The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 334
April 28, 2008
Ever Decreasing Zirkle Edition
You may not know who Tony Zirkle (1) is, but you're about to find out. Elsewhere, George W. Bush (2,6) shakes his booty, John McCain (3,5) demonstrates his leadership qualities, and John Ashcroft (10) explains torture. Don't forget the key!
There's a hot primary battle going on right now - and no, I'm not talking about the Democratic presidential race. Several Republican contenders are curently fighting hard to become their party's nominee for Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, and they're pulling out all the stops.
Take GOP candidate Tony Zirkle, for example, who made a campaign promise to speak to any group who would invite him - and kept that promise last week, prompting WSBT-TV to run with this headline:
GOP candidate Zirkle addresses Nazi gathering
Yes, last week Zirkle accepted the invitaton of the American National Socialist Workers Party and spoke at their special dinner to celebrate the 119th anniversary of Hitler's birthday. Look, there's even a picture (and no, it's not Photoshopped):
Zirkle's initial excuse was that he was merely trying to convert the neo-Nazis to Christianity. "If you want to witness to people, if you want to share your message with people, you have to talk to them," he said. "By not taking a risk and going out there and addressing issues that your enemies can paint you as a racist or a bigot, then we're never going to address them."
I see. Perhaps that excuse would hold more water if Zirkle hadn't said in March that "segregating African-Americans in separate states is an issue that deserves to be debated."
But it turns out this was all just a misunderstanding - Tony Zirkle gave another reason for appearing at the dinner last week, prompting the South Bend Tribune to run with this headline:
GOP candidate defends speech at Nazi gathering
It turns out that...
Zirkle said he feels he was misunderstood. His real mission, he said, is to rid the country of pornography, and that's what he was saying at the ANSWP gathering.
And what does the fight against pornography have to do with attending a dinner honoring Hitler's birthday?
"Most of the male porn stars were Jewish at the beginning," Zirkle explained.
George W. Bush
The economy is collapsing, oil is $120 a barrel, food riots are breaking out across the world, war is raging in the Middle East - so why is Our Great Leader dancing?
If you guessed, "because he's crazier than a shithouse rat," give yourself a pat on the back.
In fact George W. Bush has developed quite a penchant for strutting his stuff lately. In the past twelve months he's performed tribal dances...
... even tap dances.
I guess when you know that you're going to live out the rest of your life with the blood of thousands on your hands, and then be remembered forever as the worst president in U.S. history, dancing's the only thing that keeps you going.
John McCain went to New Orleans last week and vowed that "Never again, never again, will a disaster of this nature be handled in the disgraceful way it was handled."
Republican presidential candidate John McCain took stock of still-hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans on Thursday and declared that if the disaster had happened on his watch, he would have immediately landed at the nearest Air Force base, drawing a sharp contrast to President Bush's handling of the tragedy.
McCain called the response to Hurricane Katrina "a perfect storm" of mismanagement by federal, state and local governments.
Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. According to Wikipedia:
At 6:10 AM CDT (1110 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana, with sustained winds of more than 135 mph (191 km/h). Katrina also made landfall in St. Bernard parish and St. Tammany parish for a total of three landfalls in Louisiana.
By 8:00 AM CDT (1300 UTC), in New Orleans, water was seen rising on both sides of the Industrial Canal.
At approximately 8:14 AM CDT (1314 UTC), the New Orleans office of the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning for Orleans Parish and St Bernard Parish, citing a levee breach at the Industrial Canal. The National Weather Service predicted three to eight feet of water and advised people in the warning area to "move to higher ground immediately."
By 9:00 AM CDT (2100 UTC), there was 6-8 feet of water in the Lower Ninth Ward.
At 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its third landfall near Pearlington, Mississippi and Slidell, Louisiana, with sustained winds of 120 mph (193 km/h) after crossing Breton Sound.
So where was George W. Bush while this was going on? What was so important that he couldn't jump onto a plane and fly to the disaster-stricken area, just like John McCain would have? Funny story...
That's right - George W. Bush wasn't on his way to the Gulf Coast because he was too busy celebrating John McCain's birthday.
While this was going on:
This was going on:
To recap, while this was going on:
This was going on:
But let's be fair to McCain. As you can clearly see from the photographs, he's doing everything he can to explain the magnitude of the disaster to Bush, and urging him to get back on the plane and head immediately to the disaster-stricken area.
I guess when McCain says, "Never again, never again, will a disaster of this nature be handled in the disgraceful way it was handled," he should probably add, "Unless it happens on my birthday."
How desperate is the GOP this year? This desperate...
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments calling for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer. He said the riots would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens. "Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don't elect Democrats," Limbaugh said during Wednesday's radio broadcast. He then went on to say that's the best thing that could happen to the country.
Limbaugh said with massive riots in Denver, which he called "Operation Chaos," the people on the far left would look bad.
So much for the "party of ideas," right?
Oh, but wait a minute, it turns out that Rush wasn't trying to incite a riot after all.
Several callers called in to the radio show to denounce Limbaugh's comments, when he later stated, "I am not inspiring or inciting riots, I am dreaming of riots in Denver."
Ah yes, just like Henry II didn't incite his knights to go murder Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral.
Oh, but wait a minute, it turns out that Rush wasn't even dreaming about riots in Denver. According to the Colorado Daily:
In response to a caller on Thursday's program, Limbaugh appeared to soften his stance. "Who wishes for riots?" he said.
Let me give you a minute to pick your jaws up off the floor after that one.
So, yeah, that's all they've got this year. Hoping for riots. And I hate to break it to Rush, but the Democrats won't be rioting in Denver this year - they'll be far too busy making plans for how best to govern the country after the GOP becomes a footnote in history this November.
Speaking of desperation: it seems that John McCain is now having difficulty wrapping up the "current Republican president's daughter" demographic.
First daughter Jenna Bush isn't as committed to Republican candidate John McCain as her parents are, who are firmly behind the party's expected presidential nominee.
Jenna Bush told CNN's Larry King that she is open to learning about all the candidates - including the Democrats.
King asked Jenna Bush and her mother, Laura Bush, who appeared with her, whether they had a favorite between Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
"My favorite is the Republican," said Laura Bush.
Her daughter wasn't as sure. "I don't know," Jenna Bush said.
Jenna later added, "Wait, isn't McCain the guy who fathered an illegitimate black baby? I don't like that guy."
George W. Bush
Good news! President Bush's approval ratings are "holding steady." Bad news! According to the American Research Group, they're holding steady at 22%.
So what's a president to do when faced with some of the lowest approval ratings ever seen? Simple. According to Think Progress:
On Monday, President Bush made a videotaped cameo to NBC's "Deal or No Deal" game show, joking, "I'm thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days."
Smart idea, Mr. Prez! Just one problem...
Ironically, the New York Post reports that Bush's appearance was a deal-breaker, "tying the show's worst-ever Monday-night performance." Monday's show had approximately 10 million viewers, "down 27 percent from its season average."
But that didn't stop Our Great Leader, oh no. Later in the week he made another TV cameo, this time on American Idol.
Earlier in the show, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush announced that the show's "Idol Gives Back" special had raised more than $65 million for various children's charities.
I must admit it's nice to see Bush acknowledge this remarkable piece of fundraising, although I should point out one thing. Do you know how long it takes the United States to spend $65 million in Iraq?
Less than six hours.
Fortunately John McCain has still got some supporters who are willing to do what they can to help him succeed - meet Barry McCulley, mayor of Homewood, Alabama. John McCain was in Homewood last week for a campaign event at Rosewood Hall, a venue owned by the city.
Now, when Democrats want to use Rosewood Hall they have to pay the full price - according to the Birmingham News:
(Robert) Yarbrough (chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party) rented the entire hall, three rooms, on Thursday nights in September 2006 and September 2007 for the Democratic Blue Dot Ball fundraiser. The weekday fee is $1,700 for all three rooms, according to the official rates. Yarbrough said the Democrats paid more than $2,500 for all charges each year.
But when Republicans roll into town, it's a different story...
The McCain campaign was charged $250 to use two rooms in the hall, which normally would book for $1,200 on a weeknight.
In case you were wondering, that's an 80% discount.
Oh, and did I mention the slave labor? Turns out that there's a $100 set-up fee at Rosewood Hall, but McCain didn't have to pay because his campaign was given "free labor from Homewood City Jail inmates to set up tables and chairs for the event." How convenient.
Of course, this didn't go down too well with the rest of Homewood's city council.
City Councilman David Hooks said that the council typically debates and votes each time there is a request to discount or waive the rent, but that didn't happen this time. "I'd be concerned with the legal ramifications of that, from the city's perspective," Hooks said. "It could be a problem for the city to have made in-kind donations to a political candidate by charging less rent or having inmates do work for the event."
Homewood police Chief Phil Dodd said city jail inmates had never before set up at Rosewood Hall, but did so at the mayor's request.
We hear that McCain is going to repay this kindness by allowing McCulley to hold a wedding reception up his ass.
The Bush Administration
Hey, did you know that the U.S. military has developed secret technology for countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq? According to military.com, "Electronic jammers like the Symphony have saved American lives in a war where the roadside bomb is the number-one killer." That's the good news - now for the bad news.
The U.S. has taken the unprecedented -- and some would say questionable -- step of selling some of its most sophisticated counter-IED technology to the Iraqi government, equipping specialized police, military and interior ministry troops with electronic systems designed to detonate roadside bombs and jam triggering signals.
But some might see handing over America's most sophisticated and top secret counter-IED technology to Iraqi ministries, whose loyalty to Baghdad is less than certain, as extremely risky.
"You have to assume that about the third one that we ship over there is going to go straight out the back door," said John Pike, director of the Globalsecurity.org, a Washington-area defense research group. "We have a fundamental dilemma here in trying to indigenize these security forces."
But pay no attention to the naysayers. This is Iraq! What could possibly go wrong?
Republican state representative Douglas Bruce of Colorado first made it onto the list back in mid-January - coincidentally his first week on the job - and at the time I noted that we'd probably be seeing more of him.
Well, courtesy of the Denver Post, here's what Mr. Bruce has been up to since he was featured in Idiots 321.
* Drew the ire of some lawmakers for delaying his start date in the statehouse so that he would serve less than half of a two- year term. That allows him to run for an additional eight years in the House instead of six.
* Became the first lawmaker in state history punished with censure after kicking a photographer on the floor of the House.
* Refused to co-sponsor a resolution honoring members of the military - saying he doesn't vote for nonbinding, symbolic resolutions - and was stripped by GOP leadership of a committee assignment as a result.
* Was criticized for placing fliers attacking his opponent in this year's GOP primary on the desks of several House Republicans.
Good stuff. So what did Mr. Bruce do to top this off last week?
State Rep. Douglas Bruce's derogatory remarks Monday about Mexican migrant workers could leave him facing a second censure penalty or worse.
"We don't need 5,000 more illiterate peasants in the state of Colorado," Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, said during debate on a bill to speed up a temporary seasonal worker program.
Presumably he then clambered aboard his favorite white charger and galloped back to Castle Bruce where he raised the drawbridge, kicked his jester, and spent some quality time in the privy.
And finally: back in the year 2000 when George W. Bush ran for president under the banner of "compassionate conservatism" and a "humble foreign policy" it was hard to imagine that eight years later serious people would be debating whether or not it's okay for the American government to torture people. Of course, the Bush Administration insists that we do not torture. However, the Bush Administration also thinks that torture isn't torture unless you cause organ failure. So what exactly is torture?
Thanks goodness we have former Attorney General John "Statue Boobs" Ashcroft to finally draw a bright, clear line for us. During an appearance at Knox College last week, Ashcroft was asked the following question by a student:
After WWII, the Tokyo Tribunal was basically the Nuremberg Trials for Japan. Many Japanese leaders were put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture. And among the tortures listed was the "water treatment," which we nowadays call waterboarding ... The judgment describes this water treatment, and I quote, "the victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach." One man, Yukio Asano, was sentenced to fifteen years hard labor by the allies for waterboarding American troops to obtain information. Since Yukio Asano was trying to get information to help defend his country - exactly what you, Mr. Ashcroft, say is acceptable for Americans to do - do you believe that his sentence was unjust?
Good question! Now here's rest of the exchange, as described by the student who asked it:
ASHCROFT: (angrily) Now, listen here. You're comparing apples and oranges, apples and oranges. We don't do anything like what you described.
ME: I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we still use the method of putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water down their throat...
ASHCROFT: (interrupting, red-faced, shouting) Pouring! Pouring! Did you hear what she said? "Putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water on them." That's not what you said before! Read that again, what you said before!
ME: Sir, other reports of the time say...
ASHCROFT: (shouting) Read what you said before! (cries of "Answer her fucking question!" from the audience) Read it!
ME: (firmly) Mr. Ashcroft, please answer the question.
ASHCROFT: (shouting) Read it back!
ME: "The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach."
ASHCROFT: (shouting) You hear that? You hear it? "Forced!" If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...does this college have an anatomy class? If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...
Aha, finally, it all makes perfect sense! Get it? If you are tied down and water is forced into your mouth and lungs, it's torture. If on the other hand you are tied down and water is poured into your mouth and lungs, it's not torture. Thanks for the explanation, Mr. Ashcroft!
Just in case you're still confused, Ashcroft also made an appearance at St. John's University last week, where he told students:
ASHCROFT: Going to a high school dance, having to listen to loud music, to me that's torture. I was on the Daily Show once. I was interviewed by Jon Stewart. That was torture.
So I hope that clears that up. See you next week...
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