The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
February 6, 2006
The State Of The Union Is On Hold Edition
most Americans and they'll tell you that the State of the Union
Not according to Our Great Leader, who last week gave a big ol'
speech full of... stuff. A great deal of that stuff was clearly
intended to keep him afloat politically, rather than to achieve
any meaningful ends. But if you were looking for lies, distortions
and misrepresentations, you couldn't have found a better place to
be than in front of the television last Tuesday night. This week
we're going to focus solely on the State of the Union Address, so
buckle up, and as usual don't forget the key!
Note: all quotes from the speech can be found in the official
White House transcript here.
Oil Be Damned
Let's begin with what appears to be an attempt at humor by
the White House. One of the "major themes" of the speech
previewed by the media was Bush's intention to address American's
dependence on foreign oil. Here's what he had to say:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here
we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil.
...Says the former oil executive whose vice-president also happens
to be a former oil executive. Congratulations, George! You just
joined the "blame America first" crowd. Do go on.
Tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative - a 22-percent
increase in clean-energy research - at the Department of Energy,
to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we
power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission
coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies,
and clean, safe nuclear energy.
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase
our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars,
and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund
additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol,
not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch
grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical
and competitive within six years.
Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us
reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our
oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
Oddly enough, despite the hours of preparation which supposedly
went into this speech (did you see those photos of Bush pretending
to read?) the energy secretary had to next day "clarify"
the president's declaration to reduce oil imports.
"This was purely an example," said Samuel Bodman. According
to tenessean.com, Bodman said that "the president didn't
mean it literally." Didn't mean it literally? So much for a
As for those alternative fuels Bush was touting, according
to the New York Times:
The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because
of cuts to its budget.
A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts
would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which
includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush
cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part
of the nation's oil imports.
But despite the president's best efforts, addiction to oil is
something we should all worry about, and be vigilant against. Tell
me George, if we suspect that someone we know is addicted to oil,
what kind of warnings signs should we look for?
Oh, I'm sorry - I see you're busy.
Oil Be Damned (Part Two)
Let's stay on the subject of reducing foreign oil imports for
a moment, because of the many lies and distortions in Bush's speech,
this is perhaps the most egregious. Let's face it: if America is
addicted to oil, then the Bush administration is the pusher.
to Think Progress, "Sixty-six percent of oil consumed in
the United States comes from foreign sources." That's a lot.
But here's the kicker - that's "up from 58 percent in 2000."
Yes, America has greatly increased its dependence on foreign
oil since the Bush administration came to power.
Not only that, but the House Committee on Government reform noted
last year that Bush's energy bill "rejected a Senate provision
that required reduction of oil consumption by one million barrels
per day by 2015."
And now Our Great Leader is lecturing us about this "serious
problem?" That's a bit like the pot calling the oil well black.
During the address, Bush exhorted Congress to reauthorize the
Patriot Act. But before the speech even began there was a graphic
display of the erosion of civil liberties that the Patriot Act represents.
Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother who kickstarted Bush's slip-sliding
poll numbers when he refused to meet with her last summer, was offered
a ticket to the State of the Union by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.
I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger
me and I knew that I couldn't disrupt the address because Lynn
had given me the ticket and I didn't want to be disruptive out
of respect for her. I, in fact, had given the ticket to John Bruhns
who is in Iraq Veterans Against the War. However, Lynn's office
had already called the media and everyone knew I was going to
be there so I sucked it up and went.
Cindy had attended a rally that afternoon, where she received the
ticket from Rep. Woolsey. She was wearing a T-shirt which simply
read "2,245 Dead. How many more?" After arriving at the
Capitol Building, Cindy went through security twice before climbing
to the fifth gallery. She continues:
I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of
stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned
to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw
my shirt and yelled, "Protester." He then ran over to
me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind
my back) shoved me up the stairs. ... The officer ran with me
to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When
we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await
a squad car. ... I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt
into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my
jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I
would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of
speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises
and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful
At around the same time, a Republican Congressman's wife was removed
from the building for wearing a T-shirt which read, "Support
the Troops Defending Our Freedom." Apparently the Capitol cops
think that anyone wearing a T-shirt is a protester. But I
guess they figured it out, because for some reason the Congressman's
wife was not arrested.
The next day, Capitol Police dropped
the charge of unlawful conduct against Cindy. Capitol Police
Chief Terrance Gainer apologized, saying, "The officers made
a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation
of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol."
So the cops finally figured out Cindy Sheehan too. But not until
she spent four hours in jail... for the crime of wearing the wrong
One of the most interesting moments of the State of the Union
was Bush's admission that his war on terror has been a failure.
After waffling about ending tyranny in the world, the "future
security of America," acting "boldly in freedom's cause,"
remaining on the "offensive against terror networks,"
and killing or capturing "many of their leaders," Bush
dropped this bombshell: "The enemy has not lost the desire
or capability to attack us."
Well excuse me, Mr. War President, but what exactly have you been
doing since 9/11? You've had four and a half years, countless billions
of dollars, and sacrificed the lives of more than 2,200 of our soldiers,
and you haven't managed to degrade the enemy's desire or capability
to attack us? What the hell?
Perhaps it's time for America to get a president who can actually
show some results... or at least, results other than enormous profits
for his buddies in the military-industrial complex while a steady
stream of flag-draped coffins returns from the Middle East.
At least Our Great Leader finally managed to remember the name
of his arch-nemesis, Osama bin Laden. Bush declared, "Terrorists
like bin Laden are serious about mass murder - and all of us must
take their declared intentions seriously."
That's rich coming from someone who didn't mention bin Laden's
name in a single State of the Union address prior to this one. (Although
Bush has managed to namecheck Saddam Hussein 26
Bush got crazy when the time came to defend his illegal wiretapping
operations. His voice rose in pitch and volume, his eyes popped
from his head, and he jerked violently from side to side. Oh yes,
he knows he's in trouble all right.
According to Dubya:
It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our
government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now
know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone
calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about
their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack
- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute
- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively
pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda
operatives and affiliates to and from America. ... The terrorist
surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It
remains essential to the security of America.
Now, considering that Bush's only defense against the illegality
of his warrantless wiretapping scheme is to keep insisting that
he has the Constitutional authority to do whatever it takes to protect
the American people, you'd think he might want to get his facts
straight on this. But the New York Daily News reported
last week that:
The National Security Agency's secret domestic spying hasn't
nabbed any Al Qaeda agents in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks,
FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress yesterday.
Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his agents
get "a number of leads from the NSA," but he made it
clear Osama Bin Laden's henchmen weren't at the end of the trail.
Oh dear. George had better start practicing that perp walk.
Our Great Leader barely stuck his toe into the issue of ethics;
understandable really, since Republicans are currently up to their
necks in it. Here's how the speech went:
Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen
the ethical standards of Washington - I support your efforts.
Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility
- and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and
I'm not quite sure what kind of "public responsibility"
Bush might be talking about. I mean, I know presidents don't get
impeached for breaking the law or lying to Congress or lying to
the American people any more.
Of course, the good news for Republicans is that last week they
officially got rid of disgraced former exterminator, Rep. Tom Delay
(R-Shit Creek). The GOP picked
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio to replace him as House Majority Leader.
Boehner is charged with cleaning up the Republican party's tarnished
ethics image, which has been severely damaged by repeated charges
of corruption, bribery, cronyism, and dirty dealings with shady
lobbyists. Here's the punchline: Boehner doesn't just have potential
problems of his own, his candidacy for majority leader was strongly
supported by, er, lobbyists.
Hold Your Applause
Now we get to my favorite part of the speech - the part where
the Dems make Bush look like a giant ass. Last year Bush went on
tour to promote his other "great goal" (ruining Social
Security) and the response was universally dismal. His privatization
plans didn't even even get off the ground in Congress, and at the
State of the Union he was determined to give his detractors a little
Unfortunately things didn't quite go according to plan. Bush got
as far as, "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to
save Social Security," before applause broke out from the Democratic
side of the House - which quickly turned into a lengthy
standing ovation, complete with loud cheers.
Poor George, standing up there all by himself while those rotten
Democrats made fun of him. Not only that but Dick Cheney and Dennis
Hastert looked like they were trying to figure out which torture
device to warm up when they got him back to the Oval Office.
Don't Fail Me Now
Bush was quick to claim credit for a number of encouraging
statistics. On abortion, he said:
There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the
last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage
mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.
These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation - a revolution
of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a
life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment.
Actually these gains are evidence of increased availability of
the morning-after pill - at least, according to 2003
research by the the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The study did
find, however, that "the rate of abortion among poor women
has increased substantially." Which makes sense - poor women
are far less likely to have access to the morning-after pill.
But George W. Bush probably shouldn't be crowing too loudly about
the decrease in abortion rates, since in November 2005 the FDA refused
to approve the Plan B morning-after pill for over the counter sale.
The refusal came after Bush administration officials meddled in
the FDA's review - according
to the UK's Daily Telegraph, "'four aspects
of [the FDA] review process were unusual' and the entire decision-making
process was 'not typical.'" The Telegraph reported:
Several FDA middle managers have testified that, four months
before the decision was announced, they were told by the office
of Mark McClellan, a Bush administration appointee then running
the agency, that Plan B would not be approved in Jan 2004.
So much for "a revolution of rising conscience." When
will the fundies figure out that the Republican party is going to
keep dangling this moldy carrot in front of them over and over again?
Don't Need No Education
Back in cloud-cuckoo land, Bush was busy touting science education.
He told the nation:
...we need to encourage children to take more math and science,
and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete
with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades
with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards
and lifting test scores across our country.
Funny, then, that Bush's 2006 budget proposal slashed
education spending, reducing the Department of Education's budget
by half a billion dollars. Not only that, but a 2004
report by Business Week indicated that "No Child
Left Behind may be exacerbating the problem" of slipping science
According to the report, "NCLB now requires that students
be tested just in reading and math (science tests won't be added
until 2007)." Said Gerald Wheeler, executive director of the
National Science Teachers Association, "some teachers are being
told to stop teaching science and get back to reading and math."
ThinkProgress has the
rest of the story. But you know, perhaps the continued dumbing
down of the nation isn't really bad thing. After all, we all know
what kind of horrors of science can bring...
And finally, forget Osama bin Laden - George W. Bush has a
new enemy in the war on terror. His name is Dr. Moreau, and apparently
he lives on an island. While discussing scientific and medical research,
Our Great Leader dropped this bombshell:
Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious
abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating
or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids,
and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.
You know, perhaps Congress does need to take the human-animal
hybrid threat seriously.
See you next week!
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