The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
January 9, 2006
Cat In The Hat Edition
new year! Okay, sure - 2006 hasn't gotten off to such an auspicious
start for Jack Abramoff (1,2), Tom DeLay (3), George W. Bush (5),
and the Bush Administration (4,6,7,8), but that just means there's
more happiness to go around for the rest of us. Before we begin
the first list of the new year, I'd like to thank everyone who voted
for the Top 10 Conservative Idiots in About.com's Political Dot-Comedy
Awards, making it the People's Pick for Best
Humor Column of 2005. You rock! I have sneaking suspicion that
we won't be struggling for material through 2006, so let's get started
- enjoy, and don't forget the key!
Washington D.C. rang in the new year with yet another exciting
new Republican scandal. Yes, despite the fact that the mainstream
media have been doing their fair-and-balanced best to implicate
Democrats in Jack Abramoff's web of corruption, this is going to
come down hard on the heads of GOP lawmakers.
Last week Abramoff pleaded guilty to mail fraud, conspiracy, and
tax evasion, and cut a deal with federal prosecutors, promising
to dish enough dirt on members of Congress to reduce his sentence
from a possible 100
years to as little as ten. Republican lawmakers are now shaking
in their shoes.
You have to feel sorry for poor Jack Abramoff though. After all,
he was only trying to help. Here's what he told
Washington Business Forward - who wrote that Abramoff "sees
himself as a champion of Native American causes" - in 2002:
"Lots of bad things have been served up to happen to the
Indian tribes. The role that we've played in helping them, whether
it's fighting efforts to tax them or other indignities, that makes
me feel good."
Gosh, I'm getting the warm and fuzzies. This, of course, was before
Abramoff's emails were made public during Senate Indian Affair Committee
hearings in 2004. Here's a selection:
"I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw tribal
"These mofos are the stupidest idiots in the land for sure."
"We need to get some $ from those monkeys!!!!" (Link)
And to think that Tom DeLay called
this man "one of my closest and dearest friends."
Tsk tsk. It's no wonder that Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt
(R- MO) persuaded House Republicans to dump
DeLay last week and is lobbying his colleagues to "make
his temporary tenure permanent early next month," according
to the Washington Post.
After all, Blunt has clearly got nothing to do with this whole
Abramoff scandal. I mean, he's only had to donate
$8,500 of Abramoff's cash to charity. And it's not like he was one
of Abramoff's close friends or anything. Uh... unless you count
Washington Business Forward's observation that "Thanks
to his close ties to prominent conservatives like soon-to-be Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), Abramoff has become a force in the Washington
lobbying world ... Abramoff says he's just as close to other Republicans,
like [Rep.] Roy Blunt..."
But leaving that aside for a moment, as I already mentioned you
may have noticed that the media is trying really, really
hard to make it seem as if this is a bipartisan scandal. In fact,
they actually seem to be getting quite upset about it. In this time
of "red and blue truths" it must be tough for them to
have to report on a story which is turning out so badly for Republicans,
without being able to find much of a way to spin it against Democrats
too. After all, it's not so easy to tie Democrats to a guy who has
"The Democrats are the enemy. Wade into them! Spill their
blood! Shoot them in the belly!" (Link)
"It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the
Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently."
Don't get me wrong - when the shit hits the fan there may well
turn out to be a small number of Democrats involved in Abramoff's
criminal activities; if that's the case, those Democrats should
go down too. But for now, don't pay any attention to the media whores
who are jumping up and down because one or two Dems have decided
to return or donate money which came anywhere near Jack Abramoff,
and don't even put too much stock in the fact that Abramoff personally
one single dime to Democrats - because the real meat of this
story is going to be about the same kind of stuff that brought down
It's not about Abramoff's personal donations, nor is it about regular
lobbying activities which take place in D.C. on a daily basis (although
many of those "regular" activities are scandalous in their
own right). It's about the golfing trips, the vacations, the gifts,
the bribes, the fake charities, the selling of Congress to foreign
interests, and whatever else comes out when Abramoff spills
his guts to prosecutors. There's a long way to go before
this story is through.
Abramoff Part Deux
But let's move on from the potential imminent destruction of
Congress and focus on the man behind the fedora, Jack Abramoff.
Apparently Abramoff has come to the conclusion that since he's accused
of corruption and bribery on a massive scale, he might as well look
I must admit, I like his style. It puts Abramoff right up there
with some of the more extravagant criminals of our time. In fact,
I thought I'd do a little research to see how Jack stacks up against
some of the world's most famous be-hatted evil-doers. Let's take
Terrorism, animal cruelty.
|"I have a plan!"
The Hooded Claw
Kidnapping, attempted murder.
|"I'll get you Penelope
|"Robble robble robble."
The Black Spy
Espionage, sabotage, assault, attempted
Conspiracy, fraud, tax evasion.
|"Da man! You iz da man! Do
you hear me?! You da man!! How much $$ coming tomorrow?
Did we get some more $$ in?" (seriously)
You know, if I had to guess which one of these criminal masterminds
was going to bring down Congress, I would have picked Boris Badenov.
But there you go.
So, farewell then Tom DeLay, who stepped down permanently as
House Majority Leader last week. And if I may speak for progressives
everywhere for one moment...
HA HA HA!
Oh boy, that felt good. DeLay sent a letter
to his colleagues last week, informing them of his decision to step
down. The letter read, in part, "Today, I have asked Speaker
Hastert to convene our conference for the purpose of electing a
new majority leader, the position I have been honored to fill these
past three years through the trust and confidence of our colleagues.
During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner
within the rules of our body and the laws of our land."
Oh no... here it comes again...
HA HA HA!
HA HA HA!
Ahhhhhhhh. DeLay will remain in Congress and will run for re-election
this year - although he's not going to have it much easier there.
poll of DeLay's congressional district showed that "49
percent said they would pick the Democrat; 36 percent said they
would likely support DeLay." And considering that in-depth
reports of DeLay's involvement with Jack Abramoff are just around
the corner, well...
No, we shouldn't laugh. Let's just sit quietly and contemplate
the sad fact that one of the dirtiest, most powerful Republicans
in Washington has finally been ousted and disgraced, and...
HA HA HA!
HA HA HA!
In the wake of last week's mining tragedy in West Virginia,
the White House has "promised a full investigation," according
Perhaps they can start by investigating why the Bush administration
ignored mine safety warnings after Pennsylvania's big mining accident
in 2002. David Sirota reported
last week that George W. Bush "never responded to the fact
sheet that House Democrats put out questioning why he had made so
many cuts to mine safety programs."
The Bush administration later went on to propose $7 million in
cuts to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. According
to The Nation, "The administration defended the
6-percent reduction by noting the number of coal mines has been
decreasing. Yet coal mining fatalities have gone up for three years
in a row."
Not only that, but a Knight Ridder investigation revealed
last week that "Since the Bush administration took office in
2001, it has been more lenient toward mining companies facing serious
safety violations, issuing fewer and smaller major fines and collecting
less than half of the money that violators owed."
Knight Ridder found that:
- The number of major fines over $10,000 has dropped by nearly
10 percent since 2001. The dollar amount of those penalties, when
adjusted for inflation, has plummeted 43 percent to a median of
- Less than half of the fines levied between 2001 and 2003 -
about $3 million - have been paid.
- The budget and staff for the enforcement office also have declined,
forcing the agency to make do with about 100 fewer coal mine enforcement
- In serious criminal cases, the number of guilty pleas and convictions
fell 54.8 percent since 2001. In the first four years of the Bush
administration, the federal government has averaged 3.5 criminal
convictions a year; in the four years before that the average
was 7.75 per year.
So what does the White House think of all this?
"In fact this administration proposed a fourfold increase
in fines and penalties for violations of the Mine Safety and Health
Administration rules," Scott McClellan said last week.
But... that's the complete opposite of what everyone else has reported!
Gee, now I don't know who to believe.
Another year, another "Things Are Just Hunky-Dory In Iraq"
photo-op. George W. Bush met last week with thirteen former defense
secretaries in order to... well, get some good press. He certainly
didn't appear to want to actually discuss the Iraq situation with
to the New York Times, "Mr. Bush allowed 5 to 10
minutes for interchange with the group - which included three veterans
of the Vietnam era: Robert S. McNamara, Melvin R. Laird and James
R. Schlesinger - before herding the whole group into the Oval Office
for what he called a 'family picture.'" Gee, that should get
things moving in Iraq.
Not that things could possibly get any better over there, you
understand. Bush's assessment
of the situation is that "We're making darn good progress."
Tell that to the 134 people - including five U.S. Marines - who
on the very day Bush was getting his little "family picture"
Speaking of making "darn good progress," remember
that "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" which Our
Great Leader rolled
out to much fanfare last November? The paper spelled out a three-pronged
strategy for victory:
Our Strategy for Victory is Clear
A. The Political Track (Isolate, Engage, Build)
B. The Security Track (Clear, Hold, Build)
C. The Economic Track (Restore, Reform, Build)
Under the section "STRATEGIC LOGIC BEHIND THE ECONOMIC TRACK"
we find this section:
Efforts in the reconstruction realm have significant implications
in the security realm when they focus on rebuilding post-conflict
cities and towns. Compensation for civilians hurt by counterterrorism
operations and the restoration of some economic vibrancy to areas
formerly under terrorist control can help ease resentment and
win over an otherwise suspicious population.
Well it turns out that apparently "efforts in the reconstruction
realm" aren't as significant as Bush & Co. originally suggested.
Yes, the three-pronged strategy for victory is now officially a
Last week it was revealed that "The Bush administration has
scaled back its ambitions to rebuild Iraq from the devastation wrought
by war and dictatorship and does not intend to seek new funds for
to the UK Guardian. "In a decision that will be
seen as a retreat from a promise by President George Bush to give
Iraq the best infrastructure in the region, administration officials
say they will not seek reconstruction funds when the budget request
is presented to Congress next month, the Washington Post reported
Oh really? Perhaps someone should get Dick Cheney up to speed.
Here's what he said just one
day after that report was published in the Guardian,
during a speech to the Heritage Foundation:
Day after day, month after month, Iraqis have proven their determination
to live in freedom, to chart their own destiny and to defend their
country. And they can know that the United States will keep our
commitment to them. We will continue the work of reconstruction.
That is, almost word-for-word, the same thing Cheney said during
at the American Enterprise Institute last November. I guess someone
had better let him know that in the two months since he gave that
speech, the administration has decided to abandon one entire third
of their "Strategy for Victory."
And yet more news from Iraq: it was revealed last week that
forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's unit concluded
that around 340 American troops have been killed in Iraq from torso
wounds - and eighty percent of those troops wouldn't have
died if they'd had sufficient body armor.
to the New York Times, "The Pentagon has
been collecting the data on wounds since the beginning of the war
in part to determine the effectiveness of body armor" - yet,
"the Marine Corps did not begin buying additional plates to
cover the sides of their troops until this September," and,
"The Army, which has the largest force in Iraq, is still deciding
what to purchase."
According to an earlier report
by the Times, in March 2005:
The war in Iraq was hardly a month old in April 2003 when an
Army general in charge of equipping soldiers with protective gear
threw the brakes on buying bulletproof vests.
The general, Richard A. Cody, who led a Pentagon group called
the Army Strategic Planning Board, had been told by supply chiefs
that the combat troops already had all the armor they needed,
according to Army officials and records from the board's meetings.
Some 50,000 other American soldiers, who were not on the front
lines of battle, could do without.
In the case of body armor, the Pentagon gave a contract for thousands
of the ceramic plate inserts that make the vests bulletproof to
a former Army researcher who had never mass-produced anything.
He struggled for a year, then gave up entirely. At the same time,
in shipping plates from other companies, the Army's equipment
manager effectively reduced the armor's priority to the status
of socks, a confidential report by the Army's inspector general
shows. Some 10,000 plates were lost along the way, and the rest
And when soldiers in Iraq tried to bring up the inadequate armor
situation during a face-to-face meeting with Don Rumsfeld in December
2004, he told
As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not
the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time ... And
if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world
on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored
humvee and it can be blown up.
Which is odd, because according to the first Times report
cited above, "armor has been available since 2003 but until
recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops
despite calls from the field for additional protection, according
to military officials."
So much for "going to war with the Army you have."
The Pentagon hasn't even reimbursed the families of troops who
had to buy body armor out of their own pocket. Back in September
2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported
that "soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds
and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military
Of course, none of the soldiers who could have been saved
by adequate body armor would have died if Our Great Leader hadn't
unnecessarily charged into Iraq in the first place. But that's another
Just before Christmas, news
broke that George W. Bush had secretly ordered the NSA to wiretap
American citizens without getting a legally-required warrant. Ever
since then, Bush and Co. have been busting their asses trying to
justify the program.
Dick Cheney argued
that if the wiretapping program had been in place earlier, 9/11
might have been prevented. (Although in hindsight they don't seem
to mind that 9/11 wasn't prevented - after all, without 9/11 what
would they have to base every single one of their policies on?)
And George W. Bush has been desperately trying to claim that the
program is legal, because, hey, he's the president so he can damn
well do what he pleases. Last month he called
the program "consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution,"
last week that "This is a limited program designed to prevent
attacks on the United States of America and, I repeat, limited."
Shame that's a load of crap. According
to the New York Times:
The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes
of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out
of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that
President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt
for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former
The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data
and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger
than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It
was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication
system's main arteries, they said.
As for the program's legality, a recent non-partisan Congressional
that "The administration's legal justification, as presented
in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs,
does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor that letter suggests."
The report noted that "It appears unlikely that a court would
hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA
electronic-surveillance operations here under discussion."
So despite what the administration has been saying, it appears
that their little spying scheme is neither consistent with U.S.
law, nor is it limited. What a surprise.
Is there anything that Pat Robertson won't explain away
as the wrath of God? (With the exception of mining disasters and
tornadoes, of course.) Last week the right reverend nutbag pontificated
on Ariel Sharon's stroke, saying, "God considers this land
to be his. You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and
for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve
it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.'"
Could be, could be. Or as Jon Stewart pointed
out on The Daily Show, "I'm not a doctor, and I'm not a
theologian, but I'm going to go with fat, age and stress."
One does wonder though if Pat may be playing with fire here. Considering
that he believes God will strike down anyone who decides they're
going to "carve up Israel and give it away," he might
want to think twice about his latest venture.
The UK Guardian reported
last week that "The Israeli government is planning to give
up a large slice of land to American Christian evangelicals to build
a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus is said
to have walked on water and fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.
A consortium of Christian groups, led by the television evangelist
Pat Robertson, is in negotiation with the Israeli ministry of tourism
and a deal is expected in the coming months."
I guess Pat must have meant "carve it up and give it away
to someone who isn't me."
And finally, the Top 10 wouldn't be the Top 10 if we couldn't
start the new year off with yet another tale of dubious conservative
morals and values. Last week "An executive committee member
of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge
for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, according
Lonnie Latham was apparently arrested in an area of Oklahoma City
"where the public has complained about male prostitutes flagging
down cars" after he invited a plainclothes police officer to
come back to his hotel room for oral sex.
In his defense, Latham said, "I was set up. I was in the area
pastoring to police." Well, sure. If by "pastoring to
police" he meant "seeking hot man-on-man blowjob action."
And wouldn't you know it, Latham has previously "spoken out
against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention
directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians
and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual 'if they
accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive
Looks like he'll have to work a bit harder at that whole "convincing
yourself you're heterosexual" thing. See you next week!
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