Friday, January 23, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher, #340, 01/23/15 "Crazy"

Howard Dean
Howard Dean
by Catherine Giordano

It’s deflategate! A football was under-inflated, as Bill Maher said, "Just like Sarah Palin’s brain.” Maher added, “You’d think Tom Brady got ebola and crashed a Malaysian Airlines plane into Benghazi.”  

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died.  Maher said, “I’ll think of you every time I go to an Italian restaurant and see the tablecloth.  The successor to the throne is King Salman.  It’s said he be suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Maher said, “He’s really gone. He’ll say one thing and then the next minute say something completely different. Just like Mitt Romney.”

The official Republican response to President’s state of the union address was a little off its rocker. Joanie Ernst and her “bread bags on my feet” is the punch line for umpteen dozen jokes. Her robotic speaking style is the butt of joke as well.  Her whole manner, right down to her helmet-head hair made me think she was an animatronic mannequin left over from the 1960 world fair. (If all the kids had bread bags on their feet, what was the point to the story?) Oh well, when you can’t talk policy, talk bread bags.   

War is crazy: The Interview 
The interview was with James Fallows, a journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, “The Tragedy of the American Military.” He has written several books. His most recent book is China Airborne: The Test of China’s Future. He is also the author of Blinded into Bagdad: America’s War into Iraq. 

Fallows said. “The biggest strategic mistake as invading Iraq. The trillions we spent were a total waste.” He said “We lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”  He reminded us about President Eisenhower’s concerns about the military. He pointed out that the way to get infrastructure done in this country is to call it defense.  

Fellows said, "Saying 'thank you for your service' to a soldier is not enough. You need to vote to end wars. 

Congress is crazy: Ninja Obama is back 

Ninja Obama
Maher said that after watching the state of the union address he knew “ninja Obama was back. He talked about “middle-class-economics”, taxes on the rich, free college, etc. Obama is back on offense. “Middle class economics” is the answer to “trickle-down economics.” 

Who coined that term anyway? Trickle-down makes me think of urine running down someone’s leg. And how insulting! It’s saying the rich get it all and the rest of us can have what trickles down. Like a dog under the table waiting for table scraps to fall to the floor. That’s the images I get from trickle-down. Maher sad that the 80 richest people in the world are worth what the entire lowest 50% are worth combined.  

Of course, Republicans have to denigrate Obama. The Republican panelist, Bret Stephens, journalist for the Wall Street Journal, couldn’t wait to sneer, “It took Obama six years to mention it.” Maher quickly corrected him. “We don’t have it because Congress wouldn’t give it. Obama was standing under bridges asking Congress for money for his jobs programs.”  

Stephens tried a new tack, “Republicans are champions of growth which helps the poor.” (I guess he was talking about those table scraps again.) Howard Dean, doctor, former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the DNC, co-founder of Democracy for America,” and author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform, also upbraided Stephens for talking nonsense. Dean said, “That has been completely discredited.” 

Maher went on to mention all the good economic news, more jobs, stock market gains, etc. all accomplished despite Republican opposition.   

Stephens couldn’t say the economic facts so he tried to say it wasn’t good news; it was bad news. “It is low interest rates that raised the Dow. Low interest rates hurt the middle class.” 

Maher needed to move on, so this bit of idiocy went unnoticed. Low interest rates allow business to expand and create more jobs and low interest rates help the middle class to afford a mortgage to buy a home. 

Republicans have taken up the cry, “income inequality” because that is the only bad news in the “Obama economy.” I agree income inequality is a big unsolved problem. Obama has proposals to address it, the fair pay for women act, the raise the minimum wage act, the free college education act. He advocated for all of these in the State of the Union address. The consensus is that all these proposals are DOA in the Republican congress. Republicans won’t even vote on these acts. So what are the Republican proposals to reduce “income inequality”? The same discredited answer they have for everything--lower taxes for the rich. 

Crazy denial of climate change
climate change
If you have children,
climate change should be a priority.
Maher informed us that there have been 10,855 peer reviewed articles published on climate change. Only two of them rejected that climate change was happening and it was caused by human activities. In the last 15 years, 14 of them have been the hottest year on record. 2014 was gain the hottest year on record.  

I’m going to call Stephens “the artful dodger.” He reminds me of a bantam-weight boxer who manages to win by dodging and weaving. He moves with one spurious argument to another sometimes saying stuff that is so ridiculous that no has a comeback for it.

Stephens cited a study that he said showed that Maher was wrong. No one else on the panel had ever heard of this study. (Maybe it was one of the two studies that Maher referred to.)  

Then Stephens said it was a matter of priorities. Maher stated, “If you have children, I don’t know how climate change cannot be your priority. My priority is that I want to keep breathing…Earth is the one place that sustains human life.”  

Finally, he said, "Consensus should not rule science.” He cited Galileo being right about the planets revolving around the sun when everyone else thought the sun revolved around the earth. Everyone on the panel was too stunned to reply. Maher sputtered, “But that was the church.” What he was trying to say was that the church disagreed with Galileo, not the scientists. It took a while—there weren’t a whole lot of scientists around back then and the church had threatened them into silence, but once more scientists weighed in, Galileo’s views became the consensus.  

Science is always about consensus. Climate change theories were not immediately accepted. Over time, consensus was achieved as more and more evidence was found to support the theory and very little evidence was found to support the opposing theories.  

Stephens's remarks were so appallingly stupid, and all the more dangerous because they were covered with a veneer of seriousness. Stephens is the most dangerous of the crazies—he looks and sounds like he knows what he is talking about, but he is nothing more than the artful dodger. He has a book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. I wonder if the book is also filled with nonsense and stupidity. 

Crazy song titles: The mid-show comedy segment
Bread Bags on My Feet
Talking about stupidity about climate change, Maher said that Joanie Ernst said one of the stupidest things he had ever heard. “I have not seen any proven proof.” 

It seems Ernst was not only a hog castrator, she was also once a country singer. (I don’t know if the latter part is true or if it was just part of the joke.)

Maher gave us some of the song titles from her album “Bread Bags on My Feet.”  
  • Harper Valley NRA
  • I Walk the Line to Keep the Mexicans Out
  • Mothers, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up to be Scientists
  • Stand by Your Tan (The John Boehner Song)
  • A Boy named Lindsey
  • The Only Thing Gay about My Marriage was the Priest
  • Crazy (No Seriously I’m F@#king Crazy)

See the video CLICK HERE

Crazy funny: Bill Burr
The mid-show guest was Bill Burr, a comedian, podcaster, and actor. He has a DVD: Bill Burr: Let it Go. His movies include Walk of Shame and his newest movie, Black or White.

Maher asked Burr if he thought political correctness was ruining comedy. Burr dismissed the whole notion. “It is nothing more than 20 people with a hashtag.” He called it “manufactured strategic outrage.” Maher said, “If you are not in my audience you have no right to complain.”
Movies about crazies: The American Sniper 
Maher said, the movie The American Sniper, has already earned $105 billion dollars an unheard of amount. In contrast, The Hurt Locker, which dealt with the same theme, earned only $17 million, probably because it was more artful and ambiguous. “The American Sniper is about a psychopath patriot.”  

Panelist, Nia-Malika Henderson who is a political reporter for The Washington Post said, “Americans just want to see someone doing some patriotic act because most people think the war wasn’t worth it.”

Stephens, of course, had to disagree. He said, “It’s an honest movie about war.” 

Crazy terrorists
Republicans have their panties in a bunch because Obama uses the phrase Mid-East terrorists instead of Islamic terrorists.

Howard Dean gave a very good explanation for not using the word “Islamic.” “[Calling them Islamic] gives them a propaganda victory.” Exactly. They are thugs and murderers and they are not acting on behalf of the religion of Islam. Dean said, "If we call them Islam, it makes it easier for them to recruit.” Exactly. A call to defend your religion is much more likely to attract recruits than a call to help this guy become the biggest war lord in the Mid-East.

In Overtime,  Stephens debated Dean on this again. “As a physician, you know you can’t cure a disease if you don’t name it.”  Stephens is so oily with his false analogies, I want to slap him. If someone tries to mug me, I don’t have to know his name to defend myself. Further, as was discussed last week (See my review titled Free Speech ), the terrorists are not acting on behalf of Islam. I wish Dean had said, “As I physician, I know I can’t cure a disease if I give it the wrong name.”

Maher was on the wrong side of the argument on this one. He’s still so upset for people calling him out as a racist because he said Islam was a religion of war. So is Christianity and Judaism—denigrating and warring against people of different religions is one aspect of religion.

There are 5,000 terrorists groups who want to be called Islamic, but they do not represent the billion Muslims in the world. To call them “Islamic” elevates them to the billion people who revere Islam. 

I am glad that Obama is not falling for their trick to make their acts of terrorism seem like a holy war in defense of Islam. This whole debate is nothing more than “strategic manufactured outrage.” 

Crazy New Rules: Elephant Men
Bill Maher's Billionaire Buers Guide
There is a slew of Republicans vying to attract their very own billionaire “sugar daddy” to fund their ambitions to win the Republican nomination for president.

There are so many that the billionaire “donor class” may have trouble sorting them all out. Bill Maher wants to be helpful, so he has provided “The Billionaire Buyers Guide.”  

  • It begins with Rick Perry who “wears glasses so he won’t seem like the evangelistic shit-kicker with limited intellect that he actually is.”
  • It continues with Marco Rubio who everyone thinks is the kid Janet Reno sent back to Cuba.
  • Ted Cruz likes the keystone pipeline because "he too oozed down from Canada" where he was born.
  • Rand Paul has some good ideas about changing the drug laws and giving ex-cons the right to vote, but "he is like a Swiss army knife where half the blades are useful and half are Q-tips and AIDS needles."
  • Mike Huckabee is "the guy everyone says is likeable, but no one says he likes.”
  • Ben Carson is the Republicans “black friend du jour” and an "insane paranoid who will say anything.”
  • Chris Christie “always goes with his gut” (insert joke of your choice here) and “he will chew you up and not spit you out.”
  • Jeb Bush is “the smart Bush,”  but the last President Bush had a 22% approval rating when he left office.
  • And it ends with Mitt Romney with his “unbearable whiteness of being” who in his quest for the presidency is “like your dog who wants that piece of Slim Jim that you dropped into the couch.“

See the video CLICK HERE

Crazy Crazy Crazy
Has the whole world gone crazy? Stop the crazy, I want to get off.

Bill Maher’s Guests for January 23, 2015

Howard Dean: doctor, former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the DNC, co-founder of Democracy for America, author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform 

James Fallows: journalist, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly (“The Tragedy of the American Military.” ) He has written several books. His most recent book is China Airborne: The Test of China’s Future. He also wrote Blinded into Bagdad: America’s War into Iraq. .

Bill Burr: comedian, podcaster, actor. He has a DvD: Bill Burr: Let it Go. His movies include Walk of Shame and his newest movie, Black or White.

Nia-Malika Henderson: political reporter for The Washington Post (The Fix)

Bret Stephens: columnist, journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder