The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
March 7, 2005
Tax the Troops Edition
mark the death of the 1500th American soldier in Iraq last week,
Congressional Republicans (1) decided to slap veterans with a $230
"fee." Nice. While those Republicans are demonstrating
their idea of "supporting the troops," George W. Bush
(2,5) is getting ready to spend 60 days on the road lying about
Social Security. And Jeff Gannon (3) is still hanging around, although
he's starting to look decidedly wobbly. Meanwhile Ann Coulter (4)
has decided to come out in support of gay rights, Bill O'Reilly
(7) thinks the ACLU is a terrorist organization, and Tom Fuentes
(10) has embarked upon a crusade against Spain. As usual, don't
forget the key...
What's the best way to support the troops, especially in a time
of war? Republicans on the House and Senate veterans' affairs committees
have got the answer: raise their taxes. Those Republican majorities
voted last week to "impose an enrollment fee of at least $230
a year on 2.4 million veterans - one of every three now eligible
for Veterans Affairs Administration health care," according
to Military.com. Apparently half of those 2.4 million veterans
used the VA health system last year.
Of course, you won't hear the word "tax" mentioned by
the Republicans - these new charges are "fees." And in
case you were wondering, that's the word Republicans like to use
when they want to, um, raise taxes. The chairmen of the House and
Senate VA committees wrote separate letters to committee members
explaining that "difficult choices have to be made this year,
given a tight VA budget and the number of new veterans returning
from war with severe injuries." A tight VA budget? With a troop-supporting,
Republican-controlled House, Senate and White House, how in the
world could that be?
George W. Bush has been keen
to insist that during a time of war we need to make sacrifices
- it's just a shame that the sacrifices apparently have to be made
by the soldiers he sent to war in the first place. I mean, I'm sure
the top 1 percent who benefited hugely from Bush's tax giveaway
could sacrifice, say, that fourth BMW in order to make sure veterans
get the health care they deserve. But I guess the Republicans prefer
to charge people who have sacrificed plenty already.
Is Our Great Leader finally on the ropes? Having gotten his way
on everything from the Patriot Act to tax cuts for the rich to the
invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush may have gone a bridge too far
with his plan to destroy Social Security. Last week Bush announced
that he would be focusing on "the financial problems facing
Social Security, signaling a shift in tactics amid a slide in support
for his private account plan," according
to Reuters. A recent poll revealed that 69 percent of respondents
disapproved of Bush's plan when they found out that it would cut
Mind you, never let anyone say that Dubya is a flip-flopper - last
week he also "dismissed the notion ... that his campaign to
create private accounts in Social Security was in serious trouble,"
to the New York Times. See? He's staying the course,
while simultaneously, um, shifting tactics. And just in case anyone
had forgotten to be scared, Bush ratcheted up the fear saying
that "something drastic has to happen" to save Social
Good grief. Does everything this administration does have
to be drastic? I mean, these days we seem to be invading
countries before they can attack us with weapons they don't have,
amending the Constitution so gays can't ruin straight people's marriages,
creating record deficits through enormous tax cuts for the rich
in order to "save" the economy... it's drastic,
drastic, drastic all over the bloody place. Maybe the Bush administration
needs to take a Valium.
Having fallen from the position of popular White House correspondent
(popular with Scott McClellan that is) to lowly right-wing lunatic
fringe blogger, our Jeff appears to be losing
it. First of all he's started asking imaginary "briefing
questions" on his blog as if he were still a member of the
White House press corps. "While I am on hiatus from the White
House briefing room, I'm going to post the question I would have
asked had I been there," writes Jeff. "It will be interesting
to see if anyone else asks it."
Just a few comments: 1) I think Jeff needs to find out what the
word "hiatus" means and realize that he's not on one.
2) Watch closely over the coming weeks as Jeff starts asking questions
like "Why won't anyone talk to me?" and "Scott, why
don't you call me any more?" 3) It's just a bit creepy.
Second, Gannon appears to be attempting to transform himself from
"Bulldog," the 8" cut hot military m4m stud, into
a red-blooded womanizing good-ol'-boy. On his blog, Jeff says "My
faith and my ideology are rock solid" (interesting choice of
words). And picking a bone - if you'll pardon the pun - with Maureen
Dowd, Gannon refers to her as "this gal who probably needs
a bit of the old Jeff Gannon to relieve some of that pent up whatever."
Uh, sure thing, Jeff (wink). Quick question though: what page of
the Conservative Morals And Values™ handbook is that on?
While we're on the subject of Jeff Gannon, Ann Coulter posed some
questions in a recent article. "Are we supposed to like
gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go
to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people
on a moment-to-moment basis?" This was, of course, in response
to revelations that Jeff Gannon is a gay prostitute.
So I have a couple questions of my own: Are we supposed to like
gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go
to and find out how the Republicans want me to feel about gay people
on a moment-to-moment basis?
It's just that I'm perfectly consistent in my support for gay rights.
What I'm not comfortable with is the White House giving a
real live prostitute with a fake name who works for a fake news
organization that is actually a front for a Republican activist
group free and easy access to press briefings so that the aforementioned
prostitute can toss softball questions at the president to get him
out of sticky situations.
But now we're in a bizarre situation where Republicans like Coulter
are one day screaming about amending the Constitution in order to
discriminate against gays, or telling me that gays are sinners who
are going to hell, or that cartoon characters are secretly working
on an evil gay agenda to corrupt our children, or that "tolerance"
and "love" are secret gay code words, and then the next
day they're telling me that I'm the homophobe and poor gay
people like Jeff Gannon need to be defended from the likes
of me and my awful liberal friends.
I mean, if gay prostitution is okay - which, according to all these
Republicans who are now accusing the left of homophobia, it is -
then gay marriage must be double-plus-good, right? Otherwise I just
don't get the argument. How come, according to Republicans, it's
fine for a gay man to sell himself for no-strings-attached sex with
other men online, but it's not fine for two gay men to enter
into a lifelong, loving marriage partnership?
Still, at least there's no ambiguity about the fact that Republicans
think all Arabs are terrorists. In the same column, Coulter says,
"Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House
allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."
So while Ann may have suddenly had a dramatic transformation on
gay rights, at least that ol' racism is alive and well.
Last week, at the swearing-in of the new Homeland Security chief
Michael Chertoff, George W. Bush said
of Al Qaeda, "Stopping them is the greatest challenge of our
day." Which is, of course, why Dubya has turned Iraq into a
ground for new terrorists. "We're on a constant hunt for
bin Laden," he continued. Which is, of course, why Dubya is
going to tour
the country for the next two months in order to destroy... Social
Security. He added "We're keeping the pressure on him, keeping
him in hiding." Which is, of course, the complete opposite of smoking
him out of his cave and capturing him dead
Let's face it - George W. Bush doesn't give a crap about capturing
Osama bin Laden. It's much more productive to have him running around
out there as a useful boogeyman whom Our Great Leader can evoke
every time he thinks Americans aren't scared enough, or when it's
politically useful, like during the last election. If only George
W. Bush hadn't ignored all the people who kept telling him that
"Stopping them is the greatest challenge of our day" before
three thousand people were murdered on his watch. Oh well.
Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) had some strong words for liberals last
week. Speaking at Elko's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, Gibbons
said, "How would [Lincoln] feel, what would he be thinking
about, all of the dissension, all of the division, that the liberals
and a few others, including some our movie stars and song makers,
are trying to divide this country..." Well, I dunno. Bearing
in mind that Lincoln was president during the the Civil War, he'd
probably think things are pretty laid back right now.
But Gibbons went on: "I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging,
Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their
movies and their music and whine somewhere else." After insisting
that all liberals wanted to be Saddam's human shields during the
invasion of Iraq, Gibbons said, "I say it's just too damn bad
we didn't buy them a ticket." Because then we liberals would
all have been bombed to death, get it?! Going back to my point about
the Civil War for a moment, I wonder how Lincoln would feel to see
a congressman advocating for the deaths of half of the American
But to bring this unfortunate episode to a close, I should probably
mention that Jim Gibbons is one dumb bastard. It turns out that
his rant was actually plagiarized
from a speech given by Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman in 2003.
Of the 21 paragraphs in Chapman's speech, 15 of them were read word-for-word
by Gibbons. Turns out that he got it from an email, and his excuse
was that, "It expressed what I wanted to express." That's right
- Jim Gibbons isn't even smart enough to articulate his own hatred.
Meanwhile Bill O'Reilly was doing his thing last week, referring
to the American Civil Liberties Union as a "terrorist group"
on his radio show. See, the ACLU (mission statement: to "work
daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve
the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in
this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States")
is suing Donald Rumsfeld for "approving illegal interrogation
methods that led to the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. military
to Media Matters. It turns out that O'Reilly is - naturally
- for dubious government activities such as illegal torture
and secret surveillance.
"So look, I'm declarin' war on the ACLU," said Bill.
"I think they're a terrorist group. They're terrorizin' me
and my family. They're terrorizing me. I think they're terrorists."
Chill out, Bill - we get the picture. Anyone you disagree with is
now a "terrorist." Hey, I've got an idea - why don't we
kill two birds with one stone and get the government to torture
the ACLU? I mean, since they're terrorists and all. I'm sure this
is the sort of government activity that Bill O'Reilly would strongly
Mind you, calling people with whom you disagree terrorists is obviously
a favorite ploy of the right-wing. Take Mitch Daniels, for example.
Daniels - the governor of Indiana, and formerly George W. Bush's
budget director - had some incendiary words for his Democratic colleagues
in Indiana's state house last week. Democrats refused to vote on
several bills they called "partisan power grabs," with
which they had "legitimate, philosophical reasons for blocking
to TheIndyChannel.com, and left the house.
Step forward Mitch Daniels, who said that "Indiana's drive
for growth and reform was car bombed yesterday by the Indiana House
minority." Car bombed, eh? How dare those Democrats stand up
for their constituents! Shame on them for not rubber-stamping every
single Republican proposal that comes down the pipeline. Clearly,
disagreeing with the right-wing agenda makes them no better than
Iraqi insurgents. Hey Mitch, why don't you just send them all to
Here's a follow-up to last week's entry about USA Next and their
dubious anti-AARP ad (see Idiots 188):
it turns out that Mark Montini, the GOP strategist who produced
the ad for USA Next, "illegally used a wedding photograph of
a Portland, Oregon gay couple" for the ad, according
to 365Gay.com. "Both USA Next and Montini initially said
that they had bought the rights to the photo of Raymen and Hansen
from the Portland Tribune." Unfortunately, that turned out
to be a lie: last week "the Tribune issued a statement that
it had not sold rights to the photo," because their policy
states that "the paper won't sell photos for commercial use
without the permission of people shown in the photo."
Apparently when Montini was informed that his use of the photo
was illegal, he tried to buy a different photo from the Tribune's
online library, but was rejected. Some people just don't give up,
do they? Oh well, perhaps USA Next will get the message if they're
forced to settle with the Tribune, as well as the two men whose
picture was used without permission - apparently it could be a "huge
payout." Serves them right.
Tom Fuentes is the Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party,
and a trustee for the South Orange County Community College District.
Why is he an idiot? Well, last week he made the bizarre
pronouncement that Saddleback College students should abandon
their planned summer study trip to Spain because "Many of our
students in this college, and of its sister college Saddleback and
Irvine, past and future today, fight on the battlefield of Iraq
under the flag that is behind us. Spain has abandoned our fighting
men and women, withdrawing their support. I see no reason to send
the students of our colleges to Spain at this moment in history."
So college students can't go to study in countries which didn't
participate in the invasion of Iraq, or have since dropped out,
eh? I hate to say it but that's going to limit the scope of student
exchange programs somewhat. I mean, I'd look up the list of countries
which Tom Fuentes does find acceptable, but unfortunately the White
House has removed
the dwindling Coalition of the Willing list from its website. Still,
preventing students from studying abroad is probably a good thing.
After all, we don't want them to, you know, experience new cultures,
or learn about the world outside of the United States, do we?
And finally, a quick note about the US death toll in Iraq reaching
1500 last week. According
to icasualties.org, it took 295 days to reach the mark of 500
U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, a further 242 days to reach the 1000
mark, and a further 177 days to reach the 1500 mark. Our brave men
and women in uniform are dying in Iraq at an increasing - and alarming
- rate, yet there is little mention of their plight in the American
media these days. I saw the documentary Gunner
Palace last week, which chronicles the lives of American soldiers
in Baghdad in their own words, with very little commentary by the
filmmaker. So this is my personal plug - I highly recommend the
movie to anyone who is interested in finding out how our troops
are really living, fighting and dying over there. Especially since
the corporate media, who cheered these young men and women into
Iraq on a wave of trumped-up patriotism, appear to have forgotten
about them entirely. See you next week.
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