Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #366 10/2/2015 “Politicizing”

Neil deGrasse Tyson shows off his cosmic vest
Neil deGrasse Tyson shows off his awesome vest.
by Catherine Giordano

Is politicizing a bad thing? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. When Bill Maher politicizes on Real Time with Bill Maher, as in did on episode 366, which aired on October 2, 2015, he combines news with comedy and politics both for our elucidation and entertainment.

Science should not be politicized
What a rare treat! There were two renowned scientists on the show. Richard Dawkins was the first interview and Neil deGrasse Tyson was the mid-show interview. They spoke about the wonders f science.

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (which works to promote scientific literacy and a secular worldview), and author of several books. His most recent book is Brief Candle in the Dark, My Life in Science, is a follow-up to his 2013 autobiography. He said that the wonder of science is that life came into being without being designed.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, host of Star Talk Radio, and author of several books including Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. He also talked about the wonders of science. He loves the cosmos so much that he often wears outrageous ties and vests that depict the cosmos.)

 For Tyson, the wonder is that science can change the world. He explained how Einstein published an obscure paper many years ago, and it was considered to be a waste of time—but that discovery led to lasers and bar codes. Quantum physics gave us the technology for the internet.

The microscopic "water bear"
Did the microscopic "water bear"
come from Mars?
Neil deGrasse Tyson is excited about the discovery of water on Mars. He thinks life may have evolved on Mars and Mars seeded the Earth. He spoke about the microscopic organism known as the “water Bear.” He said you can’t kill the thing. If it dries out, you can just add water, and it comes back to life. He said there was no reason for this to evolve on Earth; it might have evolved on Mars and arrived on Earth embedded in some space debris.

On Overtime, Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson revealed their two different approaches to the problem of religion. Richard Dawkins advocates engaging with religionists about the falsity of religious beliefs. Tyson, who describes himself as an educator, wants to offer religionists the scientist’s way of seeing the world and they can come to it on their own.”

Read more about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views on life, the universe, and everything, including religion.  Neil deGrassse Tyson: The People’s Astrophysicist

Benghazi was politicized by Republicans
In the monolog, Maher said that Republicans are fond of saying that we shouldn’t politicize tragedies like school shootings. And then they immediately follow-up with “Now back to Benghazi.” Now that Kevin McCarthy boasted in an interview with Fox News TV host Sean Hannity about how the ninth and most recent Benghazi hearing took down Hillary’s poll numbers, we have the proof of how Republicans politicize tragedy when it suits their purposes. Maher quipped “Fox News is furious with McCarthy because he broke with the format of Fox News by saying something true.”

Hillary seized the opportunity to attack the Republicans for this. I hear the commentators on TV saying, “Why didn’t she go on the offensive before this?” The answer is obvious. If she had said it was a Republican witch hunt before Kevin McCarthy let the cat out of the bag, Republicans would have scoffed saying she was having “vast right-wing conspiracy” delusions. Now that McCarthy has admitted it, Hillary is finally free to speak up.

Maher said that this latest investigation has lasted longer than Watergate. Panelist Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of several books including the best-seller Paris to the Moon, said it was a “tragedy in search of a scandal.” He added that McCarthy blurted out the truth because he was making a campaign promise—he would use his position as speaker for political purposes.

Planned Parenthood was politicized by Republicans
Another wholly political Congressional investigation is the one on Planned Parenthood and the donation of fetal tissue for medical research. Maher said, “It was not a hearing, it was a yelling.” The video has been totally discredited, plus seven states have already conducted their own investigations and none of them found any wrongdoing. Panelist Angela Rye, a Democratic strategist and CEO of Impact Strategies (a government relations and political strategy firm based in D.C.) called it “a witch hunt.” She added, “They do not talk about the benefits to medicine that is derived from research using fetal tissue. Maher had the last word, saying, “The opponents of fetal tissue research should pledge to forgo any personal use of treatments that arise from this research.”

The Pope was politicized by Kim Davis
Kim Dais is the story that will not die. She is politicizing her religious beliefs. She claimed to have had a private audience with the Pope when he was in DC at which time the Pope told her she had his support. It turns out that is not at all true. It is true that she met the Pope, but it was a brief “drive-thru” type of meeting--Or as Maher described it. “Wham! Bam! Bless you ma’am! The spokesmen for the Pope have made it clear that they did not discuss her actions.

The Pope gave only one private audience on that day and that was to his former student, a gay man, who brought his partner of 19 years to the meeting.

Pope Francis and Kim Davis
Kim Davis lied about her meeting with the Pope.
See more funny Kim Davis memes: The Kim Davis Satirical Memes Photo Album

The shooting victims were politicized by Ben Carson
Maher said, “Ben Carson can separate conjoined twins, but he can’t separate fact from fiction. Maher has talked before about the “smart stupid person,” and Carson is a prime example of the type. He’s a highly skilled neurosurgeon, but he doesn’t believe in the Big Bang and he thinks evolution is a theory from the devil.

Maybe Carson knows how to perform neurosurgery, but he apparently is an ignoramus on everything else. Nonetheless, he is rising in the polls. Rye said that his tax plan was a 10% tithe. Tyson added, “It’s like the government is God.”

Carson was thoroughly ridiculed and he had not yet even said his stupidest thing. He blamed the victims in the Oklahoma shooting for not rushing the gunman. [By the way, one student did rush the gunman, but I guess Carson didn’t know anything about the subject he was talking about. The student was shot, but survived. He may have helped to keep the death toll down.]

Carson said he would have rushed the gunman. I doubt it. First of all, Carson is so slow- thinking that the gunman would have shot 50 people before Carson even figured out what was going on. Second, Carson is so slow-moving, that the idea of his “rushing” anyone is ludicrous. Third, he’d be too busy praying to do anything. And fourth, he doesn’t strike me as the hero type.

Note: I wasn’t sure if Trevor Noah would be able to fill Jon Stewart's shoes. Then I saw this bit about Ben Carson blaming the Oregon victims for not "rushing the shooter," and Noah has won me over. Watch this amazing bit from The Daily Show on 10/7/2015.  It’s as good as anything Stewart has ever done.

The mid-show comedy segment
Bill Maher turned Putin’s speech at the UN into the mid-show comedy segment. He literally put words into Putin’s mouth as he pretended to translate Putin’s speech. Some examples are: 
  • Your so-called “Russian dressing” is just ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • You are a nation of fat people in workout clothes. The irony amuses me.
  • The food here is poison, and believe me I know poison.
Donald Trump is getting better at politicizing
Maher opened his monologue with a reference to Trump. He remarked that he was already seeing Jack-O-Lanterns everywhere. Then pretending to correct himself, he said that it was only Donald Trump.

Donald Trump revealed his tax plan--and, guess what?--it was the same as all the others from Republicans He would reduce the top rate, cut the corporate rate, and eliminate the estate tax—all of which he would personally benefit from. Maher said, “We need more tax rates—another bracket for the obscenely rich.”

Panelist Matt Welch, Editor-In-Chief of Reason Magazine and co-author (with Nick Gillespie) of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America faulted Trump’s plan, saying, “He is not talking about cutting the size of government. Cutting taxes without cutting spending is just raising the deficit.”

New Rules: Il Papa Don’t Preach
Republicans and Conservatives don’t like the Pope talking about economic justice—you know, the things that Jesus said. Maher said, “There are two Jesuses—liberals have the traditional Jesus and conservatives have a small business man from Galilee, the Supply-Side Jesus, whose main gripe is big government and who wants to make Nazareth great again. He is the Jesus who gave all the loaves and fishes to the top 1% so they could trickle down onto everyone else.”
Supply Side Jesus
Supply Side Jesus
Maher concluded, “This is why Donald Trump is the perfect candidate for the Republican Party. He has he two favorite books. One is about a perfect God who teaches humanity the right way to live and the other is the Bible.”

Read more about Donald Trump's "two most favorite books:" Donald Trump: I Love the Bible and Other Panders

Republicans are great at politicizing. So is Bill Maher. Only, with the Republicans, the humor is unintentional. 

Bill Maher’s Guests October 2, 2015

Richard Dawkins: Evolutionary biologist, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (which works to promote scientific literacy and a secular worldview), author of several books. His most recent book is Brief Candle in the Dark, My Life in Science, a follow-up to his 2013 autobiography.

Mid-show Special Guest
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, host of Star Talk Radio, author of several books including Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Adam Gopnik: Staff writer for The New Yorker, where he covers American politics and culture. He has written several books including the best-seller Paris to the Moon.

Angela Rye: Democratic strategist, CEO of Impact Strategies, a government relations and political strategy firm based in D.C. She was the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress. 

Matt Welch: Editor-In-Chief of Reason Magazine, co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America. He was the host of Fox Business Channel’s The Independents, which aired from December 2013 until January 2015.