Hypocrisy Alert - President Bush Calls Candidate Bush (Himself) Unpatriotic!

From ThinkProgress:

Candidate Bush Would ‘Sing The Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish’ At Hispanic Festivals

President Bush,

I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.

But in his book American Dynasty, Kevin Phillips notes that during Bush’s first presidential campaign, he would often sing the national anthem in Spanish. From pg. 142:

When visiting cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, in pivotal states, he would drop in at Hispanic festivals and parties, sometimes joining in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Spanish, sometimes partying with a “Viva Bush” mariachi band flown in from Texas.

And let's not forget this (also from ThinkProgress):

VIDEO: Bush Waves The Mexican Flag

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets all across the nation to protest right-wing immigration proposals. As Media Matters has documented, the fact that some demonstrators carry the Mexican flag has elicited the ire of conservative pundits. For example, Robert Novak has said:

I am no hard-liner on immigration who wants to expel 11 million illegal immigrants, but flags are a symbol of national identity. The student brandishing the Mexican flag signals divided loyalty or perhaps loyalty to a foreign power.

But President Bush himself has publicly brandished the Mexican flag. ThinkProgress has obtained a copy of a five-minute ad that the 2004 Bush campaign distributed to Hispanic supporters. In the ad, Bush can be seen waving a Mexican flag while embracing a young girl. (Watch the full ad HERE.)

What Novak and others fail to understand is that carrying the flag is not a sign of divided loyalty but a demonstration of an American value — understanding and appreciating immigrant culture.

Ellis (Once Again) Disappointed With His Party...

Senator Mike Ellis says he expected Assembly Republicans from his area to vote for his ethics reform bill.

The Neenah Republican said he expected Fox Valley Republicans Steve Wieckert, Gregg Underheim and Dean Kaufert to vote in favor of bringing Senate Bill One to the Assembly floor on Tuesday. That didn't happen, and Ellis said he was disappointed.

Let's remember that, almost universally, our local Republican Assembly Reps do not want to behave ethically...

As the Northwestern termed it:

In face of reform, Wisconsin prefers to be a corrupt state

Voters should demand that their politicians explain their lack of accountability. State Rep. Terri McCormick's hand went up when she was one of two representatives who wanted a vote for SB1. Oshkosh state Rep. Gregg Underheim and town of Nekimi state Rep. Carol Owens didn't raise their hands. That means they took the position of supporting the culture of corruption that exists.

It should have read: "In face of reform, Wisconsin Republicans prefer to be a corrupt state" - Wisconsin Democrats in the Assembly were fighting to bring this to the floor.

State Assembly Debating Ethics Reform
The State Assembly is currently debating ethics reform on the floor of the State Assembly.

So far, only Rep. Terri McCormick has joined Democrats in speaking for pulling SB-1 to be placed on the Assembly calendar.

If the pulling motion passes, the bill will be up for a vote today. If not, for all essential purposes, ethics reform is dead.

UPDATE: At 5:35 pm, the motion FAILED on a vote of 45-51. The GOP killed ethics reform.

Make sure you ask all candidates where they stand on SB1.

Jeffery Hall, Sculptor

WOW! This guy's good (but not me).


Cut My Taxes? YES! Cut Government Spending? NO!

From WisPolitics:

Taxes has ranked No. 1 in 11 out of 14 polls conducted by St. Norbert/WPR, and has never ranked lower than third. However, the percentage of people listing taxes as the biggest problem has varied widely – from a low of 14 percent in October 1996 to a high of 54 percent in March 2003, with the latest poll in April showing that 26 percent of respondents ranked taxes as the state’s biggest problem. Economy and jobs (15 percent), education (12 percent) and health care (10 percent) were next in line. Government budget and spending ranked seventh on the “biggest problem” list at 5 percent

If taxes are the biggest problem, shouldn’t government budget and spending levels be close behind? Not in the minds of those responding to the poll. Apparently, people are not making the connection that one drives the other.

Wisconsin citizens love to complain about taxes in the abstract, much like they gripe about the weather. But when it comes to doing something drastic to reduce taxes, they’re not so sure they want to live with the consequences.

Appleton Post-Crescent: "That's no way to run a legislature"

The editorial is here:

Editorial: A bad day in Assembly is bad for all of us
Just when you thought you'd probably seen the worst the state Legislature had to offer, along came Thursday — and early Friday.

Specifically, the Republicans who hold the majority in the Assembly gave us two more reasons to believe they're in their jobs for themselves and not their constituents.

They rejected an ethics reform bill out of the public eye in a closed party caucus — just take a moment to consider the irony of that. Then, they passed a hastily concocted resolution to amend the state constitution — the state constitution! — in the middle of the night.

We've said it before and, sadly, we must say it again: That's no way to run a legislature.

The shenanigans started when Assembly Republicans went into their caucus — a closed meeting — to discuss a bill that would merge the state Ethics and Elections boards into a Government Accountability Board. The new board would have stronger enforcement authority and more resources to use it.

Critics of the bill within that group said they're opposed to it because they're afraid of the prosecutorial powers it allows. They're afraid of an investigator going on a witch hunt against a legislator.

One of them, Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, also said the bill hadn't gotten enough public input. This despite that fact that it was introduced in January 2005 and was the subject of two public hearings since. Gundrum's call for a task force to study the bill sounds more like stonewalling.

Things got heated and personal in the caucus, those who were there told the media. Sen. Michael Ellis, R-Neenah, the bill's author, and Rep. Steve Freese, R-Dodgeville, who pushed for the bill and another campaign finance reform bill he authored, were the main targets.

There's no love lost between Ellis, the Legislature's most vocal force for reform, and legislators who want things to stay as they are. And the bill's chances in the caucus certainly weren't helped by the 8th District congressional primary race between Assembly Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, and Rep. Terri McCormick, R-Greenville, the bill's lead Assembly sponsor.

In the end, a vote in the caucus was nearly unanimous against bringing the bill to the full Assembly.

Later in the day, the Assembly met in session, with Gard on a mission to pass some version — any version, apparently — of the Taxpayers Protection Amendment.

A stricter version that limits revenue for state and local government spending failed that night, but a weaker version that only sets limits on growth of the state's general fund passed 50-48 — at 4:35 a.m. Friday.

In fact, the entire resolution was discussed, amended and voted on in the span of about four hours in the middle of the night.

It's funny that Gundrum didn't object to a lack of a public hearing this time. Well, it's only the state constitution, right?

So a resolution that could set the course for a new constitutional amendment — it would have to pass the Assembly and Senate twice before going to a statewide referendum — was started by a slim majority of bleary-eyed legislators who will say they did it for "the taxpayers."

Come on. The Republican caucus killed the ethics and elections bill to try to keep their jobs the way they are now. And 50 legislators voted for the Taxpayers Protection Amendment well after bar time and without the public knowing about it in advance to try to keep their jobs.

That's our Legislature at work. It has most certainly had better days.

In Interesting Analysis of Satire and Stephen Colbert

Here is a sample quote, but I encourage you to read it all here:

That's what made the audience at the Correspondents' dinner so deadly silent. Colbert made not-very-exaggerated statements that could easily have come out of the mouths of any pompous reporter or Republican flunky, statements that not only made the press and the administration look silly, but also hubristic, heedless, weak, and even murderous. Those of us who were not implicated by his speech could laugh freely at it. I didn't vote for this administration, and I certainly haven't enabled it through silence. Colbert embodied all those whose ambition, toadyism, and cowardice fuel Bush's whims, while also making it clear that only the "backwash" of Americans support his work as President anyway. To laugh at Colbert as a blowhard is to recognize the evil that his kind of blowhardery enables.

Polls Stay in Dem Territory

USA Today Poll:

The poll showed Democrats leading 54%-39% among registered voters who were asked which party they would prefer in a congressional race.

Forti also noted that the poll showed 59% of respondents said their own representative deserves to be re-elected. However, poll data show that's the lowest percentage since 1994, when Republicans won control of Congress from the Democrats.

Some Details:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?
Approve 34%
Disapprove 63%
No opinion 3%

I never understand the 'they are all bad except my guy' mentallity in politics:

Please tell me whether you think each of the following political office-holders deserves to be reelected, or not.
A. The U.S. Representative in your Congressional District

Yes, deserves 59%
No, does not 26%
No opinion 14%

B. Most members of Congress
Yes, deserves 38%
No, does not 53%
No opinion 10%

I'd like to ask you about your member of Congress and most members of Congress. Would you say that your member of Congress is…?
A. Focused on the needs of special interests, or focused on the needs of the constituents in your district

Your Member
Special interests 40%
Constituents 48%
No opinion 12%

Most Members
Special Interests 65%
Constituents 30%
No opinion 6%

B. Generally out of touch with average Americans or generally in touch
Your Member
Out of touch 38%
In touch 55%
No opinion 7%

Most Members
Out of touch 77%
In touch 22%
No opinion 1%


Regardless of how you, yourself, plan to vote, which party do you think will win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Congressional elections this fall?
Republicans 39%
Democrats 52%
No opinion 9%

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them.

The Republican Party
Favorable 36%
Unfavorable 58%

No opinion 5%

The Democratic Party
Favorable 48%
Unfavorable 45%
No opinion 8%

Look at this - People think that Republicans are good at 'Staying true to core Republican values' - but disapprove of all those values:

How would you rate the job the Republican Party is doing on these issues?
Staying true to core Republican values
Very good/ good 59%
Very poor/ poor 36%
No opinion 5%

Providing leadership from the presidency and executive branch
Very good/ good 43%
Very poor/ poor 55%
No opinion 2%

Providing leadership from Congress
Very good/ good 42%
Very poor/ poor 56%
No opinion 3%

Managing the war in Iraq
Very good/ good 34%
Very poor/ poor 64%
No opinion 2%

Offering solutions to the most important issues facing the nation
Very good/ good 33%
Very poor/ poor 64%
No opinion 2%

Putting country's interests ahead of their own political interests
Very good/ good 28%
Very poor/ poor 70%
No opinion 2%

Working with the Democrats in Washington to get things done
Very good/ good 27%
Very poor/ poor 70%
No opinion 2%

Dealing with corruption in government
Very good/ good 26%
Very poor/ poor 72%
No opinion 3%


Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn't apply to George W. Bush.

Picks good people for key leadership positions
Applies 41%
Doesn’t apply 56%

Is honest and trustworthy
Applies 41%
Doesn’t apply 56%

Shares your values
Applies 40%
Doesn’t apply 58%

Cares about the needs of people like you
Applies 38%
Doesn’t apply 61%

Can manage the government effectively
Applies 37%
Doesn’t apply 62%


Quote of the Day - Gore is the Man Edition

When asked at a screening of his film in Washington this week what he would say to Bush’s claim that global warming needs further study, Gore quipped, “I hope he finds the real killer,” adding quickly, “I shouldn’t have said that.”

More Warantless Searches

WASHINGTON - The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday.

It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge's approval or a grand jury subpoena.

Krugman on Health Insurance:

Taken together, these stories tell the tale of a health care system that's driving a growing number of Americans into financial ruin, and in many cases kills them through lack of basic care. (The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that lack of health insurance leads to 18,000 unnecessary American deaths — the equivalent of six 9/11's — each year.) Yet this system actually costs more to run than we would spend if we guaranteed health insurance to everyone.

Read it all here (subscription required).

Mission Accomplished!

Today in History:

President George W. Bush landed in a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast and, in a speech to the nation, declared major combat in Iraq over.