Friday, November 30, 2012

God Hates Flags

By Bill Maher

Another way angry old white men have been protesting Obama seizing power through "democracy" is by flying the flag upside down. Which is so fucking chicky it gives me contact-embarrassment. "Take that, Mr. Big Shot, with your fancy 'getting-the-most-votes.' I'm taking this flag and throwing a drink in its face. And you know how the Lincoln Memorial is on the five dollar bill? I'm farting on it." Wow, that really stings. 

There have been dozens of cases, from Ohio to Kansas to Texas, anywhere there are friendless, egg-shaped pink fucks with a flagpole and a mis-held belief that they can do magic, and sometimes just talking back to the TV isn't enough.

Larry Guerrieri, master of angry-flag-inversion-hate-magic, told Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA,"That's a sign of distress; this country is in distress right now. This Benghazi incident, he left them four people there to die. That's the way I feel about it." Gee, I wonder where he gets his news.
A McDonald's in West Virginia flew its flag upside down the day after the election, but claims it was an accident. Their actual statement:

"Unfortunately, a flag cable broke and during the process of trying the fix the flag, it was inadvertently turned upside down. It wasn't noticed that the flag was upside down until a customer inquired about it. We are working on fixing the flag right now. It's important to note that this was an accident, not intentional."
Please, if I wanted to be force-fed bullshit, I'd order the McRib.

Now, I couldn't care less about Flag God, but it does seem kind of small, if you do worship symbols, to wipe your ass on the one that represents your country because your guy lost an election. 
The United States Flag Code Title 36, Chapter 10, says:

"The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

But we all understand that the rule against flag desecration only applies to the left. It's like calling America a piss-stinking hellhole full of lazy moochers: You're only allowed to do it if you're a patriotic Republican.

Sore Losers

By Bill Maher

Fifty-nine million Americans voted for Mitt Romney. Don't ask me why.  Why do they keep seeing Nicholas Sparks movies? Because white people are fucked up, that's why.

Who shops at the Hallmark Store? Who's smoking all the meth? Who's watching Duck Dynasty -- a reality show about rednecks who make duck calls? It gets higher ratings than 30 Rock or Homeland and I can't prove they're white and stupid, but someone's watching it...and it ain't Cornel West.
The fact is, there are people who didn't vote for Obama, and some of them are taking it pretty poorly.
Can white people hold a grudge? Ask anyone with Confederate flag mud flaps. Ask Mel Gibson how he feels about the crucifixion and Jews.

The White House website has a feature called "We The People." You click on it and see Joe Biden eat ice cream, totally nude. No you don't. You click on it, and any yahoo can submit a petition about issues that are "mportant" to the country. Since the election, petitions have been submitted from all 50 states to secede from the union. The Texas petition has over 100,000 signatures, followed closely by the petitions from Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Which is remarkable because, to submit a signature, you have to be able to write.

The Texas petition reads:

"The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights, such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government."

Of course, I can understand breaking up the United States over the TSA. Because what real Texan wants someone at the airport finding out how small his dick is? But isn't it odd that it only became a problem after Obama was reelected? Was Mitt Romney going to get rid of the metal detectors at the airport? Is it because they interfered with his titanium endoskeleton?

Or are Texans just chronic sore losers? There was another time they lost some battle, but I can't remember its name.

Power Outrage

By Bill Maher

Our stupid media managed to become so obsessed with Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelly that they completely forgot about another woman who caused even more damage: Sandy. As in Hurricane Sandy.

Thousands of people were without power for weeks, many are still displaced and criticism has been leveled at FEMA and the Red Cross. I'm not saying it was as bad as Katrina, but it was pretty bad, and people are starting to say that President Obama just doesn't care about white people.
The New York City subway was back to 80 percent normal operation just a week after the hurricane hit, thanks to incredible dedication and hard work of the transit workers. Or as the Republicans call them, those lazy public union employees who sit around doing nothing, so we should cut their pension.

Meanwhile, the utility companies couldn't seem to get their shit together. Partly because they're just like any other corporation, trying to maximize profits by cutting corners. Which is OK when you make a toaster or a vibrator, because when those things fail nobody gets hurt. They just don't get toast or an orgasm.

Look, it's fun when the power goes out for a couple of hours. You can make a baby, you can loot a Best Buy; it's party time. But when the power's out for more than a day, Americans start to freak out. We can't survive without electricity anymore. We're like a fish that's jumped out of the aquarium and is flopping around on the counter. If we don't have access to heat and light and WiFi, we go crazy. I'm just surprised New Yorkers didn't turn to cannibalism. Especially after reading the review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant.

New York City's grid dates to the early 20th Century. People are plugged into power lines put up by Nucky Thompson.

Because of our old grid, Americans in the northeast lose power an average of 214 minutes a year, versus just 53 minutes a year for the French. And the French don't care; they just open a bottle of wine and sing Edith Piaf songs.

What we need to do is bury the power lines, modernize the equipment, and decentralize the grid, so when one transformer goes out or one power plant goes offline it doesn't take out the power for the entire tri-state area.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Common Cult

By Bill Maher

Fox News, you win. You have spewed your fact-free bile so insistently and so repetitively that the hypnosis has worked. A significant percentage of your viewers have accepted your ravings as gospel and what you report is no longer just a diversion or entertainment. Your fan base has become a dangerous cult.

We really do have to look at the level of hate and paranoia that's been stirred up in people by a right wing propaganda machine that has not just mischaracterized, but demonized, this President of the United States. The Secret Service recently had to pay a visit to 22-year-old California resident Denise Helms who posted on Facebook, "Another 4 years of this nigger. Maybe he will get assassinated this term." Without even a smiley face or an "LOL" or anything.

When the posting went viral and the local press caught up with Denise, she said, "I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. The assassination part is kind of harsh. I'm not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don't think I'd care one bit."

And then Denise went back on Facebook to post, "So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I'm crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I'm not racist and I'm not crazy. Just simply stating my opinion.!!!"

Thanks to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News and all the other anything-goes, whatever-it-takes hypnotists, our President has officially become dehumanized in the eyes of their cult followers, a thing to be dreaded and feared like the Plague or communism or Mel Gibson after a few Captain and Cokes.

We all read what Trump said about Obama's election, as well as Ted Nugent and Victoria Jackson. I'm just saying, it's the second term -- maybe it's time for those re-education camps. There are a lot of people in this country who are in need of some serious deprogramming.

Won Direction

By Bill Maher
 
New Rule: Now that he's been re-elected, President Obama must get back at all those right wing hacks who tried to paint him as an angry black man pushing a liberal agenda by becoming an angry black man who's pushing a liberal agenda.

Now, I have been mostly holding my tongue about the President this past season, because I didn't want to muddy the waters in a country where you only get two choices, but Mr. President, there are two ways to look at your 51 to 48% victory: One is, we love you. The other is, we like you 3% better than Mitt Romney. And by the way, let us never speak that name again... Mitt... let it be a dark and buried memory of a close call with a creature equal parts pure evil and excellent posture, like getting dry humped in a crowded subway by Roger Moore.

I like this President. In all those secret strategy meetings we had, with me and him and George Soros and The New Black Panthers, I found him to be very agreeable, Allah be praised. But it's now the job of progressives to hold his feet to the fire for causes important to us. If not now, when?

There's no third term, Mr. President, so you may as well throw caution to the wind, 'cause it's not like we're using it to produce energy. Yes, clean energy, that's just one of many issues, like civil liberties, the drug war, the drone war, the war war, gun control -- that have been on my mind these last four years, and let's just say I've been waiting to exhale. And by that I mean, I've been holding my nose.

But you're free now -- with no more elections to win, you are free to never again have to kiss the ass of coal miners and say the words "clean coal." There is no such thing as "clean coal." It's like saying "Internet Privacy" or "Tea Party Intellectual." Or "Fox News Journalist."

Another priority should be cutting the defense budget -- we’re the home of the brave, let's prove it by getting by with one less submarine. Yes, we were involved in a struggle against a radical enemy bent on our destruction -- but the election is over, and we need to recognize that America has the same problem with the defense budget that Mrs. Petraeus has with her husband's penis: it's swollen, and we can't bring ourselves to touch it.

And as far as Afghanistan goes, I know you said we're leaving in 2014, but look at it this way: enemies are always on guard for a surprise attack, but they'd never suspect a surprise retreat. Really. We can leave right away. Because we've figured out something the Afghans haven't: air travel.

And as long as we're ending wars, how about the War on Drugs? Two states, Colorado and Washington, have actually legalized pot now, which gives you as president the rare opportunity to improve the world by doing... absolutely nothing. Just tell Eric Holder to stay the hell out of Boulder, and if the conservatives bitch about it, throw states' rights back in their face -- isn't that their big theme, send it back to the states, the will of the people? Well, this is the people who, in those two states on election day, got up off the couch and drove their 1987 Toyota Tercel with the "Visualize World Peace" sticker on the back to the polls, and voted to stop the drug war. And then drove home and got back on the couch.

And finally, instead of rewriting Social Security, how about rewriting the Patriot Act? How about another look at rendition, and warrantless searches and wire taps? And how about stop listening in on our phone calls and reading our e-mails. I'm not a teenager and you’re not my mom, okay? And besides, there's a better way to confirm your suspicions that I'm smoking weed and hanging around the wrong people: just watch my show.

video
 HBO Real Time will Return January 2013

Hypnosis Politics

By Bill Maher

Did the ability to raise an infinite amount of money in this election make a difference?

If you just paid attention to the Presidential race, then you might think the answer is no. But that's because the Presidential race is unlike any other contest in the country. People take it personally. They're invested in it. They'd seen Obama for four years and they'd seen Romney on Jay Leno and the cable shows and the debates. People in swing states may have been drowning in a bukkake-like stream of Romney and Obama ads, but it's not like those ads were providing all of their information.

But when it comes to state contests and ballot propositions, people generally don't know much beyond the ads, so in those races money isn't just the main thing, it's the only thing.

Prop 37 went down in defeat because $48 million was spent to defeat it. This was a proposition that asked the simple question, "Wouldn't you like to know what you're putting in your mouth?" Before the ads started running, something like 90 percent of Californians who answered were for Prop 37. Now, they're against it. They're against knowing what they're putting in their mouth.

It's not that the anti-37 ads were particularly convincing. They didn't make any real arguments. It's just that there were so many of them. I saw them on Hulu when I watched old episodes of "My Favorite Martian." People keep complaining about the repetition of political ads, the same ad over and over and over, but that's the whole point -- it's hypnosis. That's how hypnosis works. The same thing. Repeated over and over. And over again. The same thing. Repeated over and over. Again. Repeated. And before you know it, you think you're a chicken. Or you don't care what's in your chicken.

Conspiracy Theorists

By Bill Maher 

Fox News and the radio meat-puppets and the crank blogs are obsessed with Benghazi. It could be bigger than the Fast and the Furious scandal, and by that I mean a thimble full of flyshit no one cares about who's not on the take.

The Obama haters want revenge for how we said Bush was asleep at the switch for 9/11, so they're going to prove that Obama either ignored Benghazi, or lied about it afterwards, or possibly ordered it himself.
And that's why he looked so tired in the first debate. He'd just gotten back from Libya, where he'd been firing mortar rounds at his own men.

Everything -- for the next four years -- is going to be tied to Benghazi.  And if you say it isn't, that just proves you're part of the plot.

Fuck you, Pearl Harbor and 9/11 -- the worst thing that ever happened to America was Benghazi. Okay, second worst, after having to buy health insurance. Here’s a tweet from Newt Gingrich a month ago:

By the way, it's wrong to say, "No one died at Watergate." Nixon originally set up the Plumbers to fix the leaks about the Pentagon Papers, which were about the war in Vietnam, where 50,000 Americans died.
Here's a tweet from Rupert Murdoch, about General Petreaus:
It's all connected!

We're going to hear that Petraeus was set up by someone or framed, or intimidated, because he knew too much about Benghazi.

Is it true? Does it matter? Glenn Beck needs something to keep the rubes listening. This is the new thing. It's like when Rod Stewart went disco.
 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Mormon Non-Issue

By Bill Maher

Andrew Sullivan was on the show Friday, and he's written several blog posts on The Daily Dish wondering why the media never asked Romney to be more specific about his Mormon faith, especially the part about not allowing blacks into the priesthood and temple ceremonies until 1978. 

Sure, they had their prophecy in '78, but the old blacks-are-cursed-by-God stuff is still in their books, and Romney apparently believed it until he was in his thirties. Maybe he still believes it. It's not like they erased the passages in the Mormon literature. Why didn't a journalist ask Romney about this during the election?
The standard line about this stuff is that "religion is off limits," which makes no sense because religion is just something someone believes, the same as their belief on abortion or tax cuts or any other issue. Maybe whether a candidate has Type O blood or is a Sagittarius or enjoys a finger in his butt during sex is irrelevant, but a system of beliefs that informs one's entire moral code?

Why are Mormons against gay marriage? Jealousy? No, it's because of their religion. Because of their religion, gays in California can't get married. Why should this be "off limits" to journalists?

As Andrew points out, if Obama belonged to a church that preached for decades that whites were inferior, don't you think it might become an issue?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Liberal Agenda

video
HBO Real Time will Return January 18, 2013

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why the Republicans Lost

By Bill Maher

Mitt Romney has lost and he'll soon be accepting his new job as professor of method acting at The New School in New York City. And after watching him play all these different characters over the last two years, really, who better?

Now comes the hand-wringing and finger-pointing that always follows electoral defeat; 500 columns of "If they'd done what I said, something, something, measuring the drapes in the Oval Office." And they'll all miss the forest for the trees. Except Dick Morris -- he's always right.

So now that I'm done telling you how everyone else will be full of shit and focusing on the wrong things, let me focus you on the big picture thing that's absolutely correct: Mitt Romney lost because of the Republican brand and Republican policies. There are other reasons, of course, like Mitt being unlovable to anyone not named Ann Romney, but nothing trumps the idea that 2/3rds of America thinks the other 1/3 is a frightening conglomerate of Bible-thumpers, xenophobes, and vaginophobes. (Not a word, but should be.)

Take Mitt's pivot from being "severely conservative" to being "the white Barack Obama." Sure, everyone tacks to the middle after the primaries, but Mitt's performance was different: it was a full-scale repudiation of just about every idea that conservatives hold dear. The positions were changed. The rhetoric was completely different. He was basically Barack Obama, Caucasian Edition.
Now I know what you're saying: this is what Mitt Romney always does. Being a shape-shifting phony isn't an act; that's who he is! And this is true.

But it isn't who Michele Bachmann is. When it comes to nutty right-wing beliefs that are completely false, she's a true believer. And yet what was Michele Bachmann saying during the waning days of her too-close-for-comfort campaign? She was putting out an ad distancing herself from her own Party -- even her conservative district:

"Michele Bachmann is an independent voice working for us, saying no to big spending by both political parties but bringing them together..."

Then Michele pops on the screen and says, "That’s why I've been an independent voice working for you..."

Wow. ...I'm just saying. When even Michele Bachmann can't run as a proud Republican, your brand identification has reached "pink slime" territory.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mitt Romney: Deficit Balk

By Bill Maher

Let's say you're a deficit hawk, as it seems almost everyone is these days. I give you a choice: Candidate A wants to reform entitlements, cut defense spending, and raise revenues. Candidate B wants to reform entitlements, raise defense spending, and lower revenues. Also, Candidate A's party has a history of lowering deficits, and Candidate B's party exploding them. Who would you trust more on the deficit?

Obviously, Obama is Candidate A, and Romney is Candidate B. It's really not that complicated to determine who would be better on deficit reduction. You don't even have to look at their specific proposals, just the broad approach. Lowering deficits by raising defense spending and lowering tax revenues is simply impossible.

Yet, look at this ABC/Washington Post poll. Asked "who you trust to handle" Medicare, international affairs, taxes, a crisis, the economy, and health care, Obama gets the edge. But what's the one area where Romney has a big edge? Handling deficits.

Economists say Romney wants to increase defense spending by $2 trillion. Where do they get that? He's said repeatedly that defense spending has to be at least 4% of GDP, and that's a $2 trillion charge on the credit card. My first thought was, Romney's not serious; saying defense spending should be at least 4% of GDP is completely arbitrary and stupid. But what if he is serious, and that's his stimulus? Obama's stimulus was only $800 billion, and it included things that actually reduce government spending in the long run, like making all federal buildings more energy efficient.

If this is Romney's stimulus, it's EXACTLY what Reagan did -- nibbled at spending on social programs, while massively increasing defense spending. There's only one problem with it: as Bill Clinton would say, arithmetic. Something's got to give -- and it's the national debt.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

California: Leading the (Wrong) Way

By Bill Maher

In California, we passed a "term limits" bill in 1990. The idea was that people, once elected, get too entrenched and become a part of the "system" whatever that is, and that the Founders never envisioned a professional politician who stays in office 30 years. So, to avoid this, we capped the amount of time state legislators can serve. Nice idea. In theory.

But here's a fun fact: 60% of the politicians who are "termed out" run for another office. It doesn't even matter if it's a lower profile job, like city council or small town mayor. They just have to do it. This is who they are.

And a good number of the remaining 40% become lobbyists and never leave Sacramento.

I mention this because Arlen Specter died recently. And who didn't like Arlen Specter? (Other than lots of voters in Pennsylvania.)

But Arlen was one of these people, like Joe Lieberman, and Mitt Romney, who absolutely needed to be in public office. When the Republican voters said to Arlen Specter, "Actually, no you don't," Arlen switched parties and became a Democrat. Which is how he started. Before he became a Republican. For 44 years. Because the party wasn't important. Being in office is what's important.

This is one of the reasons Mitt Romney creeps me out. According to people who know him, he's been running for president for decades. He's always wanted to be president. And his entire political career has been conducted with that goal in mind.

Now, to be sure, Obama is also an extremely ambitious man. But watching that first debate you thought, "Well, he's not that ambitious." It seemed like he'd love to be president for another four years, but if he wasn't? "Eh, no big deal. I'll go back to Hawaii and hang out with my old friends from the Choom Gang."

Such naked ambition, the kind that allows you to become the type of person who will take both sides of every issue in order to pander to every voter possible and maximize your Q rating, is a bit frightening. Because then it's not about the job. It's not about the people you're representing. It's really about you.

Does Fox News Know What Media Bias Is?

By Bill Maher

If there's one drum the right wing likes to bang it's the one about the "liberal media", which, by law, must appear in every right-wing editorial or come out of the mouths of every Fox News and radio show pundit at least four times a day or Rupert Murdoch strips you of your wingnut accreditation.

Claiming "liberal bias" is like a tick. If you make up a scandal and it doesn't get reported to your satisfaction, it's not because the whole Solyndra thing was a great big nothingburger, it's because the liberal media is protecting the president. If Sarah Palin says something stupid and it gets reported, it's not because Sarah Palin said something stupid. It's because the liberal media has it out for strong conservative women who quit their jobs and do nothing for years.

And to this end, Fox News' website now has this thing called "BIAS ALERT." And each day, in bright red letters, they post some example of what they think is "liberal bias."

Except there's only one small problem: it's almost never an example of media bias. What they seem to have uncovered is that ...grab hold of something ...not everyone is a Republican.

Take this effort about Andrew Sullivan:

"BIAS ALERT: Pundit Warns Of Romney's 'Global War'"

Daily Beast columnist Andrew Sullivan warns that Romney will launch 'new global war' if elected

...Yes, Andrew Sullivan is not a fan of Mitt Romney. But how is this evidence of media bias? Andrew Sullivan is not a reporter. He's a blogger and columnist. He's not held to some standard where he's not allowed to be partisan, or to express his personal views. That's what he does. It's like saying Charles Krauthammer is biased. The bit might as well be called "PEOPLE WHO SAY THINGS WE DON'T LIKE."

Other recent recipients of Fox’s "BIAS ALERT" include David Letterman, whose monologues are apparently bound by the standards of fair journalism, and Mother Jones, the liberal magazine that busted Romney on his 47% comments. How dare they not agree with Mitt Romney on everything, and then say so?

This is almost sort of refreshing. Because it means that 95% of the time we have to sit through some wingnut screeching about liberal media bias, they don't actually understand who is actually bound to a standard of journalism (journalists) and who isn't (everyone else). They're just upset that people exist outside their bubble and they don't believe the same things they do.

So to recap: reality is now evidence of media bias. And so are people with opinions.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why Aren't GMOs a Campaign Issue?

By Bill Maher

According to a poll done a few years ago, over 90 percent of Americans in all age groups and income levels think genetically modified food should be labeled. Seems like a no-lose campaign issue for either Romney or Obama. So why aren't they talking about it?

Back in 2007, Obama said he supported food labeling; but since he's been president he's been silent. And so has Romney, even though there's evidence both Romney and his wife eat mostly organic food, which suggests to me that they have at least some concern about what they put in their mouths. Or maybe they're just trying to counteract the daily campaign diet of photo-op corn dogs.

Actually, I can see why Romney would be hesitant to talk about GMOs, because in his early days as a consultant he helped convince the company Monsanto to shift its focus from chemical manufacturing to biotech.

Leaving aside the question of whether genetically-modified crops are good or bad (and since some studies have shown feeding it to rats gives them giant tumors, I vote for "bad"), it’s a simple issue of you have the right to know what you're eating.

Conservatives are constantly having freakouts over the phony notion that Obamacare gives government bureaucrats control over their bodies. But Monsanto already has control over your body, unless you spend eight hours a day researching every item sold at Trader Joe's. Scientists can't even do studies on Monstanto GM seeds unless Monstanto gives them permission first.

It reminds me of how when you buy the new Taylor Swift album on iTunes you don't actually own the music. You only own a license to play the music file.

Corporations are able to arbitrarily make the rules and we just have to suck it up and accept it. That is, if we want to eat and listen to music.

Bully Bully

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Not everyone who says something you don't want to hear or who asks you to do something you don't want to do is a bully. There were two prominent cases of so-called bullying in the news recently: the obese news lady from Wisconsin who claims she was bullied because a viewer wrote in and said, as a public figure and a role model, she had a "community responsibility" to "present and promote a healthy lifestyle," and the Iowa JV football coach who got suspended for breaking the district’s anti-bullying and corporal punishment policy because he made one of his players run laps.

Now, October was Bullying Awareness Month, which means something to me because I was bullied as a child. There was a kid who would beat me up and take my super-PAC donation money. But, at the risk of making someone feel bad, and thereby becoming a bully myself, may I suggest there's been a bit of bully inflation going on?

The Village Voice and others call Michael Bloomberg's size-restriction on sugary soft drinks "soda bullying." But Mayor Bloomberg didn't instruct cops to walk through Manhattan slapping Big Gulps out of people's hands.  He simply recognized that, with one out of every three of our kids either overweight or obese, perhaps enough soda to fill a small bucket is adequate for a first helping. No one is saying you can't drink as much Mountain Dew as you can hold -- they're just saying, for ounces 17 through 32, you have to get your fat ass up out of your seat and waddle back to the concession stand.

Likewise, scoffing or rolling your eyes during a debate, as Fox News would have us believe, is not bullying. No, that's the appropriate social response to weasels telling lies. Joe Biden expressed ridicule at your candidate's shameless whoppers -- he didn't hold him down while Martha Raddatz gave him a pink belly. The ass-kicking was figurative.

Sometimes, for the common good, you have to hear something you don't want to hear or do something you don't want to do. Like paying taxes. Or getting off your ass and taking care of yourself. I'm not talking about law enforcement rolling up to where you happen to be standing and forcing you to run -- hat's only in the inner city. I'm talking about something we used to have but now seem to dismiss -- our social responsibility to one another.

Tanks for Nothing

By Bill Maher

There are a few really key objects that explain why the 20th century worked out like it did: The cyclotron, the small pox vaccine, the invention of black people and sex in the late 50s. And the tank. I just want to say, right up front, hooray for tanks. The British invented them, the Germans perfected them, and Arabs still can't win a war with them, even against other Arabs. No matter how many they have. It’s actually weird. How hard can it be? It's like American Indians never coming up with the wheel.

And the best tank ever made is the M1 Abrams. It's got a 1500 horsepower Textron gas turbine engine and a 120 MM smoothbore cannon from the good (German) people at Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH. It weighs almost seventy tons, just like Rush Limbaugh, and can still do 45 mph on level ground, just like Paul Ryan. That said, the tank is a shitty welfare program.

In the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden said: 
"The military says we need a smaller, leaner Army. We need more special forces. ...We don’t need more M1 tanks. What we need is more UAVs."
And he's obviously right, except the M1 is made in Ohio -- the Valley of Elah for this entire election. And that's why Romney, Ryan and their ads, automated phone calls and surrogates are hammering away, like history's best tank is basically Terri Schiavo and Obama wants to yank its feeding tube.

"When you say…that we don't need any more Lima-built M1 tanks, what we are doing is we're projecting weakness, and when we project weakness abroad our enemies become more brazen!" -- Paul Ryan, in Ohio


"We need M1 tanks because they're part of the greatest military on the face of the earth. They will ensure that we have a military second to none so that we can keep the peace. We need M1 tanks!" -- Ohio Sen. Rob Portman

Here's the thing. The Army doesn't want any more M1s. We're getting a remodeled tank in 2017, and Obama would like to shut the M1 factory down and save $3 billion between now and then. This would cost 800 jobs.

Here's the other thing. It doesn't matter what the Army wants, Congress keeps voting to make more M1s. Last year, over Army objections, the defense appropriations bill included $255 million for 42 more M1s, basically to keep the factory open. So it's welfare, plain and simple. $255 million for 800 jobs building 42 tanks for no one.

Part of the problem is the M1 is too good. We never need to replace them.  In the first Gulf War nine were damaged beyond repair. In the entire second Gulf War, we lost eighty.

Now we have 2,300 M1s deployed around the world. And three thousand (3000) more right here in California, sitting there, row-on-row, at the Sierra Army Depot.

Enough to retake Iraq 37 times.

Hey, just a day’s drive up the I-5. Who wants to go?

Treasonable People

By Bill Maher

Since President Obama took office, the banking industry has been regulated, the auto industry has been saved, the stock market has more than doubled and the unemployment rate has dropped from 10-something to 7-something, its lowest rate in over four years. Or, as Fox News is reporting it, "a dismal record of failed economic policies."

In the housing market, sales are climbing and burst-bubble home prices are beginning to inch back up. Last month, it was announced that existing home sales jumped to their highest level in over two years and residential construction is up 29% over 2011.

But all this is just numbers unless American consumers start to sense solid economic ground under their feet and get comfortable with the idea of spending again. The economy is fickle and fragile and that’s why consumer perception is so important. Which brings us to the latest news on an index called consumer sentiment: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of how consumers feel about the economy came in at a surprising 83.1, its highest in five years.

Also the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, which measures future economic expansion, says our economy’s annualized growth rate has accelerated to its fastest pace in over a year.

America is back, baby! Well, yes, unless a full one-half of the American government makes it its mission to convince the public that America is not back and that our economy is free falling and will likely be decimated beyond repair if a certain someone is re-elected. I won't say whom, but I'll look at the guilty party and yell, "You lie" at his State of the Union address.

What you'll hear from Romney/Ryan or, for that matter, Boehner, Cantor or anyone on Fox News is, "as Scranton goes, so goes America." Which may help them politically, but it's a lie that does harm to America. When the economy's health hinges so much on consumer confidence and sentiment, doesn't it border on treason for a political party of presumably trusted leaders to claim everything is going to shit despite an ever-amassing mountain of evidence to the contrary?

Hell Hath No Fury…

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Stop telling kids how to live. Certainly Michelle Obama has the right to encourage them to eat healthier and to get more exercise. But what about our kids’ right to be big, fat, ignorant tubs of goo? To those who would mandate healthier school lunches or require students to participate in some sort of physical activity other than banging their teacher, I would pose this question: "Why do you hate freedom?"

There were a couple of stories in the news this month about school students and administrators pushing back against the do-gooder wellbeing police and their overzealous attempts to get kids to eat right and exercise. Sure it's a noble endeavor to promote wellness, but since when is it our public schools' job to shape our youth and prepare them for a healthy, successful life?

The first story was about high school students nationwide boycotting the new, healthier, calorie-counted school lunches implemented by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk are fine in theory, but kids want their pizza, their pudding and their chicken nuggets. Plus, they get all the exercise they need pumping that nacho cheese dispenser.

One senior at a Brooklyn high school said, "Now there's no taste, no flavor and it's healthy, which makes it taste even worse," which might explain why his protesting classmates have taken to dumping their "gross" fruits and vegetables on the cafeteria floor. Take that, nutrition!

The second story is about a JV football coach in Iowa who overheard one of his players bad mouthing the varsity team so, as a lesson, he had the kid run laps. You know, like coaches have done since the beginning of time. Well, the coach has been suspended for violating the district’s anti-bullying and corporal punishment policies. Mike Dick, the state's Girls High School Athletic Union executive director said, "Good common sense would indicate we're past using conditioning and running in a punitive manner," adding it's "vindictive in nature." What if the child gets winded or, worse yet, healthy?

A few phrases from my childhood come to mind. Phrases like, "If you get hungry enough, you'll eat." And "You don’t like it? Tough." And "I'll give you something to boycott about." Of course we shouldn't bully or abuse children, but since when did that translate into they should never be put out or never be uncomfortable and always get what they want?

Let Evil Be Evil

By Bill Maher

Pakistan is having a moment right now. The "I am Malala" movement has made the country stop worrying about YouTube videos and start worrying about the medieval religious lunatics they haven't yet learned to stand up to. So this is a big chance for the United States to really step up... and do absolutely nothing.

Again and again, we forget the lesson that most evil-doers eventually wear out their welcome because they keep doing evil. Shooting a girl in head for saying that she liked school? That's pretty damn evil. Journalists are already comparing Malala to Rosa Parks, though it looks like her personal story might not have a happy ending. Parks didn't have the happiest life ever, but at least she got to take a few victory laps at the front of the bus.

But the key here is for the US to not be here. Image-wise, our military does great when there's an armed government that we can sweep in and liberate the people from, toss out some chewing gum to kids, throw around some cash, and then take a bow and leave. But let us linger and we'll start hammering you with flying robots and pissing on your corpses, and that will distract everyone's attention from the truly evil motherfuckers in their midst.

It's easy to forget what the world looked like before 9/11. Al Qaeda was operating in Afghanistan, but the weak and unpopular Taliban government wasn't even in charge of the whole country. Neither was Saddam Hussein in charge of his whole country. He'd also completely given up on the idea of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and now just wanted to look strong so that Iran wouldn't drop the hammer on him. Also, there were no Taliban in Pakistan.

That's not to say we didn't need to knock out Afghanistan's government in 2001. But most of what we've done there since has only served to postpone and distract the majority of people from really focusing on how deeply they hate the kind of people who shot Malala. But when you're convinced you're being attacked from the outside, you can ignore that your house is rotting from the inside. Just ask the Republican Party.

The Gays Have Won

By Bill Maher 

In 2004 and 2008, gay issues were front and center in the presidential debates: Are you for gay marriage? Are you for repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Is Hillary Clinton a lesbian? You couldn't get away from gay if you tried.

Well, we've now had four debates. Or, if you're a Democrat, three and a half. And no one has mentioned gays. No one is even talking about gay issues. No one is being asked to repeat the tired line "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman." And President Obama no longer would.
Something may change, but I think it's fair to say that the gay movement has already won. The issue has come and gone. The numbers are on the side of pro-gay and pro-gay marriage forces. Nothing has happened in states with gay marriage that anyone can point to and say, "See? We were right! Vermont got legal man-on-dog marriage now!"

In fact, it seems gays said, "We're here, we're queer, and most of America got used to it."