The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 154)
May 3, 2004
War Games Edition
War is a serious business - unfortunately some people don't want you to know how serious. Take the Sinclair Broadcasting Group (1) for example, who blacked out an edition of Nightline last week for political reasons. Or Saddam's Replacements (3), who hid Geneva Convention violations from the world's eyes - until now. Or George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (4), who were finally pressured into talking to the 9/11 Commission - provided that their words were not recorded, of course. Mind you, war is not just being fought in Iraq - there are other wars right here at home. Take Karen Hughes (2) for example, who last week compared pro-choicers to terrorists. Or Bill O'Reilly (7), who wants to, uh, boycott Canada. Yup, the Idiots are out in force this week, and it ain't pretty. As usual, don't forget the key.
If ever there was a shoo-in for the number one slot in the Top Ten Conservative Idiots, it's the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Here's the deal: last week, ABC's Nightline decided to dedicate a special edition of their show to simply reading the names and displaying photographs of all the U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since the invasion last year. In an email before the broadcast, Nightline's Leroy Seivers wrote, "As I have said many times, whether you are for the war or against it, these men and women, whose pictures you will see tonight, have paid the ultimate price in our names. We think it is only fitting that for one night, we present their names." Not so fast! The Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which, according to Reuters owns "62 television stations in 39 markets reaching roughly 24 percent of U.S. television households," objected to the tribute and barred its ABC-affiliated stations from broadcasting Nightline's special edition. Why? Because according to Sinclair, they "do not believe such political statements should be disguised as news content." But who's making the political statement here? Sinclair has been called the "Clear Channel of local news," referring to the right-wing radio corporation which shoves Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity down everyone's throats for six hours a day five days a week. And surprise - the officers and key executives of Sinclair are all big-time donors to the Republican party. That's right folks, it's finally coming to this - major broadcasting corporations will now blackout long-running and well-respected news shows if they decide that their reports are in some way unflattering to George W. Bush, even if the report is simply honoring soldiers who have died serving their country. So long, land of the free.
The recent March for Women's Lives in Washington DC was a smashing success, breaking attendance records and sending a strong message to the country that Americans are pro-choice in vast numbers. This, of course, had to be countered immediately by Team Bush, and what better way to do that than by smearing the good names of every single pro-choice person in the USA. It was Karen Hughes who did the dirty work, appearing on CNN last week and telling Wolf Blitzer, "I think after September 11th the American people are valuing life more and realizing that we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life. And President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's try to reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. The fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life. It's the founding conviction of our country, that we're endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, the right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately our enemies in the terror network, as we're seeing repeatedly in the headlines these days, don't value any life, not even the innocent and not even their own." That's right folks: pro-choice = terrorism. Hughes claimed afterwards that she would "never make such a comparison," which is odd considering that's exactly what she'd just done. Interestingly, Hughes' comments come only a few months after Education Secretary Rod Paige called America's largest teachers union a "terrorist organization" (see Idiots 145). Is anyone starting to spot a pattern here? If you're pro-choice, you're a terrorist. If you're a teacher, you're a terrorist. America - as far as the Bush administration is concerned, you are the terrorists.
During a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Martin last week, Bush said, "A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier, saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we'd accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq." Funny that he should say that just days after CBS showed a shocking report on conditions at the Abu Ghraib Army prison facility in Iraq, including disturbing photographs of prisoners with wire taped to their genitals, prisoners stripped naked and made to pile on top of one another, and prisoners who were forced to simulate sex acts on one another. Many of the photos feature U.S. Military personnel who seem pretty pleased with themselves. There have also been allegations of rape, beatings, dog attacks, and other forms of torture. Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinsky, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib prison, has since been relieved of her post. Last October she told 60 Minutes in an interview, "This is international standards... It's the best care available in a prison facility."
W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Lord have mercy. The 9/11 Commission had to put up with the comedic stylings of dynamic duo Dubya and Crashcart last week, and while it would be interesting to know what the two most important people in the country had to say about the world's worst terrorist attack, sorry - we'll never know. Bush and Cheney were so adamant about giving their fullest cooperation to the Commission that they insisted a) on appearing together, holding hands, b) that there would be no recording made of the session, and c) that there would be no transcript made of the session either. A single commissioner was allowed to take notes - although I'm just guessing here, but he probably had to memorize them and swallow the notepaper afterwards. Bush was in good spirits after his meeting, telling reporters that, "I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the time... I enjoyed it." Well whoop-de-do! George enjoyed his meeting with the 9/11 Commission! What, did he sit in the corner playing Hungry Hungry Hippos while the adults talked about boring grown-up stuff? Our Great Leader also let a fairly obvious truth slip out, telling reporters that, "If we had something to hide, we would not have met with [them] in the first place." Hmmm. Well since he's spent the last couple of years desperately trying to prevent the 9/11 Commission from coming into existence and even more desperately trying to avoid appearing in front of it, not to mention attempting to thwart their progress at every turn by withholding documents and witnesses, and bowing only when the political pressure became too great, it does kinda make you wonder.
The weekend just passed marked the anniversary of Our Great Leader's Great Top Gun Photo-Op Stunt. You remember the one - he landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, swanked around pretending to be a big brave soldier with a huge and embarrassing bulge in his pants, and finally stood before an enormous banner emblazoned with the message "Mission Accomplished" and declared the end of combat operations in Iraq. Bush told the world on that special and oh-so-patriotic day that, "the Battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001." Right. Now, aside from obviously farcical suggestion that invading Iraq actually had anything to do with 9/11, it probably hasn't escaped many people's attention that Bush's war isn't going too well these days. Far from the end of combat operations, more troops were killed in Iraq last month than in any month since the invasion began in March 2003. So we'd just like to take a moment, one year on, to say George, you're a frickin' idiot.
Of course, the administration and its backers really don't give two shits about how many soldiers have died in Iraq so far - and here's the proof. Appearing at a recent hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was asked how many American troops had died in Iraq. His response? "It's approximately 500, of which - I can get the exact numbers - approximately 350 are combat deaths." CLANG! Thanks for playing, Paul. At the time of Wolfowitz's comment, the correct answer was 722 American soldiers dead in Iraq, 521 of those killed in combat. So he was only off by about 30%. Nice to see the deputy defense secretary is keeping such a close eye on the number of troops being sent to the slaughter. Of course, Wolfowitz had that classic Bush administration excuse lined up - his spokesman Charley Cooper said later, "He misspoke. That's all." Oh, fuck off. Forgetting about 200 dead soldiers isn't misspeaking, it's called "being an asshole."
As everyone knows, Bill O'Reilly hates boycotts. In fact, he thinks that boycotts are downright un-American (see Idiots 98). That is, he thinks boycotts are un-American unless it's him that's doing the boycotting. O'Reilly proudly claims to have gotten Pepsi to dump rapper Ludacris from an advertising campaign, and now he's setting his sights on a bigger target - Canada. That's right. Bill O'Reilly wants to boycott Canada. Why? Because Canada is considering giving asylum to two U.S. war deserters, and this gets O'Reilly's nuts in such a twist that his head might just be about to damn well pop off. So look out, Canada, because once Bill O'Reilly gets going, he's a force to be reckoned with. I mean, if he can get Pepsi to drop Ludacris, then he can probably get, uh, the world to, um, I dunno, shoot Canada off into space or something. It's funny really, Bill didn't seem to get this worked up about Alabama giving asylum to a certain famous AWOL future president back in 1972...
Want to know why Michigan is suffering economically? According to Republican state party chairwoman Betsy DeVos, the answer is simple! Last week she issued a press release saying, "Many, if not most, of the economic problems in Michigan are a result of high wages and a tax and regulatory structure that makes this state uncompetitive." That's right, Michiganders - your state is in the financial poophole because you're getting paid too much money. See, if corporations paid lower wages, then they'd be able to create more jobs by competing with neighboring states. And of course, when corporations create more jobs at lower wages, it means that they'll make bigger profits. And that's why they need more of Bush's tax cuts so that they can keep more of the profits they make through paying their workers less money. Sure, less tax revenue will mean less assistance for those who are now getting less wages, but isn't it obvious that Michigan's corporations need their employees to accept lower wages so life can be better for everyone? Jesus, the working poor can be so selfish sometimes.
Governor Groping Austrian Beefcake was back in the news last week when he tried to shut down the production of a line of bobblehead dolls created in his likeness. A company called Ohio Discount Merchandise, run by Todd and Toby Bosley, created the dolls (featuring Schwarzenegger wearing a suit and toting a machine gun) - and give the majority of their profits to a cancer research charity. Sorry guys - those cancer patients are just going to have to shut up and suffer, because Arnold wants bank. According to CNN, "The governor's law firm, Lavely & Singer, sent Bosley a letter demanding he immediately stop making and selling the dolls, deliver any remaining dolls to their offices and make a substantial payment to Schwarzenegger." How nice. He might even be able to afford another new Hummer with all the money that could have gone to charity.
Bunch of Bush Supporters
And finally, we couldn't let this one pass without comment: if you were wondering who could still be supporting George W. Bush after three and a half years of war, terror, the alienation of the United States in the world community, the systematic screwing of the poor, the borrow-and-spend economic policies, the vast federal deficit, the destruction of the environment, and... well, you get the picture - here's a quick snapshot of what we're up against in November. PhillyBurbs.com ran a short piece last week about Bush supporters who gathered at a house party to hear Dick Cheney speak to the faithful via conference call. Their thoughts? Said Crystal Robison, "It was better to take the war there and help the Iraqi people than have the war here." Sure thing, because the best way to help the Iraqi people is kill them and blow up their cities. Disgusted with the American media's pro-liberal bias (ha ha), Phyllis Bristol said, "It's gotten to the point where I don't want to listen to it anymore." You mean now they've stopped literally cheerleading for war and have started to mention that people are getting killed? Said her husband, "It concerns me deeply that so much of our public talk is aiding and abetting the enemy." Ah, I see the Bristols have found a fair-and-balanced media alternative in Sean Hannity! And 28-year-old college student Linda Wile said, "I do trust that our leaders have some knowledge that leads them to decisions that are honorable." Oh god, will the madness never end? See you next week!