The Top Ten Conservative
Idiots (No. 155)
May 10, 2004
Winning The Hearts And Minds Edition
Soooo...... last week wasn't exactly a banner week in the war for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people. Unfortunately it appears that George W. Bush (1,2,3) has known about what's been going on at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere for quite some time now. Not that it really matters to the Media Numbnuts (4) - they're still content to try and pretend that the images coming out of Iraq are nothing to be concerned about. Of course, there's plenty of idiocy on the home front too - Thomas Druce (5) just got put back in prison, Marc Racicot (7) is a hypocritical asshole, and Bill O'Reilly (8) lies yet again. As usual, don't forget the key!
Hey, guess what? Our Great Leader was told about abuse in Iraqi prisons during the winter holidays! But he's not to blame for any of the fallout from this despicable affair, because this Responsibility President is responsible for nothing. Yes, it appears that prisoner abuse has been rampant in Iraq for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before the disgusting practice of humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners - many of whom had nothing to do with the fighting - would become public and ruin any chance we had of "winning the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people. So what was done about it? Surprise! Nothing! That's great! Here we have a situation which should have been stopped long ago on humanitarian grounds alone, yet which was left to fester and in fact endorsed as good practice by the military. And now that the news of torture and abuse has finally come out, not only is the world shocked that the U.S. military has been engaged in such practices, but the extremely fragile possibility of success in Iraq has been blown out of the window. All because of the inaction of the Bush administration. In fact, if you look at the 9/11 hearings, it seems that ignoring reports about very bad shit happening is standard operating procedure for Team Bush.
W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld
But don't expect this latest scandal to dislodge any members of the Bush administration from their posts. Hell, we've had 9/11, anthrax terrorism, the entire WMD fiasco leading to the invasion of Iraq, the lack of success capturing Osama bin Laden (oh wait, that's scheduled for September)... and nobody's been given the boot yet. So don't expect a little event like, oh, I dunno, the utter ruination of our already dismal occupation of Iraq to cost anyone their job. There were loud calls for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation last week, but if the Chimp has anything to do with it, Rumsfeld is staying right where he is - I guess you don't change horsemen in the middle of an apocalypse. Apparently Bush has expressed his "annoyance" with Rumsfeld in private - annoyance? Annoyance? - but press secretary Scott McLellan said last week that "The president greatly appreciates the job that Secretary Rumsfeld is doing." Incidentally, is it a surprise to anyone that Bush ran every single company he was ever involved with straight into the ground? I guess now we know why. He hires complete fools and then when they screw up he refuses to fire them while pretending they're doing a great job. It might not have been a big deal when it was just his investors' profits he was flushing down the toilet, but this is the world we're talking about here. Oh please sir, may I have another four years?
Don't worry though, because Our Great Leader has solved the entire mess with an appearance on Arab television and an apology. Of course, the appearance on Arab television didn't actually include the apology. Oh, and one of the two TV stations which ran the interview was a US government-financed station which didn't translate his comments into Arabic. Very useful. Oh yes, and the apology I mentioned earlier? Bush didn't actually make it to the Iraqis who were abused. Nor to the Iraqi people in general. He made it to King Abdullah of Jordan. And when I say he made it to King Abdullah, what I mean is that we didn't actually hear the apology, but we do have his word that he made it. So there you have it. Bush has sorted out the entire situation by appearing on Arab TV without an Arabic translation, not apologizing, and then allegedly privately apologizing to the ruler of a country who has nothing to do with any of this. Great job!
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity finally snapped last week (in unison, predictably) and declared that the pictures of prisoner abuse in Iraq - which even Karl Rove concedes have set the Arab world's view of the US back "decades" - were nothing more than a little light-hearted fun. Said Limbaugh, "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it... These were just boys and girls blowing off steam during a stressful situation. Let's not make an international incident out of it, for crying out loud." A guest on Hannity and Colmes said that the pictures were no worse than a frat hazing. "So in other words, this is not a big deal?" replied Sean. (Hannity had already compared the prisoner abuse to frat hazing on his radio show earlier in the week.) Now, I don't know if it's escaped Rush and Sean's attention, but generally speaking frat members don't go around pulling random people off the street and hazing them against their will. Come to that, how can these two giants of morality look at the pictures and even try to make excuses? I wonder... if Iraqi soldiers took Sean and Rush away from their families, put them in a jail cell, stripped them naked, put hoods over their heads, forced to simulate oral sex on their fellow inmates, put a leash around their necks and dragged them around on all fours, piled them up in a heap of other naked inmates, and beat the shit out of them - would they still consider it to be "not a big deal?"
Former Republican state Rep. Thomas Druce, of Bucks County, PA, was in more than a spot of hot water last week - he ended up in jail for two years. Five years ago Druce ran down and killed a man while driving through Harrisburg. But rather than report the incident to the police, he decided to immediately drive to an out-of-town body shop and pay $3000 out of his own pocket for the repairs before turning the car in early on its lease and driving away in a new vehicle. After an anonymous tipster fingered Druce, he told police that he'd hit a stop sign and his insurance company that he'd hit a barrel on the turnpike. Which worked out great, until police discovered the bumper of his old car at the body shop, still crusted with blood and hair. Druce managed to strike a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to two to four years in prison. But after two months, he was freed on bail and allowed home - with an ankle monitor - while he appealed his sentence. During this time he worked as a political consultant and - believe it or not - was allowed to keep his driver's license. He was frequently seen "strutting around the Capitol like he owns the place" according to other lawmakers. But there is a happy ending to this story - Druce was finally sent back to prison to complete his sentence last week. He actually tried to claim that he "should be given credit for time spent sleeping in his Bucks County home," according to Philly.com, but the judge said that that would be "patently ludicrous." Ah, can't you just smell that conservative personal responsibility cutting through the afternoon air like a turd-encrusted samurai sword?
Republicans of Kalamazoo College
Here's more proof that the Republican youth of today are the Bush Brownshirts of tomorrow. It appears that certain students were barred from a recent Bush campaign rally at Kalamazoo College in Michigan when College Republicans stationed at the event identified them as liberals. Seven students - who had valid tickets for the event and were not dressed inappropriately, nor wearing any kind of political paraphernalia, were turned away by security guards at a checkpoint. According to The Nation, one of the students, Ted Hufstader, said, "They told us that we failed a background check, that we had been identified by volunteers as a potential threat, and that if we didn't leave we would be arrested." Those volunteers were College Republicans. Said Hufstader, "We were very disappointed that our peers singled us out for what they thought we might do. And we later heard they had been trained to find potential threats at the event. But we were not a threat. We're even friends with some of these College Republicans. This was a sad commentary about the bitter divide of American politics. Look how hard it was for us to hear a contrary view. We wanted to see the president and then talk about what he said afterward. We felt like we were being blacklisted by our campus peers, and this is a campus that is supposed to be open to different political views." Heh, sorry Ted. You're in Bush's America now. You'd better start bowing down before Our Great Leader if you want to get anywhere.
Awwww... looks like Marc Racicot and the rest of Team Bush can't take a dose of their own medicine. Last week Racicot criticized Teresa Heinz-Kerry for calling Dick Cheney "unpatriotic." Racicot said in a statement, "This political line of attack is offensive and should be stopped." Oh yeah? Racicot didn't seem particularly bothered when Republicans decided to smear combat veteran John Kerry on the floor of the House a few weeks ago? Take Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, for example, who called Kerry "Hanoi John," said his true colors "are not red, white and blue," and said he was engaged in "nothing short of aiding and abetting the enemy." Mind you, this isn't a new trick for Bush partisans - they did the same thing to John McCain back in 2000. So thank goodness for Marc Racicot, who stood up and condemned his fellow Republicans for this offensive line of attack. Oh, wait. No he didn't.
We noted in Idiots 154 that Bill O'Reilly has decided to threaten Canada with one of his infamous boycotts. But there was a hilarious moment on Fox News last week when O'Reilly tried to claim that his boycott against France had cost the country "billions of dollars." On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill told Toronto Globe & Mail columnist Heather Mallick that if Canada refused to return two US army deserters, "there will be a boycott of your country which will hurt your country enormously. France is now feeling that sting." Mallick replied, "I don't think that your French boycott has done too well..." Not so! According to O'Reilly: "they've lost billions of dollars in France according to the Paris Business Review." There's just one slight flaw in Bill's argument. According to David Brock's new site MediaMatters.org, there's no such publication as the Paris Business Review. Whoops! Not only that, but Media Matters reports that "American imports from France have actually increased since international tensions with France began in the months prior to the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003. According to the US Census Bureau, in February 2004, the United States imported $2.26 billion in French goods and services, up from $2.18 billion in February 2002." So, uh, great work on your boycott there, Bill. And thank god for the No Spin Zone.
Well, well. So the bigshots at Disney have decided that Michael Moore's new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 may be a little too hot to handle, and have ordered their subsidiary Miramax to block distribution of the film. Apparently Disney's deal with Miramax means that Disney can "prevent the company from distributing films under certain circumstances," according to the New York Times. While those circumstances were originally intended to mean things like a movie getting an NC-17 rating or going wildly over-budget, presumably they now involve things like asking difficult questions of the Bush administration or suggesting that there may be more to the events of September 11 than meet the eye. Either way, Disney clearly doesn't want to be responsible for any criticism of Our Great Leader. And who wouldn't? He's doing such a wonderful job.
And finally, it has been revealed that the FCC noticeably failed to come down like a ton of bricks on Oprah Winfrey when Oprah did a show on teen sexuality last October, despite receiving more than 1600 complaints from viewers. The show apparently referred to such fascinating sexual practices as "salad tossing" (according to Oprah's expert, that's, uh, oral-anal sex) and "rainbows" (which involves a penis and several different shades of lipstick - use your imagination). Funnily enough, when Howard Stern did a similar segment on his radio show, the FCC fined Clear Channel Communications almost half a million dollars and Clear Channel subsequently dumped Stern. But their reaction to Oprah's show - which aired during the daytime - was surprisingly silent. Could this be nothing more than rank hypocrisy on the part of the FCC? Surely not... see you next week!