Saturday, May 4, 2013

HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” #281 “Do We Have Time for the Truth?"

by Catherine Giordano

The best line on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, episode 281, airing on May 5, 2013, came not during the show, but during the “Overtime” webcast.  Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC said “Do we have time for the truth?”  Bill tires to allow time for the truth, but it is difficult when he has two Republicans on the panel.

Bill’s monologue began with good news.  The Dow hit 15,000 for the first time ever and unemployment is the lowest it has been in four years. But according to Republicans, Obama is wrecking the economy. Later in the show Mattie Duppler, from a group called “Americans for Tax Reform” managed to turn that good news against Obama saying it proves he was wrong about the sequester—it has not ruined the economy.  

Bill also used his monologue to opine on Republican nuttiness. He reported that a survey showed that 44%, nearly half!, of Republicans believe that armed rebellion against the government might be necessary in the next few years to protect our freedoms. Bill said, “I wish they’d start an armed rebellion because I want to see their faces when they walk out of The Waffle House and get smashed by a drone. Later on he talked about how Waco showed what happens when a well-armed group gets into a battle with the government. They are smashed. My opinion: These 44% are sick, sick, sick. Are there lives so drab that they have to entertain rebellion fantasies just to get through the day. The hatred and anger that they hold within themselves is what they should be worried about. If they would just stop listening to the rabid fear-mongers on Fox news, talk radio, and the internet, they might be able to relax and enjoy life.

And, of course, Bill had a pope joke. He said that the former pope, Pope Benedict, was back in the papal palace, “Or as I call it,” he said, “Club Ped.” Pow! Then Bill added that they keep a chart on the fridge so they know whose turn it is to be infallible. Pow! Pow!  

The interview was with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, with a new book “Dirty Wars” and a documentary, being released in June with the same name.  Bill Moyers has called Scahill a “one man truth squad.” Scahill slams us with the truth: No one knows why we are in Afghanistan anymore. Drones, assassinations, torture, night raids are making us more enemies than killing terrorists. He was especially damning when he told us about the killing or Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son, who had nothing to do with terrorism. There was a lot of controversy about the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and one could argue both sides of that case, but killing a child because of who his parent is, is indefensible.

The third panelist Peter Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans of America, at least made a little sense when he said that the sequester is making stupid cuts. O’Donnell, said that America wasn’t as stupid as the European countries who “went wild with austerity.” Their economies are sinking and ours is not.

Bill lampooned two Republican Congressmen in a Craziest Congressman segment. He skewered them with the truth. He lambasted Louie Gohmert of Texas for his ignorance and for his off-the-wall comments that Muslim terrorists are going to Mexico so the can sneak into the United States and that oil pipelines are good for nature because they make animals horny. 

But maybe Tennessee congressmen Scott DesJarlais takes the prize for craziest. His campaign slogan is “truth and faith” and he is strongly anti-abortion—except, it seems, for the fetuses that he conceives. He had numerous affairs with patients (he’s a doctor) and coworkers, pressured his co-worker to have an abortion and consented to his wife’s abortion, twice. Two abortions for his wife!. This is the “he’s-not-crazy-he’s-just-vile” moment of the week.  

Marc Maron was the special guest. He is a triple threat comic—he has a podcast, a TV show, and a book. He’s also insightful about current events.  He said that the media is calling the second bomber (I can’t spell that name) and his friends “kids.”  “They are adults, not kids.” We don’t call 19 year old black defendants kids. He also asked how many of the people who recognized the bombers called the FBI and how many just spoke to the news media.

New Rules was good this week. One of the New Rules was “Slime and Punishment.”  Speaking about the bombers, Bill said that the uncle had it right.  They are “losers.” We should rename the “War on Terror” as “The War on Losers.” The Boston bombers were too stupid to realize that there would be cameras at the Boston marathon. Bin Laden wasn’t living in some fantastical rigged-up cave, but a drab suburban home. The Times Square bomber, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, all failed. The Liberty 7 would-be terrorists were caught because they made a video of themselves shooting guns and shouting to Allah, and then brought it to Circuit City to be made into a DVD.

Bill concluded that bin Laden’s plan was not to kill us all but to scare us into over-reacting. The one thing they can blow up—it’s our balance sheet.”  And that’s the truth.

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