Friday, September 19, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #369 09/19/14 Terror Tantrum

Colin-Powell-with-Anthrax
Is this when the war on terror began?
Colin Powell at the UN holding anthrax

Bill Maher and his guests had a terror tantrum on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 369, which aired on September 19, 2014.

 
The Interview: Colin Powell
 
The interview was with General Colin Powell, a four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the former Secretary of State. He is the author of several books. His most recent book is It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.
 
When I think of Colin Powell, the image that immediately comes to mind is Powell at the U.N. holding up that little vial of fake anthrax.  Powell is one of the people most responsible for getting us into George W. Bush’s Iraq war and thus he is responsible for all the unintended consequences of that war including the rise of ISIS. Because Powell was respected by so many world-wide, his support for the war was what put Bush and Cheney’s campaign for war over the top.  I noticed in Powell’s conversation with Maher, he praised the way the conduct of the first Iraq war, the one that Poppy Bush started, but had nothing to say about the second Iraq war.

No wonder Powell wants to change the subject from war to education.  He says he is doing it because it is a continuation of what he did as a general. Take young people and “teach them how to behave, how to have discipline, how to have structure.”  (And, I will add, how to fight and die in a war based on lies conducted to enrich the oil companies.)

Maher was fawning over Powell. I suppose that is what you have to do when your guest is the esteemed General Powell.  He didn’t ask for clarification when Powell said he is a Republican because of “my feelings about foreign policy and defense spending.”  I would have liked to know what those feelings are. Powell added that he was more moderate on social issues than the Republican party is. He added that the Republican party has to do more to appeal to minorities because minorities will soon be the majority in this country. “Appeal to minorities?” Why didn’t he say, “Do something to help minorities?”

 I can praise Powell on one thing. He supported Obama in both of Obama’s presidential elections. He said, “It was the right choice in 2008 and in 2012.” I want to add, what was the right choice when it was time to proclaim your party affiliation? I think he made the right choice for himself—being a black man in the Republican party gets attention and power because there are so few blacks in the Republican party.  It is selling out! Why else would a black person align with a party hasn’t done one thing to help blacks since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  (P.S. The same goes for gay Republicans.  When the party leadership reviles you—why do your support them?)

ISIS
Talk about terror filled the hour.  Maher thinks that Obama is wrong to conduct even a “limited war” against ISIS.  Maher thinks Obama is giving them exactly what they want, exactly what the beheadings were designed to do—incite the U.S. to go to war in Iraq.

In the monolog Maher mentioned “arming and training the moderate rebels.”  He told us not to worry. “McCain is carefully vetting them.” A nice swipe at Sarah Palin, which Maher built on in New Rules when he referenced the Palin family’s public drunken brawl.  Maher said that Obama’s “mom jeans” were clearly better than her mom genes. Pow!

Personally, I don’t know what is the right thing to do. It seems about 75% of the country is in favor of military action against ISIS and 75% also thinks it won’t work. I agree on both. There is no winning here. The U.S. can’t ignore such a deliberate provocation and yet responding is exactly what ISIS wants. They want war with “the West.” I hope they are wrong in their strategy.
 
 
New Rules: Jihad Me at Hello

Maher said that “for terrorism to work, it takes two. Why are we buying what they are selling?” 

Maher mocked Lindsey Graham as “the scared-est man in the country.” Because of his recent hysterical statements implying that ISIS was going to kill us all.

He mocked Representative Trent Franks (R, AZ) for saying ISIS was on our border. “Yes,” Maher said sarcastically, “The Mexicans and ISIS are working together. They will cut off our heads with hedge trimmers.”

Maher said that he feels bad about the beheading of the two American journalists by ISIS.  However, they were in Iraq and they were there by choice. Maher minimizes the danger ISIS poses to U.S. citizens in general.  “Do you really think you are standing in line for the new I-Phone and zap—ISIS beheads you.”

Maher says he agrees with Hillary Clinton that global warming is the biggest threat facing us and the world. But we can’t see the sea rising. It’s not on TV over and over like the beheading videos that Anderson Cooper tells us not to watch and then airs 10,000 times. Maher ends with, “We need to get a polar bear to punch someone in an elevator.”

polar bear gets punched

For more of Maher’s views about  ISIS, read Bill Maher Talks Sense About ISIS.


Flip-a-District

Maher, reported that just as he predicted, the Flip-A-District loser John Kline is now trying to make the campaign be about Maher. He’s having a tantrum because he is terrified of  Maher’s campaign against him. Kline has said that Maher is all but his opponent’s campaign manager.  Maher refuted this saying he didn’t even know who his opponent was and had never heard of his opponent, Mike Obermueller. Maher said he wanted to emphasize that he is not endorsing or supporting anyone.  “We are wholly negative,” he said with a grin.



Matthew Segal and Student Debt and The University of Phoenix Scam

The mid-show guest was Matthew Segal, a media commentator and political activist. He is the co-founder and president of Our Time, a nationwide non-profit network of young Americans promoting economic and voter empowerment, gave us plenty of reasons not to vote for John Kline.

Segal reported that the University of Phoenix, Kline’s biggest supporter, was a publically traded for-profit organization. The university is paid mainly through student loans and the graduation rate is only 22%. (Is that degree even worth anything, given the poor reputation of the school?) Maher added that Kline wants to raise student loan rates and has called student loans a “handout.” At one time, students got education grants, not loans, because education was seen as good for society. Now we have loans with compound interest which students can’t pay back and which hurts the economy because when a person has loan debt he can’t buy a house, a car, or much of anything.

Segal is having a tantrum over this because student loan debt is terrorism for students.


Jack Kingston defends Kline and Attacks Obama
 
Panelist Representative Jack Kingston (R, GA) didn’t have much to add to the conversation except is in vein attempts to defend John Kline as “a nice man.”  Maher said maybe he is a nice man, but he doesn’t vote that way. Kingston may also be a “nice man,” but he recently lost his primary for the Republican Senate nomination. The more moderate David Perdue won. I’m thinking  there may be a trend here. Extreme right-wing candidates may win in gerrymandered congressional districts, but they have a harder time in statewide elections where independents can tilt the election to the more moderate candidate. Perdue is now in a close race with Democrat Michelle Nunn.

Kingston tried to pin the ISIS problem on Obama asking a rhetorical question “are we safer now (than under Bush)?  Yes, Maher said. We have not been attacked (on U.S. territory) like we were with Bush on 9/11. Yes, Pierce said, Obama got Iran to back down. And Obama has done 175 sorties against ISIS.

Republicans like to trot out the old adage that Republicans are better at foreign policy and defense. Powell did it during the interview. And Kingston repeated it. Look closely and you will see Republicans like to spend money on defense, and they like to talk tough but do they actually keep us safer. Do wars make us safer or do they just set the stage for the next war.  It is diplomacy that makes us safer.

 
Fergusson and the Terror of Being a Black Male

Every witness to the killing of Mike Brown, including two new witnesses, say that Brown had his hands up and was surrendering when he was gunned down in the street by a police officer.  


Wendell Pierce
Wendell Pierce
Panelist Wendell Pierce, an actor who currently plays a corrupted parole officer on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and who previously appeared in HBO’s Treme told a personal story that made the issue vivid.

He described how the most dangerous moment of a black man's life is when he is pulled over by a policeman.  He knows that this could be the end of his life.  He then told a chilling story of a close call he once had in Louisiana.  "I can't believe in a post racial America." he said.  "It could get me killed."

Read Wendell's story and see a video clip from Maher's show at: Post Racial America? Not for Wendell Pierce!

Terrorizing Little Children
 
There is a difference between spanking and whipping. There is a difference between an occasional slap on the rear and terrorizing a young child with a beating.  Since the NFL players currently in the news for beating their wives and children are all black, the conversation turned to whether or not this was “a black thing”  Blacks may be treating their children the way slave-masters treated them. 
Maher said it was a Southern thing because the South is where religion is the strongest. The Bible says that beating your kids is good for them. 
I think it is a generational thing. Being beaten as a child makes you beat as a parent. Not just because it is a family tradition, but because that anger is seething within you. You can hear people like Sean Hannity on TV saying, “I was beaten as a child and I turned out OK.” I saw him take out a belt and start beating it against the table. He looked out of control. Oh yeah, Sean, you turned out OK. 
The abuse in the news is against children as young as one. Is beating a one-year old discipline? A one year old can’t understand anything.  All they understand is terror.  The parent is having a tantrum and terrorizing and traumatizing the child. I can’t write about this anymore because I am going to cry.

Terrorizing the Electorate
Panelist,  Joan Walsh, editor-at-large of Salon.com, political commentator on MSNBC, and the author of several books including, What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was took Jack Kingston down a notch or two. “Your party philosophy is to win because people don’t vote.
In addition to voter suppression laws, Maher said Republicans try to suppress voting in three other ways.
1. The people in this country want instant gratification. When Congress does nothing, they lose interest in voting.
2. There is no education on civics. People do not learn in school about how to be a good citizen.
3. Money has perverted the system. People feel that without money they can’t affect the political system.
  I could add to this list, but this review is already too long.

The Terror of Fracking

The mid-show comedy bit was about fracking. The American Petroleum Institute bused in homeless people to attend a town hall meeting and speak in favor of fracking.  They were paid to do so.  Maher joked that that they were allowed to make their own signs.   Here are a few of the signs:
“We are the 99 Proof.”
“Give me money, and I’ll say anything, just like Congress.” 
“I hate nature. A seagull stole my French fry.”

I found the jokes a little lame, maybe because they were mostly making fun of homeless people and not politicians.  

 
Terror Trauma
 
I’m worn out from writing about terror in all its forms. It just occurs to me: Does all this terror go back to children who were beaten by their parents. Maybe those ISIS people are terrorists because they were beaten as children. Maybe those cops are killing because they were beaten as children. And maybe Republicans have such hateful views because they were beaten as children.

Bill Maher's Guests #329 September 19, 2014

General Colin Powell: Four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the former Secretary of State. He is the author of several books. His most recent book is It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership 
Matthew Segal: media commentator and political activist. He is the co-founder and president of Our Time, a nationwide non-profit network of young Americans promoting economic and voter empowerment 
Representative Jack Kingston (R, GA) 
Joan Walsh: Editor-at-large of Salon.com, political commentator on MSNBC, and the author of several books including, What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was
 
Wendell Pierce: Actor ,who currently plays a corrupted parole officer on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and who previously appeared in HBO’s Treme