Saturday, October 24, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #368, 10/16/2015 Excitement

The Essential Bernie Sanders book
Bernie Sanders
by Catherine Giordano

It was an exciting night on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 368, on Friday October 16, 2015. How could it not be exciting with Bernie Sanders on the show? Sanders is excitement personified. His campaign for the Democratic nomination for president got a real boost from the CNN Democratic Debate on Tuesday 10/13. I’ve been a fan of Sanders for many years—He used to have a regular interview slot on Air America Radio, but most Americans had probably never heard of him prior to his entry into the Democratic race for the nomination for president.

Hillary Clinton
Sanders is closing in on Hillary Clinton some of the polls of the early states, but Hillary has a commanding lead over Bernie nationally. I expect that lead to grow now that Joe Biden is no longer a possible candidate and the Benghazi congressional hearing is over. (I’m sorry that there was not a new Real Timeon Friday October 23 due to Mayer’s travel schedule. He would have had fun with it.) Hillary removed any doubts during that marathon Inquisition that she had the temperament, experience, and endurance to be president.

[I’m very late with this review partly because I was busy preparing for my radio appearance on Mythicist Milwaukee on Sunday and in part because I watched virtually all of the so-called hearing on Thursday.]

Maher declared Hillary the winner of the Democratic Debate on October 13. He said she had stiff competition. Then he named the three “stiffs” who were her competition—O’Malley, Webb, and Chaffee. (By the way Webb and Chaffee have dropped out of the race, but Webb added a face-saving claim that he might run as an Independent. I wish Maher had been on the air to lampoon that assertion.)

Bernie Sanders
Bernie is a long-time Senator (VT I) who runs as an Independent and calls himself a Democratic-Socialist. He caucuses with the Democrats. He was born in Brooklyn, my old home town.

Maher began by telling Sanders that “the last man your age to get this kind of attention was Mick Jagger.” It’s a good comparison—Sanders is a kind of rock star.

Maher said that Sanders should teach America that we are already a socialist country. Sanders said that the U.S. is socialist in some ways, but he listed the ways in which we are not, compared to other “major democratic countries” because in those countries health care and medical leave are rights. He added that we have more people in jail than any other country in the world. He advocated for free college (also a right in some European countries) and higher taxes on corporations and the top 1% of Americans.

Maher suggested that someone who calls himself a socialist could not win because polls show that 47% of the country (according to polls would never vote for a socialist. (Maher compared it to herpes.) Sanders countered that he gets 25% of the Republican vote when he runs for Senate in Vermont and that he has received 650,000 contributions from individuals—more than any candidate in history.)

Bernie said, “We can bring them [Republicans] into the movement. We must stand up to the billionaire class and build an America that works for everyone. Democrats win when the voting rate is high.”

For more about Bernie Sanders read: The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America. 

The Democratic Debate
The Democratic Debate led to an exciting discussion on the show. Maher mentioned that 15 million people watched it—five times more than expected. (It was nonetheless lower that the 23 million the first Republican debate had, but then the Dems did not have a reality TV star on stage to provide entertainment.)

Panel member Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, columnist for the Washington Post, and author of several books including, The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama and Dictionary of Republicanisms: TheIndispensable Guide to What They Really Mean When They Say What They Think YouWant to Hear. She said, “We heard ideas, not insults.”

Even the Republican on the panel, John Feehrey, had to admit that Hillary’s poll numbers in NH went up after the debate. (Feehrey is a columnist for The Hill, chief blogger for The FeeheryTheory) He also tried to build up the Republican slate, saying “We have good candidates too. We just have to winnow the field a bit.

Maher confronted Feehery saying, “But they really aren’t [good candidates]. Bush and Rubio want to repeal all financial regulations. We will have another crash.”

Maher said that he is going to vote for Sanders in the primary and will donate to his campaign. But if Clinton wins the primaries, he will vote for her in the general election. He appealed to his viewers: “If you can’t get the fish, eat the chicken.” Maher repeated this later in the show, saying he had learned his lesson with Ralph Nader.

Lawrence Lessing—Mid-show interview
Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig
Lessing is the Democratic candidate that nobody has heard of. He is a single-issue candidate who is very excited about getting money out of politics. He should have been on the debate stage.

Lessing is also a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of several books. His most recent book is Republic, Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It.

Lessing pointed out that members of Congress spend 70% of their time raising money. Money and gerrymandering has made our government like a car with four flat tires and someone stole the battery. Lessing promised that if he were elected president he would pass the legislation that gets our democracy back.

Campaign Funding
In addition to Lessing, Maher and the panelists weighed in on campaign funding.

Maher told us that Marco Rubio is funded by a group called the Conservative Solutions Project and that is a bigger scandal that Hillary’s emails. Vandal Huevel added that 158 families are providing halve of the funding for the Republican candidates. Panel member Johann Hari: (author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs) mentioned Sheldon Adelson, who is a major contributor to Republican candidates, calling him out for getting all his money from gambling—“he produces nothing.”

Republicans get very excited about war—they can’t wait to get the U.S. into one. They talk a lot about how tough they would be with foreign leaders. Maher said, “For instance, “Chris Christie said, ‘I’ll call Vladimir and say ‘Don’t you try me. I’ll do it.’ Maher added “War is their campaign prop.”

Vanden Huevel said, “Strength is not the bullyboys. It is diplomacy.”

Hari brought global warming up. Republicans refuse to recognize that global warming is a problem that we must deal with. Hari said that global warming will lead to more war. “When there is no water people will do terrible things.”

Mid show comedy bit
This was a great comedy bit about how excitable Republicans are about socialism. Maher first repeated something Bernie Sanders had said and then showed what Republicans heard. Of course, what they heard was so distorted by their own hatred of “socialism” that it was nothing like what Sanders actually said.

BTW: Was this done as a nod to Vandel Hueven's book Dictionary of Republicanisms: What they Really Mean When they Say What They Think You Want to Hear. 

This deserves to be seen in its entirety to I will link to it

New Rules: Lord of the Spree
Maher took on the increase in killing sprees in the United States. The attacker is usually a young man. He claimed that these men attacked because they can’t get laid. One even left behind something he had written, “I am going to die a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl and I will punish you for it.” Maher called it "The worst e-harmony profile ever."

Maher said no one ever went on the attack saying “Sex! Sex! Sex! It is all I do. Where is my gun? I am mad at the world.”

Maher went on to say, “In America, it seems like everybody is having sex but them.” He then showed some advertisements that were full of sexual imagery, with the implication that this was raising the frustration level of young men who aren’t getting any.  Maher said, “Wake up and smell the testosterone.”

He also blamed that attacks by Muslims on the lack or appropriate sexually outlets. “What is the sexual frustration level of men who only see men who look like this?” as he showed a picture of a woman in a burka, completely covered from head to toe. “How do you masturbate to that? I know masturbation requires imagination, but that is ridiculous.”  

Bill Maher’s Guests, #268, October 16, 2015

The Interview:
Bernie Sanders: Senator (I VT), former Congressman (I VT), Democratic candidate for President. A 2015 biography of Bernie Sanders is The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America by Jonathan Tasini

Mid-Show Special Guest: 
Lawrence Lessig; Professor at Harvard Law School, champion of campaign finance reform. Democratic candidate for President, author of several books. His most recent book is Republic, Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It

The Panel:

Katrina vanden Heuvel:  Editor and Publisher of The Nation magazine, columnist for the Washington Post, author of several books including, The Change IBelieve In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama and Dictionary of Republicanisms: TheIndispensable Guide to What They Really Mean When They Say What They Think YouWant to Hear

John Feehery: Columnist for The Hill, chief blogger for The FeeheryTheory