Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 199)

May 23, 2005
Hip, Hip... Hypocrisy! Edition

The stench of dishonesty was wafting through the streets of Washington D.C. last week after The Bush Administration accused Newsweek of being responsible for anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Uh, guys - what about that whole "war" thing? But the administration weren't the only ones peddling rank hypocrisy - Rick Santorum (3) made the classic "Hitler Comparison," St. Jude Educational Institute (8) apparently thinks that women get pregnant all by themselves, and Ted Stevens (9) isn't exactly battling government waste. Enjoy, and as usual don't forget the key!

1The Bush Administration hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy helping the terrorists
What does it take to inflame the entire Muslim world? Would it be George W. Bush referring to his Iraq adventure as a "crusade?" Could it be Ann Coulter suggesting that we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity?" Might it be the photos of American soldiers abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison? Or is it perhaps the appalling mishandling of the Iraq occupation itself?

Don't be silly! Sure, all those things are a bit of a problem, but they pale in comparison to the evil machinations of Newsweek magazine. Last week Newsweek reported that guards at Guantanamo Bay prison had flushed a Koran down the toilet in order to intimidate detainees. The story came from an anonymous senior government official who told journalist Michael Isikoff that he had seen investigative reports on the matter. Newsweek ran the story past the Pentagon - twice - who corrected part of the article but didn't say anything about the Koran flushing.

The next thing you know, riots are breaking out all over the Muslim world and the White House is putting the blame squarely on... Newsweek. "There has been some lasting damage that has been done to our image... and it's going to take some work to repair that damage," said Scott McClellan, apparently with a straight face. "The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged." (But you know, covering prisoners in shit, piling them in naked pyramids, attacking them with dogs, and beating them to death - well, that's just a bit of lighthearted fun.)

Scottie went on: "They can also talk about policies and practices of the United States military. Our United States military goes out of its way to treat the holy Koran with great care and respect." Okay...

"An Iraqi holds a copy of the holy Koran allegedly desecrated
by US forces in Ramadi. Several Britons who had been held
at US military prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay
alleged that they had seen their US guards desecrate
the Koran ... AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye" - Yahoo News

(Thanks to ReBelleNation for that catch.) Of course, once the White House had moved into full-bore-blame-someone-else mode, conservative organizations geefully pounced on Newsweek. According to Reuters, "A conservative media watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, said in a news release that 'blood is on the hands of Newsweek magazine' for the story. AIM editor Cliff Kincaid expressed incredulity that 'nobody at Newsweek has been fired or even reprimanded.'" Four words for you, AIM: weapons of mass destruction.

Mind you, while the White House and friends were hyperventilating over the evildoers at Newsweek, people who ought to know the real situation on the ground were being ignored. According to the State Department's own website, "The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else."

But there's an important element to this story which the Bush Administration, in its rush to scapegoat Newsweek, has overlooked - this isn't the first time that this story has been reported. In fact, you can go all the way back to March 2003 to find reports of the Koran being vandalized - and, yes, flushed. In fact, the Red Cross sent confidential reports to the Bush administration in 2002 and 2003 documenting "credible information about U.S. personnel disrespecting or mishandling Korans at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility," according to the Chicago Tribune.

At the end of the day, what the White House is really furious about is not that Korans were being vandalized, but that Newsweek reported it. And one thing's for damn sure - if Bush and Co. wants to pretend that everyone would be holding hands and singing kumbayah in the Middle East right now if only Newsweek hadn't come along and ruined everything, they really are cuckoo-bananas.

2Newsweek cowardice cowardice
Hey Newsweek! Don't think you're getting off easy! Yes, you're on the list too this week, for acting like a bunch of weak-assed Bush appeasers. As soon as Scott McClellan snapped his fingers, Newsweek retracted their story and began bowing and scraping for forgiveness from the White House. Despite Newsweek's peers in the news business begging them to resist, they bent over and took the administration's punishment with a smile on their faces.

Not only that, but Scott McClellan insisted last week that simply apologizing wasn't enough: "It's a good first step," he simpered, but then announced that Newsweek "now has a responsibility to spread the word to the Muslim world that U.S. interrogators 'treat the Quran with great care and respect,'" according to CNN. How d'you like them apples Newsweek? Welcome to Bush's America, where replacing the ugly truth with useful lies is now the definition of "responsible journalism." Game, set, and match.

3George W. Bush hypocrisy
Oddly enough, Bush took a different tack when a British newspaper published photos of Saddam Hussein in his skivvies last week. Perhaps it was because the newspaper in question is owned by Rupert Murdoch, but apparently Bush thinks that Newsweek is the only publication to blame for violence in the Middle East. Oh, Our Great Leader was angry all right - so angry in fact that he is going to probe Saddam in his underpants. Easy there. You know what I mean.

See, the White House is apparently very concerned, because the pictures of Saddam might violate the Geneva Conventions. Ha ha! Good one! But, like the photos from Abu Ghraib, Bush doesn't think that this rises to the level of Newsweek's crime of, uh, reporting what a bunch of other people had already reported. In fact, taking a clear dig at Newsweek, Bush announced Friday that "I don't think a photo inspires murderers."

Oh really... well, what about this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

Okay, the last one's not a photograph, but I think you get the point. You can find these photos and more on the White House website's hilariously-titled "Iraq: Denial and Deception" page.

4Rick Santorum excessive spin hypocrisy
Now let's get away from the Bush administration's giant hypocrisy and move on to the giant hypocrisy of Republicans in general. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Fecal Matter) insisted last week that if the Democrats won't let Republicans change Senate rules so they can ram through their radical right-wing judges, then the Democrats are no better than Adolf Hitler. Whaaa? It's true. Perhaps over-reaching just a tad, Santorum said, "The audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'"

Yes, yes, I know it doesn't make any sense, but the comparison to the Nazis is most certainly there. So let's rewind for a moment. Remember when held a competition to make an anti-Bush ad, and one of the 1,500-plus entries happened to compare Bush to Hitler, and conservatives across the country shat their pants because they thought the comparison was so offensive that it must be the End Times and they'd missed the Rapture? Let's ask a prominent Republican what he thinks about the "Hitler Comparison":

"This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech." - RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie

Fair enough. Now, what about when Sen. Robert Byrd made the "Hitler Comparison" in reverse, suggesting in March that the Republican plan to end the filibuster was reminiscent of the Nazis? Let's ask another prominent Republican:

"Senator Byrd's inappropriate remarks comparing his Republican colleagues with Nazis are inexcusable. These comments lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate. He should retract his statement and ask for pardon." - Sen. Rick Santorum

Sen. Rick... Santorum? Whoops.

5Norm Coleman dumb
Picture an SUV rolling over an ice cream sandwich, and you'll have a good idea of what happened to Norm Coleman (R-Cheeseball) last week at a Senate hearing on the so-called "oil-for-food" scandal. The freshman senator has been doing his best to become this century's Joe McCarthy by creating long lists of people whom he is convinced were in cahoots with Saddam Hussein (including, apparently, the former secretary to Pope John Paul II and the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office). Unfortunately, one of those people called his bluff last week and Coleman learned the hard way that British politicians are quite a bit tougher than the home-grown variety. Scotsman George Galloway, famous anti-war member of the British Parliament, came to Washington D.C. to confront Coleman... and handed him his ass on a platter. From:

I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country...

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies... was quite a sight to behold.

6 Glenn Beck excessive spin
Radical right-wingnut radio show host Glenn Beck made this interesting statement live on air last week: "Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out - is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus - band - Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, 'Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore,' and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.' And you know, well, I'm not sure."

But don't worry - you see, according to a reply one of our readers received from OTB Games, a Beck advertiser: "We remain firmly behind Glenn Beck ... [his] comments were meant to be funny."

A-ha-ha-ha. Ha.

7John Thune dumb
Looks like brand new senator John Thune (R-Out Of His Depth) is going to feel the pain from Our Great Leader's Great Military Base Closure. Bush persuaded Thune to run against Tom Daschle, and you'd think he'd want to reward Thune for defeating the Senate Minority Leader last year. Sorry - that's not the way Dubya runs things. During his campaign Thune consistently promised to defend Ellsworth Airforce Base from closure, but a mere six months later Ellsworth is on the chopping block and Thune is looking like a bit of a fool. In fact, he's now so desperate to save his political ass that he might have to ask Daschle to step in and help him rescue the base. American News reported last week that "Thune said he's open to any help Daschle can offer. Daschle has experience, knows how the system works and has been through the process before." In fact, South Dakota would probably be a lot better off if he was still their senator, eh? Oh well.

8St. Jude Educational Institute misogyny misogyny misogyny
Here's a conundrum for conservatives - what do you do with a teenage girl who becomes pregnant, but rather than having an abortion decides to keep the baby, and not only that but goes on to complete high school? Last week, St. Jude Educational Institute answered the question by barring student Alysha Cosby from taking part in her own graduation ceremony because she was pregnant.

So let me get this straight - if she'd gotten an abortion, she could have participated (or perhaps if she'd gotten comprehensive sex education, but that's another story). But the shame of a pregnant high school graduate was just too much for St. Jude's to bear? Fortunately Cosby decided to take matters into her own hands, attended the graduation ceremony, waited until the last student had been called, and then called her own name and walked across the stage. Props.

Oh, and by the way - in case you were wondering, the male student who got Alysha pregnant was not barred from participating in the ceremony. What a surprise.

9Ted Stevens fiscal irresponsibility fiscal irresponsibility
Thank God for conservatives and their small-government ways! Praise the Lord for Republicans and their valiant efforts to slash wasteful spending! And three cheers for Ted Stevens of Alaska and his... million dollar bus stop? Yes, it turns out that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Santa Claus) has appropriated a whopping $1.5 million of taxpayer money - that's your money, remember! - to improve a bus stop outside the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

Expressing some uncertainty about the idea of spending so much money on a bus stop, Anchorage's director of public transportation Tom Wilson said, "We have a senator that gave us that money and I certainly won't want to appear ungrateful ... [But] if it only takes us $500,000 to do it, that's what we will spend." Well that's good to know I guess - I mean, considering that $500,000 is fifty times the usual cost of bus stop renovations in Anchorage and all.

10Fox News
And finally, let's end on a ray of hope: it was revealed last week that the apparently-oh-so-popular Fox News Channel is currently suffering a bit of a ratings drop. Actually "drop" might not be the right word - "death spiral" is probably more appropriate. Yes, it turns out that April marked the sixth consecutive month in which Fox News suffered a ratings decline during Monday-to-Friday prime-time hours. Here's how it pans out:

Oct. 2004: 1,074,000
Nov. 2004: 891,000
Dec. 2004: 568,000
Jan. 2005: 564,000
Feb. 2005: 520,000
Mar. 2005: 498,000
Apr. 2005: 445,000

Eeww. So what's the cause? Is the nation sick of being lied to 24 hours a day? Or are fans of America's Worst News Channel finally leaving their persistent vegetative states and departing for the next life? Mind you, we probably shouldn't get too excited. After all, this information did come from CNN, and we all know how awesomely reliable they are.

Special note: next week is Memorial Day Weekend, so we'll be taking a break. But we'll be back in two weeks time with an extra-special 200th edition of the Top Ten Conservative Idiots. See you then!

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