Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


The Center for American Progress has a great archive of President Bush's many "flip-flops" on issues.

I've posted this link before, but they've added more since then. Also, it's worth repeating the number of inconsistencies this president has had in just the past few years.

Bush Now Saying 'We Will Win' Terror War.

"We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win."


"I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." -President Bush speaking about the war on terrorism.

If you're a supporter of the president, try this once. Read that quote, and imagine John Kerry's name was attached to it. You can only imagine how Dick Cheney, echoed by the Limbaughs, and Hannitys would savage him for that comment.

The Heavenly Convention: Is God a Republican?

Here's an an amusing and truthful take on the religious right from Mark Fiore. He's the one who brought you Minister of Fear.


The Republican National Convention kicks off next week.

What's amazing is the prime time lineup. Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, George Pataki, Arnold Schwarzenegger are all speaking in prime time and they're all moderates.. er I mean RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). Are they going to strap the reactionary right-wing delegates to their seats during these speeches?

I guess I wouldn't expect to hear much in terms of their support of abortion rights, gay rights, and such from those speakers. Instead, we're sure to hear a lot of feel good rhetoric about how they're the real big tent party. Meanwhile, the platform is sure to call for all sorts of social conservative initiatives, although there has been a push for a so-called "unity plank" to satisfy the RINOs.

Regarding the schism between the platform and the lineup of speakers, Log Cabin Republican activist Christopher Barron had this to say:

"You can't craft a vicious, mean-spirited platform and then put lipstick on the pig by putting Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger on in prime time."


Atrios clearly and concisely explains the difference between Political Action Committees (PACs) (e.g. MoveOn PAC) and the so-called 527 groups (e.g. Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth").

It's an important distinction, because PACs are subject to strict fundraising restrictions and disclosure requirements.


Poll: Bush and Kerry tied in Harris County, Texas (Houston).

While there's little doubt that the president will carry his home state, I was intrigued by this one which I found on the Texans for Kerry site.

The Cost of the Iraq War up to the moment.

$134,560,208,393 at the time of this post. takes a closer look at the War Medals of George W. Bush.

What you see may shock you.

On a more serious note, an article in USA Today yesterday pointed out that President Bush hasn't released nearly all of his military records, and questions remain about his service.

Contrary to what the right-wing echo chamber would have you believe, Sen. John Kerry released his military records months ago and they are readily available on his campaign website.

I'd rather write about actual issues than who served where, when and how. However, since the swift boat group with the help of the media has made this the focus these past few weeks, it's difficult to avoid the matter.

There are also those on the left and right blaming all this on John Kerry for giving his military service such a high profile in the campaign. I'm doubtful that John O'Neill and his group wouldn't have put this together regardless of how Kerry chose to highlight or not highlight his service and statements regarding the war in Vietnam.

The full transcript of Sen. John Kerry speaking to United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations on April 22, 1971.

The latest attack ad against Kerry takes his testimony out of context and doesn't mention that the disturbing details he discussed were accounts given to him by other veterans who had returned from the war Vietnam.


Feingold criticizes Bush over McCain-Feingold

As Sen. Russ Feingold points out, the goal of the new campaign finance law is to get outside groups to register as Political Action Committees (PACs), but not to ban the speech itself. President Bush has said this week he wants to get rid of all outside advertising.

As Atrios points out, this new hard line Bush is touting on political advertising is in direct contrast to his past position on the issue, and how his own campaigns have operated.


I just came from the John Edwards block party over at Milwaukee's Humboldt Park. It was well attended, and the crowd was enthusiastic and patient considering many waited hours for the band to stop and the speeches to begin. The gates opened at 4:30, but the speeches didn't get underway until around 7:00. Mayor Tom Barrett opened up, and introduced Cate Edwards who in turn introduced her father.

The speech itself was the standard Edwards stump speech many are used to hearing. It appears the Kerry people are keeping him strictly on message and not letting him go off script. Therefore, it was a little disappointing having to cheer for the same lines we've heard again and again. It makes you realize how political campaigns have become more like commercials that pound a message home to consumers so they won't forget it.

Since the story this past week has been largely about these swift boat ads, Edwards spent about 10 minutes condemning the group and calling on President Bush to do the same. Yesterday, the Kerry campaign released a new video on its site likening these ads to the tactics used against Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary. It's obvious they want to beat this issue back and respond. It's risky in that you don't want the Bush campaign and their surrogates to define the debate, but Al Gore was widely criticized in 2000 for not responding to attacks and the Dems obviously don't want to repeat that mistake.


Anti-Kerry vets not there that day by William Rood for the Chicago Tribune.

Rood is an editor for the Trib, and was the only officer other than Kerry to witness the events the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" are disputing.

This comes on the heels of the Washington Post article which discredits the information given in negative ads and a book about Kerry's service in Vietnam. On Friday, the New York Times ran a story laying out all the various links between the swift boat group and the Bush campaign.

Kerry himself also filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Election Commission saying the group has ties to the Bush campaign. The FEC decision probably won't come for some time. The point of the filing is simple. It sends a message to the public that Bush is linked with the swift boat group behind the ad campaign. Bush has had many opportunities to distance himself from the group and condemn the ads, and he may soon regret not doing so.

Throughout his career, Kerry has had to deal with negative attacks regarding his service in Vietnam, and particularly his efforts to end the war after he returned. Those attacks have always backfired, and I suspect this one will be no different.


Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads


Military records counter a Kerry critic

Hello truth, good to see you. In case you missed it, this is the article from the Washington Post today in which Larry Thurlow's accusations about John Kerry's military service are discredited.

Thurlow commanded a swift boat in Vietnam and recently swore in an affidavit that Kerry's boat did not come under fire when he rescued Jim Rassmann from the river leading to his bronze star.

By filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the Post was able to retrieve some of Thurlow's military records which state that they did in fact come under fire. I especially like this sentence in the article, which says it all:

(Thurlow) said he was unwilling to authorize release of his military records because he feared attempts by the Kerry campaign to discredit him and other anti-Kerry veterans.


Appalachia pays price for rule change

If you want an example of just how much of a difference a President can make in terms of damaging the environment, here's a case in point. Mountaintop removal, as it has become known, is the process whereby coal is extracted from a mountain by wiping it bare of foliage and then blasting away at the rock until the mountain is essentially no more.

As the article points out, this practice was common for years until concerns were raised about the damage to waterways particularly around West Virginia where 700 miles of mountain streams were buried. Lawsuits began flying and the practice was dramatically scaled back within the industry.

A 2002 rule change by the Bush Administration reclassified all the debris from "waste" to "fill." They get points for creativity on this one. Unfortunately, what has already happened in West Virginia is going to spread around the country until we have more elected officials, particularly in the White House, that take environmental issues seriously.

GOP lawmaker reverses stance about Iraq war. The unexpected four-page statement came from Rep. Doug Bereuter of Nebraska, who until earlier this month was the vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee -- a panel that reviewed much of the evidence the administration cited before going to war. (source:


Alan Keyes to Illinois voters: Elect me and you'll never have to again.

The Marylander turned temporary Illinoisan said he'd like the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution repealed so that US Senators are once again appointed by state legislatures.

Rolling back the right for voters to choose their own Senators is outdated and undemocratic. The push to elect Senators occurred during the progressive era in order to remove the widespread corruption that infested state legislatures when they chose who to send to the US Senate.

Keyes' website is live now so you can peruse his other wacky views on issues.


Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush:
John Kerry saved my life. Now his heroism is being questioned.

Jim Rassmann wrote this piece for the Wall Street Journal this week, and I couldn't in good conscience let it fade away unnoticed.

Just keep in mind it's garbage like the swift boat ad that serves to distract voters from stories like the one in the previous post.

CBO Report: Bush Tax Cuts Tilted to Rich

According to the Congressional Budget Office (remember the Republicans control both houses of Congress now), a full 1/3 of the president's tax cuts have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans (those earning more than $1.2 million a year), and 2/3 went to the top 20 percent of income earners (those earning more than $203,740 a year). Congressional analysts said the report indicates the tax burden is increasingly shifting to middle-income taxpayers.

I agree with Admin over at Blah 3 who predicts the conservative echo chamber will cry "class warfare" like they always do. Well, here's the president in his own words:

"Let me finish please. But by far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum. And this language about Governor Bush's only has tax cuts for the rich, sounds exactly like Al Gore. -George W. Bush during the 2000 Rebublican debate in South Carolina.


Saudis try to calm oil prices, deny politics involved.

Now why would we think there were politics involved? Silly us.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." -President Bush on 5/1/2003

"Major operations to destroy the militia have begun," -U.S. Marine Maj. David Holahan, executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment in a Fox News story today.

"I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war. And I'm not going to be sending mixed signals."
-President Bush at yesterday's 'Ask President Bush' event.

My head hurts.

Driver to cop: "Arrest me, I'm drunk."

I saw this last night, and found it amusing.

Granny D Seeks New Hampshire Senate Seat

Doris "Granny D" Haddock is the 94-year-old woman who walked across the country to promote campaign finance reform five years ago at the age of 89. Now she's looking to unseat Sen. Judd Gregg in the Live Free or Die state. It's a longshot for sure in the Republican top-heavy state, but an inspiring story.


Thanks go out to Riverwest Currents for listing Brewtown Politico on its site.

Be sure and check out the community voice of Milwaukee's left bank for actual news about the city of Milwaukee and the riverwest neighborhood, something the local daily is sorely lacking.

Bush says national sales tax worth considering

Wrong, wrong, wrong. If anything, sales taxes need to be eliminated, not the other way around. Unlike the income tax, the sales tax is a regressive tax, meaning it disproportionately affects lower and middle income earners. Also, sales taxes are a pain in the ass for small businesses to deal with since different counties and municipalities within a state often have different rates.

On a related note, for those conservatives and libertarians who still believe the flat tax is a good idea, you need to go back and actually read Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations which endorsed a system of progressive taxation:

"The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state ....[As Henry Home (Lord Kames) has written, a goal of taxation should be to] 'remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich." -Adam Smith.

Krugman vs. O'Reilly -- my clips by Jim Gilliam.

After Bill O'Reilly produced a highlight reel of his appearance for the Factor, Gilliam figured he'd put together one as well. He is also the co-producer of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism.

There's much more O'Reilly than Krugman shown, but it's fun to watch him melt down on his own without the ability to cut off the other guy's microphone.

Requires Quicktime. Link from Metafilter.


“Tribal sovereignty means that. It's sovereign. You're a … you're a ... you've been given sovereignty and you're viewed as a sovereign entity.” -President Bush responding to a question about what tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century.

This reminds me of one of those times back in grade school when I didn't read the book I was to report on, and tried to speak about it based on the book's title. Statements like the one above are the consequence of having a President who is not intellectually curious.


Alan Keyes kicked off his bid for US Senate in Chicago Sunday after announcing he would accept the Illinois GOP's offer to move there and run.

This race has only been interesting to follow when we haven't known who the Republican candidate is. Now that we know it's Keyes, and that he's going to get trounced by Barack Obama, there's not much to say.

Keyes is obviously doing this to keep himself relevant. Maybe he'll get a cable television talk show out of the deal.

The Illinois GOP is in a sorry state though if this is what party leaders had to resort to, especially considering the retiring incumbant, Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, is a Republican.


"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." -President George W. Bush

Did he misspeak or did the truth slip out? It's still up on the White House website for all to see. A co-worker of mine already received this one via email today so I figured I'd assist in its circulation.

First spotted at the Vast Dairy State Conspiracy.


Back in dairyland, the battle to be Wisconsin's next US Senator is still going on. The four candidates vying to face Sen. Russ Feingold in November squared off in Madison at an event sponsored by the local rotary club.

In case you're unaware (which is easy considering the surprisingly low profile this race has had), the candidates are Robert Lorge, State Sen. Bob Welch, Tim Michels, and Russ Darrow. They reportedly traded barbs about why they don't like Feingold while not taking many shots at each other. According to what's surely an unbiased poll by the Darrow campaign, Darrow leads the pack with 44% support. I actually do think Darrow will be the likely candidate, although he's certainly not the most articulate. Welch, Lorge, and Michels better come up with a strategy to take out the auto dealer soon.

While Feingold will likely never win with Herb Kohl like numbers in a Senate race, I believe he will pull this one out with a wider margin of victory than he had against Mark Neumann in 1998. First of all, independent voters and many Republicans like Feingold for his votes against the USA Patriot Act, and the extension of the assault weapons ban. All the Republicans, particularly Darrow, have repeatedly criticized Feingold for his vote on the Patriot Act which I think will turn out to be a major strategic error.

Also, I expect John Kerry will win Wisconsin in the presidential race, and I foresee Feingold picking up more crossover votes from independents and Republicans than Kerry come November.

Illinois Republicans Pick Keyes in Senate Race

I guess losing presidential races isn't enough for Alan. As rumored here the other day, Illinois Republicans are in the process of drafting the failed presidential candidate into moving to flatlander territory to run for the US Senate.

Keyes reportedly will make his decision by Sunday on whether to accept the offer to run. His statement on Sen. Clinton's 2000 Senate bid probably won't help him gain support less than three months before the election.

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it."
-Alan Keyes


Warm Bread - Bush's grim poll numbers.

William Saletan summarizes how the polls continue to be bad news for the President. In addition to speaking to the ins and outs of the latest poll data, he takes readers back to February. Since February, Bush's top score in a trial heat is 48% in the ABC poll, and 46% in the CBS and American Research Group polls.

Read the article if you want to geek out on the numbers, but the data indicate that there has been a definite ceiling to the President's support since the Democratic primaries. The Bush/Cheney campaign is definitely worried about their re-election prospects whether they want to admit it or not.

Ralph Nader's platform revealed... by the Onion.

Will Ferrell is back playing President Bush, at least in this funny little promo for America Coming Together.

This has made the rounds a little bit, but I first watched it tonight. Requires Quicktime or Windows Media Player.


Material Behind New U.S. Alert is Years Old

Oh this should instill the public's confidence in an intelligence community with an already tarnished reputation. In other words, we have three-four year old information about possible attacks in New York and Washington. Congratulations! It appears we've just uncovered the 9/11 attacks.

Link courtesy of Metafilter.

Kerry, Bush supporters scuffle at event.

Darn. If I had known there was going to be rumbling, I would've taken off work to attend that rally.

It is interesting though just how much some on both sides of the fence despise the other. I've got a Kerry bumper sticker on my car, and have been taunted on more than one occasion by some jerk who didn't see things my way.

The stakes are high in this race, but I still believe civilized debate is possible even with the level of passion that's evident among both Bush and Kerry supporters.

Don't hate the other side, people. Just feel sorry for Bush supporters since their brains obviously never fully developed. Kidding! Kidding!


Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry sails into Milwaukee, stands on bow and declares himself "King of the world!"

Scrap that last part, but he did strike the pose according to the AP story. Also, he sailed in on the fancy new high speed ferry right into my neighborhood.

While I didn't make the rally personally today, I'm sure there will be many more to come in the next three months leading up to Election Day. Wisconsin hasn't gone for a Republican in the Electoral College since Walter Mondale got owned by Ronald Reagan in 1984. With turnout expected to be high, I'm confident Wisconsin will retain its "blue" status again this year.

The Illinois Republican Party is supposed to announce their first, second, third choice for the US Senate race tomorrow.

The latest buzz comes from the Sun-Times which reports state GOP leaders have been secretly trying to convince Alan Keyes to move to Illinois to run against Democratic rock star Barack Obama.