Democratic Underground

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
(No. 234)

February 27, 2006
Port Probe Edition

So, apparently George W. Bush (1) isn't that serious about this whole "national security" thing after all. Last week we learned that he wants to hand over our ports to a country with a (shall we say) less-than-perfect record in the war on terror. But that wasn't the worst that happened last week. It looks like Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war. But not to worry! Fox News (5) says it's a good thing. Meanwhile, Rita Cosby (6) has some interesting spin about the Democrats, Conservative Crackpots (7) are pushing their hate agenda, and Bill O'Reilly (10) may have finally lost it. Enjoy, and don't forget the key...

1George W. Bush helping the terrorists helping the terrorists helping the terrorists
It's hard to believe that just one week after the vice president of the United States shot a man in the face, an even bigger story would come along. But here it is: last week the Bush administration approved the sale of the operations of twenty-one major American ports to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Let's see how well that went down with the president's opponents:

"Outsourcing the operations of our largest ports to a country with a dubious record on terrorism is a homeland security and commerce accident waiting to happen." - Charles Schumer

"It is clear that the Bush administration has failed to adequately address valid national security concerns. We will do everything possible to make sure the administration conducts the mandatory investigation required under the law and does not compromise security at our ports." - Hillary Clinton

"...the decision to sell our ports, as well as his administration's other national security policies, have made America less secure. Democrats understand that it takes more than tough talk to protect the American people in a post-9/11 world. It takes smart policies, strong U.S. leadership, and real resources as well." - Harry Reid

Of course, that's the Democrats talking. You'd expect them to be opposed. So in the interests of fairness and balance, let's find out what top Republicans are saying:

"I believe there should be an immediate moratorium placed on this seaport deal in order to further examine its effects on our port security." - Dennis Hastert

"When it's a matter of national security, the president will be overturned. We will overturn it within the next few weeks." - Tom DeLay

"The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter. If the administration cannot delay this process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review." - Bill Frist

Hmm. I guess they're not too keen either. Tell you what, why don't we leave the politics of this deal behind and find out what one of America's top terrorism experts thinks of the deal:

"It shouldn't have happened, it never should have happened. There's no question that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money was laundered through there." - Thomas Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey and former head of the 9/11 Commission

Cripes. Well, okay then... forget all that - let's go straight to the people. Bush's base. The true believers. His loyal followers:

"I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane." - Peter Gadiel, head of 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

Oh dear.

2The Bush Administration greed quid pro quo hypocrisy
It's something of a mystery why the Bush administration is so cavalier about this sale - yes, the Bush family has plenty of personal financial connections to Arab sheikdoms. And yes, members of the Bush administration have direct financial ties to Dubai Ports World. But surely they'd never put their own personal financial gain ahead of national security. Perish the thought.

Yet George remains remarkably steadfast in his desire to outsource American port operations to the United Arab Emirates. First he threatened to veto any attempt by Congress to block the deal - which would be the first veto of his entire presidency, by the way - and then the White House announced that they wouldn't even reconsider approval. "There are questions raised in the Congress, and what this delay allows is for those questions to be addressed on the Hill," said National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. "There's nothing to reopen."

This despite the fact that by law the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is supposed to conduct a mandatory 45-day review of the transaction in cases where "the acquirer is controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government," and, "the acquisition could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S." But for some reason, that review did not occur - and nobody knows why.

Not only that but it was revealed late last week that the Department of Homeland Security initially raised concerns about the deal during the review that the administration did conduct. (In case you were wondering, that review was conducted in secret.)

It seems that the Bushies' main argument thus far has been to claim that if the operation of American ports is not sold to the UAE, we will risk offending Arab nations. Funny, they didn't seem to be quite as concerned when we were, say, shocking & aweing them into submission, or, you know, wrapping Guantanamo Bay detainees in the Israeli flag and forcing them to watch gay porn.

3The Bush Administration hypocrisy lying
The most bizarre excuse to come from Bush & Co. over the past week was that - hey, they didn't even know about the ports deal until it was done! As if that should make everyone feel better.

Not only was Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff unaware of the deal, he wasn't even aware "that his agency was leading the review until after the deal's approval," according to the Washington Times.

Treasury Secretary John Snow said he didn't know about the deal either, despite the fact that he was supposedly head of the panel that cleared it.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said "I wasn't aware of this until this weekend."

And the White House claimed that Bush didn't know about the deal until he read about it in the newspapers. Unfortunately that claim was debunked by Scott McClellan, who announced last week that Bush has known about the deal since February 16. (Video courtesy of

But hey, it's nothing to worry about. After terrorizing us for years with color-coded threat levels, dire tales of WMDs, and suggestions that people stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting, George W. Bush now says that "people don't need to worry about security."

See? All we have to do is trust him, and everything will be fine. After all, the Bush administration has shown itself to be really trustworthy in the past, right?

4The Bush Administration covering your ass excessive spin
Speaking of trusting the Bush administration, how's that liberation of Iraq going? Back in September of 2004, we noted that a National Intelligence Estimate "spell[ed] out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq." (See Idiots 171.) The NIE said that the best case scenario for Iraq was that "political, economic and security stability would remain tenuous," and the worst case scenario was all-out civil war.

Why am I not surprised to see the worst case scenario unfolding? Reuters reported last week that:

A car bomb killed eight people and wounded 31 at a market in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad.

Near Baquba, police said gunmen killed 12 members of one family in what they said was a sectarian attack on Shi'ites.

Mortars fell on Shi'ite Sadr City in Baghdad, killing three people in one house, a Sadr aide said. Three others were killed in north Baghdad by a mortar apparently aimed at a Sunni mosque.

Three security men were killed in separate gun and bomb attacks on the funeral cortege in western Baghdad of an Iraqi journalist killed as she reported in Samarra on Wednesday.

Don't worry though, because according to the U.S. military, none of this is actually happening. Said coalition spokesman Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch last week, "Some drive-by shootings against mosques have been reported ... that's where we are. So we are not seeing civil war igniting in Iraq. We are not seeing 77, 80, 100 mosques damaged in Iraq. We are not seeing death on the streets."

Really? Reuters also reported last week that, "The largely untested Iraqi police and army will be in the front line of Shi'ite-led government attempts to stop previously expected protest marches on Friday over the bloodless but symbolic bombing of Samarra's Golden Mosque and revenge attacks that officials reckon have killed more than 130 people. Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in two attacks on Wednesday."

If that's "not seeing death on the streets," I'd hate to see what death on the streets looks like. Although I have a very bad feeling that we'll be finding out in the not too distant future.

5Fox News excessive spin
Last week George Will penned a column explaining why conservatives are happier than liberals. He wrote:

Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they are rarely surprised - they are right more often than not about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong they are happy to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes - government - they accept that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity - it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.

See, I have a different theory. I think that conservatives are happier than liberals because they tune in to shit like this all day long:

So there's your answer, liberals - if you want to be as cheerful as conservatives, just toke the Fox News crack pipe 24/7.

6Rita Cosby racism racism partisanship
Or, if you can't bring yourself to tune into Fox News, you could try MSNBC's new Friday night "Hardball Hotshots" in which Chris Matthews sits down for a nice fair and balanced chat with right-winger Joe Scarborough, right-winger Tucker Carlson, and right-winger Rita Cosby.

If you've ever seen Rita Cosby's Bordello of News (weeknights at 9pm on MSNBC) you may have missed the delightfully throaty host's political leanings. She usually focuses on more weighty issues - her nightly coverage of Natalee Holloway's continued disappearance is not to be missed.

But last week Ms. Cosby threw caution to the wind and decided to explain to Chris Matthews why Democrats are evil. Apparently it's because while Republicans go after the votes of churchgoers, Democrats go after the "hoodlum vote." By "hoodlums" she apparently meant felons who have been purged from voter rolls, and the reason the Democrats are allegedly doing this, according to Ms. Cosby, is because "Clearly they're going after the African-American vote."

I'm not kidding. Thanks to Crooks And Liars, you can see the video right here.

6Conservative Crackpots anti-choice homophobia
In an effort to kick-start the Republican 2006 election campaign, the religious right is ramping up efforts to bring so-called "family values" issues back to the table. The South Dakota Senate voted last week to outlaw abortion in a move intended to bring about a Supreme Court decision which they hope will overturn Roe vs. Wade, and conservative activists intend to make gay adoption a big issue this year.

Apparently they think that 2006 will be a re-run of 2004, when Republicans successfully used these issues as red meat to get out their base. But with New Orleans in pieces, Iraq in flames, scandals from Plame to Abramoff to warrantless wiretapping blowing up in the faces of the GOP, and the Bush administration outsourcing national security to the United Arab Emirates, perhaps voters will be less inclined to decide that the most dangerous threat to America in 2006 is Billy having two mommies.

Of course, I could be wrong. Bear in mind that these are not normal people we're dealing with here. Just watch this video and you'll see what I mean.

8Rick Santorum hypocrisy
In the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, the GOP announced that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Fecal Matter) would be their point man on ethics. Great plan! Perhaps Santorum can now explain why, according to the Huffington Post, he "received a $500,000, five-year mortgage for their Leesburg, Va., home from a small, private Philadelphia bank run by a major campaign donor - even though its stated policy is to make loans only to its 'affluent' investors, which the senator is not."

Santorum owns a $757,000 "estate" in northern Virginia, despite the fact that, according to the American Prospect, "his financial disclosure forms since 2001 have shown little family income beyond his Senate salary, now $162,100." From the Prospect:

The Prospect decided to heed Santorum's advice by taking "an honest look at the family budget" - his family budget. What we found is that Santorum's exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren't available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania - namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia. Although a Santorum aide defends those charges as legitimate political costs, good-government experts say the expenditures are at best unconventional, and at worst a possible violation of Senate rules, and the purchases appear to be unorthodox when compared with other senators' filings. Santorum's PAC - a "leadership PAC," whose purpose is to dispense money to other Republican candidates - used just 18.1 percent of its money to that end over a recent five-year period, a lower number than other leadership PACs of top senators from both parties.

Ethics watchers may also be interested to learn that Santorum's charity Operation Good Neighbor "donated about 40 percent of the $1.25 million it spent during a four-year period, well below Better Business Bureau standards - paying out the rest for overhead, including several hundred thousand dollars to campaign aides on the charity payroll," according to the Associated Press. "The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance says charitable organizations should spend at least 65 percent of their total expenses on program activities."

Looks like the GOP have picked just the right fox to keep watch over their hen house.

9George W. Bush dumb dumb dumb
If you ever needed a reason to keep George W. Bush away from any of America's germ warfare labs, try this:

"President Bush, center, knocks over some lab samples as he receives
a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory" - Associated Press

Incidentally, that's the same National Renewable Energy Laboratory that recently laid off a bunch of researchers - right after George promised to break America's "addiction to oil" in his State of the Union address (see Idiots 231). Here's the strange part - those lab workers were mysteriously rehired just days before Bush's tour of the lab.

Place your bets on how long it will be before they're laid off again.

10Bill O'Reilly massive ego
And finally, Bill O'Reilly's long, slow slide towards insanity shows no sign of stopping - last week the Falafel Master started an online petition asking the chairman of NBC to replace Keith Olbermann with Phil Donahue in order to "rescue MSNBC from the ratings basement."

It's really very kind of Mr. O'Reilly to give Keith Olbermann this free publicity - no doubt plenty of viewers will now tune in to "Countdown" in order to find out why Thin-Skinned Bill has got a stick up his ass this time. And Keith really does seem to be enjoying this just a little too much!

It's funny though - Bill doesn't seem so concerned about the ratings of MSNBC's conservative shows. According to Media Matters, both "Scarborough Country" and "The Situation With Tucker Carlson" garner lower ratings than "Countdown." Perhaps MSNBC should consider replacing either of those shows with Phil Donahue.

Better still - the Huffington Post is now running a counter-petition to Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes which states:

We, the undersigned, are becoming increasingly concerned about the mental health of the host of your 8:00 PM EST show on Fox News Channel. This host has claimed:

1) San Francisco should be attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists ("homicide bombers").

2) There's a conspiracy to cancel the extremely popular Christmas holiday, even though the culture of Christmas is prevalent in America for nearly three months of every year.

3) That opponents of his show favor personal attacks and smearing, while he routinely employs the pejorative "pinheads" to describe anyone who disagrees with him.

4) That he never used the phrase "shut up" even though he's on-record saying that phrase dozens of times.

5) He has yet to publicly address his sexual penchant for soapy falafel sandwiches and female underlings.

6) He routinely misrepresents factual information (often called "lying"), then claims he told the truth, but will occasionally recant and admit to flagrantly misleading his viewers.


As a result, we recommend that you uphold your "fair and balanced" reputation and replace your 8:00 PM EST host with popular talk show host Phil Donahue.

Compelling arguments! See you next week...

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