been able to succeed as he has shows black people across the country that anything is possible. My husband would be proud of what our people have accomplished.” - Coretta Scott King, on behalf of the Martin Luther King foundation, after the latter’s death in 2000.
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September 15th, 2001
BREAKING: In second formal address to nation after assassination of Bundy, President James Meredith stresses racial unity, citing America’s past and recent progress to ensure true equality.
Meredith’s speech in the 16th Street Baptist Church is in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of an attack on the church during the civil right’s movement. (Read more on Page 3)



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President James Meredith never felt more stress in his life. Well, except for the time he was almost killed by a white supremacist for the crime of trying to walk across the South to Ole Miss. Nothing would come close to that.
It wasn’t even the speech on his mind, as far as he knew, he pulled it off almost flawlessly. As he sat at the Resolute Desk, another thing had been gnawing on his mind. He knew that a special commission would have to be appointed to finally settle who had killed the president. The circumstances of the president’s death, while very much public, were still shrouded in mystery, which remained even after a suspect was discovered. This made him uncomfortable, as even though he himself was technically blameless any way he looked at it, he was still guilty by association… maybe.

None of the old cabinet seemed to give him any straight answer, though some of them looked more confused than anything, like Jeffrey Skilling. It would make sense that he wouldn’t have any part in a scheme that didn’t concern him. For the sake of continuity, Meredith would maintain the former president’s Cabinet to the end of term, after which he would make his own decision over whether to run again, or whether to maintain the current makeup of the Cabinet.
He’d resigned himself to the fact that if there was something going on behind the scenes, he would just have to live with it. While he ideally would have preferred someone who would just skim over the details, many demanded an “independent and outside expert to oversee the commission”. He knew just the man: Buddy Cianci. He had met the former Mayor of Providence (a mediocrity who capitalized on the Reagan wave and lost re-election as a result of the postwar spike in crime), and current judge on the State Supreme Court, during a presidential dinner catering to donors. The man was a showman, perfect for something like this. Members of the intelligence community served as advisers for the case, hopefully leading him from realizing something was going on, probably to subtly nudge the path of the case through the timed introduction of evidence. While the agencies weren’t uncooperative, they were reluctant to bring in every relevant piece of evidence, that is unless they were specifically asked. Even assuming the assassination had nothing to do with administration officials, a sufficiently astute detective would be able to figure out that something was being hidden from public view. What that something was had been obscured to even himself, but it would implicate him and the rest of the party all the same. Of course if Buddy found out too much, there had been persistent rumors of his avid support of the sport of kings, and there were also rumors that the judge had been notoriously weak on RICO cases. If worse came to worst, Judge Cianci would know what was at stake, and that his pick was for this reason.

Donald Trump summed it up best in a closed room session shortly after the trial of the suspected attacker ended: “Who would’ve thought that fucking creep framing all those other loser murderers would work out for him in the end.” They were charged for the murders they did commit, and the ones that they didn’t. At least Ken Bianchi, Gary Ridgeway, and the others deserved to burn.
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The main suspect for the bombing of the president’s motorcade had been found rather quickly, a local man by the name of Roger French. Spotted leaving the scene of the event and actively avoiding the local cop presence on the path to his home, he was later cornered after entering a movie theater later that day, with witnesses noting that he was holstering a handgun and scanning the area nervously. After a standoff, French was disarmed and arrested by police. A raid of his home found pieces of scrap metal and assorted manuals on the handling of chemicals. Despite this, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which led the commission to continue on its way, partially to ensure there was no public doubt as to his guilt, or to his mental state.
As it worked out, Buddy Cianci was remarkably stable during the first stages of the trial. He likely wanted to make his best impression on elites in Washington, enough to find himself on the shortlist for promotion. He parsed through the evidence, and focused like a hound on proving the suspect’s motivation in his investigation. He made a show of meticulously examining evidence, and frequently stated that he would look at all the options. Obviously he wanted to be noticed. Buddy even suggested that a conspiracy was possible, especially one from an organized criminal group or a foreign actor, “but all options are possible..who knows”.

Apparently not, he backtracked on this lead, stating he was unsure if members of cartel groups in the South nor Mafiosi from the North had been involved. He further cautioned he wasn’t sure if any one group was involved at all, or if the suspect had not acted alone. Some international observers were angered, as his suggestion of foreign intervention made many assume their country was being blamed for the assassination. His remarks were condemned by everyone from the French foreign intelligence agency to the Ugandan President. Sensing the issues with off-hand remarks given the stakes involved, Cianci quickly reversed course, pointing to why the suspect was clearly a deranged lone wolf. He also became emotional and bombastic…”trying to channel the public’s rage at the loss of their leader in his statements, and wrapping up the sordid investigation swiftly and with force” (Caro, 2006). Buddy also announced he was retiring to private life “at the recommendation of my doctor’s who say that the stress and emotional pain of this event may have taken years off of my life.”

Conspiracy theorists would always point to Buddy Cianci’s odd behavior and his choice in leading the commission, but these were only theories as to the assassination of Ted Bundy. The UAW didn’t have a private army, and would be weakened by government crackdowns if their supposed plot to kill the President was revealed. Despite this, some believe they had the cause to kill the president as revenge for his behavior in 1994. As Governor, he frequently touted his campaign to clean up Union corruption and promote “cooperation” between workers and management. Bundy’s infamous breakup of the teacher’s union protest while governor of Washington did him no favors either. If the Rockefellers & the Trilateral Commision were somehow involved, they would’ve used a more discrete method like poisoning, and there is no evidence to suggest that the Rockefellers were on bad terms with the president after his election, where Bundy had done them a political service by re-shoring Republican Northeastern Strength. Moreover, White House transcripts note that he had no change in attitude towards them before his death (though there are gaps in the records, which indicates that the recordings may have been destroyed by the president himself, or by his confidante, Theodore Nguema (the latter died in mysterious circumstances shortly before President Bundy’s assassination). It was assumed that Uganda’s government would have no motive to assassinate the president either, as Bundy’s isolationism contrasted with Meredith’s later attempts to rebuild America’s reputation abroad. France had more of a motive due to the results of the Great Southern War and their supposed betrayal by the president. Despite this, there wasn’t any assurance that James Meredith wouldn’t be any more isolationist or Francophobic than Bundy.

Few doubt the identity of the man who ultimately set the trigger of the explosive, as forensic evidence of the remnants of the crudely constructed bomb matched up with materials found in the man’s home. He also refused to say he was innocent, though the commission seems to suggest that he was entirely guilty and aware of the consequences of his actions.
Clues in his past life were spotty, but what was known at the time of the investigation was that he had two kids, a daughter and a son, both of which were presumed dead, and that he was not politically active. Despite the latter fact, he was registered as a member of the Republican party until 2000. His wife had died in childbirth, leaving only his kids to care for. His daughter had gone missing several years before, and was later presumed dead, while his son had died while fighting for a volunteer American battalion during the Battle of Pretoria. Some, presumably including French, blamed Bundy for the war overseas, as well as his stern refusal to support a bill providing benefits for the family of volunteer troops who died in the war. (They weren’t working under the suzerain of the U.S. military). It is believed that he was driven to kill the president as he had nothing left to lose, though he stayed mum on the topic, being cryptic as to his intentions to the very end. Conspiracy theories still point out that the theory of French being a lone wolf has not been disproven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Cianci Commission came to the conclusion that Roger French had killed the president, that he acted alone in doing so, and that the breaches in security allowing him to place the bomb under the motorcade had been due to poor training by green members of the Secret Service. Before his execution, when asked for his last words, he muttered “I have no regrets for any of it. I had to...”

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And that was the last of it. As far as Mitt Romney knew, he had no documents left linking him to any secret meetings in which they discussed the president’s… unfortunate secret. His personal notes were shredded, and the most damning ones burned. He called all of the people he knew had attended the meetings, and whom he still could keep contact with, to keep track of what they had done with their personal notes. Nick Modi and Robert Mueller had already destroyed their documents, both burned, while Donald Trump was only contemplating it. He’d convinced him to do so anyways.
“This whole thing has been so shocking, you know Mitt? Some people, a lot of very smart people mind you, are saying that something happened, but I don’t know if there was anything.”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do I guess. It was just chance that he did not have the chance to be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law, and it’s sad to know that he was never able to pay for his crimes.”
“Sounds like a load of shit to me. Do you know what really happened?”
Romney paused for a moment. “What do you mean?”
Trump elaborated, “I remember when the last meeting occurred and we had an argument over what we should do, you said that we should bring this before Congress and I reminded everyone what that would mean. Then you said nothing about it after and when the meeting ended, you talked to that McMuffin--”
“McMullin,” said Romney.
“Yes, him. He really didn’t like me, which is weird because I’m told a lot of people like me. You and him were talking about something before we left, and as far as I can tell, there’s been no trace of him for weeks. Weeks!”
So it seemed he had some idea of what happened to him. Mitt Romney had no idea what happened to McMullin either, they had some correspondence but it was mostly non-committal on Romney’s part. What happened to him afterwards was a mystery. He didn’t bother himself with figuring out. “I don’t know Donny. I wish I did..”
They engaged in shoptalk for a few minutes before cutting off the conversation. As the conversation began winding down, he could hear Trump preparing a paper shredder in the background.

The Best and Worst of Us: Technology and Crime at the Turn of the Century: Part 1

As the nations of Africa began their slow path into the global middle class, remote areas of the continent became more accessible thanks to improvement in infrastructure. Due to lobbying from the UN by its increasingly powerful African members, the NTD (Neglected Tropical Diseases) Task Force came into being, with the goal of eradicating autochthonous diseases in the depths of Africa. Inspired by the efforts behind the eradication of smallpox in 1980, the organization went to work visiting remote areas and carrying out vaccinations in tribal villages, where infrastructure was still lacking. Helped along with infrastructure improvements like the African Autobahn, they ensured that vaccination rates remained high. First on their list was the poliovirus, which while not an NTD, had ravaged all regions of the world in the early 20th century, leaving many with the disease crippled for life, (including President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.) Rates of infection were already steadily tapering off by the 1960s, bringing the virus ever closer to eradication from human populations. As concerted vaccination and prevention campaigns came into effect, however, this began speeding up drastically. By 1995, cases were limited to Niger (in what was then Nigerian territory), Nigeria proper, the Central African Empire, Chad, Dagestan, and Peru. Eliminating polio in Niger would be one of the hardest goals for aid workers. Because of the Great Southern War, local roads and highways had been heavily damaged, especially because of raids by the Nigerian Air Force, which devastated the local environment and left the landscape pockmarked with craters. This, combined with local superstitions of the effectiveness of vaccines and of the intentions of UN aid workers, meant that the nation would not officially be declared polio-free until 2002. Nigeria was the last nation to be declared rid of polio, largely due to unfounded concerns from the air force-run junta that NGO workers were secretly working for a French-backed coup of the government. Despite political and technical hurdles, the progress of the eradication effort ended ahead of schedule. While Africa was eventually declared free of polio by 2003, the disease is still extant in isolated populations as of 2006. The worsening political situation in Latin America made it next to impossible for aid workers to safely enter affected areas in Peru. Neo-Incan terrorists groups were known to target NGOs working within the territory that they claimed. The situation worsened from there, leading the disease to be reported popping up again in Amazonia and Bolivia. While as of today, the disease is slowly subsiding there as well, the unstable situation on the ground makes it unclear how serious the situation is. The successes of the NTD task force, perhaps, should be left to the gains made in Africa. Rinderpest, a cattle disease known for causing mass culling of herds, was eradicated in 2000, and the dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm disease) was eradicated in 2004, with the help of former senator Jimmy Carter’s Carter Foundation.
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Other parts of the field of biology, however, were overlooked when it came to funding for research. Among them was the research of stem cells, cells whose functions have not been differentiated, and have the ability to adapt to become any type of cell, from muscle to nerve cells. While hailed by many scientists for their potential use to cure a variety of ailments, a heavy level of skepticism came with this new technology. While stem cells could be extracted from adults, these stem cells were limited in their adaptability. The most effective and commonly used stem cells were considered to be ones harvested from newborns (through the umbilical cord), or from human embryos, which was where the controversy began. The latter method had been the most controversial, as with a lack of regulation, scientists began creating human embryos for the sole purpose of harvesting their stem cells, before killing them when no longer useful.
Many feared the threat to newborns, and that this would be a foot in the door towards allowing the harvesting of fetal organs, something which despite being illegal, was a target on the agenda for some biologists. The issue reached the national spotlight after reports came in that fetuses which had been legally aborted due to reasons of rape or danger to the mother’s life had been given over for research purposes, especially for the experimental use of stem cells. It became obvious that this loophole would be abused in the future, which led activist groups to lobby Congress to address the issue and settle the legal grey area once and for all.
This debate came to a definitive end when a bipartisan bill on the regulation of stem cell usage was introduced in Congress by Republican Senator Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska. The bill, while brought to the floor during the presidency of Ted Bundy, was debated in the early days of Meredith’s presidency. While the bill had near universal support among Republicans, Democrats were divided on the bill, as despite being a bipartisan proposal, it was seen as a Republican bill. Some conservative Democrats who were allies of Bundy continued to support the legislation for ideological reasons, including Strom Thurmond and Bill Kristol, though others like James Carville and Al Gore Jr. were firm in their opposition of the bill, seeing the use of embryonic stem cells as a necessary step for the advancement of science. Some others saw the fight over the bill’s passage as a way to test the new president’s resolve, opposing it for the sake of interrupting the president’s agenda.
The Progressive Party was uniformly opposed to the bill, and it was one of the things which the two disparate wings of the party could agree upon. Opposition Leader Dick Lamm, of the party’s right wing, railed against the law as restrictive towards the personal liberty and privacy of an individual to choose what happens with embryos that they created, which was consistent with his support of unrestricted abortion and euthanasia. Senator Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatened a filibuster of the bill, though Majority leader Richard Lugar was able to force the bill through after a vote of cloture. The first major action of the newly minted Meredith administration was passing this bill to law, ten days into his administration.

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I feel bad for President Meredith if the conspiracy does get exposed because no matter what else he does as President there would always be questions about if Meredith was involved and it would of course shatter everyone'sconfidence and trust in elected officials
 
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Meredith nominated VP
In one of his first acts as President, James Meredith announced the selection of longtime Delaware Senator and GOP congressional leader Michael N. Castle to be Vice President. Castle, well respected in Congress, is unlikely to find serious opposition.

-Washington Post, September 17, 2001-
 
I wonder how this will impact the 2002 midterms. On the one hand, a tragedy could give Republicans a huge boost. On the other hand, there could be a whitelash against Meredith among Bundycrats similar to how there was a whitelash against Obama.
 
The Best and Worst of Us: Technology and Crime at the Turn of the Century: Part 2

Technology and Culture

”Information Systems for Modern Life” published in 2001 was a profound demonstration of the thinking during the rise of information technology. This book defined the conventional wisdom that IT would be best applied for productive purposes if it was “channeled”. “Channeled” meant that devices should have specific purposes and be centered as B-to-B products. “Power over size reductions” was a key component of thinking. This book silently killed the notion of a “HC” (home computer) from both engineering and more importantly, corporate thinking. Computing would remain attached to institutions-businesses, colleges, and governments-so as to further their missions. Engineers and their customers favored increases in engineering power over decreases in price, leaving computing devices out of the reach of the average consumer. In addition, corporations and governments funded research and technological improvements that aligned with this mode of thinking, essentially "guiding" technological progress. Because of these choices, computing power would increase vastly and more catered products would allow for advancements in Information Technology to be more swiftly translated into productivity increases for business and labor. This would be reflected in increasing American wages across the income spectrum of salaried workers, even if IT didn’t seem to show up in home life much, leaving it rather similar to previous decades outside of better picture quality on the TV [A/N: Basically the reverse of OTL where IT changed home life but labor productivity has stalled].

Corporations including IBM and Fairchild Semiconductor were on the forefront of cutting-edge research in this field, pushing the limits of processing power with large machines known as “supercomputers”. Supercomputers were known for their high processing power, which more than made up the space that they took up, as well as their high costs. Well out of the price range of mid-sized businesses or smaller colleges, the main customers for their services were mainly the military and government agencies, as well as multinational corporations. All of them saw an immediate use to the raw number-crunching abilities of their machines.
[A/N: The computer market is behind OTL because of a couple of factors, though computing technology itself is only behind by 4-6 years. The internet has yet to take off because ARPANET became the victim of successive budget cuts, before being scrapped altogether by the Bundy administration. IBM successfully maintaining a monopoly over any potential PC market has also kept competition from being able to successfully market home computers to consumers. Without government intervention, IBM’s advances remained proprietary to themselves.]

Computer networks would also remain attached to institutions, in part a reflection of the origin as guarded military networks. Networks would exist, such as AOL, FidoNet, Compuserve, but these would often be blocked off by industry, national, and treaty-defined (e.g.Concordat, Sino-Indian Pact, etc.) borders. In some ways, these networks were a sort of information superrailway. Some “railways'' were nationalized public goods, like Minitel in France, which became part of French national pride, and among the most advanced in the world. This would be a big motivator in France’s leap into becoming a technological powerhouse on equal footing with Japan and the U.S. While American and Canadian Networks were private affairs, they were all required by law to be interconnected, and so P.M. Broadbent stressed towards the successive Bundy and Meredith administrations of the need to link both nations’ systems together. IBM and the like would push for more international integration, so as to broaden their customer base, but with little success, partially due to the lack of international agreement and lack of compatibility between systems. Industrial and business networks were far less defined by borders, however, so theoretically, if one had important information, it could pass through enough channels to reach the right individual. However, to do so one would have to have a variety of resources and permissions, and that information would have to have a purpose, most often monetary. Bandwidth even intra-network was usually limited, and so only the simplest of pictures and smaller blocks of text could be sent.

Banks would explore the possibility of online, virtual businesses transactions, especially for regular inventory purchases for malls and other high end stores. These were marketed to those who had the access and the leisure to do such, a luxury option for wealthy credit card customers. They were touted as safer and more secure than even the best Swiss bank account. However, these virtual transaction sites would come under attack by phishers, and other petty criminals who would steal the money virtually or use these portals to launder ill-obtained cash. In one case, Will Smith’s account was found to have been stolen from AND used to launder money to an Ecuadorian Cartel associated with Neo-Inca groups. The organization later released a mocking promotional video setting Smith’s music to the background of activities of the cartel. This would lead to a media panic that would become so frenzied it itself would become the subject of numerous documentaries and hour-long news reports, increasing public interest in insurgent groups in Latin America and their activities. The public outcry from the incident, however, led most banks to shy away from the idea as a whole for several more years.

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Another case, however, would be more informative. ANTICO, a militia formed in the aftermath of World War Three in opposition to Eastern European immigrants and neo-communists, had re-emerged with a mostly leftist bent, and consisted of young activists. This incarnation gained infamy on January 10th, 2002. On that date, they committed the brazen kidnapping of Warren Buffet, the famous wealthy investor, and lower-level employee Monica Lewinsky, (the latter would later become synonymous with being in the wrong place at the wrong time), on the streets of New York City. The search for the famous billionaire and his employee would soon come to grip the nation. Hotlines were flooded with people thinking they had seen either the getaway car, Lewinsky, or the alleged suspects. Eventually, deploying the full weight of the FBI in the first major crisis of his administration, James Meredith ordered a manhunt of the perpatrators. Buffett would eventually be found in southwest Virginia, hidden in a remote safehouse. His kidnappers, ANTICO thugs, poorly edited their hostage video, meaning the sound of a local radio ad could be heard from a passing car. The video was not released to the media out of fear that a listener would come to the same conclusion that the FBI had. It did not take long for the sound to be identified, narrowing the search region immensely. The Feds then came and rescued Mr. Buffett a week later. Lewinsky, fearful in the moment and having been “gifted” with the riches her boss had on his person, had apparently been brainwashed, even appearing in the second hostage video, unrestricted in her movements, before disappearing from the scene. (Later in a shootout with law enforcement, it was claimed that she fed them ammunition). Mr. Buffett would sadly be shattered from the entire experience, never recovering from the trauma of the ordeal. He would retreat to a hermit’s life, withdrawing from his business ventures and slowly giving his fortune away to charity. When he died in 2018, he fulfilled his goal of dying nearly penniless, leaving several charities and foundations to his name.

While the incident had an immense cultural impact, it also had impacts in other fields. One of the more important of them was to technology, due to the famed use of the "chatterroom". The members of the cell who had committed this attack were mostly college students from assorted colleges in New York State. They coordinated their efforts using the college’s computers, avoiding suspicion through the use of coded messaging. The public backlash brought by the Warren Buffett fiasco led concerned citizen groups across the country to call for restrictions in the usage of these devices for each student, and for such devices to be used only for purposes directly related to education. Further investigation found texts like The Anarchist’s Cookbook, among other tracts for would-be radicals, among things shared between agents of the terrorist cell. These citizen activist groups feared that the ease in which such information could be spread, coordinated in the dangerous ability to coordinate attacks without face-to-face interaction, would lead to a spike in organized crime and in terrorist activities. As a result of this growing movement to prevent groups from ANTICO from utilizing technology for heinous means, universities began to place restrictions on person-to-person sharing outside of the network, and began heavy monitoring of student activity, even if it came at the cost of privacy or hampered communication. Despite protests by pro-free speech groups, these changes would stay the norm for computer networks for several years to come.
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The Legacy of Ted Bundy

Conspiracy theories about the Bundy assassination would continue for many years after his death, even after the Cianci Commission reached its final conclusion. Such theories are still somewhat popular, with 40% of Americans believing that the official conclusion of the Cianci Commission was not true and obscuring a hidden motive. Bundy’s tragic death stuck with many Americans, and left many Americans with a rather rosy picture of his presidency. In addition, his "wheeling and dealing", "tri-partisanship",and "focus on modernization" while often verging on the absurd or corrupt left most of the general public with at least one Bundy policy they "liked", if asked. As a result, his administration has retrospectively been seen as beyond the realm of criticism, regardless of the actions of his administration, and attempts by the Republican Party itself to break from the image of Ted Bundy. Despite all this, many Americans across the political aisle still idealize Bundy as America’s best president since Rumsfeld.
Bundy’s presidency and his sudden death had left a massive impact on the American zeitgeist, marking the end of the relatively optimistic 90s and the beginning of the more turbulent 2000s. For this reason, most contemporary observers place the true beginning of the 21st century on September 11th, 2001. Bundy has had a more mixed reputation among presidential historians, who focus on his antagonism of members of his party base, his frequent gaffes, and his known misogyny. There are also (as-of-yet unsubstantiated) claims that he was unfaithful to his wife, that he had a short temper, and that he treated his staffers poorly.

There are those who claim that Bundy had been killed to silence him before he did something which would hurt very powerful people, pointing to Buddy Cianci’s suggestion as to such during the Cianci Commission’s hearings. Some claim that he was in the process of announcing a plan to break up the military-industrial complex once and for all, while others claim it was caused by conflict between himself and his cabinet, citing the apparent suicide of Bundy loyalist Alex Jones. Some other conspiracy theorists believe that any of a number of actors ranging from the French foreign intelligence agency to South American cartels to the Rockefeller family, possibly working together, did the president in. Despite this, there is little evidence to believe any of these claims were true. After James Meredith’s retirement from politics, he was later called to testify in a hearing reviewing the results of the Cianci Commission. Meredith later said under oath that he was not aware of any attempt to kill his predecessor, and would not have supported such a plot if he knew one existed. Other members of the Bundy administration including: Commerce Secretary Jeffrey Skilling, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, and Chief of Staff Bob Dornan. Besides some notable exclusions, like Mitt Romney, Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, and John McCain, the testimonies of these key administration officials and allies have finally set to rest many of these conspiracy theories, including military intervention. Despite that, many on the fringes still actively dispute the official evidence.
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So, no internet then? Well, I'd be severely deprived ITTL.

Wait, is Monica Lewinsky supposed to be the Patty Hearst of this TL? Wow, she really has no luck regardless of reality.

Liking how the Bundy assassination has all the conspiracy theory mystique Kennedy does IOTL.
 
So, no internet then? Well, I'd be severely deprived ITTL.

Wait, is Monica Lewinsky supposed to be the Patty Hearst of this TL? Wow, she really has no luck regardless of reality.

Liking how the Bundy assassination has all the conspiracy theory mystique Kennedy does IOTL.

Thanks and yeah, Monica Lewinsky has no luck
 
I wonder how this will impact the 2002 midterms. On the one hand, a tragedy could give Republicans a huge boost. On the other hand, there could be a whitelash against Meredith among Bundycrats similar to how there was a whitelash against Obama.

Meredith will be different than Bundy but his time in the whitehouse has changed him in some ways from OTL.... Castle is an open arm to the types of country club R's that Bundy won over in key states but not overall in '00 to deliver the EC landslide/close PV election. As far as the Bundycrats, they're nostalgic for 'Ole Ted, take from that what you will...
 
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