Friday, November 14, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #336 11/14/14 "Revelations"

by Catherine Giordano
Obama is in Ninja mode.

It was a night of revelations on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 336, which aired on 11/14/14 on HBO. I’ll reveal what I heard and learned from Bill Maher and his guests in this recap and review.

Obama as ninja
Maher began his opening monolog by revealing that “Obama went all ninja on them” and “He was like Pacino at the end of Scarface. He compared Obama to the idealist President Bartlett on the defunct TV series The West Wing. (I always wished we could have a real-life president like President Bartlett.  

Here is what Obama did that earned Maher’s (and my) respect.  
  • He went to China and got a carbon-capping deal that can help reduce global warming.
  • He came out strongly for net neutrality.
  • Obama announced that he is going to use executive action on immigration. 
Obama will allow illegal immigrants who have close relatives who are citizens—this usually means the parents of children who are citizens because they were born here—to obtain green cards and will not deport them. This is a family-values policy because it keeps families together.
Republicans are going ballistic at the mere thought of this action. They are threatening to shut down the government and to stat impeachment proceedings in retaliation. Ninja Obama is fearless. He has nothing to lose and he has finally realized that Republicans will never cooperate with him on anything.  It’s a shame that it took the loss of majority control in the Senate for him to let his inner ninja out.

Maher also joked about “fake outrage.” The President was chewing gum.  And walking at the same time. Maher quipped, “It’s a blatant attempt to show up Bush.”
Government Bullies Rand Paul
The interview with Rand Paul
Maher began the interview with Rand Paul by showing the cover of the Time magazine that featured Paul with the headline “The most Interesting Man in the World”. The introduction set the tone for the whole interview. Maher said he was open to voting for Paul if he ran for president.  (Maher began his political career as a libertarian.  He has since matured into a liberal, but he still sometimes has a weakness for libertarians.)

Rand acquitted himself well in the interview.  He said, “It’s a low bar” about his title as “most interesting man in the world.” 
Rand revealed his progressive side to us. He came out in favor of restoring voting rights to felons. There are 200 million people who can’t vote because they are felons.  He is also in favor of prison reform.  H objects to prisons as a for-profit business.  He also objects to the expense of keeping people in prison when it does not add to the public safety.

If Maher was going for a gotcha moment with a question on climate change, he didn’t get it.  Rand said he favored a “balanced solution.”  He said we should pursue renewable energy, but not shut down one source of energy [coal]. Darn. Why aren’t Democrats saying that? Of course, we can’t shut down the coal industry overnight; it has to be phased out while coal-miners are trained for new jobs in renewable energy.  I can’t imagine there are many coal miners who wouldn’t jump at the chance to earn a comparable wage without having to do the dirty and dangerous job of coal mining.

Rand is for ending the drug war and ending the shooting war in Iraq and the Mideast. He pointed out that every time we topple a secular dictator, things get worse.  

If he keeps talking like this, I might be open to voting for him. However, I’m hoping the Democratic candidate will take the same stands on these issues because Paul is wrong about a lot of other things. Also with common sense rational views like this, I doubt he can win the Republican nomination.   But you gotta give Paul credit--he tailored his message to his audience.  Let’s see what he says when he is talking to Republicans in the primary debates.
The mid-term elections
Maher bemoaned the fact that Obama waited until after the elections to reveal the good news.  If he had done if before the elections, he might have motivated some more people to vote.

New Gernation American Conservatives Margaret Hoover
Panelist Margaret Hoover, a Republican political commentator and author of American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party was magnanimous. She said “The map was just not in your favor this year” because the majority of the elections were in red states. 

Love Undetectable Andrew Sullivan
Panelist Andrew Sullivan is Blogger- in-Chief at The Dish and author of six books.  (His most recent book is Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival.) He said, “Show that you believe in something. No one wants to vote for the guy mumbling and shuffling away.”

Dirty Wars Jeremy Scahill

Panelist Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist and author of two books. (Blackwater and his new book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, said, “It is like an acting troop that comes out for the encore, but they never did the show.”
Hoover said that the Republicans are “quietly back-channeling” that they are will to move on this.  Maher retorted with disbelief, “VERY quietly.”  Sullivan was also skeptical. He said, “When have they ever won out over the crazies.”

The mid-East and ISIS
Maher said it would take 30,000 ground troops to defeat ISIS. Scahill said this war was a continuation of the war against Bushes troops and that the Bathists had joined a coalition with the Muslim radicals. Sullivan said we need a president to say “This is not our problem.” Maher agreed that we should just let them fight it out among themselves.  

Maher said that there are power struggles in the Vatican as Pope Frank (as Maher calls Pope Francis) tries to move the church into the new age.  He canned Cardinal Raymond Burke, a very conservative cardinal. (Actually, you can't fire a cardinal. The Pope just transferred him to some minor post.)

Pope Frank has to serve in the unusual circum stance of having another living Pope, the retired Pope Benedict. Maher said Pope Benedict was the Dick Cheney of the Catholic Church. Maher then launched into the mid-show comedy segment where he showed a mock war-of-words on twitter between the two popes. 

The conversation about religion continued when the mid-show guest, Martin Short—comedian, actor, and author-- joined the panel. Maher said the he and Short and Sullivan were all raised Catholic and the only one stuck with it.  “The gay one! “(Sullivan.)

Sullivan said, “We can leave room for doubt.  If you have never doubted, you have never really believed.”

Scahill said Pope Frank is trying to push for economic change.  Hoover said he is trying to go back to “the simplicity of Christ.”  Maher pointed out that after he does these things, he comes out for exorcism. “He’s a good politician, throwing a little something to the base.”

Maher brought up the Mormon religion. The Mormon Church has been trying to modernize by being honest about the history of the church.  They are admitting that Joseph Smith, who founded the religion in the 1930’s had 30 to 40 wives, one of whom was a 14 year-old girl and others who were already married. Maher called it “a sex-cult.”  Maher said, “They can’t hide the facts because this history is so recent.”    

Sullivan then tried to claim that the stories in the Bible wee history true.  There was a virgin birth and Christ did come back from the dead—it can’t be empirically disproved.  Maher said that none of the Bible stories about Christ were written until 40 years after his death.  “It is like no one noticed the Beatles until 2010.” 

Martin tried to end the discussion by saying that the truth of religion is not important: “Who cares if it gives you strength.”   

Maher had one more point to make.  He said that the Mormons have Revelators who get messages from God and that even the Mormon missionaries will no longer go to Syria and Iraq. 
Martin Short I Must Say

Martin Short
The mid-show guest was Martin Short, an actor, comedian, and author of several books. Maher discussed Martin Short’s new book I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend.  Maher praised Short for his beautifully written memoir and for his honesty in talking about the losses in his life the death of his brother, his parents, and his wife of 36 years. In the book Short reveals a lot of personal details about his life and career including the fact that Gilda Radner was his first real love.

New Rules: The Importance of Voting
Maher was on fire about people not voting. He started with the little stickers that say “I voted” that are given to people after they vote. Why should people get a sticker just for doing what they are supposed to do? It is like getting a sticker for flushing the toilet.  Instead, there should be stickers for non-voters that say “I couldn’t be bothered.”

He castigated people like comedian Russell Brand who made a statement saying don’t vote because the system is broken. (It got broken because people didn’t vote.)  Politicians are all the same? Tell that to the 700,000 people in Florida who would have gotten health insurance if the Democrat had been elected governor. Obama didn’t deliver? Maybe you missed it because it wasn’t on TMZ.
President Mitt McCain
President Mitt McCain
Maher asked us to imagine life if we had elected President Mitt McCain instead of Obama. (He morphed pictures of the two into one. It was very funny.)  Maher revealed what would have happened.

  • There was no stimulus and the auto industry was allowed to die.  We are in the sixth year of Great Depression II.
  • Paula Dean and Joe the Plumber is on the Supreme Court.
  • The Attorney General is Dick Cheney’s head.
  • The nearest abortion clinic is in London.
  • There is no renewable energy but one trillion dollars was spent on an electrified fence on the Mexican border to keep out the one Mexican who still wants to get it.
  • Homeland Security chairman Ted Cruz deported all 12 million Mexicans and now we have no fruit.
“No fruit, no jobs, your girl friend is having a baby you don’t want, no health insurance and your tap water is on fire!  But you didn’t dirty your hands in the gutter of politics.” I think the bit should have ended with this line. 

The last line seemed a little weak to me. Maher ended with, “If your hands are not dirty, it is not because you are pure. It is because you are not helping.” The writers should have battered that one around a little more. 

Yu cn read more about this and see the video clip at Bill Maher: President Mitt McCain
Martin Short
Bill Maher’s Guests: November 14, 2014
Rand Paul:  Senator (R, KY), and author (with Ron Paul) of Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Fed  

Martin Short:  Actor, comedian, and author of several books. His most recent book is I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend

 Andrew Sullivan: Blogger-in-Chief at The Dish, blog and author of six books.  His most recent book is Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival

Jeremy Scahill: Journalist and author of two books.  His most recent book is Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield