September 22, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Real Time with Bill Maher: Highlights from Episode 260, September 21, 2012
Highlights from Real Time with Bill Maher – Episode 260, September 21, 2012
Chris Matthews — Host of “Hardball” on MSNBC
Salman Rushdie — Author
Roger Hedgecock — Conservative Radio Host
Eugene Jarecki — Documentarian
Rana Foroohar — Time Magazine Columnist
Bill Maher monologue highlights
They got Mitt Romney, they taped him surreptitiously, somebody did. He was at a fundraiser in Boca Raton in May. He was explaining his positions to a room full of rich scumbags. — I’m sorry, I meant heroic job creators.
This tape, it’s like so incriminating. It’s like everything liberals suspect that Mitt Romney says behind closed doors. — Now there’s a tape of Mitt Romney saying that exactly behind closed doors. It’s like if Republicans had a tape of Obama where he was reading Karl Marx with a highlighter, while forging a birth certificate, and getting blown by Cleopatra Jones.
I almost feel bad for Mitt at this point because even Republicans now are kinda tiptoeing away from Mitt Romney. They’re very upset about this video because, you know, they say it shows Romney doing something really stupid — Expressing the core beliefs of the Republican Party — Publicly.
Highlights from the first segment with Eugene Jarecki
Bill: I feel like this is the night I should come out and say “I’m with ya man.”
Eugene: Thank you very much.
Bill: “The drug war’s bullshit.”
Bill: I would just like you to explain to the folks why the war on drugs really is a war on minorities.
Eugene: It has been a war on people, and it’s especially been a war on people of color in America. But that’s nothing new. We’ve had racist drug laws in this county from really the dawn of it in the eighteen hundreds. The first group we saw put away with drug laws that were really a thinly veiled kind of element of racial control were Chinese immigrants who were seen as threatening American jobs — so we created opium laws, under which we harassed them, detained them.
Bill: We had slavery, and then we had the Jim Crow laws, and I think the successor to those two ways of putting down the black man in America is the war on drugs.
Eugene: Yeah, I mean that’s how this [getting involved in this issue] happened to me. I mean, I knew a lot of African-American friends of mine, as I was growing up, and I saw that something in the wake of the civil rights movement seemed to be blocking black progress. We all thought life was going to get better for black Americans, and something seemed to be in the way. I mean, sure we have a black president, and we have black celebrities, but there’s no lying to ourselves for the masses of black people in this country. The leading indicators are very frightening about where black life has gone. And when I did my research and started to investigate to make the film [The House I Live In], I discovered that in fact what was happening was the war on drugs. That was the primary culprit I could see that was getting in the way of black progress.
Eugene: The thing that so many of us don’t think about because it doesn’t touch us directly all too often is all the things that putting someone in jail for drugs does to that person, to their family, to the community they come from. It’s shattering. And they have a problem very often — very often they’re involved in drug abuse, so they’re hurting themselves, they’re trying to self medicate, they’re in pain because they’ve poor or for some other reason. And so we come to them and say, “I understand your pain. I’m going to give you a lot more pain now. I’m going to put you in jail. I’m going to make the rest of your life a slippery slope that you can’t get out of. And then let’s see how you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and show us some personal responsibility.” It’s very cynical and heartbreaking.
Bill: It’s kind of ironic. It’s sort of itself an addiction. I mean drugs are an addiction of course, that’s the reason they use to crack down, but the drug war is an addiction really.
Eugene: We run a prison industrial system in this country. Essentially a system of mass incarceration. And it is basically the livelihood of many, many, many Americans and many politicians.
Eugene: The system of mass incarceration relies upon a steady flow of human beings who are being booked inappropriately, have laws thrown at them that are inappropriate. I talk to insiders up and down the chain of command in this country, up and down the chain of the drug war, for making the film. Because when we went across the country — 25 states – I couldn’t find anybody inside the system who wouldn’t tell me in one way or another, ” I know this is broken. I don’t like what I do. I can’t even explain what I do to my kid, because it doesn’t make sense and it’s not morally right.”
Bill: I mean it’s ruined the relationship between police and the community for one thing. And police really spend too much of their time on this.
Eugene: Look at New York City. New York City for example, we have 700,000 stops a year of young people on the street, usually black and Latino — usually ninety percent. Of that ninety percent, about half become a stop and frisk, as you hear about. That means 350,000 stop and frisks every year. Only ten percent lead to an arrest. The other ninety percent, all you’ve done is denigrate this young person, embarrass them in front of their community, make them feel horrible about authority. And then you want to ask them to say, hey trust your teacher, trust the police, trust your social worker.
Bill: Well — I am going to stay white in Beverly Hills.
The panel highlights
(This is going to look like an episode of Hardball, but Chris Matthews had most of the good lines tonight.)
Chris Matthews: He [President Bush] left us with an unemployment rate going past ten percent, a stock market falling through the floor, and guess who stopped all that from happening, and turned things around? Barack Obama. — How can you guys [addressing Roger Hedgecock], you talk like you’ve been out of office for twenty or thirty years. You’ve been out of office for three and a half years. You left Obama with his first year. He really hasn’t had an effect on economic policy since until late 2009. Would you rather be in 2009 then where we are today? — No way.
Rana Foroohar: You know, the other thing, aside from the stock market too, is that unemployment, had there not been some stimulus, would be up at twelve percent rather than eight percent.
Chris Matthews: By the way, the number one way they [Republicans] are going to deal with that forty-seven percent, is make sure a lot of them don’t vote. As Bill Clinton said the other day, he has never seen voter suppression so perfectly blatant. African-Americans have a tradition in Florida of voting on Sunday. They go to church. After church they get on buses, because they don’t have private automobiles. They get on the church buses, and they all go off to vote. It’s a wonderful tradition. — Guess what the uh – What do you think Rick Scott did in Florida? — the governor — your [addressing Roger Hedgecock] guy — What do you think he did? — He made sure you can’t vote Sunday before election day. Interesting huh? Perfect bulls-eye. — In Pennsylvania, the sponsor of the [voter ID] bill, to require this elaborate documentation. That guy said the people are too lazy to work – because they talked about the forty-seven perecent — he cited what Romney said in that closed room, where you had to pay fifty thousand dollars to get in the door to get the truth out of him [Romney] — He’s the guy that said, he said the reason we have to have this voter law was because these people are too lazy to work and too lazy too vote and get their ID cards. — It’s blatant. It’s blatant. It’s voter suppression.
Roger Hedgecock: And both sides are doing it. (This is laughable. He tried to say Obama is trying to suppress the military vote. Sorry Roger, nice try. Only Republicans suppress the vote because Democrats know the larger the electorate the better the chance Democrats have to win. This is a simple fact. Learn it.)
Bill Maher: I happen to think no matter who the Republicans put up [for president], would be in this same position [not doing well]. I think Mitt Romney is a symptom. I think the problem is the Republican Party. (later) This is why you guys will continue to lose. You think it’s about “new people.” It’s about “new ideas.” You need new ideas, not new people.
Chris Matthews: The real demeaning is this — And your [Roger Hedgecock] guy [Romney] is the worst I’ve ever seen anybody at it. His definition of success is “rich.” Now, how about a high school teacher bust her hump, or his hump, and spends 30 or 40 years and becomes the best teacher in town and ends up making maybe seventy [thousand] a year. Is that success?
Roger Hedgecock: Yes
Chris Matthews: Not by Romney’s standard.
Rana Foroohar: The thing that really bothers me in all of this is the mythology that we have in America about bootstraps — You know, there is this mythology, which is — conservatives do perpetrate that we are all doing it by ourselves somehow. We know that’s not the case. You know the numbers show it. Our social mobility is actually declining compared to lots of parts of old Europe, you know, it’s harder to get a leg up in this country now.
Bill Maher: Right. We’re tenth.
Rana Foroohar: Yeah, and I think that’s a huge competitiveness issue and it’s something we have to start paying attention to. And this idea, you know, if just left to your own devices everyone will be fine — we all know that’s not true.
Chris Matthews: You know, this is the big lie here. The big lie is that the people who make a lot money were the only ones who worked hard.
Chris Matthews: Barack Obama is the poster child for what America stands for. He starts with a mixed family. He grows up — his father splits. He makes it. He goes to the best schools. He becomes head of the Havard Law Review. Doesn’t go out and money grab. He does everything right. Cleanest record in the world. And you guys [addressing Roger Hedgecock] have a problem with this guy [Obama].
Bill Maher: This fatwa on you [Salman Rushdie] — (later) This was state sanctioned.
Salman Rushdie: Yeah. Yeah. There were, there were. It’s very, very strange I think for anybody, but especially for a writer, for your life to turn into a kind of spy novel. You know, especially if you don’t write spy novels.
Bill Maher: Let’s define where we [Bill and Salman] are different from the mainstream liberals. Because I routinely have gotten booed he on the show sometimes, in my stand-up act, when I say — liberals hate to hear this — that all religions are not alike. When you say that, they [“mainstream” liberals] think you are a bigot.
Salman Rushdie: It’s not us that changed, it’s Islam that changed. And in my lifetime, this culture has really changed. If you look back…when I was ten or eleven, about half a century ago, these cities — Beirut, Damascus, Tehran, Baghdad — These were famous open cities. Beirut was called the “Paris of the east.” You know, these were cultured, cosmopolitan, international…
Bill Maher: The point Ayaan [Hirsi Ali] was making, I mean she…this is her Newsweek cover about a week ago [Bill holding the Newsweek “Muslim Rage” issue], and a lot of people were reacting to this like “how dare you do this.” Well, you know, the problem is that liberals see this picture and they go “this is not all Muslims.” And that is very true. Most Muslims don’t go in the street like this. The point she was making, that I’ve tried to make, is yeah, most Muslims, at least half of them I think, around the world, think it is ok to kill someone if they insult the prophet. And that is a big problem. That is a clash of civilizations.
New Rules highlights[COPTIC NERVE] New Rule: Stop digging up new history evidence that Jesus was married. Look he, he never had any money. He used any excuse to hang out with the guys. And when death came, he welcomed it. What more do you need to know? [THANKS FOR THE MEMOREX] New Rule: Let’s let our old mix tapes die. Introducing the new cassette to iPod converter. Yes, just what I need, a reminder that I once made something called “Heather’s top down driving mix.” — That included songs my Winger, Spin Doctors and Toad The Wet Sprocket. I think I’m less ashamed of my bell bottoms. And I hate to break it to you, but if you’ve still got tapes, old tapes of your mix tapes, you’re not a music fan, you’re a hoarder. [LAWN JERKY] New Rule: Someone has to explain to this homeowner that there is absolutely no difference between putting this [Romney] sign on your yard and one that instructs the gardener to pee in the pool. [LOAFY’S CHOICE] And finally, New Rule: If you’re one of the five percent of American voters who are still undecided on who to vote for, it’s ok to admit, you just don’t really give a shit. Serious, at this point if you still can’t figure out who you like more — Mitt Romney or Barack Obama — stay home, because you probably couldn’t find your polling place anyway. I mean, what more information does someone need to make this choice? Obama has been president for nearly four years, and Mitt Romney has been running for president since 1971, when his space egg incubated, and he burst out of an astronaut’s chest. (not the completely final New Rule)