Saturday, September 14, 2013

HBO “Real Time with Bill Maher” #293 “It’s da Bomb!”

by Catherine Giordano

It’s da bomb on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” episode 293, aired on September 13, 2013.   Bill opened his monologue talking about bombing Syria and ended New Rules with more of the same.

Bill said, “America always needs a new war.”  He also said “A Republican president could get a Republican Congress to bomb Sea World.”  Bill was referring to the habit of Republicans being against whatever Obama is for. “They always have to do the opposite of Obama, but it is hard now since Obama changes his mind every day.” Bill said, that “Syria is turning Republicans into the peacenik party.”

And it’s true. Bill observed that “when Bush wanted to bomb a mid-east country it was great, when Obama wants to do it, he is mega Hitler on acid.”

Bill said that we needed a word to describe changing one’s mind because Obama agrees with you.  He suggested. “black track,” “pulling a one-hatey,” and “Kenyan Boom-a-rang.”

Personally, I don’t know what is the best thing to do about Syria, but I know doing nothing is not an option. It reminds me of Chamberlain and Hitler’s Germany. It reminds me of the gas chambers. You give a dictator an inch and he takes a mile. I agree with Obama that if we let this go, Assad and other dictators will be emboldened to go further and further. I’m glad Obama is strong enough to change his course of action when the situation changes. I’m glad he is not too proud to work with Russia’s Putin.

The panel included Matt Taibbi, editor of Rolling Stone and author of Griftopia, Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of The Economist, and Michael Steele, former chairman of the GOP (who appears in the documentary Fear of a Black Republican), and now heads up a group called "Purple Nation Solutions."  No bomb-throwing with this panel—it was an hour of civilized discussion.

Steele sure has calmed down a lot since he stopped being a spokesperson for the Republican party. He no longer shouts, and he doesn’t have to defend ridiculous positions. He confirms for me that many Republicans don’t actually believe the nonsense they talk, they say it because they think it is good politics.
Steele said that Obama was “all over the map” on Syria.  Beddoes said that Obama was “flexible.”   Like me, she believes that “international laws matter.”  

Putin wrote an op ed in “The New York Times” and everyone is talking about it.  Bill said, “Putin lecturing us on democracy is like getting parenting notes from Billy Ray Cyrus.”  

The mid-show comedy skit sent up the letter.  The parody letter began with “Dear Fat-Asses” coasted to “How can you handle Syria when you can’t even handle Hannah Montana” and ened with “We have Chernobyl, you have Detroit.”  

In New Rules, Bill said that right after 9/11, Howard Stern said on his radio show that we should bomb a Muslim country, any Muslim country.”  Bill said Stern want us to choose who to bomb by taking a map and throw a dart at it.  He added, “Apparently George W. Bush was listening, because that is exactly what he did.” Bill concluded, “People in other countries don’t act like this….. if they did we’d bomb them.”

The panel discussed Republican’s sudden distaste for war. Taibbi said that “Republicans are looking for a new ideology”.  Steele said, “They are moving way from neo-cons.”

The interview was with Dr. Edwin Lyman.  It was about the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan. They are leaking scary amounts of radiation into the ocean each day and no one knows what to do about it.. Although some deranged Republicans go around saying radiation is good for you an example of my previous observation that many Republicans think it is good politics to say stupid things, Dr. Lyman said, “There are no safe doses of radiation.”

There was some talk about gun control.  Taibbi said, “This country is crazy for guns.”  It seems two state reps in Colorado were recalled because they voted for background checks and limiting a magazine to 15 bullets.  In Ohio, permits to carry in public were granted to three blind people. In some places in the South, there are laws saying that you must own a gun. Crazy? Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it.

The special guest was Bill Nye, the Science Guy, author of Consider the Following.  He railed against anti-science attitudes, especial teaching creationism in the schools.  He told a story abbot how he explained in a lecture that the moon was not a source of light.  Evidently, the Bible says differently and this caused some members of the audience to leave in a huff.  Nye was very funny as he patiently explained that the moon “shines” because it reflects the light of the sun and that the moon is in the sky all day.  He said we spend a billion and half dollars on planetary science and consider it too much money, but we spend that much in Afghanistan in twenty minutes. The floods in Colorado are showing the devastation that climate change can wreak.  Bill said, “I don’t want to save the planet, I want to save the planet for me.”  In other words, floods and hurricanes and tornados aren’t bad for the planet per se, they are bad for human life on the planet.
The conversation turned to the economy. Taibbi said that “too big to fail” was not only still a problem, but it has gotten worse.  Beddoes added, that we have “essentially two different societies and we can’t change it with a few changes on Wall Street.  Bill Nye said , “That someone has to make something.” Wealth just can’t be about manipulating money on Wall Street.  

So take your pick from the little shop of horrors--Wars, bombs, radiation, poison gas, climate-change, economic collapse, rampant ignorance, nuts with guns, and more.  The human race has a lot of bombs in the air.

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