The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
February 14, 2005
Loaded Gannon Edition
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could it be anyone else? Jeff Gannon (1) - or James Guckert, or
whatever his name is - tops the list this week, and Scott McClellan
(2) is nipping at his heels. But to be fair, there was more to life
than Jeff Gannon last week - The Bush Administration (3) is in full
cover-up mode, George W. Bush (4,5) is making government bigger
than ever, and Robert Ehrlich (6) is denying everything. Elsewhere,
Phil Brennan (8) says smoking isn't addictive, Bob Whitney (9) is
a whiner, and Rick Roach (10) wins the Rush Limbaugh Award For Drug-Addled
Hypocrisy. Enjoy, and don't forget the key!
Two weeks ago, Jeff Gannon was number 2 on the Top 10 Conservative
Idiots list for referring to Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid as people
who are "divorced from reality" during a news conference
with George W. Bush (see Idiots 184). Following
that performance, we received
an email from Mr. Gannon:
Subject: conservative idiot
Date: 2/4/2005 11:46 PM
From: Jeff Gannon
I promise to try harder to be #1.
Little did we know just how seriously he would take this challenge!
But let's skip past the tighty-whitey
pics, the hot
military stud websites, the tax
fraud, the hilariously
hypocritical articles and all those other distractions which
surfaced last week, and focus on the real meat of this story. It
turns out that Jeff Gannon - real name James D. Guckert - worked
for "Talon News," which is intertwined
with Republican activist organization GOPUSA. In fact, Talon News
is not a real news organization - it's nothing more than a propaganda
front for the Republican party. They published a series
of hit-pieces (written by Gannon) during the 2004 election campaign,
including the early rubbish about John Kerry having an affair, and
many of the stories cribbed
whole sections from White House press releases. How big is Talon
News? In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer (video),
Gannon claimed that he had 700,000 daily subscribed readers. However,
a quick check on Alexa.com reveals that the Talon News website is
ranked 640,377. That means that there are approximately 640,376
more popular sites on the web. For comparison, DU is currently ranked
4,671 - so by Gannon-math that must mean we have about two hundred
bazillion regular readers. But of course there is another
big difference between DU and Jeff Gannon - we're not members of
the White House press corps, and that's where the scandal really
begins. Why is it that a fake journalist with a fake name working
for a fake news organization is allowed into the White House briefing
room - and not only allowed in, but constantly called upon to ask
questions? In fact, some of Gannon's questions weren't even questions,
I'd like to comment on the angry mob that surrounded
[senior Bush adviser] Karl Rove's house on Sunday. They chanted
and pounded on the windows until the D.C. police and Secret Service
were called in. The protest was organized by the National People's
Action Coalition, whose members receive taxpayer funds, as well
as financial support from groups including Theresa [sic] Heinz Kerry's
Good lord, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that
hardball! Scott McClellan must still have bruises! For more
examples of Jeff asking the questions that really matter, take a
look at this MSNBC
video provided by Toolz
Of The New School. But this, of course, is just the tip of the
iceberg. Gannon's story has been told and re-told in much greater
depth elsewhere (check out this David
Brock video for a good Cliffs Notes version), and new details
are still coming to light thanks to the efforts of bloggers all
over the web. Next up: why was Gannon one of the only people who
had access to classified
documents naming Valerie Plame as a CIA operative? I suspect
this story won't
be going away any time soon, so Jeff, I just want to say congratulations.
You pledged to be number one on the list this week and boy howdy,
you really weren't kidding!
The real scandal of the Jeff Gannon story, is, of course, "what
did the White House know, and when did they know it?" - and
as usual, they're pretending not to know anything. However, last
week Scott McClellan admitted
that he knew Jeff Gannon was using an alias, because anyone who
wants to get into a White House press briefing must provide their
real name. Yet he consistently referred to Gannon/Guckert as "Jeff"
when calling on him during press briefings - how kind of Scott to
keep up the pretense. Additionally, Gannon didn't have full press
did he?) - in fact, he'd previously been denied
a press pass to cover Congress on the grounds that Talon wasn't
a real news organization. Yet somehow he was able to obtain daily
passes to White House briefings whenever he felt like it. At a press
conference last week, McClellan said, "...[Gannon], like anyone
else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published
regularly, and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily
passes, just like many others are." That's odd, because according
DailyKos analysis, Talon started publishing "news"
on April 1, 2003, and Jeff Gannon's first report from a White House
briefing was on April 3, 2003. Considering that Gannon's partner
in crime Bobby
Eberle is a big-shot Texas Republican, and considering that
it only took two days to come up with a White House press pass,
and considering that Scottie liked to refer to Mr. James D. Guckert
as "Jeff" on the many occasions he called on him for a
question, it's hard to avoid the stench of rotting bullpoop emanating
from the White House press secretary.
It was just a few weeks ago that Condoleezza Rice said to Barbara
Boxer "I really hope that you will not imply that I take the
truth lightly." Well there's no need to imply it any more:
Condoleezza Rice is a flat-out liar. It was revealed last week that
the Bush administration tried to suppress
a report which shows that between April and September of 2001
they were warned numerous times that terrorists were planning to
commit suicide attacks in hijacked aircraft. According to the UK
Independent, "The latest pages note that of the FAA's
105 daily intelligence summaries between 1 April 2001 and 10 September
2001, 52 of them mentioned Osama bin Laden, al-Qa'ida, or both.
The report also concludes that officials did not expand the use
of in-flight air marshals or tighten airport screening for weapons.
It said FAA officials were more concerned with reducing airline
congestion, lessening delays and easing air carriers' financial
problems than thwarting a terrorist attack." The report also
said that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange
hostages for prisoners but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion,
a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable." Don't tell
me though - these warnings were just historical
documents. And what was it Condi Rice said just after 9/11?
yes: "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."
The 2006 budget is out, and it's a bigger joke than the Bush presidency.
Bush is cutting or eliminating up to 150
programs, including programs which he himself touted as necessary
during his election campaign, like job training and education. But
the real scam is revealed when it comes to Bush's signature initiatives
- Social Security and Medicare "reform," and the war in
Iraq - which he focused on in detail during his State of the Union
Address. Yup, they're not included in the budget at all.
Although George's $2.57 trillion budget makes cuts to programs which
help less fortunate Americans, he's not actually making
any dent in the deficit (like he promised) because the added
costs of Social Security, Medicare and Iraq are not mentioned.
It's a farce,
and Bush has betrayed his supporters - despite conservative rhetoric,
government is getting bigger
and bigger under Bush - as well as his opponents. No wonder
his approval ratings are sinking
like a stone.
Of course, Bush's "let them eat cake" attitude isn't helping
matters much. At a recent event Our Great Leader was enjoying a
well-scripted conversation with audience participants - that is,
until he bumped into one Mary Mornin who, according
to Drudge (sorry) "told the president she was a divorced
mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son." Bush
attempted to explain that his new plan for Social Security would
be a big help to her. The conversation continued like this:
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work
three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that
is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep?
HA HA HA! Get any sleep? Good one, Prez! Oh my sides! Ah, the
uniquely American experience of working three jobs just to stay
afloat. There's something we can all be proud of.
Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley was implicated in an extramarital
sex scandal - but last week it was Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich
who got caught with his pants down. Ehrlich was reported
to be "angry" to discover that one of his appointees,
Joseph Steffen, was responsible for spreading false stories about
O'Malley's marriage on - yup - FreeRepublic.com. O'Malley is tipped
as Ehrlich's main competition for the Maryland governorship in 2006,
and now Democrats are calling for an independent investigation to
find out just how far up the ladder this rumor-mongering goes. Ehrlich
called Steffen a "rogue state employee" and insisted that
his office had nothing to do with the rumors which have been flying
for 18 months. And everyone present scratched their chins and said
"Sure thing. Very convincing."
Would you believe it? The guy whom the Bush administration wanted
to run Iraq all along - Ahmed Chalabi - has come from nowhere to
find himself at the front
of the line for the job of Iraqi prime minister. What an incredible
coincidence! According to The Age, Chalabi is "vilified
in the US, and often listed as one of the most unpopular people
in Iraq." He was a guest
of honor at the 2004 State of the Union Address, but subsequently
severed ties with the United States after Iraqi police and American
troops raided his house and accused him of passing secrets to Iran
in May of 2004 (see Idiots 157). We
also noted in Idiots 157 that "There is an interesting twist
to this story though - it's possible that the Bush administration
are severing ties with Chalabi because they still want him to rule
Iraq and they figure that this is the best way to give him more
credibility with the Iraqi people." And now, after a year
on the outs, he's rubbing shoulders with "one of the American
embassy's most important diplomats, Robert Ford." Funny how
things work out like that, isn't it?
Last week Phil Brennan wrote a fascinating article on Newsmax.com,
which was full of the usual exquisite fact-checking Newsmax is well-known
for. The premise of Brennan's argument is that smoking - despite
all evidence to the contrary - is actually good for you. Sure, Brennan
admits that smoking will kill you, but it's good for society
at large. "When I look back to the dark ages when I was
growing up, and for many years after, things were a lot less turbulent,"
wrote. "We didn't have to turn to tranquilizers or other
mood-soothing drugs when we were under tension or wrapped up in
difficult tasks. We simply took a few minutes to relax, sat back
and reached for a cigarette. It almost always did the trick."
Ah, the good old days - when men were men and everyone coughed up
a lung. But there's more: apparently the biggest problem today is
"greedy trial lawyers" (surprise) who "milk billions
from an industry once praised for its contributions to the war effort."
Contributions to the war effort? Yes indeed - and Brennan was there.
"In the Marine Corps in WW II we were told that in the field,
even if we were non-smokers, we were to carry at least one pack
of cigarettes for the benefit of those who did smoke and might be
out of cigarettes at a time when they most needed a drag. Obviously
the Corps saw tobacco as a benefit to Marines, especially in combat."
Yes, thanks, tobacco companies, for addicting an entire generation
of soldiers who had to get their buddies to carry extra smokes so
they could simply function during a firefight. Mind you, according
to Brennan, smoking isn't even addictive: "The experience of
the millions of ex-smokers who quit proved how false that idea is.
If it is really an addiction, most of those who have quit would
not have succeeded and many of those who had quit would have been
backsliders who finally gave in to the urge and went back to smoking."
Um, I hate to break it to you Phil, but most of those who quit don't
succeed, and many of those who quit do backslide and
go back to smoking. See, according to Brennan smoking is a habit,
not an addiction; he cites heroin as an example of a real
addictive substance. Which is odd, because if junkies had to shoot
up as often as I have to smoke a cigarette, they'd be dead pretty
Waaaah! This week's conservative crybaby award goes to Bob Whitney,
who is suing the University of Nevada after a professor gave him
a B-minus. Bob's excuse is that Professor Eugene Moehring "discriminated
against him because of his conservative values," according
to STLtoday.com, and he's seeking $10,000 in damages. Let's
see: filing a frivolous lawsuit - check. Failing to take personal
responsibility - check. Whining about being oppressed by liberals
- check. Yup, Bob's a conservative idiot all right.
And finally, this is the kind of story that the Top 10 was made
for. Rick "Aptly Named" Roach is a West Texas Republican
district attorney who was elected in 2000 after running a "strong
anti-drug campaign." According
to the Washington Times, he was "once publicly praised
for his efforts to stamp out narcotics in his part of the Panhandle."
Since you can probably see this coming a mile off, I'll just cut
to the chase: last week FBI agents confiscated two handguns from
Roach's briefcase, before raiding his home and discovering "35
more guns, along with a cache of cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana,
scales and syringes." Turns out Rick once "borrowed"
two pounds of confiscated meth from the Texas Department of Public
Safety laboratory, supposedly to train drug dogs, and then apparently
forgot to return them. So thanks, Rick Roach, for your efforts to
free the Panhandle from drugs - by taking all of them yourself.
See you next week!
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