Friday, July 31, 2009

'Birthers' must be stopped

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

By Bill Maher
July 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we all know how well that worked out.

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

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

And Lou, you're their new king.

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

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed July 31,2009,0,622151.story

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Friday, July 24, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 17, 2009


Friday, July 17th, 2009


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

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

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue

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

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding Sonia Sotomayor

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

- Bill Maher in his opening monologue regarding Sonia Sotomayor

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

- Bill Maher

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

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

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

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

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

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

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

- Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment

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