Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 75)
Era Of Responsibility Edition
to Top Ten No. 75! We took a week off last week for the holiday,
but an awful lot has happened since then. First off, George
W. Bush (1) has gotten himself into a spot of bother over
allegations that he engaged in the very practices he wants
to send other CEOs to jail for. Whoops! And Dubya's veep/puppetmaster
Dick Cheney (2) is also fighting allegations of corporate
wrongdoing. Why aren't we surprised? Meanwhile, Right-Wing
Spinbastards (3) are falling over themselves to blame Bill
Clinton's penis. Again, no surprises there. Further down the
list you can make friends with one of the candidates for Surgeon
General, Richard Carmona (8). Just don't be surprised if he
shoots first, shoots second, and then asks questions.
Finally we have to give credit to Jay Dickey (10) the world's
worst media manipulator. Enjoy, and as usual, here's the key.
The chickens appear to be coming home to roost for Dubya.
Faced with a barrage of questions over his dubious dealings
as a board member of Harken Energy, the Responsibility President
has only been able to offer vague accounts of missing paperwork,
incompetent lawyers, and last week finally resorted
to plain ignorance (a craft at which he is frighteningly adept):
"I still haven't figured it out completely." One
day later, Bush delivered a poorly received speech
to Wall Street executives. Mangling hollow promises and empty
rhetoric, Bush managed to remain curiously straight-faced
as he berated crooked CEOs for engaging in the same shady
business practices that he did back when his daddy was president.
The speech managed to tank the stock market and was widely
panned by political analysts. Hypocrisy, thy name is George
W. Bush. Looking back, we found this campaign
speech Dubya made in 2000, when he vowed to usher America
into a new "era of responsibilty." The buck stops
here? Harry Truman must be writhing in his grave.
So - if George W. Bush is promising stiff new penalties for
crooked CEO's, will he soon be throwing his veep in jail?
If the allegations of Dick Cheney's involvement in Halliburton's
fraudulent accounting are true, surely the Responsibility
President will be happy to return honor and integrity
to the White House by putting away another corporate criminal!
Judicial Watch, the group who famously filed lawsuits against
the Clinton administration, have now set their sights on Bush's
house of crooks, and Dick Cheney is currently the number one
suspect. Judicial Watch filed suit against ex-Halliburton
CEO Cheney and other board members last week, alleging
deliberate accounting scams and securities fraud - exactly
the kind of corporate crime that Dubya says he wants to throw
dirty execs in jail for. (Incidentally, Halliburton's accoutants
were - you guessed it - Arthur Andersen. Here's
the hilarious promotional video of Crashcart talking about
the "good advice" he gets from them.)
As George W. Bush himself said in the 2000 campaign speech
linked above, "For too long our culture has sent this
message: if it feels good, do it. And if you've got a problem,
just go ahead and blame somebody else. Each of us must understand
that's not right." Wonderful sentiments. So now the economy
is in tatters, corporate multimillionaires are stealing billions
from the American people, and Bush administration officials
are under intense scrutiny over their own alleged wrongdoings,
who is to blame? That's right - Bill Clinton's penis!
The current right-wing spin, from Ari Fleischer to Rush Limbaugh
via Fox News, is that once-legitimate CEOs were so
shocked by Clinton's behavior that they all suddenly became
criminals overnight. Rep. Tom Davis of the National Republican
Congressional Committee (see Idiots 74) sent a memo
to GOP candidates last week saying that, "The corporate
corruptions being discussed today all began in the 1990s and
were shaped by a culture of dishonesty and situational ethics
that flowed directly from the White House." Of course!
It's obvious that Ken Lay and Bernard Ebbers were playing
it straight and narrow until Monica Lewinsky came along, and
then they just threw up their hands and said, "Well hell!
If the President can get a hummer, then it must be okay for
us to cook our books, defraud our investors, and shat on our
employees, all the while personally enriching ourselves to
the the tune of millions of dollars!" And presumably
the reason George W. Bush dumped his Harken stock was because
the Ghost of Blowjobs Future visited him one night in 1990
and told him that it was okay...
Speaking of Bernard Ebbers, the ex-WorldCom chief exec was
recently seen bravely taking the Fifth in front of the House
Financial Services Committe last week. Unfortunately Ebbers,
who was called to testify on his role in WorldCom's misplacement
of $3.8 billion, committed a comical
blunder by making a statement at the beginning of the hearing.
Before refusing to answer questions he claimed that, "No one
will conclude that I engaged in any criminal or fraudulent
conduct during my tenure at WorldCom." Ebbers was immediately
condemned by the panel, who suggested that since he had made
a statement of innocence he should forfeit his Fifth Amendment
rights. However, once the issue had been resolved Ebbers went
on to plead the Fifth on all questions, including "Can
you sleep at night?" Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's a
classic example of George W. Bush's "era of responsibility"
As the corporate irresponsibility scandal heated up, the Bush
Administration 's alleged point-man for enforcement of securities
law, SEC chairman Harvey Pitt, was nowhere
to be found. It seems that Mr. Pitt, the esteemed former lawyer
for Arthur Anderson and other paragons of corporate virtue,
has spent the last year rolling out the red carpet for the
corporations he's supposed to be policing. He's done such
a piss-poor job that even other Republicans, most notably
John McCain, are calling on him to step down. Of course, George
W. Bush said that Pitt is doing "a fine job," which figures.
If you're a greedy, lying, corporate bastard with a crooked
scheme to line your own pockets at the expense of your employees
and shareholders, the Bush Administration is at your service!
It's no secret that, like the energy industry, the pharmecutical
industry has the Bush administration in its pocket. A look
back to the 2000 campaign shows just who the big pharmeceutical
companies thought would improve their chances of making money
at the expense of the sick. It is said that when it comes
to George W. Bush, Ray Gilmartin is to the pharmeceutical
industry what Ken Lay was to the energy industry. But it's
not just unusally high levels of presidential access the two
men have in common - they also have quite a way with "fuzzy
math." It was reported
last week that a subsidiary of Merck recorded $12.4 BILLION
in earnings which was never collected. Nice job. Interestingly,
back in April 2002 Raymond Gilmartin appeared before the House
Committee on Ways and Means to tout
a plan for integrating prescription drugs into Medicare. Well,
he's obviously a trustworthy fellow. I hope they paid attention...
All attention may be focused on corporate scandals right now,
but there are other crazy goings-on in world of conservatives
at the moment? Take for example George W. Bush's great new
to cut greenhouse gas emissions - a plan which the National
Wildlife Federation says will actually increase emissions
by 13 percent in the next decade. Ingenious! So how does it
work? Well, it's a voluntary plan, you see, which should
work really well. I bet all the energy companies are going
to be fighting to sign up! Perhaps Dubya should incorporate
a similar idea into his plan to fight corporate crime. You
know, tell CEOs that they really must stop ruining
America, but make it voluntary. George told us last week that
there is no "wealth without character," so it ought
to work, right?
What qualities to you look for in a Surgeon General? If you
are George W. Bush, it seems that the most important qualities
are a demonstrated lack of medical competency, an inability
to get along with co-workers, and a history of shooting
people. Enter "Dr." Richard Carmona, who exhibits all
of these fine qualities. Apparently it took Crazy Carmona
eight full years to gain board certification in his field
of general surgery, failing the exam twice. Former colleagues
have expressed concern about his character, in particular
an inability to work with others "in an effective or even
a civil manner." But the kicker is an event which the Bush
administration holds up as a sterling example of virtue. In
1999, Carmona came upon an altercation between two motorists,
and was shot by one of them. Carmona returned fire, shot the
man, and (according to supporters) heroically tried to save
his life. But a police interview at the time indicates that
Carmona did not try to save the man he shot, but instead returned
to his car to reload his revolver. Sounds like a great
choice for Surgeon General. Instead of saving people, he shoots
No doubt by now you have heard George W. Bush's "trifecta"
joke. He's been going around telling people that he promised
during the campaign that he would balance the federal budget,
unless there was a war, recession, or national emergency.
Then the punch line: "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta."
(I guess the joke is funny if you're entertained by the idea
of Muslim extremists crashing planes into the World Trade
Center.) Anyway, some reporters got smart and asked when Bush
actually made this promise on the campaign. The answer: never.
But someone else did: Al Gore. "Barring an economic reversal,
a national emergency, or a foreign crisis, we should balance
the budget this year, next year, and every year," Gore
said on various occasions. Kinda makes you wonder what the
world would be like if we actually had a real president.
And finally, what do you do if that goldanged liberal media
just won't stop criticizing you? Well if you're Jay Dickey,
to your friend that owns the media and get them to stop it.
It's that simple! Former congressman Dickey of Arkansas is
trying to reclaim his seat this year, but he was disappointed
with the coverage he was getting in his local paper, the Pine
Bluff Commercial. So he emailed his friend Warren Stephens
- the owner of the newspaper's parent company - and asked
him for a few favors. According to the Washington Post,
the favors included asking that "the Commercial
endorse him and have coverage that will complement such endorsement,
not look contradictory," asking for comment on all news
releases by his opponent, Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, "and
don't ask him on mine all the time," and to stop running
letters by one of his critics and "publish our favorable letters."
Stephens had a word with Sherman Frederick, president of Stephens
Media Group, who ordered the Commercial's editor to
endorse Dickey, and the editor promptly resigned. The reason
according to Frederick was that, "He obviously has very
strong feelings against Jay Dickey." Guess it didn't
occur to Stevens that that the editor might object to being
forced to endorse a political candidate of any flavor.
Now that's what I call freedom of the press! See you next
a Conservative for Next Week's List