Tuesday, October 1, 2013


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Plot Point

By Bill Maher

Rand Paul wrote a fundraising letter to his "fellow patriots" calling President Obama and "his anti-gun pals" "anti-American globalists [who] plot against our Constitution." The same day this statement came out, Politico wrote, "Put simply, if you designed a candidate in a lab to match up with the early GOP primary states, it would probably look a lot like Rand Paul." Even The New York Times has called him "a rising star."

Rand Paul can say whatever crazy shit he wants to become more popular with the Republican base. But when he says the president is "plotting" against other Americans, it's up to the rest of the civilized world to dismiss him as a dangerous kook.

And he's just one cog in the crazy machine. Last week, House Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare for the 37th time. In the Senate, Republicans are blocking Obama's nominees to head the EPA and the Department of Labor, and have prevented -- for years -- anybody from being named to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The most important appellate court in the United States, the D.C. Circuit court (which is like the Supreme Court's mini-me because it rules on so many federal issues), has had four vacancies forever. In fact, John Roberts sat on this court before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, and his seat is still vacant because Republicans won't put somebody there who changes the balance of power.

At what point does obstruction become treason? Isn't that a reasonable question now, especially with Obamacare? It's the law of the land, affirmed by the Supreme Court, but Republicans are still trying to defund it and screw it up any way they can.
Aren't they "plotting" against their country?

Pyramid Scheme

By Bill Maher

"Who will buy this wonderful feeling?" -Oliver/General Dynamics

With everything happening in the world -- terrorism, disease, Reese Witherspoon going all "Onion Field" on our cops -- it's easy to lose track of what's really important. Like Egyptian economic reform. But don't worry, you're paying for it whether you pay attention or not.

Earlier this year, as The Sequester kicked in, Secretary of State Kerry announced that we still had $250 million to give the Land of the Pharaohs for "economic reform" -- against $1 billion, if we like what we see. The loan and the "economic reforms" are essential for Egypt to qualify for another loan, this one for $4.8 billion, from the IMF.

Who funds the IMF? Oh, that's you again. Over 17 percent of the IMF's funds come from the United States.
The Sequester also won't stop us from sending whoever's in charge in Egypt 20 F-16s and 20 M-1 Abrams tanks, a total prize package worth over a billion dollars, addressed to Occupant.
Weird how that tank keeps coming up.

Right-wing kooks and conspiracy loons think Obama loves Egypt because he makes Michelle wear a hijab around the house, but it's actually more banal than that. America is basically Chrysler, only instead of minivans, we make this tank. And we need someone to buy it, and this is our version of 0% financing. Because Egypt is much more than a semi-modern, semi-moderate, squint-and-you-can-believe-it's-true frenemy in the Middle East. It's also a customer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Benghazi and the October Surprise

By Bill Maher
A new e-book came out this week called A Bad Day On The Romney Campaign: An Insider’s Account. It was written by Clint Eastwood’s chair. No it wasn’t, it was written by some whiny grifter named Gabriel Schoenfeld, who was a “senior advisor” to the campaign. The book focuses on the day of the Benghazi attack, and how Mitt Romney tripped over his dick.
The mission in Libya was still on fire when Mitt issued a statement — based on the Twitter feed of someone in Cairo — claiming it was all Obama’s fault, because we apologized for that internet movie that insulted Allah. It was stupid, tone deaf, inaccurate, half-hearted, phony and entirely beside the point, or what’s now known as The Full Romney.
Schoenfeld writes:
“The Romney campaign’s statement of September 11, 2012 had left the candidate naked, embarrassed, and disarmed.”
Try getting that image out of your head.
But I think it’s important because it helps explain why Republicans are such crackheads about Benghazi: It — or something like it — was supposed to win Romney the election. His campaign was designed to stay competitive, sing “God Bless America,” and wait for Obama to screw up. Benghazi happened and Mitt booted it. That’s why they’ll never let it go.
Remember the “47%” video? Romney is asked about the October Surprise, when Reagan got elected and Iran magically gave us the hostages, and why Romney can’t “duplicate that scenario.”
Romney: I appreciate the idea…(blahblahblah Russia, Iran, nukes, China, Jimmy Carter)…if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.
Something of that nature presented itself — four brave people dying violent deaths — and Mitt tried to take advantage of it, but he couldn’t. Because that bastard Obama cheated and rewrote the memo.
And that’s how you understand Benghazi: Work backwards from “Republicans are supposed to win.” Don’t follow the money. Follow the entitlement.

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

By Bill Maher
“Please sir, I want some more.” -Oliver/The Jackson Family

Michael Jackson’s mother is suing a concert promoter for employing a doctor whose reaction to seeing his patient OD was to call a doctor. She wants $40 billion. Because right up until the end there, everything was going great.

Now, my feelings about Michael Jackson are best summed up by an exchange between FBI agents in ‘Red Dragon,’ the prequel to ‘Silence of the Lambs’:
You feel sorry for him.
My heart bleeds for him, as a child.
Someone took a kid and manufactured
a monster. At the same time, as an
adult, he’s irredeemable. As an adult,
someone should blow the sick fuck out
of his socks.
The people my heart really bleeds for are the 12 jurors and six alternates who are going to have to sit through this endless legalized shakedown as this horrible old lady tries to suck one more drop of toxic watery blood from her son’s putrefying corpse.

He was 51 years old. You don’t have to pay his mommy if you were negligent and didn’t do enough to prevent him from being a junkie.

Why is this trial happening? Why are those 18 poor jurors being held hostage? If Somali pirates took them instead of the Jackson family legal team, we’d send the Seals to blow their brains out.

The Truthers Out There

By Bill Maher
It’s often said that you can measure the health of a society by how readily it believes in conspiracy theories. …OK, maybe it’s not often said, because I just made it up, but it should be. Because it’s true.

Now, our fair country has its share of conspiracy theories, and we may have just added another: that the Boston Marathon bombing was a false flag operation designed to frighten the citizens so the government can take away our rights and our guns. Or something like that. I try not to click on those links so my IP address doesn’t get “pinged” in the FBI’s PND — Potential Nutcase Database.

But when anything major happens in America, you can set your watch and within 48 hours someone will be explaining to you how some nefarious group wanted this to happen, and also planned it. These are usually fringe, Alex Jones-type groups, but not always. The 9/11 Truther movement wasn’t exactly tiny, probably about the same size as the Ron Paul movement. Because they’re the same people. Then there are the Roswell/UFO conspiracy types, the U.N. black helicopter conspiracy people, those who think the moon landing was faked. Not to mention the people who think all the fat black women in Tyler Perry movies are actually Tyler Perry.

But nothing compares to the Middle East, where conspiracy theories are so pervasive you’d think the whole region was entirely backward and overly religious or something.

For instance, a 2011 Pew survey showed that 75 percent of Egyptian Muslims don’t believe that Arabs were behind the 9/11 attacks. They believe it was…oh, I’ll let you guess who they think did it. But it rhymes with “Da Blues.”

But there’s a reason people in the Middle East believe in so many conspiracy theories — because their governments are often so corrupt and evil, they are working behind the scenes to screw their people. And then blame it on America and the Jews. In the Middle East, people are also usually confined by a state press and have no history of not being lied to.

Also, we’re now in an era where, in addition to porn and bomb-making guidelines, you can see any amount of crazy information you like on the internet, whereas before you could only communicate with like-minded losers via ham radio or at a Star Trek convention.

But we should be way ahead of societies where everything the government does is greeted with automatic suspicion, and I’m not sure we are. In America, there seems to be a very thin wall separating those of us who are being critical and skeptical and those who are just being conspiratorial and crazy.

Isn’t that, you know, bad for democracy?

Tanks, But No Tanks

By Bill Maher

With the advent of Netflix, Blockbuster video stores all over America are closing their doors. People simply don't need their services anymore. That's the free market. But what if President Obama said, "You know what?  Blockbuster employs a lot of people, so I'm going to earmark billions of taxpayer dollars to keep these franchises open. Sure, they have no real customers, but hey, there's no work like busy work."
There would be an outrage. The Drudge Report banner would scream, "Socialism!" and Fox New would have a permanent graphic that says "Blockbuster-gate."

Well, this type of thing is going on. But it's not President Obama that's doing it; it's Congress. The Army doesn't want any more Abrams tanks. They have plenty. More than they need. They've, in fact, told Congress, "We're good." But Congress keeps ordering up more Abrams tanks to the tune of half-a-billion taxpayer dollars just over the last two years. And they're asking for $436 million more in funding.
Why? Jobs. General Dynamics (who spent nearly $11 million on lobbying last year) builds the tanks using more than 560 subcontractors strategically placed in congressional districts throughout the United States. Forty of those companies are in Pennsylvania where Democratic Senator Rob Casey keeps demanding funding for tanks the Army doesn't want or need.

The main Abrams tank plant is in Lima, Ohio which is why this unwanted and unnecessary funding is championed by Republican deficit hawks Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman, as well as liberal Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. In the name of jobs in their districts, Congress keeps dumping more Abrams tanks onto the Army's plate like an Italian mother serving unwanted third helpings to a dinner guest who's already full.
Isn't this socialism?

Gappy Days Are Here Again

By Bill Maher

Great news: According to the Pew Research Center, the wealth of American households (the sum of all assets and holdings, including car, home, possessions etc., minus household debt) rose by 14% in the period between 2009 and 2011. We're back, baby! We are all a whopping $5 trillion richer. And by "all," I mean not you, but rich people.

The reason America got 14% wealthier on average is because the household wealth of the richest 7% shot up from about $2.5 million to about $3.2 million during that two-year period, while the bottom 93% of households saw their wealth dip from $140,000 to $134,000. So fuck you, takers.

Looking at it another way, in 2009, the average household in the richest 7% had roughly 18 times the wealth of the average household in the lower 93%. Just two years later, they enjoyed 24 times the wealth of those same less affluent households.

Shouldn't we be doing something about wealth inequality?

The Police Spate

By Bill Maher

My usual friends on the right can’t believe that I said that, during the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, Massachusetts looked like a “police state,” just because it was a state full of police. But Fortune just did its own review of homeland security spending, and here are some of the highlights:
• Post-9/11 federal spending on homeland security exceeds $790 billion. That’s larger than TARP and, adjusted for inflation, the New Deal.
• Last year, Massachusetts received $4 million in homeland security grants, ranking it 34th in homeland security grant spending per capita.
In short, homeland security is a money pit. And Boston looked like District 9 two weeks ago, when the black tanks and the body armor came out, but it’s actually under-porked, compared to most places in America that got on the homeland security tit and sucked hard.
Two examples from Fortune of homeland security graft in Nowheresville:
• An Indiana county bought a $300,000 “Electronic Emergency Message Boards” system and used it to advertise the volunteer fire department’s fish fry.
• Western Michigan counties bought thirteen $900 Sno-Cone machines.
Since 9/11, “homeland security” has been “open sesame” for federal money. It’s cops (it’s impossible to spend too much on cops) and the military (again, too much ain’t enough). And the result is Grand Rapids gets a sno-cone machine and Watertown, Mass can’t catch an unarmed bleeding teenager without looking like the Battle of the Bulge.
And, because it’s Fortune, there’s always a kernel of investment advice in any article, even one decrying government waste. See if you can pick it up from these clues:
• The video surveillance market was slated to grow from $11.5 billion in 2008 to $37.5 billion in 2015.
• There are 4,000 security cameras in Manhattan.
• Chicago has 10,000 linked public and private security cameras. London has a half-million.
The answer is that we’re under-photographed compared to London. So invest in closed circuit camera companies. You have nothing to lose but your shame.

Background Check, Please!

By Bill Maher

Recent polling suggests that some of the senators who voted against background checks are taking a hit for it, and Joe Manchin, one of the sponsors of the bill, is saying he's going to bring it back up. But here's the problem: it's not a great bill in the first place, and even if it were, it could never pass the House of Representatives.

If the anti-gun people really want to get guns off the streets, they have to start thinking more like the anti-abortion people. Part of that is getting states and localities to restrict guns more -- that's already happening in places like New York and Colorado. But there's something else they could do: go after providers and make it unbearable for them to be in the killing machine business. This is essentially what the anti-abortion movement has done with abortion providers. The results? Today, 48 states have fewer abortion providers than in they did in 1978.

Sticking It to Plan B

By Bill Maher

Last month, a federal judge in Brooklyn ordered the FDA to make the morning-after pill available without a prescription. He basically said that the science was in, and it was safer than Motrin, and the only reason it hadn’t been approved in the first place was Jesus politics. Okay, he didn’t say those things but that’s what it came down to.

That’s not going to stop anti-abortion people from making things up about the morning-after pill killing everything it touches, and then eating through the floor like the blood from an alien.
But it made me think about the horrifying warnings in ads for prescription drugs, the ones that always sound at least as bad as the disease. You know, “You may experience dry mouth, and grow a tail and gills. Ask your exorcist.” Here’s the major side effect of not taking Plan B: A foreign body incubates inside you. Then it takes over your life and ruins it.

Here’s Slate putting it in gentler terms:
The reality is that oral contraceptives help prevent a much more serious condition: pregnancy, which brings with it huge medical, emotional, financial, and legal risk. More specifically, the main health concern with oral contraceptives is an increased risk of blood clots, but as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists points out, that risk is “extremely low.” It’s also “significantly lower than the risk of blood clots during pregnancy and the postpartum period.”
The morning-after pill is better for you than pregnancy. So we can debate abortion, but we can’t pretend it’s about some global-warming type mystery about women’s health.

Haters Gonna Hate

By Bill Maher

There's a new push by the right to paint the Obamas as President Nero and his wife Marie Antoinette. It cropped up most recently after the White House Correspondent's Dinner: How could they, especially now, when we're overtaxed and the government is supposed to be cutting back, be having dinner! Don't they know we're in the middle of a series of (politically manufactured) economic crises?!

This particular "outrage" doesn't even make sense, really, because there's nothing especially opulent about renting a ballroom in the Hilton and having your trade association's annual banquet. But the criticism has to be leveled, because the formula is now always "How could Obama be doing x while the country is in such dire straits?" Where x equals every single thing Obama does -- eating, traveling, seeing shows or sporting events, entertaining dignitaries -- really anything that doesn't involve sitting behind his desk in the oval office and signing documents by candlelight.

Capitalism Fails the News

By Bill Maher

At the White House Correspondents' Dinner, just about every media outlet was taking shit from the presenters about how often they got it wrong in these last few weeks. CNN, for its ridiculous and inaccurate coverage of the Boston bombings; Buzzfeed, for getting it all wrong too; MSNBC for being in the pocket of the White House; Fox News for being in the pocket of evil. The verdict was in, and it was that, other than Pete Williams and The Boston Globe, every traditional media outlet -- especially those on TV -- is running a sad rumor mill factory, obsessed with sensationalism, when they're not being partisan hacks shilling for their home team. And hey, enjoy the filet.

But here's what you didn't hear at the White House Correspondents' Dinner: "Something, something, Gwen Ifill. [Laughter] Something, something, Ray Suarez. [Hollering]" Because what everyone seems to be forgetting is that there's a great news outlet on TV that always gets it right: the PBS Newshour. And why? Because they're allowed to be a news organization. Because they're not chasing ratings with giant BREAKING NEWS graphics and Megyn Kelly's legs and segments about the day's funny web videos.

Back in the day, the network news broadcasts weren't designed to make money. They were a loss leader. Because people understood the difference between news and entertainment: one was something you needed to eat, and the other was dessert.

But then capitalism took over the news business. And since then, the news has gone down a downward slope of suckitude.

Hey, don't get me wrong -- capitalism is a great thing. When it comes to designing America a new ketchup bottle that sits upside down so all the ketchupy goodness has already moved right to the opening so that you can then squeeze it on to your fries and avoid all of that needless pounding on the bottom of the old glass ketchup bottles, capitalism is the way you want to go. Because capitalism gets you what you want, and at the lowest price.

But in a democracy, there's a difference between what you want -- my ketchup to come out of the bottle on cue -- and what you need, which is an informed citizenry.

Our problem isn't that we have capitalism and that we have democracy. It's that we think they're the same thing.

Threat Assessment

By Bill Maher

What do we do when there's no evidence that someone is actually planning to do something dangerous, but there are clearly warning signs? For example, the FBI confirmed it investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev a couple of years ago due to a request from Russia, but didn't find "derogatory" information that would require proceeding.

And then there's the Benton County, Arkansas Republican Party. Here's an excerpt from one of their recent newsletters, which, of course, I receive every month because I'm one of their biggest donors:
"We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us [know] that we are serious. The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives. It seems that we are unable to muster that belief in any of our representatives on a state or federal level, but we have to have something, something costly, something that they will fear that we will use if they step out of line."
Do we have to wait for them to do "something costly," or is there anything we can do right now? Because this goes right up to the line on the First Amendment, and when you're this paranoid and openly violent about the government taking away your guns, maybe the government needs to take away your guns.

Those Lovable Freedom Fighters

By Bill Maher

What's not to like about the al Nusra Front? They're among the Syrian rebels' most well-trained, well-armed, and well-organized opposition groups. They're so strong and well-positioned that other opposition factions feel they can't afford to alienate them. And this month they literally came out and pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

There are headlines about other rebel groups "slamming" al-Nusra over their pledge, but in fact most aren't, and the ones that are seem to be adopting the "Shh! Not in front of the infidels!" approach.
From al-Nusra's sharpest critics, the Syrian Islamic Front:
"We protect the principles of Islam like the Islamic state, fighting in the name of God and his prophet Mohammed, Islamic law. But all reference to certain names that create a strong reaction around the world against the Syrian people must be avoided. You do not need to say that you belong to this name... when you know that this will hurt the Syrian people and help the tyrant."
Oh yeah, that sounds like a rousing denouncement of all al Qaeda stands for
Nobody watching this should be surprised. Unless your name is John McCain, who said last year, "It's time to act. It's time to give the Syrian opposition the weapons in order to defend themselves." Or if you're Joe Lieberman, who concurred: "This will not get better until the rest of the world at least gives the arms to the Syrian freedom fighters with which they can defend themselves and their families."

Or if you're McCain and Lindsey Graham, who last month offered a joint statement saying that if the Syrians had indeed used chemical weapons, the response "should include the provision of arms to vetted Syrian opposition groups, targeted strikes against Assad's aircraft and SCUD missile batteries... and the establishment of safe zones inside Syria to protect civilians and opposition groups."

Come on guys, this time they'll love us. We just know they will! Let's roll!

Ball and Change

By Bill Maher

"How can you stand next to the truth and not see it?" - U2

Earlier this month, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 53% of Americans now support same-sex marriage. (An earlier ABC News/Washington Post survey puts the number at 58%.) But here's the striking thing about the NBC poll: It found that 66% of Republicans are still against marriage equality. That means, for the foreseeable future, in a system where voters still only have two choices per election, one of them is still going to be operating on instructions from Jesus to hate fags.

It made me think about that new Jackie Robinson movie, "42." It was the #1 movie in America last week and received a seldom-seen A+ CinemaScore from audiences. And I think I know why:

Because nothing feels better than feeling morally superior to people in the past who are obviously wrong. In this case, racists. You get to congratulate yourself in hindsight. Of course you know baseball should be integrated. You’d never shout mean things at Jackie Robinson in 1947.

Seventy years from now, they're going to be making self-congratulatory movies about marriage equality, so we can hiss at the hateful idiots who were laughably wrong about that, too.

I wonder how many of those 66% of Republicans went to see "42" and didn't make the connection at all.

Fueling Innovation

By Bill Maher

We usually hear about how regulation suffocates business and for years the Chicken Littles on the right warned against fuel-efficiency standards, saying it would make us less competitive. But now the EPA is implementing new rules -- 34.5 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025 for all American-made cars and light trucks -- and they're totally uncontroversial. Environmentalists love them because they're good for the planet, consumers love them because they save on gas, and even auto companies will admit that they're spurring innovation.

Two questions:

1) Doesn't this prove that some regulations can actually be good for capitalism?

2) Could the government have demanded these standards 15 or so years ago and saved the auto industry from itself?

How to Become a Global Warming Denier

By Bill Maher

Global warming denial can be both fun and easy! While the science of climate change is complicated (sometimes you even need a PhD in physics or chemistry to understand it!) our quick, ten-minute seminar on how to become a global warming denier will put you on the path to irritate your friends, family, and co-workers in no time! You'll come off as so willfully obstinate and impervious to evidence, they won't even be sure they like you anymore!

Yes, it's just that simple. All you need to do is master these three simple steps and you, too, can be a global warming denier!

Step 1:

First, state that -- hello! -- the earth's climate has always been changing! Which is true! Also entirely irrelevant, but true! I mean, it's not like global warming scientists are unaware of the earth's climate history, so pointing it out won't make them go, "Oh, shit! Really? You mean my life's work has all been for nothing? What an asshole I am!" Yes, pointing this fact out doesn’t prove or disprove anything. But congratulations! It works on rubes. And you've taken your first step toward being a global warming denier!

Step 2:

Next, state that the science on the subject is still in doubt. This is also highly misleading, but it is true that there are still a tiny minority of scientists who don't buy it, so just call it a wash. Who's to say who is correct? Let's not rush to judgment, amirite?

Tip: Recite the following: "I'm not the one who is being irrational, my opponent is! I'm being cautious and reasonable."

Step 3:

Finally -- and this is very important if you want to play with the big boys -- you master one obscure, true, but highly misleading fact about global warming. Like, "If the earth is warming so dangerously, how come sea ice in the Antarctic is actually increasing!" Which is true, but consistent with global warming theory. Who cares? It sounds like you've just won a point, so you have! What's the global warming supporter going to do, explain how circumpolar currents work on live TV? The segment on Hannity is almost over, and I think we know who has won!

Bonus: If you really want to blow their minds, point out that, in the 70s, Newsweek ran a cover story on predictions of global cooling. That's right -- cooling! These same scientists who are now saying warming used to be saying cooling! Which also is absurd on its face, since we're talking about a Newsweek cover story and a handful of scientists, not the overwhelming judgment of every major scientific body on the planet and decades of peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals worldwide, but no one can deny that the Newsweek cover story existed. You're practically telling the truth!

Yes, it's just that simple. So call now to receive the "How To Become a Global Warming Denier!" book and DVD today!

Assume Your Positions

By Bill Maher

Kermit Gosnell is a “doctor” who ran the worst abortion clinic you’ve ever heard of. If pro-life people could design their worst nightmare of how abortions are being provided, this would be it. Because Kermit is not a doctor. He’s a con artist crossed with a villain in a Saw movie crossed with a really unsanitary college roommate. And he’s now on trial for basically running a baby-killing operation masquerading as a women’s health care clinic.

This case is the right’s new cause, and you’re going to hear about it. It’s going to be at least a chapter in the next Ann Coulter/Michelle Malkin/Glenn Beck/Mark Levin/Dick Morris/Sean Hannity book. It also works for them politically, because in their mind it makes Americans face up to the reality of abortion. But even more so they’re using it to make a point about liberal media bias, as in, “How come this trial didn’t receive any national media attention?”

And that’s the big (and tired) scandal they’re pushing. Problem is, there weren’t too many conservative media outlets pushing it either, at least until recently, so their case isn’t as strong as they think it is.
But more importantly, this story has already gotten boring because it’s yet another example of both sides instantly returning to their sides, grabbing their talking points, and hammering away. If you’re on the right, it’s “Liberal media, blah, blah.” And if you’re on the left, it’s “This is what abortion would look like if you pro-lifers ban abortion! So stop erecting barriers to safe and legal abortion and this kind of thing won’t happen.”

It makes you wonder why we even bother with this charade. Nobody changes their mind on an issue because of a news event. They simply find the reason why the news event confirms what they already think.

Me? I’m kind of appalled by this, and that it could happen in this country. Abortion doctors in Tijuana would look at this guy’s operation and scream, “Aye dios mio!” Sometimes you don’t automatically have to cram it back into your worldview, and try to use it to make a point. Sometimes you just have to cram people like Kermit into a cell.

Kermit Gosnell is a “doctor” who ran the worst abortion clinic you’ve ever heard of. If pro-life people could design their worst nightmare of how abortions are being provided, this would be it. Because Kermit is not a doctor. He’s a con artist crossed with a villain in a Saw movie crossed with a really unsanitary college roommate. And he’s now on trial for basically running a baby-killing operation masquerading as a women’s health care clinic.

This case is the right’s new cause, and you’re going to hear about it. It’s going to be at least a chapter in the next Ann Coulter/Michelle Malkin/Glenn Beck/Mark Levin/Dick Morris/Sean Hannity book. It also works for them politically, because in their mind it makes Americans face up to the reality of abortion. But even more so they’re using it to make a point about liberal media bias, as in, “How come this trial didn’t receive any national media attention?”

And that’s the big (and tired) scandal they’re pushing. Problem is, there weren’t too many conservative media outlets pushing it either, at least until recently, so their case isn’t as strong as they think it is.
But more importantly, this story has already gotten boring because it’s yet another example of both sides instantly returning to their sides, grabbing their talking points, and hammering away. If you’re on the right, it’s “Liberal media, blah, blah.” And if you’re on the left, it’s “This is what abortion would look like if you pro-lifers ban abortion! So stop erecting barriers to safe and legal abortion and this kind of thing won’t happen.”

It makes you wonder why we even bother with this charade. Nobody changes their mind on an issue because of a news event. They simply find the reason why the news event confirms what they already think.
Me? I’m kind of appalled by this, and that it could happen in this country. Abortion doctors in Tijuana would look at this guy’s operation and scream, “Aye dios mio!” Sometimes you don’t automatically have to cram it back into your worldview, and try to use it to make a point. Sometimes you just have to cram people like Kermit into a cell.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Who Will Save Your Seoul

By Bill Maher

Recently on the news, I heard a South Korean say he wasn't worried about war with North Korea, because "We know the U.S. has our backs."

At first, I swelled with national pride, and thought, "You're welcome." But then I thought, "Wait a minute -- why can't South Korea get its own back?"

They're a rich country, with the world’s 12th largest economy. They have one of the best education systems in the world. They have a large active army -- 650,000 troops -- and 3.2 million reserves. Their population is twice the size of North Korea's, and their economy 40 times as big. They have electricity. And food.

So why does the United States still have 28,500 troops there -- more than we'll probably have in Afghanistan by the end of next year?

How do troops protect from nuclear weapons?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Not Lovin' It

By Bill Maher

Earlier this month, hundreds of New York City fast food workers walked off their jobs and picketed in front of restaurants, demanding a living wage. All that was left inside were the customers and the rats.

It used to be that the fast food jobs were the extra jobs kids would do to earn some money for gas and weed, so they weren't using up all of Mom and Dad's. The rest of us worked the actual jobs jobs. But now the economy is such that the fast food jobs are the jobs jobs. The median age of a fast food worker is now over 28. Moms and dads, whose decent-paying jobs have been downsized or outsourced, are now working the counter at McDonald's. Full time, that's just about $16,000 a year, or just enough for you and your family to live in one of the nicer refrigerator boxes.
Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren made the case for a living wage at a Senate committee hearing:
"If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So my question is... with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker."
One fair way to narrow the wealth gap is to make the hugely profitable fast food companies pay more and profit less. When we don't force huge fast food corporations to pay a living wage, yes, their profits go up (McDonald's profits were up 130% during the recession) and their stockholders benefit -- but their employees need to go on public assistance and we, the taxpayers, end up footing the bill.

Why should I have to finance some rich prick's McDonald's Corporation stock staying at 99.34 instead of 97.86?

A Taxing Feeling

By Bill Maher

A few weeks ago I mentioned on the show that, while I'm willing to pay more in taxes, Democrats could lose me on this issue if they continue to go to that well over and over. In other words, there's a limit to what I think the government should be allowed to take from its citizens, even the wealthiest ones. I wasn't suggesting that I was going to start donning a tri-corner hat and going Galt, or even Wesley Snipes. I was simply saying that when you combine all of the state and federal and local taxes, especially in a high tax state like California, it is a lot. Because -- oh, how shall I say this? -- it is a lot. Maybe I feel this way because it's April 15th and, like many Americans, I feel like the radius of my asshole just changed. Or maybe it's because, again, numerically, it's a lot.

Now, I'm not asking for any sympathy. I've done quite well, and I'm willing to pay a higher rate than Joe Six-Pack. Or Mitt Romney. And I do. What I didn't like is what the reaction to my comments says about how Americans have come to discuss political issues: both sides have their talking points and their spokespeople, and nobody gives an inch, and then they commence talking past each other.

Really. I didn't think this was a very controversial statement. But apparently it was, because it got picked up in the conservative media, and I heard from lots of liberals about it because it vaguely veered from Democratic dogma on taxes, which is that not only should you always be for raising them -- especially on the wealthy -- but you should really, really enjoy paying them!

Well, just because Republicans hate taxes and pledge to lower them at every turn, doesn't mean that I have to love taxes and pledge to raise them at every turn. But this is basically the arrangement we have on every issue in this country. The Republicans take a ridiculous, extremist view on an issue, and the left is left to defend the basic principle on the other side, and nothing interesting gets discussed by anyone.

Instead of discussing what the appropriate tax rate should be and who should pay -- which, let's face it, is dull enough already -- the discussion we have is whether taxes are bad because government is bad, or whether taxes are good because all government programs are the cat's meow. And then the buzzer goes off and the middle school debate team competition is over.

Well, I'm sorry, but for the most part I don't love paying taxes. I view them as a necessary evil. I even view paying them as a form of patriotism. But I'm also a sentient adult who understands that a lot of that money goes to stuff I really don't like and don't think is necessary, like our enormous and bloated defense budget. Like many Americans, I think we often spend too much and receive too little benefit for the money we spend, and that our budget should look vastly different than it does, and that the tax code is completely screwed up, so I'm not going to defend the current system as if it's perfect and delight in paying for it simply because there's a Democrat in the White House. I'm also not going to take the position of "All government programs are good." Or "All poor people are noble." Or "Everything the teachers union does should be defended." Or "The higher the tax rate on the rich, the better."

And conservatives, just because I say something like "tax rates are getting pretty high" it doesn't mean I've suddenly seen the wisdom of cutting them to Paul Ryan levels, or even cutting them at all, or that now I'm on your team. I'm not. In fact, you're the real reason we're having these shitty debates, because you've gone to such an extreme that we're left to simply argue for the basic principle, like that taxes are necessary, or that global warming is real.

So, let's all grow up a bit. And if you want to watch a show where your biases are relentlessly confirmed, where children argue and no one ever concedes a point on anything, try Hannity.

Impeach Scalia

During oral arguments over same-sex marriage last month, Justice Antonin Scalia suggested gay adoption might be harmful to children. He said, "There's considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful or not."

This is complete bullshit.

Here's what the American Sociological Association actually says, which Scalia would have known if he'd bothered to read their amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court brief, on this exact case. Hat tip to Ezra Klein for finding this:
The claim that same-sex parents produce less positive child outcomes than opposite-sex parents--either because such families lack both a male and female parent or because both parents are not the biological parents of their children--contradicts abundant social science research. Decades of methodologically sound social science research, especially multiple nationally representative studies and the expert evidence introduced in the district courts below, confirm that positive child wellbeing is the product of stability in the relationship between the two parents, stability in the relationship between the parents and child, and greater parental socioeconomic resources. Whether a child is raised by same-sex or opposite-sex parents has no bearing on a child's wellbeing.
The clear and consistent consensus in the social science profession is that across a wide range of indicators, children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents when compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents.
You also hear bullshit talking points, like the one Scalia cited, from fools like Ralph Reed -- but his job is to be a professional right-wing jackass. He's allowed to make things up. Scalia is on the Supreme Court, and if this were a one-time offense, I'd overlook it. But when you go back and listen to every question this guy asks from the bench -- read the transcript to the health care case, for instance -- they all basically come from nonsense that you could read in a chain email or see on a sign at a tea bagger rally.

I say we impeach him on grounds of knuckle dragging. I know it would be unprecedented, but it would be deserved, and fun.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who Would Want This Job?

By Bill Maher

A couple reporters at the Huffington Post recently got hold of a PowerPoint presentation the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gives to incoming members of Congress, and it's worse than you'd think. First slide: "Michele Bachmann is even shorter and crazier in person. Don't say we didn't warn you."

Okay, even if that were true, it wouldn't be the scary part. That comes later, when it notes that the leadership expects that freshmen members take about five hours out of every day and devote it to fundraising. Yes, five. That means you're either on the phone with donors listening to them tell you their inane, self-serving ideas before saying, "(Name of donor), I think what you're saying is very important and I'm completely behind you, while not actually committing to supporting anything you just said. More importantly, can I have some money?" Or you're in strategy sessions to figure out other ways to get money. Or you're doing outreach to find new people ...that you can eventually ask for money.

Former Rep. Tom Perriello even said that the 4-5 hours may even be "low-balling the figure so as not to scare the new members too much."

Jimmy Swaggart asked people for money less than this.

You know when NPR does their pledge drive once a year, when they take a few hours out of their programming to remind you that they're member-supported public radio and if you want more stories about the plight of soy farmers in Togo you're going to have to pony up some cash? It's annoying, right? Okay, now picture if NPR had to do that five hours of every day. You'd sense that something was horribly wrong with this system. To say nothing of what it would do to the people who worked there. Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne would drink hemlock together.

Well, this is what our members of Congress spend about half of their day doing. Why should we be surprised when it attracts people who aren't that bright or talented, or who come off as cheap salespeople, and are easily bought off?


By Bill Maher

In the last election, Democrats got a million more votes for their House candidates than Republicans did. In a fair world, Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker again, but Republicans still have a 33-seat majority because of gerrymandering.

Let's call gerrymandering what it really is: segregation. It carves up district lines so "urban" voters -- aka African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics -- are bunched up in Democratic districts, while suburban and rural districts are carefully kept just white enough to go Republican.

Short-term, gerrymandering is the only thing that keeps the GOP in power. Long-term, it just might kill them. They can't compete for Hispanic votes because they don't have to. Using redistricting as a crutch only allows them to stay in denial about demographic reality, which is that the fastest growing groups in the country are racing to the polls to vote for Democrats while the Republican base is racing to the morgue. Moreover, it only encourages them to continue insulting voters they need to take back the White House, or even hold onto Congress over the next few cycles.

You know who I think would back me up on this? George W. Bush. Remember, he was for immigration reform, but his own party killed him over it. If you're a Republican, isn't it a serious problem when George W. Bush is a couple steps ahead of the rest of your party? And even though the tide seems to have turned on immigration reform, most Republicans are still from districts whose voters are very uncomfortable doing the salsa.

Most Republican politicians are smart enough to know they've got an existential problem here, but their voters aren't. They see a pathway to citizenship as "amnesty," and won't soon forgive their congressman if he votes for it. So if you're a Republican House member, what the hell do you do?


By Bill Maher

The NRA came out with a video questioning why the President's daughters get armed security but your kids don't. It's a fair question... for anyone who's blinded by ideology and willfully dismissive of the facts. The White House has called the video "repugnant and cowardly."

Yes, President Obama's daughters get special armed security, but they're different from every other tween in America in that, as the daughters of the president -- a black president, no less -- they need protection, partly due to the rhetoric of people in the NRA.

The NRA claims the President is a hypocrite and an elitist for enjoying the perk of armed security when regular, hard-working Americans don't get it. But when the same argument was applied to the perk of government-funded healthcare -- that our leaders can have it but the people cannot -- the complaint was dismissed as hogwash.

Yes, the President gets armed security and you don't. He also gets his own plane and you don't.
Why should the Obamas get armed security? Are their lives any more valuable than ours?
Yes. He's the president.

Social Justice

By Bill Maher

The other day I drove past a huge new campus in Northeast L.A. called "Sotomayor Learning Academies." I thought to myself, "It can't be that Sotomayor, can it? She's not even 60." Sure enough, it's Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She’s already an icon in many neighborhoods across this country. Hell, in L.A., most of them.

Her autobiography just came out, and I expect it to do very well. Every time I see publicity for it, I think of how stupid Republicans were to oppose her. You know how many current Republican senators voted to confirm her? Three. Thirty one voted not to, and nine voted yes, but five of those nine were retiring and one lost his primary, which tells you how hard it is for a Republican to support a Hispanic without paying a price.

There are a lot of reasons Hispanics voted against Republicans in November, but this is a big one that people who aren't Hispanic seem to have forgotten about completely. What made voting against her so insulting wasn't that she was the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court -- I wouldn't be complaining if Obama had nominated J-Lo and Republicans said "no" -- but Sonia Sotomayor had the most judicial experience of any Supreme Court nominee ever, and all her other credentials were impeccable. The only reasons to vote against her were empty-headed talking points farted right out of Rush Limbaugh's ass, but somehow they became the mainstream Republican position. Hispanics could only be thinking, "Wow, if they reject her, they're rejecting all of us."

What they really hate about her is that her autobiography is a great testament to affirmative action working. Sotomayor wasn't given any handouts in life. But in her book, she acknowledges getting into Princeton through a "special door." There's a huge part of the Republican Party hell-bent on keeping that door closed to anybody who didn't have an ancestor on the Mayflower, regardless of their ability to succeed once they get into the club.

Wasn't her rejection by the right a perfect example of the Republicans' "dark vein of intolerance" Colin Powell was talking about on Meet the Press?

Tax Elation

By Bill Maher

I know it's hard to jump up and down in excitement over the "fiscal cliff" deal, but something that seemed almost impossible a couple years ago is now a fact: the tax code is more progressive than it's been in over 30 years. The top 1% will now pay a federal income tax rate just of just over 36%, which is still low by historical standards, but up from the 28% they were paying when Obama took office.

Add that to the fact that Obamacare is essentially a program that taxes millionaires (who will pay, on average, an extra $168,000 this year because of it) to provide more health care for the poor and middle class.

These are pretty remarkable achievements for a president in a political system where the deck seems entirely stacked to favor the rich. It makes you wonder how much further he could go if the group these gains should please the most -- the Occupy Movement -- worked as hard to elect liberal Democrats to Congress as the Tea Party does to elect conservative Republicans.

Hell on Earth

By Bill Maher

It's been said that there are two sides to every issue. And in between the two sides there's a lot of what's called nuance. But, in our Congress, there's one party that doesn't believe in nuance because the word "nuance" sounds French. What used to happen is that the parties on each side of an issue -- especially the critical issues that require action -- would reach a compromise. A compromise is usually a shitty solution but at least it's something and doing something is generally better than doing nothing. But now, we have one party that consistently opts for doing nothing.

The National Climatic Data Center recently announced that, in 2012, America experienced its hottest year ever, by far. Usually these records are set by a tenth of a degree, but this past year's average temperature was 55.32 degrees, an alarming full degree hotter than our hottest year ever and 3.2 full degrees hotter than our average for the 20th century. Crops and livestock were decimated, rivers and lakes dried up, wildfires consumed millions of acres and scientists, even after allowing for natural weather variations, say there is zero doubt -- zero -- that fossil-fuel-induced global warming is accelerating our climate change at a rate even faster than they had predicted. Plus, simple arithmetic bears out that global warming's resulting weather events are costing us way more than the suggested solutions.

We're frying the planet, we know it, we know how to arrest it and one side's solution is to privatize Medicare and close Planned Parenthood. In other words, do nothing.

It's just another case of not being able to craft a solution or even begin a discussion because one side is dealing in science and facts and reality and the other is stuck in a state of uninformed, ideologically-based paranoia. It's like a city council trying to debate whether or not to put up a stop sign at a certain intersection to keep the kids safe, when some of the council members deny the existence of cars.

Leader Bored

By Bill Maher

Michael Savage thinks that what conservatives need is a "nationalist" party with a "charismatic" leader. Who has a little mustache. And loves his dog, Blondi.

Okay, maybe I made up the dog and the mustache, but in a recent interview, Michael Savage, one of the most popular right-wing radio hosts in the country, announced, "We need a nationalist party in the United States of America," which he defined as a party focused on "borders, language, and culture."
He went on to say the Tea Party has the rudiments of such a nationalist party, but it lacks a "charismatic mover of people."

So, to recap:  What America needs is a charismatic leader of a nationalistic party focused on borders, language, and culture.

Hey, I know it sounds bad, but Michael Savage wants you to know that he's not thinking of a certain Fuhrer.  No, he's thinking of -- wait for it -- King David.

"Somebody has to bring them all together, unite them like King David did the ancient tribes of Israel. And there is no King David out there. Who's the King David?"

Whew, that's a relief. You had me worried there for a second, Mr. Savage (real name: Michael Weiner).

So what we need is a new King David. A guy who could, um, kill a giant with a slingshot. That'll come in handy in case the US is invaded by giants.

But Savage kind of has a point. There is no popular figure that the disparate strands of modern conservatism (gun nuts, fetus worshippers, generic obese suburbanites, the super-rich...) can rally around.

It's telling that whenever the right loses an election, they immediately start blaming it on the fact that they don't have a Dear Leader that can sell their product. It never occurs to them that maybe people just don't like their product. They've convinced themselves that the only way Obama has won two elections is by stunning the electorate with his superhuman charisma, and so the only way they can combat him is by finding someone with equal but opposite charisma.

But Obama didn't win because of his charisma. The right talk about him like he's Michael Jackson and JFK and Jesus rolled into one, but people voted for him because he seemed better than John McCain or Mitt Romney, which is not an unreasonable position to take.

Confirmation Bias

By Bill Maher

Chuck Hagel is the first enlisted soldier ever nominated to head the Pentagon. About time, isn't it?
To explain Hagel's dovishness, the insufferable Lindsey Graham said about Hagel, "I think he's very haunted by Vietnam." As if that's a bad thing. I like the idea of having a Secretary of Defense who's personally haunted by the reality of war -- maybe we should even make it a prerequisite for the job. We'd certainly save a lot of lives and money that way.

Reports say senate Republicans, led by John McCain and Graham, are actually going to try to filibuster Hagel, one of their own. In 2006, McCain called Hagel "one of the two, three or four leading voices on national security and foreign policy in the senate," and said if he were president, he'd "be honored to have Chuck with me in any capacity."

What changed? 2008 happened. McCain felt personally slighted because Hagel didn't back him for president, and he's willing to go nuclear over it because he's the thinnest-skinned man in America not named Donald Trump.

Also, he's afraid that Hagel is going to ruin his plans for war with Iran. John McCain needs war like a dollhouse needs dolls. He's already sent out the invitations, ordered the cake, and the last thing he wants is some rational person coming in half-cocked to spoil his international quagmire.

Why can't I turn on a Sunday news program without somebody telling me what John McCain and Lindsey Graham think? Who cares? The American people already made their decision about John McCain: he's a loser. Yeah, he was re-elected senator of Arizona, the stupidest state. And that's not my opinion; we had a contest and the people voted it the stupidest state, even over Florida and Alabama. Heck, McCain wanted to give the nuclear codes to Sarah Palin, who would have confused them with her locker combination at the gym and ended up blowing up the world.

The Other Minority That Elected Obama

By Bill Maher

There's been a lot of talk about how Latinos, African Americans, and Asians pushed Obama over the top. But there's another growing minority group that did, and no one's talking about them: atheists. Exit polls show those listing "none" for religion was 12% of the electorate in 2012. In 1984, it was only 4%. 12% is a bigger slice of the voting pie than Hispanics or Asians, and about the same as African Americans. If the media is really so liberal, why aren't they talking about this more?

Over 70% of non-believers voted for Obama. During the inauguration, he could have thanked us by limiting his usual shout-outs to God and scripture.

Young voters are disproportionately non-believers, so their numbers and influence will only grow as the more gullible folks die off. Ironically, the result of this should be a more Christ-like society because, like the other minority groups who vote for liberals, they're a lot more interested in practicing what Jesus preached, like economic fairness, peace, and tolerance. They're much more into "social justice." I know that's a dirty word to Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, but it certainly beats their recommended alternative: social injustice.

Americans can only truly forge a personal relationship with Christ once those who don't believe in him start running things.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Party Foul

By Bill Maher

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what's philosophically wrong with Republicans. It's like asking what's intellectually wrong with lobsters. But Jon Huntsman (who's what you'd get if Mitt Romney had a baby with Anderson Cooper) said something interesting while we were off, in England's Daily Telegraph:

"The party right now is a holding company that's devoid of a soul and it will be filled up with ideas over time and leaders will take their proper place. We can't be known as a party that's fear-based and doesn't believe in math. In the end it will come down to a party that believes in opportunity for all our people, economic competitiveness and a strong dose of libertarianism."

Huntsman once told the Huffington Post that Republicans seem to want to:

"... thwart the opposition, stymie the opposition, obfuscate, be a flamethrower, go out there and destroy the system, and here we are."

You put those couple of thoughts together, and I think that's a pretty good description of the GOP position on the debt ceiling. Destroy the System/Don't Do Math. It's not a political party. It's Rock 'n' Roll High School.

Speaking of exactly the same thing (plus racism), Colin Powell was on Meet the Press Sunday, to borrow David Gregory's gun clip, and say the GOP has its head up its ass.

Powell: "There's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities."

No shit, General Sherlock. Now, I don't know why Colin Powell is a Republican any more than I understand why Andrew Sullivan says he's a Catholic. But Powell says he's a Republican, and he says they've got a secret problem, and he's the guy who said Iraq had nukes, so he knows things and we should listen to him.

Zero Dark Hurty

By Bill Maher
Zero Dark Thirty "went wide" last weekend, and now it's the #1 movie in America. Most movies about Iraq and Afghanistan tank, but they don't have hot, controversial torture scenes, and I guess America loves inhumanity, and the Billy Crystal movie was sold out. The movie shows CIA agents torturing people, and that's bad, but it's for a greater good: Finding targets for our death squads. Is that any reason for the Academy to snub Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director? Because they snubbed her. Which must hurt. Not like being water-boarded, but still...

She did win Best Director from the New York Film Critics Circle, and she said this:

"I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement. And if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices. No author could ever write about them, and no filmmaker could ever delve into the knotty subjects of our time."
She makes a really good point: Always suck up to the people who just gave you an award. But what about the stuff about depiction not being endorsement? Does she really believe that? If only we could be sure she was telling the truth. Maybe with jumper cables.

Friday, January 18, 2013

End of Daze

By Bill Maher

The Mayan Apocalypse fizzled, but conservatives are still terrified that the end is near.
I visited several of the most heavily trafficked right-wing web sites today, as I am wont to do on a blustery day in January, and I was struck not by the stories, but by the ads. The ads are all survivalist companies: gold coin makers, freeze-dried food suppliers, "free energy" machine manufacturers...

 Free energy: the oldest, corniest, hokiest confidence scheme in the history of the world, and yet people still fall for it.

Here's another ad with a dire message.

Dust bowls?  Mass riots?  Shit, Martha, get the shotgun out of the attic! Honestly, I'm still not sure what this ad was selling; ten minutes into the video they still hadn't told me and I gave up.

But whatever happens, I’ll be prepared, thanks to this other ad for Wayne LaPierre's new survival manual, Safe.

Thanks to Wayne, I now know how to protect my family from the rioting black hordes looking for the canned goods I've hidden in my bomb shelter/panic room/man cave.

These ads point out the biggest problem facing the GOP today, which is that its base is extremely fearful, extremely gullible, and way out of step with the vast majority of Americans. I mean, do you know anyone who lies awake at night worried that America is going to run out of food? If so, tell them to relax -- most Americans have enough fat stored in their adipose tissue to last them through three or four potato famines anyway.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Rules for the New Year


2012: I call it the year in “meh.” Not the worst we’ve ever experienced, but nothing particularly great to say about it either. Like being a socialite, but in Tampa. 

I am looking forward to 2013, however, because I love the odd-numbered years — they’re the ones without congressional elections, Olympics, World Cups or weird extra days tacked onto the calendar by so-called scientists. Odd-numbered years are chill. They’re the 3 p.m. of years — that small sliver of time when lunch is digested and it’s too early to think about dinner and you stand at least a fighting chance of getting something done. 

In that spirit, here are the New Rules for the new year: 

NEW RULE Now that their end-of-the-world prophecy has proved to be complete baloney, the Mayans must be given a job predicting election results for Fox News. 

NEW RULE Sometime during the 2013 awards show season, “Gangnam Style” must be given an award for the shortest amount of time between my finding out what something is to my being completely sick of it. Besting the time of 7 hours, 12 minutes, set by “The Macarena” in 1996. 

NEW RULE Congress must make it a tradition to drive off the fiscal cliff every year. And I mean really off the cliff, like Toonces the cat drove that car. This way Republicans can learn that lower military spending won’t lead to China invading. And Democrats can learn that no one cares what the Commerce Department does anyway. 

NEW RULE No more mixing politics with pizza. The filthy rich founder of Papa John’s, John Schnatter, said he’d cut his employees’ hours to avoid the costs of Obamacare. This is where I’d normally suggest boycotting Papa John’s, but that’s like telling people to boycott sadness. Nobody eats Papa John’s because they like it. They eat it because Domino’s won’t deliver to crack houses. 

NEW RULE The winners of next month’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show must later compete against the winners of “Toddlers & Tiaras” — so we can get their handlers in one place, lock the doors and let the kids and dogs run for their lives. 

NEW RULE The New Year’s Eve ball drop must be moved to one of the two states that recently legalized pot, so we can hear the crowd sing in unison, “Should old acquaintance be... what are the words again?” 

NEW RULE Second-term Obama must have a few laughs by acting out the Tea Party’s worst fears. He must order Air Force One to fly everywhere upside-down like Denzel and replace Bo the White House dog with two pit bulls named “Malcolm” and “X.” 

NEW RULE Drugstores, supermarkets, department stores and all other retail establishments must stop asking me to join their “club.” A club is a place to have a few drinks. What you’re offering me is two dollars off a bottle of NyQuil. And that’s nothing like being in a club. Unless I drink the whole bottle at once. 

NEW RULE You can’t run for president if you don’t know how old the world is. Quizzed recently, Marco Rubio answered, “I’m not a scientist, man.” As if you have to be Galileo to Google, “How old is the earth?” And when asked his thoughts on evolution, Chris Christie said, “None of your business!” Which is what you say when someone asks you if you made a baby with the maid. Fellas, if you and your party want to be taken seriously, you don’t have to recite the collected works of Stephen Hawking — just stop regurgitating the Facebook page of Sarah Palin. 

NEW RULE If we must sit through a 30-second ad to see your Web site, you have to take down all of those banner ads, which no one has clicked on since 1997. Please — I’m trying to watch a video of a nipple slip from last night’s episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Let’s not cheapen it.