Monday, August 27, 2012

My New Rule for Todd Akin and the Republican Party

by Bill Maher

New Rule: If your entire party tries to get rid of you, and you stay in, you can't talk about how easy it is for a woman to push a stupid prick out of her body.

I don't want to waste another second thinking about Todd Akin, and his theory that you can't get pregnant unless your eggs are asking for it. Here's the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: he's an asshole. What I want to talk about is how it's not a coincidence that the party of fundamentalism is also the party of fantasy. When I say religion is a mental illness, this is what I mean: it corrodes your mental faculties to the point where you can believe in tiny ninja warriors who hide in vaginas and lie in wait for bad people's sperm.

Evangelicals might like to pretend that the magical thinking that they indulge in at home doesn't affect what they do at the office, but it absolutely does. The brain that believes in angels and miracles and Jesus riding a dinosaur is trained to see the world not as it is, but as you want it to be.

Republicans would like to pretend like Congressman Akin's substitution of superstition for science is a lone problem but it's not: they're all magical thinkers, on nearly every issue. They don't get their answers on climate change from climatologists, they get them from the Book of Genesis. Hence Sharia Law in America is a dire threat, and global warming a hoax.

Or take the issue that consumes the right these days, our sea of red ink: Republicans are united in their fervent desire to reduce the deficit, but they want to do it in some magical fashion that doesn't involve raising taxes or cutting any spending. When given a choice in polls between these two options, a majority of Republicans check "none of the above" as a way to reduce the deficit. That's like deciding to pay off your student loans by daydreaming.

Or as it's known on Capitol Hill, supply-side economics. Remember that magic beans theory? That you actually bring in more revenue by bringing in less? Ronald Reagan believed it. But at least back in the '80s it was new. The thing is, we tried it, and it doesn't work. Yet, Paul Ryan, who every shit-for-brains pundit in America keeps telling us is a "serious" guy, still believes in the supply-side theory. All the Republicans do. They all believe in something that both science and history have shown to be pure fantasy. The symbol for their party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

Paul Ryan is their tough guy on spending but he doesn't want to touch defense -- that's right, a budget hawk who doesn't think there's anything bloated about the Defense Department's budget. It's like being a health inspector and finding nothing wrong with the Asian place that has the chicken hanging in the window. This is how low we've put the bar for political courage -- that you can just write, "I want a pony" in a binder and call it the "Plan For Restoring Vision For the Future of America's Greatness" or some shit, and then everyone has to refer to you as the serious one in Congress. It reminds me of health care. Republicans are for all the popular things, like covering people with pre-existing conditions, but they're not for the part where you pay for it, like the mandate. Just like they were for our recent wars, but not for paying for them. For the prescription drug bill, but not for paying for it.

How do they get away with it? They know that, because we're already such a religious country, our minds are primed for magical, fantasy thinking. The gullibility comes factory-installed. They've learned that you appeal not to an American's head, but to his gut -- it's a much bigger target. But here's the problem: life is complicated. I mean, I know we know some things for sure, like why Jesus put us here on Earth: to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on a 50-inch TV screen. But what about the Chinese slaves who made the TV? What about carbon from the coal that generated the electricity? What about the Walmart where we bought it, where the workers don't have health insurance? What about racism, or the oceans turning into nail polish remover? The grown-up answer is: identify problems scientifically, prioritize and solve. The Republican answer is: there isn't a problem. And anyone who tells you different is a liar who hates America. We don't have to make hard choices. We just have to ignore the science and the math -- that's why God gave us values.

If rape babies throw a monkey wrench into the whole right-to-life pitch, just make believe rape babies don't exist. If you want to cut down on teen pregnancy, just tell curious kids with raging hormones to practice abstinence. Until they get married. Because everyone knows, that's when the fucking never stops. Health care? Not a problem if you just keep repeating, "We have the greatest health care in the world." Even though the U.N. ranks it 37th.

What's the solution to global warming? It's that it isn't real, and even if it is, big whoop, just buy an air conditioner, you pussy. Republicans also believe that putting the word "clean" next to the word "coal" creates something called clean coal. Even though there's the exact same amount of evidence for clean coal as there is for Todd Akin's mistaken baby makin' theory.

Republicans also believe if they kick all the Mexicans out of the country, the strawberries will pick themselves, and that if they cut the safety net all the poor blacks are "resting" in, they will fall gently to the ground, stand up, dust themselves off, and get good-paying jobs as Olympic gymnasts.
Next week in Tampa the Republicans must admit that the difference between a GOP convention and Comic-Con is that the people at Comic-Con have a much firmer grasp of reality.

Stimu-late Than Never

by Bill Maher

Question: How come preventing chaos and civil war in Iraq was enough to say, “Bush’s surge worked,” but averting a complete financial meltdown and a second Great Depression isn’t enough to say, “Obama’s stimulus worked”? No, we haven’t achieved full employment, but neither was Iraq transformed to a model of peace and democracy. Have we been conditioned to think of economic success only in terms of immediate prosperity? Don’t you get any points for halting decline? Stopping a free fall? Turning the tide?

Conservatives say “Obama’s policies have failed” but the fact is we need a second stimulus, and Obama has served one up in the form of his jobs bill, which is being cock-blocked in Congress by Republicans. It’s as if the doctor has said to a dying patient, “You need two shots. The first will arrest your illness and save your life and the second will get you healthy and back on your feet.” And Republicans voted against the first injection to stave off death and now they’re refusing the second to stave off an Obama second term. Isn’t it clear Republicans are purposely delaying recovery so they can blame Obama for keeping us bedridden?

GOP Goes the Weasel

by Bill Maher

The California Republican Party has shit-canned Assemblyman Brian Nestande as their caucus chair due to an embarrassing lapse in judgment. Nestande didn’t get whacked out on scotch and Ambien and beat his wife in a casino parking garage and he didn’t get caught sucking off a teen boy in a Jamba Juice restroom – those are the kinds of scandals you could ride out. No, Nestande did something far, far more unforgivable.  He voted with Democrats on a bill.

AB 1500 closes a loophole that allows out-of-state businesses, unlike in-state California businesses, to pay taxes on their property or their sales rather than on their income. If adopted, it will level the playing field and raise over $1 billion for a state currently strapped with a $16 billion deficit. And all of that $1 billion would go towards college scholarships, a real investment in California’s future.

But in Republican World, asking for a revenue increase of any kind for any reason is “raising taxes” and they have a strict, black-and-white policy of  “No taxes, no matter what, ever, for anything, or you’re in big, big trouble, buster.” So, for breaking the Republican commandment of “Thou shalt never agree with a Democrat, nor ever raise a tax, nor ever get anything done,” Brian Nestande is out and shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for an invite to Grover Norquist’s Labor Day picnic.

Here’s Nestande’s parting statement: “Today I am stepping down as Republican Caucus Chair. I cast a vote yesterday as the only Republican to level the playing field for California businesses, so we have the same corporate tax policy as Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, Utah, and 10 other states. I specifically named those states because they have Republican Governors that are considered leaders in our party today… I put forward my vote in good faith that, in its final form, this bill will be part of a comprehensive regulatory reform package to put Californians back to work. With my vote yesterday I decided to take the side of my constituents and California businesses.”

Putting the people before your party? What a dangerous, disloyal scumbag.  Doesn’t he know that the idea of shrinking government and taking an intransigent stand is much, much more important than his “constituents” or fairness or fiscal pragmatism or solving problems? I’ve gotta ask, has the Republican Party bastardized government beyond repair?

Obama: “He tried. You tried.”

By Bill Maher

On last Friday’s Real Time, we showed an anti-Obama campaign ad that ended with the sadder-but-wiser words, “He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.”

I pointed out that I think this ad is subtly racist and I got called “race obsessed.” Maybe it’s true. I mean, who other than an obsessive madman could possibly even suggest that sometimes Republican ad makers play on white voters’ racial prejudices? It’s not like there’s a long, well-established history of it, outside of the Willie Horton ad, the Jessie Helms’ “Hands” ad, the “Harold Ford is not right for Tennessee” ad, last year’s ad from Turn Right PAC, “Give Us Your Cash, Bitch!,” this year’s Super Bowl ad from Michigan GOP congressman and senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, and about a hundred others I could continue naming just off the top of my head.

The RNC makers of “It’s OK” may have a lighter touch than the people who brought you “Give Us Your Cash, Bitch!,” but they’re in the same business. When they deem Obama a failure and say, “He tried. You tried. It’s okay to make a change,” what do they mean by, “You tried.”? Surely they didn’t pick those words by accident. What did we try with Obama that we had never tried with an American president before? What’s different about him? Hmmm…Is it that he’s tall? No, we’ve had tall presidents before. Is it that he’s an Ivy Leaguer? No, had those, too. I don’t know. I’m stumped. Can I use my lifeline?

This ad is targeted at people who voted for Obama in 2008, but were never entirely comfortable with it. It reassures them that once you go black, you can go back. It comes from the same winking bigotry that had people demanding, about two minutes after Obama’s inauguration, “We need to take our country back!” Back from who? The foreign country that invaded us, Blackmanistan?

I’d never heard any language like “you tried” – addressed directly to the voter – in a campaign commercial before. I think that it’s uniquely about race, and about white people telling other white people that it was brave – really, really noble and brave – the way you gave that black kid a chance to clean out the garage.

And he stole your coin collection. Okay, he didn’t steal it; it fell behind the lawn mower. And you called the cops before it turned up. But that doesn’t make you a racist. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.

If you don’t believe me, that this is a racial dog whistle, try imagining it in an ad between two white candidates. Imagine an ad that gives the listener credit for taking a good-hearted risk on a white candidate. Let’s say, Rick Perry. “You tried.” Tried what? Voting for a crash test dummy?

Can you imagine saying, “He tried, you tried” about a WASP president? If it were an ad run against Bill Clinton, people would have been totally perplexed, like, “We tried what, exactly? A horny president???”

Remember Al Campanis? He was the Dodgers executive who went on Nightline in 1987 and told Ted Koppel that blacks “may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager or perhaps a general manager.” Al’s gone now, but his sort of thinking is still alive, and I see this ad as a way of tapping into it. It’s saying, “We gave the kid a shot at managing the big club, but he’s just not cut out for it. Let’s move him back to concessions and make sure we never try that again.”

I’m not race obsessed – just a little skeptical when I hear odd phrasings in Republican ads. I’m also admittedly a little sensitive when I hear Mitt Romney describe Obama’s ideas as “foreign” and claim that he’s a nice guy, but just not up to the job. In a country where whites with criminal records are more likely to be hired than blacks with clean records, shouldn’t we all be?

The “You Tried” ad reduces the election of Barack Obama – a law professor and a United States Senator – to a misguided act of charity. It reduces the President of the United States to his race, while it praises the listener for not being a racist. It’s brilliantly awful. People are going to be studying it for years.

The American Media’s Guide to Disaster Porn

By Bill Maher

That’s the term I used a couple years ago when the media was milking the earthquake in Haiti, and a lot of people didn’t like it. But a lot of people got shot this summer and since we’re not going to do anything about any of it – not even a token gesture with no real impact – it’ll happen again soon. And everyone’s reactions will be exactly the same. So just imagine another shooter. Let’s say he’s got green hair this time and he hated working at Lobster Pot – it doesn’t matter. This is now the mass-shooting template for America: 

Day one: The shooting. The shock. The live coverage. Footage of crying people hugging and police in riot gear making their way through the building. Death tolls indicate the amount of coverage: Below five; it’s a one-day story. If it’s above five, it’s officially a national tragedy. Brian Williams is going to be there all week.
Both candidates release statements saying they’re shocked by this senseless tragedy and their hearts go out to the victims and their families and the community at large. They will rebuild. 

Day two: We find out who the gunman is. We’ll also find out it was easy for him to build a small arsenal. Interviews with neighbors former teachers, etc. Lots of shots of candles and teddy bears by a fence. 

Day three: We find out someone warned someone else about the gunman being a nut. The media asks, “Could more have been done?”
The NRA sends out a fundraising letter saying Obama will use this to come and take your guns. 

Day four: Here come the stories of heroism. They replace the stories of tragedy. You’ll hear the term “guardian angel.” A lot. Because viewers can only do tragedy for so long. They want to hear about someone taking a bullet for a loved one. 

Day five: Liberal columnists start pressing the gun issue. Conservative columnists respond by saying more people with guns could have shot the gunman earlier. Nobody changes their mind. 

Day six: President Obama tells us to search our souls. Which sounds better than “Really, stop asking me to do something about guns. It’s election season. And I don’t care.” 

And we’re done.

Paul Maul

 By Bill Maher

There are a few “facts” about Paul Ryan that the press keeps repeating that I think we need to grind into dust: 

First, they keep referring to the “Ryan budget.”  There is no Ryan budget.  A budget has numbers attached to it that economists can “score.” The Ryan “budget” is a budget in the way that my doodle of a rocket ship on a cocktail napkin is a blueprint for NASA.

Second, they call him an intellectual. Now, I’m not saying he’s a dummy – he’s not. People equating him to Palin are just wrong on that score. He can read and write and he eats beans with a fork instead of his fingers. Plus, he uses words like “epistemology” in conversation, and he actually knows what they mean. But that still doesn’t make him an intellectual – that just makes him smarter than Sam Brownback. He’s the one guy in the GOP who actually cares about policy, so he’s their intellectual by default.

When Ryan was a 19-year-old intern on the Hill, he was given two books: one by Jude Wanniski and one by George Gilder, the two founders of supply side-economics. These books were discredited looney-tunes nonsense when Ryan got them 23 years ago, yet he devoured them and marked them up with little scribbles in the margins and he still believes their crap to this day. That’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals don’t stop learning at age 19.  

Third, the press acts as if Ryan is some sort of effective legislator. But, according to the Huffington Post, he’s only passed two bills into law in the 13 years he’s been in Congress.  One was to rename a post office in his district after Les Aspin. The other was to reduce the taxes on hunting bows. Why hunting bows? Because Paul Ryan is an expert bow hunter. He goes through arrows like you go through condoms. He was tired of paying the sky-high Federal Arrow Surcharge or whatever it is, so he fixed it. Because that’s what Objectivists do.

A Truce Proposal for the Republican Party

By Bill Maher

No matter who you talk to on the right about the frothing insanity and Congressional belligerence directed at President Obama, inevitably they’ll all raise the same point: You did it to Bush when he was in office. Which wasn’t equivalent, or even close, but this seems to be something we can never get beyond – this tit for tat. Now, I don’t remember Democrats deciding, as an electoral strategy, to oppose everything the president proposed or did, even when they agreed with it, and to use the filibuster in ways never seen before in order to deny him legislative victories so that the public would not see the change they were promised and vote against the president’s party in the midterms – all of which has happened to Obama. No, I don’t remember the Democrats doing that. Quite the opposite. I remember the Democrats saying, “Oh, you want a pre-emptive war? Aye-aye, Captain!” 

But let’s not get into that. I come in peace. 

And I’ll even go first, and make a gesture of goodwill: I apologize for blaming Bush for the conditions at Walter Reed. When that Dana Priest/Anne Hull story came out and we found that Walter Reed was in rough shape and had mold and exposed wires and rats and nothing was being done to fix it, we all added that to the growing list of Bush administration scandals, along with Iraq, and Abu Ghraib, torture, the response to Katrina, outing a CIA agent, etc. But it really didn’t deserve to be there. Because Bush wasn’t in charge of the wiring at Walter Reed, or even aware of it. So, yes, that was unfair and I take it back. Bush wasn’t directly to blame for the conditions at Walter Reed. There. That was overly-partisan. 

Your turn. …I’ll wait. It’ll be like the Dayton Peace Accords. We could even hold it in Dayton. I’m sure they’d appreciate the business. 

And here’s my proposal: if we agree not to go crazy on Mitt Romney should he be elected, and I don’t take to the airwaves days after his inauguration and say that I hope he fails and pledge to oppose everything he does like Rush Limbaugh did after Obama was elected, then Republicans have to agree to chill the fuck out should Obama be re-elected, and to let him run the country, and staff positions without needlessly filibustering, and let bills pass in the Senate with a simple majority, and to finally shut the hell up about the socialism and the Kenya and the America-hating.

I Dream of Geney

By Bill Maher

Genetic scientists have finally mapped the DNA of a primate cousin of the chimpanzee known as the bonobo. And I just thought you should know that. Actually, the genetically-ingrained personality traits of the bonobo versus those of the chimp may tell us something about humans and human nature. 

You see, bonobos, chimps and man all shared a common ancestor about six million years ago – Abe Vigoda. But then, as happens with evolution, man went off on his own genetic direction and the bonobo and the chimp shared the same common ancestor up until about a million years ago. Then the Congo River formed and the ape ancestors on one side of the river evolved differently than the ape ancestors on the other. Eventually, we got two different species – the chimpanzee and the bonobo – who share about 99.6% of their genomes. As opposed to humans, who have about 98.7% of the same genetic blueprint as both bonobos and chimpanzees. I swear I’m going somewhere with this. 

Just as a common ancestor came to an evolutionary crossroads where two distinct genetic cousins – the bonobo and chimp – were formed, perhaps man has come to a genetic crossroads where we’re evolving into two slightly-genetically-different species: liberal man and conservative man. Only the thing that’s prompting this split into two separate species isn’t a physical division; it’s a political one. Our Congo River is American politics. 

Consider this: genetically, the bonobo is the liberal ape. It’s kinder and gentler than the chimp. Where chimps have been documented to be more prone to violence and to actually make war, bonobos share food with total strangers and are more nurturing. The bonobos are also more tolerant and social than chimps and they’re far more sexual. They are much more likely to release tension through the act of having sex than the way chimps release tension, by fighting. 

Sound familiar? If these apes could vote, the chimps would be the sexually repressed balls of angst who want gun rights and a stronger military and the bonobo would be all for welfare spending and teaching sex-ed in schools. Only they couldn’t do that condom demonstration because they’d keep eating the banana. 

Is the gulf becoming too wide? Are liberals and conservatives evolving into two separate, distinct types of humans?

Cafeteria Constitutionalists

By Bill Maher

The key to the new conservative "Constitutionalism" is that they love, love, love every single word of the Constitution...except for the parts that they hate. And those parts therefore don't count and have to be changed. The truth is that "Constitutionalist" has become code for "far-right Teabagger" just like "southern preacher" has become code for "closeted homosexual." 

As much as these people say they adore the Constitution, they're a little choosey about what they do and don't like about it: 

Second Amendment? Love it. Tenth Amendment, which gives un-delegated power to the states? Gotta have it. But the "no establishment of religion" part of the First Amendment? Little wobbly on that one. 
The 17th Amendment, allowing for direct election of senators, is on their chopping block. In fact, John Yoo wrote about it a few years ago in the National Review Online, saying that the 17th "undermined federalism." John Yoo, of course, earned his Constitutional stripes by shitting all over the 8th Amendment while making room for torture. 

The "no unreasonable searches and seizures" in the Fourth Amendment?  They kind of like it, but only for white people. 

The 16th Amendment, which allows income tax, well, obviously that's gotta go as well. What were we thinking? The Founding Fathers obviously wanted us to fund our modern military with rainbows and candy. 

The 14th Amendment is right there in the Constitution too, but it allows the evil spawn of Mexicans to be citizens, so it clearly needs some tweaking. 

And of course there's all the stuff that's not in the Constitution that needs to be. If only our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to foresee the invention of fire and cloth, we wouldn't need a flag-burning amendment. But we do. And somehow James Madison must have left the "no gay marriage" amendment in his other pants the day he introduced the Bill of Rights, so we'll have to fix that, too. 

If they really loved the Constitution so much, wouldn't they have more respect for it than that? 

The reality is that Conservatives love their Constitution the exact same way they love their Bible -- as something to thump, not something to read.

Rio de Dinero

By Bill Maher

The greatest thing about America was that you could come here with nothing and, purely by hard work, become fabulously wealthy. 

But this isn’t happening anymore. More and more money is concentrated in the super-rich while wages for the middle-class are stagnant and the poor are, well, if they’re lucky they might get some cheese and a flu shot.  

The worst part is, while America is turning into a banana republic, actual banana republics are starting to turn into what America used to be.  

I don’t know much about Brazil, other than that they do amazing things with wax. And have you seen the carioca? It’s not a foxtrot or a polka. There I go quoting 1930's show tunes again. 

But it turns out that Brazil, which used to be the most unequal nation on earth, may soon become more equal than the US. 

According to The New York Times, while almost all of the increase in income in the US has gone to the top one percent, "between 2003 and 2009, the income of poor Brazilians has grown seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians." How did they do it? Here’s the part Grover Norquist isn't going to like: they did it by giving poor people money. 

They did a study, and it turns out that the one thing that poor people lack the most… is money. I know, it's counterintuitive, but bear with me. 

It’s a program called Bolsa Familia, or Family Grant, and what they do is give monthly small payments to families directly into their bank account.  

It’s not a lot of money – about $13 per month per child – but that’s enough to lift a family out of poverty. And they only get it if the kids stay in school and get regular medical checkups. Now they've got kids going to college who before would have been slumdogs. Or Tea Party sympathizers.  

Mexico and some other 40 other countries have similar programs. 
Doesn't this disprove the old conservative notion that handouts never work? Of course handouts work. Money doesn't solve every problem, but it does solve the problems of not having money. I was just watching the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" the other night and the daughter of one of the housewives graduated from college and everyone’s giving her envelopes with checks, which are handouts.
Rich people give slightly less rich people handouts every day, but for some reason the notion of giving money to people who actually need it is considered beyond the pale. And the people who most hate handouts to the poor are the Christian conservatives, even though Christ, who I understand they're big fans of, told his followers that they had to give away everything they own. Although to be honest, back then there wasn't much worth owning, anyway. "You mean I have to
 give up my sack of rags and my bucket of rocks?  Whatever you say, Lord."

More proof that handouts work is LBJ's War on Poverty. Before he started his Great Society programs, the poverty rate in the US was 22 percent. When he left office, the poverty rate was 12.2 percent, which is slightly lower than where it is today. In other words, LBJ did more to reduce poverty in five years than we've achieved in the 40-some years since he left office. 

What Will Happen if the Republicans Take Over: Nothing

By Bill Maher

I stole this chart from Slate, which got it from a Dartmouth survey:

It’s pretty comical, really. Republicans say they want to reduce the deficit, but they want to do it in some magical fashion that doesn’t involve raising taxes or cutting any spending. Fifty-three percent tick “none of the above” as a way to reduce the deficit. That’s like deciding to pay off your student loans by daydreaming.  

Also interesting is the Independent category -- these people seem to be more like Republicans than Democrats, except they don’t mind raising taxes and they want to cut the hell out of the military.

In fact I’d say the military spending category is the most telling category of all. It separates the Republicans from everyone else in a way that backs up my contention that what the Republicans really stand for isn’t conservatism, but authoritarianism.

Profit of Doom

By Bill Maher

Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP

Here's an interesting chart from a guy named Felix Salmon, a financial blogger for Reuters, and my least favorite character on Sponge Bob Square Pants.  It shows corporate profits (cp) as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

I call your attention to 2009 -- the crash -- when the poor babies' profits dropped to 4.5% of GDP, in the last days of Bush the Unready. Poor brave job creators, just getting by under that punch-drunk pooch-screwer. The uncertainty they must have felt! Not to mention feeling unappreciated because of his hostility to capitalism. No wonder things were bad. Now I draw your attention to the far right side of the chart, today. Corporate profits equal almost 11% of GDP. That’s the highest they've been since World War II. Higher than the magical 50s, or Reagan's Paradise, or the Dot Com bubble. These are record profits. The last time American corporations made this kind of money, our European competitor was Hitler.

Which raises the question: Why don't our job creators use some of that money to give some poor schmuck a job?  I blame Obama.

The C-Word

By Bill Maher

Not that c-word. Cancer. A new study finds that the incidence of worldwide cancer is expected to rise 75% by the year 2030, with the poorest countries seeing a cancer increase as high as 93%. This dramatic rise in world cancer rates is attributed to diet, infections and the stress of constantly worrying about an Obama drone strike.
An interesting side note out of the study is that, as countries become more developed, they don't see a reduction in cancer so much as a shift in the types of cancer they get. Different parts of the world get different kinds of cancers. The poor, underdeveloped nations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, tend to get cancers related to infections, such as cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the liver and the stomach. More developed countries, like Brazil, Russia and Australia, get lung cancer from smoking. And highly developed countries such as ours get colon, breast and prostate cancers, the types associated with obesity and fatty, high-meat, high-dairy diets.

We're a nation obsessed with breasts and asses, and that's exactly where we're giving ourselves cancer. The high fat content of meat and milk and ice cream and butter and all the other "wholesome foods" we grew up looking at on the USDA food pyramid increase hormone production, thus increasing the risk of the hormone-related cancers: breast, colorectal and prostate.  

The World Health Organization has determined that people who avoid meat are much less likely to develop cancer. Studies in England and Germany showed vegetarians were 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. And Harvard studies have determined that "daily meat eaters have approximately three times the colon cancer risk, compared to those who rarely eat meat." 

Since the science here is clear, shouldn't our government be taxing the carcinogens and subsidizing the healthy foods?

Brand X

By Bill Maher

Congress's approval rating is at a pitiful 17%, putting their popularity somewhere between middle school kids who bully bus monitors and acute toenail fungus. And incumbent candidates know it, so, in their campaign ads, they're not mentioning negative buzzwords like "Congress," "Senate," "Representative" or "Washington." 

Iowa Congressman Tom Latham's ad says, "How do you go from working in a family seed business in Iowa to fighting for Iowans at the highest levels?" Current North Dakota Rep. Rick Berg, who's now running for a Senate seat, just sits there in his ad, like he's in a time out, while his mother -- I shit you not, his mother -- says, "I want to tell you about my son, Rick Berg." And then she goes on to say how Rick's a farmer and a cattleman and a hay bailer and a thrifty spender -- everything but a sitting congressman. 

Here's the next ad I half-expect to see: 

"Hi, I'm Jim Smith. You may have heard of me. But let's not get all bogged down in where you've heard of me or in what context. The important thing is, sometime in the next few months, you may see my name with a group of other names on a little punch card in a booth. Say on a Tuesday. Put a mark next to my name. It's not important why. What's important is we've had this chat and I seem like the kind of fella whose name you wouldn't mind putting a mark next to on a little punch card. That's Jim Smith. Choose me for, you know, whatever."

Arabian Rights

By Bill Maher

Sound the alarms and cheer the new Arab Spring: Saudi Arabia announced that they are going to let women play in the Olympic games this summer in London!   

Well, maybe just one or two women -- and only after massive international pressure. And their likeliest candidate, Dalma Rushdi Malhas, was born in Ohio, and then moved to Rome and then France for training. Though she generally dresses in normal equestrian gear and lives a fairly typical westernized lifestyle (the filthy-rich version of it, anyway), if she made the team, the Saudis would make her wear some sort of sports hijab. 

But it turns out that Dalma's horse suffered an injury, which will prevent her from competing in the Games. And so the search continues for someone who can run 100 meters in less than 15 seconds while wearing a beekeeper suit. 

This all happened on the same weekend that a Saudi women's activist group canceled a planned protest and instead decided to write a letter to King Abdullah asking him again, pretty please, if he might perhaps consider allowing them to drive. 

These things are worth keeping in mind, because while all this has been going on, Saudi Arabia announced that they were going to begin paying the salaries of the rebel army in Syria.  Because Assad's regime is, you know, oppressive and unfair to its people. As opposed to the Saudis, whom we sold $60 billion worth of planes and weaponry in 2010 alone, presumably because of their high moral character.

The World’s Policeman/Jailer/Judge/Jury/Executioner

By Bill Maher                                            

Egypt has a new government, and if you're marking your calendar at home, that means the last election you forgot happened is Greece, and the next is, I dunno… Italy?

I guess the new Egyptian government is/isn't run by radical Muslims, but it's okay because they are/aren't just a puppet show, and the army is/isn't really in charge. And that's a good thing/shit-yourself nightmare. So, nothing to see here/Die screaming.

Also, Turkey's mad at Syria for shooting down a Turkish F-4, and Syria's mad at Jordan, because a Syrian pilot defected and took his to Mig 21 to King Hussein Air Base in Mufraq. (This one seems like a no-brainer. Jordan gives Turkey Syria's Mig. It's like Zipcar!)

And America, for reasons that that would strike the Founding Fathers as utterly mysterious, has to have an opinion on all of it. Imagine being Hillary Clinton, and being obliged to pretend to care all the time about everything? I can't even get interested in Downton Abbey.  

We all know JFK's famous quote from his inaugural:  

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge--and more."

Otherwise known as the "Busybody Doctrine." But here’s something he said just ten months later, after he'd actually been president for a while:  

"And we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient - that we are only six percent of the world's population - that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind - that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity - and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem."


Why America Can’t Have Nice Things

By Bill Maher

Did you know the Air Force has a miniature space shuttle that can fly and land without a pilot? Neither did I, but they do. And did you know that the Mini Shuttle X- 37B just recently completed a year-long mission in orbit doing something very, very secret? Neither did I, but it did. It touched down in California on June 16. 
It was supposed to land on the 15th, but they wanted to make sure Amanda Bynes wasn’t on the road.  

I'm not a big fan of drones and secret spy planes, but the technology behind it is pretty amazing. And it got me to wondering: why can't we have any of that technology? How come the Air Force gets planes that fly themselves, but I’m still sitting in a car with a steering wheel that Henry Ford would recognize? 

The reason we don't have flying cars, and robot housekeepers, and all that other Jetsons stuff that they promised us we'd have by the year 2000 is because the military got it instead. They got all the cool stuff and we got pizza with hot dogs in the crust. The only cool thing we got was the Internet, which was developed by the Defense Department, thus proving my point. It's purely a fluke that the Internet turned out to be something the public sector would find useful (porn). God knows what Star Trekky new weapons systems they're working on at DARPA or the other hush-hush defense agencies, but whatever they are, I'm sure they'll cost jillions of dollars and be of no use to any of us. It's just money pissed away that we could be spending on making our lives better.