Saturday, November 21, 2015

Real Time With Bill Maher Show Weekly Update

Two writings this week by Bill: Terror Firma By Bill Maher

At last week’s Republican debate, Dr. Ben CoughSyrup sang a familiar refrain: “When I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video, where I came from, they call that a lie.” Yeah, well, where you came from people attacked their mothers with hammers and stabbed family members in the belt buckle.

Carson’s assertion – and many Republicans are now comfortable making it – conflates Hillary’s post-Benghazi comments and emails about the actual Benghazi consulate attack with other comments and emails about protests in the Middle East in general. PolitiFact took an exhaustive look at Hillary’s post-Benghazi comments, both public and private, and concluded, “Carson is oversimplifying and distorting Clinton’s comments to portray a complex situation in the worst possible light. We rate his statement Mostly False.”  Where I came from that’s a lie.

Compare that to Chris Whipple’s current reporting for Politico about what the Bush administration knew about an al-Qaeda terrorist threat during the months leading up to 9/11: “Starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming. By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, ‘it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.’ ‘There were real plots being manifested,’ Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet, told me... ‘The world felt like it was on the edge of eruption. In this time period of June and July, the threat continues to rise. Terrorists were disappearing [as if in hiding, in preparation for an attack]. Camps were closing. Threat reportings on the rise.’”

“Tenet vividly recalls [a July 10] White House meeting with [Condi] Rice and her team… ‘Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda's intention is the destruction of the United States.’" [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”

Why is who said what after Benghazi more of a scandal than who said what before 9/11?

Liberals: The Paternalistic Protectors of the Oppressed By Bill Maher

Last Friday I performed an editorial that included about 30 jokes about white people, and one about black women paying too much money for a weave. You can guess which one made the audience groan.

Liberals have brought this case of the PC “unfunnies” on themselves. Somewhere along the line, white liberals switched from being defenders of equality, unafraid to speak out against racism and injustice, to seeing their role as the paternalistic protectors of minority groups, no matter how minor the slight. In this atmosphere a joke isn’t wrong because it’s racist; it’s wrong if the subject of the joke is one of the protected minority groups. We simply don’t laugh at blacks/women/Latinos/Muslims/transgendered/etc. Because they’ve had a hard enough time as is. :(

You can make jokes about Republicans or conservative Catholics or Evangelicals all you like. They’ll laugh at those. Oppressors. But if the butt of the joke is blacks, Muslims, women, or any of the other protected groups, whether or not the joke is racist, sexist, or bigoted, they’re going to say it’s racist, sexist, or bigoted. It makes them feel better about themselves. And that is the goal.

No one could explain to me how a joke about black women spending lots of money on a weave is racist, but for white liberals it doesn’t matter. The goal is a preening moral superiority that we can lord over Republicans, and also being hip: “Hey, I’m white, but I’m one of the cool white people who can laugh at how unhip white people are!
The monologue is in part about how Donald Trump Doesn't Understand a thing about American Mosques. The first mosques in America might have looked at home at a Trump resort.

Lavish and flashy, literally fantastic but not built to last, they were reproductions of notable Islamic houses of worship constructed for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The fair included pavilions allowing visitors to experience far-flung locales, and planners did not shy away from religion. They built mosques for the Turkish, Egyptian, and Tunisian sections—the last of which, as part of a “French Colonies” exhibit, stood in the shadow of both a crescent-topped dome and the tricolore.

Ersatz though they were, the fairground mosques were used for genuine religious purposes. “Every detail of Mohammedan worship is there followed out,” one newspaper account reported. When “Allahu akbar” echoed from their minarets, the many Muslims who answered the call to prayer included nearly 200 men, women, and children who had been brought from Cairo to bring street scenes to life.

At the time, some in the small U.S. Muslim community saw the fair and the concurrent Parliament of the World’s Religions as opportunities to explain Islam to their fellow citizens. “So many false reports have been circulated regarding the plans of the devout Mussulmans of the East to introduce the Islamic system into America,” the Massachusetts-born convert Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb wrote in 1893,  “that it seems imperative to explain the project more fully than has been done heretofore.”

Since then, the Muslim population in the United States has grown from the thousands to the millions. Chicago’s temporary mosques came down, but in the decades following the World’s Fair, longer lasting communities were organized in Maine, Indiana, South Dakota, and Iowa, where the 1934 “Mother Mosque of America” still stands.    

Yet judging by recent events, one might have met less resistance building mosques in America a century ago than today.  

Earlier this week, a public meeting discussing the construction of a new Islamic center in Spotsylvania, Virginia erupted in anger when a man began shouting that Muslims belonged to an “evil cult.” “Every one of you are terrorists,” he said to applause before a sheriff’s deputy brought proceedings abruptly to an end.

Similar scenes unfold whenever mosques come before planning and zoning boards across the country. Sessions of local government ostensibly concerned with traffic and parking unleash rhetoric unimaginable against any other Americans.

Sessions of local government concerned with traffic and parking unleash rhetoric unimaginable against any other Americans.

Among such moments in recent months: A city council meeting in Sterling Heights, Michigan, opened with a prayer but led to residents making dire warnings about the beliefs of their neighbors. “They’re cutting people’s heads off,” a man in a bald-eagle cap said. “These people scare us.” In Farmerville, Texas, a pastor upset about a proposed Muslim cemetery declared, “They are at war with us.” And in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, another anti-mosque protester claimed, “Their teachings are well against the format of normal American values.”

Now the Republican presidential frontrunner has suggested he would “strongly consider” shutting down mosques, instituting a national Muslim database, and requiring all Muslims to carry special identification cards. In the wake of the Paris attacks and the debate over Syrian refugees that followed, Donald Trump tweeted, “WE NEED A BIG & BEAUTIFUL WALL!”

Shutting down mosques is an odd suggestion for a man who made his reputation building things. If Trump and other Republican presidential contenders are concerned about foreign influence among the American Muslim community (as others have been about Catholics, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Chinese, and Japanese before them), why not join their fight to erect their own big and beautiful mosques here on American soil? Why not applaud their very American desire to do what generations of immigrants have done before? A real-estate developer should understand that the desire to build houses of worship is much closer to “normal American values” than the urge to shut them down.

The 19th-century historian Henry Adams wrote that those first mosques built on American soil in 1893 were part of an experiment that asked “for the first time, the question whether the American people knew where they were driving.” The answer the World’s Fair provided was that the nation was heading in the direction of creating a culture that aspired to learn from all others.

If he truly wants to make America great again, Trump might start by affirming that the greatness of the nation has been found less often in the people it rejects than in those it welcomes, and what they build together.

Bill also brings up how Fox News and its viewers believe that the Unemployment rate is higher under the Obama Administration when it has really gone from mid 7% down to low 5%. Which they do NOT get that 5 is a lower number than say a 7.

He also gets into how the people in France have been handling things this week after the mass shooting and the blown up suicide bombs last Friday.

The Interview is with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), the 49th Lieutenant Governor of California, and is a candidate for Governor of California in 2018. He recently announced a new ballot initiative for stricter statewide gun control, “The Safety for All Act of 2016.” Twitter: @GavinNewsom. Bill and the California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom discuss Syrian refugees and legalized marijuana in this clip from November 20, 2015.
Gavin Newsom Defends Being a Sitting Duck at a Mass Shooting.  The far left California Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom doubled down on the wisdom of being a sitting duck at a mass shooting as he refused to acknowledge any possible advantage to being armed in the event of such an attack.

After Newsom, who has already announced he will run for governor in 2018, and host Maher went through a liberal wish list of items already passed or soon to be pushed in California, Maher surprisingly hit Newsom from the right on the issue of whether it's better to be armed in a restaurant with the ability to shoot back if a mass shooter storms in.

After noting that Al Gore may have lost the 2000 presidential election partly because of the gun issue, Bill raised the terrorist attacks in Paris. "Let's talk about the gun one because that, I mean, Democrats are afraid of the gun issue because Al Gore lost his own home state in 2000 of Tennessee when he came out sort of for some sort of gun control. California has it. Donald Trump says if Paris had guns-"

Newsom obliviously saw no benefit to Parisians being armed during the attacks as he jumped in saying "I just simply, this sort of mythology, the guy with the gun that's going to come save the day, I mean, so right out of the movies, sort of this gun-slinging fantasy. The reality is, it's most likely to create more harm, more damage, more lost lives in those circumstances."

Even the liberal Maher seemed to have second thoughts about the virtues of being unarmed during a terrorist attack as he pushed back from the right. "Really? So if you were in a restaurant and a crazy gunman came in, you wouldn't want to have a gun? You'd rather just be shot?"

The lieutenant governor responded saying that "well, I would hope that folks sitting next to me that haven't been trained, that don't necessarily, don't respond well under stressful circumstances, don't get up and then start pointing the trigger or pointing a gun and shooting"

Maher then replied to that by insisting that "but hasn't the worst thing already happened? A crazed madman who's bent on killing everyone? How could it get worse?"

Newsom dodged the question complaining about the number of guns in the U.S., and hyperbolically claiming that the National Rifle Association is "promoting guns for terrorists." "Yeah, well, I mean, look, you get worse when you live in a country with 300 plus million guns, in a country that the NRA is out there promoting guns for terrorists. Let me just repeat what I just said, as audacious as it...  They believe that everybody deserves a gun, including terrorists. From 2007 in this country, we've been trying to close a loophole that denied people who are on the no-fly zone (sic) in the United States the ability -- those are the folks that can't get on airplanes" "The terrorist watch list. They are still allowed to buy assault weapons legally in this country -- 2,000 have in the last decade. And the NRA has stopped that at every single effort, every single attempt. That's the perversity of the country that we live in."

NRA defends blocking bill to stop terrorists getting guns as it emerges TWO THOUSAND suspected extremists have freely purchased firearms in the U.S. The National Rifle Association has claimed it is defending the Constitution by sinking legislation which would stop suspected terrorists freely buying guns in the U.S.

The gun lobby group said that a proposed law to ban extremists from buying a firearm would harm law-abiding citizens - and so is standing in its way.

It came as government figures show that 2,043 terror suspects on the FBI's watchlist have been allowed to purchase firearms in the last decade - fueling fears that terrorists are taking advantage of lax U.S. gun laws to arm themselves under the radar.

Congressmen have repeatedly tried to get the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act to the President's desk. But the bill, now on its sixth attempt, has yet to get through the earliest stages of the legislative process.

It was first proposed in 2007 - and is currently on the to-do list for both the House and the Senate - but even its sponsor says there is hardly any hope that it could pass either Republican-controlled chamber.

Figures from the Government Accountability Office show that hundreds of people every year on the terror watchlist buy guns - with only a tiny proportion blocked from doing so.

Since 2004, there have been 2,043 suspected terrorists allowed to buy guns, with 190 denied their purchases.
Those who were denied firearms had the sale blocked on grounds such as previously felonies and their mental health - their presence on the watchlist is not a factor.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, bill sponsor Rep. Peter T King (R-NY) said: 'Anything which [the NRA] feel restricts the use or the ability to retain a gun they’re opposed to.'

'It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction. The National Rifle Association is strongly opposed to it and the fact is we have only a handful of Republican co-sponsors.'

An NRA spokesman speaking to the newspaper said the law would 'deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional right to due process'. The spokesman added: 'It is not surprising that anti-gun politicians and publications are distorting the facts to push a gun control agenda.'

The proposed law would give the U.S. Attorney General power to block gun sales based on suspicion that somebody is a terrorist.

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the secretive list, which is estimated to contain in excess of a million names.

Anyone can be added to the list by intelligence agencies if there is a 'reasonable suspicion' they are involved in terrorism, which can be based on social media posts and who somebody's friends are.

Guidelines leaked to The Intercept include a clause which states that 'concrete facts are not necessary'.

The list is much larger than the government no-fly list, inclusion on which prevents people from boarding any airplane into or out of the U.S.

The White House has expressed support for the gun-ban law in the past, and several Congressmen have said that the recent terror attacks in Paris could make it harder to hold back.

But Rep. King still has doubts, telling the News: 'I strongly support it. But no, it’s not going to move right now'. 

Transcript:
BILL MAHER: Let's talk about the gun one because that, I mean, Democrats are afraid of the gun issue because Al Gore lost his own home state in 2000 of Tennessee when he came out sort of for some sort of gun control. California has it. Donald Trump says if Paris had guns-

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Yeah.

MAHER: I know.

NEWSOM: I just simply, this sort of mythology, the guy with the gun that's going to come save the day, I mean, so right out of the movies, sort of this gun-slinging fantasy. The reality is, it's most likely to create more harm, more damage, more lost lives in those circumstances.

MAHER: Really? So if you were in a restaurant and a crazy gunman came in, you wouldn't want to have a gun? You'd rather just be shot?

NEWSOM: Well, I would hope that folks sitting next to me that haven't been trained, that don't necessarily, don't respond well under stressful circumstances, don't get up and then start pointing the trigger or pointing a gun and shooting-

MAHER: But hasn't the worst thing already happened? A crazed madman who's bent on killing everyone? How could it get worse?

NEWSOM: Yeah, well, I mean, look, you get worse when you live in a country with 300 plus million guns, in a country that the NRA is out there promoting guns for terrorists. Let me just repeat what I just said, as audacious as it

MAHER: Yeah.

NEWSOM: They believe that everybody deserves a gun, including terrorists. From 2007 in this country, we've been trying to close a loophole that denied people who are on the no-fly zone (sic) in the United States the ability -- those are the folks that can't get on airplanes-

MAHER: The terrorist watch list.

NEWSOM: The terrorist watch list. They are still allowed to buy assault weapons legally in this country -- 2,000 have in the last decade. And the NRA has stopped that at every single effort, every single attempt. That's the perversity of the country that we live in.

The Panel tonight is with Ben Domenech, the publisher of the online magazine The Federalist, and host of “The Federalist Radio Hour.” He is also a contributor to The Daily Beast, where his latest article is, “The Bobby Jindal Campaign Is a Testament to the RNC Errors of 2016.” Twitter: @BDomenech. And, is with Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, and a Member of Parliament. Before entering Canadian government, she was a journalist who reported for various publications including, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, and Thomson Reuters. Twitter: @cafreeland. And, with Sen. Angus King (I-ME). He is a U.S. Senator from Maine and a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees. He served as the 72nd Governor of Maine from 1995-2003. Twitter: @SenAngusKing.

Bill Criticizes Syrian Refugees: ‘Those Values Are Not Our Values. “This idea that somehow we do share values, that all religions are alike, is bullshit. And we need to call it bullshit.” The idea that Syrian refugees wouldn’t have values at odds with American values is “bullshit,” according to Bill.

During a panel discussion, the host argued that refugees from Muslim countries would likely have values that are opposed to American values, saying that liberals trying to argue that all religions are alike are naive. “This idea that somehow we do share values, that all religions are alike, is bullshit. And we need to call it bullshit,” he said. “56 percent of Americans believe that the Syrian refugees … their values are at odds with our values. That may not be wrong,” Maher said. “If you are in this religion, you probably do have values that are at odds. This is what liberals do not want to recognize … Those values are not our values.”

He went on to cite Muslim countries enforcing Sharia law, saying that even moderate Muslim countries have a significant number of people who support radical ideas.

Maher also clarified that he was not saying that the religion as a whole is bad, but simply that some of its ideas need to be changed. “Killing women for being raped, I think is a bad idea,” he said to cheers from the show’s audience. “Hang me for it.”

War Talk Gives ISIS What It Wants Most.  calling for a war against Islamic State, French President Francois Hollande is engaging in a tragically counterproductive enterprise. Under international law, "war" can only exist between sovereign states. Hollande is rashly giving Islamic State precisely what it wants: legal recognition.

Such a move would not only represent a profound defeat for the West in the war of ideas; it would also have immediate practical consequences. If the French succeed in capturing terrorists, must they treat them as prisoners of war, entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention?

Rather than lashing out abroad, it makes far more sense to crack down domestically.

This is precisely the question the U.S. has confronted at Guantanamo. To avoid the Geneva Convention, the Bush administration called its internees "unlawful combatants" since they were not fighting in military uniforms. Will France create a similar "no-law zone" when dealing with terrorists, and act lawlessly while denouncing Islamic State for its lawlessness?

History has its ironies, yet this one is too terrible to contemplate. Recall that French President Jacques Chirac refused to enlist in the worldwide "war on terror" at the time of the Iraq invasion. By standing aside, he saved France from complicity with the torture and lawlessness that have damaged the international reputations of the United States and Britain. But, rather than following in Chirac's footsteps, Hollande is now endorsing indiscriminate war talk at a time when President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have been cautiously extricating themselves from the legacy left by George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

Worse yet, it is all too likely that the West will lose the "war" that Hollande seems to want. After military defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. and British publics will not support another massive ground invasion in the Middle East. Despite the bellicosity of some GOP candidates, there is broad support for Obama's recent statement making it clear that no such invasion is in the offing.

War is not winnable without Western ground troops. After all, the Obama administration has already tried and failed to fill the gap by funding the development of powerful moderate Arab ground forces. Last month, it abandoned its half-billion-dollar initiative after finding that it had created only a handful of combat-ready troops while allowing Islamic State to obtain advanced American weapons through corrupt deals with "moderate" leaders.

Hollande's war talk, besides, is entirely unnecessary for decisive action. The French Constitution authorizes the president to exercise extraordinary powers whenever the country's institutions are under "grave and immediate threat," including sweeping preventive detention measures. Hollande is proposing a formal amendment to make it easier to invoke this provision. And in the meantime, he has persuaded the legislature to pass a statute granting him interim powers.

Rather than lashing out abroad, it makes far more sense to crack down domestically.

Wars are open-ended; once they start, it's difficult for citizens to control their government's actions. In contrast, the French Constitution's grant of emergency powers is more limited, lasting only 60 days. At that point, the president must convince the country's Constitutional Council that the threat continues to be "imminent." Even if he succeeds, the council is under a continuing obligation to rein in the president "at any moment" if it determines that the risk has returned to more normal levels.

These sunset clauses allow France to make a vital distinction between immediate and long-term responses to terrorist tragedies. In the near term, drastic measures — short of torture — may well be reasonable to disrupt networks that have successfully eluded the security services. In the longer term, sunset clauses help prevent these emergency measures from developing an institutional momentum of their own.

Without them, security services may feel emboldened to transform a state of emergency into the "new normal." They may demand even harsher measures when the "new normal" fails to prevent another terrorist attack.

Safeguards must be preserved when parliament turns to consider Hollande's plan to amend the Constitution. Parliament should insist on strong sunset clauses that will guarantee the survival of France's great tradition of civil liberty. It should not allow the prevailing panic to create a system that threatens, over time, to destroy the basic freedoms that distinguish the West from its ideological competitors.

Anyway, the mid-show Interview is with the great Andy Cohen, the host and Executive Producer of Bravo TV’s “Watch What Happens Live” and author of The Andy Cohen Diaries, now out in paperback. Twitter: @andy. California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom found himself amidst an awkward exchange between Bill and Andy last night about Charlie Sheen, celebrity sex habits, and porn star STDs. The conversation began with a listener question about the Real Housewives of Potomac, Bravo’s new entry in that franchise.

Cohen tells the panel that the show does not involve politics, though he can think of a politician he’d like to have involved: “I’d like to get Michele Bachmann on a Real Housewives show. She’s kind of perfect.” Maher replied with the joke, “and I bet you’d like to meet her husband.” “Actually, I bet he’d like to meet me,” Andy said quickly in reply to it.

Bill then turns the discussion to Charlie Sheen coming out as HIV positive, noting “this is serious” and asks Cohen what he thinks about it. Andy says, "before he came out and said I have HIV [this week] it felt like the ’80s where there was this HIV shame going around. And then that it turned out that he was coming out because he had been blackmailed….On the TODAY show I found it a little irresponsible that he was on with his doctor who was…guiding him through having unprotected sex with these high risk individuals and it just seemed to me like he had an opportunity to say something or do something and the message was very murky. I left feeling very confused.” “I obviously wish him great health but it was upsetting and then to find out that he claimed, ‘oh I’ve told everyone that I’ve been with that this is my status’ but then all these women came out and said ‘no, he never told me’. It just got very messy very quickly.”

The conversation then turns to Bill himself who points out that the heterosexual stars that have become HIV positive have “f**ked everybody west of La Brea” which leads to him asking Cohen whether porn stars get checked for STDs every week. “You tell me,” Cohen says to Maher as silence falls over the panel.

Gavin Newsom asks “I just wonder why the hell I’m sitting here.”

Web Exclusive New Rules - Suck E Cheese & Promise Creepers:

And, it is time for New Rules Tonight on Real Time!
Bill and his roundtable guests - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Angus King, MP Chrystia Freehand, Ben Domenech, Andy Cohen answer viewer questions after Friday's show.