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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 75)
July 15, 2002
Era Of Responsibility Edition

Welcome to Top Ten No. 75! We took a week off last week for the holiday, but an awful lot has happened since then. First off, George W. Bush (1) has gotten himself into a spot of bother over allegations that he engaged in the very practices he wants to send other CEOs to jail for. Whoops! And Dubya's veep/puppetmaster Dick Cheney (2) is also fighting allegations of corporate wrongdoing. Why aren't we surprised? Meanwhile, Right-Wing Spinbastards (3) are falling over themselves to blame Bill Clinton's penis. Again, no surprises there. Further down the list you can make friends with one of the candidates for Surgeon General, Richard Carmona (8). Just don't be surprised if he shoots first, shoots second, and then asks questions. Finally we have to give credit to Jay Dickey (10) the world's worst media manipulator. Enjoy, and as usual, here's the key.

1George W. Bush covering your ass greed excessive spin hypocrisy lying fiscal irresponsibility dumb flip-flopping
The chickens appear to be coming home to roost for Dubya. Faced with a barrage of questions over his dubious dealings as a board member of Harken Energy, the Responsibility President has only been able to offer vague accounts of missing paperwork, incompetent lawyers, and last week finally resorted to plain ignorance (a craft at which he is frighteningly adept): "I still haven't figured it out completely." One day later, Bush delivered a poorly received speech to Wall Street executives. Mangling hollow promises and empty rhetoric, Bush managed to remain curiously straight-faced as he berated crooked CEOs for engaging in the same shady business practices that he did back when his daddy was president. The speech managed to tank the stock market and was widely panned by political analysts. Hypocrisy, thy name is George W. Bush. Looking back, we found this campaign speech Dubya made in 2000, when he vowed to usher America into a new "era of responsibilty." The buck stops here? Harry Truman must be writhing in his grave.

2Dick Cheney covering your ass greed excessive spin hypocrisy lying fiscal irresponsibility
So - if George W. Bush is promising stiff new penalties for crooked CEO's, will he soon be throwing his veep in jail? If the allegations of Dick Cheney's involvement in Halliburton's fraudulent accounting are true, surely the Responsibility President will be happy to return honor and integrity to the White House by putting away another corporate criminal! Judicial Watch, the group who famously filed lawsuits against the Clinton administration, have now set their sights on Bush's house of crooks, and Dick Cheney is currently the number one suspect. Judicial Watch filed suit against ex-Halliburton CEO Cheney and other board members last week, alleging deliberate accounting scams and securities fraud - exactly the kind of corporate crime that Dubya says he wants to throw dirty execs in jail for. (Incidentally, Halliburton's accoutants were - you guessed it - Arthur Andersen. Here's the hilarious promotional video of Crashcart talking about the "good advice" he gets from them.)

3Right-Wing Spinbastards excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin excessive spin
As George W. Bush himself said in the 2000 campaign speech linked above, "For too long our culture has sent this message: if it feels good, do it. And if you've got a problem, just go ahead and blame somebody else. Each of us must understand that's not right." Wonderful sentiments. So now the economy is in tatters, corporate multimillionaires are stealing billions from the American people, and Bush administration officials are under intense scrutiny over their own alleged wrongdoings, who is to blame? That's right - Bill Clinton's penis! The current right-wing spin, from Ari Fleischer to Rush Limbaugh via Fox News, is that once-legitimate CEOs were so shocked by Clinton's behavior that they all suddenly became criminals overnight. Rep. Tom Davis of the National Republican Congressional Committee (see Idiots 74) sent a memo to GOP candidates last week saying that, "The corporate corruptions being discussed today all began in the 1990s and were shaped by a culture of dishonesty and situational ethics that flowed directly from the White House." Of course! It's obvious that Ken Lay and Bernard Ebbers were playing it straight and narrow until Monica Lewinsky came along, and then they just threw up their hands and said, "Well hell! If the President can get a hummer, then it must be okay for us to cook our books, defraud our investors, and shat on our employees, all the while personally enriching ourselves to the the tune of millions of dollars!" And presumably the reason George W. Bush dumped his Harken stock was because the Ghost of Blowjobs Future visited him one night in 1990 and told him that it was okay...

4Bernard Ebbers dumb dumb fiscal irresponsibility
Speaking of Bernard Ebbers, the ex-WorldCom chief exec was recently seen bravely taking the Fifth in front of the House Financial Services Committe last week. Unfortunately Ebbers, who was called to testify on his role in WorldCom's misplacement of $3.8 billion, committed a comical blunder by making a statement at the beginning of the hearing. Before refusing to answer questions he claimed that, "No one will conclude that I engaged in any criminal or fraudulent conduct during my tenure at WorldCom." Ebbers was immediately condemned by the panel, who suggested that since he had made a statement of innocence he should forfeit his Fifth Amendment rights. However, once the issue had been resolved Ebbers went on to plead the Fifth on all questions, including "Can you sleep at night?" Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's a classic example of George W. Bush's "era of responsibility" in action!

5Harvey Pitt pandering fiscal irresponsibility
As the corporate irresponsibility scandal heated up, the Bush Administration 's alleged point-man for enforcement of securities law, SEC chairman Harvey Pitt, was nowhere to be found. It seems that Mr. Pitt, the esteemed former lawyer for Arthur Anderson and other paragons of corporate virtue, has spent the last year rolling out the red carpet for the corporations he's supposed to be policing. He's done such a piss-poor job that even other Republicans, most notably John McCain, are calling on him to step down. Of course, George W. Bush said that Pitt is doing "a fine job," which figures. If you're a greedy, lying, corporate bastard with a crooked scheme to line your own pockets at the expense of your employees and shareholders, the Bush Administration is at your service!

6Raymond Gilmartin quid pro quo lying
It's no secret that, like the energy industry, the pharmecutical industry has the Bush administration in its pocket. A look back to the 2000 campaign shows just who the big pharmeceutical companies thought would improve their chances of making money at the expense of the sick. It is said that when it comes to George W. Bush, Ray Gilmartin is to the pharmeceutical industry what Ken Lay was to the energy industry. But it's not just unusally high levels of presidential access the two men have in common - they also have quite a way with "fuzzy math." It was reported last week that a subsidiary of Merck recorded $12.4 BILLION in earnings which was never collected. Nice job. Interestingly, back in April 2002 Raymond Gilmartin appeared before the House Committee on Ways and Means to tout a plan for integrating prescription drugs into Medicare. Well, he's obviously a trustworthy fellow. I hope they paid attention...

7George W. Bush anti-environment anti-environment
All attention may be focused on corporate scandals right now, but there are other crazy goings-on in world of conservatives at the moment? Take for example George W. Bush's great new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions - a plan which the National Wildlife Federation says will actually increase emissions by 13 percent in the next decade. Ingenious! So how does it work? Well, it's a voluntary plan, you see, which should work really well. I bet all the energy companies are going to be fighting to sign up! Perhaps Dubya should incorporate a similar idea into his plan to fight corporate crime. You know, tell CEOs that they really must stop ruining America, but make it voluntary. George told us last week that there is no "wealth without character," so it ought to work, right?

8Richard Carmona warmongering
What qualities to you look for in a Surgeon General? If you are George W. Bush, it seems that the most important qualities are a demonstrated lack of medical competency, an inability to get along with co-workers, and a history of shooting people. Enter "Dr." Richard Carmona, who exhibits all of these fine qualities. Apparently it took Crazy Carmona eight full years to gain board certification in his field of general surgery, failing the exam twice. Former colleagues have expressed concern about his character, in particular an inability to work with others "in an effective or even a civil manner." But the kicker is an event which the Bush administration holds up as a sterling example of virtue. In 1999, Carmona came upon an altercation between two motorists, and was shot by one of them. Carmona returned fire, shot the man, and (according to supporters) heroically tried to save his life. But a police interview at the time indicates that Carmona did not try to save the man he shot, but instead returned to his car to reload his revolver. Sounds like a great choice for Surgeon General. Instead of saving people, he shoots people!

9 George W. Bush lying
No doubt by now you have heard George W. Bush's "trifecta" joke. He's been going around telling people that he promised during the campaign that he would balance the federal budget, unless there was a war, recession, or national emergency. Then the punch line: "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta." (I guess the joke is funny if you're entertained by the idea of Muslim extremists crashing planes into the World Trade Center.) Anyway, some reporters got smart and asked when Bush actually made this promise on the campaign. The answer: never. But someone else did: Al Gore. "Barring an economic reversal, a national emergency, or a foreign crisis, we should balance the budget this year, next year, and every year," Gore said on various occasions. Kinda makes you wonder what the world would be like if we actually had a real president.

10Jay Dickey unconstitutional dumb dumb
And finally, what do you do if that goldanged liberal media just won't stop criticizing you? Well if you're Jay Dickey, you'll complain to your friend that owns the media and get them to stop it. It's that simple! Former congressman Dickey of Arkansas is trying to reclaim his seat this year, but he was disappointed with the coverage he was getting in his local paper, the Pine Bluff Commercial. So he emailed his friend Warren Stephens - the owner of the newspaper's parent company - and asked him for a few favors. According to the Washington Post, the favors included asking that "the Commercial endorse him and have coverage that will complement such endorsement, not look contradictory," asking for comment on all news releases by his opponent, Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, "and don't ask him on mine all the time," and to stop running letters by one of his critics and "publish our favorable letters." Stephens had a word with Sherman Frederick, president of Stephens Media Group, who ordered the Commercial's editor to endorse Dickey, and the editor promptly resigned. The reason according to Frederick was that, "He obviously has very strong feelings against Jay Dickey." Guess it didn't occur to Stevens that that the editor might object to being forced to endorse a political candidate of any flavor. Now that's what I call freedom of the press! See you next week...

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