The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 153)
April 26, 2004
Lowest of the Low Edition
It's official: These people have no shame. Even though their candidate dodged service in Vietnam, then went AWOL from the National Guard, these assholes actually have the gall to question the John Kerry's military service. If the Critics of John Kerry's War Record (1) really want to go there, I say bring it on. But they're not the only conservative idiots. Maytag Aircraft (2) has fired an employee for taking pictures of flag-draped coffins, George W. Bush (3) is engaged in a little illegal diversion of funds, and Donald Rumsfeld (4) is doing a little creative editing. After that, we've got six more idiots, and don't miss the special bonus section this week! Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!
of John Kerry's War Record
How dare they? How dare the GOP criticize John Kerry's war record in Vietnam? From Ed Gillespie to Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Republicans were flooding the airwaves last week with criticism of Kerry's military service. Why? Because, they say, there are questions about the seriousness of his injuries. Excuse me? Here we have a man who volunteered to command a swift boat on the Mekong Delta, who earned the Bronze Star for heroic achievement, the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and three purple hearts, and the Republicans are questioning the seriousness of his injuries? I guess they haven't noticed that, unlike their hero George W. Bush, John Kerry was actually in Vietnam. The closest Bush came to enemy fire was having his teeth examined in Alabama. To disparage a combat veteran's service because you don't think his injuries weren't serious enough has got to be the lowest of the low. What's the GOP going to tell kids who come back from Iraq with all their limbs intact? "Well, well, look who's back. I see you've still got your legs. Perhaps you weren't really trying out there." By the way, this recent furor was started by one John O'Neill, a so-called political independent who served in Vietnam with John Kerry and said he "couldn't tie the shoes of some of the people in Coastal Division 11." That is, John O'Neill didn't actually serve with Kerry - he showed up two months after Kerry had left Vietnam. Oh, and if you were wondering what kind of "political independent" John O'Neill is, he's the kind that gets invited to the White House by Nixon and Kissinger, worked for William Rehnquist, and promotes the website WinterSoldier.com which is run by the Free Republic Network. You know, one of those kinds of "independents."
Newspapers finally published pictures of coffins coming back from Iraq last week, and the result was, well, chaos. The Seattle Times started the ball rolling, publishing a photograph taken in Kuwait by Tami Silicio, an employee of military contractor Maytag Aircraft. The media haven't been showing pictures like this until now because the Pentagon has a policy of banning the media from taking pictures of caskets being returned to the U.S., which they claim "defers to the sensitivities of bereaved families." That's complete crap, obviously - the policy is clearly intended to prevent the American public from seeing what really happens when you send the nation's children off to war. But in a shocking turn of events, Tami Silicio was subsequently fired by Maytag Aircraft, along with her husband. According to the Times, Silicio said "she hoped the publication of the photo would help families of fallen soldiers understand the care and devotion that civilians and military crews dedicate to the task of returning the soldiers home." And for that, she got shitcanned. In related news, nobody in the Bush administration has been fired yet for ignoring urgent warnings of a massive terrorist attack on U.S. soil, failing to catch Osama bin Laden, or lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Priorities, priorities.
There were more bombshell revelations about George W. Bush's Rush To War last week, this time from journalist Bob Woodward whose new book Plan of Attack reveals that Bush diverted $700 million from funds approved for the war in Afghanistan to pay for the planning of his Iraq adventure. Oh, but whoops! Bush apparently forgot to mention this small appropriation to Congress, which is illegal. Funny really, you'd think that someone as dedicated to upholding the Constitution as George W. Bush wouldn't be going around stealing money out of the treasury from under the nose of Congress. But there you have it. Woodward also reveals that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld decided to tell Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar about the decision to invade Iraq two days before they mentioned it to Secretary of State Colin Powell. And when I say tell him about it, I mean describe it in detail, including showing him all the top secret war plans. And in what can only be described as a bizarre coincidence, Woodward told 60 Minutes last week that Bandar had assured Bush that Saudi Arabia would lower oil prices later this year "to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day," according to CBS News. That's really very nice of Prince Bandar you know. I mean Bush doesn't bother his country after 15 of his fellow Saudis commit the September 11 attacks, and lets him see the Iraq war plans before the U.S. Secretary of State gets to see them, and all Bush gets in return is artificially low oil prices in the run-up to the election. Fabulous.
Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld
But there's more - according to the Washington Post, "The Pentagon deleted from a public transcript a statement Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made to author Bob Woodward suggesting that the administration gave Saudi Arabia a two-month heads-up that President Bush had decided to invade Iraq." That's right, Donny-Boy was giving Prince Bandar the scoop on the invasion of Iraq, and surprise, surprise - the Pentagon didn't want you to know about it. Rumsfeld, of course, doesn't recall exactly what he said. I mean, seriously, for the guy in charge of the nation's defense, the dude has a terrible memory. The deleted comments center around Rumsfeld telling Bandar that he could "take that to the bank" that Iraq would be invaded. But according to the Post, "Rumsfeld told reporters at a briefing yesterday that he may have used the phrase 'take that to the bank' but that no final decision had been made to go to war." Uh, so what was he telling Bandar to take to the bank exactly? Some rolls of quarters? The rebate check that just came in from those blank CD-Rs he bought three months ago? Apparently the Pentagon deleted eight questions and answers from the public transcript - according to Woodward, "I was surprised that it was deleted because it obviously dealt with a critical issue." Rumsfeld's response? Well, last week he described the deleted portions of the transcript as "some banter." Ri-i-ight. Some banter. Uh-huh.
There was big news for e-voting critics last week when Diebold acknowledged that their voting machines have "significant security flaws," according to the Tri-Valley Herald. Said Diebold Election Services Inc. president Bob Urosevich, "We were caught. We apologize for that." Wait a second - you were caught? Hmm... interesting. Apparently Diebold "supplied hundreds of poorly designed electronic-voting devices that disenfranchised voters in the March presidential primary," and, "Unknown thousands of voters were turned away at the polls." Great job, Diebold. I mean, you've only been going on about how frickin' awesome your machines are for the last god-knows-how-long. But the good news is that a California voting systems panel voted unanimously last week to recommend decertifying the Diebold machines, and the state attorney general may now file criminal and civil charges against the company for violating California's election laws. So it looks like poor old Wally O'Dell, the CEO of Diebold who said last August that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year" (see Idiots 124), will have to cross California off the list of other states in which he planned to "help" Dubya.
It seems a few newspapers are following the Pentagon's orders and making sure the American people don't see anything unpleasant coming out of Iraq. In the case of the Journal-Advocate of Colorado, that even extends to violence against cartoon characters. The Journal-Advocate decided not to run the Doonesbury comic strip last week because, in their words, "of the graphic, violent battlefield depictions of Iraq in this week's installment." In the strip, the character "B.D." is injured in combat and loses a leg. Not that this is happening to real soldiers in Iraq, you understand - in real life, when soldiers die they're just vaporized painlessly into nothingness, just like in a video game. And then their clothes are placed into a casket which is wrapped in the flag. Which, of course, you're not allowed to see either. I mean, we don't want anyone getting all squeamish and thinking that perhaps war isn't just a big game after all, do we?
Surely there's nothing funnier to Republicans than a joke about assassinating Hillary Clinton. Here's what State Rep. Jennifer Carroll (R-Naturally) had to say at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Miami Beach last week, according to the Florida Times-Union: "Carroll said Clinton was visited by the ghosts of Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. According to The Associated Press, the joke had Clinton asking each president what she could do to help the country, and Lincoln told Clinton to go to a theater. Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theater in Washington." Har-de-har. Apparently Carroll later told the Associated Press, "You infer what you want to infer, but I never said assassinate, or kill or maim." Uh, okay then, let's see. Then what are we to infer? So, Abe Lincoln, who was assassinated in a theater, told Hillary Clinton that to help the country she should go to a theater. Hmm. And according to Carroll, this has got nothing to do with assassination. So... hmm. Sorry, I don't get it then.
After closing down al Sadr's newspaper, sparking the recent violence which has led to the deaths of more than one hundred US soldiers and hundreds of Iraqi civilians in the past month, Paul Bremer has been struggling to come up with another way to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people - and it looks like he might have done it. Last week, Bremer announced that former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party may be able to return to their old jobs. Oh happy day! Well, that pretty much knocks the wind out of the sails of those who think that we're not doing a good job liberating Iraq. I mean, what could be better than returning to power the very people who we were fighting to free the Iraqi people from in the first place? Hey, wait a second...
The Treasury Department
George W. Bush has done a pretty great job of spending public money on his election campaign this year. First there were the taxpayer-subsidized jaunts to events like the Daytona 500 (see Idiots 143, 144), which, of course, were absolutely not campaign appearances, no sir - and now he's got the Treasury Department doing his dirty work for him. It was revealed last week that the IRS placed a sentence in four April 9 news releases which read, "America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the president's policies are doing, or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation." Gee, shouldn't they at least included the line "I'm George W. Bush and I approved this message?" 04/26 UPDATE: We have learned that there is more to this story than we originally thought - believe it or not, the line which appeared in the IRS news release coincidentally happens to appear verbatim in an RNC "fact sheet" which was released on April 2. Yes, I'm afraid they really are this brazen.
And finally, the Freudian Slip Of The Decade award goes to... National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. According to NewYorkMetro.com, Rice was recently overheard at a recent dinner party saying, "As I was telling my husb-" before stopping herself abruptly, and saying, "As I was telling President Bush." Uh-oh, I hope Pickles doesn't find out about this! Looks like someone might have designs on her man! See you next week...
In other news ... Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't retrofitted his Hummer yet ... Ex-police commissioner Bernard Kerik says "another 9/11" is more likely if Kerry becomes president (odd, there's only been one 9/11 so far, and that happened when Bush was president) ... Rep. John Hostettler got caught with a loaded 9mm handgun at a Kentucky airport ... Christian faith-based teen-rehab program Teen Reach was shut down after a long history of child abuse ... Missouri State House Republicans voted to eliminate a sales tax exemption for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star because the newspapers criticized them ... and George W. Bush said the world owes Ariel Sharon a "thank you," Sharon took that to mean, "feel free to off Yasser Arafat," and Russia said, "oh no you don't." Armageddon outta here...