Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 208)

August 1, 2005
National Insecurity Edition

It's Top 10 time again! This week John Bolton (1) is leading the pack as George W. Bush prepares to shove his recess appointment down America's throat. Meanwhile Sen. Pat Roberts (2) is doing his part to help the cause by stalling investigations into Bush's misuse of WMD intel while simultaneously investigating Patrick Fitzgerald's treason probe. And speaking of Rove, this week we found out exactly what George W. Bush (3) is doing to punish him. Elsewhere, Jean Schmidt (5) demonstrates her support for the troops, Joe Braun (6) waxes poetic, and Fox News (7) are getting ever-desperate. Bringing up the rear we find The Bush Administration (8) winning the "war on terror" and Ann Coulter (10) admitting what we all already knew. Enjoy!

1John Bolton
Last Friday Scott McClellan told reporters that "We do need a permanent representative at the United Nations. This is a critical time and it's important to continue moving forward on comprehensive reform." McClellan was strongly hinting that George W. Bush will bypass the Senate and make John Bolton ambassador to the U.N. via a recess appointment.

But last week the State Department admitted that Bolton lied to the Senate on a questionnaire during his confirmation hearings. It turns out that when Bolton was asked if he had been interviewed for or testified to a grand jury in any investigation during the past five years, and he checked the box marked "no," he actually meant to check the box marked "yes."

Bolton had in fact been interviewed by the State Department's inspector general, who was looking into the Bush administration's screw-up over the false claim that Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy uranium from Niger.

Which brings us, somewhat unsurprisingly, to the Valerie Plame affair, in which Bolton appears to be deeply involved. There was widespread speculation last week that Bolton may not only have testified before the grand jury, but may in fact be Judith Miller's source - the source she's in jail for refusing to reveal. At the very least, Bolton was up to his neck in the Niger story.

So I say go ahead, Dubya, appoint this guy against all the objections and disturbing evidence against him, and let the chips fall where they may. Best of luck - you might need it.

2Pat Roberts
Hey, remember when the Sen. Pat Roberts and the Senate Intelligence Committee were going to hold an investigation into whether the Bush administration deliberately misused intelligence reports in order to get their war on in Iraq? You don't? Allow the Boston Globe to refresh your memory:

The dispute over the committee's investigation goes back to last June, when it completed a report criticizing the intelligence gathering and analysis of the CIA and other agencies, citing errors that contributed to the mistaken belief by top US government officials that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

But over the objections of Democrats, the committee declined to address questions of how Bush and his top aides used the intelligence. Roberts said those questions would be answered in a second phase of the committee's investigation, to begin shortly after the election to avoid the appearance of political motives in the investigation.

So, uh, where's the investigation then? Don't get your hopes up - it turns out that Pat Roberts' promised investigation is "on the back burner" because "other issues have more urgent claims on the committee's attention" and "the committee could better concentrate its resources on future threats."

And Pat Roberts has certainly identified an urgent issue which could pose a future threat... not to America, but to the Bush administration. Apparently the Senate Intelligence Committee - which can't find time to conduct the investigation that Pat Roberts promised - is instead going to "review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years."

Yes, well, I'm glad Pat Roberts stalled his original investigation because he wanted to "avoid the appearance of political motives." Perish the thought...

3George W. Bush
While we're on the subject of Karl Rove and the potentially criminal leaking of classified national security information, let's do a quick update on where the case stands so far.

In October 2003, Scott McClellan said, "if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration. This is a very serious matter. The President made it very clear just a short time ago in the East Room, and he has always said that leaking of classified information is a serious matter. And that's why he wants to get to the bottom of this. And the sooner we get to the bottom of it, the better."

In June 2004, George W. Bush affirmed that anyone who was involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity would be fired.

In July 2004, Time reporter Matt Cooper confirmed that the covert identity of Valerie Plame was given to him by the senior advisor to the president, Karl Rove.

And last week George W. Bush demonstrated his commitment to honesty and integrity by not only not firing Karl Rove, but giving him a $4,000 pay raise.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated, America?

4John Roberts
We noted last week that Our Great Leader's Supreme Court pick John Roberts worked for Team Bush in the Florida recount debacle of 2000 - and yet, funnily enough, Jeb Bush only had a "fuzzy" recollection of his role in the proceedings.

Perhaps Jeb had accidentally taken some of his daughter's illegal prescription painkillers at the time, because it was revealed last week that "John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported," according to the Miami Herald. Roberts worked as a "legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job [Ted Cruz, now Texas' solicitor general]."

You know, I think that if there's one thing that this country definitely needs in this time of partisanship and division, it's a Supreme Court justice who was actively fighting on one side of one of the most controversial and partisan Supreme Court decisions ever. Yeah, that should do the trick.

But that's not all - it turns out that John Roberts was also "a significant backstage player in the legal policy debates of the early Reagan administration," according to the Washington Post. Apparently Roberts "presented a defense of bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over abortion, busing and school prayer cases; he argued for a narrow interpretation of Title IX, the landmark law that bars sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs; and he even counseled his boss on how to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow that the administration was cutting off federal funding for the Atlanta center that bears his name."

And there are plenty more documents where those came from. Just one problem - the White House won't release them. Gee, I wonder why?

5Jean Schmidt
On Tuesday August 2, voters will go to the polls to decide a special election in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. The main contenders are Jean Schmidt (R), who despite being embroiled in an ethics investigation has happily accepted the maximum donation from ARMPAC, the political action committee belonging to the king of ethics scandals, Tom DeLay.

Her opponent is Paul Hackett (D), a retired Marine colonel who, despite disagreeing with the war in Iraq, voluntarily returned to the military in order to fight there. He saw action in Fallujah, among other places.

So what's an ethically-challenged Republican to do when faced with a real live Iraq war veteran opponent? Why, smear him, of course! After the success of the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth," Schmidt's supporters have been attempting to use similar deplorable tactics on Hackett.

A local conservative radio host questioned Hackett's service, a reporter asked Hackett, "Some say that this was all a plan on your part. To go to Iraq and come back with this great story while running for congress," and Republicans have been "calling into talk radio across the district saying things like, 'Paul wasn't really a Marine Corps Major in Iraq,'" according to Swing State Project. Voters have also apparently started receiving mysterious automated phone calls ragging on Hackett's service.

So there you have it - once again, the Republican smear machine leaps into overdrive to attack a military veteran. So much for "support the troops." And people wonder why we're having a recruitment problem? "Hey, go fight for your country - but when you come back, make sure you don't run for office as a Democrat, or we'll slander you senseless. PS. Thanks for your service. Now shut up."

6Joe Braun
But guess what? It turns out that Jean Schmidt isn't just a smear-artist: she's a first-rate hypocrite. In her primary campaign, Schmidt's platform included "promoting family values." But last week it was revealed that her campaign manager, Joe Braun, is not exactly your conservative family-values type.

DailyKos diarists discovered that some emails unintentionally bounced back from the Schmidt campaign showed that mail addressed to [email protected] was actually being forwarded to his AOL address, [email protected] After some intrepid Googling, it was revealed that [email protected] showed up on two intriguing websites: the first was the Scioto County Ohio Republican Party, and the second was, "the largest BDSM community on the planet."

Deanofcorn's listing appears to have since been removed - but never fear, here's a screenshot:

Yes, it turns out that Joe Braun is apparently an experienced Dom seeking a sub for long term exploration and training. His specialities include collar & cuffs, wax play, and medical exams. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. It just seems a tad odd considering he's the campaign manager of a family values Republican who is currently engaged in a a smear campaign against an Iraq war veteran. Although now I come to think of it, it's actually not that odd at all.

7 Fox News
I normally wouldn't watch Fox News if you attached electrodes to my testicles and made me stand on a stool with a bag over my head (although the way things are going, this may be the way that we dissenters will all watch Fox News in the future). Fortunately though, somebody else watches Fox News for me - otherwise this piece of rank conservative idiocy would have slipped through the net.

In the wake of last week's fatal shooting of an unarmed Brazilian man in Central London, British police called the incident a "tragedy," apologized to his family, and admitted that he was innocent.

But apparently that's not good enough for Fox News - see, it interferes with their all-terror-all-the-time carnival of crap. Why, the police don't make mistakes. How could you possibly think such a thing?

So thanks to Crooks and Liars, here's an as-yet-unidentified Fox News guest to explain it to you:

It wouldn't be out of the question for them [Al Qaeda] to pick on someone who may not be Middle Eastern but who may look Middle Eastern. Say, someone who is from South America, someone who is from Central America, and, say, you know, we know they're racial profiling us, so we're going to try to get some public opinion on our side. Let's dress this guy up, tell him to act suspicious, and if the police approach him, tell him to run away, and when the police catch him, then he appears to be innocent, so, you know, in essence, they start sending out decoys.

Got it? If you're feeling a twinge of concern that the police are essentially executing innocent people on the streets of London, have no fear. In the world of Fox News, the guy was probably working for Al Qaeda anyway. Hey, he was brown and suspicious-looking... what more proof do you need?

8The Bush Administration
The war is over! Huzzah! Or perhaps, "Mission Accomplished," if you will! Yes, the "War On Terror" is officially over. Don't get too excited though - this doesn't mean that we'll be pulling troops out of Iraq, or that terrorists will stop blowing the crap out of people all over the world - you see, the Bush Administration has simply decided that it's time for a corporate re-branding.

So henceforth the "War on Terror" is now the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism." Don't look for any administration officials to use the word "war" any time soon, unless it's a slip of the tongue. Instead you'll all be hearing about the "struggle" against terrorists, or the "struggle" against extremism, or the "struggle" against violent ideologies, or whatever. See, a "struggle" just sounds so much more, I don't know - winnable - than a war which has been going on for some years now and which the American people have now decided we ain't winning.

And let's not forget the ongoing military recruitment disaster. Hey, what would you prefer to sign up for - a "war" in which you might get your legs blown off by a rocket-propelled grenade, or a "struggle" where the worst injury you might reasonably expect to receive is from a noogie, or perhaps a Chinese burn?

But whatever you want to call it - "War on Terror," "Struggle Against Extremism," "Vietnam Part Deux," "21st Century Oil Grab," or "Crusade Against Brown People," I think I'm still going to stick with my old favorite, "Clusterfuck of Epic Proportions."

9The Pentagon
Here's a curious story right out of the Clusterfuck of Epic Proportions, I mean War on Terror, I mean Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism... well, you know what I mean. I seems that two recent U.S. military news releases about two separate attacks in Iraq contained strikingly similar quotes from a single Iraqi gentleman.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the first release, from July 13:

The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. "They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists."

And here's the relevant excerpt from the second release, from July 24:

"The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists," said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified.

The Pentagon referred to the curiously-similar news releases as an "administrative error." Which seems a little odd, since the quotes are not identical, but have clearly been rewritten. The Pentagon can't be making up quotes and putting them into news releases can they? Surely not. I mean, only other person who's going around calling the Iraqi insurgents "not religious" is White House press secretary Scott McClellan:

"Those who carry out these kind of attacks and espouse such a hateful ideology are not religious people. They have no regard for human life..."

Hang on a minute.

10Ann Coulter
And finally, it doesn't happen very often, but occasionally a right-wing nutcase will accidentally slip from the script and utter the truth. For years now conservatives have been drilling the lie that the media is liberal into the American psyche, even though they know the real story - but sometimes they reveal a little too much information. Brit Hume said of the 2002 mid-term elections, "It was because of our coverage that it all happened. We've become so influential now that people watch us and they take their electoral cues from us. No one should doubt the influence of Fox News in these matters." Even Rush Limbaugh once said that "the traditional liberal media monopoly doesn't exist anymore," even though he continues to lambast it daily.

And now it's Ann Coulter's turn. Last week on the Sean Hannity show she argued that Bush should - and more importantly could - nominate a more extreme right-wing Supreme Court justice than John Roberts. How could Bush get away with this? Because, Ann explained, "it's a better Senate than it was then [when Clarence Thomas was appointed] and we have the media now."

There you have it - straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. So next time your conservative neighbor starts droning on about the world's problems being caused by the "liberal media," tell him Ann Coulter disagrees. That should at least confuse him into silence. See you next week!

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