The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 239
Kaloogian! No, that wasn't a sneeze - Howard Kaloogian (1) takes this week's top slot for his fabulous photo skills. Who else makes the list this week? We find out that George W. Bush (2) wanted war all along (no kidding), Antonin Scalia (3) addresses his critics, and Hugh Hewitt (4) stands up to the terrorists. Meanwhile, Neal Boortz (5) is racist scum, Christian Soldiers (7) get persecuted at the Omni Shoreham, and Condoleezza Rice (8) should not be taken literally. Enjoy, and don't forget the key! (By the way - due to the new format you may find that the key is not as useful as it once was. Don't worry - we're working on it.)
If the voters of California's 50th Congressional District are already getting misty-eyed for sleazebag congressmen then they've got the perfect candidate in Howard Kaloogian, who's running to replace their former representative Duke Cunningham. Cunningham is sadly unavailable to represent the people of CA-50 this year due to his unfortunate eight-year prison sentence.
Howard Kaloogian is the founder of Move America Forward, a right-wing group which tried to keep Fahrenheit 9/11 out of movie theaters and played a key part in the effort to recall California's former governor Gray Davis. He's also responsible for the "Truth Tour" - a journalistic mission intended to expose the U.S. media's heinous lies about all the bad news coming out of Iraq. This, as you will find in a moment, is more than a little ironic.
"anthonyLA" at Daily Kos discovered this picture on Kaloogian's official website last week:
...complete with the following caption:
We took this photo of dowtown (sic) Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what (sic) many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S effort to fight terrorism.
Aside from the obvious inanity of that statement, there's one big problem: the picture above isn't of Baghdad at all. Intrepid Googlers on Daily Kos and Democratic Underground eventually discovered that the picture was in fact taken in Istanbul. "jem6x" at Daily Kos then settled the matter once and for all by finding a different picture of the same street. Here's Josh Marshall's comparison of the two pictures:
Gee, no wonder things look so calm and contented in "dowtown Baghdad." So what's Kaloogian's excuse? It's a three-parter.
First, according to "KBlagburn" on Democratic Underground, Kaloogian insisted that the picture was indeed of Baghdad and that the U.S. military had told them to only publish pictures that were nondescript so that the location didn't become a target for insurgents - a fact later confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle. As Josh Marshall points out, that somewhat belies Kaloogian's claim that everything is hunky-dory in Iraq.
Second, when faced with incontrovertible evidence that he was lying, Kaloogian fessed up and admitted that the picture was indeed taken in Istanbul, but blamed his lowly webmaster for the screw-up.
Third, Kaloogian blamed the "news media and liberal political activists" who had "sunk to the petty level of attacking me because 1 photograph on my website was mislabeled" and then claimed to have taken "full responsibility" for the screw-up.
End of story? Not quite. Given that the original picture was posted on his website in order to demonstrate that Iraq is "much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be," you may be forgiven for assuming that the real propagandist here is Howard Kaloogian, particularly since the photo was taken as part of his Orwellian "Truth Tour." And given that the "Truth Tour" took place in July of 2005, it may seem especially dishonest for Kaloogian to be claiming that he knows what conditions are like in Iraq now.
But not to worry. Kaloogian soon replaced the picture taken in Istanbul with some real ones taken in Baghdad, which demonstrate just how well things are going over there. Here they are:
Just look at all those happy, smiling Iraqis.
George W. Bush
Move over Downing Street Memo, and make room for the White House Memo! As if you didn't know already, Our Great Leader was determined to get his war on in Iraq come what may. Last week's release of a five-page British memo revealed that "behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons," according to the New York Times.
So courtesy of DowningStreetMemo.com, let's review some administration statements that were made after that meeting with Tony Blair, shall we?
"...the use of military troops is my last choice, not my first." - George W. Bush, January 30, 2003 (Okay, that was one day before. Moving on...)
"If war is forced upon us - and I say 'forced upon us,' because use of the military is not my first choice. ... We will try in every way we can to spare innocent life." - George W. Bush, February 10, 2003
"I know people would like to avoid armed conflict. And so would I." - George W. Bush, February 10, 2003
"I think there is universal agreement that force is a last resort. That is absolutely valid for the United States. And the President remains hopeful that Iraq will, indeed, disarm and therefore avert the need for force to be used to disarm him." - Ari Fleischer, February 14, 2003
"The President views the use of military force as a last resort, which he hopes can be avoided." - Ari Fleischer, February 24, 2003
"I've not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully." - George W. Bush, March 6, 2003
"...as a last resort, we must be willing to use military force. We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq." - George W. Bush, March 8, 2003
Yeah suuuuuuuure you were George. That's why the January 31 memo also said that, "The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March. This was when the bombing would begin." And in a demonstration of just how badly George W. Bush was trying to avoid war, the memo states that during the meeting with Blair, Bush proposed putting a U-2 spy plane over Iraq, painted in UN colors, in the hopes that Saddam would shoot it down thus providing an excuse for the invasion. "We're doing everything we can to avoid war" my ass.
You wouldn't expect a Supreme Court Justice to resort to public displays of obscenity, but in this brave new compassionate conservative millennium, anything goes. From Major League Asshole to Go Fuck Yourself to this...
...Antonin Scalia is the just the latest top conservative to make his point in a, shall we say, undignified fashion. Last week photojournalist Peter Smith asked Scalia "how he responds to critics who might question his impartiality as a judge given his public worship," according to the Boston Herald. And then:
"The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, 'To my critics, I say, 'Vaffanculo,'" punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.
The Italian phrase means "(expletive) you."
Scalia reportedly then said, "That's Sicilian," before quickly realizing what he'd done and following up with, "You're not going to print that, are you?"
Perish the thought!
I got one of those mass emails last week from the American Family Association exhorting its members to complain to Fox TV because a mechanic was caught on camera saying the word "shit" during a NASCAR race. Wow, an auto mechanic said "shit!" How unexpected! So where does the AFA stand on their favorite Supreme Court Justice telling his critics, "Fuck you?" Funny, I haven't heard a peep from them yet.
UPDATE: the Archdiocese of Boston has fired Peter Smith for releasing the photo to the Boston Herald. So I guess that clears that up.
OMG, this is Hugh! Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt had the good fortune to interview Time's Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware last week. Ware has been on the front lines in Iraq since 2003 and has done sterling work reporting on the realities of life in post-Saddam Iraq. Of course, "reality" isn't something that Hugh Hewitt is particularly interested in. Take this excerpt from the interview, for example:
Hugh: I'm really fascinated by the question of whether or not it's ever good journalism to consort with the enemy in search of interesting stories. And there's not denying, Michael, where you get scoops. It's fascinating to read. You've got a great deal of courage, of physical courage, in doing this. So no one's denying that. I'm just wondering whether or not there's a line that you have in your mind reconciled yourself to crossing not once, but scores and scores of times, to report on the enemy, and whether or not that's a good thing. And you think it is, I think I hear you saying, because the public will not otherwise know what it is that you're reporting. Is that a fair summary?
Ware: That is fairly accurate, and let's look at it this way. I mean, you're sitting back in a comfortable radio studio, far from the realities of this war.
Hewitt: Actually, Michael, let me interrupt you.
Ware: If anyone has a right...
Hewitt: Michael, one second.
Ware: If anyone has a right to complain, that's what...
Hewitt: I'm sitting in the Empire State Building. Michael, I'm sitting in the Empire State Building, which has been in the past, and could be again, a target. Because in downtown Manhattan, it's not comfortable, although it's a lot safer than where you are, people always are three miles away from where the jihadis last spoke in America.
This is Hugh Hewitt, live and direct from the front lines of the war in Iraq, signing off.
Cynthia McKinney got a new hairdo last week:
So what? Well, for some reason this new 'do was enough to drive Neal Boortz into a frothing racist frenzy. On his radio show last week he called her a "welfare drag queen," said, "she looks like a ghetto slut," and just for good measure he posted on his website that "She looks like ghetto trash." Uh, hello?
Of course, all this is pretty special coming from a guy who looks like something that Rush Limbaugh left floating in his toilet for the maid to flush.
Last week, Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll was released after being held hostage in Baghdad for almost three months. Upon reaching a U.S. military base in Germany, she immediately disavowed a statement she had made the day before she was freed. According to the Associated Press:
"During my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. So I agreed," she said in a statement read by her editor in Boston.
"Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not."
In the statement, Carroll also disavowed an interview she gave to the party shortly after her release. She said the party had promised her the interview would not be aired "and broke their word."
The remarks have drawn criticism from conservative bloggers and commentators, but the Monitor said "Carroll did what many hostage experts and past captives would have urged her to do: Give the men who held the power of life and death over her what they wanted."
Criticism indeed. Members of Free Republic said the kidnapping was a hoax, called Carroll a friend of terrorists, and reminisced about her "whining for her life." But it wasn't just the fringe lunatics at FR questioning Carroll's motives before the full facts were revealed - fringe lunatics in the mainstream media were doing it too. Jonah Goldberg said "Jill Carroll is increasingly starting to bug me," John Podhoretz said, "I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days," and Don Imus's executive producer Bernard McGuirk said "She strikes me as the kind of woman who would wear one of those suicide vests. You know, walk into the - try and sneak into the Green Zone." He also called her "Taliban Jill" and said, "She's carrying Zarqawi's baby. No doubt about it."
I expect these sickos would have been much happier if Carroll had just had the decency to get herself beheaded.
Last week, representatives of the religion which claims at least 85% of Americans held a two-day conference in a posh Washington DC hotel to discuss how they're being oppressed. Actually, scratch that - these people are not representatives of the vast majority of American Christians. They really represent a radical right-wing fringe which seeks to use religion as a tool to gain political traction for their bigoted ideas. But of course, claiming that there is a "War on Prejudiced Fools Who Seek to Destroy the Separation of Church and State and Radicalize America With Their Own Warped Version of Christianity" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so so they decided on "War on Christians" instead.
And oh, how they whined. "It doesn't rise to the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea," said activist Tristan Emmanuel, "But let's not pretend that it's okay." Doesn't rise to the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea? No kidding. In North Korea, Christians are executed. In America, the president is openly Christian, as is the vice president. And the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And the House Majority Leader, and the Senate Majority Leader, and the Attorney General, the Defense Secretary, the Secretary of State, and seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court. And 85% of the rest of the country. So one might indeed argue that it doesn't rise to "the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea."
Top speakers at the "War on Christians" event included Tom DeLay (under indictment for corruption in Texas), John Cornyn (a top recipient of funds from convicted felon Jack Abramoff), Sam Brownback (another top recipient of funds from Abramoff), and Gary Bauer (accused of adultery). And let's not forget Alan Keyes, who threw his daughter out of the house because she's gay.
The event also featured Michael Horowitz, who told the attendees, "You guys have become the Jews of the 21st century." Presumably he was referring to the 6 million American Christians who were gassed to death in Massachusetts concentration camps last year.
In a moment of unprecedented candor, Condoleezza Rice admitted last week that the Bush administration had made "thousands" of "tactical errors" in Iraq since 2003. Whoa! Don't worry though - Rice later said, "I meant it figuratively, not literally." Get it? The Bush administration has made thousands of metaphorical tactical errors in Iraq. But no actual tactical errors. Makes sense.
If you think you've heard this before, that's probably because you have. During the 2006 State of the Union Address George W. Bush announced that the U.S. had a "great goal" which was "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025." His energy secretary had to "clarify" the remarks the next day, saying "the president didn't mean it literally." (See Idiots 231)
Are there any other statements that the Bush administration didn't mean literally? I can think of a few...
Figuratively: "I want justice. And there's an old poster out West… I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'" - Bush on bin Laden, 2001
Literally: "Osama who?"
Figuratively: "Within the last week or two, they have in fact captured and have in custody two of the mobile trailers that Secretary Powell talked about at the United Nations as being biological weapons laboratories. We have people who are telling that they worked in these vehicles. And they look at panels and say, "That was my work station in that panel, and that's what it's for." - Don Rumsfeld on WMDs, 2003
Literally: "Okay, they were for making weather balloons."
Figuratively: "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." - Dick Cheney on Iraq, 2005
Literally: "Ha ha! Can you believe the American people are still buying this?"
George W. Bush
Now that even William Buckley has started saying that Bush's stupid war is a "failure," Our Great Leader is losing his mind trying to regain some of that old mojo. Remember when George had 90% approval ratings? Sure that was off the backs of 3,000 dead Americans, but oh, those were the days.
Bush has been showing up on TV almost every morning for the past couple of weeks making speeches about this, that and the other. It's not helping: Time had him down to 37% in their poll last week, the lowest level they've recorded.
Perhaps that's because the country has finally realized that what they used to think of as bold, soaring, masterful rhetoric now just sounds pompous, patronizing, and stupid. For example, last week Bush announced that, "We're a country of deep compassion, we care. One of the great things about America, one of the beauties of our country, is that when we see a young innocent child blown up by an IED, we cry." I mean, WTF?
Completely losing it I tell ya. And if you don't believe me, well... they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
And finally, conservative "morals and values" stories tend to crop up quite frequently in the Top 10, but usually they're fairly run-of-the-mill; for example, members of the Southern Baptist Convention asking police officers for blowjobs (see Idiots 227), or Republican leaders getting caught sexually abusing five-year-old boys (see Idiots 217), or members of state legislatures telling their colleagues, "If you try that again, I'll ram my fist up your ass" (see Idiots 188), or... well, I'd better stop or we'll be here all day.
Yet somehow they continue to outdo themselves. Last week Doug Hamilton, a top GOP donor in the state of South Dakota lost a $4.1 million sexual harassment lawsuit after it was revealed that he "demeaned and intimidated his female employees," according to the Rapid City Journal.
Of course, telling his female employees "I own your soul," saying that "girls can't do math" and referring to them as "(expletive) bitches" was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Journal:
Duffy also told jurors that Hamilton had "sexualized" the workplace by giving female employees unwanted massages, frequently unbuttoning his fly to tuck in his shirt, and requiring one female employee to enter the office bathroom when he was showering to tell him about telephone calls. Klein-Cadotte said Hamilton frequently called her and other female employees into his office, saying his computer was locked up. On the screen were pornographic movies Hamilton had downloaded onto his computer, some depicting women having sex with animals, she said.
In Hamilton's defense, his lawyer said he "lacks a social filter." Er, is that what they're calling it these days?
See you next week!
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