Real Time with Bill Maher
Season 19 Episode 11
Air date: April 9, 2021
New Rule: The Debbies
The Interview: Sen. Alex Padilla
The Panel: Heather McGhee & Reihan Salam
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Start the clock. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [Cheers and applause]
Bill: Thank you, people, how are you? Oh, my gosh, thank you very much. [Cheers and applause] thank you, I appreciate it. I love you too, I know it’s hard to breathe in those masks, it looks like it will be ending soon. We have a reopening date here in California. June 15th. All businesses at full capacity as of June 15th and that’s probably because we have in California the lowest Covid positivity rate in the entire country, but still number one in herpes. [Laughter] [applause] We are reopening, now comes the hard part think of something to tell all the people who said I really want to get together when this is all over. [Laughter] Sad news I must report here from England, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s dude, shockingly dead at 99. He died as he lived, peacefully in his sleep. [Laughter] [applause] And I tell you, bitter about that hairy thing until the end matt, his last words were “I never bought Meghan Markle as a lawyer on Suits. Maso Matt Gaetz is in the news, you know Matt Gaetz? Republican, from Florida, if you don’t know him, show the picture because everybody knows. [Laughter] That’s not the right picture, — they do look a lot alike. [Cheers and applause] Sure come in the picture gets applause. Me, all my hard work — no, that’s Matt Gaetz. He always has a look on his face like “eat it, nerd.” He’s in big trouble, have you heard this? He’s allegedly accused of sex trafficking, sex with a minor and showing nude pictures with the other guys at work. Basically all the stuff you assumed would have been going on if no one had brought this up. [Laughter] In his defense, his job title is Florida representative. [Laughter] [applause] I tell you, this guy did do some sleazy things. He was allegedly giving ecstasy to these women and, you know, republican ecstasy I have to tell you is a little different. Oh, good, they are catching on faster now. [Laughter] Yes, it is. You stay up all night hugging the flag and a screwing poor people, it’s a little different. [Cheers and applause] Also, the videos of nude women? He had these, he was showing them around, he showed one of a nude woman with a hula-hoop and Lindsey Graham said I have never seen anything like that, also was that a hula-hoop? [Laughter] Different tonight. [Laughter] Apparently Matt Gaetz, listen to this, he asked before anybody knew any of this, he asked the Trump White House when was still in office, if he could have a blanket preemptive pardon, as innocent people do for any future crimes. He didn’t specify, a blanket pardon and Donald Trump the day spoke out on this, he said that is bullshit, he said it’s a total fake news story, everybody knows when I was in the White House, all legitimate requests for pardons had to go through the Kardashians. [Laughter] [applause] And today it’s in the news with Matt Gaetz, it was reported that his associate in this endeavor with the young women has pled not guilty but is going to change it to guilty and probably testify against Matt Gaetz and say Matt Gaetz, listen to this, used then mow to send $900 to this guy who then vent the money to the women which ironically is one of the only times that trickle down is actually worked. [Laughter] [cheers and applause] I kid Matt Gaetz, you know what? I think he knows that traveling with a 17-year-old girl across state lines is wrong and he said he regrets it, mainly because she played Cardi B the whole way. He obviously didn’t check if she had I.D., Thank god they didn’t try to take her to vote. There is a guy who gets it. [Applause] There are scandals on all sides, the Daily Mail is reporting that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden had his own Porn Hub account where he posted videos of him having sex with two women at the same time. As hobbies go, I will take this over Trump’s sons hunting endangered species. [Cheers and applause] In the Daily Mail is also saying Hunter Biden posted a photo of Hunter with his teeth worn down to the nubs possibly because of meth use and is still the teeth look better than Prince Phillip Prince Phillips. Okay, we’ve got a great show. Heather McGhee and Reihan Salam are here. But first, he served as the 32nd Secretary of State of California and is now California’s newest democratic senator: Senator Alex Padilla. Okay, senator, how are you? [Cheers and applause] I almost went back to shaking your hand but it’s still too early to do that?
How about the elbow bump?
Bill: Are we going back to shaking hands because I’ve been out a couple of times recently and I see people — I thought when the pandemic hit we had decided even when it’s over we aren’t going to go back to that.
I think we will if we want to.
Bill: I never thought it added anything to any relationship.
All the people you promised to see once the pandemic is over, those folks?
Bill: I don’t know, I thought it was something we were going to get rid of but I think people need touching, people are craving human contact. I’m glad our state —
Probably nobody more than our kids, as a parent of three boys this homeschooling stuff has been tough. No one is more eager and needs kids to go back to school than kids and the parents, it’s been tough.
Bill: And definitely the parents from what I hear, I don’t talk to the kids, thank god. You really work your way up in the state. You did every job and good for you, now you’re the senator, you represent 20 million people. Does it bug you as much as it bugs me that the Dakota territory, which I refuse to admit — it shouldn’t even be one state — at most one state but definitely not two. But there’s four senators from the Dakota territory that represent about two and a half million people and you represents — one guy represents 20 million. That’s got to change, right?
It should change on a number of fronts, it’s why more things don’t get done for the senate but let’s go back to the electoral college.
Bill: Same idea.
It’s 40 million, ira percent all Californians.
Bill: But we have two senators.
But We represent them all, we don’t split them up.
Bill: You know what I meant.
I do. If it’s one of the long-lasting things that need to be corrected, go back to the founding of our nation and how imperfect it was, the original sin in the electoral college made up out of progress in a number of things but representative democracy still needs some work. [Applause]
Bill: California has been a real leader because our size, fifth largest economy in the world and this number of people within the united states gives California enormous power. Which we have mostly used for good, like emissions standards. You couldn’t build a car nationally if you couldn’t sell it in the California market. When we raised our admission standards, Detroit had to make better cars, more environmentally friendly cars for the whole country. Why can’t we do that for agriculture? Factory farming is just as bad for the environment as automobiles are. We see from this pandemic come as you tonic diseases — this wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, when is it going to be the politician that will take on big agriculture the way some have taken on the automobile industry?
It’s happened already, it’s a combination of California tends to lead the way through state policy and state laws and eventually it ripples to the national level. Sometimes despite the imperfect electoral college and U.S. senate, the filibuster et cetera needs to go, there’s an opportunity to leverage the size of our state. Is not a coincidence we are the most populous state, the most diverse state, the largest electorate of any state in the nation, largest economy in every state in the nation, leveraging through market power, vehicle admission standards, it’s going to come back. California leads the way, we will do it for agriculture.
Bill: We will? Factory farming?
In different ways, already in the state level we are innovating at capturing omissions, that can be converted to energy as part of the evolution of the industry.
Bill: What about the cruelty involved? We don’t really need to torture them before we eat them, do we?
No. It’s not just California leaders alone speaking up, my good friend you might have met him, senator Cory Booker has been an outstanding voice and policy leader on pointing out injustices and cruelty on a lot of agricultural industry, the corporatization of it’s not just in the united states but what has happened to family farmers in India for example and how much more work we need to do. [Applause]
Bill: Why do you think Trump in the last election did better than he did in the first one, and better with minorities?
It’s a scary reminder. A lot of people have celebrated that trump is behind us but he got more votes than any candidate for president in history of the country except for one — thankfully Joe Biden in 2020. [Cheers and applause] That victory has lost over — how did he get so many votes, and the southern Texas border than he did in the first election. As a proud democrat it’s also a reminder that democrats can’t take anything for granted. We get caught up in the national messaging and big picture issues but there’s a difference and candidates at the federal, state, and local level can’t forget to connect with voters locally and how we are communicating.
Bill: Do you know congressman Ruben Gallego in Arizona?
We’ve met, absolutely.
Bill: He was asked after the election what can democrats do better to connect to Latino voters and he said “you can start by not saying latinx.” I don’t know if I’m saying it correctly. If what do you think about that comment from him?
That’s his opinion come I respected him I don’t completely agree. Hearing him say it just brings me back two years and years of debate of Hispanic versus Latino versus Chicano versus Mexican-American, we get caught up in the terminology and it comes across at different ways to different people in different parts of the country. Latinx for the younger generation, it’s more than just symbolic, and the Spanish-language have feminine versus masculine, now the move to Latinx is one way if we are all equal let’s let our language reflect that.
Bill: I think he was saying that because his polling showed that most Latinx people either don’t know the term or when they hear it they don’t like it.
It’s relatively new for some but I would be interested in the cross tabs if you will come underlying data in the polling for older voters may be not nearly as popular but for younger voters which is the growing part of the Latino electorates, they embrace it. [Applause]
Bill: Very woke crowd tonight. It’s going to be a rough fucking show coming up for you people. [Cheers and applause] I’m kidding. We have some people say a crisis at the border, they have apprehended more people than they have for about 15 years recently but it’s a seasonal, we also know that. What is the correct percentage or amount do you think of immigration? Is there a number, the person who says the highest number possible is he the better person? Or is it something we can apply more logic to.
I don’t know if there is a precise number or percentage, what we do know is throughout the course of our history as a country, waves of immigrants from all over the world have led to our strength as a country, not just a growing population but a growing economy and of the strength of our imperfect democracy — I appreciate the fact that you recognize it’s a seasonal uptick in the numbers. Some years is a bigger uptick, some years it’s not as big of an increase. Right now it’s not just an increased number of families, a lot of unaccompanied minors showing up at the border but the consequences of starving the very agencies that process asylum-seekers. Let’s be clear as to who these kids are. It’s not rapists, it’s not drug dealers, it’s asylum-seekers fleeing natural disasters and poverty, violence, they are literally running for their lives and they deserve to be treated humanely. [Cheers and applause]
Bill: I agree with all that that. Doesn’t answer my question.
I know, but by the way. Whatever the number is this spring, it’s a group separate and apart. Let’s not be distracted by them and not get done the justice for the 11 million currently living in the united states, undocumented immigrants what they need in terms of security and pathway to citizenship. My first bill introduced in the united states senate would offer a pathway to citizenship for all noncitizen essential workers that have been sacrificing and serving the rest of us throughout the course of this pandemic. [Cheers and applause]
Bill: Final question, looks like we are going to have a recall of the governor of this state, this is insanity, one of those stupid things California does, we actually have too much democracy in this state. I don’t want to have to vote on everything, we have too many propositions, dialysis machines, why my voting on this every two years? I don’t even know what the issue is with dialysis machines but it’s on the ballot every year. We’ve got to stop this, we should not be recalling this governor.
I agree completely.
Bill: it’s going to be a circus I remember what it was last time, every unemployed actor in the state is going to be running, Caitlyn Jenner is running!
Again, what’s the right number, is it too much or too little, I err on the side of too much. Here is the hypocrisy of it and what really pisses me off, the same republican forces that refused to hold trump accountable over the course of four years or even for the insurrection in January 6th are now setting their sights on governor Newsom because of the trump administration’s failures to respond to Covid earlier in the pandemic, give me a break.
Bill: Thanks, congratulations on your new job. Let’s meet our panel. How are you? She’s the author of the New York times bestseller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together: Heather McGhee. Back with us. He’s president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing writer at The Atlantic: Reihan Salam. Our returning champion, how are you? I’m in a pretty good mood tonight I have to tell you because for the first time in over a year, I got booked on the road again, back on the road. [Applause] I know, life returning. I’ll be back at the mirage in Las Vegas in July, I’m so happy I will be able to bore you again with where I’m going over the weekend. “I’ll be in Cincinnati!” Please, Jesus, let that happen. What a to make one of the unexpected developments of the Biden administration as he’s turning out to be more radical than the guy he served as vice president, no one can say he’s not going big. Go big or go home, he’s doing it. It turns out his new budget, 1.5, 2 trillion — it’s nothing to this guy. He always won at the hustler casino — but I think trust in government is the big issue he’s going to face because if you want to do big things people are going to ask and you do them well. Can you do them without wasting all our money — should we trust government to do something on the scale that he is suggesting with the infrastructure program and when I say infrastructure that encompasses anything you want to put under that title. It’s $3 trillion, should we trust government with that kind of cash?
I think we have to because we’ve been starving ourselves for the past 50 years. The definition of infrastructure really should be the things we need to make all of their work and all other productivity possible. It supports and bridges but also as we learned during the pandemic of child care and eldercare end of the kinds of things that make it possible for a mechanic and a small town to fix a carburetor because they actually need rural broadband. All of those things need to be thought of as infrastructure. The thing I’m most excited about is ripping up all the lead pipes in the countries of the parents and have to worry that they’re giving their children disabilities by turning on the tap.
Bill: Right. [Cheers and applause]
These are the types of things that absolutely should be no-brainers in a country with the largest economy on earth. To the question of trust in government, I think it’s real. We have so let poor services for the poor be what exactly we’ve come to expect from the government and I’m someone who comes to believe in the power and possibility and necessity of doing together what we simply can’t do on our own and we have to hold government to the highest possible standard. Hopefully young people will be designing public goods and services and not photo sharing apps because we believe in what we can do together, right? That’s the goal.
Bill: You are a dreamer. [Cheers and applause]
Bill: That would be great.
One way I strongly agree with heather is we auto hold government to high standards and we hold government to exceptionally low standards. The United States is not a country that does not spend very much, in fact if you look at state governments for example you had 30 years of self-described conservative republicans in state after state, they don’t spend substantially less than democrats. They move in exactly the same direction and you see time and again, very expensive government services delivering incredibly low quality services to people who need them. I think another way of looking at this is the idea that government, we should demand more from it, we should expect to do more within their means. What you are seeing right now describing president Biden, you see this moment where people are pretending there are no limits. Literally if president Biden had done nothing over the next 30 years we would have seen $100 trillion in additional federal debt over the next 30 years. He said let’s spend another 11 trillion, he said we also are going to increase taxes by $3 trillion, but that’s against an increase in debt of well over 100 trillion. When you talk about government, whether or not we believe in it, the true test is whether or not people are actually willing to pay. We are in this moment of suspended animation where we are pretending we don’t have to pay. If you look at other democracies that deliver higher quality services, that actually are more efficient when it comes to government, they do something really crazy. They spend and then they tax spirit of what they say is we are going to take money from you this time, we are going to get the money to you another time, but that’s how you see people believe in it, they are willing to pay the piper. We are in this moment of fantasy politics and it was true under president trump, it’s true under president Biden, turned up to 11 where we are able to pretend we don’t actually have to see to it that the resources are actually there. That grows efficiency and this lack of scrutiny which is really dangerous. [Applause] Speak of the majority of Americans want there to be higher taxes on the wealthy particularly when they know it’s going to be used to take care of a problem that has been a problem for as long as I’ve been alive, the problem that we have failed to attend to our basic needs in the country. In my book I wrote about this phenomenon that happened where we used to build things in America, Donald Trump wasn’t wrong about that. Nostalgia for an America that put the man on the moon and built the Hoover Dam on the highway system, that unites people of all backgrounds in this country, the sense of American greatness. A big part of it was this eat those that says we are going to take care of our people. We are going to have a higher standard of living, that was about public amenities, public goods, public services. If I talk about the public pools we used to have, nearly 2,000 of them in this country.
Bill: And swimming pools.
Not a big deal, maybe.
Bill: We have one in my town, it was a hole in the ground, it was just sand, it was shitty, but we loved it. It was a big thing when it came to town.
It was, there were almost 2,000 of them in the country and in a lot of places in the country they were segregated. When the civil rights movement allowed black families to say those are our tax dollars, what town after town did was drain the public swimming pool rather than integrated. You saw a turn away from the white majority from the idea that they want government to have a robust role in securing economic freedom and opportunity for everyone because they had to share it across lines of race. I’m excited about taking care of public needs again for a diverse public. [Cheers and applause]
What I keep coming back to is this little incredibly boring statistic that I’m a little obsessed with. In Paris, it costs less than one seventh to build a subway station as it does in New York City.
Bill: In California, please, we know this too. We tried to build $200 million a mile and in France it was like 13 million, maybe I have those numbers wrong but it was a ridiculous discrepancy. This was France, not a country unknown to strikes.
Right, I hope you’re not going to blame it on labor unions.
Bill: Labor unions certainly play their part.
There’s a lot going on and when you look at health expenditures, we spent a staggering amount on public health insurance. We spend as much on public health insurance to cover a fifth of the population as for example Canada spends on their entire population and that’s because those dollars are being spent on a range of different things but we aren’t being stingy when it comes to beating these needs. These systems are so broken and rather than fix those systems we are talking about shoveling more money into them, that’s not compassion. That’s fecklessness. This be what you would like to think we could fix them before we shovel the money.
Bill: Since I’m in such a good mood and always looking on the bright side, I’m a bong half full kind of guy — I’m going to look on the bright side of something that is horrendous but democrats do have a habit of downplaying achievements. It’s not the best thing they do, they are terrible at breaking, they say we won one, it’s very dangerous these days in America to celebrate progress. You’re not allowed to do that because then they say you don’t care enough about fixing the things that are still wrong — yes, you can do both, you can have two thoughts in your head. [Laughter] Thank you. I’m watching this Derek Chauvin trial and many of us who have been talking about the cops for a very long time, I certainly have come editorials, panel discussions and I’ve had my list of complaints about the cops which I’m sure they have taken note of. [Laughter] One of the recurring themes was at some point the blue wall of silence has to crack, I’ve been saying this for decades and I’m only 35. [Laughter] [applause] Now, this has finally happened the last five years culminating I think in this trial. “Just uncalled for” is what his supervisor stayed on the sand. It is never used to happen, cops never did this. The police chief: “that in no way, shape, or form is anything that is by our policy.” Cops use to — until five years ago you could never win a trial against cops they would always be up there saying you don’t understand what it’s like to be a cop — I also don’t understand what it’s like to be in the frozen yogurt industry, you’re right, I don’t. [Laughter] Cops are a harder job, I get it but that was their thing. Look at the tape again, you don’t know what we see — and now this has gone away. It’s like we do see, we are not cops, it has not robbed us from being sent into beings. They are finally testifying against their own, can we celebrate a moment that this is a big fucking deal? [Cheers and applause]
Absolutely we can. In fact one of the first rules of good organizing is to celebrate the winds along the way because people need that sense of hope.
Let’s be clear here, the idea of hope is so central to black politics in America. You have Jesse Jackson, keep hope alive, Barack Obama, hope and change. I can’t sit here as I do as the descendants of enslaved people and not have hope. This is not something that is a stranger to us. In fact I think that what you are seeing right now with the blue wall beginning to crumble is the result of massive organizing and the fact that the greatest, largest social movement in American history happened the summer because of the video we saw, a public execution of a man as the whole world watched this video taken by a 17-year-old who should never have had to be in that role, right? You saw in 90% of the demonstrations this summer with majority white counties, there is so much progress. New Mexico just this past week became the second state to end this thing that should not be a thing anymore, qualified immunity for state actors, the idea I can’t sue you if you knowingly break the law because you’re a government agent, that should definitely no longer be the case in the majority of people agree. [Cheers and applause] There’s a lot of positives.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, I still live there now at a time — thank you, sir, — [laughter] it was a pretty violent and frightening place to become I was a victim of crime on a number of occasions, so was my father, so was my mother, we lived in a not necessarily the best or fanciest neighborhood, my folks didn’t want to leave the city, they never did, they are still there. It was a dangerous, scary time and you basically treated it as the weather. It’s a rainstorm, you get mugged, that’s what happens. Then for 25 years or so you had a steep decrease in crime, it was really hard-fought and hard won come it happen for a lot of reasons, the police were a big part of it, so was the revitalization of a lot of neighborhoods that had been forgotten and neglected. What you have seen more recently is a change. What you have seen his crime come back in a lot of communities, you have seen a surge in the number of shootings, you’ve seen a surge in a number of murders, you would see more murders if only we hadn’t gotten a lot better at treating gunshot wounds. Part of the story I think is the fact that over the course of the 20 tens, the per capita rate of police in this country went down by about 8-9%, in New York City in 2020 it went down by another 7%. There is a generation of police who joined departments in the mid-90s and on, those guys are retiring. A lot of them are retiring — guys and gals, a lot of them are retiring sooner than they would’ve otherwise.
Bill: Portland has an exodus. If you’re one of those people who wants Antifa to get results, you win. They may not be what you want but 115 police officers have left Portland, that’s a lot in a city that size.
You’re talking about progress in the question is how you build on the progress? The way to build on the progress I would argue is to say we demand more from police, we expect more from them, we expect them to treat people with respect, that is valuable and important and that means making this a valued profession, that might actually mean seeing to it that we might have to pay people more, we might have to treat them a little bit differently to ensure we have those people who are public spirited and willing to put themselves in danger. [Applause] Let’s build on this.
Bill: Most of them are paid pretty well, I don’t think that is the issue. Again, I’ve had my list of complaints, one of them with the police is somewhere they got it in their head that they could never have a moment where they were at risk. If they felt at risk at all, just empty the clip into whatever is worrying you. Now, it’s a dangerous job, although by statistics not even in the top ten. That’s not a slight against cops, that’s the fact. Daredevils like cabdrivers and linemen and fishermen, it’s a more dangerous job, we should compensate them.
You have to have limits.
Bill: Writes, you can’t feel — Portland, one retiring detectives at the community shows zero support, the mayor and the council ignore actual facts — I’m saying Portland is a cautionary tale because we don’t want to live in a world without police, then it’s the purge every night. [Applause] If you think that’s a great idea —
I think we want to live in a world where most of the things that lead to police interaction are stopped way before hand.
Bill: Yes, and the drug war.
Bill: One of my favorite segments on the show was 24 things you don’t know about, one of those tabloids stole from us and did as their own, I hate that people rip us off like that but we thought it’s a good thing to let people know about somebody who are they are getting curious about in this week everyone is curious about this Matt Gaetz guy and we thought what better time to do Matt Gaetz “24 things you don’t know about me.” For example. [Cheers and applause] My favorite dating app is Venmo. [Laughter] [applause] I recently sponsored a bill to name a post office after Charlie Sheen. [Laughter] That’s indicative of — [laughter] I’m the first member of congress to scent my press releases with axe body spray. [Laughter] I’d say Billie Eilish is hot, I guess, if you’re into older chicks. [Laughter] [applause] I’ve been to over 200 proms. [Laughter] I’ve been to both traffic school and sex traffic school. Wow! [Laughter] I think all those republicans who talk shit about me behind my back need to man up and tweet it from a fake account with a bogus name. [Laughter] [applause] My go-to pick-up line is “do you come here often or does your mom just drop you off in the morning?” [Cheers and applause] So here’s the thing: Matt Gaetz, my prediction, five, four, three, two, one, is going to blame this very soon on cancel culture and this is not a good development the fact that the critique of cancel culture is getting a bad name. Cancel culture does need to be critiqued. [Applause] There is this guy Meyers Leonard, never heard of him. He’s a basketball player and I watch basketball, so he must be a scrub. [Laughter] he got canceled, boy did he get canceled this week. If he was streaming himself playing call of duty on twitch, there is nothing in that sentence I understand. Or want to. Do I not get twitch, call of duty, and streaming, I don’t and I’m so good with that. Anyway, he used a Jewish slur, it begins with k, I won’t say it because babies out there can’t take it when you say a bad word and we want to keep the focus on the issue. I’m sure you know what the word is, is not that many bad names — he said he didn’t know what it meant, I completely believe him because he’s playing twitch. On twitch, whatever the fuck [laughter] before the day was out, band, fined by the NBA, and traded. There making him come of the groveling apology and then he’s meeting with rabbi’s, holocaust survivors, do we have to drag the holocaust into this? Really? Passover, he has to go on zoom in front of college kids so they can yell at him, does everything have to be a summary execution in America? What happened it just accepting the apology? Okay, you made a mistake as humans do, can we get on with our lives? I was raised catholic but my mother is — not really, she’s sort of a Jew, she was never in a temple, does that give me enough credit for say it for the Jews, don’t it again? Myers Leonard, whoever the fuck you are, that’s it, I accept, don’t do it again, can we get on with our lives?
I don’t know who that person is, this is news to me on that story, I hear what you’re saying, the world in which real people live is also the world in which there are massive consequences for working-class people, low income people come I’m thinking about a teacher at my kids at school who is saying the school he taught at before if the kid came in with the wrong color socks they would be sent home. No excuses, broken windows theory in charter school classrooms and there is this world — it’s a uniform, a dress code, there are not two pair of socks in my house that match. I don’t know how it be able to do that for my family.
Bill: How is this comforting to Myers Leonard?
I think more about not the millionaire NBA player and what he does spew and I don’t know if he’s a millionaire.
I assume he is. He’s a powerful person.
Bill: It’s such bullshit, what they have done it if it was the start of the team? With they have done this?
Bill: I’m not going to even name a person because I don’t want to associate them with using a racial slur, but there could be a big name NBA player, somebody or anybody who just didn’t understand this term or used it in a fit of anger and regretted it, what they have suspended him? I don’t think so.
I actually think this cuts in a somewhat different direction. My view is the conversation about cancel culture some people find it frustrating some people find it annoying or misplaced but the reason it’s important to talk about and critique it is there actually are a ton of people who do not have resources, who do not have lawyers, who are pretty much defenseless and part of what you’re seeing is people who are actually visible and powerful where it’s happening to them but I promise you it’s happening people who don’t have that kind of weight.
Bill: This American blood lust for groveling. It’s gross. I don’t want to be part of that team. Also, you’re right, its actual jobs and lives people are losing but I don’t want to live in a country where we have the red guard. You guys know what I’m talking about during the cultural revolution, we have a red guard in this country now.
The argument that I find interesting and challenging that I struggle with is the idea that part of what has happened in our society is people who did not have voice and power before have it now and when people have voice and power if you offend them, if you offend their sensibilities you’re going to hear about it and that is part of the healthy give-and-take of the culture. We are hearing the more people now, I get it but I also think he did have the sense of forgiveness that you’re describing, the idea that you can be ignorance, you’re not necessarily worthy of a death sentence if you make a mistake. People used to say that, they used to say that was an ignorant comment rather than you are a deeply immoral person who needs to be punished for the rest of your life. I think that’s important.
Bill: Also one of the bad things about this is people who don’t follow politics as much as the folks who watch this show are going to lump this issue in with other issues. Everyone knows what’s going on in Georgia, the all-star game was pulled out of Georgia because major league baseball and a number of corporations are protesting the voting rights laws — anti-voting laws that Georgia has passed. I sought described somewhere as a social justice issue. Okay, boating, this is not some silly woke issue, this is fundamental stuff. This is fundamental stuff. [Applause] The republican party really only has one strategy now, which is stop voting, stop people from voting and even don’t respect elections. That is their strategy now, don’t be to the other team, beat the refs. As you know, major league baseball is out, also Coca-Cola which is one of the most identified brands certainly in Atlanta if not the whole world but it’s associated with that city. Now the governor of Texas who was going to throw out the first ball at his game — not going to do that because we are taking sides now. It’s so interesting. We are going to get down to a place where the democrats drink coke and republicans will have to drink — do you think that’s where we are heading? We seem to be politicizing even the products we use. We are taking this to the cereal aisle. In America. I thought we were going to come together. [Applause]
This issue is deadly serious as you’re saying, let’s be very clear. The Georgia election law is based on a lie and it’s a lie that compelled a thousand people to try to rush the capital and do what they would have done and it led to six people being killed. It’s still a lie that animates the republican party, it’s a lie that makes the majority of republicans think that Donald Trump won the election. This is actually really dangerous stuff. And yet it is true, we are seeing corporations have to hold the line on basic American values because they know the republican party won’t. That is the wake-up call for corporate America since Donald Trump is there are some things we didn’t have to be a part of because politics, two parties would’ve protected at least that. This is no longer one of them. We have study after study showing that in places where republicans take control, the democracy suffers. This is not just about power, it’s about fundamentally a fear of sharing democracy with the America we are becoming.
Bill: or losing elections. They know they are on the wrong side of the demographics. That was trump’s genius back in 2016, everyone is saying that the by the republicans but I look around and maybe we have a couple more elections in us. I still see a lot of white people. That is going to change. The reason why I think Coca-Cola which is a company that cares a lot about money — maybe the people who had a big corporation like that are just wonderful people, but I think basically they look around and they probably talk to the younger people in the office.
Employees are really organizing.
Bill: And they go who do we want on our side to be drinking Coca-Cola? The people who are the future of the country or the cranky white people who are dying off? [Applause] I think that’s what’s driving the spirit
This a legitimate debate to be had about the particulars of the Georgia legislation but I also think there is this incredibly apocalyptic rhetoric that ignores the fact that in many respects this law is expanding voting access. Again, there’s a legitimate debate to be had and Georgia is a competitive state.
Bill: The Georgia law? Its expanding access where they want it expanded in the rural areas.
It’s much broader access that a number of other states including my home state of New York.
That has been a right wing talking point but Georgia is 49th in terms of ease of a voting, York is 17.
It’s absentee ballots, it’s expanding early voting beyond many other states.
All of those things — misses deeply boring and I’m an election law persons are not going to get way into it but this is the issue, Georgia’s move is based on a lie, it’s based on a response to historic turnout and black political power, changing the direction of the state. New York, god blessed for both of us live has never had great election laws and we have two on the ballot this fall. Overall you can’t compare what’s happening in the states, Jim Crow state with poll taxes and violent repression until 56 years ago, we had a multiracial democracy in this country for 56 years and when you see a party that has said our game plan is to hold onto white power and they begin to rewrite the rules in a way that makes it harder not just for black people to vote — I’m very clear this is a blunt instrument that definitely is aimed at black people and to so many ways that racism works in structural racism works, its impact on young people, married women who have the wrong name on their birth certificates, all these things and it’s a part of 360 laws that have been introduced this year to make it harder for people to vote, by the republican party. [Cheers and applause]
There’s a huge amount of alarmism in this because it’s an effective political tool and what you are actually seeing his increases in voter turnout. What you see in study after study find that measures after measures in the Georgia law do not have a meaningful effect on political turnout — I would welcome a legitimate, serious conversation, perhaps these laws need to be changed but what you are seeing now is alarmism that motivates people, motivates a small dollar donors and it winds up having the effective coarsening the conversation.
Bill: But it looks like this law is working backwards to — if the election we had in November was now, how could we have thrown it to trump in a way that we failed in November?
Particularly putting partisan people in election counting.
The person who stood against what president trump has tried to do —
He’s been replaced.
He defended the voter access law.
Bill: But he’s not there anymore. I’ve got to go to new rules, thank you panel, you are great. If new rules! New rule: if you’re a restaurant like the one in Detroit that’s banning people from entering because they smell like marijuana, you need to learn a little bit more about marijuana. [Applause] People who are high will order everything you have on the menu. [Laughter] And if you bring them the wrong food, they’ll still eat it. [Cheers and applause] Telling stoners not to come to your restaurant is like a dive bar saying, “if you’re depressed, trying to get laid, or struggling to pick up the pieces of a broken marriage, don’t even think about drinking here!” [Cheers and applause]
New rule: the Facebook automated technology that flagged and banned this ad for being too “overtly sexual” must be recalibrated. Because if these onions make you hot, you should see the ones in the fishnet bag. [Applause] [laughter]
New rule: scientists must explain why putting your key in the front door makes you have to pee. [Laughter] And since it does, why doesn’t putting your key in the back door make you have to poop? I just want to ask that one question. [Cheers and applause]
New rule: restaurants that deliver can stop putting forks in the bag. If someone has a street address, they probably have forks. [Cheers and applause] [laughter] I myself have over a dozen – I know, humblebrag. But they come in handy because no woman likes to hear, “how do you like your eggs in the morning, and do you mind eating them with your fingers?” [Laughter] We have no rehearsal anymore. We are flying blind here.
New rule: the federal authorities who just announced they’re putting migrant families up in local hotels, have to admit they’re sending a mixed message: “don’t come. But if you do, bring a bathing suit!” [Laughter] [applause] Also if these families aren’t under detention, how come there’s a sign at the end of the hall that says “ice”? [Laughter] [applause]
And finally: new rule. The Oscars need to change their name to the Debbies. As in Debbie Downer. [Laughter] Because judging by this year’s best picture nominees, you couldn’t have a worse time at the movies if there was an active shooter in the theater. A new poll found that less than [laughter] half of Americans now go to church. They don’t have to – if they want to feel guilty, dirty and bad they can watch Nomadland. [Laughter] [cheers and applause] That’s the one about the woman who winds up living in a van after her husband dies of cancer. In Judas and the Black Messiah the FBI kills the leader of the Black Panthers, and in The Trial of the Chicago 7 the FBI kills the leader of the Black Panthers again. Promising Young Woman has Carey Mulligan avenging a murderous rapist, but then he kills her too. And she was so close to joining the Black Panthers. [Laughter] Sound of Metal is about a [applause] musician going deaf. The Father is about an octogenarian descending into dementia, and Minari is the story of dirt-poor Korean immigrants in Arkansas who put all their food in a barn, but then grandma has a stroke and burns it down. “Now, enjoy the show!” [Laughter] [applause] The 2021 Oscars, brought to you by razor blades, Kleenex and rope – please welcome our host the sad emoji! [Laughter] I don’t have to leave the theater whistling, but would it kill you to once in a while make a movie that doesn’t make me want to take a bath with the toaster? [Laughter] [applause] We all had a rough year, a little escapism would have been appreciated, but your list of movies is like the menu at some [cheers and applause] stupid trendy restaurant where all the choices are very impressive, but there’s not one thing I actually want to eat. [Cheers and applause] Where’s the comfort food? What happened to the show business? Did they all decide to quit cocaine at the same time? [Applause] [cheers and applause] Did they forget that Hollywood is still the number one place to go if you’re an egomaniac looking to fill that hole from your childhood with applause? [Laughter] [cheers and applause] Or at least that’s what my therapist says. I don’t know. [Laughter] They forgot how to help people escape from their problems, and then they wonder why they’re losing their audience in droves – of course, you keep offering up. “The immigrant who shit in a coffee can” and at some point the crowd is just gonna go, “oh fuck it, just give me the Netflix movie of Mötley Crüe taking drugs and getting blown.” [Laughter] [applause] Academy nominations used to say, “look what great movies we make.” Now they say, “look what good people we are.” It’s not about entertainment – it’s about suffering. Specifically, yours. It’s not two hours to forget your troubles; it’s traffic school at the holocaust museum. In 2021, if you’re at the movies and wondering, “which one is the bad guy?” It’s you. [Laughter] Because you have indoor [applause] plumbing, and the nominees don’t. Godzilla vs. Kong stomped the box office last weekend and finally got people back to theaters. Because it’s Godzilla vs. Kong, not “Godzilla vs. Kong and his crippling battle with depression.” [Cheers and applause] Not that I want to see Godzilla vs. Kong either! Jesus! Hollywood used to know how to make a movie that was about something – a movie for adults – [cheers and applause] that was also entertaining and not just depressing. There was already a category for that: best documentary. [Laughter] Important filmmaking about the conflict in Syria or the plight of hot dog stand owners. You know, the part of the Oscar show where you got up and went to the bathroom. But now that’s the whole show. They don’t even have a host anymore. The funniest part of the whole night is the “in memoriam” segment. [Laughter] it’s such an odd psychological quirk – I keep asking myself, why do so many liberals have this seeming desire to want to be sad. Could it be because being sad allows you to feel like you’re doing something about a problem without actually having to do anything? [Cheers and applause] Like the poor lady living in her van. There is a solution to homelessness: building affordable housing, possibly in your neighborhood. [Applause] But do people, including liberals, vote for that? No – they fight it. But it does make them sad. Without affecting home values. [Laughter] Virtue signaling has already ruined most of the internet, the publishing industry, the New York Times and most of the colleges where football isn’t a priority. Please – at least leave us the movies. [Applause] Because in all honesty, I gotta ask: if your movie is so woke, how come I’m falling asleep?
Okay, that’s our show. We’ll be back next week. I want to thank my guests Heather McGhee, Reihan Salam and senator Alex Padilla. Goodnight! Thank you, folks!
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