Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Written by Allan Uthman & Ian Murphy
with contributions from John Dolan, Eileen Jones, Alexander Zaitchik, & IOZ.
Illustrations by Ian Murphy.

5. Alan Greenspan

Charges: The mortgage meltdown may seem complicated, but it started simple, with Al Greenspan pegging the Fed fund rate at 1%. This made Treasury Bonds a fairly lame investment, and led to investors looking for other seemingly safe securities to buy, which led to a flourishing demand for mortgage-backed securities, which led to banks increasingly lowering their standards for mortgage applications, eventually giving liar loans away to anyone willing to take them, which used to be called usury. This led to a decline in the real value of these MBA securities due to high probabilities of foreclosure, but somehow they were still AAA-rated by credit agencies displaying either hopeless incompetence or criminal collusion. Even a monkey wouldn't need a slide rule to see what would come next. But Alan Greenspan, super-genius guru of the glorious realm of the self-regulating free market, is totally flummoxed. Refusing to accept any blame for years as the housing bubble, long-predicted by out-of-favor economic realists,  bloated and burst, only recently has Greenspan accepted even marginal responsibility, admitting only that he was "partially" wrong, professing a state of "shocked disbelief" that lenders couldn't regulate themselves, and thinking to himself, "This isn't how it worked in Atlas Shrugged!"

Exhibit A: "Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should."

Sentence: Recurring role as a senile great uncle on new C-grade sitcom "Krugman's Krew."

4. George W. Bush

Charges: It's hard—believe us, we know—to keep coming up with new things to say about this brutally stupid narcissist, who may have ruined this country irrevocably and certainly has ruined a couple of others, mugging amiably all the way. If anything good comes from Bush's reign of error, let it be the death of the notion that vitally important, life or death decisions that affect the entire world should be made with one's "gut." We used to think that incompetence was just a good cover story for this administration, an excuse that masked their deliberate criminality, but it turns out that Bush and his inner circle are both treasonous, corrupt warmongers and inept fools.  One good thing about him, though, is that he has no real interest in politics, and probably won't give a flying shoe what happens to the world when his term is up. As he once put it, ""History, we don't know. We'll all be dead." Here's to George W. Bush being history.

Exhibit A: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

Sentence: Detained in formaldehyde-laced FEMA trailer without charges or counsel, sodomized by Lynndie England, declared guilty by military tribunal, set adrift naked on a small ice floe in the Arctic.

3. Sean Hannity

Charges: This relentlessly repugnant McCarthyite tool really outdid himself this year, in an all-out quest to otherize Obama in any way he could. This paranoid pustule is able to find a liberal conspiracy lurking behind any mundane occurrence, even attributing Obama's selection as Time's Person of the Year, an event as predictable as sunrise, to a pay-to-play scheme. Hopelessly outmatched shill Alan Colmes is finally leaving his role as Hannity's doormat; he will not be replaced.

Exhibit A: "I never questioned anyone's patriotism."

Sentence: Wrongfully convicted of murdering Vince Foster, based on evidence falsified by Jerome Corsi.

2. John McCain

Charges: McCain vowed to run a clean, respectful campaign, and then accused Obama of pushing sex ed for kindergartners, calling Palin a pig, hanging with terrorists, being a welfare-loving Marxist, being an arugula-loving elitist and pretty much everything but conspiring with the Borg—but he didn't really mean it, and he didn't use Reverend Wright, so we're all supposed to think he's swell. McCain lied so blatantly and constantly that even cable news bootlicks were compelled to fact-check him, to which he and his surrogates responded by insisting on the same lies. When pressed on the Nixonian onslaught of falsehood, McCain whined that he wouldn't have had to be such a mendacious prick if Obama had only refrained from raising so much more money than him. McCain pretended to give a shit about America, and then he picked a vapid ambition-hound to succeed him. His response to the economic crisis might as well have been to punch himself in the face.  In every way he could this year, McCain burned up all the credibility he had stored up from decades of shameless worship by the press, utilizing every tactic he ever decried, exuding a heady aroma of bullshit and Alzheimer's, and displaying an unrequited obsession with Joe the Plumber, and he still wound up a failed Faust even the Devil didn't want.

Exhibit A: "In the 21st century nations don't invade other nations."

Sentence: Every time anybody says the word "surge," McCain is shot in the leg.

1. Sarah Palin

Charges: If you want to know why the rest of the world is scared of Americans, consider the fact that after two terms of disastrous rule by a small-minded ignoramus, 46% of us apparently thought the problem was that he wasn't quite stupid enough. Palin's unending emissions of baffling, evasive incoherence should have disqualified her for any position that involved a desk, let alone placing her one erratic heartbeat from the presidency. The press strained mightily to feign respect for her, praising a debate performance that involved no debate, calling her a "great speaker" when her only speech was primarily a litany of insults to city-dwellers, echoing bogus sexism charges when a male Palin would have been boiled alive for the Couric interview alone, and lionizing her as she used her baby as a Pro-life stage prop before crowds who cooed when they should have been hurling polonium-tipped javelins. In the end, Palin had the beneficial effect of splitting her party between her admirers and people who can read.

Exhibit A: Waving her embryo-loving credentials, in the form of her Down syndrome baby, at "But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy."

Sentence: Hand-to-hand combat with Vladimir Putin and a pack of wolves.


Perpetual Outstanding National Zero-sum Investment scheme

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Gay Webcomics!

It's not a secret that the world of comics and comic books hasn't exactly been gay-inclusive over their long histories. Indeed, for gay readers looking to finding themselves represented in the pages of their favorite newspaper comic, the choices have been few and far between. After all, a few enraged readers are often enough to intimidate timid, already struggling newspapers into dropping certain comic strip panels which some intolerant readers deem offensive.

Unfortunately, comic books and graphic novels haven't fared much better. Among the major comic publishers such as Marvel and DC, gay characters are often relegated to minor titles that come and go as fast as Superman changes into his superhero outfit. While small press publishers tend to be more inclusive, their offerings are usually hard to find at comic shops, especially if not located in a major city.

However, there is one place where the number of opportunities for gay themes to be explored in comics and for gay creators has actually grown: the Internet.

While newspapers and their syndicated comic strips continue to wither away, thanks to the Internet there has been an explosion of "webcomics," strips usually available solely online and usually at no cost.

Webcomics aren't exactly new. Indeed, they have been around for about as long as users have been able to send images over the Internet. The earliest webcomics were distributed via usenet groups and BBS (bulletin board service) forums – and with each passing year the format of the webcomic is becoming increasingly accepted by the comics industry.

Prestigious comic industry awards like the Eisners, the Harveys and the Ignatz Awards now include a category for webcomics and the "big two" comic book publishers – DC and Marvel – have both gotten into some form of distributing comics over the web. In fact, thanks to the Internet, many of the hurdles that often keep a gay-themed comic from making it onto comic shop shelves and into readers' hands are being eliminated.


Of course Tintin's gay. Ask Snowy


His adventures have sold more than 200 million copies and been translated into 50 languages, and this weekend he celebrates his 80th birthday. But how well do we really know Tintin? One thing's for certain...

Tin Tin ComicBillions of blue blistering barnacles, isn't it staring us in the face? Sometimes a thing's so obvious it's hard to see where the debate could start. What debate can there be when the evidence is so overwhelmingly one-way? A callow, androgynous blonde-quiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor? A sweet-faced lad devoted to a fluffy white toy terrier, whose other closest pals are an inseparable couple of detectives in bowler hats, and whose only serious female friend is an opera diva...

. . . And you're telling me Tintin isn't gay?

And Liberace was a red-blooded heterosexual. And Peter M... oops - steer clear - burnt fingers once there already. But really, what next? Lawrence of Arabia a ladies' man? Richard the Lionheart straight? And I suppose the Village People were a band of off-duty police officers, YMCA was a song about youth-hostelling, and Noddy and Big Ears are just good friends.

But I'd better make the case because, astonishingly (and though when I googled "Tintin" and "gay" I got 526,000 references), there are still Tintin aficionados who remain in denial about this.


Lessons from past wars

Will the Religious Right Spoil the Inaugural Party?

By Bill Berkowitz

A number of Religious Right groups, including Our Country Deserves Better PAC, preparing to take on the Obama Administration
The California-based PAC that failed to derail the presidential candidacy of Obama, intends to serve as 'the loyal opposition'

In politics, commerce, and fundraising, timing is essential. The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama is providing all sorts of opportunities for conservative organizations to market their messages and peddle some goods at the same time.
On January 8, the Christian Defense Coalition (CDC), an organization headed by Reverend Patrick J. Mahoney, announced that they had received permission to display what it calls a pro life vigil -- 25 large signs showing the development of life from conception to birth -- along the parade route during the Presidential Inauguration. Claiming that President-elect Obama is on the "wrong side of history and human rights by embracing the most radical abortion policies of any President in American history," Mahoney says that "While millions will be celebrating along the Inaugural Parade route, we will be speaking 'truth to power' and calling justice and equality for all Americans."
Repent America, another Christian conservative group, is planning "a massive evangelism effort in Washington, DC. [where] church groups and individuals [will] … hand out tracts and engage in one-on-one witnessing efforts during" Inauguration Day activities, according to a report by OneNewsNow, the America Family Association-sponsored news service. "We know ... president-elect Barack Obama [to be] a very aggressive, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual political figure -- and now he's going to be our president," Michael Marcavage, president of Repent America, told OneNewsNow. "So it's only expected that these particular things are going to be pushed in our nation even more."
Over at the PatriotShop.US, a division of the Tennessee-based online publication, The Patriot Post, commerce is the main word during the lead-up to Obama's Inauguration. According to its website, you can "celebrate the Obamanation Inauguration" with a host of products including "Bitterly Clinging to Guns and Religion" posters, tee shirts and bumper stickers; an "O-Bummer" sticker; a Che Obama tee shirt and bumper sticker; "Politically Incorrect Guides" to American History, Capitalism, Global Warming, Islam, the Middle East, the Constitution, Hunting; and other assorted sundries from mugs to coin holders to even a Holy Cross.  
According to its website, The Patriot Post is "America's most widely read Internet-based publication … [and] is a highly acclaimed journal advocating individual liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values." The online publication, headed by Mark Alexander aims to be "a hard-hitting rebuttal to contemporary political, social and mainstream media protagonists on the Left, … written for those who seek a brief, informative and entertaining analysis of the week's most significant news, policy and opinion."
While the Christian Defense Committee is holding its vigil, Repent America is passing out flyers and looking for converts, and The Patriot Post is flogging its merchandise, another group, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, is seeking cash.   
Having failed to defeat Obama, despite spending thousands of dollars on anti-Obama television advertisements in several swing states, and launching its "Stop Obama Tour," which drew few anti-Obama enthusiasts as it lumbered around the country, the California-based Our Country Deserves Better PAC is asking for financial support for a long term campaign against Obama. In a new ad run by HumanEvents.com, Our Country is looking to "serve as one of the leading conservative organizations that will help prepare for a conservative resurgence in 2009 and 2010."


How Many Divisions?

Uri Avnery's Column 

NEARLY SEVENTY YEARS ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called "the Red Army" held the millions of the town's inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as "hostages" and exploit the women and children as "human shields", they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

IN THIS WAR, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.

Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government ("The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets") has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.

Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.

True, Western and Israeli TV channels showed only a tiny fraction of the dreadful events that appear 24 hours every day on Aljazeera's Arabic channel, but one picture of a dead baby in the arms of its terrified father is more powerful than a thousand elegantly constructed sentences from the Israeli army spokesman. And that is what is decisive, in the end.


Cleaning up after the elephants



(Minneapolis, MN) It was none other than one of the NAATF's Chief Deputy Blowhards, Alex "Cut-Throat" Castellanos, who taught a worldwide CNN audience how to define the ultimate humiliation for the rethuglican party on election night, saying "If we can't beat that lunatic, [Al Franken], we're [fucked]!"   Well Alex, grab your ankles, you sick prick, 'cause Mr. Smalley's goin' to Washington!


Here in Gopherville USA, over 2 million mosquito-ravaged ice fisherman said "no" to the hate-filled, slanderous insanity of the "Big Fat Idiot", the "Blotchy Bully", and the rest of the NAATF, and voted "yes" for the opportunity to be represented by someone who may actually serve the shivering citizens of Minnesota in the manner contemplated by the founding fathers.


That's right, the real danger in a Senator Al Franken is not that he's an entertainer, and a comedian no less.  The real danger, especially for the NAATF, lies in the fact that Al Franken may turn out to be a great Senator.  The man brings a passion to expose the idiocy of the "Nut-Case Right", as he calls them, as clearly evidenced in his writings and his leadership of the progressive radio station, Air America Radio, during the past several years, and he is unlikely to swim in the traditional political bullshit.  Like it or not dub-lovers, that record of commitment to expose the truth is one of the reasons that Stuart got elected.  This stands as further evidence that quality candidates can come out of nowhere to change the nutcase status quo and that a person's vote can actually make a difference.  RIP GOP!



Hypocrisy From the Party of Pork

By Joe Conason

As the government contemplates spending very large sums of money, it is reassuring to know that somebody still worries about waste. Or it would be reassuring, if only that somebody were not Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, who promises that he and his fellow Republicans will "protect taxpayers against the rush to spend their money."

This loud pledge of thrift and transparency by the GOP leadership might be more persuasive coming from people who had displayed such inclinations anytime before last year's election. But these are the same politicians who squandered astronomical amounts when they controlled the federal budget.

And today, at a moment when economists of all stripes agree that we must spend big and spend fast to forestall a depression, the timing of the Republican conversion is as dubious as its credibility. To delay the stimulus spending proposed by President-elect Obama for the sake of partisan posturing is to risk disaster.

The Republicans' sudden reversion to the solemn frugality of their forebears would be amusing were it not so dangerous. Having established a record over the past decade or so as the wildest wastrels in the nation's history, they now present themselves as straight-laced accountants who simply cannot abide a misspent dime.

Consider McConnell, chosen again by his fellow Republican senators to oversee policy and politics for their shrunken caucus. Last year, he barely achieved reelection in Kentucky -- and only won after a barrage of television ads touting his mastery of the Congressional pork barrel. He flew frantically from one town to another, boasting that he had brought home more than $500 million in federal discretionary funds during the past fiscal year alone, largely for projects that other states and cities must finance locally.

Even when many other Congressional Republicans realized that their awesome waste and abuse had tarnished the party's image and led to their ouster in the 2006 midterm, McConnell resisted reform. Just over a year ago, the conservative Club for Growth lambasted him for opposing a Democratic proposal to eliminate budgetary "earmarks," which have led to so much corruption and abuse on Capitol Hill. The club complained that his "support for pork projects in the Omnibus [Budget Act] is a sad statement about the priorities of the Republican leadership in the Senate."

Certainly nobody can say that the senior senator from Kentucky has failed to make his mark with those projects. His campaign for a sixth term last autumn might as well have been a tour of the many federally funded sites that literally bear his stamp. In Owensboro, residents can stroll through Mitch McConnell Plaza, an urban renewal project that is the pride of that riverfront town. In Lexington, students can take advantage of the wonderful Mitch McConnell Distance Learning Center at the university's law school. In Louisville, joggers can stretch their legs along the Mitch McConnell Loop Trail in the city's new $38 million park.

There is all that in the Bluegrass State and much, much more -- thanks to taxpayers across the country whom McConnell is so eager to protect.


Environment protected by President Bush

Bush strikes last blow to environment


What could possibly be left of the environment for the Bush administration to degrade on its way out the door? Leave it to the Forest Service not to see the forest or the trees.

The Washington Post last week reported that the administration plans to issue yet another "midnight" ruling. This one would let timber companies pave over national forest logging roads so pine tree woods can become residential subdivisions with names like "Pine Woods."

The ruling would most immediately benefit the nation's largest private landowner, 8-million-acre-owning Plum Creek Timber. The Forest Service, directed by former timber industry lobbyist Mark Rey, had long been working on a paving deal with Plum Creek behind closed doors. It has been held up by outraged local officials who were not consulted over the impact of development on resources and by environmentalists gravely concerned about wildlife endangerments.

"We have 40 years of Forest Service history that has been reversed in the last three months," Patrick O'Herren, rural initiatives director for Missoula County, Montana, told the Post last July. Plum Creek is the biggest private landowner in Montana, with 1.2 million acres, much of it not far from either Missoula or Kalispell in the western part of the state. Much of that land's mountain wilderness, complete with glaciers and grizzlies, is so pristine that the Post said parts of it are "as Lewis and Clark found it."

The chicanery caught the attention of Barack Obama, who campaigned in Montana in hopes of putting a reliable red state into play (he did, losing to John McCain by just 3 percentage points). Obama issued a July statement saying, "At a time when Montana's sportsmen are finding it increasingly hard to access lands, it is outrageous that the Bush administration would exacerbate the problem by encouraging prime hunting and fishing lands to be carved up and closed off. We should be working to conserve these lands permanently so that future generations of Americans can enjoy them to hunt, fish, hike, and camp."

In October, a Government Accountability Office examination of the proposed deal between the government and Plum Creek found that it raised many perplexing questions relating to the 1964 National Forest Roads and Trails Act, few of which the Bush administration answered adequately. The act originally was meant to allow roads and trails in lands administered by the Forest Service for timber harvesting and recreation. The GAO said the Department of Agriculture "cannot convey a greater property interest than the statute allows," and that the rule change on behalf of residential development was so broadly interpreted that it "could have a nationwide impact." The GAO was particularly critical of the backdoor dealing, saying the Bush administration's approach "deprived it of the opportunity to obtain the public's views on a matter of intense public interest."

The idea of the 1964 roads act being abused to pave the way for McMansions should be overturned when Obama takes office.


Don’t Buy From Bigots

Welcome to Don't Buy From Bigots


On Election Day November 4, 2008, the most highly contested ballot measure in California was Proposition 8.  Entitled "Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry", the purpose of Proposition 8 was to amend the state constitution to remove the constitutional right of gays and lesbians to marry.  


Proponents of Prop 8 waged a successful campaign to strip lesbian and gay citizens of their civil rights aided in large part to the nearly $40 million they raised.  Many of these donations came from businesses throughout California and across the country.


These businesses have the right to support whatever ballot measures they want, but fair-minded citizens of all sexual orientations also have the right to take their money elsewhere and not patronize businesses that support bigotry.  This site is not a witch-hunt but is a tool intended to help people make informed decisions when they shop for products and services.  This site hopes to overcome some of the limitations of existing Prop 8 donor databases on the web and in time hopes to become a useful repository of all companies in the U.S. with anti-gay policies.


Using publicly available information from the California Secretary of State's website, DontBuyFromBigots.com strives to be the most comprehensive business-specific listing of donors to Prop 8.  This site is a work in progress created and maintained in the spare time of one person, so forgive the Spartan appearance.  Contact me if you want to help improve the website.

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What Now?!!