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The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 219)

October 24, 2005
Fitzmas Eve Edition

There's a strong smell of indictments in the air this week, and the battle of Team Bush vs. Team Cheney (1) is just heating up. Meanwhile, Tom DeLay (3) is already enjoying the hospitality of the Texas legal system, Harriet Miers (4) is stinking up the joint, and Jeanine Pirro (5) is flexing her political muscle. Elsewhere, Rupert Murdoch (7) incurred the wrath of the Parents Television Council, the Pentagon (8) shafted Ed Schultz, and the Today Show turned on Bill O'Reilly (10). Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1Team Bush vs. Team Cheney covering your ass covering your ass covering your ass covering your ass covering your ass
The story on everyone's lips right now is of course Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into whether individuals inside the White House conspired to reveal the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We haven't commented much on this case of late, simply because until very recently there's been a lot more speculation than story.

However, as Fitzmas Day approaches, a flurry of leaks last week indicate that the administration could be in deep doo-doo.

First the Washington Post reported that the prosecutor has focused on Dick Cheney and Lewis Libby:

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials.

In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, lawyers involved in the case said.

Uh oh. That doesn't bode well for Team Cheney.

And not long after that report was released, Raw Story learned that one of Cheney's aides may have spilled the beans to the prosecutor:

A senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is cooperating with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, sources close to the investigation say.

Individuals familiar with Fitzgerald’s case tell RAW STORY that John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson's name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.

Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.

Kapow! But Team Cheney wasn't going to take that lying down. One day later, the New York Daily News reported that:

An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

(snip)

Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.

But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush's claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.

A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.

Score three points for Team Cheney. Bush, of course, has maintained from the very beginning that "I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts. I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration." So if the Daily News story turns out to be true, it looks like Bush may have just had his very own Monica Moment.

But the game's not over yet - late in the week, the Associated Press reported that:

Top White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby discussed their contacts with reporters about an undercover CIA officer in the days before her identity was published, the first known intersection between two central figures in the criminal leak investigation.

Rove told grand jurors it was possible he first heard in the White House that Valerie Plame, wife of Bush administration Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA from Libby's recounting of a conversation with a journalist, according to people familiar with his testimony.

Which the Los Angeles Times followed shortly afterwards with:

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was so angry about the public statements of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a Bush administration critic married to an undercover CIA officer, that he monitored all of Wilson's television appearances and urged the White House to mount an aggressive public campaign against him, former aides say.

Those efforts by the chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, began shortly after Wilson went public with his criticisms in 2003. But they continued into last year - well after the Justice Department began an investigation in September 2003, into whether administration officials had illegally disclosed the CIA operative's identity, say former White House aides.

Slam! Touchdown, Team Bush. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it must be inside the White House right now?

ROVE: Hi Scooter.

LIBBY: Hi Karl.

ROVE: So, uh, see you later then.

LIBBY: Right. Later.

ROVE: Jackass.

LIBBY: Moron.

For his part, George W. Bush dismissed the oncoming political hurricane as "background noise," "chatter," and "a lot of speculation and opining." But, he said, "The American people expect me to do my job, and I'm going to."

Thanks, George. Let us know when you plan to start.

2The White House Cabal warmongering dumb
Adding to George W. Bush's political woes, last Thursday Colin Powell's former chief of staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson made a devastating attack on the administration, and talked of his time inside the White House:

What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.

If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.

Wilkerson also placed the blame for Abu Ghraib squarely on the shoulders of the administration, called Condoleezza Rice "part of the problem" (sorry, Dick Morris), said that the military is overstretched and demoralized, and made a painful comparison between George Bush 41 and George Bush 43, calling the former "one of the finest presidents we have ever had," while the latter is "not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either."

Wow. With friends like these...

3Tom DeLay arrest
Last week, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and released on $10,000 bail.

Let me just repeat that. Last week, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and released on $10,000 bail.

Ahhh! Yes! Feels good!

Of course, everyone was dying to see the mugshot. Let's take a look:

Hang on, that's not it. Let me see here... oh yes:

Whoa! He looks like he was arrested for possession of crack cocaine. Been sniffing the Deltamethrin again, Tom?

Actually if we pan out a bit you can see the real reason why DeLay looks so cheerful:

Of course, The Former Hammer was doing his best to muddy the issue last week, claiming that a fair trial would be impossible since the judge assigned to the case once donated money to MoveOn.org. Crying partisanship to the bitter end, eh?

As prosecutor Ronnie Earle put it, "What this means is if a judge had contributed to Crime Stoppers that judge could not hear a burglary case ... We don't live in a country where political party determines the measure of justice."

So suck it up, Tom. You're innocent anyway, right? What's the big deal?

4Harriet Miers cronyism dumb
It looks like the Harriet Miers nomination may not be long for this world. Miers sent a 57-page questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, which according to the Associated Press was meant to answer questions about "her legal career and background and such issues as how she would deal with court cases involving the Bush administration if confirmed as the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor."

The bad news? Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter(R-PA) and ranking Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called the answers "incomplete to insulting." Ouch.

The senators are interested in learning more about issues on which Miers remains opaque; her opposition to abortion while running for for the Dallas City Council in 1989, whether she'll go easy on the Bush administration if any of them end up before the Supreme Court, and, um, why she was booted out of the D.C. Bar Association for faling to pay dues.

Incidentally, it was revealed last week that a majority of people in every single state now think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. When you consider the fact that Bush said he picked Miers because she was "the best person I could find," everything else starts to make sense...

5Jeanine Pirro dumb dumb dumb
You could tell Jeanine Pirro's campaign against Hillary Clinton was going to be amusing from the moment she muffed her announcement speech (see Idiots 210). And last week, the gaffes poured in.

First it was revealed that Pirro's campaign had sent a fundraising letter to Clinton, which read, "Dear Hillary, I need you and every New Yorker." The letter was sent to Hillary's former residence, the White House.

The next day Pirro attempted to kickstart her campaign with a radio ad, but she showed up at the wrong address for a press conference announcing the commercial - "despite a campaign press release listing the right location," according to the New York Post.

Fortunately Pirro managed to save the day by later telling a reporter who asked about her gaffes, "I got to tell you, was it my best day? Absolutely not. Am I better than that? Absolutely not."

6Halliburton just plain evil
If you were wondering what Halliburton is getting up to in Iraq with all those millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers' money, you probably won't be surprised to learn that it's not good. It was reported last week that many of the workers Halliburton is employing in Iraq are from poor countries in Asia. The catch: Halliburton tells them they're not going to be working in Iraq, and then sends them there anyway.

The Madison Capital Times took the lead:

The Tribune got on the story after 12 young civilians from Nepal were kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq and a few days later publicly slaughtered. The newspaper sent a reporter and photographer to Nepal, where they interviewed families and friends and soon discovered that thousands of men are routinely recruited for "good" Mideast jobs, but wind up in the most treacherous stretches of Iraq territory working in private jobs for the U.S. military.

A brother of one of the kidnapped men told Cam Simpson, the Trib reporter, that the last time he heard from his brother was when he called from his supposed job in Jordan. He was being sent against his will to Iraq, the brother said, and then blurted out, "I am done for." The phone then went dead. The next time the young Nepalese was seen was on a TV screen two weeks later, his hands tied behind his back and a gun pointed at his head.

I hope nobody tells Lou Dobbs. He might quite literally crap himself.

7 Rupert Murdoch hypocrisy hypocrisy
You must admit, Rupert Murdoch has got a good thing going. He runs the Fox News Channel, where outraged conservative groups such as the Parents Television Council can air their grievances over the immoral state of television programs these days, and he also runs the Fox Network, which produces the vast majority of those morally outrageous shows.

Says who? Well, the Parents Television Council for starters - they released a report last week claiming that Fox "produces six of the worst shows for family viewing," according to the UK Guardian. Apparently the PTC have got their panties in a bunch over shows such as The War At Home ("one of the most mindless and unapologetically vulgar shows on television") and Family Guy ("includes jokes about necrophilia and masturbation").

So Rupert Murdoch puts out shows which outrage conservatives on the Fox Network, and then employs pundits to constantly froth at the mouth about the decline of American values on the Fox News Channel...

It's like a conservative idiots perpetual motion machine!

8The Pentagon cowardice cowardice cowardice partisanship
It was supposed to be a moment to celebrate: last week, the progressive talk radio of Ed Schultz was to begin broadcasting on Armed Forces Radio. Our troops have been force-fed a measly diet of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for far too long, but that was due to change last week.

So it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that the Pentagon pulled the plug on Ed Schultz at the eleventh hour. According to the Washington Post, "...at 7 a.m., Schultz's producer got a call from Allison Barber, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary for internal communications, who said without explanation that the deal was off."

Now if you're wondering where you've heard the name Allison Barber recently, perhaps I can refresh your memory:

Yes, that Allison Barber.

Again according to the Post, it seems that Schultz "spent the end of last week chastising Barber for coaching a group of U.S. soldiers in Iraq before a teleconference with President Bush." And now she is apparently traveling and can't be reached for comment.

There was no word on when she would return from her travels, but we suspect it won't be until the end of the Iraq War.

9Mike Brown dumb dumb dumb
Marty Bahamonde, "a FEMA public affairs official with 12 years of experience in disaster areas," told a Senate panel last week that "for reasons he still can't quite comprehend, most of his pleas for help got little or no response" during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

From the day before the hurricane hit, Bahamonde repeatedly tried to warn FEMA headquarters of the growing problems at the Superdome. On August 29, he spoke with Mike Brown by telephone and briefed him on the situation - Brown thanked him and said he would contact the White House.

And then, on August 31:

... [Bahamonde] had e-mailed Brown from the Superdome to tell him that thousands of evacuees were gathering in the streets outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center without food or water and that there were "estimates that many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," he wrote.

But less than three hours later, Brown's press secretary said in an e-mail that "it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner" at a Baton Rouge restaurant that night before appearing on an MSNBC talk show. "We now have traffic to encounter ... followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.," the e-mail said.

Strange then that on September 1, Brown appeared on Paula Zahn's CNN show and said, "People who were unable or chose not to evacuate are suddenly appearing. And so this catastrophic disaster continues to grow. I will tell you this, though, every person in that convention center, we just learned about that today ... Paula, the federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today."

I don't know about you, but where I live they call that "lying out of your ass."

10Bill O'Reilly
And finally, we're not sure if this was an act of protest or a genuine typo, but the following subtitle really did appear on the screen during Bill O'Reilly's recent Today Show appearance:

.

Finally, some truth and accuracy in reporting from the mainstream media. See you next week!


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