The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
February 20, 2006
The Shot Heard Round The World Edition
of incompetence. An inability to shoot straight. An instinct for
cover-up. An attitude of lawlessness. A tendency to blame the victim.
As goes Dick Cheney (1,2,4), so goes the Bush administration. But
as usual, Fox News (3,10) is there to give George & Co. a helping
hand, while Congressional Republicans (5) are more than happy to
ignore their oversight duties. Elsewhere, The Media (8) focuses
on the really important issues, and Ann Coulter (9) joins
the ranks of the "feeble minded." Enjoy, and don't forget
So, I don't know if you heard about this or not, but last week
the vice president of the United States of America shot a 78-year-old
man in the face.
Just kidding, of course you heard about it. Dick Cheney "peppered"
his hunting companion with "BBs"
His unfortunate companion, Harry Whittington, who, let's be fair,
deserved to get shot because he sneaked
up on Cheney without announcing his presence, ended up "bruised
more than bloodied" but was taken to ICU as a precaution.
He remained in a "very
stable" condition until he had a "silent
heart attack." But apparently he's feeling better
than ever now. See, his pride
was hurt more than anything else. He later apologized,
saying "My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice-President
Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week."
"I'm very sorry that I ruined the vice president's
when my face got in the way of his birdshot."
And that was the "official" story. The real story? Hard
to tell - there have been so many inconsistencies in the investigation
of the Cheney shooting that it's not easy to determine where the
truth ends and fantasy begins.
Cheney was cleared of any wrongdoing remarkably
quickly. Not bad for a guy who admittedly drank at least one
beer before going hunting, didn't have the proper
stamp on his hunting license, violated
several of the cardinal
rules of hunting, and subsequently shot a guy in the face. Especially
when you consider that the main witness to the event didn't even
see what happened - Katherine Armstrong admitted
at the time that as she saw Cheney's security detail running towards
the scene, "The first thing that crossed my mind was he [Cheney]
had a heart problem."
Despite all this, George W. Bush said he was "satisfied"
with Cheney's account. Of course he's satisfied. Doesn't want to
get in trouble with the boss, does he?
But let's dig a little deeper into this near-fatal face-shooting
"mishap." In an interview with Fox News (more on that
in a moment) the vice president said that this was the "worst
day of my life." Thanks to DUer Stephanie,
we can take a closer look at how the worst day of Dick Cheney's
life panned out.
First, Dick enjoyed at
least one beer with his barbecue lunch at around 1PM. Then he
went out and shot Harry Whittington at about 5:30PM. But rather
than going to the hospital to see how his friend was doing, he went
back to the house and, according
to Katherine Armstrong, "fixed himself a cocktail."
Then Armstrong, her brother-in-law, and a friend went to the hospital
to check on Whittington while Dick Cheney had
dinner. Armstrong said Cheney was "very worried,"
but apparently not worried enough to prevent him from going
to bed at around 10PM.
The next morning, the vice president decided that it might not
be a bad idea if Katherine Armstrong were to tell the media that,
you know, the vice president of the United States had shot a man
in the face. He then sat down for a nice quail
lunch. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, he went
to the hospital to visit Whittington.
So let's just recap the worst day of the vice president's life:
SATURDAY MID-DAY: Barbecue, beer
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Shoot man in face
SATURDAY EVENING: Cocktails, dinner
SUNDAY MORNING: Grudgingly inform media
SUNDAY MID-DAY: Quail lunch
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Visit man in hospital
Questions, questions. Did Dick Cheney have more than one beer before
going out hunting? Why did he continue to consume alcohol after
the accident? Why did he wait until Sunday morning to tell the media
and meet with local police? America might not look too favorably
on the vice president if it turned out that he had been boozing
just before he shot a man in the face.
But hey, it's not like Dick Cheney has a history of getting
into trouble while drinking, right?
It took a few days, but after realizing that his "blame
the victim" defense didn't seem to be working, the vice president
generously took full responsibility for the accident - in a taped
interview on Fox News. Big of him.
But one interesting side-effect of last week's Executive Shooting
was the grand unmasking of Fox News as nothing more than the national
propaganda arm of the Bush administration. Yes, I know that Fox
have been shilling for the Bush administration all along, but last
week's performance really put the icing on the cake. From Bill O'Reilly
saying that the shooting "affects no one, means nothing" (unlike
presidential blowjobs, presumably) to Neil Cavuto claiming that
the press corps was "trying to create a White House scandal
that simply does not exist," Fox News' butt-naked effort to sweep
the story under the rug was about as subtle as, well, being shot
in the face.
That's obviously why Dick Cheney chose to explain himself in a
cosy, taped chat with Fox's Brit Hume, rather than giving a press
conference. And what
a chat it was. Hume failed to ask Cheney any really serious
questions, such as why the shooting was not reported immediately,
and instead stuck to such pressing matters as - I kid you not -
HUME: Now, is it clear that - he had caught part of the
shot, is that right?
CHENEY: - part of the shot. He was struck in the right
side of his face, his neck and his upper torso on the right side
of his body.
HUME: And you - and I take it, you missed the bird.
CHENEY: I have no idea.
To be fair, Hume did manage to accidentally squeeze the "one
beer at lunch" admission from Cheney. But Fox News apparently
decided that the nation didn't really need to know about Cheney's
drinking and removed
the comment from their televised broadcast of the interview,
their webcast of the interview, and the transcript.
Can't you just smell that fair and balanced coverage?
Let's move on now from the vice president shooting a man in
the face and focus on another interesting tidbit that cropped up
during Cheney's Fox News interview. In a brief aside on the outing
of Valerie Plame, Brit Hume and Cheney had this
HUME: Let me ask you another question. Is it your view
that a Vice President has the authority to declassify information?
CHENEY: There is an executive order to that effect.
HUME: There is.
HUME: Have you done it?
CHENEY: Well, I've certainly advocated declassification
and participated in declassification decisions. The executive
HUME: You ever done it unilaterally?
CHENEY: I don't want to get into that. There is an executive
order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously
focuses first and foremost on the President, but also includes
the Vice President.
Last week it was revealed
that Scooter Libby recently testified under oath that he was authorized
to disclose classified information "by his superiors."
Not only that, but it was recently alleged that Valerie Plame and
her team were "part of an operation tracking distribution and
acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from
to Raw Story, the CIA's own assessment of the situation is that
it would be "impaired for up to 'ten years' in its capacity
to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency
and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's
So this is Brit Hume's way of trying to cover Cheney's ass. See,
if the vice president has the authority to declassify such information,
then it doesn't matter if he told Scooter Libby to out a CIA agent,
Well, not quite. Executive Order 13292, which Cheney was referring
to, does not give the vice president unilateral authority
to declassify secret CIA documents or information. In fact, according
to a great
analysis of the situation by Mark Levey on the DU message board,
"Federal law states that it is a felony for officials to disclose
the contents of classified documents to persons who aren't authorized
to receive them. ... Cheney would have first had to request that
George Tenet authorize Agency declassification. There is no record
that such permission was ever sought or obtained."
It's a good job Cheney's used to wearing orange on his hunting
trips. It shouldn't take him long to adjust to a jumpsuit.
For some time now Democrats have been insisting on an investigation
into the Bush administration's wiretapping program - and for good
reason. Not only has the administration been breaking the law, they
seem to be proud of the fact, and are using this as an opportunity
to eliminate the system of checks and balances that the Constitution
Congressional Republicans, of course, see it differently. Apparently
they believe that their job is not to act as a check or balance
on the Executive Branch or to provide any kind of oversight for
what the Bush adminstration might be up to, but rather to roll out
the red carpet and play a fanfare for Mad King George.
Last week, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts
(R-KS) announced that he had struck
a deal with the administration. Rather than investigating the
spying program, he's simply going to allow the administration to
"give lawmakers more information on the nature of the program"
- apparently at their own discretion.
Meanwhile, in the House, Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said that he had "unilaterally submitted
51 questions to the Attorney General, and that the Attorney General
would testify at a general oversight hearing at some undetermined
point in the future," according
to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Conyers noted that some of the
questions are "such softballs it is hard to take them seriously"
- for example, number 18 reads, "Do you agree that it is debatable
as to whether the United States homeland is still a target of al
Tell you what, why don't we just get rid of the Legislative Branch
altogether? After all, Bush said
it himself: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck
of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." Long live
Port security was a big issue during the 2004 election, with
the White House announcing
that "The President has significantly increased funding for
the Coast Guard, including dramatic increases for port security
and acquisition of new resources." As recently as July of 2005,
Bush was touting
port security as one of his major concerns.
But last week it was revealed
that "A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take
over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate
sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with
influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism."
It's hard for me to figure out how Bush's remaining supporters
can possibly justify this action, although I'm sure they'll come
up with something. At least, they will once Rush Limbaugh and Sean
Hannity have explained it to them.
Abu Ghraib "Frathouse Pranksters"
Last week, more
photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison made their way into the
open after being broadcast by Australian television. The pictures
were taken at the same time as the ones released in 2004, but are
even more disturbing - from bloodsoaked prison cells to a bound
prisoner apparently being sodomized with a banana. Here's the official
The US government felt that it was better that the photographs
not be released, not because that there was anything to hide,…
but simply, that one, that we felt that it was an invasion of
the detainees themselves to have these photographs come out and
in addition it would simply fan the flames around the world and
cause potentially further violence.
Yes, I suppose one could call having a banana rammed into one's
anus "an invasion of the detainees." As for fanning flames
around the world, I've got two suggestions for the Bush administration:
1) they should have listened to everyone from the Center
for American progress to (gag) Neal
Boortz, who were advocating for the release of all the photos
at the same time, and 2) they shouldn't have implicitly authorized
American troops to ram bananas into people's anuses.
The Bush administration's bevy of media brown-nosers are, of course,
shocked. Watch in the coming days as they bemoan the fact that this
is "old news" and how it serves no purpose to see more
of these pictures. Never mind the fact that these media brown-nosers
are, by and large, the same people who called the original pictures
mere "frathouse pranks."
Of course they don't want to talk about it any more. They
framed the issue as "a bit of harmless fun." Fresh images
of Iraqis with their throats slit and cell floors awash in blood
somewhat undercut that theory.
And what is the media focusing on while the vice president
feloniously declassifies top secret information, Congressional Republicans
cover up the Bush administration's illegal wiretapping operation,
our ports are sold to the UAE, and yet more photos belying the claim
that "we do not torture" are released to the public?
screenshot from MSNBC last week should give you a clue:
I mean, come on now.
In the past, Ann Coulter has had plenty
to say about people who are too "feeble-minded" to
vote. But in light of last week's news, perhaps Ann should take
a good long look in the mirror (assuming she can find one that won't
It turns out that according
to the Palm Beach Post, "Palm Beach County Supervisor
of Elections records show Coulter voted last week in Palm Beach's
council election. Problem is: She cast her ballot in a precinct
4 miles north of the precinct where she owns a home." Not only
that but, "She wrote down an Indian Road address instead of
Seabreeze on her voter's registration application. And she signed
to certify the information as true."
So what? Well, here's the funny part: in Florida, knowingly voting
in the wrong precinct is a felony, and lying on a voter registration
form can get you a $5000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Ah, we can but hope.
And finally, the "news" channel everyone loves to
hate wasn't just covering Dick Cheney's ass last week, they were
stepping up to the plate for Our Great Leader too. We noted in last
week's list that George W. Bush recently made a rather pathetic
attempt to put a scare into the American people by claiming to have
foiled a 2002 terror plot to blow up the Library Tower in Los Angeles.
Whether or not the Bush administration actually foiled that plot
is highly debatable - but let's give a big hand to Fox News for
doing their best to dress the story up.
The problem for Fox News, of course, was that the Library Tower
in L.A. isn't very exciting. It just sort of sits there, like any
other large building. How could they make their coverage of this
particular non-event a little more... engaging?
And then they had it! If you've seen the movie Independence
Day, you may recall that when the aliens attack Earth, one of
the first things they blow up is - yes - the Library Tower. And
so big props to Fox for coming
up with this:
That's right, folks! Not the actual Library Tower being destroyed
by terrorists, but a remarkable simulation of the Library Tower
being destroyed by, er, aliens.
Perhaps Fox should start illustrating all their news stories
with clips from science fiction movies...
See you next week!
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