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The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 120)
August 4, 2003
Was That A Dumb Idea? You Bet! Edition

Believe it or not, a series of ridiculous conservative blunders has forced George W. "Super Press Conference Man" Bush down into fourth place this week. At the top of the list we have The Pentagon, who have (well, had) a new scheme to bet on future terrorist attacks. Shame really, because the Transportation Security Administration (2) and House Republicans (3) are gambling that there won't be any more terrorist attacks, at all, ever. And there he is, George W. Bush (4) taking full responsibility for everything he says while simultaneously blaming America's problems on everybody else. Elsewhere on the list this week we have Bill Bennett (6) - obviously there's a bit of a gambling theme this week - the Conservative Caucus (8), who have a really bad nominee for the Supreme Court, and James Inhofe (9), the world's worst person to be in charge of all things environmental. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!

1The Pentagon dumb dumb dumb
How does gambling on the possibility of terrorist attacks sound to you? Merely foolish? Or downright dangerous? The Bush administration's blind belief in the power of the free market was brought into full focus last week when the Pentagon announced its latest and greatest plan in the war on terror - an online terrorism futures trading market. According to the Associated Press, "Traders bullish on a biological attack on Israel or bearish on the chances of a North Korean missile strike would have the opportunity to bet on the likelihood of such events." The theory is, of course, that the market would be able to predict such events before they occur, thus improving our national security. Unfortunately almost everyone except the Pentagon could spot the tiny flaw in this plan: what happens when a bunch of terrorists play the market so that it predicts, say, a biological attack in Paris, and then just when everyone's nudging and winking and looking the other way they explode a dirty bomb in downtown Dallas? Oh, I forgot - in Bush's bizarro world of the unregulated free market, traders are perfectly capable of policing themselves, even the crazy genocidal ones. Fortunately the idea of a terrorism futures market was so heavily criticized by politicians and pundits from all sides that the Pentagon beat a hasty retreat and dropped the plan the very same day they announced it. What an enormous waste of time, not to mention taxpayers' money. So, ladies and gentlemen, place your bets - was this the dumbest idea of the year? Odds are that it was.

2Transportation Security Administration dumb helping the terrorists
And here's another great Republican plan that had to be nixed about ten seconds after it was announced. It was revealed last week that recent intelligence reports detail a new plot by terrorists to - you guessed it - hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Yes, yes - de ja vu, I know. And Our Great Leader just happens to be on vacation again. How convenient! I hope he's not too busy chopping down trees and roasting weiners to read his intelligence briefings this time. But anyway, shortly after this familiar plot was revealed, the Transportation Security Administration was thoroughly embarrassed by MSNBC who reported that despite the new terror warnings, air marshal coverage was being scaled back on international and cross-country flights (yes, the most vulnerable ones) because - get this - they didn't want to pay for the air marshals to stay in hotels. Yes, we're spending $4 billion every month in Iraq, but we can't afford to put up an air marshal in a Super-8. Priorities, priorities. Obviously, once this was made public, the red-faced TSA had to flip-flop and announce that despite a $900 million budget hole (thanks George) they wouldn't be cutting back air marshals after all - of course not, don't be silly, why, that would be thoroughly irresponsible! Well, quite.

3House Republicans dumb helping the terrorists
Since we're on the subject of Air Marshalls this week, here's an interesting tidbit of news from Capitol Hill which shows just how tough Republicans really are on fighting terrorism. Apparently, while the air marshal flap really took off last week, the groundwork was laid a week earlier by the House Appropriations Committee. According to the Associated Press, "Rep. David Obey, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, tried unsuccessfully last week to add $50 million to a spending bill to keep the air marshals at full strength this year. His proposal was defeated 32-21 by the committee, voting along party lines." So the Democrats wanted to make sure that the Transportation Security Administration (who, to reiterate, are apparently in a $900 million budget hole - thanks George) is fully funded so that air marshals are available on all flights to protect Americans from terrorism. But the Republicans voted for cutbacks in the air marshal service, leaving commercial airliners dangerously vulnerable to hijackings. And they have the nerve to call Democrats soft on terrorism? Despicable.

4George W. Bush dumb excessive spin covering your ass
George W. Bush held the 9th solo press conference of his term last week, and boy, was it a thrilling experience. Our Great Leader wowed the assembled press corps with his ability to remember their nicknames, and even managed to rattle off a list of terrorists for whom we're "on the hunt" - well, until he got tongue-tied after two names and had to finish with a lame "Ramzi...uh...Ramzi al Shibh or whatever the guy's name was." But the real forehead-slapping moment came shortly afterwards when Responsibility George decided to blame the media for the currently-awful state of the economy. "...We had the drumbeat to war. Remember on our TV screens - I'm not suggesting which network did this - but it said, 'March to War,' every day from last summer until the spring - 'March to War, March to War.' That's not a very conducive environment for people to take risk, when they hear, 'March to War' all the time." Um, gee, d'you think it could be because YOU WERE MARCHING US TO WAR, President Dumbass? Here's a thought though - d'you think it's possible that Dubya really doesn't know that he was marching us to war? Is the guy that ignorant? Does he actually believe that it was the media who was responsible for the war in Iraq? "Hey Dick, CNN's got that 'March to War' graphic on screen again. If they don't stop soon, we're going to have to invade Iraq. That darn CNN. Don't they know the effect this will have on the economy?" I've said it before and I'll say it again: Worst. President. Ever.

5Condoleezza Rice warmongering lying
Keep your eyes on the lies! According to the Associated Press, "The congressional report on pre-Sept. 11 intelligence calls into question answers that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice gave the public last year about the White House's knowledge of terrorism threats." Not that that's much of a surprise to anyone - Condi isn't exactly known for her ability to tell the truth, and she's not much better at keeping her lying stories straight afterwards. Here's what happened: in May of 2002, Rice said that Bush's briefings before 9/11 contained only "a general warning of threats and largely historical information, not specific plots." "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," she said. But what's this? The 9/11 Commission Report says that "from at least 1994, and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received information indicating that terrorists were contemplating, among other means of attack, the use of aircraft as weapons." Huh, that's weird. Well - I guess Condi just didn't read those reports. You know, just like she didn't read George Tenet's memo telling her not to include the uranium from Niger lie in the State of the Union Address. Reading just doesn't seem to be her thing.

6The Bush Administration helping the terrorists warmongering
A new report released last week by the British government says that the invasion of Iraq may have actually helped the terrorists. And hundreds of thousands of anti-war protesters across the globe promptly slapped themselves on the foreheads and yelled "Duhhh!" You mean it took the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee this long to figure that out? As well as finding that the justification for war was incredibly weak in the first place, the report also determined that the invasion "might have enhanced the appeal of al-Qaida to Muslims living in the Gulf region and elsewhere," and "We cannot conclude that these threats have diminished significantly, in spite of 'regime change' in Iraq and progress in capturing some of the leaders of al-Qaida." Amazing that they only just figured this out, isn't it? Oh, and for any conservatives reading this who doubt the veracity of the findings of the British government - remember, according to George W. Bush himself, we trust the British government implicitly, which is why he put their intelligence in the State of the Union Address when he was trying to make a case for war. So it must be true, unless you're calling Bush a liar.

7Bill Bennett hypocrisy hypocrisy covering your ass
I thought conservatives were supposed to be against frivolous lawsuits, but then I guess when your name is Bill Bennett and you've already been exposed as a massive hypocrite, everything is fair game. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week that Bennett is "considering filing lawsuits against Las Vegas casino companies that may have leaked documents detailing his gambling habits." Pretty clever, huh? Lose millions of dollars quenching your insatiable thirst for gambling, and then try to 'win' it all back again in one final coup de grâce. And I thought Bennett claimed that he'd stopped gambling. Guess he couldn't resist one... last... score...

8The Conservative Caucus religious nut unconstitutional
We thought we'd seen the last of Justice Roy Moore after he lost the battle to keep his 5,300-pound granite Ten Commandments monument in Alabama's judicial building (see Idiots 92). But will Nutjob Moore get the last laugh now that a Virginia-based group called The Conservative Caucus has begun a petition drive to encourage George W. Bush to nominate him to the Supreme Court? Caucus Chairman Howard Phillips says, "There is no question that Chief Justice Moore is perceived as a courageous and heroic figure throughout the country by people who recognize that God is the source of law." Which pretty much sums up why Roy's got about as much chance of getting on the Supreme Court as a stuffed weasel. Mind you, he'd probably make an excellent Supreme Court nominee - he's twice as conservative as William Rehnquist and at least three times as insane as Antonin Scalia. Sounds like George W. Bush's dream Justice.

9 James Inhofe anti-environment
Sen. James Inhofe announced to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week that global warming doesn't exist - but if it does, then it's all nature's fault anyway. To prove his point, Inhofe cited the findings of Drs. Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The only problem is that apparently the "mainstream climate research community" believes that Soon and Baliunas's findings are "nonsense." Speaking before the Committee, Michael Mann, University of Virginia environmental sciences professor and a lead author of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, told the assembled senators that "There is little valid in [Soon and Baliunas's] paper, they got just about everything wrong." And this, apparently, is the view of pretty much everyone working in the field of climate change. Inhofe wasn't impressed though, saying that "It is no secret that we are not scientists up here, so we look at things logically." This was after he introduced the Soon and Baliunas report as a "most comprehensive study [that] shivers the timbers of the adrift chicken little crowd," by the way. So who cares what James Inhofe thinks? Well, unfortunately, as well as possessing a total and utter unwillingness to look facts in the face, Inhofe is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It's good to know the future of our planet is in such safe hands.

10Bob Spratlin dumb
And finally: "They get to the meat of it, and they give you both sides and let you make up your own mind." Quick - which cable news channel is Bob Spratlin referring to? If you guessed Fox News, congratulations - you now know why Bob Spratlin is appearing on this list. "But come on," I hear you cry, "Loads of idiots out there like Fox News. Why is Bob Spratlin so special?" Because, dear reader, while many people are fans of Fox "News" not many of them go so far as to buy billboards thanking God for it. Yes, Mr. Spratlin is so enamoured with the Bush administration's personal propaganda platform that he's purchased a series of billboards in his home town of Tunnel Hill, Georgia, which read "Thank God for the Fox News Channel." I can only speculate that after a nice rest on the seventh day, God woke up and realized that he needed something to keep the morons occupied. See you next week!

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