Real Time with Bill Maher (September 14, 2018) – Transcript

Bill Maher recaps the top stories of the week, including Trump's feud with hurricanes and Paul Manafort's plea deal. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discusses President Trump's war on truth and his new memoir, "Every Day Is Extra".USA Facts founder and LA Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer discusses his initiative to paint a data-driven portrait of America.

Bill Maher recaps the top stories of the week, including Trump’s feud with hurricanes and Paul Manafort’s plea deal.

Bill’s guests tonight:

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joins Bill to discuss President Trump’s war on truth and his new memoir, “Every Day Is Extra.”

USA Facts founder and LA Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer joins Bill to discuss his initiative to paint a data-driven portrait of America.

Former White House Senior Advisor Richard Clarke

CNN’s “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” Host S.E. Cupp

NYT Magazine Chief Nat’l Correspondent Mark Leibovich

* * *

Monologue: Florence and the Ratings Machine
[Applause] I know, I know, very excited. I know why you’re happy to see me. I’m a guy on TV, not standing in the rain. It’s fools in the rain… aren’t they fools telling you how dangerous the storm is while they’re standing in the middle of it! It’s one or the other! Millions could be without power! Yeah, they’re called Democrats. People in the Carolinas are freaking out over Florence-not the hurricane-a trans woman using the wrong bathroom. Wish the best for the Carolinas. They can’t hear me, they have no power. We wish the best. But the President is on it. He wants you to know that the government is ready, he’s monitoring the storm from the command center in his bed. He has stockpiled tweets and he is prepared to give himself an A+. And how he handles it and to dispute how many died in the last storm in Puerto Rico—you see what this asshole did all week? Obsessing on the one a year ago that he fucked-up. “It was way less than 3,000 and the ones who did die it wasn’t from lack of paper towels, I tell you that.”
Trump is saying that the Democrats inflated the numbers of dead “to make me look bad.” And one thing that Donald Trump hates is somebody who falsely inflates numbers. He can’t stand that.
“Three million illegals voted for…” Yes, okay. Does everything have to be about him?
[Audience] Yes.
When he uses a condom he wears it inside out, so that it’s ribbed for his pleasure. I’m joking, he’s never worn a condom…
But really, Clinton was the I-feel-your-pain president, he’s the I am your pain president. And I think he didn’t even know until a few days ago the 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico. I think the staff is always hiding the bad news from him-like when you tell your toddler when you have to put the dog down that he’s living on a farm. It’s like that with Trump, it’s like “hey, where’s Michael Cohen lately?” “He’s living in a farm.”
Oh, speaking of that, all the weather buried the big news: Paul Manafort flipped on Fat Donny. That’s right, Fat Donny got flipped on by his former consigliere; the campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is now cooperating with the Mueller team as part of a plea deal. Mueller has gotten plea deals now from Manafort and Flynn and Gates and Papadopoulos and Pecker, the National Enquirer, Weisselberger, Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. I don’t want to say Mueller is getting cocky but he showed up in court today wearing an ostrich jacket… Trump’s paranoia level now is just off the chart. Is there anyone who wouldn’t rat him out? Today when he was groping Ivanka, it was just to see if she was wearing a wire.

John Kerry: Truth Teller
He was a war hero he certainly was an activist senator a Secretary of State and the 2004 Democratic nominee for president whose new memoir is “Every Day Is Extra,” John Kerry! 


When they were giving you the standing ovation I just stood next to you like basking in it, like some of it is getting on me I…

Actually, I noticed that you sat down very quickly.

It’s always an honor to talk to you-anything with you-but I must say I read Trump’s tweet about you today and apparently you’re bad, very very bad, with big letters  like a B-A-D, BAD! What did you do John Kerry that was BAD?

I think I told the truth


Well, he’s mad at you…

He’s the first president, that I know of, who spends more time reading his Twitter likes then his briefing books or the Constitution of The United States, that’s for sure.

He’s saying that you’re a bad person because you met with your out of office and you met with the Iranian– or talked to the Iranian.

Well, I did yeah, absolutely. Everybody does. Henry Kissinger for 40 years have been traveling to Russia, traveling to China, talking to the leaders– there’s absolutely nothing unusual about it. A conversation I think he really ought to be worrying about is Paul Manafort with Mueller.

It’s giant.

It really is giant and soon you will be hearing him say that’s the worst deal that’s ever been made. He’s gone from the art of the deal to the art of the squeal. I honestly have never seen anything quite like it-the anonymous op-ed, the Woodward book, the chronology of everything that’s been happening… It’s tough. We’ve always relied on our democracy getting better, being stronger when people tell the truth-we’re based on the truth, democracy is based on the truth-and unfortunately we have a president, literally, for whom “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is three different things and you don’t even know what they are. He has—I don’t want to get into a real riff on this but I got to tell you-he’s

[Audience] Do it!

John Riff Kerry.

He is really the rare combination of a eight-year-old boy– I mean he’s got the maturity of an eight-year-old boy with the insecurities of a teenage girl.

Of a mean girl. A very mean girl.

A mean girl. He could be mean.

When you talk about the truth-it’s so interesting-you’re a truth teller and when you’re talking in glowing terms about the truth– but people don’t really like truth tellers. That too. I mean, these people like me… but not even always them. Because when you really tell the truth-like you did about Vietnam, that’s what they really hated you for-when they in 2004 -which was kind of the beginning of fake news-the campaign they ran against you, a true war hero and Karl Rove said “by the end of this election they won’t know which side he was on.” right, I’m sure you remember that…

I remember…

…you told the truth when you got back from Vietnam.

I did tell them…

…never appreciated in its own time.

Well, sometimes choices you make are not appreciated in their own time, but I am very comfortable that I not only told the truth, I believe all those veterans who came back from Vietnam, many of them had very difficult time and they joined in telling the truth and I am convinced that we brought the war to a close sooner, that we saved lives by telling the truth and all you have to do is look and see Ken Burns’s recent film that documents how early the lying began. So I’m proud of that, and I’m proud of the fact that McCain and I then we’re able to come together. John exhibited a kind of large personality that could forgive and move on and knew the importance of working at bipartisan fashion. So John and I together decided we’re going to end the war at home and abroad and we spent 10 years and we made peace with Vietnam and for the better part, not everybody but for the most part, by bringing 700 remains of service men home from Vietnam so families could have closure. I think we went a long way to making peace here at home.

It seems a long time ago and it was. Your book is a memoir, must be bittersweet when you– I’m probably approaching the memoir writing years– 

I’ve just been reminded that you’ve been here for 16 years…


By the way, I was with your producer just before I came out and I stopped him in mid-sentence and I said you want to know the stupidest thing that’s on TV today? And I pointed to the TV and there was a weather guy out there getting soaked.

I’m so glad you said because first of all it’s a local weather story also it was a category 5 at the beginning of the week-with true they were thrilled about because they love that. Americans love to watch a palm tree swaying like that. You could show the footage from any year but when it got downgraded to a category one they didn’t downgrade the coverage.

Not sure well there’s so much consequence where it’s going they made that they made the commitment they had everybody out there.

If I wrote a book about cable news would be called “Fool in the Rain.” So you were in Vietnam then you know 9/11 and that would been doing that ever since now we’re back to the Russians we’re always mixing it up with somebody is it us is it just being the biggest baddest you know we’re live.

We’re living in a very complicated world today and it’s a world in which we play, I think, the essential role, normally—this is not normal. What I learned as Secretary of State–I knew it, but what I learned in a very personal tactile way, was the degree to which people all over the world look to us to help lead.And we lead we’re on the brink of having the first generation of children born aids-free in Africa—that’s because of our project. We faced Ebola–I remember sitting in the Situation Room in the White House–we were told a million people are going to die in the next four months and President Obama said no, we’re gonna send three thousand American troops over there–which had its own risks–we worked with the French, we worked with the British and each took the country in West Africa. We stopped Ebola in its tracks. You can run around the world– I said during our administration that I believe that we dealt with more crises simultaneously with greater impact on behalf of our country than in any time in history, from the South China Sea to what’s happening at Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan what was happening in Syria. Now, it didn’t all have the outcomes that we wanted to achieve–and I write in my book, Syria remains the open wound, it’s a failure of the entire international community to to make the peace–but we tried, we cared. I always said to my folks in the department “don’t be scared to get caught trying.” And that’s what we did. The trying saved lives– we got a ceasefire here or ceasefire there. For those people in that ceasefire for three weeks or a month or two months, they’re alive today, and they wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t done that. But I always argued we needed some way of holding us out a little more accountable.

So what do we do when we only have two parties and when only one side plays decently. You lost a very close election… 

One state, 65,000 votes in one state.

Right, you could have contested it. Al Gore could have–he went a lot further with his protest.

Well, Al Gore was elected president of The United States but it wasn’t counted.

What I’m saying is it’s sort of a Hobson’s choice, you don’t want to act like them but we seem to be getting our ass kicked because we’re the only ones playing by rules. Al Gore gave that debate book back–do you remember?–when he got the debate book, and he said “no this isn’t cricket.” Do you think that if in 2020 Trump is running again and he finds out that Putin helped him–he’d probably asking for his help–but let’s say he wasn’t doing that, do you think he’d report it? Of course not. What do you do when only one side plays by rules.

Well if you believe in America and you believe in the decency of our democracy and our system, I don’t think– I think Richard Nixon proved this, I think other presidents have proven it historically– politics, life proves it. If you you sleep with dogs you come up with fleas. If you go down–

[?] all of us.

We can win by offering Americans a better and real agenda that improves the lives, not of the billionaires, but of all Americans. If we do that, if we go out and show the ways in which they’re attacking democracy—I’ve always believed in the truth, I believe in it now and I think if you hold people up to account publicly– that includes President Putin or little green men running around in Ukraine, or wherever it is– shed light on it, push it in all the four others are available to you– but you’ve got to honor the rule of law, because if you go outside of it it won’t have its meaning anymore when it needs to.

I hope you’re right about that.

Well, I believe it.

Yeah. John Kerry, good luck with the book, it’s a terrific read and he’s a terrific guy.John Kerry everybody!

Steve Ballmer: Just the Facts
Here’s the former CEO of Microsoft who is now the founder of USA Facts and the chairman of the LA Clippers, Steve Ballmer! 

You bounded out here just the way I thought you would. 

With a little energy.

Oh my god.

Bill, you’re turning backs, I love you!

You are a bull of energy, where do you get this energy Steve? What are you smoking? Can you share some?

I didn’t even got up that caffeine stop. I’m all LaCroix all the time.

All right. I love what you’re doing, this USA Facts thing, tell the people what it is, because it sort of inherently anti-Trump, because it’s about facts.

Well we started– I started about four years ago. My wife said I’d retired, she said it’s time to get involved philanthropically and we’re focused on kids and kids in need– I said all we need to do is pay our taxes, let’s be good tax payers– government takes care of that. And she said “dude, come on, we can do better than that!” But it got me to say “I wonder really where the tax dollars come from and where they go.” Just the facts.

People will like scroll through a hundred Yelp reviews to find a taco stand but they have no idea where their tax dollars go and you did a deep dive like a businessman, cuz you were the head of Microsoft, you’re a businessman.

I should have at least ought to read stuff that’s as good I can read about any…

…to find out where the money’s going, what it’s doing, what the outcome is and then–  give us some examples, like healthcare.

Take health care: since 1980, health care per person, inflation adjusted, is up two hundred twenty five percent. Two hundred and twenty five percent, okay? Let’s take a look– people like to talk about life expectancy–I’m not a life expectancy guy, that’s forecasts and futures–I just look at the average age at which people die. That seems to be about actuals not forecast.

Maybe you’re never gonna die. Nothing can kill this, right up here.

In the last twenty years, the average age at which people died is gone from 72.3 years to 72.9 years. That’s it! For all the money we’re just hemorrhaging into healthcare, you  think we’d be buying people extra life, but obesity is up, a lot of these other factors– so, are we spending our health care dollars well? I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Well, we need health care dollars I think a lot, because we eat shit and we breathe shit. 


If we had a healthier environment to live in the health care bill would go way down. You’ve also studied the environment, right?


I mean, the amount of disasters–as we’re seeing another storm this week, right–hasn’t that way jumped?

Yeah, natural disaster declarations over the last ten years or so have jumped in fact and it’s interesting. You can’t actually say what’s caused it but you can see things that are going on you can look at the climate data–I’m kind of a science oriented guy, I can tell you that–at USA Facts we’re not partisan on the issues, we are not, we just give you the data.

It’s great because the second you take aside, people are gonna then in this tribal atmosphere say “oh, I don’t believe it,” even though it’s a fact. So that’s great, you’re just putting it out there.

We’ll take government [?], we’ll show you what they are– I mean, you can take a look at the border thing. Border agents are up, apprehension is down. Undocumented immigrant estimates are flat. You have to decide how you think about it, we can’t tell you. We’ll just give you the numbers.

So, what about education. Are our children reading gooder?

Ok, you got me there! You can look at that number. Education stand for student has about doubled–again inflation adjusted–over the last 30 years, or so, about double, and yet still only about a third of our kids, third grade level, can read at grade level, are proficient at third grade reading. A third of kids and yet we have doubled spent.

Speaking of spending, let me ask you this. I read the other day that you are worth forty three billion dollars. 

Is that the number?

Well, of course when you have that much you’re not getting the checkbook at the end of the month and matching–

I can’t read that on USA Facts so must not be true!

I think Chris Farley died and went into you. Does anyone need forty billion dollars? 

Not to live on.

But should anybody have forty billion dollars? FDR once proposed not just a minimum wage but a maximum wage.

Yeah, it’s an interesting– should anybody have it? No. In our case will we have it? No, we’re trying to give away the money, focused again on kids in poverty–

All of it?

We give away as much as we sensibly can in our lifetime.

You can live on a billion, right? 

Yeah, yeah, you can. Plus the Clippers. I get to keep the Clippers.

Oh, absolutely. 

You don’t need it, but the question is can you do well with it?

Okay. I always base money on what percentage of your money. When I started I would do any job for thirty dollars. I told jokes in bars with no stage, with sawdust on the floor. Now they can offer me a lot–not your kind of money–and I won’t do it because it’s in day of my life, I don’t want to go someplace and talk to corporate assholes, I don’t care how much you pay me, you can’t buy a day at the age of 62. So what I’m saying Steve is… I just gave a million dollars to the Democrats. For me that’s a lot of money, because I think the most important thing to do in the world right now is get rid of Donald Trump, or at least check him. But it seems to me–because even though that’s a lot of money– it won’t change my life. I won’t have to drive an Uber. I don’t have expensive hobbies, I’m not one of those dumbass celebrities who has, you know, fucking– let’s not go into it– [Applause] But it seems like you could win this election by yourself… and not feel it [Applause]

That’s about the most unethical thing you could possibly do. For yourself.

You don’t think turning an election is an ethical thing to do when the person you’re running against is Trump? 

Then you get into the question of how you think about things. No, for my morals, no, I’m not buying elections. I’m just not doing it.

Okay, I tried.


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