Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 162)

July 5, 2004
Secretary of Boogyin' Down Edition

America and Iraq had something in common last week: Americans celebrated our independence, and thanks to the Bush Administration (1), so did the citizens of the newly sovereign state of Iraq -- except for that whole "celebrating" part and the "independence" part. In the Justice Department (2) they no longer even bother to make their lies believable anymore. And on Fox News (3), they are letting their hypocrisy all hang out. Meanwhile, Bill Frist (4) is stinking and conniving, Lee Constantine (5) is drinking and driving, and Colin Powell (10) is singing and jiving. Enjoy, and as usual, don't forget the key!

1The Bush Administration warmongering
And so the occupation of Iraq ended not with a bang, but a whimper. Of course, chances are good that it would have ended with a bang if the handover hadn't been secretly brought forward by two days and marked with a five minute ceremony in the middle of the night before Paul Bremer jumped on a helicopter and got the hell out of there faster than you can say "Saigon 1975." All of which just goes to show how well things are proceeding in Iraq these days. Mind you, now that we've officially handed sovereignty over to the Iraqis, we can start bringing our troops home, right? Well, not exactly. It was announced last week that the Army is beginning "involuntary callups" and recalling 5,600 troops who "recently left the services and still have a reserve obligation." So three cheers, we did it. We've liberated the Iraqi people - which, if you think about it, was our sole reason for invading in the first place, I mean, there might have been some other reason but I can't for the life of me remember what it was - and now the Iraqis can wallow in their new-found post-Saddam freedom, and they'll only have to put up with living in a permanent crossfire between U.S. troops and militant al Qaeda types. Still, I'm sure we can trust the new Iraqi government to solve this problem. After all, it's none of our business any more. Mission accomplished. There's nothing to see here. You may return to your regularly scheduled edition of Outback Jack.

2The Justice Department lying dumb
Back in 2001 John Ashcroft sent a memo urging federal agencies to resist the Freedom of Information Act. "When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records," he wrote. Now, after three years, they seem to be running out of reasons for resisting requests - because they just came up with the dumbest one yet. The Center for Public Integrity requested information on foreign lobbyists back in January, and last week they were told that, "Implementing such a request risks a [computer] crash that cannot be fixed and could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating." What? What bullshit! Retrieving information from the Justice Department's database will potentially destroy it? Who the hell builds their software? Laurel and Hardy? In light of this recent news, I strongly suspect it won't be long before we start straying into "the dog ate it" territory.

3Fox News sex
They're looking out for you! Fox News is currently engaged in a battle for the hearts and dirty minds of Americans by highlighting the moral decadence of pornography. Of course, Fox News is doing this in an effort to protect and inform the public, and is absolutely not using it as an excuse to televise screenshots of porno websites every five minutes in a desperate attempt to boost their ratings. Unfortunately, however, it seems they may have gone a little too far in their efforts to protect the nation from the evils of shagging. Last week, during a promo for Your World with Neil Cavuto, they displayed a screenshot of a porn site in which Fox censors tastefully blocked out a bare breast. Unfortunately they neglected to block out a big penis entering a vagina, as you can see in this screen capture. So in light of the fact that CBS are on the verge of receiving a $550,000 fine for one of Janet Jackson's breasts, I wonder if Fox News - the guardians of American morality - will step up to the plate and voluntarily offer to pay a much larger sum for showing full penetrative sex during primetime?

4Bill Frist hypocrisy hypocrisy
In the wake of, um, Fuck Yourself, uh... Gate... (see Idiots 161), plenty of conservatives have made asses of themselves trying to defend Dick Cheney's crude language on the Senate floor. But Sen. Bill Frist rose above the rest of the turds and floated sedately at the top of the GOP toilet bowl last week. Frist - the Senate Majority Leader - refused to criticize Cheney for the remarks he made to Sen. Leahy, sniffing, "I'll let the American people judge as to whether or not it was warranted... I am not going to condone, I am not going to overly criticize the language that people in the - the language that people use to express themselves." Right... so that couldn't have been our Bill who "vowed" back at the start of June to pass a bill vastly increasing fines on broadcasters who air "indecency." (The bill passed on the same day that Cheney dropped the F-Bomb.) Frist's hypocrisy doesn't stop there though. Last week we noted that Senate Republicans had prevented John Kerry from voting on a veterans healthcare bill - well, it turns out that this was all Bill Frist's doing. According to Tom Daschle: "Senator Frist noted to me as he was standing here that he didn't want to accord Senator Kerry the opportunity to vote today." And Frist said, "Senator Kerry, who hadn't been here all year, who's missed 80 percent of all votes this year, parachutes in for a day, and then he'll be taking off once again." Funny that. Apparently Bill Frist doesn't mind when Arlen Specter is out campaigning - he was recently spotted flying around on Bush's airplane and trolling for votes in Pennsylvania before he had to "get back for some votes." According to Knight Ridder, "Frist made it clear that although Kerry may be the de facto Democratic presidential nominee, in the Senate he wields no more clout than any of the other 99 senators." Cool, so Kerry will get equal treatment. Then I guess Bill Frist won't be playing any more politics with veterans' health care in order to waste his time.

5Lee Constantine booze car
Republican State Sen. Lee Constantine of Florida was arrested recently for drink-driving... again. Yup, this is Constantine's second DUI arrest. Fortunately he's pals with Sheriff Kevin Beary - see, that's the first person he asked to speak to after he was pulled over, saying that "he would take care of it." Unfortunately it appears he was picked up by the only cop in Orange County who didn't know that Constantine had a get out of jail free card. Officer Monte Ertel said that he pulled the senator over after spotting his car drifting across traffic, and that he subsequently smelled alcohol on his breath. Constantine was also videotaped at Orange County's DUI test center (where he asked to speak with the sheriff ten times in four minutes). But the best part is his defense - see, apparently there was a gas can in Constantine's trunk, so they're calling in an expert to testify that it was the fumes that caused him to simply appear drunk. Ha ha! Not only that, but his lawyer said that Constantine was "nervous over the effect his second DUI arrest would have on his career and that anxiety could affect his ability to perform the tests." Hmm. Perhaps he should have thought of that before he went drink-driving.

6The Bush Administration lying fiscal irresponsibility screwing the poor
We noted back in Idiots 148 that the Bush Administration was distributing propaganda videos disguised as news programs in an attempt to hide the true costs of the White House-backed Medicare bill. Now that the bill is law, the effects of the Bush administration's cleverly-hidden incompetence are becoming clear. According to Reuters, "Prices for medicines most used by older Americans rose steadily after the Bush administration enacted the new Medicare law late last year, the nation's largest group representing the elderly said on Wednesday. AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, said brand-name drug prices have climbed 3.4 percent - or three times the rate of inflation - since December. The jump was one of the sharpest quarterly spikes since 2000." Funny, the White House website says that the new Medicare act will create "real savings for seniors." Oh, but I forgot - they're liars. So there you have it, folks. Once again, the Bush administration is hoisted on its own petard. How much longer do we have to put up with these jokers?

7The Carlyle Group covering your ass
So, while Michael Moore detractors have been taking to the airwaves to denounce Fahrenheit 9/11 as a piece of meaningless propaganda, the Carlyle Group - which is sharply focused on in the movie due to its ties to Saudi Arabia and the Bush family - has purchased Loews Cineplex Entertainment. What a coincidence! And I mean that most sincerely - it would be unrealistic to surmise that the Carlyle Group bought Loews Cineplex in an effort to suppress Moore's movie. But the timing is fascinating. Carlyle has traditionally focused on telecom, arms, and oil. Saudis - and the bin Laden family in particular - have invested heavily in the company. Now that the spotlight is shining on the connection between the Bush family and the bin Ladens, Carlyle's move into the American media and entertainment industry ought to raise a few eyebrows.

8Allen Raymond election stealing prison
Who is Allen Raymond, you ask yourselves? Allen Raymond is the former chief of GOP Marketplace, a telemarketing company. The Republicans hired Raymond's company to provide telemarketing services in New Hampshire during the 2002 elections, which included a close race between Jeanne Shaheen and John Sununu, who won by fewer than 20,000 votes. So why is Raymond on the list this week? Well, because last week he pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic telephone lines on election day. The lines were set up by Democrats in an effort to organize rides to the polls as part of a get out the vote effort, and they were jammed by Raymond's company for an hour and a half. Raymond will be sentenced in November and faces up to five years in prison. And the Republican vote-theft machine rolls on...

9 Marc Balestrieri religious nut partisanship
Since George W. Bush's recent multi-million dollar ad blitz against John Kerry failed to bear much fruit, it's apparently down to individuals such as Marc Balestrieri to try to put a dent in the senator's reputation. Mr. Balestrieri is a Catholic lawyer who last week filed heresy charges against John Kerry. That's right folks - heresy charges. It seems that of all the pro-choice Catholics in America, John Kerry needs to be sought out for special attention and excommunicated from the church. According to the Washington Times, Mr. Balestrieri also filed an "additional complaint charging 'harm' to himself as a result of Mr. Kerry's pronouncements on abortion and related issues." Of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with Kerry being a Democrat running for president - Marc Balestrieri would, I'm sure, file the same charges against any pro-choice Catholic that he happened to come across. Because this is all about poor Marc Balestrieri and his oh-so-delicate faith which John Kerry is threatening to destroy (although apparently priests diddling young boys didn't set Marc off) and has got absolutely nothing to do with politics. So there.

10Colin Powell dumb
And finally, Colin Powell impersonated the Village People last week. According to Yahoo News, "Powell danced alongside five other U.S. officials dressed in fancy dress and blasted out a version of the 1970s disco classic [YMCA] to the delight of foreign ministers from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe." Well, you know what they say - a picture is a worth a thousand words...

See you next week!

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