Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vaccination: A Conversation Worth Having

While America is still in the grips of swine flu mania, let me use this opportunity to clear up a few things about my beliefs concerning the flu shot, vaccines, and health in general. I do this because there is obviously a lot of curiosity about this subject of vaccines -- it comes up in every interview I do these days, and I've been finding that people, including doctors, are privately expressing a skepticism that is still not very prevalent in public. I feel like I've become a confessor for people who want someone to be raising questions about vaccines.

But I don't want the job. I agree with my critics who say there are far more qualified people than me -- its just that mainstream media rarely interviews doctors and scientists who present an alternative point of view. There is a movement to stop people from asking any questions about vaccines -- they're a miracle, that's it, debate over. I don't think its that simple, and neither do millions of other people. The British Medical Journal from August 25 says half the doctors and medical workers in the U.K. are not taking the flu shot -- are they all crazy too? Sixty-five percent of French people don't want it. Maybe its not as simple as the medical establishment wants to paint it.

Vaccination is a nuanced subject, and I've never said all vaccines in all situations are bad. The point I am representing is: Is getting frequent vaccinations for any and all viruses consequence-free? I feel its unnecessary and counterproductive to try and silence people with condescension. Michael Shermer wrote me an open letter and felt I needed to be told that "vaccinations work by tricking the body's immune system into thinking that it has already had the disease for which the vaccination was given." Thanks, Doc, I thought there might be a little man inside the needle. Yes, I read Microbe Hunters when I was eight, I have a basic idea how vaccines work.

That's not -- or shouldn't be -- where the debate is. I admit, its hard to get as clear a picture of my beliefs, as you could, say, if I had written a book on vaccines, versus someone in the setting of a talk show. So I understand why its easy to take bits of things I have said and extrapolate into something I actually have never said. I understand it, but its not exactly "scientific."

But rather than responding to every absurd thing said, let me just tell you want I do think -- because I will admit, I have gone off half cocked on this issue sometimes, and often only had time on my show to explain a fraction of what needed to be explained, and for that I am sorry. Some of it can't be helped, some of that is the nature of the show we do: live, off the cuff, lots of interruptions. Some of it was just from me being overexcited about finally finding a health regimen that actually made me healthier and feel better. And many a time I have wanted to stop the show and clarify a point or provide the nuance I think it deserves, but I am serving many masters, and you have to get out of the way as much as you can so the guests can say their piece.

But some of it I would do differently. For example, I recently joined Twitter Nation -- what can I say, Demi Moore is a very convincing salesperson -- and what everybody told me about Twitter was that it was supposed to be whatever stray thought or thing just happened to you -- you know, for people who find blogging too formal and stuffy.

But apparently it's taken very seriously, because there was Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services what she thought about the fact that "Bill Maher told his viewers anyone who gets a flu shot is an idiot."

Well, not quite. It was twittered, which I guess doesn't make a huge difference, but as 60 Minutes is the last bastion of TV journalism, accuracy is appreciated. And I see that counts for Twitter, too -- my bad -- so yes, some people are not idiotic to get a flu shot. They're idiotic if they don't investigate the pros and cons of getting a flu shot. But, come on -- it was a twitter from a comedian, not a treatise in the New England Journal of Medicine, that's not what I do.

I'm just trying to represent an under-reported medical point of view in this country, I'm not telling a specific pregnant lady what to do. With unlimited air time, I would have, for example, added to my discussion with Dr. Bill Frist on October 2 that, yes, any flu or health challenge can be dangerous when you're pregnant, and if your immune system is already compromised by, for example, eating a typical American diet, then a flu shot can make sense. But someone needs to be representing the point of view that says the preferred way to handle flus is to have a strong immune system to begin with, and getting lots of vaccines might not be the best way to accomplish that over the long haul.

Now, sometimes its OK to fuck with nature -- I believe "intelligent design" is often anything but intelligent; that "God's perfect universe" is actually full of fuck ups and design flaws, like cleft lips and Down Syndrome -- so correcting nature is sometimes the right thing to do. And then, sometimes its not. For me, the flu shot is in the "not" category.

In addition, my audience is bright, they wouldn't refuse a flu shot because they heard me talk about it, but if they looked into the subject a little more, how is that a bad thing? If they went to the CDC Web site and saw what's in the vaccine -- the formaldehyde, the insect repellent, the mercury -- shouldn't they at least get to have the information for themselves?

But just to reassure all those people who have such a romantic attachment to vaccines: I know, there are vaccines that have had their battles with the bad guys and won -- great! And if you have a compromised immune system and can't boost it naturally, as in poor countries where the children are eating dirt, then a vaccine can be a white knight -- bravo! Does the polio vaccine have the power to prevent children from getting polio, and did it indeed do just that in the 1950s? I believe it does, and it did. But polio had diminished by over 50 percent in the thirty years before the vaccine -- that's a pretty big fact in the polio story that you don't often hear and which merits debate. It may be the case that the vaccine should have been used anyway to finish polio off, but there are some interesting facts on the other side.

So yes, I get it, we learned how to trick our immune systems. And maybe sometimes, you gotta do it. But maybe the immune system doesn't like being tricked so many times. Maybe we should be studying that instead of shouting down debate.

Someone who speaks eloquently about this is Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center. I find her extremely credible, as I do Dr. Russell Blaylock, Dr. Jay Gordon and many others, but I shouldn't have even mentioned them because I don't want to be "the Vaccine Guy"!! Look it up yourself, and stop asking me about it -- I'm already the Religion Guy, and that's enough work!

Anyway, Ms. Fisher is someone who says she is not "anti-vaccine," but just has a lot of questions about the long term effect of using a lot of vaccines. After devoting her life to studying this, she says that the influenza vaccine studies that have been done "are not persuasive in proving that a seasonal flu shot provides immunity." She also points out "that what we need, but do not yet have, are studies of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children."

Is it worth it to get vaccines for every bug that goes around? Injecting something into my bloodstream? I'd like to reserve that for emergencies. This is the flu, and there's always a flu. I've said it before, America is a panicky country. It's like we look for things to panic about.The reports from Australia, where they're over their flu season, is that its not a terribly virulent flu. The worldwide numbers support that. But you'd never get that impression from the media in this country.

60 Minutes has done two pieces on swine flu within a month. The first one introduced us to a high school football player named Luke Duvall who, we were told, was the picture of health, and then got hit by the flu so bad he was in the hospital at death's door. But later in the segment we learn that Luke had staphylococcus pneumonia along with the flu. Was that staph bug in him when he got hit by the flu? Its not clear from the reporting, but since every other kid on both football teams got the flu, as well as the cheerleaders ... ahem ... and all of them got over it just fine, then it seems quite possible that Luke had a co-existing infection, and that's why his experience with H1N1 was so different.

On the follow up visit a couple of weeks later on 60 Minutes, we were told Luke had "beaten H1N1." No, he beat H1N1 and staph together: that's very different! If 99 percent of people have relatively mild symptoms, shouldn't science's first job be finding out why the one percent get felled? Having an underlying health issue is the point I was raising with Dr. Frist: maybe Luke wasn't the picture of perfect health they described in the opening.

By the way, when Scott Pelley asked the government spokesman about the fact that only one percent of people who get the flu find it to be anything other than a typical, mild flu, the answer was an analogy to seatbelts, that "only 1 percent of people riding in a car will be in an accident, but you don't want to take a chance on being that 1 percent."

That went unchallenged, which is sad, because what a horrible analogy! I would think vaccines containing many different dicey substances shot directly into the bloodstream have a slightly greater chance of secondary effects than a piece of fabric lying across your waist. Maybe if you had to swallow the seatbelt this would be a good analogy.

If one side can say anything and its not challenged, then of course dissent becomes heresy in the minds of many. I don't trust the mainstream media to be thorough or exacting enough to inform me as much as I need on this subject. Sorry, they're just not up to it. At the very least, they should have pointed out, as we watched Luke fighting for life on a ventilator, that, of course, flu vaccines don't have any therapeutic effect on bacterial infection.

While we're on the subject of bacteria, let me say clearly I understand germ theory also -- I believe they also covered that in Microbe Hunters -- nor have I ever said I was a "germ theory denier." What I've been saying is that Western medicine ignores too much the fact that the terrain in which bacteria can thrive is crucial and often controllable, which shouldn't even be controversial. I don't care what Louis Pasteur said on his death bed -- it was probably, "Either the curtains go or I do" -- that's not the point!

And it's precisely because I am a Darwinist that I fear the overuse of antibiotics, since that is what has allowed nasty killer bugs like MRE to adapt so effectively that they are often resistant to any antibiotic we can throw at it. There are consequences to vaccines and antibiotics. Some people want to study that, and some, it seems, want to call off the debate.

Instead of setting up this straw man of me not understanding germs or viruses, let's have a real debate about how much we should use vaccines and antibiotics. Of course it's good that we have them in our arsenal, but isn't the real skeptic the one who asks if these powerful but toxic methods do harm to what actually is a a very good defensive system, the one you were born with?

Also, I have never said there was a medical conspiracy. In fact, when Howard Dean asked me that, my response was "I wouldn't call it a conspiracy." Any more than there's a conspiracy for the Pentagon budget to be obscenely bloated and operated largely for the corporate welfare of defense contractors. If these are conspiracies, they're mostly legal ones that happen in plain sight. (Good time here to plug the hostess' book, Pigs At the Trough, it's all in there!) I have, in fact, used the phrase "medical-pharmaceutical-food industry" complex in comparing it to Eisenhower's famous depiction of a "military-industrial complex."

But no, I don't think the A.M.A. and Big Pharma and Aetna and Dr. Frist's hospital chain all meet in a board room and cackle about keeping us sick. They meet on the golf course. (Just kidding.)

Do pharmaceutical companies want to cure diabetes or do they want to sell diabetes drugs and equipment? Well, they sure do sell a lot these days, and the food companies are what make that possible. Read David Kessler's book about the deliberate way food companies use salt, fat and sugar as foodcrack to get people literally addicted to eating bad food and too much of it. Is that a conspiracy? Only if you define corporations putting profit ahead of human health as conspiracy. The fact that Americans will do anything to each other for money is not a conspiracy, it's a scandal.

I believe in science and I believe in studies to determine the truth. I also believe Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon was correct when he said recently on MSNBC: "If you've got a checkbook in this town, you can get just about any set of facts you want." So if I remind you of a conspiracy theorist, you sometimes remind me of Britney Spears when she said "we should just do whatever the president says to do, and not ask questions and just support him." The medical community can be brutal on dissent, which would hold more weight if I thought this was a terribly healthy country, which it isn't. Health care is one sixth of our economy, and we spend way more on it than any other nation. The elephant in the room of the health care debate is that we are going to have a high health care bill every year no matter what law they pass because we're sick -- we need a lot of drugs and services.

Am I a conspiracy theorist if I suggest that since the network's nightly news broadcasts are sponsored almost entirely by prescription drug ads, that you might have to hold your breath a long time before you hear the alternative point of view to using pharmaceuticals to cure all our ailments?

Is it conspiracy theory to believe that American medicine too much treats symptoms and not root causes of disease? I always ask my friends when they go to the doctor for something, "Did your doctor ask you what you eat?" The answer is almost always 'no,' and a lot can be cured with diet and a healthier lifestyle. (And a lot can't. I also understand the role of genetics and generations of artificial selection). But Americans don't want to hear that, so doctors don't push it. It's easier and more profitable to write a prescription for Lipitor. They're not bad people, and at the end of the day, you can't make someone eat right. I like and respect all the M.D.s I've had over the years, and for the record, I have a naturopath doctor and I have a Western doctor. I would make an analogy to Republicans and Democrats: in both politics and health, I don't commit to either party because I'm on the side of the truth, whoever has it. In both cases, I'm an Independent.

Ms. Fisher said "If we want to create a society that is dependent on shots for immunity -- the same way we are getting dependent on prescription drugs, antibiotics, and surgery -- this is the path we should keep going down."

I don't think its "anti-science" to pause and consider that point of view.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is This as Good as It Gets From Obama?

Yeah, I'm disappointed, too. I thought we were sweeping into power; I thought change meant Change. I believed all that talk about another First 100 Days, a la Roosevelt. Well, that didn't happen. The question is, is this as good as it gets from Obama, or is he pacing himself? He may have a four and eight-year plan and they included a first year of just gettin' to know you and not gonna rock the boat too much. Well, Mission Accomplished on that.

It's still to early to lose hope in a guy as smart and talented as Barack Obama. But I would counsel him to remember: If you're going undercover to infiltrate how Washington works, so you become one of them for a while, to gain their confidence, well, it can be just like all those movies where a cop goes deep, deep, DEEP undercover with drug people and -- fuck, he's a drug addict, too!

Logic tells me that really smart guys like Obama and Rahm Emanuel know better what they're doing than I do. They certainly know things I don't know. I think we have the same general goals and beliefs. And this is what they do for a living -- I wouldn't even try it. But I will never stop having this doubt: that maybe if they had really charged in there riding the forceful energy of the historic election, and acted like it was an emergency moment -- which it was -- they could have gotten some big victories right up front, and there really could have been an historic "first hundred days" for this administration and the country. Instead of what happened, which is the Obamas got a dog. It could have worked -- the country had given its endorsement to "...and now for something completely different." There might have been a way to knock the Republicans back on their heels right away, with the argument that "The American people demanded we make these changes, and you are unpatriotic to stand in their way."

We'll never know. Because that moment passed, and now it could follow the pattern of World War I and devolve into boring, static trench warfare where nothing really game changing happens while both sides slowly bleed to death.

That said, I do not forget that if the election had gone the other way, we'd right now have a barter economy and be at war with Honduras.

Monday, October 5, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - OCT 2, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, October 2nd, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



I know why you’re happy tonight. Because, you know what, after all these months of seeing these tea-baggers hold up signs of Obama with the Hitler moustache painted on, we have proof now that Obama isn’t Hitler. Cause when Hitler tried to get the Olympics, he got it.

- Bill Maher, in his opening monologue



Let’s be big about it. Congratulations to the citizens of Rio de Janeiro. They spent all day today partying, doing the samba in the streets with the breasts hanging out. And then they heard about the Olympics and they were even more thrilled.

- Bill Maher, in his opening monologue



You can’t blame the progressives for being mad at the Democrats. I mean, they seem to always start with the compromise. If they were writing the Hippocratic Oath, they would start with, “First, OK, do a little harm.”

- Bill Maher



There are, at least half of America, who thinks the world was created by a man in a cloud in six days, who then needed to rest. I love that. He’s so powerful he can create the universe, but then he’s pooped.

- Bill Maher



One of the main principals of Darwinian Theory is plenty of variations for natural selection to work on. And there’s sure enough, there are plenty of variations in brain power. All the way from Einstein on the one hand, to Sarah Palin on the other.

- Richard Dawkins



Eighteen percent of the British people think it takes one month for the earth to orbit the sun … And twenty-eight percent of the British people think humans walked with the dinosaurs. Twenty-eight percent of the British people get their science from “The Flintstones.”

- Richard Dawkins



New Rule: Froot Loops are not a health food. Some of the big food companies have started giving their products “Smart Choice” check marks so shoppers will know they’re “healthful.” You know, like a creep in the park will carry a puppy, so kids will know he’s “friendly.” Healthful? Froot Loops? When I saw this, I threw a tantrum in the cereal aisle.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Shut up, grandpa. This week ancient pop singer Andy Williams announced that he thinks Obama is a “Marxist” who “wants the country to fail.” And then he made Moon River in his diapers. Actually, it’s not shocking that Andy Williams says Obama is a communist. It’s shocking Andy Williams is alive. He doesn’t do shows, he has viewings.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Janeane Garofalo, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Thomas Friedman, Richard Dawkins, and Lisa Jackson

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Rule: If America Can't Get it Together, We Lose the Bald Eagle

New Rule: If America can't get its act together, it must lose the bald eagle as our symbol and replace it with the YouTube video of the puppy that can't get up. As long as we're pathetic, we might as well act like it's cute. I don't care about the president's birth certificate, I do want to know what happened to "Yes we can." Can we get out of Iraq? No. Afghanistan? No. Fix health care? No. Close Gitmo? No. Cap-and-trade carbon emissions? No. The Obamas have been in Washington for ten months and it seems like the only thing they've gotten is a dog.

Well, I hate to be a nudge, but why has America become a nation that can't make anything bad end, like wars, farm subsidies, our oil addiction, the drug war, useless weapons programs - oh, and there's still 60,000 troops in Germany - and can't make anything good start, like health care reform, immigration reform, rebuilding infrastructure. Even when we address something, the plan can never start until years down the road. Congress's climate change bill mandates a 17% cut in greenhouse gas emissions... by 2020! Fellas, slow down, where's the fire? Oh yeah, it's where I live, engulfing the entire western part of the United States!

We might pass new mileage standards, but even if we do, they wouldn't start until 2016. In that year, our cars of the future will glide along at a breathtaking 35 miles-per-gallon. My goodness, is that even humanly possible? Cars that get 35 miles-per-gallon in just six years? Get your head out of the clouds, you socialist dreamer! "What do we want!? A small improvement! When do we want it!? 2016!"

When it's something for us personally, like a laxative, it has to start working now. My TV remote has a button on it now called "On Demand". You get your ass on my TV screen right now, Jon Cryer, and make me laugh. Now! But when it's something for the survival of the species as a whole, we phase that in slowly.

Folks, we don't need more efficient cars. We need something to replace cars. That's what's wrong with these piddly, too-little-too-late half-measures that pass for "reform" these days. They're not reform, they're just putting off actually solving anything to a later day, when we might by some miracle have, a) leaders with balls, and b) a general populace who can think again. Barack Obama has said, "If we were starting from scratch, then a single-payer system would probably make sense." So let's start from scratch.

Even if they pass the shitty Max Baucus health care bill, it doesn't kick in for 4 years, during which time 175,000 people will die because they're not covered, and about three million will go bankrupt from hospital bills. We have a pretty good idea of the Republican plan for the next three years: Don't let Obama do anything. What kills me is that that's the Democrats' plan, too.

We weren't always like this. Inert. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law and 11 months later seniors were receiving benefits. During World War II, virtually overnight FDR had auto companies making tanks and planes only. In one eight year period, America went from JFK's ridiculous dream of landing a man on the moon, to actually landing a man on the moon.

This generation has had eight years to build something at Ground Zero. An office building, a museum, an outlet mall, I don't care anymore. I'm tempted to say that, symbolically, all America can do lately is keep digging a hole, but Ground Zero doesn't represent a hole. It is a hole. America: Home of the Freedom Pit. Ironically, it's spitting distance from Wall Street, where they knock down buildings a different way - through foreclosure.

That's the ultimate sign of our lethargy: millions thrown out of their homes, tossed out of work, lost their life savings, retirements postponed - and they just take it. 30% interest on credit cards? It's a good thing the Supreme Court legalized sodomy a few years ago.

Why can't we get off our back? Is it something in the food? Actually, yes. I found out something interesting researching last week's editorial on how we should be taxing the unhealthy things Americans put into their bodies, like sodas and junk foods and gerbils. Did you know that we eat the same high-fat, high-carb, sugar-laden shit that's served in prisons and in religious cults to keep the subjects in a zombie-like state of lethargic compliance? Why haven't Americans arisen en masse to demand a strong public option? Because "The Bachelor" is on. We're tired and our brain stems hurt from washing down French fries with McDonald's orange drink.

The research is in: high-fat diets makes you lazy and stupid. Rats on an American diet weren't motivated to navigate their maze and once in the maze they made more mistakes. And, instead of exercising on their wheel, they just used it to hang clothes on. Of course we can't ban assault rifles - we're the first generation too lazy to make its own coffee. We're the generation that invented the soft chocolate chip cookie: like a cookie, only not so exhausting to chew. I ask you, if the food we're eating in America isn't making us stupid, how come the people in Carl's Jr. ads never think to put a napkin over their pants?

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Rule: You Can't Complain About Health Care Reform If You're Not Willing to Reform Your Own Health

New Rule: You can't complain about health care reform if you're not willing to reform your own health. Unlike most liberals, I'm glad all those teabaggers marched on Washington last week. Because judging from the photos, it's the first exercise they've gotten in years. Not counting, of course, all the Rascal scooters there, most of which aren't even for the disabled. They're just Americans who turned 60 and said, "Screw it, I'm done walking." These people are furious at the high cost of health care, so they blame illegals, who don't even get health care. News flash, Glenn Beck fans: the reason health care is so expensive is because you're all so unhealthy.

Yes, it was fun this week to watch the teabaggers complain how the media underestimated the size of their march, "How can you say there were only 60,000 of us? We filled the entire mall!" Yes, because you're fat. One whale fills the tank at Sea World, that doesn't make it a crowd.

President Obama has identified all the problems with the health care system, but there's one tiny issue he refuses to tackle, and that's our actual health.

And since Americans can only be prodded into doing something with money, we need to tax crappy foods that make us sick like we do with cigarettes, and alcohol -- and alcohol actually serves a useful function in society in that it enables unattractive people to get laid, which is more than you can say for Skittles.

I'm not saying tax all soda, but certainly any single serving of soda larger than a baby is not unreasonable. If you don't know whether you burp it or it burps you, that's too big. We need to make taking care of ourselves an issue of patriotism. If you were someone who condemned Bush for not asking Americans to sacrifice for the war on terror, the same must be said for Obama and health care.

President Arugula is not gonna tell Americans they're fat and lazy. No sin tax on food on Obama's watch. And at a time when it's important to set new standards for personal responsibility, he appointed a surgeon general, who is, I'm sorry, kind of fat. Certainly too heavy to be a surgeon general, it's a role model thing. It would be like appointing a Secretary of the Treasury who didn't pay his taxes. He did?

And get this: Surgeon General Benjamin had previously been a nutritional advisor to Burger King. The only advice a "health expert" should give Burger King is to stop selling food. The "nutritional advisor" job was described as, "promoting balanced diets and active lifestyle choices" -- and who better to do that than the folks who hand you meat and corn syrup through a car window? When you have a surgeon general who comes from Burger King, it's a message to lobbyists, and that message is, "Have it your way."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - SEPT. 11 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, September 11th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



It is of course the eighth anniversary of 9/11 and Americans today stopped, as they should, and reflected, whatever they were doing, just to sit there, reflect, do nothing, say nothing, just like Bush did eight years ago when he got the news.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



This was very encouraging for our country. At the World Trade Center site, Joe Biden observed a moment of silence, showing Americans really can do anything.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



This was the week when the President made his big healthcare speech to Congress, making it the second time in the week that he addressed a bunch of children.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



I know the President is black, but this is not "Showtime at the Apollo."

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue, regarding Rep. Joe Wilson’s conduct at the President’s address to Congress



Nancy Pelosi was so shocked, she took out her compact and drew in her eyebrows all furrowed.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue, regarding Rep. Joe Wilson’s conduct at the President’s address to Congress



Joe Wilson, to be fair, the next day, he did apologize. He said he didn’t mean to say, “You lie,” he meant to say, "Go back to Africa!"

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



Of course, what's so ironic is that the healthcare plan that Mr. Wilson so angrily opposes would get him the Prozac he so desperately needs.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue





The next day, Sarah Palin on her Facebook page said you know what, she still believes in death panels. You know what, Sarah, honey, if we were going to get rid of useless people, you would be the first to know.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



The people who took their kids out of school to avoid the President, they need to go back to school.

- Paul Rieckhoff



It was fun to say it to Kathie Lee Gifford’s face and watch her head explode when I said I wanted to outsell the Bible … There’s not one Brooke Shields story in there, which my book has Brooke Shields stories. There’s no plastic surgery photos in the Bible. It sucks.

- Kathy Griffin



New Rule: Next time President Obama addresses America's school children, he has to tell them they're obese and that they should get off drugs. Or otherwise they'll grow up to be Rush Limbaugh.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Stop with Michelle Obama's arms. Women are clamoring for the new issue of "Women's Health" magazine where Michelle's trainer tells how you can get her guns in just nine minutes a day. But I don't buy that because First Lady Laura Bush's arms never got that cut and she spent eight years holding onto a dumbbell.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Rep. Anthony Weiner, Richard Clarke, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Paul Rieckhoff and Kathy Griffin.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Rule: Float Like Obama, Sting Like Ali

New Rule: Democrats must get in touch with their inner asshole. And no, I'm not being gratuitously crude when I say that. I refer to the case of Van Jones, and I'm sure you know who Van Jones is. At least I hope you do, because I haven't a clue, or at least I didn't until this week, when I found out he was the man the Obama administration hired to find jobs for Americans in the new green industries. Seems like a smart thing to do in a recession, but Van Jones got fired because he became the Scary Negro of the Week on Fox News, where, let's be honest, they still feel threatened by Harry Belafonte.

Now, I know that right now, I'm supposed to be all re-injected with yes-we-can fever after the big health care speech, and it was a great speech -- when Black Elvis gets jiggy with his teleprompter, there is none better. But here's the thing: Muhammad Ali also had a way with words, but it helped enormously that he could also punch guys in the face.

What got Van Jones fired was they caught him on tape saying that Republicans are assholes. And they call it "news." And Obama didn't say a word in defense of Jones and basically fired him when Glenn Beck told him to. Just like we dropped "end of life counseling" from health care reform because Sarah Palin said it meant "death panels" on her Facebook page.

Crazy evil morons make up things for Obama to do, and he does it.

Same thing with the speech to children this week. If you missed it, the president attempted to merely tell school children to work hard and wash their hands, and Cracker Nation reacted as if he was trying to hire the Black Panthers to hand out grenades in homeroom. Of course, the White House immediately capitulated. "No students will be forced to view the speech," a White House spokesperson assured a panicked nation. Isn't that like admitting that the president might be doing something unseemly? What a bunch of cowards. If the White House had any balls, they'd say, "He's giving a speech on the importance of staying in school, and if you spineless jackasses don't show it to every damn kid in you school we're cutting off your federal education funding tomorrow."

The Democrats just never learn: Americans don't really care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies. When Van Jones called the Republicans assholes, he was paying them a compliment. He was talking about how they can get things done even when they're in the minority, as opposed to the Democrats, who can't seem to get anything done even when they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and Bruce Springsteen.

I love Obama's civility in the face of such contumely, his desire to work with his enemies, it's positively Christ-like. In college, he was probably the guy at the dorm parties who made sure the stoners shared their pot with the jocks. But we don't need that guy now. We need an asshole.

Mr. President, there are some people who are never going to like you. That's why they voted for the old guy and Carrie's mom. You're not going to win them over. Stand up for the 70% of Americans who aren't crazy.

And speaking of that 70% -- let's call them the sentient majority -- when are we going to actually show up in all this? Tomorrow Glenn Beck's army of zombie retirees are marching on Washington in protest of, well, everything. It's the Million Moron March, although they won't get a million of course, because many will be confused and drive to Washington state -- but they will make news. Because people who take to the streets always do. They're at the town hall screaming at the congressman, we're on the couch screaming at the TV. Especially in this age of electronics and Snuggies, it's a statement to just leave the house. But leave the house we must, because this is our last best shot for a long time to get the sort of serious health care reform that would make the United States the envy of several African nations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - AUGUST 21 2009

Friday, August 21st, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, August 21st, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.

Apparently they’re going to have a “run-off” election. In Afghanistan, that’s when the Taliban shows up and everyone runs off.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

It’s not easy holding an election in a country where 70 percent of the population is functionally illiterate. But hey, if we can do it in this country every four years…
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

Apparently it’s no longer enough to be screaming as they’ve been doing at the town hall meetings, they’re now, have you seen this, bringing guns. I would say these people are armed to the teeth, but they have no teeth.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

Stupid is a pre-existing condition.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

What advice would you give to kids today who want to break into Atheism?
- Bill Maher to Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith”

You get the government you deserve.
- Jay Leno

You know who the best journalists are? The ones who used to do it.
- Chuck Todd

By the time I get there, it’ll be worthless. It’s in 4th place.
- Jay Leno about NBC

You prevent future torture by prosecuting past acts of torture.
- Jeremy Scahill

You’re constantly letting these officials off the hook on the fact that Obama’s continuing some of the worst of Bush’s policies when it comes to foreign affairs.
- Jeremy Scahill referring to the media

New Rule: Either bury Michael Jackson’s body, or send it out on that concert tour. Earlier this week, Joe Jackson said Michael would be buried at the end of the month, and now that’s been postponed. I don’t know what’s creepier, the fact that he’s going to spend eternity as a Zombie or that he saw it coming.
- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

New Rule: Stop acting so surprised that 90% of our paper money has cocaine on it. This is America. You’re lucky it doesn’t have gravy on it. Besides, if it weren’t for the coke, a dollar wouldn’t have any value at all.
- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

New Rule: When you make the runners pee in a cup to check for drugs, you must also check to see if they’re peeing standing up. A South African runner has been ordered to undergo a test to determine if she’s really a woman. Which is fine, but if we’re really interested in testing which track star is what gender shouldn’t we start with Bruce Jenner?
- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment


New Rule: If in your eyes America can do no wrong, you should look into Lasik surgery. You know, there’s the rational, mature assessment of our country: that it’s a great nation—especially if you like fried foods—but it also has its faults. And then there’s the modern-day Republican view: that America is infallible and pure in every way, and the Founders made a mistake when they wrote the phrase “In order to form a more perfect union.” Hello, it’s already perfect! Why are you suggesting American apologetics, Ben Franklin?
- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

This week's guests were Jay Leno, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Chuck Todd, Sam Harris, and Jeremy Scahill.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Rule: No Shame in Being the Sorry Party

New Rule: If Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin all think America has never done anything wrong, we must be doing something wrong. Look at them: an empty suit, an empty heart and an empty head. It looks like the news team on Good Morning Hell. And what they've been competing about lately is who would not apologize the most. America is infallible, and apologies are horrible things that must never, ever be given. Except by me when I make a joke about the Pope. "We're perfect -- deal with it," is their new handshake. But I say, what's wrong with America occasionally saying, "I'm sorry"? Because these are the three sorriest white people I've ever seen.

If in your eyes America can do no wrong, you should really look into Lasik surgery. There's the rational, mature assessment of our country: that it's a great nation -- especially if you like fried foods -- but it also has its faults. And then there's the Republican view: that it's perfect and pure in every way and it's always right all the time, just like Leviticus and Ronald Reagan.

If the founders were alive today, Republicans would be giving them shit because the Declaration of Independence says, "In order to form a more perfect union? Hello, it's already perfect! Why are you suggesting American apologetics, Ben Franklin?"

One of the things that makes Republicans furious about our current president is their idea that Obama is always apologizing for America's biggest mistakes. Unlike President Bush. Who was one of America's biggest mistakes.

In his first week as president, Obama did an interview with Arab TV in which he said, "We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect." Thought crime! And then he went to Cairo and violated one of those absolute eternal rules the Right Wing is always making up out of thin air: "The president must never apologize on foreign soil. Lest our allies begin to doubt that we're assholes. "

But what did Obama actually say to make Karl Rove's head explode and the popcorn fly out? Cover your children's ears: When he was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, he said he did, the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism." Yes, our so-called president actually said people in other countries might like their countries better. I was so shocked I nearly dropped the Bible I was using to help me masturbate into my gun.

In her farewell speech -- if only -- Sarah Palin kept telling us "how she's wired." Now I'm not a doctor, or an electrician -- but this is faulty wiring, this worldview that, in her words, "we should never apologize for our country." Really? Never? Not for slavery? Or Japanese internment camps, or if we tortured the wrong guy at Guantanamo? The Indians? Nothing, Sarah? "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"? Shouldn't John McCain apologize for... you?

When did intractability become a virtue? Mitt Romney's new book is called No Apology: The Case For American Greatness. You can find it at Borders, in the "Suck-Up" section. It's such a perfect title, combining paranoia with arrogance: "No one has yet asked me to apologize but, if someone ever does, fuck them."

Conservatives think apologizing is a sign of weakness. It's what liberal pussies do, when they're not busy driving electric cars and feeling empathy. When in fact it's the weak and the scared who are too insecure to apologize. Apologies are actually a sign of strength. That's why six-year-olds hate them.

In Rwanda, after a genocide that killed a million people, they set up special courts where people stood up and said, "Hey, sorry I macheted your entire family. My bad." And believe it or not, in most cases, that was enough. That's the power of an apology. A recent study reveals that doctors who are willing to apologize to patients for their mistakes are sued for malpractice about half as much as doctors who aren't willing to apologize.

Apologies can do great things, and they can enable great things. And if you still don't believe me, I have three words for you: make-up sex.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - AUGUST 14 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER"



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, August 14th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



Even after Obama took time out to painstakingly explain that there were no death panels, Sarah Palin fired back with a resounding ‘nut uh.’

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



It does seem to me a tad ironic that she’s [Sarah Palin] so against killing old people considering she’s the one who smothered the life out of the McCain campaign.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



One way to tell your party is a bunch of pussies is when you are bullied by a chick on Facebook.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding the Democrats and Sarah Palin



We ought to change our motto from E Pluribus Unum to I Am Sam.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding the intelligence of the American people



Michael Vick is back in the NFL. He said today he never killed any dogs. He was merely counseling them on end of life issues.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding the Democrats and Sarah Palin



You have to be either brave or stupid.

- Brad Pitt on why guests appear on “Real Time with Bill Maher”



Don’t you think that having the experience the Clintons went through and understanding that this was going to be controversial, they should have initiated an information campaign upfront so they could have pre-empted many of these arguments, these stories and these falsehoods?

- Anthony Zinni on Obama’s ill-prepared roll out of the new Health Care Bill



Nobody was calling the UK and Canada, who both have free health care or public health care; we weren’t calling them socialists when we were asking them to come help fight a war in Iraq and Afghanistan for freedom and democracy.

- Ashton Kutcher



We have reached a point where the Republican Party is down to such a core that the special interest groups aren’t actually that interested in the Republican Party anymore.

- Ross Douthat



Declaring war on terrorism would have been like Woodrow Wilson declaring war on U-boat attacks. It is a tactic and is ridiculous and so we were chasing the symptom of a greater problem.

- Anthony Zinni



New Rule: Stop acting shocked that a guy who made his living selling chemicals died of a drug overdose. He sold a white powder that solves all your problems really, really fast. The only difference between cocaine and Oxyclean is cocaine worked.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: If you’re stuck on a plane that’s not moving for more than five hours, you get to punch a baby.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were General Anthony Zinni, Ashton Kutcher, Ross Douthat, Dana Gould and Brad Pitt.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Rule: A-hole in One Shouldn't Be Obama's Game

New Rule: President Obama must give up that awful habit that sets such a bad example for young people. I'm talking, of course ... about golf.

Golf, if you're not familiar, is a pastime where you basically walk outdoors with a bag, muttering and cursing. It's like being homeless in loud pants. Anyway, Time magazine is reporting that since he became president, Barack Obama has taken up golf with a passion, playing almost every weekend for the past few months -- and I feel betrayed. He campaigned as a basketball player. It said to us, "I'm urban and athletic and hip and a team player." Golf says, "I like Lipitor and white collar crime." And it's not just golf -- he's been purposefully eating a lot of hamburgers in public lately, to prove he loves meat. And he said that, unlike before he became president, he prays all the time now and that his Faith and Neighbor Initiatives Director sends him scripture on his Blackberry to start every day. Jesus, is there something about that house that turns people into assholes?

I kid the Commander in Chief, he's very far from an asshole, he's a cool dude, and I want to keep him that way! I don't want a regular guy running the country. We tried that for eight years and New Orleans still smells like mildew. Obama was different. He wasn't Joe Six-Pack. He had a six-pack. And when he gave a speech it didn't make English teachers cry. He wasn't some regular schmuck who spent five hours a weekend on the golf course. Why? Because he actually likes his family!

But Democrats have this bad habit of letting the Republicans scare them into acting more "regular guy" than they really are, and then they look inauthentic. Like Hillary drinking shooters. Like Dukakis in the tank. So I'm putting you on notice, Barack Obama: you're from Chicago, the day I see you in a duck blind, I'm taking my hope elsewhere.

So that's why I'm so worried when I see my president playing golf, because golf is a slippery slope. First comes the golf attire, then the golf stories and pretty soon you're telling black jokes. What's worse is that you know Obama doesn't really wanna be golfing, he's just doing it because he thinks it will relax the white people. "How could I be a socialist, I'm putting!" Well, I've got news for you, Mr. President, the people who think you want to kill their Great Aunt Millie aren't going to be swayed by a photo-op on the golf course. They see those photos, they're not thinking you're just like Tiger Woods, they're thinking, "Here comes the Angel of Death, and he's got a nine iron."

There is also a more serious side to this, because golf, hamburgers, and religion are all things that are incredibly bad for the environment. According to the U.N., in 15 years almost two billion people will be living in conditions of absolute water scarcity. And yet, a golf course in Palm Springs consumes as much water per day as an American family uses in four years. Golf courses in America consume over 114 million gallons of water a year on grass that doesn't even get you high. Golf courses also need large quantities of fertilizers and pesticides whose run-off pollutes the ground water for miles around.

This isn't just a third world problem -- there's a water shortage right now in the western United States. If I surpass my monthly water allotment here in Los Angeles, I'll get fined by the city. If I do it twice, they'll send 40,000 prisoners to live in my backyard.

But when it comes to bad for the environment, nothing -- literally -- compares with eating meat. The business of raising animals for food causes about 40 percent more global warming than all cars, trucks, and planes combined. If you care about the planet, it's actually better to eat a salad in a Hummer than a cheeseburger in a Prius.

There was a news story last week about the U.S. military warning America that the ripple effects from global warming inspired disasters could kill millions of people, but none of them can moonwalk, so nobody gave a shit. But if this "planet" problem is so dire the military is saying they're going to have to start dealing with it, maybe the president should set a better example about how we just can't live exactly as we always have and survive. I'm certainly not suggesting that we "take away" your golf or your hamburgers, but when it comes to being a role model on the environment, this president is out to lunch. With Joe Biden, eating greaseburgers.

Which is a shame, because he and his wife have demonstrated enormous power to lead by example. What they do, Americans want to do, because they're stars, and we're star-fuckers! And, like I said last week, we're not very bright, so we need direction -- if Obama grabbed Biden for lunch next week and ordered a veggie burger -- yes, Sean Hannity will call him a mincing fairy, like he did when Obama used mustard instead of ketchup -- like I ever knew one was more manly than the other. Stop caring what Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin will say about you. Be who you really are - a basketball playing, Jay-Z listening, city-dwelling hipster. The only sand trap I want to see you get out of is Afghanistan. And next time you have to get two guys over for a beer, smoke a little weed.


Guests on this week's program include Brad Pitt, Dana Gould, Ashton Kutcher, General Anthony Zinni and Ross Douthat.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - AUGUST 7 2009

Friday, August 7th, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, August 7th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.

Have you seen what’s going on with these Town Halls? I don’t want to say they’re out of control. But they’re starting to show them on ESPN.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

I hate what’s happening in this country when I look at this. White people in Town Halls acting like black people in movie theaters.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

He’s [Obama] getting testy about these protesters. The other day he said if I want to hear endless hours of babbling from the aged I’ll ask Joe Biden a yes or no question.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

New Rule: Stop trying to make Radio Shack cool. Radio Shack, the shopping destination for people too socially awkward for Best Buy, is changing its name to The Shack. Maybe they’ll be like Abercrombie & Fitch, and have a shirtless guy standing in the doorway holding a surge protector. Admit it, Radio Shack: you’re not even a store, you’re just where immigrants go to learn English before getting a real job at 7-11.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

New Rule: Don’t hit on women at your wife’s funeral. Especially if you’re their dad. Vanity Fair reports that Ryan O’Neal accidentally tried to pick up his daughter Tatum at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral, giving a whole new meaning to the line: “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere?” When you see family at a funeral, think: “bury the hatchet.” Not “hide the salami.”

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

And finally New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn’t make it a smart country. Now, a couple of weeks ago I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn’t put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O’Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which A) proves my point, and B) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment


This week's guests were Congressman Jack Kingston, Congressman Darrell Issa, Dr. David Scheiner and Arianna Huffington.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Rule: Smart President ≠ Smart Country

New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A few weeks ago I was asked by Wolf Blitzer if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. It was amazing - in the minute or so between my calling America stupid and the end of the Cialis commercial, CNN was flooded with furious emails and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! It's how they get the blood circulating when the Cialis wears off. Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which A) proves my point, and B) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him.

Now, the hate mail all seemed to have a running theme: that I may live in a stupid country, but they lived in the greatest country on earth, and that perhaps I should move to another country, like Somalia. Well, the joke's on them because I happen to have a summer home in Somalia... and no I can't show you an original copy of my birth certificate because Woody Harrelson spilled bong water on it.

And before I go about demonstrating how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness dragging down our country, let me just say that ignorance has life and death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, 69% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Four years later, 34% still did. Or take the health care debate we're presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and "listen to their constituents." An urge they should resist because their constituents don't know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.

I'm the bad guy for saying it's a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife's name right on the first try.

Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll says 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen, and a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge."

People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes 24% of our federal budget. It's actually less than 1%. And don't even ask about cabinet members: seven in ten think Napolitano is a kind of three-flavored ice cream. And last election, a full one-third of voters forgot why they were in the booth, handed out their pants, and asked, "Do you have these in a relaxed-fit?"

And I haven't even brought up America's religious beliefs. But here's one fun fact you can take away: did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which one came first.

And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy? Please, this country is like a college chick after two Long Island Iced Teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. There's a lot of populist anger directed towards Washington, but you know who concerned citizens should be most angry at? Their fellow citizens. "Inside the beltway" thinking may be wrong, but at least it's thinking, which is more than you can say for what's going on outside the beltway.

And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they're talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin.

Which is the way our founding fathers wanted it. James Madison wrote that "pure democracy" doesn't work because "there is nothing to check... an obnoxious individual." Then, in the margins, he doodled a picture of Joe the Plumber.

Until we admit there are things we don't know, we can't even start asking the questions to find out. Until we admit that America can make a mistake, we can't stop the next one. A smart guy named Chesterton once said: "My country, right or wrong is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying... It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'" To which most Americans would respond: "Are you calling my mother a drunk?"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - JULY 31 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, July 31st, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.

I know why you’re happy: racism is over and we did it with a beer
-Bill Maher in his opening monologue

There was one little awkward moment. When he arrived at the White House,he got out of the car,and he threw Obama his keys.
-Bill Maher in his opening monologue about Sergeant Crowley

You can take your old gas-guzzling clunker to your GM dealer and trade it in on a new gas-guzzling clunker.
-Bill Maher in his opening monologue about “cash for clunkers”

I think its great that we have a President who we can see having a beer cause he isn’t a dry drunk.
-Bill Maher


My great fear is that Congress is gonna get power over the Fed. That’s the nightmare scenario. We have those crazy people on the hill starting to control American policy. Then I really will go back to Britain.
-Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson who is British

He is Michael Jordan playing on a bad team. There’s nobody to pass the ball to.
-Bill Maher about President Obama and Congress

I think we should airlift all the women out of Afghanistan for 40 years so that the Taliban can’t reproduce and then bring them back and start from scratch.
-Joe Queenan

It’s funny for me to be asked to speak on behalf of women.
-Rachel Maddow

FROM THE NEW RULES SEGMENT

New Rule: From now on, to save valuable airtime, news outlets must only report when a ballplayer is discovered to be not on steroids.

-Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment


New Rule: Never underestimate the ability of a tiny fringe group of losers to ruin everything. For the past couple of weeks we’ve all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the “birthers”—the far-right goofballs who claim Obama wasn’t really born in Hawaii and therefore the job of president goes to the runner-up, Miss California Carrie Prejean. And there’s nothing you can do to convince these people—you could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate, with the placenta, and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background and they still wouldn’t believe it.

-Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment


This week's guests were Rachel Maddow, Niall Ferguson, Joe Queenan, Michael Ware and Jeff Sharlet.

Friday, July 31, 2009

'Birthers' must be stopped

No matter how dumb, the people who are questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. could eventually cause real problems.

By Bill Maher
July 31, 2009

Never underestimate the ability of a tiny fringe group of losers to ruin everything.

For the last couple of weeks, we've all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the "birthers" -- the far-right goofballs who claim Barack Obama wasn't really born in Hawaii and therefore the job of president goes to the runner-up, former Miss California Carrie Prejean.

Also, when Obama was sworn in as president, he forgot to give his answer in the form of a question.

And yet, every week, the chorus of conservatives demanding to see his birth certificate grows. It's like they're the Cambridge police, Obama's in his house -- the White House -- and they need to see some ID.

And there's nothing anyone can do to convince these folks. You could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background ... and they still wouldn't believe it.

Which raises the question: Why, in this country, is it always the religious right that won't take anything on faith?

So far, the reaction from Democrats is to laugh this off, and I understand why. If you seriously believe that President Obama is an African sleeper spy, get out of your chat room and have your house tested for lead.

But we live in America, and in America, if you don't immediately kill arrant nonsense, no matter how ridiculous, it can grow and thrive and eventually take over, like crab grass or reality shows about fat people.

This flap might be a deluded right-wing obsession that is a total waste of time, but so was Whitewater, and look where that ended up. A handful of Republican operatives, enraged at Bill Clinton's unprecedented economic growth and budget surpluses, found a woman named Paula Jones, which led to a woman named Monica Lewinsky, which gave me enough material to eventually be able to buy a big house in Bel-Air. Which I'm still conflicted about.

More recently we had the Swift Boat allegations against John Kerry, in which Kerry was accused of volunteering to serve in Vietnam so he could jump in front of a bullet so he could get a medal and then throw it away to satisfy his urge to insult real Americans. This was so stupid that Kerry refused to even discuss it.

And we all know how well that worked out.

And once these stories get out there, they're hard to stamp out because our media do such a lousy job of speaking truth to stupid. Vietnam, Iraq and the Spanish-American War were all sold on lies that were unchallenged or even abetted by the media. Clinton got impeached and Kerry got destroyed in large part because the media didn't have the guts to say, "This is nonsense."

Lou Dobbs has been saying recently that people are asking a lot of questions about the birth certificate. Yes, the same people who want to know where the sun goes at night.

And Lou, you're their new king.

That's why it's so important that we the few, the proud, the reality-based attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. This isn't a case of Democrats versus Republicans. It's sentient beings versus the lizard people, and it is to them I offer this deal: I'll show you Obama's birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin's high school diploma.

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed July 31,2009
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-maher31-2009jul31,0,622151.story

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - JULY 24 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”

Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, July 24, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.

The president spent the week, the last few days, talking about America’s most vulnerable citizens, the Cambridge Police Department.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

Probably the most prominent African-American scholar in America today, Henry Louis Gates, was arrested for being black while home. Apparently, in America, if you are black, you can be pulled over for driving a stolen house.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

Officer Crowley was upset. Apparently he said Henry Louis Gates was threatening. Of course, he meant he was an educated black man.
- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

When the military says ‘we don’t want this’ and Congress is trying to shove this down their throats, it is a sad statement of the political system we have right now.
- Anthony Woods regarding the rejection of F-22 additional funding.

We are actually, as a nation, consigning a group of people to complete ruination.
- Susan Eisenhower regarding multiple deployments of the military overseas

We have allowed ourselves as a country to get in a situation where we think the military can solve all of our problems overseas and that is absolutely not the case. As a country, we have a lot more resources that we can bring to bear that are not just about firepower and kicking in doors.
- Anthony Woods

It’s ridiculous to say that all Republicans are racist. That of course is not true. But nowadays, if you are a racist, you are probably a Republican.
- Bill Maher

You have a radio show host with an agenda who is all about preaching extremist views. It allows these sorts of fringe ideas to come up and get circulated.
- Anthony Woods regarding Rush Limbaugh and Republican outrage over Obama’s birth certificate

If it is so bad, why do we have it for our Veterans?
- Bill Maher regarding Universal Health Care

The Republicans are a side show here compared to the failure of the Democratic Party to get its shit together and govern the country.
- John Heilemann

New Rule: Stop pretending to be so shocked that the girl from the Harry Potter movies is now a hottie. Wow, she was a cute little eleven-year-old girl in that first movie – who would have dreamed that eight short years later she’d turn out to be 19? Relax – if you’re an adult seeing the new Harry Potter movie, you don’t have to be ashamed about being attracted to her. What you’ve got to be ashamed about is that you’re an adult, seeing the new Harry Potter movie.
- Bill Maher in his ‘New Rules’ segment

New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private, for-profit health care “soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain.”
- Bill Maher in his ‘New Rules’ segment

This week's guests were Susan Eisenhower, John Heilemann, Anthony Woods, Matt Taibbi and a satellite interview with Janet Napolitano.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn't do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn't used to define us. But now it's becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­-- like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason --­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that's where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That's why America has the world;s largest prison population ­-- because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it."

But maybe they aren't. Because unlike in Cronkite's day, today's news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That's why it wasn't surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter's time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there's health care. It wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America's largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it's not a right, it's a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like "recision," where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you've been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private health care "soulless vampires making money off human pain." The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what's wrong with firemen? Why don't they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

Friday, July 17, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - JULY 17 2009

Friday, July 17th, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, July 17th , 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



Healthcare reform really is gaining momentum and is gonna happen. Now of course, the Republicans say the plan is too confusing and too convoluted. But, you know, these are the same people who claim they can make sense out of a Sarah Palin speech.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



She got quite a grilling from those Republicans. I was like fellas, she’s a Latina, not a piƱata.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding Sonia Sotomayor



The tag that they kept trying to hang around her neck was “reverse racist.” They said, you know, it’s reverse racists like her that give regular racists like them a bad name.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding Sonia Sotomayor



I would never say that Republicans are all racist. That’s ridiculous and wrong. But if you’re a racist nowadays in America, you’re probably a Republican.

- Bill Maher



What he represented in that moment of the professionalism and the integrity and the courage and the humanity. It’s an amazing thing. I don’t think any modern day anchor quite embodies what he was.

- Jason Alexander regarding Walter Cronkite and his reporting on the JFK assassination



New Rule: Stop referring to Sarah Palin as a “renegade”. A renegade is someone who rebels against convention. What is Sarah Palin rebelling against, grammar? Wildlife? Sports analogies? Face it Sarah, you only rebelled against one thing in your life, family planning.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



I defy anyone to watch ten minutes of "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV and not want to strap on a vest and blow up that little snot's birthday party.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



My god, since this Michael Jackson thing happened, I have no idea what's going on with John and Kate.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Brian Schweitzer, Anne Deavere Smith, Markos Moulitsas, Jason Alexander and a satellite interview with Joe Scarborough.

Monday, June 29, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER"

Friday, June 19th, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, June 19th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



It’s sad about Iran. What do you expect about a country? It's a government propped up by oil money that’s led by a religious wacko. Kind of like Alaska.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



This could be the first revolution brought to you by Twitter because that’s how people are communicating to go to the rallies and so forth and show the pictures of what’s going on. Authorities of course in Iran shut down cell phone networks. They shut down the Internet. Calls are absolutely not getting through or they are dropped immediately. Or, as T-Mobile calls it, "normal service."

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



I love this guy. He is a piece of work. John Ensign was a Promise Keeper; he was a big proponent of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a loud voice calling for Clinton to resign during the Lewinsky scandal. He has hit the Hypocrisy Trifecta.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



This is the week that the gay people in America finally really had it up to here with Barack Obama. Because, you know, he won’t come out for gay marriage. He threw them a bone with federal benefits. They didn’t like that. They said, “We are not satisfied and we are feeling neglected.” And he said, “Well that’s like being married.”

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



There’s a tendency here in America, when it comes to foreign policy, to say these are the good guys and these are the bad guys. A couple of weeks ago nobody had heard of Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Now suddenly, he’s the good guy. Well, I have questions about that, whether he’s a real reformer, and there’s sort of oversimplification that happens here.

- Katty Kay



It does seem like we’re choosing between like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They’re not even the real leader of this country, right. It’s like they’re having a revolution about the Governor of Nebraska.

- Joel Stein regarding Iran



You’re either this pious, holier than thou person or you’re a skank and all these things. And I came out with my article when I wrote an article and I said that I wasn’t a virgin on national television, and I got all these emails and it was like, Meghan McCain, perverted sex addict. And it’s like you’re either a holy virgin or you have to stay at the point of saying “I’m abstinent. But I meant to be abstinent,” or you’re a perverted sex addict. And I think it’s this really crazy thing in politics, and especially Republican politics. And I think it’s unhealthy, especially for young women.

- Meghan McCain



I’m going to be consistent. It’s none of my business who Senator Ensign sleeps with. I’m much more interested in who the oil companies are screwing than who John Ensign is screwing.

- Paul Begala



I’m a Catholic. We’re taught that sex is a dirty, vile, disgusting, act that you save for the one you truly love.

- Paul Begala



If these were two blonde women, of course there’d be much more of a fuss made about it in the press here.

- Katty Kay regarding Laura Ling and Euna Lee



New Rule: Let's not all act shocked that the new Miss California is also against gay marriage. Of course they're conservative. They're beauty pageant contestants. If they were liberals they'd be in college.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Twitter didn't save Iran. Iran saved Twitter. I'm happy that information is getting out there, but admit it, Twitter users, if anyone had asked you two weeks ago what "Iran" was, you would've said it was the new treadmill from Apple.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Now that the Olive Garden has pulled its ads from Letterman's show because they say his Palin joke was "not consistent with our standards and values" someone has to figure out a way for me to boycott a restaurant I would never eat at in the first place.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Katty Kay, Paul Begala, Joel Stein, Meghan McCain and Hooman Majd.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - MAY 29 2009

Friday, May 29th, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, May 29th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.





Sonia Sotomayor, her background, wow, graduated first in her class at Princeton, Yale Law School, a prosecutor, a sitting judge for the last 18 years. Or as conservatives call it, "unqualified."

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



Here’s a woman who was raised in the Bronx, tough neighborhood, without a father. And that's how you know America is a great melting country - when your Supreme Court justice has the same back-story as your lap dancer.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



The last time Rush Limbaugh talked to a Hispanic woman, it was his maid, getting him his drugs.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



What happens on your plate represents your most important engagement with the natural world and the biggest impact you have on climate change. Meat eating in particular represents a tremendous amount of greenhouse gasses produced.



New Rule: Before the Supreme Court welcomes its first Hispanic Justice, Clarence Thomas must admit he's a little disappointed that Obama didn't pick a lesbian.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Honey Nut Cheerios have to take the bee off the box. It reminds me that all the bees are dying, and if I wanted to start my day staring at something that makes me want to kill myself I'd watch Fox and Friends. We lost almost a third of America's bee population last winter. I can't take another morning thinking about a beautiful striped animal going extinct. Which is why tomorrow I'll have Frosted Flakes.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Richard Pollan, John Bolton, Heather Wilson and Harper Hill.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - MAY 15 2009

Friday, May 15th, 2009



QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER"



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, May 15th, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



Republicans keep changing their story on torture. First it was, "We didn't torture," then it became, "OK, we tortured, but it worked," now it's "Nancy Pelosi said we could."

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



Newt Gingrich yesterday was all over TV. He called Nancy Pelosi a frivolous politician. Pretty strong words from a guy who goes on CNN just to swipe food from the green room.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



Sarah Palin said the liberal onslaught of malicious attacks against Miss California is despicable. And then she said, “I feel like you are my own daughter.”

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue



New Rule: Stop having the same discussion every year about whether the comedian at the Correspondents' Dinner went "too far." This week, conservatives were outraged that the president laughed - out loud - at a black, lesbian woman. You think you're pissed now? Wait'll he appoints her to the Supreme Court.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Instead of killing 99.9% of germs, Lysol has to just go ahead and kill them all. Why spare the remaining .1%? So they can return to their villages and tell the other germs, "Dude, do not mess with Lysol."

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Just because something isn't endangered anymore doesn't mean we have to go back to killing it. There are still only 6000 gray wolves. They're not a threat unless Pakistan sells them nukes. You want to hunt a species that's breeding out of control? How about that "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment





This week's guests were Richard Brookhiser, Amy Holmes, Dan Savage, David Simon and Elizabeth Warren.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Americans, please wash hands before criticizing Obama

Friday, May 8th 2009

New Rule: Now that we've answered his call to wash our hands, President Obama must continue to tell us how to live. Last week, when America was faced with the pan-global swine flu omega death plague, the President went on TV and told people to wash their hands, and experts tell us this made a big difference, which augurs well for next month's "National Wipe Your Butt Day." Next week, in a fireside chat, he'll tell us not to put a fork in the toaster.

It's sad that the leader of the free world had to call a live press conference to tell his nation of clueless nitwits that employees must wash hands before returning to work. If that's not the "Forrest Gump-ification" of America, I don't know what is. Feeling wet, America? Why not try new, "Coming in from the Rain"?

You may think I'm blowing this out of proportion, but this plea from Obama - you know, the "Audacity of Soap" - was the first specific thing a President has asked the American people to actually do in decades. Unless you count "go shopping." Hopefully it will open the door to other, slightly weightier suggestions from the President.

So please, Mr. President, tell us to turn the lights off when we leave the room. Tell us not to buy crap we don't need and can't afford. Tell us to lay off the Ring Dings and Cheese Nips, and think twice before dating a stranger we meet on craigslist. For God's sake, tell people to read a newspaper. Not just to save the newspaper industry - though Lord knows I'd miss my Daily Jumble - but because having a public that actually knows something is our best defense against ever again electing a President who knows nothing.

There's a name for people who do the right thing for their country, even if it involves sacrifice. And no, it's not "socialists." It's "patriots." We all know the modern definition of a patriot: It's the person who pays the least taxes and listens to the most A.M. radio. But that wasn't what it always meant.

Patriots want their fellow citizens to be able to go to the hospital. They want to make sure no one sells them bread made out of Chinese skulls. They want a country where the deer and the antelope can still play - and not just so Sarah Palin can shoot them from a helicopter. Patriots want to burn less coal and buy less oil. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof and Ronald Reagan had them removed. You've heard of "opposite marriage"? This is "opposite patriotism."

Rush Limbaugh celebrated this Earth Day by praising coal-fired power plants and the plastic bag, while Glenn Beck cheered a man on while he cut down trees.

During the campaign, Obama suggested that one simple thing Americans could do to help with fuel-efficiency was check their car's tire pressure. And Republicans freaked, because to them, every suggestion for the common good is a direct attack on their personal liberty, and it's unpatriotic to interfere with anyone's God-given right to be big, dumb and selfish.

When the President suggests things that will help the greater good, that's not a slight against your fragile manhood. I know, you're a rugged individualist. But you're not - you're just a schmuck.

Going back to Reagan, all of our leaders have predictably and reliably told us that government is always the problem, never you my precious, perfect American citizen. You are always perfect just the way you are, like a precious little snowflake. A beautiful, precious, 350-pound, pig-ignorant snowflake.

-Bill Maher

Saturday, May 2, 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER" - MAY 1 2009

QUOTES FROM “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER"



Following are quotables from “Real Time with Bill Maher” for Friday, May 1st, 2009. “Real Time with Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00PM ET (10:00PM PT, tape delayed) on HBO, with additional replays throughout the week on HBO and HBO 2.



I know why you’re happy tonight. Finally, some good economic news. They’re hiring at The Supreme Court.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

The Republicans say that Obama’s pick for a replacement is completely unacceptable. And they will let us know why as soon as they find out who it is.

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding the Supreme Court appointment



New Rule: The Obama administration must not do stupid things that remind us of something Bush would do. Whoever decided it would be a neat idea to have an airliner buzz New York City should be kissed on the mouth by a runny-nosed Mexican.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: Stop leaving couches on the sidewalk. You know, besides being lazy and ugly, it's animal cruelty. You teach your dog not to pee on the couch, and then when you take him to the place he's supposed to pee there's a couch.

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



New Rule: There's nothing wrong with putting Jesus on the Florida license plate. He's a 2000-year old Jew. Where else would he live? But would it kill you to show him with a little tan? Is he waiting to be resurrected or defrosted?

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment



This week's guests were Congressman Barney Frank, Fareed Zakaria, Richard Engel and Dr. David Kessler.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The GOP: divorced from reality

The Republican base is behaving like a guy who just got dumped by his wife.

If conservatives don't want to be seen as bitter people who cling to their guns and religion and anti-immigrant sentiments, they should stop being bitter and clinging to their guns, religion and anti-immigrant sentiments.

It's been a week now, and I still don't know what those "tea bag" protests were about. I saw signs protesting abortion, illegal immigrants, the bank bailout and that gay guy who's going to win "American Idol." But it wasn't tax day that made them crazy; it was election day. Because that's when Republicans became what they fear most: a minority.

The conservative base is absolutely apoplectic because, because ... well, nobody knows. They're mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore. Even though they're not quite sure what "it" is. But they know they're fed up with "it," and that "it" has got to stop.

Here are the big issues for normal people: the war, the economy, the environment, mending fences with our enemies and allies, and the rule of law.

And here's the list of Republican obsessions since President Obama took office: that his birth certificate is supposedly fake, he uses a teleprompter too much, he bowed to a Saudi guy, Europeans like him, he gives inappropriate gifts, his wife shamelessly flaunts her upper arms, and he shook hands with Hugo Chavez and slipped him the nuclear launch codes.

Do these sound like the concerns of a healthy, vibrant political party?

It's sad what's happened to the Republicans. They used to be the party of the big tent; now they're the party of the sideshow attraction, a socially awkward group of mostly white people who speak a language only they understand. Like Trekkies, but paranoid.

The GOP base is convinced that Obama is going to raise their taxes, which he just lowered. But, you say, "Bill, that's just the fringe of the Republican Party." No, it's not. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is not afraid to say publicly that thinking out loud about Texas seceding from the Union is appropriate considering that ... Obama wants to raise taxes 3% on 5% of the people? I'm not sure exactly what Perry's independent nation would look like, but I'm pretty sure it would be free of taxes and Planned Parenthood. And I would have to totally rethink my position on a border fence.

I know. It's not about what Obama's done. It's what he's planning. But you can't be sick and tired of something someone might do.

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota recently said she fears that Obama will build "reeducation" camps to indoctrinate young people. But Obama hasn't made any moves toward taking anyone's guns, and with money as tight as it is, the last thing the president wants to do is run a camp where he has to shelter and feed a bunch of fat, angry white people.

Look, I get it, "real America." After an eight-year run of controlling the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, this latest election has you feeling like a rejected husband. You've come home to find your things out on the front lawn -- or at least more things than you usually keep out on the front lawn. You're not ready to let go, but the country you love is moving on. And now you want to call it a whore and key its car.

That's what you are, the bitter divorced guy whose country has left him -- obsessing over it, haranguing it, blubbering one minute about how much you love it and vowing the next that if you cannot have it, nobody will.

But it's been almost 100 days, and your country is not coming back to you. She's found somebody new. And it's a black guy.

The healthy thing to do is to just get past it and learn to cherish the memories. You'll always have New Orleans and Abu Ghraib.

And if today's conservatives are insulted by this, because they feel they're better than the people who have the microphone in their party, then I say to them what I would say to moderate Muslims: Denounce your radicals. To paraphrase George W. Bush, either you're with them or you're embarrassed by them.

The thing that you people out of power have to remember is that the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public.

-Bill Maher

Published April 24 2009 The Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-maher24-2009apr24,0,927819.story



video