Friday, July 18, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #325 July 18, 2014 "Death Star"

Death Star Destroying a Planet
The Death Star destroys a planet.
by Catherine Giordano

Who needs the Death Star?  We Earthlings are doing a real good job of raining death down on our planet all by ourselves.
On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which aired on July 18, 2014, Bill Maher mixed his metaphors a bit. He was talking about Star Trek and the Death Star is featured in Star Wars, but never mind, it's still a good theme for the entire show.

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A Malaysian airliner was shot out of the sky this week by Ukrainian separatists using surface-to-air missiles supplied by Russia.  All 298 people on board were killed. One of the panelists, Jamie Weinstein, political columnist and commentator, senior editor of The Daily Caller, a conservative news and opinion website, and author (with Will Rahn) of  The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer said “Putin played a reckless game. He funded the separatists.” He was right n that, but then he had to go and ruin it by firing off the same old Republican talking points. “Obama should impose stricter sanctions. Obama has to speak with moral clarity. Obama has to increase defense spending.”  Maher fired back, “Obama is already doing that. Should he go to war with Russia? Weinstein had to back down and said, “No.”
Another panelist, Jane Harmon, former Congresswoman (D, CA) and President and CEO of The Wilson Center had a better idea. “We can export clean energy to Europe.” Since gas is a major source of income to Russia, the more we replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the more we deprive Russia of the funds it needs for its invasion of the Ukraine.  She also pointed out that the sanctions Obama imposed are already working. She said, “The Russian economy is tanking.”

Missiles are flying on the Israeli-Gaza border. Israel is trying to take out the missile launching sites and destroy the tunnels that Hamas has built on the border to sneak into Israel to attack Israelis. Maher defended Israel. Whose fault is it really? Israel has a right to defend itself.  
Harmon agreed saying, “Israel is using its missile defense system to protect its citizens [with bunkers]. Hamas is using its citizens to protect missile defense systems.  He also said, “Hamas would kill as many Israelis as it could. Israel is not killing as many Palestinians as it could.” In other words, Israel is showing restraint, doing only as much killing as is needed for defense.
Maher concluded by saying that world opinion is the least of Israel’s problems. The real problem for Israelis is “Will I get killed when I go to the dry cleaners?”
In the monologue Maher spoke about Republican response to the Israeli defense, Operation Protective Edge. He said that Republicans say, “Now that is how you secure a border!”
Maher said that the Republican response to everything is to say that Obama is weak and ineffective. And the next thing they say is that Obama is a tyrant who controls everything.  (A logical inconsistency, but when has that ever stopped Republicans?)
Maher summed up Republicans reactions this way:

  1. McCain will call for war.
  2. Obama is doing it to distract from Benghazi.
  3. Obama is part of it.
  4. Obama is doing nothing about it.

Protest Sign North Carolina
A protest sign in North Carolina
The interview was with Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, NAACP President for North Carolina and leader of the Moral Monday protests. He claimed that the Republicans governor and legislature in North Carolina are “literally killing people. He was referring to the state’s refusal to take federal money to expand Medicaid. (His accusation was not hyperbole—people in the state have died because of this.) 

Barber said that the Moral Monday protests were about not only Medicaid, but about all of the rights being denied to people in the state—public school teachers, public education, workers rights, earned income tax credit, the unemployed, the LGBT, women’s rights and  the biggest denial of rights--voter suppression. He said that every group as supporting this movement—people f faith and hose without faith, Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites, because everyone in the state is being hurt.  Maher joked that “Monday is the perfect day to get people to be moral. There is nothing going on anyway.”  

The third panelist was Nate Silver, Nate Silver, a statistician who analyses politics and baseball, editor-in-chief of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight blog, special correspondent for ABC News, and author of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't. He did not have a lot to say because he is all about the numbers and either doesn’t have, or doesn’t express, opinions. Maher questioned silver about voting patterns, but Maher did most of the talking.  “The people who like Obama the most are the people least likely to vote. Anger makes people vote. People don’t vote to say thank you, but to say f@@k you.”  

Weinstein couldn’t resist this opening to say, “What has Obama done to make people vote for him?  Maher then delivered a soliloquy reprising “Zombie Lies” from last week’s show. He specifically wanted to shoot down the lie about “trickle-down economics. “ He said that Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas cut taxes repeatedly. As a result, state revenue collapsed, and the economy of Kansas is now in a crisis. California went the other way and raised taxes, and they have had twice the job growth. 

Weinstein, like the good little Republican mouthpiece that he is, said “It‘s too soon to judge.  It has only been two years.” Harmon responded that things are so bad in Kansas that 100 leading Republicans in the state have endorsed the Democratic candidate for governor. Silver pointed out that even though Brownback has really low approval ratings, politics is so polarized that he could still get elected. 
George Takei Oh My
George Takei
The mid-show guest was GeorgeTakei, actor, LGBT activist, author of several books including Oh Myyy!: There Goes the Internet, and subject of a new documentary, To Be Takei. You have got to give Takei credit. He had a small role on a 1960’s television series, Star-Trek, and has lived off of it ever since. In more recent years, he has added being gay into the mix, and he has made a career of that as well.    

The Death Star comment was a response to the mention of a long-running feud between Takei and William Shatner.  Maher suggested that Takei might want to settle their dispute with a “Death Star.” Takei wouldn’t get specific about the reason for their mutual dislike, but I suspect it may have something to do with Takei being gay. Takei said that everyone on the set of Star Wars knew that he was gay and was cool with it.  He implied that the only person who didn’t know was Shatner. 
Maher spoke about how Star Trek was a “sneaky political show” using outer space as a metaphor for our own society. For instance, the Klingons were the Russians. They spoke about the episode in which Captain Kirk kissed a black woman. Takei said the show as blacked out in the South and the ratings plummeted.  Maher asked him if he ever asked Gene Roddenberry, the producer of the show to tackle the gay issue. He said that Roddenberry declined saying that if we pushed the envelope to far we wouldn’t b ale o do any social issues. They discussed how things have changed so much since the 60’s. Gay marriage became accepted a “warp speed.”  
The mid-show comedy segment was about the one-percent. Maher asked, as he has cone in the past, “What can you buy with your second billion that you didn’t already buy with your first billion?”  He suggested a magazine tiled “One-Percent” to help billionaires spend their money. Some of the cover stories were: 
  • Seven New Acquisitions that Will Drive Your Trophy wife Wild
  • Wine Cellars for the panic Room in the Pool house o your Vacation home
  • The 2015 Republican Congress: Collect Them All
  • Sheldon Adelson: Sexiest Man Alive

In New Rules, Maher took on “Blitzkrieg Cops.”  He said that Pentagon cast-offs were being given to local police forces so now every town can have its own tank.  Maher stated, “If they are dressed and equipped like an occupying army, they will act like one.”  ‘We don’t need to fill our streets with horrifying death machines.”  
The “jack-booted thugs” that the tea-partiers rant about are here. “They are the police coming right through the door with no warrant, a battering ram and a stun grenade.”  He concluded, “I’m afraid of the cops and I’m white.”

Read more about Blitzkrieg cops and se the video at "Tank You Very Much." 
I’m sick to death of stories about death.  A good thing Bill Maher can make me laugh about it. Now if that “Death Star” could just turn its laser beam somewhere else for a while.

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Bill Maher’s Guests for July 18, 2014

Rev. Dr. William J Barber II: State NAACP President for North Carolina, Leader of the Moral Monday protests

Jane Harmon: Former Congresswoman (D, CA), President and CEO of The Wilson Center

Nate Silver: Statistician, editor-in-chief of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight blog, special correspondent for ABC News, author of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't

Jamie Weinstein: Political columnist and commentator, senior editor of The Daily Caller, a conservative news and opinion website, author of  The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer (with Will Rahn

GeorgeTakei:  actor, LGBT activist, author of several books including Oh Myyy!: There Goes The Internet, subject of a new documentary To Be Takei