Friday, October 3, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #331 10/03/14 "Wake Up America!"

by Catherine Giordano

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren

If anything is going to wake up America it is Bill Maher and his guests on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 331, which aired on October 3rd, 2014.

Elizabeth Warren
The interview was with Elizabeth Warren, a senator (D, MA) and author of A Fighting Chance.  She is a fighter with so much energy and enthusiasm. She got a standing ovation from the audience when she was introduced.  She believes that America has lost its way and she wants to bring us back to our values.

She said after the Great Depression changes were made so that we would not have a “boom and bust” economy, but we slipping back into an economy run by Wall Street, the type of economy that brought us the Great Depression. Wake Up Amercia! “The economy is leaving people and families behind and we have to fight back.”  

Elizabeth Warren believes we need to raise the minimum wage because no one who works full time should live in poverty. She believes in equal pay for equal work. She believes it is not your employer’s business what kind of contraception you use. She believes that the government should not profit from student loans to pay for tax loopholes for billionaires. She said, “This is what the upcoming election is all about.”

Warren told us that the government is making $66 billion in profit annually on student loans. “This fight is personal,” she said. Her family suffered a lot of economic hardship when she was growing up and the only reason she was able to go to college was because it only cost $50 a semester to go to a commuter college.
Maher mentioned that one of the reasons he is trying to oust Representative John Kline (R, MN) from congress in the upcoming election is Kline’s support for oppressive rates of interest on student loans.   

He said Kline’s campaign strategy is simply to hide. Maher believes that in order for democracy to work candidates have to put their issues on the table. Maher is encouraging the media to report on Kline’s positions and records. He mocked people who always vote for whoever as an “R” next to their name.
If you go to, you can download posters and other stuff.

Republicn Elephant
The Republican brand is a lie
On the prior week’s show (see my review, Safe), Alexandra Pelosi, documentary filmmaker, sowed video clips of her man-on-the-street interviews.  One after another, a person who indicate that they supported the Democrat position (which weren’t labeled with a party name), and then they would proudly proclaim they were voting Republican.  The Republicans have done a good job of branding themselves as the party of strong defense, lower taxes and family values. Wake up America!  

The Republican controlled House of Representatives went on a six week vacation without voting on the war in Iraq in Syria to fight ISIS. They were too cowardly to take a stand. When Republicans talk about lowering taxes, they are not talking about YOUR taxes; they are only interested in cutting taxes for corporations and billionaires. When they talk about family values, they say one thing and do another. Wake up America! 

Maher mentioned during the show that the unemployment rate is down to below 6% after a steady decline since Obama took office.  Also the deficit has been cut in half sine Obama took office. And the Obama administration accomplished this while the Republicans did everything possible to impede his success. But Obama has low approval ratings (in the mid 40’s). Wake up America!

(P.S. When a Republican says he is going to cut taxes, ask him what he is going to cut to make up for the lost funding. Chances are it is a government service that you like and depend upon. Wake up America!) 

Mid-show comedy segment
Republicans are so elitist that they actually had to put out a commercial saying Republicans are good citizens too. They drive a Prius, they recycle, etc. So Maher did a parody ad, saying that Democrats are just like Republicans. They ride scooters (like Sheldon Adelson) they shoot unarmed black people, etc. It concluded with “Democrats are Assholes Too.”

Read more about this segment and see a video at Democrats are A-Holes Too.

New Rules: Dirty Vancing 
Maher totally lambasted Republican hypocrisy in New Rules. He said it was “a good election year for the bad boys of Congress” – congressmen who blatantly misbehave and the electorate sends them back to congress anyway. 

There is Vance McAlister (R, LA) who was caught on tape passionately kissing a staffer. “His tongue was forming an exploratory committee.” “That’s not kissing, that’s fracking.”

Mark Sanford, (R, SC) who gave new meaning to the phrase “hiking the Appalachian Trail ,” when he went AWOL from his job as governor to see his Argentinean mistress. Maher called him "another born-again booty-caller.

And the worse one of them all Mikael Grimm (R, NY) He’s under a 20-count indictment for fax evasion, fraud, and perjury. He forced his ex-wife to have two abortions and also forced his mistress to have an abortion. He’s a doctor who had an affair with two of his patients. He’s up for a third term in congress and will probably get it unlike the fetuses he conceived.

Maher said he has a new definition for insanity: Giving Congress an 8% approval rating, and then sending them all back to Congress.

Wake up America!

United States Secret Service Badge
Secret Service badge
The Secret Service
What is in the news this week? The same stuff that was in the news last week. Every day he learn about another failure of the Secret Service.  Maher quipped, in the monolog that America hasn’t been this worried about a crazy person getting into the White House since Sarah Palin.

Maher pointed out that Obama has three times more threats made against him than any other president. This is no time for laxity of the secret service.

Nicholas Kristof is a journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. His latest book is A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. He said, “The vitriol against this president is unequalled. No prior president has been called the anti-Christ and had his citizenship questioned.”

Maher pointed out that the Supreme Court pronounced that racism is America was over. Even Republican  Michael Steele, former chairman of Republican National Committee, political commentator, and author of the 2010 book, Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda had to admit it. He knows racism is not over because he is a black man.

(BTW, take a look at the title of Steele’s book:  It proves my point about Republican obstructionism.If Obama hasn’t accomplished as much as you hoped he would, it is the Republicans who are to blame for that. Wake up America! )

Ebola virus
Ebola virus
The United States has its first case of Ebola. The victim is a man from Nigeria who was visiting family in Nigeria.  Maher quipped that it is Rick Perry governor of Texas, is now in charge of preventing an Ebola outbreak.  Maher quipped, “Rick Perry doesn’t know whether to shoot it or cut its taxes.”

Maher said that it would be nice to have a surgeon general to deal with this problem We don’t have a surgeon general because Republicans won’t confirm Obamas nominee because he once said something about guns that they don’t like.

Kristoff pointed out the problem has come to our country because we ignored it when it was in West Africa.  When will people learn that we cannot ignore problems anywhere in the world.  They will grow larger and eventually threaten us too. Oceans can’t protect us anymore. Wake up America!

Ben Affleck at Batman
Batman Ben Affleck
ISIS is another problem that was ignored for too long. The discussion on ISIS was dominated by a shouting match between Ben Affleck (panelist) and Sam Harris (mid-show guest). Ben Affleck is an actor, director, writer, producer, activist. (His newest movies are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Gone Girl, based on a novel by Gillian Flynn). Sam Harris is an author, philosopher neuroscientist. His newest book is Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.His other books are: Free Will, Lying, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. 

Waking Up by Sam Harris
Waking Up by Sam Harris
Sam Harris has correctly pointed out that a large majority of Muslims hold dangerous beliefs. He said, “Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas.” He said a small proportion of jihadists who want to kill people. However, a larger proportion are Islamists who want Muslim supremacy. Many more are Muslim conservatives  who are horrified by ISIS but hold many of the same beliefs about gays and women and death as a punishment for anyone who leaves the religion. Harris is merely informing us that fundamentalists are not a fringe group in Islam.  

Affleck couldn’t wait to jump into the conversation and tried to shout Harris down. Harris, to his credit, stood his ground. Yes, there are many Muslims who are peaceful, but we can’t ignore the many more who are still in the Middle Ages with respect to their beliefs.   

Maher pointed out that reasonable Muslims are afraid to speak out. “Islam is the only religion that who acts like the Mafia—they will kill you for writing the wrong book or drawing the wrong cartoon.”  

Maher and Harris have the facts on their side. They recognized that although there are many Muslims who do not hold dangerous beliefs, a very large proportion do. Affleck seemed to think that should be no criticism of Islam. He was acting like an asshole. I think Maher may have had people like him in mind a couple of weeks ago when he did another New rules segment about holier-than-thou liberals who make it easy for people to dismiss liberals. 

Spiritual, but Not Religious

Sam Harris
Sam Harris
I wish Affleck would have shut up so Harris would have had more time to talk about spirituality without religion, the topic of his new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Harris explained that we all have spiritual experiences, but we have to apply science to it, and not just attribute it to religion. He said, “Swapping a belief in the virgin birth of Jesus for a belief in Atlantis is not much progress.” 

Wake Up America
I took the title of this review from the new book by Sam Harris. Harris wants America to wake up about religion.  Elizabath Warren wants us to wake up about the economy. Maher wants us to wake up and stand up for liberal values. One thing for sure, Bill Maher’s show, was lively enough to keep us all wake.

Maher’s Guests for October 3, 2014
Elizabeth Warren: Senator (D, MA), author of A Fighting Chance. Maher did the interview with her.

Sam Harris: author, philosopher neuroscientist. His newest book is Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. His other books are: Free Will, Lying, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Harris was the mid-show guest.

Ben Affleck: actor, director, writer, producer, activist. His newest movies are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Gone Girl based on a novel by Gillian Flynn
Nicholas Kristof: journalist, author, op-ed columnist, a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. His latest book is A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity

Michael Steele: former chairman of Republican National Committee, political commentator, author. His book, published in 2010, Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda, sounds out of date. 
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