The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
March 21, 2005
Madness in Congress Edition
been a particularly bizarre week on Capitol Hill. Congressional
Republicans (1,8) first prevented Democrats from saving ANWR, and
then attempted to turn poor Terri Schiavo into their political plaything.
Congress also approved another $80+ billion dollars for Iraq despite
recent revelations that War Profiteers (6) like Halliburton are
consistently over-billing the Pentagon. Fortunately this isn't getting
in the way of George W. Bush (2,3,4) who's currently fighting a
losing battle on Social Security as well as telling fibs about government
propaganda. Elsewhere, David Horowitz (5), Tom DeLay (7), and John
Rowland (9) give us all a good lesson on Republican morals and values.
Don't forget the key...
The story of Terri Schiavo is a sad one. She exists in a vegetative
state and is kept alive by a feeding tube. Her parents want her
to remain that way, her husband of twenty-one years wants to remove
the feeding tube, and the courts have become involved. But last
week Republicans on Capitol Hill lost their minds and decided to
make a political issue out of Schiavo's case.
First they issued a subpoena
which in theory prevented the courts from taking further action
in the case, but also raised the possibility of Schiavo being wheeled
in front of a committee so that Republicans could use her as a political
prop. Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill "HIV Can Be Transmitted
Via Sweat" Frist took to the Senate floor to dispute
the diagnosis that Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state -
based on a video that he had spent "an hour or so looking at"
- which caused raised eyebrows among medical experts and ethicists.
Tom Delay called the case "an act of medical terrorism,"
demonstrating once again that Republicans will play the terrorism
card on just about any issue. John McCain suggested that Terri Schiavo
should divorce her husband, despite the fact that Republicans are
constantly harping on about the sacred bond of marriage between
a man and a woman.
But all this rhetoric is put neatly into perspective by the revelation
that Senate Republicans circulated a talking
points memo last week explaining why they should try to make
political hay out of Terri Schiavo. The memo stated that the "pro-life
base will be excited" and that it is a "great political
issue - this is a tough issue for Democrats." Excited?
Great? Do these ghouls have no shame whatsoever?
Over the past couple of weeks Our Great Leader has been pottering
around the country on his "Abandoning Social Security Helps
America" Tour (ASSHAT), and unfortunately his little jaunt
is already suffering from poor attendance and cancellations. The
majority of Republicans in Alabama's congressional delegation said
"thanks but no thanks" to an invitation to join the president
during his stop in Montgomery,
and Bush was forced to cancel his trip to Sarasota
after even Rep. Katherine Harris - she of the perpetual Bush brown
nose - decided that having the Chimp stop by would be more trouble
than it was worth. (Harris then pretended that she had nothing to
do with the cancellation.)
Meanwhile Republicans were busy making
excuses for Bush, saying that he'd received "bad advice"
on the Social Security issue, therefore putting the blame squarely
on the shoulders of, um, someone else, I guess. Quote of the week
came from an unnamed Republican senator in the Washington Times,
who said, "The message coming out of the White House is that
we'll fix Social Security by raising your taxes and cutting your
retirement benefits and, to get something passed, we'll forget about
the personal retirement accounts we promised." He then said that's
like telling voters, "Never vote for Republicans again - we lie."
Sounds about right.
W. Bush And Friends
Of course, one of the problems Bush is having with his plan for
Social Security is that he doesn't have a plan. Yes, Dubya's
tour is just a big waste of everybody's time. "I have not laid out
a plan yet," said
he last week, adding, "...intentionally." Aha! I get
it. It's all a cunning plan to confuse everybody - and the plan
seems to be working perfectly. "I'm interested in coming up with
a permanent solution," Bush said. "I'm not interested
in playing political games."
Oh really? Tell that to Congressional Republicans who, according
to USA Today, will be "chucking the open town-hall
format" when they try to sell Bush's plan - or lack of a plan,
rather - to pissed-off constituents over the coming weeks. It seems
that Republicans were so taken aback by loud protests at recent
town hall meetings that they have decided to take a leaf out of
the Bush playbook and bypass most of the public entirely, instead
focusing on "newspaper editorial boards ... Rotary Club lunches,
senior citizen centers, chambers of commerce meetings and local
businesses," where they will parade "panels of experts
from the Social Security Administration, conservative think tanks,
local colleges and like-minded interest groups to answer questions
about the federal retirement program."
Not that Bush and his radical conservative friends are "interested
in playing political games," you understand.
Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett told
Tim Russert on Meet the Press back in January that "President
Bush has ... made it clear that he believes there ought to be a
bright line between those who are journalists and those who are
advocates for particular issues." He was referring of course
to revelations that journalists are secretly being paid
fat cash - taxpayer cash - to promote Bush administration policies,
and that the Bush administration has been producing videos - propaganda
pieces featuring fake reporters - which are distributed to news
organizations who broadcast them as if they're real. So where does
Our Great Leader really stand on the "bright line?"
Let's find out! Here's part
of the transcript from last week's presidential press conference.
Some of the names have been changed.
Q: Mr. President, earlier this year, you told us you wanted
your administration to cease and desist on payments to journalists
to promote your agenda. You cited the need for ethical concerns
and the need for bright line between the press and the government.
Your administration continue to make the use of video news releases,
which is prepackaged news stories sent to television stations,
fully aware that some - or many of these stations will air them
without any disclaimer that they are produced by the government.
The Comptroller General of the United States, this week, said
that raises ethical questions. Does it raise ethical questions
about the use of government money to produce stories about the
government that wind up being aired with no disclosure that they
were produced by the government?
CHIMPY McCOKESPOON: There is a Justice Department opinion
that says these - these pieces are within the law, so long as
they're based upon facts, not advocacy. And I expect our agencies
to adhere to that ruling, to that Justice Department opinion.
This has been a longstanding practice of the federal government
to use these types of videos. The Agricultural Department, as
I understand it, has been using these videos for a long period
of time. The Defense Department, other departments have been doing
so. It's important that they be based on the guidelines set out
by the Justice Department. Now, I also - I think it would be helpful
if local stations then disclosed to their viewers that that's
- that this was based upon a factual report, and they chose to
use it. But evidently, in some cases, that's not the case. So,
Uh, so as long as the Justice Department - that's Bush's Justice
Department - says that it's okay for the administration to create
these pieces, then they're going to keep creating them? What about
lazy news stations who don't tell their viewers that they're watching
propaganda? What about the bright line? Let's continue...
Q: The administration could guarantee that's happening
by including that language in the pre-packaged report.
CHIMPY McCOKESPOON: Yes, I don't - oh, you mean a disclosure,
"I'm George W. Bush, and I" -
Q: Well, some way to make sure it couldn't air without
the disclosure that you believe is so vital.
CHIMPY McCOKESPOON: You know, Ken, there's a procedure
that we're going to follow, and the local stations ought to -
if there's a deep concern about that, ought to tell their viewers
what they're watching.
Okay - I get it. When Bush says he "believes there ought to
be a bright line between those who are journalists and those who
are advocates for particular issues," he's talking out of his
David Horowitz made a first-class monkey of himself last week when
it was revealed
that a story he'd been touting to "prove" liberal bias
on college campuses turned out to be a load of old rubbish. In a
nutshell, Horowitz claimed that a University of Northern Colorado
student was asked to write an essay on "why President Bush
was a war criminal" and received a failing grade when she instead
wrote an essay on why Saddam Hussein was a war criminal. Liberal
bias! Liberal bias! At least, it would be if the story wasn't complete
A spokesperson for the university said, "the test question
was not the one described by Horowitz, the grade was not an F, and
there were clearly non-political reasons for whatever grade was
given." After a lot of bluster, Horowitz admitted
that "Some of our facts were wrong," but - you'll like
this - "We were right." So let me get this straight -
he tries to make a point about rotten liberals on campus, uses a
story which is apparently completely false, and then shrugs and
says well I'm right anyway and the facts are irrelevant? How utterly
Funnily enough, Horowitz is now accusing Media Matters, the University
of Northern Colorado, the Associated Press, and the student involved,
of such things as lying, slander, misrepresenting the facts, dishonesty,
and tampering. Hmmm... blaming other people for exactly
the things you've been doing... Is that one of these new-fangled
Last week the House of Representatives approved
yet another $80+ billion request by Our Great Leader to fund the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's about $300 billion or so we've
spent on these wars since Bush came to power. Impressive. Of course,
all the money is going to a good cause, right? I mean, surely its
worth cutting child services, education, and health care in this
country so that the Iraqi people can elect an Islamic theocracy,
thus severely punishing the people who attacked us on 9/11... wait
a second, that doesn't sound right.
Anyway, there's no need to worry at all about where this money
might be going because helpful corporations such as Halliburton
will be taking care of it. Why, just last week it was revealed that
Halliburton had bought liquefied petroleum gas from Kuwait for $82,000
and then charged the Pentagon $27 million to transport it into Iraq.
In fact, Pentagon auditors reckon the amount of overbilling
by Halliburton on fuel imports alone adds up to $108 million dollars.
So as you can see, destroying Iraq was the smart thing to
do. Not only do companies with extremely close ties to the Bush
administration now get to make vast profits off the backs of the
American taxpayer, we also get to cut programs at home for those
who need them the most! It's a win-win situation!
The noose appears to be tightening around House Majority Leader
Tom Delay and while he may not be sweating just yet, he's certainly
starting to glow. According
to Salon.com, "Three of his closest aides in Texas are
standing trial for criminal campaign-finance violations," and
when it started to look like he might have to stand trial himself,
Delay tried to change a House rule (which was originally created
by the Republicans) so that he wouldn't have to step down from his
leadership position. Now it's starting to look like Delay may be
involved in all kinds of freebies-for-favors
activities. Tsk tsk.
Fortunately, he's got a good excuse - it's not his fault,
it's those rotten partisan Democrats out to get him. Never mind
the ethics violations, the rule-changing, the abuses of power. Never
mind that Delay is in control of the Republican majority in the
House of Representatives. "Waaah! Those mean Democrats are
picking on me!" Well I've got four words for Tom Delay: suck
it up, asshole.
Last week, after a long battle, the Senate voted
to allow oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge (ANWR). The final vote tally was 51-49, with Democrats more
united than Republicans on the issue. Of course, the Republicans
would never have passed this if they hadn't performed
an end-run and slipped the provision into the budget resolution,
thus preventing the Democrats from filibustering. The Republicans
argue that opening ANWR to drilling will reduce our reliance on
foreign oil, despite consistently voting against alternative energy
plans which would do the same thing without digging up large
chunks of environmentally-sensitive protected wilderness.
So here's the plan: Republicans should be forced to pledge that
from now on, every single drop of oil obtained from American land
goes directly into the American marketplace. Because if we're ruining
ANWR in order to export this oil, why, surely that would
be downright unpatriotic. Meanwhile, there's still plenty that can
be done to stop the Republicans from ruining the environment for
profit. Head over to Barbara Boxer's website
to continue the fight.
More from the Morals and Values file: last week federal prosecutors
urged a judge to double
the former Connecticut governor's prison sentence, "saying
he has misled his probation officers as part of a yearslong pattern
of deceiving state officials and the public," according to
the UK Guardian. The prosecutors say that John Rowland (R-Naturally)
tried to hide a retirement account worth more than $400,000 from
the judge. Rowland resigned last year and was charged with trading
political access for favors (see Idiots 161
- he now faces up to three years in prison.
Funnily enough, the prosecution's recommendation for a longer sentence
includes a quote from a 2000 speech in which Rowland himself said,
"When that trust is violated, the damage becomes in some ways
permanent because it is immediately part of our popular culture
and part of the public's perception. The public needs to know that
offenders are punished under our system of government." But
like all good Republicans caught with their pants down, Rowland
knew exactly what to do - last week he blamed a "former top
adviser." Couldn't see that coming, could ya?
Charles and Patrick Linton
And finally, 15-year-old Patrick Linton recently walked
out of school - with the full support of his father, Charles
- after his school read the Pledge of Allegiance in a foreign language.
"This is America, and we got soldiers at war," said Patrick. "When
you're saying the Pledge in a different language which nobody understands,
that's not OK." Charles Linton backed him up with some marvelous
hyperbole, saying, "It's like wearing a cross upside down in
a church." Never mind the fact that the Pledge was read in a different
language each day - Spanish, French, Russian, German, and Latin
- as part of Foreign Language Week.
"I looked around, and I was like, 'What's going on?'" Patrick
said. "We're at war right now, and our schools are supposed to be
patriotic." Actually, dumbass, schools are supposed to be teaching
you stuff. Like how there are - believe it or not - other countries
in the world, and - gasp - some of them don't speak English. So
take that, Spain, France, Russia, Germany, and, um, Latinland. How
dare you not support the troops and have stupid languages that Patrick
Linton can't understand?
There is at least one small flicker of amusement in this tale of
utter ignorance, though - the fact that Patrick's father has to
suffer the name "C. Linton." See you next week!
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